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couple, the future essayist, together with and powerful demonstrations of the one little brother, his sole companion, truth as it is in Jesus. Mr. Foster, any rose up through the stages of childhood more than his great equal Hall, never and youth. The scene around was betrays, through the whole range of his rural. The neighbourhood had then no subsequent speculation, the misgiving of trace of those factories and other build one who had an imperfect grapple of the ings which have since filled the valley of truth, or who had defectively adverted to his birth, and which, if they increase our the evidence by which each doctrine can wealth, deface our scenery. So strongly be scripturally evinced. For this result had Mr. Foster this impression of the we are surely indebted to the vigorous mortifying obliteration of the whole character of Dr. Fawcett's ministry. The landscape, that it gave him a strong world is indebted to him, under the aversion to revisiting the abode of his blessing of the Spirit, for that element infancy. In his childhood he manifested of evangelical truth which pervades and that intense fondness for reading which sanctifies the writings of one whose minds destined to greatness invariably genius, whether for good or evil, could evince, and in which they find their not exert itself without producing a vast earliest luxury. He attended, with his effect on the literature of the age, not parents, the ministry of Dr. Fawcett, only in his own, but in other countries. whose notice he early attracted, and Let it be imagined that a mind of whose masculine style of discoursing in Foster's order, had risen to its final the pulpit must have had no mean in- gigantic energy, exempt from the confluence in exciting and strengthening trol of the truth as it is in Jesus, and such a mind as that of young Foster. from that reverence for real piety as Had the essayist left to us a “memoir springing from faith in Christ, which he written by himself” of his early training, had the early privilege of appreciating ! mention would doubtless have been made We could have no fear, of course, for of his pastor, not only in respect of his the truth itself; but what a mind had kindness and generosity as a friend, but been lost to the Christian cause, and also of the influence of his character and what an influence of, at least, doubtful, ministry, on the mind of one destined to if not fatal, tendency, might the brilliant rival the noblest intellects of his age. pages of Foster have been now exerting ! Not that a mind of Fawcett's order Probably, under no adverse or irreligious could have much in common with Fos- training, could he have become a deter. His influence is chiefly to be traced cided infidel, either of the metaphysical, in that entire hold wbich evangelical or of the sensual class. His force of truth had upon the faculties of his intellect and sympathy with the grand young hearer,-a hold which betokened and noble, would have spurned the the deep and perfect conviction pro- sophistry of Hume.

His moral taste duced by fair and manly proof. In this would have despised the modern infiquality, of the judicious, intelligent delity of the socialist. But the midway, statement, and convincing proof of aerial region was open to his fancy, scripture doctrine, the ministry of the betwixt earth and heaven, betwixt the author of the essay on Anger could have base and the spiritual, betwixt grovelbeen inferior to none of his own day. ling folly, and inspired truth,--the land Under a mental and religious training of imaginative forms and phantoms, not dissimilar, young Hall, about the principles, and spirits, and emanations same period, was rising up at Arnsby, a of nature, without substance, without hearer of his excellent father's sound certainty, without basis, to which more

than one eminent writer of our day, are perienced this great change. At sevenbeckoning the aspirant minds of the age. teen, we behold the youth who was Instead of which we have in Foster exer- afterwards to startle the world as by the tions of intellect and fancy, which are never appearance of a new and brighter planet more safe than when they are most beau- in the intellectual hemisphere, offering tiful, never more healthful than when himself as a candidate for baptism before they are most enchanting. We have no the church at Hebden Bridge ; and, after warning to send on with the young reader testifying his faith in the Saviour in that into his writings. His speculations have ordinance, uniting with his delighted and a basis of truth on the rock of ages, and grateful parents, and the rest of the if they rise often, and tower higher than church, in celebrating the dying love of the air-built castles of Mr. T. Carlyle, Jesus! What an example should this be their elevation is never perilous ; their to the intelligent youth of Britain ! Who loftiest pinnacles rise on true principles, can plead that the religion of Christ and in just gradation, from the foun- cramps the powers, or diminishes the dation.

lustre, of genius? The mind of Foster If we have dwelt longer than seems was from the earliest period in the keepin fair proportion to our limited plan, ing of religion, and hence will arise the upon this early period of the essayist's permanence of his usefulness and fame. history, let it be remembered that this Let it never be forgotten that he was an period was, in respect of the all important example of early piety. element religion, the most influential of Very soon after his baptism, his friend the whole, and most decisive of his and pastor, aware of his singular powers, future course. At this time, the grand and wishing to turn his attention to the outline both of right speculation and ministry, received liim generously under right purpose, was definitely laid. Now, his roof, that he might obtain a classical in his youth, the mind became fixed education under his own eye.

Here to its moorings, from which, exposed to he remained for four years, till he was many a gust, it never drifted away. one and twenty; and then, under the Now he acquired that wisdom from patronage of Dr. Fawcett, he entered above, which was to imbue his writings the baptist college at Bristol. Here his with truth, purity, and benevolence. On stay did not extend beyond a twelvethis period, surely, the great essayist month. What were the reasons of his himself would lay greatest stress, and leaving so soon, we have not heard. It linger longest.

could not be dissatisfaction with bis Nor have we made the above remarks tutor, for at this time commenced that in forgetfulness of the necessity of the friendship betwixt the pupil and the divine influence to renovate the heart, Rev. Joseph Hughes, then sole tutor, or of the fact that such influence de- which was suspended only at the death scended on the mind of Mr. Foster dur- of the latter. Nor is it probable that ing the period now adverted to. The Foster's classical attainments were in Spirit of God alone, as he emphatically advance of the instruction communiand ever testified, can imbue the soul cated at the college. We have never with the love of the truth, can break the heard that he read profoundly in the heart, can humble its pride, and bring classics, and for mathematics it is said every thought into perfect subjection to he had no relish. He probably became Christ. How interesting it is to know impatient of the uniform routine of that before he was seventeen, probably academical study, and preferred the long before, young Foster had ex- | freedom of consulting the bent of his

own genius. His reading lay largely in the summer of 1804, on the recommenEnglish literature, history, travels, me- dation of Mr. Hall, he became pastor of moirs, the essayists, treatises on mental the church at Sheppard's Barton, Frome. and moral philosophy, and divinity. This In one respect his position at Frome sinenumeration does not necessarily an- gularly resembled that of his friend Mr. nounce anything very decided, as study. Hall at Cambridge; Mr. Foster folYet all Mr. Foster's reading became lowed the Rev. Job David who had enstudy. It involved mental exertion, not braced Socinianism, as Mr. Hall had beto understand his authors, but to correct come successor to the celebrated Robinor improve upon them; to push further son. As the settlement of the latter their most recondite conclusions; to re- at Cambridge was the instrument in the fine upon their most striking remarks. hand of providence to preserve that Much as Mr. Foster read, and he was church from the infection of their pasalmost always so employed, reading was tor's errors, so by the coming of Mr. the least part of the process going on. Foster to Frome, everything was done What would the literary world give to to counteract the effect of Mr. David's possess itself of the trains of thought, later ministry. All the members of the corrective or imaginative, which rapidly church, who had left Mr. David the moformed themselves in his mind, and ment his views became declared, and accompanied the course of his silent had dispersed, some to hear Mr. Saunattention over the pages of our pro- ders, and others Mr. Sibree, returned foundest and most brilliant writers ! gladly to their own place of worship, to

On leaving Bristol College in 1792, listen to the strains of evangelical truth he proceeded to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from such a man as Mr. Foster. In his where he supplied, for a short time, as discourses he was very far from setting well as in some places in the neighbour- himself formally to refute the errors hood. His movements at this period of his predecessor. Only a very few are difficult to be traced. All the in- bad imbibed those errors, and their formation we are able to supply for the influence died silently away. Yet it is next ten years is the following :—that in the recollection of some of his hearers he resided some time at Dublin, and gave that nothing could be more effective instruction to pupils, some of whom are than his incidental references to Socinian still living, as well as probably attended views when they came in his way. Often some of the lectures at the university ; would his scathing rebukes fall like that he thence came to Colchester and lightning, and as instantaneously, on the supplied the baptist church there ; that tenets in question. This was always after, not many months, he became incidentally, but it was with so sure an stationed at Downend, near Bristol, and aim at some vital part, and with such was pastor of the church there for seve- resistless effect, that if any persons inral years. During his residence in that fected with those opinions remained, neighbourhood, he most probably be they must either soon have retired from came acquainted with the lady to whom so terrific a battery, or have yielded to he was afterwards married, and whose the force of truth. influence did so much to draw forth the Mr. Foster's continuance as pastor at resources of his mind in the essays Sheppard's Barton, was only for a period which, not long after, he began to of two years, but they were years of the meditate.

prime and vigour of his preaching. He We now reach a period from which was now forty-three years of age, and his history is more easily followed. In his powers at their most brilliant pitch. His congregation, though not large, such as friendship alone dictates. It numbered many families of respectability would be a singular treat unquestionably and opulence, for whom his preaching to meet Foster at tie table of one of his would of course be more calculated, wealthier friends, listened to with avidity than for the poorer part of his audience. by all, yet not without some apprehenYet no one laboured more than he, to sion, if strangers were of the party, lest reduce the expression of his thoughts to he should sport some of his occasional the level of the most uninformed, with sallies, on politics civil or ecclesiastical, out sacrificing the thoughts themselves. and by some unanswerable stroke of This was a grand characteristic of Mr. satire or wit, strike at the whole fabric Foster's preaching. Whatever was the of "things as they are” in church or language employed, the hearer, if com- state. But it would be more interesting petent to judge, would perceive it was the still to follow him to one of the abodes simplest in which the thought could en- of his poor people, where he would be dure to be expressed. He would often seated at the round deal table taking his be most successful in seizing and kind- tea with an aged couple! To witness ling the attention of the least intelligent the perfect conten: of the mighty magiof his hearers. Yet his ministry, amid cian of thought with these poor memrthe population of a provincial town, and bers of his church! The entire enjoyunaided by what is attractive to such a ment of his talk or rather gossip with population, a loud and powerful de- them! His interest in their little affairs, livery, was not adapted to draw a large not affected, but sincere, and for the audience. By those who heard him, he time, engrossing! His respectfulness was appreciated and beloved. It may and kindness! His sympathy in their be added, that he was singularly en- trials and griefs ! He commonly took a deared to the poor of his flock, and often small parcel of tea with him, and regave them his society. Nor did he quested his poor friends to make him practice this as a sort of condescension. a good cup; and after spending great He had no idea there could be conde- part of the evening with them, wholly as scension in the case. He revered man as one of themselves, he would slide a half man, and the distinctions of rank or opu- crown piece under the cup, and kindly lence which overbear the self-respect of take his leave. These details may seem ordinary minds, never probably excited insignificant or undignified, but to us any feeling in his, but were contem- they throw so true and genuine a light plated with simple indifference. It will on the heart of such a man as Mr. be easily believed that his society was Foster, that we cannot but attach a valued in those cultivated circles, where value to them. The great writer with his unequalled powers were appreciated whom Dugald Stewart, or Sir James and admired. But the greatest satisfac- Mackintosh, or Parr, would have covettion of his friends was to witness the ed to spend an evening, was one of the piety of his character, a piety which was most simple-hearted and accessible of not eclipsed by his genius, but which con- beings, familiar as a brother with any trolled and directed its exertions. Yet member of his flock, in whose piety had he his friendship also among per- he had confidence. It may be mentioned, sons in moderate or humble circum- as further evidence of this feature of his stances, and amongst the poor of his character, that to the last, and after flock. Letters are now before us written nearly forty years separation, he rein a strain of tenderness and sympathy membered the names and circumstances to the family with whom he lodged, of his poor friends, and would ask in the most kind manner respecting their affairs., tences. This remark applies, however Whenever he visited Frome in later not to his first compositions, nor his very years, one whole day or more would last, but to some of the intermediate probe devoted to visiting his poorer ac- ductions of his pen. Mr. Foster more quaintance; and to each, if necessitous, effectually broke through the spell. he usually made some present.

Without discarding the classical use of During this period of Mr. Foster's single words, he broke through the dull pastorate at Sheppard's Barton it was uniformity of the established structure of that he composed his essays, which first sentences, and of the iambic rhythm at made him known as an author to the the close, as exemplified by such rhetoriworld. He then lodged at the ancient cians as Blair. He permitted his thoughts looking house near Rook Lane Chapel, to cast themselves in any form or meawhere the excellent Sibree preached. sure they chose, consistent with the perTo the vestry of the chapel he had free spicuous and forcible expression of his access, and there, removed from inter- meaning. He had a hearty aversion to ruption and noise, he composed much | what he called the making sentences by of his essays. The history of these rule. Whether he carried this negliessays is generally known. They were gence to an extreme hurtful to perspicaddressed, in the form they now appear uity and compactness of expression, on in, to the lady to whom he had been some occasions, may admit of question. some time engaged; and, in fact, were The style of composition in his treatises written at her request. When completed, on Popular Ignorance, and Missions, is he took a journey to London, and nego- far more uncontrollably vagrant without tiated with Longman for their publica rule, than that of his first publication ; or tion. Their appearance speedily drew of his last, the preface to Doddridge, and the attention of the literary world. They even the character of Hall. gave example of a new and profounder The essays on

“ Decision of Characvein of thought than had of late been ter,” &c., came out in 1805, in two current. Retaining the free and variable volumes, duodecimo. Nor was it long form of essays, they gave specimens of before reviewers began to give the note sustained investigation worthy of the of applause to the public. But one elaborate treatise, blended with a colour- review outweighed all others in Mr. ing of fancy richer than the poetry of Foster's estimation, not merely on acany author since Milton. A sort of count of the generous eulogium it beclassical style, wordy but not inelegant, stowed, but on account of the superior had become so current, since the publi- beauty of the piece itself, as well as the cation of Johnson's writings, that as eminence of the critic,-a consummate Cowper says of Pope, every writer had judge, if ever there was one, of fine writhis tune by heart. It seemed impossible ing. This was the article written by to write after any other manner. The Mr. Hall in the Eclectic, an article native freedom and fire of Hall's own

which Foster read with unsuppressed -genius seem, at times, arrested by the exultation, observing to a friend at the prevailing influence. Confessedly the moment, " if one had done nothing else greatest master of composition this na- but draw such an article from Hall, tion has produced, and placed at the it would be something." Such were head of English writers, by the suffrage the feelings of mutual admiration which of the most consummate judges, his style possessed these great men. Nothing can of composition yielded not a little to the be more noble than the tone of Hall's Johnsonian manner and march of sen- review, in which the exceptions taken

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