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educated among them. Then again, on examining his writings a little further, he seems to betray that true English grace, no where else to be found except in a genuine Englishman, deeply learned at his own university. The fact, however, determines that this Englishman was indeed from Aberdeen; and it is hazarding nothing to affirm, that the great excellencies of the two nations are in him most happily united-the highest passion for philosophy with all the decorum of law-the speculations of learning with the majesty of common sense. Great Britain has furnished but one man besides, in whom this united character (to the same extent) is likely to be found-the late Dugald Stewart. To him, probably, Mr. Hall bears a greater literary likeness than to any other man of the present age.
The piety of Robert Hall will never be questioned. There appears in all his writings, a devout spirit, a constant and humble reliance on God. His zeal in defence of the truth is surely not less fervent than that of his brethren of any persuasion. Still, the mantle of his charity is as broad as the earth. Considering the circumstances of the man, such an entire freedom from bigotry is next to a miracle. It cannot be otherwise, than that the brethren of the same honorable communion with himself should be very dear to him, especially those noble and philanthropic compeers in his ministry, the Rylands, the Fullers, the Fosters; but to these he gives no undue preference. Though himself a Baptist and of Baptist descent, he has shown that he was never born for that sect nor for any other sect. He pronounces eulogies on the departed clergy of the Establishment, and in praise of their liturgy we see him an enthusiast. And in all this he is not ambitious of a return of their favor; for at the same time he cheers every Dissenter and bids him God speed; preaches himself at the ordination of Independents, and shields with his arm all that unprotected_multitude, both from diocesan jealousies and from civil power. By every party he is equally esteemed; and it should not be matter of surprise to us, that he receives his full measure of applause from the Establishment. This is virtuous applause, founded on merit. It is no paradox to say of Mr. Hall, that he is the greatest Bishop in England-his diocese is limited only by Christendom. But it is that spirit of Christian harmony, which has gone forth, unmindful of every distinction but that of the friends and foes of the Redeemer's Kingdom, forming Union Associations, National Societies throughout Europe and America, which must testify of this man, at some future time. He seems to have been raised up for the special purpose of effecting the union of Christians in the promotion of a common cause, and the merging of minor differences in the cultivation of great principles, and the pursuit of great objects.
The springs of political government, too, have felt the touch of his unobtrusive but mighty hand. There is not, perhaps, a man now living, of whom the English politicians stand so much in awe, as of Robert Hall. He explains to them the British Constitution, points
them to the path of duty, arraigns them before the tribunal of the public, sifts all their proceedings, and dares even to speak against Mr. Pitt. All this however, as every act of this man, appears to be Who can in the strictest subserviency to the cause of virtue and of heaven. But, alas! he is an old man, and verging to the grave. refrain from exclaiming in the language of his learned friend, Dr. Olinthus Gregory—
"Oh! why will the most captivating, energetic, and profound preacher, and religious writer, now living, rest satisfied with giving to the world scarcely any but fugitive publications of temporary interest, the whole of which it is already difficult to collect, when all who know him, or are able to appreciate the value of his efforts, are anxiously anticipating the period when he will favor the public with some work of respectable magnitude and permanent interest, which shall enlighten and instruct its successive readers for ages to come.”
THE love of controversy was in no degree the motive for writing the following sheets. Controversy the Writer considers as an evil, though often a necessary one. It is to be deprecated when it is directed to minute or frivolous objects, or when it is managed in such a manner as to call forth malevolent passions. He hopes the ensuing treatise will be found free from both these objections; and that as the subject must be allowed to be of some importance, so the spirit in which it is handled, is not chargeable with any material departure from the Christian temper. If the Author has expressed himself on some occasions with considerable confidence, he trusts the reader will impute it, not to a forgetfulness of his personal deficiencies, but to the cause he has undertaken to support. The divided state of the Christian world has long been the subject of painful reflection; and if his feeble efforts might be the means of uniting a small portion of it only in closer ties, he will feel himself amply rewarded.
The practice of incorporating private opinions and human inventions with the constitutions of a church, and with the terms of communion, has long appeared to him untenable in its principle, and pernicious in its effects. There is no position in the whole compass of theology, of the truth of which he feels a stronger persuasion, than that no man, or set of men, are entitled to prescribe as an indispensable condition of communion, what the New Testament has not enjoined as a condition of salvation. To establish this position, is the principal object of the following work; and though it is more immediately occupied in the discussion of a case which respects the Baptists and the Pædobaptists, that case is attempted to be decided entirely upon the principle now mentioned, and it is no more than the application of it to a particular instance.