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cal career. In this class are Channing, Dewey, Pierpont, Greenwood, and a constellation of similar names. Besides other periodicals which these men have supported, they have established, and for some years maintained, the Christian Examiner—a review turning chiefly on the theological works which issue from the American press. Channing, Walker, and Dewey, have been among its principal contributors. Some of the most elaborate compositions in that line, which our country has produced, have appeared in that periodical. Were it not that it is too cold, and sometimes prolix, and, as may be remarked of the beau iedal of Boston writing in general, too stately and artificial, it would rank in style and manner, as it does in ability, with any periodical of its class in the English language. Among the first and proudest samples of American literature, we cannot fail to place the writings of Dr. Channing. With a mind full of the same rich and glorious conceptions with that of Chalmers, he is more elegant, more finished, than the Scotch divine. No American writer has drunk so deep from the wells of English literature of the period of Milton, and his periods are imbued with that same ancient cast, and have a Miltonian structure, which impart to them an air of originality, grandeur, ease, grace, beauty, nobleness of thought, and a certain turn of expression, which gives to common ideas an air of novelty; and, more than all, an enlarged Christian benevolence, thoughts burning with ardent aspirations for the improvement and happiness of his kind, and great liberality of spirit, stamp all his writings, which consist chiefly of sermons and reviews, and which are perhaps as well known in England as America. His reviews of the Life of Milton, Fenelon, and Bonaparte are his happiest productions, and among the best of their kind in our language. If we had many such writers, instead of being asked who reads an American book, the question would soon be, who reads any other ??--Alhenæum, Sept. 19, 1835.
ADDRESS TO THE REV. JOHN JAMES TAYLER, ON HIS RETURN FROM
GERMANY, Presented at the Rev. R. Smethurst's, Stand, near Manchester, October 6th, 1835.
TO THE REV. JOHN JAMES TAYLER. · Dear Sir,—As your associates and brethren in the Christian ministry, we are desirous of expressing to you the great pleasure with which we welcome you back to your place among us
• We rejoice in the renewal of an intercourse which has contributed so much to the profit and charm of our social meetings. We rejoice that we have again with us so esteemed and valued a fellow-labourer in the common work of our ministry.
• The time of your temporary retirement from us would have been well employed, if it had only effected the complete re-establishment of your health. But it has also, we doubt not, added largely to the means of your future usefulness. And we hope to be ourselves in the number of those who will derive benefit from the addi. tional stores of a mind, which we have been in the babit of regarding as already not scantily endowed.
• In return, we offer you whatever aid and encouragement you can find in the assurance of our cordial friendship, our high esteem, and our entire sympathy with what we know to be your desire for the intellectual, moral, and religious advance. ment of your fellow-beings.
• With earnest prayers, that you may long be spared to carry on your plans for the
The local and contracted sphere within which the feudal system confined human existence, and the want of connexion between the different members of its society, were the radical defects which conducted to its dissolution. The expansive activity of the human mind aspired beyond the narrow limits which feudalism presented; and though the wandering life had ceased, which impelled the barbarian from his native woods, the relish for change and adventure still remained. There was wanting something to cement what the feudal system had brought together-to centralise and make universal what was yet unconnected and local; and the stimulus of religious zeal urged the people, with one common object, to precipitate themselves into the crusades, as offering a more extended and varied existence, at once recalling to their minds the ancient license of barbarism, and presenting to their view the perspective of a vast future.
The most singular circumstance which strikes us in the history of the Crusades is their universality. That one country might be stimulated by fanaticism to enter into a contest from which no temporal benefits could be derived, is by no means singular; but that all Europe should be wrought up to such a degree of extravagance by religious and military enthusiasm, as for ages to continue throwing itself as it were upon Asia, is an anomaly which the history of the world never before presented. It was the mighty remedy of a mighty disease—the heroic age of Europe—which, by directing the feelings and prejudices of men to one object of unanimous and lasting interest, gave a vigour to the human mind, and an efficacy to collective exertion, which became the precedent and the principle of a more enlarged intellectual and political system. It was impossible for the Crusaders to travel through so many countries, and to behold their various customs and institutions, without acquiring information and improvement. In Asia the learning and civilisation which had been expelled the Western world, had taken refuge under the sanctuary of the Caliphate; and although in the Eastern Empire a despotism of the very worst kind had annihilated almost every public virtue, yet Constantinople having never experienced the rage of barbarian invaders, was the largest as well as the most beautiful city in Europe, and the only one in which there remained any image of ancient elegance and refinement. But one of the most important effects of the crusades was the centralisation of society which it induced, by diminishing the number and power of the factious nobles. In such a state of society as then existed, it was not from the king but from the nobles that there was danger. The means of corruption and of intimidation by the former were comparatively trifling; the royal prerogative not being even sufficient for the defence of property and the maintenance of police: but the nobility disposing of their estates, or granting charters to those towns which they had under their protection, in order to procure money for these religious expeditions, threw many of the greater fiefs into the immediate power of the Crown, and by these means contributed—undesignedly indeed, but forcibly— to the stability of governments and to the organisation of communities.
After the enthusiasm for the crusades had subsided, Europe began to wear a more settled and agreeable aspect. It had undergone a kind of condensing process, in which its various and unconnected parts became combined or harmonised into one general whole. Where mental vigour was formerly harassed in asserting undefined rights, or in extricating itself from unnecessary restraints, it was then free to exert itself in the unexplored region of discovery, or to dwell upon whatever was most conducive to its improvement. The great body of the people grew every day more reluctant to undergo the inconveniences of military service, and the pursuits of peace gradually substituted habits which were as decidedly beneficial to improvement as those which they supplanted had been injurious. But it must not be supposed that the
consequences of the crusades were such as at once to convert Europe from a state of weakness and confusion to that of stability and order. The contrary is perhaps nearer the truth. Their results were rather remote than immediate. Although the active principle which caused the ebullition of enthusiasm and adventure was exhausted, the fermentation which it created throughout the whole social system still continued. If the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the age of the crusades, the one following was not less the age of associations connected with the wars in Palestine. The extravagance which religious enthusiasm had directed abroad was diverted to more ignoble objects nearer home. The recovery of the Holy Land, with its splendid and fascinating associations, as being the birth-place of our Saviour and the scene of his sufferings and death, no longer enlisted the faithful under the banners of the Cross; but the spirit which once inspired them had degenerated into the romantic follies of knight-errantry and the other grotesque extravagances of chivalry. However much the knowledge of mankind might have been increased, and the sphere of their exertions extended, it is clear that the general character of this epoch consists in disseminating the seeds of civilisation which were destined in happier times to exhibit their fruits, and in preparing the soil which succeeding ages were to cover with a rich and abundant harvest.
In the universal influence which the Church had exercised, and the direction it had given the human mind in the crusades, it is unquestionable that its moral and political power had been increased, and we find it exerting this power to check the progress of inquiry and to extend the empire of superstition. The entire intellectual domination which the Church had almost obtained was indeed its most singular feature, and the one from which most imminent danger was to be apprehended for our progressive improvement. Indeed, had it been able to establish its claim of directing the human mind, the intimate connexion which exists between moral and physical results would undoubtedly have produced as complete a political despotism as the world ever presented.
We have observed the decline of the Roman Empire, after Augustus had established universal dominion and destroyed all competition and activity of thought by reducing every thing to one uniform system. We have seen the effeminate and depressing effects of Eastern despotism, and remarked the deadening and stagnating influences of the superstitious and monotonous theocracies of Egypt and India; and had it not been from peculiar and counteracting principles in the constitution of the Church and of our social system, Europe would perhaps have sunk into a state of ignorance and lethargy which history, alas! shows us to be the inevitable results of inaction and uniformity. But, fortunately for civilisation, the intolerance of bigotry was never able entirely to restrain the energy of mind; and notwithstanding the proscription of every thing like free-will, and the implicit obedience which was demanded for dogmas sanctioned by the assurance of infallibility, we find freedom of inquiry continually developing, and the human mind energetically re-acting against every attempt to restrain it.
What are the different sects, heresies and controversies, which were constantly arising, but the fruits of individual opinion? And, however stormy, dangerous and fanatical some of them might have been, they are an incontestable proof of the moral activity and life which existed. The very constitution of ecclesiastical government was inconsistent with its assumption of undisputed supremacy. It denied the exercise of free-will, and yet continually appealed to the reason ; whilst its institutions of general, national and provincial councils, and its mode of governing by the continued publication of letters, admonitions and decrees, naturally infused a spirit of discussion and inquiry which was most hostile to its claims.
The frequent heresies which arose in the south of Europe required all the influence of the Church to repress; and notwithstanding its apparent success, the agitation which they ·caused still fermented, ready to break forth on every occasion. Persecution ever gives additional vigour to the persecuted, by interesting in their cause the sympathies of mankind, and this and superstition, the two great engines of ecclesiastical domination, were, during the fourteenth century, materially weakened. The effect of this was soon manifested. What popular insurrection was unable to complete, dissension in the government assisted to overturn; and the mighty fabric which had been reared upon ignorance and superstition was dissolved as soon as these were removed. The existence of two Popes at the same time, and the translation of the popedom from Rome to Avignon, divided Europe into two great sects, and called into existence councils which boldly proclaimed their superiority over the papal power, and directed their scrutinising inquiries to the reformation of every usurpation and abuse.
Indeed, to whatever point we direct our attention, whether to the external or internal relations of society, we every where find a number of favourable circumstances, all tending to its moral and social developement. The seeds of improvement which had been germinating for centuries, were on the eve of bursting into a maturity far more fruitful than any preceding period had witnessed; the glimmering light which Abelard and Wickliffe, and other illustrious individuals, had, from time to time, cast over the gloomy horison of Europe, was settling into a sunshine of splendour, which, from the contrast, almost dazzles with its brilliance. Classical literature had unlocked its stores, and directed by its precepts the newly-awakened energies of the intellect. Its varied treasures of poetry, policy and philosophy, inspired mankind with feelings of admiration, and adorned a literature which the genius of Dante, Petrarch and Boccacio, stamped with originality. The overthrow of Constantinople gave fresh impulse to the study of antiquity, and refined the manners of Europe by introducing the learning and civilisation of the East. The invention of printing multiplied the instruments of knowledge, by bringing within the reach of all those intellectual stores, which till then had been confined to the cloister or the palace, whilst the discovery of a new world laid open fresh fields to the industry of mankind, and presented such sources of improvement as were destined to alter the whole face of society. It is in this epoch that man first arrived at a knowledge of the globe which he inhabits, and that he was able to study in its different countries the species to which he belongs, modified by the continued influence of natural causes or of social institutions—that he had an opportunity of observing the productions of the earth and of the sea, in all temperatures and climates. And among the happy consequences of these discoveries may be included the truths which a knowledge of these objects has added to the sciences, or the long-received errors that have thereby been destroyed—the commercial activity that has given rise to industry and navigation, and by a necessary chain