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The reader is requested to correct an obvious error at page 107 of the present Number. At line 16, far 1788 read 1688.

The Title, Contents, and Index to Vol. VIII., have been delayed by accidental circumstances, and will be given in the next Number.



For MARCH, 1833.

Art. I. 1. The Works of Robert Hall, A.M. With a brief Memoir of his Life, by Dr. Gregory, and Observations on his Character as a Preacher, by John Foster. Published under the Superintendence of OKnthus Gregory, LL.D. F.R.A.S., Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy. Vol. VI. Memoir, Observations, &c. Sermons. Index. 8vo. pp. 15)1, 498. Price 1 Or. London, 1832.

2. Quarterly Review. No. XCV. Art. The Works of the late Robert


3. The Christian Observer. Feb. 1833. Art. The Life and Writings of Robert Hall.

\VE have' in foTMer Numbers *, attempted a general review of Mr. Hall's writings, and a portrait of his intellectual character. The biographical portion of the present volume will lead us to contemplate his personal character, and the distinctive features of his pulpit eloquence. We shall at the same time take the freedom of adverting to two articles which have appeared in contemporary journals, containing strictures upon Mr. Hall s character and writings, in which admiration of his transcendent talents i* blended with some portion of misapprehension and party feeling.

The lamented death of Sir James Mackintosh has deprived us of some interesting recollections of Mr. Hall's college life and earlier years, and of a philosophical estimate and delineation of his literary attainments and intellectual powers, such as Sir James was, of all men who knew him, the best qualified to supply. But we cannot regret that the biographer's office has devolved

« Eel. Rev. March, 1832.—Art. I. May, 1832.—Art. II. (Vol. VII. Third Series.)

VOL. Ix. N.s. Z

upcn one whose confidential intercourse with Mr. Hall in later life, and entire harmony of religious sentiment with the subject of his memoir, better fitted him, in other respects, to do justice to the moral and religious features of his character. Of Dr. Gregory's very able and interesting memoir, occupying 115 closely printed pages, we shall attempt a brief abstract.

Robert Hall was born at Arnsby near Leicester, on the 2d of May, 1764. His excellent father was the Baptist minister of that village, and his name is well known as the Author of a valuable little work entitled, "Helps to Zion's Travellers,'" which has passed through several editions, and sufficiently attests his correct judgement and solid piety. He died in the year 1791. Robert, though named after his father, was the youngest of fourteen children; and while an infant, he was so delicate and feeble, that it was not expected he would reach maturity. Until he was two years of age, he could neither walk nor talk; and he was taught to speak and to spell at the same time, by an intelligent nurse, who, observing that his attention was attracted to the inscriptions on the grave-stones of a burial ground adjacent to his father's house, adopted this singular expedient of tuition. No sooner was his tongue thus loosed, than his advance was marked. He became a rapid talker and an incessant questioner; and under the village dame, his thirst for knowledge soon manifested itself in his passion for books. In the summer season, after school hours were over, he would put his richly prized library (including an Entick's Dictionary) into his pinafore, and steal into his first school-room, the burial-ground, where, extended on the grass with his books spread around him, he would remain till the shades of evening compelled him to retire into the house. To this practice, we may trace with too great probability, the origin of that disease which rendered his whole life a conflict with physical suffering. When only six years of age, he was placed as a day scholar under the charge of a Mr. Simmons, who resided four miles from Arnsby; and at first he walked to school in the morning, and back in the evening. But the severe pain in his back from which he suffered through life, had even then begun to distress him, and to render him incapable of the fatigue of walking so far. He was often obliged to lie down on the road; sometimes, his brother or one of his school-fellows would carry him. At length, on his father ascertaining the state of the case, Robert and his brother were placed under the care of a friend in the village, spending the Sunday only at home. The seat of Mr. Hall's disease was the aorta and the kidney on the right side; and nothing, we apprehend, could be more likely to give rise to it, than rheumatic affections occasioned by his lying on the rank grass of a burial-ground. The only wonder is that, with his feeble constitution, he survived.

On starting from home on the Monday morning, Robert was in the practice of taking with him two or three books from his father's library, to read in the interval between school hours. His choice of books at this early age, was most extraordinary. The works of Jonathan Edwards were among his favourites; and before he was nine years old, he had perused, and re-perused, with intense interest, the treatises of that acute reasoner upon the *' Religious Affections", and the "Freedom of the Will", as also Bishop Butler's "Analogy.'' His early predilection for this class of studies was in great measure determined and fostered by intimate association, in mere childhood, with a member of his father's congregation, a tailor by trade, but a very shrewd, wellinformed man, and * an acute metaphysician.' Before he was ten years old, our young student had written many essays on religious subjects, and had occasionally invited his brothers and sisters to hear his first attempts at preaching; and when he was only eleven, a friend, at whose house he was spending a few weeks for the benefit of a change of air, astonished at his precocity of talent, was so indiscreet as to request him to perform, more than once, before a select auditory, invited to hear the boypreacher !' I never call the circumstance to mind \ Mr. Hall has been heard to say, 'but with grief at the vanity inspired; nor, when I think of such mistakes of good men, am I inclined to question the correctness of Baxter's language, strong as it is, where he says: "Nor should men turn preachers as the river Nilus breeds frogs (saith Herodotus), when one half moveth before the other is made, and while it is yet but plain mud."5 "We have known instances of similar injudiciousness in cases of similar precocity, so far as the gift of fluent speech was concerned in the display; but nothing can be more equivocal than the promise afforded by such early efflorescence. The native vigour and genuine superiority of the mental constitution are tested by the manner in which it comes out of the fever of juvenile vanity, and gradually recovers a healthful tone. In some, the intellectual growth is stunted for life, and vanity becomes the chronic disease of the character. In the few, the temporary self-elation operates as a beneficial stimulant, and sobers down into a proper self-confidence.

When young Robert was about eleven, Mr. Simmons conscientiously informed the father, that he was unable to keep pace with his pupil, declaring, that he had often been obliged to sit up all night, to prepare the lessons for the morning; a practice he felt unable to continue! He was in consequence of this candid intimation removed, and was next placed, as a boarder, at the school of the Rev. John Ryland of Northampton, a man whose excellencies and eccentricities were strangely balanced. There he remained for little more than a year and a half, during which

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