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CONVERTS 



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CONVERTS 



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INFIOEIilTY. 



-^IN THE rAklOVS BEPiBTllEIfTi^ 

UTERA.TrRE,SCIKNCE,*THE ARTS. 

VDL.VI. 
cOMramTR vaoii imvibslitt. 




EDINBURGH: 
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PREFACE. 

The change that has gradually taken place 
during the last thirty or forty years in the 
numbers and circumstances of the reading 
public, and tlie unlimited desire of knowledge 
that now pervades every classof society, have 
suggested the present undertaking. Pre* 
viously to the commencement of the late war, 
the buyers of books consisted principally of 
the richer classes — of those who were brought 
up to some of the learned professions, or who 
had received a liberal education. The sa- 
ving of a few shillings on the price of a vo- . 
lume was not an object of much inlportance 
to such persons, many of whom prized it chief- 
ly for the fineness of its paper, the beauty of 
its typography^ and the amp\\X\xdi^ ol W.'s* Tssax*- 



U PREFACE. 

gins— qualities which add to the expense of a 
work, without rendering it in any degree more 
useful. But now when the more general dif- 
fusion of education and of wealth, has occasion- 
ed a vast increase in the number of readers^ 
and in the works which daily issue from the 
Press, a change in the mode of publishing 
seems to be called for. The strong desire en- 
tertained by most of those who are engaged 
in the various details of agriculture, manu- 
factures, and commerce, for the acquisition 
of useful knowledge and the culture of their 
minds, is strikingly evinced by the establish- 
ment of subscription libraries and scientific^ 
institutions, even in the most inconsiderable 
towns and villages throughout the empire; ancL 
by the extensive sale which several very ex- 
pensive, though by no means valuable works, 
published in numbers, have met with. Under 
these circumstances, it occurred to the pro- 
jector of this Miscellany, that if Standard 
Works not hitherto accessible to the great 
mass of the Public, intermingled with Ortgi- 
iNAL Treatises on subjects of great gene- 
ral importance, and executed by writers of 
-acknowledged talent, were published in a 



PIIEFACE. Ill 

<jheap, convenient, and not inelegant form, 
they would obtain a most extensive circula- 
tion and be productive alike of benefit to the 
Public and of profit to those concerned in 
them. 

In the selection of Treatises, and in the 
mode of circulation, the Publishers have ad- 
opted that plan which they supposed would 
be most likely to meet the wishes of the great 
mass of readers, or of the middle classes. 
And they are resolved to spare neither trou- 
ble nor expense to give effect to their pur- 
pose, of making this Miscellany the deposi- 
tory of a selection of Works on all the most 
interesting branches of human knowledge, 
written by the most appi'oved authors, and of 
rendering it as perfect, as a vehicle both of 
useful information and of rational entertain- 
ment, as it can possibly be made. * 

The EXALTED PATRONAGE uudcr which 
this Miscellany is ushered into the world, is 
of itself a sufficient pledge, that nothing will 
be admitted into its pages tainted with party 
politics, or which can be construed as milita- 
ting, in any way, against any of the princi- 
ples of religion and morality. The ob^QCt vcl 



IV PREFACE. 

view is to render this Work a truly National 
Publication, and which shall be equally ac- 
ceptable to readers of all parties aiid deno- 
minations* 

In the following List, some of the various 
works proposed to be embodied in this Mis- 
cdllany, are enumerated ; and they will ap- 
pear in such order and succession as may 
seem most likely to suit the taste of those 
encouraging the design. Tlie works of each 
author, and each subject, will be kept s^>a-f 
rate, so as to enable purchasers to acquire 
all the numbers or volumes of any work^ 
distinct from the others. 



LIST OF PUBLICATIONS. 

Those Articles marked thus * are original Works, pre- 
pared or written expressly for this Miscellany. 

CAPTAIN BASIL HALL'S VOYAGES. 3 vols. 
•^* These contain,— L VOYAGE TO LOO-CHOO, 

and other Places in the EASTERN SEAS, in the Year 
1816. * Including an Account of Captain MaxweU*s At- 
tack on the Batteries at Canton ; and Notes of an In- 
terview with NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE at St 
Helena, in August 1817.— IL EXTRACTS FROM A 
JOURNAL written on the Coasts of Cliili, Peru, and 
Mexico, in the Years 1820, 1821, and 1822 ; containing 
some Account of the recent Revolutions, together with . 
Observations on the State of Society in those Countries. 
LIFE OF ROBERT BURNS. B^ J. G. Lock- 

MA ILT LL«B. ^ 

MEMORIALS OF THE LATE WAR Vii. 

JOURNAL OF A SOLDIER of the 71st Rsgimsmt, 
from 1806 to 1815, including Particulars of the Battles 
of Vimeira, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Toulouse and Water- 
loo.— LETTERS OF SIR JOHN MOORE.— The 
£ARL OF HOPETOUN'S DESPATCH after the 
battle of Corunna, and other Documents. 

EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY: THE 
PLEIAD, or a Series of Abridgements of Seven Dis- 
tinguished Writers, in opposition to the Pernicious Doc- 
trines of DEISM. By the Rev. Francis Wrangham, 
M.A. F.R.S. Archdeacon of Cleveland. * 

CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY; or Lives of ' 
Eminent Individuals who have renounced Sceptical and 
Infidel Opinions, and embraced Christianity. By Andrew 
Crichton. 2 vols. * 

•i^» This Work contains Lives of the Earl of Roches- 
TKE, Hon. Robert Botle, Lord Lyitleton, Count 
Struensee, Count Brandt, Sir John Pringlb, Gilbert 
WxsT, SoAME Jentns, John Buntan, Baron Haller, 
La Harpb, Charles Gildon, Captain James Wilson 
of the Ship Duff, Rev. John Newton, Rev. Richard 
Cecil, Professor Haltburton, Colonel Gardiner, Dr 
Thomas Bateman, and Others. 

HISTORY OF VOYAGES, from theear\ve&\.TVa«a^ 
showing the part which the various ^uro^aii '^«iaotA 
have bad in Maritime Discovery ; and W\u&Xx«iaxi% ^^ 
I^n^;n88 of Geographical Science. 3 voVs. * 



ttaauMiMijmsmLuarx 



s hbhstiibhtSS 

LITERATURE, SCIENCR,*THE ARTS. 
VOL. VI. 

cOMramTi raeii ixnoxLiTT. 




EDINBURGH: 

18IT. 



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BY ills MAJESTY'S 




PRINTED BY ANDERSON & *RYCR. 
KDINBDRGH. 



PREFACE. 



AlucH has been written against scepticism 
and infidelity; and in so far as regards 
arguments and objections founded on the 
historical proems, or the internal character 
of the Christian religion, the controversy 
may be considered as exhausted* The im- 
pious warfare which the enemies of Revela- 
tion waged so long, and with such implac- 
able rancour, seems to have terminated in 
acknowledged defeat, or at least in silencing 
all speculative opposition ; and they who still 
persist to discredit or reject its authority, 
must find some other excuse for their un- 
belief than the want of evidence. 

During the last two centuries, the tolerant 
maxims of the government, and the unre- 
strained freedom of the press, gave ample 
scope for inquiry and discussion ; and the 



VI PREFACE. 

abettors of atheism and moral anarchy were 
not slow to avail themselves of the indul- 
gence. All who had objections of their own 
to offer, or who might hope to serve their 
cause, by reviving the calumnies of others, 
were at perfect liberty to produce them. 
Accordingly, the authenticity of the Bibles 
more especially of Christianity, was assailed 
at all points, by a host of free-thinkers aiid 
sophistical reascners, with a versatility of 
skill unknown to its ancient adversaries, and 
a zeal as indefatigable in its exertions, asi it 
was bold and ingenious in its contrivances* 
History, philosophy, literature and ro- 
mance, wit, satire, ridicule, reproach, find 
even falsehood were all les^ed in thi^ 
conspiracy; and furnished, in their turn, 
arms for prosecuting this unnatural re^ 
bellion against light and truth. 

It might not be uninteresting, perhaps, to 
trace through the progressive stages of thi^ 
Deistical contest, how often the assailants 
have been compelled to change their modes 
of attack, — the artful disguises they have 
assumed, — the various shifts and disinge- 
nuous stratagems, they have had recourse 
to, — the several schemes they have formed 



PREFACfi. Vll 

for achieving their purposes ; but our limits 
necessarily restrict us at present from en- 
tering into the exposition. The result haft 
proved how little Christianity has to fear 
irom the malice or the subtlety of its bK« 
terest opponents, — ^how futile their most 
plausible objections are, — and how tri^dal 
the amount of all that their learning and in- 
genuity have found to say against it, after 
the most rigorous examination, and with 
full liberty of declaring their sentiments 
without the terror of faggots or inquisitions. 
Nothing has been done to detect fraud or 
imposture, or invalidate the solid evidences 
on which it rests. Its truth has acquired 
fresh lustre in the controversy, and burst 
throughall those ingenious sophistries which, 
like so many cob-webs, a sceptical philosophy 
had endeavoured to spin around it. Instead 
of being detrimental toreli^on, its adver- 
saries have done it an important, though 
unintentional service. They have shewn 
that it can never be subverted by the force 
of reason or argument ; that it is in no dan- 
ger from the most rigid scrutiny; but, like 
pure gold, will lie for centuries in the fur- 
nace without losing a single grain ', ^^«x^»&> 



VUl ]>IIEFAC£. 

werer^l the.tinuBelaiid embroidery of ]>eUi;i 
or Infidelity put into the same crucible aii4 
burnt down, there would not be found at 
the bottom of the melting-pot an ounce of 
n^etal that was not dug from the mine of 
Revelation. 

Resides ejrposing their own weakness 
they have stimulated the friends of piety (o 
greater zeal by their example ; they hare 
taught Christians of all denominations to 
unite in the same s]^t of honourable ri- 
valryi and, forgetting for a time the di*. 
tinctions of party, to associate their labours 
in repelling the enqroaehments of error* 
They have roused i;nen of talents and learn-. 
ing to investigate the subject^ who have 
given, in their numerous writings, the most 
luminous and convincing statements of the 
Christian evidences, and established their 
veracity on the basis of demonstration. To 
this cause it is that we owe the masterly 
productions of Stillingfleet^ Sherlock, Clark% 
Butler, Bentley, Doddridge, Newton, Ler 
land, Lardner, Can^pbell, and a <^atalogue , 
of other respectable names, that have done . 
honour to literature and scieiioe, as well as . 
to religion. 



FREFACV. IX 

Ybi^i bag the opposition of enemies and 
i|iQ4e]j^ ^ntrilwted to advance and perpe- 
tuate the oaufi^ they intended to destroy. It 
ha» aswted, in no smaU degree, to sweep 
away the rabbish which had been aecumur 
lating for ages round the temple of Truth ; 
and, by revealing the solid rock on which it 
is foundedf. ba» made the venerable structure 
Qoiy iqpfisar WMm) majestic and impregnable. 
It has given, birth to those ingenious and 
WWMial defeiM>es of our £uth, which serve 
at oneet for beauty and £»: strength, and 
vbidi wiU CQintinue to be read and admired 
while the bflgaage in which they are writ- 
ten exists. 

An additional benefit whicb has accrued 
from these discussions is, that many sceptics 
a^ unbelievf0v% being induced to ponder 
and examine tbe matter in question, hava. 
b^n reclaimed to tbe truth, and confirmed 
in right principles. The contemners of tha 
Christian reKgion,' have been compeUed to 
t^ow down tljiQ weapons of their rebellion, 
and led not only to entertain a more favour- 
able opipoii of Us proo& and its doctrineis, 
but to render it a public homage, by laying 
their confesrions md retractions undia- 



X PREFACE. 

guisedly before the world. Numbers bave 
even entered the lists of controversy, as ad- 
vocates and champions of tbe cause thej 
had revUed ; and produced elaborate works 
in its defence, which have baffled the abhsl 
of their antagonists to answer. 

Some of' the more generally known, aiid 
best accredited examples of these convendoniti 
the reader of the following volumes wSI 
find, in the Lives of Eminent Individuals 
who have renounced libertine principles and 
sceptical opitiions, and embraced Christi- 
anity. Such narratives may be regarded as 
interesting in themselves, but more esped.* 
ally important, as furnishing the most au- 
thentic testimonies to the truths of revealed 
reli^on ; and setting forth the decided con- 
cessions in their favour, which have been 
extorted under circumstances so impressive, 
and from witnesses whose competency or 
credibility cannot be doubted. 

Among the Converts here selected are to 
be found men of all ranks and professions 
in life, laymen and clergymen, statesmen, 
philosophers, historians, poets, and physi* 
cians ; many of whom were not less distin- 
guished for their extensive acquirements in 



iund gcience, than for the homage 
they paid to rfligioii. They eichihit instances 
cf 'varioua attakunentfi in knowledge, and of 
aQ descriptiona of inteU^tual vigour,-*of 
vma who cannot be ^rg^ with acting 
firom hypocrisy, or iwder tha influence of 
|vc^udiee,-T^who have been dMj^y versed in 
ihfi pliilosophy of nature^ end acciytom^d to 
Urn JDQKNit eantioii»£»nna of adentifie ezperi* 
■utnt,— r«nd who, had the evidences of Re-* 
velation heen weak, or founded on erroTy 
were in every respect qualified, and from 
tike iQharaoter of their previous habits and 
^^ijplioqs, would have been xnost eager to de-; 
tect and ej^pose the imposture. 

. Chipistiaiuty, it is true, does not rest its 
dimfl: o«^ human authority,-r-it does not ap- 
imili to tha aid or the attestation of names, 
hfBisif ever celebrated ; nor do«es it require its 
dMcipIes to count voices in order to deter*^ 
mine their belief; It has other supports, 
end more irre&agaUe arguments, l;han the 
proofe to be edduced from Uie number or 
extent of its convei;si(Ons. But the concur* 
ring testiv(w>nie4 of so many individuals, 
who from enemies and revUers became 
proselytes, — who were endowed with talents 



xn PltEFACir. 

to discern, bad leisure to investigf 
tnith, and candour enough to coni 
majr serve to confute the mistake, — a 
not a very uncommon one^-— of thofi 
think to shelter their own infidelity 
the supposition^ that men of genius « 
lities who have had any intercours 
the world, — any penetration of mind 
trepidity of character,— 4ure all ran] 
their side, and have been seepties or 
lievers. 

' Though authorities, even of the g 
name&, are not arguments, and hi 
claim to Be admitted as the stand 
private opinions, yet the examples re 
hi the following pages, may, v^ththesi 
propriety, be employed to combat su< 
jiidtces as have no other support 
the association of' names. They mf 
gest, moreover, useful reflections 
rioiii^ classes of readers. They may 
persons of inferior learning or discen 
to repose some degree of confidence 
nions which have been submitted 
most rigorous, processes of demonst 
They may teach bold and' superfic 
claimers not rashly \» ^oinAsxm^ as 1 



PREFACE. sdii 

Spring of Ignorance and credulity, that be- 
lief whieh has been cherished by men of the 
greaiest celebrity, and embraced Am the 
ground of rational and deliberate preference. 
Those who doubt or disbelieve, may perhaps 
be. induced to weigh with impartiality, ojt 
pooBiier with a greater degree of attention^ 
argomosls which have produced con viction^ 
onder drcmnstances so un&vourable, and 
on minds so refractory ; which have been 
found to accord with the profoundest re- 
sesrehes into the works of nature, with the 
conclusions of historical inquiry, and the de- 
ductions that have been drawn from the 
most enlightened observations on human 

life. 

To the curious in moral speculations, it 
may be gratifying to observe the progress 
4ind operation of libertine principles, to see 
^he fountains of infidelity explored and laid 
i)pen, not merely by the discoveries of those 
who have carried the probe of examinatioQ 
into the hearts of others, but by the confes- 
sions of penitents themselves, when brought 
to a proper knowledge of their own malady. 
They will perceive on what hollow and 
dangerous ground those fabrics of delusion 



ftave been relEired, ^hen the mii^ ^bat ^dtt-» 
ceali^ l^m ar^ tfispe^sed; ahit bow very 
fnvololis tbe petulaht eaVik of ndany uhbe^ 
4ieyer8 axe^ wfa6 ba^^ 6Whidd that they had 
never t^ead, even with the ^slightest attenttoil, 
iboee Scriptures which they affected to d^ 
ride ; and khew nothing of thieir evideitcei^, 
excejpt the popukir and ieommon-plac^ ob- 
^tions, which have been repeated at th^ 
twentieth hand, and as often confiited. 

VWth regard to the e^ctitlon of this Worlr, 
the Compiler arrogates little merit to hini- 
self, beyond that <^ sielecling and arranging 
bis hiateriats; Tbe stddent iii biogtaphy 
will perhaps find littte Ihat ik new; but he 
may not be displeased to see brought within 
his reach in so small a compass, what he had 
gathered from the wide field of general 
reading; or to have his attention recalled 
to subjects which he remembers to have 
perused, and may not be unwilling to re« 
consider* 



UniNStfROL, ) 

Jlpril, \m- i 



CONTENTS 



OF VOL. I. 



.Page. 
John Wilmot, Carl of Rochesier, , »w.i w«.M«»»>iy w«.»mw>»»^.<w I 



CONVERTS 



FROM 



INFID£IiITY< 



JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCUdCSTEBr. 

. jS o indmdual, perhaps, lietter merits tlie distmc- 
tion of being placed at the head of Converted 
Infidels, than the witty and profligate Earl of 
Rochesteiv This pre-eminence he may justly 
challenge, in whateyer aspect his character is 
yiewed; whether we regard the accomplishments 
of his mind, or the licentiousness of his morals ; 
the reckless hardihood of his impiety, or the sin- 
cerity of his penitence. No Ubertine of that difr* 
solute age was more expert in the mysteries of 
iniquity, or had so completely studied every art 
that could supply him with excuses or encourage- 
ment in his pleasures. None understood better to 
handle the unhallowed weapons of raillery and 
ridicule, or could more skilfully ward off convio- 
tion, when assailed by an ingenious adversarv ; 
and Qone had resisted^ with greater obstinaeY^^ 
VOL. J, A * ' 



2 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

application of all external means to nndeceiye and 
reclaim him from his errors. Nature had bestowed 
upon him abilities of ^tte faigliest order, which he 
had cultivated beyond most of his contemporaries 
in the same rank of life ; and had these superior 
endowments been enlisted on the side of virtue 
and decency, his name must have descended to 
posterity, as one of the most ^ctracRxlinary men 
of his time. 

But these exalted qualities, '"^ehi^ might fasre 
made him the delight of society, and an orna- 
ment to his country, were so corrupted and de- 
based by vice, that his dissipations have become a 
proverb, and left a deeper stain on the voluptuous 
court in whidi he flourished ; and had not his repen- 
tance interposed, his character mnist have remauMd, 
to all generations, the scandal of his age, and a 
reproach to human nature. Foi:tunately, how- 
ever, he lived to see his folly, and to feel the con- 
sequences of his misccmduct; to renounce llie 
errors, and abandon the criminal courses into wfaidi 
he was unhappily seduced, both by inclinaidim and 
example. His brief career is a lamentable de- 
monstration of the misdiievous effects of infidelity; 
and his dying convictions fumidi a memorable Hi- 
stance, among the many triumpln which 'Gbsrw* 
tianity has adiieved over all the arguments and 
sophistries of its enemies. A paixinl aidmei^, 
the result of habitual intemperance, roused 'hiiii 
to a sense of his delusion and his dtoiger ; aaid iik 
the fiery ordeal of affliction, his stubborn opposi- 
iion was subdued, and melted down into humb lfl 
acquiescence, and unfeigned acknowledgments of 
hia guilt. The cloud that obscured his moralper^ 
ceptions being ^spenisd) ^oa Ym^^' 



EARL OF ROCHESTER* 3 

entirely changed theii* nature. A liglit from 
heaven seemed to pour its efiidgence around him, 
like that which struck the apostle to the ground, 
who, « Oiough before a blasphemer, a persecutor, 
and iujmious, yet obtained mercy, that in him 
Christ Jesus might shew forth all long-<suffering, 
for a pattern to &em that shoidd hereafter believe 
on him to everlasting life." 

The family from which Lord Rochester wai 
descended, had made no inconsiderable figure in 
the history of their cotmtry, — ^liis anc^tors being 
eminent, on hoih aides, for their devoted loyalty 
and military services* His fiither, Henry, acted 
a conspicuous part in the civil wars, and was 
create^ by Charles I. Baron <^ Adderbury, in 
Oxforddbire, — and afterwards made Earl of Ro- 
chester by Charles II. then in exiles whom he had 
accompanied to the continent. He is' better known, 
however, by the title of Lord Wiltnet, so often 
mentioned by Clarendon ; and contributed not a 
little, by his courage and able conduct, towards 
the success which at first attended the royal arms. 
In most of the actions he was personally concern- 
ed, and in some he had the chief command* At 
the very commencement of hostilities, he was 
taken prisoner by the Scots, in the rout at New- 
bum, being tlien Conunissary-General of the horse , 
but he was soon after released by thie treaty of 
Rjppon. At the battle of Edge-hill he commanded 
the left wing^ and shared, with Prince Rupert, the 
reputation of that victory. He took by stratagem 
the town of Marlborough, which the Parliament 
had garrisoned ; being at that time advanced to the 
rank of Lientenant-GeneraL At tlie siege of^ 
Beading, having marched sudd^y from OiL^oicd^ 



4 CONVftRTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

he fmcceeded, witboiat much opposition, in xe-itt« 
forcing the garrison with a re^ment of 500 men, 
and a supply of ammunition. The xlefeat of Sir 
William WflJler, at Roundway-down, was achieved 
under his sole command, — and he led the van in 
the action at Cropready Bridge. 

But jealousy or rii^ry lumng fastened upon 
him suspicions of mutiny, and of fkvooring Ae' 
parliamentary interest, he was removed from liis 
post in the iirmy, and retired -lor a aiiort lime to 
France. He was naturally of an aspiring and im- 
perious disposition, precipitate in ins resolutions, 
and impatient of contra^ction ; imt he had great 
influence and authority in tibe army. He had a 
most pleasant and lively wit, — drank freely, — end 
excelled in all the companionable qualities of the 
camp, which made him popular with his fellow- 
officers. After the battle of Worcester, he was 
particularly activein managing the concealment and 
escape of the unfortunate Prmce. Disguised widi 
hk hswk, he attended him from -plaee to -place, .■»- 
sisted in procuring a vessel, and embarked -wi^inm 
for France. He continued, during dl his peregrina- 
tions, attached to "his court, and liad eonsidmdbk ' 
influence in 4iis councils. He vras sent as amhos- 
sadorto the Diet at Ratisbon, for the purpose of 
soliciting the Emperor of Germany to undertake 
his restoration; and with the hope of obtaiBii^ 
some fit asyhim within the imp^ domimoniB, 
where lie might sojourn with iiis small retinue, in 
eaqpeotation of his better destiny. It was on this 
occasion that Lord Wilmot was ^neated Eari of 
Rochester. His success in these negociatipns was 
very partial ; all he could procure being a trifling 
subsidy of a few thousand pounds. With the 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 6 

rovtfent of the Prince he came over to England 
in ld55, with the intent of exciting an insnrrec- 
tion in iavoar of the royal cause ; in this, how- 
ever, he fiEuled, having heen too free in comnnini- 
(»tmg his designs, and only escaped hy heing so 
dexterous in assaming disguises. He returned to 
Cologne^ whew Charles then was, hut did not live 
to witness the mexpected event that replaced the 
exiled numarch on the throne of his ancestors; 
having nqnred on the 19th of Fehmary, 1657. 
He was huried privately, and hy special leave of 
the FajrUament, in ^e Church of Spilshy, in the 
aepulchve of the family of Lee. He married 
Anne, daughter of Sir John St Johns, of Lyddiard, 
hut. and widow of Sir Francis Henry Lee, of 
Ditchley, in Oxfordshire ; and this lady was the 
moth^ of the nohle ccmvert, t» whose history we 
now Fetufik 

JoRN WiLMOT, Earl of Rodiester, Viscoant 
Athlone in Ireland, and Baron of Add^^ry, in 
Oxfordshire, was hom at Ditchley, near Wood- 
stock, April 10th, 1647. Being early deprived of 
hia father, he was left with little other inheritance 
than the honours and titles to which he succeeded ; 
with such claims to the royal favour as the emi« 
n^it services of his family might naturally he 
supposed to establish. This scanty fortune wa% 
however, carefully managed, by the great prs- 
dence and discretion of his mother, so that he re- 
ceived an education every way suitable to his 
rank. He was entered to the free-school bA 
Burford, where he made extraordinary proficiency 
both in Greek and Latin, especially the b^ter, 
whidi he acquired to sucli perfection) tloX Vi^ t^ 

a2 



6 CONVERTS FROM INFmELlTY 

tainedy throtigh life, a,peciiliar relish for &e amthen 
in thai language, pardcnlarly lliose idio flouriflhed 
jduring tke Augustan era of Roman litecatara 
Here, also, those shining talents began to develope 
themselyes, which afterwards blazed out with aach 
xndld and irregular, Aough short-lived, brilliancy. 
. In his twelfth year he was entered a nobleman 
at Wadham College, Oxford, under the care ol 
Mr Phineas Berry, and Dr Blandford, afterwards 
Bishop of Worcester; and in 1661, he was, wilh 
some others of high rank and lit^ary celebrityy 
made Maater of Arts in conv^ocaticm ; ^ at wliAdi 
time (says Wood) he, and none dbw, was adnnttefl 
very affectionately into the fraternity, by a kiss aa 
the left cheek from Lord Clarendoa, the Chaa- 
cellor of the University, who then sat in the sn- 
preme chair to honour that assembly." Beodes 
his classical attainments, he acquired a reputatiaii 
for wit, eloquence, and poetry, which he had studied 
to great perfection.* His learned and affBCtionatB 
tutor had imbued his mind with excellent prin- 
ciples, and founded the elements <ji a virtuous 

* Nature had formed him for a scholar and a poet ^ 
and the astrologers of the time, (whose predicUons, like' 
tbose of phrenology, are most to be depended upon when 
calculated backwards)accounted for his extraordinary ge- 
nius by planetary influences. *' He was endued, (says 
Gadbury) with a noble and fertile muse. The IBkin go-' 
v^med the^ horoscope, .and the moon ruled the birth boor. 
The conjunction of Venus and Mercury In M. CoeJi io 
seztile of Luna, aptly denotes his inclination to poetry. 
The great reception of Sol with Mars, and Jupiter posit- 
ed so near the latter, bestowed a large stock of generous 
and active spirits, which constantly attended on this ex- 
cellent native's mind, insomuch that no sulgect came' 
ainiss to him.*' — Gadbury* s Ephemerisy 1698. 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 7 

oharacter^n tiie solid basis of aiiberal edncatioit. 
But the good seed had faUen on a pervserse wal, 
and was unhappily blighted by early intemperance. 
The king^s restocation hi^pening while he was al 
the Umyenity, he gave way to die general current 
of riotous and extravagant joy which then over* 
ran the nation, and debau(4ied the public morals. 
The natural consequences of these excesses were, « 
total neglect of his studies, to which all the re- 
monstrances o( his tutor could never recal him ; 
and the acquirement of irregular habits, wlndi 
afterwards grew to such a height of proffigacy, 
when fostered amidst the temptations and entice^ 
ments of a court, that had banished «11 regard ibr 
decency and moral restraint. 

Having finished his academical studies, he tn^ 
trelled into France and Italy. His companion and 
governor, on tlus occasion, was Dr Balfour, a 
learned flcotsman, who aftCTwards acquired great 
celebrity as a physician in Ins native country; 
The judicious management, and salutary ad- 
vices of this worthy person, not only brought him 
back to the love of learning, but weaned him al- 
most entirely from the indulgence of those cri- 
minal propensities which he had contracted at 
College. He oft^n expressed his great obligationa 
to love and lumour this most excellent and valu- 
able instructor, to whose fidelity and care he 
thought he owed more than to all the world ; and 
he was perticnlarly affected by the many ingeniom 
and amiable artifices by which he contrived to en- 
gage his attention, and draw him to delight in 
hooka and study. The taste which he then ac- 
qilired for reading, remained with him till his death, 
1^ was oftim indulged at intervals amidst «il tiba 



8 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

aensnalities and criminal pnranhs that filled vp Ae 
short course of his abandoned life. The diOHse of 
his subjects was not always good ; but the habitat 
desire of knowledge, and his occasional fits of 
atndy, improved his understanding, and prqwreJl 
him the better to weigh and estimate the erideBOM 
for reyektion, when his mind was m a o^Musty 
for deliberate inquiry and sober reflecticMi. 

Such was the happy reformation that tuition and 
example had effected, when he returned fi;t>m his 
travels in 1665, being then in his eighteenth year. 
He was immediately introduced at court, widi 
every advantage in his favour, — both from the rs^ 
membrance of his father s loyalty, and the jffs- 
possessing attractions of his own person and tuth 
complishments. 

I^ appearance had much c^ elegance and 
gracefulness, his person being tall, slendo*, and 
handsomely formed. His countenance was ex- 
tremely regular, and of a fine complexion. His 
manners were polished according to the exact 
rules of good breeding. There was a becoming 
modesty in his deportment, and a civility almost 
natural to him, which rendered his presence agree- 
able and gave an easy and obliging turn to his 
conversation. Few possessed in a higher degree 
ihe qualities both of mind and body that go to oeo- 
stitute in perfection the man of rank and fashion. 
HiB abilities were excellent, and he had greatly 
improved them by learning and industry. Hia 
colloquial powers were unrivalled, which gave an 
irresistible charm to his conversation, reiideriiig 
him the delight of gay society, and making his 
company universally courted. He had a sin^pakr ' 
vivacity c^ thought and vigour of expression ; and 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 



d 



there was an inimitable pleasantry in his humour, 
that made licentiousness and impiety almost appear 
a jest. Few men had aholder flight of fancy, or an 
imagination more fhiilli:d in its invention, and at the 
same time, so wdil regulated by a sound judg- 
ment and a tleHcate sense of propriety. His wit 
was both subtle and subHme, and when excited by 
wine, made him so extravagantly pleasant, that 
many, for the purpose of such unhallowed diver- 
sions, studied to engage Mm deeper and deeper in 
intemperance. He had made wit his study, and 
was ^miliar with ike French and Italian as well 
as the English writers on the subject, both an- 
cient and modem. His greatest fiavourite among 
the French wits was Boileau, and Cowley among 
the English. 

These superior endowments, however, which, 
had they been properly directed, might have turned 
out both honourable to himself and beneficial to 
his country, -unfortunately proved the dangerous 
rocks on which he made shipwreck of his health 
and his reputation. They were the fetal instru- 
ments that ministered fuel to his own corrupt in- 
dinatioBs, and made his example so pernicious in 
seducing and destroying others. But they threw 
no obstacles in his way by impairing his interest 
at court ; on the contrary, they made him the more 
acceptable, and gained him the greater fjeivour, as 
he excdled in all those qualities wlndi could 
either furnish amusement for the gay, or attract the 
fdlowsfaip of the dissolute. 

Soon after his return from Ins travels he seized 
the first opportunity that offered, of shewing his 
readiness to follow the footsteps of his loyal ances- 
tors, by hazarding^his life in the defence vood &emc% 



H) CONVERTS FROM INFIDEMTY* 

ofhisconntiy. Intheaatainnof 1665»he wentt^ 
sea with the Earl of Sandwidb, who was sent to lie 
in wait for the Dutch fleet, which was then le^ 
turning home from the East Indies richly laden* 
As the two nations were then at war, the Dutcb 
ha4 availed themselves of the protection of the king 
of Denmark, who had invited them lo elude the at- 
tempts of their enemies hy taking shelter in hisr 
ports. Lord Sandwidb, immediately on this in» 
telligence, made sail for the port of Bergen in 
Norway, where the Dutch fleet were lying at ai^ 
chor. The attack, thou^ hut partially suceess- 
talf was red£oned one of the most desperate and 
daring enterprises ever made. The young Eari 
of Rochester served in the Revenge, commanded 
hy Sir Tliomas Tiddiman, and during the whole, 
action he shewed as hrave and resolute a courage, 
as the most experienced seaman. Lord Clifford^ 
who was in the same ship, often spoke of his in* 
trepidity on this occasion, in terms of the highest 
commendation. 

As he was not to he deterred, either hy the 
hardness' of the service, or the dangers he had 
encountered, he was ready to embrace the first 
opportunity that offered, of embarking on the 
same perilous element ; and accordingly, the fol- 
lowing summer he went to sea again, iipthout 
communicaling his design, even to hlis nearest re- 
lations. He entered, only the day previous to the 
engagement, as a volunteer on board the ship com- 
manded by Sir Edward Spragge, one of the bra- 
vest officers that the Engtish navy ever produced. 
Numbers of the young nobility served in the same 
expedition, more, perhaps, in compliance with the 
gallantry of the times, or out of complioient to the 



BARL OF ROCHBSTBR. 11 

Duke of York, ndbo was at the head of the navy, 
than from any motives of patriotism or disiiiterested 
loTe for the service. Tms battle was perhaps die 
most obstinate and bloody that was fought during 
the whole war : and it was not till after a struggle 
•of four days, that victory declared in favour of 
the Englii^ 

I^urii^ this protracted engagement, a circum- 
stance occurred that afforded Lord Rochester an op- 
portunity of signalizing his courage in a very parti- 
cnhurmanner. In the heat of the action, Sir Edward 
[^pragge having lost most of his volunteers, and 
Bot bmng satisfied with the behaviour of one of his 
captains, found some difficulty in getting a peraon 
that would cheerfully venture through so mnch dan- 
ger, to cany his commands to the officer in fiEtulti 
In this emergency, the young nobleman in ques* 
jtiim readily offered his services, and pushing off in 
an open boat, he delivered his message, and re- 
turned through the thickest of the fire back to his 
ahip, amidst the -cheers and plaudits of all who 
witnessed this gallant feat of deliberate heroism. 

He had thus at the very outset of life sufficiently 
established his character as a brave man, by giv- 
ing such midoubted demonstrations of courage in 
an element and way of fighting, which is aclmow* 
ledged to be the greatest trial of cool and un- 
daimted valonr. And it is matter of regret, that 
these noble energies which were capable of such 
distingnished exertions, should have been so perw 
wesrted and debased by ihe irregularities of his life, 
as to dnk him in degradation to the level of the 
meanest and most wretched of the species. The 
reputation for bravery which he had so justly 
gnned,-he afterwards forfeited by tome Q^b»c \»k 



12 COKVSRTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

honourable adyentiires. His companiona would 
sometimes reproach him for deserting them in 
brawls and street quarrels ; and Sheffield, Dake of 
Buckingham, has rec(H*ded a story of his declining 
to fight him, — although the whole charge may pei> 
haps be resolved into his love for tridc and buf- 
foonery, rather than want of courage ; as it was a 
paradox or maxim of his, that every man would be 
a coward if he durst. 

On quitting the sea-service, he repaired to court, 
where it appears his merits were not left nnie* 
warded, as he was made one of the gentlemen of die 
King's bed-chamber, and comptroller of Woodstodc 
Park. Here hi» fdrmer habits of intemperanoey 
which he had subdued and entirely relinquished on 
his travels, were again resumed. The lessons of mo- 
deration and restraint whidi he had learned from 
his excellent tutor, were gradually forgotten ; and 
he began by pr(^ressive steps, though not with* 
0ut some reluctance to yield himself up to all the 
sensual grallficati(ms and extravagant pleasures of 
a depraved and unprincq)led court. He became 
unhi^pily addicted to riotous and profane com- 
pany, by which all sense of religion or tmxrality 
was ccmipletely efiaced from his mind. The 
licentiousness of his habits, with the sprigfatlineai 
of his wit, disposed him to love the society and liie 
conversation of those who made lewdness and im^ 
piety the chief amusement of iheir social hom; 
As he excelled in that boisterous and irregpular 
merriment which wine excites, his companions, as 
well as his own natural temper, encouraged him 
in these excesses ; in which he was at length so 
entire;ly immersed, that, as he confessed, fw fiva 
yean together he was cootmually drunk, or al least 



AARL OF ROCHESTER. 13 

Ao mflafned by repeated inebriety, that during all 
that lime, he was not cool enou^ to be perfectly 
master of himself. In this stat^ he said and did 
the most extraordinary things that the wildest 
imagination could conceive, and was led to play 
many frolics, which it is not for his honour that 
posterity (i^oidd remember, and which are not 
now distinctly known. Many jeux d' esprit, and 
hnmorons stories haye been preserved in jest- 
books, and, are still circulated in conversatipn, 
which, periiaps^ are falsely ascribed to him ; and 
iphich, even had they been true, could not with 
{yropriety be admitted into the graver pages of 
biography^ 

^ The i^tal of these extravagances often fur- 
nished ihe merry Monarch with curious narratives, 
to entertain his idle courtiers ; and writers of mo- 
dem romance, have drawn from this store-house a 
rich supply of traditionary anecdote to embellish 
their columns. The King made him a frequent 
iftsodate in his recreations and convivial parties, 
not so much out of love to his person, as for the 
diversion his company afforded Mm. * He dreaded 

• " The King dining at the Dutch Amba8sador*s, 
lifter dinner they drink and turn pretty merry; and 
among the rest of the King's conipany> there was that 
witty fellow, my Lord of Rochester, and Tom Killigrew, 
^hose mirth and raillery offended the former so miu^b 
that he did give him a box on the ear in the King's pre- 
sence ; which do give much offence to people, to see how 
cheap the King makes himself; and the more for that 
the King hath not only passed by the thing, and par^ 
doped it to Rochester already, but the very next morning 
the King did publicly walk up and down and Rochester 
with him, as free as ever, to the King's everlasting shame, 
£o have so idle a rogue his companion. '*—/'e7>^«*s JDiary^ 

B 



li CONV&RT8 FROlf ISTFIDBLITY. 

his Udoit for ridiciik^ and fMinetimoi relorted 

with Beverity* But there was no lore lost ImjIwimd 

them, for Rochester never felled to take his re- 

▼enge in some pasqnil or satire, an instance ni 

which ia recorded in the mock epitaph^ so wall 

known and so often quoted : 

Here Um our lOTeraign lord ths Kiagt 
Whose word no man relies on ; 
"Who never said a foolish tbin^ 
And never did a wise one. 

There were two principles in his nature which 
were espedally liable to these ezcitem«nts,**-a 
▼iolent love of pleasure, — and a disposition to ex* 
travagant mirth ; the latter being the same iixe* 
gular appetite in his mind, that the other was ia 
his body. The one involved him in great sen- 
suality ; the other engaged him in those odd and 
whimsical adventures, which he often pursued at 
the hazard of discovery, and even of falling a martvr 
to his own folly. The whole course of his anb- 
sequent life, until his sickness and conversion, w^a 
spent with little interruption, in the same gross 
and criminal indulgences, in which he manifosted 
an utter disregard for any thing like public de- 
cency or sobriety of conduct. His vices, like his 
talents, were of a kind singular and extraordinary* 
He seemed to affect something in them strange 
and paradoxical, above the reach and fiEuicy of 
other men ; for he could think nothing divertiqg 
<Nr worthy of being attempted, that was not exto* 
vBgaat. Sometimes be would walk the etDeeta^ 
jessed like a porter or a common beggar, aoji- 
dtinff die ahns of the charitable ; or stixul about, 
merely for diversion, disguised in the most fimtas- 
tic shapes. He often pursued low amorom hfif 



I 



XAKL OF ROCHKSTER. IS 

trigMi vndflr mean appewaaees, and aiwsys acted 
with grast correctneflB md dexterity iJie yarionl 
charaeters wfaidi he assmned. On one oocasioiiy 
heing obliged, by an unlucky accident, to keep 
ont of the way, he diflgnised himself as an Italian 
qoack or mountebank so effectually, that his nearest 
fiiends could not haTe known him. Haring 
erected a stage on Tower-Hill, he harangued die 
populace on the mysteries of the healing art ; and 
as he had read medical books for the sake of 
his health, ^diich was suffering from the conse- 
quences of his irregttlaritMs, he continued under 
tills dmracter, to practise physic, for some weeks, 
with eonaidenible success. So exact and true to 
nature were many of these odd exhibitions, that 
eren those who were in the secret, and saw him 
in his various ^sguises, found it impossible to re* 
cognise him, or detect any thing that might lead 
to a disoofcry. 

He had many strange contrivances to obtain 
informa^n or anecdotes of scandal among the 
nobility; and Burnet relates, that having found 
imt a foot-man who knew all the court, and hay- 
ing furnished him with a red coat and a mus* 
ket as a oetitin^ he kept him the whole win- 
ter, eirery night, at the doors oi such ladies as he 
s us pec t ed to have intrigues. In the court a cen- 
tinel was taken no notice c^, being generally sup- 
poaed to be posted by a captain of the guards, to 
prevent quarrels, or disputes ; so this military spy 
saw dl who waUced about, and visited at forbid^ 
den hours. By this means he often nu^ unex- 
pected discoveries ; and when he was well funished 
with materials, he retired to the country for a 
wanth or two to write libels and lann^na. 



16 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

This conree of life, howeyer, broke his oonsti'* 
tntion, which was originally strong, and ndned hk 
reputation almost beyond the hope of reco¥ery« 
During the intervals of dissipation, he would spend 
months together in study, either reading the wofka 
of comic authors, or expending his wit in com* 
posing ludicrous satires on the vices and adven- 
tures of his companions, — an art in which he had 
the peculiar talent of saying the most malicious 
things in such a way as to please, rather than give 
offence. In these occasional sallies, he did not 
pretend to confine himself to the trudi, but mixed 
facts with ftdsehoods, sparing nothing that might 
gratify his revenge, or make the subjects of his 
verse ridiculous. These expedients he eren der 
fended as necessary ; alleging that no man could 
express himself with life, unless heated by re< 
venge; — and that to write a satire without re< 
sentment, upon the cool principles of j^ulosophy, 
was, as if a man would, in cold blood, cut another's 
throat, who had never offended him; and he was 
of opinion, that Hes in these libels came often ixk 
as ornaments, that could not be spared, without 
spoiling the beauty of the poem. • 
• By indulging for a series d years in these per- 
verse opinions, he had contracted principles which 
almost quite extinguished the inherent propenaitiea 
ki his nature to justice and virtue. Havingsumn* 
dered himself, without reserve, to every licentioaa 
haUt, — and finding it not convenient to ^dmit the 
authority of laws, which he was resolved not to 
obey, he had recourse to infidelity, the usual ex- 
pedient of those, who, having yielded to the soli- 
citations of passion or preju^ce, genially endea* 
ronr to shelter their wickedness under iJie pria-; 



EARL OF ROCHKSTBIL 17 

^plesy or rat W the pretext of disbelief* For it 
may be laid down as an obserration confinned by 
vniYeraal experience, that a dislike to the precepts 
and dnties cf Christianity, lays the foundation c^ 
all the doubts and objections that have been urged 
against the evid^ices oi its truth, or the myste* 
riooa nature of its doctrines. Men in general are 
profligates before they turn scepticaL They be- 
come uMistates, and abandon the paths of nrtne^ 
only when they find them no longer to be ways 
of pleasantness and peacot Incredulity springs 
more from the corrupticm c^the heart, anda rooted 
disinclination of the will, than from any want of 
conriction, any weakness of comprehension, or 
error of the understanding. Few become infidels 
who sit down to investigate the saored records of 
Scripture, with earnest desires and honest inten- 
tions. The candid inquirer is uniformly rewarded 
with ocmviction. If any doubt or deny, it is not 
that diey have found Christiaiiity to be false, but 
because they have reasons or inclinations for wishing 
it to be so ; and were it possible to remoTS the 
apprehendkms of friture puni8hment,-*-to leyel the 
distinctions between virtue and vice, and reconcile 
conscience to criminal indulgences, we should soon 
find neither atheists, infidels, nor sceptics in the 
world. 

It was by steps such as these that X<ord Ro- 
ehester advanced in his career ; from profligacy to 
impiety, — ^from a reckless debauchee, to a con- 
firmed disbeliever. Like most other apostates, 
his guilt had this aggravating circumstance, that 
he not only gloried in wickedness himself, and 
mratified every appetite to the utmost extent, but 
M laboured most industriously to instil the moral 

b2 



18 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY, 

poison into the minds of others, — ^to undo tbeif 
virtues, and strengthen their evil principles, as if 
he wished to root out from the nature of man 
every resemhlance to his Maker. Those diecks and 
fears -which occasionally visited him, especially in 
times of sickness, he endeavoured hy ev«ry means 
to extirpate — ^to dispossess hims^, not only of the 
belief, hut if possible, of the very thoughts wood 
apprehensions of religion. To thb diabolical 
purpose he bent all the efforts of his wit, — all 
the energies of his genius ; and it was even the 
object to which he often directed his literary 
amusements, when he found leisure, amidst the 
paroxysms of intemperance, to prosecute his so* 
litaiy studies. ** He took as much pains," says 
the writer of his foneral sermon, << to draw othm 
•in, and pervert the right ways of virtue, as the 
apostles and primitive saints ^id to save their own 
eouls, and them that heard them. He was dili- 
gent to recommend and propagate his sentimoits ; 
iraming arguments for sin, — ^making proselytes to 
it, — and writing panegyrics on vice." He fre- 
quently, in debate, took the side of atheism, and 
«rgued with great vigour against virtue and pety, 
^* being resolved," as he said, ''to run them down 
with all the arguments and spite!llll the world." ^ 
One very remarkable instance of this extrmie 
blasphemy happened at an athmtical meeting in 
the house of a person of quality, where he under- 
took to manage the cause of infidelity, and was 
the principal ^sputant against God and reU^^on. 
He maintained the contest with such ingenuity 
and success, that his performance received liie 
applause of the whole company. But this awftd 
erliibition of irreverence and impiety he could not 



SAAL OF ROGHBSTER. 19 

contemplate witlioat some feeding of remorB& 
The strange fnconsistency of his conduct stmck 
his mind so forcibly, that he immediately express* 
ed to himself, '< Good God ! that a man who walks 
upright, and sees the wonderfol works of Godt 
and has the use of his senses and his reason, should 
use them to the drying of his Creatcn' I" 
• Mmy such occasions of reprehension and remone 
occurred during his career of unbridled licentious- 
ness. He had ofi»n moments fidl of terrors, and 
«ad intervals of melancholy reflections, in which 
he felt, in all its bitterness, the deep anguish that 
springs from a wounded spirit* For Aough he 
luul gone the guilty round of every profane and 
^sensual gratification, — though there was no plea- 
sure which he had left imtasted, — no form of 
wickedness in which he had not engaged, '* with- 
holding his heart from no joy, and whateveac his 
eyes desired he kept not frx)m them ;* yet even 
these incessant and unrestrained indulgences were 
insufficient to prevent tlie intrusion of disagree- 
able thoughts, or render life a scene of perpetual 
gaiety, and unmingled delight. Need we a stronger 
evidence than this, that it is not the uncontrolled 
gratification of appetites and passions, nor the 
riches and enjoyments of the world, that can 
XMMQfer the hdm of happiness, or quiet the re- 
proaches of an accusing conscience ? 

Often have the superior advantages of such pur- 
euits been held out by the votaries of pleasure, who 
array tlieir hopes in bright and attractive colours, 
and would pei^uade the unwary to ^iter the smooth 
•Mid flowery path, that will conduct them to the 
•snmmit of felicity. But their arguments are as de- 
''43Mtfiil as their joys are fleeting and pemidons, 



20 CONVERTS 7BOM INFIDELITY. 

yMA only duzle the imaginslioii when yiewed 
in the pomp and glitter of cnminaT or faafaioiiable 
amisementB. But when the mirth and tnmnlt of 
company Bubside, the splendid enchantment eooa 
diMalTes, and leaves them the wretched dapen of 
their own mistaken choice, — the Tictims of that 
misery, and remorse, and infiany, which always 
ieXLaw in the train of Ucentioiisness. The imt- 
ward symbols of gaiety, are often but the diagnise 
of* turboient and gloomy thonghts,-^-the made of 
•fiected lerity, which hHk off in soHtade and re- 
tirement, and exposes the real misery of tlinr 
condition, which Uiey had Tainly hoped to conceal 
mder temporary and artificial cheerfvdness. It ia 
addom that even the most bold and recklesa iafif 
delity can socceed in altogether baniahing sober 
neflection from the mind, or charm to sfaindier, by 
all its specioas contrivances, the reproaches of eo»- 
acienoe, the vigilant tormentor of uie guilty breast 
To erade these terrota and re^Mehensions, men of 
pkasnre haive had xeconrse to a strange mnltiplfr* 
dty of ezpedieBts. They will mingle in idle and 
fiudiionaUe dissipatuins, or engage deeply in the 
cares and f^culiUiens of life ; or, peradventnie, as 
a last refine, fly in their deepair, like a dying man 
to an extreme medicine, to the forms and niini»> 
trations of i)eligion,^«-the ordinary resort of tha 
timid and superstitions. Others adopt a more 
commcHi, and perhaps n more efiEectual expedient, 
and stuf^ their senses in condaned dissipation,*— 
filling up their giddy moments with a sncceasion 
of £u)entious indulgences. In this way they may 
eontriye to exdiude every intrudnr on didlr nnhai* 
kwed repose, and fisr a time to escape the i»- 
moB s tran ces, and ercn ^ obserration of tUr 
own minda* 



. EARL OF ROCHESTER. 21 

• But this artificial tranquillity is but momenr- 
tary in its duration, and can neiVer confer that 
happy composure which results from a regu- 
lar and virtuous life, — and can only be the off- 
spring and the companion of innocence. There 
is a time when wit and beauty cannot charm,'— 
when pleasures become tasteless — and the ex- 
hausted £eu;ulties lose the power to relish, or even 
to receiye their accustomed gratifications. There 
are seasons of languor, when the mind, as well aa 
the body, becomes weary of tiie foUies of the 
world. Vacancies and pauses must intervene; 
and these will generally be filled up with dismal 
and disquieting anticipations. It is then that con-^ 
science, long suppressed, begins to remonstrate 
in severer terms, with those who had sealed their 
ears to its reproof, and imposed a reluctant silence 
on its admonitions. To whatever asylum they 
inay repair, it will follow ; even in the haunts if 
dissipation it will find its unhappy victim ; for thia 
fiiithful witness, unless it can be restrained by 
violent means, or imposed upon by false pretences, 
will not remain an indifierent spectator of human 
actions, nor sit a willing member in the councils 
of the ungodly. It cannot, after all the efforts 
of impiety, be utterly expunged fi*om the soul,^^ 
and is rarely found, even after a prolonged course 
of intempoiuice, seared into remorseless insensi* 
bility. 

' Hardened and fortified as this dissolute noble^ 
man was in his widced practices, he found it im- 
possible to shake off all the restraints of fear and 
leverence for a Supreme Being, or silence by all 
His arguments the still small voice of his own cou" 
arioice^ which often spoke out with a temble anr. 



22 COMVBllTS VROM IMFIDICLITT. 

toOiuyy sm fcpioMciieu mni lor mi cniMi« j 
Tierjr h^gfat of his muth, and amidst the li 
focfaidden delighta, there were momente whi 
thougblB eondemiiAd hka^ wben be k>oked 
}m conduct as madness and Miky, and win 
wonld wiUingly liaTe exchanged his conditioi 
the hiunhle beggar on the streets^ Mpfacim b 
wmtonly psracMUited in his sallies of extrcv 
divemon. It was in these gloomy mtervali, 
lally occasioned by smne fit of indispositioi 
effects of his debancberies, that h»ieh &oee ii 
checks and oonponctioos TisitingBa Thei 
prassion, bowerer, was by no means deep o 
manent ; and when bis sickness left hkn, his 
krtioBS Tanished like die mornmg clond. 
momentary regrets wore not awakened bj 
principle of religum, or by any proper sense < 
eaahnity of his guilt ; they rose more froi 
Tagoe fears and apprehensions of an ill-regi 
mind ; and were rather le^igs esdled by s 
of natoral horror, than by any detemuned 
pose of amendment. 

He had great remorse for his past Kfe^ 
sorry he had degraded his character by man 
justifiable and unbecoming actions, — and hi 
diiced his constkntkm to smcb a state of p 
tnre weakness and decay : but he felt no s; 
eoQTiction of sinning against God^ — no sorrc 
having violated the laws, or offended the M 
of hmiveii. And though, at such times, he 
plied with the wishes of his fnends, so far 
admit the visits of cleig)'men, it was with 
tendon of expecting consolation, or profitn 
their instmcdons. If he desired them to 
it was merely as a piece of civility or 



BARL OF ItOCHBSTEiL 29 

liraedmg ; fiir Jie regnrded the whole as a f<Hriiial 
sad vsdLeas cesrem<my. Sometimes his sidoiesaet 
had the efiect of straoigthemiig his bad ptineipiesy 
and jnepossfistti^ him more strongly against reli" 
giim ; while his wicked companioas talong adnm- 
tage of his iafiimity} endeavoured to confirm him 
im hia infidelity^ by effikdng from his lyond, as far 
as posdble, all befief and apfureh^osion of fntmity. 
One oocnrrence in the early part of his life he 
mentions^ which greatly staggered his fiuth in the 
reality of a state of existence hoeaftery aad tended 
VMich to encourage him in his profiigate courses. 
When he went jfirst to sea in 1665^ tfa^ happened 
to be in tlie same diip with him two particakr 
finends> a Mr Moatague, and another gentleman of 
qnality. Iliese two> especially the former, seemed 
aessoaded that they duudd never return to Eag- 
laad. Hie Earl of Rochester entered into a fer« 
mal engagement with the latter of these gentle- 
Bien, not witfaeat cerenumies of religion, that if 
dther of them died, he efaould appear, and give the 
other notice of the future state, if there was any. 
Wlien the day came that th^ were to attack the 
Dutch fleet in the Bay of Bergen* Mr Montague^ 
though he had such a strong presentiment in his 
mind of his amyroacfaing death, yet gallantly exposed 
himself all uie while in places of the greatest daoh 
ger. The other geatleinaa signalised his courage 
in a most andaunted manner, till the end of & 
action, when he fell on a mdden into saii^ a fit of 
trembfing, that he coald scarcely steod, and Mr 
Montague going to lum to hold him up, as they 
wece in each other's arms, a eaaaonr^ball killed 
tbem both on the spot* Tfais singular coincidence 
betweeo the S^ and the preaagas of these iadivl- 



S4 CONVERTS FROM INFlO£LITY. 

duals, made some unpresskm on the mind of Lordi 
Rochester, and persoaded him that the soal wM 
a separate and d&tinct heing, and had secret no* 
tices conmimiicated to it, either by a natural 
sagacity, or a sort of divination. But his firi^Hla 
never retomii^ to give him the stipulated intelli- 
gence, was, as he confessed, a stamblmg4)}0ck t# 
his faith during the rest of his life. » 

Akhoogh the possibility of such a revelation: or 
intercourse between material and incorporeal: hefi 
ings were admitted, yet the expectation, and the 
evidence reqmred, were quite unreasoni^le ; and 
one \dio had' so for corrupted the natural ^piiwf 
cipliBS of truth as he had done, coukl scarcely 
knagine that a special miracle would be wrought 
for his conviction. The reproof applied cm a sv^ 
milar occasion to tiie incredulous Jews who wero 
continually demanding signs and wonders, might 
have occurred to check Uie folly of all such ap^ 
peals to supernatural events : << If they hear not 
Moses and the prophets, neither will they be per* 
Buaded though one rose from the dead." 

Another singular example of a prophetical appre- 
hension with regard to death, whrch persuaded him 
the more of the spirituality, or at least the separate 
existence of the soid, is mentioned as having oo> 
curred in his presence, in the house of his mother- 
in-law, the Lady Warre. The chaplain had dreamed 
that on a certam day he should die, but being set 
upon by the whole ftimHy, he was rallied or signed 
out of this belief, and had almost forgot the circum- 
stance, till the evening before at supper ; ihere being 
thirteen at table, one of the young ladies, according 
to a fond conceit that one of them must soon die^ 
pomted to him as the person* Immediately ra« 



XARIr or ROCHESTER. SS 

tnemberii^ his drBaniy his apprBhensioiiB retnniedy 
and lie fell into* some disorder ; and upon Liad^r 
Ware's refproving kim for his sut^erstition, he said 
he was confident he was to die beftM'e morning ; 
httt bong in perfect health, his prediction was not 
much r^arded. It was Saturday night, and he 
was to preach next day. He went to his cham- 
ber, and sat up late, as appeared by the bmning of 
his candle ; and he had been'' preparing Ids' notes 
for his sermon, but was fotmd dead in his bed th6 
matt morning. Tins oecorrence had' a consider- 
able effect in biassing his- persnasion that death 
was not the final- dissolution of the soul;, but only 
lim separation of it from its earthly companion ; 
mod dus belief was farther strengthened by what 
he felt in himself when labouring under sickness^ 
^^lidi, though it reduced his body and his animal 
■pirits to the lowest degree of exhaustion, left his 
reas(nr and^iis judgment dear and strong. But 
these conyictiens had no effect in dianging his moral 
principles^ or reclaiming him from his habits of in- 
temperances Engaged in a succession of drunken 
frolics- and soasual indulgences, with intervals of 
study perhaps still more criminal ; with a reckless 
disregard of every moral restraint, and an obstinate 
denial of every religions obligation, he lived worse 
ifaan useless and blazed out his youdi and his 
AealUi in extravagant pleasures. 

In the winter of 1679, he was seized with a 
Ticdent sickness^— a dispensation fi^quently em- 
ployed widi effect, to arrest and reclaun the wan- 
derer, and melt the stubborn temper of the impe- 
Bitent heart. This occasion led him to an ac^ 
qoaintance with Dr Burnet, whose History of the 
Bafnrmaitiimj then newly pwbliahed, \aa\i«cdsdsi^ 



tS CONVKRTS FROM INFlBIfclTT. 

Ind pemaedy and foond nmcfa cnlertaiiiHieBt in ii 
Neitlier the Tisits of thu emiMiii divine^ nqr tht 
Buljects upon which they eoavened^ proved db- 
tastefol or uaacceptaUe to hiin. Tbrar intnncy 
toon grew into a particnlar friendidiipy aad a moift 
nnreienred ftmiliaiity. Willi aH the CreedoM and 
candour imaginabie^he laid opeaa to lam the eowia 
of hia past life, and the tenov of hia opnioMi 
both on religion and morality. ^ I waa m&k laag 
in his company," laya Dr Buniet, ^ when he tald 
me he should treat me with nK»e freedom thai 
he oTer used to men of my proCeasion ; he would 
conceal none of his prindplea from me, hot lay his 
thoughts <^n without any diaguiBe ; nor wofM 
he do it to maintain debate, or shew his wit, Iwt 
plainly tell me what stuck with him ; and he piup 
tested to me, that he was not so engaged to his <M 
maxims as to resolye not to diaage^ but thai if ha 
could be Gonyinced, he would chooaa rather to ba 
of anoth^ mind. He said he would impaitiaUy 
weigh what I should lay before him,, and tell ma 
freely wh^i it did convince, and trbeti it did not 
He expressed this diapositiQii of mind to me ia a 
manner so frank, that I could not but believB him» 
and be much taken with his way of discourse ; aa 
we entered into almost all the parts of natural and 
revealed religion, as wdl as of morality. Ha 
seemed pleased, and in a great measure aatiafied^ 
especially when I vinted Imn in his last aidoiea^ 
with what I said upon many of these heads ; and 
though our freest conversation was when we wen 
alone, yet upaa several occasimis other penoM 
were witnesses to it* I llc^owed him with aadi 
arguments as I saw were viost likely to pcemal 
with tim ; and my noli uvf^ other raaaoaa, |mn»* 




V dMt h any so( be limfikl iImI 
ivmft of i|Nrit8 Bttde kini noro 
toneeife asf inprenKMn ; fcr u M tot d I 





aI IBS CMHBHBCBHHnI of tilBV IBtVCtMUmv O^ 

tobar 1679, kb Lovdahip was resident in Loiidoii» 
nAwre he contbined till April follewinff, wken lie 
aeaeofed to him ewn liofaBe, the lodge et Woodstock 
Fatky n^i^fiivrBd the memorable eceiieof bii 
c on nc ii op, bii penite&ce, and deetb. Tbe wb- 
■tHBoe mi tbno eekitaiy oonTenalioiM, m well m 
Ike i w r i o iM peiBti so freely canTMsed between tbo 
noble ooBvert «nd his distingnished Tisitor, are re« 
corded by Dr Bnmet at considerable length, in bia 
aoeonnt of die life and ileath of the Earl,— -a book 
which, to use Ih Johnson's beaudful and expres- 
sif« evlogfon, tbe critic ongbt to read for its ele* 
ganoer-^be ^ilosopher fm its argnmentf— and 
the aaint for its piety. As the main object of 
tihii and tbe aneeeeding narradres is to detail the 
aefendstapa which led from profligaev and im* 
piety, to a tatai diange of nuumevi and optmona^ 
andairmbdief m the trathaMl veaaoHmenaai 
af CMsdanky, we shall not think it any ii^wT 
to the leader to offer him an abridgement of thM 



The three dneftUnga that came Wider dMeaa- 



S8 CONVERTS FROM INFIDKLITY. 

Scripture reyelation, e«|>ecidly Chrntiaiiity. The 
system of morality he had adopted, wm yeryr lax 
and superficial* He admitted it to be necesBBiy, 
both for the goTermnent of the world, and for the 
preservation of health, life, and friendship; and 
though he talked of it as a &ie tiling, yet this was 
only in compliance with the cwr^icy of pnbhe 
opinion ; and because the established order of av* 
ciety and of human afiiedrB, made the rep a tatifltt 
of it essential to his credit and his intercourse widi 
mankind. He regarded it merely as an ext^nal 
covering which men wore from custom or faMxm^ 
in the same way as decency requires the use of 
clothes and good breeding ; and if they could con* 
ceal their vices from the eye of the world, behind 
this moral drapery, he thought they might indulge 
their appetites and their evil passi<ms with impunity. 
This view, he believed to be the general opinion 
on the subject ; and that many who spoke loudly 
in its praise, shewed by their conduct they cared 
not for it. 

In support of his theory, he adduced the prao* 
tice of men professing and swearing friendship^ 
when they hated mortally; their oaths and im- 
precations in their addresses to women, nducii 
they never intended to make good ; the pleasure 
tiiey took in defaming eminent persons, and spread- 
ing false reports of some, perhaps in revenge, be- 
cause they could not engage them to comply with 
theur wicked designs ; the delight they had in mak<^ 
ing people quarrel ; tiieir unjust usage of their cre^ 
ditors, and puttmg them o£P by any deceitfiil nio- 
mise they could invent, that might free them mm 
present importunity. — ^These crimes, all of ^diicfa 
ie had himself becoi guilty of^ he by no means jna-i 



BARL OF SOCHXSTBR. 89 

tiied or ^oonnMM ; wi the contrary, he k)oked 
vpoa ihem widi ilwiie and some degree of re* 
none; Imt tlik was fsdier that they had broiiglit in* 
hmj <nk him duameter, and pain and disease upon 
hk body, ifaan from any deep aense of haying of- 
indiBd B Smpnme Bemg. IJe had no concern 
far tito aetiaiis of hk past life as transgreesions 
a g ainBt 4aie kfro of God, hut only as they had iB> 
jared hia heahh and reputatieii, ubA been pn^ndU* 
cial to odieia. Some of his notions cmcemmg his 
Vint foHy and infotoaition, were pertinent and cor* 
recty and even canied him so lur that he had re* 
•olfvd femly to cfaai^ his dissohite and extrava- 
gant habits ; bnt his idea was that he coald effect 
thia aeleiy by the roles and maxims of philosophy. 
Upon diis sdbject, his veneiable friend endea- 
f'a wod to mdeoeATe him, wi^ regard to the effi* 
caey of philosophy as an instmment of moral re- 
fMVMtion. He diewed its weaknesses and de- 
fects ; that it was a matter of speculation which 
few had either the Insure or the capacity to is- 
(fuin into ; but the principle that was fitted to re- 
form the world, must be obvious to every man's 
understanding : That as a rule of m<Hrality, it vras 
▼ery vague and general, containing no certain stan- 
dai^ and merely ddmeating the great ootltnes of 
oanr duty and obligation, — leaving much to be de- 
temmied by the ftmdes of men, and the customs 
of nations t That it wanted auflicient authority 16 
give sanction and efifeet to its preeeptsy however 
exeeBent liiey might be in themselves ; and con- 
aequentfty was too feeble to contend with the pro^ 
pensfties of corrupt natm:e, or restrain the violenee 
oi our afipetites and nasaons : That many of the 
ayvtana of «liiieBl imileao^iy went to fidictdous 

c 2 



so CONVERTS FROM INFIDKLITY* 

and impracticable extxemes ; some enjoining tin 
entire extirpation of all our feelings and caies, am 
redudiig their frigid disciples to an absolute apatb] 
and unconcern for any tmng,— a ccmditiony whidi 
could it be realized, would render life easy am 
tranquil, by fortifying it against the influence of al 
outward accidents, and allinwardpertuibation; ba 
which, it was e^dent, would dissolve the bonds q 
society, extinguish all the sympathies of humanity 
and in exempting men from troubles, would de 
prive them of their noblest pleasures, and tbei 
purest enjoyments: Others, on the contrary 
stretched &eir privileges and accommodations in 
a criminal extent, letting loose their votaries fron 
every salutary restraint, prescribing no rigorous ad 
of abstinence or self-denial, nor calling upon then 
to fight against passions, or root out affectioa 
which nature has herself imjdanted ; but makin| 
inclination the only rule and measure of their ac 
tions, and extending the limits of indulgence to th 
utmost boundary of their wishes. This latter syi 
tem seemed exactly to coincide with the men 
creed of the licentious nobleman. The two gran^ 
maxims of his morality were, that he should d 
nothing to injure others, or prejudice his owi 
health, and within these limits he was of opinioi 
that all pleasures of a sensual kind were lawful 
provided they were indulged without hurting th 
mdividual, or being injurious to society ; and i 
appeared to him quite unreasonable to imagim 
that these propensities were implanted in man onl; 
to be resisted and subdued by such painful efforti 
or restricted within such rigid and narrow oonoet 
sions as robbed life of its chief enjoyments. 
To this it was objected, that if i^petitea wen 



KARL OF ROCHESTER. SI 

i» be indulged, merely becanae they were natural^ 
then the revengeful man might us well nrge thia 
as an argiiment for murder, 4nr the covetons for 
.atealing, since they feel inclinations no less keen 
for iheh and bloodshed ; yet no one will plead the 
force of appetite in their defence, or deny that such 
pr(^>enBities ought to be cubed. If it be alleged 
that the injury in^cted in these eases makes a dif- 
ference, and a venial distinction in favour of liber- 
tinism ; the injury is as great if a man's wife or 
his daughter is dishonoiired, as if lus property or 
his own person were violated ; and it is impossible 
for a man not to transgress in these particulars, 
if he follows the unrestrained impulse of vagrant 
and irregular passions : and there is no other re- 
medy for ^ese disorders, than to check such in^* 
ordinate desires. It does not appear mere unna« 
tnral, that God should intend our brutiBh and 
carnal appetites to be governed by our reason^ 
than that the fierceness of beasts should be tamed 
by the strength or wisdom of men, and converted 
mto a useful engine for his service andhis happi- 
ness. Nor can it be deemed absurd to suppose, 
that the iqppetites of mea. were designed on purpose 
to exercise their reason in restraining and governing 
than ; which, if subdued, minister a h^her and 
more lasting pleasure, than if they were left to 
the fuU scope of lawless gratifications. 
. To avoid such objects as excite the passions, is 
a mflzim of philosophy as well as of morality ; and 
nothing tends more to stimulate these, tluai habits 
ofintempefance; nothing darkens the understa^d-p 
ing and depresses the mind moie ; nor does any 
tmng give luore frequent occasion of other immora* 
'*' sndi as oaths and impzecatiQna9 'wloidk .«% 



'. 



F 



n CONVKftTS mOM mVIMELITT. 

Wily intflsded to compMS wuM ta aouiPBd. 
I were liiere no othor aduoementB to dklK 

the eapeme thet is aoce a Mi y to fB n tnt iii n » 
dieee irregiilaritiee, would make him fdae 
olher deimiigs. K it was reesi^Mthle then, 
man should restrain ^s appetites in thmge 
he knew were hnrtfnl to him, it was eqv 
ikaX Ood dboidd prescribe hounds and regi 



.1 



i 

ri t* <liedc -die wemdaervaa ^ects tnat neo 



I 






1 

11. 






I 



r' I 



yesoh from '^em when carried to excess. 

nde of domg to others, what we woiM htm 

i^t do unto vs, he just, whidi cannot he- di 

/: theft they wlro ieel themselTos sensibly sSe 

any idMuHioor clfiBred to dieir wives or dn 

nttst oondemn their own misoondact, for c 

anotherintet they would resent wkh hones 

I BliDn, efen if Totue and morality were on 

q ae ot ion. And if the peace of sodety, and 

tisfttftionof oar own minds ought to be <mm 

leading designs of our actions, then let 

worid judge, whether the man who confi 

appetites, and liyes contented at home, ts m 

k happier than diose who let thmr deprared «i 

j^j run after Dnhidden objecte. Restraint 

' i difficult, and it is so in reality, when a max 

^: hknsctf many 19»ertie»; hut they who aToS 

' - mons of temptation and imp«« exdtemc 

keep thems^es weU employed, find ihe 
and domimcm over these no such hard or 
aible conquest as ^ey at first imagined. 

Mon^y, to subdue the cormptionB of 

must have a stronger sanction than the pi 

or the dictates of philosophy. A man i 

> determined by a law within himself; if i 

his actions only by the ndes and \ 




EARL OF ROCHESTER* 39 

dec^cy, or the injnnctionB of humaa aathority, 
these would merely teach him to use caution and 
dissimulation in his evil practices ; but they could 
never secure umversal integrity, nor regulate the 
internal sfMings ofvirtiie. The 4awB of morality, 
have not fixed the land-marks of duty, or the Ipst 
houndaries of obligation in a constrained, obedienoe^ 
■or in outward and formal con^liances. There 
must be the obedience of the heart, a. delight and 
satisfection in the mind, otiierwise ^eir require- 
ments are not fulfilled at all ; and this cannot.be 
effected unless corrupt nature be regenouted and 
changed by some higher power. All the theories 
and speculations of philosophy, beautiful and in- 
genious as they were, would avail nothing towards 
such a renovation of heart and life, — a change 
which could be accomplished only through the 
influence and assistance of the divine Spirit ; and 
whoever, on such- occasions, applied to God hy 
earnest prayer, would feel themselves disengaged 
horn tiie bondage of their vices, and endued with 
power to resist them. 

To all this, his Lordship replied, that it sounded 
to Inm like enthusiasm or canting; he.hadno.no- 
tkm of it, and so could not understand it. He 
comprehended the dictates of reason and philoso- 
phy, in which, as the mind became jn(H:e conver- 
sant, there would soon follow, as he believed,„a 
greats eaaness in obeying its precepts : but that 
inward impressions should .conquer the natural 
appetites, or expel inclinations, deeply rooted in 
the constitution, must be ascribed to we force of 
an over-heated fancy ; it-^was only the stroq^ di* 
Tersion of the thon^its that gave tins seoaing vic- 
tory ; and he did not doubt. \m% if quo ciora&ii msti 



34 CONVBRTS FROM IKFn»KLlTY 

to aproUem^ Eiicfid, or t6 mite acopy oir enmf 
it w<raM kaYe llie flame effsot. 

If audi Btadie«> he was aiurwefed, 4id oi^ 
divert the thoi^tB, there might he flone truth in 
what he said ; but if they not only Buppvesaed 
and extkpated eudi defli^BS, b»t created otiiem 
directly contrary, and hroaght me^ mto a m&w 
habit and dii^Kwition of mind ; then it imuit be 
oonfesBed there was something more tiam a mera 
diversion from one sohject to anothnTy in those 
dianges that spring from religions pmci^dea. It 
oonld not be supposed wireasonable, that the So- 
preme Powar, which directed the whole frame of 
nature, might, if he pleased, commnnicate thoughts 
andimpressions to onr minds ; and as he is a Bong 
of infinite goodness, it may be presumed that he 
would give his asdstaace to such as denred it. 
And though on some occasions he m^t operate 
on the mind in an extraordinary manner, yet since 
he had endowed men with the faculty of re as on, 
it was fit that they should employ imtt as fin* as 
they could, — and where it was wedk or impedlBCty. 
beg the assistance of His Spirit, which they could 
certainly do. All this was consistent wi^ ma- 
son and probability; and good men, who felt, 
upon their frequent application to God in prayvr, 
a freedom and deliTeraace horn those sinfrd im- 
pressions that formerly prevailed against diem^— > 
an inward love to virtue and goodness, — an eaoinem 
and delight in all parts of their duty, which ww 
fed and cherished in them by seriousness in pniyery 
had languished m that decreased or dinappearad^ 
and m real a peroeptien of an inward s t r e ugth ia 
their mmds, that rose md fell wkh devotiim, an 
tfaef peroeived iha aUMaglh of ^Mr h ad i ai hK 



KARL OF ROCHESTER. 55 

CTOMod or impaired, according as they bad or 
vaoted pnmer nouriahmeat. After many conf(»- 
ranoes on this nilMect, his Lordship staU contimied 
to think all was tLe efifect of fuicy. But though 
lie was not convinced, he was so fiur snbdned as 
to admowledge, ibax he thoo^t they were happy 
whose fimcies were nnder the powo: of such im- 
pwwsionHj since they had scmie foundation on which 
thor minds nngfat rest : he came, however, in a 
w&ry short time, to ijter his sentiments concerning 
prayer and ipritual assistance. 

From thia subject they were led to converse on 
the nature of the Deity, and on the general no* 
ti«a of reHgiQii. 

As to a Supreme Being, lie had always some 
iMpreasioii of one, and often declared that ho 
had neTo: known an entire atheist, who fiilly bar 
Uoved th«e w^/i no God. He could not think 
the world was made by chance ; and the regular 
oevrse of nature seemed to demcmstrate the eternal 
po w e r of its AuthcM:. Yet when he came to ex- 
plain his notion of this Being, it amounted to 
no nsore than a vast power, which wrought every 
thnw by the aeaessity of its natuve, and had none 
of me attributes of justice or goodness which we 
ascribe to ihe Deity, — none of those affections of 
lofVB or hatred that give rise to himian passions 
and perturbations,— 4UDLd conse^ently, he could 
not see that there was to be either rewards or 
■nmshments. To attribute such (pialities to <jo^ 
oe thought was only to lower our conceptions of 
Vmf. — to bring down his incomprehensible perfec- 
tuna to the level and the sJmHitudo of humaa 
weaknesB ; and to talk of loving him, appeared to 
ho the gieateat presQni^iaon» tho\MAl ot % twoiv^&dL 



S6 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

er enthusiastic temper. A general cdebradon of 
him in some short hymn, was the only religioiA 
address or homage he thought proper to be pftUI; 
all the other parts of worship he regarded as th6 
invention of' priests; to make the world behere 
they possessed tiie secret of incensing orappeasuig 
the Deity as they" pleased. In short, he was peiV 
siiaded- that there neither was a special proyidonee 
about human aifairs, nor that prayers were of mucl 
use, — since that was to suppose God « weak being 
like ourselves, who could be overoome-wkfa inf 
treaties and importunities. And for the state after 
death, though he believed the soul did not ^ 
with the body, yet he doubted whether theiitf 
could be any such thing as an eternal retribution 
of happiness or misery ;— ^^he one he thought too 
high for us to attain by our slight services^ and 
the other was tooisevere^an^ extreme to be mflicted 
lor sim 

These speculatioiis, hie was tok^ were very «i« 
suiti^le and contradictory to a proper view of die 
divine character. His notions of God were so • kyw, 
that the Supreme Being seemed to be nothing but 
nature^ — ^the appearances- and operations of wiudi 
were directly of^iosed to his system ; for if theorder 
of the unit^erse persuaded him to think there was a 
€rod, he mus^ at ^e same time, conceive him to be 
both wise and good, as well as powerful^ smce 
these all appeared equally in the creation ; thou(^ 
Bis wisdom and goodness were often- exerted in 
ways fiur beyond our knowledge or comprehen- 
flion. And smce he possessed the attributea of 
wisdom and goodness, it was natural that he should 
love and be pleased with those that resembled 
hka kk AoBe perfeetiona, and di&Uke those of vk 



XASL OF BOCaXSTER. 37 

oppoiite diaracter. That his mercy^ or loye^ 
or wagjstf should raise passions or imeasiness in 
Ubb, it were quite unreasonable to suppose ; these 
being weaknesses we fe^ in ourselyes, and which 
ve occasioned solely because we want the power 
or the ikiU: to accomplish our wi^es and desires, — 
defects wUeh are not attributable to the Deity. 
}ffi$hBt can we imagine that they who imitate 
wad resemble him, should not enjoy his special 
fiV0ur ; and consequently, that he will assist their 
endeavours after good, by such helps or rewards 
aa are suitable to their nature. But as this does 
iNyt appear in the present order of things, it is 
nest reasonable to presume that it will take place 
in another state, where there will be ft more per- 
ffBCH c^mfcNTHHty to God, and an abundant recoup 
penae in the felicity that accompanies it ; while 
the contrary of this, viz. the want of sudi resem- 
Uance and enjoyment, must incur his displeasure^ 
and be attended with all the pains and penalties 
im^aed hk a totalr exclusion from his presence* 

These conclusions seined ta be the natural re- 
wAtB of a good or a bad lif<^ and to establish the 
aecesdty of rewards and punishments as the ef- 
fpvta of divine justice ; and since he admitted the 
Nvl to hare a separate and distinct eadsteqce firom 
Ifae body, there could be no grounds for thinking, 
dbat aft^ dissolution it passed into a state of uttw 
dl^Tion or insensibility; but that since the re- 
flectiiMiB on the good or evil it had done, must be 
ft aooroe of joy or misery, so departed sods, re- 
tainmg these dii^tositiQns, must either rite to a 
Uiglier perfectskm, or sink to a condition of greater 
depravity and wretdbedness ; and thnr sensilnlitiea 
htaag tboi more egquiaite, will dtliec «ialti iIm 

VOL. I. n 



I 



38 CONVERTS FROM IITFIBELrrY. 

happiness of the good, or increase the hoitorts cl 
the wicked, — as uiey will not find, as in this tife^ 
« variety of ohjects and affairs to occupy anddi^ 
vert their attention. This final discriminatioii 
between the righteous and the wicked, appeared 
therefore to be a necessary sequel or co]T>llary to 
the belief of a Snpreme Being ; since the distinctioa; 
is manifestly not clearly made in this woiid, but 
rather seems to confoimd and contradict our no- 
tions of the wisdom, goodness, and justice of the^ 
Deity. 

As to the government of the world by » 
superintending power or providence, there -could 
be no rational argument ui^ed against it. AU 
that can with any plausibility be objected is, fhe 
distraction which that infinite variety of second 
causes, that immensity of cares and coneeni% « 
presumed to give to the Being who inspects, ar- 
itmges, and directs them. But, as among men, 
those of wesket capacities are wholly taken vp 
with some one thing; whereas others of more 
enlarged powers, can, without embarrassmeiit, 
have many things within their care, — as the eye 
can at one view receive a great variety of objects 
without confusion, in the narrow c<nnpass c^ its 
lucid chamber ; so if we conceive the Divine «i- 
derstanding to be as far Above ours, as his pow^ 
in creating and supporting the whole universe, k' 
above our limited activity, we shall no more tfa^ik 
the govenmaent of the -world an incumbrance mt 
distraction to him ; and when once this pFejudke 
is overcome, we shall be ready to acknowledge a 
providence directing and conducting all a£bii%x-f« 
tare well becoming the great Creator. 
In the next place, as to the kind of wQunbapm 



EARL. OF ROCHESTEIU 39 

adofodon which it was proper to address to the 
Ddity ; we had certainly very erroneous concep- 
tions of it, if we imagined that our worship was 
something which added to his happiness, or gave 
him sach a fond pleasure as weak people have to 
hear themselves commended; or that our repeated 
pntyers could overcofiie him through mere impor? 
tonity. The ohject of all religious intercourse 
whether public or privatOy with God, is intended 
to affect the mind of the worshipper, to strengthen 
good impressions, and nourish a devout temper, 
which is the cU^ root of all true holiness and vir- 
tue. A man is never entirely reformed till a new 
Jyrinciple govern his thoughts ; and nothing makes 
that principle so strong as solemn and frequent 
meditations of God, whose- nature j though it be far 
above our comprehension, yet his goodness an4 
wisdom are intelligible ; and he that thinks often 
of God, and considers him as governing the world, 
and as ever observing all his actions, will feel the 
«fiect of such communion and reflections very sen- 
sibly by the influence they have on his life and 
eonduct. 

The frequent returns of these are necessary, lest 
if we allow them to be neglected or discontinued 
too long, these impressions will grow feebler, or 
be supplanted by others of a contrary and inju- 
rious tendency. The answers to our prayers are 
not to be considered as favours extorted by im- 
portunity, but as rewards conferred on men so 
well-disposed and prepared for tbem. It is a mis- 
take to suppose God can be operated upon, or 
moved by our requee^ as a fellow-creature i^. 
The alteration is not in the Giver, but in the peti- 
tioner, who by asking in sincerity, fulfils the c(m<- 



40 COyVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

dition on wbich the diyine bannty is inyaii^ly and 
nncluuiffdabjy administered. It is true we cannot 
inform mm of any tbing he does not know, nor add 
ought to his essential luappiness and peifeetionBy hy 
any services of ours ; but this is not th^ end or 
the efibct of prayer ; it is om: own comfcHt and 
amendment that is intended ; and by this esxpedSent 
ovir p^K». and fdidty are increased, as we are 
thereby admitted to nearer fellowship with God^ 
and hare our natures more and more asdmilated 
to his Dixine image. 

What the essence of the Deity is, we can form 
no adefoate coiiceptions, as indeed we have no just 
idea of any essence whatsoerer ; for we genendly 
consider aU objects by their outward figure, or by 
iheir effiscts, and from th^ce draw inferences wlial 
their nature nuist be. Pure incorporeal spirit baa 
no resemblance to any thing material, and ^ere- 
fore cannot be compared or expressed by senedble 
hnaff es ; but though no man hath at any time seen 
his shape, or can comprehend the nature of the Divi*- 
nity, yet from the ducoveries he has made of him- 
self, we may form such notions of his character as 
may possess our minds with great reverence for 
liim, and beget in us such a love for those perfec- 
tions, as to engage us to imitate them. For when 
we say we lore God, the meanhig is, we love thai 
Being who is holy, just, good, wise, and infinitely 
perfect ; and loving these attributes in him will cer- 
tainly carry us to desire them in ourselves ; for 
whatever we admire in another, we naturally en- 
deavour to copy and transcribe into our own prac- 
tice ; and it is not until we become enamfoured of 
ihe object, that we pursue it wfth alacrity, or widh 
ib eameet to get poBoeBaon of it. 



BARL OF ROCHESTEIh > 41 

If. eould be no proof that the reverence and 
celebration of the Divine Being enjoined by relir 
gioQy was. an impofiture <h* a cunning invention of 
priest-craft to cheat the world, that superstition 
bad sometimes made use of them as an engine 
of tyranny over the conscience and reason of 
mankind. Such criminal and delusive artifices 
y^eape nothing but what occurred in every sort of 
employment or profession to which men betake 
themselves. Mountebanks and empirics corrupt 
physic; pettifoggers have entangled questions of 
property, and defeated the ends of justice. Every 
o^upadon has been vitiated and perverted by the 
knaveries of practitioners^; yet no man can take ' 
eQeasi<m from this to deny that there are such 
sdiBDces in existence as law and medicine. So nei- 
ther is it fair or reasonable to infer that all reli- 
gious worship is a parcel of impious or ridiculous 
ceremonies, because it has been disfigured and cor- 
rupted by the fanciful additicms of human art. 

These arguments, though many of them could 
not be answered, were not all equally satisfiactory. 
His Lordship seemed to be ccmviaced that ta che- 
rish constant impressions of God in the mind, 
would be the most powerful means to reform the 
worlds and did not appear altogether incredulous 
on the government of the world b^ a Divine pro- 
vidence. But as for a future state, he thought it 
more likely that the soul began anew course ; and 
that her sense of what- was done in the body, con-r 
sisting merely in impressions made on the brain, 
as soon as the material part was dissolved, aU traces 
or recollection of what was past would perish, and 
the soul enter into a sort of new existence in some 
other state* 

d2 



4ft CONVERTS VROM IKVtDXMTT« 

Thk q>iiuon,te was told, urns at b(B8l bfnt fancy 
and cw^jectnre, asliecoiildgiyeBOTeaaoiitopvoT^ 
it true ; neither was it coirect that all the feuiBiii* 
brance the soul had of pest tUngs was eecrted in 
the matoial organs, and nrast be totally lost Mfaea 
these organs were destroyed. The pdnciple of 
thovght and percepticm consisted not m figues m 
images in tlie brain ; it was a thing (Usenet ham 
the body, and not the resok <tf coiporeal oiganiflh> 
tion. Some of our ideas were abstract and inde- 
pendent of material impressions ; and some vioe% 
such as falsehood, malice, and anger, were seatled 
in the mind, as the appetites of hunger md ^tdat 
were in the body. It Was neither irrational nor 
unphilosophical to suppose ^at the soul wouldatiU 
retain its consciousness, and continue the unmter* 
rupted exercise of its native faculties ; that in anothef 
state it should remember as well as think, although 
didodged jfrom the body, which served only as a 
medium of ac^n,-r-4i mirror in which its iidiMient 
qualities were expressed. But it is vain to raise 
objections where we have no better foundation than 
hypothecs and ooi|jecture ; or abandon one theory 
as untenable, because some difficulties may occur ; 
since it is as hard to understand how we remem* 
her things now, as how we shall do it in another 
state of existence. 

The result of all these discourses went to extoit 
an acknowledgmmit from him, that he had been 
directed at least to an eligible source of peace «ad 
consolation ; and he c^iten omfessed, that whediar 
religion Was tnie or not, he tiiought those who 
were persuaded of its truth, and lived so that they 
had quiet m their conscience, and believed Crod 
governed the worlds and acquiesced in his pxevi* 



JUkBL OF EOfBHXSTUU 48 

dflnoe,«Bd Ind liie liope of on endless Uessednees 
in aaodwr stale, were the happiest men in the 
worid ; and said he would give all he was master 
ef !• fae vndfit diose persuasions, and to hare the 
oomfcit and aopport which necessarily flow fronk 
thenu 

The whole system of religion, if belieyed, he ad- 
raitfeed, was a more secure foundation of happiness 
than any other ; for his greatest hope and consolai- 
tion, was to think that so good a Being would not 
make him nuserable. He did not deny, but that 
after oomndtti^ some sins, he felt his conscience 
duUenge and reprove him ; but owned that he had 
noTemorse or was less sensibly affected after otjiera, 
which, perhaps, might be reckoned greater crimesL 
These results, he was answered, might flow from 
the disorderly state of his life, which had corrupted 
his judgment, and deprared his views of thmg^ 
and thf^ certain immoral habits, by being long 
continued and frequently repeated, might hd ren- 
dered so familiar as to become a kind of seecmd 
nature : in which case it was no wonder if his disr 
crimination between good and evil was not very 
exact, as a feverii^ man cannot judge correctly c^ 
tastes. The main root of all corruption in principle 
was a dissolute life, which, as it darkened men's 
minds, and incapacitated them from discovermg 
better things, so it made it necessary for them to 
sedk out sndi opinions as might quiet their alarms^ 
and shelter them from the accusatimis of their own 
hearts. And if any by these irregularities have 
brought angui^ or disease upon themselves, they 
cannotblame Grod for it, or expect that he should by 
miracles deliver them from bodily pain or the hor- 
rors of a guilty consdeoce. Th]S9tieGOitfeeai^^^r8& 



t 



M CONVERTS FROM IKFIDELITT. 

not to be expected, and it was unreasonabi 
to charge God with what was the effect o 
choice, or his own folly. 

On the subject of religion as reveiEili 
Scriptures, he had many oljections to od 
said, he could not comprehend the natu 
apiration ; nor how God should reveal h 
to mankind. The sacred penmen, he 
were honest, but credulous writers; ai 
Gpmmunicating his mind to one man, ws 
in his power to cheat and impose on othc 
there i^ould be pretenders to prophecie 
racles was not wonderful, since the \k 
been always full of strange stories ; for 
oess and cunning of deceivers, meeting ^ 
plicity and credulity among the people, i 
absurdity be believed and adopted witl 
tradiction. The fall of Adam, and the cc 
corruption of hiunan nature ; the incohc 
style in the Scriptures ; the odd transi 
inconsistencies, chiefly about the order 
ike cruelties enjoined the Israelites in d 
the Canaanites; circumcision, and ms 
rites of the Jewish worship, — -sUL seeme 
incredible and unsuitable to the Divin 
The Mosaic account of the creation, he 
must be a. parable or allegory, otherwise 
not be true. This was the substance of 
excepted to revealed religion in geners 
the Old Testament in particular. 

As. a general remark on these vague 
tuitous exceptions, the learned prelate 
that the bare possibility of artifice and co 
was no proof that the Bible is a fable, i 
who believe it axe decew^* '^^ ^^^ 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 45 

npcm the testunany of another in Becnlar mattefs, 
where lliere exnts no eanse to snspect the vera- 
aty oi that evidence, and more especially if it is 
confirmed hy other drcomstances, is not only rea- 
sonable, hot forms the criterion by which all the 
acts of justice and goremment in the world are 
regulated. It follows, therefore, if the credibility 
of ity& tiling, the integrity and disinterestedness 
of the witnesses, the nnmber of them, and the 
most public confirmation that could be given, do all 
concur to penmade us of any matter of feet, it is 
in Ttiin to say, because it is possible for so many 
nun to agree in a lie, that therefore they have 
done it. In all other things, a man gives his as- 
sent wiiere the credibility is strong on die one side, 
toad lliere appears nothing on the other to coun- 
teibalance it. Such an overwhelming weight of 
evidence goes, for instance, to establish many of 
^ Christian miracles which were attested both 
by the Jewish and Roman writers that lived at 
me tune. These were believed, on the testimony 
of the apostles, by the proselytes and followers of 
the gospel, many of whom went about to per- 
suade the world of these fiacts, though they gained 
nothing by their zeal but reproach and sufferings. 
Kovtr to avoid all this, by alleging the possibUity 
of fraud and contrivance, without advancing a 
ringle presimiption to make such a charge appear 
probable, is, in oth^ words, to reject all evidence, 
and wilfdlly to resist conviction. 

To this reasoning, his Lordship objected, that he 
yrm not master of Ins own belief ; and if a man says 
he cannot believe, what help is there ? He thsras^ 
fdfhf esvBD when strongest, was but a \itfAMd(^ 
eptakm; and wbs possoBied wiih a QBDenii ta» 




48 COHVXBT8 FBOM IHFIDKUTT 

aertum to allege that he oonld not enk « 
theae ca|>acitie8 in some men's minda, k 
and degree beyond what they are foonc 
In this snppofiition there is nothing abanr 
dible. And as fmr these inspired mesee 
iBg the means pat into their hands, by 
anch extraordinary gifts, of deceiTing i 
it mnat be allowed that, besides their x 
bity and sincerity, Grod migfat so far • 
restrain them in delirering his orack 
should be oat of their power to make 
monication, otherwise than within the 
in the eaq^mm terms of their commissiMii 
theae persims had the conifirmation of i 
dime credentials, to warrant us in belii 
they wrote ; and no man can imagine 
woqld affix his seal and signature to 8 
this were to make Him who is of ] 
than to look upon sin, attest what ere 
candour and honesty would refuse to sa 
That there were difficulties hard to 
stood, such as the fall of man, and the 
eyil, could not be concealed ; but th 
arise perhaps more from our want oi a 
mm, than from any thing: extraordinarj 
eoontable in the facts th^nsel^es. At 
We who cannot frithom the secret coum 
Almighty, act very presumptuously in ' 
on us to reject an excellent system of 
holy roles, merely because some parts < 
not been explained to our sadsfectioii. 
ought to take into account, that the on^ 
cities of our nature, which might have i 
to comprehend many tMn^ that appear 
or eontnidk;ticma> axe iiorv fgra^ 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 47 

pvnctaally predicted, some ages before their com- 
(riMon ; not in dark and doubtful language, like 
fltttdes, which might bend to OTery accidrait, but 
in plam terms. Such was the restoration of the 
JewB by Cyrus, who is expressly mentioned by 
wmoj thft history of the Syrian and Egyptian 
Vtnga,— *hft destruction of Jerusalem, foretold by 
Chnst; and various others, where not only the 
efents themselves, but the periods at which they 
dioiild happen, are stated with all the accuracy of 
dironological computation. These considerations, 
dicmgfa they amounted to no more than a general 
persuasion in the mind, made it at least as reason- 
aUe to believe in the Scripture writings, as in any 
ether production of antiquity. But when to these 
are joined the general design, and the many ex- 
eeUent moral roles contained in revelation ; and 
llie efifects which result from following these di- 
iections, in liberating us from the slavery of appe- 
tites and passions, exalting us above the accidents 
of Hfe, and difiiising a universal joy and purity of 
keart ; these certainly were additional assuranceis' 
that the promises of Scripture are true, and that 
lliey are accompanied with an internal power and 
dffln<mstr8tion, which leaves no room to insinuate 
tliat good men are abused by their fancies, or la- 
bouring under enthusiastical deceptions ; here we 
have historical proofs confirmed by the deductions 
of reason, and the results of individual experience. 
With regard to the possibility of revelation, it 
could not be denied that God might communicate 
kb will to his creatures, and that by one method 
in preference to another. For as he has given us 
eyes tjo see material objects, and a power of ap- 
pvehendiag abstract troths, so it waa z, Nve&k «&- 



50 CONVERTS FROM INFIDHLITT. 

» pro(;eedmg which, as heing enjoined by divine 
command, has often excited the ridicule or the dis- 
gnst of the infidel, and even perplexed the minds of 
sincere Christians. But even from what we know, 
whesk circomstances are considered, a little refleo- 
^n might serve to abate our indisnotioii and sur- 
prise. If it be granted that God, who at first called 
them into existence, had a right to take sway thdr 
kves, he might have done it by sending toakte or 
pestilence among them, as well as by employing the 
instrumentality of others ; and had he adopted the 
former method, we should never have heard the 
proceeding impeached or found fault with ; though 
there is not more cruelty or injustice in it than in 
the latter : the edge of the sword is even p^haps 
a more gentle and merciful visitation, than &e hcnr- 
rors of an earthquake, or the lingering and loath- 
some contagion of the plague. And for the chil- 
dren who might suffer mnocently for their Others 
faults, God could in another state, or in some other 
Way, re^mpense them for this temporary but un- 
avmdable calamity. 

The only myst^is, why the Israelites were com- 
manded to perform an act that appeared so baiba- 
rous : And this will not be so difficult to solve^ if 
we consider that this severity was not intiended to be 
a precedent for future times, but merely as a signal 
and terrible example of divine punishment inflicted 
on a wicked and idolatrous people : That the Isme- 
lites had special warrant and direction from heaven, 
as was manifest to all the world by such mighty 
miracles as plainly shewed that they were singled 
out and commissioned of God, to be the execu- 
tioners of his justice : And that God, by enjoy- 
ing them in this service, intended to possees tbw 



- EARL OF ROCHSSTBR. 51 

vrith a salutary abhorrence of their own besetting 
sin of idolatry ; and to give l^m a yisible demoa- 
Btration of his extreme displeasure at those prac- 
tices which had called down this awfiil and sitm^ 
mary infliction of his vengeance. All this may 
not perhaps amount to a clear solution or vindi- 
cation of such transactions, or satisfy a man's 
pmosity in every particular ; but this, considering 
tlie long interval of time, our ignorance of feu^ts, 
aiiid other accidents, will not appear matter of sur- 
prise. 

. The same remark is applicable to the history of 
liie oreation, as related by Moses, though it has 
been disputed how far some things in it may be lite- 
ral and others allegorical ; yet all must admit, that 
there is nothing recorded which may not be his- 
toiieally true ; for if angelic or spiritual beings 
can assume visible shapes, or form voices in the 
air, (which are attested by as good evidence as 
any olher historical ficu^ts,) then the speaking ser- 
pent may have only been the organ c^ communi- 
cation for the evil spirit that deceived Eve ; and 
die, being so lately created, might as reasonably 
brieve that a reptile, as well as an angel, possessed 
the foculty of speech. 

But to examine and decide on religion, merely. 
ficom some of the dark and mysterious parts of 
Scripture, is at best but a very uncandid and un- 
just mode of proceeding. Christianity ought to 
be consida:ed as a whole ; it should be judged by. 
the rules it prescribes \ the tendency of its spirit ; 
and the effects it is calculated to produce. No- 
thing could be more conducive to the peace, orders 
and happiness of the world, and nothing more 
firiendly to the interest of every man In \^ardc\ila£\ 



58 COHVKRTS FKOU INFIDEI.ITT> 

dm the precepts it enjoini. Its rales < 
brietyi tempenmce and moderation, wen tfa 
pnaemn of life, sod what was perhope m< 
health and comfort. Nothing was so genera 
noble as to forgive injaiies, to assist the Mei 
and sii[^ly the needy. Nothing raised and 
tajned a man's reputation so much, aa to I 
BDd OMTcifiU, kind, charitable, and compaasi 
No state erf mind was more desirable than ( 
temper, a serene conscience, a soul noclond 
passion and appetite : and nothing could 
societies, &miUe8, and neigfabonrhoods so 1 
•a when the benign spirit of the gospel vasal 
to eiert and difinae its naUve influence, 
modves to obey its ndes, and to cnltivste its 
were strong. It set before us the best exai 
and engaged us by the most persnasire it 
ments to imitate them. 

If the tendency of Christianity was 80 ob 
, its worship was not less plain and simple 
ceremonies were few and significant ; requir 
toilsome journeys, no costly Bacrifices, no pe 
to be inflicted on the body, no troublesome d 
tions of meats and days, and no abBtruse 
which priests or philosopherB only can compn 
Hie honeety w^ich characterized its fonndi 
its first ^MMtles, shewed' there could be n( 
fice ; there were no secrets kept only among 
of die priesthood, but every thing was open 
ita piofesBore ; ita rewards were, indeed, defer 
another state, but ita influence waa felt e^ 
this hfe, fot good men are bleat with peace u 
conscience, great joy in the confidence thej 
of God'i fitTOor, and of enjoying his preaeni 
everf and if calanutwa ^liiM^ bs^i^en, tbf 



SARL OF ROCHESTER. 53 

80 nliugated by patience, and the inward assis- 
.tances with wMch they are furnished, that even 
•their crosses and adversities are converted into 
blessings. 

All these things considered, rendered it highly 
improbable that Christianity was a cunningly 
• devised fable, or the contrivance of interested 
.inpost^rs^ however ingenious. The conduct of 
its Author who submitted to poverty and r^roach, 
avmded honours and distinctions from men, and 
laid down his life in attestation of his doctrine, — 
the character of its apostles, who had no preten- 
sions either to power or wealth, who delivered 
their commissions without reserve^ though they 
knew the consequences were to be persecution, 
or even torture and death ; and who gave such 
public confirmation to the truth of what they 
taught by the many wonderful works they pec- 
formed, so that vast multitudes were converted, 
and embraced doctrines which were opposed to 
their interests and their passions, — ^the rapidity 
and extent of its propagation in the world, not- 
withstanding the power and malignity of its ene- 
mies, and the cruelties which for three hundred 
-years were employed to suppress and bear it down ; 
all these being laid in the one scale, and the few 
objections that have been urged against it, put into 
the other, it will not be difficult to pronoimce on 
which side the balance will incline. 

To cavil at exceptions and peculiarities, is not 
the fair way to judge of the truth or the tendency 
of any system. The proper plan is not to begin 
with quibbling about obscure passages, or the pos<- 
sibilities of imposture ; but to suiTey the harmony 
and contextmre of the whole, and &omtSi!ias& %^tw«c^ 

£2 



54 CONVBRTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

▼iew descend to more particiilar inquiriesy witfaonft 
suffering the mind to be warped adide by preju- 
dices, and forestalled wi^ trivial or imaginary 
difficulties. 

To the reasonableness of all these statements, 
his Lordship seemed in general to assent ; only 
he excepted to the belief of mysteries in the 
Christian religion, which he thonght an impossi- 
bility, — since a man conld not believe what he 
does not comprehend, and can form no idea oL 
This, he was convinced, had made way for all the 
juggling of priests, who imposed on the ignorant 
and vulgar what they pleased ; and giving their 
absurdities a hard name, calling them mysteries, 
credulous people were easily tricked into belief 
and acquiescence. The morality of the gospel 
appeared to him not less exceptionable, and un- 
.worthy the wisdom of a divine legislator. The 
restraining a man to one wife, and denying the 
temedy of divorce, and prohibiting the free use 
of sexual pleasures, he thought were imreason- 
able impositions on the natural liberties of man- 
kmd. He objected also to the maintenance and 
jurisdiction of the clerical order, as a piece of 
official contrivance ; and asked, why he must obey 
a set of men, who tell him he cannot be saved 
without believing things against his reason, and 
then pay them liberally for telling him ? These 
formed his main objections, and &e substance of 
what he had to advance against Christianity. 

On the subject of mysteries, he was reminded, 

in answer, that in every production or operation 

of nature, we had to encounter similar difficulties, 

and meet with appearances that we could not ez- 

plaiB or account for. TVie iotTnaK.\sf!L oi TOftu and 



SA&L OF ROCHESTSR. 55 

animalii, — ^ growth of plants^ — the union of 
Bonl wad body, — the fieumlties of the mind, how 
they commonicste motion and activity to matter ; 
these, and a mnltitnde of other wonders, if we 
were to posh cariosity into all the intricacies of 
feseaidi, would be fomid as daric and incompie- 
hransible as any of the mysterious doctrines of 
xeligion. The same holds trae with the different 
d^iees of knowledge and ci^Mudty among men,-^ 
the learning of a philosopher is a mystery to a 
child or a clown ; and the inventions of modem 
times would appear a mystery to those who lived 
in the infimcy of society. We cannot compre- 
hend, or even conceive, how soul and body should 
so unite together, and be mutually affected with 
each other's concerns ; or how two principles, so 
widely different, both in their nature and opera- 
tions, should yet combine in one and the same 
person. 

As many plausible exceptions, and speculative 
arguments might be brought against these things, 
which yet every one knows to be true, as against 
the Trinity of the Godhead, — ^the incarnation of 
Christ, — ^the agency of the Holy Spirit, — ^the re- 
sforrection of &e body, or any of the other mys- 
teries contained in Scripture. All that can be 
said against them is, that they agree not with our 
common notions ; though they are not more un- 
reasonable or inexplicable than many peculiarities 
in other things, which we really beUeve to be, 
and yet we are not able to comprehend their 
mode and manner of existence ; so that this ought 
to be no just cause, provided we have other solid 
grounds of belief, why our reason shoidd not sub- 
mit to what we cannot well conceive. It cssoiss^ 



56 CONVERTS FROM INFIDB£.ITY 

be concealed, and is rather to be regsetted, ^dwt 
these doctrines have had defend^v of moi^e .aeal 
than judgment, who have darkened cofiinfld by 
words without knowledge. They have been sup- 
ported by weak arguments, illustrated by :iii^ 
and impertinent similies, and peq)lexed by an over- 
strained and injudicious nicety of intefpretadon. 
The opposition of ancient heretica gave rise to 
much curious and unprofitable speculation amofig 
the Fathers, who, in pursuing the arguments <^ 
their antagonists, were often lost in the mazes of 
their own fanciful commentaries. Critics and 
schoolmen, in later times, have refined upon their 
subtleties ; and the aid of superstition has been 
called in to enforce, as articles of belief, exposi- 
tions of these mysteries, which not only do vio- 
lence to our reason, but contradict the testimony 
of our senses. 

In this manner the simplicity of Scripture has 
been corrupted, while its acknowledged difficulties 
have been rendered more complicated and incre^ 
dible. Even from the plainest language, the most 
absurd inferences have been drawn,— that a mcursel 
of bread, or a drop of wine are actually, by the 
magic of words, converted into flesh and blood ; 
and this every Christian has been bound to believe 
under pain of damnation, however much his eyes 
or his understanding may revolt against the cre- 
dibility of what his senses tell him, must either be 
a daily miracle or a daily imposition. These 
things are certainly to be lamented ; but such 
perversions can be no argument for not receiving 
mysteries which are expressly and distinctly re- 
corded in Scripture ; and it is no just ground for 
rejecting them totaUy, that we cannot form an ex- 



XABL OF ROCMESTEB* 57 



^kit notion of Aem, or satisfy our mindi in ererf 
particiilar. Many sudi things we believe in Im- 
man afiairs, which are more within our reach ; and 
it must be very unreasonable to refuse our assent in^ 
diyine things, which are much more above our 
comprehension. 

Ajs to the restraints and limitations imposed on 
the sexual appetite, these can never be alleged as 
accusations of severity or injustice. They might 
be defended even on the common right which all 
legislators claim of prescribing laws for the govenif* 
ment of their subjects ; and it would be hard to deny 
to the Supreme Lawgiver a privilege wbidi Idnga 
and infmor uden dally exercise ; who, when they 
find the liberties their people take, prove dangerous 
or hurtful, set such bounds, and make such regu* 
lations, as they judge necessary and expedient* 
Unrestrained passion, it cannot be denied, is one 
oS those mischiefs that prove injurious to society,, 
and must be checked. No one will dispute the 
propriety of defending men's lives and properties 
against the aggressions of lawless violence,— or 
that adequate means must be employed to fortify 
and secure them ; and if it be admowledged thi^ 
men have a property in their wives and daughters^ 
to seduce the one, or corrupt the other, must be 
reprobated and cmidemned as unjust and injn* 
rious. And it is certain that these consequences 
will ensue, that the ties and distinctions of nature 
will be broken, unless men carefully govern and 
controul their vagrant i^petites. Hence the ex« 
treme wisdom and benevolent policy of those re- 
strictions, which the Founder of Christianity has 
imposed on the unrestrained indulgence oi carnal 
desires^ — as he well knew that nothing ocra^si %a 



5d CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

^fectually deliver the world from their mischief 
YOiis effects, as the sidutary injunctions and Hmi- 
tations which he has prescribed. To interfere with 
a man*8 personal liberty, or cnib him in the gra- 
tification of his desires, may seem, in the abstract, 
an unwarrantable violation of equity and nature ; 
but if we balance the advantages of such a firee^ 
dom, with the injuries and inconveniences whidt 
result from it, — ^the limits prescnbed by human, 
as well as divine laws, will not appear unjust or 
unnatural restrictions. 

But besides, the due confinement of these 
libertine propensities is not less beneficial to the 
individual, than advantageous to the peace of 
fieanilies, and the welfare of society. iAGrtb, 
frolic, or pleasure, and those often but of a pre- 
carious and momentary kind, are all that the 
disciples of licentiousness can promise them- 
selves. And at how great an expense, both ta 
themselves and others, are these generally pur- 
chased ! How many waste their strength and dieir 
constitution by the indulgence of inordinate plei^ 
sure&; they bring on premature old age, and loath- 
some diseases on their bodies, which are often 
disfigm^d by their intemperance and debaucheries; 
and what is still worse, they often entail infection 
and debility on th»r innocent but unhM>py off> 
spring, who sujQGer for their excesses. Iney im- 
pair their fortunes and estates, which are squaor 
dered away in prodigal expenses, or ruined by 
neglect; they forf^t th^ credit and reputation 
by the base expedients, — the criminal resources,— r 
tiie many false and impious promises they are 
forced to employ in compassing their lawless de» 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 59 

■ N<if do they suffer less in the noble powers 
and facilities of their minds^ which sink and de- 
^fsaenXe by their vices, into a state of stupid in- 
capacity that wholly un£t8 them for business, and 
e¥^ indisposes them to think. Or if they are ca- 
pable of reflection, it is only to endure horror and 
anguish, whidb they can &id no means of miti- 
gating or aroiding, except by plunging deeper in 
dissipation, or taking sanctuary in atheistical prin- 
ciples. If to all these be added, the peace and 
harmony of families destroyed, — ^the ties of nature 
and affection broken, — ^the laws of honour and 
virtue transgressed, — and the brutal confusion in* 
troduced into society, it will not appear that the 
vestraints, which on the one hand protect and se- 
cure so many valuable blessings, and on the other, 
d^ver the world from so many miseries, can be 
deemed severe or unnecessary prohibitions. 

As for polygamy, many reasons opposed it ; it 
occasioned perpetual quarrelings and jealousies 
among the wives of the same individual; it de- 
bases and degrades them from their original sta- 
tion, as helpful companions, into mere instruments 
of sensual pleasure ; it distracts, or rather annihi- . 
lates the affections of the husband; it leads. to 
neglect, or partial treatment of children ; and it 
appears to violate the arrangements of nature, and 
the design of the Deity, who created only one 
pair at f^st, and by preserving so near an equality 
between the two sexes, seems to intimate that Uie 
same practice was intended to continue. This 
plurality, therefore, is contrary to the original in-? 
stitution of marriage, |us well as tiie example of the 
earliest patriarchs. It was introduced when men 
d^enerated from the primitive state of manners ; 



00 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

and thongh pmctised by the Jews, bodi before and 
under the law of Moses, it may be doubted how 
far It had the sanction of cdvine approbation, as 
the passages where it is mentioned are of equi- 
vocal import ; or if there was such a permissioii, 
it mighty like that of diTorce, be granted be- 
cause ^ of the hardness of their hearts f or for 
some temporary purpose, rather than firom any 
rectitude or propriety in the thing itself. Conse- 
quendy the marriages of the patriardls, recorded 
in Scripture, like their vices and imp^iections, are 
no evidence that the custom was lawful, or in- 
tended to be general and permanent. In the times 
of the New Testament, the Jewish manners had 
undergone a reformation in this respect, as we 
meet with no trace or mention there of any such 
practice being tolerated. Upon the whole mattor 
then, it was very apparent that those indulgmioes^ 
for wMch libertines plead, are directly opposed 
to the best interests of mankind, both socud and 
individual ; and the author of l^e Christian law, 
1^0 knew the nature of man, has wisely set 
bovnds to those extravagant liberties, as the only 
safeguard, and most effectual means ofpromotiDg 
both public and private happmess. Ine con<fi- 
tions and requirements annexed to this tow, were 
not in themselves agreeable to our perverse ior 
clinations ; but iffolh>wed, they brought an abuifr- 
dant recompense both here and hereafter ; and it 
was but fair, that he who bestowed higk rewards, 
^ould have the ri^ to exact dlffiodt petfbr-' 
manoes. 

Here his Lordsfaq^ iateiposed some doubts, 
whether the premises waxianted the conchnkm. 
He adsikted that the terms were difficult, fant 



BABL OF AOCHESTEIL 61 

Beemed Bcepticalaa to the cettaiitty of the rewards. 
Upon ihiB he was told that we had the same assu- 
mice of iatiire rewards that we have of any other 
parts of Christianity. We have the promises of 
Grod made to us in Christ, and confirmed hy mi- 
nMdeB ; and we have an earnest of them in the 
peace and satisfiEustion which follow a good ccm^ 
tcienee* Tlie reward is abundantly sure, and 
AeK» IB no reason it should he given us before the 
eonditionB are performed oa which it is promised. 
The difficulties were not greats than those we 
daily encounter m the most ordinary concerns of 
fife, anch as learning a common trade or profes- 
SHMi^ wfaidbi sometimes requires years of study and 
expenae. Besides, the pains and uneasiness wo 
§f^ wero rather the effect of our corrupt naturei 
duBB any excessive severity in the injunctions of 
Oiristianity, which graduiJly became mere tole- 
rable, aa our vicious habits were subdued and re« 
laiquished. 

Another argument or apology which his Lord- 
Aap m^ged m defence oi his irregalanties, was the 
misconduct of Christians themsekes, whidi he said 
kd given him and many others great encourage- 
ment to continue in their iniquities. £vei» the 
clergy, who midertook to be the guides and instmc- 
pan oi othora, often acted so as to make it difficult 
to think ihmr beUef was any^ thing else tlian a so* 
linnn preteaeew Their ambiHon in aspiring after 
eourt £ftvour, and the servile ends they took to at* 
«sin it, aa well as the divimons and animositieB 
lottong themselves about trifles, made him suspect 
that reUqgion was a n^re tric^ and the things could 
not be true, which, in their sermoDB and discourse^ 
they so eacnestly recommeaded. Othera who pra^ 



62 CONVIBRTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

tended to believe, lived so inconsistently wilJi tlieir 
profession, that no man could persuade himself 
they were serious, or had any principle of retigioa 
about them. 

In answer to these excuses of himself, he was re- 
minded that even the best men, through infirmity 
or temptation, may be overcome and betrayed into 
sins, which prove a source of grief to them all their 
life after ; but it was not a just inference, from the 
ftdlings of a few, to conclude that all ChristiaBs 
are hypocrites, <h* that all region is a cheat. Many 
of the charges brought against believers were mis- 
takes and calunmies, though it coidd not be denied 
that some of them were too true. But at ati events 
/' it was unreasomdile to make the faults of others a 
' * plea or vindication for himself. Among the clergy, 
it was to be lamented, that some did not live suit- 
ably to their holy functions, or to the sacred obli- 
gations imposed on them by their profession ; yet 
as a body, there were many of them who gave vi- 
sible demonstrations of the power which religion 
had over them, in their contempt of the world, the 
strictness of their lives, their readiness to forgive 
injuries, to relieve the poor, and to do good on all 
occasions. As for their authority, if they sla^tched 
that too far, the gospel did plainly reprove them 
for it. They were only an o^ier of men dedicated 
to God, to attend to his ordinances, and preserve 
the knowledge and remembrance of him among 
men. It was necessary therefore that they should be 
respected, and have a fit maintenance app<Hnted for 
them, so that they might be preserved ftom the 
contempt that follows poverty, and the distractions 
which the providing against it might otherwise in- 
rolre them in. And if some of them, either 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 63 

through ambition or covetousness, used indirect 
or CTiminal means for attaining dignities and prel 
ferments ; and when possessed of them, did either 
accumulate fortmies, or apply their wealth to 
luxury and vain pomp, these were personal failings 
in wmch the gospel was not concerned, and which 
4;ould reflect no reproach or discredit on it, as k \\ 
expressly censured and condemned them. " •/ 

~ ^Snch is a summary yiew of the chief arguments 
and objections which formed the topic of discourse 
^&a both sides. Every doubt and difficulty which 
liis Lordship had to urge against religion, pointed 
with all the force and eSect his wit could give ; and 
every sophistical evasion that could defend or em^ 
bolden hnn in his vices, were faithfully recorded by 
his candid and venerable \isitor. The substance, and 
in general the words of these memorable conversa- 
tions, are here presented to the reader. The answers 
and refutations might perhaps in seme cases have 
been extended or illustrated at greater length ; but 
lids has been avoided, as it seemed an unjustifiable 
liberty, both with the subject and the author, to 
give nis arguments any additions, or clothe them 
in other language than he himself chose to express 
them. The result of the whole was such as might 
have been anticipated, and made a most ^utary 
impression on the noble penitent. Driven by de- 
grees and with reluctance from every strong-hold* 
he saw those sophistries within which he had en- 
trenched and forced himself, to be but a refuge of 
lies. His most rooted prejudices yielded and gave 
way before the irresistible energy of truth. Con- 
viction won upon him at every stage of the dis- 
cussion, and reached his conscience in spite of 
all his reasonings, and contrary to his strongest ia<^ 



M CONVERTS FROM IKFIDELITT. 

dinations. When the scales of eiror were re- 
moTed, moral objects assumed a new character, 
and appeared even to change their nature. He 
was convinced, he said, that vice and irreligion 
were as contrary and injurious to hmnaa society, 
as wild beasts let loose would be ; and that ther^ 
foire he was firmly resolved to alter iJie whfAb 
course of his life, to become strictly just and tnte^ 
to be chaste and temperate, to forbear swearing 
and pro£ane discourse, to worship and pray to his 
Maker ; and that though he was not arrived at a 
full persuasion of Christianity, he woeld never 
employ his vsrit more to run it down, or to corrupt 
others. In these good resolutions he was encou- 
raged by his worthy friend, who assured him that 
a virtuous life would no longer appear a etniggle 
and a constraint, when vicious inclinations were 
removed ; and that if his mind was once cleared of 
its erroneous principles, and freed from the drnni- 
nion of those habits that obscured and distempered 
it, he would soon see through all the sophistnee of 
wit and atheism, which had only the fsdse glitter- 
ing of argument, and could mislead none but men 
of weak understanding, who have not capacitjr or 
discernment to penetrate deeper than the mere sur- 
face of things. 

The preceding conversations took place in Lon^ 
don, before his Lordship quitted it for his resi* 
dence at Woodstock Pane, neariy four mon^ prior 
to his death. The hand of God had now visibly 
touched him. For some weeks he suffered extreme 
pain in his body, the violent motion of travelling 
having increased his disorder, so that he conchideS 
his recovery to be almost hopeless. But the sense 
ofbie bodily tortures was not so keen and ezcnh 



IBARL or. ROCHESTER. 6$ 

clating as the agonies of his mind, which was not 
mepely- clouded and depressed as formerly in hig 
intervals of melancholy, hut wounded with th« 
most Qcute and poignant sorrow ; for though he 
was not yet illuminated with clear or comprehend 
nve views of religion, he looked hack on his past 
life with hitter rememhrance, and ccm^sed thai; 
all the pleasures of sin he had ever known, were 
not worthy to he named in comparison with the 
anguish of spirit he felt on their account. He 
eionsidered that he had not only neglected and dis- 
honoured, hut openly defied his Creator ; and drawn 
many others hy his ccmversation and example into 
nmilar impieties ; and he now set himself wholly 
to turn to God with imfeigned repentance^ and 
to do all in his power, during the little remainder 
of his existence on earth, to redeem those years 
which he had so ill employed in folly and profanity. 
Several clergymen visited him every week of his 
sickness, among whom were the Bishop of Oxford^ 
Mr Parsons, his mother s chaplain, and Dr Mar- 
shall, the learned Rector of Lincoln College. 
From the excellent advices of these pious atten- 
dants, he received that direction and support which 
his present circumstances rendered necessary. The 
storm and perturbation of his mind gi-adually sub- 
sided ; the labouring spirit broke from under its 
cloud of apprehension ; and the ammating hope 
of the gospel, like the clear shining after rain, dif- 
fused over every dark spot of his anticipations, 
the brightness of a pure and calm serenity. He 
became fully persuaded both of the truth of Cluis- 
tianity and of the power of inwaid grace, and cast 
himself entirely on the merits of the Redeemer^ 
for obtaining mercy and forgiveness* 

f2 



M CONVERTS VROM IKVIDCLITT* 

Que Immediato cause to which he McHbed Ui 
eonnction, was the fifiy third chapter of Iniafa^ 
which Mr Parsons read to him. By c<Na^ariiig that 
with the history of Christ's advent and cnicifixioii» 
^ coincidence appeared so strange, the fiiots ae» 
corded so exactly with theprophecy, though written 
many ages before, that he felt the tmth forced upon 
him with apower of demcmstration that he coidd not 
resist. The meanness of the Saviour's appeaivnce^ 
the disparagement and rejection he was to euSetf 
the manner of his death, and the opposition to his 
gospel, were delineated with such minuteness and 
fiddity as if the inspired prophet had been an eye- 
witness of the scene, and recorded what he saw in 
a narratiye, rather than uttered a prediction coa* 
ceming it at the distance of 400 years. 

He had caused the chapter to be read to him se 
often, both by his lady and his mother, who attended 
him in his illness with all possible tenderness, 
that he had got it completely by heart, and was in 
the habit of repeating and making reflections imon 
it, in a sort of transport of heavenly delight. The 
words, he remarked, carried an authority with them, 
which shot like rays of light into his mind, so that 
his understanding was not only satisfied and con^ 
vinced, but by en inward power, so effectually 
constrained, that he ever after as firmly believed 
in the Saviour, as if he had seen him in the clouds. 
He had strong persuasions of being admitted to 
happiness in heaven, of which he sometimes sp<^e 
with extraordinary emotion. He received the 
sacrament with great satis^M^on, a pleasure which 
was not a little increased, by partaking of it widi 
his affectionate lady, who had been for some years 
misled, partly through ibe Vnsi^xinfMiQStaEtY of her 



MARL OF ROCHBSTBR. 67 

fansboidy into liie commmkion of the Romiah 
CSmrdbu 

About a mondi before bis death, be wrote to 
Dr Burnet, wisbing a renewal of tbose TisitB 
wbicb bad abready proved so beneficial to bim. 
Tlie lett^ is expressed with ell the humility of 
true penitence, and may be regarded as no nn- 
eqoivocal evidence of the salutary change that had 
taken place since their late interview. 

<< Woodstock Park, Oxfbrtbliire. 

^ My most honoured Dr Burnet, 

^ My spirits and body decay so equally toge^w, 
that I shall write you a letter, as weak as I am in 
person. I b^in to value churchmen above afl 
men in the world, &c. If God be yet pleased to 
spare me longer in this world, I hope in your con- 
versation to be exalted to that degree of piety, 
that the world may see bow much I abhor what 
I so long loved, and how much I glory in repen- 
tance and in Grod's service. Bestow your prayer^ 
upon me, that God would spare me, (if it be his good 
will,) to shew a true repentance and amendment 
of life for the time to come : or else, if the Lord 
pleasetb to put an end to my worldly being now^ 
that he would mercifully accept of my death-bed 
repentance, and perform that promise that hehalii 
been pleased to make, that, at what time soever a 
sinner doth repent, he woidd receive him. Put 
m> these prayers, most dear doctor, to Almighty 
God^ for 

« Yours, &c 

« ROCHBSTER. 



66 CONVERTS PROM INFIDELITY. 

The intercourse renewed in consequence of thik 
letter, was mutually acceptable. His Lordshq^ 
received Ins friend with transpbrt, and uttered many 
tender expressions concerning his kindness in com'r 
ipg so^ far to see him. He told him all that had 
occurred, of his fears, his convictions, and his 
hopes ; spoke of his conversion to God in terms of 
joy and confidence, and said, he now found his 
mind possessed of far other views and thougihts 
than it had formerly been. He said he had over- 
come all feelings of resentment against others, and* 
bore no ill-wiU, and no personsd hatred to any 
man : He had given a true account of his debts, 
and ordered them all to be paid : He professed he 
was contented either to die or live as should please 
God, and though it was a foolish thing for a man 
to pretend to choose, yet he wished rather to die, 
as he was confident he should be happy, but feared 
if he lived he might relapse: He was resolved^ 
however, through Divine grace, to avoid Aose 
temptations, and that course of life and company 
which might again ensnare him ; and he desired to 
live on no- other account, but that he might, by the 
change of his manners, remove, as far as possible, 
the scandal his former behaviour had given* He 
would sometimes form schemes, in the probability 
of his recovery, by which he meant to reg^ulate 
himself in future, and was pleased to think how re- 
tired and studious and exemplary a life he would 
lead ; but these speculations were soon dissipated, 
when the paroxysms of his distemper returned. 

He manifested some anxiety to have the opinion 
of his Mend as to the efiicacy and acceptance of a 
death-bed repentance. Upon which he was infram- 
edf that all depended on the reality and sincerity of 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 69 

the dumge ; that tfais was the indispeiiisablis cimdition 
upcm wluch the promises of the gospel were made ; 
that though it was difficult to ascertain the genuine- 
ness of our penitence, unless it appeared in our 
liyes, and there was reason to fear uiat the repent- 
ance of most dying men, like the howlings of conr 
demned priscm^^ flowed more from a dread of 
their approaching fate, than from any remcvse or 
sonow for thdr crimes ; yet certainly if the mind 
of a sinner, eren on his ^eath-hed, he truly renewed 
and turned to God, so abundant are his compas- 
sion and his tenda: mercy, that eren in that ex- 
tremity he is wilting to xeceire iiim. But tibatthia 
co«id be no warrant or encouragement to confirm 
any in their imquities, or in the^mreasonable Teso« 
lution of deferring thor repentance till ^ey cm. 
em no longer, from the hope of at last obtaining 
m^rcy. 

Sudi an inference would be as injurioos as 
it was unjust ; for whatever mercy God may shew 
to those who hare never felt compunction tOl they 
are overtaken with sickness nntodeadi; this was no 
reason to presume ihat those who have dealt bo 
dinngenuonsly wilh God and their own souls, as 
to delay thdr repentance with such a design, dumld 
tiben4)e accepted of him. Theymay^esuddenlyy 
or by a disease that may impair or destroy all ca- 
pacity for reflection or amendment. No man's con- 
version is so far in his own power, that.it can be 
effiBCted without the assistance of Divine grace ; 
and tiiey who have all their lives neglected or re- 
dsted endi aid, can hardly eroect it in so extra- 
ordinary a BMmner at their death. Such c<»iduct k 
not only presumptuous in itself, but it is to rifslE 
the lugfaest and greatest concerns we hayQ> "OD^oa 



I 



70 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

the most dangerous and desperate issue possible-; 
and though it became not human weakness ta 
limit the grace of God^ yet there was every cause to 
doubt of a repentance begun and kept up under 
such delusion. Signal instances had occuired of 
late conversions brought about by very remarkable 
means ; but it is a pernicious confidence in any to 
proceed in their evil ways, in the expectation that 
Grod will in the same way work a miracle for their 
restoration. These rare and singular examples were 
beyond the ordinary methods of divine mercy ; an4 
though they do sometimes happen, that lliey may 
^ve an effectual alarm for awakening others ; yet 
k would destroy the whole design of religion, ii 
men should reckon and depend to the last, ob 
such an extraordinary and forcible operation d 
God's grace. 

These views appeared^ to his LordsMp .e<»Ted 
and satisfactory, and encouraged him to hope thai 
though his life had been too much devoted to the 
service of sin, — ^though he had too long resisted 
all the means of conviction, and abused the pa- 
tience and longHSuffering of God, yet he no^ 
looked back upon his former ways with abhor- 
rence and detestation. He was certain, he said) 
that his mind was aitii'ely changed ; and though 
terror had at first awakened him to a sense of &e 
danger, yet his repentance was now settled on the 
sure basis of faith and conviction. And though he 
did not live to put his resolutions of am^dmeat 
to the test, or give to the world evidence of his 
sincerity, by the practice of virtue and holinesiy 
yet his repentance was accompanied with snch 
symptoms as could leave no room for doubts jor 
suspicions as to its reality. Every word and ao- 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 71 

&(m bore testimony to his unfeigned penitence. 
hk none of his other sicknesses had he ever expe- 
rienced the same happy effects, or formed the same 
determinations. He had sometimes vagne dioughts 
and transient desires to reform, but this was solely 
to escape the troubles and inconveniences which 
bis vices occasioned him. But he now saw them 
m a different light ; and often expressed a hope 
that if he were yet spared a longer time, he should 
faring gkny to ^be name of God, by a new course 
of life, and particularly by his endeavours to con- 
vince others, — ^to assure ihem of the danger of 
their condition, if diey continued impenitent, — 
imd to reclaim them from their errors. ** I would 
not commit the least sin to gain a kingdom," was 
the solemn declaration he frequently made to his 
attendants ; and he would exhort them earnestly 
to fear God, — ^to be reconciled to him in Christ,-— 
and break off their sins while there was space for 
pardon. 

To a gentleman of his acquuntance, Mr Fan- 
ehaw, who paid him a visit, he addressed himself 
in the following strain of pious expostulation : << Q 
remember that you contemn God no more ; he is 
an avenging -God, 'and will visit you fnr your sins. 
He will, in mercy I h<^e, touch your conscience, 
sooner or later, as lie has done mine. You and I 
have been fri^ids and sinners together a great 
while, llierefore I am the more ^ee with you. 
We have aU been mistaken in our conceits and 
c^inions; our persuasions have been &lse ai^d 
groundless ; therefore God grant you repentance. 
Perhaps you may be disobliged by my plainness, 
but I 8pc»k the words of tru& and soberness^ and 
I hope God will touch your heart." 



7% COHVBRTS FROM tNFIOBLITY. 

To his serraats, md to aU alKmt him* he aliew^ 
a remavkalde tendemeas and concemt pityiag 
dieir tronblea in watching and attoadiiig hmv Md 
treating them with kindness and civilit3r» as if thay 
had b^ hoB equals. They heard neoo of that 
cursing, railing, or re^Kroaching, which .<oii other 
occasions had been their. usual entertammentt , If 
he had even, in the extremity of paiD* ofinoed^lte 
least fretfukess or impatience, or q^ken a haatry 
word to the meanest of them, ho would imwo 
diately beg pardon. The hal»t of aweanog^ a 
▼ice fnm winch, on the slightest pi:o?oeai|iQ% he 
could scarcely ha^e reframed for three wrdumea, 
he con^letely conquered by a OGoustant and reso- 
lute watchfulness* 

Being offended <m^ ^ome occasion, at the deli^ 
or negligwAoe of one of hia attendants, he said 
with some warmth, ^ that damned f^w^" hut 
instantly checking himself he exclaimed^ ^.Q^ 
that language of friends, whidb was so fiuniMav to^ 
me, hangs yet about me ; sure nonehaTe deserved 
taiore to be damned than I have done." And 
after having humbly asked pardon of God for lt» 
he desired the servant to be called back^ that h» 
might ask his forgiveness. He professed his lean- 
ness- to foigive aU the injuries ever any had done 
hkn, and to make restitution to the utmoat of hia 

power, to tiioeeiHiom he had wimiged or offioidedi 
He would oftcoi call bis diifahnen intohia preaeooei. 
and i^eak to ihem^widi iaennre8s3»le toodomaas,. 
Messing them in the name of Go^-^^trpyiag far 
than,— and recommending them to his protactloik 
'^ Look on them all)^ he once said to Dr Bometr 
^ and see how good Grod has been to me^ in giv* 
ing me so many Ueasings^ and I faavacaniediiqf!' 



EARL OF -ROCHESTSIU 7$ 

self to him, like an imgracioiis and nntliankfiil 
dog." He gave earnest charges fw their pious 
edn€atioA,--^wishing that his son might never he a 
wit ; one of those wretched creatores, (as he him- 
self explained it,) who pride themselves in ahusing 
God and religions-denying his existence or his 
{Mt>vidence ; but that he might become an honest 
and religious man, which would be the best sup- 
port of his fiEunily, and preferable to all fortnno 
and honours. 

' Of his own manner of life he discouned fre^ 
quently, and without reserve ; accusing himself 
publicly for his vices and impieties, and speaking 
of them in terms of the most unqualified abhor- 
rence. He regarded himself as the vilest wretch 
HxBLt ever the sun shone upon ; wished rather that 
he had been a reptile crawling in a ditch, or a beg- 
gar, or confined for his whole life to a dungeon, 
than have so dishonoured and offended his Maker. 
<> O blessed God,'* he would cry, ^ can such a 
horrid creature as I am be accepted of thee, who 
has denied thy being, and contemned thy power ? 
Can there be mercy and pardon for me ? Shall 
the unspeakable joys of heaven be conferred on 
such a wretch? O mighty Saviour, never but 
through thine infinite love and satisfaction ! O 
never, but by the purchase of thy blood 1" The 
mercy and free grace of God, offered through Jesus 
Christ to returning sinners, was now the only hope, 
and anchor of his soul, on which he cast himself 
implicitly with all the confidence of faith, and all 
the fervour of devotion. He had abandoned that 
absurd and foolish philosophy which the world 
BO much admired ; and embraced, after the most 

VOL. I. G 



74 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

calm and irresistible conviction, the articles and 
mysteries of the Christian religion. 

The more he read and mechtated on the Holy 
Scriptures, the more their beauty and excellency 
appeared, and the greater his admiration and esteem 
grew for them. Haying once received the truth in 
file loye of it, all the seeming absurdities and contra- 
dictions in them, he found to be but the malignant 
fancies of men of corrupt and reprobate judgments, 
which vanished when approached by &e light of 
reason and investigation. He was not only a be- 
liever, but a bold advocate for piety and virtue ; and 
argued as strongly in their fovour, as he had ever 
before done agunst them. And to obUterste^ as 
far as possible, ev^ memorial of his guilt, to re« 
move every object that might serve as temptalioiia 
and incitements to others, he gave strict injunctiooB 
to those persons in whose custody his papers were, 
to bum all his pro&ne and lewd writings, all his oh* 
scene and scandalous pictures, as fit only to pro- 
mote vice and inmuffality. He likew&e com- 
manded his friends, who were the witnesses of his 
penitence and confessions, to publish them freely 
and undisguisedly to the world. He wished every 
thing concerning him to be made known ; the worst 
as well as the best and last parts of his life to be 
laid open, if it could be of use to the living, or 
contribute to the reformation of a loose and diisso- 
lute age. He was not imwiUing to take shame to 
himseU; by allowing his faults to be exposed for 
the benefit of others, if such an example might be 
a means of reclaiming them ; and he often prayed 
to God, that as his life had done much hurt, so his 
death might do some good. 

The time which the preceding transactions ocfcu- 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 76 

pied, was exactly nine weeks. During iJie whole 
course of his sickness, the temper of his mind was 
uniformly steady, so that no difference or appear* 
ances of decay wwe perceptible, except in the weak- 
ness of his body. He could not converse long 
without ftktigue; though occasionally he talked 
with extraordinary vivacity, and discoursed of com- 
mon a£b]Ts at considerable length, with as much 
deamess of Uiought and expression as he had ever 
done. Tliese facts, taken in conjunction with the 
details nairated above^ furnish evidence quite sa* 
tis&ctory as to the nature and authenticity of his 
repentance ; that it could not possibly be the effect 
of disease^ nw the result of melancholy, or lowness 
of spirits, nor of an impaired and dis<ndered state 
of the faculties. Ncme of these causes will in the 
most remote degree account for the remarkable 
change which he manifested both in his sentiments 
and conversation. 

" All the time of his illness," says Mr Parsons, 
^' he was so much master of his reason, and had so 
clear an understanding, (save thirty hours about 
the middle of it, in which he was aelirious), that 
he never dictated or spoke rnGre composed in hia- 
life ; and therefore if any shall continue to say his 
piety was the effect of madness or vapours, let me 
tell them it is highly disingenuous, and that the as^ 
sertion is as silly as it is wicked. And, moreover^ 
that the force of what I have delivered may not 
be evaded by wicked men^ who are resolved to 
harden their hearts in spite of all convictions, and 
say this was done in a corner^ I appeal for the 
truth thereof to all sorts of persons, who in con- 
siderable numbers visited and attended him ; and 
more particularly to those eminent physicians who 



76 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

were near him, and conversant with him in the 
whole course of his tedious sickness, and who, if 
any, are competent judges of a frenzy or delirium.'* 

Dr Burnet's words are to the same effect ; and he 
mentions also in his history his firm helief that he 
had hecome so entirely changed, that if he had re- 
covered, he would have made good all his Fesolu- 
tions. *^ That this nohle Lwd,'* heohserres, ^ was 
either mad or stupid,, is a thing so notoriously 
untrue, that it is the highest impudence for any 
to report it, and a very unreasonahle drednHty kt 
others to helieve it. All the white I was with*' 
him he was not only without ravings, but had s 
clearness in his th«mght8, in his memory, .ad in 
his reflections, beyond what I ever saw in a person- 
so low in strength. Such reports are raised by 
those who are unwilling that the last thoughts or 
words of a person every way so extraordinary, 
should have any effect either on themselves or- 
others ; and it is to be feared that some have so 
far seared their consciences, and exceeded the com« 
mon measures of sin and infidelity, that neither 
this testimony, nor one rising from the dead, would* 
signify much towards theii* conviction." 

To the testimony of these two divines, various 
others might be subjoined from private letters and 
documents of imquestionable authority. The fol- 
lowing is a c(^y of a letter from his Lordship to 
Dr J. Pierce, President of Magdalen College, 
Oxford, and afterwards Dean of Sarum ; and' 
though it may contain some expressions more- 
poetical, perhaps, than evangelical, if strictly cri- 
ticised, yet it presents a lively image of a sincere 
penitenl^ touched with conscious guilt, and resolved ' 
to turn from the error o( Vor vre.^ 



£ARL OF ROCHESTER. 77 

^ <^ My mdisposition renders my intellectuals al- 
most ce feeble as my person ; but considering the 
eandbur and extreme charity your natural mildnesa 
baa always ahewn me, I am assured at once both 
of a fiftyoiirable construction of my present lines, 
ivhidi can but faintly express the sorrowful cha- 
racter of a humble and afflicted mmd, and all 
tboae great comforts your inexhaustible good- 
ness, learning, and piety, plenteously afford to the 
drooping spirits of poor sinners ; so .that I may 
lanily si^y, Holy man ! to you I owe what conso- 
^tion I enjoy, in urging God's mercies against 
despair, and holding me up under the weight of 
those high and mountainous sins, my wicked and 
ungOTernable Ufe hath heaped upon me. If God 
shall be pleased to spare me a little longer here, 
I have unalterably resolved to become a new man ; 
and to wash out the stain of my lewd courses with 
Ojw tears,, and to weep over the profane and un- 
hallowed abomination of my former doings ; that 
the world may see how I loathe sin, and abhor 
the very remembrance of those tainted and un- 
diean joys I once delighted in ; these being, as the 
apostle tells us, the things < whereof I am now 
ashamed. Or if it be hi^ great pleasure now to 
put a period to my days, that he will accept of 
my last gasp, that the smoke of my death-bed of- 
fering, may not be unsavoury to his nostrils, and he 
drive me like Cain from before his presence. Pray 
for me, dear Doctor ; and all you that forget not 
God, pray for me fervently ; take heaven by 
force, and let me enter with you in disguise ; for I 
dare not appear before the cbread Majesty of that 
Holy One I have so often offended. Warn all 
my friends and companions to a true and sincere 

g2 



78 CONVERTS VROM INFIDELITY. 

repentmce whik it is called to-day, before 
day come, and they be no more. Let them kaoMr 
that sin is like the angel's book in the ReyelMm^ 
it is sweet in the month, but bitter in the belly* 
Let them know that God will not be mocked^ 
that he is an holy God, and will be serFed in hoU^ 
nesS and purity ; that he requires the whole mat^ 
and the early man. Bid them make haste, for -fiha 
night Cometh when no man can wor]& . O tlwtf 
they were wise, that they would consider this ; aad! 
not with me, with wretched me, delay k wuil^ 
their latter end ! Pray, Dear Sir, 'eonti|l^ally^ 
pray for your poor friend, 

Rochester^ 

Sutiger*t Lodge fn Vocdstoek Park, > 
July 1680. i 

There is another letter, published from the 
Manuscripts in the Harleian Library, givmg an ac^ 
count of his interview with Mr Fanshaw, which 
goes to corroborate the preceding testimomes, and 
of which the following is an extract t— ^ 

" "When Wilmot Lord Rochester lay on his' 
death-bed, Mr. Fanshaw came to visit Iuhi, wkh 
an intention to stay about a week with him. Mr 
Fanshaw, sittbg by the bedside, perceived his 
lordship praying to God through Jestjs Christ ; 
and acquainted Dr Radcliffe (who attended my 
Lord Rochester in this illness, and was then ia the 
house) with what he had heard ; and told him ihat 
my lord was certainly delirious, for to his knoww. 
ledge (he said) he believed neither in God nor ' 
Jesus Cbmt, The doctor (who had often heard him 



SARL OF ROdHEStElt. 79 

pnf in the same manner) proposed to Mr Fan- 
dbawto go up to his lordfliiip, to be further satisfied 
toadung this afiieur. When they came to his room 
iskb doctor told my lord what Mr Fanshaw said ; 
«Hm which his lordship addressed himself to Mr 
Inlnshaw to this efiect : — * Sir, it is true yon and 
I have been very lewd and profieme together, and 
then I was of the opinion yon mention ; but now 
I am quite of another mind, and happy am I that 
I «n so. I am very sensible how miserable I was 
flliilst of another opinion Sir, you may assure 
yoorBelf that there is a Judge and a future state :' 
And so he entered into a very handsome discourse 
concerning the last judgment, future state, &&, 
and concluded with a serious and pathetic exhor- 
tation to Mr Fanshaw to enter into another course 
of life ; adding, that he (Mr Fanshaw) knew him 
to be his friend ; that he never was more so than 
at this time : ^ And, Sir, (said he,) to use a Scrip- 
ture expression, I am not mad, but speak the iirorda ^ 
of truth and soberness,*" 

His owndymgr^nonstrance, which he drew up 
only a few days before he expired, may be here 
transcribed as a further confirmation of the point' 
in qnestiim. It was signed by his own hand, and 
attMted by sufficioit witnesses. 

** For the benefit of all those whom I may have 
drawn into sin by my example and encouragement^ 
I leave to ihe world this my last declaration, which 
I deliver in the presence of the great God, who 
knows the secrets of all hearts, and before whom 
I am now appearing to be judged. 

^•That, from the bottom of my «qi^\ ^^^XmX 



80 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

and abhor the whole coinne of my fonoiw wicked 
life; that I think I can never simciently admire, 
the goodness of God, who has given me a true 
sense of my pernicious opinions and vile practices, 
by which I have hitherto lived without nope and 
without Grod in the world; have been an opc^ 
enemy to Jesus Christ, doing the utmost despite 
to the Holy Spirit of Grace. And that the great^ . 
testimony of my charity to such is, to warn tjiem, in, 
the name of God, and as they regard the wel&ra 
of their immortal souls, no more to deny his bein^ 
or his providence, or despise his goodness; no. 
more to make a mock of sm, or contemn the pure 
and excellent religion of my ever-blessed £Le*. 
deemer, through whose merits alone I, one of the. 
greatest sinnerei, do yet hope for mercy and for- 
giveness. Amen. 

" J. RoCHEST]CR." 

Declared and signed in the presence of 

Anne Rochester. "> r .. ■•/* t/»o*v 
Robert Parsons/ ]J^nel%l6%0. 

The concurrence of so. many plain and unim- 
peachable testimonies, must satisfy the scruples 
and prejudices of the most scq>tica^ that Lord 
Rochester was sincere in his repentance, and gave, 
all possible symptoms of a lasting perseverance in 
it, had it pleased God to restore him to life'. No 
one can for a moment entertain a serious belief 
that such a change could proceed from weakness 
of body, of perturbation of mind, or from any 
superstitious ternn^' arising from a misii^onned 
conscience, or a dread of future puni^bment. 
Love to God) and feitk m Jessua Christ, are ^ 



lUiKL OF ROCHESTElU 81 

otAy foundalioii on which such resolutions and 
persoasions could be built. So complete a vic- 
toiy oyer corrupt principles and inclinations,— €0 
firm, and at the same time so humble a trust in 
llie diyine favour, can be ascribed to nothing else 
than the effectual operation of religion. 

Towards the end of Jime his health had so 
much declined, that no hopes were entertained of 
his fecoYery ; but he sustained his infirmities 
without repining, and with perfect resignatioii to 
the will of heaven. The suppiiration of a viru- 
lent ulcet had emaciated his body, and reduced 
him to mere skin and bone ; and by lying almost 
ecmstantly on his back, the parts had begun to be 
affected with mortification. In this state he conti- 
nued until the 26th of July, 1680, when he ex- 
pired, at the early age of thirty-three, being so 
worn away by his long illness, that life went out' 
without a stniggle or a groan. He was buriect 
in the vault under the aisle in Spilsbury Church,' 
by the body of his father. 

" Nature," as Dr Burnet observes, " had fitted^ 
him for great things ; and his knowledge and ob- 
servation qualified him to have been one of the 
most extraordinary men, not only of his nation, 
but of the age he lived in ; and I do verily be- 
lieve, that if God had thought fit to have conti- 
nued him longer in the world, he had been the 
wonder and delight of all that knew him; but' 
the infinitely wise God knew better what was fit ^ 
for him, and what the age deserved ; for men who 
have so cast off all sense of God and religion, de- 
serve not so signal a blessing as the example and 
conviction which the rest of his life might have 
fjiven them. Here is a public ix^stnxLC/^ oli ^\^ 



62 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

who lived of their side, hut could not die in it : 
And though none of all our lihertines understood 
better than he, the secret mysteries of sin,r--|iad 
more studied every thing wat could support a 
man in it, and had more resisted all external means 
of conviction; yet when the hand of God in- 
wardly touched him, he could no longer fight 
against the arrows of the Almighty, but humbled 
hunself under that mighty hand ; and as he used 
often to say in his prayers, he who had so openly 
denied him, found then no other shelter but in \m 
mercy and compassion. Though he lived to the 
scandal of many, he died as much to the edifi- 
cation of all who paw him; and becaxise they 
were but a small number, he demred that he mig^ 
even when dead, yet speak. He was willing for 
nothing to be concealed, that might cast rq>roacfa 
on himself and on sin, and offer up glory to God 
and religion ; so that though he Uved a heiaous 
sinner, he died a most exemplary penitent." 

Lord Rochester married, in 1666, Elizabeth, 
daughter of John Mallet, Esq. of Enmere, So- 
mersetshire ; a lady celebrated for her beauty and 
fortune, being possessed of an income of £2500 a 
year. By her he left a ^unily of four children, — 
a son named Charles, who died in little more than 
ft year after himself, and three daughters, Anne, 
Elizabeth, and Mallet. The male line thus be- 
coming extinct, the title was bestowed on Law- 
rence Hyde, second son to the Earl of Clarendon, 

Of his character end works, as a poet, it scarcely 
falls within our design, or our limits, to speak* 
^< He was a man, (says Walpole,) whom the muses 
were fond to inspire, but ashamed to avow ; aii4 
who practised^ without reserve, the secret whidi 



EARL OF ROCHESTER. 83 

can make yerses more read for their defects than 
for their merits ; an art neither commendable nor 
difficult." As he had an active and inquisitive 
mind, and was never wholly negligent of study, 
he had made very great progress in what may be 
considered the polite learning of the times; so 
much so, that he is ranked by Wood as the greatest 
scholar of all the nobility. All the leisure he 
found for writing was merely intervals snatched 
from the routine of dissipation ; his poems, there- 
fore, are commonly short, such as one fit of re- 
solution might produce. '^ They have much more 
obscenity than wit, — ^more wit than poetry, — and 
more poetry than politeness." His amorous and 
lyrical pieces, though models of their hind, are 
full of mipurity and pro£euieness ; more fit to be 
read hy bacchanals or bedlamites, than pretenders 
to virtue and modesty ; and some of them are on 
subjects so indecent, that their very title would 
stain the page of biography. Such as are not so^ 
are l^hellous and satirical. 

Much, it is said, was attributed to him, which 
he did not write, and certainly the air of mystery 
and concealment under which the original edition 
of his works was published, after his death, was 
favourable for the admission of surreptitious pro- 
ductions. He had ordered, like the Roman poet, 
but from very different motives, all Ms immoral 
papers to be burnt ; << but the age was not without 
its Curls to preserve such treasures," for some per- 
son who had made a collection of lus poems, in 
manuscript, published them clandestinely, from no 
other motives, it was conjectured, than that of gain. 
His poems have been often printed, and moY ^^ 
found in various collections, along m\\i xJao^^ ^1 



€i CONVKftTS I^IIOM INFIDELITY. 

the Earls of Roscommon and Dorset, the Marquis 
of Ncnrmanby, Lord Halifax and others. Besides 
the catalogae of his works giren by Walpole, Wood 
mentions that there were some pieces of his, and 
a Dr Robert Wild, in a collection entitled, <' Rome 
Rhymed to Death," though th^ autJienticity was 
questionable. This Dr Wild, he tells us, was a 
fat, jolly, and boon Presbyterian, and died at 
Oundle in Northamptonshire, 1679. 

" His songs,^' says Dr Johnson, ^ hxrg no par- 
tieular character. They tell, like other aoug^ifi 
smooth and easy language of scorn skid ldiidMM» 
dismission and desertion, absence aad-inconstaaey) 
with the common-places of artificial courtsfaqpK*- 
The glare of his general character difiuied itactf 
upon his writings; the compositions of ft iMA 
wnose name was heard so often, were eeitaui^^ 
fittention ; and from many readers, certain of 'Jfk- 
plause. The blaze of his rq>utBdon is not ^y«t 
quite extinguished ; and his poetry 8^ te^maB 
some splendour beyond that wldch genius 'has btf- 
stowed* — ^In all his works, there is* sprightluBeiB 
and vigour; and every where may be fmmdtokenB 
of a mmd which study might have carried to floi* 
cellenoe. What more could be expected fromalifB 
spent in ostentatious contempt of regularity, and 
ended before the abilities of many otW men <bai« 
gin to be displayed ?" 



COUNT ATAUENSSB. 85 



COUNT STRUENSEE- 



The histcMty of Count Stinens^e, who had 
-the heaoiir and the misfortune to be prime Mi- 
«iBt«p of Douuark, under Christian VII. and 
. .nlwu downfel produced the tragical reyolution 
jn^tibe Danish cabinet of 1772, famishes a most 
atrflring and pertinent example, not only of the 
iaatahiJ^'Of power and {H-osperity, but also of 
|Im» dangerous tendency of ubertine principles 
:«ttd infidel opinions, both to the happiness of the 
in^Tidnal, and to the general interests of society. 
Aom an obscure adyenturer, and a foreigner, he 
'ime- at once^ without patronage ot recommenda- 
tion^ and even without undergoing the interme- 
drudgmes <^ office^ to the yery pinnacle of 
preferment, and political authority. His 



was as brief and extraordmary as his pro- 
motion, and terminated in a fate both melancholy 
and disgrac^ul. But his catastrophe, however 
mudi it is to be lamented in itself, or in its con- 
sequences to his guilty accomplices, many of 
wlu>m were involyed in the same ruin, — ^being 
doomed to perpetual exile, or to lingering im- 
prisonment in the dungeons and fortresses of their 
natiye country, — to himself was productive of the 
happiest effects, in leading him to a knowledge, 
and a cordial reception of Christianity. It is sel- 
dom that a conquest so complete and uxvftQ^WQC»I 

H 



86 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

is achieved over talents and inclinations so grossly 
perverted; and the conversion of a libertine, so 
confirmed both in principle and in practice, must 
be considered as no mean victory over the delu- 
sions and artifices of infidelity. 

John Frederick Struensee was the son of 
a German divine, who was first a deacon of Rends- 
burg, a small town in the duchy of SliBSwick, — 
afterwards advanced to the professorship of tli^o^ 
1(^ in the University of Halle, and to a bidiop- 
rick in Holstein. His mother was descended 
from a respectable, though not a wealthy family. 
His parents, though obscure, compared with lus 
own extraordinary but unfortunate elevation, were 
nevertheless persons of sincere and exemplary 
piety ; and according to the confessions he made 
when he came to alter his sentiments on religHMi^ 
they were at all due pains to season his youth 
with the principles of virtue and goodness, toini* 
tiate him in the early knowledge, and con&m him 
in the belief of the Christian revelation. He was 
bom August 5th, 1737, and received the rudi- 
ments of his education in the celebrated Orphan 
House of Dr Franke, at Halle, a seminary then 
attended by vast numbei'S, though the system of 
religious instruction taught there, appears to have 
been of a kind rather ascetic and severe ; and he 
frequently expressed his conviction, that the good 
advices, and pious example of his parents, were 
much better calculated to produce a salutary effect 
on his future life, than the superficial and fruitless 
Jknowledge that is often acquired at public schools. 

About his fourteenth year he was removed to 
the University of Halle, where he devoted his 



COUNT STRUENSEE. 87 

attention exclusively to the study of physic. Here 
the restraints of youthful piety hegan gradually to, 
lose their hold ; and his mind heing wholly en- 
grossed with the acquisition of those sciences hy 
means of which he hoped to make his fortune, 
little leisure or inclination was left for reflection 
on moral or reUgious subjects. The books and 
companions he had recourse to for diversion, in 
the hours of relaxation, were such as tended to 
corrupt and mislead him; and their pernicious 
sophistries gained an easier victory, by having the 
bias and concurrence of his own natural propen- 
sities on their side. 

When he had finished his medical studies, he 
went with his hther to Altona, where he settled, 
and for some time was employed as the editor of 
a newspaper in that city ; though afterwards he 
appears to have resumed his profession, and pracr 
tised with reputation and success. He entertained 
no mean opinion of his own abilities,-— had an in-r 
satiable desire to attain distinction in his art, and 
was besides inordinately addicted to the indul- 
gence of voluptuous pleasures. For these reasons, 
together with an infirm state of health, he had 
resolved to quit his station at Altona, intending 
to go to Malaga, and settle there as a physician ; 
or to make a voyage to the East Indies, of which 
his imagination had become enamoured, from 
the many fine descriptions he had read of that 
country, in books of voyagea and travels. Here 
he supposed a wider field woidd be opened for 
his ambition, and the chances of his making a for- 
tune greatly increased, — ^while the luxury of a 
wanner climate, and more effeminate manners, 
would add a new delight to those licentious grati?. 



88 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

fications, which, next to fame and fortimey wen 
the object of his criminal research. 

At this juncture, however, a favourable pros- 
pect opened itself to him in Denmark, through an 
acquaintance procured by a love intrigue. Tliis 
opportunity he determined to seize, a|id accord- 
ingly removed to Copenhagen; following that blind 
and brutal passion, which involved him at last in 
disgrace and ruin. By what means he was first 
introduced to the notice of Christian VII. thai 
King of Denmark, is not mentioned ; but in 1768 
he was raised to the rank of physician to hia 
majesty, and in this quality appointed to attend 
him during his tour in visiting sevnal of the courts 
of Europe. From his first .entering the country, 
he had resolved to act a distinguished part, though 
he could never have imagined that his name was 
to become so conspicuous as it did in the political 
annals of the North. Being then in the flower of 
life, possessing an agreeable person, and attractive 
manners, together with considerable talents both 
for business and amusement, he soon contrived to 
insinuate himself into the good graces of his royal 
master, and secured that uncommon degree of 
court favour which paved the way to all Ins sub- 
sequent preferments. He accompuiied him to 
England, where, in compliment to the official 
character he held, the University of Oxford con- 
ferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor 
of Medicine. While at Paris, he formed an ac- 
quaintance and an intimate friendship with Count 
Brandt, a Dane of good family, who afterwards 
became the associate of his crimes and his public 
delinquencies, and a fellow-suiferer with him c-* 
the same block* 



COUNT STRUENSEE. 89 

Brandt had held a distinguished place among 
tlie fayourites of Christian VII. and was a gentle- 
. ijian of the king's bed-chamhor ; but having in- 
curred the royal displeasure, he was obliged to 
0y his country, and retiring to Paris, he led there 
)for some time a life of obscurity and comparative 
.jMidigence. Struensee pledged himself to use, on 
his return, all his credit at court to have him re- 
pealled, and reinstated in his office ; an engagement 
;which he found no great difficulty in fulfilling, 
^irom the surpassing esteem in which he was held 
;by both their majesties. 

I. On his arrival in the Danish capital, the king, 
with his own hand, presented Struensee to lus 
jroyal Consort, recommending him to her, at the 
^sfmie time, as a man of talents, and as peculiarly 
(dolled in the profession of physic. His pro- 
^'ess in the favour and partiality of the Queen, 
^was as sudden and extraordinary as it had been in 
.the good opinion of her husband. Every day he 
jeeeived from them new marks of consideration 
and regard. He was immediately made a Privy 
£oiiiuuUf)r, and together with his friend Brandt, 
now recalled, through his interest, from exile, and 
restored to his former office, raised to the rank of 
Count. He now stood forth publicly the declared 
and confidential favourite of the king, and within 
A very short space was constituted first minister, 
with almost unlimited political power. 
. This rapid and altogether unmerited elevation 
of a man oif obscure birth, and a foreigner, created, 
as was to be supposed, feelings of envy and disgust 
among the courtiers and nobility, who were indignant 
at the marked preference shewn to a stranger and oil 
upstart. Such distinctions and pToino^oTkB>\xA^i^ 

h2 



90 CONVERTS FROM IMFIBKtITY. 

were by no means rare in the hiMiory ofrthiiit 
eonnlay. . The highest offices in the state iutdbem 
often bestowed on adYentiira:^ who were -eitha^ 
foreignerB or natives of the lowest ookU The 
kingdom was governed for a hundred yenB hf 
strangers, . who were imacquainted with its foiicfr 
and disdained even to acquire its language^ Beni« 
storff a Hanoverian, Lynar a Sax<m, ai^ St GeiN 
main a Frenchman, were among the ablest of tliar 
Danish ministers. On the present occasioD, ham^ 
ever, the admission of this aspiring physician into 
the cabinet, was resented as an intrusion by a very. 
powerful and insidious faction. Reports and sop*: 
mises were speedily circulated, disgraceful to :IJmI 
new minister, and injurious to the honour o£ tha 
Queen, whose attachment to Struensee, exceeded 
in appearance at least, the bounds of moderatioBK 
andpublic decorum. 

This young Queen of Denmark, as is well known, " 
was the Princess Caroline Matil^ of England, and 
sister to George III. She is described by Danidi 
writers as the handsomest woman of her Courts 
of a gentle but reserved character, and possessed 
of qualities which, imder a more fortunate connec* 
tion might have insured no small share of genetal 
esteem and popularity. But unhi^ily her map* 
riage was one of those which, too often in royal . 
life, is not contracted from preference or choice, 
but from motives of political interest, or the coin 
trivance of party; and is consequently destitute of 
every requisite essential to conjugal felicity. JtUac 
husband was weak and dissolute, and bad either ' 
a natural imbecillity of understanding, or had im^. - 
paired hia mental faculties by early debauchery. < 
To the caprice of tibia Cee\>\& wEkdi ^^v^nteA.-!^^ 



dM^Wti AKrificed at the age of seyenteen* Their 
miflb: wlikh) from the beginning, waa any thing 
¥■1 aa alliance of hearts and aifections, was ren- 
dered donbly tmhappy by the intrigues of factiousi 
Ipinistera^ who fomented and kept np a constant 
tfako/omty between them. The attachment of the 
kk^9 if it may cteserre the name, thus alienated, 
piftly. in consequence of his own excesses, and 
otttly finom ihe rival jealousies of court parasites, 
nd subsided from cold formality into cru^ dis- 
nftpecl. He did not treat her even with common 
cmlity ; and allowed her to be publicly insulted 
in* her own palace, by the Russian Minister at 
Copenhagen. His resentment fell on ail who were 
gidlty of taking her part, and his favourite cousin 
the Prince of Hesse, was disgraced for no other 
crime. 

Such was the condition of this neglected and ill- 
fiited Queen, when Sfruensee entered on his admi- 
matration. By his insinuating address he soon 
gvned her confidence, and from pity or gallantry 
took ah interest in her sufferings. His influence 
omer the listless monarch was the means of re- 
storing her to his good graces ; although this de- 
sinble reconciliation proved the harbinger of his 
owB ruin, by furnishing his enemies with plausible 
reasons of attack. 

Whether these imputations were founded on 
truth, or were merely the offspring of detraction 
and disappointed mal^nity, has never been clearly 
ascertained, as much credit cannot be attached ei- 
ther to the integrity of her prosecutors, or to the 
justice of the legal measures adopted to substan- 
tiate tlie charges against her^ In the suit of di- 
TOfiee wtach was commenced soonaSten; \i€S «st«&v 



92 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

ment, many criminative circunwtances were sworn 
to ; but the witnesses were generally those who had 
been employed as spies on her conduct, and n\06t 
of their evidence was capable of an innocent ex- 
planation. If her own confessions are tme, de- 
clared in her last moments to a respectable clergy- 
man, the accusations of her enemies were utterly 
groundless ; and as to her signing with her own 
hand a declaration of her guilt, the deed appears 
to have been altogether the contnvance of cruel and 
malicious artifice, extorted from her in an agony of 
despair, and with the hope of saving the life of the 
unfortunate Count. The avowal of an illicit in- 
tercourse made by Struensee himself to the copi- 
missioners, is said to have been obtained by threats 
of torture, or some faint hopes of preservatioii ; air 
tliough the statements he made in his penitential con- 
ferences with the learned divine who attended him 
during his imprisonment, do not admit of so &yoar- 
able an interpretation. As nothing criminal} how- 
ever, was ever legally proved, sympathy foi: the 
misfortunes, and even the faults of an injiired 
Queen, will incline us to put the most . charitable 
construction on levities that cannot be defended ; 
and to conclude that nothing criminal ocennfid-' 
At the same time, the greatest share of virtuous 
abhon-ence will fall on the conspirators themselves^ 
who made her imprudence or her infirmities a cloak 
for their own base purposes of ambition or revenge* 
It cannot, however, be concealed or denied, that 
her imprudence was great and inexcusable, and con-, 
sidering the libertine character of Struenaeei it 
would require the strongest counter-evidence to 
wipe ojOT the suspicion. Not only in private, .bat ^t. 
theatres, assemblies, and even in the public streets 



COUNT STRUEMSEE. 93 

of Copoahagen, slie manifested a yery injndiciotu 
preference for the Count. Neither remonstrances, 
nor motives of personal or prudential regard, could 
induce her to moderate the testimonies of her par- 
tiality towards him. Such was her want of pro- 
priety and discretion, that she frequently rode out 
with him, habited completely in the dress of a 
nentleman, without any part of female attire ; and 
UMn^h this disguise was then fieu* from being un- 
oommon, or reckoned unbecoming in Northern 
manners, and implied no immodesty of deportment, 
yet it tended to increase the clamour and irrita- 
tion which other indiscretions had raised. 

The King, who was a mere pageant of state, re- 
maiiied a passive and indifferent spectator of these 
ttansactions, and nerer expressed nor seemed to 
feel the slightest resentment at the behaviour of 
either herself or her favourite. The powers of his 
mind, as well as his body, had smik into a state of 
apathy or premature dotage, which rendered him 
not only callous to the scandals of liis court, but 
incapable of taking any part in the management of 
public affairs. Tlie administration of the State had 
devolved therefore entirely on the Queen, Struensee, 
aiid their adherents, who ruled with absolute and 
uncontrolled authority. 

Of the acts or the policy of Struensee's ministry, 
it scarcely falls within our province or our intention 
to speak. It is with his character as a libertine 
and an infidel that we have to do, and not as a 
statesman or a politician. On thi» part of his 
history, therefore, our remarks shall be brief and 
general. 

In the important office to which he was so unex- 
pectedly raised, the Count showed himself to be % 



94 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

maa of unquestionable abilities, and far beyond 
what might have been augured from his habits and 
inexperience. His powers of application were great ; 
he was rapid and decisive in Ins resolutions, as well 
as enlarged and patriotic in his views. Many of 
his pubHc measures were calculated to improve 
and to aggrandize the state oyer whidi he presided ; 
although others of them were unadvised, illiberal, 
and unpopular. Though well*meant, his policy 
was often ill-judged, and easily misled by insidious 
adversaries. His impetuosity sometimes impelled 
him to rash counsels, and reckless legislalion; 
braring prejudices, that greats mildness or pru- 
dence would have disarmed^ and offending intev^sts 
that might have been easily reconciled. He irri- 
tated the military by dissolving the guards ; and 
thus weakened his own authority, by throwing the 
discontented satellites of arbitrary power into the 
ranks of his enemies. He' excited the just resent- 
ment of the nobility by the suppression of the 
Privy Coimcil ; and by repealing a very ancient 
law inflicting capital punishment on adidtery, he 
raised against him the clamorous indignation of the 
people, who regarded this step, and perhaps not 
without reason, as a mark of his approbation of that 
vice, and an inlet to licentiousness. Some of his 
improvements, however, were laudable and excel- 
lent ; and it ought not to be forgotten, that he was 
the first minister of an absolute monarch that abo- 
lished the torture. He interested himself to ob- 
tain freedom for the enslaved husbandmen ; and 
granted to Calvinists, Moravians, and even to Ca- 
tholics, the free exercise of their religious worship. 
In his disposition he was generous, frank, and 
without hypocrisy; but he was defideiit in that 



I 



COUNT STRUENSEE. 95 

profound judgment, that unwearied vigilance, and 
political sagacity, which were necessary for main- 
taining him in his precarious elevation. These de- 
ficiencies hecame more and more apparent, in pro- 
portion as the difficulties of his station increased. 
Towards the close of his ministry, when his ene- 
mies were become numerous, powerful, and im- 
placable, his strength and presence of mind seemed 
to have forsaken him, and his conduct in many in- 
stances betrayed a strange absence of all foresight 
or address. 

His moral character was, however, far more ex*" 
ceptionable then his political ; and-his private licen- 
tiousness seems to have been the secret spring of 
several legislative measures, which were not only 
disgraceful and odious in tliemselves, but which 
proved the forerunners of that indignation and 
infamy whidi at last overwhelmed hun, and ter- 
minated his eventful and infatuated career. Pro- 
fligacy and ambition were the rocks on which 
he split. His moral principles ^ were corrupt, 
and he indulged without consideration or remorse, 
in every species of voluptuousness. In a Court 
unmersed in dissipations and criminal pleasures 
oi all kinds, he stood forth the avowed patron, 
and the guilty partaker of every fashionable 
vice. At masked balls, and other foreign amuse- 
ments of that sort, then for the first time intro- 
duced into the Danish metropolis, he was the gay 
leader, and the indefetigable promoter of whatever 
tended to foster or encoun^e the dark artifices of 
gallantry and intrigue. This wretched policy was 
designed partly to win over to his own faction such 
of the Danish nobility, as the inglorious love of 
sensual indulgences might dispose to become hia 



r ■• : ■ 



06 CONVERTS FROM IKFIDELITY. 

asBociates, and partly to relax those wfaolMon 
atraints of ancient discipline, which had hit 
secured the national morality of the Daite6 n{ 
the contagion of foreign manners* 

The profligacy of Struensee did not confii 
self to the gratification of his personal desires 
was the object of his perverted ambition to co 
the purity, and to undermine the principles^ 
of the Court and the capital, to remove the 
marks of right and wrong, to hold out evei 
centive to iniquity, and to create evory facilit 
its indulgence. He procured the banieiune 
Count Berastorff, an old and fiivoarite minisi 
the crown, a man of the most unimpeacbab] 
tegrity, and whose stem and primitiTe chai 
might have proved an obstacle to that gen«» 
ruption of morals which he was labouring to i 
minate. It is highly probable the same boli 
unprincipled contempt for the common dlecenc 
society, might weigh with him in repealing ti 
vere and barbarous law against adultfny, — a 
sure from which he secretly expected to gai 
accession of adherents, perhaps of genend ] 
larity ; although its effect, like some of his oth 
forts to make proselytes to his licentious opii 
was rather to excite feelings of disgust and a! 
rence, being considered as no less than holdin 
a reward for the commission of the crime ; an 
cordingly, this act, however meritorious in 
of humanity, was everywhere received with s 
marks of national indignation. 

Being a disbeliever in Revelation, and a 
fessed scoffer, he shewed the same culpable an 
to propagate a tmiversal scepticism in religio 
weu as in morals ; and notlung but the high i 



COUNT STRUENS£E. 97 

«f Wine asd {Hropriety that obtained in the conn- 

: tfyw* could have baffled the insidioiiB arts of the 

■Miiiifter^ pt checked the infections example of 

die Conrt, from descending and communicating 

. itself through the wh<^ mass of the population. 

But fortunt^y his career of dissipation and mi»> 

gOYenuBent was destined to be but diort, and his 

6te has left an instructiye warning to those, who 

being nther bom with the opportunities of doin^ 

goody or having raised themselves by their talents 

,tQ become the instruments of utility and happi- 

laeaa to the world, wilfully pervert these natural 

fwivaatagies from dieir <M*iginal purpose^ and tors 

Aem into occasions to mMead, to coimpt^ aad 

^patroy mankind* 

. . "Wlule occupied with a c(»istant succession of 
conrtly excesses, or gay amusements that seemed 
to leave nothing to apprehend ; and while precan- 
tioB was laid asleep in the indulgence of criminal 
plaaswasy jfche enemies of Struensee were secretly 
coDGocting their plans and preparing for his de- 
atmction. The Queen dowager and her son, 
IVince Frederic, were at the head of the hostile 
party. They were joined by several of the nobi- 
fity and men of rank, who were indignant at the 
conduct of the minister, and irritated to see them- 
aelyea superseded by an obscure stranger, and ex* 
eluded by this unnatural preference from places of 
hereditary trust and official authmty. The prin- 
dpal acton in this revdiutiimary scene, were 
Count lUntzau, who had formerly been his col- 
league in the editorship of the Altona Journal, and 
aCterwaids intrusted by him with the charge of 
ftneign afbirs ; and Colonel Koller Banner, whose 
iafliience amcmg the soldi^^ with whom Stmen- 



98 CONV£RTS FnOM INFIDELITY. 

see was no ftiToiirite, was sufficient to draw a con- 
siderable number of them over to their party. 
Their plan was to apprehend the persons of the 
Queen and the Count, at the anniversary festival 
which was always kept on the 1st day of January ; 
a ceremony at which the Court and the Royal 
Family usually assisted. The promiscuous mul- 
titudes that assembled on this occasion near the 
palace, seemed to offer an opportunity too favour- 
able to be neglected; and the military accord- 
ingly had orders to break in among lh& crowd, 
arrest the unguarded victims, or even put them to 
death on the spot, should any resistance be at- 
tempted. 

lliis scheme, however, which so many circum- 
stances appeared to facilitate, was disconcerted at 
the very point of exieculion, by an anonymous 
warning sent to a nobleman in the Qneem's house- 
hold, enjoining him to be absent if he regarded his 
safety. This mysterious intimation he communi- 
cated to her Majesty, who, on pretence of indis- 
position, immediatdy announced her dettennina- 
tion not to be present at the festivity. This reso- 
lution, of course, frustrated the design at the tboe ; 
but the failure of the project neither inspired the 
persecuted party with sufficient caution against 
similar attempts, nor did it relax the activity of 
their opponents in renewing their madiinictions, 
and watching the advantage of some more favour- 
able crisis. Sudi on opportunity soon presented 
itself in a masked^mll which was to be given in 
the Royal Palace, on the Idth of Jaacuary 1772. 
The arrangements were settled with all iiie skill 
and secrecy that appeared requisite to insure sfuc- 
cess. Rantzau undertook the delicate task of 



COUNT STRUENSEE. 99 

persuading the Kii^ to sign the order for tlieir 
arrest ; and Colonel Banner, a man of intrepid and 
dectsive character, and the animating spirit of the 
whole enterprise, had the important commission 
of seizing Stmensee. 

At the conclusion of the masquerade, and about 
four o'clock in the morning, when the King had 
retired to his bed-chamber, and the plot seemed 
ripe for action, Rantzau, whose treachery, arising 
either from » jealousy of some of his accomplices, 
or from compunctions of gratitude for Struensee's 
friendship and former services, had nearly over- 
turned the whole scheme, repaired directly to his 
majesty, informed him that a conspiracy existed 
against his person and government, at the head <tf 
which were his wife, Stmensee, and several of 
their associates ; and that if he valued his life or 
his security, a warrant must instantly be signed 
for their apprehension. This discovery, sudden 
and unexpected as it was, did not altogether per- 
suade the King as to the reality of his danger, or 
the truth of Rantzau's representation, and he hesi- 
tated to affix his name to the paper ; but the Queen 
dowager and Prince Frederic being called in, by 
means of artifice and exaggeration, succeeded at 
length in procuring his reluctant assent, and the 
order was signed accordingly. 

The Queen and Struensee, who had danced to- 
gether the greater part of the night, and continued 
several hours after the King had withdrawn, were 
retired to their apartments, and no obstacle was 
left for the conspirators to encounter, that could in 
the least oppose or frustrate their purpose. Ban- 
ner seizing the moment when all was dark and 
solitary, repaired immediately to Count Straensee's 



100 CONVERTS FROM INFIDBLITT. 

chamber, forced open the door, and found him asleep 
m his bed. The Count submitted qmetly, as, in 
fiict, he was totally unprepared for resistance, Iwt- 
ing no weapons near him, and no other clothes 
than the masquerade dress he had worn at the belL 
He was permitted to wrap himself up in his for 
cloak, as the weather was extremely cold, and im- 
mediately conveyed in a coach to the Citadd^ 
where he was imprisoned and loaded with irons. 

Brandt, his companion in misfortune, was ar« 
rested at the same time. When the soldiers e^ 
tered his room he started up, seized his swordy 
and put himself in an attitude of defence ; but the 
soldiers leyelling their pieces, and threatening to 
fire on him, he yielded up his sword, surrendered 
himself prisons, and was conducted, under a guard, 
to the place whcnre his friend was already in confine- 
ment. Various others of their associates shared a 
similar fate, or had centinels placed at the do<»r8 
of their apartments. 

Early next morning, the Queen was seized by 
Rantzau, who with three officers rushed with drawn 
swords into her chamber, and compelled her to rise 
from her bed. After making repeated and heroic 
attempts in vain to gain her libeity, she was hur- 
ried away, half-dressed, with her infont daught^ 
in her arms, and a single attendant, to Crmien- 
bourg, a fortress about twenty-four miles fit>m 
Copenhagen, where she was committed to close 
prison. Her fate was for some time doubtfol, and 
she probably owed to her near alliance with the Bri- 
tish crown, that measures of extreme severity were 
not adopted against her by the new Danish ministry. 
It was proposed to immure her for life in some gob 
of the state-prisons ; and the solitary and sequester- 



COUNT STBUEKSEE. 101 

edCtellFot' Aabouigv in die pemnmila of Jutland, 
TV«B>4te8tin)od for her reeepti|«. But the interpo- 
sitkn of- the British government procured her a 
repriere from this dreiry captifity, and the Castle 
of Zi^ waa fixed on for her destination, an ancient 
andnofole Gothic edifice, and everjr way fitted for 
the residence of the royal exile. Here she lired, 
if'4ael in a state of splendour and magnificence, at 
leaet in a style of elegance and comfort, that miti- 
gated to her in a great degree this dismal and un- 
enmcted reverse of fortune. The liberality of the 
Kmgof England supplied her with pecuniary re- 
smutceSf and provided her a suitable household, 
cOTnpoeed cfaieAy of Hanorerian nobility of both 
seices.' After a residence at Zell of scarcely two 
yean and a^half, she was snatched away at the age 
of twlentyofoui) in the prime of youth ; rendered by 
h«r imprudence and her misfortunes, the object at 
onoe of CMMure and commiseration. 

The conspirators exulted oyer the fallen foitunes 
of their prostrate victims with a barbarous and un- 
manly insolence. The very next day the King was 
paraded through the streets in a carriage drawn by 
e^^ milk-white horses. The city was illuminated, 
as if in hcmour of e6me glorious victory over a foreign 
enemy, which had saved their country from ruin. 
The <^ergy were accused of uttering from their 
pulpits severe and unchristian invectives ; and the 
pii^ulace, inflamed by tlieir declatinations, pillaged 
fhmi sixty to a hundred houses. 

It is matter of surprise, that so numerous 
and powerful a faction, many of whom, if not 
teken separately, or by sti'atagem, would un- 
questionably have had sufficient influence to over- 
throw the whole conspiracy, should have been 

i2 



IQi CONVERTS raPM i»rPIDSE.ITY. 

a^. ^011(86. and ixm^ptolely'eiiuli^diilF^^ 
^tiaa# 01^ much populac eomnotioiu BBklii dkomi 
that the ciMurae of eveiits is «miigBd'aiiiil mtif 
gnlatod by a policy aaperior to that of Iramaairivo 
dom; and ^t what appetts a trifle » or an «eci^1 
deati is in reality llie grand hinge on ivMdi- ihe^ 
mightieBt consequences are destnied: toinnur: Av 
■Mijgnlar &tality seems indeed to liaTeatteiid8ddM.t 
Qaeen and all her adherents ; for Rantzan was pivit 
pared not only to desert his own party, hat Imd?^ 
determined to reveal the whole secret to Stmameep 
and for this purpose had actually written oaiiymi 
few hours before the ball commencedy desiring to- 
haye an interview with him at his ownapartasenia) 
on business of the utmost importance. If tiierai»t 
fore the unfortunate Count hiid gonehome^aswiri 
his usual practice after business, he would hmab 
been put in possession of intellig^ice) liiat woidd'x 
not only haye extricated lum fnnn his periykms si«'> 
tuation, but ouibled him to haye avenged himself/ 
on his adversaries. But being detained rather ^ 
late by a variety of afiairs, he did not, as was his • 
general custom, return to his own apartments, but-: 
went directly to the ball-room, and thus knt-lfae* 
opportunity of benefiting, by the treachery or;f 
friendship of a faithless conspirator. 

A committee was appointed to inquire into hm^ 
afiairs, and discovmes were made, of a iurtniv 
which left no doubt that his life would ftdl a sam- 
fice, if not to the public justice of his country, trt 
least to the v^geance of a victorious fisbcdon. 
Many who pitied his misfortunes, when they saw ' 
him precipitated from the summit of power and 
favour, to which his talents had raised him, yet re- 
joiced at the termination of Ids ministry, and looked 



wptpihiitf downfcl — cne of the happiert oc eur imc 6« 
Mi liad .fauppened' in tlieir 1ms. They considered 
hwB Ifav restemion of pnblie deceney and mond 
osditity which the acts and licentioos examples of 
faiir jpvemnieBt were rapidly driying into exile. It 
seotoed to be a severe but necessary check for pre- 
▼auting'thenatiDnal manners firom nniversal eon* 
taMtaaCiony-^the only safeguard that coold protect 
the lights of piety and virtne against those dan* 
genlofl encroachments that threatened to sabvert 
and abolidi them. Among all sober and reflect- 
i^ man, there was bnt one opinion, that during his 
admimstrstion, leligion had eTery thing to fear; and 
that die morals of the people, at least of the capi- 
ta^ eonld not long hare withstood the contagious 
inflnence of the Conrt, which was gradually un- 
denmning their ancient purity, and opening the 
way for » general deluge of vice and profanity to 
overspread the kingdom. He had always, even 
before the tune of his political greatness, shevm 
himself to be a libertine in principle, and a sceptic^ 
orinther an avowed mfidel in his religious senti- 
meats. This was the opinion of his character 
amongthose who knew bun most intunately ; and 
that weir estimate was by no means ill-founded, 
seems clearly enough prored by many of his public 
regulations, his patronizing and promoting a scan- 
dalons laxity of manners, and his abolishmg such 
laws as tended to restrain intemperance and im- 
morality. 

Even those who entertained the most feyourable 
impressions of him, regarded him as a man of 
gaUantry, reckless of consequences, and entirely 
doYOted to pleasure and ambition. His fate, there- 
fore^ iq[>peared to them but the accomplishment of 



t . 



104 CONVERTS FROM INFIDSCITY. 

a ddamity that rnigfat easily faaTe bMn foretold^ •>< 
jwt puniBhrneot for those errors and crimte whfbb * 
he hunself happily saw reason to oondemiiy aiKb - 
lamented with tears of penitential sorrow. The'- 
immediate perpetrators of his rum, howevetf can^- 
not be allowed the credit of motxrea sO Tirtaoos 
or so honourable. With diem, his irreligiony hi9' 
immoralities, or even his political delinquencies * 
were only the instnmients . or pretext by which'- 
they contrived to e0ect his de^bractifln ; and it 
must be admitted that he fell a yictim, 9A nrack 
to the intrigues of a diBContested and a^iring"- 
faction, as to his own imprudent or^npiincipMii 
conduct. j»v 

Afiter he had been for nearly six weehs ia«kK»>^ 
and cruel confinement, the new ministry, wril<) 
knowing the &te that ultimately awaited himy>i 
manifested a laudable sympathy and concern ier./' 
his spiritual welfare, by a£bi*ding him anopportu- »- 
nity of changing his infidel opinions before he' - 
should be Called out of the world. Dr Munter^ >> 
minister of one of the German churches in Co« 
penhagen, and an eminent theologian^ was ap- 
pointCMcl, by tbe king s express orders, to attend ' 
him during his imprisonment, and to admiiuster 
such religious advice and consolation aS might be 
best adapted ' to the mdancholy situation of the 
prisoner. Little is known of this foreign d^ • 
vine ; but the account he has left us of his 
professional visits, on the present occasion^ prove 
him to have been a man of great humanity, as 
well as a conscientious and considerate minister 
of religion. 

It was at this time, also, that the pttufent 
noblemaik drew up, and wrote with hk of^o- 



COUNT STRUEMSEE. ld$ 

hand, Ins famous Confession, which did honour^ 
both to his ability as a writer, and his since- 
rity as a c<my«i;. In this paper, which still 
r^nains an authentic monument of his reUgicm 
and piety, he intended partly to effitce the bad 
impressions his example had made on the minds 
of others, but chiefly to inform the world that 
his YiewB and sentiments were really altered, and 
to relate how this alteration was produced. It 
was meant to convince those into whose hands it 
might £b11, whether Christians or not, that he had 
become a belieyer after mature deliberation, — and 
diat he died such ; that he had examined the sub- 
ject of religion coolly, and reasoned upon it, and 
tfaetefore obviated every suspicion which his ene^ 
mies mi^t insinuate, of his having turned Chris- 
tian from fear, or weakness of imderstanding. From 
it, tib^^ore, a tolerably clear idea may be formed 
as to the important alteration that took place in 
his views, as well as of the strange creed, both in 
morals and religion, by which he had contrived to 
silence his conscience, and palliate or justify the 
extravagances of his life. The declarations he 
makes Acre, and in his conferences, only add an- 
other confirmation to what usually happens with 
sceptics and infidels in general ; that^ their imbe- 
lief is a disease of the heart, rather than of the 
nnderBtanding,-^that they first quit the paths of 
virtue, before they attempt to shake off the re- 
straints of Christianity, or deny the truth of reve- 
lation. 

Voluptuousness, he acknowledged, had been his 
chief passion,^d had contributed most to his mo- 
ral depravity. His opinion had always been, that 
he lived for no other end but to procure htmseU 



105 CONVERTS FROM INFIDRLITY, 

agreeable sensations. He had reduced every tl 
to this standard, and all his actions, evea vact 
them as were performed for the attainment of 
tsoms or charitable purposes, he regarded mei 
■8 means to promote nis own plc»isiire. In 
yonth he had blindly abandoned himself to all s 
of dissipation. << Being at the Umrersity," aays 
^ I lired now and th^ for whole months toget 
in dissipation and extrafigance ; but then 1 1 
to my studies for a time again. Improving 
fanning my heart I never thought of, till I was 
<or three and twenty years of age." When 
found the bad consequences of this irregular life 
endeavoured to restore his health by tempers 
«nd regularity. But this was only a prepaia 
for a new course of guilty enjoyments ; foi 
sooner was his health recovered, than he plui 
again into sensual indulgences, confining hin 
perhaps more within the bounds of rational restn 
In these excesses he could not even plead the c 
mon excuse of vicious companions, or outv 
temptations. He confesses himself to havie 1 
his own seducer, — ^tbat he administered with 
own hand the fatal poison which tainted & 
principle of his heart,-^very action of his life; 
tMTought him at last to an untimely grave. 

Much of this moral contamination -he had 
bibed at an early period, from reading books 
contained unsound or perverted notions witb 
gard to virtue and religion^ He was convei 
with the writings of most of the French phil 
phers, and personally acquainted with seven 
them. He had studied Rousseau, whose here 
opinions in ethics are well known. Helve 
'whom he greatly admired, had made- him a 



COUNT STRUENSSE. 107 

lierer in the abedbte perfection of human reason, 
and the allnraffidency of man's natural powers. 
Voltaire's innumerable, scurrilons, and sarcastic 
pieceis against Christianity, in whidi the same at- 
tacks are r^)eated orer and over again, under new 
names, and in a different disgiuse, he had read with 
aaddity, and may be considered as one of the many 
mwary and mi^aided victims, who fell a sacrifice 
in the con^iracy of that arch-infidel against reli- 
gion. Captivated by his wit and humour, he was 
blind to 'diose Bumerous felsehoods, contradictions, 
and gratuitous assumptions, liiat, were there no- 
thing dse objeclionflft)le, must render his infamous 
pro^ictions altogether unworthy of credit or repu- 
tation. 

From Boulanger, a writer miserably deficaent as 
to accurate information in history and antiquity, — 
whose composidons are a mere tissue of falsehoods 
and sdbsurdities, and as little worthy of credit or 
confidence as Voltaire's, he picked up some fiiYO* 
lous and hypothedicsd objections against Chris* 
tianity : That fear was the erigin of all religions 
among the ancieats ; itiat all calamities which could 
befal men, as earthquakes, fires, innundations, war, 
&C. ibey used to look upon as punishments from 
their gpds, tibongh they arose from natural causes ; 
and to appease the wrath of their deities, they 
came to tmnk of religion. These «nd sindlor un- 
founded coi^ectures, he embraced as 'Undeniifble 
&<^ and beHeved tlmt Boulanger had proved very 
clearly from history the random assertions made 
in his jbUi^piiU^ DewnUe. Hus infidel author, as 
the reader perhaps knows, was a contemporary of 
Paine, and like bun a zealous apostleof the French 
phUoeof^y. Revealed religi<m he discarded as a' 



108 CONVERTS FROM INFIDXLITT* 

(able ; piety he ridiculed as enthmiasiii, an 
with contempt the idea of future rewards 
niahments. No system of morals could 
grateful to libertines than his, as it confii 
Tiews wholly to this world, teaching tl 
their whole duty consisted in their bei 
members of society ; that they could onl 
injuring each other ; and that their condv 
eyer impious, could not o£Fend the Deit 
doctrine of immortality he rejected entire) 
commodation with the creed then presc 
the National Conrention of France, who 
lemnly enacted, That the soul perishes ^ 
body; although they afterwards thought ] 
rescind this blasphemous edict, and deda 
be immortaL 

Fhjudiced in this manner against relij 
passions, vanity, and perverted views, eve 
became a stumbling-stone to his belief, an* 
of offence* A revelation he looked upc 
together unnecessary ; since he thought h 
discover in the nature of man, sufficient 
and springs to make him virtuous. Its h 
evidence appeared to him dubious ; and t 
related to be very improbable. The effect 
gion, within himself, he had never percc 
at least never attended to them. Its d 
seemed to contradict all his pre-conceived 
Its morals appeared to him too severe, and i 
entirely supcanseded, since a system equal! 
perfect, and useful, might be found in the 
of philosophers : human nature, he believe 
tradicted its precepts, and was directly at ^ 
with them. He urged, as formidable objec 
that Christianity was known but among 



COUNT STRUEMSEB. 109 

part of mankind — ^thafc it made veiy little impres- 
id6ii wbere it was known — ^that few of those who ; 
did profess it, acted agreeably to its precepts-*- ) 
^taX Its abuse had produced a great many fatal ^, . 
consequences ; since it was chargeable with cruelty, ^ ' 
pearsecution, and bloioSshed, and had been made a 
clo^ for the most diabolical crimes; 
-'-Amongst other reasons for his rejecting the 
itfguments for Christianity, were> the improbability 
of. miracles, and the mysterious nature of the 
«t<Aiement. The objections commonly urged 
iigahkBt the credibility of supernatural events, ap- 
'jp6ar^ to him unanswerable ; and when he re- 
flected on the redemption of Christ, it seemed 
liepugnant to his ideas of the dirine love, and 
hiuxily reconcileable with mercy or justice. He 
i^EUdgmed God might have forgiven sins, and made^.,- 
'men happy without this. That there was a Su- 
preme Being, he saw na reason to doubt ; but he 
denied the existence of a future state, the moral 
tesponsibility of human actions, the immortality 
of the soul, and the retribution of rewards and 
punishments. These articles being discarded from 
'iiis creed, he adopted another, as he conceived, 
more rational and agreeable, — one that would 
permit him to enjoy fis irregular pleasures with* 
trat impairing Ms satisfaction, by torturing Inm 
with consequences and reflections. 
* ^ I endeavoured," says he, ^ to imprint on my 
Mind such principles as I judged proper to govern 
my actions, and which I thought would answer 
liie-end I had in view. My memory was filled 
with mend rules, but at the same time, I had va- 
rious excuses to reconcile a complying reason with 
the weaknesses and ^e infirmitieB of the human 

VOL. I. K 



110 CONVZBTl VROM IMFIDBLITT. 

Imrt My mdentandiiig ww prepoMMtsed wilb 
•^Gfabts and difficulties against the infJEiUilnlity of 
those means, by which we arrive at troth and cer- 
tainty. My will was, if not fully deftennined, ytt 
aecretly nmch inclined to comply only inlh 8«idi 
fcties as did not lay me nnder the necessity of sa* 
crificing my faroorite inclinations. IbefieTed, from 
ihe consideration of God and the nature of man, 
lint there were no particular obligations towards 
the Supreme Being, besides those which are de- 
liyed from the admiration of his grealaess, and a 
general gratitude on account of our existence. 

*^ Tlie actions of men, so far as diey are deter- 
imned by notions produced by natural senlimentSy 
by agreeable or disagreeable un[»es8i(«8, from ex- 
ternal objects, from education, custom, and the dif- 
ferent circumstances he is in, appeared to me to be 
such as could, in particular instances, neither 
please nor displease God, any more than the dif- 
ferent events in nature, which lire founded in its 
external laws. I W9a satisfied in observing, that 
generd as well as particular instances, tended to 
one point, namely, the preservation of the whole ; 
and this alone was what I thought worthy the care 
of a Supreme Bdng. I ^hou^ht tl^t virtue con- 
sisted in nothing else but in actions whidi are naer 
fnl to society, and in a desire of producing them^-^ 
Ambition, love of our native country, natural la- 
dinsition to what is good, a well-regulated setf- 
love, or even the knowledge oi religion, whoi they 
«re consideBed as motives of virtue, I looked upon 
as indifferent tlni^is, according as they happenedy 
4o make. different impressions upon particular per- 
sons. Reason and reflection were, in my c^iniony 
jh04>i»lyteaGhfln«iid regulatoni of yirtno; And 



fX»CniT BTBUBNSSI. Ill 



kt 10 tD be ftfieomted tlw most Tirtttoiis, wbdse a«- 
tMms WBte itm moBt waeiid, the most difficult to be 
pnctiied^ aad of the most extensive influence; and 
no one coold be blamed who observed the laws of 
loi comttryv and the true principles of honour*" 

With sodi prittci|desy and imder snch conyie- 
tionsy he found it not difficult to excuse his ftr 
iKmrite passions^ The indulgence of these ap- 
peaared to him, at the most, to be only a weak- 
Bess, if tiiey were not attended by bad conse- 
quences to himself or to others ; and theae he 
thought could be prevented by prudence and dr- 
cnmq>ection. He alleged that many who pre- 
tended to honour and virtue, yet indulged them, 
and even excused them s That the manners of the 
times permitted, nlently, liberties which werocon- 
densned only by ihe too rigid moralist, but were 
treated with more indulgence and tenderness by 
^oee who were acquainted with the human heart. 
Whenever he saw means to gain his ends, he fan- 
cied it very hard if he shoidd not make use of 
them. " I cannot help- it," said he, ^ that my na- 
tural temper and disposition ia so much for volup- 
tuousness ; it therefore cannot be imputed to me 
for a crime, if I Kve accor^ng to- this my disposi- 
tion." Ccmtinence was, in 1^ eyes, a virtue pro- 
duced by prejudice ; and he had heard of whole 
nations ttax subsisted without knowing or prac- 
tising it. He had dismissed all fean aiKl ^lectft- 
tions of futurity, as the best excuse he could de- 
vise for an irregular life, the only opiate that could 
quiet the reproaches of conscience, or support and 
tranqKlltae Ids mind undier misfortune. The hap- 
pinesa and rewards promised hereafter, were in 
Act no i^ur or encouragement to him» His gnat 



] 12 CONVERTS FROM INFIPSLITT. 

delight in sensual pleasures pcfsnaded hisi, ihaifc 
as ^ere was nothing of this kind among the joys 
of heay ^ they could have no channs or relish for 
him. 

Such is an outline of ^e fidse but firmly rooted 
system of religion and morals which Stmensee had 
■ fiibidGated for himself, which he had snbstitated in 
prefermice to that of the gospel, and believed to be 
much better adapted to the present condition of 
human life. And when we reflect how flattering 
these opinions are to corrupt nature, and howaUy 
defended they were in this case, by the reaomrces 
of a vigorous and powerful understanding, we can 
well suppose that it required no small portion of 
professional skill and judicious management in Ins 
pious instructor, to make him discredit and aban- 
don them* Dr Munter had obstacles of peculiar 
difficulty to encounter in cmitending with a man, 
who, by his own talents alone, had raised ^himself 
from a comparatively humble situation, to almost 
despotic power in a foreign Court ; whose priur 
ciples were so -strongly fortified by arguments, and 
his moral feelings hardened and seared into a state 
of the most hopeless and callous insensibility* 

In this delicate and diflicult task he acquit- 
ted himself in the most satisfactory manner ; and 
proved the happy instrument in the hand of Pro- 
vidence of e£fecting a complete eonversimi, and 
reclaiming this pro£gate nobleman from the paths 
of scepticism and immorality, to a firm conviction 
of the Christian revelation. He imparted his in- 
structions in the form of conferences or convnsa- 
tions on the several topics that came under discus- 
sion in course of his attendance.* He kept aregis- 
ter or journal of each separate visit, in which the 



* 60U2fT STm/£lf8£B. IIS 

iffgtfiiieiito and ob^ecdotift are staled exaeUy aa 
they were propounded ; and which exhibits the 
duffacter of the distii^aiahed peniteat^ as weU as 
of has spiritual teacher, in a most interesting 
p<Nnt of view. Nerer was » ease of infidelity 
treated with greater jnc^^ent, or more tenderness^ 
and his c^mduct is a im>del of inutationL for any 
ckETgyman^ shcmld the duties of his profesHLoa* 
place him in similar circmnstanGes* It is impoe> 
sible to toiieh the wounds of a si^erer more 
gently ; to aUay the agitations of his mind, by pre* 
aenting rehgkm as the consoler, not as the distivber 
of his dying moments ; or to lead him to try his 
actions by a pturer morality than nature er philo- 
80{^y ever prescribed. As Dr Manter's journal 
of tms convenion is less read than it deserves to be, 
and until lately re-printed, was scarcely known in 
tUa country to exist, we shall endeavour to com* 
prise all of it Uiat is most interesting or valuable 
witUn our limits. Nor shall we think it necessary 
to offer any apology for sometimes using the Aift> 
thor's words in preference to our own, as every 
reader will pMceive how much of their dramatic 
effect many parts of these interviews would have 
lost, had ^e details been given in the form of nar- 
rative instead of conversation. 

As so<m as Ihr Munter received the King's orw 
ders to visit the prison^*, he readily obeyed the 
mandate ; hoping, if not to change his opinions, at 
least to alleviate his misfortunes, so far as his pro* 
fessional skill could avaiL '* I did not know the 
man," he observes, ^ nw did he know me ; and 
as to our prindpk» and sentiments, they were, to 
all appearance, very difoent. I had even to ex* 
pect uiat my profeasiony and the intent I visited 



114 CONVSRTS FROM INCIDXLITY. 

him with, ^ould make him distrust me ; aor, 4m 
the other hand, h^ I much reason to pat mf 
great confidence in him. However, I entertained 
some hopes, that in his present situation he might 
find even a conversation with a clergyman not quite 
insupportable ; and the compassion I had for him, 
would never permit me to prepossess him against 
me by severe and ill-lamed eizpostalations. B^dee^ 
I was told by some of his fonner acquaintance, that 
he was open, and in some respects sincere ; I 
thou^t it therefore not impossible to establish a 
friendship between us, that might promote my in^ 
tention concerning him. With these hopes I be* 
gaa to visit him, and I praise Grod forthe blessing 
he has grasfted to my labours." 

His primary object was to lay some foundation 
for a mutual confidence, es wi^ut that, his in- 
structions could have no beneficial result, — ^to as* 
certain, if possible, the real sentiments of his dis- 
ciple regarding religion; and impress his mind 
with tjie importance of the services he had come 
to offer. 

l^e first visit took place in the b^inning of 
March, nearly two months after his im^Mrismiment. 
Since his arrest, the Count had r^nained in dose and 
solitary confinement in his dungeon, with irons on 
his hands and feet, and an iron collar fisstened to 
the wall round his neck. But, humbled and let* 
tered pa he was in his personal c<mditiion^ his mind 
was untondbed with remorse, and nothing seemed 
farther froor hiil ihoughts, than the supports of re- 
ligion or tlRP'^asitittions of a clergyman. This in* 
terview, therefore, was by no m«q|is fiattering, and 
did not a«gkur muck success. ^ .When he was 
told I was ihere wid unshed to speak to him, he 



COUNT STBU£NS£B. 115 

isquired whether I came by command ? Being 
answered in the affirmatiye, he complied. He r^ 
oeiyed me with a som* and gloomy countenance, 
in the attitade of a man who was prepared to le- 
ceive many severe reproaches, with a silence that 
shewed contempt. We were alone, and I was 
greatly moTed, beholding the misery of a man who, 
but a few weeks ago, was the first and the most 
power&d of all the IGng's subjects. I could neither 
hide my feeling, nor would I. Good Count, said 
I, you seie I come with a heart that is sensibly 
affected for yon : I know and feel the regard that 
is due to an unhappy man, whom Grod, I am sur^ 
nerer intended to be bcHii for such a misfortune. 
I sincerely wish to make my visits, which I am 
ordered to pay you, agreeable and useful. Ovur 
conversation will now and then be disagreeable 
both to you and me ; but I profess most solemnly, 
that I shall tell you, even these melancholy truths 
which I have to communicate, without severity to 
you, but not without pain to i^yself. I know I have 
no right to give you any unnecessary uneasiness, 
and you may depend upon my sincerity. Should 
it happen that accidentally in our conversation, a 
word should slip from me which perhaps may ap- 
pear offensive, I declare beforehand, tluit it never 
was said with such a design ; and I beg, that in 
such instances, you will overjodc my predpitap 
tion." During these dandid and tender profes- 
sions,. tiie Count quitted his severe and affected 
attitude, and smoodied his countenance into some« 
thing like attentive serenity; but at the same 
time, with an air and look that seemed to bespeak 
coldness and indifference to the subject, he replied, 
f' Oh ! you may say what you please."' 



116 CONVBRTS FttOM INFIDKLITY. 



Dr Munter obwirved, he itoald say 
was not dictated by a concern for his fatore hap 
piness ; that he only wished to raise Ins attention 
to a consideration of his moral state, and how he 
stood in regard to God. ** I had several reasoosy" 
says he, " to decline the King's order, which Inings 
me to you ; bnt the hope of comforting yon in 
your misfortunes, and of advising you- to avoid 
greater ones, was too important for me. Do not 
charge me with views of a meaner sort* I come 
not for my own sake, but only with an int«at of 
being useful to you. If you are convinced of 
this, you will grant me that confidence, whidi you 
cannot refuse a man who is anxious for your welftoe. 
I shall return it with the most thankful friendships 
although you should in the beginning take me far 
a weak and prejudiced man.** 

The Count here expressed, with some emotion, 
his fall persuasion that these visits were designed 
solely for his advantage ; but he had no expecta- 
tion of receiving any comfort from them in hit 
dying moments, — ^imagining that he possessed su^ 
fident courage within himself for encountering 
that tiying occasion, without the aid of adTenti« 
tious supports. ^^ In all my adversities,** said hs^ 
^ I have shewn firmness of mind, and agreeably 
to this character 1 hope I shall die, — not like 
a hypocrite." '* Hypocrisy," replied his friend^ 
<< in such moments, would be still worse than an 
affected firmness, though even tUs itself is a kind 
o^ hypocrisy. In case of deatli, do not trust to 
your former resolution ; and do not compare 
your former adversities with that fate whi<ji is 
now ready to fall upon you. Do not dwrinh thai 
nahappy thooght of dying fike a i^ukMoplikal 



SCOUNT 8TRUENSES. 117 

4iero, fnr I doubt whether yen vnil be able to keep 
it np to the end. 1 am afraid your courage will 
•ihen leanEe yon, though yon may force yourself to 
«hew it ontwavdly. But peihaps y^m entertain 
9(Hne hopes of saving your life?*' ^* No/' said 
he, ^ 1 flatter myself with no hopes at all." ^* But 
yon do not see death near yon ; yon do not know 
the time when yon shall leave the world ; sup- 
• pose I was ordered to tell yon that you were to 
<Ue to-day or to-morrow, would not your courage 
fail you ?" " I do not know," said he. 
- HiB friend here endeavoured to impress him 
with liie great importance of considering the sub- 
ject with attention. ^ It is to prepare you for 
.eternity," said he, ^ that 1 chiefly aim,r — ^though I 
jnust expect that we are not of the same opinion 
in regard to the state of man after ^eath. Yet 1 
.cannot help thinking that there never was a time 
-when yon were fully convinced that there is no 
life to come, and consequently neither rewards nor 
^punishments, though you might hare persuaded 
yourself ihat there is not. Your inwanl feelings 
have frequently contradicted you. The thought 
4ii eternity fri^tened you, though unfortunately 
yon had art enough to stifle it in the birth." To 
this appeal he listened with attention, but would 
not own that he ever had any inward impressions 
of futurity, or had been afrsdd of it. He ad? 
mitted that &e thought of entii*ely ceasing to be, 
was disagreeable to him ; for he wished to live, 
«ven if it were with less happiness than he now 
enjoyed in his prison. But, he added, he did not 
find the thought of total annihilation so terrible jbs it 
was to many who eutertuned the same sentiments. 
. Jiia venmble instructor then proceeded to shew 



116 OONVZRTS FBOM niFIOBLtTT. 

llie pdsaflnlity of a fatore lifo,-— that there was 
at leaBflw mack probability for it as there wai 
against ity-*-that even from mere reason, it might be 
eyinced that eternity is to the highest degree pro- 
bable, nay almost certain ; and ^t even suppos- 
ing it only probable, it became a matter of impor- 
tance fcNT those who might have canse to fear an 
unhappy state hereafter, to prepare themselTes 
against it,*or endeavour at least to make tt tole- 
rdble. To this he assented, but added, ** You 
""will hardly make me believe that th«ne is a future 
life : and though you may peibaps convince my 
understanding by reasons whidi 1 cannot' over- 
throw, my heart, however, will not yield to the 
conviction. My opinion is so strcmgly woven 
into my sentiments, — ^I have so many arguments 
in fieivour of it, — ^I have made so many dbservar 
tions from anatomy and physic, which confirm it, 
that I think it will be impossible for me to re- 
nounce my principles. This, however, 1 promise, 
that I will not wilfully oppose your endeavours 
to enlighten me, but rather wi^ as far as lies in 
my power, to concur with you. I will not dis- 
semble, but honestly tell you of what 1 am eoof 
vinced, and what not.'' 

Upon these professions of fairness and honesty, 
Dr Munter expressed his wish to be made ac- 
quainted with his system of religion, that he m^(fat 
be able to judge wherein their opinions differed 
'^ I am inctined," he added, << to think you are not 
a Christian, and you may easily guess how much 
I wish vou to be one. It is not my intention to 
force Christianity upon you, but I hope to repr»> 
sent it to you as so important and amiable^ that 
yoa yownM will think you stand greatly ta need 



COUNT STRUBNSKB. 119 

of k." To this the Count replied : That it wm 
trae -he was veiy far from being a Christiany 
thoof^ he acknowledged and adored a Supreme 
B^ngy and behoved that the world and mankind 
had their origin frouk God. He could never per- 
aoade himself that man consbted of two sub- 
stances ; but located upon him as a mere machine : ( 
And though it was Grod that first animated this hu- 
man machine ; yet as soon as its motion ceased, 
that isy whmi man died, there was no more for him 
either to hope or to fear. He did not deny that 
man was endowed with some power of liberty, but 
his free actions were determined only by his sen^ 
sations: TherefcHie man's actions could be ac- 
counted moral only so far as tbey related to so- 
ciety. Every thing that man could do, he be- 
iieyed, was in itself indifferent : That God did not 
concern himself about om* actions ; and if their 
cmisequences were in man's own power, and he 
could prevent their being hurtfid to society, no- 
body had a right to reproach him about them* 
He could not see why ^ture punishments were 
necessary to satisfy the justice of God, even though 
it be allowed that God regarded our actions ; and 
thought that man was punished enough already in 
this world for his transgressions. 

It seemed necessary, therefore, to expose and 
i^lttte the fallacy of that system which consider- 
ed man as a vaeie machine ; as upon this theory 
nested his condnsicm, that there could be no future 
life; a doctrine which at once subverts all religion. 
Dr Munter was accordingly at considerable pains 
4o unsettle and refute these erroneous notions ; 
huit when he had exhausted all his arguments and 
wsowngs he ftwnd tbey had produced \mt llitla 



120 COKVEHTS FROM 1KFID£LITT. 

effect npon his convert ; and htid only ext« 
from him, a concession that the hypothesis for 
exuitence of the sool was hotter foonded than 
contrary ; hut that many good reaaona remai 
for his adhering to his former sentiments, 
evident, in fact, that this discnsflion was introdi 
at too early a stage of their progress. It was 
to he expected that dry metaphysical argom 
could have much force on the mind of Strue: 
in his present situation. He was not comp 
enough for cool and dispassionate reflec^n, 
prepared to examine and weigb the subject ' 
deliberation. His spiritual director, there 
very judiciously abandoned this method of 
cedure, and adopted another and a more suci 
fid scheme, by working upon his good feeli 
and trying to affect his heart, instead of labon 
in vain to convince his understandmg. 

He had observed that the ruinous effects o 
actions on others, had occasioned him more 
gret than his own misery, or the offence he 
committed against God ; and having discov 
this uneasiness, — ^this tender point, where 
wounds of his conscience smarted most, he 
hold of the sensation, and made it the objec 
attack ; hoping that this salutary regret migh 
d^rees become more universal, and extend i 
towards his other crimes ; and that by brin 
into action those feelings of sympathy and a 
tion for his friends, a way might uitinaat^ 
opened up for the admission of religion, 
represented to him how cruelly he had affli 
his parents, — how dreadfol the suspense they i 
be in about his present condition, and how h 
liating to them toe circumstances of his death. 



OOUHT 8TRUENSKS. 121 

reninded bim how much it was his duty to remoYe 
llieir anxiety about his future state, this being the 
greatest, and now in his fallen condition, the only 
comf^fft on esriAk he could procure them, — that 
filial obedience, which as a son it became him to 
pay them, was a lesson which he might have 
leamt from the heathen philosophers, and from 
Confucius himself, whose moral system he had 
preferred to that of Christ. 

He intreated him to reflect how many his ro- 
htptuonsness had ruined I That his example, and 
the propagation of his principles had seduced young 
men mto profligacy ; many of whom had lost their 
characters, mined their constitutions, and even met 
their death in the pursuit of illicit pleasures : That 
pei^ps destitute widows and orphans, whose bus-*, 
bands and fethers had fellen victims to the profli- 
gate habits he had taught them, were then crying 
to the all-knowing God, against the author of their 
nisfortimes : That youthM innocence had often 
been sacrificed to his lawless passions ; the ties of ma- 
trimony violated, which, according to the unanimous 
i^nion of all nations, should be held sacred ; and 
children, ^e offspring of his irregularities, were lefl 
£t>r want of education or parental care, to become . 
a burden and a di^race to society. He represented 
to him what confusions, enmities, and law-suits 
these would produce, even after his death, in fiir 
ttulies that might have remained happy, if he had 
left them unmolested ; and that if every one were 
to follow his example, human society must neee^ 
■arily be overturned. 

. With regard to his political life, he begged him 
to consider, that instead of being spent for tbe good 
0i oth^B> it had been ra^r the means to satisfy 



12ft O0NV1RT8 VROM INriDl&lTT. 

hk own pasnons ; that thoosands bad been nade 
unhappy through his ambition, which had ohea pot 
him upon dangerous and yiolent measures to keep 
himself in office : That he had anogated to hmi* 
self an unconstitutional power, lived at a luxurious 
expense, and perhaps made too free with the re- 
venues of the State : That he was chargeable wiUi 
having ^ven new laws inconsiderately, and abo* 
lishing established ones'without reason ; withhav* 
ing discarded old and approved ministers d the 
Crown, and chosen new ones without knowing 
them, and trusting them without being sure of 
their honesty, merely because he thought ihey 
would prove themselves friends and accomplices to 
his profligate or ambitious purposes : That the mo- 
^^rals of the nation had never been his care ; on the 
contrary, he had rather fostered immorality by bad 
examples, by giving every facility to commit sin, 
and even making laws tending to promote it. 

At these reproaches, severe and himiUiatii^ as 
they were, the Count seemed to take no offence ; 
only alleging occasionally, on certain parts of his 
conduct, something by way of excuse or extenua- 
tion. The predominating feelings in Ins mind, were 
those of regret and humanity, — ^regret for those ac- 
tions that had proved so detrimental to society, 
and humanity for those friends whom he had pre^ 
dpitated into the same misery and ruin with him- 
self. Reflections on the broken ties of personal 
friendship, — the remembrance of pleasures mutu- 
ally enjoyed,— and the melancholy prospect in 
which they all at last were to terminate, impeared 
greatly to interest and soften his heart* This cer- 
tainly was the side on whidi he felt most tenderiy ; 
$ad scarcely was it touched when hia samibilitMa 



comrt sTRtncKSBS. 1S8 

▼iflibly overpowered bim, and he Imrst into tearBy 
owning, thmt in this respect he found himself veiy 
culpable, and was absolutely at a loss to say any 
thmg in his own defence. The expression of hu 
countenance and his whole attitude, betrayed how 
much uneasiness this review and examination of 
bb life had occasioned him ; and he appeared to 
feel a kind of relief in giving rent, in showers of 
tears, to this inward anxiety. ^ 

He confessed without reserve his private licen* 
tioQsness, his success in corrupting the victims 
of bis passitm, and even reconciling them to their 
vices ; the imprudence and rashness by which he 
had brought ruin on his friends, and plunged his 
•pueaiM in the deepest affliction ; the ignoble and 
impure motives of all his public actions, which i^ 
lhe eye of reason deprived them of those preteit* 
sions to virtue or philanthropy, to which their 
outward appearance might seem to entitle theub 
^ I cannot deny,'' says he, ^* that I have been a 
dangerous seducer. I have often deceived inno« 
eence by my principles, and even afterwards reconf 
died them, and mside them easy again about their 
tnmBgressions. I foolishly persuaded myself that 
diBBe ineenlarities were consistent with the laws of 
iociBtv ; uiat the great ones in England and France 
lead toe same unrestrained lives. As to their im« 
Biotality, I never gave that much consideration. 
I always believed that it belonged to the clergy to 
attend to the morals of the people. I judged of 
the sentiments of the nation by my own ; and 
iBiagiiied that every one, like myself, looked upon 
pleaaare as his only happiness. I am aware that 
aanyof my public regulations were precipitate^ 
mhL fiEwned for aelfish ends ; and now that I con-. 



1^ CONVERTS FROM IlSfFIDSLITY. 

aider matters moare coolly, I perceive ihey may hvn 
been the occaaioa of great mischief. Whhregard 
to religion, I wiU not conceal that it has frequently 
been witli me a subject of ridicule ; but of tins kind 
of inconsiderateness, I have been guilty mostly k 
the company of such persons as were already pre- 
judiced agamst it. Though I made no seczet of 
my irreligion, I never made it my business to make 
proselytes. In all this I acknowledge myself cul- 
pable before God and my own consdence.** 

^ These unfeigned concessions of having done 

^ wrong, appeared to be amaterial step towards a more 
general and penitential acknowledgment of guilt. 
Dr Munter was not insensible of the advantage 
which it had thrown into his hands, and looked up- 

4||p it as a promising and hopeful augury of his 
convert's final reformation. He had already sup- 
plied him with an excellent treatise on the inmior- 
tality of the soul, and the responsibility of men frar 
their actions, which he recommended nim to read 
with attention. This tended powerfully to onlightoi 
and rectify his mind on these subjects ; and when its 
arguments were followed up by a subsequent con*^ 
vm«ation on the comparative merits of the two 
systems, — ^that which would degrade man to the 
level of the brute creation, and that which elevates 
him to th^ image and resemblance of his Maker^— . 
the effect of the whole was to render a future ex- 
istence not only probable, but highly desirable. 
The Count admitted that the evid^ces in its £iiu« 
vom* were irresistible. 

Having kindled in the breast of has disciple a 
h<^ and a wish for immortality, Dr Munter wisely 
declined entering into minut^ disquisitions respect* 

ing the nature and separate eustence of the Boulf 



COVKT 8TRUBNSSX* 1S5 

liil theM «p6ciillittv« traifas should lead them from 
ihek Kuaa object, into researcheB that might tend 
raUier to p^iex and bewilder, — to quench instead 
of dierisoing and fanning the smoking flax into 
warmer desires, and brighter anticipations. It was 
enough for his purpose in the meantime, that he 
iMid brought him to acquiesce and believe in the 
existence of eternity. This deception, — the per^^ 
Auasion <^ there being no future life, — ^which had 
hitherto rendered him insensible to moral distinct 
tions, and deluded him into a false and fieital secu«> 
ntfy being removed, the main pillar that supported 
his system fell in consequence to the ground. 

It was no difficult matter now to convince hiin 
^lat his notions of the morality of actions, with re* 
finrence to their good or bad effects to sodetyt 
most be altered and rectified before he could pro* 
uise himself the happiness of that future life^ 
whicfa he sincerely hoped and wished for. ^^ Ac* 
cording to your former principles," observed his 
reverend friend, *^ and even by your own* rule of 
judgment, your aotkniB have been proved to be 
immoral, and incapable of standing the test. But 
suppose you had to reproach yourself only with 
being the caose of all the misfortunes of your 
friends, it must assuredly be very difficult or ra^ 
dier impoBsible, even <m that ground, to bear the 
ecrtttmy of God s stricter account.*' ^' I acknow* 
ledge this,*' said he, ^ and therefore shall say no- 
ting to exeme myself before God, and I hope he 
will not demand this of me. I trust in my repen* 
met and his naocey. Do not you think that God 
Wil forgive me on account of this philosophical 
repentanos?" ** AcantUng to my notion of re* 
** pepKed the mdm^ " I caa ^v« ^u tia 



1^ CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

hopes. I know but one way to receive Qod^ 
pardon, and this is not by a philosophical, but by 
a Christian repentance. I cannot yet produce this 
reasons why I am obliged to think so, but if yon 
only reflect on God's mercy in which you trust, 
yon will find that it is this very mercy wmch makes 
It necessary for him to be just, and to shew his 
aversion to moral evil. Such mercy as that of 
God, which <»nnot degenerate into weakness, must, 
no doubt, be v«y terrible to him who has offended 
against it.** 

The impression which these representations bad 
made on the mind of the Count, could now no 
longer be resisted or concealed. He was con- 
cerned about his moral condition ; more, howeyer, 
from the danger he saw himself in, than on ac- 
count of haying offended and incurred the dis* 
pleasure of God. To increase this sensibility and 
uneasiness, and to represent the gross immorality 
of his conduct, as weU as the perversity of his mo- 
tives, in their true light, he was shewn how fiaulty 
and untenable his theory had been, as to the mo- 
rality of human actions ; — ^that their mere relation 
to society was a false criterion to judge them by,-— 
that to determine their goodness or badness by 
our own impressums, was an unsafe maxim, since 
the passions biassed the judgment, and were al- 
ways ready to supply us with various excuses,— 
that the weakness and narrow bounds of the un- 
denBtaading, rendered it iinpossible for us always 
to foresee er regulate their consequ«ices,--4hat a 
higher and more perfect rule must necessarily bo 
supposed, which nde is only to be found in the will 
of the Diety, whose understanding is. infinite, afid 
Bot tnbject, like ours, to be warped by enrofa or 



COUNT STRUENSfiB. 1^7 

infirmitiefl^ and who will not pennit his diyiiie 
k(ws to be trei^Mussed with impunity. This standard, 
Be was informed, was contained in the ScriptoreSy 
whidi he could not fiBul to have discovered, had 
he but read them even with the slightest atten- 
tion ; that it was confirmed by the dictates of na- 
tural conscience, as might be seen in the most 
iguOTant and savage tribes, who, conupted as they 
are by custom and education, yet still retain, amidst 
all their barbarism, fragments of this original law 
written on the heart, and will reason on some ac- 
tions more soundly than civilized nations, whose 
moral sense has been biassed and tainted by their 
habits and prejudices. 

The Count henceforth admitted unequivocally 
the fiedlacy of his own moral theory, and owned 
that the notion of morality was not a consequence 
of education, prejudice, or custom, but bom with 
us, and laid deep in our nature : that it took its ori- 
gin from our Creator; and that, by the dictates of 
this inward feeling, we were informed of the will 
of God, in regard to good or bad actions. The 
inference to be drawn from this was, that since he 
had transgressed against a higher authority than 
that of human laws or civil institutions, in order 
to qualify himself for mercy and forgiveness, it 
was necessary to try his former life by a severer 
test, and to acknowledge his faults and crimes : 
that if he wished to die in the peace and confi- 
dence of a Christian, there was no other possibi- 
lity of attaining this fortitude and tranquillity of 
soul, than by fulfilling those conditions which God 
in his word had laid down to us, as the only terms 
for our receiving his pardon. 

The doubts imd apprehennons in which he was 



198 OONVBltTfi I^RdM minoisLiTT. 

Botr implicated, and which freqneiilly agitatod Uai 
e^F^nto tears, made Christianity appear necessaiy to 
y m, and he renHy wished it mi^t comfmt him m 
hm test moments, though he still imagined it im- 
poasible to be fully conrinced of its tra^ At tile 
eame time, he was aware that his own system 
could ha^e lent him but a tottering support ; and 
had renounced his former principles, once deemed 
indisputable, which had made 1dm resotre to i^ 
proach death without fiurther scrutiny, and eToA 
without receiving a visit or an advice from any 
clergyman. As he had professed, however, to be 
•can^, and to state without di^uise whatever in 
the Clnistian religion appeared objectionable or 
incredible, he proposed at the very outset what 
seemed to him to be a sort of inoonsist^M^ dt 
eontindiction, — that Christianity could not be ^' 
only way revealed by God for our everlasting hap- 
piness, seeing it was so little known among maft- j:/ 
kind ; and even among Christians themselves there 
were oomparatively few that kept its precepts. J 
*ro dus Dr Munter thought it sufficient at pre* 
-sent to remark, that it was but a weak inference ' 
•gainst the goodness »(id justice of God, his not 
revealing to all men a doctrine which is the only 
one t^iat can render them happy ; sinoe we did 
not know whether Grod would not save those 
who are ignorant of Christianity, by its di^ensa- 
tionS) if they bdiaved.as web as lay in their 
power; and that it could be no reason for a 
man, whom God had presented with « blessing ) 
which he had denied to others, to reject this bkes- 7 
i»g, or not to value it, becaose God had not fjiwem it J 
to all men. All the blessings of his pforidenoe were 
dutnbatoi unecpaMy wnon^ uea : for huilaace^ 



COUNT 8TRUENSEB. 129 

iHHiaVi riciies, liealthy talents, and eyen the know-f 
ledge of natiural religion ; so that this ohjection ; 
defeated itself, by proving more iJian he intended, j 
Neither was it a more rational inference to con- 
clndey that because Christianity was observed by 
so very few, llierefore it cannot be a sufficient 
Hiea&s to answer the purpose God intended it for, 
and consequently its origin cannot be a divine one. 
Cfaristiamty, it ought to be observed, was the re- 
ligion of free beings, whose belief must be the 
result of conviction, and not of force or compulsion ; 
and who are under no controul in a matter which 
concerns their haziness. Besides, prejudices, eirors^ 
and passions, can render the strongest moral argu*,^- 
ments ineffectuaL However, it cannot be denied 
that mankind, upon the whole, since the establish* 
ment of the Christian religion, have been greatly 
refmned, and that its power over the human 
mind is stronger than many seem to credit. ^^ 

^* But,*' interrupted the Count, ^^ even good . 
ChrisSSois often comnut sins. Shall, or can s . 
man in this world be perfect ; and is it the inten- 
tion of Christianity to produce effects, which in j 
our present condition are quite impossible?"/ 
^^ There is a great difference,** was the reply, 
** between the sins of a true Christian, of whom 
only we «peak, and between the crimes of a wicked 
man ; the former falls but to rise again, — the latter 
continues in his transgressions, and repeats thenu 
And if there was but one Christian only up<m 
the whc^e earth, whose life dkd honour to his pro- 
fession, it would be a sufficient reason for every 
one diat knew him, to examine the religion of this 
single Christian, and to adopt it if it were found 
well-grounded.** The doul^ of the Coimt were 



180 CONVERTS FROM INFIDBLITT. 

by no means yet satisfied, tfaoogfa lu8«arexpr^ 
•a anxiety and concern that seemed to enoottrage 
the hope of his soon becoming a Christian. 

Before conducting him, however, into the doc» 
trines of the Grospel, Dr Munter tiionght it better 
to direct his attention to its precepts, and ^tn^ ex- 
cellency of its morals; not doubting that if he 
was first conTinced. of this, its mysteries, if bid 
before him as Scripture proposes them, s^arated 

from human explications, would no longer i^ipear 

improbable or unworthy of credit. He teqiMsted 
him to study tiie history of Christ as a man , to 
examine his moral character^ — his innocenco— his 
disinterested benevolence — his heroic death — buIk 
jects which his bitterest enemies could never 
challenge, and ^diich had extor ted praise and ad- 
numtion even fix>m Voltaire and Rouaseau. At 
the same time, to assist him in his meditatimis, 
he presented him with a history of the Life of 
Chnst, and Gellert's Lectures on Morality. These 
he read in private, and their influence soon be- 
came visible, from the altered tone in which he 
spoke. <^ Had I but a year ago," he exclaimed, 
^ read sach books in retirement from dissipa- 
tion, I should have been quite another man. 
The morals and personal conduct of Christ are 
exoellrait. The first are undoubtedly the best 
maxims for men to make themselves happy in all 
situations in life. Here I have met with many 
tiiingB that have affected me much. I should be 
quite unreasonable not to own that I ought to 
have lived as this book teaches me. Had I but 
made them m^ companions in the days of my pros- 
perity, I am sure it would have convinced and 
Miefoaxmd ma. I cannot seriously eno«igh repoDi 



ooinrr strueksxs. ISl 

of ImTiiig led to bsd a life, and of haying acted 
upon audi wicked principles, and used means so 
detrimental. My present condition, and even my 
death, do not concern me so much as my hase 
actions ; and it is quite impossible to make any 
repentticni for what I have done to the world." 

His attitude was now completely dianged into 
penitence and humility. He expressed in his 
ooont^iance the shame, sorrow, and uneasiness 
diat overwhelmed him. Frequently he would 
•tart,^ on a sudden, from the couch on which he 
used constantly to lie,-?— then sit for half-an-hour 
together, hanging down his head, buried in deep 
diought, sobbing and shedding many tears. His 
foriom condition excited the sympathy and com- 
passion of his assiduous visitor, who, though it 
was yet too early to soothe him into absolute re- 
pose, by encouraging any thing like presumptuous 
assurance, nevertheless gave him to hope that his re- 
pentance might not be too late ; since, with regard 
to pardon and acceptance with God, there was no 
distinction between those who came early, and 
those who came late, if mercy was sought in feith 
and sincerity. 

Of ms imfeigned penitence, no doubt almost could 
now remain. The manner in \diich he spoke of 
his past life, — ^the remorse with which he waa 
touched, and the anguish he felt from the ra- 
proaches of conscience, all seemed to indicate 
that he was in earnest. But he was reminded 
that neitiier repentance alone, nor reparation of 
injuries, nor amendment of life, those means which 
natural reason recommended for obtaining pardon, 
were sufficient to expiate our sins before God, or 
ntiaiy divine justice : That were a judge to \i8r- 



132 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

lion ereiy criminal upon his shewing signs of grief, 
or even serious repentance, it would augur weak- 
ness, or perhaps goodness, rather than wisdom and 
justice^ or a due respect for the qualities that hefit 
the judicial character. 

He was told, that though he could not repair 
. the damages he had done, because he was so near 
eternity, he nerertheless could still do somethii^ 
which resembled, in some respects, a reparation ; 
which was, that he should cnodeavour to eflbce 
those bad impressions he had made on the minds 
of the people^ by shewing himself now qmte a dif- 
ferent man in his conversation, and his whole 
behayiour. To this he remarked, that he had al- 
<; ready thought that to be his duty ; that he hear^ 
wished he could only contribute smnetlung to- 
wards the reformation of those of his friends whose 
morals he had com^ted by his example and his 
conversation: that he had spoken to an officer 
about the moral doctrines of Christianity, and ex- 
horted him to obey them strictly, though in seve- 
ral respects he was not yet himself fully eon- 
vinced. 

He had received in course of these eonvexsa- 
tions, one or two very affecting letters from his 
parents, reminding him of the paternal admoni^ons 
and good examples he had seen and ^eard m his 
youth— expressing their grief and concern about 
his present unhappy circumstances— and recom- 
mending him to humble himself before Gad for 
his crimes, and fly for refuge to the blood of the 
Redeemer. The gentle remonstrances and tender 
solicitations conveyed m these letters, affected him 
most deeply. He wept in reading them, and 
I^^ged his friend to 'wnte, aasuring them tbal he 



OOUNT STRUENSBE. 133 

was ccmseiaas ef the afflictions his misconduct had 
occasioned ibewt ; hnt that he heartily repented, 
and would do his hest to die like a Chnstian. 

As he was now better prepared for being made 
acquainted with the arguments in favour of the 
tm^ of Christianity, haying admitted its excel- 
lence^ and desired its consolations, Dr Mimter had 
no longer any hesitation in entering fuUy into the 
snbject with him. He observed ^t there were 
two ways to become convinced of the tmlAk oi 
Christianity. The first was a constant practice of 
Christ's precepts ; by which a man may be con- 
vinced by his own experience of the excellency oi 
his religion. The other was a candid examina- 
tion, whether Christ had. proved himself to be a 
true messenger of God, by delivering a doctrine 
worthy of God, and by performing imdoii^ted 
miracles. As to his doctrines, he had himself 
OMmed, that they were truly divine ; and if his s»- 
soirection, the greatest of his miracles, could be 
proved, it followeiT of course that the rest of his 
miracles were tnste, or at least might be so» It was 
necessary, he told him,, that he should himself exa- 
mine the evidences in behalf of this miracle, and 
that for this purpose he should give him a book, 
^West's Obseorations on the Resurrection of Jesus 
Christ^, written by a deist, who was induced to ' 
tnm Christian after eyamining the history of the" 
vesurrection. 

West's treatise, together with Burnet Vphiloso^ 
^ncalexamination of t^e arguments for Christianity, 
proved highly satisfiM^tory, and tended to remove 
Hiany of the ignorant and perverse scruples he 
had ent^tained. The foUowing arguments of 
West made a dde/p impression^ on his und^rstand- 

M 



1S4 CONVKRTS FROM HmDBLITT. 

ing : That tbe disciples of Christ were not credii' \ \ 
loQSy but with difficulty were cQuvinced ei the i»* \ \\\ 
surrection of Christ, by the unammons testimoBy/ ' 
of idl their senses : That the Jews never exaauued 
tEe affau* judicially, though they had the best op* 
portunities for it, and had an interest in shewing 
It to be fictitious: That the propagation of tilt 
gospel must be considered as another argument for 
the truth of the resurrection ; since, if it had not 
been certain that Christ was risen, Christiantty 
could not have spread so rapidly and so fiar as it did. 
In this respect die doctrine of Mahomet was not 
to be compared with the religion of Christ. 

Upon inquiring whether any testimonies <if this 
event were to be met with in heathen anthofs, the 
Count was informed that it was mentioned in Tfr* 
citus, Suetonius, Pliny, and Josephus, though the 
genuineness of the passage in the latter historian 
has been disputed. 

The wonderful harmony and ccnncidence be- 
tween the Old Testament and the New, in r^iaid 
to man's redemption, was next-pointed out to him ; 
the several passages of the prophets explained, 
which corresponded with the evangelists ; the in- 
trepid honesty that characterized both 4he founder 
and first apostles of the Christian religion, who 8»> 
crificed their lives to confirm the truth of what they 
preached: These furnished evidence that could 
nardly fail to prepossess «very unprejudiced mind 
in favour of the credibUity of tbe go^>el hisfeory. 
Had Christ meant to impose upon the Jews, was 
the remark of the Count, he would have con- 
formed to their prejudices, availed himself of the 
literal magnificence with vHiich he was prefignrad 
in aadieaiii prophecy, tad appealed among thain k 



OOUKT STRUENBKB. 1S5 

iki dHanMler of a worldly h&<^ Bui he had em« 
pKoyed quite different means. He agreed that it 
was impossible for an impostor to act thoroughly 
the part of an honest man ; andlhat there were pro- 
phecies which, in regard of their being fulfilled, 
did not depend mitirely upon Christ : For instance, 
ikmr casRtiag lots on ois garments, and his being 
emcifiecL One as weH as the other depended on 
aoddenti^ drcumstanees ; for if the Romans had 
not been at that time masters of Jerusalem, he 
night net faav« been crudfied, but rather atoned 
todetfk 

The several Scripture passages that treat of 
■nn's redeniption, were dfligenUy canvassed and 
o em p a re d with each other. Dr Munter endea- 
voured to-prove that this redemption, as taught in 
the ^ble, does not contradict any of God's attri- 
butes, and is in all respects adapted and suitable 
to the conditiDn of falXea man : that it rather glo- 
rified the Divine perfSoctions, and was absolutely ^^ 
aeoesiary to human happiness. He entreated hu 
l^niteBt moat earnestly to convince himself of thia 
^ief doctrine of Christianity, that there is no ssl- 
vation widKWkt Christ, and to embiaee it for Ina 
awn efveriasliBg welfare. <* I shall i«»e no diffi-*-^ 
eukies^" reCumed the Count, ** but do as mudi as 
I GHi to become convinced of a doctrine whidi 
mnat he of so gnat inmortaBce to me. I have no 
other hopes but from this quurtxae only, md why 
alMNdd I not be deeiroua of partakiiig thereof? I 
fomo-ly thought that whoever ^nbiuoed Christi- 
antty ww to renounoe all reason ; but I now see 
plainly liMtt nothing atttids more to riaaon thau it ' 
does, i pramiae that I shall do my utmost to 
miJBa aiyuiBtuoMiiti confonwabie to the will of 



136 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

God ; and I sincerely wish I may haye a lively sen- 
sation of the comforts of religion.'' Upon thk lat- 
ter subject he was cautioned not to be too san- 
guine, since the particular circumstances in which 
he was placed might perhaps create fear and anxiety 
towards the close of his life. Besides the natural 
horror of dissolution, there were the appalling ac- 
companiments with which his death would be at- 
tended, and the consciousness of having by his own 
crimes been the cause of his misfortunes ; these 
feelings religion might not altogether remove, but 
it would comfort hun by a calm and hopeful pro»- 
pect into eternity. 

At a subsequent interview, they resumed the 
consideration of the doctrine of the atonem^it,— 
the objections which reason might oppose to it,-r- 
the manner in which it illustrates the divine per- 
fections, — and its absolute necessity to human 
happiness. The result of this conversati<m was a 
complete triumph over the remaining sophistry and 
scepticism of the Coimt, who now for the first 
time, with tears in his eyes, professed himself a 
convert and a believer. <* I should be guilty," 
said he, ** of the greatest folly, if I would not em- 
brace Christianity wil^ joy, when its arguments 
are so overbalancing, and when it breathes such 
general benevolence. Its ejSects upon my heart 
are too strong. Oftentimes I cannot help crying 
when I read the history of Christ. I think already 
with hope on my death. I have acquainted my- 
self with the most terrifying circumstances. I do 
not know how I shall be when the awful hour 
oomes ; but at present I am not uneasy about it {. 
I jfind nothing that makes me anxiously wish for 
aim iifo, I will confidently expect foigiveneas of 



I 



comt ftmtmirsiHu 197 

^■7 MM tbroogh Oxtk^ I refled wilh grief tnd 
teygHBtion im my fonder idea, that pediaps li^v 
wm no eternity ; and I fed it woiddbea Tery itli- 
hKppy prospect, if all my widna and expectations 
•of fatntity should he Tain. I hare now examined 
Chffistiaiiity iinth greater exactness tiwn I e^er dkt 
my old system, and hy Mb ^samination I am eott- 
▼inoed of its tmdi. I therefore wiH remain firm ; 
neitiier my Ibrmer praicipleB nor new doubts ehiU 
htenoefortii sti^giMr me." 

This dedaiatioii was listened to hy his anxious 
confessor, wilih feelings of lUptmre and gratitade. 
They embtaced each othw in a kind of transport. 
They prayed together i&cvcady, << The scene/* 
-aays he, '^ was moving to me beyond description. 
Never felt I such joy ; never have I been so sw^ 
-ef having brought hack a sinner from his errors. 
I shall never forget this solemn and joyM hoar , 
and never ceaase to praise God for it." 

The Bible henceforth became his deUght, and 
his constant ^study. He frequently prayed to God 
to eidighten his mind, and to confirm him m the 
truth. He began to entertain the office^ that^ 
guarded him wi<li religious conversation. He 
kmged for an op yort«mty to dedare his conne- 
tion to aM his former acquanitances, eflfemaUy 
CooBt firandt; and wished t^ lliose whom he 
had seduced nn^ht be bought in like manner to 
idter liKir sentiments. He was imtiished, accoi4* 
iBg to^ tfWn lequest, with books en the authen- 
ticity of >die samd wndngs, proving them to 
lisve heen 1^ productions of the inspired penmen 
to whom tiiey are attributed, l^e excellent works 
tX Dr Less, professor of theology at Gottingen, 
« Ihe TtaHi of tiM Claistaa iUMgion, he teed 

m2 



138 CONVERT/! FROM IMFIDELITT. 

witli great advantage, particnlarly these pvis itial 
ireat of miracles. The solidity of the argnmeiilB 
there advanced, confirmed his belief in the reality 
of the miracles recorded in the New Testament 
and consequently in the credibility of the doo* 
trines they were intendecl to prove. He penned, 
with much interest, Newton^s Dissertation on the 
Fkttphecies, a subject which he had expressed a 
wish to become acquaintetl witli ; ami was pleased 
to find many pre<lictions, not merely concerning 
Christ in particular, but whole naUons, fulfilled in 
tlie most satisfactory manner. 

<' An unexceptionable evidence,** he observes, 
^* is as certain as our own experience ; and whoevtf 
wants the latter testimony, may consider the pre- 
sent state of the Jews who are living witnesses to 
the truth of Christ's prophecies. No persecution, 
oppression, or contempt could ever induce this 
people to mix with otlier nations, or to adopt tlieir 
manners and customs. Tlie wonders by which 
Cluist lias confirmed his divine mission, can hb 
proved with the same certainty. They were per- 
formed witiiout any preparationsy^-without any cir- 
cumstances that might liave imposed upon tlie 
senses,-— without any previous expectation, — b^ore 
a number of incredulous spectators, in such a man- 
ner tliat no imposition can possibly be suspected. 
They were, besi<les, of such a nature, tliat every 
man of common understaiKling might p«t!eive 
that those means which were made use oif, never 
could of tliemselves produce such effects. A man 
lioni blind receivetl his Higlit,— -one tliat had been 
four ilays in the grave came to life again, — a para- 
lytic was re8tore<l to health ; and all this by only 
/fpeaking a word. If we were to suppose that in 



/ 



-COUNT 8TRUENSEB. 139 

•the legttlar eourse of nature, such a thing was to 
liiippeB just at this time, or that God produced 
.these events by the interposition of Almighty 
|>ow^9 it follows, in ik^ first instance. That Christ 
most have been informed of it before ; and in the 
teotmdj That God heard him : both of which are 
e^pially a miracle, and a proof of his divine mis- 
sioiid— -Of these facts, and others upon which the 
truth of revelation is founded, I am now as sure 
as if I saw them before me. When a numb^ of 
credible witnesses agree in diin^ in lil^ich our 
aenies only are concerned, I am as much con- 
vinced of them as if I knew them from my own 
expedience." 

Erom the short Biention made in Lees's book of 
the chief deistical writings, he foimd that the 
x>bjection8 made against revelation, were so very 
trifling, that he fdt ashamed of having suffered 
himself to be imposed upon by such insignificant 
arguments. ^* I never imagined,** says he, *^ that 
Cluristianity was founded upon such strong evi- 
dences, or that they would liave convinced me so. 
. After a calm examination, I have found them to be 
unexoeptiooable; and none, if they only take propw 
time, and are not against the trouble of meditat- 
ing, can «ver examine it without being convinced 
of its truth. Every thing is naturally and we\l 
connected, and recommends itself to a mind given 
to reflection. I never found in deisticd writings 
a system so well connected ; aod upon the whole, 
1 am inclined to believe that tliere is no such thing 
as a regular system of infitlelity^ — The more I read 
ami learn from Scripture, the more I grow con- 
vincetl how unjust tliosc objections are wliich Chris- 
tianity is charged with, i find, for instance, th^t 



•,'. 



!• :■■:-. . .. .1 



140 CONVBRTS FROM IK^DfeLITY. 

ill wliicb Voltaire says of the intolel»)!ioe of tb 
Christians, and of bloedHshedding, oantoc^ hy 
Chnstkntty, is a Tery mipist diarge laid vpoa relSt' 
^on. It is eefly to be tseen, that^mae cmeltiea said 
to be caased by religion, if prope'ly coBBideied, 
were the prodaction of hmnan passion, selfislmssi^ 
and ambition ; and that religion seired in sadi eases 
only for a doak. To be ceniinoed of this, one 
'fkeed only read the history of liie <Si^mt tnonao^ 
tions of the Spaniards in Amsnca.** 

rVom this time there was a considerable altera^ 
tion in ibe manner of the Count, yimble to aU who 
attended him. There was a certain cakmiees and 
serenity of mind that seemed to arise from die 
hope that God JPor Christ's sake would pardon his 
sins. But to do away every Iraid of ^itfausias^ 
confidence, and to remove aU sne^icicms of hm 
trusting to ill-grounded expectatrans, he was ie- 
ninded not to allow himself to be cacrried away by 
a too sudden composure of mind, and notto-forget^ 
since he had hopes of being pardmied before God, 
what he had been before Us convamon ; -else his 
former carelessness might gain poww over hun Again, 
ixnd obstruct his endeavours of conforming Inmself 
to the will of God ; which might cause hmi«-gteat 
'deal of.uneasBtess at the dose of his life. Abdash^ 
•■lipeared to entertain the idea that some 
feeUngs or ^dications of his being pardeoed 
Bcco oo a ry, he was told not to rely implicitly on in- 
ward sensations, which, though not idwayv fiUse 
aymptoms, were matters of great uncertainty, and 
not to be regarded as unequivocal consequences of 
£suth and repentance : That the best and most oer* 
tain conviction of our being pardoned, was to ba 
€oaiKknB ^kaX w^ TCfoat of ova mm ainomlyi 



, COUNT STRUEN8EE. 141 

that we acknowledge Christ to be our Redeemer^ 
tint we perceive our progress in holiness, and that 
we most earnestly endeaFour to conform our sen- 
timents and actions to the iaw of God : that who- 
erer might think other sensations to he necessary, 
was in danger of being carried away by entiiii- 



> The Comt relied, that he iaever could endmie 
enthusiasm in religion, and that this was one great 
reason tiiat made him averse to Christianity for- 
meily; fnr he remembered to have seen many, 
who gave lihemselves ont as illnminated and con- 
▼erted, lead very wicked and inmioral lives, to the 
scandal of religion, and the public triumph of its 
enemies. But that, in his own case, he haid not for 
•ne moment judged of himself too indulgently : 
that be reflected on his sins with horror and de- 
testation, and had not ceased to repent seriously 
•f them. And upon calmly reviewing his situa- 
tion before his downfal, when he enjoyed his sen- 
anal {Measures, he confessed that he was now far 
B'.<ire luqipy than when he was in his greatest 
outward prosperity. ^ I feel the power of the 
gospel,'' says he, '* in quieting my conscience, and 
reforming my sentiments ; and l^ugh ddgfat emo- 
tioBs ^ the passions by whidi 1 once was ruled^ 
adtt sometunes disturb me, 1 find no ddight in 
them, but endeavour to suppress them inune- 
diately. I detest my extravagances, even those 
wfaidi gave me pleasure ; and 1 believe, that in 
case I had an opportunity of indulging myself 
again, I should not conunit them. 1 am reiady to 
eonvince you, by any test that you may demand of 
me^ to shew how ready I am to sacrifice my for- 
affections. Never should I have done so 



U% CONVERTS FttOM iMFfDtfUTT. 

befero I WM epligbtened by rdigioik I 6e mfc 
know- whether thn is a sufficient reMon lor you tft 
be-sati^ed with me. Try me in what manasr 
yea may think proper ; and if yom are satisfied^ 
do not mind if others should judge otherwist^- 
and say you. had attempted, to bring me oieer hf. 
reasoning." 

He was aware the vrorid Wodid not give bk» 
the credit he deew?ed for tiie sincerity ^ hia 
penitence^ — tiBttt they woidd perhaps regard hie 
confessions as extcnrted fix>m him by the impoitv- 
nities and declamations of . an aidoudest, whidi 
had inflamed his imagination^ rather than con- 
▼ittced Ins imderstandmg.; and- ^ak his alteredl 
sentiments would be represented as the effect ei 
terror or melancholy, rather than of argument. 
In opposition to these uncliaritable uid inja- 
riouft surmises^ he as8^!ts that Ms coni4cti<m. did 
not resvdt from- oreiheated feelings, or rhetoridil^ 
figures, but from cooLr^ection, and an impartial 
investigaticMi of the truth; whidb are the only. 
Hiethods consistent with the freedom^of human 
xeasoD, and worthy of reHgion^- Any other aC^ 
tempt to conquer lus prejudices, or convince him 
of his errors, he was persuaded, would have had a 
qake-contrary ^fect. This he repeatedly stated to 
Dr Munt^. ^' I acknowledge it,** says he, ^* witb 
gratitude before Grod, that you:todc thia method. 
In no other manner could you have prevailed 
with me ; I would have opposed you with oblrti- 
nacy. Perhaps some impression imght have been 
made upon me ; but a solid and lasting eonvictiett 
never could have be«[i brought about. Boaid ea» 
God cannot be displeased, since religion is so re** 
sombidf that men are gained over by leaMHi 



CXHJNT STRUINSEE. 143 

GbAa himiBdf acted so ; and Paal accommodated 
klmsdif ait Athens, and^Woro Felix and Agrippa, 
lo the way o( thinking of those he had to deal 
sviih. 1 hope tibe manner in which I came to 
idler my Bentiments, in r^ard to religion and 
▼krtue, will raise the attention of those who think 
aa I formerly did. The deists will never trust 
the coBYersion of their hrethren, which is brought 
about in the latter days of their life. They say 
tbey^ireiaken by surpdse through the deelamar 
tioiia of the cl^^^nnan ; they have lost their rea^ 
aon ; they are stupid or frantic, by the viol^ace 
of tfa^ illness ; the fear of death made them ig- 
niMBnt of what they did. But now, since I came 
to learn Christianity in the manner I did, nobody 
shall say so. I have examined the Christian reli- 
gion during a good stated health, and with all the 
reason I am master of. I tried every argument, — 
I felt no fear, — ^I liave taken my own time, — and 
I have n<^ been in haste/' 

The Count had now adopted the doctrine of 
Christ 8 redemption as his oidy comfort, and the 
only sure foundation of his hc^>es. His &ith, 
throng earnest prayers to God fw enlightening 
his mind, had surmounted all his specious ob- 
jections against the gospel ; and every a«bsequeia^ 
examination into its nature and divine origin, only 
added fresh cm^rmaticm to his belief Tlie other 
doctrines and mysteries connected with the atone- 
ment, he was now prepared to acknowledge ; and 
in Older to do away any doubts or nusapprehen- 
flione on the subject, Dr Munter thought -it advis- 
aUe to ex;dain shorty to him their reasoaableness 
and their usefulness. He shewed him the benefi- 
oent intention of revelation in restinog natund 



144 CONVERTS VROM INPID^ITY. 

religion among men, which was nearly lost, and in 
making discoyeries nnknown to mere reason, bat 
which for the happiness of men, weve necessary to 
be known : That mysteries were not contrary to 
this design, bnt rather consistent with the ehano- 
ter of a religion that proposed to teadi- more than 
unassisted reason could do, — such as the Trinity 
of ^ Grodhead, — ^the incarnation and Scmship of 
Christ, — ^the miracles he wrought, as the Greden- 
tials of his being a messoiger of Grod,-— the in- 
scrutable wisdom and incompreheosibla efficacy of 
the atononent, &c 

It^ was not therefore to be wondered at, thal-'tbis 
reyelation should open up to us prospects which 
our eyes could not otherwise fully discern ; or in 
other words, that it should teach mysteries, and re- 
quire- our faith to believe them. And ho who 
would for this reason decline adopting tiie Chris- 
tian religion, shewed himself unacquainted with its 
intention and its object. Ho did not do that jus- 
tice to religion which he does to other sciences: 
For though they contain more mysteries than rel^ 
gion ever did^ he nevertheless does not object to 
them. In physic, chemistry, and philosophy, for 
instance, thousands of incomprehensibilities are to 
bo met with ; but nobody on this account ever 
thinks them to be akogeuier dreams and decep- 
tions. Besides, the very nature of these mysteries 
was such as not to be exactly conveyed- in the ks- 
guage of man, nor rendered intelligible in their firil 
signification, to his narrow and limited conception, 
through such an imperfect medium. It was suffi- 
cient that they did not contradict reason ; their 
purpose was beneficial to mankind ; it tended to 
the manifest advantage of every one to beliefe 



COUNT 9TRUENSEE. 145 

*the«ii ; ood th^ie w«fi im obligation impHed in the 
toverence thai wa» due to the testimony and av- 
tbority of Hun who revealed them* 

The9e reasons appeared to the Comt entirely 
MIfebfactory, and he was ready to admit those doc 
trines that were inexplicable, because they wer^ 
parts of the same system, and founded on the same 
dinne authority* ^ The more we think upon 
these mjrstertes," says he, ^< the more oi divine 
wisdom we diseoTer in them* I^et ns only avoi^ 
isldng every whei<e^ Why ? We must rest aatis' 
fied with the avthoiity of their author. Even in 
human sdeneos, ibis modesty i9 reqointe ; oIgmbt 
we never should come to any certainty. i/Lo$ii 
common things may employ aU omr researohes for 
aB ear lifetime, before we ^scover the first, crae^^: 

As to the thecn'etical parts of Chrkt's reHgian,iifr 
was now fuUy convi)u^ ; and sinc^al^-wished to be 
the same as to ^ practical-parts of it ; although »|i 
IsUa reqpteot he professed hk readiness to do any 
tiling dmanded of him* '^ I own with joy, I find 
Cln*&ti»aity m<»« amiable the more I get acquainted 
irith it. I nover knew it before. I believed it con- 
irodioled reascm and the nature of man, whose reli.> 
giim it was designed to he. I thought it an artfully 
contrived and ambiguous doctrine, ^1 of incompre- 
bensilnlities. Whenever I formerly thought on reHr 
gion in some serious moments, I had always an ide^ 
in my mind how it ought to be, vie. that it should be 
flimple^ and aeeommedated to the eif cumstances of 
men in every ctmditicm. I now fed Christianity to 
be exactly so ; it ans wtm entirely that idea which I 
had formed of true religion. Had I hut formerly 
known it was'suth, I should not have delayed 
turning Christian till this time of my imi^i\|i^niyr 

VOL, J, H 



k 



146 CONVBRTS FROM IKFIDELITY. . 

ment. But I had the misfortime to be prejudiced 
against religion, first through my own passions, but 
afterwards likewise through so many human in- 
ventions foisted into it, of which I could see plainly 
that they had no foundation, though they w^e 
st^ed essentia] parts of Christianity." 
' xle professed to have no other hopes of pardon 
than wnat are founded on (rod's word ; and was con- 
vinced that there are nomeans of obtaining it but the 
merits of Christ. '^ I shall strive to qufdify myself 
for this through sincere &ith in my Redeemer; and 
I pray God to strengthen me in tins respect, since 
I find within myself nothing but incapacity and 
weakness. The saving of my life, and all oilier 
temporal emoluments, appear to me but very smaU 
in comparison of everlasting happiness. I derive 
all my comfort in my last moments from religion; 
and, supported by that confidence which I place in 
God, I hope to die with a Christian-like resolu- 
tion. Formerly, perhaps, I might have been able 
to die with an outside appearance of firmness ; but 
I believe it would only have been i^ecjjation, and 
totally different from that I hope now to maintain 
at the hour of death. I have resigned every tiling 
like ambition or affected fortitude, and shsill sub- 
mit to whatever God has decreed relating to me, 
without murmuring and without reluctance. I 
cannot bu^ persuade myself, tluit, altliough now in 
my fetters, and near a disgracefid end, I am by far 
more happy than I was 4n my former grandeur. 
My temporal prosperity never procured me that 
true tranquillity of mind which I now enjoy in 
prison, and in bonds.*' 

Among the subjects upon which he frequently 
convened, was llie event of his a^roadiingdeadi, 



COUNT STRUENSEE. 147 

which, he de<;lared, presented nothing drAadfu} to 
hkn^ except the appalHng cipcimistances with which 
it iadght he attended, since he knew where it was 
to conduct him. His increasing faith, however, 
supplied him with increasing comfort against those 
disqmeting apprehensions. Upon the state of the 
mnd after death, and its separate existence, he made 
some yery sensible and pertinent remarks : " It 
dioald not make me uneasy, if there was even any 
tinth in the opini<m Of those who assert that the 
squl^ when separated from the body, should be in 
a state of obscure ideas and sensations, or in a kind 
of sleep. For if my soul was not conscious of it- 
self, or was only in a place of security and ease, I 
should lose nothing by it. Should this sleep last 
a thousand, or eVen ten thousand years, it would 
not mgke me unhappy, for, during all this time, I 
should be conscious of nothing. However, it is by 
§u more agreeable to me, to learn from Scripture, 
that my soul, instantly after parting from the body, 
ahall enter, conscious of itself, into possession of 
its IG^ppmess. — ^The Scripture tells us but little 
about die state the soul shall be in, during its se- 
paration from the body^ yet even this little is mat- 
ter of great ccmifort. If God had found it useful 
and necessary to have given us further informa- 
tion, he would have done it. It is fully su^icienfj 
to quiet my soul, when I know it will be in the \ 
hand of God." ^ 

« *^ I find no pleasure in my former notion, that, 
perhaps, there is no eternity, and have no persuasion 
'Of its being true. . There is not a shadow of pro- 
bability left of it; the strong proofs of the con- 
•larary are always before my eyes. Besides, I am 
«o much* interested in my being at present better 



148 CONVERTS rtlOM INFIDkLlTY. 

iiiframed, thai I would not part with my convic«' 
tion on any account, or act wUfiiUy contrary to it 
If hy committing any crime, eran what the world 
did not acknowledge to be snch, I could gain the 
greatest temporal advantage, I am ccmfident I Bhoold 
not commit it« If I was promised for certain that 
my life dioujd be spared, and that I i^ouldbe re« 
stored to my former situation, under cimdition that 
I contradicted the confessions I hare made, and 
that I confirmed with an oath my new assertion, I 
am sure I should railier jC^e than .contradict tm^ 
and take sudi an oatli/' 

The Count held frequent converdatdons witli hk 
apfaitual guide, on the other doctrines and mysterici 
of Scripture ; which evineed how well he had made 
himself acquaitMied with the arguments in their 
favour, and how ready he was .to give a reason fov 
the hope that was in him. He temaiked on the 
doctrine <^ the resurrection of the body, that he 
believed the dbdef objections against it, were started 
after it had been positively asserted by Christ 
From that time, those who had a bad conscience 
became fearful ; and diey endeavoured, by such 
objections, to secure themselves against anxious 
expectations about their condition hereafter. 

He made; irom time to time, many striking and 
judicious remariu on the sapred Scriptures ; and 
spoke of the inspired penmen,— of their manner of 
writing,-— of their probity and simplicity, in terms 
of the highest praise. On the style of the Bible, 
he observed, that the railleries of the Free-thinkers 
about Christ and his doctrine, were plain proofs 
that they had no intention of acting honestly. The 
impieties and scurrilous blasphemies he had for^ 
merly read in soma deSni^cii^ VkkiUb^ which had 



GOUKT STRUEKSEE. 149 

then hindered his progress towards the tiiith, 
jclearty convinced him of this. He was of opinion 
'that the old and unusual expressions of the Bible, 
could not be the true reason why they should think 
.them ridiculous, since they do not laugh at otliei* 
ancient writings which are written in jsuch a style. 
Jf they, Ujit instance, were to read the books of 
,C<mfucius, he was persuaded they would not hesi- 
tate about his style, but praise his morals. In the 
same manner they extdl the fables of iEsop ; but 
;the pacablea and narrations of Christ did not please 
them : notwithstanding these are derived from a 
greater knowledge of nature, and contain more 
excellent morality. Besides, they are proposed 
with a more, noble and artless simplicity, than any 
writings of this kind among ancient or modem 
aiuthoi'Si There must be, therefore, something else, 
he concluded, that prejudices them against Christ; 
. and he knew not what else it could be but thdor 
I! heart, which made them av^^ to his precepts. 
<< I consider it a kind of folly," he continues, 
f^ that the Deists pretend to be offended at th« 
humble appearsoicer Christ and the first teachers of 
Christianity made. I need not observe that, m relar 
tion to God, nothing is either little or great, but 
I cannot help remarking, that the humble appear- 
ance of Christ was very well adapted to the de- 
sign of his mission. The common people looked 
upon him as one of their equals, and placed con- 
fidence in him. For this reason Christ chose his 
apostles an3tf>ng the lower class of mankind, and the 
q^iQstles conversed mostly with such. And even 
tjbose c^unmon people were as propev spectators 
of their miracles, as an assembly of philosophers ; 
as they were aU of such a nature, that nothbg 

n2 



150 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

^ mwe was required to judge of them than the natural 
V senaesy and a common tlttie of underatanding. A 
pdirate soldier is peihaps more fit for such an ob- 
servation, than a general, who has his head full of 
d^er things, or thinks it not worth his whDe to 
attend to it. The eyidence which is giren by men 
of common understanding inbdialf of Cfanst's mim- 
des, is therefore worthy of credit. The learned and 
the philosophors can now consider those facts, and 
examine whether they are real miracles, and then 
determine how far they are in &your of Christ and 
his doctrines.^' 

He commended the Epistles of St Paul, and 
observed, that he was a writer of great genius, and 
possessed much wisdom and true philosoj^. Ht 
was particularly, pleased with his decirion of the 
disputed question, whether it was lawful to eat 
what was sacrificed to idols ? and said it did hon- 
our to his prudtoce. Of the Apostolical wiitiogs 
in general, he confessed, he admired them ^ 
more, the more he became acquainted with them. 
He thought the authors expressed themselves ex- 
tremely well, now and then with inimitable beauty, 
and at the same time, with simplicity and clear- 
ness. After quoting several passages, particularly 
from the eigh& chapter to die Romans^ he added, 
** I should like to see otber publicans and teat? 
makers write in the same manner as the Evan- 
gelists and Apostles did." The Christian religion, 
as a whole, af^Mared to him so engaging, that ho 
was convinced it must please every one who is 
properly acquainted with it : That we should see 
the best effects of it among ihe common pe<^le, in 
reforming the world, if k were properly r^>re- 
feoted; .ao4 madi^ int«Ui^l4fi tp dieir different ci^mh 



COUNT ITRUENsiE. 151 

<dties ; and if they vrete made sensible, that, in this 
life, they could never be happier, than by following 
the precepts of Christianity. Every one then would 
be convinced, that, supposing even this religion 
to be a delusion, it must be such an one as con- 
tradicts entirely the very nature of every other de* 
lusion, because it is the best and truest way to 
happiness. He added, that the objections which he 
had fmmerly thought imanswerable, were now quite 
gone, or at least, of so little consequence, that he 
doubted about the truth of re%ion no more than 
^about his own existence. 

He was now so conscientious, that he examined 
every thing he did, and considered whether it agreed 
with the will of God. And he found himself by 
this, so well, so composed and happy, that he was 
jBore he should constantly think and act in the 
jHune manner. In the meantime, being so near 
eternity, he wished to do every thing in his power 
to be in a »tuation in which he might hope to over- 
come the terrors of death, and to be certain of a 
blessed immortality. He believed his duty in this 
point consisted chiefly in having his former life 
continually before his eyes, that he might keep up 
a lively sense of repentance ; and in .striving to 
confirm himself in his present sentiments, to me- 
ditate upon th^m, and to accustom himself more 
and more to them. ** This," said he, ^ is now 
my whole occupation ; it is so interesting to me, 
jand pleases me so well, that nothing is more agree- 
able to my taste. A little ago I read, and could 
not suppress my desire for other books ; but this 
inclination has now left me. I do not like to 
read or to meditate on any thing else than what 
concenis my chief business ; which is, a pre^^ara^ 



152 CONVEllTS FROM INFIDSLITY. 

tion for eternity. Thank God, I am now advanced 
8o far, that my doubts do not make me any^ wise 
uneasy ; for no objecti(Hi presents itself hut what 
I am able to answer to my satisfjeu^tion**^ 

This alteration ia the views and conduct of the 
Coimt, appeared to some of his former friends so 
strange and imaccountable, that they eould-scarc^ 
believe it. None, however, who had an <^portu- 
nity of seeing him, could have the least reason to 
doubt of his sincerity; or think he merely in- 
tended to- deceive the world. Dissimulation was 
no part of his character. There could not be a 
surer proof of the effects of relig^fm upon his 
heart, than the surprising tranquillity of mind he 
possessed imder his present- melancholy dream- 
stances. In allusion to the rq>roaehes and scep- 
tical surmises that his professions of peace and 
consolation might give rise to, he observes, ^ The 
Free-thinkers will say, I should have found within 
myself strength enough against my misfortunes, 
without applying to religion. They will say, I 
shewed myself now a coward, and was for this 
reason, unwordiy of my former prosperity. I 
../wish to God I had not been unworthy of it for 
'i Other reasons. However, I should like to ask 
these gentlemen, in what manner I should have 
found comfort within my^self ? I durst not thbik 
on my crimes,-— on my present situation,— on ia- 
turity, if I wanted tranquillity of mind. Nothing 
was left for me but to endeavour to stupify my- 
self, and to dissipate my thoughts. But how 
long would tliis Imve lasted in my present soli- 
tude, and being removed from all opportunities of 
dissipation ? And suppose it had been possible, 
i> iFOiiId have been of Uttle use ; for the cause of 



COUNT STRUEN8EB. 15S 

fbar and anxiety remained always, and would have 
reused me frequently ftom my artificial insensi-^ 
biKty. I Iried this mediod during the first weeks 
of my confinement, before I reflected on my con- 
dition. I lay for hours together on my bed. My 
fancy composed romaiices,<«— I ttttrelled throng 
tbe whole world, and my imagination produced a 
thousand pictures to amuse myself with. But 
sVen then, when I did not despair of saving my 
Hfe, and did not know whether, and how far my 
caimra might be ^^MXHrered, this dissipation wwuld 
not answer the purpose. If I did dream in this 
manner, peifaaps for several hours, my terrors and 
my amdeties would return agam.'* 

^ Periiaps som^ people will say, I should have 
exerted my pride, axid shewn, at least by my out*- 
ward conduct, that nothing oould himible mey 
But alas 1 what a miserable pride is it to have a 
bad conscience, and to think of dying on a scaf» 
fold. No I I find it is better to derive my com» 
fart from the only true source, which is religion. 
And I wish that ^^lose who blame me now for 
taking shelter under it, may find, in their last hours» 
the same tranquillity it affords to me. . Hiere is 
but one thing in this worid that mdies me really 
and continusdly uneasy, which is, that I have sei- 
duced others to irreligion and wickedness. I be*> 
Ueve I should not. properly enjoy my future hapi* 
piness, if I knew any of them I have deluded 
woidd be eternally miserable. It is, therefore^ 
my most fervent wish, nay, my own happiness 
depends on it, that God wwdd shew mercy to all 
those I have by any means turned from him ; and 
call them back to religion and virtue. I pray to 
Ood for this most ieereaihf*' 



154 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

* The fonnal impeachment of the Coimt had al- 
ready been laid before the supreme tribunal of 
his coontry. His whole political condact was 
ezammed; and every thing- produced by }as coun- 
sel that could be advlmced in mitigation or defence. 
He was aware that many of his actions, wiiateyer 
Slight be stated in excuse or aUeviation, could not 
he justified by the laws of the land, and therefore 
never entertained sanguine hopes of his acquittal ; 
lilthough the instinctive love c^ life led him f(»r a 
time to repose in trembling solicitude under the 
shadow of this uncertainty. All his doubts, how- 
ever, were at length expelled, by the melancholy 
intelligence of his fieite. The diarges against him 
were produced on the 21st of Apnl, and sentence 
pronounced on the 25th. His counsel was only 
allowed one day to prepare his defence ; but it is 
to be presumied that neither abler advice, n<H* 
longer time would have been of nmch avaiL Many 
c^the accusations were frivolous, or capable of a sa- 
tisfactory answer ; and some of his ministerial of- 
fences which were treated as high treason, even if 
they had been true, would not have been deemed 
capital in any free or civilised country. 

A eopy of his sentence was officially trans- 
mitted to his apartment. He received it with 
calmness and composure, and read it without 
anxiety, or shewing even the least alteration in his 
jcountenance. The tenor of it was, according to a 
custom of barbarous and useless- revenge that is 
still permitted to disgrace the criminal code of ci- 
vilized nations. That he had forfeited his honour, 
his life, andhis estates ; that he was to be degraded 
tvm all his dignities; have his coat-of-arms broken ; 
bia right hand, and a£Uir?rax^VA& V»sd out off; his 



COtmT STRUENflSE. 155 

*i>6dy qnartered and laid upon the wheel ; and his 
head and hand stack upon a pole. Tlie fate of 
Connt Brandt, and the misfortHnes of his other 
friends, appeared to move him much more than his 
-own. 

\^en "diose about him began to express their 
fiiacere compassion, and to exhort him to suffer 
with the patience and submission of a Christian, 
•he relied, *^ I assure you I am yery easy about 
that. -Such punishments should make an impre»- 
sion upon o^ers ; and therefore they ought to be 
severe. I had prepared myself for this and more. 
I thought I might perhaps be broken upon the 
wheel, and was already considering whether I 
could sofifer this kind of death with patience. If 
I have deserved it, my infamy would not be re«- 
moved, though those disgraceful circumstances 
were not annexed to it. And if I have not de*' 
served it, which I cannot assert, sensible people 
would do me justice ; and I should gain in point 
ef honour. Aiid in my present condition, what is 
honour or infamy in this world to me ? Now that 
i am on the point of leaving this world, these can- 
not affect me any more. It is equally the same 
to me after death, whether my body putrifies 
under ground or in the open air ; whether it 
serves to feed the worms or the birds. God 
will know very well how to preserve those par^ 
tides of my body which, on the day of resurrec- 
tion, are to constitute my future glorified body. 
Tt is not my all which is to be laid upon the wheel; 
Thank God I know very well that this dust is not 
my whole being. — ^And although the way which 
leads me out of this world is very disagreeable, 
yet I have reason to praise God that he £ift \sad& 



156 CONVBRTa FROM IKFIBELITT. 

choice of it ; that he has shewn me the i^ifiraaehfaii;' 
deeth beforehand, and at the same time^ hat ea^ 
tricated me out of the pkasiiree and diasipatione 
of this lifiB. In no other manner dioqld I hare 
become acquainted with truth, or should have fa- 
formed my sentiments ; Aough I am snre I sheold 
have adopted Chnstiattity in all aituatiiMis, had ' I 
known it so well as I do now.^ '^l^tr^M. - 

The Count was sensible that the news of Ins hmk 
kmcholy sentmce must soon reach his fiikher, who^ 
it is said, had all along predicted, or at least appfe- 
hended the fate of his too ambitious son, even in 
the midst of his prosperity ; and had tvritten te 
him in the most tender and pathetic manner, on 
the sulject of his profligacy and irreligion.- In order 
to alleviate as much as possible, tin grief whi(^ 
his former misoondnct, and his present dc^;nded 
condition, must occasion his renoable parmts, he 
wrote them a very consoling and sadsfectory let- 
ter, and requested it might be delirered imme- 
diately after his death, which was to take place 
in course of three days. 

^ Your letters,^ says he, ^ have increased my 
pain ; but I have found in them that love which 
you always expressed for me. The memory of all 
that sorrow which I have given you, by living 
contrary to your good advices, and the great 
affliction my imprisonment and death must cause 
you, grieves me the more since enlightened by 
truth. I see clearly the injury I have done. With 
the most sincere repentance I b^ your pardon 
and forgiveness. I owe my present situation to 
my belief in the doctrine and redemption of Christ 
Your prayers and your good example have con* 
tributed much towax^ \t. ^ ^Hvoand that yonr 



CPUKT STBUSHAEE. iSl 

|oa fa««.foii]id that great good wliieb fou believe 
to be the only true one. Look upon his misfor- 
tnnoB as the means which made him obtain it. 
AU impreasiona which my £ato could make upon 
yoo wUl be alleyiated by this, as it has effaced 
them with me. I recommend myself to your 
forthor interceanon before God* I pray inces- 
santly to Christi my JLedeemer, that he may en- 
able you to bear your present calamities. I owe 
the same to his assistance. My love to my brothers 
and sisters* I am, with all ^ial respect,*' &c 

He wrote letters to several of his acquaintance^ 
«]! in the same devout and penitential strain. In 
these he laments being the cause of their distress ; 
recommends them to embrace religion, where alone 
he had found refuge and consolation ; and encou- 
rages them to look forward with the hope of en- 
joying together that happiness which b promised 
nereafter, to every sincere penitent. 

The tranquillity of the Count appeared the 
more calm and unfeigned, the nearer his end ap- 
proached. He assured Dr Munter, that religion, 
and his firm hopes of being ^wrdoned before God, 
had produced this ease of mmd. He owned that 
his natural coolness of temper, his accustoming 
himself for many years to keep his imagination 
within bounds, and his entertainmg himself rather 
with reflections of sound reason than images of 
fimcy, had in some respects supported him ; but he 
was convinced that all this without religion would 
never have composed his mind. ^' I am unable,** 
says Dr Munter, *^ to describe the ease and tran- 
qmllity with which he spoke. I expected much 
from Uie power of religion over his heart, but it 
exceeded my most sanguine expectation.*' 

o 



158 CONVSRTS FROBI INriDfiLITT. 

He had requested Dr Mimter to appmnt it 
day when he shonld receive the aacnuiieitt^ m 
he wished to comply with this solemn institiif 
tion, before he suffered. He expressed a denve 
that Count Brandt might be allowed to join him 
in the celebration of this solemnity, whi<^ was to 
set his seal to the public confession of his Chiis^ 
tianity ; but this being a matter of some delicacy^ 
was not complied widu He was greatly moved 
on the occasion ; and seemed more subdued vnder 
recollections of the divine love, manifested in tfa(l 
redemption of Christ, than with the I^Knights of 
the appalling and ignominious circumstances undor 
which he was next day to suffer. ^ This man," 
says Dr Munter, ^* who received his sentence of 
death without any apparent altra^on of minc^ 
was, during the whole time of this sacred oerer 
mony, as if he was melting into tears. I never 
observed a tear in his eyes as often as we w&e 
talking about his misfortunes and death ; but on 
account of his sins, and the moral misery mte 
which he had thrown himself and others,—- on acf 
count of the love of God towards him and aH 
mankind, he has wept mpre than i myself could 
have believed, had I not seen it.** 

His expressions of gratitude for the divine 
goodness, and his complete resignation to the will 
of heaven, were ardent and sincere. ^* I know what 
God has done for me, and what it has cost Christ to 
procure my salvation. I know how great the bless- 
ing is which I shall enjoy thnn^h Inm. I submit, 
therefore, without the least reluctance, to his will, in 
regard to myself, because I know he loves me. i 
look upon my death, and all those awful and ]g>> 
iiojiiiniouB circamstBncea i^l «c« to aittend it| as 



COUNT STRVENSEB. 159 

tbings wMeh €rOd found neeeseaiy for my good. 
hi the be^Qa»^ of my confinement, I thought 
qnhe d^erently firom mat I do now, even when 
I recollected that my vSaks might perhaps tnm 
out m the nuomer tney have done. I wished to 
fafi fidck and to die. 1 even had the thought of 
idbstmning from eating, and to starve myself to 
death; yet I never akoold have laid hands on 
myueMy wongh I had had an opportunity for it. I 
now pndBe God heartily that neither of the two 
haa. taken ]^aee«'' 

. How coB8<»entioit8 he was to avoid every thing 
that mi^t be offensive to God, and to perform even 
the minutest duties, when he was persuaded they 
were «»joined by religion, appears from some ob- 
s^rvaldons he made on the propriety of saying grace 
before meat. ^ I think,'' said he, '^ that it is the 
duty of a Christian to pray before he sits down to 
a meal, though my sentiments in this respect do 
not favour superstition. It is but just to direct our 
thoughts on such occasions frill of gratitude toward 
him who supplies our wants. I have therefore 
pade it for sometime a rule to pray before and af- 
tn: dinner and supper. However, my old custom 
had so much poWer over me, that I frequently sat 
down to eat before I had said grace. Now it may 
be equally the same whether I direct my thoughts 
towards God before or after having taken two or 
three spoonfuls of soup ; but it has vexed me to ' 
find that my old, careless way of thinking has made 
me forget what I thought to be my duty." 

The fatal morning, (April 28), was now ar- 
rived, when the sentence of the Count was to be 
put in execution. He had arranged with Dr 
Munter the previous evenmg^ how they were to 



160 CONVfiRTS IfROM IHMDRLITY. 

act on tbis trying oecasioii. He had taken leatra 
of his friends in a yery affecting nMamer^ and made 
Mine trifling presents of the money he had about 
him. He had retued to bed pretty early, after 
reading for a good while, and slept for five or tax 
hours together very sonndly. In the morning h» 
spent a considerable time in deep meditation* He 
^&en got up, dressed himself, and converted with 
ihe officer very composedly. When Dr Mmiter 
entered, he found him lying on a couch, dressed m 
he intended to go to the place of execution, and 
reading ShlegeUs Sermons on the sufferings of 
Christ 

The Count received him with his usual sere^ 
nity and composure. *^ I was thinking," said 
he, ** last night, whether it might not strengthen 
-me in the way to death, if I was to fill my fancy 
with agreeable unages of eternity, and fature bliss.' 
But I rather think it better to take this great step 
in cool consideration. Fancy, if once put in f^- 
4»tion, can soon take a false turn. It cotdd dismiss, 
perhaps at once, my agreeable and pleasing pros- 
pects of eteiTiity, and eagerly catch at the fonni- 
ilable circumstances of death ; by which means I 
fear I should be unmanned. Even in going to the 
place of e:tecution, I will not indulge it, but rather 
employ my reason in meditating on the walk of 
Christ to his death, and apply it to myself. And 
now that I am BO near my end, I find how neces- 
4sary and how belieficial to man, the positive asser- 
tion of Christ is of the existence of eternity. If I 
was not sure of this, mere reason • could give me 
but little satisfaction on the question, whether a 
few hour6 hence, any thing would be left of me 
that retained life ? I can likevdse tell you from 



COUNT STRUENSEB. 16 1 

my present experience, that a bad conscience is 
jroroe than death. I now find comfort against 
dettth ; but so long as the former lasted, I had no 
peace within me. I believe I should have become 
quite hardened, if this wound had not been healed. 
I am now calm and composed, and I am sure I 
stiall remain so/' • 

He here put the question, how fiur he might be 
permitted to keep up his fortitude by natural 
means; for instance, by endeavouring to retain his 
presence of mind, and not letting himself be ear- 
ned away by imagination and fEuacy ? Dr Munter 
replied, *' If God has given you a certain strength 
of sold, it is his will that yx>u should make use of 
it, in those mcHnents when you stand most in need 
of it. But no inward pride, or any ill-foimded 
complacency is to interfere^ You are to do no- 
thing merely for the sake of being applauded by 
the spectatOTB, on account of your resolution and 
composure. You are to be above such things. 
God loves sincerity, which consists in shewing our- 
selves outwardly as we are inwardly* — Shew your- 
self therefore, exactly in the manner as you feel 
yourself within. If you even should be so much 
affected as to shed tears^i do not hide them, and do 
not be ashamed of them ; for they are no dishonour 
to you* You cannot conceal from yourself for a mo- 
ment the cause of your death ; and you would do 
wrong, and offend true Christians, if you were to die 
with a cheerfulness which can only fall to the share 
of those that suffer for the sake of truth and virtue. 
I wish to see you on the scaffold with visible si^is 
of repentance and sorrow, but at the same time 
with a peace of mind which arises from a confi- 
dence of being pardoned b^ore God. I should 

o2 



§62 CONVERTS FROM IKFtDCLITY. 

even dislike to s^ you coneeftl the nfttml iett 
cf dealJi.'' To this the Coitnt made vatmeti Itef 
he had no incliiiati<m to make a riiew b^0rettfti»' 
and shonid not force himsdf to ajtpear o ftt waf d h^ 
cBfierent from what he felt ; that he ahoiild'aa nmcn 
as possible, direct his thoughts towiardsr God, aad 
not distm-b himself by studying to aatiflfy th^ (SK" 
pectations of the spectators. 

At this moment the door of liie priMl ^iras 
opened, and an officer watered in ofder to coiidMel 
him to the place of execution. HemaintaiBed ihi 
same calmness and serenity ; and endeayotired to 
soothe his pious confessor, who was greatly affiMted; 
and expressed mnch concern for him*' ^ Make 
yourself easy,*' said he, ** by conndering the hap 
piness I am going to enter into, and with the eo** 
sciousness ^t God has made yon a meaae of ptd^ 
curing it for me f &en rising from his conch, he 
followed his conductor, bowing as he entered 1h# 
coach, to those that were standing aroundA 

Upon the way he partly conrersed with the officer 
that went with him, and partly sat in deep-medita* 
lion. All the while no other alteration was TisiUe^ 
but that he was pale, and seemed to think and con<r 
verse with more difficulty than formerly* How- 
ever, he had his faU presence of min^ knew sere* 
ral of those that stood about the coadi^ bowed to 
many, pulling off his hat, and to some he bowed in 
a friendly manner. He assured his attendants that 
his ease was not a forced one ; that he was not 
ambitious to gain the applattse of men ;- akhobgfa 
he could not promise that he ^ould not shew any 
uneasiness upon the scaffi)ld; but that his soul 
looked with calmness and hqie beyond deaths 
'' AdA how little;' (Vie cnLdKooA), '' '« ^baA whkk 



-comt flTRUtirssK. 163 

I «m ttow going to Bofier, wlieii I compire it with 
iIm sofioriilgB Christ hore when he died. — ^Recol- 
leel only hw words, ** My God> my God, why 
hast thoa forsaken me ?*' snd oonrider what ex<T«- 
dafting pain must hare forced these ezpresnoaa 
from him*' 

They had now reached their mounful destina- 
tion, where thouMrnds of spectators were in anxious 
Attendtsicew His friend Brandt was aheady ar« 
riyed, and had momited the scaffold first. In » 
l!giw mitiiitea, the eyes and motion of the crowd 
eeetned to auMmnoe that Stmensee's torn was next. 
He pissed with deoomm and humility through tho 
crowds and ascended the stain with some difficulty. 
He desired Dr Munter to remember him to seve^ 
#il of his acquaintance; and to tell some of them; 
that if he, by his conversation and actions, had mis-> 
led them in their no^ns of virtue and religion, he, 
as a dying nuBn, acknowledged the injury he had done 
4hem, begged them to efiiace those impressions, and 
40 forgive hinw He prayed for the repentance 
and sidvation of his enemies, declaring that he left 
tiie worid without hatred or malice against any 
person u4iatever. He expressed his unfeigned 
conttiiimi for all those actions by which he had of-^ 
fended God and man ; and his firm trust in the 
redemption of Christ, as the only ground of his 
pardon and a^eptance. As he wished the con^ 
Versatioii on the Acaffold to be as short as possible, 
since Ins tiioaghts were now wholly absorbed in the 
contemplations of that eternity upon which he was 
about to enter, he began to prepare by undressing 
himself The fear of death was visible in his whole 
countenance ; but at the same time, submission, 
calmaeas, and hope, were ex:pr«i&ed mhsft tk «\4 



164 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

deportment. He inquired of the execntioBery hoiW, 
fieu* it was necessary to imcover, and desirod tbei^ 
to assist bim. He then hast^ed towards the 
block, which was stained and still re^dng with, 
the blood of his friend ; laid himself quickly down^ 
and endeavoured to fit his neck and chin properly 
into it. When his hand was cut o£^ his whole 
frame fell into conTulsions. The next stroke of 
the axe, in a moment severed his head frxun liia 
body. . , . 

Such is the melancholy end^ in winch the 9Xr 
traordinary career of this distinguished but u^ 
fortunate man terminated. His name has become 
inseparably blended with the history of the king- 
dom over which he presided, although the droxxfg^. 
stances of his death have cast a shade over Vm 
memory and his fame. The judgment that wiU 
be pronounced upon him, wiU differ according to 
the different estimates taken of his character. 
Had he remained in his former prosperity, been 
successful in his political speculations^ and died a 
natural death, he m^ht have been handed down 
to the remotest ages; as a great and enli^tened 
statesman; even if he had been at bottom the 
greatest villain. With many^ the admiration of hia 
talents, and his singular fortune, would have con- 
cealed his want of principle, and been a sufficient 
apology f(H- the irregularities of his life. Viewed 
through these false excuses, instead of b^ng Inunded 
as the hapless victim of crimes and debaucheri^ 
his praises might have been sung, and monuments 
erected to his honour, as the Solon of Denmark, 
the wise admimstrator of its laws, and the elegant 
reformer of its manners. The world has seen mm 
die a jnale&ctor ; bu\ thoee "wVio yotdsi^itfA acoofding 



COUNT STRUXNSBB. IM 

telhe opinion of tlie world, ^I reckon him happy 
in his misfortttnes. The Christian dispositiims he 
manifested at his deaths will he a sufficient indnce- 
ment to forgire him the ignominy wherewith he 
had stained his life, and to rejoice that he died a 
humble and deyout believer in the gospel. 

It is worthy of remark, that during the time 
l^ese tnigical scenes were acting, public amnse^ 
ments continued uninterrupted. On the 25th, the 
King went to the opera, after signifying Ins ap- 
probation of the sentence. On the J37th, the day 
when it was solemnly confirmed, there was a mas* 
qued ball at Court ; and the King went again Jr 
to the opera on the SSth, tbd day ef executioil. ^ 
Hie passion which prompts an absolute monarch 
tb raise an unworthy favourite to honour, is still 
less disgusting than the unfeeling levity and capric<» 
with which, on the first alann, he always abandons 
the same favourite to destruction. And it ought 
not to be forgotten, that the very persons who had 
represented the patronage of operas and masque- 
rades as one of the offences of Struensee, were the* \ 
same who thus paraded their unhappy Sovereign j 
through an unseasonable and Unbecoming succes- r 
Mon of such amusements. 

We have thus detailed at considerable length 
the whole of this interesting case, — ^the process by 
which the Count was led from the grossest infide- 
lity, to a steady and animating convictioii of the 
truth of revelation, — ^the difhcukies that impeded 
his progress, as well as the means and arguments 
that wem employed to remove them. A more 
hopeless enterprise could not well be ihiagined, 
than to contend against opinions so obstinately 
and ably defimded; lunr eoidd «k timk^ ^^<(9bK» 



166 CONVERTS FBOM INFIDELITY. 

task, perhaps, be imposed upon a Cfaristian nunis- 
ter, thaii to preserve with snch nice (fiacriminar 
tion, the balance of feeling in the mind of the peni- 
tent, so as to prevent hope from growing into pre-; 
sumption, or faith into enthusiasm,— to repress' 
the risings of unwarrantable triumph, without dimi- 
nishing the assurance of pardon and acceptance. 
This task, however, was accomplished with singu- 
lar judgment and success. 
- Seldom has scepticism met with a mere pru- 
dent and skilful dissector than in Dr Munter. 
The plan he adopted was most judicious, and 
exactly suited to the circumstances of^his convert 
The tenderness and sagacity he displayed in. his 
treatment were admirable. Wi^ cautious and 
gentle hand he carries the probe of severe examir 
nation, deeply and effectually into the heart; wbS^ 
at the same time he is equally ready to administer 
the heaHng balm of Christian consolation. Here 
there are no over-wrought and exaggerated pic- 
tures of heavenly glory, or extatic bliss. No de* 
clamatioHs or rhetorical figures are employed, — no 
attempts to inflame the imagination or the pas- 
sions, — ^nothing to encourage presimiptuous assu- 
rance, or excite feelings of enthusiastic rapture. 
The infidel is reasoned out of his system, delibe- 
rately and by degrees. He is convicted by deci- 
sive appeals to his conscience, and delicate remon- 
strances on the bad consequences of his actions 
and his example. At every succeeding conference 
some new 'discovery of truth is made, some unex- 
pected light springs up to dispel the delusions of 
that metaphysical labyrinth in which his mind was 
entangled. The pride of self-sufficiency gradually 
subsides, — ^tbe barriers of sophistry and error, wiUun 



comrr strueksbb. 167 

wLich he had entrenched and fortified himself, fall 
prostrate before the irresistible evidence of ai^« 
ment and demonstration. He is led not only to 
make unreserved confession of his sins, bnt to a 
cordial hatred and repentance of ihem, — and to an 
earnest desire of making some reparation to society, 
ier the injories his crimes had inflicted upon it. 
The doctrines of the gospel which he had rejected 
a0<too mysterious to be bdieyed, and exacting too 
much for human reason or human weakness to 
subnut to, he comes at length to receive and to em- 
brace, as aM his hope and all his salvation. The 
retnming prodigal flies, in his despair, back to the 
friendly mansion he had foolishly quitted, on a far 
journey after lawless gratifications, which he could 
not indulge according to his wishes, under the vir 
glance and restraints of a father s house. 
; Of the genuineness and sincerity of his peni- 
tence, there can be, we think, but one opinion. 
Hypocrisy formed no part of his character : nei- 
ther can he be accused of having renounced his 
former sentiments, and embraced Christianity with 
credulity or precipitation. The result of his in- 
quiries was exactly such as might have been pre- 
dicted from the trivial nature of his objections, and 
his slight acquaintance with the subject : the me* 
morable confession he made, and it is one which 
might be extorted from every infidel and every 
atheist, would they speak the truth, confirms this 
fact. ^ My unbelief and my aversion to religion, 
were founaed neither upon an accurate inquiry 
into its truth, nor upon a critical examination of 
those doubts that are generally made against it. 
They arose, as is usual in such cases, Srxm a very 
general and superficial knowledge of rdi^on on one 



168 CONVlRTt VBOM tmriOVLlTY. 



lade, md much inclhuHioii to diwiMj ita- prtfcej^ 
4m iJie other, together with a TeadmoM to oolvr- 
tain everf olijoctioii which I diMOTorod agunsl it*" 

Had artfiil means heen employed to dohide Urn 
into ablind confidence of the diruie mefey, olr weA 
upon his fimcy by images uther of hopes or hmn ; 
sncli artifices and expedients woold, in hb chm^ 
liaye been totally misapplied. To the agitatkns 
of terror and doubt ihat sometimes diiErfnirb the 
intellect of weak or flnpcratitions men, he was an 
titter stranger. Eren death was not fonmddile 
to him, because he looked upon it ae Ae mera 
consequence of natural causes, and aawnothiBg 
to drrad beyond it. His inquiries were thevesnlt 
of slow and mature deliberation. The temper of 
his mind,«-*the nature of his public easpknymeBlbt, 
— and the means by which he rose to his pros- 
poity, had taught him a halntol aetmg, m all 
eireumstances, with coolness. This calcuhiling 
fipirit he carried into his researches upon the 
nature and truth of rcToaled religion. Brery ar- 
gument he exammed separately, and upon its 
own evidence. Nothing was adopted but upon 
implicit, and sometimes reluetaat, oonviction; 
and he would not abandon the strong-holda of 
error, within which he had taken aeeuxe reinge, 
until he saw the shallow and dangerous fbonda* 
tions on which ^ whole fabrie of dehuion yras 
reared. 

Speaking to Dr Munter of hie eonTersiont he 
mentions the scruples he at first entertained on 
the subject of changing his religion, and the means 
by which they were lumpily conquered^ in such a 
eandid and concise manner, that we cannot do belter 
than close iioA Axf!^yi^\stk^PK^%cicmnA id it 



CDUKT STRUSN8SE. 169 



A, Do BOt jnmdf*^ mid he, '^ if it shoiild be said 
yon cmglit to have urged upon me arguments that 
VBie not so philosophical and more evangelicaL 
X asBwe yon, that by no other means you woubl 
have found access to my heart, than by those you 
ItaTB chosen. There were only three ways which 
jPQiii might haTe taken: declamation, working upon 
the imagination, and cool inquiry^ If you had 
ehoaen &at of declamation, I should have imme- 
diately thought, if the man has a good cause, why 
does he not propose his reasons without any art ; 
if God hae rerealed a religion, it must stand the 
test of inquiry. I therefore should have heard you 
without any emotion. If you: had endeavoured to 
woik upon my imagination, you must have done 
ao by filling it with terrible descriptions of eter- 
Bityb This method would have had still less effect 
than declamation. I was always upon my guard 
against my fancy, and fur that very reason, avoided 
reading poets ami other authors ^t might inflame 
it;- and I- was very sure, ^t alter death, there 
was nothing either to hope or to fear. Any im* 
piesBion you might have made thiough fear, would 
soon have worn of£, and would have entirely va- 
nished by recollecting my former system. The 
only way left you, was that which you chose, I 
meu cool inquiry^ 

'' I will tell you now what resolution I had 
taken before you came, and for what reasons I en- 
tered into conversation with yoUi About eight 
days before your first visit to me, the commander 
of the castle asked me if I chose to converse with 
a- divine ? Thinking, however, that every clergy- 
man would be i^t either to preach too much, or 
tire me with melaadioly declamations, I declined 



170 CONVERTS V^ROM INFIDELITY. 

the proposal, and said, I and all divines differ very 
mndi in opinion, and I hare no inclination to dis- 
pute. However, I knew that I must expect a dergy- 
man to attend me hy order of government ; I there- 
fore resolved to receive him civilly, and to hear 
him with decency and composure. I intended to 
declare to him, at the end of the first visit, that if 
he was ordered to see me frequently, he would be 
welcome ; but I should beg of him not to entertain 
any hopes of converting me, for I was too well 
convinced of my own opinion, and should there- 
fore never enter into any useless disputations. — 
When you came, I immediately perceived that 
you had no intention to declaim to me in the style 
of a preacher, or to fill me with fears and terrors. 
You only desired me, since the matter was of so 
great consequence, to examine into my own piin- 
dples, and the evidence for Christiamty. I found 
this reasonable, I had time to do it, and fancied I 
should, by this inquiry, discover that Christianity 
had no foundation, and convince myself more 
strongly of the tnith of my principles. 

" We began our conferences widi great cool- 
ness ; I read the books you gave me, though with 
diffidence, yet with attention. This did not<;ontinue 
long, and I could not help perceiving that I had 
been mistaken. It can scarcely be believed how 
much it has cost me to own my eiror, with re- 
gard to myself as well as with regard to you. 
You may remember that I did not from the first 
deny that I had acted wrong, and had been un- 
happy in my former ^tuation, and that my con^ 
science reproached me. But, considering my for- 
mer obstinacy, it was a great victory over my." 
(self, to confess that mY foiiEvaer principles were 



COUNT fiTRU£NSZE. 171 

false. To proceed so far was only to be done by 
reason* You are the best judge why you treated 
me in the manner you have done ; but the success 
entirely justifies you : my conversion is, through 
the grace of God> providentially brought about. 
Sensible Christians will rejoice that my soul is 
saved, and that you have chosen this method, 
which, in regard to me, was the only one that 
could be effectual.'* 



172 CONVERT* »ROM IHFIDEtlTY. 



COUNT BRANDT. 



The name of Brandt has been rq[>eatedly men-' 
tioned in the preceding sketdi, as the intimate 
comjpanion, and the unfortunate fellow-sufferer of 
Struensee, to whose patronage he chiefly owed 
his greatness, and his disgrace. As their histories 
are insepandbly blended together, both having 
flourished in the same Court, and died on the same 
scaffold, little remains of much interest or im- 
portance, to be added to the account already given. 
Like his friend and political benefiactor, he had 

Erofessed himself a libertine and an infidel ; though 
e afterwards saw reason to alter his sentiments, 
and had candour enough to acknowledge his eiTors, 
and yield to the foi*ce of conviction* This happy 
change that took place during his imprisonment, 
in his principles and his conduct, was attested by 
undisputed authority; and will afford sufficient 
evidence of its own veracity, to all who are not 
disposed to treat such conversions with discredit 
and contempt, as the oflspring of superstition or 
enthusiasm. 

Enevold de Brandt was of Danish extrac- 
tion, and of a noble family. He had the misfortune, 
it appears, to lose liis father in early life ; but his 
mother, a virtuous and accomplished lady, survived 
-to he tike witaem o( hk melanchoiy and ignomi- 



COUNT BRANDT. 173 

nious end ; although the salutary reform which ac^ 
companied it, must have afforded no small allevia- 
tion to her sorrows. He received an excellent edu- 
cation, and saw none but the best examples. Every 
care was taken to train him, by mond and reli- 
gious instruction, in tlie paths of virtue and piety. 
The recollection of these early impressions he was 
never able entirely to shake off; and he confessed 
he often felt their secret power visiting his con- 
science, in the midst of levity and dissipation, and 
especially when consigned to ^e soUtude of a 
prison. He mentions,.in particular, the time when 
ne was first admitted as a communicant to the 
Lord's Supper, as being much struck with the so- 
lemnity of the ceremony, and havkig partaken of 
the sacrament with the most fervent devotion. 
The words of the clergyman made an impression 
on his mind which he could never forget : '^ Hold 
that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy 
cf own." 

He was early introduced to the notice of the 
king, and seems to have been treated by his Ma- 
jesty with great kindness and partiality ; but, as 
has been stated, having incurred the royal displea^ 
sure, he was eidled from Court, and retired for a 
short time to France. It was while under this 
temporary disgrace that he became acquainted 
with Struensee, through whose interest he was re- 
called from Paris, and reinstated in his office, and 
soon after advanced to the rank of Count. This 
intimacy, it would appear, proved the origin of 
his unbelief, and the cause of his subsequent mis- 
fortunes ; although, in restoring him to his country, 
Struensee professed to act from the best motives, 
and solely with the intention of perfornung a 

p2 



174 CONVERTS #ttOM imlOXLiTY. 

kindness to a man whom he really est^med* Hi(i 
appointment, under the medical Piime Ministef/ 
was to superintend the palace, and take a penonal 
charge of his Majesty ; an office which ginre him 
every opportunity to promote the designs, luld es- 
-tablish the authority of his amhitious patty>n, to 
whose interest he was attached hy gratitilde^ and 
hy a present of ten thousand rix^ouaTs. 

His fidelity to that unpopular and unprincipled 
administration, speedily drew down upon him the 
reproaches and the yengeabce of his fellow-dti- 
xens ; who accused him as a lehel to the honour 
and the interests of his country, — as supporting a 
government which was founded in critnes and i^- 
lanies, — and co-operating with a traitor, who had 
arrogated to himself royal powers, — dishonoured 
their king in the eyes of the whole world, — and, 
hy keeping him under a strict and despotic guar^ 
^anship, prevented the injuries and the complaints 
of the public from being conveyed to his ean. ' 

He had many friends among the discontented no- 
bility, who were anxious for his welfare, and tried 
to win him off from the obnoxious party. They 
intreated him to return to his desated idlegiance, 
— ^to assist the nation in throwing off the galling 
bondage in which they were held, and innicting 
just punishment on the authors of their wrongs 
and their miseries ; and to apprize the king of the 
danger that threatened himself and his empire, as 
he was the only man permitted to converse with 
him, — all access to the throne being denied to the 
rest of his subjects. They reminded him of the 
insecurity, and the unpopularity of his situation; 
and the risk he was exposed to of falling a victim 
to the rage of. an eiss<j^i%^\ftd fofidoa ; fto^ Bome 



XOtJNT BRANtT. 175 

trren adikioiiished him, by prfvat^ letters, to atoid 
timt deilhtietion wbich cofhfiiQin p^dence might 
htttnft told him was inevitably to result from the 
iln^licies and intriraes of hi6 ac(iotiiplices. 

The Cowit was, ^oweVer, too ntiicn engrossed 
with the gallantries and amnseinents of a profU"" 
gate cotirt, to attend to the retnofistranc^ or the 
predictions of his friends. He was attested, as 
.lias already been noticed, on the 15th of January, 
1772; and after a slight resfstflnte, coitveyed to 
the Citadel and laid in irons. The Retbr^nd Deail 
Hee was appointed by the King's (idiiiMssion to 
attend him during lus imprisonment, an ofSce 
Which he accejited with some reluctance, knowing 
too well WhM trere th^ sentiments and ihe former 
life of the prisoner ; that he had be^n entirely di^ 
voted to his pleasures, add one that turiifed erety 
4pflrt of religion into riditMk. When he was in- 
troduced by General Holben, Commatider o^ ihe 
Castle, the Count received hiin with gr^t drility. 

Having expressed his sympathy for his misfor- 
tunesj akid hk vrbh to comfcni; him iiihis distreiteed 
condition, he todk the oppdrtuiiify of recoih^aead- 
ing reHgion, as the best a^ oifly souirde (^ consola- 
tion. Braiidt shewed no aversion to talk upon the 
subject, and seemed not at all ini;lined id conceal his 
foHnef way of thinking. He assiii^d hinl he had 
Ueirer be^ entirely without religion ; though hb 
<^^med hd had not always spdk^ of it with a be- 
coming tespect; but that ofteli tffieh he Bad' 
talked very freely against it, he hiid nb ctther in- 
tention in what he said than to appciar witty. Htf 
admitted, that though he had beeii fbr from bein^ 
virtuous, yet he had evcfr etrtertained a secret re>* 
vcrence for piety ; tod hrtd WVewAtoi^c «to ^^ift 4 . 



176 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

with StmenBee, in the hope of bringing him to bet- 
ter sentiments, diongh he wonld neyer list^i to him, 
but always desired him to keep silence en that 
head. Much of the scepticism and profene ri^iile 
to which he was addicted, had been originally im- 
bibed, aiul fostered by reading deisucal writmgs; 
and among^the rest, he menti(med the works of VdU 
taire, to whom he owed very Httle liiat was good* 
He said he had spent, when upon his travds, four 
days with this veteran advocate of unbelief; and 
had heard nothing from him but what had a de- 
cided tendency to corrupt the heart and the mo- 
rals. 

His interoomiBe with Stmensee, who noTer frmn 
his infancy had any sense or impressions of reli-. 
gion, together with his own natiual levity of disr 
position, appear to have been the main root of his 
infidelity, and the chief impediment that hindered 
him, long afl^i; his^ imprisonment, from senously 
reflecting on his miserable conditiim. There.were 
doubts on certain parte of Scripture, which he con- 
fessed had created hini some uneaainesi^ especially 
about the fall of man, original sin, &c. but these 
were readily and satisfiactonly answ^ed, as they ap- 
peared to be merely the oftspring of wilfril pn^u- 
dice or superficial thinking. His mind b^ng thus 
laid open to conviction> the advices and conversa- 
tions of his visitor became daily more and more 
agreeable, although ib» habitual vivacity of hie 
temper, occasionsdly betrayed him into inconsis^ 
tencies, and gave rise to many fake reports with 
regard to the sincerity of his repentance. He was 
60 much addicted to this carelessness or levity of 
manner, especially in the early period of his con- 
£aejiienf9 that tftei dafiddso^ tears for an hour. 



-rotmr sRAinyr. 17T 

cktbg nil the while on his bed, he would tarn im- 
mediatdy to singing ; and on one occasion, on ar 
mmonr being spread of his obtaining pardon, he 
reqaested of the niyal commission to haye his fet-^ 
ters taken off, and made some other strange pro- 
posals to them. Tliese sudden paroxysms of in- 
discretion, howerer, he was himself ready to w> 
-feoowledge and to lament ; which he did in a man- 
ner that seemed to erince the sincerity of his con- 
trition ; and they had no effect in discooraging the 
visits, ar abating the hopes of his venerable instnic- 
tor, who eamesdy exhorted him to beg forgiveness 
ior thesetransgressions, to be more upon his guard 
against such temptations, and instead of displaymg 
a contemptible vanity, rather to shew himself s 
patent sinner, who wad as anxious to edify odtertf 
by his conversation now, as he formerly was f<l^c<MP^ 
mpt them by it, ^ 

Many of the stories that were propagftted con-< 
4;eming his misconduct, were the idle inventions of 
malicious people, who industriously circulated re- 
ports of his pretended follies, for the sake ef reh- 
jdering suspicions that veneration ^diich the Count 
had begun to profess for neligion, lest his example 
might open the eyes of those who adhered to hia 
former principles. The lillisity of these cahim- 
nies was manifestly proved by the respectable 
Commander of the Castle^ who assured Dean Hee 
that the Count devoted all his solitary hours to the 
j>erusal of such religiooA books as he had supplied 
him with ; that he scarcely ever laid the Bible out 
o( his hands, and very seldom spoke of any thing 
else, much less of any ihing that could give of- 
fence ; and he added, that if any thing improper 
or unbecoming had happened, he wimld be the 
Brst to^ve him information ol xK. 



178. CONVERTS FROM INFI9ELITT. 

The reports of the officers that guarded him, and 
who were to give an account of hun ererv morning 
unanimously attested the same fiact, that hia G^^rer- 
sation was not only decent, hut oftentimes edifying;, 
for he frequently represented to them what com- 
forts religion administered to every one who was 
convinced of its truth and. importance ; ihaX it was 
the only means which could support and tranquillize 
the mind ; which happiness he enjoyed^ and was 
indebted for it solely to religion. He declared to 
them at the same time, tkit durixig- his greatest 
proi^erity, and m the enjoyment of his licmitioitt 
pleasures, he never felt any real satisfaQtion. He 
ft'equentty took occasion to mention the unhappi- 
ness of his former condition ; and spoke with gnir 
titude of the ohligations he was under to the mercy 
of Providence^ which had several times spared his 
life in the most imminent dangers, when he might 
have been snatched away in his sins, and left to 
polish for ever. But he was now resolved to set 
himself earnestly to the business of repentance, and 
to work out his salvation with fear and trembliog. 

His own endeavours w&e ably^ seomded by the 
instructive conyersationa of his teacherj who ex- 
horted him to make the best use of his time, and 
to turn his thoughts toward&God in fervent prayer, 
^t his soul m^ght he savedk These ezhortatioDs 
were always listened to with serious attention, and 
made a very salutary impression on his mind ; for to 
the last day of his existence, he seldom spoke with- 
6ut tears in his eyes^ of the profligacy of his former 
life, the depravity of his heart and ^ exceeding 
greatness of the divine mercy. To fill up the int^- 
vals of his time, and confirm him the more in his 
goodresoluUona^lu&^ww^viK^UAdwith poper b<K^; 



cetnrr BRANDT. 179 

that lie- might follow out, at hia leistiTe, the rariotis 
Bubjeets <m which they conversed. Gibson s PaS- 
tondXietters translated, and some of Dr Doddridge's 
writings were brought him, as containing many 
soHd argnments for the tmth of the Christian reli- 
gion. Henrey's Meditations, and Newton on the 
Prophecies e<tified^im mBi^; particnlai^y'thelat-' 
ter, from "the dear proofs it gave him of ihe divi.* 
nity of the sacred Scriptures, upon which all reli- 
gion is bailt. Several passages of the Bible which 
he did not fully understand, he desired to have ex- 
plained to him, and would occasionally start ob- 
jections ; evidently, however, from a wish to be bet- 
ter informed. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and 
the 13th of St Luke's Gospel, he remarked as.hav- 
ing made a deep impression ^ipon him. Prayer 
was an exercise in which he frequently engiBig«d ; 
and he considered it an essential part of his duty, 
from .wliich he derived gr^t ease and comfort of 
mind. 

The alteration of his sentiments was visible in 

his whole deportment, and left no doubt as to the 

efficacy of the means employed for his reformation. 

He pitied the miserable condition of those who 

^ were still under the yoke of -sin and unbelief, which 

he himself had borne ; and was much pleased that 

he now found such deli^ in the true word of 

God, whose influence upon his heart, since he had 

read it with good intentions, convinced him of its 

divine origin. His imprisonment he regarded as 

tlie means of setting his soul at liberty, and he 

found in Ms chains so little to regret or annoy 

him, that .he would frequently take .them up and 

> idssthem. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than ' 

' to hear of the happy xhange that, had been effected 



180 CONVfiBTS FROKf INFlBELlT^. 

IB the aentmieiite of hk feUaw-prisoDer* Straenee^ 
of whom he often spdce ; und ae«b«d Deta V^ to- 
go and mform him how Bincerely he ri^joiced to^ 
knowthat he had emhraced the troth, asd to h^ 
of him to continue steadfast in it to the bsk ^^ Teft 
Um,-' added^ie, ^* on my part, that my eiqperienoe 
has now taught me, that tnie ease of mind is no- 
where to be found but in Chiist cnudfied." 

This intelligence ¥raB mutually agreeable to both 
perdes; for Struensee had rq^eotedly expressed 
his sorrow to^ hear that Brandt had beea-so gay 
and thoughtless ; and hoped it would make some 
impression on his mindi and leadhimrto a morr 
serious c<MDunderation of relig^n, if told that he 
was now better informed, and firmly convinced of 
the truth ; and he regarded it as his duty to ac- 
quaint hhn with the alteration of liis principles, 
tiiat as he had been his seducer, and aocessaiir 
to his misfortanes, hemight contribute as much 
as possible towards his reformation ; and that as be 
had shared with him in his pfosperity and his suf- 
ferings, they might enjoy together the happinesti 
of a blessed immortaUty. 

As the termination of his life drew nearer, the 
Count appeared to grow more calm and resigned. 
He seemed to rqK>8e full confidence in the honesty 
d- his judges, that they would act no otherwise 
than according to law and consdmice. He spoke 
of his approaching death without fear or anxiety, 
seemii^ to possess an inward assurance of being 
pardoned before Grod, though he acknowledged him- 
self undeserving of so great mercy. £ven the pro- 
babili^ of his release, or of his escaping the scafibld, 
conid no longer inspire him with his former levity, 
or s^UadaoMsoX to iSb& wq»M\ loAhe espreased Ua 



COUNT BRANDT. IBl 

p^ronasion, that if God foresaw, in case his life 
Tm^ sared, that he should be carried away again 
%Y Tsnity and sin, he would pray of him not to 
apnre his Hfe, but rather let him die; for he 
raongfat it infinitely better for him to enter into 
a happy eternity and be with Christ, than to be- 
6omiB again a slave of sin, and to forfeit in this 
manner everlasting felicity. And if he should be 
eondenmed by the laws of men, these blessed hopes 
would overbalance ihe ignominy of his fieite ; and 
he would leave the world ftdly convinced that such 
was the will of God, who, seeing that he might 
9iffaa relapse, had in kindness prevented it, by a 
wise ^ough severe dispensation. 

Towards the dose of his imprisonment^ he told 
his venerable attendant, that he had three di£ferent 
obstacles to conquer, which, through the assistance 
of divine grace, he had at last entirely overcome. 
Tlie first was, that he felt it hard for him to con- 
fess he really was so great a sinner. The second 
was, to follow the counsels tendered for his refor- 
mation ; and own to his former acquaintance that 
Ins s^snrdments were totally changed. The third, 
though not expressly stated, appears to have been 
8<»ne doubts as to the possibility of his salvation. 
These victories, however, difficult as they were, he 
ultimately obtained ; and his subsequent conduct 
evinced, that they were not imaginary but real 
triumphs over the pride of reason, ^e opinion of 
the world, and the apprehensions of nature. 

The 24th of April was the day when he was to 
receive his sentence; When Dean Hee entered, 
he fonndhim reclining on his bed, and more thought- 
fol than common, but he expressed himself with 
calmness and resignation^ though he was fully in- 

VOL. I. Q 



182 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

formed as to the issue of his trial» and even the 
manner of his death. A copy of his sentence had 
heen transmitted to him, wluch he took from the 
drawer of a table that stood next him, and gare to 
his Mend to read. He was not in the least de- 
jected or discomposed, and shewed a firmness and 
l^eace of mind, qnite surprising for one in his situa- 
tion. Next day he was informed that his execu- 
tion was to take place on the 28th ; this commu^ 
nication he receired without emotion or concern^ 
ftttd said he would readily submit to the will of 
God. 

The charges against him were TEgne and fri- 
volous, and could never have been construed into 
Capital crimes except by a tribimal determmed on 
his destruction. He was accused of being the ac- 
complice and the confidant of Struensee : That 
insteEid of disapproving or opposing his administra- 
tion, which he could not but perceive to be audar 
cious, and detrimental both to the King and the 
whole empire ; he, as a criminal subject, and unr 
worthy of has trust, had acted in concert with him, 
suffering himself to be employed in keeping every 
body from speaking to the King, or giving infor- 
mation of his misgovemment : That he had be- 
haved towards his Majesty with insolence and dis- 
respect ; opposing his royal will, to serve his own 
private interests ; and abetting the usurpations of 
his protector, with the view of amassing a fortune, 
and obtaining greater honours : That within a 
short time he had received presents out of the 
Treasury, to the amount of 60,000 rix-doUais ; 
though neither his conduct nor his services de- 
served such a reward ; and, in returning thanks to 
his Majesty, he had purposely omitted to name the 
Buq^, lest the trax^sacXvwi ^S^voMld be discovered. 



COUNt BRANDT. 1S3 

But the moet criminal of all the charges, and that 
which made his insolence, amhition and avarice 
appear as nothing in comparison, was. That he had 
Isii vi<^ent hands on his Majesty, having beaten, 
flogged, and scratched Ins saa*ed person; and 
tiimigh he might have had no intent to commit 
mmrdsr, yet he had the same guilt as if he had 
made the attempt, since the issue of the assault 
might have proved fatal, and death been caused 
by an unlucky blow on a tender part. The answer 
which the Count gave to this grievous and trea- 
flonable accusation was, That his Majesty, who in- 
herited from his &ther an irresistible propensity fm 
wtestling and boxing, and used frequently to amuse 
himself tvith such t^orts, had repeatedly challenged 
him to a match ; and to gratify his master's taste 
{cfF tins perverse i^ecreati<m, as well as to repay 
some severe dbastisements whidi he had received 
frt>m him, pohaps out of courtesy, — he had been in- 
duced to enter the lists, and in the scuffle had 
slightly wounded the King on the neck. But he 
stated, in his defence, that he had received the 
royal pardon for this assault, and had continued 
long alter it to enjoy his frivour and confidence ; 
a frict which his accusers could not deny, but they 
alleged this forbearance was only temporary, and 
mi^t be I'evoked at his Majesty's pleasure. 

These several accusations put together wa« 
considered as amoimting to high treason, and pumsh- 
able by the Danish law with forfeiture, confisca- 
tion, and death. The Count prepared himself to 
meet his frite with becoming solemnity. The sa- 
crament was administered to him, which he par- 
took with every appearance of ardent devotion and 
Christian penitence. Instead of sitting, he knelt 



184 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

down and received it with many tears, and with evi- 
dent signs of inward hope. 

Knowing the many injonons i-qports that ivere 
spread of his behaviour in the time of his imprisoD- 
ment, his confessor submitted to him, whether it 
might not he advisable to make a declaration be- 
fore proper witnesses what his real sentiments w&e. 
With tins proposal he readily .complied; and, in pre- 
sence of the Commander of the Castle, with seraal 
olJier officers, he acknowledged his enrorB and his 
misconduct, in having been led astray by bad ex- 
amples ; he confessed that he had acted very in- 
considerately, that his carelessness had been veiy 
great, and in the begiiming of his imprisonment 
had induced him to talk in 9. manner he was now 
ashamed of ; though he was sure in his conscience 
that many untruths were invented and pn^^agated 
among the people, but he forgave those who had 
been guilty c^ such things. He begged the Comman- 
der and the other officers to forgive him, if, by his 
levity, he had offended any one of them ; and wished 
that God's mercy in Christ might alwa]^ attend 
them as their greatest blessing. He confessefi 
himself guilty before the omniscient God ; but that 
without hypocrisy he had sought for the divine 
mercy, which, through Christ, he hoped to x>btaiiL 
He declared he was ready to die, and was not 
afraid of it ; and spoke all this with such firmness, 
and in terms so moving, that all present wei^B 
greatly affected by it ; and sincerely wished God 
would preserve hun in his happy situation of mind 
to the last. 

The morning of his execution he spent in de- 
votion, and seemed firmly persuaded of his en- 
trance into immortal glory. He had enjoyed soni^ 



COUNT BRANDT. 185 

repose and was quite tra&qiiil. fa his prayers, 
wmch were fervent and comprehensive, evincing 
a presence of mind altogether astonidbing, he ex- 
pressed himsetf as a penitent and humble sinner; 
bat at ibe same time, as (me who entertained the 
eurest hopes of pardon and acceptance. He prayed 
for the Church of Christ, fmr the King and the 
nation, for all that were misled by error and irre- 
ygion. He thanked God for the mercies he had 
i£ewOi him in his imprisonment ; intreated his fcnr- 
giveness for all wherein he had offended others ; 
and avowed his willingness to forgive those that 
were his enemies. In readiiig the Lord's Phtyery 
^Mduch he did with much attention, now and diea 
adding rraoarks and explanations of his own, when 
he prcmounced the words, ^ Forgive us our tres- 
fMHSses, as we forgive them that trespass against 
^By" he exclaimed, << Thou, O God and my Re- 
deemer, who knowest my heart, and that of all 
men, tikou knowest how free my heart is from 
hatred and malice against any person whatever ; 
and that I wish well to all, both iu this world and 
that which is to come.'' 

When he had finished prayers, his chains, which 
were fixed in the wall, were taken off ; and he put 
on the clothes in which he intended to appear on 
the scaffold* He drank a cup of coffee, and eat 
something, walking up and down in the room, 
which he could not do before. The prison-door 
was then opened by the officer commissioned to 
carry him to the place of execution. He ascended 
the scaffold without fear or agitation, — heard his 
sentence read, depriving him of his honours and 
dignities ; and saw his coat-of-arms broken by the 
hmd of the executioner After acknowled^n^ 



186 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

the justice of Ids doom, and recd-ving the last be- 
nedictioii of the Church, he undressed himself for 
the block, and received his ]nii^shm^:it, amidst the 
earnest prayers and intercessioais of his friends. - 
The prececUng Narratiye contains the snbstaafie 
of ihfl^t written by Dean Hee ; which he aeyer 
would have puhUshed but for the sake of cosuftife- 
ing the many fialse and unjust reports that wem 
circulated of the Count, while he was a state-ini- 
soner, and even after his death ; as if his repen- 
tance had been hypocrisy, his fortitude and chees:* 
fulness at death tenierity and presumption. It wai 
to contradict; such cidumnies that he dsBW up hk 
short account, chiefly from memory, as he kept tts 
journal of his conferences, never having any inteir 
tion to make them public But, as he hiniBelf ao^ 
knowledges, '< being fiilly convinced of the eoa- 
trary, my cbnscienee would not permit me to keep 
silence ; but rather to declare that the alteration 
of his sentiments was unfeigned, and that he hea& 
kened to the invitations of the Grospel. I do this 
\dth so much the more readiness, since I believe 
that the greatest part of what has been said, has 
proceeded from a seal to promote the cause of in- 
fidelity. There is a set of people who think it 
their duty to defend incredulity, even at the ex- 
pense of truth and conscience. They have assi- 
duously propagated every thing that has been said 
of the levity of behaviour in we Count, which I 
myself observed act the beginning, but which he 
owned and so much repented of afterwards." 

The int^rity of Hee's motives, and the vera- 
city of his whole statement will be readily admitted 
by all who are not prepossessed against the sub- 
ject ; or who do not treat with ridicule and scorn 



<X)UNT BRANDT. 187 

sHA accounts of reformed libertines and infidels^ as 
tbe fables of weak, though it may be well-meaning 
zeal. His narrative has nothing else but its truth 
and authenticity to recommend it. There is no- 
thing ornamental or elegant in the style, or inte- 
resting in his discussions. He has not the ^o- 
quence or the address of Dr Munter, nor the for- 
cible and nenrous arguments of Bishop Burnet. But 
his character as an honest man, and a divine of es- 
tablished reputation, will make amends for minor 
defects, and remove those unfavourable suspicions 
which are apt to attach to confessions made in the 
malefinctor's dungeon, or under the terrors of the 
executioner's axe. He appears to have had no 
oth^ design in view, than to promote the cause of 
religion and virtue ; and to perform an office of 
justice and humanity to the memory of an unfortu- 
nate man, who, though a profligate and a criminal, 
lived to abandon his errors, and wiped off the ig- 
nominy of his fate, by dying in the faith and hope 
of a CJiristiaa. 



188 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 



LORD LYTTELTON- 



There is in general an onfayourable impiseflsioa 
mmexed to refonnations that begin on a MckTbed, 
pr in the solitude of a prison. Many fujpe per* 
«iiaded» tbati under such drcumstaincesy all coik- 
fessions and resolutions of ainendment savour 
much inore of en^usiasm than of reason ; and flow 
rather from a sense of danger or a temporuy des- 
pondency, which heal^ and freedom would speedily 
wear Q&, than from a cwdial hatred and aversion 
to sin, or a total change of heart a^d disposition. 
They allege that the parties are in a state of un- 
natuml excitement ; that it is impossible to place 
any reliance on the siiicerity of their professions, or 
the reality of the feelings which they express; and 
which, however sincere at the time, can afford no 
satisfactory proof as to the result, since, were they 
released from disease and confinement, the probabi- 
lity is, they would forget their resolutions wi^ their 
fears, and relapse when exposed again to the op- 
portunities and enticements of vice. 

Much of that joy and tranquillity which appears 
to soothe the departing moments of reformed 
libertines, they ridicule as a delusive consolation, 
and built on s, false security ; or they reckon it an 
artificial courage, excited by ^e earnest, and often 
injudicious exhortations of ministers, which inspire 
them with the f eTvoxa oxvd boldness of martyrs ; 



LORD IrYtTBLTON. 189 

juisiog a confidence that must appear presnmp- 
taaaa in their situation, and inconsistent with their 
knowledge <^ religion. Their fsaikt they pretend, 
is not founded on preference or conviction, — ^their 
. hopes of futurity is a mere picture of the imagination, 
—a fahric which their eager credulity has raised oJF 
visions and shadows ; and which, descried through 
^the mists and fiunes of an over-heated fimcy, is 
easily mistaken fen: solid architecture. 

Doubts and surmises of this kind are not unfre- 
quent ; and they are often confirmed by experience 
and observation, since it cannot be denied that 
Yows and declarations made in adversity, are apt 
.to be suggested by interested motives ; that they are 
.sometimes retracted without scruple or remorse ; 
.and prove as evanesceivt in their effects, as they 
Jiave been sudden and unadvised in their forma- 
tion. And it is equaUy true, that the Jughly- 
-wrought and feverish excitements produced by a 
few conferences on religion, or jij^a few days, can 
Jnrnishno.i^'efnigable.evidencei^^i'^^ orgpardon; 
.and often hove bat too little .reis^blance to the 
.humble hope and discerning fcdth of a Christian. 

Neither .can outward courage and firmness be 
.interpreted as unequivocal proofs of that fortitude 
and resolution which arise from well-grounded 
conviction, and can be inspired only by a firm 
belief in religion. Instances of .this intrepid spirit 
may be found in the lowest extreme of human 
xharacter, in the gloomy habitations of criminal 
wretchedness, and among the hardened outcasts qf 
^society. Many, even the worst of men« .have 
quitted the world, not merely without dejection or 
dismay, but with a surprising cahnness, and an air 
^of triumph. Even under the delusion of false prin- 



190 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

ciplee, they have boldly adventured to contemplate 
the king of terrors with a reckless and undainited 
bravery. The feeblest mmds, and the basest of 
onr passions, when strongly excited, have been 
able to surmount these fears and apprehenfflons. 
Indignant pride, disappointed ambition, inconsol- 
able grief, have faced a thousand times the hornnB 
of self-destruction, and embraced them as ^hte sweet 
oblivion of thdr sorrows. 

No inference, however, can be drawn from these 
i^pearances, against the animating and tranquil- 
lizing effects of religion, even on the minds of those 
who have adopted it as an extr^ne resounie, and 
peiiiaps without minutely investigating the evi- 
dences of its truth. It does not follow that be- 
cause some pretenders to conversion hare beoi 
guilty of delusion and credulity, or affected sen- 
timents and principles whidi they did not possess, 
that all who have embraced Chnstianity m theff 
last moments, and spoken with confidence of its 
consolations and rewards, must necessarily be hy- 
pocrites and enthusiasts. Such diarges might per- 
Laps appear to be supported by reason, were the 
arguments for religion never found to be irresis- 
tible, but in the retreats of misery, or in the lan- 
guor of affliction, — had it no victories to boast of, 
but over hearts already soiled and subdued by mis- 
fortune ; and if its evidences never convinced the 
understanding, until disease had conquered the pas- 
sions, or captivity withdrawn liie lil>ertine from 
the external allurements of sense. 

But Christianity has many trophies to reciMrd of 
its^ success in vindicating its own auliiority, and 
making the most refractory powers of human na- 
ture bend to its influence. It has produced the 



LORD LYTTELTON. 191 

iame canvictioii on men of the greatest learningi 
of sound and rational views, and who could not 
be sniqpeeted, from their circumstances and profes- 
sionsy of frsudnloice or inci^acity ; who have ex- 
pkned its foundations with severe and impartial 
tcntkxiyf and examined its pretensions with cdol 
and matoie deliberation. It has even overcome the 
malice and opposition of its declared enemies ; who 
have sat in judgment upon it, not with the intention 
of honest dealing, but with the disingenuity of find- 
ing or making it false. Their discoveries hava 
ended in their own confutation ; and they have risen 
from the inquiry, convinced, in spite of their preju- 
dices, and contrary to their expectations. They 
have given to the world the strongest proofs of their 
sincerity, by regulating their lives according to ita 
precepts; exhibiting, in their conduct, an irre- 
proacnable testimony to its truth, and a living 
evidence of its excellence. Many have even en- 
tered the lists as champions to maintain its purity, 
and defend it against die assaults of its adversa- 
ries, distingnislmig themselves as popular and able 
writers in die theological controversies of their day. 
And however mu<£ they may have differed in 
their previous habits and pursuits, yet, when 
brought under the sceptre of religion, and made 
to feel its transforming power, they are found to 
be united in one common sympathy, — ^to breathe 
one common sphit, — and preserve a uniformity of 
characto', which identifies their belief as one rul- 
ingprincrole common to them aU. 

That Christianity carries with it sufficient proofs 
of its divine origin ; that it repays the trouble of 
a serious and candid examination, with complete 
conviction, whatever may have been the nature or 



192 coNvcaTs fkom mnDBLirr, 

force of pre-conc^Ted opinioiiB, are trada wtish 
were proyed and exemplified in the fife of llie 
eminent iadiyidnal who fonne the mdject of llie 
piesent sketch ; — a nobleman ¥idio made no in- 
oonsiderable figure, both in the political and Bte- 
nuy annals of his country ; and who gaiifed no 
mean distinction, as a poet, an orotory a stateaman, 
and a huBtorian. 

George, Lord Lttteltok, was the eldest 
son of Sir Thomas Lyttelton of Hagley, Barmiet, 
in the county of Worcester, where he was boniy 
17th January, 1709. His birth, it appears, wis 
premature by two months ; and like Addisoii) 
Doddridge, and ▼arions other men of talmits, be 
was not expected to live. Genius, like some deli- 
cate plants of the rarest virtues, often requires to 
be fostered into existence, and is reared with- 
great difficulty. At an early age he was sent 
to Eton school, where he received the elements 
of his education. Here he soon began to display 
a poetical genius, by writing pastorals, and other 
light pieces ; and to distinguish himself by the 
superiority of his academic exercises, which were 
recommended to his school-fellows as models for 
imitation. 

From Eton he was removed to the University 
of Oxford, and entered to Christ-Church, whera 
he pursued his studies with great ardour and in- 
dustry, and fully sustained the high character he 
had iJready acquired. It was during his short ca* 
reer at the University that he gave to the world 
his poem on <' Blenheim," a field which has been 
rendered immortal by one of Marlborough's most 
splendid victoties. This production, though not 



LORD LYTTBLTOK. 193 

pofisesfflog great force or elegance oi rennfication; 
'firas respectable for a youth of sixteen, and gave 
promise of future excellence. Here also he wrote 
his ^ Progress of Loye," and sketched the plan of 
bis ^ Persian Letters," which afterwards gained 
bin) great reputation ; not only on account of the 
beauty of their composition, but also lor the ex- 
cellent observations they contained on the manners 
of mankind, though perhaps they breathed too 
much of that ardent and undefined passion for 
liberty, which a man of genius always catches 
when he first entm« the world. It appears, how- 
ever, that in after life, when his notions of liberty 
were modified by time and experience, he re- 
tracted some of the principles and sentiments 
which he had then entertained. 

Haying finished his Uniyersity studies, Mr 
Lyttelton, in- 1728, being his nineteenth year, set 
out on his travels, to make the tour of Europe, 
which- was then, and is still esteemed necessary to 
complete the education of an accomplished gentle- 
man. On his arrival at Paris, he accidentally be- 
came acquainted with the Hon. Mr Poyntz, the 
British minister at the Court of Versailles, who 
was so much pleased with the superior talents of 
the young traveller, that he invited him to his- 
house, and employed him in several political nego- 
ciations; which he executed not only to his entire^ 
satisfacticm, but with surprising judgment and abi» 
lity. After continuing for a considerable time at 
Paris, he proceeded to Lyons and Greneva : thence 
to Turin, where he was honoured with very flat- 
tering attentions firom the King of Sardinia. He 
next visited Milan, Venice, Genoa, and the far- 
fiuned capital of Italy, where he studied the fine 

R 



194 CONVERTS FROM IKFIIXLITY. 

arts with uncommon ardotv and sQccess, so that 
even in that celebrated city, he was esteemed a 
perfect judge of painting, scnlptnie, and architeo- 
ture. 

Daring the whole of his trayels, his moral ccm- 
dnct appears to have been highly correict and ex- 
emplary, and he displayed a literary enthusiasni, 
rarely to be met with among yotmg men of fortime. 
Instead of spending his time at the cc^ee-honses fre- 
quented by the English, and indxdging in all the fa- 
shionable Tices and follies of the countries through 
which he passed, his constant practice was to £- 
Tide his hours alternately between study, and the 
society of men of diRtingnished character, or lite- 
rary acquirements. By such habits alone, be con- 
sidered that the great object of trayelling, — the en- 
lai^emfflit of the mind, — could oyer be effectually 
accomplished ; and this object he nerer ceased to 
pursue with the most laudable diligence and zeal. 
With his relations and friends at home, he re- 
gularly corresponded. Several of his letters to 
his father are still extant, no less admirable for the 
elegance of their composition, than for their ex- 
pressions of filial affection and duty ; and they dis- 
play acute judgment and soimd principles, as well 
as tender attachment to his relations. 

From Paris he sent a poetical epistle to his re- 
lation, Dr Ayscough, in which he alludes to the 
objects and advantages he sought in foreign travel : 

Me other cares in other climes engage, 
Cares that become my birtli and suit my age ; 
In various knowledge to improve mj youth. 
And conquer prejudice — worst foe to truth ; 
By foreign arts domestic faults to mend, 
Enlarge my notions and my views extend. 
The useful science of the world to know, 
"Wfeich books can ive^x \A«kt\i, Ti« ^^d&tvts shew. 



LORD LYTTELTOK. 195 

From Rome he wrote another to Mr Pope, 
wldch displays much good taste and felicity of ver- 
fiifica^n, and has been prefixed, in some editions, 
to the wcfrka of that admirable poet. Mr Lyttel- 
,ton had formed an early acquaintance, and a great 
.intimacy with that distin^^uished &yourite of the 
JMvses ; aiM when he was advanced to power, he 
.forgot not the ^end of his youth. Thek attach- 
jBeut was reciprocal, and Mr Pope's hi^ opinion of 
Jmn is thus expressed in a letter to Dean Swift, 
.^ He 19 one of those," says he, '^ whom his own 
.merit has forced nie to contract an intimacy with, 
Jifter I had ^wo^i never to love a man more, since 
.the sorrow it cost me to have loved so many now 
dead, banished, or unfortunate ; I mean Mr Lyttel- 
ton, one of the worthiest of the rising generation." 

Upon his return from the continent in 1729, 
with every acqomplislunent to recommend and 
advance him in the world, he was made Page of 
}umour to the Princess Royal, and 80<m after was 
elected member of Parliament for the borough of 
.Oakhampton in Devonshire ; which he continued 
fo represent in several Parliaments, to the entire 
^atis^tion of his constituents, who re-elected 
without putting him to the ustial expense attend- 
ing such occasions. When he entered upon his 
parliamentary career, the anti-ministerial party 
were using every effort to remove Sir Robert Wal- 
pole. Mr Lyttelton eagerly enlisted under the 
banners of the opposition, and soon distinguished 
himself as a leader among the ranks of Wal- 
pole's enemies; although £as father, who was a 
Commissioner of the Admiralty, always supported 
the measures of the Court. For many years, the 
name of IL.yttelton was in every account of every 



196 CONVERTS VROM IKFIDELITT. 

debate in the House of Commons. He spoke with 
ease and fluency, though his oratory was marked 
with elegance and good sense, rather than with the 
fenrour of genius. He disapproved of the exdse, 
as an unnecessary restriction upon trade^ and -coh 
posed the standing army as burdensome iqp^-tM 
nation. Warmed with a patriotic ardour, which 
generallT glows in the bosom of virtuous imd Hb»- 
ral youth, he keenly supported the moticMi for pe- 
titioning the King, to remove that veteraB jnioister 
who had so long directed the councils of the Bri- 
tish nation; and the powerful eloquence of the 
young orator rendered his <^po6iti<HL very formi- 
dable to the declining party, tnough his zeal was 
considered, even by his own Mends, as too violent 
and acrimonious. 

Soon after he had entered Parliament, his public 
conduct recommended him to the friendship of 
Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of his late Ma- 
jesty, George III. who, being driven from St 
James's, (1737), kept a separate Court, and set 
himself at the head of the oppontion. Lytteholi 
was appointed Secretary to his Royal Highness, 
and was supposed, from his particular intimacy, to 
have great ii^uence in the direction of his con- 
duct. As it was the business of the IVince, in his 
present circumstances, to increase his popularitVy 
ne was advised by his Secretary, to extend his 
patronage to literary men ; and, accor^ngly, he be- 
came the friend and patron of many ennnait cha- 
racters, as Hammond, Thomson, West, Pq>e, 
Fielding, and Youi^. Mallet was made undeiv- 
secretary, with a salary of £200. The Author of 
the Seasons was mtrodnced to the Prince, and ba- 
il^ interrogated about the state of his affiursy ha 



LORD LYTTELTON. l97 

r^W^U *^ that they were in a more poetical pos- 
pflfe than formerly/' and had a pension allowed 
bim of £ 100, a-year. 

. Meanwhile the varions avocations of Mr J^yttel- 
tan did not prey^it him from cultivating those ta- 
lents' whidi he was the means of rewarding in 
ptiiers* He produced about' this lime a number 
of little poetical pieces of remarkable bieauty and 
teadexness. He had a happy ftucility of paying ex- 
tempore ccmipliments, which often gained him no 
small deputation. Being in company one evening 
urith Lord Cobham and several of the nobility, his 
Lordship mentioned his intention of placing a bust 
of Lady Suffolk in a wood at Stowe, and tumine 
to Mr Lyttehon, said, '* George, you must furnish 
me with a motto for it ;" winch he immediately 
did in the following couplet : — 

Her wit and beauty for a Court were made, 
But truth and goodness fit her for a shade. 

Upon another occasion^ when Mr Pitt, after- 
Wards Earl of Chatham, lost his commission in the 
Guards, ii| consequence of his spirited behaviour 
in Parliament, Mr Lyttelton, on hearing the cir- 
cumstance, instantly produced these lines : — 

Xiong had thy yirtues mark'd thee out for fame, 
Far, far superior to a Cornet's name ; 
This generous Walpole saw, and grieved to find 
So mean a post disgrace that noble mind ; 
The servile standard from thy free-bom hand 
He took, and bade thee lead the patriot band. 

In 1741, he was united to a most amiable young 
lady, whose diarms had often inspired his Muse, 
and to whom he had been for some time very ten- 
derly attached. She was the daughter of Hugh 
Fortescue, Esq. of Hlleigh in Devonshire, and sia- 

Ii2 



198 COKVERTS FROM IKVmELITT. 

ter to Matthew, Lord Fortescue. • In mukj re- 
spects he was exceedmgly fortunate in the cboieo 
he had made. Her yirtnous principles, and yaiied 
accomplishments, together with the amiable <Ba« 
positi<ms oi her heart, . seemed to promise -every 
requisite Cm: ^connubial felicity. But unha{^y il 
was not of long continuance : for the object of hia 
fondest affections was tarn from his bosom a few 
years after their umon. She left him a son, Thomas 
afterwards Jjord Lyttelton, and two duuf^tenj one 
of whom was married to Viscoimt Valentia. To so- 
lace his grief, he wrote the beautiful and well-known 
lines which are inscribed on her tomb ; together 
with & long poem to her memory, which will con- 
tinue to be admired, whilst conjugal affection^ and 
a taste for poetry exist. 

He did not, howeyer, continue a widower longer 
than three years; when he again sought happiness 
in a second marriage, with iiSizabeth, daughter of 
Held-Marshal Sir Robert Rich, an intimate friend 
of his former wife ; but unfortunately hb hopes 
were disappointed. Her imprudent conduct gave 
him great uneasiness, and a separation, by mutual 
consent, took place a few years after tneir mar^ 
riage. 

In 1744, a revolulion in die Cabinet opened a 
way for the minority to power and prefermnnt ; 
for after a long course of opposition. Sir Robert 
Walpole, that highly gifted minister, at length was 
obliged to retreat, and gave room for his enemies 
to share among them hu hononrs and emolumenta 
Among others, Mr Lyttelton was now admitted 
into the ministry. He was appointed one of the 
Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, and exerted 
all his eloquence ttnd £e«I in eu^^rting the mea- 
sures of his party. 



LORD LTTTBLTON. 199 

During bis contimiaiice in that station, lie main- 
lined his fonner credit, by using his influence in 
ffomoting the interests of science and litemtnre. 
kU those OTdinent men whom he had akeady re- 
ommended to the Prince of Wales, he continued 
patronize. For Thomson, especially, he re- 
ahrad a particolar regard, and was now able to 
ikce him in independence. He confeired upon 
lim the office of Surreyor-Genend of the Lee- 
rard islands, from which, after his deputy's sa- 
vry was deducted, he received about three hun- 
[red pounds per annum. Tlie Mendship and 
lenerosity of his noble patron, the gratefid poet 
las celebrated in immortal Terse, haying dedicated 
him a rery beautifid and picturesque episode 
a his Spring. 

Lyttelton, the friend ! thy passions thus. 
And meditations vary as at large, 

Courting the muse, thro* Hagley Park thou strayest ; 

Thy British Tempe ! There aJong the dale, 

"With woods o*erhung, and shagg'd with mossy rocka— 

You silent steal ; or sit beneaS the shade 

Of solemn oaks, that tuft the sweUing mounts. 

And pensive listen to the various ^Foioe 

Of rural peace> ■ 

1 From these abstracted, oft 
Tou wander through the philosophic world ; 
Where in bright train continual wonders rise, 
Or to the cunoua, or the pious eye. 

And oft, conducted by historic truth, 

You tread the long extent of backward time; 

planning, with warm benevolence of mind. 

And honest teal, unwarp*d by party rage, 

Britannia's weal ; liow from the venal gulfii. 

To raise her virtue, and her arts revive. 

Ot turning thence thy view, these graver thoughta 

The Muses charm ; while, with sure taste refin d. 

You draw th* inspiring breath of ancient song. 

Till nobly rises, emulous, thy own. 



^00 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

Upon the death of the poet, who had lefr his 
affidrs in much emharrassment, notwithstanding his 
income, Mr Lyttelton undertook to reTise bis 
Tragedy of Coriolanus ; and hrought it upon the 
stage, for the henefit of his family, recommended 
hy a prologue, in which he so affectingly lamented 
the loss of ^e ^^>arted bard, that Sxe audience 
were melted into tears. By this tragedy, Mr 
Lyttelton realized a considerable sum, wita pari 
of which he dischaiged the poet's debts, an4 the 
surplus he remitted to his sister, whom he ^Lbq 
^k imder his protection. 

In 1751, Mr Lyttelton, by the death of his 
father, succeeded to the title of Baitmet, wilb a 
very considerable estate, to which he made Httle 
addition; but he spared no expense to adorn it with 
an elegant mansion, and to heighten the charms 
of that rural scenery which the poet of the Seasons 
has so beautifully described, and which rendered 
Hagley one of the most delightful residences in 
the kingdom. 

His exertions in Parliament, and the esteem in 
which he was deservedly held, contributed to raise 
him still higher in the scale of political prefer- 
ment ; and accordingly, in 1754, hating resigned 
his office of Lord of we Treasury, he was made 
Cofferer to his Majesty's Householdt and awom 
of the Privy Counol. Next year he exchanged 
this a{^intment for that of Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, in the room of Mr Legge. He soon 
found, however, that his qualifications were in- 
adequate to the difficult duties of that high office ; 
for however great were his oratorial powers,— 
his talents as a wiiter, — and his other accomplish- 
ments ; in calcQlttdona^ttodouthe subject of fiiumce^ 



LORD LYTtELTOK. 201 

he was very defident ; for it is no less remaricable j 
than trae, that he never could comprdiend tha V .j 
mOBt common roles of arithmetic. ^ 

The year after his elevation to the Chancellor- 
flbip d the Exchequer, his curiosity \ed him to 
-visit the -interestmg -district of Wdee, which he 
-described to a £riend in a very picturesque style, 
Imt with perhaps too much affectation of delight. 
About the same time he published his '' Dialogues 
of the Dead/' in which the morality of Fenelon, 
and the spirit of Fontenelle, are happily blended. 
They were eagerly read, and much admired at 
the time, thou^ they seem rather ibe effusions of 
-al^isoze hour, than the production of carefid study. 

He contkiued to hold^is place in the cabinet, 
'^ near the termination of the reign of his sove- 
reign, when a change in the ministry was rendered 
-necessary by the commencement of the continen- 
tal war. Retiring from employment imder the 
crown, he was recompensed for his services with a 
peerage, by letters patent, dated the 1 9th of Novem- 
•ber, 1757, by -^ style and title of Xord Lyttelton, 
Baron of Frankley in the county of Worcester. 
He now rested from ministerial turbidence and 
public responsibility, but occasionally delivering 
bis opinion in the House of Lords with his usual 
Acuteness and eloquence. 

Politics, however, even in the ardour and bustle 
of parliamentary life, were not allowed to engross 
altogether his attention. It is well known, that, at 
an early period, his mind had become tinctur^d with 
Bceptiau principles ; and he was iong possessed 
wiu the most serious doubts of the truth of Chris- 
tianity. Of these doubts it is not now easy toas- 
certain the cvigki or the eausei Hiey arose in 



202 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

party most probably^ from a anperficsial acq;Baa- 
taace with religioiii as he appean to hayp studied 
the subject only so far as to discoTer th(it it coor 
tained mysteries which he ^^ouldnot comprphoid. 
In the pride of juvenile cmifidence, whidi is im- 
patient imder dif&culties that impede the ar^oiff 
of mental pursuit; and forgetting the impotence 
of human reason to scan the woiics of the Almi^ity, 
or penetrate the secrets of ipfinite wisdom, he was 
disposed to reject revelation as prc^poun^oigtliingi 
hard to be understood ; without cf^asidering the 
tendeucy of its doctrines, or examining the evi- 
dence on which they were foun4ed. 

In Uiis state of imperfect knowledge, vod pre- 
sumptuous reliance oi^ tlie supposed omnipotence 
of reason, it is not si^iising that he should hasfe 
listened to the blandishments of infidelity. Ea- 
^tering into the world with thpse sceptical tenr 
dendes, the society widi which he nnqgled, upfpr* 
tunately contributed rather to eonfiim thim to 
jemove them. It does not appear what injlaenc(8 
his visit to the continent had upon his religious 

{rineiples, although, it is more than prpbable, that 
e could not breath in so tainted an atmosphere, 
without imbibing a portion of its contagioii. Co^ 
tain it is, however, that the companions with 
which he associated, strengthened his prejudices 
figainst the Christian religion ; and if they did not 
succeed in making him a confirmed infidel, they 
sapped the foimdation of his faith, and impressed 
his mind with scruples and objectLoAS that remained 
>vith him for years. 

. , But amidst all his scruples he still kept himself 
open to conviction; and was ready to listen to 
aj]gument8| and to weigh them with inipartiality. 



LORD LTTTELTON 209 

n tUfl tuuiettled state between dnbiety and dis- 
feliefy he continned until his thirty-serenth year^ 
ad then he thought the time was come when he 
mgfat no longer to doubt or beliere by chance. 
1 conrersation, it appears, with his frigid West, 
tt Wkkbam, produced that happy resolution whidi 
et him to study and investigate the Scriptures, 
?hether or not they contain me words of eternal 
ife. To the solution of this hnportant question 
le applied himself with all possible candour, and 
samestness. He conversed with learned and re- 
igions frifflids on the subject He examined with 
tttention the evidences and doctrines of Chris- 
ianity;(uid his researches being honest, ended 
n convic{ion.\ He foimd that it was a true reli- 
^on, that it was stamped throughout with indu- 
>itable characters of its divine original. 

What he had thus learned he was anxious to com- 
municate to others ; which he immediately did by 
ivriting and publishing his admirable Dissertation 
HI the Conversion of St Paul ; a treatise which is 
dlowed to be a masterly performance of the con- 
troversial kind> and to wmch, as Dr Johnson ob- 
serves, infidelity has never been able to fabricate 
I specious answer. It obtaified for him much ap- 
phmse from the friends of religion, and even of lite- 
rature. The University of Oxford, as an expression 
>f their approbation, offered to confer on the 
ivriter the degree of Doctor of Laws ; which, how- 
ever, he refrised, saying, that he chose not to be 
inder any particular obligation ; that, if he should 
liappen to write any thing of the like kind in fu- 
ture, it might not appear to proceed from any other 
motive whatever, tnan a pure desire of doing good. 
To none W9a it more grateful than to his owh fa- 



904 comnotTS vaoM ihvidilitt. 

tiMTy who thus FBGordB hSm happineae^ and lui 
opmion of iJie perfomiaiice^ in a my afifoctMoati 

lettef. 

" I have read yoorreligioiutreatiae with infimtt 
pleasure and sadsfiEurtion. The at^e ia fine an 
clear, the argomenta doee, cogent, and i rre ei g tibk 
May the King of kinga, whoae gloriooa canse yoi 
have Bo well defended, reward your jnons laboon 
and grant that I may be found worthy, tfanragfa tfa* 
merits of Jesus Christ, to be an eye witness of tha 
hi^piness which I douot not he wiU bonntifiilly be 
stow upon you* ^ In the meantime, I ahall ae?e 
cease glorifying God for haying endowed yon vitl 
anch useful talents, and given me so good a son. 

Your affectionate Father, 

Thomab LytteltonJ 

Of this Dissertation, published in 1747, we nee( 
only observe at present, that it is the best and mos 
original of all Lyttelton's works. It was wiittei 
by the advice of Mr West, in consequence of i 
suggestion dropt by his friend in conversation, thai 
he thought the Conversion and Apostleship of S 
Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a de 
mDnstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be i 
divine religion ; independent of all the other proofi 
of it, which might be drawn from prophecies ii 
the Old Testament; from the necessary connec* 
tion it has with the whole system of the Jewish re* 
lig^on ; from the miracles of Christ, and from th( 
evidence given of his resurrection, to all the othei 
apostles. A proof so compendious,. Mr West was 
persuaded, might be of use to convince those unbe- 
fierers who unll not attend to a longer series o\ 



LORD LYTTELTON* 205 

arguments. To this Innt we owe the excellent 
*^ Observations on the Conversion and- Apostleship 
of St Paul:*' of which the reader wilV find sub- 
joined a pretty fidl analysis of the leading argu- 
ments or propositions. 

Afiter his retirement from public life, Lord 
Lyttellon devoted himself to literary pursuits. His 
time was chiefly occupied in preparing his History 
of Henry XL which he has enriched with the re- 
searches and deliberations of twenty years ; and in 
which he endeavoured to present an accurate and 
comprehensive view of the English constitution at 
that early period ; and of the changes subsequent to 
the Norman conquest. The style of this work is 
p^Bpicuous and unaffected, often rising to forcer 
and elegance. His sentiments are judicious and 
liberal, and favourable to the rights and interests 
of mankind. Though not popular, it retaios its 
character as a standard work. Hayley, in his 
Essay on History^ alludes to it in tbe following 
elegant lines : — 

See candid Lyttelton, at length unfold 
The deeds of liberty, in days of old ! 
Fond of the theme, and narrative with age, 
He winds the lengthen'd tale thro' many a page ;. 
But' there- the beams of patriot virtue shine; 
There troth and fireedom sanctify tbe line ; 
And laurels, due to civil wisdom, shield 
This noble Nestor of the historic field. 

The character of Lord Lyttelton now stood de- 
servedly high, both on account of his public con- 
duct, and the fame of his literary productions. 
But his mortal career was now hastening to a 
close. His appearance never was that of a strong 
or of a heallhy man. He had a slender, ema- 
ciated frame, and a meagre £Eice : he arrived, how^ 



208 CONVERTS FROM INTIDELITY. 

ever, at a considerable age, notwithstanding the 
infirmities of his constitation. Of Ids last illness 
and death, which took place at his seat of Hagley, 
in the sixty-fourth year of his age, a very full and 
affecting account has been given by his physidan, 
Dr Johnson of Kidderminister ; which, as it containB 
some very instructive traits of his moral character, 
we shall here subjoin. 

^' On Sunday evening the symptoms of hit 
Lordship's disorder, which for a week past had 
alarmed us, put on a fatal appearance, and his 
Lordship believed himself a d^ng man. From 
this time he suffered by restlessness rather than 

Sain; though his nerves were apparently mudh 
uttered, ms mental faculties never seemed 
stronger, when he was thoroughly awake. Hw 
Lordship's bilious and hepatic complsunts seemed 
alone not equal to the expected mournful event ; 
his long want of sleep, whether the consequence 
of the irritation in the bowels, or, which is more 
probable, of causes of a different kind, accounts for 
ids loss of strength, and for his death, very suffi- 
ciently. 

« Though his Lordship wished his approaching 
dissolution not to be lingering, he waited for it 
with resignation. He said, '^ It is a folly, a keep- 
ing me in misery, now to attempt to prolong life ;" 
yet he was easily persuaded, for the satis&ction of 
others, to do or tiJce any thing thought proper for 
him. On Saturday he had been remarkably bet- 
ter, and we were not without hopes of his re- 
covery. 

" On Sunday, about eleven in the forenoon, his 
Lordship sent for me, and said he felt a great hea- 
viness; and wished to have a little conversation with 



LORD LYTTELTON. 207 

me, in order to divert it. He then proceeded to 
open the fountain of that heart, from whence good- 
ness had so long flowed, as from a copious spring. 
^ Doctor," said he, ^ you shall he my confessor 
•when I first set out in the world, I had friends 
who endeayoured to shake my belief in the Clffi»- 
4ian religion. I saw difficulties which staggimsd 
me ; but I kept my mind open to conrietion. The 
evidences and doctrines of Chrktianity, stndied 
with attention, made me a most firm and pei^ 
iniaded believer of the Christian religion. I have 
wade it the rule of.my life ; and it is the ground of 
■my future hopes. I have erred and sinned; hut 
have, nepentml, and never indulged any vidons 
bahit. In politics, a;nd public life, I have made 
pmblic good the rule of my condnct. I never gave 
counsels which I did not at the time think the best. 
I have seen that I was sometimes in the wrong ; 
bnt I did not err designedly. I have endeavoured 
in private life, to do all the goodinmy power,and 
never fcff a m<nnent could indulge malicious or un^- 
just dewgns upon any person whatsoever." At 
another time he said, ^' I must leave my soul in 
the same state it was before this illness ; I find 
this a very inconvenient time for solicitude about 
any thing. ' 

• '< On t^e evening, when the symptoms of death 
came on, he said, '^ I shall die ; but it will not be 
your feult." When Lord and Lady Valenlia-came 
to see his Lordship, he gave him his solemn bene- 
diction, and said, ^' Be good, be virtuous, my 
Lord; you must cdme to this." Thus he con- 
tinued ^ving his dying benediction to all around 
him. On Monday morning, a lucid interval gave 
some small hopes, but these vanished in the even* 



208 CONVERTS FROM INVIDILITT. 

ing; and he contmned dfing, but with reiy Ihde 
uneasiness, till Tuesday morning, August SSnd, 
1773, when, between seven and eight o'dock, he 
expired, ahnost without a groan." 

The works of Lord Lyttelton, most of wUdi 
have been mentioned in me order of time in which 
they were written, c^aim for him a very respeet- 
«ble rank among our noble authors. Ilis poems 
still preserve a place among the select prodnctioiiB 
of the British Muse ; rather, however, on account 
of their correctness and elegance d ^dicticm, -and 
the delicacy of their sentiment, than im exhil^tii^ 
any uncommon poetical talents. They are pe- 
rused with pleasure rather than admiiation ; and if 
they do not always rise to s\^blimity, they contain 
nothing offensive. Though rigid criticism mav 
find ol^ections in some of them, they display much 
tenderness of feeling, and not unfrequently discover 
a force of imagination, and a power of poetry, 
which cultivation might have raised to excdlence. 
Four of his speeches may be found in the edition 
of his Works by Ayscough, which display sound 
views, powerful eloquence, and inflexible integ- 
rity : That on the Scottidi Bill, 1747 ; on the Mu- 
tiny Bill ; and more particularly on the clause con- 
coming Half-pay Officers, 1751 ; on the repeal of 
tlie act called the Jew BUI, 1753 ; and one in the 
House of Lords, 1763, concerning Privilege of Par- 
liament, as extending to cases of writing and pub- 
lishing seditious libels. 

But the most popular and most valuable iff -his 
productions, is his Diss^tation on the Conversion 
of St Paul, written, as we have observed, after he 
had renounced his sceptical sentiments, and be- 
come a confirmed believer in the ^th of Chris- 



LORD LYTTELTON. 209 

.tianity* In this treatise, he has advocated very 
.ably the cause of religion, and executed with suc- 
cess the design with mich he set out. Great hopes 
were entertained of its utility, and time has now 
jdiewn that this expectation was not ill-founded ; 
for it is esteemed' one of the most masterly de- 
fences of the Christian religion that has appeared, 
fudd has been the means of recommending and pro- 
inoting it in various parts of the world. 

The author first considers the account which 
St Paul himself has given of the miraculous man- 
ner of his conversion, recorded both in the Acts 
of the Apostles, and in several of his own Epistles ; 
and thence ha deduces the following alternative, 
viz. That the person attesting such things of him- 
self, either was an impostor, who said what he 
Ipiew to be folse, with an intent to deceive ; or he 
was an enthusiast, who, by the force of an over- 
heated imagination, imposed on himself; or he 
was deceived by the fraud of others ; Or, lastly, 
what he declared to be the cause of his conversion, 
and to have happened in consequence of it, did all 
really happen ; and therefore the Christian reli- 
gion is a divine revelation. 

That he was not an impostor, who said what he 
knew to be false, with an intent to deceive, must 
appear evident by considering, that the apostle 
could have no rational motive to undertake such 
an imposture ; nor could he possibly have canied 
it on with any success, by the means we know he 
employed. As to the inducements to such ap im- 
posture, they must have been either the hope of 
advancing himself by it, in his temp<Hral interest, 
credit, or power ; or the gratification of some of 
his passions under its authority, and by the means 
it aBbrded. 



1K10 CONVERTS FROM IKFIDELITT. 

The fomier of these motives wffl not bear oat 
the supposition in question ; the party he abaiv* 
doned, the doctrines he espoused, t& prejudices he 
opposed, are all against it. The drcumstaneei 
^nnder iviiidi he became a disciple of Christ, riieir 
that it could be with no hope of increaong his 
power or his wealth. The certain consequence of 
his taking such a part, was not only the loss of all 
he had, but of all hopes of acquiring more. ThosiB 
whom he had left, were the disposers of wealtl^ 
of dignity, of power, in Judea. Those whom he 
went to, were indigent men, oppressed and isept 
down from all means of improting their fortunes; 
Those among them who had m(H*e dian the rest,' 
shared what they had with their brethren ; but» 
, with this assistance the whole community was 
hardly supplied with ^e necessaries of iife. And 
even in dburches he afterwards planted himself 
which were much more wealthy than that of Je- 
rusalem, so fax was St Paul from availing himself of 
their charity, or the veneration they had for him, 
in order to draw that wealth to himself, that he 
often refrised to take any part of it even for neces* 
sary purposes. It is most evident, dierefore, both 
from ihe state of the Church when St Faul fint 
came into it, and from his behaviour afterwards, 
that he had no thoughts of increasing his wealth, 
by becoBung a Christian : whereas, by continuing 
to be dieir enemy, he had almost certain hopes <» 
making his fortune, by the favour of those who 
; wore at the head of the Jewidi state ; to whom no- 
thing could more recomm^id him than the zeid 
he flhewed in that persecution* 

As to credit or reputation, these too lay all on 
the side he foraook; \hj& «iq^ b& embcaced was un- 



X.ORI) LYTTELTON. 21 1 

der l!he greatest and most umversal contempt of 
^nythen in the world. "Bie 'chiefs and leaders of 
it were men of the iowest hirth, education, and 
rank. They had not one advantage of parts, or 
leartdne, or other hnman endowments, to recom- 
mend ' wm. The doctrines they taught were con- 
trary to ibose \diich they who were accounted the 
wisest and the most knowing of their nation pro- 
fessed. Hie wonderful works that they>did, were 
either imputed to magic, or to imposture. The 
very Auwor and Head of their faith <had heen con- 
denmed as a criminal, and died on llie cross be- 
tween two dieiyes. Could the disciple of Gama^ 
liel think he should gain any credit or reputation 
by becoming a teadier in a college of fishermen ? 
CoaM he flatter -himself that either in or out of 
Judea, die doctrines he taught could do him any 
hottonr ? No ; he knew very well that the preach- 
ing of Christ crucified was a stumbling-block to 
die Jewsj and to the Greeks foolishness. He after- 
wards found by experience, that in all parts of ihe 
world, contempt was the portion of whoever te- 
gaged in preaoiing a mystery so impalatableto the 
world, to all its passions and pleasures ; and so ir- 
reconcilable to the pride of human reason. Yet he 
went on as zealously as he set out, and was not 
i^hanwd of the gospel of Christ. Certainly then, 
the deane of glory, the ambition of making to him- 
self a grest name, was not his motive to embrace 
durisdanity. 

Neither eoidd it be tJie love of power. Power 1 
4>v«r whom? over a flock of sheep driven to liie 
slaughter, whose Shepherd himself had been mv^ 
dered a little before. All he could hope firom 
that power, was to be marked out in a particular 



212 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

manner for the same knife^ wluch he had aeen ao 
bloodily drawn against him* Could ha expect iqioro 
mercy from the chief priests and the nuers* ihan 
they nad shewn to Jesns himself? Would not thnr 
anger be fiercer against the deserter and betrnffer 
of their cause> than against any other of uie 
apostles? But he had not eren the desire of 
usurping any ambitious sway among them. He aft- 
sumed no authority over the Christians. He pre- 
tended to no superiority over the other apostles, hut 
declared himself the kmtofthen^ and less than (he 
hast of aU saifUs. Even in the churches he himself 
planted, he never pretended to any primacy or power 
above the other apostles ; nor would he be regarded 
any otherwise by them, than as the iQstmment to 
them of the grace of God, and {Hr^acfi^ of the 
gospel ; not as the head of a sect : All the autho- 
rity he exercised over them was purely of a spi- 
ritu^ nature, tending to their instn^ction and edi- 
fication ; without any mixture of that civil dominimi 
in whidi alone an impostor can find his account. 
His was not that imhaUowed ambition if hich 
would convert religion into a mere engine in sup- 
port of temporal power ; as has been done by many 
ancient legislators, as well as by all those preten- 
ders to divine revelation, and others whom his- 
tory mentions, in different a^^es and countries. He 
innovated nothing in government or civU a£^ursy— 
he meddled not with leg^lation, — ^he formed no 
commonwealth, — ^he raised no seditions, — he af- 
fected no temporal power. Obedience to their 
rulers was the doctrine he taught to the churches 
he planted ; and what he tat^ht he practised him- 
self. Nor did he use any of those soothing arts 
hj which ambiUoua and cunning men recon^end 



LORD LTTTLETOK. 21S 

themselves to the fitvoiur of those whom they en- 
deavour to subject to their power. 

He did not even affect m absolate spiritual 
power over the churches he planted. He preached 
Christ Jesns, and not himself. Christ was the 
head, he only the minister; and -for such only he 
gave himself to them. He caUed those who as- 
sisted him in preaching the gospel, his fellow-la- 
bonrera and fellow-servants. And so far was he 
from taking any advantage of a higher education, 
superior learning, and more intercourse with the 
w(H*ld, to claim to himself any supremacy above 
^le other apostles, that he put himself quite on a 
4evel with them, and made light of all these at- 
tiunments. 

*But had he been an impostm*, whose aim was 
^wer, he would have acted a contrary part ; he 
would have availed himself of all those advan- 
tages, — ^he would have extolled them as highly as 
possible, — ^he would have set up himself, by virtue 
of them, as head of that sect to which he ac- 
ceded, or at least of the proselytes made by him- 
self. This was no m(H*e than was done by every l^ 
philosopher who formed a school ; mncji more ^ 
was it natural in one who propagated a new reli- 
gion. 

Had the apostle been actuated by i^e same lust 
of dominion as the Bishops of Rome, or aspired 
to be the monarch of Christendom, he was much 
Hketier than they to have succeeded in such an at- 
tempt. It was much, easier for jiim to make him- 
self head of a few poor mechanics and ^shermen, 
whose superior he confessedly was in point of 
abilities, than for the Roman Pondff to have usurp- 
ed an vn^sputed supremacy over the powers and 



214 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

principalitieB of the world. They had to tn 
thmr ckdms in direct contradictum to Scri] 
while he had every opportiimt7<^wn8tiiigScri 
in fitYonr of his pretennona. He could eaiil) 
corrnpted a £utn not yet fiiUy known ; and f 
in many places, could only he known hy wi 
paUiahed himself. Now, had he heen an imp 
Le woold not have con&uid hims^ to qnot 
aame gospel as was dellTered hy the other ape 
when he had such a latUnde to preach wli 
pleased, without contradiction. He wonld : 
Lave twisted and warped the doctrines of Ch 
hia own ends, to the particular use and ezpec 
of his own followers, and to the peculiar si 
and increase of his own power. 

That this was not done hy St Paul, <Nr h; 
other of the apostles, in so many Tarioas pa 
the world where they travelled, and in cba 
absolutely under their own direction; tb 
gospel preached by them all, should be on 
the same, the doctrines agreeing in every pi 
lar, without any one of them attributing m< 
himself than he did to the others, or establ 
any thing, even in point of order or disc; 
different from the rest, or more adyantage< 
his own int^est, credit, or power, — ^is a most i 
and convincing proof of their not being imp4 
but acting entirely by divine inspiration. 

As it appears then, that St Paul had noth 
gain by acting the part he did, let it be cons 
on the other hand, what he gave up, and w] 
had reason to fear. 

He gave up a fortune, which he was in tl 
way of advancing. He gave up that repu 
which he had acquired by the labours and a 



LORD LYTTLETON. 215 

of his whole lifo. He gave np bis friends, his 
relations and ftunily, from whom he estranged and 
banished himself for life. He gave np ihaX reli- 
gion ** which he had profited in, above many of 
Mb equals in his own nation ; and those traditions 
of his fathers, which he had been more exceed- 
ingly zealous of;" a sacrifice, hard to a man of his 
warm temper, and especially to a Jew, — a nation 
known to have been more tenadons of their reli- 
gions opinions, than any other npon the face of the 
earth. The departing, therefore, so suddenly, firom 
the favoorite tenets of the proudest and strictest 
sect among the Jews, and from their disciple be- 
coming ih&T enemy, was a most difficult effort 
for one to make, so nursed up in the esteem oi 
ihem, and whose early prejudices were so strongly 
confirmed by all the power of habit, all the au- 
thority of example, and all the allurements of ho- 
nour and interest. 

These were the sacrifices he had to make in be- 
coming a Christian ; but he had also numerous incon- 
veniences to fear from such an apostasy : The im- 
placable vengeance of those he deserted: That 
sort of contempt which is hardest to bear, the con- 
tempt of those whose good opinion he had most 
eagerly sought ; and all those other complicated 
evils which he describes in his second epistle to 
the Corinthians ; evils, the least of which were 
enough to have frightened any impostor, even from 
ihe most hopeful and profitable cheat. But where 
the advantage proposed bears no proportion to the 
dangers incurred, or the mischiefs endured, he 
must be absolutely out of his senses who will 
either engage in an imposture, or, being engaged, 
will persevere. 



816 COKVBRT8 YROM INFIDBLItT. 

' The obTiouB inference to be dimwn from tfai 
pert of the argument is, that the desire of weald 
of fiune, or of ]M>wer, could be no motiTe to mak 
St Fteol a convert to Christ. But if these si^posi 
tions will not account for the apostle's convenion 
neither will that which now comes und^ iaquiry 
viz, whether the gratification of any other pessioi 
under the authority of that religion, or bythi 
means it affords^) could be his induc^nent. 

That there have been someimpostorsy who havt 
pretended to revelations from Grod^ merel¥ U 
give a loose to irregular pasnons, and set them- 
selves fne from all restraints of government, law> oi 
morality, both ancient and modem ^history shews 
But the doctrine preached by the apostle w» 
absolutely contrary to all such designs. His writ 
ings breathe nodung but the strictest morality 
obedience to magistrates, order, and government 
with the utmost abhorrence of all licentiousness 
idleness, or loose behaviour, under the cloak o 
religion. We nowhere read in his works, that saint 
were above moral ordinance ; that dominion oi 
property, is founded in grace; that there is m 
difference in moral actions ; that any impulses o 
the mind are to direct us against the light of ow 
reason and the laws of nature. Nor does an^ 
part of his life, either before or after his conver 
sionto Christianity, bear any marks of a libertin< 
disposition. As among the Jews, so among th( 
Christians, his conversation and manners wen 
blameless. It viras not then, the desire of gratify 
ing any irregular passion, that could induce B 
Paul to turn Christian. 

Thei'e is another observation which may b< 
stated, as an additional proof with regard to thu 



LORD LYTTELTON. ?17 

purity of the apostle s motives. That whereas 
it may be objected to the other i^stles, by 
those who are resolved not to credit their tes- 
tuiiony; that having been deeply engaged with 
Jesus during his life, they were obliged to con- 
tinue the same professions after his death, for 
the support of their own credit, and from having 
gone too far to go back ; tiiis can by no means be 
isaid of St Paul. On the contrary, whatever force 
there may be in that way of reasoning, it all tends 
to convince us, that St Paul must naturally have con- 
tinued a Jew', and an enemy of Christ Jesus. If 
they were engaged on one side, he was as strongly 
engaged on the other. If shame withheld them from 
changing sides, much more ought it to have stopt 
him, who, being of a much higher education and 
rank in lijfe than they, had more credit to lose, and 
must be supposed to have been vastly more sen- 
sible to that sort of shame. The only difference 
was, that they, by quitting their Master after his 
death, might have preserved themselves ; whereas 
he, by quitting the Jews, and taking up the cross 
of Christ, certainly brought on his own destruc- 
tion. 

As, therefore, no rational motive appears for 
St Paul's embracing the faith of Christ, without 
having busn really convinced of its truth ; but^ 
on the contrary, every thing concurred to deter 
him from acting the part he did: It may be 
proved, in the next place, that if he had been so 
tmaccountably wild and absurd, as to undertake 
ah imposture so unprofitable and dangerous, both 
to himself and those he deceived by It, he could 
not possibly have carried it on with any success, 
by uie means he employed. For if the apostle's 

VOL. i. T 



^18 CONVERTS -VROM IKVIDBLITTi 

convenioii, and the part thai he a<^ed in 
qiience of it, was an imposturey it was mch an im* 
posture as eo«dd not be carried <m by one man 
alone. The foith he professed, and of wfaidi be 
became an apostle, was not his inTentimi. He 
was not die audior or beginner of it, jmd dieia- 
fore it was not in his power to-draw the doctrmes 
of it out of his own imagination ; with Jesnsy who 
was the Author and Head of it, he had never had 
any commmiication before his death, nor with hii 
apostles after his death, exceptasiiueirperBeciitoc 

As he took on himself the office and character 
of an apostle, it was absolutely necessary for Inm 
to hare a precise and perfect knowledge of all the 
facts contained in the gospel, several of whidi had 
only passed between Jesus himself and his twelve 
apostles, and others more privately still, ao that 
they could be known but to very few, being not 
yet made public by any writings ; otherwise^ h% 
would have exposed himself to ridicule among 
those who preached that gospel with more know- 
ledge than he ; and as the testimony they bore 
would have been different in point of fact, and 
many of their doctrines and interpretations of 
Scripture repugnant to his, from thdr entire dis- 
agreement with l^se Jewish opinions in which he 
was bred up ; either they must have been forced to 
Tuin his credit, or he would have rained theiis. 
It was therefore impossible for him to act this part 
but in confederacy, at least with the qMsUes. 

But how could he gain diese men to become his 
confederates ? How could he learn of them by 
what secret arts they so imposed upon the senses 
and understandings of men? Was it by furiously 
penecuting them and their brathreD, as we find (hat 



LOtti) LYTtELTONr Sl^* 

bedidyto'theteiyiiioiileiilctf bisconvenidA? Wonld 
they venture to trust then* eajntal enemy with all 
the secrets of ibea inipoBtinre»-— with those npon* 
which all their hopes and credit depended ? All- 
Ads is stiU more impossible than that he should atr 
ttmpt to engage in their fraud without their cxm^ 
east and assistance.- 

Had the miracnloilis story ei his ecHHTersioa* 
been an imp osture, there were d^culties at the 
tery outset which could not be overcome. Ta 
Hoeovnt for the wav he chose of declaring himself 
B conv^t to Chnsty we must suppose, that all; 
those who were with him when he pretended he 
had his vision, were his accomplices ; otherwise 
liie story he told conM have gained no belief 
bc4iig c(mtradicted by them whose testimony war 
necessary to vouch iett 1^ truth of it. And yet, 
how can we suppose ^at all these men should 
be willing to join in this imposture ? They were 
probably ofiBcers of justice, or soFdiers, who had 
been employed often before in executing the or* 
de|B o( die high-priest and the rulers, against the 
Christians* 

What then should now mdnfoe ^em to betray 
the business they were employed in ? Or does 
it evoi appear ^at they had any connection widi 
ibe man they so lied for,*— or had any reward 
from lum fY»r it? But they must have been ac^ 
eomplices in carrying on this wicked fraud, and 
^e whole matter must have been previously 
agreed on between themy-'-a . supposition too im- 
probabie to be admitted. Had the Jews, either 
at Damascus or Jerusalem, who were concerned 
in discovering the cheat, been able to con^nct him 
of fraud in this affidr, the whole scheme must 



I! 



120 CONVBRTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

have been nipt in the bud. But we find that 
many yean afterwards, when they had. all the time 
and means they coold desire^ to make the strictest 
inquiry, he was bold enough to appeal to Agrippa, 
in the presence of Festns, upon ms own knowledge 
of the truth of his story,— « very remarkable proof, 
both of the notoriety of the feet, and the integrity 
of the man. 

But further, let us obsenre in what manner tins 
wondrous imposture was carried on by Paul hio^' 
self. His first care ought to have been to get 
himself owned and received as an apostle; till 
this was done, the bottom he stood upon was very 
narrow ; nor could he have any probable means 
of supporting himself in any esteem or credit 
among the disciples. Intruders run a double risk; 
.they are in danger of being detected, not only 
by those upon whom they attempi to practise th^ 
cheats, but also by those into whose society they 
force themselves, who must always be jealous of 
8Bch an mtn»k«, and much moi» ftom^ne wbo 
had before been their declared enemy. To gain 
the apostles, therefore, and bring them to admit 
him into a participation of all their mysteries, all 
their designs, and all their authority, wias abso- 
lutely necessary ; but instead of attending to tfais^ 
he went into Arabia, returned to Damascus, and 
did not repair to Jerusalem till three years had 
elapsed. Among the apostles themselves he used 
no arts to conciliate favour, and betrayed no fean 
as to the grounds of his i^>ostle8hip. '< He even 
withstood Peter to the fece, and reproved hira 
before all the disciples, because he was to be 
.blamed." If he was an impostor, how could he 
.venture to ^offend one whom it so highly coik- 



I^ORD LYTTELTON. Hi 

c«niedlii]iiioagt«ewith»--^«id to please. Accom- 
plices in frandy are obliged to shew greater regard 
to . each others— -ancb freed<»ii. belongs to tratfa 
alone* 

There is another part of his apostolical fhnctionB 
eonneetedr with this stage of ther argument, de- 
aerring of particular notice-; and that is,, t^ diffi- 
cnkiea St Panl had to encoimter among the Gen- 
tiles, m the eitferprise he midertook of gmng to 
ikenh making himself Metf cpaai^, and converting 
ihem to the religion of Christ. In this enter- 
prise he had to contend, ^r«^ with ihe poUcy and 
power of the magistrate^ which was every where 
armed with all its terrors against CbriMianity. 
'When, therefiNre^ St P^id imdertook the GOnya>'! 
aion of the Grentiles, he Imew very weH- that the 
most severe persecutions must be the consequence \ 
af any success in his design. J 

In the second p£eu;e, her had to* contend with 
ihe interest, credit, and craft of the priestSr How 
gainful a trade they, witli all their inferior depen- 
dants, made' of those si^erstidons winch he pro^ 
posed to destroy ; how mudr credit they had with 
Ihe pe<^l^ as weU as the state, by means of them^ 
and how much craft they employed in carrying (^ 
^eir imposture, all history shews. St Paul could 
not doubt limt aU these men would exert their ut- 
most abilities to stop the sheading of the doctrinei 
he preached,— ^doctrines which struck at llie root 
of their power and gam. Whatever, ^erefore^ 
^bm cunning coidd do to support ^ir own wor- 
ship, wiuitever axA they could draw from llie m»- 
gistrate^ whatever seal they could raise in the 
people^ 8t Paul had to contend with, unsupported 
by any human asnstance. 

1*51 



122 CONVERTS FROM IKFIDELITY. 

The apostle had, m llie Mrd place, to enooiHiter 
a]\ the prfjndices and passioiiB of the people. I^ 
he confined his preaching to Jadea alone, this dif- 
ficvdty would not have been so great. The peqple 
there had began to be somewhat faToorably dis- 
posed towards the miracles and teaching of the 
apostles ; bnt among the Gentiles, no snch diqiosi- 
tions could be expected. Their prejudices were 
•yiolent, not only in favour of their own supe rs ti " 
tions, but in a particular manner against any doc- 
trines taught by a Jew ; whom all other nations 
hated and despised. What authority then could 
St Paul flatter himself that his preaching would 
.carry along with it, among people to whom he was 
<at once both the object of national hatred^ and na- 
lional scorn ? 

But besides the popular prejudices against Ids 
nation, the doctrines he taught were such asshocked 
all their most ingrafted religious opinions. They 
agreed to no principles of which he could avail 
himself to procure their assent to the other parts 
of the gospel he preached. They expected no 
Christ, like the Jews. They allowed no sudi 
Scriptures as the Old Testament, which contained 
predictions and proofs of the Messiah, to which he 
could refer. 

Besides, they were strongly attached to idolatry, 
not by their prejudices alone, but by their passions, 
whicn were flattered and gratified by it. Its rites 
dazzled their senses by magnificent shews, and al- 
lured them by pleasures of);en of a very impure 
and immoral nature. Instead of all this, the gos- 
pel proposed to them no other torms of acceptance 
with God, but a worshipping him in spirit and truth, 
sincere repautanea, and perfect submission to the 



LORD LYTTELTOK. 223 

Divine law ; the stricteet purity of life and man- 
ners, and renouncing of all moee lusts in which they 
had fonnerly walked. How unpalatable a doc- 
trine was this,. to men so given np to the power of 
their lusts, as the whole heathen world was at 
that time I 

But the wisdom and pride of the philosophers, 
• was a -source of opposition no less strong than the 
.prejudices of the vulgar : for whatever refinement 
•they pretended to, their systems were all equally 
irreconcilable with the doctrines of Christ. The 
.wisdom upon which they valued themselves, chiefly 
•consisted in vain, metaphysical speculations, in 
logical subtleties, in endless disputes, in high-flown 
conceits of the perfection and selfnsufficiency of 
human wisdom, in dogmatical positiveness about 
doubtful opinions, or sceptical cavils about the 
most dear and certain truths. It must appear at 
first sight, that nothing could be more contradic- 
tory to the first principles of the Christian religion, 
than those of the atheistical or sceptical sects, which 
at that time prevailed very much, both among the 
Greeks and the Romans. Besides the contra- 
riety of their tenets to those of the gospel, the 
pride that was common to all the philosophers, was 
of itself an almost invincible obstacle against the 
admission of the evangelical doctrines, calculated 
to humble that pride, and teach them that profess- 
ing themselves to be wise, they became fools. 

The Christian religion at once overturned their 
several systems, taught a morality mcnre perfect than 
theirs, mortified their pride, confounded their learn- 
ing, discovered their ignorance, and ruined their 
credit. Against such an enemy, what would they 
not do ? Would they not exert the whole power of 



^* 



SS4 COXVBRTS FRO&r IKTTDELITt^ 



thurilietoricy the whole art of thisir logic» liieir io^ 
fluenceoTerthe people, their interest w&llie greely 
to discredit a novelty so alanning to them. St 
Ftol had therefore to contend, in his «it eiyr ia o of 
conyerting the Gentiles, with- aH the eppoaiftMB 
that could he made by aU die different sects of 
philosophers ; with a pride no less intractahhi, no- 
less Kvene to the instructions of Christ and his' 
apostles, than that of the Scribes and IHiarisees.' 
If he had had nothing to trust to but lak own nfr* 
tural faculties, his own understandii^, knowledge^ 
and eloquence; could he hare hoped to he singlya 
match against such formidable <qipo8Etien? He 
might as wellhave attempted, alone, to haye eseded' 
a monarchy uponr the rums of aU the several states 
then in the woild, as- to hayb erected CkristiaDity 
upon the destruction of all the several sects of 
philosophy among the Gentiles, particnkily thr 
Crreeks and the Romans. 

Having thus satisfactorily^ shewn, that- in eon*' 
voting the Gentiles, St Paul could hav^e no aows ' 
tance, but was sure on the contrary of the utmosl^ 
opposition from the magistrates, the priests, the 
pec^le, and the philo80|d^rs ; it necessarily follow^ 
that to succeed in that work, hermust have called 
m some extraordkiary aid, some stronger power,^ 
than that of reason and argumentation. Aeeor* 
dingly, he tells us, that it was ki dinnonstniMm of 
die Spirit and of power that he preached. It was- 
to the supernatural efficacy of this Divine power, 
that he ascribed all his success wherever he planted 
the gospel. If that power really went widi him, 
it would amble him to overcome att those difficoi- 
ties that obstructed his enterorise. But this oon» 
cesaioniainGonnfiteflDil^wV^Uttm^lMdtioa^ hb 
being an impoBtor. 



IX>SO LTTTELTOK. fffft 

' It inay be diewn &rtiier, ihei> sUlepu^ him W 
have beoi an impostor, lie eoidd Wft liy/»rfieiM^^ 
to mnades, have O fwr co me all ihmt diJHfiiltimx 
and canied on Idb woik wi& mrwi IW 4if> 
cmmtanoes are principally noPOWBry to ||;h^ Mi^ 
lades fidMy preteBded to, any wytajitnij ni» 
apt ^position in thaae whom tliey an$ 4iwi n aa ^ 
tor in^Kne vpasi, andapairecfal caa f a d w miy to 
carry on and abet the ch ea tj ww »rt>t^#f < iii(ai ' 
"^baa aiwayi aceonpanied all iitte kk» aaimdii* mt- 




and ike iaipoitBies of hmmmmid I^XmI^ aaiMte 
Keiiiier of ifaew aniitod ^Iftie afMrtfCfe- Mad i^- 
lemained in indea, liie aifpnil mituf\m M ^yitf^ 
iiag;fat be aaidtobaaie pffu iiii|<a>K <i 1^ JliiiHr #f 
that rwidalai PBipfej <iid fiPUf<»ad ikmm U0 iU 
mSbKnmkmcimitm^mtffmrifd to Up w%\mjA^ ^f 

apoade iMid na aiiA > if « ^ w . ^k^-m^ 

m^ kmmr 
boik? 



■^*^'~-'"*tSLrt:ar 




liie-GcBBia» and ^^ ^i^^iil^ .^^^ ^^Mj^g jc x^jl 
MtoAaatt bii ^ ia |in iiii ] m^ mfitf Hft(kf ^ 



226 coNvmTs moM nfFTdSLmr. 

practised^ were not a grosB or ignorant people, apt' 
to mistake any nncommon operation oi natare, or 
joggling tricks, for miracolons acts. Tlie churdiet 
planted hj St Paid were in the most toli§^itaied 
parts of the world ; in the midst of scienee^ pfailo* 
sophy, freedom of thought; and in an i^ morr 
inquisitively curious into the powers of nature^ 
and less inclined to credit religious frauds^ than any 
befmre it. 

None of these adrantages attended die aposdd 
which concurred to fieiTourl^ miracles ef the Ahb6 
Ftois, or the femous impostor Alexander of Ponr 
tus, mentioned by Lucian. The meihods hr 
which those remarkable frauds were oondnoteit 
were directly opposite to those used by St Paul, vr^ 
never had recourse to ambiguous answers, cunning 
evasions, and juggling artifices to support his pre<^^, 
tensions. He coidd receive no assistance finom the 
dispositions of those whom he tried to oonvert». 
and had no powerful confederacy to cany on or 
abet the cheat. On the ccmtrary, he had to con- 
tend alone, or at most with two or three com- 
panions, against the opposition of magistrates^ 
priests, philosophers, and people, all combined to 
detect and expose the imposture. From all this, 
it may be reasonably concluded, that no hnmart- 
means were adequate to the effect. 

Though the argument drawn from liiese eon* 
siderstions alone, might hb sufficient to prorr 
Christianity to be a divine revelation ; yet there ir 
another branch of the inquiry which may be regaided 
as additional evidence, viz. whether the apoede was 
not an enthusiast, who by the force of an over* 
heated imagination, imposed upon himself? The 
fngivdieiita of wVack cflathwnaam are ^^ 



LbRD LYTTELTOir. 227 

{Nmed, are these : — great heat of temper, melan- 
choly, ignorance, credulity, and canity, or self-con- 
t^it. The first of these the apostle possessed ; 
bat this quality alone will not be sufficient to prove 
him to have heea an enthusiast, in the opinion of 
«ny reasonable man. The same quality has been 
<iommon to others, who were not enthusiasts ; as 
the Gracchi, Cato, Brutus, and many more among 
the best and wisest of men. Nor does it appear, 
that this disposition had such a mastery over the 
naind of St Paul, that he was not able at all times 
to mle and control it by the dictates of reason. 
His zeal was eager and warm, but tempered with 
prudence, and even with the civilities of life, as 
appears by his behayiour to Agrippa, Festua, and 
Felix. 

As to melancholy, it neither appears by his 
wntings, nor by any thing told of him in the Acts 
of the Apostles, nor by any other evidence, that St 
Paul was inclined to it, more than any other man. 
Though he was full of remorse for his former ig- 
norant persecution of the Church of Christ, we ' 
read of no gloomy penances, no extravagant m<»r- 
tifications, such as tne Brahmins, the Taugues, the 
Monks of La Trappe, and other melancholy en- 
thusiasts inflict on themselves. And as to igru)^ 
ranee, St Paul was so far from it, that he appears 
to have been master, not of the Jewish learning 
alone, but of the Greek, — and on this account he 
may be regarded as less liable to the imputation 
«f enthusiasm than the other apostles. 

Hiat qredulity formed no part of his character, 
the history of his life undeniably shews. He seems 
indeed to have been «low and hard of belief in an 
extreme degree ; having paid no regard to all tha 



2SSd CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

miracles done by our Sayiour, the fame of wlddi 
he could not be a stranger to ; nor to those poiw 
formed after his resurrection, and in his name^ by 
Peter and John, and the other apostles. All these 
he resisted ; so that his mind, far fix>m being dis- 
posed to a credulous faith, or a too easy recep- 
tion of any miracles wrought in proof of the Chiu- 
tian religion, appears to have been barred against 
it by the most obstinate prejudices, as much as any 
man's could possibly be. That llie. f^KMrtle was 
equally void of vanity or self-concdt, must i^^iear 
from uie slightest examination both of his. motives 
and his actions ; and that he was as free frvnn these 
infirmities as any man, may be gathered frmn all 
that we see in his writings, or know of his life. 
Throughout his Epistles, there is not one wocd 
that savours of vanity, nor is any actum recorded 
of him, in which the least mark of it appean. 
How contrary is his modesty, and self-abasement 
to the spirit of vanity ! How different from the 
practice of enthusiastical pretenders to raptures and 
visions ! Nothing can be more evident than that 
in St Paul's character and disposition, those qua- 
lities do not o6cur that seem to be necessary to. 
form an enthusiast, and therefore it is reastmable 
to conclude he 'was none. 

It may be shewn, moreover, that he could not 
have imposed on himself, even though he had pos- 
sessed such qualities, either in regard to the mi- 
racle that caused his conversion, or to the conse- 
quential effects of it. The power of imaginafion 
in enthusiastical minds is, no doubt, very strong; 
but it always acts in conformity to the opinioirii 
imprinted upon it at the time of its working; and 
can no more act against .them» than a rapid river 



LORD LYTTELTOIC. 229 

can cany a boat against the current of its own 
stream. But how do^ the fact stand with the 
apostle. When he set out to Damascus, his mind 
was strongly possessed with opinions against Christ 
and hiis followers. To give these opinions a more 
actiye force, his passions at that time concurred 
Ld such a state and temper of mind, if an enthu- 
fiiastical man had imagined he saw a vision from 
heaven, denouncing the anger of God against the 
Christians, and commanding him to persecute them 
without any mercy, it might be accounted for by 
the natural power of enthusiasm. But that in the 
very mstant of his being engaged in the fiercest 
acnd hottest persecutipn against the Christians, no 
circumstances having happened to change his opi- 
nions, or alter the bent of his disposition, he should 
at once imagine himself called by a heavenly vi- 
sion to be the apostle of Christ, whom but a mo- 
ment before he deemed an impostor and a blas- 
phemer, is in itself wholly incredible ; and so far 
from being a probable consequence of enthusiasm, 
that just a cOntnuy effect must have been naturally 
produced by that cause. The warmth of his tem- 
per carried him violently anotherway ; and what-. 
ever delusions his ima^nation could raise to im'^ 
pose on his reason, must have been raised at that 
time, agreeably to the notions imprinted upon it. 

If it be supposed, in order to try to account for 
his conversion without a miracle ; that the vision 
he and his company saw on their journey, was the 
effect of a meteor which did redly happen, this 
would not resolve the difficulty. This natursd' 
phenomenon may account for the apostle's blind- 
ness, f(H* the light they all saw, the terrpr they 
were in, and the noise they heard ; but how will 

IT 



€90 CONVBKTS VROM UimOKLITT. 

it account for the dktmct wordi tliej liev^ «r1 
Mgns and woodera tint foUowvd. ItisaimcfalMyK 
twk for unbolieyen to account fiw the aiiooaw 
St Fiinl» in preaching the goapd, upon the aa 
portion of his having been an eothnnaat^ than 
Ida having been an impoator. Neither of the 
anppontiona can ever acconnt for it; bat ihm ii 
poaaibility is more glaringly atrong in thia a 
than the other. 

But in addition to theie atteatationay let it 
ranembered, that the apoetle w rro u g fat aigna ai 
wonders which it waa impoaaible for endnunam 
imagine, or impoatore to connterfeit, or any pow 
of nature to perform. These aiqiematiiral fpn 
were also communicated to the varioua choicii 
which he planted in different parts of the wori 
Are we to conclude that all theae miraclea we 
pretended; or are they to be ascribed to the affe 
of imagination or imposture, dther in himself 
the persons on whom he operated. How waa 
possible that he and they could be so dieati 
by that enthusiasm, as to imagine they had sui 
powers wh^i they had not. Suppose that entb 
aiasm could make a man believe he waa ah] 
by a word or a touch, to give sight to the bHn 
motion to the lame, or life to the dead ; wou 
that conceit of his make the blind aee, the laa 
walk, or the dead revive ? And if it did not, ho 
could he persist in such an opinion, or upon I 
persisting, escape being shut up for a mailman 

But such a madness could not infect so aaany i 
once, as St Paul supposes at Corinth to have bei 
endowed with the gift of healing, w any other m 
racnlous power*— One of the miraclea which the 
pretended to, waa the speaking of laognagea ths 



LOBD LYTTELTOM. 1^1 

lurterlmA letcoed. And St Fianl sayt, he pos- 
sessed linsgifib more^an ikem alL If this had 
been t delnsum of fancy, if they had spoken only 
gibberish or unmeaning sounds ; it would soon have 
appeared when they came to make use of it where 
it was neeessary, viz, in converting of those wh« 
vndentood not any langnage they naturally spoke. 
St Ftail parttcnhurly, who travelled so far upon 
^t design, and had such occasion to ^use it, must 
soon have discovered that this imaginary gift of the 
Spirk was no gift at all, but a ridiculous instance 
of fimzy^ which had possessed both him and 

But if those he i^ke to in divers tongues, un- '^ 
derstood what be said, and were converted te ( 
Christ by that means, how could it be a delusion ?^^ 
Of all ^ miracles recorded in Scripture, none are 
more clear from any possible imputation of being 
the efiect of an oithusiastic imagination than this* 
For how could any man think that he had it, who 
liad it not; or if he did so^ not be undeceived^ 
when he came to put his gift to the proof? Ao^ 
•ovdmgly, we do not find such a power to have 
been evor pretended to by any enthusiaBt, ancient 
€r modem* 

It must thus appear manifest, that St Paul could 
aot have knposed on himself by any power of en- 
thasiasm, either with regard to the miracle that 
caused his conversioa, or to the consequential ef- 
focta of it; especially the miracles wrought by him, 
and liie extraordinary gifts conferred upon him, 
and upon liie Chriirtian converts to whom he 
wrote. To suppose all this to have been only ow- 
ing to the strength of his own imagination, when 
there was in redity no such thing at all, is to sup- 



!S32 COMVBkTS FROM IKFIDBLLTY. 

pcNie him to have been all this time quite otA oi fait 
senses ; and then it is ahsblntely impossible 'to ao- 
connt how such a distempered enthnsiaBt and madf 
tnan, conld make such p ro gress, as we know ka 
did, in converting the Gentile wmid. The infis- 
rence firomthe whole sorgament is obiioiis and u- 
answerable, viz. That St Panl was not deceived by 
the frand of others, and that whi^ he said of laah 
self cannot be impnted to the power of that deceit 
any more than to wilfol imposture or to enthi^ 
siasm ; and then it follows, toat what he rdsted to 
have been the cause of his convernon, and to have 
happened in consequence of it, did all reaUy hip- 
pen; and therefore the Christian religi<m is a En- 
vine revelation. 

The Treatise concludes with some exedlent ob- 
servations, to shew that the mysteriea of tkei 
Chnstian religion do not formsh any just reason for 
rejecting the stroi^ and convincing evidoice with 
which it is supported, since the same objections 
which are urged against revelation; will go against 
otiier systCTAs both of religion and philosophy, 
which sceptics tiiemselves profess to admit. Even 
in Deism itself, there are several difficulties which 
human reason can but ill account for ; such as tiie 
origin of evil, reconciling tiie prescience of Grod with 
tlie free-virill of man, &c which have baffled the 
wisdom of the greatest philosophers to comprehend, 
and which the metaphysical Lock^ after all Ins 
speculations, acknowledged he could not do, al- 
though he admitted botii as articles of his creed. 
The creation of the world, the prodncti<m of nOBC^ 
ter, the agency of tiie Deity m that beneficent 
work, were mysteries common to every system of 
Deism; yet no wise man will trgm these deny the 



LORD LTTTStTOK. 2S8 

being of God, or his infinite wisdom^ goodnessy 
and power, whieh are proved by sndb evidence as 
awries the deenaet and strongest conviction, and 
eannot h^ refiised without involving the mind in 
fin* greater difficulties, even in downright absurdities 
«mI impossHnlities. 

The only part, therefore, that can be taken k, 
to account, in the best manner that our weak rea^ 
SOB is able to do, for such seeming objections ; and 
"Wfbea/L tkat fiuls, to acknowledge its weakness, and 
acqmesee under the certainty that our very im- 
perfect knowledge, or judgment, eannot be the 
neasnre of iJie Divine wisdom, or the universal 
atandard of truth. So likewise it is with respect 
to the Christian religion. Some difficulties occur 
in thai revelation, which human reason can hardly 
clear ; but as the taiith o^it stands upon evidence 
so strong and conmcing, that it cannot be denie4 
without much greater diffiadHes than those that 
attend the beUef of it, we oi^t not to reject it up-^ 
on soch etjeetions, however mortifying they may ^ 
be to our pride j[^iat indeed would have att 
Aings made plain to us ; but God has thought 
proper to proportion ow knowledge to ovrwanih 
not our pfHde* All that concerns our duip m 
clear ; and a$ to other points, either of natural or 
revealed re^gjon, if he has left some obscurities in 
them, that can be no reasonable cause of comH- 
plaint. 

The proper use of our intellectual faculties^ is 
to distingmsh the genuine doctrines of religion 
from others erroneously or corruptly ascr3>ed to 
it; to consider the importance and purport of 
them, with the connection they bear to one an- 
other ; but especially to examine with tiie strictest 

u2 



284 CONVERTS FROM IKFIDBLITY. 

attention, the evidences by which religion isproYed, 
internal as well as ext^naL If the external evidence 
be convindngly strong, and ^ere be no internal pnxtf 
of its falsehood, but mnch to support and confirm 
its truth ; then, surely no difficulties ought to pne- 
vent our giving a full assent and belief to it. It is 
our duty inde^, to endeavour to find the best so- 
lutions we can to them; but where no satisfactory 
ones are to be found, it is no less our duty to ac- 
quiesce with humility, and believe that to be right 
which we know is above us, and belonging to a 
wisdom superior to ours. If the glorious light of 
the gospel be sometimes overcast with cloudi 
of doubt, so is the light of our reason too. But 
shall we deprive ourselves of the advantage of either, 
because these clouds cannot perhaps be entirdy 
removed while we remain in this -mmrtal life? 
Shall we obstinately shut our eyes against the day- 
spring from on high that has visited us, because 
we are not able as yet to bear the full blaze of Ins 
beams ? Here philosophy, as well as true Chris- 
tianity, would teach us a wiser and modester part. 
It would teach us to be content within those bounds 
which God has assigned us, '^ casting down ima- ^ 
ginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself < 
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into 
captivity every thought to the. obed^ce • of 
Christ." J 



SIR. JOHN PRINGLE. 235 



SIR JOHN PRINGLE, Bart. 



Sir John Pringle, Bart., was bom at Stitchel- 
House^ in the county of Roxburgh, April 10, 1707* 
His father was Sir John Pringle of Stitchel, Bart, 
and his mother was sister to Sir Gilbert Elliot 
of Stobs. Both the fiEunilies from which he de- 
scended were ancient and honourable ; and were 
gready esteemed for their attachment to the religion 
9nd liberties of their coimtry, as well as for their piety 
and yirtue in private life. John was the youngest of 
several sons, only three of whom, besides hunself, 
arrived to years of maturity. His grammatical 
education he received at home under a private tu- 
tor ; and when sufficiently qnalified to commence 
his academical studies, he was removed to the 
University of St Andrews, where he was put un- 
der the immediate care of Mr Francis Pringle, 
professor of Greek, and nearly related to his fo- 
ther. After continuing there some years, he went 
to Edinburgh, in October 1727, where, however, 
he remained only one year. 
:> Being dengned, it appears, for the mercantile 
line, he went over to Holland with the view of 
settling at Amsterdam ; but when at Leyden, ac- 
cidentally hearing Boerhaave lecture, he was so 
remarkably struck both with the matter and the 
man; that his attention was henceforth turned to 
the profession of physic. 



1136 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

This fayourite science he was anxious to study 
at Leyden, at that time the most celebrated sdiooi- 
of medicine in Europe ; and as Boerhaave, the disK 
tingaii^ed professor in that University, was consi^ 
erably advanced in years, Mr Pringle was unwilling 
to lose the opportunity of benefiting by that gnat 
man's lectures. For Boerhaave he entertained ft 
high and just respect ; but it was not his dispositioii 
0r character, to bec<Hne the implicit and s3rBtema' 
^follower of any man. WhileatLeyden,hfrO0ii^ 
tracted an intimate friendship with Van Swietea^ 
then a fellow student in the same science, and wlift 
afterwards became so famous at Vieima, holSk hf 
his practice and his writings* Whoi A& Prin^ 
had gone through his proper eourse oi stadias, te 
was admitted to the degm oi Doctor of Fkpie, 
July 20, 1730. 

His inaugural Dissertation was ^ De Mareani 
Senili ;" and his Diploma was signed, besides tha 
other profsssors of the University, by Boerittave^ 
Albinus, and Gravesande ; names c^ great eele- 
l«ity, not only in medicine, bi^ in general banuns; 

Upon qmtting Levden, he settied as a Phjsi- 
dan at Edmbur^ where, by his abilities and good 
conduct, he gamed the esteem both of the magis- 
trates of the city and the professors of the College; 
and such was his known acquaintance with etlucal 
subjects, that he was appointed in 1734^ to be joiol. 
professor of Moral Philosoi^y with Mr Scott» 
during that gentieman's life, and sde professor 
after his decease. In discharging the dutieB of 
this new en^loyment, his text-book was JPtg^n- 
dorffde Officio Hominis et Civif ; and agreeably 
to the method he pursued through life, of w»ftVif> g 
fact and expenmeiit tb& bans of sciuioa^ lie ra- 



SIR JOHN PRINGLB. S87 

commended to his pnpils, Lord Bacon's works, 
and paiticHlarly ^e ** NoTum Organum** of thai 
Father of true philosophy. 

He continued for several years in the practice 
of j^ysic at Edinburgh, and in performing the 
functions of his professorship, till 1742, when he 
was appointed physidan to die Earl of Stair, who 
then commanded the British army in the Nether- 
lands, employed there in defending the interests of 
the young Queen of Hungary, against the ambi- 
tious daums of France. Through the interest of 
this nobleman, Dr Pringle was constituted physi- 
cian to the military hospital in Flanders, witn a 
mdary of twenty shillings a-day, and half-pay for 
life. He did not on this occasion resign his pro- 
fessarship of Moral Philosophy ; the University 
permitted him to retain it^ and Messrs Muirhead 
and Cleghom were appointed to teach so long as 
he might find it necessary to be absent. 
■ The exemplary attention which Dr Pringle paid 
to his duty, as an anny physician, is apparent from 
the very excellent work he wrote upon the sub- 
ject. One fact is particularly mentioned, highly 
creditable to his hmnanity. It had been ibe cus- 
tom when the enemy was near, for the security of 
the side, to remove them a great way from the 
oamp ; the consequence of mich was, that many 
perioied before they came under the care of the 
physician. The Earl of Stair^ being sensible of 
this evil, at the suggestion of Dr Prii^le, proposed 
to the French Commander, the Duke de Noailles, 
that the hospitals on both sides should be con- 
sidered as sanctuaries for the sick, and mutually 
protected ; to wMdi the French General readily, 
agreedr and took the first opportunity of shewing 
hu regard for the humane propooal. 



2S8 CONVERTS FROM INFIDXLITT. 

At the battia of Dettii^;eii» Dr Bringle was ia 
tbe coach with Lord Carteret^ dmiiig the whok 
time of the engBgement, and from then* ntaatioii 
they were exposed to imminent danger. Th&f had 
heen taken unawares, and were kept betwixt the 
fire of the lines in front ; a French battery being 
on the left, and a wood frdl of faossarB on^lhe 
right. They had occasion frequently io ahift tiw 
coach to avoid being in the eyeai ib» battery. 
Soon after this, the Earl of Stair retked from dM 
army, which was no small affliction to Dr Pringle* 
He offered to resign with his noble patron, bsl 
was not permitted ; he therefore contented Iobh 
self with testifying his respect and giatitade to lui 
Lmrddbip, by accompanying him forty miles on Jiia 
return to England ; after which he took leave ef 
him with the utmost regrets 

But though Dr Pringle was thus deprired of the 
immediate protection of a noblCToom, who knew 
and appredated his worth, has conduct in tha duties 
oi his station procured him effectual support. I^ 
attended the army through the campaign ۤ 1744^ 
and so powerfully did he recommend himself t» 
the Duke of Cumberland, that, in the spring fellow* 
ing, he had a commission from his Royal Higfaness,^ 
appointing him Physician Greneral to his Mijeaty^a 
forces in the Low Countries and parts beyond ua 
seas ; besides asecondconomission, by which ha was 
constituted Physician to the Royal Hospitals in die 
same countries. In consequence of these pionMi- 
tions, he now resigned his professorship; and 
shortly after he was recalled frmn the army ia 
Phmders, to attend the forces which were to be 
aent against the rebels in Scotland, in 174&. In 
tbia -official capadty ho accompanied the Dnke q£ 



SIR JOHN PRINOLX. 999 

CnmberlaDd in Us expedition to the North ; and 
•«fter the battle of CnUod^n, he remained with llie 
f^MToes till their return to England in the middle 
«f AnguBt. 

la 1747, he again attended the army abroad, 
«ad next year upon the conehunon of the treaty of 
-Atx4a-ChBpeUe, he embaiked with the forces for 
£iM;laBd. From that time he principally resided 
in London, where, firom his known skill and ex* 
perience, and the lepntation he had acqoired, he 
liad every reason to expect he might succeed as a 
^ysician. DnringhiB residenoe in the metropolin^ 
whidi comprdiended nearly thirty years of his 
life, he enriched tiie science and literature of his 
country, by many learned and valuable communica- 
lions ; and had various marks of literary distinction 
conferred upon him, both at home and alM'oad. In 
1750, he publidied in a letter to Dr Mead, << Ob- 
•ervations on the Jail or Hospited Fever." — ^A 
work whidi was occasioned by tiie jail distemper 
that broke out at that time in the city of Lomkm. 
It was well received by the medical world ; and 
was afterwards embodied in his grand work on the 
^ Diseases of the Army." 

It was in tiie same year that Dr Pringle began 
So communicate to tiie Royal Sodety, of wmch 
he had been chosoi a member five years before, 
hb fiunous ^ Expwiments upon Septic and Antir 
e^tie Substances, with remarks relating to their 
use HI tiie theory of Medidne." These experiments, 
iduch comprmnded several papers, seven in num- 
ber, were read at different meetings of tiie So- 
G^sty. They gsoned him a high and just reputa- 
timi as an experimental philosopher, and procured 
for him tiM honour of 1^ Go^nay Copley^s gold 



ft¥> CONVERTS FROM INFIDBLITT. 

medaL The whole of these were afterwanis sob- 
j<Hiied, by way of Appendix, to the oelefanted Trea- 
tise above mentioned. 

It would be tedious, and here mmeoessary, to 
enamerate the yarions Essa]^ which were trans- 
mitted through his hands to the periodical woibs 
of the day. Besides his own particular dqwrt- 
ment,he discovered an extensive acquaintance with 
the phenomena of the natural wxnid, and other 
subjects quite unconnected wi^ his pntfessioaal 
studies. In the 49th and two subsequent vcdnmes 
of the Philosophical Transacti^ms, several coinma- 
mcations from him are to be met with. The ac- 
count of an earthquake felt at Brussels, of another 
at Glasgow and Dumbarton, and of the asitation 
of the waters in Scotland, and at Hamburgh, Nov. 
1756, were given by him. Two oth^ articles of 
his may be mentioned, of considerable lengdi, as 
well as value, viz, a relation of the diffi^rent ac- 
counts that had been given of a very extraor- 
dinary fiery-meteor, which appeared on Sunday 
the 26th of November 1758, between eight and 
nine at night ; with a variety of remarks which 
he made upon the whole, in which no small de- 
g^ of philosophical sagacity was displayed. Be- 
sides his papers in the Philosophical Transaction!^ 
he wrote in the '* Edinburgh Medical Essays, voL v. 
an accoimt of the success of the VUrwn Ceratum 
Antimoniir 

But the most valuable and the most celebrated 
of his works, was his << Observations on the Dis-' 
eases of the Army," which he gave to the public in 
1752. It is divided into three parts ; the first of 
which, being chiefly historical, may be perused 
with pleasure by every reader. The latt^ parts 



I 



SIR JOHN PRINGLE. 241 

lie more within the proyince of physicians^ who are 
the hest judges of tiie merits of ue^rformance ; 
and to its merits the most decisive and ample tes- 
timonies have heen given. It received great im- 
provements from the author in course of the many 
editions through which it has passed ; and on the 
continent it has heen translated into the French, 
German, and Italian languages. Scarcely any me^ 
dical writer has mentioned it without some tribute 
of applause. The most illustrious foreigners have 
passed their encomiums on the writer, and 
ranked his Treatise, as a classical and standard 
book in the sdience ; among these may he noticed, 
the celebrated Baron Van Haller, who refers par-' 
licularly to him in his Bibliotheca Anatomica. . 

The reputation that Dr Pringle thus gained,* 
was not of a kind which is ever likely to dimi- 
nish. From the time he was appointed a phy- 
sician to the army, it seems to have been his 
grand object to lessen, as far as lay in his power, 
3ie miseries and calamities of war ; nor was he 
without considerable success in this noble and 
benevolent study. The utility of this Treatise 
has been admitted experimentally by the most 
eminent military characters, who have acknow- 
ledged their obligations to the instructions con- 
tuned in it ; and it has proved the happy instru- 
ment of saving the lives of many hun<hreds of solr 
diers. Its peculiar merits consist in the proofs adr 
duced; of the effects of air and situation upon the 
health of soldiers in garrisons and encampments ; 
and the means proposed for obviating the vansl 
^^auses of disease in military life ; the identification 
of the fetal fevers in camps, hospitals, jails, and 
Other places contaminated by human effluvia ; and 



S4S COKVSRTS FROM IimDBLITT. 

ibe Teoommendatioii of modes of trmtiatntf ampler 
effectire and snited to the natwe of ihe noiilii 
cause. 

Though DrPringlehad not ftxr some y^evs beea 
called abroad, he still retained his place of j^hyncini 
to the army ; but in 1758^ he entbely quitted ike 
•ervice, and, as his residence was now fixed wb e By 
in London, he was imme&tely admitted a liesB- 
tiate of the College of Physicians^ — a privilege 
which he might have obtained mvdi eariier, had 
he beeia finally determined as to his seltlemeat is 
the metropolis. After the accession of George IIL 
to the throne, Dr Pring^e was appointed physknoi 
to the Qaeen*s household; and this honour was s«e- 
ceeded by his bdng conslatuted, in 1763, pbyakaM 
extraordinary to her Majesty. In 1766, hu Ma- 
jesty was graciously pleased to testify his senseof 
Dr Pringle's alulities and merit, by raising him to 
the dignity of a Baronet of Grreat Britain ; and ten 
years aft^, her Royal Highness the IVincess 
Dowager of Wales appmnted him herphyrician in 
ordinary, an office to which a salary of £100^ a- 
year was annexed. In 1774, he was made physi- 
cian extraordinary to his Majesty, being m& last 
medical promoticm whidi he had t^ hoiBM>ur to re- 
ceive. 

In course of this distinguished p rofos s io aal 
career. Sir John Pringle was admitted a member 
of most of the scientific and learned bodies^ both at 
tiome and in various parts of Europe. He was 
four times chosen one of llie Council oi the Royal 
Society. In 1763, he was elected a meBsber of 
ihe Academy of Sciences at Haaiiem, and the 
same year made a Fellow of the Royal College of 
JRbysicianS) London. In 1766> he was stored a 



SIR JOHN PBINGUB. S4S 

memWy in the physical line, of the Royal 
Society of Sciences at Gottingen, and in 1776, he 
was enrolled in the list of the membep of no less 
tiiaii low learned bodies abroad, viz. the Royal 
Academy of Sci«iceB at Madrid ; the Agricultiusl 
fiodety of Amsterdam ; the Royal Academy of 
Medical Corretpondence at Psris ; and the Impe- 
ffial Academy of Sci«»ces at St PeterBbnr^ 
vMext year he was nominated by his Serene Hi^- 
JMBBS, the LandgESTe of Hesse, an honorary mem- 
ber of the Society of Antiquaries at Cassel ; and 
im 1778, he soceeeded the celebmted TJ^mmnf, as 
ooe of the foreign members, of the Royal Academy 
of Sciences at Paris. This honour was then extended 
mdj to eig^t p^Bons, on which account it was 
JDstly esteemed a most eminent mark of distinc- 
ition ; and we believe there haye been few or no in- 
stances, in which it has been conferred on any 
other than men of great reputation and acknow* 
lodged abilities. 

hk October the same year, Sir Jotm was diosen 
a member of the Medical Society at Hanau ; and 
in Mafch fc^wing, he was elected a foreign 
member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and 
B^Ues Lettres at Naples. He was besides ad- 
mitted into the fellowship of the Society of Anti- 
qnaries, both of London and Edinburgh ; but the 
hig^best litemry bonoor to which he azmed, was 
his being chosen President of the Royal Society^ 
Londmi. This was in Norember 1770, in conse- 
quence of the death of James West^ Esq, His 
election to this high station, though he had a 
powedul exponent in Sir James Porter, was car- 
ried by a very considerable minority. At the 
time Siv John Priagle was caUed to preside ovev 



2M COMVSRT8 FROM INFIDELITY. 

thit illoBtruHis body, a wonderfol ardomr iior phn 
lotophical science, and for the advancement oi na- 
tual knowledge, had begun to di^lay itedf 
throughout Europe ; and no where appieared with 
greater advantage and enthoeiasm thvi in oar own 
country. This spirit he endeayoured to cherish by 
all ib» methods that were in his power ; and he 
ha|mily struck upon a new way to distinction imd 
usenilness, by the discourses he deliroed <m the 
annual assignment of Sir Grodfiney Copley's medsL 

This gentleman had originally bequeathed five 
guneas to be given at each anniversary meetiiig 
of the Royal Society, by the determination of the 
Fkeaident and Council, to the person wiio had been 
the author of ^e best paper of experimental ob- 
servations for the year past.- In process of. time, 
this small pecuniary reward was dianged into the 
more liberal form of a gold medal ; when it be- 
came a truly honourable mark of distinction, and 
a just and laudable object of ambition. It had been 
alwa3rs usual with the president, on delivering the 
medal, to pay some compliment to the gentleman 
on whom it was bestowed. Set speeches, adapted 
to the occasion, were next introduced, giving a 
sketch of the history of that part of philosophy to 
which the experiment related. These discourses, 
however, were but short, and obtained no publicity, 
as they were merely inserted in the minute-books 
of the Society. None of them had ever been 
printed before Sir John Pringle was raised to the 
chair. His first discourse was well received, and 
was very happy in its subject. 

The medal on this occasion was awarded to Dr 
Priestl)r, who had greatly distinguished himself by his 
magnetic and electrical experimenti^ as well as his 



RR JOHK fringle; 915 

poimiteijiotfaerbraiieliesof nailiiralplu^ TIm 

fMkper read in this meetiiig was his '' Obeerrations 
«ii the dtfbrfflit kiodg of Air ;" and the learned pre- 
eidmit mnbraced wl^ pleaawie the opportunity of 
edebvating the important conunnnications of hie^ 
friend, and of relatmg ii4th accuracy and minute* 
aess what had {Hreyiously been discovered on ikit 
•abject* At theclose of his speech, he begged Df 
FHestly to continiie his libeml and Talnahle in- 
i9Qirie«,r-^-« request which be did not Mi to com^ 
fly ¥wtb. 

His sectmd diseomrse was e<]^ly weU received ;. 
and in point of compowticm, wbs eonndered snpe-^ 
rior to the former. In it be gave a curious and 
interesting account oi the Torpedo, and of some in<* 
genious experiments made by^ Mr Walsh, the suc^-' 
eessful competitor, relaliye to the electrical- pro^* 
parties of that extiviHrdinary fish. Thewholedis- 
eoune ii>oiinds with ancient and modem learning 
and exhibits the President's knowledge in natural 
history as well as in medicine, to great advantage* 
Tlie next occasion whidi called i^n him to exerr 
eise his lahiliiies in this way, was on a subject emi- 
nmitly knportant, being no less than an attempt to 
establish Sir Isaae Newton's system of the uni* 
Terse. This was undertaken and successfully ao- 
cinnplished by Dr Maskelyne, in his '' Observa* 
ti(ms made on the mountain Schehallien, (Perth* 
shire), for finding its attraction," which obtained 
|he honour of the Society's gold medal. Sir J dm 
Fringle took advantage of this opptntunity to give 
n perspicuons and accurate relation of the several 
jiypotheses of the ancients, with regard to the re- 
volutions of the heavenly bodies : and of the noble 
discoverief with which Copernicus enriched the as* 

x2 



846 CONVEilTS FROM INFIDBLITY. 

tronomical world. He then traced the progress of 
the grand principle of gravitation down to Sir 
Isaac's illostrious confirmation of it ; to whidi he 
JEidded a concise narratiye of . the experiments 
made on Chimharaco, by the two French philoso- 
phers, Bonguer and Condamine, and by Dr Mas- 
kelyne at Schehallien. This ^lingaished astro- 
nomer has had the singular honour of estabHsfaing 
so firmly, the doctrine of universal attracticm, by 
this finishing step of the analysis, that the most 
scrupulous can no longer hesitate, to unbrace a 
principle which gives life to astronomy, by ac- 
counting for the various motions and appearances 
of the hosts of heaven. 

The foxuth medal was assigned to Captain 
Cook, for his skilful treatment and success in pre- 
serving the health of the men of his Majesty's ship 
the Resolution, during her voyage round the 
world. This was a subject perfectly congenial to 
the disposition and studies of Sir John Pringle, 

, whose life had been much employed in pointing 
out the means which tended not only to aid, but 
to prevent the diseases of mankind ; and it is pro- 
bable, from his intimate friendship with Captain 
Cook, that he might have suggested to that saga- 
cious navigator, some of the plans which he fol- 
lowed with such astonishing success. With a com- 
pany of 118 men, he performed a voyage of more 
than three years, throughout all the climates from 
52 degrees north, to 71 south, with the loss of 
only one man by sickness. By precautions equally 
wise and simple, he rendeiedthe circumnavigation 
of the globe, so far as health is concerned, quite 
a harmless object. And besides his admirable skill 

in preserving \h^ live^ «Q!^ health oi his 8ail<N:8| 



SIR JOHN PRINGLE. , 94>7 

he discoTered and surveyed vast tfkcU of new 
coasts, dispelled the iUnsion of a Southern Conti- 
nent, and fixed die bounds of the habitable eatth, as 
well as those of the navigable ocean, in the antarc- 
iic hemisphere. To this mark of honour, therefore, 
that distinguished voyager seemed well entitled ; 
but he was not present to receive it, being then 
upon his last expedition, from which unfortunately 
he never returned. 

The next annual dissertation gave Sir John an 
opp(H*tunity of displaying his knowledge in a way 
in which it had not hithato been tried. « The dis* 
course took its rise from a paper by Mr Mudge, 
an eminent surgeon at Plymouth, to whom the 
prize medal .had been adjudged, containing <' Di- 
rections for making the best composition for the 
metals of Reflecting Telescopes." On this occa- 
sion the learned Baronet related a variety of parti- 
culars concerning the invention of reflecting teles- 
copes, the subsequent improvements of these in- 
struments, and the state in which Mr Mudge 
found them, when he first set about manufacturing 
them in greater perfection. From this recapitula- 
tion he naturally directed his thoughts to the won- 
ders that astronomy presents to our view, and to 
the admirable advantages which philosophical 
science has derived, frt)m the methods that have 
been pursued for enlaipng the powers of vision. 

His sixth and last discourse was on the theory 
of gunnery, occasioned by Dr Hutton*s curious 
paper on uie ** Fmrce of fired gun-powder, and the 
initial velocity of cannon-balls, detenbined by ex- 
periments," which had obtained the gold medal. 
This was probably a subject to whidi Sir John had 
paid very little attenlioni though he had so lon^ 



Ml6 CONVERTS VROM INFIDBLITT. 

ilt«nded the anny. Yet h b rarpriEdng- with wlMtr 
degree of perap i cu it y sod judgment, he has etatadt^ 
the progress that was made km time to time, kt 
the knowledge of project9ea» «&d the seientifie pepi^ 
fcction to wHch his fnend Dr Huttonbed earned 
this theory. He was not eiie-of those who de^ 
Ik^ited in war, and in the shedding of Immaar 
^M>d; andhe was ha{q[>yin being able to shew, that 
•yen the study of artillery ivight be useful to 
mankind; accordingly he has not forgotten to^ 
inention this among the other military t^^ wfaieh 
hedisciisseoft This was the het of us annlflBraary- 
dissertations ; although, had he continded to hold 
^le- chair of ^e Royii Society, he would no doubt 
have found other occasions of displaying his ao*- 

r'ntance wilh the Instery of phikeefH^. Bmr 
opportunities which he hadof^ngnatiahiirbm* 
self ki this respect, were important in themselves^ 
Ju^ipily varied, and amply su^Sdent to give him a- 
poM tw lasting reputation. 

He was now arrived at a late period of life ; and^ 
eonndering the extreme actteutioa that was poki by 
him to the various and important duties of his U* 
fice, and the great pains he took in the prepanK 
tion of his discourses, it was natural to eeq^eet that 
the burden of his honourable station should grow 
heavy upon him in Course of time. This load was 
increased not mily by the weight df years and Isr 
hours, but bv the misfortune of an accidental iUl, 
from which he received considerable mjury s and 
which in its consequences affected his oeidth and 
weakened his spirits. Sudi bdng the state fii hit 
body and mind, he began to entertain thoughta of 
resigning the presidency. It has been said l^s- 
iria^j^ioid believed, i3QaX\Mb^ii%attn^ by the 



SIR JOHN PBINGLE. 249^ 

dispntes introduced into the Society, on the que9- 
tion. Whether pointed or blunt electrical condncr 
tors are the most efficacious in preserving build- 
ingB from the effects of lightning? — a subject \ 
Tvfaich was agitated with as much intolerance and ( 
asperity of temper, as ever were the points in He- j 
brew, or the dc^;mas of speculative theology. ^ 

Peihaps the general state of his health, and his 
declining years, will form sufficient reasons for hia 
resignation; his intention, however, was by no 
moans agreeable te his literary friends, and to many 
distinguished members of the Royal Society. Ac- 
cordingly, they earnestly solicited him to continue 
m office ; but his resolution being fixed, he gave 
in his resignation at the anniversary meeting 6f 
1778, and was succeeded by Sir Joseph Banks, 
a gentleman who devoted a long life to the ser- 
vice of natural philosophy, and whose niame has 
since filled so pronmient a space in the annals,of 
general science. But though the ex-president lutd 
^tted his official relationship to the Royal So- 
ciety, and did not attend its meetings so regularly 
as formerly, he still retained his literary habits and 
onmections. His house continued to be the re- 
sort of ingenious and learned men, both of his own 
country and from abroad. He was held in parti- 
cular esteem by all foreigners of any literary pre- 
t^osions, none of whom visited England without 
waiting upon him, and paying him the greatest 
re&pect. He treated them in return with distin- 
guished civility and regard; and when a number 
of gentlemen met at his table, foreigners were 
usually a part of the company. His guests were 
collected from almost every kingdom in Europe ; 
and in one instance, it happeqed th3t each of them 



£50 COKVSRTS FROM INFIDSLITY. 



of a difierent nsdon ; tbeTO being eight per- 
eoiw prewnt, rur. a Scotaman, an Eiif^Bhiiuui, 
a Datdunan, a GemwD, a FrfmrilnnaB, a Spaniard, 
an Italian, and a Rnauan. Thoogli they ware ail 
divernfied in country, edacadmi, modaa of Ufa, wad 
principlm of religioa ; these prored no obatMie ta 
their mutoal haimeny and mte nw aweb 

In consequence of his mcreasing mfirmitiei^ Sir 
John resolved on a joomey to BiDotlaiidy in tha 
hope that an ezcnrsion to his natha eomitry vdf^ 
Vrova advantageous to his health. Aaoordin^ 
lis spent the sunnier of 1780, principally in EiSn- 
Voigli ; and wfaetiier or not he had wen fsmed a 
design of fixing his restdenoe permanently in thai 
city» he was so well pleased with the place to nUdi 
he had been habituated in his voanger yeBi% sad- 
with the respect shewn him by his fneam, that ha 
liwrchased a house there^ to irhkHi he intended to 
fetum in Uie following spring. This scheme he 
began immediately to carry into ezecatimi. He 
Boid his house in London, disposed of the greatest 
pert of his library, and in April 1781, he removed 
to Edinburgh. 

Here he was treated, by persons of all lanfcs^ 
with every mark of distinction ; but he found not 
that ideal happiness realized, which lus imagination 
had pictured to itself. Edinburgh was not diento 
him what it had been in early life. The vivacity of^ 
his spirits, which, in the buoyancy <^ youth, ipraad 
such a charm on the objects Uiat surround aa» wm 
iled, and with it the capacity of enjoyment. Most 
of his old friends and contemporaries ware dead ; 
and though some of them remamed, they could 
not ineet together with the same strength of con- 
atitution^ the same ardour of pursuit^ the 



SIR JOHK PRIKOLS. 851 

ttmiailioB of htife, wliidi they fcwmerly poeiMisddi 

The jamgm men of eminence paid lum the nkk^ 

-^eerart testtmoiue* cpf eateem and regard ; bat it 

was too kte m life Ibriiim to form new hahita of 

-4doae and eoBgeniid fneadsliip. He found tikewtse^ 

the ak of the place toe iriiarp and oAd for hii 

liBBiey which time and dimaite had rendered pecs« 

4iarly aensihlo to ihe sererities of weather. Td 

these ineen>reiiienee8> peihapa may he added m 

-«eetleasne8»of oond peodiar to inirafids, and whloll 

In the midst of hodny oon^f^amts, is still hoping to 

/derive hene&t hom a diange <tf place. Acccvd* 

-ingly, Sir Jolm determined to retim once mere to 

£.midon, where iie arrived in ^ beginning of Se|M 

^mber; having, before his departttreiknn EiJia* 

bnrgh, presented to the Royal College of Fhytn* 

eians in ^t dty, ten volnmes folio of ^ Medical 

nnd Physical Observations," in mannscrilpt; adding 

nn injunction, that they shodid not be pvd^lidieil 

•Mor lent out of ihe libnu^, 4m .any j»atraK:8 whet* 

«ever. 

Hm oeidiality and affecfion with 'Whii^lie WW 
received bade by his frills, tended somewhat to 
revive his langnid spirits. He again resomed hia 
xmstomary entertainments of conversing with meA 
<fi letters, and attending the meetings of a select 
eociety in theStrand, iduchhe had long freqnenteck 
His mornings were chiefly ^nployed in receiving 
and retnrning^vifflts of his various acquaintance:; 
nnd he had usually a smafl party ^ dine wi^ hia 
«t his apartments in King Street, St James* Square^ 
His strength, however, declined wilh a rapiditjf 
whtdi did not pemnt his friends to 1m^ t^ luo 
life would 4ong be continued ; and on the 14fth o§ 
January 178% he was seised with a fit| from vhifib 



25S CONVERTS FROM INFIDBLITY. 

he neTer n^covered. He was attended iQl dtt 
time of his illness, with unwearied asBidiiity^ hf 
pr Sannders; for whom he had the highest regard ; 
and in whom he had, in every re^iec^ jmtly plaeed 
the most iinreserr(^ confidence. But all medieri 
attention served no purpose, for he died in tbb 
Gonrse of four days, heing on Friday the 18th of 
the month, in the 75th year of his^ age. 
., His death shewed the high estimation- wifidi 
was every where entertained of Ms merit, for the 
account <^ it was.recieived with a sensadon of deep 
and general regret. ' On the 7th of Fehmary he 
was interred in St James's Church, with great 
funeral solemnity, and ^th a very honourable at- 
tendance elf eminent and respectable friends. That 
every propw tribute of respect might be paid to so 
distinguished a character, an elegant monument, 
with an English inscription, was erected in West- 
minster Abbey, imder the direction and at the 
expense of his nephew and heir. Sir James Pringle 
of Stitchel, Bart. At Edinburgh, his memory was 
honoured with s^ public testimcmy of itsgard, for at 
ihe firdt meeting of the College of Physidans af- 
ter his decease, all the members appeared in deep 
mourning. 

Sir John was married, in 1752, to Charlotte, 
second daughter of Dr Oliver^ an eminent physi- 
cian at Bath, and who had long been at die head 
of his profession in that city. This eonnectioa, 
however, was but of short duration, the lady hav- 
ing died within a few years after their iraicm. 'He 
had, in course of his long practice, acquired a very 
handsome fortune, which, at his death, he dispose 
of with great prudence and propriety. As a proof 
of bk affiectiomte le^d for severtd of his 



SIR JOHN PRINGLKi 253 

Ibid reUitnioiiSy he iippropriated a Bum of about 
jB700 aryear to annuities ; whicb^ on the decease 
of the annuitants) were revertible to his nephew. 
Sir James, whom he had appointed his sole exe- 
eator^and widi the above exceptions, heir to ail 
his propwty. 

: His medical character, both as an author and a 
practitioner, is well known, and has been miirersaUy. 
acknowledged. In the exercise of his prc^essioiiy 
he was not rapacious, being ready on yarious oc- 
casions to give his advice without pecuniary views* 
The turn of his mind led him chiefly to the love 
of science, which he built on the firm basis of hct, 
With regard to philosophy in general, he was as 
averse to theory, imsupported by experiments, as 
he wiBS with respect to medicine in particular. 
l<ord Bacon was his favourite author, and to the 
method of invest^tion recommended by that 
great man, he steadily adhered. To metaphysical 
disquisitions he lost sill- r^ard^ in the latter part 
of his life ; and thou^ some of hk most valued 
friends had engaged m discussions of this kind, 
with very different views of th^ he did not 
choose to revert to the studies of his youth, but 
contented himself with the opinions he had then 
formed. 

la early life he had not heeia neglectM of. phi- 
lological inqiuries ; and though he had omitted 
them for a time, yet he resumed the snlject again ; 
and at an advanced period of life turned his atten- 
tion to the Greek, so far at least, as to endeavour 
to obtain a more exact knowledge of that language. 
He knew the French language accurately; and 
it is said he was fond of Voltaire's critical writings. 
Among all his other pursuits, he never forgot tha. 

VOL. I. X 



254 COKV^ftTS FROxM IHVIDELITY. 

ttadj of the English langiiage. Uns he regnAed 
88 a mattOT of so much consequeiiGe, that m Meii: 
uncommon pains with respect to the styl0 ef hH 
compomtions; and it cannot be demed, that lie 
excels in perafHcaity, c o rre ctn ess, and proprietf 
of expression. Tlioiigfa he slighted poetry", stt Att* 
e*ren as to feel but UtUe impressed with the charioa 
of the immortal SMsapeaie, fet he was very pnS 
tial to music, and sometimes performed on llir 
yioloncello, at a weekly concert given by a sOdetjr 
of amateurs in Edinburgh. 

His intellectual was not more amiaMe or excel- 
lent than his moral character, so fiir as ati upright 
and honourable conduct is concaned. The pn^ 
dominating feature in it was integrity ; and hy'^bia 
principle he was uniformly actuated in iSie wliole 
of Ms oehaviour. All his acquaintaiice willt onee 
Toice agreed that there never was a man of stricter 
honour and veracity. He was equally Temaxkable 
for his sobriety, having, as he confessed, nerer in 
his life been intoxicated with liquor. In his ex- 
ternal manners he was affable and poHte ; he paid 
a very respectful attention to diose whom'^ cB" 
teemed, ibougfa he bad a kind of reserve in his de- 
portment, when he was not perfectly pleased with 
the persons who were introduced to him, or who 
happened to be in his company. His sense of in- 
tegrity and dignity would not permit him to adopt 
that raise and superficial politenesef, which treats 
all men alike, however different in pmnt of real 
estimation and merit. He was above assuming 
the forms or professions of respect, without its 
i-eality. In his friendships he was ardent and 
steady. The intimacies which he had formed in 
ibe early part oi \ub \\i^ at Edinburgh, continued 



SIR JOHN PRINOLE. 265. 

unbroken to the last, and ware sustained by a re- 
gnlar correspondence^ and by all tbe good offices 
that lay in his power. 

But tbe most important view in which he must 
here be contemplated, is, with regard to his religioiiA 
charactei'* . In his youth he seems to hare pos- 
9eefie4 every facility iar acquiring the elements* 
both of a pious and a liberal educadon. Nurtured, 
with the tenderest care^ under the immediate eye 
of parental afl^tion, and secluded by tbe inigilance 
of domestic tuition, from the example and eonta- 
gpum of yice^ he must have enjoyed peculiar adran- 
tagea both as to claswical and moral instruction; 
and escaped many temptaticms, which in other dr- . 
Ginnstaiiae^ migjht have, counteracted the effect of 
l^ieee imiutary precautions. The principles of virtue 
and piety which were thus early instilled into his 
rnind^ theoi^ they sujSered a temporary relaxation, . 
do not appear ever to have entirely lost their in- 
fluence upom bis general conduct. 
. When he travdUed abroad^ however, and wit- : 
neased scenes of reckless dissipation and hardened 
d^iravity, or perinps, from hid fondness for foreign 
literature, allowed his mind to be seiluced by the 
libertine philosophy of the Continent^ his belief in 
the Chriirtiaa revelation was so hi unsettled, that 
ha became a sceptic on that subject, if not a pro- 
f^ssfid. Deist. One cause of this was^ the wrong 
notions he had ffHrmed^ eoncoiting the peculiar 
doctrines of the New Testament; and it may 
easily be supposed, that he was encouraged in his 
scruples by tbe company he met with, both in 
England mH m foreign parts. But it was not 
conai^ent with his candid and inquisitive dispo- 
sition to rest satisfied in his doubts and difiicul- 



2bS CONVERTS FROM INFIDSllTY. 

ties, with respect to a matter of sack hi^h iaio' 
portance. Indolent . credulity or sen^ acqoir: 
escence, were no constituents of Ins dharacta'.' 
He was too great a lorer of truth not to niake re-, 
ligion the object of his serious inquiiy. As he 
scorned to be an implicit beUerer without a doe* 
knowledge and examination of the subject^ he was 
eoually averse to become an implicit unbeliever; 
which is generally the case with those who reject 
Christianity ; and who adopt and maintain their- ob-' 
jections with as much ign<nance and prejudice as 
ibe most determined bigots embrace their systema' 
of folly and absurdity. He therefore set himsdf to 
study the Scriptures, and read bocfks on divinily. • 
It was mentioned that Sir Jdbn had late in life 
turned his attention to Greek, and his motive for 
revising Us knowledge of that langua^, was widi 
a view to the better understanding iheNew Testa-' 
ment. He corresponded freipiently with ihe dis> 
tinguished foreigner Michaelis, on theological 
subjects ; and that learned professor addressed to 
him some letters on ^ DameFs Prophecy of the ' 
Seventy Weeks," which Sir John thought wcwrUiy 
of being published in this country ; which he did 
in 1773, with considerable pains, and at some ex- 
pense. He was a diligent and frequent reader 
of sermons, and bestowed a critical attenticm on 
various other parts of sacred literature. IVIuch of 
his time, during the latter part of his life, was de- 
voted to this interesting and favourite pursuit. 
He read many Commentators on Scripture espe- 
cially on the New Testament, of which he was 
anxious to obtain an exact knowledge. The learned 
and judicious Bishop Pearce*s Commentary anc^ 
NoteSf gave him particular pleasure. The pains 



SIR JOHN PRINOLK- 257 

]he to6k to obtain infimmation on this important 
ra¥}^ct are highly ptaifle-w<Mrthy, and »ueh as are 
rarely to be met with among literary teen ; and it 
cannot but collfer a more illnstrious distinctkm oi^ 
Ids character, that, while oecnpied with ftoch inten- 
sity of application hi llie pumiitfl of medical and 
p}i^lo90pmcal ecience, he did not permit qaestioiia- 
of nobler aim and highor interest to pass unexa^ 
mined cur disregarded. 

The resnlt of his investigations was such as the 
Trader must have already anticipated, and as have 
fre<piently been seen exemplified in similar ii\- 
stanceSy-'-a fiill conviction of the divine origin and 
authority of the gospel. The evidences of revela- 
tion Appeared to &m, after mature researdi and de- 
liberation, to be solid and invincible ; and the na- 
ture of it to be such as demanded the most grate- 
ful acceptance. In conformity with these discove* 
ries, and with the religion which he found to be 
true, he regulate<l the whole tenor of his conduct. 
Whatever were his peculiar views of some of its 
doctrines, these had no effect in shaking his be- 
lief, or in leading him to neglect its duties. As > 
hie was thus firmly persuaded of the trulii of the ( 
gospel, he lived habituaUy under its influence. [^ 
He was animated with a strong sense of piety to ~ 
the Supreme Being, which displayed itself in a re- 
gular attendance on public worsnip, in the exer- 
cise of private devotion, and in an endeavour to 
disdiarge all the obligations of Christian virtue. 
In him we have another instance of those illustrious 
philosophero, who have not been ashamed of reli- 
gion, an4' who reckoned that his greatest glory, 
wWh W0fky woi^d impute to him 89 a weakness. ^ 
Much oi his ttine, especially after he had retired 

y2 



S58 CONVERTS FHOM IVFlDStlTT. 

firom the dignities and duties of professional life, 
was spent in reading and studying works of theo-* 
logy ; and there is every reason to conclude, that 
the consolations and hopes derived from these sto-" 
dies, would yield him greater encouragement at 
last^ and appear more estimable in his eyes, than 
all the achievements he had performed, or the 
flattering honours he had won, during his long and 
splendid presidency over the arts and sdeBeest ^ 



A 
i^ 

J 



GILBEftT WEST. ** iSXf 



GILBERT WEST. 



Gilbert Wbst, an amiable and elegant writer, < 
was bom at Winchester, in the year 1706. His 
ftither was the Rev. Dr West, of an ancient fa^ 
mily, and eminent for his worth and learning ; par- 
ticularly for his classical attainments, of which he 
gave proof, by 8i:q)erintending an edition of Pindar 
in the original, published at Oxford in 1697. 
Bishop Burnet presented him with the lining of 
Hmuked in Berkshire ; and, in the reign of Queen 
Anne, Lord Orfbrd procured him a Prebendary's 
stall in liie Cathedral of Winchester. At the ac- 
cession of George I. he was appointed one of his 
first chaplains, and had a promise from his Majesty 
of one of the first vacant bishoprics, — ^a promotion 
iv^ich he did not live to obtam, having died in 
1718. His mother was Maria Temple, sister of Sir 
Richard Temple, afterwards Lord Cobham, and of 
Lady Lyttelton, mother of the distinguished noble- 
man already mentioned. She was heir to her 
brother 8 estate, but lost the right of inheritance 
by marrying a man without property ; her other ' 
sister succeeded to the forfeited claim. She was 
a lady of great piety and good sense, and in the 
careful discharge of parenttd duty, took pains early 
to imbue her son's mind with religious principles, 
and to enforce them by a consistent example. 

Mr West received the elementary ^ail q{ V^ ^^^-^ 



260 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

csdon at the schools of Winchester and Eton, wiieiii 
he attained the distinction of Ci4>tain. Thenc^hi^ 
was removed to the Uniyersity of Oxford, and esfr- 
tered at Christ-Church, where his stadions habits 
and serious turn of mind inclined him to take or- 
ders, — a profession for Wlddi he was designed hy 
both his parents. But losing lus father wiien in 
lus twelfth year, and fiolling under the protection 
and patronage 6i his tak}», Lord Cobfanm, hssT at- 
tention was diverted ir<Hn the study of ctivinity t»' 
the more alluring profession of a mhifary life ; mA, 
it was amidst the gideties and seducliotts of his ttd-. 

r' Lcipled ^mpaaions, espeeiitty of his undeyiliait 
fint imbibed those doubts eC the Christian 10-' 
ligion, which afterwards, v^^ a more attedtive 
^Eamination of the subject, he found reason to re- ' 
tract. He e<mtinued for nomB time in the ttmy, 
as Comet of a troop of horse it l&i uncle's regi- 
ment, though it aj^^eors he netthei' sunk Into Um 
mere soldier, by renouaoing his sobriety of man* 
ners ; nor so far lost the lov^ of study, as entirely . 
to neglect literary pursuttsk 

For this mode of lifSs, however, he had no gfreai 
partiality, and was glad to take the first oppoirtn- 
nity that offered of estchaaging it for civfl einploy- . 
ment. Accordingly, he laid down his commissm 
for an opening of another nature, which presented 
him wiUi a more flattering ptospect of &titre ad- 
vancement in the world. A scheme b^g about 
this tim» projected, for training a certain number 
of mdividuals for public services, as ambassaikn 
or envoys ; several young gentlemen were chosro 
out of the universities, who were to be taught the 
foreign languages at the expoiae- of ^venuneut^ 
and then send to \\i& ci^bfiA cfL^^M^^ora^sMPstMy 



GILBERT W£ST, " 261 

t^. be initiated into business. Mr West having 
disdngnished himself at Oxford, was <Hie of the 
few recommended for this purpose. I 

■HaTing engaged in business under the Secretar^t 
of Stat^ Lord Townshend, he was treated by him 
with erery maik of kindness and regard ; and af-i 
terwanls enlisted in his suite, when he accompanied 
his Majesty, George I. upon the occasion of visit- 
ing his Hanoverian dominions. Sir Robert Wal- 
pole had a high esteem for him, and testified th» 
s^ngest inclination to serve him. These facilities 
for preferment, however, were rendered fruitless, 
by his uncles sysftematic opposition to the mea- 
sures of the Court ; and he was candidly told by 
the ministry, that he was not to expect they were 
to promote his interest, as any favour conferred 
upoii him would be considered as :done io Lord 
Gobham. All he obtained, therefore, was merely 
a nomination, in 1729, to be clerk extraordinary to 
the PVivy Council ; which was procured him 
through the interest of the Duke of Devonshire,! 
by one of his sons, with whom West had contracted. 
a friendship at school. This, however, yielded no 
unmediate profit ; but only placed him in a state 
of expectation and right of succession, and it war 
long before a vacancy admitted him to the emohi* 
ments. 

Disappointed in his. political views, Mr West 
soon aft^nvards left the office of the Secretary of 
State, and retired to a pleasant residence at Wick- 
ham in Kent, where he devoted himself chiefly to 
literary and theological study. Here his income 
was but limited^ and neither his own merits, nor 
the recommendation of his friends, could procure 
him |my means of increasing it. It is said, indeed. 



K2 CONVERTS FROM IVFIDELITV. 

thai the education of the young Fkimem of VMm 
afterwazdi George III. wis dffnred; hii% bat theti 
he required a more eztennTe power of sapeMteor 
dence than: it was thought proper to allotr him* 
Mr West married, ab<rat 1734» the daughter of 
a Mr Bartlistt; and with: the frugal mataMs- 
ment of his scanty income^ be ei^^redL if not 2ie 
kunuries, at least the comforts andcoaureBienMB of 
life ; and with a companion, in whom all theimi- 
aUe and Tirtuous qni&ties of the hniBaa chaiBcter 
were hapjnly united^ he Uved in §n^ d o m e stie 
comfort. 

Though not rich, he had suffident to enable bim: 
to entertain his friendi with hospitality. He dxew. 
around him the society of a few select cpPipanion%' 
and among his frequent yiastoiB weie Mm, Gewsgl^. . 
Lyttelton, and Mr William Pitt.. In this Iktk. 
drcle he often enjoyed pleasadt and iii8tmctiTe.fi-, 
iterary conyersation, which was always aaopported 
vq>on ^e prindples of yirtne, 90und rei^pning^ auid . 
solid friendship, and which rend««d hia rami, 
asylum a peaceable retreat from thetrtorms of poll- 
lical faction and debate. 

Lyttelton has recorded in a few. elegant JimtB, 
the pleascffe he derived from these mt^ftllectoid. 
visit^ and the eagerness with which he ccwited.. 
the solitude of lliis channing retirement. 

Fur nature's sweet rinmlicity 

With elegance refitteo. 
Well in thy seat, my friend I see, 

but better in tky mind ; 
To both, from Courts and all their state, 

Eaffer I fly, to prove 
Joys tar abore a courtier's ftite. 

Tranquillity and lore. 



GILBERT WEST. £68 

Htamond, aatli^ of ^le Elef^ wait here a he* 
qwMit nsilor, and fouod in the aame deliglitfiii 
eon^enstioiis a tenaporaiy relief from the ansdetiea 
oflov6b 

And you, O West, with her your partner dear. 
Whom social worUi, and usei\il sense commend. 
With learning's feast my drooping nind shall cheer, 
-Okd to Mcape from love to such a friend. 

And here it was, as we have already noticed, 
iJiat £3rttelton, after an attentiye examination cf 
the doctrines aiid evidences of Christianity, toge-^ 
ther with the religions conversation of his friend 
and connn, received that thorough conviction of Ufi . 
tnidiy which produced his Dissertation on the Coo^ 
version of St Paul. Mr West was likewise in thb 
-ccmstaikt habit of corresponding with many pioui 
and Hterary men, especially with Dr Doddndg^^ 
with whom he had contracted a very ^eat inti- 
macy, ttid whose Family Expositor was ushered 
:into the woild, under the auspices of his recom- . 
■Tnendanon. 

The first of Mr West's literary efforts, waa a 
•poem, entitled the '* Institution of the Order of 
the Garter," published in 1742, which is distin- 
guished for the knowledge it contains of the man- 
ners diat ^evailed in ^e age to which it referred ; 
as well as for its splendid diction and elegant fancy. 
His next production was his Translation of the 
Odes of Pindar, with a Dissertation on the Olympic 
Games, which are executed witJi great labour and 
great ability, and shew him to have been eminent 
as a Greek scholar. 

His imitations of Spencer are also happily exe- 
cuted ; Dr Johnson, though perhaps he detracts 
too much from the merits of this kind of v>o(it>icaJL 



S64 CONVERTS iPROM INFIDELITY. 

aUainment, has observed, that, " bodi with fB^ieef 
to the metre, the language, and the fictioo, they 
are very snocessfnlly performed ; and being' en- 
gaged at once by the excellence of the smtiBMBtBy 
and the artifice of the - copy, the mind haa tsro 
amusements together. But such compoaitioaB,'' 
he adds, ^< aie not te be reckoned among the gnat 
achievements of mtellect, becaase their e£Knct>iB 
local and temporary. Woiks of this kind may 
deserve praise, as proofs of great induatrjF and 
great nicety of observation, but the hidwst praise, 
me praise of genius, they cannot claim. His other 
compositions are. Translations from the Argoiiau- 
tics of Apollonius Rhodius, and the TragK^wdagra 
of Lucian ;' The Abuse of Travelling ; and £ldiMa- 
tion ; together with Original Poems on various oc- 
casions : all which productions, though not dis- 
tinguished by the same excellenoe, daun for their 
iauther a very respectable rank amoi^the seccmdary 
class of British Poets. His whole poenoa and 
translations were published in a collected form, 
and inscribed to Pitt and Lyttelton. 

But Mr West did not only cultivate an acquain- 
tance with the muse8> he also applied himself to 
study and to recommend the Sacred Orades, an 
examination into which he was led, with a view 
either to confirm or to remove the sceptical opinions 
which he had unbapp^ y contracted. In early Hfis, 
as has been stated, Wore he was able to give a 
reason of the hope that was in him, and befora hs 
had narrowly conndo'ed the evidence upon which 
the Scriptures rested; the corrupt cimreraalum 
of his uncle, Lord Cobham, had imbued him witb 
sentiments hostile to reveladon ; more eapeeially 
to the Chmlian YeW^otu 



GKZABRT WEST* 2^ 

/yfhBat^ like BiAny ether infidels, he wished to he aa 
k^ nabelieyer in jcompwoy rather than when alone. In 
die aoUtude of the closet he could net stifle those 
. principles which maternal care had impressed on his 
yottdiful mind ; they rose up before him, with thek 
kDpomnce heightened' by a recollection of all the 
tendemesa and solicitude with which they were 
incnlcBted* They rebuked him, as it were, for the 
^fblly■of his conduct, and ren^red him unhappy. 
5Che8» early impressions and recollections not only 
prevented him from becoming hardened in infide- 
lity, hut they naturally led him to examine the 
troth of that rdtigion from which they were de- 
liredy— to inquire into the foundation upon whidi 
it was built ;-^-and his inquiry, as in all cases when 
eonducted with candour and honesty, was rewarded 
with a friU conviction of its truth and importance, 
r We cannot here omit inserting part of a letter 
to Dr Doddridge, relative to the present subject* 
' V One thing," says he, *< I cannot help taking no- 
tice of to you upon this occasion, viz. your re-* 
. marks upon the advantage of an early education 
in the principles of religion, because I have myself 
most happily expmenced it ; since I owe to the 
. eariy- care of a most excell^it wonum, my mother, 
'- ^whose character I dare say you are no stranger 
* to), that bent and bias to religion, which, with the 
> ' eOH^erating .grace of God, lu^ at length brought 
' wo^. back to time paths oi peace, from wfich I might 
bave otherwise been in danger of deviating for 
ever. The parallel betwixt me and CoL GardinevX 
was, in this instance^ too strikmg not to affect me J 
exceedingly.'' 

. Thus confirmed in the truth of the Christian re-^ 
ligion, Mr West conceived that he could not be a 

z 



itS^ CONVEaTS VROIf 1W9IDELITY. 

witb its pm dictale8» and hence ihef fm/ey.w^kk 
nudked the whole tenor of faie ooadoct, oflfae foaui 
cerity of niiich he hw given us 'die Mrangcil 
proof, by hasd^enoe of that fmidemental aittekiQf 
Christianity, the Bemwreotkim tf C^rutfiiam tim 
.dead. This work h regarded as an able-'perteuF 
ance, displaying mnch patient m^rwtigasie%'«Ml 
amxte reasoning. It has been tfvnriated int^^eeve* 
ral AH'^gn huoguages, and in -farions weli^itleBted 
instances, has been prBeerihed with thelumiaet 
success, as an antidote against die poison of inSde^ 
lity. It stands conspieaone aaseng theae hn pt eg* 
nable bnhrarks of Clnistianity^ whidi serre atoaoe 
for beauty and for strength, and against which n«i 
weapon forged by the ingenuity of its enentde^ has 
erer yeit been foimd to prevaiL As aiBiiBteily db^ 
fence of the #ESth, it friaced its anthor in die first 
ranks of contrormisi diirintty. 

In conftderBtion of its intrinnc exoelltnce, and 
as the tribttte of a laysMui to the cause ^ ear com* 
mon reHgimi, it was rewarded by the tJn ii^sity 
ef Oxford with die degree of Doctor of Laws con* 
ferred on the writer. Man3r ef his former friends^ 
unaware of die renrohttion of the audior's aenti* 
ments, boi^ht his work^ in eniectation of newob* 
jections against revealed religion ; and when diey 
found die case otherwise, with die cbaracterietib 
asalfignit^ of infidek, against whom he had dedaied 
open hosdHty, they revenged their disappet nument 

{by calling him Methodist^ which, in their eyes, ap-> 
peered sufficiently opprobrious. 

About five years after the publication of the 
work in question, and afiter his name had been up- 
mnrde of twenty yenra v^oathe list for pi«fonneq% 



GILBERT WEST* 267 

Mr Witt obtaiiMd env of tho lucnaxreclerkshipa 
of ih^ Pri^y Council i «id Mr PiUy who liad been 
kia fiiequent viMtor |4 . WiolduuBy becoxning Pay- 
liteter- Generali bad it now in bis power to confer 
a&vaiv OB hia early fiiend, by appointing him to 
the office of Treasurer of Chelsea Hos{»taL Hif 
kicoBse WiH.now sufficiently l$ai§;%. b^jhe fM|g- 
mentafcioa of wealth could neither prolong lif% oo^r 
ineteaae its M^oyments* Shortly afitei hit appoint- 
mcnta, he waa visited with a severe affliftyia? in 
the- de$th of hin Wy son, in 4he tweatiBth year of 
Us age ; aiMl the year afker, (March 1756), in cour 
ae^uonce of a paralytic stcoke, he was himself 
broug^ to the giBve,.at the premature age of 
fiftyr . 

Mir.^Wee((*8 eharaeter waa truly amiable and eih 
ceUeal* ItthimtheChriatian, ^acholar^ and the 
gentleman were happily united. His private vir« 
tues and social qindities wero such as juatly en- 
deared hmi io hm frieiMls. All his contemporaries 
aro landi in tbur preiaes of his piety, probity, And 
Igniaiile benerolence. Pope, in testimony of his 
osieemy hit him by his will, £5, to be laid out in 
a ring» or- any o&ier m<Knorial; beiddei^ £200^ 
iiiikh wete:tD revert to ]nm oa the death 1^ anc^hef 
anwittairti Hta. mannen and ccmversation, though 
serious^ were tft the aEune time agreeable and lively^ 

''"^e was regular and exemplary in his balnts of li4» 
attendvo ta the public ordimmces of religic», at 
wi^.as to iJm perfinrmanee of peiBonai and toily 
devDtion,t*-diities which he conccdved to be Iwid^ 
wg on all who profess Cbristianity, and which he 
felt to be eanuMted with hie own present and fu- 
ture happxneaa; with domestic peace and tranquilr 

^ -^y^ a& wen aa the good order and wel&re of so . 



26$ CONVERTS FROM lNFlt>ELITT. 



dety. HiB varioms woiks exhibit 
dence of his learning and his religion ; and fira 
uniTersal excellence of his character, he may 
garded as one of those to whom the grare 
be without its terrors, and a rare instance 9 
the votaries of the muses, who could claim 
justice the two yenerable names of Poe 
Saint. 

This short account of Mr West, of whoi 
to be regretted, that biography has so little 
cord, we shall close, with some remarks on h 
tory and habits, published irom the manusci 
Mr Jones, Vicar of Hitdiin, one (tf his int 
friends, and wdl known fcH- the active sha 
took in the ** Free and Candid Disquisitions.'' 
West was a person of great discoimienty a 
a v^ quick apprehension, and readily sa^ 
men and things. He was lively and agn 
in conversation, and very much of a genti 
in all his behaviour. I have heard him sa; 
in his younger days, he had gone over inl 
quarters of infidelity. His uncle, the late 
Cobham, did all in his power to instil such 
ciples into his mind, and that of his cousin 
telton, when they ptdd their visits to him. 
the latter, he saic^ happily stood his ground 
made little or no progress in theseperverse 
eiples. His uncle, even after his Treatise o 
Resurrection, left him a legacy of £ 1000. 

He was very regular and exemplary in f 
religion ; offered up prayers, (those of the j 
liturgy) every day, when well, at deven i 
morning; and then when the weather wa;s 
rode out for his health. On Sundays he w< 
church, (not to that of his own paiish, but U 



OILBEBT WEST. 969 

ol St Jttnw'a, Dt Cltfk^a drardiy) and at (ftyanbig 
anlertd hk servmiit* 16 cnvie into the paflenr, 
whed he read to tham the late Dr Clarke's Ser* 
MMBB, «Dd dien went to prayera. He read them 
dlwa;^ hhttself. One thmg waa smnewfaat aiiigii*' 
far, he slways said grace himself at lua tables 
■though a clergyman was presenti He gave me 
his reasons of his own aeeerd, and I did not disap* 
prore thettw 

He bore his last illness in a Tcry esttdplary 
matmer; wery patient, and entirely resigned to the 
Dirna wilU He had formed an esculent design 
oi pfOTing tlie authenticity of the New Testameat^ 
fixHn many obsenrations that had oecmted la him 
from time to time, whidi he had begmi to liote 
down ; and I remember he shewed me soma tbZii- 
ahle faints, that had be^i conmnmieated to him by 
Dr Doddridge, particuhn^ly drawti from the ceik* 
eeanons of Celsns and others, amengst lhe mora 
early opposers of Cbristiaiiity. He seemed to de- 
light in that subject, and to bis fitlly veiolTed to 
pitrstie it, if God shoald giv^ him opportnnitiea. 
I haye heard him expatiate npon it in conrersa- 
tion, with great clearness of judgment, and strength 
of argnmenti What became of his prepantoty 
papers upon it since his decease, I know not, bat 
have reMon to beKeve, from what I have hearc^ 
that they were soon after destroyed, with many 
others ; and perhaps all that he hsid left remaining 
vpon any topics of theology. Let his memory be 
ever dear to me^ and sacred to the friends of 
Christiamty in all succeeding ages.** 

Mr West*s ^ Observations on the History of the 
Resurrection^*' was occasioned, or at least first begun, 
partly with the view of obtaining satisflsction for 

z2 



370 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

himself, upon some difficnlties in the evangelicd nar- 
radves of that eyent, which had perplexed his own 
mindy and which he had not seen Mly or deatly 
explained hy any other writer on the suhject. As k 
appeared to him unreasonable to reject Christiaiaty 
as a superstitious fable, or a mere politick sdiem^i 
without taking the pains tO€onsider, fairly and impar- 
tially, its proofs ai^ doctrines ; so he thought who* 
ever neglected or refused to make this examinatiotii 
could hare no rig^ to pass his judgment upon the 
subject ; and shoidd, for the same reason, be cautious 
of censuring others who acknowledged it to be a 
diyine institution ; especially as there were to be 
found in the list of Christians, the great and yqae* 
rable names of Bacon, MUton, Boyle, Lodci^ apad 
Newton, — ^names to whose auihoiity every ^kiag 
should bow but truth,-<— to which they themaetiws 
thou^t it not beneath their superior talents to 
submit, though she required them to believe die 
gospeL 

But the chief occamon of his treatise was i» 
answer to a Pamphlet, entitled *< The Resurrection 
of Jesus Considered ;" the author of which, ende^ 
voured to overthrow the accounts that are ^vea 
of this fa€t,by the evangelists. As the resurrec- 
tion of Christ is an article of vast importance, and 
lies at the very foundation of his reUgion, bemg 
the most illustrious attestation that coidd possibly 
have been given to it ; the enemies of Christianity, 
have from the beginning bent their utmost efforte, 
and pointed their engines against this miradeu 
Celsus employed his wit and malice to make it 
ridiculous. Woolston, Chubb, and a host of ano* 
nymous adventurers signidised themselves in the 
sfljne warfore* 



GILBERT WEST. 271 

Tlie writer of the Ftaiphlet in question, took 
'm ihe snbject, and collected with great diligence, 
wthat a Uyely mind, animated witib the most d^ 
^termin«d hostility, could invent or suggest for mis- 
Tepresenting the historical truth of the gospel. 
The main assertions he undertook to prove, were, 
"L That Christ did not foretel his death and re- 
fiurrectioii at all, even to^liis own disciples ; and 
that all said on this head hy the evangelists, is 
naere fiction and forgery. 2. That the whole stoiy 
ni the Jewish priests and rulers, setting a watch 
at the sepidchre, and sealing the stone, is false and 
iaerodible. 3. That the accounts given by the 
cfvangeiiBts, are in every part inconsistent, and self^ 
eoiitnidietOTy ; and carry plain marks of fraud and 
impostnre. l^ese objections, some of them too 
abtord to reqmre confutation, were ably repelled 
in two very learned and ingenious answers, one by 
Dr Samuel Chandler, and the other by an anonym 
mous author. In these, the fallacy of the reason- 
ings and exccfptions against the resurrection was 
id[^~ exposed ; and sokitions of the difficulties of- 
fered, sttffident to obviate the charge of contra- 
diction brought agidnst the sacred fistorians, al- 
ihoa^ some of %em were judged not to be so 
dear «ad natural, as those adduced by Mr West. 

It was Urn persuasion, that the subject was ca- 
pable of a mote satisfiactory explanation, that sug- 
gested to our author the design of his excellent 
Observations. " This," says he, " set me upon 
reading and examining with attention the Scrip- 
tores-themselves, and widi no other bias than what 
aitMse from tlie astonishment I was under, at finding 
writers, who, for above the^e sixteen hundred years, 
have been reputed holy and inspii-ed, chared mtJi> 



fnH CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

gatk » ooBtnriety in their acooumt «• ill ap^ied 
with either of thote epithets. Of thetnrth ctf thii 
duffge, therefore, I acknowledge I had greal^ 4^ 
ficulty to persuade myself; and indeed it was net 
kmg before I discovered, ae I imagiDed^ tihfrTauly 
and weakness of sndi an impiftatieiw ■■ Whai 1 
hare offered in defence of die evaiitgeliBtB, ia bull 
upon the sacred text itself whose true aseainiig I 
have endeavoured to invest^ate and pfOTe, lif 
comparii^ the several accounts with eidi otiieiv 
and noting the agreement aad'disagreenent Of iJU 
drcumstances." 

This hupmy he omdiicted wiib great€MnlM8t 
and discrimination. He began with li^4iig dowft 
the <Mrder in which the several incidents relied by 
the evangelists^ iq>pear to have happened; and 
then he makes some observationa ^pOK ih€ mu^ 
ner in which the pvoofo of this astonishing event 
were laid beffHre the apostles who were afipcnited 
to witness it ; and, from a candid and rigorous ei« 
amination of the whole,, he has endeavoured ttf 
shew that the resurrection of Christ was moet 
folly and fairly proved to the apostles and die* 
ciples, the first converts and preachers of Cfaria* 
Canity. This method he has followed out with 
complete success. By comparing the sevend a6* 
counts together, the passages recorded by iHie, and 
omitted by the rest, and those circumsitaiioes in 
which they all agree, ex where they appear to 
contradict each other ; he has totally removed tiu 
difficulties and inconsistencies chaiged upon tha 
inspired narrative ; and taken away the very founda' 
Uon of the principal objections that have been aa 
often repeated, almost since the very cbnunenca* 
ment of ChroiiaxntY. 



tllLBERT WEST. 873 

lin ijiv69tigatiBg the particulars of thiscwitro-^ 
▼drted history, hue has made it distinctly a]^)eafy 
that the visitors -of the sqmlchre went at difiS^renf 
tHiieSy and for different purposes, and not all af 
(Mic^ as many have supposed ; and fronHliis sepa- 
rating of themselves into distinct companies, arose 
ft tanb-di vision oi their story into different reports. 
These several conclusions being proved, it beoame 
no difficult matter to defend the evangelists against 
the imptitation of contradicting each oUier, in the 
iiCeounte they have given of the resurrection. Fen* 
unless authors who relate differen t and indepen- 
dent parts of tlie same histmy^can be saidyTor 
j3S t reason, to contradict eadi other, the sacred 
penmen must stand acquitted of this charge, as 
nuch as any, even the most accurate historian^ 
ei&er ancient or jnodem. > 

- That some of the evangelists record facts which 
others have omitted, is quite accountable, from 
the view« and motives they had in compiling-their 
vespecUve gospels. St Matthew wrote within a; 
few years after tiie ascension, and at the request 
of the Jewish converts, who having lived in the 
cowalkry where the scene of this great event was 
laid, were, doubtless, acquainted with many parti- 
culars, which, for that reason, it was not necess ary 
to mention. This easily accounts for his concise- 
ness, and omissions, in some parts rof his narra- 
tive, as well as for his noticing certain facts of 
i^hieh th^ other historians make no mention, such 
as the guarding the sepulchre by the Roman sol- 
<£^cs, and the i^pearing of Christto the eleven dis- 
cij^es in Galilee ; the former of which was neces- 
sary, to furnish ijie Jewish Christians with an an- 
sw^ to the absurd story of the disciples having 



874 CONVERTS PROM HrRFBLITT. 

stoVen tliebaAy by niij^whife lli»MUFd«7:dipC^ 
which was so iadfiBtiriiKnly.pHqMgttod i^^ ilMr' 
unUelienDg hietJis^Dk, «ad snppoctecthy tlio^fl«llM»- 
r^y of ths chief priests a&d eUttS; llje otbev «w 
one of th^ best argmnoats he co«ld .olferto. his 
conntaymen, aa4ac<mfiiiiialioiiiifthowiMi«tsai|»» 
actum, by reiening thein to the upsitive end^lfHse 
of witnesses who had seen and ooiiTened wtiA 
Jesus after he was risen fioom; the deadf Mtid hf 
confronting their testimony with that of acnae ki»« 
dreds pf thrir fellow*dtiaMM^ against thefahrioated 
tale of the Roman spldi^ns. 

St Marky on the olihet hand^ who wiote fait 
TVeatise for Gentile Christiam^ who laan mtmar* 
gers to the Jewish customs and religion, omits s»* 
vend particolars m^aticmed by his yed b oa n s or^ 
and records o^ers not noticed by him. ■• Thecodh 
dition of hb c(mverts» who had not ibeeamo ep«- 
p<Hrtumties of informstion us their bsetfarsA m Ja-^ 
dea, made it necessary for him to n$e such nolea 
and comments as might enaiUe themtounderBtaiid- 
the subjeet, and to insert those pHtieakrB that 
seemed best calculated to ayoueh and eluetdats die 
general fact. The same aAay be said ef St I^di^e, 
whose relati<;ni differs froui both the pvecedhig 
evangelists, but contains such marks of diatinctiflB,= 
as are suJBSicient to keep any one fn^m. ooofiEmnd* 
ing the incidents he relates^ withtboie alstadyn- 
eorded by Ins brethren* 

It was by leaving these distincCiflMi out of mn^ 
that infidels had succeeded in fastemngtKe chnga 
of inconsistettcy and contradiction iq»on the aaend 
writers; while Christians themaelveB, sedvoad sad 
daaszled bv some few points ef reaemUaace^ hsfv 
allowed these diff«i«n.% €i£.ta to be die sQaaOf md 



GILBEitT WE69, 275 

^dbi»giiniKgf6Kt advaatige to the nnbelieveir ; fSnr, 
by adaaittrag his prraiises, trnd denyii^ his eoo- 
4^MmKf ihi&f hKf% reduced themsebres to tifie di- 
lemma of reemidiliiiflr incoiuMteocies ; which they 
hame labomed to do by fttles and methods of in- 
terpntaCHo, whidi, hmag over-Btraioed a&d Qima^ 
^mir teaded only to^eeimr their o#n emhanass^ 
mentu Whereaa, had they rig^ly (UstiDgiiighed 
tktt! several eiwiti, all oljectioiis against tms part 
of the goHpel hktory woaid hare entirely vanished i 
and they woidd have found ^t the evangelists re* 
late different) but not inconsistent hcta ; and that 
inatead of dailnng and disagreeing, they mutually 
confirm, iUmtnie, and flUf^MMrt each other's evi- 
denceu .■■-;■ 

Ift.aDavin§ at these eonqhisions, Mr West has 
made user of no far-fetched or arbitrary supposi- 
tiona. .Tbay are such as seem clearly to arise out 
of Ae aoeomits theaftselves, when diligently consi- ^ 
-deradand eempared. ^ llieir having now received" 
anaaawiTy^ aayshe, -mth Ins diaraeteristic mo- 
desty, <^v a idnnr proof that it 1^ always possible 
to aDEunrer thon/evea with a very' moderate share 
of commeil sense and learning.) The natnre of the 
answer itself^ whidi is fimnded upon the usual, ob- 
vionsj phda sense of ih» words, without putting any 
foftereidier upon the particular expression, or tKe' 
genenl eonstnietioft of the several passages, is aa'^ 
evidence of what I now say : 80 that I nrast needs 
admowledge^ that its having been so long missed, 
is a mattOT of Heot greater surprise than its having* 
been hit- upon now." ^ 

Una proof 4yf the harmony and mutual illustra-' 
tion of fiscts, in the relations of the evangelists, is 
followed npby sraie very excellent and judidous 



276 CONVERTS FROM INPIDELITY. 

reflediona upon the yarioRB incidento in ibe Justarr 
of the resnrrection ;' and upon the order in nHfaon 
they happened, and in whidi the seYerahproofii ol 
the events were laid hefore the apostles. He shews 
that the discoveiy of it which was made to thenii 
was wisely ordeied to he gradual ; thus making it 
manifest) that as Christ required of them a rea- 
Bonahle and well-grounded fudi, so did he puraie 
the most proper imd effectual means for atteinbig 
that end ; and for this purpose, instead of bearing 
down their reason, and dazzling their understaad- 
ing by a full manifestation of himself all at once^ 
he let in the light upon them by little and little, 
pr^aring their minds by^ the gradual dawning ojf 
truth, that they might be able to bear the full 
lusti*e of the Sun of Righteousness rising from, the 
grave. 

In these progressive steps there was the greatest 
propriety, since, as they were to be the chosen wit- 
nesses of his resurrection to all the world, they 
might thus have fall time to connder, and examine^ 
and satisfy themselves, that it was impossible they 
could be deceived. And most assuredly never 
^as there evidence more fairly offered to the con- 
sideration of mankind; never was any inquiry pnt 
upon a more rational method, as indeed thoe 
never were any £Act8 that could better abide ike 
test. There is a train of witnesses, a aucceami of 
miraculous events, mutually strengthttiiiig jnd 
confirming each other ; all eqoally and jmnUy eon- 
cuning to prove one and the same traasactioa* 

As to the doubts and disbelief of some^ men- 
tioned by the evangelists, these seem chkfly to 
have sprung from the imcertainty whether Chrbt s 
bodily appearaac;^ nvw real; and although ihey 



GILBERT WBSl^. 29^7 

might have believed the report of those who de- 
dazed they had seen him, yet, in condescension to y 
their infirmity, he removed even these scruples, by j 
giving them personal evidence of his reality, / 

The proofe of the resurrection laid before ^e 
apostles, Mr West has digested under four heads ; 
1. The testimony of those that had seen him after 
he was risen. 2. The evidence of their own senses. 
^ l^e aoeomplishment of the words Christ had ] 
spoken to them, while he was yet w ith them. ' 
4. The fulfilling of the things whicn w^ written 
in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in 
the Psalms^ concerning him. Of all these he has 
given a very compact and judicious summary, and 
concludes sfter a long and scrupulous examination 
0f liie several particulars, that there never was 
any fact more fully proved, than the resurrection 
of Jesus Christ; and that those who were appointed 
to foe the witnesses of it, had every kind of evi- 
dence that, in the like eircifinstances, the most 
soiftpruloas could demand, or the most incredulous 
imagine. 

Having proved that to the apostles at least,. and 
first Christians, these arguments must have been 
wifflcceptioiiable and irresistible, he then proceeds 
to c<m»der some of the proofs that may induce us 
who live remote, and at such a distance of time 
from die miracle^ to believe that Christ rose from 
the dead. These he reduces to two principal 
heads, viz. The testimony of the witnesses them- 
selves transmitted in their writings *r and the exis- 
tence of the Christian religion^ With regard to 
^le ibnner, he shews that the apostles and evan- 
gelists had the two main qualities necessary to es^ 
tablsah the credit of a witness, a perfect knowledge 

2a 



t7B CONVERTS FROM IMriDBLITT. 

<»r the iBCfcB they gsv« testniioiiy to» and a 
hlemidied dnncter; and dwt Uik testimo] 
still p ro e erv ed in die hooks which wero € 
penned hy themselves, or authorised hy iha 
spectiott and approbation. 

He ofiers setarol considentioiiB to pnwi 
genninenesB of tSieae writings ; and takto n 
hoth of the internal maiks of Teraeity in thesi 
writers, observable in the S crip tur e s, and oJ 
-external proofii of their authenticity and iu 
tion, espedally tiie exact aoeomplishnieiit ol 
pnmheciee recorded in these Senptnres. Hi 
peels to the impossibiHty of any books, ferg« 
the'names of the apostles, escaping detection ; 
to their integrity in stating the times, the seei 
action, the actors, and the witnesses of most o 
fiicts mentioned by them ; and above all, to 
they tell iis about the low conation, the ini 
ties, the sufferings, and the death of the great 
thor and Fimsher of their faith. 

With regard to the prophetical evidences, I 
stances those relating to the different state of < 
and Gentiles ; different not only from each o 
but from that in which they both were at the 
when those prophecies were written. He ren 
that there are several particulars relating tc 
condition of the Jewish nation, whidi were 
expressly foretold ; as the destruction of the 
and temple of Jerusalem, and the signs prec( 
that destruction ; the miseries of the Jews be 
at, and ai%er the famous siege of that city ; th 
neral dispersion of that people, the dnratic 
their calamity, and their wonderful preserv 
under it; and finally, thiBir restoration; w 
sinco the other parts of these predictions lutve 



OILBEBT WEST. S79 

eiciuctly acGomplkliedy there is every reason to]) 
tbink will be so too in the proper season. 7 

The learned and elaborate reriew of this mini* 
adons event Mr West concludes^ with the aiiga- 
ment drawn from the present existence of the 
Christian religion* He shews that without snp*- 
postng the truth of Christ's resurrection, there is 
po accounting for the propagation and present ex* 
jat^noe of Christianity, in so many regions of the 
svorld. To set this in a proper light, he represents 
ia an elegant and striking numner, the great diffi- 
culties this religion had to struggle with, at its first 
appearance ; and the inabilities of its first preachers, 
Anunanly q>eaking, to oppose and overcome those 
-pbstades. They had the superstition and preju- 
dices of the Jews to encounter ; who, divided as 
$liey were into different sects, jealous and intole* 
iWt of each other, yeit^ all^ agreed with the same^ 
iwcour to stop the prcMpress of Christianity. j 

In the heathen worh^ the impediments were not 
lass formidable. They had to e<mtend against the 
religioas, customs, laws, interests^ vices, pride, po^ 
lacff and ]^iilo6ophy of the different natmns, among 
whom they, attempted to plant the gospeL And 
jprhile its heralds were wrak, artless, illiterate, and 
contemptible, its c^posers were possessed of all ^ , 
the wisdom, power, and authority of the world. .' ' 
The amlHtions, the luxurious and debauched, the 
iniser, the extortioner, the unjust, the oppressor, 
l)ie psoud and revengeful, the fraudulent and rapa- 
cious^ were all its leagued and sw(Hrn adversaries. 

According to the natural coarse of human af- 
baiBf it was not difficult to pronounce which of 
dbe two parties shoiild have prevailed; the one 
being animated by a combmation of interests and 



S86 CONVERTS VROM DTS^d^ELITT. 

passions, and armed with all the power and engines 
of tyrannical authority ; the other repressed by all 
kinds of civil discouragements, by the prospect of 
chains and torments, and the terrors of martyrdom'; 
Yet Christianity triumphed over this opposition^ 
and made its way in spite of these difficulties ; and 
at lengdi prevailed so far as to change the whole 
face of ihiBgs. It overturned the temples and altars 
of the gods, stleneed the oracles, faonibled the in^ 
pious pride of emperors, confounded the presumip^ 
tuons wisdom^ philosophers, and introduced new 
principles and improved habits, into the greiitest 
part of the known world. . ■ 

This stupendous and astonishing revidbttoiii, it is 
evident, could not have been brought /about by 
mere human means ; though all the aecoa^>tidh* 
ments of learning, all the insinuating and pemHafiiiftt 
arts of eloquence, joined to the pfG^otmdestknow^ 
ledge of human nature, and long experience in ib^ 
ways of the world, had all met in the apostles* 
That this could neviar have been effected but by 
the interposition of Divine power, must be obvious : 
and a manifest demonstration of the truth of die 
extraordinary facts by which it was accomplisbed, 
the principal of which is the Resurrection of Gbrist 
from the dead. 

The infidel who grounds hiftrejeeticm of the gos- 
pel on the incredible and miraculous nature of this 
event, will here find that his main argument will 
be of no service to him, since his faith will still ea* 
counter a miracle in its way, in the amazing birtbi 
growth, and increase of the Christian religion, — 
facts wliich he cannot deny, however unaccounU 
able they may appear to him. 



€«A]ILS8 OILlK>lf fiBI 



CHARLES GBLDON. 



Charles Gildoh^ aa SBthor of wotoe gauat nd 
nC TariouB literalure, has ebtsaed comidcrBble B(fr- 
iMriety among tho wrilen tffao BamUAied aboul 
4he beginning of the kst eentory. The only pnrt 
of bis cbeqnered life tbat can here give any iB^ 
teregt or. importance to bis bi8toiy> is llie dreams 
atanco of bis being a reclaimed Deist, one who 
alter ^tangling Idow^lf in the labyrinth of infide* 
lity, denying &e fandam^ital principles of reli* 
ffion, and writing panegyrica on suicide ; came at 
kat to be conyinced oi his errors, and made a 
public recantation of ibem, by yindicating the 
great doctrines of Natval Theology, whieL the 
patty he had abandoned, eith» denied, or repre- 
sented as doubtful, and nnsupported by proper 
•▼idence. His testimony, therefore, well deserrea 
to be recorded, as being giren after deUbeiate eo»* 
riction, and with a perfect knowledge of the op- 
XOB»€fm tenets he nndertook to refnte^ 

' Mr GiLQON was b<mi, in 1666, at Gillinghamy 
aasr SSbaftesbary, in Dorsetshire. His parents 
and fEumily were Roman Cathdy^s, and conse* 
foOntly endeavonred to instil the same principles 
Into their son. His fathw was a member of tha 
Society of Gray's Inn ; and a man of considerate 
property, which was greatly reduced during tha 

2a2 



883 CONVERTS FROM INFIBELITY. 

pcrliamenttty wan> by his adherenee to the f 
cause. Mr Gildon received ^ first rudim 
of his education in his native place, bnt as he 
designed for the priesthood, he was sent, at tw 
years of age, to the English College at Dow 
Flanders, where the yonthfol disciples of the pi 
tical church, were nurtured in die infallible fi 
under the superintendence of the Jesuits. B 
appears the ghostly efforts of these zealous hi 
proved here unsuccessful ; for during a -pviogre 
five years' study, Mr Gildon could notiie broiigl 
embrace the monstrous absurdities <of the Cat! 
creed; and only found his inclinatioDL more stro 
eonfiimed for a quite different course of life.- 

After quitting the tuition of the secular^ pri 
he return^ to l£[^iand ; and as soon as he ean 
age, he entered into possession of- his patemal 
tune, which, though not opulent, was respect) 
and rendered him capable of enjoying the g«i< 
and pleasures of fiashionable life. Helmmedis 
repaired to London, as the place most likel; 
afibrd him happiness, adequate to the means ^ 
which he was furnished. But as men of ge 
and vivacity are too often deficient in tlie ar 
of economy, his expenditure proved too mud 
his income, and in a short time, he spent the 
part of his inheritance. To crown his imprude 
he manied about the age of twenty-three, a yc 
lady without any foitune; adding to his othei 
cumbrances, that of a gi'owing family,' and no { 
pect of improving his exhausted finances. 

During the reign of James II., when reli 
became a matter of state policy, and was agit 
with great keenness, Mr Gildon studied the 
troveited points of theology. He never had g 



CHatRLES GILDONJ 2S5 

credit to file tenets of the Romish Church, and 
^<Mrald not admit the ridiculous doctrine of in&lli- 
-l»lity ; yet as he had been taught an eai'ly reve- 
rence for the priesthood, andasnlmiiBsiye obedience 
-to their authority, it was long before he could mus- 
hier courage to think freely for himself, or declare 
lionestly what he thought. In some of his writ- 
ings'iie mentions, that it cost him above seven 
years' study, before he could^overcome the'prejn- 
^Kces of his educa^n. This emancipation, iiow- 
ever, he at length effected ; and, as a transition 
^vm the extreme of bigotry to that of scepticism, 
^ a circumstance neither uncommon nor surpris- 
ing, in liberating himself from the dominion of su- 
perstitaon, Mr Gildon shook off the reverence and 
belief of all religion, and ended his researches in 
becoming a confirmed infidel. 

The first proofs he gave to the woriid of his at- 
tachment to infidelity was by publishing a book 
with a very plausible title, <^led the '' Oracles of 
Reason,*' written chiefly by his friend Mr Charles 
Blomit; the avowed purpose of which, was-to pro- 
mote the cause of Deism. Blount was a zealous 
adviocate of unbelief, and ' had previously distin- 
guishied himself in the cfontroversy. In 1680, he 
miblished a translation of the two first books of 
Fyiofitratus's Life of Apollonins Tyanseus, with 
large notes ; which were manifestly intended to 
invalidate the proofs of revelation. Apollonins 
was a Pythagorean philofiopher, who lived in the' 
first century, and whose character and miracles 
were opposed by the Pagans to those of Jesus Christ. 
The accoimt of him, by Philostratus, and of the 
signs and wonders he pretended to have wrought, 
are little dise than absurd and romantic fables^ ^et 



i 



V84 CONVBRTS FROM IKFIBKLITT. 

off wi|h iliMorictl fleuriekeS) and » vmia osic 
df learaing. The endence for the wuxm 
.corded hy the enmgeliBts is so mfiiitely si 
M not to deserve a co mp a ri son ; ahhongh 
have flattered thonselTes, that, hy mnniBg i 
rall^ they struck a mmtal bloir at one of t 
damental |iroo& of Christianity. Bhrant ps 
another dektical hook, entitled, ** Rehno 
. which is litde nMM« thn a traaslatkni of IxM 
bert*8 TVeatise of the same name, witkafew 
additions and imjHroTMnents. 

The Oracles of Reason, which is merely a 
.tion of different pieces, consisting chiefly ol 
between the author and his friends, intermix 
fri^mentsand translations from the classics 
not live to pnUish ; having shortened his < 
his own hand, in order to free himself from 
easiness of a passion which proved too viol 
him. His friend Mr Gildon nshered this ] 
mons volume into the world, with a commei 
prefiice in vindication of self-nnirder. Part 
work is designed to prove the reasonableni 
sufficiency of natural religion, as opposed to 
tion ; but the arguments are founded altogethi 
a misi^preh^siim of the scheme of mediat] 
covered in the gospel, which, instead of den 
frt)m the goodness and wisdom of God, is 
the most signal instances of his gracious int 
towards the human race, — a kind and wii 
vision for exercinng his mercy towards guill 
tnres, in sin;h a way as is most beeomii^ h 
glorious government and perfections, most 
to remove the jealousies and fears of oflfende 
most conducive to tbdu' peace and comfort, 
parts of these pretended ^ Qiacleis" adopt t 



Bi<m of the origin of good and evil, from two dif- 
fm^nty eternal, and independent principles. 

As to the article of future rewards and punish- 
ments, and the soul'simmortality, though they are 
admitted as necessary parts of natoral religi<m, yet 
it is stated aa a pobabilityrthat the soul oi man is 
iiot of an ettdrely distinct nature from the body, hut 
only ^ pur6r mata^ial composition ;- an opinion 
qpii^ inoohsistent with the doctrine of its immer* 
tality. latere are^ besides, many objections levelled 
against the sacred Scriptures, particularly against 
ihe writiBgs^^ Moses, with a design to subvert his 
iratliority.' Most ^f the^urguments offered on this 
pcHa^ are Arrowed from aniaent authors, several 
pages* together being literally translated, without 
^le Jeast acdcnowledgment, or any notice taken of 
the aotowerS which have been repeatedly returned* 
The exceptions which have frequently been taken 
at die Mosaic writings, from the irreconcileableness 
of the accounts there given, with the antiquities 
f^«tended to by-^the most learned heathen jiations^ 
particularly the Chaldeans and Egyptians; and 
which have been-'so clearly shewn to be unfounded, 
by the ..laborious Stillingfleet, in his <^ Origines 
Saerae,'' are here again advanced with as much 
confidence and e&nmtery as if they had % never 

heen r efuted, -"^' ^ 

*" XhesepHndples, which MrGildon had espoused 
and recommended to the world in strains of pom- 
pous eulogy, and with the Imrmag zeal of a de- 
voted proselyte, he afterwards, upon more delibe- 
rate consideration, publicly retracted. Meantime, 
ba;ring.di8sipated.his patrimony by thoughtlessness 
and extravagance^ he found it necessary to have re^ 
course to some method for retrieving his forti^i^ 



V 



S66 C0KVEBT8 VBOM IMVIMKUTT. 

or x«lWfor the metMof flnbtkleiifie. Ne 
the grand incentive of anthor8hi|»^ waa» as 
self camMy adcBowkdges in hM Eaaay^ 
indncwnant for Tcntorisg toappew in prin 
•uocaii in this way^ howeyer» was but iad 
Hm ptodnctions y^ned bi« lilile repatatl 
it appean» nefor raised Urn ahove the com 
indigenoe ; a drcamstance with which he 
ten upbraided hy his literary antagoidrts, w] 
his distresses a handle for their wit, ami 
him with rsnconr rather than rqupoof. I 
attonpi was as a dramatic writer^ in a Rw 
ha pijylisbed in 1697, called the <" Romaa 
Rerengeb** This dEonrt gained him liftUe e 
pro&t or pepukrity. The drama waa not: 
liest road to fiune or fortune ; and poeta 
finfeHSBle abiKty and diligence, found it m\ 
with all thdr hiduatry, to set penuiy at -i 
Bendes, Dryden and Darenant, wim thei 
and admiTRrsyhad long kept possession of th 
and their theatrical r^ntation waa then st 
zenith. 

The obscure reception of his first peorfb 
did Bothoweyer discoorage him, snd next 
produced his ^< Phaeton, or the Fatal E 
This was followed by- several others- in cc 
two or three years, viz. ^ Measure for IS 
«r Beauty the best Advocate ;'' ^LovesVi 
the Queen of Wales;" ""The IHoriot, or th 
Coni^irscy." These {neces, though all un 
fnl, were by no means destitute of merit ; 
too strong an emulation of the style of 
whom he was a great admirer, but with< 
sessing the brilliancy of poetic imaginatioi 
fre^eatly atones for the mad flig& of t 



tiMBti^ Writer, Ids veraeb run mto % perpetual straia 

'^ A& GiMim cultiTated <rtfaer departm^atB of the 
Belles Lettres, beridM the druna. Hev^^oteEs- 
m^lAM^my Poems, Ac an EngMrii Gfammar, m 
life of Bettertoo, and The Complete Art of Poe^ 
tryv— «n art which he had practised so nnsaooess* 
lUly fannael^ He was aattkor of BevenA pieces on 
Gr^ciam, wUdi he afieeted abore all things, and 
ferwhidi he certainly possessed considerable ta- 
IfMs. The work upon which he valaed himself 
most, and seemed to build his ohi^hopes of repu- 
tation, was his Critical Commentary on the Laws 
iti Poe^, iBM laid down by the Duke of Bucking- 
liam, m his Essay on Poetry ; by &e £arl of Ros- 
oommon, inhis Essay on Translated Verse ; and 
lyy Loid Landsdown, On Unnatural Flights in Poe- 
tgff DhiBteBted and Explained. This work was 
w^ teceived, nnd hi^y applauded by the ablest 
j«d|^ 

T1ioa§^ not a man of first-rate gemus Tiimself, he 
^Kras ra^er a severe critic on the writings of others ; 
jBid is well known as one of the revilers of Pope, 
^aapeeiaUy for the freedom he took in his animad- 
^F«t^aa» oa the Rape oi the Lods, in a work of 
Jbb, entitled 1^ ^ New Rehearsal, or Bayes the 
Ytfunger." He had made repeated attacks on the 
eharacter and writings oi that great poet, which 
aoiyng could have provoked, but me heat of 
^party zeal'; xaUing him a poetaster, — a pretender 
to wit and poetry,— « cceature that reconciled aH 
4M>nteadictaons, &c. ^ Certain k is,'' ^sajs he) *' his 
original is not from Adam, but the devil ; and that 
he wanted nothing but horns and a tail, to be the 
48Bact peBeniblant;^ of im infernal ancestor.*' TLa 



288 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

severity of these abusire reflections drew -i 
upon him the just resentment of ithe ini] 
poet, who was never remarkable for any greal 
diness to forgive injuries. In the Prologue U 
Satires, he has complimented him with a aaic 
couplet, in allusion to his povai;y, and makii 
subsistence by authorship. 

Yet tben did Gildon draw his venal quill; 
I- wished the man a dinner, and iate stilJ. 

He has likewise thought proper to immorti 
his name, together with that of the snarling I 
nis, in his poem of the Dunciad. 

Ah Dennis ! Gildon ah ! what ill-starred rage 
Divides a friendship long confirmed by age ?' 
Blockheads with reason, vdcked wits abhor. 
But fool with fool is barbarous civil: war, Ibc* 

From his thirty-second year, when he e 
menced' wilting for the stage, Mr Gildon seem 
Lave been chiefly engaged in the bustle and fern 
of literary controversy, the importance of which 
Jong since departed, and sunk with the heroes of 
Dunciad, into comparative oblivion. He died 
tlie 12th of Jamiary, 1724, at the age of fi 
eight. Boyer, in his " Political State, * vol. n 
mentions him as ^' a person of great literature, 
mean genius, who attempted several kinds of m 
ing, but never gained much reputation in any.' 

The most interesting and remarkable of his wa 
is that \diich contains the recantation of his dei 
eal opinions, published in 1705, imder the titk 
the Deist's mamud ; intended as a plain x 
compendious defence of religion on the princif 
of reason. The motives for changing his creed 
well as fot composing his Manual, he has statec 
liis dedicaXiou «A<i\iEefl&«^ \a tke Archbishop 



CHARLES eiLDON. S88 

Cmteclmty* << The erron I had too hastily en* 
Mrtainedy when I began to find them out, made 
flfe examine into the reason of Uieir prevaiUAg so 
far in the world ; which, bedides their flattery oi 
ihe passions, and corporeal impressioiis, I found to 
ptOMd from the difficulty of the conyictioni 
which was the defect of the method of the defen- 
ders of ike Christian religion ; at least of those^ 
whom I had the fortune to meet with, who ap- 
^colij to arguments which required more learning 
and api^cation, than most of the persons affected 
with the evil were masters of, or could bestow.-** 
I therefore considered that what was necessary to 
the good and happiness of tnenkind, must be at* 
tainable with more ease ; aikl concluded that God 
had giYCA us certain means of arriving at the know- 
ledge of wbsA he required us to believe. The only 
way to find Uiis out, I concluded, must be reason. 
Tim metiiod hating ln*ought me to a possession of 
the truth, I began to reflect that it might be as 
aenriceable to others, who had wandered like my- 
self after a fidse i^isjhtmts; and this was the mo- 
flte of my publii^ing this rohtme.'' 

JEn attaining to these convictions Mr Gildon ac- 
knowledges himself indebted to an excellent little 
treatise ob the subject, Leslie's Short Method with 
die Deists, wherein the brevity of the alignments 
is amply compensated by then* force and perspi- 
cuity.' This Tract was published in 1697, and 
has proved useful, not only in establishing the 
tentf of the Christian religion against the assaults 
OfinndeU, but in reclaiming some of the most 
zealous and able advocates of unbelief. The au- 
thor of the Manual, it appears, was acquainted 
with Ledie and profited by his convenwdoii ; 

VOL. J, 2 b 



290 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

aad on reading this Short Method,* his Ondm jbo- 
came dumb for ever, .and himself a conyert to the 
truth of Divine revelation. To communicate to 
others the remedy which had benefited himself, 
seemed the best atonement he could make /or his 
folly and impiety, in opposing Christianity ; the 
most certain evidence of the sincerity of his con- 
version, and his unfeigned r^;ard for the interest 
of religion ; as well as a proof of the compassian 
he entertained for those wno had been his deistical 
associates, or who were in danger of being misled 
by the same delusions. 

AccorcUngly, the author, after devodng.a piefs^ 
to the recitation of the arguments he had formerly 
ailvanced in defence of smcide, some of which he 
owned were so absurd, that he felt ashamed at 
having urged them, proceeds in a seriea of dis- 
courses, by way of disJogue, to vindicate the great 
principles of Natural Tlieology, preparatory to a 
rational inquiry into the Christiaa religion. The 

* There is appended to the Manual a letter from Lesr 
lie to the author, giving a favourable opinion and review 
of the work, which, it appears, he had examined before 
it was published. <* Sir, I have read over your papers 
with great satisfaction ; and I heartily bless God, with 
you, and for you ; that he has had mercy upon you, and 
opened your eyes, to see the wonderous things of his law, 
to convince you of those irrefragable proofs he has af- 
forded for the truth and authority of the Holy Scriptures, ) i 
such as no other writing upon earth can pretesid tswj 
and which are incompatible with any forgery or decejtk. 
Ueiias given you likewise that true spirit oi repentance 
to bring forth the fruits thereof; that is, to make what 
satisfactipn you can for the injuries you have done to re- 
ligion, by answering what has been published formeriy 
by yourself against it ; an^ being converted, you endea- 
vour to stien(|U\eu >fouT \ff«x\ix«cu" 



CHARLES GILDON. 1^1 

'Hesson of this iviis, as he himself intimates, that 
iniany of the Deists, wi^ whom he was well* ae- 
- qnainted, either dovbted or denied these prelimi- 
nary^ doctnhes, which are essential to all religion ; 
And from these objections chiefly arose their en- 
mity and aversion to the Christian revelation^ 

Of the arguments for the existence of a Deity, 
lie has ^ven a summary in his first discourse ; be- 
cause he had found that some of the abettors of in- 
fidelity expuiiged this fundamental article from 
'^ir creed, if not expressly, at least in effect, as 
they divested it by their speculations of any prac- 
tical influence. The proofs of an intelligent first 
Cause he mainly insists upon,- are those derived 
-from the works of creation, which he shews, 
eould not have existed from eternity, nor have 
been produced by chance, — from the stupendous 
wonders of the planetary system, which exhibit so 
many shining demonstrations of Infinite Power, — 
irom the immense variety of animated beings, — ^the 
oi^anization of animalbodies,— ^the curious mecha- 
nism of the human frame, and ^e no less asto^ 
jushing phenomena of the human mind* 

The attributes of God, both physical and moral, 
isre next brought under review, and shewn to be es- 
sential to his character, and a necessary consequence 
of his nature. The doctrine of Providence, and of 
the Divine agency in human affairs, is ingeniously 
deflended against die atheistical assertions of Hobbs, 
and Spinosa, who reduce aU our knowledge of the 
Deity to the mere fact of his existence ; and leave 
man to invent for himself laws and regulations for 
his moral government. The objections and appa- 
rent ineonsistencies, arising from the disorders and 
irl'egularities in human afairs, the inisfortanfi^ <^^ 



292 CONVmiTS VROM INFIDELITY. 

the good, and the mcoew of the h«d, are explained 
and juadfied, and shewn to he conducive to' iSbt 
harmony and advantage of the whole. The mri- 
tual nature of the human aoiily and ita immbrtiCty, 
are idso Tindicated* in express oppomtton to ime 
opinions on this subject delirered in the Oradei 
of Reason. 




and reasonaUeness of the Christian religion ; 
proofs of which he had endeavoured to render moie 
easy and obyious> fay expelling diose donhts and 
preindices which oonsdliited an insapemble hanier 
to Its reception. In opposition to the atatenaetilB 
formorly pnblished under his aancddn, whidi de- 
mdedy and confounded the miracles of liie Kew 
Testament with iJie absurd, and legendary wqo- 
deiiB ascribed to heathen iimMetors, he makes it ap- 
pear that the miracles of Christ and his 'apostiies 
nad all the indubitable marks of veracity ; that 
they were beyond the power and operation of na- 
tural causes, and must have been the immediate 
effect of Divine agency. The truth of these being 
sufficiently weU attested, laid a solid foundation for 
the doctrines of Christianity, which contained also 
in thems^ves unequivocal marks of a supernatural 
origin ; so that the one furnished a test and a con* 
firmation of the other. An additional dem<mstratioa 
of their truth, he remaiks, was afibrded in the evi- 
dence of prophecy, which was a kind of perpetual 
miracle ; and as the incredulity of the Jews was 
rendered inexcusable, by the mighty works per- 
formed before their eyes, so the completion of pre- 
dictions which required the fulness of time toaccom* 
plish, and could not be regarded as inftllihle prood 
during the Sav\ow*%He««aNfiS^«k\hAextnMiraqflP7 



CHARLES GIIdOK^ 293 

propagiation of the gospel, fhtnished a succession of 
Kindred testimonies to all generations, which must 
make their rejection and unbelief equally criminal. 
« The Holy Bible," (he concludes) « as it is the 
most ancient and most authentic of all books, so 
it is the only book that gives us the idea of true 
religion, — Christianity is the only religion that pos- 
sesses all the marks of verity. It answers all the 
peeessities of human nature, prescribes remedies 
for its misfortunes and fhdlties, and proposes to its 
observation happiness here and hereafter. Its pre- 
c^ts are plain, and founded on justice and rea- 
son, on ^ nature of God and the condition oS 
tiaan ; and they relate either to this world or the 
next. Every one is capable of understanding 
them ; and cannot plead ignorance if he transgress 
them. Thus the whole Christian duty being so 
very obvious and easy, the man who forsakes it 
has no plea against punishment for breaking those 
laws, which ought to be the security, as they are 
die happiness, of human society." 



2b2 



t94 CONVERTS FROM IKFIOSLITY. 



^ 



REV. RICHARD CECIL. 



Tn life of Mr Cecil aibidft a tethtr proof 
unbelief is not the aSbpimg of leewoffiiiig, -or 
and nnpfcgndiced diacimoii ; Im^ flfnonge z 
from inattention to religion, and a moial depi 
<tf heart, which is impatient of restnintand-a 
dination to its n^; and that if.mett were U 
come yirtaons, and inqnire seriooaly into the 
of Chrisdanity, they would find ahundanteyii 
of its divine oiiginaL ^ Mr Cecil became an 
convert to UcentioiianeBSy notwitlurtaQding iIm 
parental example and instruction ; and to ea 
ma wickedness, he took shelter behind infid 
But no sooner had he begun to feel the Httl 
and unsatisfying nature of worldly pleasures, 
his prejudices declined, and he not only beca 
proselyte to the faith of the cross, but one < 
most devoted and intrepid advocates. 

Richard Cecil wafr*bom in London, 8tfa 
yember, 1748. His fether and grand-fEUher 
Scarlet Dyers to the East India Company, 
mother was the only child of Mr Grovesn 
merchant in London, and brother to the Rei 
Grovesnor, author of the " Mourner." Th 
her husband was a member of the Establ 
Church, she was herself a Dissenter ; and n< 
eminent for her piety and benevolence, than fc 



R£V. BICHAR0 CICIL. 995 

Aomosdc Tirtiies. As soon as her son wtm capable 
!of iofltrnetkniy the took delight to rear his tender 
juind, and to impress H with religions principles. 
At six years of age, she bought him Janeway s 
Tdcen for Children, Watts' HyxttnBj and other 
books calculated to arpset llie attentioii of chiidren« 
At that early period, she judged correctly that ar* 
guments addressed to the heart, were likely to be 
IBiMte forcible and ef^BCtiial than those iaddressed to 
IliB head^ and that simple stories adapted to their 
em^diensian, will often make way for abstract and 
disagreeable truths. The benefits he dented from 
tlioso l^le presents he always remembored, and 
apoke of with gratitude : *^ When I was a dbild,*^ 
•ays he^ ^ and a yery wicked one too, one of Dr 
Walts' Hymns sent me to weep in a comer. ' The 
Lrres in Janewa/s Token haid the same effect; 
TfcAt the influ^ice of faith in suffering Christians* 
The character of young Samuel came home to me> 
Jffaen liothing else had any hold of my mind." 
. As Mr Cecil's father was in easy circumstances^ 
and a man of considerable literory attainments, h6 
bestowed upon his son a yery liberal education, 
Iboug^ he only intended him for a profession sin»» 
lar to his own. As soon as his a^ permitted, he 
was placed in a considerable house in the dty, 
£rom which he was soon remoyed to another, where 
he remained tall bad health compelled him to re* 
^tee to his Other's roof. As he was dlWays arene 
to the business in which he had been engaged, he 
did not resume it when he had recorered from his 
iDness; he was more devoted to the study (tfliterap 
fwiikilid the fine arts; and instead of the ^p and the 
eeimlin|^houBe> his mind was in the continual pm> 
sob of ol^ects mon eonganiai to \\a i»3&7%*^^ks^««c^ 
and prepossessionB* 



206 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

At this early age, he discovered a wondep' 
M grasp of intellect and versatility of talent^ 
whidb wonld have gained him distinction in what^ 
ever avocation he had embarked. To the arti 
he was particularly addicted, especially to poetry 
and painting, and even then, the productions of 
his muse, and of his pencil, were-honoured with 
the public approbation. Several of his fugitive 
and poetical effusions^were inserted anonymooaly^ 
in the periodical publications of the day. This 
talent however, it appears^ he cultivated un^* 
known to his father ; who happening, accidentally} 
to meet with some verses which he greatly admired^ 
was astonished to find his son affirm himself to 
be the author. This he looked upon as incredible : 
but to convince him, the youthful poet retired witK 
a subject of his choosing, and in a short time pro*, 
dttced a piece which satisfied him of- the fact in 
question. 

Painting, however, was the art which he pur- 
sued with insatiable ardour. He not only piac- 
tised at home, but frequented all picture<«ale8 
throughout the metropolis ; and even unknown to 
his parents, he travelled into France, to see Ute 
works of the most eminent masters of the art; 
and his enthusiasm would have carried him to 
Rome, had he not been exhausted of the means 
of travelling. He had also a strong passion for 
music, which continued with him through life^ 
At first, his taste was for Italian music ; bat in 
his latter years, he became partial to the German 
style, or rather the softer Moravian. 

Upon his return from the continent, his fiither, 
findmg his TuUn^i^aBa\o\\\mab8led, resolved to send 
liim to an acc(aamt«ivcQ m^o\si<&>\AVS^!Qp« ^^i^eo^ 



RSV. RICHARi) CECIL. 297 

fes^km of an artist ; bat he was prevented by aome 
nniectorded cvcmnstance from accompliahing this 
iteaign; Mr Cedl was destined however, by pro- 
ridcmee, to a more important work in his native 
tand ; and to direct the innate ardonr and eneigy 
of faismiind to a worthier subject, in promoting the 
(Cause of pure and evangelical religion. 

In the meantime, he remained under his fiathor'a 
roof, in the ardent ponnit of his ^vourite studies ; 
but unfortunately, whilst advancing in hk intellectual 
career, he was contracting principles and habits, 
wfakh exhibit his character in a more unpromising 
point of view. The religious impressions of his 
childhood by degrees wore away, and he launched 
with heedless steps, into all the vices and extnr 
vagances which are incident to youth ; and as he 
Ibmid it impossible to reconcile immorality with 
the pure precepts of that religion in which he had 
been educated, — as Christianity stood so much m \ 
^ way which he felt inclined to pursue, he listened I 
to the seductive reascMiingB of infidelity, tilt hd y 
opeidy avowed himself an unbeliever. ^ 

To confirm himself in his new creed, and get 
quit of his old scruples, he read the works of seep* 
tical authors ; though, as he afterwards confessed 
he was often astonidbed at the poverty of their rea- 

^ soning; and felt that his own perverted imaginft- 
tion could suggest arguments against reveladooy 
more weighty than he ev^ found in the most 
l98rned and acute infidel writers. In these ddustcmi 

^oe proceeded the greater length, as the natural 
darmg of his mind allowed him to do nothing by 
halves. Into whatever society he enrolled him* 
adf, he asphred to become its leader. Nor was 
be satisfied iriA thns framing and inventing ttx.* 



898 CONVERTS PROM INFlOBLlTY. 

eases for his own guilty conduet; he minted 4ifA^ 
self as the apostle of Infidelity, and laboured with 
all the natural boldness of his mind, to banish-ttfo 
salutary- scruples of his more caiftious compameni^ 
and to gun conrerts to his libertine opinknm 
With many he succeeded to the full he^ht of hk 
wishes, who, in after life, ridiculed Ins earnest and 
affectionate endeaTOurs to- reclaim them, and to 
undo that fabric of delusion which he now staro^ 
so zealously to rear. 

But though Mr Cecil openly professed himself 
an unbeliever, and laboured to disseminate his prin- 
ciples, it appears that he was never altogether sin- 
cere in his infidelity. He confessed that he could 
not wholly direst himself of his early religious im* 
pressions ; that some remains of mat^rnid adtices stiM 
adhered to hisreeollection^hywhieh be was pfeserf«d 
from becoming, at heart, ^t unprincipled scoffiet 
which he professed to be before the world. Nor 
would conscience, that inward monitor, suffer him^ 
by her rebukes and remonstrances, to place tm^ 
plicit confidence in those principles which his per* 
verse inclinations had framed. In vain did he at^ 
tempt to shut his ear against her still snoall roicei 
or ^ake off entirely the yoke of her authority. 

Of the salutary effects of that care and anxiety 
with which his childhood had been trained, he 
frequently spoke in very impressive terms. ^ Where 

rtarental influence does not convert,'* says he> ^ it 
ampers. It hangs on the wheels of evil. I had 
a pious mother, who dropped things in my wayi 
f could never rid myself of them. I ivas a pro^ 
Tfessed infidel ; but then I liked to be an infidel id 
^ company, rather than when alone. I was wretched 
wheQ by myae\f« TVuMift ^fosss^Vaa^ and' iiiaarina% 



asv. RICHARD CEeiL^ 299 

.jtnPd jdata i^iled my jollity. With my eompa^ 
vions I could aometimes stifle them:: like embers 
jure, kept one another wamu Besides, I was h^re 
^ sort <^ liero. I had beguiled several of my as- 
/sociates into my own opinions, and I had to main? 
.tain a charact^ before them. But I could not 
iUvest myself of my better principles. Parental 
. kifluwce thus cleaves to a man ; it harasses him ; 
it throws itself continually in his way.'* 

Of the arts and evasions he employed to ward 
joff Uie im{H:e88ions of conscience and convic- 
tions, -he has given us the following instances. 
V When I was sunk in the depths of infidelity, I 
jHras ateid to read any author who treated Chrifh 
(tianity in a dispassionate, wise, and searching man- 
ner. He made me uneasy. Conscience woidd 
gather strength. I foimd it more difficult to sti^e 
heac remonstrances. He would recal early instrue- 
tiQOB and impressions, while my happiness cxmld 
only (Consist with their obliteration." << My father," 
(snya he pn another occasion), << had a religious 
9&cvaxkt. I frequently cursed and reviled him. 
He would ouly smile on me. — That went to my 
heart. I felt that he looked on me as a deluded 
creature ; I felt lliat he thought he had something 
which I knew not how to value, and that he was 
therefore greatly my superior. I felt there was ]| 
real dignity in his conduct. It made me appear 
little in. my own eyes. If he had condescended 
to JKTgue with me, I would have cut some figure ; 
at leas<Lby comparison, wretched as it would have 
been. He drew me once to hear Mr Whitfield, when 
I was seventeen or eighteen years old. It had no 
^ort of religious effect upon me, nor had the preach- 
i^ of any man, in my unconveited state." 



SCO COMVlllYS WU0U IKCI0SLITT. 

In iueit a i«Bte of nifaid Mr CmU ttiitvd st Ini 
twentieth reut^ when it pkiiMd God to ptvpim 
him for a mil aaid hearty reoeptkm of tfao doctrines 
of Christianity^ Haying gone all the ravadi of a 
licentious life^ and tasted ererypleasnrewhicktiii 
trorld can afford^ he found that tiiey coold not cofr' 
fer anticipated happiness ; and he tlnis began to 
feel the meanness, ai^ degrading natnte of eroy 
object wiiich engages the attention d fieioai 
men. In this manner was the wandering prodigal 
bnnigfat to himself, more from a sense (tf boa wanls 
and his wretchecb&ess, than any relish or right 
apprehension he had yet aoqidred ^ higher ob- 
jects, and pnrer pleasures. His mhid <^aied gra- 
dually to the truth of the gospel ; and tiie proeeai 
through which he was led, is a strikiag Ofideneo 
of tile imminence of hia past dmog!&tm ^ My 
feelings," (said he), <' when I was first beginnkig 
to recorer from infidelity, proved that I had been 
suffered to go great lengtiis ; and in a ray awftd 
degree to believe my own lie. Mymind rsfvohed 
from Christianiiy. Qod did not btxag me to Mm* 
Self by any of tiie peculiar motives of tiie gOepel 
1 became utterly sick of tiie vamty, and disffl is te d 
with the folly of the world, but I had no tibought 
of Jesus Christ, or of redemption. I eoald not 
enduro a system so degrading. I tiionght then 
Inight possibly be a Supreme Being, and if thetft 
tvas such a Being, he might hear me when I 
prayed. To woreMp the Supreme Bdng aeemed 
somewhat digmfied. There was sometblqg gnysd 
and elevating in the idea. But tiie whole acheia 
and plan of redemption appeared mean, and da» 
fffading, and ^honomsble to mem The New 
Testament) in Vte wp^aaawpaia tsAyartkutiom^ !»• 



M(ir« ftlOHAllD OB(tt£« Ml 

pH^ iMI iUd MMnftd io^oaiible 16 bcibdlierred, 
•i a leHgbfl miitable to rsticmal bein^** 

Ttie sensntioiis which thUB began in disgost with 
the plMMBtSB iind tanitks of the world, made Way 
£ar tother commwiicatiojlis of dirine grace* Uto 
WM led to consider where tme hi^pines% and Mh 
^llfyiBg pleasntes were to be found, since he had 
floi^t them in yain from sensual gratificatioiia 
ttd too'estrained indulgences. And in this inqtdry 
he leh tiie adnmtages of his connection with sio- 
eere and plots Cbistiansw — ^He saw that whilst 
ibi6f were devoted to religion, thdy were also 
iii^nyi *^ tt WES one of tb^ fiiBt tUngs,^ (says he) 
"^ wUeh struck my mind in a profligate state, tlu^ 
bi ipfte of all the folly, and hypocrisy, and fanati^^ 
Dlani^ which may be seen am<Hig religious profea^ 

(«eir% there was a mind aftar Cbist, a holiness, a 
beav^nliiiesB, among ted^ Chtislians. My first 
ooflVictioiis on the sul^ect ^oTreligion, were con'* 
tened from obsetring that really religious persona 
bad 80me sdid happiness amcmg them ; which I 
Mt that the vanities of ike world could not give.** 
Tile tituation a{ his pious mother while unde^ 
Ifflk^on, happaiing to become the subject Gi hia 
ttitloniplatioiis, his thoughts began to ponder <m 
ik» aottree of her turpnsing tranquillity and con- 
letitment of mind ; and hei saw before him two in^ 
^etti^ittidble facts ; Jirsi^ that though his mother'a 
life Waa diequonMl with many ills and distresses^ 
lie lANierted her cheerfully bear up under them, by 
means of the consolation and support which she 
€^v>6d, from constantly reUring to her closet an^ 
lierBiMe. i9anifu%. That she had a secret source 
UK eohifort tb whi<£ he was a total strange* ; and 
wfaidi he who gare an unbounded loose to hka^ 

2c 



302 CONVBRTS FROM INFIDBLITT. 

petitei, and sought pleasure by ermry means, -fsl- 
dom or neyer could find. ** I^ howeyery-" ^|ie 
concluded) << there be any such secret in religion, 
why may not I attain it as well as my mother ? I 
will immediately seek it of God." Upon this :|w 

C started from his sleepless bed, and began to invoii» 
by prayer the searcher of hearts, whose name i^ 
many years had never been r ey^en tly in his lips. 
Being made sensible that a life of qommnnioa 
with God, in conformity to the Bible, could oidy 
secure him that happiness which was satisfying to 
his rational nature, but which had as yet eluded 
his grasp, he now as sincerely wished Christianity 
.to be tine, as he had formerly hoped it to be a 
cunningly devised fable. He began to listen again 
to the voice of parental instruction, to attend the 
.preaching of the word, to consult those able di- 
vines who had written upon the evidences of 
Christianity, that his doubts might be removed; 
jand they gitidually gave way before the irrenf- 
tible influence of (tivine truth. ^* Grotius, Bishop 
Butler, ai>d many others,*' says he, '^ helped me 
to see, that he who is acquainted with the evidence 
.which God has annexed to his word, has not cmly 
every thing he can reasonably require ; but tbaX, as 
/ Mr Jenyns has remarked, he will find it require 
/ more faith to be a consistent infidel than to be a 
vyChiistian." Thus did JDi vine grace triumph over 
;all opposition. A heavenly light broke in upon 
that mind which was darkened by the douda ni 
error, and Mr Cecil, from an enemy and a disbe- 
liever, became a sincere convert to the troth, and 
a. zealous preacher of that gospel he once endeift- 
jvoured to destroy. His heart and views under- 
■weiit a tota\ Yevo\u\!\oii) «sA W wjiv became w vfr- 



REV. RICHARD CECIb. 803 

niarkftble for his pious and sober deportment, as 

* he had formerly been for his profligacy and Hoen- 
^iBinsness. 

Speaking afterwards of his infidelity in a letter 
to' a friend, he observes, '* I myself was one who, 
''Carried away first by the love of sin, hoped the Bible 
■ might not be tme^ I then listened to such as 
' were hardened enough to assert that it was not 
' truef till at length I believed my own lie ; and the 
vanity of appearing something like a philosopher, 

* l¥ho- had thrown off the traditions of the nursery, 
set me on propagating that lie. But when, like 

i'the prodigal, I came to myself, I had many pain- 
ful steps to tread back, and many difficult and in- 
'trieate steps to retrace. I now wished that the 
•Bible might be true, and was glad to receive help 
^m any able guide who had written on its evi- 
•dences.** 

- In the meantime his father, who was firmly at- 
tached to the Established Church, observing his 
ibdn's religious turn of mind, and attachment to Dis- 
senters, told him that if he persisted in maintaining 
%ach a connection, he would withdraw both his 
vdnhtenance and support ; but assuring him at the 
flame time, that if he inclined to go regularly into 
#te church, he would not only defray the expense 
v>f a University education, but purchase him a liv- 
ing when he entered into orders. Upon conside- 
rati6n, Mr Cecil complied with the wishes of fan 
father, and entered Queen*s College, Oxford, in his 
twenty^fourth year, 10th May, 1773. In Septem^* 
ber, 1776, h^ was ordained Deacon, on the title of 
#ie Rev. Mr Pngh of Rauceby, in Lincolnshire, 
in spring following, with much applause, he took 
tile. degree of Bachelor of Acts, and in Febnnn[> 
J 777, be was admitted to priesVa ov(V.eY%«. 



S04 C0NVXET8 FROM UnriD^ITT 

After ft short stay at Hauceby, Mr Cecil, at ^ 
request of Mr Pugh» wi^^t to X^icealenbire to 
supply the churches of Thornton, Bagwuftb, and 
Markfield, till the son of the lata Vicajr ^ul4 ^ 
ready to succeed his &ther. H^e he labgiii^ 
with unremitting zeal, and h^ the happiness of 
seeing, under his ministry, a xevival of religiqpij 
where it had lamentably declined ; and was tbe 
means of impressing the mind of Mr Abbot, who 
was to succeed him, with such views of thenatofe 
and importance of the clerical office, th^t he I19- 
came a faithful and exemplary minister. 

Soon after this, he was presented, throu^^ the 
interest of some friends, to two small livings at 
Lewes in Sussex, of which he took almost inome- 
diate possession. Here ha remained for seyoral 
years, in the conscienUous diachaige of hia minis- 
terial duties. But the local situation of his resir 
dence proved injurious to his h^th, and he be- 
came afflicted with a rheumatic disorder in his 
head. This dispensation rendered it necessary fwr 
him to employ a curate, whose salary absorbed the 
whole emolument of both livings. Whilst here, in 
June, 1777, he was deprived of his excellent mo* 
ther, whose death made a deep impressi<m upon his 
mind, and was the means of confirming more and 
more that serious and devotional feeling which cha^ 
racterized bis subsequent life. In two' yean after 
he lost his father. 

Mr Cecil 8 rheumatic complaints nothing abat- 
ing at Lewes, be returned to the suburbs of Lon- 
don for the recovery of his health ; and from this 
time, the metropolis became the sphere of his 
most important mimsterial labour^ ; imd the disis* 
terested and md»^Ve^\tTQ«Ba^ ia whipb be per* 



REV. RICHARb CECIL. 305 

formed his numerous and difficult duties, was the 
most convincing proof of the pure spirit with 
which he was actuated, — ^that the interests of his 
feHow-men, and the advancement of genuine 
Christianity, were dearest to his heart. 

His most important charge, to which he seemed 
' peculiarly raised and prepi^ed by Providence, was 
^at of St John's Chapel, Bedford-Row, at that 
tkne the largest belonging to the Established 
Church of England in the city. It was part of the 
estate of the Rugby Charity, the management of 
which was chiefly left to Sir Eardly Wilmot, to 
whom Mr Cecil was recommended by Archbishop 
Ccnnwallis. He had already officiated, for some 
time, at different churches and chapels in London. 
For sevei'al years, he preached the morning lecture 
St Lothbury, the evening lecture at Orange-Street 
Chapel, Leicester Fields ; and after that was relin- 
quished, he was engaged, in conjunction with his 
ifriend the Rev. Heiu*y Foster, to perform the same 
service at the chapel in Long- Acre. He under- 
took also the Sunday evening lecture at Christ's 
Oiurch, Spitalfields, where vast congregations as- 
sembled. From these diversified engagements he 
reaped little or no pecuniary advantages. Some 
of them were a positive loss, as from me inconve- 
nient distance, he was obliged to be at the expense 
ci a coach. 

He entered upon the discharge of his ministe- 
rial duties m St John's Chapel, in March 1780. 
F<nr three years he received no emolument, as the 
hearers were few, and the expenses, and interest of 
money expended on repairs were very considerable. 
His whole income at this time was only £80, per 
annum, but it was not gain or pecuniaxY couseidAr 

2c^ 



906 COKVBllfS FROM fKFI01LITT. 

raticuu that stimulated bi9 exertioii8,ar tMccofaeAth 
thoughts. Upon this snwdl pittaiiee be sofmrte^ 
for seveial yean» himiielf, Im y^^ wliom na had 
married from Lewes, and a servanta Hie miiHelnf 
at this diapel> wee attended with diiS&oiikiee wUcb 
eoold only be eormoimted by that energy aadl in- 
dependence oi mindy wbieb were peculier to Mr 
CeciL He had topreacbyontbe <»Eiebend»V>inea 
of business, and of llie worid, whose proud and 
haughty spirits were at enmity' whb the genavi of 
the gospeL << When I wee sent thither/' (aays he) 
^< I considered that I waa aent to the people of 
that place Bsad n^hbondiood* I thougbt It nqr 
doty, therefore, to ad<^ a system and etyle of 
preaching, which shoidd have a tendency to aoieflt 
their case- I began, accordingly, with priadpiei. 
J preached on toe divine anthority of the Scr^ 
tares. I set myself to explain terms and phrases^ 
my chief olject was under-ground work." Qn.tfae 
oiiiet hand, he had to contend wi^ the religious 
prejudices of his audience^ who, unaware si his 
particular object, raised an outcry against him, that 
at other places he continued to preach the truth, 
but that at St J(^ s he shunned to declare ^ 
wh<^e counsel of God. Mr Cecil, notwithstaMU 
ing these damoreus dccosations, ptfasvered in llie 
cause he had began, to deliver the tnitb aocordiBg 
to the circumstances of his hearers, and as tlity 
were able to bear it ; and his efforts were crannied 
with abundatit success, — as he estabUediad at fit 
John's not only a numerous, but a serioaa and de- 
vout congregation. 

He continued in liie disdufge ef hia varioui 
avocations, generally ^^reaching four times ev«ry 
Smiday, aadserexoitasneadsifa^^^dBti^^nt^ 



ABY. BSGHARD CECIL. 807 

1796, wiieai he expeiwaced the (tonsequences 
ifi Itts too great exerUons, being attadced with a 
jeomplaint mq>poaed to be sciatica* Upon a 
.^BOBUiiltatioa of ^ Facshy, he was prohibited 
from preaching, so long as his existing symptoma 
«0iitiiiiied; When he was so fiar recovered, next 
|iteer, as to he able to resume his usual duties, 
It was evident from his discomees, tiiat his af- 
iKction had been sancdfied for liie better enft- 
hling him to see the tme nature of earthly things, 
Jud to shew to mankind their poTvrty and empti- 
Aess. His bodily health was janndk impaired ; 
and the e£bcts of the disease remained like a worm 
at the root of his constttation. Frequently after 
euffniag greatly all the preceding night, he would 
-go^forth to his public duties, se feeble and ema- 
ciated, tiiat his friends were led to a^^Hehend ike 
worst consequences. Still, howerer, he persevered, 
smimated by love and zed, without any outward 
aippeannce of suffering, or any other perceptible 
tftects, save ihat feettng and unction which it pro- 
dbced. 

In the year 1800, Mr Cedl was presented by 
fiamuel lliomton £^q. to the livings of ChoUiaia 
and Bisley, hi Surrey. He expressed himsetf 
Ugfaly eensiUe of sndi an act (^ kindness and at- 
tention, but returned aevend rdnsals to accept c€ 
AtBOU At lengdi, however, he consented to refer 
tba matter to /^ tnistees anda few select friendai^ 
who were nnartimous in recommending him, in the 
pnsent etate of his health and drcum s tances, to 
accept of the livings. Mr Cecil, in compliance 
with such a rec<«mieadalion, took possession of 
the livings, and engaged a curate to supply, during 
winter, his absence at St John's. By tloda \&»uia> 



S08 CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

a considerable addition was made to his income. 
The whole of his emoluments now amonnted to 
£235, yearly. But bis curate's salary, and odier 
deductions which were necessary, reduced it to the 
scanty sum of £ 150. 

Mr Cecil found these parishes lamentably im- 
mersed in ignorance and yice. Some idea of 
their mored condition may be formed from fais 
own statements. '^ Bisley is a rectory. It is 
completely out of the world. The farmers are all 
so perfectly untaught, that when they met to 
settle the business of their tythes, there was not 
one of them able to write. In these parts they 
are mostly occupiers of their own lands.** Tlie 
duty of attending church was almost totally ne- 
glected, and the sacred day was devoted to busi- 
ness or amusement. His heart was deeply affected 
with the scene that presented itself : and his im- 
pression, on first going among them, deserves to be 
recorded in his own words. ^ When I first came 
to Chobham,'' (says he), ** as I was sitting in the 
vestry, — on hearing the noise and uproar of the 
boys, and the people in the gallery talking aloud 
to each other, — I burst into tears ; and felt with 
the prophet when he said, Can these dry boosi 
live ?" But he did not despair ; and though his en- 
feebled constitution required respite from fatigue 
or exertion, he began, with his usual ardour and 
diligence, to cultivate the moral wilderness around 
him. 

He entered under many very discouraging cir- 
cumstances ; and found that there also, as well as in 
other places whither he had been called by prori* 
dence, it was necessary to begin at the very foonda* 
tion; His \a\>o\UL% Wnqnvc ni«sc% ^Sitanded 



HSV, RICHARD CSCIL. 9M 

the happiest effects. The soil which had foiv 
. merly been Wnm and unprofitable, soon began to 
exhibit the effects of a carefal cultivaticMi. Tb» 
duties of the Sabbath were punctBally obsenred, 
and a spirit of piety and religion became moi9 
generally prevalent.* 

Mr Cecil continued to discharge his clerical 
duties with the same diligence, till the year 1807, 
,when he was disabled for some time by a slight par 
itdytic affection; althougfi he afterwards recovered 
ao &r as to be able to resume his ministmal func^ 
tiona. In February 1808, he ezpmenced another 
jparalytic attack, whidi, depriving him of the use of 
}us right side, unfitted him for further usefulness 
jn a public capacity. By the advice of his medir 
cal attendants, electricity was applied, but without 
effect; and he experienced the mournful truth, 
that neither the power of medicine, nor the affeo* 
tionate soUdctude of friends, nor the advantage of 
the finest situations can avail, contrary to the 

* H« oecfUHonally founditdlificuU t9 srrett the attenftioa 
of his audience, ancl in order to awaken and fix their mind% 
lie sometimes had recourse to rather unusual expedients. 
" I was once preaching," he said, ** a Charity Sermon, 
mb%re the congregation was very large, and chiefly of the 
lower iDrder^. I found it impossible, by my usual method 
of preaching, to gain their attention. It was in the after-* 
noon : and my hearers seemed to meet nothing in my 
preacmhgy that was capable of rousing them out of the 
•tupefaetion of a full dinner. Some lounged, and soma 
turned their baclcs on me. ' I must have attention,* I said 
to myself, * I will be beard.* The case was desperate j 
§nd^ in despair, I sought a desperate remedy. I exclaimed 
aloud, * Last Monday mormng a man was hanged at 
Tyburn.' Instantly the fkos of things was changed ! 
All was silence and exp ec ta t ion ! I eaiigbt their ear, and 
fftaified it (brough tba sermon.** 



sit) CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY. 

dirine appointment. After lingering nearly liirw 
years,- without deriving! any benefit from chasager ^ 
air, or his visits to Bath and Titnbridge waters, he 
was relieved from his afflictions by a fit of apo>- 
plexy, August 15, 1810, m the 61st year of his 
age. 

During the whole period of his last illness, the 
effects of his distressing malady were visible oil 
his mind, as well as his body. The view of his 
character under this dark and melancholy visita- 
tion, is well drawn by his friend the Rev. Daniel 
Wilson, who preached at St John s op the f>cca(- 
sion of his death. ** The energy ukd deckioB and 
grandeur of his natural powers gradually ga^ 
way, and a morbid feebleness succeeded. Yel^ 
even in this afflicting state, with his body on one 
side almost lifeless, his organs of speech impaire<li 
and his judgment weakened, the spiritual dispo> 
sitions of his heart displayed themselves in a very 
remarkable manner. He appeared grea;! in iHi 
ruins of nature ; and his eminently religious char- 
acter manifested itself, in a manner which surprised 
all who were acquunted with the ordinary efferte 
of pai*alytic complaints. The actings of hope were 
of course impeded, but die habit of grace, which had 
been forming for thirty or forty yea^ shone through 
the cloud. 

*^ Throughout his illness, his whole mind, instead 
of being fixed on some mean and insignificant con- 
cern, was riveted on spiritual objects. Every 
other topic was so uninteresting to him, and even 
burdensome, that he coidd with reluctance allo# 
it to be introduced. He spent his whole time in 
reading the Sciv^taies, and one or two old divines* 
particularly Ax<^S^V ^^^"^^'^^'^ ML he 8«M 



&EV. RICHARD CBCIL. Si^ 

Juod did, WB8.M a man 4m the brink of an eternal 
T,8tate« His faith never Mled; and he would speak 
of the great foundations of Christianity with the 
.follest confidence. The interest likewise, Tdiich 
-he took in the success of the gospel, was promi- 
nent, when his disease at all remitted. 

*' About a year before his death, when his powers 
.of mind had been for a long time debilitated, but 
still retained some remnants of their former vigour, 
his religious feelings were at times truly desirable. 
.Evtti when his disease had made still further pro- 
^;res6, as <^ten as the slightest alleviation was af- 
jforded him, his judgment became more distinct, 
•his morbid depression lessened, and he was mo- 
derately composed. It was only a few weeks be- 
iore 1^8 dissolution, that such an interval was 
vouchsafed to him. He then spoke ^with great 
feeling from the Scriptures, in family worship, for 
about half an hour ; and dwelt on the love, and 
.grace, and power of Christ, with particular compo- 
sure of mind." 

Mr Cecil's character, both personal and^ministe- 
rial, has been pourtrayed by several of his friends at 
considerable length, and with every advantage of 
minute and accurate information. The review of 
his life is not without interest ; and suggests some 
useful and important reflections. The pains taken 
to instruct him in religion ; the unexpected revolt 
he made from these early impressions ; the daring 
and decided tone of his infidelity ; the occasional 
checks of conscience he received in his career of 
furofligacy ; the process by which he was reclaimed 
from his unbelief, and led to abandon ^e vices and 
follies Into which he had recklessly plunged ; and 
|he whole course of m<»al discipline em^lo^^^LNA 




train &nd piteptf^ hiiii fbf eiiiin^itl mw^fiitiMsft Hi 
the dmrch ;— «n$ MibjecM iftistnictit^ in th^maelfi^ 
ftdd Affording matter of profitable contemplattoiL 

While tmder the control of bad prindplet, hb 
yielded to erery species of licentiionsness, foUowb% 
the bent of his own bold and impetoons spirit ; ez( 
that then atire generosity or pride Of his mind, 
him to despise whaterer he thought meanaaiid 
honourable. But the force of conviction frhimplied 
over all opposition. That religion which bad 
begun in disgiiBt with the world, and dislike to 
the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, by degree 
gained strex^h, and made rapid advances towatds 
maturity. The seed sown in injfhncy, and watered 
with maternal tears, though loiig buried, buTst at 
length into life, and shot forth vrith Tigbur. Tlie 
faculties and dispositions of his miod i«oeiyed k 
new direction. Those strong natural powert, 
which fitted him for becoming an instniment ojf 
extensive evil or eminent good, regulated by the 
principles, and consecrated to the service of r^ 
gion, qualified him in a particular manner, for a i 
successful discharge of the arduous office to whieh ' 
he devoted himself. 

In the performance of his ministerial duties, he 
was zealous and indefktigable, disregarding fatigues 
and inconveniences, and even his own bodily in- 
firmities. Wherever he went, or whatever was 
his employment, he never fot^got that he was t 
Christian minister. He was constantly on the 
watch to do the work of an Evangelist ; and to 
approve himself a faithful steward hi his Master'ft 
service. His riews of the sacred function, are 
fltriking and ^i^toigEn&tQ. ^ A ministei^," (saye he) 
^< is a L^iritie. m ^5eMR:^^\!Bs^tiiA\i& is to 



( 



iteV. RICHARD CBCiL. 31ft 

fain am tlie littld tninsaetblis of this W(h*ld. Btil 
b miiltBier k called, and set apart for a hi^fa and 
flubliriie bnslnei^ His tnuisactions are to iM) h^ 
itireeil the liviiig and the deildi between heareti 
kid jparth ; atid he ninst stand as with ifnngs oh 
Ua niptdders. — ^He must be an eagle> towering to- 
tirird hearen on strong pinions." 

&y tbes^ maxims he strictly regulated his con- 
dtici ; thanifesting a parental solicitude for the 
iirelfare of the churches over which he was called 
td preside. There was nothing which he would 
not haTe made a willing sacrifice to this primarjr 
object ; and he may be sidd to have shortened hn 
days by his nraltiplied and incessant labours ; but 
he (lied with firih and unshaken confidence in 
thbse truths which he had so long exemplified ih 
his own life, and endeavoured, in his public capa- 
dity, to impress on the minds of his audience. 

Of his ministerial usefulness he had many wit- 
nesses. His labours were successful wherever hk 
was called to reside, and met with general accep- 
tation ; although his popularity was uniformly ac- 
companied with a large share of humility. Thb 
qualifications he had received both from nature aAA 
education, his varioiis acquirements and matured 
experience, raised him to a high rank among the 
preachers of his time. In the more private exer* 
ciae of bis pastoral office, as a counsellor and 
fiiend, he manifested great faithfulness, tenderness^ 
-and prudence, 

IUb attainments, both as a itaan and a Christian, 
were above mediocrity. He possessed great dig- 
nity of mind and conduct, firmness, energy, and 
originality. His learning was s6lid and extensive ; 

2d 



314 CON,¥£aTS FROM INFIpELITT. 

and there were no important points in morals or 
rd%ioB, on which he had not read the best au- 
thors ; nor could any tojMC be started in history 
or philosophy, on subjects of art or science, with 
which he was not generally conversant. Besides 
his extensive acquaintance with books, he was a 
master in the learning which is more peculiarly i^ 
propriate to his own profession. All the other de- 
partments of knowledge he laid under contribution 
to this single object. With the works of our elder 
diviaes he was familiar, and was so much in the 
habit of reading the Scriptures in the original, that 
he went daily to this task, as it were naturally and 
hisensibly. 

Mr Cecil published several works, consisting of 
Sermons, Tracts, and Biographical Sketches. The 
latter contain, Memoirs of his three friends, the 
Hon. and Rev. W. B. Cadogan, Rector of St 
Luke's, Chelsea; John Bacon, Esq. a distinguished 
sculptor ; and the Rev. John Newton. His Ser- 
mons are written in an easy and convei*sationaI 
style, short and nervous, and sometimes interspersed 
with abrupt and shining thoughts. He excelled 
rather in strong intuitive sense, than in a train of 
argument ; and more in the liveliness of his images 
than in their arrangement. His discourses, how- 
ever, bear the stamp of a mind capable of vigorous 
conception, and an imagination rapid and inven- 
tive ; and they display throughout, an earnestness 
of purpose, and a felicity of illustiation, which must 
have come home to the heai*t, more than labom*ed 
expression, or the studied artifices of eloquence. 






THB NEW YORK PUBUC LIBRARY 
RBFBRBNCB DEPARTMENT 



This book is under no oironmsUuioes to be 
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