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thies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. For bis was the singular destiny and merit of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example.
Anon. To trace the wild and irregular grandeur of his career, to mark the splendour of his rise or the gloom of his declension, would be to record those extraordinary events which have rendered the last thirty years the most important period in the history of the world. The memory of these occurrences comes upon us as the remembrance of a fearful vision. It is scarcely of the earth. It is like the dim legend of a fabulous generation. We might almost doubt of the important part which this man has acted on the great stage of the world, because the last act of his “strange, eventful history," has been one of oblivion and obscurity; because he has lain down, like the commonest amongst us, pining with despondency and wasting with disease, to die in silence and solitude, with not a recollection of his glory about him. But his career has been one which can never be forgotten, either in its power or in its guilt. He will be the great mark of the age. For this is the man that carried revolutionary France in triumph through Europethis is he that raised himself to the consular chair—this is he that sat down on the throne of the ancient kings of France, and put
the iron crown of Italy upon his brow—this is he that kings and emperors bowed before, and that held queens captive, and gave princesses in dower—this is he that conquered at Jena and Austerlitz—this is he that seized upon the crown of Spain—this is he that defied the frosts, as well as the hardy soldiers of the north, and fell before their united fury—this is he that the power of England drove out of Spain—this is he that abdicated the throne to which the revolution had raised him —this is he that leapt a second time into the seat of his usurpation, and whose power crumbled into dust on the day of Waterloo.
The character of Bonaparte was in itself remarkable, but it is probable under ordinary circumstances, and in a tranquil state of society, he would have acquired only a secondary distinction. He naturally possessed talents of a superior order, but they were not the talents of a man who would have made himself great in any situation. He was ready in expedients, acute, and penetrating. He understood the human heart, and knew how to assail mankind through their passions, their vanities, or their prejudices; above all, he was intensely selfish, and when possessed of power, that selfishness stood him in the place of solid principles and consistent modes of action, by setting up his own will as his infallible guide, and determining him to act up to its dictates, however warned by the common obligations of humanity or justice, by the fear of God, or, what is more important to a selfish mind, by an apprehension for his own security. But Bonaparte was not a great man, in the proper acceptation of greatness. He possessed no heart and no imagination; he was ignorant in some of the commonest branches of human knowledge ; he wanted eloquence to sway individuals and bodies of men to his purposes; he was cunning and calculating, but his prudence did not grasp any wide extent of action; he was almost ridiculously tenacious of his personal safety: he was as imbecile in adversity, as he was tyrannous in prosperity.
Bonaparte was a man that could not have succeeded except in a revolutionary period, amongst a people led away by pretence and arrogance, and in a state of society where there was no great strength of moral perception. Had he appeared in England, he would probably have died a captain of artillery. His morose habits—his reserve—his contempt of the decencies of life, would have been an infallible bar to his advancement. Amongst a moral people the post of honour is not to be taken by storm. But Bonaparte rose in France by the very force of those qualities which, under ordinary circumstances, would have kept him down. In the revolutionary war he soon acquired opportunities of distinguishing himself, and he soon contrived to render services to the republic which any other than one sacrificing every thing to ambition would willingly have avoided. He obtained the command of the army of Italy ; his own character and the character of the revolution led him on to success. The secret of bis triumphs is now easily understood. He fought against commanders conducting the great game of warfare upon a regular and formal system of tactics, at the least expense, at the least possible waste of human life, and with a prudence which, if it did not insure victory, did not render retreat hopeless. Bonaparte always set his fortune“ upon a cast.” He won every thing by risking every thing; he would assign thousands and tens of thousands of his own men to certain destruction, to insure the safety of the remainder; where other generals paid for the subsistence of their forces, Bonaparte plundered. Such a system was new, and was therefore terrific. The world saw the activity with which he moved great masses of men, the fearlessness with which he attacked superior force, his contempt of the elements and of the barriers opposed by rivers and mountains to military movements—and whilst they wondered they were lost. He continued this practice from the commencement of his career to its close—from the passage of the Alps to the flight from Moscow. We may form some idea of the wholesale destruction of human life which this system induced, by knowing that the annual addition to the French army, by conscription, was for many years upwards of 150,000 men, whilst in England the recruits of each year were not more than 5000. The world at last learned to imitate the boldness and the rapidity of his military movements, and it was reserved for England and her allies to beat him by the adoption of those weapons, and yet leave him in the exclusive possession of his system of plunder and bloodshed.
If we could divest ourselves of the abhorrence which we feel of Bonaparte's merciless principles of warfare, we should be ready to acknowledge that he was the greatest general of modern times. But it required even greater military abilities to defeat him, without sacrificing the principles of justice and humanity. This was accomplished by the Englishman who freed Spain from the yoke of his oppression.
But Bonaparte is not to be looked at only as a general;—he aspired to and filled the character of a sovereign, and a head of sovereigns. His merits in this particular are easily summed up. He had but one notion of government, and that was founded upon the fear, not the love, of the governed. He was one of the greatest enemies to liberty that ever appeared in the world. He found the French people in the possession of the wildest and most unbridled principles of republicanism, and he made them the willing slaves of his absolute monarchy. Under his rule there was no representation of the people, no freedom of the press, no appeal from the enormities of his cruel and all-pervading police. His sway was a despotism of the most arbitrary character. But he gilded the chains of the French. He filled them with the intoxication of national vanity-he astounded them by his victories -he flattered them by his insolent demeanour to other nations—he imposed no restraints upon their licentious habits, except when they interfered with the even progress of his government-he obtained the suffrages of men of letters by his patronage--and he took care to raise many splendid public works, amongst a people who enjoy themselves only in public, and are insensible to the comforts and securities of domestic life. In his private demeanour as a sovereign he was haughty and repulsive; coarse and offensive, except upon occasions of show;overbearing and insolent even to the fair sex. But he appears to have been affectionate to his relations ;-and the force of his talents, and the magnificence of his power, could not fail to procure him many warm and faithful friends.
In a word, Bonaparte was the living symbol of the French Revolution. He was the representative of its ferocity, its selfishness, its contempt of ordinary restraints, its mighty daring, its defiance of God, its cruelty to man. What Cromwell was in a fanatical age, Bonaparte was in an atheistical. The world will never again behold two such men, because the circumstances that made them can never again exist. They were both, to a certain extent, impostors; and they both exhausted the materials of their deceptions.
71.- On the New Testament.
DODDRIDGE. [PHILIP DODDRIDGE was born in 1702; died in 1751. His family were of that numerous and respectable body of nonconformists who seceded from the Church soon after the restoration of Charles II. Doddridge was educated for the ministry; and became one of the most distinguished of that body. His early death was lamented not only by those of his own persuasion, but by all zealous and earnest Christians. His works, amongst which are · The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul,' and The Family Expositor,' are monuments of his deep piety and unaffected eloquence.]
I have long been convinced that if anything can stop that progress of infidelity and vice, which every wise man beholds with sorrow and fear, that if anything can allay those animosities, which (unnatural as they are) have so long inflamed us, and pained the heart of every generous Christian; in a word, that if anything can establish the purity and honour, the peace and glory of the Church, or spread the triumphs of personal and domestic religion among us, it must be an attentive study of the Word of God, and especially of the New Testament, that best of books; which, if read with impartiality and seriousness, under the influences of that blessed Spirit by whom it was inspired, would have the noblest tendency to enlighten and adorn the mind, and not only to touch, but to animate and transform the heart.
The New Testament is a book written with the most consummate knowledge of human nature; and though there are a thousand latent beauties in it, which it is the business and glory of true criticism to place in a strong point of light, the general sense and design of it is plain to every honest reader, even at the very first perusal. It is evidently intended to bring us to God through Christ, in a humble dependence on the communication of his sanctifying and quickening Spirit; and to engage us to a course of faithful and universal obe. dience, chiefly from a grateful sense of the riches of divine grace, manifested to us in the Gospel. And though this scheme is indeed liable to abuse, as every thing else is, it appears to me plain in fact, that it has been, and still is, the grand instrument of reforming a very degenerate world; and, according to the best observations I have been able to make on what has passed about me, or within my own breast, I have found, that in proportion to the degree in which this evangelical scheme is received and relished, the interest of true virtue and holiness flourished, and the mind is formed to manly devotion, diffusive benevolence, steady fortitude, and, in short, made ready to every good word and work.
I should have thought, my honoured friends, that I had made you a very unworthy return for your regard to me, if I had offered you merely an amusement, though ever so critical and polite.
It had been much better, on both sides, that the work should never have been undertaken or perused, than that these divine authors should be treated like a set of profane classics; or that the sacred and momentous transactions which they relate, should be handled and read like an invented tale, or a common history. I have often reminded myself of it; and per