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times betrayed, sprung from the sudden impulse of honest indignation, and not from any dark deliberate design to defame the character of his adversary.
As boldness was a prominent feature of Dr. Thomson's moral character, force was the distinctive feature of his intellectual. Though his mind was rather practical than speculative, and fitted more for action than philosophic contemplation, yet with an intuitive force of intellect he seized upon the truth, and with an ingenuity and dexterous management which few have ever surpassed, he detected and exposed the errors with which it was overlaid. And what, perhaps was still more rare than even the force of his intellect, was the rapidity of its operations, without effort disentangling himself from the most perplexing difficulties, and drawing a clear line of argument out of the obscurity in which his subject was involved. It was this latter peculiarity which fitted him especially for the emergencies of public debate, and which prepared him at all times to meet the shifts and argumentative expedients of his opponents, in the course of a prolonged and intricate discussion. Nor was it merely as the orator and leader of the General Assembly, but of almost all the philanthropic and religious assemblies that have taken place in Edinburgh, during the last twenty years, that the genius of Dr. Thomson shone with a lustre which never has been, and which we fear will not soon be equalled. Here it was that his capacious soul found ample range for the versatility and riches of its powers. While the solemn themes of the pulpit brought out the loftier sentiments of the deep feeling of his mind, the debate and popular assembly, without forbidding the exercise of these higher qualities, gave full scope to the rich and playful humour which, in copious illustration, reinforced his argument. While no orator ever drew more largely, from the length of his speeches, upon the patience of his auditory, that patience was never exhausted till the orator had exhausted him. self. Those who have never heard Dr. Thomson, can form no conception of the art with which he could enliven the most uninteresting subjects, and the exquisite tact with which, from time to time, by an illustration, an anecdote, or a humorous allusion, he could relieve and recall the attention, and when recalled, again prosecute his train of reasoning
As a public disputant and orator, the genius of Dr. Thomson was altogether national. It was cast in the very mould of the Scottish character,--and no wonder that he should have been the idol of the nation, while it beheld in him such a magnificent personification of its own intellectual peculiarities. Thus characteristic of the genius of his country, his oratory was distinguished more by the rational than by the imaginative. His subject was however aggrandized and elevated by the strong impassioned feeling that was ever mingled with the discussion of it, while the effect of bis argument was more triumphant than if it had been more thickly studded with the gems of fancywork, and more brilliantly embellished with the figures and the flowers of oratory.
In one feature, bis mind differed from the general mind of the nation. He was frank, open, and unsuspicious. He never kept a door upon any affection or feeling of his heart, or took a circuitous and indirect road to his purpose. When Dr. Thomson spoke, he spoke himself; as the oratořexpressed himself,the man feltand believed; theorator being only the man made visible. It was this frank, un. concealed bearing which was the charm of his manner in private life, which attracted to him all hearts who knew him, and gave an impression of nobility and generosity of nature, which could not be resisted.
The speeches of Dr. Thomson, when collected together, will form, we are persuaded, the best monument to his fame. Though stripped of the accompaniments of his commanding voice and masculine elocution, and that tact of address and adaptation to the circumstances in which he spoke, by which, with the most common sentiment, he could electrify his audience, they will still present some of the best specimens which our language can furnish, if not of polished and elaborate, yet of bold, manly, and are gumentative oratory. They will, besides, be the most faithful record of the man. Were we to select any single speech, calculated to convey at once the most correct portraiture of his intellectual and moral character, we should fix upon the last great effort of his genius-his speech for the immediate abolition of West Indian slavery.
It is a picture of the speaker's heart, in which all who knew its author will love to recall the image of his erect, unbending moral principle, and of his unyielding devotedness to the sacred cause of religion and humanity. Its most distinct. ive feature is the high impregnable position it assumes, and the elevation of religious sentiment with which, in every line and argument, it is pervaded. It shows on
what a lofty vantage-ground the enemy of slavery can stand, when, in the sincerity of an honest and a fearless heart, he makes a bold appeal to Britons and to freemen, on behalf of Africans and slaves. May this portrait of his departed genius be recalled, till it shall kindle such an indignation in the breasts of his countrymen, inspired by kindred feelings, as shall burn up from the earth this sore and crying abomination,
Dr. Thomson, it may be urged by some, was vehement.-We grant it; but his was not the vehemence of passion, but of sentiment. It sprung from an unconquerable and ardent love of truth, from an abhorrence and instinctive recoil from double-dealing under every form, and from a warmth and honesty of heart, which knew not how to smooth down the expression of its feelings into a courtly moderation, while the storm was raging sullenly beneath. This is an age of soft and puling sentimentalism,--and it is refreshing to behold a master spirit standing boldly forth at such a time, in its own native and invincible stout. heartedness. Even in the agitations which he raised, there was a salutary and a purifying influence, which will be felt when Dr. Thomson is no more; and posterity, as they revolve the varied range of Christian enterprize in which he was engaged, will sympathize with his exertions, and pay their tribute of admiration and regard to the memory of the great departed. Ob, may such another champion soon arise to vindicate the cause of the oppressed, and to fight the battles of truth and righteousness! Who shall now bear the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon ?
(JOB CONDEMNED BY HIS FRIENDS, FROM THEIR IGNO
RANCE OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT.
SIGNAL and presumptuous transgressors are often the objects of the visible judgment of God, even in this world. Though God generally hides himself behind a cloud, in guiding the wheels of nature and providence, it is somelimes necessary for him immediately to vindicate his honour, and manifest his direct government of the uni. verse. Examples therefore are recorded in Scripture, in which bold and aggravated sins are visited with immediate punishment; and the experience of every Christian, who is attentive to the ways of God, will supply him with
many of a similar kind. One of this kind we have recorded in Acts xii. 20—24: “And Herod was highly disa pleased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, it is the voice of a god, and not of
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But the word of God grew and multiplied."
This was an awful testimony of the existence and particular providence of God, and the effect of it was the increase of the number of Christians, as well as the confirmation of the faith of all that previously believed.
That God rules in the church as well as in the world, is also sometimes made visibly manifest. Jesus Christ walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks, and the example recorded, Acts v. 1-11, warns us not to forget his presence. Ananias and Sapphira are monuments of the divine displeasure against insincerity in the things of God, and a constant admonition to us, that the all-seeing eye is continually upon us in the churches. Still, both in the church and the world, such examples are but rare, and God does not govern in either by a constant display of miracles. On the contrary, we must walk by faith, and not by sight. Yet there is a proneness in man to ascribe affliction, especially severe affliction, to the judgment of God. Our Lord took occasion to correct this mistake, as recorded, Luke xiii. 1–5. Some
persons had spoken to him of those who had met with sudden calamities, and from his answer, they evidently looked upon them as evidence of peculiarly aggravated sin.
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering, said unto them, suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things ? I tell you, nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise. perish. Or these eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay; but, except.ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." This ought to warn us against rash judgment, with respect to those who meet with sudden or extraordinary deaths. All men are sinners; and their lives are forfeited at any moment that God, in his sovereign providence, may see right to demand them. Jesus therefore here teaches us not to ascribe extraordinary deaths to peculiar sinfulness.
But bow does this consist with the former examples ? If the fall of the tower of Siloam was no indication of peculiar sinfulness in those who were crushed by it, how can it be known that other things, as the death of Herod by worms, are the immediate judgments of God? This apparent inconsistency is easily detected. When daring and extraordinary sins are followed by extraordinary and remarkable deaths, like the case of Herod, there is every reason to consider God as marking bis displeasure in visible judgments. But when there is no such bold profaneness, or any thing extraordinary in the sins of those who meet with extraordinary deaths, it is without warrant that they are ascribed to the marked displeasure of the ruler of the world. There was nothing peculiar in the crimes of those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell. But such was not the case, with respect to Herod. This then is a criterion that is warranted by the recorded facts of Scripture, and is obvious and awful in experience.
It was from their ignorance of the divine government, that. Job was taken for a hypocrite by his friends. They conceived that, in the government of the world, God must manifest immediately his approbation of his people, and his displeasure against his enemies, by visible interference. They saw this man of God suffering calamities, to which all their former experience could furnish no parallells, and therefore concluded that he was a hypocrite. His extraordinary sufferings appeared to them evidence of extraordinary guilt. "If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habi. tation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase."'--Job viii. 6.
The example of Job's friends is set as a beacon on high, to warn us against rashly judging the people of God under calamity. There is no doubt that God chastises his people for their sins; but with respect to the case of others, we ought to be cautious in ascribing affliction in