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fully in other pursuits,' (that is just nothing at all,)" but with this curta supellex in theology, to take possession of the first theological chair in Europe seemed too daring an attempt even for my intrepidity. The case was indeed perfectly novel and unprecedented; for though, from the first professor Bucer, to Rutherforth the last, this chair may have been filled by some divines not distinguished for acumen or elegance, ignorance in their own science could be imputed to none; their erudition might be ponderous and dull, but erudition they had, and great erudition, the labour of many years preparatory study, directed almost exclusively to this single object. It would be a matter of little interest to the present generation to go back to the academical politics of 1771, and trace the sudden elevation
of him who with a meteor's fire Shot boldly forth, disdaining dull degrees,' to that very chair of which even he had almost despaired: but some men in his situation might have felt that there was yet remaining some ground of alarm. Not so our intrepid professor. Looking at the backs of many weighty folios, he found that much had been written, and much had apparently been read in former times on the subject of theology. The public libraries apprized him that there existed a formidable array of fathers, councils, critics, commentators upon creeds and articles which had been supposed to belong to the non curta supellex of his profession. This was seriously distressing. But the new professor of theology had not forgotten his late occupations as a chemist. He threw the whole of these unwieldy articles into his alembic, and, by a process of his own, extracted for future use a simple and sublime quintessence, which would wholly supersede any necessity for the grosser materials. Let us hear his own intrepid account of this singular process. I reduced the study of divinity into as narrow a compass as I could, for I determined to study nothing but my Bible, being much unconcerned about the opinions of councils, fathers, churches, bishops, and other men as little inspired as myself. This mode of proceeding being opposite to the general one." (indeed it was, like himself, perfectly original,)' and especially to that of the master of Peterhouse, who was
a great reader, he used to call me autodidaxtos, the selftaught divine.' That very learned prelate, we doubt not, was secretly conscious how much more accurately his friend would have been defined by shortening the epithet.—But we proceed* The professor of divinity had been nicknamed Malleus Hæreticorum:
thought to be his duty to demolish every opinion which militated against what is called the orthodoxy of the Church of England.* * This brings to our rec
ion a couplet which our faithful and zealous friend of žke church had probably forgotten when he wrote the sentence before us.
Ex cathedra at orthodoxy laugh,
Now my mind was wholly unbiassed, and I had no prejudice against, no predilection for the Church of England,' (shame then upon him for having accepted a station, which, almost above every other, bound him to watch over her interests,) ' but a sincere regard for the Church of Christ, and an insuperable objection to every degree of dogmatical intolerance. I never troubled myself with answering any arguments which the opponents in the divinity schools brought against the articles of the church, nor ever admitted their authority as decisive of a difficulty ; but I used on such occasions to say to them, holding the New Testament in my hand, En codicem sacrum-bere is the fountain of truth ; why do you follow the streams derived from it by the sophistry or polluted by the errors of men? This mode of disputing gained me no credit with the hierarchy, but I thought it an honest one, and it produced a liberal spirit in the university.
So consistent indeed with every sense of duty and obligation was the conduct of our liberal professor in this respect, that he had fairly entitled himself to the inverted appellation of Malleas Orthodoxων. .
Such, however, was our professor's conception of the nature of his office, and such the narrow limits within which his discretion had led him to contine his theological inquiries. It must not, however, be dissembled, that he ascended the chair with many eminent qualifications for the duties of his difficult and distinguished function. The exercise of four years as moderator of the philosophical schools had rendered his faculty of speaking Latin perfectly easy; by great assiduity the vices of his early education had been so far corrected, that a false quantity was never heard to escape him; all the tricks and shifts of school logic were familiar to his mind; in addition to which his acuteness and ingenuity were admirable. When pressed by a difficulty which could not be mastered, he knew the precise moment when his credit required bim to extinguish it with a probes aliter. When a subject was referred to of which he knew nothing, he would scout it with contempt; and when a Scotch metaphysician was cited, he had on one occasion the grave effrontery to dispose of the whole fraternity and their opinions in the following words :- Scotos illos metaphysicos nunquam legi, neque legam; quid igitur dixerit nescio: dicam autem quod dixisse debuerit.' With all his professed contempt for the Fathers, the auditors were on another occasion somewhat startled by hearing him mouth out,
Gregorius* Nazianzenus, quem semper in deliciis habui,' as if that pious and eloquent Father, of whom in fact he knew nothing, had been the object of his daily meditations! It turned out however on inquiry, that these deliciæ had been very lately excited; for having gone, as usual, on the very morning when the words were uttered by
* It is remarkable that this identical expression was borrowed from the first line of Erasmus's dedication of Augustine's works to Fonseca, Archbishop of Toledo, . Sextas Aurelius Augustinus, quem semper in deliciis habui.'
him, to extract matter from the learned prelate already referred to, he had lighted on the passage which sounded so plausibly. An admirable professor indeed he was for boys and strangers. His majestic and commanding figure, his terrific countenance, his deep sonorous voice, the uninterrupted tenor of his sentences, which, though far from classical, were never barbarous or solæcistic, and, above all, the boldness and originality of his sentiments seldom left the under graduates' places unoccupied in the theological school. But(alas ! for pomp and pretence !) he had sometimes an auditor or two of another stamp-some petulanti splene cachinno, who came to spy out the barrenness of the land, and bring back to the evening party a few precious fragments of sounding inanity or dexterous sophistry. To such as these it was sport to see how the grave professor would glide over the surface of his subject with every appearance of profundity, or when pinned, as his opponent hoped, into a corner, would wind himself out with all the lubricity of an eel.–Still, he had a large mind; he endured, he encouraged, he delighted in the opposition of able men; he never flinched from the strokes of those who had more information than himself, secure in the consciousness of his own ability to encounter learning by invention. The same tolerance of contradiction, the same dexterity in parrying attacks he brought with him into private conversation, which rendered him, when the poison of politics did not operate on his constitution, a most agreeable and amusing debater. In those happier hours, and they were not few, he would even smile at the pomp and magnificence of his own manner, and relax into all the playfulness and pleasantry which are almost inseparable from real genius.
Among Dr. Watson's predecessors in the theological chair, it is certainly a very high compliment to the latter professor to say, that he most resembled Bentley. This great man, indeed, was a very accurate Hebraist, a master of the purest and most classical style of latinity, and, in general, orthodox in his determinations; but, like Watson, he was rough and bold, and, like him too, by a prejudice unworthy of a great critic in ancient learning, he contemned the Fathers. For this he was well scourged by Thirlby, in a passage which is equally adapted to the late professor.
Quid enim magis ridiculum aut fieri aut fingi potest, quàm homo Christianus, sacerdos, Theologiæ Professor, omnibus “ Philosophiæ studiis" initiatus, in suis peregrinus atque hospes ? Chysostomum, Augustinum, Gregorios, Basilios, Origenem, Athenagoram, Iræneum, Justinum, Ignatium, ne nomine quidem novit. -Nihil ille de Manichæis, nihil de Gnosticis, nihil de aliâ quâvis antiquâ hæresi Christianorum neque scit neque scire curat; neque talibus ineptiis acumen unquam admovit suum.'*
* Thirlbeii Dedicatio Apologiarum Justipi Martyris.
Still, however, no small part of these imputations must be restricted to the earlier years of Dr. Watson's professorship: for an acute man, without much formal study, yet constantly exercised in theological disputations, cannot but acquire theological knowledge; and happy would it have been for the University could it have longer enjoyed his more mature and better digested lucubrations ! happy for the state and the church had he never been drawn forth ex umbrâ academi into the light and sunshine of political life! But in the year 1782, a minister was at the helm, whose prejudices would have permitted bim to bestow mitres on Priestley and Price, had not their own honesty 'kept them back from honour.'
At no great distance from them, however, in religious and political principles, was a man educated in the bosom of the church, yet, by his own confession, indifferent to its interests ; ready on every occasion of advancement to subscribe to a body of Articles which he professed to despise; prepared, in the last place, and for the same end, to undertake the office of imposing the same subscription upon others, while he publicly avowed that such imposition was an unwarrantable restriction upon the consciences of men.
By this minister, bimself, so far as he was a Christian at all, a dissenter and a patron of dissenters, whenever it was in his power to employ them, was our author appointed bishop of Landaff. The appointment was in this respect consistent and judicious; for the minister lenew his man, who, if he had no prejudice against, had certainly no predilection for the church of England, but, according to his own account, a sincere regard for the church of Christ. We have read of one who refused to be made a citizen of Athens because he was already a citizen of the world. Not so our liberal and catholic professor. He was willing to accept an office of high trust and honour in a society to which he felt himself indifferent at best, never reflecting that by the very fact of his appointment that society acquired an exclusive right to his active and zealous services in her cause. There is something however in his own account of the matter, which coming as it does from a vehement declaimer against ministerial cabals and political management in the disposal of high preferments, is more grossly revolting than any thing that we have ever met with in the most unblushing apologies for this species of unhallowed influence. The spiritual nature of the office itself, the solemn obligations which it imposes, and all expression of difficulty and doubt in the aspirant's mind as to his fitness for undertaking such a task, sentiments which, though often pretended, ought always to be felt on such solemn occasions, are as completely forgotten as if the former had no existence aud the latter were neither fitting nor seemly. • On the 12th of the same month the Duke of Rutland wrote to me,
that he had determined to support Lord Shelburne's administration, as he had received the most positive assurances that the independence of America was to be acknowledged. He further told me that the bishopric of Landaff, he had reason to believe, would be disposed of in my favour, if he asked it, and desired to know whether, if the offer should be made, I would accept it. I returned for answer, that I conceived there could be no dishonour in my accepting a bishopric from an administration which he had previously determined to support. In this manner did I acquire a bishopric. But I had no great reason to be proud of the promotion; for I think I owed it not to any regard which he who gave it me had to the zeal and industry with which I had for
many years discharged the functions of an academic life; but to the opinion which from my sermon he had erroneously entertained that I was a warm and might become an useful partizan.'
In this opinion of the motives and conduct of his patron the bishop of Landaff was certainly right, and to his honour be it spoken, that he took the first opportunity of undeceiving him; for when in the confidence of unlimited compliance from a sense of recent obligations, this minister disclosed to the new prelạte his favourite plan of pillaging the church and converting it into a pensionary establishment, to his infinite disappointment he found that he had to encounter reasons which he could not answer and scruples which he could not overcome. Another instance occurs from which it may be inferred that he would have pursued as independent a course with respect to the ministry which advanced him as he did towards those who prevented his further promotion; and the consequence in all probability would have been, that had his own friends continued in office, demands refused and expectations disappointed would have kept him, if not at Landaff, yet beneath the highest honours or emoluments of his profession.
It is one of the many singularities which entered into the strangely compounded understanding of Bishop Watson, that he should not have foreseen to what consequences a conduct like his own in the present state of human nature necessarily tended. No being but the Searcher of hearts can discover in wbat exact proportions this eccentric and uncomplying temper was mixed up of native honesty and stubborn independence on the one hand, or of pride, obstinacy and disappointment on the other. In his own eyes and in those of his enemies no such mixture existed; he was in one unblended mass, either the most upright or the most perverse and wayward of mankind. But knowledge of mankind might have taught him that a conduct like his own when fairly tried and developed is precisely that which forfeits the esteem of all parties, and which no patron will ever reward.
It is one of the most difficult problems in all casuistry, to determine what sacrifices of feeling or opinion, in the combinations of