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birth-was a posthumous child—and first saw the light in an humble dwelling occupied by his widowed mother, in Holey's Court, Dublin. For his education, in Trinity College, of that city, he was indebted to the bounty of an uncle. While at the University, he commenced that famous story of " The Tale of a Tub,” which exercised so powerful an influence on the mind of the peasant boy, Cobbett; and served as a model for the style of the man. On leaving college, his mother recommended him to make himself known to her relative, Sir William Temple. That elegant essayist and somewhat fanciful statesman-but whom we must also deem an honest man-at least
honest as this world goes' to use the phrase of Hamlet--received Swift into his family, and as Temple was a favourite of William the 3rd, and frequently consulted by him, Swift was, by this connection, initiated into Whig politics. The king would have made him a Captain of Horse ; but Swift had fixed his mind upon the church; and, in course of time, Sir William Temple's influence served to procure for him a small Irish prebend, worth £100 per year. He soon grew weary of the dullness of Irish country life, and returned to England. Yet, this was not before he had formed a love connection-if we may call his acquaintance with Miss Waring by such a name. On reaching England, he formed another with a very beautiful young lady, Esther Johnston-better known by the name of Stella,' in his writings. The darkest shade of Swift's character arises from the facts of his treatment of this young woman.
He had been promised clerical preferment by King William, but the King did not perform his promise ; and Swift's mind began to be soured. From the earl of Berkeley he received the gift of two small livings in Ireland. He evinced zeal in the performance of his duty, and increased the parochial services by reading prayers on Wednesdays, and Fridays, at Laracor. The parishioners, however, had no relish for these extra services, and it was on one occasion when himself and his clerk Roger formed the entire congregation, that he played the joke familiar to your memories-commencing the service "Dearly beloved Roger, the scripture moveth you and me in sundry places, &c.” To Laracor he invited “Stella : she joined him; and until 1713 (when he became 47 years of age) he passed his time, alternately in her society, in attending to his church duties, and in short visits to England. In the year just mentioned, he was advanced to the Deanery of St. Patrick's as a reward for his political regenadism. Harley and Boling broke, the leaders of the Tory party, had come into office under Queen Anne; they patronised Swift; and he was ready to desert the Whigs, through the wish to be revenged upon them for broken promises. His political pamphlets have lost a great part of their interest now, but they served his patrons greatly, and were eagerly and extensively read. The great duke of Marlborough, and the duke of Wharton, smarted severely under his pen.
While visiting in England, just before his advancement to the Deanery of St. Patrick's, he won the heart of Miss Vanhomrigh—known as · Vanessa' in his poems. This acquaintance was entirely concealed from Stella.' He rejoined · Vanessa' in England, after taking possession of his deanery ; but was compelled to flee to Ireland, on the breaking up of the Tory ministry, having so greatly exasperated the Whigs that he was in danger of punishment by them.
· Vanessa' followed him to Dublin : 'Stella' now discerned the cause of the neglect she had long suffered from the man to whom she had given her heart, and demanded marriage as an atonement. The dean consented—but only to the outward forms. His marriage was concealed for some years from · Vanessa,' who refused many offers for his sake ; but at length discovered the fact of his private union with 'Stella,' and died of a broken heart. Before her death, she had given Swift's love-poem of Cadenus and Vanessa' to Bishop Berkeley, as her executor, with the injunction that it should be published. The world-poor ‘Stella' included—were thus fully made acquainted with Swift's profession of love for the woman whose heart he had broken ; and, now, the remuant of life was unspeakably bitter to his remaining victim,--and the sense of his own baseness made it, perhaps, equally bitter for himself.
Yet, even in this very year that · Vanessa' died, he proved his intellectual power by writing the famous · Drapier's Letters,' which raised such a spirit in oppressed Ireland as caused English ministers to tremble.
In 1727—that is to say in Swift's 61st year-his 'Gulliver' appeared. If it gives the bad side of human nature, with too little relief,—the gloomy and remorseful experience of its author sufficiently accounts for that. • Stella' died in the year in which it was published, —and, to the end of his life, in 1745, Swift's misery increased. Indeed, during the last four years of his existence, he was frequently insane. For many previous years, it is said, he was accustomed to keep his birth-day by fasting and humiliation,-never failing to read the third chapter of Job, on that day; and the servant in whose arms he expired, relates that one of the few lucid intervals which he experienced during his last malady, was a faint consciousness of his birth-day, which he shewed by frequently repeating, when it came round—“ Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, there is a man-child conceived." The last lines he wrote were penned in one of these lucid intervals. Being taken out by his physician for a drive in the park, he observed a building he had never seen before, and asked what it
Being told it was a magazine of powder for the defence of Dublin--he cried out, . O ho! my tablets ! let me put that down !" and taking out his pocket-book, wrote
“Behold a proof of Irish sense !
Here Irish wit is seen :
We build a magazine !" Swift was intimately acquainted with Pope, Addison, Arbuthnot, and the leading literary men of his day; and, notwithstanding the moral delinquencies we have noticed, was welcomed almost everywhere for his wit--his conversational power being as vigorous as his talent for writing. But his life ought to be a warning to genius. Strong intellect unpurified by moral culture, leaves its possessor an object, either of blame or pity. And though his own consciousness of error was so deep in Swift as to plunge him into the torturous depths of remorse, he evinced so little disposition to atone for the injuries he inflicted on others while it was in his power—that our judgment of his character must partake less of pity than of blame. We know but little, however, of the primary causes of most men's errors,—and, if we knew all, respecting Dean Swift, there might be much unfolded that would lead us to mitigate our judgment—and to cause us to sum up our unpleasing reflections on his portrait with the single sentence-Behold here, also, a victim to the power of circumstance!
Various Views or Lire.--It fares with us in human life, as in a routed army; one stumbles first, and then another falls upon him, and so they follow, one upon another, till the whole field comes to be one heap of miscarriages.- Seneca.
CRITICAL EXEGESIS OF GOSPEL HISTORY,
ON THE BASIS OF STRAUSS'S 'LEBEN JESU.' A SERIES OF EIGHT DISCOURSES; DELIVERED AT TIIE LITERARY INSTITUTION, JOHN
STREET, TOTTENIIAM COURT ROAD, AND AT THE HALL OF SCIENCE, CITY ROAD, ON
BY THOMAS COOPER,
V.-TIE TRANSFIGURATION : LOCALITY, DURATION, AND CHRONOLOGY OF THE PUBLIC
LIFE OF JESUS.
The Locality of the Public Life of Jesus,—or, in other words,—the customary scene of his ministry, is described with the strangest divergencies in the Gospels.
According to the first three Evangelists, Jesus, from the time of his Baptism till the period of his entry into Jerusalem to undergo the Passion, is in Galilee. Nazareth, Capernaum, the sea of Galilee or Tiberias, Bethsaida, &c., are the localities where he performs miracles and exercises his high vocation as a public teacher. He never goes but twice beyond the province of Herod Antipas, to the North ; and has three short excursions to the eastern border of the sea of Tiberias. But he never touches on Samaria, to the South, or Judea-the Roman province. At length. he leaves Galilee to travel through Samaria, comes through Jericho, and enters Jerusalem, to suffer.
According to the Fourth Evangelist, Jesus goes, after his baptism by John, into Galilee, to the wedding of Cana; and, thence, back to Galilee (to Capernaum). But, in a few days, the passover calls him to Jerusalem (a first time)---thence into the country part of Judea, and he, for some time, ministers there. He then returns, through Samaria, into Galilee. TIe performs only one cure there, and then another festival calls him to Jerusalem (a second time)--- where he performs another cure, is persecuted, delivers long discourses, and at length betakes himself to the eastern shore of the lake Tiberias, and thence to Capernaum. He is now some time in Galilee ; but leaves it again to be at Jerusalem (a third time) at the feast of Tabernacles. John rehearses many discourses delivered by Christ in Jerusalem now : he is there at the feast of the Dedication, and undergoes various vicissitudes. After this Jesus retires into the region of Perea, or the wilderness of Judea, where he was baptised,---and remains there till the death of Lazarus brings him to Bethany, near Jerusalem,---whence he withdraws to Ephraim, (in the neighbourhood of the same wilderness,) until the approach of the Passover, which he visits as his last.
Time will allow me merely to notice these strange divergencies thus generally. Read for yourselves, with this particular purpose in view, and you will note more deeply how differently John lays the scene of action for Christ compared with Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But how came it that these three omitted so important a locality as Jerusalem from their chronicle, for so many times, if Christ really appeared there before the period of his Passion ? The answer to this question, by orthodox commentators, is twofold, necessarily. Mark that answer ! Matthew being a Galilean, only wrote of what concerned his own country. Mark and Luke, being natives of, or dwellers in Judea, considered that their countrymen knew what had taken place in Judea and Jerusalem its capital.--and so only needed the Galilean information! Such ingenious methods of reconciling discrepancies might move our mirth, if the subject of enquiry were not too grave. But if the defence were not ridiculous--what, again, shall we say about the 'plenary inspiration of three Eran. gelits who know nothing about a series of visits (with important circumstances) made by Jesus to Jerusalem ? 'Inspired' were they,---and vet failed to register the remarkable cures of the man who had the infirmity thirty-eight years, of the man who was born blind,---and also the raising of Lazarus ---three of the most imposing 'iniracles' attributed by John, to Christ,---all wrought in Judea (two at Jerusalem and the other at Bethany)! could they have failed---I ask again---to chronicle these events, if they had known of them, or of Christ's visits to the localities where John says they were performed ? And if John's “inspiration' only, be questioned---in order to square the discrepancy-.-what greater warrant have we for the inspiration of Matthew, Mark, and Luke ?
We need make but one remark, and pass on---that as the first three Evangelists always give a reason for Jesus leaving Galilee (cither to proceed to the North, or to the eastern shore of the lake of Tiberias) ---and John for his leaving Jerusalem---it is evident that they proceed from positively opposite data : just as Matthew and Luke do with regard to the place of Christ's birth.
The Duration of Christ's Ministry is another moot point. No exact period of time can be affixed to it, from the first three Evangelists. In John, it comprises something over two years, from the feasts he mentions ---though one is controverted : it might be Pentecost, Purim, or Passover: the majority of the Fathers made it a Passover, and so obtained a period of three years for the entire duration of Christ's Ministry. Yet, a few of the Fathers reckoned but one Messianic year---taking, as their rule of judgment, the phrase "acceptable year of the Lord," in Isaiah! Irenæus stands alone, and strangely prolongs the Ministry of Christ from his thirtieth to nearly his fiftieth year---adopting as his rule of judgment the remark of Christ's enemies... Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ?" All is uncertain, however, as it regards this moot point. If the Baptism, as Luke intimates, took place in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and the Crucifixion under Pontius Pilate,---the Ministry of Jesus might extend to nearly seven years,---since Tiberius reigned more than seven years after his fifteenth, and Pilate was only recalled from his government of Judea at the death of that emperor. In default of positive information by the Evangelists, no one, therefore, can say how long the Public Life of Jesus continued.
But, the Chronology of the Public Life of Christ is involved in still deeper difficulties. The transactions in the Galilean gospels which are not recorded by John cannot be panelled between the Jerusalem ‘Feasts' of John. Tuo negative facts warrant us in this affirmation : Matthew, Mark, and Luke, give us no points of departure to Jerusalem : John never tells us that these said transactions occurred---even by way of hint; for he might have done so, without going into the whole history of them, if he had known of them.
And how striking are the divergencies between the first three and the fourth Evangelist---when they do mention the same incident or miracle ! For instance : John, says that when Jesus began his ministry, the Baptist was not yet cast into prison; Matthew makes Jesus come into Galilee to
commence his ministry after John's imprisonment! Again: the healing of the Centurion's son, John places immediately after the return of Jesus from his prolonged residence in Judea and Samaria, during and after the First Passover: but not a single aperture can be found in the first three Evangelists---no going out of Judea---no return : the Sermon on the Mount has been delivered after a course of teaching and miracles---and this cure of the nobleman's son follows at once! Again : in the narratives of the miracles of the loaves and fishes, and of the walking on the sea : Matthew makes Jesus come from Galilee to the opposite shore of the sea : John makes him set out from Jerusalem ! Matthew and Mark make him go after the miracles, for seclusion, into a district where he was less known : John takes him, at once, to Capernaum, with which of all places he was most familiar! I forbear to dwell on these divergencies---for we have already dwelt
upon them, or, at least, on some of their features, What is the most candid sentence which a reader who had thought for himself, and dared to speak in defiance of orthodoxy, would pronounce upon the first three Evangelists? Simply this: that they give us a string of anecdotes,-more or less legendary,--and that they think they are chronologising, but fail to do so. On the other hand, John's narrative is abundant comparatively in materials forourforming a connected and sequent history of the ministry of Christ—but we start back from adopting it, and ask how his gospel with its peculiar developement of the character of Jesus, so widely different from the portraiture in Matthew, Mark, and Luke--can be credible rather than theirs ?--how his data can be received as correct compared with the want of data, and the omission of his accounts of transactions, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
I might go on to notice the divergencies in the account of the calling of the disciples, with many other divarications in the Gospel Narratives ; but I must stop, somewhere--for the Sunday evenings of one halfof the yearwould scarcely suffice togiveus time enough to complete our investigation. I therefore stop here--purposing to devote the time allotted for the remaining discourses, to a consideration of the Gospel narratives of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and to a summary view of what I conceive to be the real character of Jesus of Nazareth.
In conclusion, let me entreat you not to take on trust anything that I may have said--any more than you take on trust what orthodox teachers say. Read, examine, scrutinize, and judge for yourselves. I give you but my own honest conclusion, when I tell you that it seems to me we must take the most improbable things for true on less evidence than we should consider necessary to establish the inost ordinary fact in our own life-time-if we receive these Gospel stories for truths. I dare not do this -seeing the vast importance of the facts involved in the receipt of the stories as facts: I cannot do this—for the writers themselves prevent me: they tell me the tale in different ways. With such forbidding difficulties, shall you or I be intimidated by the threats of eternal punishment for our unbelief ? Then we are unworthy of the name of Protestants--if we relinquish Luther's noble claim of the right of private judgment,' at the frown of the priest. We are unworthy of the name of Christians--if we dare not do what Christ did: proclaim the convictions of our hearts and minds in defiance of power and authority. We are unworthy of the name of Men--if we consent, each, to become a living lie; and to cringe in the tacit confession that Orthodoxy is all right;' and its doctrines clear as the