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while he is compelled to believe what is equally myfterious ; processes carried on before his eyes which mock his inveftiga. tion.
The two last discourses are on the creation and diffolation of the world. The creation of the world is considered as a most magnificent display of the power, the wisdom, the good. ness of God: there are the subjects of our author's declamation, which is not, however, the poetical effusion of an exoberant fancy, but the elegant and polished representation of well regulated and philosophical views. The last Sermon is a more serious and folemn one. As the world had a beginBing it must have an end; but of that day knoweth no man, por even the Son, but the Father.' It is the conclufion of all worldly glory, the final termination of ambitious hopes, deep. Jaid designs, and the most promising prospects. The foul alone furvives the wreck of elements unhurt; and we must look ac. cording to his promise for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We ought then to caft away every vain, every ambitious, every worldly view, and looking with deeper reverence and a more heartteli adoration to the Almighty, the author and finisher of all things, order our lives according to his will, and suitably to his commandments.
As we have already given our opinion of Dr. Blair's Sermons in the former volumes, and of this volaine in the beginning of the article, we Mall not extend our account any farther. We leave our author in poffeffion of his well-earned fame, and the best of consolations, the having employed a long life in works of the highest utility, in the most approved at. tempts to amend the inorals and correct the errors of the young and thoughtless, the heedless foibles of the inconfiderate, or the grosser vices of the more abandoned libertine.
The Hiftory of the Reign of Henry II. and of Richard and
John, his Sons; with the Events of the Period, from 1154 10 1216. By the Rev. J. Berington. (Con:inued from p. 235,-) A S we have followed our historian so closely in the first part of n his narrative, the remainder might have been passed over more cursorily, if he did not still appear the enemy of Henry and the apologist of Becket. The primate escapes into Flanders, and applies to Alexander and to Louis. What were the firit opinions of Alexander we are not informed; but the weak bigotry of Louis, aided it is said by some impolitic counsellors, determined him to support Becket. We call it weak bigotry,
though Mr. Berington is rather willing to consider it as a generous compassion, and a laudable protection of the innocent and oppressed, because it was diametrically opposite to the intereits of his kingdom ; and the source is sufficiently clear from his declaration, that it was pot in his own power to displace the meaneft ecclefiaftic in his dominions. This decision of Louis seems to have influenced Alexander to take those measures, which his political fagacity would have shown him to have been at leaft proper, if they had been expedient in his peculiar circumstances. He condemned the councils of Clarendoii, as inconsistent with the power and privileges of the church, without the least hint of their being innovations; and our author adds, that to all the cardinals the cause of Becket did not seem to be that of God and their church. Henry sent ambassadors to Alexander to procure the nomination of legates to judge between him and Becket, whose examination it wa, intended was to take place in England. The embassy was splendid and honourable ; and if the ambassadors were furnished with other assistance than the juftice of their cause and their eloquence, it shows that the court of Rome was at that time supposed to be venal. The conduct of the earl of Arundel was masterly and political; but the interest of the church, and a kingdom, passed away in a quaint conceit, and a grammatical criticism, Such has been since the case when schoolmen were the disputants, and will always be the cafe when an able opponent withes to wave the discussion of a quellion, When Becket appeared before the pontiff, he dexterously availed himself of the constitutions of Clarendon : it was not of importance to the conclave, whether they were the ancient customs or not, for they militated against the intereste of the church, and human passions and prejudices must be always the same in similar circumstances. To this we attribute the change in the cardinals from their former coolness, and not, with the historian, to the constitutions being new. “It could not be, nor was there any prescription in their favour,' is assertion merely; and, to the example of Lanfranc, we may oppose that of Henry of Winchester, whose turbulence age had not cooled, and whose violence was not checked by his former defeats. In Thort, in our author's history, in every co-temporary historian, or authentic document, can we find any hint of these constitutions being considered as novelties, except in a casual insinua. tion of the pliant, servile, bishop of Lisieux, and in an asser. tion of Becket's, which he afterwards qualifies, and in effect retracts : an artful maneuvre of Becket appears in this au. dience, which fully confirms what we have formerly observed respecting his election, and which we shall employ again very soon. The faint owns that his election was unconstitutional, and
ance to for them. ans and pho tholiness, anuld not
owing to the terror of the secular power. He consequently refigns his bishoprick, and receives it again from the hands of Alexander. If we for a moment disbelieve the evidence of Fo. liott, the date and this confession will establish the fact, which Mr. Berington, the titular successor of Foliott, affects to dirbelieve, and has passed over in his usual way, substituting alfertion for argument.
· The conduct of the emperor, the campaign in Wales, the threatning war with Louis, the apparent duplicity of Henry in the embassy to Wirtemberg, and the marriage of Conftantia, daughter of the duke of Bretagne, with Geoffrey, his third
fon, events nearly of this period, we shall pass over. Our hila *torian has added little, if any thing, to the representations of his predecessors. We must continue to follow Becket, for whom Mr. Berington has reserved his labour and his attention.
The archbishop was about this time dignified with the title of legate, a step the most insulting that Alexander could have taken ; and, in this new character, the martyr writes his ' ad. monitory' and comminatory letter to the king. The style of these letters is, in many respects, exceptionable, and it is not one of the least of these exceptionable passages, that, in his profeflions of obedience and attachment, he excepts the honour of the Roman church and of his own order. He proceeds to excommunicate some of the servants of the king, and to censure Henry himself, a milder mode of threatning the same ecclefiaf. tical punishment. This was the fituation of affairs when the artful and treacherous bishop of Lifieux advised Henry to appeal to the 'pope; but by such a step he did not, as our historian pretends, violate the constitutions of Clarendon, for these only limited his subjects in appeals to the pope against himself: they could not hinder him from acting in the fame manner, fince, in the affairs of England, if he was not willing to act arbitrarily, there was no other alternative. At this time also the correl. 'pondence of Thomas with his clergy commenced, a correspondence which is detailed at length. We ought to remark, that, after a more full examination and a more mature confideration, we think the answer of Foliott to the archbishop spurious. Mr. Berington shows that it is not in the Vatican collection, and consequently that Baronius could not be properly charged with suppressing evidence. The authenticity of this letter we believed from its occurring in the index of the Vatican M SS. and we suspected that Becket had carefully suppressed it. Many circumstances in the letter could not, we think, come from the pen of Foliott; and, when we were satisfied from the internal evidence, the omission of the letter in the MSS. after it had been noticed in the index, seemed to show that it had been be
fore fore the collector of the letters, but rejected by him as spurious. This does not, however, alter the state of our opinions : we have not rested on the conduct of Becket and the bishops in the coun. cil of Clarendon, or the meeting of Northampton ; the ea gernefs and irregularity of Becket's ele&ion, as we have purposely noticed in this article, is fufficiently confirmed on other authority.
In the moment when the sentence of excommunication hung over his head, it was necessary for Henry to employ every expedient to avoid it ; and he fent a folemn embaffy to Rome. In this embassy was John of Oxford, a man personally obnoxious to Alexander, and excommunicated by the primate ; but, by his eloquence, his address, or the gold of Henry, which is said to have been liberally diftributed, he was completely successful. Two legates, one of which was nominated by Henry, were appointed to hear and judge; but, in the interval of the hearing, by the intervention of Louis, or the representations of Becket, their powers were limited, and no good consequence . resulted from the conference. The conduct of Henry was certainly political, perhaps mean and temporizing ; that of Alexander unsteady, timid, and irrefolute. :
Seldom' had a more solemn farce been exhibited. Henry had exerted every nerve, in the embassy of John of Oxford, to procure legates devoted to his interest; and the pope, deceived by the protestations of the envoy, had delegated to them fuch powers as could answer every with of the king. But there powers, on the representations I have mentioned, were either recalled, or he marked out another line of conduct to his legates. The discovery of this change it was, which so much irritated the king, in his first intervicw at Argentan. William of Pavia, notwithstanding, was well disposed to favour the moć narch, and to go all lengths in his service ; only he would not facrifice his master, or rather, he would have been, most willing, by serving two masters, to have conciliated the favour of botb. Henry was no match for these Italian politicians ; yet'unwari. ly, or forced by the circumstances of the tiines, he had laid himself at their mercy. He threatened, at a distance, the court of Rome, as he did the primate : but he feared, either from conscience or other motives, to relinquith the communion 'of Alexander, and how to free himself from Becket he knew.not. His bishops, though they went with him in opposing the pri. mate, would, that moment have turned their backs, had be joined the fchism. The reiteration of appeals may seem futile and inefficient; but it was, in truth, the only means whereby the dreadful powers of excommunication could be suspended. Becker, throughout, was the only firm and consistent character. He never deviated from what seemed to him the line of rectifude, and he might have smiled, had his fituation been attend.
ed with ease, at the perplexities of Alexander, 'the violent, but impotent, anger of Henry, the vain policy of the legates, and the obfcquious ductility of the English prelates. He wrore agaio to the pope and cardinals, wich the most free and independenc fpirit (it was after the charge he had just received from the les gates), and to judge from his language, he felt the superioriy of his own character. "It is not by dillimulation and artifice, faid he to them, that the church should be governed, but by justice and truth.”
The bigotry of Louis had connected too closely the political ftate of France with the dispute concerning Becket; and, in the negociations for peace, the archbishop's quarrel was also exa. mined. Henry, received the archbishop with attention and respect; but, as appears from Mr. Berington's account, the pertinacity of Thomas hindered the reconciliation. The judgment of Louis for a time prevailed, and he showed his indignation at the restless ambition of Becket with proper spirit. This was, however, an unnatural exertion, and he foon fell into his former fuperftitious tetrors. We have felected this part from our author's narrative, though it is but slightly mentioned by some other birtorians: we have selected it, because Mr. Berington seems in many instances to keep back the proofs of Becket's ambition, of his pretended zeal for the honour of the church, but imper. fectly veiling his views of personal exaltation. In this part of Becket's life his representation is fair and candid. ,
The next ftep towards a reconciliation was the appointment of the nuncios Gratian and Vivian ; two men of established credit, : Our author, represents them as firm and deady, but their firmness did certainly not prevent them from making some concefsions, left Henry Mould be driven to acknowledge the antipope Calixtus III, the successor of Paschal : and it is fufpected that from fimiliar views they allowed Henry to add the clause, « saving the dignity of his kingdom,' which, probably thinking they had gone too far, they afterwards prudently disavowed. The reconciliation was at lait effected; and though we cannot go so far as Mr. Berington, in ftyling Henry's conduct at Domfront, indecently impetunus.;' at Bajeux, childifhly telty and changeful;' at St. Denis, · false and illusory;' and at Montmatre, , trillingly evasive; yet we think it occa. fionally changeful, and feldom fincere. The reconciliation we -fufpect was insincere, and extorted only by the fears of an inter
dict. In consequence, however, of the reconciliation, Becket's manors, &c. were ordered to be restored ; and the delay is not Taid, even by our historian, to be owing to the duplicity of HenTy, but to the rapacity of those who had obtained the administration during his absence. The same persons probably again