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frequency light up luridly the savage features of the times. Soon after the King retired to Glasgow, he was seized with illness. Mary visited him, sent him her own physician, and, as soon as he was able to travel, had him removed. Holyrood, it was said, was too noisy for an invalid ; and Craigmillar was too distant. So he was taken to Kirk o'Field, a lonely house in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. Here she had a room fitted up, which she sometimes occupied. One morning, between two and three o'clock, the citi. zens were alarmed by what seemed to them the shock of an earthquake. At day break, Kirk o'Field was found to have been blown up with gunpowder, and the King's body was also discovered at a little distance. Here was another occasion of excitement and confusion. The King was foully murdered within sight of the palace, and of the chief city in the kingdom. The Council offered £2,000 for the discovery of the perpetrators. Placards were affixed to the walls of the city, charging the murder on Earl Bothwell; and in the night voices were heard, (when there was the less danger of detection,) crying in the streets the same accusation. Mary had shown this bold and bad man every mark of favour; and that, with less regard to decorum, and her own good name, than had marked her conduct to Rizzio. Both well had more influence than all the rest of her ministers. He constantly attended her. All this while, her husband was denied her presence ; and “I could perceive nothing," says Melville, “ but a great grudge she had against him.” The more serious aspect of the matter is, that Mary herself was no less boldly and plainly charged with being accessory to the murder of the King. Her sudden and apparently causeless return of affection bears a suspicious complexion. The birth of a son, which often soothes domestic strife, wrought no reconciliation. Writing to her minister in Paris the day before she visited the King at Glasgow, she spoke of him in a way which shows that she even then regarded him with aversion. “It may be doubted whether there be any instance of forgiveness by a proud and beautiful Queen, who had suffered such indignities as Darnley poured on her during the murder of Rizzio. But if she abstained from retaliation, and had silenced vindictive passion, the merit of her magnanimity would be rather tarnished than brightened by an affectation of tenderness for the assassin of her minister and the slanderer of her honour.” “If she was really reconciled, the striking appearance of hypocrisy in her conduct renders her the most unfortunate of women: if she feigned reconciliation for sinister ends, it must be owned that her fault had no extenuation, and that the only excuse for speaking of her in lenient terms must be found in the glimpse of her succeeding misfortunes, which shoots across the story of her transgressions, and checks the pen about to relate them in more adequate language.” *
(To be continued.)
* Mackintosh, vol. iii., p. 85.
[The insertion of any article in this list is not to be considered as pledging us to the approbation of its contents, unless it be accompanied by some express notice of our favourable opinion. Nor is the omission of any such notice to be regarded as indicating a contrary opinion; as our limits, and other reasons, impose on us the necessity of selection and brevity.)
The Conversion of the Roman Roman Empire"-would be thought Empire. The Boyle Lecture for the by some a hazardous one. NeverYear 1864. Delivered at the Chapel theless, the able writer of the “ HisRoyal, Whitehall, by Charles Meri- tory of the Romans under the Emvale, B.D., Rector of Lawford : pire,” who has proved himself to be Chaplain to the Speaker of the House alike sagacious and laborious, underof Commons. Longmans. It is easy took this theme; and from it he to discover in the current literature educes arguments, some of them of the day, that many suppose cre- new, and others old, but afresh burdence in Christianity, and general nished, in corroboration of “ those ignorance, to be allied. There is an things which are most surely beassumption, that adepts in human lieved among us." Christianity wisdom are suspicious of the claims crumbles not to pieces, when touched of the Gospel. This is not only an with the wand of modern research, unjust reflection upon Christians, The claim of the Gospel is obvious but a very remarkable expression of in the fact of its existence at the sentiment, or opinion. For, is it not present hour ; in its growth and true that some of the most gifted and diffusion; in its demonstrated suerudite of men have embraced Chris- periority to all other systems of tianity, and have offered reasons for spiritual precept and doctrine; and their belief? Men who have been in its perfect adaptation to man. versed in historical lore, and who Mr. Merivale insists upon these evihave had special qualifications for dences; judging that the requirethe scrutiny and criticism of his- ments of his contemporaries, as well torical facts, such as Lardner and as the design of the Boyle Lecture, Arnold, have likewise been devout will be met by “the consideration of believers in our holy religion. True, that spiritual resurrection, that rethat some historians have been scep- surrection of faith and genuine piety, tics; but, if Christianity had had which marks the intellectual hisno foundation in truth, all sagacious tory of the early centuries of our students, all sound reasoners, who era.” “ To men of education, to have inquired into its claims, would men of academic training and achave been sceptics too. How differ- complishments, to all who pretend to ent is the fact! From the most care- ground their religious faith on reaful and comprehensive survey, Dr. soning and argument, no study can Lardner, for example, has given us be more interesting than that of the his conclusive and unanswerable process by which Christianity has “ Credibility of the Gospel History.” actually won its way in the minds of Other competent writers have also the intelligent and accomplished, the supplied, in the same line, irre- reasoners and philosophers, of ancient fragable defences of the faith,
and modern times.” * The subject of last year's Boyle It has been affirmed that the Lecture_" The Conversion of the Gospel was first addressed to the
lowest and least intelligent classes the heathen religions, and not yet of society; and that the era of its acquired faith in Christ, was appalintroduction was a tame and uncriti. ling. The brilliant cities, the joyous cal one. While this may be ad- country, the temples and the forum, mitted as true, (to a greater extent, the baths, the festivals, and all the perhaps, than Mr. Merivale would objects of art and of luxury with lead his readers to conclude,) it is which the homes of the inquiring likewise true that the apostles and Pagans were stored to overflowing ; farliest apologists of the Christian the tranquil ease, the leisure for faith had to encounter the inquiries study and meditation, the security of learned and subtle men. Many of long-established civilization, and of the converts were among the wise the treasured results of philosophy and prudent. High-born men and and science; all were found inadewomen, well-trained reasoners and quate to yield the needful light and thinkers, and anxious inquirers, com- solace. In his sixth Lecture, Mr. posed the early church at Rome :- Merivale beautifully describes the a thiog certified to us by “the need, so deeply felt in the Roman direct statements of the apostle him- Empire, for a Divine religion, and xlf, the evidenee of existing monu- for communion with God. He shows ments of antiquity, and by infer- that there was nothing certain, or totes of no little strength from the authoritative, in the instructions of records of secular history, and from the sages of antiquity; and that 8 the language and sentiments of con- wide-spread distrust of all human temporary heathens."* The Gospel aids was the result. A sense of has been well proved from the be- religious want was, undoubtedly, the ginning; and the men to whom it experience of the civilized world. was first preached could not but The struggles of expiring heathenknow whether the principal facts ism are sketched in this volume; were faithfully reported. The peo- and it is shown how, during the ple in Judea, in Samaria, in Asia second and third centuries, an eviMinor, in Greece, and in Rome, were dent imitation of Christianity was competent judges of events oecurring attempted by the more thoughtful in those regions, and appealing, in Pagans. This plagiarism is inditheir very nature and form, to this cated in the growing sympathy of kind of popular evidenee. The man with man, in the development Boyle Lecturer of 1864 set himself of the spirit of prayer, and in the the task of answering such questions spread of the Mithraic and Gnostic as these : On what grounds did the superstitions. The prevailing state of early Christian evangelists and things is further evidenced by the writers secure the belief of their revival of divination, and of the statements? How did they obtain use of oracles. “The age of heathen the authority they exercised ? Ad- prayer and devotion was the antedressing themselves to the intelli- cedent to the age of thaumaturgy gence and moral sensibilities of their and theurgy. The ope followed, it hearers, how did they win the con- would seem, as the immediate corolversion of multitudes, and, among lary, from the other. The natural these, of the most refined and the man had discovered the necessity of best-informed of mankind ?
a god, of a providence, of a moral The misery of the heathen world authority and sanction, of judgment at the moment of its highest outward and retribution; and he rushed preculture, when it had lost its faith in cipitately forward to seize upon God,
to bind Him, as it were, and secure remembering and referring to them!) the means of access to Him, and of records, I say, still remain of the compelling Him to appear at the various forms of deception then cursummons of His votaries. As a ruder rently practised, and of the exact age had bound its idols to the city- way in which they were effected. walls with chains of iron, to prevent We are acquainted with some, at their deserting it, so the later Hea- least, of the expedients employed to thens, more refined in their concep- represent the apparition of gods and tions, but not more truly enlightened, demons, and the spirits of the desought to clasp the invisible and im- parted, to the eye of the half-delirious palpable to their souls by the craft votary. The ancients, it seems, could of magical incantation. The germ employ many of our secret agents of of a spiritual conception of God had deceit. Sympathetic ink was not unbeen cast into the heathen world by known to their adepts and impostors. the hands of Jews and Christians; Their conjurors and jugglers were, to but such was the strange and pro- the full, as skilful as ours; and their digious harvest it produced, when arts were turned to account for obleft to grow untended by the skill of jects far more serious than the mere the Divine husbandman.”*
buffoonery of the streets. It is well, But the agitations of the human even for our use and instruction, conscience, and the curiosity of that those tricks were exposed at the sceptics, could not be allayed by time, and the record of them perdivination and augury. In the petuated. The phenomena of modern midst of religious counterfeits, the spiritualism,' whatever their actual heart remained stricken, alarmed, origin, are, I believe, an exact reand distressed. The malady lay production of the presumed wonders deep in the spiritual nature of man, of the third century ; of an age vot deep in the foundations of senti- unlike our own in credulity and in ment and conscience, and in those incredulity, in nervous irritability, feelings which are explained to us in impatience of the grave teachings by a Divine religion. Christian of experience. For our age, as well teaching had been making way in as for his own, even the scoffer the world, and its light served to Lucian has not lived in vain. We make more manifest the deceptions cannot even yet afford to consign his and decrepitude of heathenism. The banter to oblivion." + moral discourses of Seneca and Epic- Nothing can be clearer than the tetus, of Dion and Juvenal, of Plu- demonstration which history supplies tarch and Aurelius, could no more of the reality of a religious nature in tranquillize and ennoble anxious in- man, and also of the need of religion quirers, than the conjuring, the for nations and human society. No necromancy, the cruel fanaticism, of matter what man's condition, knowthe magician and the ecstatic priest. ledge, civilization, natural advan“ What yet remained of reason in tages, and virtues ; his religious senthe heathen world, first staggered, timent is everywhere present in certhen irritated, at last aroused to tain definite forms and tendencies, strict inquiry by the audacious the most powerful and ineradicable attempt to master it, tore the veil feature of his being. What tribe or asunder, and exposed the empty pre- community has been discovered, that tension. The records yet remain, had not a religion of some kind ? (and alas that in these days there Most markedly is this disclosed in should again arise special reason for Grecian and in Roman story. The
* Lecture VI., p. 123.
+ Lecture VI., p. 125.
traditions of immemorial antiquity carry on their business of various preserved in both nations some appre kinds in the capital of the Empire ; hension of Divine power and human of Greeks, who, like them, flocked obligation. “The world was made,” in vast numbers to the same great says one of the early Christian apolo- centre of all employments, of all gists, " that man might be born into opinions and teaching, to hear and it dan was made that he might speak of every new thing; of Rorecognise God the Maker of the mans, who, after conquering and world, and of himself. We recog- making tributary both Jews and nise Him, that we may worship Greeks, began to open their eyes to Him; we worship Him, that we the wondrous gifts, intellectual and may earn immortality through the spiritual, of their Hebrew and Helworks which are His peculiar ser- lepic subjects,- to acknowledge that, vice; we receive the reward of im- with all their own power and greatmortality, that, being made like unto ness, they had much, yea, everything the angels, we may serve our Lord to learn, and that it was from Greece and Father for ever.” This is, in and from Palestine that their destined substance, the confession, likewise, teachers had come. Of the symof the more thoughtful and virtuous pathy, indeed, of both the Greeks Heathens : proving the necessity of a and Romans with the Jews at this Dore spiritual and sublime form of period, history affords abundant evidoctrine and of worship than human dence. Then, further, the proseIeason can fabricate. For, another lytes of the Jewish law, Greek and truth, which is legibly written on Roman, scarcely yet recovered from the page of history, is the impotence the excitement, the intoxication, of of all human efforts to benefit and finding themselves admitted to comsatisfy man's deep yearnings. The munion with a religion of real signs story of heathen schemes of religion, and wonders, of genuine inspiration morality, and philosophy, is the story and enlightenment from above, were of a complete and affecting failure. suddenly invited to take a step
When the Gospel presented itself farther, to penetrate beyond the veil, for acceptance in the Roman Empire, to receive a higher initiation, to share it had not to combat a blank nega- in a holier covenant, and enjoy a tion of all belief, but to encounter a nearer and an ampler manifestation real enemy. There was an active of God. They were called to Christ, principle of belief, evidenced by and they came to Christ. The synatemples and ceremonies, by acts of gogues of the law, so lately thronged lustration, and of national humilia- with admiring converts from Greece tion before the insulted powers of the and Rome, were again abandoned unseen world. And we must re- for the more private and retired member that the Jews were scat- churches, the little spiritual retered, in great numbers, through the unions, of the converts to the GosEmpire ; and they, cherishing their pel. The Synagogue itself was Hebrew habits of thought and ex- carried over to the Church. Even pectancy, were sought to be won to from the names of these earliest disthe simplicity of Christ. “We may ciples whom the apostle'specially pieture to ourselves the Jewish syna- greeted, we may fairly infer, (though zogue at Rome as crowded with the argument, I am aware, is not devotees of Jewish, of Greek, and of conclusive,) that the Church of Roman extraction ; of Jews who Rome, the Church of St. Paul's had migrated from the land of their Epistle, the Church of the first imorigin, perhaps of their birth, to perial persecution, embraced com