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We have sometimes called this theory of atonement, or some of the adjustments of other doctrines to it, new and peculiar. New, we mean, to the unread in the history of doctrine, not to the scholar. There is no new error in theology. Christianity crowded opposing and wandering inventors to their limits centuries ago. New combinations alone are now possible; though old errors may be honestly original with him now adopting them. The misleading paths from the great thoroughfare of evangelical truth have all been distinctly indicated and named by the historians of theological opinions, from the apostles to this day; and so when one branches off at any point, it is no difficult thing to foretell his logical destination. It may be the gentlest curve from the track, but it is a switch” nevertheless; and as it is a point of absolute departure for the wanderer, so it is of certain prediction to the intelligent beholder.
When those earlier volumes were issued, the departures of Dr. Bushnell from orthodoxy were pointed out, and the logical ends foretold. Men more sympathizing or less discerning called this criticism and warning, persecution and heresy-hunting. The result shows who were the ablest critics and the most faithful watchmen. Yet so it is ; some know the thistle by the single, unplanted seed, and others only by the growing acre. The important departures of modern writers from our faith are few and cardinal and ancient. They lead to old sects and schools ; and where the paths are so foot-worn, and the inns and ends so certain, it would seem to be but the office of scholarly and Christian kindness to warn the entering wanderer, and the retinue of admiring followers. The before will have, at least, one good result, in exploding the fallacy of so many peace-makers, that it is a difference in words and terms, mainly, that has caused so much doctrinal discussion among us in New England during the last thirty years. Years ago our author diverted his steps, causing alarm, grief and exclamation on the part of many. To such his present issue is more a sorrow than a surprise. We have followed him in our exposition painfully, and close it willingly, finding, by accommodation, singular import in his own confessing and concluding words : " Into what strange places, and how far away, hath our foolish conceit been leading us ! ”
SIR CHARLES NAPIER.
AMONG the brilliant names to which the English point with pride as illustrative of the greatness of their race, there are few which shine with a brighter lustre, than that which stands at the head of this paper.
We have chosen him from among a long list of heroes, as one of the finest types of a true soldier that Great Britain has yet produced, and the sketch which we offer to our readers, shall be, in the language of his brother, Sir William Napier, “ the story of a man who never tarnished his reputation by a shameful deed—of one who subdued distant nations by his valor, and then governed them so wisely that English rule was reverenced and loved where before it had been feared and execrated." It will be the story of a man who united to the chivalry and romance of a Bayard, the stern, high sense of duty of a Wellington.
Indeed it would have been strange if he had lived the life of common men. On his mother's side, he was the sixth in descent from Henry IV. of France, and the fourth in descent from Charles II. of England. On his father's side, says Sir William Napier, “ he traced his lineage to the great Montrose, and the still greater Napier of Merchiston, the inventor of logarithms. Hence the blood of the white plumed Bearnois commingled with that of the heroic Highlander in his vains, and his arm was not less strong than theirs in battle.” The high reputation won by the celebrated Napier brothers in the present century proves that they were worthy of such illustrious ancestors. They had little reason, however, to feel proud of their descent from Charles II. The grandson of the great mathematician lost his lands fighting for Charles I., and having asked them back at the hands of Charles II. was refused, and died in destitution. “ Had the confiscated lands been restored," says Sir William,“ the Napier inheritance would have been
vast; for the lost estate is said to have comprised all the ground · covered by the new town of Edinburgh, up to the tower of
The history of the immediate ancestors of Sir Charles Napier is scarcely less romantic than his own. His maternal grandfather was the second Duke of Richmond, who was married, when a mere youth, to a daughter of Lord Cadogan, then still in the nursery.
The parents of the young couple having become involved in a gambling debt, resolved to settle it by a marriage of their children. Lord March was summoned from college and his bride from the nursery, and the marriage performed in spite of his entreaties and protests against being united “ to such a dowdy.” As soon as the ceremony was over, he hurried away to the Continent with his tutor, resolving never again to meet his wife. He remained abroad for several years, and on his return, in stead of going to his house where his wife awaited him, went to a theatre. There his attention was attracted by a beautiful woman who sat in the box opposite him, and whose loveliness was the theme of every conversation. Upon asking her name, he learned to his astonishment that it was “the dowdy" he had married in his youth. He instantly made himself known to her, and so devoted was the love they afterwards bore each other, that when he died his widow followed him in a year, from a broken heart.
Her daughter, Lady Sarah, the mother of Sir Charles Napier, was one of the most beautiful women of her day. Horace Walpole said of her, “ She was a lady of the most blooming beauty, shining with all the graces of unaffected but animated nature." George III. was devotedly attached to her, and in spite of her refusal of his hand at first, persevered until she accepted it. Nothing but the opposition of his mother, whose influence over him was at that time unbounded, prevented his making the lovely lady Sarah Queen of England.
The father of our hero, the Honorable George Napier, was by no means an insignificant person. He was a pupil of Hume, the historian, and served in the American war. He afterwards filled numerous civil positions, none of which were suited to a man of his capacity. His sons regarded him with the deepest veneration. Sir Charles Napier has left the following in his journal concerning his father.
“ He was six feet three inches, and the handsomest man I ever laid eyes on.
I do not think there was a perceptible fault in his figure. Sir Joshna Reynolds said the only failing was that his neck was too short. I have known him to take a pewter quart, and squeeze
it flat in his hand like a bit of paper. He told me he was nevertheless a child in the hands of Prince Alexis Orloff, Catha rine's friend, who was a giant.”
He was, also, a man of great personal courage. Just before the Irish rebellion, the troops frequently committed great outrages on the people. Upon one occasion two soldiers were passing along a deep road, and stopped to ask a question of some hay-makers in the field above. They were answered by one of the young Napiers with thoughtless levity. Irritated by the reply, the men climbed the fence, and one of them declared he would bayonet the boy. At this moment colonel Napier arrived on the spot, the soldiers at once jumped back into the road, and presented their bayonets towards the Colonel, who sprang down after them. Rushing upon the ruffians, he soon laid them in the dust, and seizing the chief offender by the collar, dragged him towards the village in spite of his struggles, and delivered him to the sergeant of the guard.
His sagacity was not less remarkable than his courage. Being in the same regiment with Erskine he discovered the peculiar bent of his talents and persuaded him to quit the army, and take the law for his profession.
When Arthur Wellesley was an ensign in the forces stationed in Ireland, he was generally regarded as "a shallow, saucy stripling," and treated accordingly. This was not Colonel Napier's opinion of him. He manifested a deep interest in the young officer, and declared that “those who think lightly of that lad are unwise in their generation ; he has in him the makings of a great general.”
Charles James Napier was born at Whitehall, the 10th of August, 1782. His parents removed to Celbridge, near Dublin, when he was three years old, and his early years were passed amid the exciting scenes that attended the Irish Rebellion. Many anecdotes are related of his childish exploits and sayings, but we have room for only one.
When he was but six years old, he attended a show in company with his father. The showman, a man of hideous appearance, commanded a terrified sweep to seat himself on the top of a ladder, which the exhibitor was about to balance on his chin. The boy shrunk back in dismay, used as he was to dangerous climbing. Colonel Napier asked Charles if he would take the sweep's place. “Silent for a moment, he seemed to fear, but, suddenly looking up, said yes, and was borne aloft amid the cheers of the spectators.”
When he was twelve years old, he received his cominission, and repaired to the camp at Netley, where his father was stationed. He was small in stature, his growth having been stunted by maltreatment at the hands of his nurse. His size was a tender subject with him, for he was the only small member of his family. When he was sixteen years old, his father was sent out one night to scour the country with a company of the Derry militia. In the darkness of the night they came suddenly upon a party whom they supposed to be insurgents. In order to make the matter sure, Colonel Napier hailed them, and was answered that they were friends. “At that moment the moon shone out, and Charles Napier was seen with his small fusil, charging bayonets in opposition to Tin Sullivan, the biggest man of the Cork militia. Tim looked down in astonishment an instant, and then catching his small foe up in his arms, kissed him."
When he was ten years old, Charles Napier in leaping a bank fell and tore his leg in the most frightful manner.
At seventeen he broke it in leaping a ditch. Although almost fainting with pain and horror, he had fortitude enough to make his companion hold the leg below, while he pulled it up above, and thus set it himself. Upon examining the injury, the surgeons declared that the limb must be amputated. He refused to allow the operation to be performed, declaring he would commit suicide rather than lose his leg. When he got on his feet again, he found that the limb had been improperly set. “This," he said in referring to it in after years, “made me very unhappy, and the doctors said if I could bear the pain, they would break it again, or bend it straight. My answer was, I will bear any thing but a crooked leg.”