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gs as had been pre ne or anonymously. ection could be satisg could be omitted
all that should be ted genius are to be scretion, or the misopressed, sokie mut
w far their influence Hall's political writ nce to those whose
not, upon the same cis fine defence of he strict-communion
of the evangelica se both those clases d we not have also
omitted is a letter published by Mr. Hall in a newspaper nearly forty years since; and that, because, on his subsequent reconciliation to the individual addressed, both parties agreed, in the presence of their mutual friends, that all should be cast into oblivion that had been previously said or written by either in reference to the points of controversy.
In selecting from Mr. Hall's manuscripts, we have not referred to his morbid sensitiveness with regard to appearing before the world, as the rule of action. But, while we have kept his high reputation in mind, we have also had in view the religious instruction of the general reader.
The following is a summary of the contents and distribution of these Works.
Vol. I.-SERMONS, CHARGES, and CIRCULAR LETTERS, including a sermon on Isaiah liji. 8, not before published, Tracts on TERMS of COMMUNION, and John's BAPTISM.'
VOL. II.-Tracts, Political and Miscellaneous, including an unpublished Fragment of a Defence of Village Preaching, Reviews, and MiscELLANEOUS Pieces, including several not before published.
VOL. III.--Notes of Sermons from the Author's own Manuscripts, with a Selection from his Letters, the originals of which have been kindly transmitted by various friends, and TWENTYONE SERMONS, preached by Mr. Hall, on various occasions, and communicated by friends who were in the habit of taking down his discourses. These are preceded by a brief Memoir of MR. HALL's Life by the Editor ; and Observations on his Character as a Preacher, by Mr. Foster.
The Sermons published in this volume, although given in different degrees of fulness, may unquestionably be regarded as presenting a more exact idea of the usual manner and substance of Mr. Hall's preaching, than those which were laid before the world by himself. In all, the design, the argument, and the spirit have been admirably preserved ; while in most the very language is so nearly caught, that it requires not a strong exercise of imagination to recall the tones, whether solemn and pathetic, or rapid and impressive, with which it was actually delivered. I know not whether Mrs. Hall or the public will be under the deepest obligation to the gentlemen who have thus richly contributed to the value of the Works.
I must now refer to that of which I should most gladly have been spared the necessity of speaking--the Biographical Memoir of Mr. Hall.
Immediately after the publication of the Works was decided upon, I suggested the expediency of soliciting Sir James Mackintosh, whose talents, judgment, taste, and delicacy, as well as
support of orthodos
his bold in rective
more benefit from
never existed sonable, practicabile
The only article
his known attachment to Mr. Hall, gave him a peculiar fitness for the task, to undertake a sketch of the literary and intellectual character of his deceased friend. The letter which I received in reply to my application will show how promptly and cordially he acceded to our wishes.
7th March, 1831. My Dear Sir, “A great man is fallen in Israel.” I have reflected much on the subject
of your letter, and will frankly tell you what seems to me to be right. I consider myself as speaking confidentially, in all that I say, to the friend of my ancient friend.
: The only point on which I am likely to differ from you is respecting your own fitness to write a Memoir. I shall say no more than that, if Í had the selection, I should certainly choose you.
I should be glad to see you here to breakfast on Monday next. In the mean time I may say that I approve of your plan of publishing Hall's Sermons, and, if possible, all his writings. If your want of leisure absolutely prevents you from undertaking the task, and if it be thought likely to promote the interests of Hall's family, I do not think myself at liberty to withhold the contribution of a preface to the editor chosen by the family. In that case I should require a few names and dates, and a perusal of his writings published or unpublished. I own to you that I prefer the old custom of prefixing such a modest preface by way of memoir, to the modern practice of writing huge narratives of lives in which there are no events; which seems to me a tasteless parade, and a sure way of transmitting nothing to posterity.
My paper would chiefly contain the recollections of my youth, and the result of such observations on Hall's writings as a careful perusal of them might naturally suggest.
I am, my dear sir, with real esteem,
After the interview proposed in this letter, and two or three others which shortly followed, Sir James, having matured his plan, agreed to devote about twenty pages to the purely biographical part of the Memoir, and perhaps forty more to the critical estimate of Mr. Hall's writings, of his literary attainments, and his intellectual powers. But the pressure of his constant attendance in Parliament during the progress of the Reform Bills, and of his heavy occupations as chairman of the Committee on East India Affairs, compelled him to postpone this labour from time to time, until his much-lamented death, in May last, terminated his intentions, and our hopes and expectations.
Proportioned to Sir James's remarkable qualifications for giving a critical estimate of Mr. Hall's writings, and a philo
sophical view of the development of his intellectual character, must be the regret of the public that his purposes were not accomplished, and the reluctance of every considerate person to attempt a similar undertaking. Indeed, the high expectations which were so generally formed, of the delight and instruction that would be imparted by Sir James's delineation, rested upon the assurance of a combination of qualities in him which cannot be looked for elsewhere an early knowledge of the subject of the memoir ; a close intimacy with him at the precise time when his faculties were most rapidly unfolding; incessant opportunities of watching the peculiarities of his intellectual constitution, and of measuring, by the application of power to power, the native and growing energy of his mind; a mind of nearly the same order, and possessing many of the same characteristics; a sincere affection for his friend, ripened into as sincere a veneration for his principles; and judgment, discrimination, and feeling most beautifully attempered, and exquisitely fitted, to trace, classify, and describe.
Since none, therefore, it was presumed, would follow the plan thus laid down, from an absolute despair of combining the adequate prerequisites, the idea of such a critical estimate was abandoned ; and it was proposed that, instead of it, a concise Memoir, more strictly biographical, should be given.
Mr. Hall's family, and the friends immediately interested in the completion and success of these Works, strongly urged me to this additional undertaking; and though I for some weeks resisted all entreaty, and suggested applications to others, whom I sincerely thought much better qualified, yet, finding that the Works, regarded as literary property, were receiving injury from the delay, however inevitable, I at length consented to prepare the Memoir, modified, as it must be, by the necessities of the case. . The reasons which so long prevented me from yielding to the wishes of these friends may now be adduced in apology for the imperfections with which I am persuaded the Memoir abounds. I have had incessantly to encounter difficulties arising from the nature of the undertaking, --from the contrast, which will assuredly force itself upon every reader, between my unfitness to prepare any memorial of Mr. Hall, and the peculiar fitness of the distinguished individual to whom the public had been looking --from the extraordinary character of the subject of the Memoir,--from the want of such incidents and events as give interest to biography, except, indeed, one or two, upon which no man of delicacy and feeling could dwell,from an indifferent state of health, and such a total want of leisure as never allowed me to devote two successive days, and seldom indeed two successive hours, to the
labour,-from the utter impracticability of postponing it to a more favourable season; and, in addition to all the preceding, the difficulties growing out of a sense of incompetency, perpetually felt, to discharge with spirit and success the functions of a biographer ; the habits of my life, which have been those of demonstration, disqualifying me, at least in my own judgment, for biographical or other narration.
In the midst of so many difficulties, I have endeavoured, to the extent of my own information, and such authentic 'information as I could collect from others, to make the reader acquainted with the principal facts in Mr. Hall's life, with his pursuits, his manners, his deportment in private and domestic life, and as a minister. I have, in short, aimed to trace him from childhood to maturity, from maturity to his death, and throughout to present a plain, simple, accurate, and, I hope, a sufficiently full account of this most eminent and estimable man. His extraordinary talents as a writer will be infinitely better inferred from the perusal of his Works, than from any such critical examination of them as I could have presented. Some of the hints which are occasionally introduced as I have proceeded may, perhaps, assist in illustrating a few peculiarities in his intellectual character ; or, by connecting some of his productions with the circumstances in which they were composed, may probably cause them to be perused with additional interest. But I have kept in view a still higher object,—that of tracing him in his social and moral relations, and showing how gradually, yet how completely, his fine talents and acquirements became subordinated to the power of Divine grace, and devoted to the promotion of the glory of God, and the happiness of man.
Fearing, however, that my own biographical sketch will convey but an inadequate idea, even of Mr. Hall's private and social character, I have inserted, in an Appendix, communications received from three friends, and which will, I trust, serve considerably to supply my deficiencies.
Mr. Hall's qualities as a preacher I have attempted to describe briefly, as they fell under my own notice at Cambridge ; at a season when they had nearly reached their meridian with regard to intellect and eloquence, though not with respect to all the higher requisites of ministerial duty. I have also inserted in the Appendix a short account of Mr. Hall's preaching in 1821, written by the late Mr. John Scott. These, with the more comprehensive, elaborate, and philosophical “Observations," from the pen of Mr. Foster, will, I trust, enable such as never had the privilege of listening to Mr. Hall's instructions from the pulpit, to form a tolerable estimate of his power as a
preacher. Although, as will be perceived, I differ from Mr. Foster in some of his opinions and criticisms, yet I cannot but fully appreciate the peculiar fidelity and corresponding beauty with which he has delineated, not merely the more prominent excellences of Mr. Hall's sermons, both with regard to structure and delivery, but some of those which, while they are palpable as to their result, are latent as to their sources, until they are brought to light by Mr. Foster's peculiar faculty of mental research. And hence it will, I am persuaded, be found, that while he only professes to describe the character of his friend "as a preacher," he has successfully explored, and correctly exhibited, those attributes of his intellectual character which caused both his preaching and his writing to be so singularly delightful and impressive.
In all that is thus presented, whether by my several correspondents, by Mr. Foster, or by myself, the object has not been to overload the character of our deceased friend with extravagant eulogium; but by describing it as it has been viewed by different individuals, to enable the public-and may I not add, posterity ?-to form, from their combined result, a more accurate estimate of his real character, intellectual, moral, and religious, than could be gathered from the efforts of any single writer.
To add to the usefulness of the Works, by facilitating reference to any part of them, a gentleman of competent judgment and information has prepared the general Index, which is placed at the end of this volume.
The whole Works are now committed to the public, with the persuasion that every part, except that which the editor has felt his own inability to execute successfully, will be favourably received; and that the greater portion of the contents will be found permanently interesting, instructive, and valuable.
OLINTHUS GREGORY. Royal MILITARY ACADEMY,
5th Dec. 1832.