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The consequence was, a very general apprehension throughout the country of an impending revolution, at a time when, I will venture to say, the people were more heartwhole than they had been for a hundred years previously. After I had travelled in Sicily and Italy, countries where there were real grounds for fear, I became deeply impressed with the difference. Now, after a long continuance of high national glory and influence, when a revolution of a most searching and general character is actually at work, and the old institutions of the country are all awaiting their certain destruction or violent modification — the people at large are perfectly secure, sleeping or gambolling on the very brink of a volcano.
June 15. 1833.
VIRTUE AND LIBERTY. – EPISTLE TO
THE ROMANS. – ERASMUS. — LUTH-ER.
The necessity for external government to man is in an inverse ratio to the vigour of his self-government. Where the last is most complete, the first is least wanted. Hence, the more virtue the more liberty.
I think St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans the most profound work in existence; and I hardly believe that the writings of the old Stoics, now lost, could have been deeper. Undoubtedly it is, and must be, very obscure to ordinary readers; but some of the difficulty is accidental, arising from the form in which the Epistle appears. If we could now arrange this work in the way in which we may be sure St. Paul would himself do, were he now alive, and preparing it for the press, his reasoning would stand out clearer. His
accumulated parentheses would be thrown into notes, or extruded to the margin. You will smile, after this, if I say that I think I understand St. Paul; and I think so, because, really and truly, I recognize a cogent consecutiveness in the argument — the only evidence I know that you understand any book. How different is the style of this intensely passionate argument from that of the catholic circular charge called the Epistle to the Ephesians ! — and how different that of both from the style of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, which I venture to call énicToda Παυλοειδείς.
Erasmus's paraphrase of the New Testament is clear and explanatory; but you cannot expect any thing very deep from Erasmus. The only fit commentator on Paul was Luther — not by any means such a gentleman as the Apostle, but almost as great a genius.
June 17. 1833.
HAVE you been able to discover any principle in this Emancipation Bill for the Slaves, except a principle of fear of the abolition party struggling with a fear of causing some monstrous calamity to the empire at large! Well! I will not prophesy ; and God grant that this tremendous and unprecedented act of positive enactment may not do the harm to the cause of humanity and freedom which I cannot but fear! But yet, what can be hoped, when all human wisdom and counsel are set at nought, and religious faith -- the only miraculous agent amongst men — is not invoked or regarded ! and that most unblest phrase — the Dissenting interest - enters into the question !
June 22. 1833.
HACKET'S LIFE OF ARCHBISHOP WIL. LIAMS. - CHARLES I. — MANNERS UNDER EDWARD III., RICHARD II., AND HENRY VIII.
What a delightful and instructive book Bishop Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams is ! You learn more from it of that which is valuable towards an insight into the times preceding the Civil War than from all the ponderous histories and memoirs now composed about that period.
Charles seems to have been a very disagreeable personage during James's life. There is nothing dutiful in his demeanour.
I think the spirit of the court and nobility of Edward III. and Richard II. was less gross than that in the time of Henry VIII. ; for in this latter period the chivalry had evapo