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From a Paper just issued, of which a copy has been sent us, containing Lists of the New Books and principal Engravings published in London during the past year, it appears that the number of New Books is about 1100, exclusive of New Editions, Pamphlets, or Periodicals, being 50 less than in the year 1830. The Number of Engravings is 92 (including 50 Portraits,) 18 of which are engraved in the Line manner, 50 Mezzotint, 10 Chalk, 5 Lithograph, 6 Aquatint, and 3 Etchings. The number of Engravings published in 1830, was 107, (including 49 Portraits,) viz. 23 in Line, 57 Mezzotint, 10 Chalk, 4 Lithograph, and 13 Aquatint.
ART. VIII. WORKS RECENTLY PUBLISHED,
Charlotte's Lying in Hospital, &c. 12mo.
The Life of Wiclif. By Charles Webb Le Bas, M. A., Professor in the East India College. Herts: and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Being the First Volume of the Theological Library. 8vo. 6s.
The Life of Frederic the Second, King of Prussia. By Lord Dover. 2 vols. Svo. 11. 8s.
Annual Biography and Obituary; containing Memoirs of H. Mackenzie, Esq.; J. Jackson, Esq. R.A.; J. Abernethy, Esq.; Mrs. Siddons; Rev. Robert Hall; T. Hope, Esq.; W. Roscoe, Esq.; A. Strahan, Esq.; J. Northrote, Esq. R.A.; T. Greatorex, Esq.; Earl of Norbury, &c. &c. 8vo. 15s.
THEOLOGY. The Shaking of the Nations, with the Corresponding Duties of Christians. A Sermon preached at Craven Chapel, Regent Street, on Nov. 13th, 1831. By J. Leifchild. With an Appendix, containing an Account of some extraordinary Instances of Enthusiasm and Fanaticism in different ages of the Church. 8vo. Is. 6d.
Saturday Evening, by the Author of “Natural History of Enthusiasm." In one Vol. 8vo. 10s. 6d.
Hints to a Clergyman's Wife; or Female Parochial Duties Practically Mustrated. In one Vol. 12mo.
Luther's Table-Talk; or, some Choice Fragments from the Familiar Discourse of that godly, learned Man, and famous Champion of God's Truth, Dr. Martin Luther. 12mo, 5s.
Pestilential Cholera: its Nature, Prevention, and Cure. By James Copland, M.D. Consulting Physician to Qucen
For MARCH, 1832.
Art. I. The Works of the Rev. Robert Hall, A.M. With a brief Memoir and a Sketch of his Literary Character, by the Right Hon. Sir J. Mackintosh, LL.D. M.P. And a Sketch of his Character as a Theologian and a Preacher, by the Rev. John Foster. Published under the Superintendence of Olinthus Gregory, LL.D.F.R.A.S. Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy. In six Volumes, 8vo. Price £3. 12s. Royal Paper, £6. London, 183), 1832.
A S five volumes of this most interesting and valuable publica
tion are now before the public, one of them entirely composed of matter previously unpublished, our readers will, perhaps, deem us culpable, if we should any longer delay to devote an article to these volumes : to do justice to their contents would, indeed, require a series of papers. We will confess, however, that we enter upon the task with the reluctance inspired by timidity, and by the consciousness that it demands an abler hand. To borrow the clegant apology of Howe, in his oration on the death of Dr. Bates, • To give the just praises of Cicero, Cicerone laudatore opus
fuerit, there were need of Cicero himself to be the encomiast.' We will not add, “There is no man left to do it suitably for him.' Happily, there are survivors whose powers of mind and force of eloquence, added to their personal acquaintance with Mr. Hall, and their just appreciation of his talents and character, fully and remarkably qualify them for the service they have respectively undertaken. Ample justice will be done to the subject, and a worthy tribute of honour be paid to the memory of their distinguished friend. But this very circumstance renders our position the more embarrassing. If it does not supersede the necessity of a critical notice of these volumes, it seems to render it becoming, that we should wait to hear the estimate pronounced
VOL. VII. N.S.
upon them, and upon the literary character of their Author, by judges whose opinions is authority, and whose encomium is fame. Had not Mr. Foster's pen been so much better engaged, we should, indeed, have claimed at his hands the discharge of the duty which now devolves upon the present Contributor. We could have wished to be gratified with a perusal of his ‘Sketch,' before venturing any remarks of our own. But, as the last volume is not at present forthcoming, we must run all hazards, and attempt at least a general review of the works before us; reserving for a future article, a biographical estimate of our revered and admirable friend, when we shall have before us, the Memoir and the Sketches of Character which are to appear in the concluding volume.
When we first saw the Works of Robert Hall announced for publication in six volumes, and found that four of the six would be occupied almost entirely with the reprint of what had appeared during his life-time, we were at some loss to conceive of what they would consist. It had always been a standing matter of regret, that Mr. Hall wrote so little. For many years he had been solicited-till the urgent solicitation became to him an unspeakable annoyance-to put forth a volume of sermons. The mechanical labour of writing was extremely irksome and painful to him; and the difficulty he found in satisfying himself in his compositions, increased his disinclination to comply with the requisitions of his friends. The only production of his pen which attained the magnitude of a boarded volume, was his Reply to Mr. Kinghorn, in which an intense interest in the subject, and in the great principles the discussion involved, supplied a stimulus sufficiently powerful to overcome at once the fatigue of composition and the distaste for controversy. Now, how. ever, that all his sermons and tracts come to be collected, it is seen that Mr. Hall's avowed publications were far more numerous and considerable than was generally supposed, and that one reason of his being thought to write so little, was that he wrote so well. This was not the only reason of the incorrect impression. A volume discharged at once from the press, makes an impression upon the imagination of the public, more distinct and lasting than a long series of smaller publications put forth unobtrusively at uncertain intervals. Nor is this all. Mr. Hall, unquestionably, surpassed, in his living oratory, the finest of his written compositions. One of the most splendid and most impressive of his productions, the Sermon on the Discouragements . and Supports of the Christian Minister', originally delivered as a charge at the ordination of his friend Mr. Robertson, we have been assured by competent judges who heard it, falls far short, in its printed form, of the sublime eloquence of the Preacher. Nor is this opinion attributable to any illusion pro
duced by the voice and gesture of the orator; for, although Mr. Hall's manner was rendered commanding and impressive in no ordinary degree, by the intellectual glory which he would appear to catch from his topic, reflected on his countenance, still, his thoughts and words, when literally preserved, were found scarcely to lose any thing upon being submitted to analysis. They were not like flints glistening in the sunshine, but real ore. That the printed sermon would be inferior to the one delivered, is therefore entirely credible, and admits of an explanation that may preclude all astonishment at the fact. Although no Christian teacher of the humblest order of talent ever more honestly devoted the best faculties and resources of his mind to the preparation of his sermons, than Mr. Hall did, -always, till in his latter years, writing more or less of what he intended to preach, he was nevertheless, in the proper sense, an extemporaneous preacher. We are not aware whether or not, in early life, he made use of notes in the pulpit. If he did, he laid the practice aside, trusting to his memory the retention of the firmly knit chain of thought, but not taxing his recollection for premeditated modes of expression, which no speaker is at a loss for, who has the proper command of his ideas *. We have heard Mr. Hall remark, that he considered those as generally his best sermons, of which he wrote the most; but then he never attempted to commit to memory what he had written, his object being to prosecute and arrange his thoughts, not to elaborate his periods. And what he the most carefully composed, was the exordium of his discourses and the argumentative portion, in which he seldom affected any thing beyond a lucid perspicuity of statement, generally commencing with a brief exposition of his text, or a simple enuncia
* Since penning the above, our eye has been caught by a Note by the Editor', in reference to Mr. Hall's method of preaching, inserted at p. 9 of the first volume of the Works; from which we take the following extract. Nothing can be more erroneous than the idea, entertained by a few persons, that Mr. Hall recited his sermons memoriter, from the study of a previously written composition. His eloquence was the spontaneous result of his vigorous and richly stored intellect. ...... His usual course was, very briefly to sketch the plan of the proposed discourse, marking the divisions, specifying a few texts, and sometimes writing the first sentence. This he regarded as “ digging a channel for his thoughts to flow in". Then, caīling into exercise the power of abstraction, which he possessed in a degree I never saw equalled, he would, whether alone or not, pursue his trains of thought, retrace and extend them, until the whole were engraven on his mind; and when once so fixed in their entire connexion, they were never after obliterated. ..... The most striking and impresa sive passages were often, strictly speaking, extemporaneous.
tion of the leading propositions of his subject. The portions of his discourses which were always the most eloquent, consisted of the practical inferences, the moral application of his topic, or the concluding reflections. These touching and powerful appeals to the affections and conscience, as will be seen from the specimens in the fifth volume, were often, if not always, indicated only by heads in the prepared outline, and filled up ad libitum under the genuine excitement of the occasion, the excitement produced by the theme itself. It was in these parts of his pulpit addresses, after he had completed the ground-work of his argument, and discharged his memory of all that had been entrusted to it, that his utterance would become more rapid, and more clear and flowing in proportion to its rapidity, that his diction too seemed to catch a glow from the accelerated velocity of his ideas, and that he would throw out those flashes of expression, apparently generated by the spontaneous combustion of his thoughts, which startled or delighted his hearers, like the sudden illumination of the sky by a meteor. These fugitive corruscations of eloquence, it was next to impossible for the most accurate recollection distinctly to preserve, or for the most accomplished stenographer to transfer to his tablets. No previous elaboration could have produced such genuine bursts of felicitous oratory, nor any inferior theme have inspired them, than the realities connected with Eternity.
It is not very surprising, then, that Mr. Hall's writings should have been thrown into the back-ground by the greater prominence and more indisputable pre-eminence which attached to him as a pulpit orator ; and that publications which would have been deemed amply sufficient to confer on an unknown author a brilliant celebrity, and numerous enough to entitle an ordinary one to the merit of a prolific industry, should scarcely have added very sensibly to Mr. Hall's fame, or have satisfied in any measure the craving expectations of the religious public. One only of his printed sermons may be regarded as an exception ; for that sermon, the most carefully composed, the most elaborately finished, and the most magnificent, perhaps, of all his published writings, not even excepting the Sermon on Modern Infidelity, certainly extended, and, had he left nothing else, would have justified to posterity his fame as a preacher. We refer to the Sermon on the Death of the Princess Charlotte, which its Author is reported to have himself regarded as his chef dæuvre, and in which he may fairly be considered as having surpassed the finest effusions of Bossuet, of whom, in that discourse more especially, he reminds us. The extraordinary sale of that discourse may be ascribed in some measure to the engrossing popular interest which the occasion awakened, and to the attractions which even a sermon borrowed from the name of the Princess over whose grave it was