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The concluding years of his life were calm and beautiful. He spent them at his country residence of Highwood. More and more his eye turned toward the home he was now nearing; through his vivacity, through his still fresh activity, there shone more and more the softening, mellowing light of holiness. He loved to expatiate under the open sky, to watch the dewdrops, to gaze long and with unsated delight upon flowers, the rising gratitude and delight of his soul flowing forth in the words in which King David voiced similar feelings on the battlements of Zion, three thousand years ago. “Surely,” he would
“flowers are the smiles of God's goodness.” In 1832, he passed tranquilly into his rest.
Richly gifted by nature, Wilberforce never repaired the waste and dissipation of his faculties in those years
when a man ought to be undergoing a serious and methodic education. The mighty intellectual powers were not his: the strength of far-reaching, penetrating thought, the comprehensive and ordered memory, the imagination of inevitable eye and creative hand. Unless that perpetual glow of feeling, that free and exuberant fertility of wit, that natural power of eloquence and acting, come within the strained limits of a definition of genius, he certainly had none. But in the evening of his days he could look over his life, and recall the hour when he had devoted himself to the Saviour, and thank God, without hypocrisy, that he had been enabled in measure to perform his
His life was not ineffective or dark; it was spent in the joblest manner in which a man can live, in advancing the glory of earth's eternal King, by blessing that creature man whom He has appointed its king in time; and over it there lies divine grace, uniting, harmonizing, beautifying all, like the bow of God's covenant.
I treating our next biographic subject, we are furnished with a fitting opportunity of noting, in certain important and suggestive particulars, the general mode in which the social relations would shape themselves out in a state of Christian freedom. Our glance here becomes wider; we touch upon the vital question of the relation between man and man, as free and equal members of one commonwealth; and we are thu appropriately introduced to our final chapter.
BUDGETT: THE CHRISTIAN FREEMAN,
What is that one point in which nature surpasses all novelists and depictors of character, and by their relative approach to which, all such are to be ranked, from Shakespeare downward ? It is the union of variety with consistency. To draw the man of one idea is easy : you have just to represent him, in all circumstances however distracting, with his thoughts running in one channel; on all occasions however irrelevant, introducing his favorite topic; and, unseduced by any evils incurred or benefits foregone, spending health and wealth in the indulgence of his propensity. Don Quixote, Mr. Shandy, and my beloved Uncle Toby, are models in this sort. To draw the man who is a bundle of inconsistencies is also easy : to attain this, you have simply to pay no attention to what your character, as an individual, either says or does, putting your own opinions, on all subjects, into his mouth, making him act, in all cases, just as the hour suggests, and always exacting from him the heroism to abandon his own individuality, to contradict himself in opinion and action, in order to advance your plot, or bring you out of a difficulty. Now, nature never produces a man whose whole existence is simply and solely one idea, although she comes very near it; for the most part her way is to give men a large variety of qualities, opinions, powers: the man of absolute inconsistency she never produces at all: her own unat
tainable skill is shown in the delicate graduation and adjustment of powers so that they can live at peace in one bosom, and the man is a single personal identity. As she has struck a beautiful harmony in the senses, so that, in their variety, they result in unity, so does she unite variety with unity in the individual character; her men are not single lines, nor does she piece together contradictions; weakness and strength in action, unless each is fitful, warmth and coldness of heart, clearness and obscurity of intellect, generosity and niggardliness of disposition, never co-exist. We deem this an important principle both in criticism and biography. Macaulay and Sir James Stephen have noted nature's variety, but we do not remember to have seen the whole truth of her variety in consistency stated. Shylock, cited by Macaulay, shows indeed many passions; but they are of a household; they have all a hellish scowl; hatred, revenge, avarice, fanaticism, darken his brow and eye, but they admit no alien gleam from love, forgiveness, or generosity; he is just such a character as nature would produce, and as he who held the mirror up to nature could paint. So it is in every other case instanced by Mr. Macaulay, and so it must always be in nature. To expound fully, and apply the principle, might make a valuable chapter in criticism. But biography, and not criticism, is our present business. The dramatist or novelist, and the biographer differ in this; the former have for their aim to attain, amid diversity, a natural harmony; the latter has nature's unity given, and his task is to show how its variations cohere and are consistent. When, after fair scrutiny, you find a character, in a novel or drama, acting inconsistently, decide that the author is so far incompetent; when you see a man in life acting in a manner which appears to you contradictory, conclude you do not understand him. To our task.
About the beginning of this century there was, at the village school of Kimmersden, near Coleford, in Somersetshire, a boy about ten years of age. He had been born at Wrington, another Somersetshire village, in 1794, of poor shop-keeping people, who seem to have been hard put to it to find a livelihood; for they went from village to village, seeking a sure though humble maintenance, and it was only after many a shift that they opened a little general shop in Coleford. He was in some respects distinguished from his fellows. One day he picked up a horse-shoe, went with it three miles, and got a penny for it. He managed to lay together one or two other pennies, and commenced trading among his school-fellows. Lozenges, marbles, and so forth, were his wares. He sold to advantage, and his capital increased. By calculation on the prices charged in the shops, by buying in large and selling in small quantities, by never losing an opportunity or wasting a penny, by watching for bargains and stiffly insisting on adherence to their terms, he laid shilling to shilling, and pound to pound, until, at the age of fifteen, he was master of thirty pounds sterling. The spectacle can not be called pleasing. A boy, whose feelings should have shared in the exuberance and free generosity of youth, converted into a premature skinflint and save-all; the frosty prudence of life's autumn crisping and killing the young leaflets and budding blossoms of life's spring; a rivulet in the mountains already banked and set to turn a mill;-surely the less we hear of such a boy the better—was he born with a multiplication table in his mouth? This boy's name was Samuel Budgett.
A touch of romance is a salutary ingredient in character, in boyhood and youth it is particularly charming; but there is a possibility it may go too far, and a sentimental, tearful child, who is always giving some manifestation of the finer feelings