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Locke may have had an agency in producing it. Certain it is that he was imprisoned in the Tower, and afterwards retreated to Holland where he died. Locke attended him in his exile and disgrace. It was after the death of Shaftsbury, that he replied to William Penn, who offered to procure his pardon from James the Second, that he had no need of
any pardon, since he had not been guilty of any crime.' We know that he had all the feelings of an Englishman, and that the eye of the exile always turns with fond devotion to his native country. His declining this favor, reminds us of the example of St. Paul, to which we have before adverted, and shows that the principles which he recommended in his works really governed his actions.
It is true that from his father he might have derived liberal ideas on the subject of civil obedience and freedom. His father was an officer in the parliamentary army, and was always spoken of by his son, as an able and conscientious man. Locke particularly approved his father's systein of education, the outline of which he has probably given us in his own writings on that subject. This system has not found much favor ; but it is perhaps as good as any system can be on such a subject. A system contains general rules, which are to be applied with great discrimination to particular cases. The same course of discipline which one mind requires, might be fatal to another, so that no general rules are of any value, without sagacity and judgment to apply them; and, as those who possess the practical qualifications, pay regard to particular cases, and not to general maxims, systems are generally found to be of but little value. Too much has been said concerning improvements in education and too little done; the word itself is in danger of being brought into contempt by those who have the interests of their race at heart. They expect quick and almost miraculous results in the character of individuals and nations; they suppose that the means of instruction will be more valued, in proportion as they are placed within the reach of all; whereas, to vulgar apprehension, this renders them cheap and common, satisfies curiosity too easily, separates labor and attainment, and sows information broadcast upon intellectual ground not prepared to receive it. We admire the spirit which is now brought to bear on this most important subject; but we fear lest expectations too highly raised, may lead on to disappointment. The life of man is too short to allow him to see the full result of any great moral impulse given to the world, and some of those who are now most ardent in the great cause of improvement, not meeting with success in their benevolent hopes and wishes, may give over their exertions in despair. The course taken by Locke, was to set down his remarks as they were suggested by his own experience in education; and his treatise, with but little pretension, contains many excellent maxims; most of them however are now familiar, though, when he first published them, they were a new and striking improvement on the practice of that day.
It is well known that Locke expressed much dissatisfaction with education as conducted at Oxford when he resided at the University; but we suspect that he would have felt little delight, could he have foreseen, that all who had smarted under college discipline, would bring his great authority in favor of doing it away. Almost every biographer of lawless genius, has thought it incumbenton him to remind his readers that Milton and Locke were sworn foes to college laws; intending doubtless to lead to the inference, that great minds cannot submit to restraint and guidance, and do not need them. Unhappily their argument, which is not very forcible at the best, has led
of their younger readers to believe, that, whereas great minds disdain college restraints, whoever disdains such restraints bas of course a great and independent mind. We apprehend, that, in a large proportion of cases, those who act upon this maxim, will prove somewhat inferior to Locke and Milton, even though they should be satisfied by the representations of these judicious biographers, that this was actually the way by which those men reached a station, so high and magnificent among the prophets old.' By their intuitive discernment, they knew a better way to improvement than colleges and schools could teach them; but there are few to whom it is given to go beyond their own age, and to anticipate the future. It is a prophetic power, and those who have possessed it, are always named with reverence as if they were subjects of divine inspiration.
The subjects of study which first interested the mind of Locke were not those in which he was afterwards so distinguished; though, in a mind like his, every thing is converted into improvement. Having a slender constitution, he endeavoured to become acquainted with medical science, so far as to be able to prescribe for his own complaints ; and he suc
ceeded so well as to receive a high compliment from Dr. Sydenham. When he was at the age of thirty-two, he was still a student preparing for the great efforts of his later life. induced to go with Sir William Swan to Germany, but returned the same year, and applied himself with great earnestness to the study of natural philosophy. A year or two afterward, he became acquainted with Lord Ashley, who was interested in his conversation, that he invited him to reside at his house, which he did for several years, with the exception of a tour to the Continent with the Earl of Northumberland. It is much to Lord Ashley's honor, that he discovered the peculiar talents of Locke, and urged him to give his attention to intellectual and religious subjects. Fortunately for himself and the world, Locke took the advice, and had no reason afterward to repent having listened to the suggestion.
Locke had the opportunity of requiting the kindness of Lord Ashley, not only by fast friendship to himself, but by kindness to his son, a man of infirm health, who was never distinguished for ability, and also to his grandson, who was afterwards celebrated as the author of the Characteristics.' Locke seems to have succeeded in giving his pupil large and liberal views on the subject of government and human rights ; but he was not equally fortunate with respect to religion ; for,
whether infected by the fashion of the day, and thus induced to pass lightly over the subject, we know not,
- he was a skeptical writer. It would be very easy to say, that it was love of paradox and seeming independence which made him an unbeliever; but we fear that Christians have been too ready to attribute unworthy motives to those, who are not convinced of the truth of their religion. The evidence which it brings with it is not, and was not meant to be, overwhelming; it was, apparently, the design of Heaven to afford only a sufficient amount of evidence to satisfy every reasonable and impartial' mind. Now, many intelligent minds, from their peculiar habits of thought, have brought themselves into such a state that they could not be affected by this measure of evidence; and, because the subject is more important than any other, have required more evidence than they would have thought of demanding in the case of any
historical fact or any incident of the day. This, it is true, is neither reasonable nor right; but in such an instance we should regard the unbeliever as an unfortunate rather than a guilty
N. S. VOL. VI. NO. III.
man; and we think that Christians have shown too much readiness to condemn unbelievers in the mass, as if there were no difference between one who, like Shaftsbury, treated Christianity with respect, while he doubted its truth, and one who, like Gibbon, employed the full power of his bitter irony to expose the religion to hatred and scorn.
It is very possible that there are unbelievers who are not far from the kingdom of God, and who feel the influence, and are governed by the maxims, of the religion, though they are not persuaded that it came miraculously from on high.
We should never think of placing them on the same level with those, who miss no opportunity of insulting the faith of Jesus, and labor to deprive others of its hopes and consolations. There is no need of anger, however, against them, for Christianity has a self-redeeming power. We have no doubt that whoever reads Gibbon, does, whether he is conscious of it or not, make a distinction in his own mind between Christianity and Christians, feeling, as he reads the follies and crimes of Christians, that they all arose from their disloyalty to their holy religion ; and thus, while they turn over the history of the church with contempt and aversion, bear testimony, without knowing it, to the excellence of Christianity.
Locke's great work, the · Essay on the Human Understanding,' which employed his time and thought for many years, was completed in 1687, while he was still abroad; but was not published till 1689, when the accession of William to the throne rendered it safe for him to live in England. This work is the one upon which his fame will rest, though some of his other writings, to which we shall refer, were equally honorable to him as a philosopher. When it appeared, it received a storm of censure. The University of Oxford used all its influence to bring it into contempt; and though they could make no graver charge against it, than that they could not understand it, they affected to consider it as a dangerous publication. But it rose into authority in spite of all opposition, and ever since he has ruled like a sovereign in this department of mind. Various attempts have been made to dethrone him by later metaphysicians, and on the continent he is spoken of by distinguished philosophers with a bitterness which implies more fear than disdain. The philosophic nobleman, who, in his Sardinian Evenings, so magisterially declared, that the contempt of Locke was the
beginning of wisdom,' may yet discover that there is a wisdom which is little better than foolishness, and that it was a sagacity of this description which dictated his own Delphic oracle. But this subject belongs not to our present purpose, which is, to hold up Locke to our readers, as a manly, sagacious, and independent, as well as a pious, humble, and fervent Christian. As a Christian philosopher, his views and feelings were inspiring and exalted. In one of his letters he says, Believe me, my friends, to love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world,'. noble maxim, which governed him in all his writings and investigations, enabling him to discover truth, where those about him saw it not, and giving him strength to declare it, though he knew that the general voice was against him. There is something affecting in one of his latest letters to a familiar friend, where he says, “Methinks (but these are often old men's dreams) I see openings to truth, and direct paths leading to it, wherein a little industry would settle one's mind with satisfaction. But this is at the end of my day, when my sun is setting. And though the prospect it has given me, is what I would not for any thing be without, there is so much irresistible truth, consistency, and beauty in it, yet it is for one of your own age to set about it.' These earnest aspirations after truth, as something more than a name, as the object most worthy to engage the best efforts of manhood and the last affections of age, this fire of the soul, kindled by the inspiration of the Almighty, and burning with a brightness which the chill of age could not extinguish, nor its shadows dim, makes us feel the conviction more forcibly than ever, that there is no death to the soul. It shows us the process by which the corruptible puts on incorruption, and the mortal immortality ; - it is an earnest of the eternal path of improvement, in which the just will advance for ever.
The well known Letter concerning Toleration was published in England in 1690, but it was written in Holland several years before, when he was under suspicion of being engaged in Monmouth's rebellion, and was therefore obliged to remain concealed under the protection of his friends. It was written in Latin, and, as soon as it appeared, commanded universal admiration. We cannot easily conceive the importance and value of this work, which, at the time, was not so much