Warburton, William

, an English prelate of great abilities and eminence, was born at Newark-upon-Trent, | in the county of Nottingham, Dec. 24, 1698. His father was George Warburton, an attorney and town-clerk of the place in which this his eldest son received his birth and education. His mother was Elizabeth, the daughter of William Hobman, an alderman of the same town; and his parents were married about 1696. The family of Dr. Warburton came originally from the county of Chester, where his great-grandfather resided. His grandfather, William Warburton, a royalist during the rebellion, was the first that settled at Newark, where he practised the law, and was coroner of the county of Nottingham. George Warburton, the father, died about 1706, leaving his widow and five children, two sons and three daughters, of which the second son, George, died young; but, of the daughters, one- survived her brother. The bishop received the early part of his education under Mr. Twells, whose son afterwards married his sister Elizabeth; but he was principally trained under Mr. Wright, then master of Okehamschool in Rutlandshire, and afterwards vicar of Campden in Gloucestershire. Here he continued till the beginning of 1714, when his cousin Mr. William Warburton being made head -master of Newark-school, he returned to his native place, and was for a short time under the care of that learned gentleman. During his stay at school, he did not distinguish himself by any extraordinary efforts of genius or application, yet is supposed to have acquired a competent knowledge of Greek and Latin. His original designation was to the same profession as that of his father and grandfather; and he was accordingly placed clerk to Mr. Kirke, an attorney at East Markham in Nottinghamshire, with whom he continued till April 1719, when he was qualified to engage in business upon his own account. He was then admitted to one of the courts at Westminster, and for some years continued the employment of an attorney and solicitor at the place of his birth. The success he met with as a man of business was probably not great. It was certainly insufficient to induce him to devote the rest of his life to it: and it is probable, that his want of encouragement might tempt him to turn his thoughts towards a profession in which his literary acquisitions would be more valuable, and in which he might more easily pursue the bent of his inclination. He appears to have brought from school more learning than was requisite for a practising lawyer. This might rather impede than forward his | progress; as it has been generally observed, that an attention to literary concerns, and the bustle of an attorney’s office, with only a moderate share of business, are wholly incompatible. It is therefore no wonder that he preferred retirement to noise, and relinquished what advantages he might expect from continuing to follow the law. It has been suggested by an ingenious writer, that he was for some time usher to a school, but this probably was founded on his giving some assistance to his relation at Newark, who in his turn assisted him in those private studies to which he was now attached; and his love of letters continually growing stronger, the seriousness of his temper, and purity of his morals, concurring, determined him to quit his profession for the church. In 1723 he received deacon’s orders from archbishop Dawes and his first printed work then appeared, consisting of translations from Cæsar, Pliny, Claudian, and others, under the title of “Miscellaneous Translations in Prose and Verse, from Roman Poets, Orators, and Historians,” 12mo. It is dedicated to hig early patron, sir Robert Sutton, who, in 1726, when Mr. Warburton had received priest’s orders from bishop Gibson, employed his interest to procure him the small vicarage of Gryesly in Nottinghamshire. About Christmas, 1726, he came to London, and, while there, was introduced to Theobald, Concanen, and other of Mr. Pope’s enemies, the novelty of whose conversation had at this time many charms for him, and he entered too eagerly into their cabals and prejudices. It was at this time that he wrote a letter *


This letter, which Dr. Akenside says will probably be remembered as long as any of the bishop’s writings, has been lately given to the world by Mr. Malone, in the Supplement to Shakspeare."

to Concanen, dated Jan. 2, 1726, very disrespectful to Pope, which, by accident, falling into the hands of the late Dr. Akenside, was produced to most of that gentleman’s friends, and became the subject of much speculation. About this time he also communicated to Theobald some notes on Shakspeare, which afterwards appeared in that critic’s edition of our great dramatic poet. In 1727, his second work, entitled “A Critical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Causes of Prodigies and Miracles, as related by Historians,” &c. was published in 12mo, and was also dedicated to sir Robert Sutton in a prolix article of twenty pages. In 1727 he published a treatise, under the title of “The Legal Judicature in Chancery | stated,” which he undertook at the particular request of Samuel Burroughs, esq. afterwards a master in Chancery, who put the materials into his hands, and spent some time in the country with him during the compilation of the work. On April 25, 1728, by the interest of sir Robert Sutton, he had the honour to be in the king’s list of masters of arts, created at Cambridge on his majesty’s visit to that university. In June, the same year, he was presented by sir Robert Sutton to the rectory of Burnt or Brand Broughton, in the diocese of Lincoln, and neighbourhood of Newark, where he fixed himself accompanied by his mother and sisters, to whom he was ever a most affectionate relative. Here he spent a considerable part of the prime of life in a studious retirement, devoted entirely to letters, and there planned, and in part executed, some of his most important works. They, says his biographer, who are unacquainted with the enthusiasm which true genius inspires, will hardly conceive the possibility of that intense application, with which Mr. Warburton pursued his studies in this retirement. Impatient of any interruptions, he spent the whole of his time that could be spared from the duties of his parish, in reading and writing. His constitution was strong, and his temperance extreme; so that he needed no exercise but that of walking; and a change of reading, or study, was his only amusement.

Several years elapsed after obtaining this preferment, before Mr. Warburton appeared again in the world as a writer.*


At least there was nothing published that can be with certainty ascribed to him. In 1732, his palron, sir Robert Sutton, having been a memher of the Charitable Corporation, fell under the censure of the House of Commons, on account of that iniquitous business. He was expelled the House, and his foi-iune for some time seemed to be holden but on a precarious tenure. On this occasion a pamphlet appeared, entitled “An Apology for sir. Robert Sutton,” It can only be conjectured, that Dr. Warburton had some concern in this produetion; but, when the connexion between him and sir Robert, and the recent obligation received from that gentleman, are considered, it will not be thought unlikely that he might,. on this oecasion, afford his patron some assistance by his pen.

In 1736 he exhibited a plan of a new edition of Velleius Paierculus, which he printed in the “Bibliotheque Britannique, ou Histoire des Ouvrages des Savans de la Grande Bretagne, pour les mois’ Juillet, Aout, & Sept. 1736. A la Haye.” The design never was completed. Dr. Middleton, in a letter to him dated April 9, 1737, returns him thanks for his letters, as well as the Journal, which, says he, “came to my hands soon after the date of | my last. I had before seen theforce of your critical genius very successfully employed o’n Shakspeare, but did not know you had ever tried it on the Latin authors. I am pleased with several of your emendations, and transcribed them into the margin of my editions; though not equally with them all. It is a laudable and liberal amusement, to try now and then in our reading the success of a conjecture but, in the present state of the generality of the old writers, it can hardly be thought a study fit to employ a life upon, at least not worthy, I am sure, of your talents and industry, which, instead of trifling on words, seem calculated rather to correct the opinions and manners of the world.” These sentiments of his friend appear to have had their due weight; for, from that time, the intended edition was laid aside, and never afterwards resumed. It was in this year, 1736, that he may be said to have emerged from the obscurity of a private life into the notice of the world. The first publication, which rendered him afterwards famous, now appeared, under the title of “The Alliance between Church and State; or, the necessity and equity of an established religion and a test-law, demonstrated from the essence and end of civil society, upon the fundamental principles of the law of nature and nations.” In this acute and comprehensive work he discusses the obligation which lies upon every Christian community to tolerate the sentiments, and even the religious exercises of those who, in the incurable diversity of human opinion, dissent from her doctrines; and the duty which she owes to herself of prohibiting by some test the intrusion into civil offices of men who would otherwise endanger her existence by open hostility, or by secret treachery. His biographer, bishop Kurd, remarks, that this work was neither calculated to please the high church divines, nor the low but, he adds, that “although few at that time were convinced, all were struck by this essay of an original writer, and could not dissemble their admiration of the ability which appeared in the construction of it.” “There was, indeed,” continues Hurd, “a reach of thought in this system of church policy, which would prevent its making its way at once. It required time and attention, even in the most capable of its readers, to apprehend the force of the argumentation, and a more than common share of candour to adopt the conclusion, when they did. The author ha^i therefore reason to be satisfied with the reception of his | theory, such as it was; and having thoroughly persuaded himself of its truth, as well as importance, he continued to enlarge and improve it in several subsequent editions; and in the last, by the opportunity which some elaborate attempts of his adversaries to overturn it, had afforded him, he exerted his whole strength upon it, and has left it in a condition to brave the utmost efforts of future criticism.” The late bishop Horsley, in his “Review of the case of the Protestant Dissenters” published in 1787, says that Warburton has in this work “shewn the general good policy of an establishment, and the necessity of a test for its security, upon principles which republicans themselves cannot easily deny. His work is one of the finest specimens that are to be found, perhaps, in any language, of scientific reasoning applied to a political subject.

In the close of the first edition of the “Alliance” was announced the scheme of “The Divine Legation of Moses,” in which he had at this time made a considerable progress. The first volume of this work was published in January 1737-8, under the title of “The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated on the principles of a religious deist, from the omissions of the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in the Jewish dispensation: in six books.” This was, as the author afterwards observed, fallen upon in so outrageous and brutal a manner as had been scarcely pardonable had it been “The Divine Legation of Mahomet.” It produced several answers, and so much abuse from the authors of “The Weekly Miscellany,” that in less than two months he was constrained to defend himself in “A Vindication of the Author of the Divine Legation of Moses, from the aspersions of the Country Clergyman’s Letter in the Weekly Miscellany of February 14, 1737-8,” 8vo. The principle of the “Divine Legation” was not less bold and original than the execution. That the doctrine of a future state of reward and punishment was omitted in the books of Moses, had been insolently urged by infidels against the truth of his mission, while divines were feebly occupied in seeking what was certainly not to be found there, otherwise than by inference and implication. But Warburton, with an intrepidity unheard of before, admitted the proposition in its fullest extent, and proceeded to demonstrate from that very omission, which in all instances of legislation, merely human, had been industriously avoided, that a system which could dispense with a doctrine, | the very bond and cement of human society, must have come from God, and that the people to whom it was given must have been placed under his immediate superintendence. But it has been well observed, that although in the hands of such a champion, the warfare so conducted might be safe, the experiment was perilous, and the combatant a stranger: hence the timid were alarmed, the formal disconcerted; even the veteran leaders of his own party were scandalized by the irregular act of heroism; and he gave some cause of alarm, and even of dissatisfaction, to the friends of revelation. They foresaw, and deplored a consequence, which we believe has in some instances actually followed; namely, that this hardy and inventive champion has been either misconceived or misrepresented, as having chosen the only firm ground on which the divine authority of the Jewish legislator could be maintained; whereas that great truth should be understood to rest on a much wider and firmer basis: for could the hypothesis of Warburton be demonstrated to be inconclusive; had it even been discovered (which, from the universal knowledge of the history of nations at present is impossible) that a system of legislation, confessedly human, had actually been instituted and obeyed without any reference to a future state, still the divine origin and authority of the Jewish polity would stand pre-eminent and alone. Instituted in a barbarous age, and in the midst of universal idolatry, a system which taught the proper unity of the Godhead; denominated his person by a sublime and metaphysical name, evidently implying self-existence; which, in the midst of fanatical Bloodshed and lust, excluded from its ritual every thing libidinous or cruel, (for the permission to offer up beasts in sacrifice is no more objectionable than that of their slaughter for human food, and both are positively humane,) the refusal in the midst of a general intercommunity of gods, to admit the association of any of them with Jehovah: all these particulars, together with the purity and sanctity of the moral law, amount to a moral demonstration that the religion came from God.

Warburton’s Divine Legation, says the same masterly writer to whom we are indebted for the preceding observavations ,*


Quarterly Review, No. XIV. Review of Warburton’s Works, an article of uncommon ability, which we wish we were at liberty to assign to its proper author.

is one of the few theological, and still fewer | controversial works, which scholars perfectly indifferent to such subjects will ever read with delight. The novelty of the hypothesis, the masterly conduct of the argument, the hard blows which this champion of faith and orthodoxy is ever dealing about him against the enemies of both, the scorn with which he represses shallow petulance, and the inimitable acuteness with which he exposes dishonest sophistry, the compass of literature which he displays, his widely extended views of ancient polity and religion, but, above all, that irradiation of unfailing and indefectible genius which, like the rich sunshine of an Italian landscape, illuminates the whole, — all these excellences will rivet alike the attention of taste, and reason, and erudition, as Jong as English literature shall exist while many a< standard work, perhaps equally learned and more convincing, is permitted to repose upon the shelf. But it is in his episodes and digressions that Warburton’S powers of reason and brilliancy of fancy are most conspicuous. They resemble the wanton movements of some powerful and half-broken quadruped, who, disdaining to pace along the highway under a burden which would subdue any other animal of his species, starts aside at every turn to exercise the native elasticity of his muscles, and throw off the waste exuberance of his strength and spirits. Of these the most remarkable are his unfortunate hypothesis concerning the origin and late antiquity of the Book of Job, his elaborate and successful Disquisition on Hieroglyphics and Picturewriting, and his profound and original Investigation of the Mysteries.

Mr. Warburton’s extraordinary merit had now attracted the notice of the heir-apparent to the crown, in whose immediate service we find him in June 1738, when he published “Faith working by Charity to Christian edification; a sermon preached at the last episcopal visitation for confirmation in the diocese of Lincoln; with a preface, shewing the reasons of its publication; and a postscript, occasioned by some letters lately published in the Weekly Miscellany: by William Warburton, M. A. chaplain to his royal highness the prince of Wales.A second edition of “The Divine Legation” also appeared in November 1738. In March 1739, the world was in danger of being deprived of this extraordinary genius by an intermitting fever, which with some difficulty was relieved by a plentiful use of the bark. His reputation was now rising everyday; and he | about this time rendered a service tt> Pope, by means of which he acquired an ascendancy over that great poet, which will astonish those who observe the air of superiority which, until this connection, had been shewed in all Pope’s friendships, even with the greatest men of the age. The “Essay on Man” had been now published some years and it is universally supposed that the author had, in the composition of it, adopted the philosophy of lord Bolingbroke, whom on this occasion he had followed as his guide, without understanding the tendency of his principles. In 1758 M. de Crousaz wrote some remarks on it, accusing the author of Spinosism and Naturalism; which falling into Mr. Warburton’s hands he published a defence of the first epistle in “The Works of the Learned,” and soon after of the remaining three, in seven letters, of which six were pri.nted in 1739, and the seventh in June 1740, under the title of “A Vindication of Mr. Pope’s Essay on Man, by the author of the Divine Legation.” The opinion which Mr. Pope conceived of these defences, as well as of their author, will be best seen in his letters. In consequence, a firm friendship was established between them, which continued with much undiminished fervour until the death of Mr. Pope, who, during the remainder of his life, paid a deference and respect to his friend’s judgment and abilities which will be considered by many as almost bordering on servility.

In 1741 the second volume of “The Divine Legation,” in two parts, containing books IV. V. VI. was published; as was also a second edition of the “Alliance between Church and State.” In the summer of that year Mr. Pope and Mr. Warburton, in a country-ramble, took Oxford in their way, where they parted; Mr. Pope, after one day’s stay, going westward; and Mr. Warburton, who stayed aday after him to visit Dr. Conybeare, then dean of Christ Church, returning to London. On that day the vice chancellor, Dr. Leigh, sent a message to his lodgings with the usual compliment, to know if a doctor’s degree in divinity would be acceptable to him; to which such an iuiiswer was returned as so civil a message deserved. About the same time Mr. Pope had the like offer made him of a doctor’s degree in law, which he seemed disposed to accept, until he learnt that some impediment had been thrown in the way of his friend’s receiving the compliment intended for him by the vice-chancellor. He then absolutely | refused that proposed to himself. “Mr. Pope,” says Hurd, “retired with some indignation to Twickenham, but consoled himself and his friend with this sarcastic reflection, ‘ We shall take our degree together in fame, whatever we do at the university?” This biographer also informs us that “the university seemed desirous of enrolling their narmes among their graduates,” but that “intrigue and envy defeated this scheme.” He adds, that this was “the fault of one or two of its (the university’s) members,” a number surely insufficient to produce such an effect. But the real history of this matter seems never to have been given.

Mr. Pope’s affection for Mr. Warburton was of service to him in more respects than merely increasing his fame. He introduced and warmly recommended him to most of his friends, and amongst the rest to Ralph Allen, esq. of Prior Park, whose niece he some years afterwards married. In consequence of this introduction, we find Mr. Warburton at Bath in 1742. There he printed a sermon which had been preached at the abbey-church, on the 24th of October, for the benefit of Mr. Allen’s favourite charity, the general hospital, or infirmary. To this sermon, which was published at the request of the governors, was added, “A* short account of the nature, rise, and progress, of the General Infirmary, at Bath.” In this year also he printed a dissertation on the Origin of Books of Chivalry, at the end of Jarvis’s preface to a translation of Don Quixote, which, Mr. Pope tells him, he had not got over two paragraphs of before he cried out, < Aut Erasmus, aut Dmbolus. 1 “I knew you,” adds he, “as certainly as the ancients did the Gods, by the first pace and the very gait. I have not a moment to express myself in; but could not omit this, which delighted me so much.” Mr. Tyrwhitt, however, has completely demolished Warburton’s system o-n this subject. Pope’s attention to his interest did not rest in matters which were in his own power; he recommended him to some who were more able to assist him; in particular, he obtained a promise from lord Granville, which probably, however, ended in nothing. He appears also to have been very solicitous to bring lord Bolingbroke and Mr. Warburton together, and the meeting accordingly took place, but we are told by Dr. Warton, they soon parted in mutual disgust with each other. In 1742 Mr. Warburton published “A critical and philosophical Commentary on | Mr. Pope’s Essay on Man: in which is contained a Vindication of the said Essay from the misrepresentations of Mr. de Resnel, the French translator, and of Mr. de Crousaz, professor of philosophy and mathematics in the academy of Lausanne, the commentator.” It was at this period, when Mr. Warburton had the entire confidence of Pope, that he advised him to complete the Dunciad, by changing the hero,- and adding to it a fourth book. This was accordingly executed in 1742, and published early in 1743, 4to, with notes by our author, who, in consequence of it, received his share of the castigation which Gibber liberally bestowed on both Pope and his annotator. In the latter end of the same year. he published complete editions of “The Essay on Man,” and “The Essay on Criticism:” and,from the specimen which he there exhibited of his abilities, it may be presumed Pope determined to commit to him the publication of those works which he should leave. At Pope’s desire, he about this time revised and corrected the “Essay on Homer,” as it now stands in the last edition of that translation. The publication of “The Dunciad” was the last service which our author rendered Pope in his life-time. After a lingering and tedious illness, the event of which had been long foreseen, this great poet died on the 30th of’ May, 1744; and by his will, dated the 12th of the preceding December, bequeathed to Mr. Warburton one half of his library, and the property of all such of his works already printed as he had not otherwise disposed of or alienated, and all the. profits which should arise from any edition to be printed after his death; but at the same time directed that they should be published without any future alterations. In 1744 Warburton’s assistance to Dr. Z. Grey was handsomely acknowledged in the preface to Hudibras; but with this gentleman he had afterwards a sharp controversy (See Grey.) “The Divine Legation of Moses” had now been published some time; and various answers and objections to it had started up from different quarters. In this year, 1744, Mr Warburton turned his attention to these attacks on his favourite work; and defended himself in a manner which, if it did not prove him to be possessed of much humility or diffidence, at least demonstrated that he knew how to wield the weapons of controversy with the hand of a master. His first defence now appeared under the title of “Remarks on several Occasional Reflections, in answer to the Rev, Dr. | Middleton, Dr. Pococke, the master of the Charter-house, Dr. Richard Grey, and others; serving to explain and justify divers passages in the Divine Legation as far as it is yet advanced: wherein is considered the relation the several parts bear to each other and the whole. Together with an Appendix, in answer to a late pamphlet, entitled” An Examination of Mr. W’s Second Proposition,“8vo. And this was followed next year by” Remarks on several Occasional Reflections; in answer to the Rev. Doctors Stebbing and Sykes; serving to explain and justify the Two Dissertations, in the Divine Legation, concerning the command to Abraham to offer up his son, and the nature of the Jewish theocracy, objected to by those learned writers. Part II. and last;“8vo. Both these answers are couched in those high terms of confident superiority which marked almost every performance that fell from his pen during the remainder of his life. Sept. 5, 1745, the friendship between him and Mr. Allen was more closely cemented by his marriage with his niece, Miss Tucker, who survived him. At this juncture the kingdom was under a great alarm, occasioned by the rebellion breaking out in Scotland. Those who wished well to the then-established government found it necessary to exert every effort which could be used against the invading enemy. The clergy were not wanting on their part; and no one did more service than Mr. Warburton, who published three very excellent and seasonable sermons at this important crisis. I,A faithful portrait of Popery by which it is seen to be the reverse of Christianity, as it is the destruction of morality, piety, and civil liberty. A sermon preached at St. James’s church, Westminster, Oct. 1745,“Sva. II.A sermon occasioned by the present unnatural Rebellion, &e> preached in Mr. Allen’s chapel, at Prior Park, near Bath, Nov. 1745, and published at his request,‘? 8vo. III. “The nature of National Offences truly stated. A sermon preached on the general fast-day, Dec. 18, 1745,1746, 8vo. On account of the last of these sermons he was again involved in a controversy with his former antagonist, Dr. Stebbing, which occasioned “An Apologetical Dedication to the Rev. Dr. Henry Stebbing, in answer to his censure and misrepresentations of the sermon preached on the general fast-day to be observed Dec. 18, 1745,1746, 8yo. Notwithstanding his great connections, his acknowledged abilities, and his established reputation, a reputation founded | on the durable basis of learning, and upheld by the decent and attentive performance of every duty incident to his station; yet we do not find that he received any addition to the preferment given him in 1728 by sir Robert Sutton (except the chaplaihship to the prince of Wales) until April 1746, when he was unanimously called by the society of Lincoln’s Inn to be their preacher. In November he published “A Sermon preached on the Thanksgiving appointed to be observed the 9th Oct. for the suppression of the late unnatural Rebellion,1746, 8vo. In 1747 appeared his edition of “Sbakspeare,” from which he derived very little reputation. Of this edition, the nameless critic already quoted, says, “To us it exhibits a phenomenon unobserved before in the operations of human intellect a mind, ardent and comprehensive, acute and penetrating, warmly devoted to the subject and furnished with all the stores of literature ancient or modern, to illustrate and adorn it, yet by some perversity of understanding, or some depravation of taste, perpetually mistaking what was obvious, and perplexing what was clear; discovering erudition of which the author was incapable, and fabricating connections to which he was indifferent. Yet, with all these inconsistencies, added to the affectation, equally discernible in the editor of Pope and Shakspeare, of understanding the poet better than he understood himself, there sometimes appear, in the rational intervals of his critical delirium, elucidations so happy, and disquisitions so profound, that our admiration of the poet (even of such a poet), is suspended for a moment while we dwell on the excellencies of the commentator.

In the same year he published, 1. “A Letter from an author to a member of parliament, concerning Literary Property,” 8vo. 2. “Preface to Mrs. Cockburn’s remarks upon the principles and reasonings of Dr. Rutherforth’s Essay on the nature and obligations of Virtue,” &c. 8vo. 3. “Preface to a critical enquiry into the opinions and practice of the Ancient Philosophers, concerning the nature of a Future State, and their method of teaching by double Doctrine,” (by Mr. Towne), 1747, 8vo, 2d edition. In 1748 a third edition of “The Alliance between Church and State corrected and enlarged.” In 1749, a very extraordinary attack was made on the moral character of Mr. Pope from a quarter whence it could be the least expected. His “Guide, Philosopher, and Friend,” lord Bolingbroke, | published a book which he had formerly lent Mr. Pope in ms. The preface to this work, written by Mr. Mallet, contained an accusation of Mr. Pope’s having clandestinely printed an edition of his lordship’s performance without his leave or knowledge. (See Pope.) A defence of the poet soon after made its appearance, which was universally ascribed to Mr. Warburton, and was afterwards owned by him. It was called “A Letter to the editor of Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, the Idea of a patriot King, and the State of Parties, occasioned by the editor’s advertisement;” which soon afterwards produced an abusive pamphlet under the title of “A familiar epistle to the most Impudent Man living,” &c. a performance, as has been truly observed, couched in Janguage bad enough to disgrace even gaols and garrets. About this time the publication of Dr. Middleton’s “Enquiry concerning the Miraculous Powers,” gave rise to a controversy, which was managed with great warmth and asperity on both sides. On this occasion Mr. Warburton puolished an excellent performance, written with a degree of candour and temper which, it is to be lamented, he did not always exercise. The title of it was “Julian or, a discourse concerning the Earthquake and Fiery Eruption which defeated the emperor’s attempt to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, 1750,” 8vo. A second edition of this discourse, <c with Additions,“appeared in 1751. The critic above quoted has some remarks on this work too important to be omitted.” The gravest, the least eccentric, the most convincing of Warburton’s works, is the ‘ Julian, or a discourse concerning the Earthquake and Fiery Eruption, which defeated that emperor’s attempt to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, in which the reality of a Divine interposition is shewn, and the objections to it ar are answered/ The selection of this subject was peculiarly happy, inasmuch as this astonishing fact, buried in the ponderous volumes of the original reporters, was either little considered by an Uninquisitive age, or confounded with the crude mass of false, ridiculous, or ill-attested miracles, which “with no friendly voice” had been recently exposed by Middleton. But in this instance the occasion was important: the honour of the Deity was concerned; his power had been defied, and his word insulted. For the avowed purpose of defeating a well-known prophecy, and of giving to the world a practical demonstration that the Christian scriptures contained a lying prediction, the emperor Julian | undertook to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem; when, to the astonishment and confusion of the builders, terrible flames bursting from the foundations, scorched and repelled the workmen ’till they found themselves compelled to desist. Now this phenomenon was not, the casual eruption of a volcano, for it had none of the concomitants of those awful visitations: it may even be doubted whether it were accompanied by an earthquake; but the marks of intention and specific direction were incontrovertible. The workmen desisted, the flames retired, they returned to the work, when the flames again burst forth, and that as often as the experiment was repeated.

"But what, it may be asked, is the evidence by which a fact so astonishing is supported Not the triumphant declamations of Christian, even of contemporary Christian writers, who, after all, with one voice, and with little variety of circumstances, bear witness to the truth of it, but that of^ friend of Julian himself, a soldier of rank, an heathen though candid and unprejudiced; in one word, the inquisitive, the honest, the judging Am. Marcellinus. The story is told by that writer, though in his own awkward latinity, very expressively and distinctly. We will add as a specimen of our author’s power, both in conception and language, the following rules for the qualification of an unexceptionable witness.

* Were infidelity itself, when it would evade the force of testimony, to prescribe what qualities it expected in a faultless testimony, it could invent none but what might be found in the historian here produced. He was a pagan, and so not prejudiced in favour of Christianity: he was a dependent, follower, and profound admirer of Julian, and so not inclined to report any thing to his dishonour. He was a lover of truth, and so would not relate what he knew, or but suspected, to be false. He had great sense, improved by the study of philosophy, and so would not suffer himself to be deceived: he was not only contemporary to the fact, but at the time it happened resident near the place. He related it, not as anuncertain hearsay, with diffidence, but as a notorious fact at that time no more questioned in Asia than the project of the Persian expedition: he inserted it not for any partial purpose, in support or confutation of any system, in defence or discredit of any character; he delivered it in no cursory or transient manner; nor in a loose or private memoir; but gravely and deliberately, as the | natural and necessary part of a composition the most useful and important, a general history of the empire, on the complete performance of which the author was so intent, that he exchanged a court life for one of study and contemplation, and chose Rome, the great repository of the proper materials, for the place of his retirement.‘

To a portrait so finished, is it possible for the greatest judge of evidence to add a feature to such freedom, fertility, and felicity of language, is it possible for the united powers of taste and genius to add a grace? In the story of the crosses said to have been impressed at the same time on the persons of many beholders, there was probably a mixture of imagination, though the cause might be elec^ trie. This amusing part of the work we merely hint at, in order to excite, not to gratify, the reader’s curiosity: but with respect to the parallel case detected by Warburton, in the works of Meric Casaubon, it is impossible not to admire those wide and adventurous voyages on the ocean of literature, which could enable him to bring together from the very antipodes of historical knowledge, from the fourth to the seventeenth century, from Jerusalem and from our own country, facts so strange, and yet so nearly identical.

In 1751, Mr. Warburton published an edition of Pope’s “Works,” with notes, in nine volumes, octavo and in the same year printed “An Answer to a Letter to Dr. Middleton, inserted in a pamphlet entitled The Argument of the Divine Legation fairly stated,” &c. 8vo. and “An Account of the Prophecies of Arise Evans, the Welsh Prophet, in the last Century;” the latter of which pieces afterwards subjected him to much ridicule. In 1753, Mr. Warburton published the first volume of a course of Sermons, preached at Lincoln’s-inn, entitled “The Principles of natural and revealed Religion occasionally opened and explained;” and this, in the subsequent year, was followed by a second. After the public had been some time promised lord Bolingbroke’s Works, they were about this time printed. The known abilities and infidelity of this nobleman had created apprehensions, in the minds of many people, of the pernicious effects of his doctrines; and nothing but the appearance of his whole force could have convinced his friends how little there was to be dreaded from arguments against religion so weakly supported. The personal enmity, which had been excited many years before | between the peer and our author, had occasioned the former to direct much of his reasoning against two works of the latter. Many answers were soon published, but none with more acuteness, solidity, and sprightliness, than “A View of Lord Bolingbroke’s Philosophy, in two Letters to a Friend,1754. The third a/id fourth letters were published in 1755, with another edition of the two former; and in the same year a smaller edition of the whole; which, though it came into the world without a name, was universally ascribed to Mr. Warburton, and afterwards publicly owned by him. To some copies of this is prefixed an excellent complimentary epistle from the president Montesquieu, dated May 26, 1754. At this advanced period of his life, that preferment which his abilities might have claimed, and which had hitherto been withheld, seemed to be approaching towards him. In September 1754 he was appointed one of his majesty’s chaplains in ordinary, and in the ’next year was presented to a prebend * in the cathedral of Durham, worth 500l. per annum, on the death of Dr. Mangey. About the same time, the degree of doctor of divinity was conferred on him by Dr. Herring, then archbishop of Canterbury; and, a new impression of “The, Divine Legation” having being called for, he printed a fourth edition of the first part of it, corrected and enlarged, divided into two volumes, with a dedication to the earl of Hardwicke. The same year appeared “A Sermon preached before his grace Charles duke of Marlborough president, and the Governors of the Hospital for the small-pox and for inoculation, at the parish church of St. Andrew, Holborn, on Thursday, April the 24th, 1755,” 4to; and in 1756Natural and Civil Events the Instruments of God’s moral Government, a Sermon preached on the last public Fast-day, at Lincoln’s-inn Chapel,” 4to. In 1757, a pamphlet was published, called “Remarks on Mr. David Hume’s Essay on the Natural History of Religion;” which is said to have been composed of marginal observations made by Dr. Warburton on reading Mr. Hume’s book; and which gave so much offence to the author animadverted upon, that he thought it of importance enough to deserve particular mention in the short account of his life. On Oct. 11, in this year, our author was ad­* Soon after he attained this pre- Neal’s History of the Puritans, which ferment, he wrote the Remarks on are now added to his Works. | vanced to the deanery of Bristol and in 175&republished the second part of” The Divine Legation,“divided into two parts, with a dedication to the earl of Mansfield, which deserves to be read by every person who esteems the wellbeing of society as a concern of any importance. At the latter end of next year, Dr. Warburton received the honour, so justly due to his merit, of being dignified with the mitre, and promoted to the vacant see of Gloucester. He was consecrated on the 20th of Jan. 1760; and on the 30th of the same month preached -before the House of Lords. In the next year he printedA rational Account of the Nature and End of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,“12mo. In 1762, he published” The Doctrine of Grace: or, the office and operations of the Holy Spirit vindicated from the insults of Infidelity and the abuses of Fanaticism,“2 vols. 12mo, one of his performances which does him least credit; and in the succeeding year drew upon himself much illiberal abuse from some writers* of the popular party, on occasion of his complaint in the House of Lords, on Nov. 15, 1763, against Mr. Wilkes, for putting his name to certain notes on the infamous” Essay on Woman.“In 1765, anotber edition of the second part of” The Divine Legation“was published, as volumes III. IV. and V.; the two parts printed in 1755 being considered as volumes I. and II. It was this edition which produced a very angry controversy between him and Dr. Lowth, whom in many respects he found more than his equal. (See Lowth, p. 438.) On this occasion was published,” The second part of an epistolary Correspondence between the bishop of Gloucester and the late professor of Oxford, without an Imprimatur, i.e. without a cover to the violated Laws of Honour and Society,“1766, 8vo. In 1776, he gave a new edition of” The Alliance between Church and State;“andA Sermon preached before the incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts, at the anniversary Meeting in the parish church of St. Mary-le-bow, on Friday, Feb. 21,“8vo. The next year produced a third volume of his” Sermons,“dedicated to lady Mansfield and with this, and a single” Sermon preached at St. Lawrence-Jewry on Thursday,


See Churchill’s Duellist, the Dedication of his Sermons, and other pieces. In making his complaint, the bishop, after solemnly disavowing both the poem and the notes, averred, the former was worthy of the Devi ; then, after a short pause, added, “No, I beg the Devil’s pardon, for he is incapable of writing it.

| April 30, 1767, before his royal highness Edward duke of York, president, and the governors of the London Hospital. &c.“4to, he closed his literary labours. His faculties continued unimpaired for some time after this period; and, in 1769, he gave the principal materials to Mr. Ruffhead, for his” Life of Mr. Pope." He also transferred 500l. to lord Mansfield, judge Wilmot, and Mr. Charles Yorke, upon trust, to found a lecture in the form of a course of sermons; to prove the truth of revealed religion in general, and of the Christian in particular, from the completion of the prophecies in the Old and New Testament, which relate to the Christian church, especially to the apostacy of Papal Rome. To this foundation we owe the admirable introductory letters of bishop Hurd and the well- adapted continuation of bishops Halifax and Bagot, Dr. Apthorp, the Rev. R. Nares, and others. It is a melancholy reflection, that a life spent in the constant pursuit of knowledge frequently terminates in the loss of those powers, the cultivation and improvement of which are attended to with too strict and unabated a degree of ardour. This was in some degree the misfortune of Dr. Warburton. Like Swift and the great duke of Marlborough, he gradually sunk into a situation in which it was a fatigue to him to enter into general conversation. There were, however, a few old and valuable friends, in whose company, even to the last, his mental faculties were exerted in their wonted force; and at such times he would appear cheerful for several hours, and on the departure of his friends retreat as it were within himself. This melancholy habit was aggravated by the loss of his only son, a very promising young gentleman, who died of a consumption but a short time before the bishop himself resigned to fate June 7, 1779, in the eighty-first year of his age. A neat marble monument has been lately erected in the cathedral of Gloucester, with the inscription below *.

* " To the memory of and

William Warburton, D. D. of what he esteemed the best Estab­ for more than 19 years Bishop of this lishment of it,

see. the Church of England.

A Prelate He was bornat Newark upon Trent,

of the most sublime Genius, and Dec. 24, 1698.

exquisite Learning. Was consecrated Bishop of Glou­ Both which taleuts cester, Jan. 20, 1760.

he employed through a long life, Died at his palace, in this city,

in the support June 7, 1779,

of what he firmly believed, and was buried near this plate,

the Christian Religion;

| Dr. Johnson’s character of this literary phenomenon is too remarkable to be omitted. “About this time (1738), Warburton began to make his appearance in the first ranks of learning. He was a man of vigorous faculties, a mind fervid and vehement, supplied by incessant and unlimited inquiry, with wonderful extent and variety of knowledge, which yet had not oppressed his imagination nor clouded his perspicacity. To every work he brought a memory full fraught, together with a fancy fertile of original combinations; and at once exerted the powers of the scholar, the reasoner, and the wit. But his knowledge was too multifarious to be always exact, and his pursuits were too eager to be always cautious. His abilities gave him a haughty consequence, which he disdained to conceal or mollify; and his impatience of opposition disposed him to treat his adversaries with such contemptuous superiority as made his readers commonly his enemies, and excited against the advocate the wishes of some who favoured the cause. He seems to have adopted the Roman emperor’s determination, ‘oderint dum metuant;’ he used no allurements of gentle language, but wished to compel rather than persuade. His style is copious without selection, and forcible without neatness; he took the words that presented themselves: his diction is coarse and impure, and his sentences are unmeasured.” To this character, which has been often copied, we shall subjoin some remarks from the able critic of whom we have already borrowed, and whose opinions seem entitled to great attention.

Warburton’s whole constitution, bodily as well as mental, seemed to indicate that he was born to be an extraordinary man: with a large and athletic person he prevented the necessity of such bodily exercises as strong constitutions usually require, by rigid and undeviating abstinence. The time thus saved was uniformly devoted to study, of which no measure or continuance ever exhausted his understanding, or checked the natural and lively flow of his spirits. A change in the object of his pursuit was his only relaxation; and he could pass and n pass from fathers and philosophers to Don Quixote, in the original, with perfect ease and pleasure. In the mind of Warburton the foundation of classical literature had been well laid, yet not so as to enable him to pursue the science of ancient criticism with an exactness equal to the extent in which he grasped it. His master-faculty was reason, and his master-science | was theology; the very outline of which last, as marked out by this great man, for the direction of young students, surpasses the attainments of many who have the reputation of considerate divines. One deficiency of his education he had carefully corrected by cultivating logic with great diligence. That he has sometimes mistaken the sense of his own citations in Greek, may perhaps be imputed to a purpose of bending them to his own opinions. After all, he was incomparably the worst critic in his mother tongue. Little acquainted with old English literature, and as little with those provincial dialects which yet retain much of the phraseology of Shakespeare, he has exposed himself to the derision of far inferior judges by mistaking the sense of passages, in which he would have been corrected by shepherds and plowmen. His sense of humour, like that of most men of very vigorous faculties, was strong, but extremely coarse, while the rudeness and vulgarity of his manners as acontrovertist removed all restraints of decency or decorum in scattering his jests about him. His taste seems to have been neither just nor delicate. He had nothing of that intuitive perception of beauty which feels rather than judges, and yet is sure to be followed by the common suffrage of mankind: on the contrary, his critical favours were commonly bestowed according to rules and reasons, and for the most part according to some perverse and capricious reasons of his own. In short, it may be adduced as one of those compensations with which Providence is ever observed to balance the excesses and superfluities of its own gifts, that there was not a faculty about this wonderful man which does not appear to have been distorted by a certain inexplicable perverseness, in which pride and love of paradox were blended with the spirit of subtle and sophistical reasoning. In the lighter exercises of his faculties it may not unfrequently be doubted whether he believed himself; in the more serious, however fine-r spun his theories may have been, he was unquestionably honest. On the whole, we think it a fair subject of speculation, whether it were desirable that Warburton’s education and early habits should have been those of other great scholars. That the ordinary forms of scholastic institution would have been for his own benefit and in some respects for that of mankind, there can be no doubt. The gradations of an University would, in part, have mortified his vanity and subdued his arrogance. The perpetual | collisions of kindred and approximating minds, which constitute, perhaps, the great excellence of those illustrious seminaries, would have rounded off‘ some portion of his native asperities; he would have been broken by the academical curb to pace in the trammels of ordinary ratiocination; he would have thought always above, yet not altogether unlike, the rest of mankind. In short, he would have become precisely what the discipline of a college was able to make of the man, whom Warburton most resembled, the great Bentley. Yet all these advantages would have been acquired at an expence ill to be spared and greatly to be regretted. The man might have been polished and the scholar improved, ’but the phenomenon would have been lost. Mankind might not have learned, for centuries to come, what an untutored mind can do for itself. A self-taught theologian, untamed by rank and unsubdued by intercourse with the great, was yet a novelty; and the manners of a gentleman, the formalities of argument, and the niceties of composition, would, at least with those who love the eccentricities of native genius, have been unwillingly accepted in exchange for that glorious extravagance which dazzles while it is unable to convince, that range of erudition which would have been cramped by exactness of research, and that haughty defiance of form and decorum, which, in its rudest transgressions against charity and manners, never failed to combine the powers of a giant with the temper of a ruffian.

Bishop Warburton’s widow was re-married, at Wyke in Dorsetshire, in August 1781, to the rev. John Stafford Smith. B.D. his lordship’s chaplain, who, in her right, became owner of Prior Park. In 1788, a handsome edition of the bishop’s Works was carefully printed, from his last corrections and improvements, in 7 volumes 4to, at the v expence of Mrs. Smith, under the immediate superintendence of bishop Hurd. This edition was followed in 1794 by a “Discourse, by way of general preface to the 4to edition of bishop Warburton’s Works, containing some account of the life, writings, and character of the author.” For many reasons this “Life” appeared to be unsatisfactory ,*


"With the life of this wonderful person, as given by his most devoted friend, it is impossible for us to express our entire satisfaction. In truth, it would have been difficult to find a man in the whole compass of English literature competent to the task, excepting the immortal biographer of the English


poets. To any writer of his own school, as such, there were certain general objections, and against every individual in the number, particular exceptions might be taken. In tl<e first place, the prejudices of the whole body were excessive, and their views of the subject narrow and illiberal in the extreme. In an age of ability and learned independence, they had erected their leader into a monarch of literature, and whoever presumed to contest his claim was, Without ceremony, sacrificed to it, while with the rancour which ever pursues this single species of delinquency, the mangled limbs of the departed enemy were held up with savage derision to the scorn or commiseration of mankind. “But even among the disciples of the Warburtonian school, Hurd assuredly was not the man whom we should have wished to select for the delicate and invidious task of embalming his patron’s remains. Subtle and sophistical, elegant, but never forcible, his heart was cold, though his admiration was excessive. He wanted that power of real genius, which is capable of being fired by the contemplation of excellence, till it partakes of the heat and flame of its object. On the other hand, he wanted nothing of that malignity which is incident 10 the coolest tempers, of that cruel and anatomical faculty, which, in dissecting the character of an antagonist, can lay bare, with professional indifference, the quivering fibres of an agonized victimFor this purpose his instrument was irony; and few practitioners have ever employed that, or any other, more unfeelingly than did the biographer of Warburton, even when the ground of complaint was almost imperceptible, as in the cases of —Leland and Jortin. ”To the author of the Delicacy of Friendship, however, the office of bio grapher to Warburlon, whether wisely or otherwise, was in fact consigned; and it cannot be denied, that he has executed his task in a style of elegance and purity worthy of an earlier and better age of English literature." Quarterly Review, ubi supra.

and two very important faults were imputed to it. | It was partial, and it was defective. It will however always be read, as the last, and evidently an elaborate production of bishop Hurd, and as the ablest apology that can be offered for the failings of his friend. Since bishop Kurd’s death, the characteristics of both the author and biographer were amply displayed in a volume of very curious “Letters” which passed between Warburton and Hurd during a long course of years. To these must be added, although we less approve the motive and the spirit which produced such a publication, a volume that appeared in 1789, with the title, “Tracts by Warburton and a Warburtonian, not admitted in their works,” 8vo. Throughout Mr. Nichols’s “Literary Anecdotes,” likewise, but especially in vol. V. may be found many interesting particulars of bishop Warburton and his friends, and many of his letters, contributed from various authentic sources. 1

Life by Kurd. Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes. Quarterly Review, No. XIV. in the review of the octavo edition of Warburton’s Works, published in 1811.