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JUNE, 1849.

ART. I.-Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical. By the Rev: W. ARCHER BUTLER, M.A., late Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Dublin. Edited, with a Memoir of the Author's Life, by the Rev. THOMAS WOODWARD, M.A., Curate Assistant of Fethard, in the Diocese of Cashel, &c. Dublin: Hodges and Smith.

THE name of Professor Archer Butler is well known to the theological world in connexion with a very able series of Letters on the Doctrine of Development, in reply to Mr. Newman's work, which made their appearance in the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal some three or four years since, and which have been commended by excellent judges as amongst the best of the various replies to Mr. Newman's essay. That series of Letters gave evidence of the possession of powers and attainments from which the most brilliant results might have been anticipated; but scarcely had we learnt to contemplate in Archer Butler one of the rising stars of the Church, when the intelligence of his early and much lamented death extinguished the hopes which we had formed of his future services to the cause of Christian truth.

The University of Dublin, and the Church of Ireland, may feel that they have lost one of their most distinguished ornaments in the untimely death of this eminent person; and in the present day, when false philosophy is labouring to subvert the groundwork of the faith, we can ill afford to lose the aid of one who has proved himself so thoroughly versed in its subtleties, and so qualified in all ways to combat and refute them.

It were useless, however, to repine at the dispensations of Providence; and indeed when we contemplate the state of Ireland and its Church, it is almost with a sense of bewilderment at all that is passing before us. Our fears had been excited as regards the intentions and principles of statesmen. We had feared that they were willing to sacrifice the cause of religious truth to the demands of an imagined expediency. We had been grieved at the continual disposition to concede to intimidation-at the ascendancy gradually being attained by parties hostile to the integrity of the empire and the dominion of law. But all these old causes of alarm and dissatisfaction have now been replaced by a state of things arising partly from the visionary theories of VOL. XI.-NO. XXII.-JUNE, 1849.


Free Traders and Political Economists, and partly from the Divine Visitation. A peasantry reduced to the brink of starvation-a yeomanry in the course of expatriation—a gentry and nobility ruined-property without value-industry paralyzedsymptoms of approaching desolation such as no where else in the world can be recognised--there is in the whole scene a something which is calculated to bring home to the mind the conviction that the hand of God is stretched forth upon that unhappy nation in penalty for its sins. And, in truth, Ireland stands apart from all countries on the face of the earth in one respect. Assassinations and murders are as frequent in some other countries as they have been in Ireland. In England itself, when murders are committed, they are perhaps quite as revolting in many of their circumstances, as the murders in Ireland. Monsters like Thurtell or Rush tell us from time to time what human nature is capable of, even in this country. But the awful feature in the murders which have been committed for the last thirty or forty years in Ireland is, that they were the results of a conspiracy of the whole population of the lower orders. Murders were always executed in obedience to the directions of secret tribunals of the peasantry; and they were supported by the whole moral force of the population. The murderers were sheltered and protected. No one ever betrayed them or gave evidence against them. The people in the fields who were witnesses of acts of assassination continued their work without heeding what was transacting, or without any attempt to seize the assassins. Juries refused to convict criminals. If, by any chance, a murderer was convicted (a most rare occurrence) he invariably protested his innocence, and, whether innocent or guilty, was invariably regarded by the people as a martyr. Such was the state of things in Ireland for thirty or forty years. The whole population of the lower orders was directly or indirectly engaged in the system of assassination which prevailed. The crime became a national crime; the land was polluted with blood.

Can we then wonder when we see that population perishing under the visitation of God? It is our belief that murder is now being expiated. It is a tremendous chastisement which is following on a tremendous and unprecedented crime. Death has overtaken a population which had imbrued its hands in blood. Divine vengeance has come upon crimes which had set at nought the power of human laws administered by a feeble and unprincipled executive. A nation is seen descending into the vortex of ruin. That ruin is the result of misgovernment. Ireland could have been prevented from becoming the scene of bloodshed which it was for forty years. Severity to criminals would have been mercy in the end to the whole population. Military law would

have been the appropriate remedy where the powers of the ordinary laws had been set at defiance by the nation; but the contests of parties, the want of moral courage in public men, and the state of public opinion forbade the application of sufficient remedies for Ireland. And we now see the awful results.

The insurrectionary state of Ireland, and the insecurity of life and property, have told with the utmost severity on the clergy. The heartrending deprivations under which they are now suffering, are, alas! no novelty to them. Some few years since, they were for a time wholly deprived of their means of support by a general combination of the people, urged on by the demagogues and the Romish priesthood. Despoiled of a large portion of their property; marked out for threats, insults, and assassination; subsequently compelled to pay out of their diminished means a contribution to the poor-rate twice as great in proportion as that of the landlords; their episcopate reduced to almost half its members; their schools deprived of Government aid which is extended to every other denomination of Christians in the empire;-what can we say when we contemplate this state of things? We can only say, that when we are looking upon a Church thus persecuted thus delivered over into the hands of its enemies thus discouraged by all the powers of this worldfrowned on by statesmen-coldly regarded by too many of its brethren—and yet amidst all this, holding on its way with firm and unfaltering step, receding from none of its undertakings, maintaining its religious consistency, deepening in its energy and its practical piety, extending its spheres of usefulness, making inroads on the regions of darkness which lie around it ;—when we see it undaunted, and in the face of opposition from without, and of the action of state influence on some of its own functionaries, still upholding the great principle of reverence for the Word of God; we do say, that, in our humble opinion, a nobler example never was set to the Church. We feel that more than sympathy is due in such a case. The Church of Ireland never

occupied in the days of its temporal prosperity the position to which afflictions have elevated it. Its Christianity has been purified by its persecutions. It merits the admiration of all who feel the worth and value of stedfastness in the faith. May the afflictions under which this apostolic Church is so intensely suffering have some remission!

The Rev. William Archer Butler, of whose brief but most distinguished career his biographer, Mr. Woodward, has presented us with a touching memorial in the volume before us, was one of those gifted individuals who seem to be sent from time to time into

the world, to excite our wonder at the elevation to which human nature is capable of ascending-men on whom all powers of the intellect, of the imagination, of the feelings, are lavished in rich profusion, to make them wondrous in the eyes of their fellowmen, to impress all hearts, and guide all understandings. Immortality is impressed on such men, and on all their words. It is remarkable, that some of the greatest orators of modern times have been natives of Ireland. Burke and Kirwan occur to the memory at once. Archer Butler, in his short career, emulated the profound philosophy of the one, and the fervent eloquence of the other. We have the following account of his earlier years in Mr. Woodward's Memoir :

"William Archer Butler was born at Annerville, near Clonmel, of an ancient and highly respectable family. His father was a member of the Established Church; his mother, for whose memory he entertained the liveliest affection, was a zealous Roman Catholic. By her solicitude, her son was baptized and educated in the Romish faith. The exact date of his birth is uncertain; strange to say, he was himself ignorant of it; and such is the imperfect registration in the Roman Catholic polity, that there is extant no record either of his birth or baptism. By those who should be best acquainted with the fact, he is stated to have been born in the year 1814; and, according to this computation, at the time of his decease he had only reached his thirtyfourth year. He could not certainly have much exceeded that early age; for he obtained his scholarship in 1832, and reckoning his age at twenty years, about the usual average, he could not have completed his thirty-sixth year.

"In early childhood his residence was removed to Garnavilla, a lovely spot upon the banks of the River Suir, about two miles from the town of Cahir. The enchanting scenery of the neighbourhood made an ineffaceable impression upon his susceptible temperament, and developed, almost in infancy, his poetic talents. He almost 'lisped in rhyme,' and some of his boyish compositions would do honour to the maturest efforts of the British muse. To these happy days of his dawning imagination he ever delighted to travel back in meditation. Often, amidst the hurry of business, or the hard abstractions of mental science, he would pause for a moment; in that moment he was back amidst the memories of infancy; the scene from which his early inspirations, his primary ideas of beauty, were derived, was before him in all its first absorbing vividness. I remember, more than once, to have observed him penetrated with profound emotion, and on inquiring the cause, to have been informed, that he was, in thought, visiting the favourite haunts of his childhood upon the banks of the River Suir. Constant allusions to his early home are scattered through his poetry. I copy the following sonnet, the first that is suggested to my recollection:

'Groves of my childhood! sunny fields that gleam
With pensive lustre round me even now!
Rivers, whose unforgotten waters stream
Bright, pure as ever from the rifted brow
Of hills whose fadeless beauty, like a dream,
Bursts back upon my weeping memory,- -how
Hath time increased your loveliness, and given
To earth and earth's a radiance caught from heaven!
My soul is glad in floating up the tide

Of years; in counting o'er the withered leaves
That Time hath strew'd upon the path of Pride:

Yes glad,, most glad ;—and yet the feeling grieves,

With peace and pain mysteriously allied,

That sway and swell my breast like ocean's stilly heaves.'


From these haunts of his childhood, he passed under the care of the Rev. Dr. Bell, master of the endowed school of Clonmel, from whence in due time he was admitted a student of the Uni-▾ versity of Dublin. Previous to this, he had become a member of the Church of Ireland, under circumstances which Mr. Woodward thus details:

"It was during his pupilage at Clonmel, about two years before his entrance into College, that the important change took place in Butler's religious views, by which he passed from the straitest sect of Roman Catholicism into a faithful son and champion of the Church of Ireland. He had been from the cradle deeply impressed with a sense of religion, and conscientious in the observance of the rites and ceremonies of his creed. His moral feelings were extraordinarily sensitive. For long hours of night he would lie prostrate on the ground, filled with remorse for offences, which would not for one moment have disturbed the selfcomplacency of even well-conducted youths. Upon one occasion, when his heart was oppressed with a sense of sinfulness, he attended confession, and hoped to find relief for his burdened spirit. The unsympathizing confessor received these secrets of his soul, as if they were but morbid and distempered imaginations, and threw all his poignant emotions back upon himself. A shock was given to the moral nature of the ardent, earnest youth; he that day began to doubt; he examined the controversy for himself, and his powerful mind was not long before it found and rested in the truth."

During his residence at the University of Dublin he devoted himself to the same discursive course of reading which he had pursued while at school; and while exhibiting little interest in the study of mathematics, or in the niceties of verbal criticism, his abilities speedily became known, as a wit and an accomplished scholar; and his prize compositions exhibited a range of thought which placed him at once far above his contemporaries. During

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