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SECEDES FROM THE NATIONAL CHURCH,

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incurred, the suspicion of both parties. While he loved royalty, he disliked the conduct of the King; but, for all his dislike, it was with a heart full of sorrow that he beheld the discrowned head of Charles degraded to a bloody death. And when the throne lay overturned in the tempest of Revolution, the pastor of Kidderminster, standing face to face with the great Oliver himself, dared, with a noble courage, to lift his voice in defence of that ancient monarchy, which has ever been the glory of the land. Meek and moderate though he was, and much as he loved peace, he was too good and too honest a man to bate one jot of the principles which he held dearer than life or fame.

Soon after the Restoration, Clarendon tried to tempt him with an offer of the bishopric of Hereford; but he steadily refused this and other golden baits. Baxter was a Trimmer in religion as in politics; he loved the name, for he held it to be synonymous with "peacemaker." Believing that Episcopacy was in many respects a good and lawful system, he yet sided with the Presbyterians in denying the absolute need of ordination by a bishop. And he further agreed with the Presbyterians in adopting the Bible as the sole guide of man in faith and conduct. Accordingly, when the Act of Uniformity was passed in 1662, this good man had no resource but to leave the bosom of the National 1662 Church. Taking shelter at Acton in Middlesex, he spent several years in active literary work, suffering heavy penalties more than once for his strict adherence to the simple worship, which he believed to be right and true in the sight of God. We cannot follow him through the trials of those troubled

years. After the Indulgence of 1672 bis life was chiefly spent in London, where he preached and wrote with incessant industry. There were many days and weeks when his pulpit was silent; for the Nonconformists, among whom he was a leader, were ground from time to time to the very dust by the infatuated Stuarts. But his pen was always busy; and at length it goaded his enemies into open war.

A passage in his Commentary on the New Testament, complaining bitterly of the sufferings inflicted on the Dišsenters, was held to be

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THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF BAXTER.

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sufficient ground for a charge of sedition against the veteran minister, now worn down by age and illness. The trial came on at Guildhall, before that bloated drunkard, who, a little later, stained the pure

ermined robe of English justice deep red in the slaughter 1685 of the Bloody Assizes. All attempts on the part of

Baxter and his lawyers to obtain a hearing were roared

down by the brutal Jeffreys. "Richard, Richard, dost thou think we will let thee poison the court ? Richard, thou art an old knave. Thou hast written books enough to load a cart, and every

book as full of sedition as an egg is full of meat." From such a judge, and a servile jury, there was no escape. Pronounced “Guilty" after a moment's conference, the old man was sent to jail, because he could not pay the heavy fine imposed upon him; and he lay in the King's Bench prison for nearly eighteen months. Soon after his release, which was obtained by the kindness of Lord Powis, he had the joy of seeing the great second Revolution usher in a brighter day of civil and religious freedom. Then, full of years and crowned with their good works, he descended into an honoured grave, December 8th, 1691.

His published writings, which were nearly all upon divinity, reached at least to the enormous number of one hundred and sixtyeight. In the quietude of his study at Kidderminster he composed those two works of great practical power, by which he is best known, The Saints' Everlasting Rest, and A Call to the Unconverted. We have also from this gifted pen A Narrative of his Own Life and Times, to which Johnson and Coleridge agree in awarding the highest praise. The wonder of Baxter's laborious life becomes yet greater, when we remember that, like our Saxon Alfred and other illustrious men, he had to struggle through nearly all his years with a delicate and feeble frame. How he spent his Vacation hours, when heavy sickness compelled him to snatch a little rest, may be judged from the following passage

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BAXTER REGRETS HIS HASTE IN WRITING. Concerning almost all my writings, I must confess that my own judgment is, that fewer, well studied and polished, had been better; but the reader, who can Báfely censure the books, is not fit to censure the author, unless he had been SPECIMEN OF BAXTER'S PROSE.

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upon the place, and acquainted with all the occasions and circumstances. Indeed, for the Saints' Rest, I had four months' vacancy to write it, but in the midst of continual languishing and medicine; but, for the rest, I wrote them in the crowd of all my other employments, which would allow me no great leisure for polishing and exactness, or any ornament; so that I scarce ever wrote one sheet twice over, nor stayed to make any blots or interlinings, but was fain to

it was first conceived: and when my own desire was rather to stay upon one thing long than run over many, some sudden occasions or other extorted almost all my writings from me; and the apprehensions of present usefulness or necessity prevailed against all other motives ; so that the divines which were at hand with me still put me on, and approred of what I did, because they were moved by present necessities as well as I; but those that were far off, and felt not those nearer motives, did rather wish that I had taken the other way, and published a few elaborate writings; and I am ready myself to be of their mind, when I forget the case that I then stood in, and have lost the sense of former motires.

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DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON, borrowing a classic metaphor, which describes what Augustus did for Rome, says in reference to English poetry, that Dryden found it brick and left it marble. Let it not be forgotten that Johnson, in his "Lives of the Poets,” (a most unsafe book,) has ignored Shakspere and vilified Milton. To the mental eye of the ponderous critic, "Paradise Lost" and "Macbeth" were built of common brick, while Dryden's Satires and Fables shone with the lustre of Parian stone. We condemn the comparison as wholly exaggerated, and partly untrue; and yet we would not for a moment deny Dryden's exalted rank as a poet and a master of the English tongue. Our knowledge of Dryden's early life is meagre. Born of Puri

tan parents, on the 9th of August 1631, at Aldwinckle 1631 in Northamptonshire, he received his school education

at Westminster, under Dr. Busby, of birchen memory.

Then, elected a Westminster scholar, he passed to Trinity College, Cambridge, where, no doubt, he wrote English verses, as he had often done at school. But he seems to have passed without marked distinction through his college course.

When the great Oliver died, the young poet created some sensation by a copy of verses which he wrote upon the sad event. Two years later, he celebrated the restoration of Charles Stuart, in a poem called Astræa Redux. So sudden a change of political

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WRITING FOR THE THEATRES.

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principle has been harshly blamed; but we can scarcely censure young Dryden for feeling, as all England felt at the time, that a load of fear had rolled away when Charles came back from exile to fill his father's throne.

Inheriting only a small estate of £60 a year, Dryden was com. pelled to take to literature as a profession, devoting his pen at first to the service of the newly-opened theatres. The Wild Gallant was his first play. His marriage with Lady Elizabeth Howard took place about the opening of his theatrical career.

Then play after play came flowing from his fertile pen; all tainted, sad to say, with the gross licentiousness of that shameful age; and cramped, like the shape of a tight-laced fashionable, into rhyming couplets, which were but a poor substitute for the noble music of Shakspero's blank-verse. In all, during eight and twenty years Dryden produced eight and twenty plays; among the chief of which we may note The Indian Emperor (1667), and The Conquest of Granada (1672). This dramatic authorship was then the only field in which an author could hope to reap a fair crop of guineas, for the sale of books was as yet miserably small. It is sad to contemplate a man of genius driven to waste the electric force of his mind upon a kind of writing for which his talents were but slightly fitted—sad to see the composer of one of the finest English odes, and of satires that rival the master-pieces of Juvenal, forced to drudge for a dissolute green-room, and to play the rhyming buffoon for a coarse and ribald pit. Nor was this the only evil. Mean passions were engendered by this pitiful struggle for popular applause. Poor Elkanah Settle, a rhymster of the day, one of Rochester's creatures, who was afterwards impaled on the point of Dryden's satiric pen, incurred great John's wrath by some slight successes in the dramatic line, which the silly man had prefaced with a puny war-blast of defiance. The torrent of abuse, which Dryden poured round this shallow brain, would better become a shrewish fishwife than one of England's greatest bards.

Let us turn from the mournful sight of wasted and degraded genius to Dryden's other works. Though writing so busily for the stage, he had yet found spare hours to produce his Annus

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