« ForrigeFortsett »
of Godhead; but, although his anger was appeased, the Deity could not renounce his justice." (P. 11.) Are not wisdom and power equally attributes ? Is the Deity given to change? Is he angry at one tiine and not at another ?—" The veil will be torn from every myftery when the balance of justice shall be seen uplifted in the heavens.” (P. 12.) Is this true ? Will there not always be an infinite distance between the Creator and the most exalted and purified of his creatures? If so, then, there ever have been, and ever will be, innumerable myfteries to every mind. Can angels or men finite find out the Almighty to perfection ! _“Every tear shall be dashed from the eye of afflicton." (P. 17.)
« Of such children is the kingdom of heaven.” (P. 21.) « The tears of his affliction he regardeth as gems in the crown of his future glory." (P. 28.) “ An addition to infinite mercy." (P. 6.) All these are forced un. natural expressions, or totally untrue.
We totally disagree with this writer in his notion of " a temporal infenfibility of the soul.“ (P. 21.)
We Thaíl treat him with the utmost candour in suffering him to speak for himself, and, perhaps, in the very best passage that the fermon affords :
“ Hadst thou once a friend, whom thou yet remembereft with a ligh? he perhaps now repays thy forrow with his care. Dolt thou still feel the pang of a well-founded hope, disappointed by the loss of a darling child ? that child now perhaps hovers round ther, no lefs lenderly anxious for thy eternal welfare. Doch the remembrance of an affectionate and honoured parent still command a tear? or doth thy bleeding heart ftill fondly confule its own sorrows, and present to thy memory the long-loved partner of thy life, who once lived but' for thee? they may now be employed in the re-payment of thy love, by perpetual vigilance : they are, perhaps, at this moment, watching the filent emotions of thy mind. Disappoint them not: live for them; for them, and heaven." Pp. 29, 30.
We would just caution this writer, and we suppose he is a very yomg man, to be careful, left he mistake obscurity of expression for sublimity of mind. Inverted periods and forced expressions can only please the most ignorant readers.
Art. XIX. A Sermon, preached at the Parish Church of Hey.
tesbury, in the County of Wilts, on the 29th of November, 1798 á Day appointed for a General Thanksgiving Published, by Request, by David Williams, Curate of Heytesbury. 8vo. Price is. Rivingtons. London. 1799.
THE observations of Mr. Williams, on the atrocities of the French, must be considered as just and appropriate, by all those who have any regard for moral virtue or religion. Time has discovered what has long since been suspected, that they who affect, from a principle of Christian Charity, to extenuate the dreadful outrages which are every day committed under the French democracy, are wo well-wishers, either to the political or religious establishment of N 2
their country. Such persons are no longer doubtful characters; they are ripe for revolt. The fermon before us is not remarkable for the graces of fine writing, but it breathes a religiousness which seems cordial, and an honest indignation against the enemies of this country, and of the human race.
Art. XX. Morning and Evening Prayers, for the Use of Indi
viduals; to which are added, Prayers on particular Subjeéts. Printed at the Expence of the Society of Unitarian Christians, established in the West of England, for promoting Christian Knowledge, and the Practice of Virtue, by the Distribution of
Books. 12mo. Price 2s. Johnson, London. 1799, THESE prayers can scarcely be deemed the subject of criticism. They seem to breathe the spirit of piety. But we notice them only to have an opportunity of pointing out to the orthodox clergy the industry of the Unitarians in disseminating their tenets.
That the practice of virtue is promoted, among the lower orders, by the distribution even of the moft approved books, is a point which we conlider as problematical.
In the humbler walks of life, those who are acquainted with the plain and practical parts of their Bible, possess knowledge “sufficient unto salvation.” To such persons' more extensive acquirements have often proved pernicious.
Be this, however, as it may, we most heartily enter our protest against Unitarian prayers or discourses, which are better adapted to the use of Deists or Mahometans, than of sound Christians. For, as a late devout and learned prelate hath observed—“ If our governors were inclined to frame a new liturgy and constitution, according to the Unitarian system, we should have a religion without a redeemer, without a sacrificer, and without grace; without a sacrifice, without a priest, without an intercessor.” ART. XXI. Devotional Exercises and Contemplations, extracted
altogether from the Book of Psalms, and suited to all Classes and Circumstances of Mankind; in four Parts. 1. Confeffion of Sins, and Supplication to a merciful God and Saviour, for Par. don, and restraining Grace. 2. Petitions to the all-wife and all-gracious Providence, for Support and Deliverance under Trouble. 3. Confolatory Reflections and Addresses of Faith, Hope, and Trujt in God. 4. Lofty Sentiments, and grateful Expressions, of Adoration, Thanksgiving, and Praise. By Alex. Cleeve, A. B. Vicar of Wooller, Northumberland, and Chaplain to the most Noble the Marquis of Winchester. izmo. Pp. 115. Robinsons, London; Bell and Bradfute, Edinburgh. 1799.
* We are no friends to Sunday-schools, which, we are convinced, bave been the nurseries of fanaticisin.
A Letter to a College Friend.
181 THE object of this publication is sufficiently explained in the title-page ; and it is one of those works which admit neither of analysis nor extract. It only remains for us, therefore, to observe, that the author has performed his task with ability, and with great labour and industry; he has selected from the whole book of psalms every passage which applied to each particular head or subject of his work; an attempt which no one, we believe, had ever made before. Prayers and supplications, extracted from scripture, are certainly preferable to all others; the language of the sacred writings is the consecrated language of devotion; and those who contribute to facilitate the use of it, by extracting corresponding passages from various parts, and combining them for the purpose of prayer, are un. questionably entitled to public thanks and public encouragement.
ART. XXIL. A Letter to a College Friend, relative to Yome late Transactions of a Literary Society, at Exeter. 8vo.
8vo. Cadell and Davies, London. 1798.
HIS pamphlet is one of those productions which the personal
disputes of scholars are too often occasioning, but which experience too sadly proves to be unavoidable in themselves. Scholars quarrel as men. But then the quarrels of men become the contentions of scholars. Having the weapon of contention always ready in their hands, they wield their pen instead of their cane, begin a kind of mild warfare, and appeal to the public as judges. In this manner has the present pamphleteer acted. Dating his letter from “ Manacan Vicarage, near Hilston," in Cornwall, the well-known residence of the Rev. Mr. Polwhele, and feeling himself injured by “ A Literary Society, at Exeter," he has done what every man so injured and so feeling had a right to do. He has stated the injury in a plain narrative of facts; and, though the public at large can have no great interest in a private quarrel between scholars, yet that very necesity of self-vindication, which impelled the author to write, should, in pure justice, induce us to notice what he has written. We shall only notice, however, such parts as may give our readers a clear idea of the quarrel, of the frivolous vanity that occasioned it, and of the serious resentment that has resulted from it :
“ As you are ftill attached to your old acquaintaince, Mr. Urban," says the letter-writer to his friend, “ you remember, i presume, two blank verse sonnets, which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, for June, 1795. And you cannot have forgotten the circumstance that the sun and moon, shining in contraft,' was the subject of both. These little poems were brought forward with the view of exhibiting the one as imitated from the other. The imitation, (as it was térmed,) is my own; the other the property of Dr. D. of Exeter. But my sonnet was not a copy. It was sketched from nature, during a winter's N3
walk, * “ The essavist has been at the pains to inform us, that he 15 A MAN OF FORTUNE, (that he was onir a reviewer, and that he has a POET FOR AN ENEMY. See acknowledgements to correspondents, at the end of the British Critic, for June, 1797."
walk, on the evening of January 3, 1795, at no great diftance from the vicarages and it was written in blank verle, as I had been in the habit of writing little poems long before. That these things were fo, the Doctor seemed at length to be convinced, though not till the subject had been warmly discussed between us. The discussion, indeed, was temperate, on my part; to a gentleman, with whom I had lived many years, in habits of the stricteft intimacy, I was ready to accede every thing but the truth. On his fide, however, there was much indignation and warmth. And even, when I fondly deemed that the tyranny was overpaft,' his anger only ceased, to mow itself in menacing expressions. It may be said to have been smothered up in his bosom, to blaze with new violence on fome future occation; or rather to have fublided into a ftill and determined resentment, awaiting an opportunity for an open rupture with me. Such a process, in an enlightened mind, I was sorry to observe, for the sake of the litere humaniores, to say nothing of the Doctor's friendship, a friendship founded, as he professed,) on a long experience of my character."
If this representation be true, as from the character of the author we believe it to be, and as, in common justice, we must believe it to be, till it is contradicted, “Dr. D. of Exeter," is the petty dictator of a petty republic, actuated with all a republican's jealousy of the merit around him, and acting with all a republican's luft of power to make himself the Monarch of the whole. But let us proceed to the consummation of a quarrel, so ridiculously commenced
“ The moment for breaking with me," adds the author, “ arrived. In 1706 were published the “Efays by a Society of Gentlemen at Exeter,' of which society the Doctor is a member. Some Arictures on this publication appeased in the European Magazine, for September, 1796, and I was charged with being the reviewer, in the European Magazine.' My reply was such as ought to have convinced the society, that though I had been much displeased with Mr. S. and was by no means gratified with the conduct of the editors, yet I was superior to those secret manæuvres, by which some people endeavoured to detract from the reputation of their enemies. But to the false and daring accusations of the Exeter club there is no end. I am this moment furprized and mocked at the contents of a reply to a correspondent, at the end of the British Critic for the last month," June, 1797, “from which I colle&t, that the Efsayist on the Population of Europe' suspects me to be the reviewer of bis essay; in answer to which I can only declare, that I never yet had the honour of writing a single line for the British Critic."
Yet on these surmises, if report speak truth, this “Literary Society" proceeded to the last extreme of tyrannical violence, an expultion of the author from the society itself. Well, then, may Dr. Priestley exclaim, in the agony of his American repentance, that “ Republics are less free than Monarchies.' And well may our author come forward calmiy to vindicate his insulted name, mildly to 'expose this combination of insulters, and candidly to lay their whole proceedings before the public. We hate all tyranny, but we hate peculiarly the tyranny of our equals, and we therefore take, (till we hear the opposite fide,) a warm part with the injured against the injurers. This injured man also, as he says himself, is
“ A Vicar of a little parish church in Meneage, contending againft a Pre. bendary of the cathedral church of Exeter, ' a poei,' against a map of fortune ;**
perfon drooping with indisposition, againt the vivacity of spirits that ' kindle from collifion; 'a man,' perhans, of parts, * againft genius, wit, and science. Alas! if dignities ftill triumph over • conditions caft in obscurity,' riches over neceffitous poetry, t and first-rate powers of mind over moderate abilities; if fuch be so, my friend, then muft I fall. But when the competition of ftation and of talents shall cease, if TRUTH muft finally prevail, I shall not fall, like Lucifer, never to rise again."
Since the preceding comments were written, the poftfcript to the letter, (composed at the commencement of the present year,) has been put into our hands. As it displays the urbanity of the writer's mind in a most favourable point of view, we shall insert it at length, and leave our readers to form their own judgement of it :
“A year and half have now elapsed, since this letter was written. Though I had printed the letter, I determined rather to forego all self-defence, than haftily publish it. I was willing to hope, that some kind mediator might Aill compote the difference between Dr. Downman and myself: and to a common friend I have been Gnce indebted, for his exertions in my favour-exertions without effect !-I own, I was greatly distressed at the implacability of a gentleman, for whom I had always entertained the highest regard. Admitting (I exclaimed) that I had really imitated his sonnet, or even that I had hinted a censure of him in his editorial ca. pacity, (a censure qualified with much praise ;) is a single error unpardonable? Are the good offices, the unremitting attentions of friendship, to be held of no weight? Are they to kick the beam, overbalanced by the preponderating load of one transgression 'Is there no atonement to expiate such an offence? As a critic, it seems, I have censured, in a line or two, the Devon. Essays. This is my crime. But (to say nothing of the praise contained in that very critique,) has the Doctor forgotten the many pages of applause, in which I have endeavoured to display his knowledge, and genius, and virtues, as a physician, a poet, and a man? Has he forgotten all my eulogies in the advertisement to the Devonshire Poems, and in the poems themselves, in my English Orator, my History, and the English Revieweulogies, which came from the heart, and from the understanding allo ? And has he discharged, at once, from his mind every sentiment of regard, though all his letters, (some public, and many private,) month after month, and year after year, concur, in one unvaried teftimony of approbation, efteem, and affection? Shall a friendship supported so long, and with such ardour, be sacrificed for—a fong ? Difcarding all partiality, has he no respect for my character? Is it nothing, that during a residence of ten years in Devonshire, I uniformly maintained an intercourse with the most respectable persons of my neighbourhood, and lived in har. mony with all ? Is it nothing, that, whilft I was fingularly happy in a correspon. dence with my old college acquaintance, the most cordial and affectionate, I way ftill adding to the number of my friends from the conversation of the social day? Is it nothing, that in the unremitting civilities and attentions of my parishioners at Kenton, and in their public voice on one or two occations, there appeared the most unequivocal evidence of their regard for me as their clergyman!-How singular, indeed, is the circumstance that, though my prefence with Dr. D. and others, for so many years, was, at leaft, inoffensive, yet my absence should be thus fraught with injury !-How frange, that, having solong enjoyed every comfort that springs from a congeniality of mind-having parted from my friends with a heavy heart, and long separated from them all, at luch a distance as this, and thrown into a remote, obscure, and solitary corner of the world, where I a thousand times deplore my lors—I am rejected even from their minds, by a sudden irrevocable fentence!'
“ Such were my reflections, when the following letter reached me. The hand. writing I recognized; but of the contents I could form no conjecture. I did not
* « See Gent. Mag. for June, 1795."