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The advice with which he concludes another letter is equally good.
• Borrow, if you possibly can, Doddington's Diary, (afterwards lord Melcombe) and read it. 'Twill open your mind much, as it has done mine, in regard to all the deceit, intrigues, baseness, irreligion, and misery of those whom we falsely call great ; and confirm the biblical account of the fall of man and the corruption of human nature.' Vol. ii. P. 350.
Where the two writers concur in recommending a work, a clergyman will seldom be misled in following their recommendation ; but if he purchase every thing the doctor praises, he will find a want of room for those authors who deserve his attention in a greater degree. The first volume of this. work he cannot turn over too often ; the second may occasionally amuse a leisure hour.
ART. XII.-- An Essay on the Way to restore and perpetuate Peace,
good Order, and Prosperity, to the Nations. By Bryce Yohra ston, D.D. 8vo. 45. Boards. Ogle. 1801.
THE way recommended by this writer is the chief, if not the only one, by which the object in question, at all times so important to nations, and now from revolutionary events made more particularly desirable, can be obtained. A serious return of man, in all ranks, to the duties of religion would assuredly both restore and secure peace to Europe. Infidelity and superstition are its prime enemies: the latter had ruled with an iron sway for ages over the minds of mankind; and the vices end gendered by the former were the means adopted by the Supreme! Being to drive the latter from its post. The present essay is divided into four parts. In the first the nature of religion is explained; the second treats on civil society and civil government; the third points out the influence of religion on society; and the last expatiates on its necessity, in the present state of Europe, to restore peace and good order. · In every part great earnestness, with some degree of prolixity, prevails. The writer does not mean by religion the mere form of any partiçular church, but that vital principle which individuals in every church should possess : he is less anxious about the form than the spirit. He can see the imperfections of both churches and governments, and points out with a firm hand the necessity of attending in either to the changes produced in the minds of men by the revolution of ages, and by that constant communication with each other, which has been introduced by the press, as well as by other improvements of civilised life.
• Religion, the devotion of the heart to that God who is greater than the heart, and knoweth all things, must be a free-will offering God accepts of the will for the deed, when the deed is not in our power; but he will not accept of the deed for the will. . His command and his promise to every religious person is, « My son, give me thine heart." "I will put my law within them, I will write it on their heart; I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people, a willing people in a day of my power-a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Hence religion never should be enforced by human penalties, nor compelled by external force ; because, though these, when applied to weak or wicked persons, may make hypocrites, they never can make religious persons, by enlightening the understanding, attracting the affections, convincing the judgement, and determining the will. ' Religion should be taught by proper addresses to the understanding and the heart; by all the means of moral suasion; especially by those means of reading, of preaching, of hearing the word of God, of prayer to God, and of the sacraments of the New Testament, which are ordained of God and recorded in the sacred scriptures. Hence no external profession, and no external observances, are religion, or any part of it, though enjoined by the Almighty, unless they flow from, and are regulated by, a renewed and sanctified heart.' P. 42.
With this impression of real religion on his mind, he-sutveys its various modes with a different eye from that of a sectary.
· But as God hath not said in his word, that the church of England, that the church of Scotland, that any one of the dissenters from either, of whatever denomination they are, is the only true, church of Christ, nor hath specified in, his word all the peculiar marks by which they are in fact distinguished from each other, he dare not fix on any one of them exclusively as the only church of Christ on earth. The more truly religious any, man is, he is the less under the domination of bigotry; and the more superstitious he is, he is the greater bigot. Every candid and judicious person, aco? quainted with the history of the church and of mankind, must have uniformly observed that the bigotry of particular churches and of particular men hath always been in proportion to the number of doctrines, and especially of external observances of mere human institution in these churches, or which make up the superstition of these men. I use the term superstition, because such doctrines and such observances being above, or different from, the law. of God, are strictly superstition (super statutum) and not religion. P. 121...
As forms of religious worship cannot bias his mind; the names appropriated to forms of government do not carry him away from the essential characters of government in general.
05.b. 8. 15:55) i Governments are either free or despotic. Despotism is not con.. fined to the tyranny of one person, as superficial thinkers imagine, or as some designing men attempt to persuade the world." That go. vernment is free, in which the governors rule by équitable, just,. previously fixed, and public laws; whether these governors be many
(the people), few (the noble), or one the monarch). And thatgovernment' is despotic in which the governors rule by their own arbitrary will, without equitable, fixed, and public law; whether these governors be many, few, or one. If one tyrant is grievous, it will not diminish, but greatly increases the oppression, that there are an hundred tyrants. The Roman republic swayed, a most de-, spotic sceptre over the distant and extensive provinces of that huge empire. Whenever the territory of a 'republic becomes very exten-, sive, all the parts of it which are distant from the seat of govern-: ment must feel the iron hånd of despotism.' Ps:165. ' .,...,
The true cause of revolutions in any government, aš explained by this writer, leads to a mode of prevention which, however obvious and adequate, is not likely to be resorted to.
** Such great and awful events, attended and followed with such important consequences, cannot take place under the administration of divine Providence without a sufficient cause. The real and prie mary cause of revolutions is always the moral depravity and perver. sion of the men who make up the nation. , That depravity, in some instances, may be more prevalent in that part of the nation' which consists of the rulers; in others in that part which consists of the great body of the people ; and most frequently nearly equally in both. Moral depravity always weakens the real bounds of society. The weaker these become, they are in the greater danger of breaking." P. 245.
Hence- . ! .* All men, whether they are 'high or low, rich or poor, magistrates or subjects, who corrupt the ptineiple, and weaken the power of religion in themselves and in others, are the real exciters of revolutions. They sow the seeds of revolutions, and cultivate them every day by their example. In this way, many of those persons who speak against and dread revolutions are the most active hands in bringing them on. Their aversion to revolutions will neither prevent nor retard them, when the increasing perversion of religion in them and in others renders society unhappy and ungovernable. As well might they expect that their aversion to misery would ren der them happy; while their impiety and wickedness make them feel that there is no peace to the wicked, • for his heart is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.' P. 252.
The strange fears which men pretending to religion in this country have endeavoured to propagate on the danger to relie' gion; from the introduction of French principles, are properly repelled by this judicious writer. He sees the mischief of the . latter in its fullest extent; but his views are too much enlarged by the study of the Scriptures to fall into so weak and idle a belief.
" A spirit subversive of superstition is already excited, and hath made great progress among the kingdoms of Europe. This spirit
will accomplish the destruction of superstition : but some are afraid that it will banish all religion from the world. Though it may be the intention of infidel men to do this, who have been so active in raising this spirit ; and though those who know no other religion than superstition may be afraid of this; yet every person who knows what real religion is will not be distressed with such fears. He knows that that divine religion which is a work of God cannot be overthrown by men or devils; and that when the commandments of men, taught as doctrines of God, are removed out of the way, mankind will more clearly see, more strongly feel, and more cheer fully obey that religion, which, in its few and simple ordinances, as well as its true doctrines and right precepts, is the truth, and enacted by the authority of God.
• Infidelity, the offspring of superstition, having, with the hands of an unnatural parricide, destroyed its parent, shall, like many individual infidels, fall by suicide. p. 298.
From these extracts our readers will judge of the author's style and general mode of sentiment. He evidently writes with the purest intentions. His quotations, both from the Scripture and Montesquieu, are rather too copious; but the matter introduced is generally so valuable, that we cannot pass a very severe censure upon the wish he hereby cordially evinces to compel the reader to a perusal of the passages quoted, rather than, by merely referring to them in the margin, to leave it to chance whether he will peruse them or not. We seriously recommend this work to be put into the hands of those who may have been led astray by the political notions either of a Burke or a Paine, or the infidel maxims of other modern philosophers.
ART. XIII.—The Poetical Works of the late Thomas Little, Esg.
8vo. 75. Boards. Carpenter. 1801. THIS volume, which is published as the posthumous work of a very young man, we have heard attributed to a living au. thor. It is not the business of a reviewer to publish a writer's name, if the writer himself have chosen to withhold it: it would be more particularly improper in the present instance, from the general tendency of these poems, and the consciousness thereof which is implied in the preface.
• Mr. Little died in his one-and-twentieth year; and most of these poems were written at so early a period, that their errors may claim some indulgence from the critic : their author, as unambitious as indolent, scarce ever looked beyond the moment of composition : he wrote as he pleased, careless whether he pleased as he wrote. It may likewise be remembered that they were all the productions of an age when the passions very often give a colouring too warm to the imagination ; and this may palliate, if it cannot excuse, that air
of levity which pervades so many of them. The “ aurea legge, s'ei piace, ei lice," he too much pursued, and too much inculcates. Few can regret this more sincerely than myself; and if my friend had lived, the judgement of riper years would have chastened his mind, and tempered the luxuriance of his fancy.'. p. iv.
A few only of the pieces contained in this little volume are serious: the general subject is love-or what was called love in the days of Charles the Second; more decent indeed in its expression, but in its feeling and character the same. They abound in wit, and discover a power of language and a simplicity which have rarely been equaled. The following are of the most playful kind.
And as for myself, I can swear,
I'd scarce feel a wish to go there.
And Paradise be as he paints, i
I'd worship the eyes of his saints,
To the prophet's seraglio above,
As my own little heaven of love?
Than ever by mortal was given ;
And keeps but the key to your heaven !' P. 23.
• To the large and beautiful Miss In Allusion to some Partnership
in a Loitery Share.
li>Ego pars — VIRGIL."
Where in blanks and in prizes we deal ;
Should so long have remain'd in the wheel ?
To me such a ticket should roll,
For what could I do with the whole P.7.
Crit. Rev. Vol.34. Feb. 1802.