Page images
PDF
EPUB

beneath, in all imaginable worlds, and in all imaginable space. In this kind of reasoning, the mind of man, from obvious and manifest appearances, rests perfectly satisfied in that one conscious, intelligent nature, which pervades the entire system. This view of this amazing attribute, instead of being a point of mere speculation, is, indeed, one of the most pleasing and useful thoughts that can enter the soul of man. The scriptures, indeed, represent him as dwelling in heaven, preparing his throne, and displaying his glory, but these expressions do not mean that his presence is confined to any one place, for that is impossible ; and they relate only to particular emanations of his glory.

What can we learn concerning God, but his attributes ? Is it possible for us, finite beings, to comprehend or conceive any idea of God or his existence. We see him in his works only and his providence. Nature and God are synonymous terms. “ Doth not nature herself teach,” said the Apostle, “ Behold I go forward, but he is not

there; and backward, but I cannot perceive “him: on the left hand where he doth work, but “ I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the

right hand that I cannot see him.” We cannot conceive of the Deity without personification, and though the bible ascribeth to him eyes, hands, &c. on account of the imperfection not only of human language, but of the human intellect, it is inconsistent with genuine piety to consider the Deity as stationary or local, for he is every where,

59

by any personification. But Hannah has a quarrel with nature, for nature, some time or other, seems to have led her a merry dance, and played her some tricks.

This convenient and polite Mr. Fantom, who says any thing she bids him, as obediently as any of her nine parsons, proposes to“ do away all the “ religions, and put an end to all the wars in the “ world.” In this part of her story, she has not shewn much ingenious invention ; for the termination of war, which would be a loss to Hannah, is no natural consequence of the extinction of religion. If Mr. Fantom could put an end to war, he certainly would be the best friend of mankind the world ever yet saw; but that we do not expect, nor do we think non-descriptism will accelerate the advent of that blessed day. The lady's Somerset disciples, by her direction, promise war at Blagdon, for at least ten years to come.

Mr. Trueman, however, whom she makes her favourite character, proposeth to re-christianize the world. This event is devoutly to be wished for, but will system-mongers suffer that to be done? Will Hannah herself give her vote for the abolition of the athanasian creed to begin with? No! for the neglect of reading it was an heinous offence in Mr. Bere. Will she agree that the scriptures only shall be the rule of faith, without enforcing by pains and penalties, a human construction and addition? Among all the reforms she has not forgot the human heart. The part she acted

in the Blagdon Controversy, is a strong proof how necessary this reform is at Cowslip-Green and its neighbourhood; and the proposal is a lamentable proof how much easier it is for the lady to preach, than to practise.

Every excellence is to be met with in the character of Trueman, and almost every vice in that of Fantom the philosopher. Philosopher here, is a misnomer ; and every effort is made, in the true bloody spirit, and in the spirit of the time when she wrote that execrable performance (a performance calculated to continue those measures pretended to be the salvation of the country ; b:it in reality, as all wise men foresaw, its ruin) to assist in deluging the world with blood, by rendering philosophy, which in spite of all that can be said to the contrary, has done as much to civilize mankind as christianity herself, disreputable, and in its stead, to superinduce an age of darkness and superstition; to renew scenes similar to those in France, not indeed in the name of philosophy and rights of man, or of woman, but in the “ name of “ the Lord,” the “grand-scheme," the “ pure gos

pel.” The same spirit, in the same infuriate heart, would soon light the faggot in Sinithfield, had not the spirit of genuine philosophy enlightened this land, and law protected the establishment, and a legal toleration sheltered those who ingenuously dissent from the church. In this piece, there is more art and subtlety than can be seen with half an eye. It is an effort to restore the reign of superstition and fanaticism, in the room of that liberal and tolerant system now established, by puritanizing the church, and discountenancing every member of an ingenious and inquisitive turn of mind; first to ruin their reputation, and then to eject them. But the best reformed system of christianity and true philosophy, exist together in this country, and they will scorn the assistance of such a miserable perversion of philosophy and truth as Mrs. Hannah More describes, whatever religiously sick minds may say or do in favour of her nostrums. She will, it is hoped, impose but on few ; for it is not a religion of love, of expansive embrace, comprehending the human race, proclaiming the “goodness of living together in unity,” but a re ligion of hatred and persecution to all who differ from herself, and utterly repugnant to the attributes of God, that she teaches. Her own written works, and her late conduct at Blagdon and elsewhere, sufficiently demonstrate this. She is now, however, detected as an enemy, not only to individuals among the clergy, but, notwithstanding her smiles and unction, to the whole order. I ask, ife she had succeeded in ejecting Mr. Bere from his living, as well as his curacy, would she and her supporters have rested there? Would the rest of the clergy have any thing to apprehend? I speak not at random, I have proof of what I write,

Mrs. More makes Trueman repeat that beautiful and divine precept of our Lord,“ love your “ enemies; do good to them that hate you ;"

[ocr errors]

“ thine enemy hunger, feed him," &c. &c. And yet, in real life, she who is so exclusively holy, acts in direct opposition to these commands in the character of Trueman, towards Mr. Bere, supposing him to be the philosopher ; for she meanly, wickedly, and clandestinely endeavoured, with the assistance of all she could get to join with her, to deprive the Curate of Blagdon, aged and infirm, of every possible means of existence, by stripping him of his gown, and depriving him of his benefice. Of this the proof ought not to be brought forward in books, but in a court of law. Hanc tu Romane caveto. She, at last, gets Fantom's man servant hanged, and blames the French philosophy for it; as if executions had not been more frequent in England before and since the French revolution, in the proportion of two to one, than in France, though the population of France be more than twice that of England. But the venal hireling was paid for it. And what have we got by the war? Three hundred million more debt, the blood of two or three hundred thousand shed, and an island or two in India; and a military republic established and acknowledged in the heart of Europe.

In the History of the TwoWEALTHY FARMERS, I thought as I proceeded I should have but little to observe, the object seemed so excellent, and the stile appropriate. O! si sic omnia ! He who has enjoyed the comforts and felt any of the evils of life, entertained the expectations of hope, the confidence conscious virtue inspires, experienced the

« PreviousContinue »