Page images
[ocr errors]

-non-descripts were uppermost, but the church rose up again, and will, I hope, always continue to play them this trick.

The Grand Assizes, is an allegorical description of the general judgment, in which I find nothing remarkable. The FAIR-WEATHER CARISTIAN is another allegory. The temper of the Mac Sarcasm family compels me to make the following quotation _“ Difficulties unmask him

(the fair-weather christian) to others; tempta« tions unmask him to himself; he discovers, that ‘ though he is a high professor, he is not a chris

“ Secret accusations !" The Sr. Giles's ORANGE GIRL is a good story, the idea of which seems to have been suggested by Dr. Colquhoun's.Police of the city of London;" and a short account is given of the Philanthropic Society, who pick up children in the streets, and lodge, board, and educate them. Betty is at last converted, and, like all the saints in real life, find. ing godliness profitable for the present state, gets forward in the world, is well married to a man of the converted, and instead of a barrow, keeps a good sausage shop. BLACK GILES THE POACHER, is what

every poacher is, a thief. Jack Weston, against whom Giles had lodged an information, for unlawfully taking game, delivers Giles from death, being overwhelmed in the ruins of a wall, and reminds the unfortunate poacher, that instead of suffering him to perish, “ the revenge a christian takes is “ to deliver him." A Mr. Wilson, is taught by

our author to say, that

• Such an action is worth a whole volume of comments “ on that precept of our blessed Lord, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.The poacher dies in a state of penitence. .

TAWNEY RACHEL is a fortune-teller, who, for her thefts and tricks, is sent to Botany Bay.

[ocr errors][merged small]

THE easy circumstances in which her annuity, the returns from her publications, increased by the popularity of her prudent connection with the methodistical societies, the dividends of the family property, acquired in the school in ParkStreet, redoubled by purchase in the funds during the American war, and now sold out, had placed Mrs. More and her sisters, enabled them to settle at Cowslip-Green, west of Bristol, on the Bridgwater road, and to take a house at Bath, where they spend the winter. Thus comfortably disposed, their acquaintance was extended, their visitants multiplied, and no means were omitted to gain popularity, to purchase fame; and (after all her connection with plays, tragedies, comedians and theatres) by frequenting religious societies, and meetings of all descriptions, and no description, to purify herself for apotheosis, and become the dagon of methodism. The heretical sects became proud of this “ elect lady;" her praises were re-echoed from one conventicle to another, but to the real dissenters she never attempted to unite herself, who, I doubt not, will disown her. With Mr. Jay, of Bath, who, I believe, is not of any ancient class of dissenters, she certainly joined in communion, associated with him, and “ entertained him at her house."

Religion now appeared a more direct and certain road to consequence, and the gratification of her ambition, than poetry and the drama. The connection with the established church, however, was neither forgotten nor neglected. An acquaintance had been made, and sedulously cultivated with more than one Bishop, to whom she appeared no “ Proteus,” but an admirer of the church liturgy, and devoted to her hierarchy. The good of mankind is not only the professed, but the real object of all religious persuasions, and the benefit of “ Sunday" schools, now in their infancy, was a topic on which people of different religious opinions were generally agreed. All her former “ egarements du cæur” were forgotten ; and mildness, goodness, piety, benevolence, all the virtues, were predicated of H. More. A kind of sacred pride regulated her dress, address, and even tone of voice. Her sisters felt the restraint somewhat uneasy ; but they had intervals, when alone, which relieved them from these austere and ascetic habits.

The frequent little alms-deeds, which as a steward for the Crane-Court Society, and other friends of Sunday schools, she distributed in the country amongst children and their parents, attracted notice, secured celebrity, and strongly intrenched her in a fair reputation, the object of her ambition. That she is entitled to a fair character, to the credit of some acts of charity, of a prudent and moral conduct, of strong feelings of piety, and a religious demeanour and profession, I have no wish or intention to deny. The objections I have to make are not altogether against her understanding; it is a meanness of mind and a maliciousness of heart, as they have displayed themselves by overt acts on several occasions in common life. But though I am ready to acknowledge her áttainments and abilities, for I deny her genius, it will not certainly be a long time doubtful that her abilities have been considered greater than they are, and that she has imposed on the world, as much in her literary, as in the complexion of her heart.

The allegories, noticed in her 5th vol. and her pious little tracts, were published separately during the war with France, of which hundreds of thousands, I rather think millions, have hyberbolically been said to have been sold. The 6th vol. begins with “ Thoughts on the Manners of the “Great." To aim at perfection, to purify the heart, to be separate from the world, is the object which this tract professes to inculcate. The author thinks and writes better from this period than in her preceding volumes. Whether it be really true that she took help I cannot affirm, although I do not doubt it. Peter Pindar seems sure it

is so.

“ At times she finds of hemp a little wad,

“ Bids some young Levite spin it:--nothing loth, “ He adds large quantities of flax, kind lad,

“ And with the mixture fabricates a cloth.” Again—" Miss Hannah finds a scrap of leather,

Horse skin-and, slily, to some Crispin goes : “ CRISPin adds calf skin-puts them both together,

“ And makes a tolerable pair of shoes.” To analyze this chapter is not easy, its manner being altogether immethodical, desultory and abrupt. For the satisfaction of the reader, I will select a few specimens, requesting him at the same time to forget Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. Yearsley, and the Curate of Blagdon.

“ But after all, a fair fame, the support of numbers, and " the flattering concurrence of human opinion, is obviously “ a deceitful dependance; for as every individual must die “ for himself, and answer for himself, both these imaginary “ resources will fail, just at the moment when they could “ have been of any use. A good reputation, even without “ internal piety, would be worth obtaining, if the tribunal " of heaven were fashioned after the manner of human 6 courts of judicature.”

" Outward actions are the surest, and, indeed, to human is

eyes, the only evidences of sincerity, but christianity is a

religion of motives and principles. The gospel is con“ tinually referring to the heart, as the source of good; it " is to the poor in spirit, to the pure in heart, that the “ divine blessing is annexed."

“ May I be permitted to say a word on the mischiefs of “ virtue, or, rather, of that shining counterfeit, which, “ while it wants the specific gravity, has much of the so brightness of sterling worth? Never, perhaps, did any " age produce more beautiful declamations in praise of vir.

« PreviousContinue »