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" tụe than the present; never were more polished periods “ rounded in honour of humanity. A primitive Christian “ would conclude, that righteousness and peace had there “ met together.' But how would he be surprised to find “ that the obligation to these duties was not always thought
binding, not only on the reader but on their eloquent en“comiasts themselves. How would they be surprised to " find that universal benevolence may subsist with partial “ injustice, and boundless liberality with sordid selfishness ! " that a man may seem eager in redressing the injuries of “ half the globe, without descending to the petty detail of “private virtues; and burn with zeal for the good of mil“ lions he never saw, while he is spreading vice and ruin “ through the little circle of his own personal influence!"
Natwithstanding the theatre and drama have been so much reprobated by her, Mrs. More could not finish this chapter without alluding by name to the “ School for Scandal!”.
The slave trade is mentioned, and a liberal, tolerant spirit, an enlightened candour, begins, it is said, to be prevalent. This, she says, she wrote before the French revolution and the Blagdon controversy; if written since that dispute, the Curate of Blagdon, at least, would have reason to object to the truth of these observations.
On the religion of the fashionable world, p. 97, she thus writes
- “ Even the most negligent attendant on public worship “ must know, that the obnoxious creed, to whose malig“nant potency this general desertion is ascribed by the no“ ble author, is never read above three or four Sundays in the
year ; and even allowing the validity of the objections “ brought against it, that does not seem a very adequate “ reason for banishing the most scrupulous and tender con
si sciences from church on the remaining eight-and-forty Sundays of the calendar.”
This lady, who but a short time back boasted of the universal spirit of toleration and liberality that was diffusing itself over the world, who is here endeavouring, without argument, to reconcile tender consciences to the Athanasian creed, brings the neglect of reading it as an article of accusation against the Curate of Blagdon, not that she herself believes the creed, but that, hating the man, she was desirous of including him in every respect within the damnatory clauses.
Some general praise is here also bestowed on the liturgy of the church, furnished no doubt by some “ Levitical lad."
” The following paragraph (p. 104) is not favourable to christianity.
“ If therefore, in this voluptuous age, when a frivolous “ and relaxing dissipation has infected our very studies, in
fidelity will not be at the pains of deep research and ela“borate investigation, even on such subjects as are congenial " to its affections, and promotive of its object; it is vain to “expect that christianity will be more engaging, either as
an object of speculation, or as a rule of practice; since it “ demands a still stronger exertion of those energies which “ the gay world is not at the pains to exercise, even on the “ side they approve. For the evidences of christianity re
quire attention to be comprehended, no less than its doc“ trines require humility to be received, and its precepts “ self-denial to be obeyed.”
In the paragraph I am just going to transcribe, unamiable ideas are entertained of the divine attributes, and a false judgment of the spirit of christianity.
« The strong and generous bias in favour of universal “ toleration, noble as the principle itself is, has engendered
a dangerous notion that all error is innocent. Whether “ it be owing to this, or to whatever other cause, it is cer“ tain that the discriminating features of the christian reli
gion are every day growing into less repute; and it is “ become the fashion, even among the better sort, to evade, “ to lower, or to generalize, its most distinguishing pe“ culiarities."
I have long been of opinion, that H. More's system is not the gospel in its purity. She is an enemy to toleration it is evident; and no true christian can be intolerant.
Her christianity, though not popish, is more illiberal, and would persecute as hotly, if she had the power. Toleration is the spirit of christianity. He who loves not his brother, cannot love God. All men, of all nations, are equally dear to him, of whatever complexion. Had the eternal happiness of men depended on assent to a creed, or the knowledge of a system, his justice would have taught them that system, and proposed the creed. Where there is no law, there is no transgression; yet, according to her doctrine, all who do not believe “
pecu“ liarities” which they never heard of, are to be excluded from salvation. What the “ peculiarities” are to which she alludes, I am at a loss to know for certain ; but I suppose she means the system. In the gospel, however, there is no system. It came to teach us, that“ denying ungodliness, we should “ live soberly and righteously.” There is no metaphysical disquisition there. It inculcates the purest benevolence and morality in practical life, proposing the noblest, the highest rewards for virtuous, and severe punishment for vicious conduct. It is the sentence of “ well done, good and “ faithful servants,” that is the ticket of admission, if I may so express myself, to eternal life, and not whether you was zealous for a creed, a system, or
non-descript peculiarities." To“ generalize," to comprehend the whole race of man in benevolence and charity, is an attribute of Deity; to singularize, disqualify, and exclude, is the mark of ignorance, uncharitableness, and antichrist. The best christians that ever lived, heard of neither the Nicene or the Athanasian creed, and I am confident many Gentiles shall enter into life. Did not the same God who created Mrs. More, make also Lady Mac Sarcasm? Is God the God of the Jews, of the Gentiles, of the Christians, and not of the Turks also ? Did not the whole heathen mythology lead to the worship of one God, although they had their demi-gods and goddesses ? Did not some of these subaltern divinities represent certain virtues? If the christian calendar were purified, how many impure she-saints, how many rogue-saints would there not be thrown out, for saints are in christianity, what gods were in heathenism. Do not, by her own account, as many sins, as many crimes, exist in christian countries, as in the polished nations of antiquity? What is the difference between the object and motives of the late war, and any other curse which God permitted to exist in
of the world? Have not the christian King, the catholic King,
and the Defender of the Faith, with their subjects, mutually hated each other, and done their utmost to “sink, burn and destroy one the other?" Would they not all resemble their master, after whose name they are called, if they lived in good neighbourhood, and “ dwelt in unity?” Does Mrs. More's “ distinguishing peculiarities” tend to accelerate this blessed day, or to perpetuate animosity, a discordia fratrum, or spiritually, by Snactments that dare to reach beyond the grave, to “ sink, burn, and destroy eternally! Mrs. Hannah should retire to some lazar-house, for a cure of the disorders of the human heart,
- drink “milk,” for in true christianity. she is yet a babe, a stranger to the “ bond of perfectness!”
Vol. 6, page 114.
" There is so little of the Author of christianity left in “ his own religion, that an apprehensive believer is ready " to exclaim, with the woman at the sepulchre, · They “ have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they “ have laid him.' The locality of Hell and the existence " of an Evil Spirit are annihilated, or considered as abstract “ ideas. When they are alluded to, it is periphrastically;
or they are discontinuod not on the ground of their being “ awful and terrible, but they are set aside as topics too
vulgar for the polished, too illiberal for the learned, and as savouring too much of credulity for the enlightened.”
The first sentence of this paragraph I entirely agree with. “They indeed have taken away my “ Lord,” but it is in a very different sense from Mrs. Hannah. I ask, who has taken him away? Ever since the time of Constantine he has beçn partially absent. Glosses, confessions, creeds,