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« of so wild a step as to run away, had not my heart been “ tainted and my imagination inflamed by those pernicious “ books."
Reader! dost thou not shudder at reading this passage, when thou recollectest that one volume of her works consists of plays or tragedies, that she has republished them lately! I leave it to you to say what sort of a woman she is, when you have thought of all her actions!
In page 282, she makes Mrs. Inkle say— “O! it is an awful thing to think what a sinner man " or woman may be, and yet retain a decent character.”
No man who did not recollect Mrs. Cowley and Mrs. Yearsley's treatment, could think it possible, H. More, bearing so decent a character, could be so wickedly mean as to write to a Bishop secret accusations against one clergyman, and to her " old friend,” that another had published a political pamphlet of evil tendency, when she had no proof of the one or the other.,
'Tis ALL FOR THE BEST, is a pious story, which merits my approbation. My chief objection to my author is, her practice regularly giving the lye to her professions. In p. 305, the expression, “ This we thought a fortunate circumstance," is improper and unscriptural in so serious a work. But I have seen a letter of Mrs. More's, this pretended enemy to French philosophy, inviting friends to her “ civic feast," and grand saturnalia, containing the words unlucky and misfortune, and in which she said, “ something must be sacrificed “ to “ liberty and equality.”
The observance of the Sabbath is spoken of with much strictness and reverence; but though she enumerates many things which are done on Sunday, which she says ought not to be done, she forgot to prohibit armies and fleets to fight, mackarel to be sold, and dinners cooked on the Lord's day. Her accusations of Mr. Bere, I believe, were dated on Sunday? H. More is not yet but half a saint.
Mrs. Simpson, one of the characters in this story, is taught by our author to say
“I not only forgive him heartily, but I remember him in "my prayers, as one of those instruments with which it “ has pleased God to work for my good. Oh! never put “ off forgiveness to a dying bed! When people come to “ die, we often see how the conscience is troubled with “ sins, of which before they hardly felt the existence.“ How ready are they to make restitution of ill-gotten “ gain; and this perhaps for two reasons, from a feeling “ conviction that it can be of no use to them where they " are going, as well as from a near view of their own re“ sponsibility. We also hear from the most hardened, of “ death-bed forgiveness of enemies. Even malefactors at “ Tyburn forgive. But why must we wait for a dying bed « to do what ought to be done now? Believe me, that “ scene will be so full of terror and amazement to the soul, " that we had not need load it with unnecessary business.”
Instead of seeking for a christian reconciliation with the Curate of Blagdon, whom she has so much injured, and apologizing to the public and the neighbourhood of Cowslip-Green, for the disturbance and division she has created, the lady is still indefatigable, using influence and solicitation with all she can get at, or by any means move to
publish advertisements in newspapers, to “ make “ a liar of Mr. Bere” (her own words) and to calumniate every man who countenanced or befriended the Curate, when it was in equilibrio whether he should literally go a begging, or come on his parish. All this will be proved whenever Mrs. More dares publicly to call for it, and perhaps without any solicitation on her part.
A CURE FOR MELANCHOLY, a story in which employment, something to do, is recommended as the best prescription for preserving health of body and mind, and various means of doing good are pointed out. Alas! Alas! the ghost of " secret “accusations against one clergyman,” and “ mali“ cious lies” invented and propagated against another, as I am most credibly informed, which help, with some charitable deeds and religious writings to fill up her time, will as long as she lives haunt her mind, and furnish me with an eternal sarcasm whenever her name is mentioned. All would be well done, if she had not been afflicted with an incurable maliciousness against all who happen to cross her paths, and sometimes, unaccountably, against some who have had no opportunity or inclination of giving her any sort of offence.
Under this head working schools are recommended, and plans sketched out, as conducted by Mrs. Jones, an imaginary character. These I think must be useful, if well governed.
SUNDAY SCHOOLs have existed now near 20 years, and were first introduced by Mr. Raikes,
of Glocester. Pious persons, or persons professing to be pious, in different parts of the country, not only encouraged these institutions in their own parishes and neighbourhood, but in some instances took upon themselves the charge of disseminating the knowledge of them, and establishing them in distant parishes, using every means possible to plant schools in all populous neighbourhoods. Of this description is Mrs. H. More, who has laboured with great assiduity to extend Sunday schools far and wide. Here I will attend only to her own account of the institution and government of these schools under this title, deferring my opinion of their utility until I come to notice them under the article of the Blagdon controversy.
Mrs. More then says
“ She would not discourage them, even from views of “mere worldly policy; that it is something gained to res" cue children from idling away their Sabbath in the fields “ or streets; it is no small thing to keep them from those “ tricks to which a day of leisure tempts the idle and the “ ignorant ; it is something for them to be taught to read, “ to read the bible, and to be carried regularly to church. “ But all this is not enough. To bring them to answer “ their highest end can only be effected by God's blessing “ on the best directed means, the choice of able teachers, 6 and a diligent attention in some pious gentry to visit and “ inspect the schools.”
To all this I cordially agree, if education cannot be had otherwise, which if they do not, must be the people's own fault, or that of their rulers; for in that part of his Majesty's dominions where
my estate lies, we have parochial schools, to which the poor are easily admitted, established by the legislature. The requisites, we are told, for a well qualified master or mistress, are good sense, activity, and piety. All this is very well so far.The cheap repository is mentioned, as sending forth a great variety of little tracts suited to the young, and to counteract the influx of jacobinical and atheistical pamphlets. I declare, I never met with such books in this country!
The incident of a group (p. 384) of young females listening to a blind fidler, is here said to have suggested the idea of instructing adults also at the Sunday schools, in the evenings, after the business of the dairy and serving the cattle is over, where the scriptures are to be explained, and even the parents to be adınitted, that they may learn how to instruct and expound to their own families.
The PILGRIMS, is an attempt at an allegorical description of human life ; but it is very inferior to that of John Bunyan. It is, for it could not be otherwise, a pious performance, and may be useful; neither is it my inclination or wish, to refuse my full approbation to whatever has a tendency to improve morals, to afford instruction, or to edify in religious principles. Here no peculiar eccentricities appear.
The VALLEY OF TEARS, is another allegory on human life, founded on a paper in Addison's Spectator, in the execution of which, if there be not much to commend, as its object is religious, I find little to censure.