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way, that she may “rend her heart and not her
“ Now I saw (ibidem) that there were some others who “ were busy in strewing the most gaudy flowers over the “numerous bogs, and precipices, and pit-falls, with which “the wilderness abounded; and thus making danger and death “look so gay, that poor thoughtless creatures seemed to delight “ in their own destruction. Those pit-falls did not appear “deep or dangerous to the eye, because over them were raised gay
edifices (the theatre and opera: with as great propriety "might any actress or opera girl preach and write against “plays as H. More) with alluring names. “ filled with singing men and singing women, and with
dancing, and feasting, and gaming, and drinking, and jollity, and madness. But though the scenery was gay, " the footing was unsound. The floors were full of holes, “ through which the unthinking merry-makers were con“tinually sinking. Some tumbled through in the middle * of a song; more at the end of a feast; and though there
was many a cup of intoxication wreathed round with “ flowers, yet there was always poison at the bottom.”
Reader! “ what need have you of more wit“ nesses?" H. More, who thus preaches against theatrical amusements and pleasures, has, in the 3d vol, of her works, published several plays, that could not be acted without the ac
accompaniments she here reprobates. She herself, formerly, viewed and directed the scenery, the actions, and partook of the “ voluptuousness” she describes, when her plays were acted at Drury-Lane, Covent-Garden, and Bath ; and to the representation of which, and of other less chaste plays, their scholars, young ladies, were led by her and her sisters. She sells poison from one part of her shop, and an antidote
from the other. What are we to conclude from
and censure, and sermons against plays, and a vindication of the innocence of the drama, but that it is all for money, for fame! She may use the motto on an old book stall, “ To
BE SOLD-"BOOKs of DIVINITY and BOOKS of DIVERSION !!”
In her continuation of the allegory of human life, the lady has had another vision she says, and on that account, and for many other reasons, she certainly merits the title of visionary, which she calls the STRAIGHT GATE and the BROAD WAY." Through this world, her “LAND of MisERY,” two ways lay leading, but must pass through a“DARK “SHADOWY VALLEY,” to the “HAPPY LAND;" the one the BROAD, TEMPTING WAY, the other the NARROW WAY. The map and road book, are the holy scriptures. The BEACONS and LIGHT HOUSES, are the teachers of religion. The narrow road was difficult and rough, but infallibly safe; medio tutissimus ibis, and had its comforts and pleasures. The broad way was tempting, with gaudy flowers and luxurious fruits. The travellers this way, she says, write books and plays (as she has done) and paint and sing, and dance and drink, as they go along, and seem remarkably fond of red sheep, and Eldorado pebbles, with which, and flowers, they so load themselves, when they can scramble enough of them, that they can scarcely move forwards. On this road, she tells nis, are a great many ME N-traps, and spring-guns!! She describes a party, of neither hot nor cold, who split a direction, trust in the Lord, and be doing good, i. e. pervert the scripture, and because they will be saved their own way, take the first clause, i. e. trust in the Lord, and elect themselves, and leave others to strive and perform good works. These self-elected, are described as often boasting of their own inward bright burning light, in order to get the praises of men. The piece ends with few entering in at the straight gate, and multitudes, the bulk of the human species, going in at the broad way to “ everlasting chains and pe“ nal fire.” She is much afraid of fat people entering in at the narrow gate, and thinks lean folks have a better chance. It reminds me of a goodnatured, honest and worthy curate, who, though his salary was small, thrived so well on it, that by the “ blessing of God,” as he said, he was in as good a condition as if he had been a pluralist.He told me, that one Sunday morning he rode into the country to do duty for a friend, and having an imperfect idea of the way, coming to a place where the road divided into two, the one wide and the other narrow, he enquired of a lank, black-haired, undertaker-looking man, whom he just then overtook, and afterwards learned was a methodist preacher, the way to St. Mary's; was answered, after stedfastly looking at him-“Sir, of the BROAD WAY is your road! the BROAD WAY, “Sir, the BROAD WAY!”
PARLEY THE PORTER, is another allegory, of the same complexion. A castle in a garden, in the middle of a wilderness, is entrusted to servants. In the wilderness live a vast number of robbers, desirous of surprizing the castle, which was entrusted to his servants by their lord, who took a journey into a far country. The castle is the soul and heart of man. The robbers are the various passions and pleasures of life. The castle at last, like every lady and castle that is besieged, is taken. This is the least valuable of the whole.
THIS is a volume of stories, moral and reli gious; but the religion is frequently puritanical, and there is much cant. In these stories, whose general object is laudable, there is nothing more remarkable than the author's facility of producing them, and the address, if it be true, with which she has been able to sell them. But two causes explain this; she had the pay and assistance of administration; and it has lately been observed, that the body of the people is fast methodizing. To be just, however, I have sometimes met in them with some feelings of rational piety, which gave me delight; and I should feel still higher pleasure, did I not know that H. More's heart and writings are, alas! at variance.
When we consider the celebrity of her noisy piety, and the wide spread fame of her stewardship for men of charity, who have both the ability and inclination to bestow, every act of which has, as by a “ trumpet sound,” been sent from post to post over the nation, and which by mistake has been solely ascribed to herself; when I reflect on what I have read, what I have read or know of her respecting Mrs. Cowley, Mrs. Yearsley, and Mr. Bere, and others who never gave
any provocation, I am tempted to compare her sentiments and writings with her conduct, her head with her heart, her speech with her behaviour, and to enquire, whether her reputation be real or factitious. Let then her acknowledged literary attainments, her professions of moral excellence; her avowed scrupulous integrity, her religious zeal, her mild demeanour, her devotional aspect, her ardent piety, and the numerous little almsdeeds of her stewardship, and the following quotations, be by the reader's judgment weighed against her “private accusations,” her uncharitable surmises of the conduct and sentiments of others, her exclusion from life eternal of those who differ from her in opinion, her defamation, by inventing and propagating false reports of those with whom she is scarcely acquainted, her general censure of the ministers of religion, her wicked, subtle, artful, and secret plots to assassinate the reputation of the Curate of Blagdon, whom she maliciously purposed to deprive of his bread, and of the means of procuring it any where else, in which she has been detected, and of which she now stands convicted before the public, the punishment for which, from the laws of her country, she hitherto escaped only by her cun