« ПретходнаНастави »
but I should think myself extremely happy, were he and I to pass the remainder of our days together. We should often argue, but never dispute. If we could not concur in one creed, we should, however, coalesce in one heart; and our differences in point of judgment would only serve to enliven the conversation of men, too like in dispositions, to be entertaining to each other, without some diversity in sentiment andopinion.
It hath been said, that his change of principles was owing to a perusal of the Candid Disquisitions. I can hardly think it; because Mr. Robertson's good understanding must have, previously to the publication of that work, made him a more able master of every point handled in it, than any of its authors were; and because he is of too open and ingenuous a heart, to be pleased with, to be either converted or perverted, by a book so covertly and so artfully written. At least, if this report is true, we must do him the justice to say, the disciple is a much honester man than his masters. Though they declare themselves to be, all or most of them, clergymen of the established church of England, the resignation of any one among them is yet unknown to the world, at this day, I believe, more than twenty years since their book appealed to the world against the archbishop of Canterbury, and other heads of the church, to whom it was but seemingly submitted in private, ere it was printed, in order to a farther reformation of the church, or, in plainer words, to an abolition of its most fundamental principles.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
LORD VISCOUNT CHARLEMONT.
YOUR Lordship may remember, that, during the short space of time in which I was charged with the care of your education, I asked and obtained leave to dedicate the following allusions to you: although for many and weighty reasons, which, in charity, I forbear to mention here, I chose to quit you so soon; yet, so far as you were considered, it was with the greatest regret I did it. As neither of us can justly charge the other with the cause of this separation, so give me leave to hope, that these little performances will not be less acceptable to you, on that account, especially as they are not presented with less good-will and esteem., As your Lordship, and every body else who knows me, are sensible I am very far from being a flatterer; and as I have not now the honour to be a relative to you in any sense, so, I hope, I should not be suspected of design or insincerity, though some of my sentiments, on this occasion, should be delivered in the usual style of dedications: that style, however, and the baseness of those who use it, as an instrument of their own designs, and an incentive to the vanity of their patrons, I, from my soul, abhor; and the public, to your honour, shall observe, that I, who know you, can, without the least fear of offending, address you in quite another manner.
That estate, that rank, and those natural endowments, which, in another dedication might be called yours, and much enlarged on to flatter your pride, on this occasion shall be called the property of your country, and of mankind, and be mentioned only to alarm you. Do not, my Lord, let any low, designing flatterer persuade you that such talents were absolutely bestowed on you by a wise and pro
vident God. Do not listen to him; the wretch gapes at a reward for his detestable casuistry. I must insist on it, they were only deposited with you for the public use, and must be accounted for to the real owner. Infinite wisdom could never intend so much for the use of one man. No, my Lord, we have (I speak in behalf of the public, of which I make a part) a just right to the utmost improvement, and the best application you can possibly make, of all the aforementioned talents, particularly, the great abilities with which God hath enriched your mind, in comparison of which, we esteem your fortune and titles as trifles. My intention in speaking thus to you, is to apprize your country of the great things they have a right to expect from you; and you, of the mighty debt, which, in a few years, you must begin to discharge. It is happy for you, my Lord, that, to your excellent talents, God hath joined the most amiable dispositions, without the assistance of which, it is incomparably more difficult, for reason and principle, to govern a great than a little mind: yet, though good dispositions are qualified to reflect such lustre on great talents, and lend good principles such powerful succours, they may be, and often are, so unhappily turned, as totally to subdue the latter, and by that means fatally corrupt and pervert the former.
How amiably will your good nature adorn your title, if it humbles you to a prudent degree of condescension for persons in a lower rank! How happily will it help you to apply and enjoy your fortune, if it opens your heart with tenderness and generosity to proper objects! How gloriously will it employ your talents, if it attaches them to the service of your country, and the good of mankind! But, if it opens your ears to flatterers, and your affections to the followers of vicious pleasures, your great estate wont hinder you from being a beggar, nor your title from being the contempt of mankind, nor your fine talents from being styled a good-natured fool. It is true, there is no being either a good or an agreeable man, without good nature; yet so it happens, that more young gentlemen of rank and fortune are destroyed by that one good quality, than by all their bad ones put together.
The adviseable disposition with which you are blessed, will make the wisdom and goodness of all, who approach