Слике страница

Our Author now proceeds to give his Readers a concise, but clear and distinc view of the question, from the time of Luther till the close of the year 1773, and then goes on as follows:

• Here then the matter Rests at present. But GOD FORBID THAT IT SHOULD EVER REST so! while there is honefly among Christians it cannot. We call ourselves a Protestant church ; declare against infailibility; and appeal to the scriptures themselves as containing all things necessary to salvation, which we recommend to every one, and require of our clergy to study. A set of articles, drawn up two centuries ago suitable to the scholastic notions of those times, remain still in use as the pattern according to which all the clergy are to square their opinions, and all the clergy are to frame their instructions. Even Disenters from the established church are not allowed to worship God in their own way, unless they will bear testimony to the truth of her rule. Both Clergy and Diflenters have studied the scriptures, and in many instances cannot find them conformable with it; and have applied accordingly to the legillature in its feveral branches, to release them from so hard a service, as to be made to testify an exact conformity they do not see. What has been the answer! The CLERGY are told that this is not a time for amendments, and they must be allowed to use a latitude in tbe interpretation of the articles, to reconcile them to themselves, or to take them in any sense the words will bear ; (or, perhaps, Jike Peter's shoulder-knot, if the matter cannot be reconciled totidem verbis, to do it totidem literis.) And as to the DissenTERS; they are assured that notwithstanding the laws are kept in force against them, their non-compliance shall (for the present) be winked at.

. These are no longer the soothing words of too fond a friend, the casuiftry of private advice, or the deceit a man puts upon himself, who is unwilling to lose his hopes of preferment upon which all his prospects in this life depend; but the counsel of persons in authority; the only posible excuse they give to keep men quiet, and lull them alleep, under the continuance of a burthen which neither they nor their fathers knew well how to bear. Nor is the non-compliance of the Disenters, any longer to be looked upon as a disobedience to government; though it is a disobedience to laws, which, though now dormant, it is well known may at any time hereafter be roused and enforced against them.

6 But suppose A CLERGYMAN to be scrupulous, and unwilling to set his hand to what he does not thoroughly believe ; and unwilling to declare that for truth before the congregation, which in his conscience he cannot fully and in every part allow


to be truth. (The case is possible : he is far from certain that God will allow of fophiftry, whatever his earthly superiors may.) What is he to do in this dilemma? Is he to be filent then, or to be kept back, or to retire from the ministry of God in his "church, because he is of all men the most fit to serve in it? (If he retires ever so peaceably; he is liable to excommunication, and all its harassing consequences.) Or is he to force himself into compliance, as thinking he can that way be most usetul to the cause of religion ; and then to be reprobated and suspected of finister views, and branded with opprobrious names, because he folicits humbly to be relieved from so iniquitous a burthen ? And are the DISSENTERS to have the rod held over them for ever, if they will not comply with what we know they cannot? Or are they to be suspected of designs against Christianity, or against the state, because they desire to be released from so se. vere a law ; fo contrary to all the dictates of humanity, fo contrary to all true Christianity ? · This may serve as a specimen of our Author's manner of writing, which is sensible, liberal, and manly. How it is posfible for our ecclesiastical governors to peruse, with serious attention, what many other able writers have advanced upon this subject, and, at the same time, fatisfy themselves with fitting still as unconcerned spectators of the laudable efforts of other men, is to us utterly inconceivable. If matters are to remain upon the present footing, we cannot but think, with our Author, that the glory of our Church is extinct.

Those who have opportunities of conversing much with perfons in high life, laugh at the Petitioning Clergy, and vindicate the conduct of our ecclesiastical governors. They tell us, that the Petitioners, they believe, are worthy honest creatures, good, fimple fouls, but that they know nothing of the world, and have very confined views ;-the Bishops, on the contrary, they fay, are persons of superior capacities, and enlarged views; that they have too much good sense not to look upon all religious systems as pretty much the fame ; and that they would there. fore act a very absurd and impolitic part were they to risk the consequences of making any alterations. But is not this a strange apology for their Lordships? Some of them, we know, would not think themselves at all obliged to such vindicators; and we have charity enough to hope as much of the rest of the right reverend Bench.

Art. IV. The History of Lord Stanton. By a Gentleman of the Mid

dle Temple, Author of The Trial. 12mo. 3 Vols. 9s. Vernor. V E remember to have read The Trial * with greater pleaW sure than we in general receive from works of this na• See Review for January 1772, p. 79,

ture ;

work will not ho have

ture; and our sensible Author has continued to amuse us agreeably, in the volumes now before us. The History of Lord Stanton, though not any way equal to the works of our firstrate writers, in this branch of literature, are much superior to the common run of those romances that are daily published under the titles of Novels ; and we will venture to assure those of our Readers, who have a tafte for writings of this kind, that they will not find the time employed in perusing the present work wholly thrown away.

Many of the letters contained in this History are sensible, spirited, and affecting. Lord Stanton having been, by the care of his mother, educated in the country, and entirely secluded from the great and gay world, till he was of age, now leaves his retirement, and, under the concealed name of Benson, arrives in London ; where, having by a fortunate accident, been introduced to a genteel family, he proceeds to make his observations on men and manners, as they appear to him in that great cheatre of pleasure and diffipation. The seducing scenes he meets with, have however a visible effect on his morals; and the severity of his virtue more than begins to relax when he gives his friend in the country the following account of a masquerade scene, in which he was peculiarly interested.--This, and his friend's answer to it, with some abridgment, will be sufficient to shew the style and manner in which this History is written.

Ignorant of the ways of the world as I am, yet I have not been without my atchievements : a porter put a billet into my hand, and, whilft I was admiring the superscription of it, got off unquestioned. It was addressed in the monitory verse of Dryden: “ Be discreet-Love's fairy favours are lost when not concealed.This bespoke a mystery, and I hastily burst open the paper ; it contained these words: “ Titania, Queen of the Fairies, to the most charming of the Sons of Men Love spares not immortality—and I have felt his shafts, that mortals have been admitted to our embraces is authorized by many instances : that heighth of honour is reserved for you. I shall be at the malquerade to-morrow night in my proper dress. If you dare encounter me I shall meet you half way; but I know that secrecy alone can ensure you a fairy's affection. Perhaps before we ' part I may condescend to be a mortal.” It is not to be supposed I failed to meet my fair antagonist: to encounter the Queen of the Fairies it was necessary that I should put on proper apparel : I was dreft like a forester, green was the close habit which fitted my body; my spear glitter'd in my hand, and my bugle horn hung from my shoulders ; but till her Majesty appeared, I concealed myself in a domino. She did not enter the room till late, and her appearance attracted the eyes of the whole motley company : her robe was of a light blue, em


broidered with silver stars, and flowers ; her hair was bound op {pirally, and a string of diamonds appeared to confine it, which terminated in a large crescent. I cannot really describe the other parts of her dress, which bespoke an elegant fancy, and great richnefs: I must not however forget her wand, nor to tell you that her shape was faultless, and her air noble. I attended her some time in my domino, and listened to the answers the gave the crowd that chronged about her ; for, coming into the room alone, the excited every body's attention, and was at. tacked on all fides ; I call her alone, as she had only a person in the character of an attendant fairy with her. She repulsed every body that came near her, and her eye was in quest of something, she knew not what. It was time to relieve her from her anxiety; and, flipping out to the place where my servant attended, I threw off my domino, and entered as the hunterI approached her, and whether the knew my person or not in that disguise, the started as I came near her. “ I have received a sore wound said I, and the Queen of the Fairies can alone cure me." " Is it visible?” « No; and that makes it the more dangerous." " When did you receive it ?” “ Yesterday at noon.” “ Ha! Forefter, are you come ?” « Yes, and you mult lay aside your pretensions to fairy knowledge, for I have attended your person in disguise ever since you appeared, while your eye was seeking me in vain. You must drop your divinity, and break your wand, for I can be as secret to a fair mortal, as to the Queen of the Fairies.” “ You rob me of my divinity too soon : consider I shall be less troublesome in this assumed character than when I fink into a meer woman.” By this time we had got away from the company, and found ourselves almost alone. Here we entered into conversation, and I prevailed with her to shew me her face, which would not have disgraced the reality of the character she assumed. It was really charming: an explanation soon ensued, and we retired from the crowd which prevented our joy, and heightened expectation.

- Do not imagine I pass my time in seducing innocence, or violating the nuptial bed—no such thing. This was the mistress of a nobleman, who kept her more for the vanity of having so fipe a woman in his power, than for any other gratification. She thought herself at liberty to please her fancy, and I happened to be the happy man. Well, Thompson, and where's the harm of all this? Your gravity will be displeased with it, and will make you look on me as a very bad fellow ; but though I indulge and gratify the desires so natural, and consequent to youth, I trust I do not forget the dictates of honour, or fail to pay a due respect to virtue.'


ed ought herself at liber, than for ane vanity of ha

His friend who, though little older than Lord Stanton, had lived with him as his tutor and companion, thus sensibly re. plies to the foregoing letter :

• If I can presume upon the right of a friend, which ever implies equality, your excuses for your filence cannot be ad. mitted. Oh, my good friend, they are the worst that can be framed, and sorry I am to tell you so. Oh thou of little resolurion, who canst so soon relinquith thy boasted attachment to virtue, whose heart yields to every slight and transient temptation, The honour of thy youth forsaken, and forgot; in what manner shall I address you? How shall the admonitions of thy friend reach thy ears, fillid with flattery and falsehood, or how Thall my words gain a passage to thy heart, when all the ave. nues are choaked with variety, and fill'd with licentious pleasure? I cannot so far forget my former interest in you, as not to warn you, with friendly voice, to avoid the edge of the precipice that yawns beneath you, and where, if you fall, ruin and destruction await you. How many are the subterfuges vice fies to, endeavouring to palliate her actions with the semblance of right! Thus you call the acquaintance of the lewd and abandoned, a knowledge of the world ; and thus you stile libertinism and folly, vivacity and spirit. Who are your companions ? With whom do you associate? Those whom honour has forsaken, whom virtue disowns, who are unacquainted with honefty, who are strangers to every thing good. Thou shalt not touch pitch, but thou shalt be defiled ; and a communication with the votaries of folly shall contaminate the heart. The sen. timents and the actions have a close connection with each other. Myour heart is not totally abandoned, you must have Ihrunk back with borror on your first introduction to the paths of licentiousness. The man who hears without disapproving, tacitly commends; then where will this road lead us? Oh 'tis too dismal to think of it, or cast our eyes only where it begins to terminate ; misfortune, disease, infamy, wait with open arms to receive you. But I question if your generous heart could support the disgrace which you will find awaits you. When your eyes come to be opened, when all your actions, however bad or dishonest, are hung up in the fane of Time, and Memory, ever to be then shunned, takes them down, and presents them to your view, the colours heightened by reflection, and your passions fled, what then will become of you? Can you support your own thoughts, or bear the idea, even at present, of what may happen hereafter? You know not the nature of the actions you commit every moment, how unjust, or bad, exclusive of the immorality of them, though custom bas gilded them over with the appellation of gallantry and amour. if we


« ПретходнаНастави »