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A Virgin is his mother, but his sire
“ The immortal poet having thus put into the mouth of the angel the prophecy of man's redemption, follows it with that solemn and beautiful admonition, addressed in the poem to our grcat First Parent, but intended as an address to his posterity through all generations :
“This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
« Thus you find all that is great, or wise, or splendid, op illustrious, amongst created beings, all the minds gifted beyond ordinary nature, if not inspireci by their Universal Author for the advancement and clignity of the world, though divided by distant ages, and by clashing opinions distinguishing them from another, yet joining, as it were, in one sublime chorus to celebrate the truths of christianity, and laying upon its holy altars the never fading offerings of their immortal wisdom.
“ Against all this concurring testimony, we find suddenly, from Mr. Painc, that the Bible teaches nothing but lies, obscenity, cruelty, and injustice.' Did the author or publisher ever read the sermon of Christ upon the mount, in which the great principles of our faith and duty are summed up? Let us all but read and practise it, and lies, obscenity, cruelty, and injustice, and all human wickedness, would be banished from the world.
« Gentlemen, there is but one consideration more, which I cannot possibly omit, because I confess it affects me very deeply. Mr. Paine has written largely on public liberty and government; and this last performance has, on that account, been more widely circulated, and principally among those who attached themselves from principle to his former works. This circumstance renders a public attack upon all revealed religion, from such a writer, infinitely more dangerous. The religious and moral sense of the people of Great Britain, is the great anchor which alone can hold the vessel of the state amidst the storms which agitate the world ; and if I could believe, for a moment, that the mass of the people were to be debauched from the principles of religion, which form the true basis of that humanity, charity, and benevolence, that has been so long the national characteristic, instead of mixing myself, as I sometimes have done, in political reformations, I would rather retire to the uttermost corners of the earth, to avoid their agitation; and would bear not only the imperfections and abuses complained of in our own wise establishment, but even the worst government that ever existed in the world, rather than go to the work of reformation, with a multitude set free from all the charities of christianity, who had no sense of God's existence but from Mr. Paine's observation of nature, which the mass of mankind have no leisure to contemplate ; nor any belief of future rewards and punishments, to animate the good in the glorious pursuit of human happiness, nor to deter the wicked from destroying it even in its birth. But I know the people of England better. They are a religious people; and, with the blessing of God, as far as it is in my power, I will lend my aid to keep them so. I have no objections to the freest and most extended discussions upon doctrinal points of the christian religion; and, though the law of England does not permit it, I do not dread the reasoned arguments of deists against the existence of christianity itself, because, as was said by its Divine Author, if it is of God, it will stand. An intellectual book, however erroneous, addressed to the intellectual world upon so profound and complicated a suhject can never
work the mischief which this indictment is calculated to repress. Such works will only employ the minds of men enlightened by study, to a deeper investigation of a subject well worthy of their profound and continued contemplation. The powers of the mind are given for human improvement in the progress of human existence. The changes produced by such reciprocations of lights and intelligences, are certain in their progressions, and make their way imperceptibly, as convietion comes upon the world, by the final and irresistible power of truth. If christianity be founded in falsehood, let us become deists in this manner, and I am contented. But this book hath no such object, no such capacity; it presents no arguments to the wise and enlightened. On the contrary, it treats the faith and opinions of the wisest with the most shocking contempt, and stirs up men without the advantages of learning or sober thinking, to a total disbelief of every thing hitherto held sacred, and, consequently, to a rejection of all the laws and ordinances of the state, which stand only upon the assumption of thcir truth.
“ Gentlemen, I cannot conclude without expressing the deepest regret at all attacks upon the christian religion, by authors who profess to promote the civil libcrties of the world. For, under what other auspices than christianity, have the lost and sulaverted liberties of mankind in foriner ages been reasserted ? By what zeal, but the warm zeal of devout christians, have English liberties been redeemed and consecrated ? Under what other sanctions, even in our own days, have liberty and happiness been extending and spreading to the uttermost corners of the earth? What work of civilization, what commonwealth of greatness, has the bald religion of nature cvor established ? We see, on the contrary, the nations that have no other light than that of nature to direct them, sunk in barbarism, or slaves to arbitrary governments; whilst, since the christian era, the great career of the world has been slowly, but clearly, advancing, with increasing splendour at every step, from the awful prophecies of the Gospel, and leading, I trust, in the end, to universal and eternal happiness. Each generation of mankind can see but a few revolving links of this mighty and mysterious chain ; but, by doing
our several duties in our allotted stations, we are sure that we are fulfilling the purposes of our existence. You, I trust, will fulfil yours this day!”
I have now, gentlemen, finished, though in an imperfect manner, the course of Lectures which I proposed to offer upon the very important arts of Reading and Public Speaking. Had my leisure been greater, I should, I think, have executed them better. Imperfect, however, as they are, they have given you some correct elementary principles, which, I trust, you will expand and improve by subsequent reading and practice.
I thank you, gentlemen, for your patient and polite attention ; for the promptness with which you have complied with my occasional, oral, instructions, in gesture and in attitude; for the punctuality of your attendance ; and for the satisfaction which you have so uniformly expressed.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO-THE RECLUSE. No. I.
I am so much of a Recluse as to have remained entirely ignorant of those late scenes of barbarity, which have been acted in the isle of St. Domingo, until a few days ago, a friend, who lives ten miles off, favoured me with a set of the Port Folio. Judge then of my feelings when I was surprised into a knowledge of the facts as recorded in the one for April, 1809, in which Duncan M'Intosh's conduct and character are so luminously displayed. With this gentleman, I had a personal acquaintance in the West Indies, in '98, since which our pursuits have never brought us within hail of each other. These two circumstances are stated as a reason why, at this time of day, I take the liberty to offer a translation of one of the French odes, in which my said friend is so honourably mentioned. It will afford me satisfaction, to find my translation adjudged of sufficient merit to gain a column in the Port Folio.
The form which this celebrated vehicle of literary intelligence has, under its present establishment, assumed, is so conformable to my sense of elegance and usefulness, that I cheerfully congratulate my native country upon the possession of so fine a work. I have been not a little delighted and, perhaps, improved, by the perusal of the last eighteen numbers; and for the sake of renewing that entertainment and instruction, shall, in future, consider myself as a subscriber.
The plan upon which this work appears, now, to be conducted, is, in fact, so far superior to every thing which we have hitherto enjoyed in America, that I should think my conduct rather incorrect, were I to withhold the expression of so decided and so favourable a 'sentiment as I feel; for it may be fairly considered as the duty of every qualificd member of the literary and moral communities to lend the weight of his authority in order to fix the momentum of general sentiment: in the same manner as the passengers of a packet ought, at certain times, upon the principle of cominon propriety, to lean all on one side, to keep the vessel upright. Now, if, in addition to this testimony in its behalf, I might lay myself under an obligation to fill a page or two occasionally, without incurring the charge of presumption, and, at the same time, without risking the mortification of a rejection of offered services, I should propose myself as a volunteer, to be employed in the service of the Republic, as occasion may require. Upon the files of former years four or five of my fugitives appear to have been arrested, by the partial hands of different friends, through whose agency I have been willing to ascribe their fitness to pass the ordeal of critical inspection. But if I be not deceived by that fondness for one's own written performances, which The SCRIBBLER has so prettily shown to be both natural and laudable, I imagine there will be no danger of an absolute failure in every branch of service in which the offer inight be made. The requisite endowments of every member of the Republic of Letters are very diversified, and the capacity of an individual is seldom unique, or so confined as to fit him for one station only. If the higher branches of the body politic of learning require talents which an Antony or Augus.