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the most success; and where we chiefly fail, it is with your pretty good kind of people, who do not see how they can be better. I think it has pleased God to give us the most rapid progress in the parish we last took up, not above a year ago. This place has helped to people the county gaol and Botany Lay, beyond any I know of. They seemed to have reached a sort of crisis of iniquity. Of near two hundred children, many of them grown up, hardly any had ever seen the inside of a church since they were christened. I cannot tell you
the avidity with which the Scriptures were received by numbers of these poor creatures. Finding the heads of the parish (farmers) quite as ignorant as their labourers, we devised a method, at the outset, of saving their pride, by setting apart one evening in the week on purpose for their instruction. Above twenty of them, including their wives, attend, and many seem to be brought under serious impressions.
• One great benefit which I have found to result from our projects is, the removal of that great gulf which has divided the rich and poor in these country parishes, by making them meet together; whereas before, they hardly thought they were children of one common Father.'
With the progress of her benevolent exertions for the salvation of others, it is highly remarkable how her own advancement in spirituality kept pace. Thus it is, that active usefulness is generally found to be a means of holiness : “ he that watereth, shall himself also be watered.” Nor can we doubt that her religious comfort also was advanced by her ministries to others. We obtain from a letter to Mr. Wilberforce, (Vol. II. p. 408,) a glimpse into her very heart : she there complains that she has little sensible joy, having a stronger sense of sin than of
pardon and acceptance, though entertaining the firmest belief of both on the gospel terms. This was doubtless owing, in some degree, as she was herself aware, to the influence of natural temper; 'doubt and fear' being, she says, (who would otherwise have suspected it?) her governing principles in com
mon life.' How far it might be traced to theological bias, is a delicate point, which we scarcely venture to touch upon. We use the term bias, because her creed was assuredly purely evangelical. Even where this is the case, there may be habits of thinking or of feeling, the result of early prejudice, association, or other circumstances, which prevent the acknowledged creed from exerting its full and natural influence. Miss More had been much indebted to the Port Royal authors, at an earlier stage of her religious history; and she retained a preference for that school of divinity in which the religion of the heart is more accurately analysed and more prominently displayed, than the doctrines which are the instrument of regeneration, and the secret nourishment of the spiritual principle *. She appears to have had
something approaching to a morbid dread of Calvinism, which dread would tend to keep her at a distance from something better than any ism, not in creed, but in habits of feeling. Thus we find Mr. Newton writing to her in the following terms :
I give you full credit, Madam, that you are not an enemy to the Calvinists, I believe you are one yourself, though you are not aware
There are schemes of Calvinism, so called, which you disapprove of, and so do I. The talk of some reputed Calvinists is no more musical in my ear than the mewing of a cat. If the world so pleased, I had rather be called a Petrist or a Paulist, than a Calvinist; but, reproachful as the last term is deemed by fashionable folks, I must not be ashamed of it, because I believe Calvin to have been an eminent servant of God, and his writings, especially his latter writings, are scriptural, judicious, and accurate.'
In the letter above referred to, Miss More ingenuously confesses, that God's mercy in Christ Jesus, though' her acknow
ledged trust, she was obliged to seek for’: that is, it did not, like a consciousness of her sinful estate,' readily present
itself. Hence, her very desire after perfection, she felt to proceed too much from impatience and self-love. ' 'I do not, she says, “I think, at all lean on my own wretched perform
ances; yet, I have a coldness in doing, and a sensible anxiety ' in omitting them. Now, while admitting, as we have done, that natural temper had much to do with this, (as it has with all the operations of mind and character,) yet, since the medium through which the natural temper generally exerts itself, is the opinions, we must think that such a temper more peculiarly required the remedial and sanative influence of the doctrines of grace.
Those only can “joy in God", who constantly realize having “ received the reconciliation.”
In this respect, however, Miss More found the benefit of her labours of love. Some extracts from her diary are given under the date of 1794, from which we must select few sentences.
• I find much pleasure and profit in a course of Henry's Exposition of St. Luke. It is now, I think, five or six years since I have been enabled by the grace of God in a good degree to give up all human studies. I have not allowed myself to read any classic or Pagan author for many years, ---I mean by myself. These are but small sacrifices that I am called to make. Give me grace, O God, for greater, if thou callest me to them. I desire to ascribe it to thy grace, that I have long since had much pleasure in serious books. I now willingly read little of which religion is not the subject.
• I desire to remember with particular gratitude in my devotions, that on this day five years my colleague and myself set up our first re
* Whitfield is reported to have said the same thing of Fletcher.
ligious institution at Cheddar. Bless the Lord, O my soul, for the seed that was that day sown ! Bless the Lord for the progress of christianity in that region of darkness, where many have been brought to “know the truth as it is in Jesus !” Do thou daily turn more hearts from darkness to light, and preserve them from falling back again. O Lord, I desire to bless thy holy name for so many means of doing good, and that, when I visit the poor, I am enabled to mitigate some of their miseries. I bless thee, that thou hast called me to this employment, which, in addition to many other advantages, contributes to keep my heart tender.'
We must now turn back to notice a few circumstances of biographical interest, which belong to an earlier date.
In the year 1790, Miss More published her “ Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World,” in which, assuming a bolder strain than in her “Thoughts on the Manners of the Great,” she animadverted on the absence of religion from the education and habits of the higher classes. The work was bought up and read with the same avidity as its predecessor. Within two years it had reached a fifth edition. The name of the author was not on the title-page, but good Bishop Porteus gallantly declared it to be aut Morus, aut Angelus, and tells his fair correspondent, that she had taken the wise ostrich for her model of concealment. Her next publication was of a humbler, but not less useful cast. Called upon by friends from all quarters to produce some popular tract in counteraction of the pernicious writings of the day, which were disseminating revolutionary and atheistic principles, Miss More, although she had publicly refused compliance, through distrust of her own abilities, resolved to make an attempt in secret. Having composed “ Village Politics, by Will Chip," she clandestinely sent it by a friend to Mr. Rivington, instead of to her own publisher, in order to avoid suspicion.
• In three or four days, every post brought her from London a present of this admirable little tract, with urgent entreaties that she would use every possible means of disseminating it, as the strongest antidote that could be administered to the prevailing poison. It flew with a rapidity which may appear incredible to those whose memories do not reach back to the period, into every part of the kingdom. Many thousands were sent by Government to Scotland and Ireland. Numerous patriotic persons printed large editions of it at their own expense ; and in London only, many hundred thousands were soon circulated.
Internal evidence betrayed the secret; and when the truth came out, innumerable were the thanks and congratulations which bore cordial testimony to the merit of a performance by which the tact and intelligence of a single female had “ wielded at will the fierce democratie of England,” and turned the tide of misguided opinion.'
Her next publication was, “Remarks” on the atheistical speech of Dupont to the National Convention ; the profits of the sale of
which (amounting to about £240) she devoted to the fund raised for the relief of the French emigrant clergy. The success of " Village Politics” encouraged her, in 1794, to commence her monthly series of cheap repository tracts for the instruction of the lower classes, with a view to counteract the poison which was continually flowing through the channel of vulgar, licentious, and seditious publications. The success surpassed her most sanguine expectations. Two millions of the tracts were sold in the first year; a circumstance at that time unprecedented. But, as they were sold below cost price, her object being to undersell the trash she wished to supersede, the expense was considerable, which was promptly met by subscriptions from her friends. The great exertion which this noble undertaking involved, materially undermined her health, besides occupying the time which she might have employed in producing writings that would have increased her income; "an increase,' her biographer remarks, which her * large disbursements for her schools must have rendered expe
dient.' These Tracts made their way, not only into kitchens and nurseries, but even into drawing-rooms; and the Author at length judged it expedient to print a handsome edition of the whole series in three volumes. Compare, remarks a friend who. knows how to write both for great and small, the polished and the peasant, - Compare Hannah More's labours for the poor, and her Tracts, with Harriet Martineau's very ingenious, but very ineffective compositions; the latter scarcely ever reaching the poor at all. Christianity alone stoops to them, even from the third heaven; and to that elevation the mind of the philanthropist must be caught up, before he will ever be able to stoop so, after the example of the Son of God, who came from the throne of the universe, to preach good tidings to the poor.' This fine remark, pencilled in our copy, warm from the heart, by one who ought to have been the reviewer of these volumes, we durst not pass off as our own, even though secure against the charge of plagiary.
Two volumes are yet before us, abounding with passages marked for citation or comment; but the length to which this article has already extended, compels us to resist the temptation to pursue our abstract ; and we must take some other opportunity of noticing the works which have chiefly established Miss More's reputation as an ethical writer. In 1799, she published her Strictures on Female Education, which had the honour of being attacked for the religious opinions maintained in it, by Archdeacon Daubeny; a circumstance Mr. Roberts does not ad
As Miss More prudently declined to reply, the Archdeacon's miserable remonstrance has vanished, and is forgotten ; while the treatise he proscribed has become a standard work. She was, however, doomed to encounter a more serious and formidable opposition from another quarter; and for three years, a violent warfare of calumny and malevolent persecution, chiefly promoted by the Curate of Blagdon, was carried on against her, from the pulpit and the press, at a time when her health appeared to be giving way under the pressure of a severe ague of seven months. Mr. Roberts has declined to unravel the details of this disgusting history,' and though it is not uninstructive, we do not regret that we have no room to enter upon the subject. Bere, the curate, seems to have been just such a clerical ruffian and firebrand as the Reverend Mr. Gathercole*. He sunk, at last, into deserved contempt, and died in 1814. Mr. Roberts has certainly not done his part as a biographer in this part of the narrative, as the reader is left to guess out, as he may, how the whole affair was conducted and terminated.
Part IV. opens with the removal of Miss More and her sisters to Barley Wood, in 1802, where she sought to enjoy that retirement and leisure for which she had long sighed, and which the state of her health demanded. Here, however, she was not idle ; and in the spring of 1805, appeared her “ Hints towards forming the Character of a Young Princess;" anonymously, but, from internal evidence, the author was discovered immediately. The Edinburgh Review made it the subject of a furious and virulent attack; notwithstanding which, the work went through three editions in the course of the same year. In 1806, Mrs. More, as she is now styled by her Biographer, was seized with a dangerous and tedious illness, which long rendered her restoration to life doubtful; and nearly two years elapsed before she was able again to turn her thoughts to literary exertions. Her next production was “ Cælebs in search of a Wife,'' which appeared in 1809, without her name. ' It was written,' she says, 'to amuse the languor
of disease.' . The sale of “ten large impressions in the first six months, indemnified the Author for the severe and, in some cases, rancorous criticism which this work met with. In 1811, Mrs. More published, with her name, “Practical Piety,” in two volumes. This was followed, within a year, by “Christian Morals." In 1815, appeared her “Essay on the Character and Writings of St. Paul.” Its Author had then completed her seventieth year! The writer of this article had the high gratification of visiting her in that year, and of seeing her with eye undimmed by age or
* A letter from Miss More to Sir W. Pepys, (Vol. III. p. 253,) refers to two jacobin and infidel curates, poor and ambitious,' who sought, by attacking Miss More and her schools, to 'get preferment.' Who Bere's compeer was, does not appear. The charges brought against Miss More, now seem too gross and monstrous to have been ventured upon.