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heart, which, when it has attained the habit of ex. pressing itself with facility in apt and unstudied lan. guage, is certain of gaining the interest and approbation of every reader of pure taste, not at one period only, but in futurity. I would carefully preserve the letters, the undisguised thoughts, and most of the fragments of such a writer.

Half-witted censurers may call such remains, “ light-reading.” Do they not remember then, that

“ The proper study of mankind is man?"

That there is some depth of investigation in tracing the internal movements of the human head and heart? If they, who have been highly endowed, admit us to the secret recesses of their bosoms; if they give us pictures of exalted sentiments, of ideas glowing with reflections and visions which elevate our nature, and carry us with them into scenes approaching'a higher order of existence; if they warm us with their fire, and impart to us, for a time, some portion of their imagination ; is this light reading, because it has not been conveyed to us in the shape of formal compositions? It is the purity and strength of the ore which a true judge regards; and not the form in which it has been manufactured; while little technical critics look to nothing but the mechanism of the workmanship.

What is the charm of Cowper? His first characteristic is the power of thinking with easy vigour ; and delineating with accurate facility. His thoughts breathe of nature; and find “an echo in every bosom." Thousands recognize, as the figure starts forth from his pen, the idea which had been dimly playing within themselves.

It is the object of no inconsiderable body of those, who have an influence on public opinion, to suppress and wipe away, if possible, the impression of native genius. It is probable that this is in great measure a remnant of the prejudices of the materialists, of whom Priestley some years back took the lead; and who infected the cant of a large body of the Dissenters, who then much more than at present possessed the command of most of the periodical vehicles of literature. How can I read the Memoirs of Chatterton, of Kirke White, of Miss Symmons,* of Miss Smith,t and many other late Lives, and not feel how much was due to nature; and how little to art and opportunity! When I read that Miss Smith, with few books and no instructors, had most of the languages ancient and modern at her command; that she could think and write with originality on the most abstruse as well as on the most poetical subjects; that she could translate with congenial spirit, even though the hand of death was upon her, in a language elegant and fowing, from the most difficult authors, is this the effect of mere ordinary human labour; or is it not rather the inspiration of superior endowments ?

O thou mighty Father, who disposest thy gifts among us poor mortals, as it seemeth best to thee, how undoubtingly am I convinced by my own deficiences, that there are beings, on whom thou hast

* Daughter of Dr. Charles Symmons. Editor.

t Of Piercefield. Editor.

thought proper to bestow those pre-eminent talents, without which they never could have effected the things, for which they are so justly distinguished ! In me it is not the want of toil, application, and incessant desire, even from childhood, that I cannot succeed, as they have done! But my fancy is cold, my thoughts are imperfect and confused; and I am too conscious that from the defect of nature I labour in vain! I would have been a poet, a moralist, if study and effort could have made me so. But my. stars forbid !

“ Sudden they mount; they beckon from the skies; Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise !" Yours,

EXSPES. Oct. 22, 1808.

Art. DCCL.

No. Ll. On the imperfect Morality of the Heat hen

compared with that of Christianity.

“ Talk they of morals ?

As wise as Socrates might justly seem
The definition of a modern fool.” YOUNG.

I CANNOT occupy the present paper with more important matter than the following unpublished fragments of Archbishop Secker, which formed part of a correspondence with the learned translator of Epictetus, during the progress of that elaborate work. They obviously have relation to the topics discussed in the introduction.

VOL. VIII.

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“I must re-examine the Preface; and fear I cannot enter upon it, till after my visitation, which ends June 21.

“I approve highly of charity to the poor heathens. But is it not more charitable to think that they did not, and could not easily know so much of moral truth, as some would persuade us, than, that they knew it perfectly, and yet denied it, or disregarded it in the degree, which most of the wisest and best of them, if we are rightly informed who they were, appear to have done. But however this be, charity must be regulated by fact.

“ Not only whores were allowed by law, and are forbidden by the Mosaic law, which surely is not in that article abrogated by Christianity, whatever indulgences may obtain in some nations professing it; but whoring was held to be innocent by the generality of the Greeks and Romans : so that Cicero defies any one to shew, when the contrary was held. This and more may be seen in Potter's Greek Antiquities, 1. i. c. 12. For what purpose c. ii. is cited, I do not perceive. He doth indeed, c. xii. agree with Grotius, that only Jewish whores were forbidden, not foreign ones. But Lev. xix. 29, plainly shews, that all whoredom was accounted criminal, though this law, as well as others, might be but imperfectly executed. And foreign idolatrous whores would be still more dangerous than

* Both these papers are transcribed from the original MSS. in the Archbishop's own hand; which have been furnished by an intimate friend to whom I am under continual obligation Editor.

Israelitish ones. As to the heathens though severer things may be said by them of whores, I doubt, and I venture to say no more, whether any prohibition of whoredom is to be found in any of them, before this gentle, rather counsel than precept, of Epictetus. Nor do I see why it is not fair to quote both the Old and new Testament, as giving better directions concerning this point: or why we are to suppose, that perhaps good and wise heathens might be highly offended at the common practice, when there is nothing to render the supposition probable. For that reason proves it to be unjustifiable, is no support of the supposition: unless we must suppose further, that the heathens knew every thing which reason can teach.

Indeed if some heathens did condemn it, yet if the prevailing doctrine were in its favour, the heathen morality must be estimated by the notions received amongst their moralists: there being no standard, as amongst Christians, of superior authority. Their morality ought not indeed to be depreciated, that is, unjustly. But neither ought it to be unjustly extolled as it hath been: and particularly with a view of inferring that Christianity was not wanted for the regulation of

I would grant even to these gentlemen every thing, wbich they can demand with truth: but I would grant them no more, though Christianity would have ever so many distinguishing advantages left. I would insist on all that God hath given it: and not adventure to say, what in some sense might be said, that fewer are enough. Now that the moral notions of the principal heathen nations and philosophers in general were wrong and defective

manners.

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