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viciffitudes of fortune, and venerable from his unaffected piety, and fincere love of virtue and religion. It is difficult to fet bounds to the delufions of vanity, or the prefumption of felf-conceit.But we might fuppofe, that to a man who retained the leaft glimmering of understanding, the opinion of fuch a diftinguifhed character as Sir John Fortefcue on a fubject, to which he had devoted a large portion of his time and attention, muft have fome weight. He had the misfortune to live in turbulent times, and had experienced the fad effects of civil difcord. But the difguft he felt at the fury and madness of the people did not drive him into the oppofite extreme, and render him an advocate for abfolute power, For in all his writings he appears to have been favourable to the liberty of the fubject, and in his book on the difference between an abfolute and limited monarchy, the nature of that liberty is well explained. We may therefore venture to affert, without any great danger of being miftaken, that if the English conftitution, in the days of Henry VI. could excite the applaufe and admiration of fuch a man as Sir John Fortefcue, no wife or good man, after the improvements it had received fince that period, would wish to fee it fubverted. And in a government fo artificially framed, any fudden and material alteration would endanger its existence, by deftroying the balance of power by which it is upheld. For thofe reformers, who affume an air of moderation, and declare that it is not their defign to overturn the conftitution, but to restore it to its original purity and integrity, feem to forget that the alterations which have been made in the government from the Norman-conqueft to the prefent time, have been uniformly in favour of the liberties of the people. And it would not be difficult to prove, that the greater part of the evils of which they complain may be traced to that licentioufnefs of principle and corruption of manners, which in a free ftate it is not eafy to check and reftrain, The fate of Sir John Forte fcue's works, confidering their excellence and the high rank of the author, has been fingularly hard. Of the greater part of his writings we know little befides the titles, though it is faid that they are carefully preferved in our libraries, It is much to be lamented, that fome perfon, qualified for the task, has not thought proper to print them, as every thing written by a man of fuch general knowledge must be valuable. Even the trea tife in praise of the laws of England was not published till the reign of Henry VIII. and then it appeared in a mean and poor edition. Afterwards the learned Mr. Selden wrote a preface to it, and enriched it with many excellent annotations; and, in the year 1732, it was printed in a small folio, in a manner not unworthy fuch a performance. The edition of 1741 is very complete. It contains the original text of the author in Latin, a good English tranflation, with Selden's preface and annotations. Perhaps it would not be eafy to improve this edition; but as the copies are fcarce, and should it be republifhed in it prefent form, it might be too bulky for ordinary readers, I conceived that by rendering it more portable it would have a more general circulation. For this pur
pofe I have omitted the Latin original, and given only the English tranflation. From the notes, I have extracted those paffages which appeared to me the most important and interesting, and have occafionally inferte fome remarks of my own. I fhall now conclude a preface, in which I have perhaps detained the reader too long, by obferving that few men are capable of enlightening mankind by the discovery of any important truth, or enlarging the general stock of knowledge; and that it is fufficient honour for perfons of noderate talents to admire and reverence thofe great and exalted fpirits, to whofe comprehenfive views we are indebted for the knowledge we poffefs in religion, morals, and politics; and by whofe example we are encouraged to purfue a line of condu&t, which can alone fecure to us comfort in this world, and happiness in the next. And if by rendering the writings of fuch illuftrious men more known we should rectify falfe opinions, and render any of our countrymen more lo al, wife, and religious, we shall not much lament the want of those fuperior talents by which fame is acquired. For the chief, if not the only, ufe of knowledge is to regulate our own conduct, and communicate the means of hap pinefs to ourfellow-creatures.
Bath, October, 1799,
TO THE EDITOR.
man was ever more able to appreciate the merits of deferving, none ever more inclined to expofe the errors and deformity of wicked, authors than Dr. Samuel Johnson; a name ever dear to the friends of religion and learning; and a writer whofe works, while thefe hand-maids to human wants are held in veneration among men, will never cease to convey admonition to the profligate, and knowledge to the ignorant,
Thefe reflections were excited in my breaft, by obferving the noble ftand which Mr. W. Gifford has made against the blafphemous and feditious career of an author, known by a name, to which (ever fince he has affumed it) every thing infamous has been annexed; I mean the name of PETER PINDAR; a man (if fuch he can be called) that has prostituted what talents were committed to his charge, to the purposes of that Evil Spirit-that Prince of Darkhefs-that Demon of Destruction, whofe endeavours are invariably exerted to effect (if poffible) the damnation of every immortal foul.
To a thinking Chriftian, Mr. Editor, what can be a more awful confideration than that which arifes from beholding the state of a fellow creature fo circumstanced.
If the Gofpel of our Saviour be (as it undoubtedly is) the Gospel of truth, what does it threaten for fuch enormous tranfgreffions of its precepts unrepented of? the very thought is fufficient to terrify the moft hardened, and convert the moft abandoned. That this fame Peter Pindar, who has, in his various writings, palpably and shame
fully violated the laws of God and man, may be fo terrified and con-
In the hope of producing this effect upon the mind of this wretched man, I fhall beg you to infert the following paffage from the works of that author, whofe name I have above mentioned. It is a paffage peculiarly worthy the attention of every author, but of none more than Peter Pindar.
"The wickedness of a loose or profane author, in his writings, is more atrocious than that of the giddy libertine, or drunken ravisher; not only because it extends its effects wider (as a peftilence that taints the air is more deftructive than poifon infufed in a draught) but becaufe it is committed with cool deliberation. By the inftantaneous violence of defire, a good man may fometimes be furprized before reBection can come to his refcue. When the appetites have strengthened their influence by habit, they are not eafly refifted or fuppreffed; but for the frigid villainy of ftudious lewdness, (Oh Peter!!!) for the calm malignity of laboured impiety, (Oh Peter!!!) what apology can be invented? What punishment can be adequate to the crime of him who retires to folitude for the refinement of debauchery, (Oh Peter!!!) who tortures his fancy and ranfacks his memory only that he may leave the world lefs virtuous than he found it; that he may intercept the hopes of the rifing generation, and fpread fnares for the foul with more dexterity." O! for Heaven's fake, for ore mo̟ment paufe and confider, Peter, reflect; examine your own writings, as you regard your own foul; in them you will find that frigid vil lainy of ftudious lewdnefs; in them you will find that calm malignity of laboured impiety, for which no apology can be invented; and you will be compelled to allow, that no punishment can be adequate to the crime of him, who retires to folitude for the refinements of debauchery, who tortures his fancy, and ranfacks his memory, only that he may leave the world lefs virtuous than he found it; that he may intercept the hopes of the rifing generation, and spread fnares for the foul with more dexterity. This may lead you to repentance, to amendment, to comfort when death approaches, to pardon when the trumpet founds to judgement. That it may do fo, none more earnestly defires than Mr. Editor,
Your humble fervant,
TO THE EDITOR.
WAS much pleased to fee in a late Number of your very excel lent publication, fome remarks on the very delufive and dangerous tendency of being guided by Internal Feeling. I could have wished
your correfpondent had faid more, and as I have feen fome of its fatal effects myfelf, I was induced to give you a few obfervations on that fubject, hoping they may claim a corner in your far-extended Mifcellany. A perfon who gives way to every vifionary allufion which is raised in his mind; whether the effect of a great nervous irritability, or of an early prejudice, or prepoffeffion, strongly fixed to his ideas, when fenfation, and not reason, was his guide, muft be led away into the most abfurd extravagancies; and if he do not call in reafon to his aid, and endeavour to repel the illufion, he will be immediately hurried down the ftream of enthusiasm.
"Internal Feeling," as your correfpondent very juftly observes, is the corner-ftone of Quakerism. Any ignorant perfon (for, Mr. Editor, had he even common sense, he must fee through the illufion), being more than ufually ftricken by fomething fpoken at Meeting, which may happen to be analogous to his "Internal Feelings," immediately hails the tumultuons tranfport of his nerves as divine communications; and, inftead of calling in reafon to his aid, he is led by this delufive shadow, this visionary rapture, to fancy himself infpired. He becomes an enthufiaft, and fets himself up as a man infpired by God to fpeak to the people. Enthufiafm and fuperftition are the Scylla and Charybdis of religion; and happy, thrice happy! are they who can fteer clear of those dangerous rocks and whirlpools!
Enthufiafm always covers the countenances of its votaries with melancholy, and a kind of fullen aufterity; at the fame time it wears a very specious appearance in the eyes of the ignorant multitude. What can be more vague and indeterminate than thofe "Internal Feelings?"
Examine well your hearts, ye, who credit the poffeffion of those delufive, vifionary, raptures, as fervors breathed from heaven! Examine well, and you will foon fee the origin from whence they sprung, from pride, vanity, and felf-conceit! Can you deny it; ye votaries of enthusiasm? what! is it not the groffeft vanity to believe your felves the favoured children of God? To dare to tell a multitude of your fellow-creatures, whom you have invited to hear you preach, that you are the agents of God, that you dare not proceed one word farther in your difcourfe; did not the fpirit of God give you utterance!!! Such is the "flaming language," I have repeatedly heard from the humble and lowly hearted Quakers.
Thank God! they make no converts, except amongst the ignorant. A cultivated mind, an understanding of the pureft fort, would be fhocked at fuch, I was almoft going to fay, blafphemy. Their religion is one mafs of enthufiafm; they give way to every rapturous nonfenfe that fuggests itself to their minds. Give me leave to clofe thefe remarks by an oppofitè quotation from Dr. Blaire, after fhewing "that it is of the utmost importance to guard against enthusiasm on the one hand, and fuperftition on the other," he concludes with this excellent advice, which I particularly recommend to be well confidered by the fociety of Quakers" Let us fhew the world that 'a religious temper, is a temper fedate, not fad; that a religious be
•haviour is a behaviour regulated not fiff and formal." "Thus • we shall use the world as not abufing it;"we fhall pafs through its various changes with the leaft difcompofure, and we fhall vindicate religion from the reproaches of thofe who would attribute to it en thufiaftic joys, or flavish terrors. We fhall fhew that it is a re tional rule of life, worthy of the perfection of God, and fuited to the nature and ftate of man."
March 19, 1800.
I am, Sir, your fincere well-wisher,
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE INFIDEL.
TROUBLE not my felf about the manner of my future exift ence. I content myself with believing, even to pofitive conviction, that the power that gave me exiftence is able to continue it in any form and manner he pleafes either with or without this body; and it appears more probable to me that I fhall continue to exift hereafter than that I fhould have had existence as I now have before that existence began." THOMAS PAINE.
"I look beyond the bounds of human life for the reward of our facrifices and the felicity of our re-union, how? in what manner? I am ignorant. I only feel that it ought to be fo." MADAM ROLAND, "Buffoon faid that an immortal renown was the most powerful of death-bed confolations." MONTHLY REVIEW.
To anfwer fuch flimfy attacks as thefe upon our faith, by a regular train of argument, would be to pay an extravagant compliment to the vanity and arrogance of human folly; a divine of the northern fchool has done it better in the beautiful ftory of La Roche; and, perhaps, the following fragment will be found calculated to have a fimilar effect.
Alas my Jane!
He was delighted with the work of his own hands,he faw it beau tiful. He made it good, and took it to himself.
I had a daughter sweetly fair