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fious. p. 107. One Thomas Thany, a fuller, nicknamed Blue-beard'. p. 110. For a few days, they behaved tolerably well'. p. 171. She endured a long and dolorous confinement. p. 196. • 1 Thall by and by inquire'. p. 205. Nor was he a niggard in the distribution of his bounty': p. 214. Both Richard and his Queen were so much affected with this news, that, as a contemporary historian tells us, they almoft run mad': p. 273. Convening the lieges with the greatest expedition'. p. 326. There were no fewer than three infallible heads of the church, and keepers of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, at once, who gave one another very which was not the worst proof of their infallibility'. p. 329. • The primáte narrated to him'. p. 338.' The clergy, in their convocations in this period, sometimes meddled with things that seem to have been a little outof their road. p. 379. “This made the PEOPLE spies upon one another'. p, 380. Edward IV. for example, not only carried on trade like a common Merchant, but also solicited charities, which he called benevolences or free gifts, like a common, or rather like a sturdy. beggar'. p. 405. "They and their adherents would certainly go to the devil. p. 538. · The French fled before them like Ineep': p. 562. • Three of the best hours of the day were conTumed in gormandizing":
ART.IV. The Doctrine of a Providence, illustrated and applied ind Scrmon
preached to a Congregation of protcftant Disenters, at Nottingham, July 26, 1984 ; being the Day appointed for a General Thanksgiving, on the Conclusion of the late Destructive War. By the Rev. George Walker, F. R. S. 8vo. 1s. Johnson, 17847
are no kinds of composition more difficult to be treated of in a critical view, than those in which the speculatift seems to have no model of fuperjor excellence, that he can set before him, by which to measure his ideas, Particular notions have ever gone before general ones; abItraction is an operation of the mind posterior to observation, Even Aristotle, the first of crítics, seems to have derived the principles, delivered in his poetics, almost wholly from the study of Homer, Perhaps this is the reason, why nothing has ever been well said upon the composition of serions.
There is indeed a fet of people, who, it may be, fimply to display their mastery in that polite language, are continually holding up to us the French preachers as the stan-dard of perfection. But perhaps a man of exquisite and refined judgement would receive less satisfaction in the perusal of their ferinons, than of any other of those compositions, which have obtained fo elevated a fame with a
good humoured nation, who regard their own attainments as the ne plus ultra of human excellence.
It is now, we believe generally agreed, that the reputation of the French fermons must stand or fall with Maffillon.. His descriptions indeed are frequently vivid, strong, and pathetic. But the taste in which he writes is extremely corrupt. He is ever upon the stretch after a dignity he never reaches. His style is uniformly fonorous, bombastic and turgid. He has the fombrous swelling manner of Dr. Young, without having the terrible sublime of Dr. Young to bear him out. His amplification, a figure that continually recurs upon us, is heavy, tautological, and somniferous beyond all bounds. Indeed, if the French ever attained the true style of pulpit elo'quence, it was in Bossuet ; who however has left as nothing in that kind but a volume of funeral orations.
But there is another consideration, which, in our opinion, as effectually, and still more unquestionably, excludes the French preachers from ever being regarded as the models of perfection. It is, that to a jult and elevated style of preaching, a great and sublime morality is indispensibly necessary. It is here that the clergy of almost all countries have failed. They have inculcated too much the Blifil morality. They have laid more stress upon external forms, and regularity of demeanor, and the decencies of common life, than upon
the virtues of the heart, comprehensive benevolence, generous rectitude, a noble disdain of private eafe and private emolument, and all those qualities, that level the distinctions of artificial life, and bid mortal natures emulate the divine. But if this be the cafe in protestant countries, how much more in such a country as France, where their best divines can harangue the multitude for an hour together upon the devil of St. Bernard, St. Anthony's pig, and the little finger of St. Francis Xavier?
The French preachers dismissed, it will scarcely be expected from the critic, to be more partial to the English ones. We have had indeed an Atterbury, we have had a Sherlock, and still more lately a Blair. These writers, especially Sherlock, have perhaps carried the cool elegance of our language as far as it will gc. All that ingenious disquisition, perfect purity, exact symmetry of period, and the softest cadences could do, has been performed. But these gentlemen have forgot, without one exception, that they were writing speeches, to be addressed to an audience.
Lord Chesterfield has told us that a polite man muft only smile, and that to laugh out is the height of vulgarity and ill manners.
There is a set of critics, who with the last of absurdities, have invented principles analogous to this, for the
government of philology. They have decided, that every. thing - beyond the laws of simple elegance, is a transgreffion of tafte. They have given a name to this species of writing, and call it classical composition. But they could not have adopted a name that led more completely to their own detection. What will these men say to Demofthenes and Cicero, to Pindar and Longinus ?
Are their compositions tasteless and indefenfible? And yet it is not in the mind of man to conceive of more vigorous and daring flights, than their writings exhibit. Nothing indeed but the height of frigidity and idiotism could have found any analogy between the true sublime, and the style of a Hervey, a Klopstock, and
The man who relishes most the unrivalled imagination of a Rousseau, or the sublime majesty of a Gray, will ever be found to be he, who holds the affected, the turgid, and the bombastic in the most unconquerable abhorrence:
Thefe reflexions could at no time be more properly brought forward, than “as introductory to our ' discussing the merit of a preacher, who, for ourselves we do not hesitate to say, has approached nearer to the style of a genuine and popular oratory, than any of the most celebrated divines of France or England. They have been more elegant, more polished, more refined, beyond comparison, than our author; many readers would pronounce their productions,
mere compositions, to merit a higher rank ; but few of their admirers, we apprehend, would choose for the subject of their contrast the particular accomplishment we have just specified.
Mr. Walker poffefses a most happy and vigorous imagination. This talent however does not feduce him to wander in the attractive field of rhetoric and imagery. It does not detract from, but increase the dignity of his composition, It is happily subordinate to that manly vein, which is every where characteristic of the author. This is indeed his leading excellence. There is an energy, a burning fpirit in his language, which has seldom been furpassed. Along with this, his style of writing, is rude, harih and incondité. There are certain defects, which seem chietly calculated to set off to advantage their correspondent beauties; and this is among the number. We are not however idle enough to imagine, that Mr. Walker's productions would be intrinsically the worse, if their style had been more mellowed and harmonious. But this apology may at least be made ; that the defect fits less ungracefully upon him, than it would perhaps upon any other man ; and that it is less incompatible with the form of popular address, than with almost any other of the productions of literature.
The history of Providence, which forms the primal fubject of the present discourse, is very masterly, and full of reflexion and philofophy. One of its most original ideas confifts in the great stress that is laid upon the melioration of the manners of modern times, effected by the irruption of the northern nations. This event is coupled by our author with the promulgation of christianity, as conftituting along with it the two things, which “ have given as it were a new “ face to the globe, and a new character to man.
• Though, not refined or learned themselves,' fays Mr. Walker, Sour Northern ancestors brought with them a Itrength of genius and a finer principle of humanity, which has enabled them to surpass their maiters both in wildom and in manners. Till these rude Hatións revealed themielves to the South, the estimation of the female sex was utterly unknown, and how great an effe& this has had on the good temper and best felicity of human life may be known to every one, by comparing the state of domestic manners among the earlier Afiatics, the Greeks and Romans, with the social and domestic character of even the rudest European nation . That freedom, which they seemed to annex to a citizen from the moment of his birth, has not been exterminated by all the selfishness and cruelty of ambitior. ; legal liberty, that wonderful idea, fprung out of their familiar practice; and where legal liberty appears to be done away, it's influence is itill felt in a system of manners and usages derived from the same source, which controuls the rude hand of power, softens, tempers, and gives the law even to detpotism it, self. It has broken, apparently for ever broken, the system of great and monstrous empires, by that firm tone, which it has given to the human inind, that capacity of equal resistance which it has communicated to man, whcreyer their character has established it. Telf.
• It is remarkable that christianity, which was almost a contem: porary event, has wonderfully co-operated with the whole fpirit and genius of these manly sons of the North. Christianity is in alị it's application to the human mind, favourable to liberty; to hus manity, to generosity, to order, and to law. By ridding it of the debafements of superstition, and introducing to it a fublime and inoral religion, it has conduced to rid it of all contracted and contracting prejudices, to give a vigour to the mind, and carry it through all the lengths of rational and liberal enquiry. It has fallen in with the social and domestic liberty of the North, it embraces the abs horrence of Navery in all ii's forms, it teaches to man his individual as well as relative importance in the world of God; in fine it disco, yers in the very counsels and will of God himself, a fanction of all the manly and generous maxiins of our Northern progenitors.
• The contemporaneous production of these two great operating causes of the improvement of man, is no feeble argument of a Providence, attentive to the good of man, in thofe feasons which to it's wisdom seem fit. We limit the bleffings of christianity to those countries where it's name is owned ; but christianity is felt where it's name is forinally rejected. The religion of Mahome
is indebted for every excellence it has to boast of to the discove-
• Under this acknowledgment of Providence, as the secret controuler and director of the great events of this world, we are asseinbled to thank God. To thank him! why to our rulers have at length thought fit, and I would to God, that they had never had a worie thought. Whether they feel the gratitude, which they invite, I pretend not to decide; but I fear the national temper does not kindly accord with the invitation. There is a sense of national humiliation, of national loss, of national affliction, that beats back the thought of gratitude. It requires a very enlightened and elevated piety, such as the mass of a people never reach to, to find a motive to thankfulness in the very bolom of suffering. Gratitude is a chearful act, and does not readily spring up in a defponding breast. We have no victories to proclaim, no triumph over our old implacable foe, no addition of territory, of wealth, of commerce, to our beloved country: but all is a fad tale of ruined armies, humbled fleets, empire loft, linking commerce, diffipated treasure, oppreslive taxes, factious politics, with every symptom of national decline. Whatever therefore be the language of the proclama. tion, I would not affect to turn nature out of her course, and ípeak the language of joy in the very ear of forrow, Whatever be the general blellings of peace, and however specious the topic of its praise, it
inay a national evil, and be abhorrent to all sense of national gratitude; but yet, with the most unpalatable circumstances, it may be an evil wisely chosen.
• Who can forbear to acknowledge the hand of Providence, in the fate of this country. If national and individual crime be the deseryed object of providential puniflıment, we have enough of crime of every description, which might juftify Providence in a fererer pupishment than it has yet been pleased to inflict upon us. And the finger of Providence appears to be visible in the ordering of it ; no gradual decline inarks the ordinary course of human events, but a strange and precipitate descent from the highest glory and prosperity proclaims the venerable power, which meant to hunble uz. * By the most irreligious minds, and which are little apt to take God into any account, the fall is contemplated with aftonishment, and