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"Whether it be a Christian duty to attempt by lenient methods, to propagate the Christian religion among Pagans and Mahometans can be doubted I think by few; but whether any attempt will be attended with much success till christianity is purified from its corruptions, and the lives of Christians are rendered correspondent to their Christian profession, may be doubted by many; but there certainly never was a more promising opportunity for trying the experiment of subverting paganism in British India, than what has for some years been of fered to the government of Great Britain.
"The morality of our holy religion is so salutary to civil society; its promise of a future state so consolatory to individuals; its precepts are so suited to the deductions of the most enlightened reason, that it must finally prevail throughout the world. Some have thought christianity is losing ground in Christendom; I am of a different opinion. Some adscititious doctrines of christianity derived from Rome and Geneva are losing ground; some unchristian practices springing from bigotry, intolerance, selfsufficiency of opinion, and uncharitableness of judgment are losing ground; but a belief in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world, as the author of eternal life to all who obey his gospel, is more and more confirmed every day in the minds of men of eminence and condition, not only in this but in every other Christian country."
The liberal and intrepid spirit of the Bishop is no where more finely exhibited than in the following passage; it would have been worthy of Martin Luther-worthy of any man influenced by no fear, but that fear which " is the beginning of wis
"Being appointed to preach at the ChapelRoyal on the 15th of February, 1807," says his lordship, "I went to London in the beginning of that month, and published the sermon I then preached, together with another which I had preached in the same place eight years before, under the title of A second Defence of revealed religion.' I had not written either of these sermons with an intention of publishing them, but being told that the Bishop of London had manifested his disapprobation of some parts of the latter by a significant shake of the head whilst I was preaching, I determined to let him see that I had no fear of submitting my sentiments on abstruse theological points to public animadversion, notwithstanding their not being quite so orthodox as his own; and I was the more disposed to do this, from having been informed, on the very best authority, that an imputed want of orthodoxy had been objected to me when the archbishopric of Armagh was given to Stuart.
"What is this thing called Orthodoxy, which mars the fortunes of honest men, misleads the judgment of princes, and occasionally endangers the stability of thrones? In the true meaning of the term, it is a sacred thing to which every denomination of Christians lays an arrogant and exclusive claim, but to which no man, no assembly of men, since the apostolic age, can prove a title. It is frequently amongst individuals of the same sect nothing better than selfsufficiency of opinion, and pharisaical pride, by which each man esteems himself more righteous than his neighbours. It may, perhaps, be useful in cementing what is called the alliance between church and state; but if such an alliance obstructs candid discussions, if it invades the right of private judg ment, if it generates bigotry in churchimen or intolerance in statesmen, it not only becomes inconsistent with the general principles of Protestantism, but it impedes the progress of the kingdom of Christ, which
we all know is not of this world."
We must be excused for making one more extract, on a religious point of the highest moment.
"Extract of a letter to the duke of Grafton. dated Calgarth, July, 1807, who had sent me a despairing account of himself. "On my return to this place, I met with your obliging letter, and am sincerely sorry to find, that my apprehensions respecting your health were not unfounded.
"Your body cannot be in better bands than in those of your physician, nor your mind in better than in your own. Were your body in perfect health, your mind, I think,
would not be disturbed by anxiety; for which, I trust, there is no reasonable ground. Divines, with the best intentions, have said more than the Scriptures have said concerning repentance, and have thereby precipitated men into despair, and consequent impenitence and hardness of heart. The state of a man, who having left off sinful habits returns to them again, is certainly dangerous, because it shows the strength of habit to be superior to his resolution; but I do not know that it is any where represented in Scripture as desperate, and a return to virtue as impossible; for neither Heb. x. 38., nor 2 Peter ii. 20, 21., though referred to by Tillotson on this point, will bear out the conclusion.
"Repentance is a change of principle, accompanied by a change of conduct; we may be snatched away, and have no oppor tunity of proving the sincerity of our principle by our practice; but God, who knows things that would be, as if they were, will judge of the sincerity or insincerity of our principle, by what would happen; and if our lava be, at any time of life, even after repeated lapses, in his judgment, sinI see no ground in reason or Scripture for despairing of his forgiveness.
"I dislike extremely that gloomy theology, which would make the Supreme Being more inexorable than a man: the whole tenour of Scripture speaks a contrary language; and we know nothing from reason of his divine attributes, except from their bearing some analogy to our own. Now, what father of a family would say to a repentant son, 'Your repentance comes too late, and I will never forgive you.' The father may suspect the sincerity of his son's repentance, and from that suspicion may withhold his forgiveness; but God cannot suspect, for he knows our repentance to be sincere or oth-lishment, and much less a furious reformer who shall think that every thing is wrong merely because it is established, but a calm and intelligent reasoner, who distrusts the extent of his own talents in all speculative practise the agenda of christianity, without points, and conscientiously endeavours to wishing to compel others to what he esteems a proper profession of its credenda.
"My eldest son is now with me. I see no probability of his regaining such firm health as a military life requires, and have advised him to retire from the profession. My other son is also with me, and I mean to keep him at home till I have made him a good divine; for I wish him, in going into the church, to be an ornament to it: by that expression I do not mean a pedantic theologue who shall think it for his honour to defend every imperfection of the estab
erwise; and if sincere, I trust he will, of his fatherly clemency, accept our repentance, though we may have swerved from the rectitude of former resolutions.
"In thinking of our heavenly Father, we ought to bear in mind the answer which our Saviour made to Peter's question: Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?' The answer, though it gives no encouragement to presumptuous sinners, gives great comfort to such a creature as man, whose life is spent in sinning, and in being sorry for his sin.
"I am, &c.
Supposing (but not admitting) Mr. Erskine to have exceeded his commission, what an opportunity would that circumstance have afforded us of saying to America,-We wish to live on terms of amity with you, and we will give you this pledge of our sincerity, we will ratify the stipulations made by Mr. Erskine, notwithstanding his having in some particulars, exceeded his instructions. We are united by nature, let us be united by good-will. America will, for the mutual benefit of the two nations, receive the products of our industry, and Great Britain will, for the mutual benefit of the two nations, protect the commerce of America against the aggression of France and of the world."
In a letter to lord Carysfort, in September 1809, the Bishop of Landaff thus expresses his opinion of the British ministry in annulling the arrangement concluded with this country, by Mr. Erskine.
"I pretend not to judge of military arrangements, but I do pretend to judge of the conduct of government towards America. What! when we have not an ally, not a friend who wishes us well in all Europe, are we so dementated, so fitted for destruction, as to make an enemy of America also?
He speaks in the same letter of his domestic solicitudes.
"I hope to receive from you a good account of yourself and your family, being ever, with sincere regard, "Your's affectionately,
"R. LAND AFF." The eldest son, of whom he speaks above, was a Lieut. Col. in the Guards,the other is, of course, the editor of this book. We gather from an intimation in another letter to lord Carysfort, that lord Lindsay and lieut. col. Smyth, married two of his daughters.
The Bishop of Landaff died on the 4th of July, 1816, in the 79th year of his age.
Our lirnits have not allowed us minutely to follow him, either in his literary or political career. IIis productions, however, neither enumeration nor eulogy. As a poliare in the hands of every one, and need tician, besides the claims which we have already stated to the gratitude of the philanthropist, he will long be remembered as the friend of Catholic emancipation, and as an advocate of the abolition of the as a promoter of the union with Ireland,
Slave Trade. His able defences of reve
lation against the attacks of sceptics and
ART. 7. Demetrius, the Hero of the Don. An Epic Poem. BY ALEXIS EUSTAPHIEVE. 12mo. pp. 234. Boston. 1818. Monro and Francis.
THE number of poems, by their auwithout including the rhyming narratives and novels of Scott and his school, which have appeared within the last thirty years, is so great, that if the value bore any proportion to the quantity, Homer and Virgil would be almost forgotten, or overlooked, in the mightier majesty and splendor of modern superiority. To take a journey of a few hundred miles, and to write an epic, are, of late, objects of equal enterprise, hazard, and difficulty. Southey's "Joan of Arc," was the result of six weeks labour: about the same length of time in which it continued to be read. Judging from a passage in the work before us, we conjecture that Demetrius occupied the attention of the author four or five months; a period far exceeding that in which the poem will command perusal. What time was consumed by Homer in the composition of the Iliad we can never know. Many years were spent in writing the Eneid; and death only prevented the devotion of probably many more to its more satisfactory completion. Milton spent most of his life in amassing the requisites for his immortal work, and many years in its accomplishment. Camoens was five years at Macao finishing his Luziad. Ten years labour produced the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto. These poems will cease to be read only when letters are unknown. Lucan wrote his Pharsalia while quite a young man. It is true that some critics will not rank his work among epics, because he uses no machinery. This, however, is far from being essential; and in a heroic poem, relating to modern times, it would be an absurdity. Lucan wanted not genius: and, had he lived twenty years longer, and then commenced an heroic poem, devoting several years to its execution, his judgment matured and his intellectual resources overflowing, a work might have been given to the world perhaps not inferior to the Enied. Glover was but twenty-five years of age when he published his Leonidas. Time and study might have enabled him to produce a poem superior to Leonidas; though they never could have made him a great poet. Sir Richard Blackmore, the prototype of the present brazen age of epic efforts, with almost equal ease could make a pill or a poem. The Henriad of Voltaire was a hasty production of his youth. At sixty he might have produced someVOL. II.-No. III.
thing vastly superior; but majesty and epic, guage nor to the poet. In brief, it will be found on examination, with respect to poetry of almost every description, but particularly the epopee, that genius, without great labour and study, seldom effects any thing of such excellence as to merit extensive and permanent celebrity.
In his dedication of the translation of Juvenal and Persius to the earl of Dorset,-a dedication containing much excellent with some strange criticism, and the most beastly flattery that ever was uttered,-Dryden observes: "He is the only proper person of all others for an epic poem, who to his natural endowments of a large invention, a ripe judgment and a strong memory, has joined a knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences, and particularly moral philosophy, the mathematics, geography and history, and with all these qualifications is born a poet; knows and can practise the variety of numbers, and is master of the language in which he writes. If such a man is now arisen, or shall arise, he may build a nobler, a more beautiful and more perfect poem than any yet extant since the ancients." He then mentions his having long had an intention of writing an epic, "which would have taken up his life in the performance of it-chiefly for the honour of his native country." This he was not able to execute; and the reasons given, disgraceful to the monarch and the age, can be read by no poet, or admirer of Diyden, without sorrow." But being en. couraged only with fair words by king Charles the second; my little salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future subsistence; I was then discouraged in the beginning of the attempt: and now, age has overtaken me, and want, a more insuflerable evil, through the change of the times, has wholly disenabled me."-Who can hesitate to believe that if Dryden had devoted the latter part of his life to the accomplishment of such a poem, it would indeed have been an honour to his native country, equalling or surpassing Jerusalem Delivered?
In two points, however, we consider the opinions of Dryden erroneous. He would have written it in rhyme: and he censures Milton for writing in blank verse; the principal reason of which he supposes to have been Milton's inability to write in rhyme with facility. We are confident
that no such consideration induced Milton to forbear the use of rhyme. The reasons he has himself given are sufficient to convince us that he was influenced by no such motive.-Dryden would employ machinery. Whether his subject had been king Arthur or the Black Prince, the introduction, as he proposes and endeavours to justify of good and bad angels, not only is not necessary, but, in our opinion, would have been highly injurious. A few philosophers excepted, the people of Greece and Rome believed in the existence and interposition in human affairs, of their gods. Hence the propriety, in Homer and Virgil, of making them parties in operations of magnitude, though their personal appearance and cooperation might have been omitted. But how few, at the present day, give credence to the immediate assistance or opposition of angels or devils. Let the poet place his subject ten centuries back, the objection loses none of its efficacy. To use the language of sir William Davenant in the preface to his Gondibert, the reader "is led so often into heaven and hell, that, by conversation with gods and with ghosts, he is sometimes deprived of those natural probabilities in story, which are instructive to human life."
Mr. Eustaphieve has taken for the time of his poem the period when the Christian religion was first introduced into Muscovy. We do not consider it necessary, whatever most critics may say to the contrary, for the poet to go back even fifty years. Lucan failed because he " fettered his feet in the shackles of a historian." This was not requisite. Of history the poet may use only such parts as are convenient. He should be able to say with Heriod:
Ιδμεν ψευδέα πολλα λέγειν ετυμοιςιν ομοία,
of an epic should be cast, should be at least many centuries back; and one reason for this necessity is alleged to be, because the poet cannot else employ fiction. Another and a greater reason is offered, viz. that supernatural agency will gain no credit in modern times: men will not believe in the personal interposition of ghosts, angels, and evil spirits at the present day; yet may think it not improbable that in former times they were quite familiar agents in human concerns. But the truth is that machinery, so far from being a requisite, has an inauspicious effect on the whole fable, even on that part which is bottomed on facts. It is as necessary that the scene and time of a novel should be placed at a great distance, as that the scene and time of the epopee should be so placed. The great art is to make the manners, characters, and transactions, which are fictitious ru mosa, similar to realities. He who is incompetent to this, as it respects the present age, must be equally incompetent respecting any age that has passed.
With regard to the hero of an epic poem, most critics insist that he should be almost a perfect human being. Beni says: "Nel poema Heroico, conviene espri mer l'idea di perfettissimo capitano, o vero formar heroe, in cui sia il colmo di tutte le virtù militari e civili." Such, however, was not the hero of the Iliad: nor of Paradise Lost; whether that hero was, as Dryden declared, the devil, or was Adam. Father Rapin seems to be of the same opinion; and hence gives greater credit to Virgil for his hero, than to Homer: not, however, much to the reputation of the former: for he says Virgil has formed his hero from all the good qualities of Achilles and Ulysses; from
Nestor, and Diomed; and from the several virtues of Themistocles, Epaminondas, Alexander, Hannibal, Jurgurtha, &e. Thus, to give a perfect beauty, Apelles stole a grace from one, a curl from another, a dimple, feature or limb from others, till his picture was complete. But whence the necessity, utility, or propriety, of depicting the hero as perfect? Or why should perfection be confined to the principal hero? Why not form all the characters on the same model? Is Charles Grandison more read than Tom Jones? Had Shakespeare conformed to such a rule, his works would hardly deserve perusal. It has been asserted that Homer and Virgil wrote principally for the instruction of princes; and Rapin says, such should be the greatest object of every heroic poem; the chief character in which, should be a
We know how to utter the fictitious resembling the true and we know how, when we wish, to introduce what is real.—If a good epic cannot be written without the use of supernatural agency, nor without great distance of time, it cannot be well executed with these helps: there must be a want of genius and judgment. Homer wrote but a short time after the Trojan war. We have from him the character and manners of the age. From Virgil we receive, in a great degree, manners and characters of conjecture. We are sensible that almost all critics consider it -essential that the time in which the scenes
person of consummate virtue; the model
The unities of time, place, and action, have given the critics no inconsiderable uneasiness. Should the poet, in respect to each of these, write, as probably did Homer, without the dicta of criticism, and pursue the directions of his own judgment, he would be quite as apt to give pleasure to the reader. Had Virgil commenced with the departure of Eneas from Troy; or had the Enead opened with his landing in Italy, and had the previous occurrences been judiciously introduced by episodes, who will say that the poem would have been less gratifying? Homer preserves complete unity of place. Virgil confines his hero to Carthage, Sicily, and Italy. Milton usurps infinity for the seats of his actions. The time occupied in the Hiad, and that in the Odyssey, reckoning from the departure of Ulysses from Calypso, to his discovering himself, is far shorter than that of the Eneid; yet the time of the Eneid is no serious objection; nor would it be, had it been extended to seven years, the interest of the fable remaining undiminished to the last. When Turnus was killed, the great object of Eneas was accomplished; and we should hardly wish another book, describing the wedding of the hero with Lavinia, or a delineation of his palace and out-houses: and it has well been observed, that the death of Hector ought to have closed the Iliad.
harden to accompany his heroes to the
He, who would compose an heroic poem, deserving the permanent admiration of enlightened posterity, must bring to his task no snch mediocrity of intellectual resources as distinguishes the author of Demetrius. He must have received from the liberality of heaven an ample portion of the mens divinior. His literary acquisitions must be extensive. Much he must have read, and more he must have meditated, compared, and investigated. Much he must have enjoyed, and more, perhaps, have suffered. Scarcely a passion should be unknown to him, from close examination or large experience. The wings of his Pegasus should never tire; nor the hands of judgment one moment be diverted from the reins. Tears must now stand in his eye, caused by the sight of spectacles of wo, which his own imagina tion has formed; and now his heart must