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there existing a small, an extremely small number, of a higher order of sernion-writers, who will be most glad to re. ceive our author as their co-operator and chief.
The subject of his present discourse is not the most favourable for eloquence; since the cost effective illustration of it would be by r; amerous, minute, and in great part homely de. tails, and since the inore general ideas to which a short sermon must be nearly confined are inevitably very trite. Scarcely. any scope is afforded for the action of great reasoning powers, For what is there to combat? Who, except a person prepared to assert that rain, though a good thing enough for the sbrubs, and flowers of the parterre, is needless to such ordinary vegetables as grass and corn, will now be found to deny the utility, to the lower classes, of a little portion of that general and that religious kuowledge, without wbich human creatures are savages and pagaus? The necessity of knowledge to the vira, the and happiness of these classes," bas nearly taken its place in the number, bappily now not small, of those obvious and universally a imitted maxims which have ceased to be subjects of interesting discussion, purely by having become too evi. dent to be contioverted. There is, to be sure, a small renie nant of advocates of popular barbarism, who would rather see young men wasting their time in idle sports, or both young and old men crowding and swearing round the ring of a boxing match or a bull-baiting, than quietly spending the same hours in reading instructive books. But these advocates are fast dropping off, and the tiine cannot be far distant when to discourage the communication of knowiedge to the people would be thought as stupidly absurd, as to forbid them to plant potatoes. A doctrine, however, so obvious even as this, is sure to gain something by passing through such hands as those of Mr. H., who has confessedly the power, in an eminent degree, of making, if we may so express it, old subjects young again,--of detaining us with complacency on a familiar and worn-out truth, by ineans of an intellect which, apparently with little labour, often pierces far towards the deepest metaphysic of any subject, and an imagination which can immediately afterwards cover with flowers the place where he had cut his descent. One or two very short extracts will be all the compliment with which we can need to accompany the admonition, that he should not be so sparing of his sermons. In arguing the conduciveness of knowledge to the progress of Christianity, he cites an instructive fact from the primitive Christian history.
"With a condescension worthy of its author, this religion offers information to the meanest and most illiterate, but extreme ignorance is not a state of mind favourable to it. The first churches were planted in
citics, (and those the most celebrated and enlightened) drawn neither fron the very highest nor the very lowest classes ; the former too often the victims of luxury and pride, the latter sunk in extreme stupidity ; but from the middle orders, where the largest portion of virtue and good seose has usually resided. In remote villages, its progress was extremely slow, owing unquestionably to that want of mental cultivation which ren. dered them the last retreats of superstition; insomuch that in the fifth century, the abettors of the ancient idolatry began to be denominated Pagani, which properly denotes the inhabitants of the country, in dis. tinction from those who reside in towns. At the reformation, the progress of the reformed faith went hand in hand with the advancement of letters ; &c. po JO.
While deploring the numerous instances of the inefficacy of religious knowledge, he represents to parents and teachers, in the following terms, that sonre good may, notwithstanding, be presumed, as a general result of judicious religious instruction,
• It is surely desirable to place as many obstacles as possible in the path to ruin ; to take care that the image of death shall meet the offender at every turn, that he shall not be able to persist without treading upon briars and scorpions, without forcing his way through obstructions more formidable than he can expect to meet with in a contrary course. can enlist the nobler part of his nature under the banners of virtue, set him at war with himself, and subject him to the necessity, should he persevere, of stifing and overcoming whatever is most characteristic of a reasonable creature, you have done what will probably not be unproductive of advantage. If he is at the same time reminded, by his acquaintance with the word of God, of a better state of mind being attainable, a better destiny reserved, provided they are willing and obedient, for the children of men, there is room to hope that wearied, to speak in the language of the prophet, in the greatness of his way, he will bethink himself of the true refuge, and implore the spirit of grace to aid his weakness, and sub. due his corruptions. p. 20.
A little after he adds,
• Inculcate the obligation, and endcavour to inspire the love of that rectitude, that eternal rectitude which was with God before time began, was embodied in the person of his Son, and in its lower communications, will survive every sublunary change, emerge in the dissolution of all things, and be impressed, in refulgent characters, on the new heavens and the new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness.' p. 23. Art. VII. A short Treatise on the Passions, illustrative of the Human Mind.
By a Lady. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 461. Price - 63. Crosby and Co."
1810. WERE we thoroughly satisfied that this treatise was indeed
what it professes to be-the genuine production of a lady-our task in reviewing it would be excessively pitiable, But the truth is, we meet with so many and such grievous
violations of all those amiable qualities and retired virtues which are the characteristic attributes of the lovelier sex ; with such indelicacy of sentiment, and such affectation of solemn apophthegmatical.gravity,--such boisterous pertness, and insufferable dogmatism ;-our lady, in short, strides. so tremendously, and speaks in a tone so horribly gruff, that we care not for a moment allow her to plead the privilege of petticoals; and are persuaded that we should commit a much greater trespass against politeness by admitting so disreputable a plea, than by any castigation we could bestow upon his ladyship's performance. This, we are perfectly aware, is not the first time that a male writer bas attempted to eradicate his whiskers, and smuggle himself into critical protection under a borrowed semblance. For our own part, however, with the open hearted Sir Hugh, we have always entertained a sort of instinctive antipathy to a' oman with a creat plack peard;' and think the cudgel of criticism can never fall with such des rved vehemence, as when the 'muffler' is employed to answer the purpose of a disguise. From our fair readers, in particular, we expect an extraordinary share of approbation. Our respect for the feminine character must be high indeeil, when we refuse to ascribe this production to their sex, so manifestly to the prejudice of our own.
The author has divided his brief treatise into four parts. * The first contains general introductory matter, such as leads us to place in order the principles which form the character of man :-The second treats of such passions as shut up and repel : --The third consists of such passions as lead to open the mind, and lead to communication, whether virtuons or not :-The fourth is a summary and result of the whole." Besides this distinction, into shutting and opening, we are treated with another equally novel and ingenious; and which our author, we imagine, caii explain much more to his own satisfaction than to that of
person. The definition which is given of every passion whether sensual or abstemious, means by sensuul all the giving and receiving propensities, that consist of natural passion, and exclude reason. By abstemious is meant all that excludes passion, and admits reason.' Passions that consist of natural passion, and passions that exclude passion ! Extremely perspicuous indeed, and admirably adapted to develope' the character of man!'
This, bowever, is more professedly the object of the introduc. tion, in which the author • sits down to reason on men-aba stractedly, as though he had no concern with them'--' to compare men with each other, never referring them to himself, lest the wounds and bruises of experience should groan through bis most pbilosophical discussions.' The principal helps by which to judge accurately of mankind are concisely expressed and luminously arranged, under the heads of climate, government, religion, food, &c.,' with which, it appears, we ought to' begin,' and then proceed to babits, associations, circum. stances, &c.' To render the estimate of human character still more exact, the author has disburthened himself of a cargo of practical directions, after exanining which, if we do not see through every man we meet, it is certainly our own fault. Of these, however, we can only stay to specify two. The Garst is that in which our author ex.jorts us to 6
inquire the eharacter :nd customs of a man's father, as much,' it should segm, depends thereon.' In the other we are required, when krutinising any character,' to ascertain, among other things, whether the person has lived more in town or country. The greater part of this invaluable introduction, however, is occupied with a survey of she different parsuits of lite and their influence on the mind; and here, notwithstanding our authoris : desirous to premise that it is extremely possible to exercise any profession whatever with spotloss honour and uncorrupted feelings, except that perhaps of a hangman'we confess we think some of his remarks are a little too caustic. Thus - the church,' he tells us, 'tends to narrow the mind and inflate the heart;' because « the secret sense of su: periority, which poor human nature cannot help inbibing whils: holding the rod, is a woeful barrier to the first step of wisdom, self-knowledge.' In the law, too, there is a certain quaintness unfavourable to the manners. And as for physic-we are really afraid that herceforward it must be thrown to the dogs : for of all baleful professions, physic is the most destructive to morality and feeling ;-the habitual inhumanity to which they must attain to render their shocking routine prac, ticable to them, would wound the feelings of any one except a physician.' Our author speaks of trade with much more indulgence; and in conclusion gives a decided preference to the occupation of a gentleman farmer, as being most exempt from vice.'
We now arrive at the general matter, such as leads us to place in order the principles which form the character of man' The chapter on age and youth, preceded by a quotation from
Theophrastes,' affords we think a strong presumption against this author's womanhood; and is indeed of itself quite sufficient to make a man of her. The very
first sentence contains a direct censure on more than three fourths of all the females under the moon.' ? Young women are romantic and old women are often insipid ; and necessarily from the same cause want of mind.' The proof of this extravagant assertion is extremely elaborate; and whatever be its deficiencies, in other respects,
displays, we must candidly confess, our author's acquaintance with classical literature to very great advantage.
• The same vacuity which renders their early years the prey of preposterous hopes and fond imagination, leaves their advanced years cold and unproductive, when the season is passed when expectation is plausible and adventure applicable. This must unavoidably happen where love and vanity are the predominant springs of action, in a state of society where the gratification of those impeti is left to per sonal attractions. That susceptibility which fixes a young woman's whole attention on admiration is the source of all her animation.'
Having thus disposed of the sprightliness of young women, our petticoat-Hercules commencés a scandalous attack upon our aunts aud grandınothers. "An old woman,' he is pleased to assert, is much more dull and vacuous than an old man;' and he even advances so far as to maintain, that there would be little error in an almost indiscriminate charge of dulness against old women.' This, however, bad as it is, might possibly be pardoned; but what shall we say to the cruel inuendo about
flatulence? Now the conclusion becomes irresistible; now the cloven foot, or rather the boots, cannot be overlooked. If a young woman, does this • lady' never expect to grow old? or if old already, has she no bowels for herself and her sisters? But it is all a trick; there is no lady in the case ; and we can hardly help wishing, for the sake of a salutary warning, that the intruder were turned loose among half a dozen of his vilified antiques. He might be assured they would soon give him a lively idea of the fate of the husband of Eurydice; and send his head skimming along the water with an impeti' proportioned to their wrongs.
The chapter on the national character of the English, contains a very important hint to those industrious worthies who live by their wits. * It would be no bad speculation to go to some watering place; and after figuring away as a brilliant obo ject, pretend to fall into sone sudden distress. There is no doubt that every purse in the place would open with magic eagerness; one would electrify another. The patriots, too, if they have any regard for their manes, would do well to consider the following remark very seriously. No one, who thoroughly understands the English, would be surprised to hear of their adoring a popular favourite, then destroying his manes.' In the chapter on the difference of character between man and woman, we again obtain several glimpses of the beard. Our author indeed professes to stand forward in defence of his fellow ladies, but he does it with such extreme coarseness and indelicacy, that we are telerably certain they will be a good deal more displeased with his panegyric than his invečtive. Milton's ehk ming description of woman in the person of Eve