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assemblies of the saints, an undisturbed abode to the spiders and the bats. Old Daniel Burgess used to say that he dreaded a Christus less Christianity.
110 913 The nature of Socinianism' has been exposed with consummate ability by Mr. Coleridge in his second Lay Sermon. Here we have briefly to notice its growth and progress in England. It grew out of Arianism, and so entirely destroyed the system from which it sprung, that there is not (we believe) a single Arian congregaan tion at this day existing in Great Britain. And as the Arian ended in the Socinian heresy, so did Socinianism tend with equal, or more rapidity, toward unbelief. It is well known that the so-o cinian academy at Hackney was given up, notwithstanding the high character and learning of some of its conductors, because almost all the students pushed the principles in which they were educated farther than their tutors. The dry-rot was in the foundation and the walls, as well as in the beams and rafters, and the unfortunate pupils came away believers in blind necessity and gross materialism -and in nothing else. The literary journals, at the commencement of the French Revolution, were in the hands of those disch senters, among whom this change during half a century had been taking place. The writers therefore were men in all stages of disbelief, -for every thing was tolerated except orthodoxy.
We happen to have at hand the Monthly Review of the Inquiry concerning Political Justice, and its influence on general Virtue and Happiness, by William Godwin.'. The manner in which this work was treated by what was then, without competition, the most accre dited journal of the age, will shew in what spirit the journal was conducted. It was announced with no small degree of pleasure, as a work which, from the freedom of its inquiries, the grandeur of its views, and the fortitude of its principles,' was eminently deserving of attention. The writers, indeed, ' would by no means be understood to subscribe to all the principles,'_but they took care not to specify any from which they dissented. Knowledge, they said, was not yet arrived at that degree of certainty which is requisite for any two men to think alike on all subjects ; neither had language attained that consistent accuracy which can enable them to convey their thoughts, even when they do think alike, i a
od manner perfectly correct and intelligible to both. In this manner they excused themselves from offering any objections to a system of politics and ethics, which laid the axe to the root of every social institution, human and divine, and of every domestic virtue! Many of the opinions which the work contained, they said, were bold, some of them were moral, and some doubtless were erroneous ;-2 but its patient and philosophic manner ought to ondear it even to those whose principles it might offend. Thes
farther they proceeded in their examination of this bold and ori. gigal work,' (for it was continued in three numbers,) the more they 3 were convinced that it was proper, at that particular period (1793) to present their readers with a clear analysis of its contents rather than obtrude any decided opinion of their own. When the minds of men were so much agitated, they thought it their duty thus to limit themselves. The opivions of the author respecting govern, ment were judeed highly interesting to society;' at least they deserved, a serious and deep investigation, since the conclusions to
, to be clearly, fully, and immediately exposed. The task was too unwieldy and mighty for their limits : but they earnestly recom. mended it as a labour worthy of all inquiring minds to examine the work itself, in order that they may confute these new doctrines, if in opposition to virtue and truth; or if in agreement with them, that they may farther elucidate, strengthen, and expand the writer's priņciples. Whether the author's opinions should prove to be truths, which time and severe scrutiny would establish, or the visious of an over-zealous mind, which strict examination would dissipate, it was certain that his intentions were friendly to man, The tune of virtue was uniforın, and predominated throughout the work. It need not here be stated what were the sentiments which were promulgated under this tone of virtue in Mr. Godwin's work
a work in which the existence of the Deity was spoken of as an hypothesis, and in which the ethics were worthy of the religion ! Of the author himself we have no wish to speak with asperity; mir serably mistaken as he was, he is entitled to full credit for sincerity. and fair intentions. He erred from vanity, not froin any principle of evil.
During the seventeenth century, every man had his place in som ciety, and none of the ways of life were crowded. « All honour in England,' says an old writer, came a Marte or Mercuriu, from learning or chivalry, from the pen or the pike, from priesthood or knighthood. If a boy who was born in the lower ranks discovered a decided disposition for learning, patronage was obtained for him, by the help of endowed schools, exhibitions, or scholarships ; he made his way through college, and rose perhaps to high offices in the church or in the law. But unless this aptitude was strongly marked, parents in general were well content that their sons should fill the same station which they themselves had filled before them. Long after the Reformation, there was even a difficulty in finding a sufficient number of clergy for the service of the establishment. But when our institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, assumed a cha. racter of stability, and the commerce of the nation increased, the ambition as well as the wealth of individuals increased also, and
Addison observes that, in his time, the great professions law, physic, and divinity were overstocked with practitioners. Hence there arose a class of literary adventurers. As early as in Elizabeth's days, a few unlucky individuals had lived by their wits, without any other profession or means of subsistence; but men of letters were not known in England as a distinct class in society till the beginning of the last century, and during the present reign they have increased in number at least fifty fold.
2. 5. When literature was confined to colleges and convents, it may safely be affirmed, that men of letters were at the same time the happiest and the most useful of their generation. They had no cares for the morrow; they wrote from the fullness of the mind, or from the impulse of strong desire: some to collect the scattered memo: rials of past times, or record the events of their own; others to exert the whole force of their intellect on the subtlest or the highest problems which could be proposed to human understanding on If they obtained celebrity, it was well; and if they failed, the labour had been its own reward. The schoolmen will
not now be spoken of with derision, as they have often been by writers' too ignorant to be humble;' enough is known of their real merits to ensure the acknowledgment that their powers of inind were commensurate with their Herculean industry; and that characters more truly ve nerable, or on whom it is more consolatory and delightful for the imagination to dwell, than Bede, William of Malmsbury, and many of the monkish historians, are not to be found in the annals of mankind. Great as have been the advantages of printing, it was a lamentable change, when literary composition and that exercise of reason which should be, as till then it had been, the noblest of humani occupations and the highest of buman enjoyments, became a trade--a mere trade, to be pursued not from aptitude or choice, but from necessity and for daily bread. It is a difficult, as well as a delicate task, to advise a youth of ardent mind and aspiring thoughts in the choice of a profession; but a wise man will have no hesitation in exhorting him to chuse any thing rather than literae ture. Better that he should seek his fortune before the mast, or with a musket on his shoulder and a knapsack at his back, better that he should follow the plough, or work at the loom or the lathe, or sweat over the anvil, than trust to literature; as the only means of his support. Let the body provide for the body, the intellectual part was given us for other purposes. A single hour of composition won from the business of the day, is worth more than the whole day's toil of him who works at the trade of literature: in the one case, the spirit comes joyfully to refresh itself, like a bart to the water brooks, in the other, it pursues its miserable way pant ing and jaded, with the dogs of hunger and necessity behind. Nor
are respectability, worldly welfare, happiness, health, and even existence, all that are endangered by this course of life; there are worse evils than neglect, poverty, imprisonment, and death. It is not of his earthly fortunes alone that a man may make shipwreck upon this perilous course; his moral nature may be sacrificed, and his eternal hopes desperately hazarded. Boyse in his blanket, Savage in a prison, and Smart scrawling his most impassioned verses with charcoal upon the walls of a madhouse, are not the most mournful examples which might be held up as a warning to kindred spirits. There are even more pitiable objects than Chatterton himself with the poison at his lips. His mighty mind brought with it into the world a taint of hereditary insanity, which explains the act of suicide and divests it of its fearful guilt. But it is when literary adventurers commit the act of moral suicide that they render themselves objects of as much compassion as is compatible with abhorrence, when they become base in the basest way, and acting as panders to the lowest vices or the worst passions of man's corrupted nature, deal in scandal, sedition, obscenity, or blasphemy, whichever article may be most in demand, according to the disease of the age. The reader need not be reminded of the wretched libeller in France, who when he was brought before the minister and interrogated concerning the motives of his conduct, replied that it was necessary for him to live. If the real motives of our present race of libellers could be traced, very many of them would be found to proceed from the same cause, cupidity or poverty acting upon miuds which have long since emancipated themselves from all moral restraint. This has been placed beyond all doubt in the case of one incendiary, the most notorious of his tribe. He was involved in unprofitable speculations and consequent debts; he thought it possible by taking advantage of the general distress, to bring about a revolution ; he spared no efforts for effecting this, in the hope of enriching himself in the scramble; and being disappointed by the enactment of those timely law's which the safety of the country required, the villain fled from his creditors and from the pursuit of justice. Another of these firebrands, perceiving some two or three years back that his journal flagged in its sale, observed that it was not seasoned enough, and he must put more capsicum in it;a significant expression, implying more personality, more falsehood, more abuse of the Prince Regent, a stronger infusion of slander, and a little more of the essential spirit of treason. Had this man taken to any useful profession, or even any honest trade, he might have bequeathed an honourable name to posterity, and gone to his grave without the miserable reflection, that from error, and vanity at first, and afterwards from irritation, pride, wilfulness and malignity, he had made the talents with 978
which * This poor Frenchman, M. Pitou, who as long as his Memoirs shall be remembered will be liked the better for having worn a cocked hat, deserved a happier fortune than he met with. He seems to have kept clear of the crimes of the Revolution, but being reduced at last to sing ballads of his own composing about the streets, some unlucky souplets offended the Directory, and he was condemned to death for them by the friends of humanity and liberal opinions who were then at the head of affairs. The sentence was commuted for transportation to Cayenne. He survived the sufferings and dangers of that inhuman banishment, and it is in his Memoirs that the account of the death of Collot d'Herbois is given,--a death worthy of his crimes: hel was lying upon the ground, his face exposed to a burning sun, in a raging fever, the negroes who were appointed to hear him from Kouron to Cayenne, a distance of six leagues, having thrown him down to perish; a surgeon who found him in this situation, asked him what ailed bim, he replied, - J'ai la fièvre, et une sueur brulante. Je le crois bien, vous suer le crime, was the bitter rejoinder. He expired vomiting froth and bloods calling upon the Virgin Mary and upon that God whom he had so often renounced, crying out for a priest, and despairing of mercy while he implored it. M. Pitou describes him as not naturally wicked, but made so by the Revolution ;-il avait d'excellentes qualités du côté du cour, beaucoup de clinquant du côté de l'esprit ; un caractère foible et irascible à tescèse genéreur sans bornes, peu attuché à la fortune, bon ami, et ennemi implacable. La révolution a fait sa perte.
which he was entrusted, instruments of evil to others, and of per1 dition to himself.
quia * A Frenchman who at the age of niveteen, and in the first years of the Revolution, entered Paris for the first time, meaning to live by his literary talents, describes his own feelings and his conduct on bis arrival in a very mémorable manner. After wondering awhile at the Louvre, till a sense of weariness and hunger made him think it necessary to look out for food and lodging, Je fus distrait,' he says, ' de ma stupidité contemplutive par un appétit dévorant, qui me rappela en un clin dæil mon isolement, le peu de moyens pécuniaires que j'avais, la disgrace et l'exhérédation dont j'allais être puni.' « Te voilà donc à Paris sans état, sans fortune, sans parens, sans connoissances !"--D'après ce soliloque, je perche mon chapeau au bout de ma canne; je le fais tourner, attachant ma destinée à la direction de la corne droite, qui se fixe à l'E.S.E. Me voilà dans la Rue Saint Jacques.* Many are the literary adventurers who chuse their part in political warfare with no truer compass to direct their course, and without the honest intentions of the Irishman who seeing two parties of his countrymen warmly engaged iu bludgeon work, and being utterly unable to refrain from joining in the sport, exclaimed, as he rushed in among them, ' God graut I may take the right side !' But the general tendency of men who thus throw themselves upon the world to live by their wits is soon determined by the disappointment which they almost universally experience at their outset ; for disappointment brings with it discontent, which is the parent of disaffection; and envy, which the unsuccessful are too prone to entertai towards all who are more fortunate than themselves, is inseparable from hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness. Thus it is that of