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from their errors, so help them God,” is impossible.
It becomes us then, to set our House in order by times, 75 and to recollect, that if we carried up the Bill, on a for
mer occasion, with a majority of nineteen, and it failed in the House of Peers, there is ten thousand fold the necessity for taking this last opportunity of bringing the
question to a conclusion because an event may happen 80 -God knows how soon or how late, but God forbid that
it should be soon, when you will have no longer the option ; when even if the Bill should be carried --not by a majority of nineteen or twenty-seven-but by a unani
mous vote of both Houses of Parliament, and the voice 85 of the whole country--even if the country streamed with
blood, the measure could not be effected except by an inseparable breach of the Crown.
81. Dangers which beset the Literature of the age.
There are dangers of another sort, which beset the literature of the age. The constant demand for new works and the impatience for fame, not only stimulate
authors to an undue eagerness for strange incidents, 5 singular opinions, and vain sentimentalities, but their
style and diction are infected with the faults of extravagance and affectation. The old models of fine writing and good taste are departed from, not because they can
be excelled, but because they are known, and want 10 freshness; because, if they have a finished coloring,
they have no strong contrasts to produce effect. The consequence is, that opposite extremes in the manner of composition prevail at the same moment, or succeed
each other with a fearful rapidity. On one side are to 15 be found authors, who profess to admire the easy flow
and simplicity of the old style, the naturalness of familiar prose, and the tranquil dignity of higher compositions. But in their desire to be simple, they become
extravagantly loose and inartificial ; in their familiar20 ity, feeble and drivelling ; and in their more aspiring ef
forts, cold, abstract, and harsh. On the other side, there are those, who have no love for polished perfection of style, for sustained and unimpassioned accuracy, for
persuasive, but equable diction. They require more 25 hurried tones, more stirring spirit, more glowing and ir
regular sentences. There must be intensity of thought and intensity of phrase at every turn. There must be bold and abrupt transitions, strong relief, vivid coloring,
forcible expression. If these are present, all other 30 faults are forgiven, or forgotten.
Excitement is produced, and taste may slumber.
Examples of each sort may be easily found in our miscellaneous literature among minds of no ordinary
cast. Our poetry deals less than formerly with the sen35 timents and feelings belonging to ordinary life. It has
almost ceased to be didactic, and in its scenery, and descriptions reflect too much the peculiarities and morbid visions of eccentric minds. How little do we see
of the simple beauty, the chaste painting, the uncon40 scious moral grandeur of Crabbe and Cowper? We
have, indeed, successfully dethroned the heathen deities. The Muses are no longer invoked by every unhappy inditer of verse. The Naiads no longer inhabit
our fountains, nor the Dryads our woods. The River 45 Gods no longer rise, like old father Thames,
" And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore." In these respects our poetry is more true to nature, and more conformable to just taste. But it still insists too much on extravagant events, characters, and pas
sions far removed from common life, and farther remov50 ed from general sympathy. It seeks to be wild, and
fiery, and startling; and sometimes, in its caprices, low and childish. It portrays natural scenery, as if it were always in violent commotion. It describes human emo
tions as if man were always in ecstasies or horrors. 55 Whoever writes for future ages must found himself upon
feelings and sentiments belonging to the mass of mankind. Whoever paints from nature will rarely depart from the general character of repose impressed upon her
scenery, and will prefer truth to the ideal sketches of 60 the imagination.
Unhappy White! while life was in its spring,
Has sought the grave, to sleep forever there. 5 Oh! what a noble heart was here undone,
When Science' self destroy'd her favourite son!
'Twas thine own genius gave the final blow,
So the struck eagle stretch'd upon the plain,
And wing’d the shaft that quiver'd in his heart; 15 Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel,
He nurs’d the pinion which impelld the steel.
83. Defence of Pulpit Eloquence. It is sufficiently evident, that eloquence has a strong influence over the minds and passions of men.
I do not call the attention of the reader to those compositions which filled Athens with valour, which agitat5 ed or calmed, at the will of the orator, the bosoms of a
thousand warriors, and which, all nations have consented to immortalize. The thunder which Demosthenes hurled at the head of Philip, continues to roll to the
present hour; and his eloquence, stripped as it is of ac10 tion and utterance, mutilated by time, and enfeebled by
translation, is yet powerful enough to kindle in our bosoms, at this remote age, a fire, which the hand of death has extinguished in the hearts of those who were origi
nally addressed! We pass over, also, the eloquence 15 which Cicero poured out, in a torrent so resistless, that
the awful senate of Rome could not withstand its force; an eloquence that could break confederacies, disarm forces, control anarchy !-an eloquence that years
cannot impair, age cannot weaken, time cannot des20 troy! But we appeal to its influence, in an age not
very remote, nor very unlike the present, in a neighbouring country, in the ministerial profession. The name of Massillon was more attractive than all the
perfumes that Arabia could furnish ; and this was the 25 incense that filled the churches of spiritual Babylon.
The theatre was forsaken, while the church was crowded; the court forgot their amusements, to attend the preacher; and his spirit-controling accents drew the monarch from his throne to his feet, stopped the impet
30 uous stream of dissipation, and compelled the mocking
world to listen! This is not a picture delineated by fancy, but a representation of facts; and it is well known, that no fashionable amusements had attractions when
the French bishop was to ascend the pulpit. While he 35 spoke, the king trembled; while he denounced the in
dignation of God against a corrupted court, nobility shrunk into nothingness ; while he described the horrors of a judgment to come, infidelity turned pale, and
the congregation, unable to support the thunder of his 40 language, rose from their seats in agony! Let these
instances suffice to shew the power of eloquence, the influence which language well chosen has upon the mind of man, who alone, of all the creatures of God, is able
to transmit his thoughts through the medium of speech, 45 to know, to relish, and to use the charms of language.
I am well aware that an argument is deduced from the power of eloquence against the use of it in the pulpit. It is liable to abuse ;' say they, 'it tends to im
pose upon the understanding, by fascinating the imagi50 nation. Most true! it is liable to abuse; and what is
there so excellent in its nature that is not? The doctrines of grace have been abused to licentiousness; and the liberty of christianity • used as a cloak of malicious
ness.' This, however, is no refutation of those doc55 trines, no argument against that liberty. Because elo
quence has been abused, because it has served Antichrist, or rendered sin specious, is it, therefore, less excellent in itself? or is it, for that reason, to be re
jected from the service of holiness ? No; let it be em60 ployed in the service of God, and it is directed to its
noblest ends; it answers the best of purposes ?
• But the most eloquent are not always the most useful; and God hath chosen the ignorant, in various in
stances, to confound the wise." It is granted. But 65 does God uniformly work one way? When he sends,
it is by whom he will send ; and he can qualify, and does qualify those whom he raises up for himself. He can give powers as a substitute for literature, and by his own energy effect that which eloquence alone