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heretofore a full admission into the I am become admissible to scenes Church and the Library, and the of more private life, I'am neces., lowest scenes I have ever yet visit- sarily degraded from that reed have been those of the book-shop spectable appearance which I foror stall; but now I am admitted merly maintained in public. My into cottages-even the meanest kind friends bave also provided for garrets and night-cellars receive me most amply in this respect. me. But be not distressed at this. Through their assistance, I have my apparent degradation : indeed, been presented to the world both I consider it as a higher privilege in a more correct and a more splenthan any to which I have ever yet did form than I have ever yet as. been admitted, even in the days of sumed *. Every parish has been my early glory. I have appeared invited again to receive me, and before kings, I have been com- many bave accepted the invitation; mended by prelates, I have been and I anticipate the time with pleaconsulted by divines; but the most sure, when a particular spot shall gratifying and affectionate recep- be assigned me in each church, as tion I have ever found, has been in well as to all the other branches of these places, so contemptible to the our family, and I shall again unite, eye of the world. I am especially with them in conducing to the in, acceptable to the poor, the humble, struction and improvement of the the unlearned. I am just after his people.
" taste: he can understand me when I must also add, sir, that through a sermon has been heard in vain; the recommendation of these friends and when lying on the bed of sick- I have again been admitted into ness and death, I have often shed many pulpits. I must indeed con. on his drooping spirits the radiance fess, that these favours have usually of Divine consolation and hope. been conferred on me in country
These good friends have not congregations; but if my friends only made me acceptable to the will not relax their efforts in my cottages, but they have introduced cause, I do not see wby I may not me into the family circle of middle resume my old place, before, the life *; and I now make a respec- more polished audience of the town: table appearance at the breakfast nay, pardon my presumption, sir, I table, even by the side of my grand- am not altogether without hope of father. Ob sir! what a privilege is being again admitted to my yet this! and how foreibly does it re- more dignified station in the cathe, mind me of the happy days of my dral. De bu d get youth! To see the whole family Such, sir, have been the more assembled, with one consent, in the direct benefits I have received. But presence of that gracious God, I should be wanting in gratitude if whose past mercies engage their I did not mention one or two advan. gratitude and are hailed as earnests tages of a more indirect kind, which of mercies yet to come, listening have accrued to me through the to the words of my grandfather medium of the same exertions, .. which I am sometimes permitted to The first of these is, that one of explain, and closing the whole with the great Universities of the land prayer and praise! These are is again ushering me into notice un scenes wbich light up my dear der its sanctiont. This favour it mother's eyes with heavenly com- bas often conferred, on me before, fort, and give her reason to anticipate the arrival of better days.
* A handsome Folio Edition of the But do not suppose, that, because
Homilies has been published by use
Society. . The first twelve Homilies have been + A new edition of the Homilies has. bound in one neat volume, and have just proceeded from the Clarendon been introduced at family prayer. press.
and especially about twelve years nied : indeed, I enjoy it in a desince: I cannot, however, but be- gree of which, sir, neither you, nor sieve, that the present renewed in- my good friends whose aim it is to stance of attention has been caused recommend me to notice, are perby that more extensive knowledge haps fully aware. Many now conof my claims' which the exertions sult me who never thought of me of my kind friends have produced before, as I am of easy access, and
Another indirect advantage, appear in such a variety of forms; which I bave received from this many find me unexpectedly in their celebrity, is, that I have attracted company, to whom I was before a the notice of a certain venerable stranger; and many, becoming lady, who for the last century has slightly acquainted with me, are professed to promote Christian induced to solicit a more intimate Knowledge, more especially among fellowship. Only three years have those who are attached to our fami- elapsed since I have as it were Iy. Could you suppose it possible, risen from the tomb of oblivion, sir, that this venerable matron, pro- and surely what has been 'already fessing the most devoted attach- done during that period is no unment to my mother, should have, favourable earnest of what may till lately, wholly excluded me yet be done. Let me evtreat you, from her notice? Is it not singu- ihen, to continue to advocate my lar, that I should be the only one cause. Look back on the days of of our family thus contemptuously my youth, and consider the holy rejected by one whose long and fruits I then produced. Reflect loud professions of attachment to on the blessed barmony which then our house I believe, after all, to subsisted in our family, and which be sincere ? My grandfather, as the prevailing neglect of me has well as my eldest sister, bave re- interrupted and destroyed; and ceived' ber marked attention. My while you reflect, recommend to second sister, indeed, though she your numerous friends the case of had usually appeared in my eldest Your still aggrieved, but sister's train, has sometimes been
not hopeless servant,' severed from her without any apo
THE BOOK OF HOMILIES, logy or compensation. But you kilow not how sorely these dear relatives have mourned my entire To the Editor of the Christian Obserder. separation from them; and this, sir, My attention has lately been so with but too much reason: for as much occupied by the bad effects they were not the exclusive objects of the present universal and most of the old lady's regard, she com- ruinous practice of novel reading, pelled then sometimes to associate that I take the medium of your with those who were most unwor- excellent miscellany to give my thy substitutes for me. Would sentiments on the subject, in hopes that I might hope that she would that they may influence some to permit me to supersede that swarm consider or to desist from so danof aliens who have 'usurped my gerous an amusement. Novels have place in ber esteem, by giving me been reprobated by the moralist, The appearance and the celebrity and ridiculed by the satirist; but which others have done! This with how little success may be would gladden every member of estimated by the increasing numour house.
bers both of books and of readers. + The last ground, sir, on which I The small effect, however, of the shall felicitate both you and my- means employed against them, is self is, tbe general attention which greatly owing to the sligbtoess of is now paid to me. I challenge the reprobation, and the general attention, nor is that attention de nature of tbe ridicule employed, The mania for novel reading is better performed, what object of become so universal, that (so far their life has been favourably infrom disavowing the practice) our fluenced, by these productions? On ignorance of these productions of the contrary, have not even those the day would almost disqualify finer sensibilities, which yet linger us for general conversation. The in fallen humanity, been perverted satirists of this species of compo- from their moral tendency; and, by sition have, therefore, confined a polluting and mortifying process, themselves too much to those ex- changed to that selfish and morbid travagant, outward effects of ro- irritability of character so agonizing mance, which might, indeed, ap- to the possessor, so intolerable to pear, were there no previous no- those around him? Were I called tions, no customs of society, and no upon to name at once the most desire of estimation in the buman fruitful source both of individual mind; but the young are so effec- and national vice, and the most tually guarded by circumstances convincing evidence of both, I from the extravagant display of should vame novels, as at once their feelings, that they are apt to cause and effect. Nor is it merely fancy, when they can acquit them- the immoral and irreligious romance selves of such effects, that their I would stigmatize--these soon pro. line of reading has bad no per- cure their own condemnation ;-- but nicions effects at all. And here it is the attempt to pourtray comthe moralist has erred as widely as mon life, which preserves the likethe satirist, from the same cause: ness, but divests it of all its sor. he states only generalities, and row's, or, rather, of all that dull me. reprebends only faults from which diocrity so disgusting to the young, novel readers are debarred both by instead of which they would willinterest and opinion; instead of ingly encounter all the elegant appealing to the heart and consci- distress and interesting misforence, which would, I am convinced, tunes of the heroine. It is this give a clear verdict in his favour. continual feeding of the imagination We may find many plausible argu- in which the great danger of novels ments to defend a pursuit which consists; for thousands have fallen, we wish not to relinquish; and or been rendered miserable through as it is difficult to point out or to life, from the silent, unsuspected prove any individual instance of influence of a raised imagination their mischievous effects, the novel and perverted, affections, for one reader stands undaunted, and even whose understanding has been conboasts of the pure morality and vinced by the most ingenious so. exalted sentiments inculcated in his phistry. The imagination, once favourite publications. But when deceived, becomes itself the dea direct appeal is made to the ceiver; and instead of embellishing human heart, when their fatal effect life, as it is falsely represented to in enervating the mind is felt to be do, it heiglitens only imaginary and what is described, the question unattainable enjoyments, and transassumes a different aspect. Iappeal, forms life itself into a dream, the then, to my fair countrywomen realities of wbich are all made themselves for an answer. I appeal painful and disgusting, from our to the answer which their own false expectations and erroneons hearts will make, when I state it, notions of happiness. By feeding not as a question of argument, but continually this craving, imaginaof experience; not to shew the tion, novels become a constant, ingenuity of their defence, but the solitary source of enjoyment,--a truth of their confessions. I would private dissipation, which in some ask, then, what moral sentiment measure supplies that vacuum in has been strengthened, what duty the mind and heart which the dead
Ress of all the better faculties and extreme disappointmerrt. This mafeelings occasions. They pre- terial difference between his own occupy the mind, and provide a statement and the reality is noticed substitute for that internal peace in a note; but it is added, that still and enjoyment which arises from a the fact was even more favourable true knowledge of ourselves and of than the fiction to the argument, the world, and give us, instead, a viz. that the higher the cultivation fictitious acquaintance with both of the intellectual powers, the Virtue, religion itself, becomes a higher our enjoyment from the Rere play of the imagination, in- fairest works of nature and of art, fluencing neither the heart nor con- I agree entirely in this; but canduct. I have seldom known or not allow it to apply in the case beard of persons with a strong described, as Sir Joshua's sentiimagination wholly sceptical in reli- ments did not change from the gion; but yet are they rarely, if improvement of his taste; but, ever, deeply influenced by its doc- merely as his former pre-conceived trines and preeepts. The imagina- notions wore away, he became sention, accustomed to act, substitutes sible of the excellence of what he itself, and its vain schemes, tor belield. His taste might, and no sober experience and praetical doubt did improve, but not so duty; and religious impressions rapidly as the philosopher supeither rest there, or painful will poses, as he mentions his own be the realities and the mental disappointment, on seeing his earlier cistresses which must dislodge such works, to find how little time and à guest. An eminent philosophical an improved taste had done. To writer ascribes to works of fiction the philosopher and man of scithe power of exciting talents in early ence, whose ruling pursuit is fame, Youtb, whiclrin after-life ripen into the use of imagination, which the all the higher powers of the under- work alluded to prescribed, may standing : but this supposes our na be agreeable, and can hardly be ture to be one which extracts all the hurtful, as a relaxation from severe good from every thing, and leaves study; as an amusement, not an the dross behind. That exciting object. But with the bulk of man. strongly so dangerous a faculty as kind it is far otherwise. To them, imagination, is neither favourable imagination becomes their ruling to human happiness nor virtue, object; it increases that tendency may be proved from the examples of the mind to look forward, te of those poets, and of those females, forecast its own lot, and so to who are most under its influence; provide for its own continual disand even the illustration of his appointment and misery. It is this own remarks' which this writer very tendency of the human heart adopis, is fortunately a most forci-' to expect and to embellish the ble coufutation of bris theory. The future, which makes us receive all emotions of admiration which Sir the blessings of life with the cold Joshua Revbolds might be ex- mess of ingratitude: the underpected to feel on first beholding standing reluctantly assents, while ibe Vatican, he both imagines him the heart inwardly repines under self, and enforces by a quotation its own disappointed expectations. from the poet. But here the phi- It is not till a deep sense of our losopher has been equally fanciful total unworthiness, till the heart with the poet; as, from Sir Joshua'st truly utters “ behold I am vile," own testimony, we know that that the bounties and long-suffering his pre-bonceived notions, that is, of God are truly felt and acknow imagination, baving exercised itself ledged. The book, therefore, or previously upon these great works, the preacher, which first attempts. his first emotions were those of to convince us of this, acts upon
the truest principles of philosophy, repeat; and his disappointments, and touches the true strings of the however bitter to himself, yet be human heart. The pleasing re- knows would appear almost insane trospections of inemory, evlivened to others. If Dr. Johnson could and endowed by mental associa- confess, that were his waking letions, and divested by time of all veries told, they would appear little those painful little casualties or short of the extravagancies of Don feelings which perhaps at the mo. Quixote, what must be the influment took much from that pleasure ence of imagination upon undisciwhich we now feel, and which the plined minds, equally freed from the degree of melancholy excited by restraints of high principle, and of reflecting on the past refines and necessity, which often proves a good exalts, is an enjoyment which I guardian when better motives are deem as salutary as pleasing. But wanting? But the truth is, we are it cannot, surely, be compared not so constituted as to be unaffectwith the pleasures of imagination, ed with any, even the simplest, inwhose province it is to forecast fluence; and however the contrary and combine ideal expectations may be contended for in argument, with apparent realities; to divest the heart contradicts the doctrine. the future of all those pangs which We cannot, nor would it be desiryet we must endure when we pass able that we should, read continualthrough this future. That power, ly a display of human passions and therefore, of forgetting what is feelings, and remain wholly exempt painful, which in memory consti- froin their contagion : no; we cannot tutes our principal enjoyment, in view the war of passion with the imagination becomes the source of cold and critic eye of an artist, who all our misery. But whilst the views the dying agonies of his falleu philosopher, the poet, and even men only to imitate them on canvas the moralist, call us to the exercise with nicer skill. Let not the anaof imagination, they seem to con- lyser of human passions and vices ceive it to be wholly employed on imagine that he can rise unconi. the external works of nature; to taminated from the contemplation: exercise itself in composing ideal and if he could, would it not only landscapes; and the human mind prove that the frequent critical disto be a mere magic - lantern, section had destroyed in himself through which those beautiful pic- every good, every sympathizing tures are to pass. This might be feeling? The whole of this univerthe case, were any one power of the sal mania for novels, has not yet understanding unconnected with fully developed itself. Wait till those of the heart; but the ima- another generation rises, formed gination is so peculiarly blended by the novel readers of the day, and with the heart and affections, that the standard of morals will then be its illusions are powerfully, if not perceived decidedly to have fallen. indelibly, transmitted and fixed there. At present, the good principles Apd is it possible, that a vain and once instilled, in some degree yet selfish creature like man, can so ab- influence, and are yet appealed to, stract his wishes and affections in conduct and morals. But the from himself, his own worldly standard is rapidly falling in the wishes and anticipations, that he female world, and the value for can contemplate those scenes as mere talents rises in proportion as mere ornaments, those expectations the solid respect for virtue declines. as wholly visionary, which his May we not even ascribe to the infancy presents to him? Does he fluence of those banesul productions not, on the contrary, so identify the present degraded state of our himself with every imagination, that stage, itself a species, and perhaps his hopes are too extravagant to the worst species, of novels-? Bit