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Equal to all, and waiving now the sword
Of persecution fierce, tempered in hell,
Forced on the conscience of inferior men:
The conscience, that sole monarchy in man,
Owing allegiance to no earthly prince;
Made by the edict of creation free;
Made sacred, made above all human laws!
Holding of heaven alone; of most divine,
And indefeasible authority;
An individual sovereignty, that none
Created might, unpunished, bind or touch;
Unbound, save by the eternal laws of God,

And unamenable to all below.”-(p. 49, 50.) We too, say, in religion, “unamenable to all below.” For it is entirely a concern between God and a man's own conscience; and woe be unto that individual, who shall presume to interfere with the prerogative of the Almighty!

We are glad, also, to find our author a friend of inquiry. For though the principle of dissent is naturally connected with religious freedom, in all its various ramifications, yet the one does not invariably follow the other. We have seen professed Dissenters, of our author's way of thinking in other respects, apparently afraid of inquiry, and anxious to suppress it. We were, therefore, the more agreeably surprised, when we read,

the commandment was, Search, and believe
In Me, and not in man; who leans on him,
Leans on a broken reed that will impierce
The trusted side. I am the way, the truth,

The life, alone, and there is none besides.”-(p. 282.)
And again,

“ How did they wish that morning, as they stood
With blushing covered, they had for themselves
The Scriptures searched, had for themselves believed,

And made acquaintance with the judge ere then!"- (p. 283.) Nevertheless, it is probable, that our poet was one of those who adopt, as the standard of their denomination, “ The Assembly's Catechism;" and who scruple not to impose it upon conscience. So great often is the inconsistency of man! To say, “Search the Scriptures," and yet bind down the mind to a system already drawn up by fallible men, is a mere farce and mockery; and it is in vain to talk of freedom of inquiry in such a case, for it does not exist. True freedom of inquiry is independent of all human interference. And we have our Saviour's words assuring us, that “ be that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they

are wrought in God;" wbile: “ every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” If, therefore, we court inquiry, we evince purity of motive in the sight of God; if we sbrink from it, we bear evident testimony that we are influenced by a very different principle. Besides, it is not the character of the true disciples of Jesus, to be afraid of submitting their religion to the test of examination; for they know that it is founded upon a rock," and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

But, favourable as our author may seem to inquiry in the abstract, he nevertheless raises à sad outcry against controversy. With him, it appears every thing that is bad, and deserves an awful fate in the eternal world. Hear his severe condemnation of it:

"Most disappointed in that crowd of men,
The man of subtle controversy stood,
The bigot theologian, in minute
Distinctions skilled, and doctrines unreduced
To practice; in debate how loud! how long!
How dexterous! in Christian love how cold!
His vain conceits were orthodox alone.
The immutable and heavenly truth, revealed
By God, was nought to him. He had an art,
A kind of hellish charm, that made the lips

Of truth speak falsehood,” &c.—(p. 278.) This is a rash and most indiscriminate censure; and with regard to principle, we feel it utterly impossible to reconcile it either with wisdom or reason. Were not the prophets men of controversy with the backsliding children of Israel? Was not Jesus Christ repeatedly engaged in controversy with the Scribes, and Pharisees, and Sadducees, and Chief Priests, and Rulers? Was not the Apostle Paul a man of controversy, when, “ by the space of two years,' he “ disputed daily in the school of one Tyrannus"? (Acts xix. 9, 10.) And were not the Reformers men of controversy, when they protested, and preached, and wrote against the errors of the Church of Rome? How mistaken, then, to declaim against controversy! True, it is not to be loved for its own sake; but history shows us, that the most faithful of God's servants have felt it to be their duty to engage in it; and when truth is corrupted, we know not by what other means it can be restored to its primitive purity.' We say, therefore, when duty calls (and it always calls when truth is corrupted), "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.”.

P

Our author, apparently, is of opinion, that those who believe aright, cannot act wrong. He says,

“ Not one of all thou saw'st lament and wail

In Tophet, properly believed the Word
Of God, else none had thither gone.

“ Can aught that thinks
And wills, choose certain evil, and reject

Good, in his heart believing he does so?"-(p. 305, 306.) We answer, No. For a firm and complete conviction, as to what constitutes man's best happiness, will lead him to pursue it; as the most powerful motive must naturally have the greatest influence over him. The reasoning appears to us quite correct. But let Christian sects and parties beware, of applying the principle of “perfectly believing the Word of God,” to themselves alone. For all denominations believe in common, the things that make for their everlasting peace. To use the words of Mr. Charles Butler, of Lincoln's Inn, “All Christians believe-1, That there is one God; 2, That be is a Being of infinite perfection; 3, That he directs all things by bis providence; 4, That it is our duty to love him with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves; 5, That it is our duty to repent of the sins we commit; 6, That God pardons the truly penitent; 7; That there is a future state of rewards and punisbments, when all mankind shall be judged according to their works; 8, That God sent his Son into the world to be its Saviour, the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him; 9, That he is the true Messiah; 10, That he worked miracles, suffered, died, and rose again, as related in the four Gospels; 11, That he will bereafter make a second appearance on the earth, raise all mankind from the dead, judge the world in righteousness, bestow eternal life on the virtuous, and punish the workers of iniquity."--"Life of Fenelon," p. 235.)

All Christian sects and parties believe these doctrines; and where is the man who will say, that they do not conatitute the essentials of Christianity? If there be such a one, we have only to say, we sincerely pity him, and wish him a more enlightened and liberal belief.

Our poet is generally of a sombre cast; arising, perhaps principally, from bis melancholy system of religion. And it is, therefore, a relief to the mind, to accompany him through the flowery paths of nature, such as the following, through which he occasionally conducts his readers:

“ The seasons came and went, and went and came,

To teach men gratitude; and as they passed,
Gave warning of the lapse of time, that else
Had stolen unheeded by. The gentle flowers
Retired, and stooping o'er the wilderness,
Talked of humility, and peace, and love.
The dews came down unseen at evening tide,
And silently their bounties shed, to teach

Mankind unostentatious charity.”--(p. 90, 91.) We must qualify our admiration of the annexed lines, by wishing that the last line but one bad breathed a kindlier spirit:

“ Hold my right hand, Almighty! and me teach

To strike the lyre, but seldom struck, to notes
Harmonious with the morning stars, and pure
As those by sainted bards and angels sung,
Which wake the echoes of Eternity;
That fools may hear and tremble, and the wise,

Instructed, listen of ages yet to come.”—(p. 4.) It is not a generous purpose, merely to make “ fools hear and tremble.” To make them wise, that they may be good and happy, would be worthy of a Christian poet. And then would the lyre be attuned to the noblest of purposes.

We bave now nearly brought our remarks to a close. With many beauties, the

poem

has more numerous faults. Almost its whole spirit is alien to nature and Revelation.

The poet, we are informed, is no more. believe, a martyr to too intense application to his work. And, no wonder. For some of its scenes are so exceedingly horrible, and its whole system of religion so repulsive to human nature, that we know not how any mind, possessing only a common share of sensibility, could contemplate it intensely, for any length of time, without being deeply affected, if not entirely overwhelmed.

For our own parts, though our review of the poem bas been comparatively brief, yet, often during our labour, have we been deeply affected by its melancholy and vindictive spirit. And most glad are we, that our task is nearly completed. Oh! we do deem it of the greatest importance, that religion should be presented to the mind, as it truly is, all meek, and serene, and lovely—a fit emanation of the God of Love, from whose boundless and infinite grace, it originally proceeded. To invest it with the gloomy horrors of a vindictive Deity, and eternal torments, is to make it a demon of darkness, rather than an angel of light; because there is then presiding over the universe, a principle of malevolence.

He fell, we And so

Should our remarks come under the notice of our orthodox brethren, it is more than probable that they will think us severe. But we beg they will remember, that this is our justification: “ The poem ascribes vindictiveness to the Divine Being." And this, we think, is a case sufficiently strong, to condemn any production, whatever may be its merits in other respects. For we should neither admire nor esteem that man, the principal feature of whose character was, vindictiveness; however wise and learned he might be, or however shining and splendid bis abilities. His great leading vice, would mar all his attainments and talents; and as we should view him as otherwise than an amiable and good man, we should feel a different sentiment towards him from that of respect, and speak of him in different terms from those of praise. should we judge with respect to a book. It is not, it is true, a living animated frame; but intellectually and morally, it has life; and if the leading trait of its character be vindictiveness, we ought not, as, in our opinion, we cannot, when we seriously reflect, admire and praise it. Moral worth is the standard of true merit, whether in men or books (when morals are treated on in books); and where this is wanting, or an opposite quality is substituted in its place, no display of intellect, however brilliant and imposing, should excite our esteem, or receive our commendation. As the author of “ The Course of Time,very justly, but very inconsistently with bis work, observes,

"not in mental, but in moral worth,

God excellence placed.”—(p. 139.) Now, what is there of “moral worth” in vindictiveness? Nothing. Indeed, we know not a more debasing vice; and never is character so abhorrent, as when this is its prominent feature. Our ground of condemnation, then, of “The Course of Time,” is, that it imputes vindictiveness to the God of Love. And on this account, the sentence which we pronounce is complete and final.

Religious Prejudice Overcome, by a Careful Examina

tion of the Old and New Testament; a Serious Address

to Christian Professors."-By Mrs. Charles Toogood. NUMEROUS as are the conversions from darkness and mysticism, to what we deem the pure and scriptural light

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