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would permit him, he would narrate the substance of them.
But what further passed on this occasion, together with our taking leave of him and the account of our journey homewards, must, for want of room at preent, be deferred to another month.
THE HERMIT, No. III.
JANUARY, 1758. Our last, No. II. of the Hermit, contained an account of the disco
very of his retreat by some of the proprietors of the American Magazine; the rapturous SOLILOQUY in which we found him engaged; our address to him, and, after mutual compliments, our saking teave.
The following is a copy of his advice to us authors, which we
found, as he had promised, on-qur return home.
· YOUR undertaking is laudable but arduous. You are not to consider yourselves as writing for the few. You are to instruct and entertain the many; which will deserve, nay demand, the utmost exertion of your faculties. Without doubt, you have duly weighed them, and found them not unequal to the task. Yet, give me leave to utter my sentiments with freedom. The fate of others who have enterprised the same attempt, makes me anxious
ders. By this means you will secure one great point, that of rousing the attention, and will be at greater liberty to bestow your pains upon the other two; namely, to please the imagination and satisfy the understanding; which three requisites constitute the whole merit and essence of literary composition. While you keep these ends in view, even your lighter and more humorous essays will have some useful moral couched in them, agreeably to the fine precept of Horace.
Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci. But though I have mentioned the rocks and difficulties that beset religious and political subjects; yet, gentlemen, as you avow yourselves the friends of mankind, no circumstances ought to deter you from your duty in this respect. There are times and occasions when to be silent on these topics would be criminal and base in the highest degree. There are times and occasions when you ought to lift up your voice like a trumpet, in the cause of your God and your country; and call all the man, all the patriot, and all the Christian forth!
In such a grand cause much circumspection will be required, and there are innumerable ways by which it may be betrayed. Ignorance may be fatal to it. An over-heated zeal or timid caution may equally hurt it. Power may controul or seduce you; the fumes of popularity may intoxicate you; or should your virtue be proof against these trials, yet conjunctures may happen, so critically circumstanced, as to puzzle the ablest head and soundest heart, '. Tyranny may sometimes wear the face of justice; licen
tiousness may assume the mask of freedom ; hypocrisy may put on the garb of religion; and the vilest designs that faction, discord, or ambition ever planned, may veil themselves in the cloak of patriotism and public spirit!
How, then, gentlemen, must an honest writer, uninfluenced by party rage or any other motive but a genuine love of truth and liberty, develope the cheat and shew it in its proper colours to the world? I who employ my thoughts on far other subjects than the mysteries of state, or the subtleties of the human heart, am very unfit for such a task. Buried in this humble, silent, and sequestered hut, I have industri. ously explored, and resolutely extinguished every spark of ambition in my own soul. Like one that has happily gained some port of safety, after being long tossed on the stormy ocean, I here ruminate on the past and look forward to the future, without busying myself in the affairs of men; being little more than a spectator in this world
I hear the tumult of the distant throng,
But, gentlemen, though this be the present frame of my mind, and though my whole care be to hush each boisterous passion into repose, and maintain an intercourse with Him whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity; yet there was a time when my bo
THE HERMIT, No. IV.
ON THE PERFECTION AND EFFICACY OF THE CHRISTIAN
Arg. 1. Drawn from the comforts it brings to our last hours.
Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
YOUNG'S NIGHT THOUGHTS.
my former letters, I have given some account of my life and temper of heart, and of those motives that induced my retreat from the vain and busy world. I have likewise delivered my thoughts concerning the duty of those who undertake to write for others, and hinted some considerations that should animate and actuate their conduct, in so benevolent a work.
These topics have not proved unacceptable to the public; but still they were only preliminary to the more solemn and interesting subjects, which I had always in view. It was, from the beginning, my purpose to communicate, by way of monthly sermon, for the benefit of my fellow-sojourners on earth, the sum of those reflections and conclusions, which, after long and close meditation upon the state of our mortality and suffering here, I have found most efficacious to quiet my own soul now, and fix its hopes forever.
It would be needless to add, that the chief of these have been drawn from the blessed Gospel, that inexhaustible source of joy and consolation! For when we have tried every other expedient, it will be found at last that our only comfort is to be derived from the promises of the Gospel, an intimate conviction of its saving efficacy, and a sublime trust in the adorable goodness of its lovely Author. It shall, therefore, be my first endeavour to press home those points, in the most striking light in my power; in doing which, it is not my design to give a regular system of divinity, nor yet to bewilder the reader in those abstract discussions that tend more to puzzle the understanding, than to better the heart. truths of Christianity stand in no need of any arguments I can bring, to defend or establish them. This is sufficiently done in many unanswerable volumes, by abler pens. Points of theory and dispute neither answer my purpose, nor do they suit my temper of mind. I would humbly offer something for practice, that may influence the life and manners. Nor, in this, shall I confine myself to any certain or express method. What I shall say will be chiefly occasional, containing such arguments for the superior excellence of our holy Christianity, or any of its detached parts, as may arise from particular incidents and occurrences.
And the first that I would offer is drawn from the power and efficacy of the Christian faith, to support its humble votaries in the hour of death. Nor is this, without reason, made the first. For what wise man could possibly live in quiet, till he had first satisfied