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of his country, and if I mistake not, he will, ere long, be the first tragedian of the London stage. · Can you also have been ignorant, or have you forgotten, that the Italian Opera has been of late years. conducted by a committee of noblemen that Drury-lane also has been managed by several of the first nobility and commoners of the highest character and talent ? ..
As to the charge of players “ assuming a feigned character," cer tain I am that not one of those so honorably named would have appropriated the works of other men. · Shakspeare may have stolen a deer of Justice Shallow, but he would never have borrowed a sermon of Latimer, or printed a play not his own.
You have not interwoven even a single new anecdote in support of your « assertions,” but retail the old exploded stories of Whitfield, on the best authority," --copying two whole pages verbatim. I shall not encumber my sheets with such nonsense, but only give your introductory sentence to show with what activity you follow Dr. Styles.
Shuter, whose facetious powers Shuter, whose facetious powers convulsed whole audiences with convulsed whole audiences with laughter, and whose companionable laughter, and whose companionable qualities often “set the table in a qualities often “set the table in a roar," was a miserable being. The roar,” was a miserable being. The following anecdote, told from the following anecdote, told from the best authority, will confirm this as best authority, will confirm this assertion ; and I am afraid, were we sertion; and I am afraid, were we at all acquainted with many of his at all acquainted with many of his profession, we should find that his profession, we should find that his case is by no means singular.
case is by no means singular. James, p. 41.
Styles, p. 122. It is quite sufficient for this story that it rests on the authority of John Whitfield, and there it is likely to rest.
. 16. To send young people therefore It seems to have been a sentiment to the play-house to form their man- of this kind that led a certain author ners, is to expect they will learn to say, that to send young people to truth from liars, virtue from profis the theatre to forin their manners, gates, and modesty from harlots.. is to expect that they will learn viç
James, p. 43. tue from profligates, and modesty
Witherspoon in the Stage. - No observation is required on this extract : the readers will judge between you and me, Sir, whose assertions are supported by facts.
Can it then be right, even on the As the profession of an actor is supposition that we could escape the ignominious, and as it has uniformly . moral contagion of the stage, to sup- debased the human character, what port a set of our fellow-creatures in virtuolis mind will contribute io the idleness, and in a profession which support of a class of men so miserleads to immorality, licentiousness, able, and whose very employment and profligacy?
must render them contemptible? James, p. 44
Styles, p. 121. · I shall make but one observation on this: you are grievously mistaken on the supposition that an actor's life is that of « idle ness :" it is a profession of the severest labor and the deepest study.
I have now subdivided and answered this notable chapter of the « Christian Father's Present.” You consistently close it with the assertion of Styles-viz, that you know instances (could you but be freed from the confessor's seal of secrecy) of the moral ruin of many who have frequented theatres. I think, after this exposure of your retailing Dr, Styles, I may without illiberality doubt this assertion; and place it to the account of those « pious frauds” which are considered lawful warnings by some, however mean by others.
I shall make no further mention of Doctor Styles: the reader may refer to " a few short remarks upon this sacred and silly gentleman,” in the Edinburgh Review, vol. xiv. p. 48,' and notwithstanding the insignificancy of the subject, the perusal of the Review will amply repay in wit and humor the dulness of the object. The reviewers very justly say that his everlasting text is, “ Whoever is unfriendly to Methodism is an Infidel and an Atheist." Be it so. Throughout these barefaced plagiarisms you have nowhere expressed your obligations to Dr. Styles. You do partially towards other persons from whom you have borrowed in your different chapters of the “ Present," it is therefore fairly to be concluded that you intentionally omitted reference to Dr. Styles, and all marks of quotation ; that is to say, you have passed his strictures on the stage as your own. You certainly do, in two instances, recommend Dr. Styles : in Youth Warned, in a note you write, “ I recommend all who wish to judge of the tendency of the theatre, to read an essay, by. Dr. Styles.” In a note at the end of the sixteenth chapter of the " Present" you also write; “I most earnestly recommend to all young persons, who have any doubts on this subject, or any taste for theatrical representations,
dly loustly say that his or the dulness of thehe Re
*This learned Doctor, then Mr. John Styles, in reply to the Edinburgh Review, gave a learned dissertation on the Reviewer's word Kime, a mispript for Knife; mistaking the said Kime for an Hindoo instrument of torlure !
VOL. XXV. Pam. NO. XLIX.
the perusal of an admirable treatise on this subject, by Dr. Styles" - this you were well aware was a recommendation little likely to be taken : your congregation have hitherto had a sufficient trust in the supposed originality of your own lucubrations; and who can ever suppose you would seriously recommend a book of which you had printed the entire substance ?
But I shall now show that this is not your only offence against the code of literature.
Subsequently to the publication of Mr. Bunn's Letter to you, in answer to your attack on the theatre and the character of the performers, you published a second tract" THE SCOFFER. ADMO. NISHED, being the substance of two sermons preached at Carr'se lane Meeting-house, July 18, and August 1, 1824" To this publication you prefixed a preface, of which the following is an extract:
«The outline of the following sermon was drawn up nearly a month ago, and consequently before it was possible for the author to anticipate the circumstances which have lately occupied so much of the public attention in Birmingham. To these events the discourse bears no other relation whatever, than that of a coincidence, seasonable it must be confessed, but altogether uncontrived."
Under these circumstances, and repeating your attack on the theatre in the 16th page with increased rancor,' you could not reasonably expect people to believe that you had not a reference to Mr. Bunn--at all events your preface has. You might, however, safely and honestly assert, that the outline of the following Sermons was drawn up nearly a month ago :” verily, it was, in the reign of King William, and by Archbishop Tillotson, a dignitary of the church of England !
You entitle your sermon « The Scoffer Admonished.” Tillot, son entitles his'« The Folly of Scoffing at Religion.”_You both use the same text, 2 Peter, iii. 3.-You subdivide both your sermons into three heads, allowing for a little dexterous substitution, as follows:
1. I shall give you a representa- 1. Consider the nature of the sin tion of the nature of the vice itself. here mentioned.
1 “But it is now time to inquire where and when the practice of scoffing is indulged in.
"In the theatre, where, besides the mockery of the claims and obligations of religion that runs through more or less the whole contexture of dramatic representation, plays are acted which were originally written, and are still performed with the obvious design of bringiog all scriptural piety into contempt. The theatre is the very seat of the scornful, where he sits first as a learner, till he becomes proficient enough to appear in the character of a teacher. It may be very truly affirmed, that if infidels teach men to argue against religion, players instruct them to laugh at it."
2. I shall consider the causes of 2. The character of the persons scoffing-p. 22.
that are charged with the guilt of
this sin. 3. Let me now exhibit to you the 3. I shall represent to you the characters of this vice-P. 28...!i heinousness and the aggravations of
: James. this vice. . . Tillotson. • • You cite all the texts used by him, and few others. You open your Sermons with the same sentiments and nearly in the same language.
At the time of St. Peter's writing These it seems were a sort of this Epistle, the disciples of Christ people that derided our Saviour's were exposed to the attacks of the prediction of his coming to judge the Epicureans among the Gentiles, and world. the Sadducees among the Jews, both In those times there was a com. of whom ridiculed the doctrines of mon persuasion among Christians, the resurrection of the dead, the that the day of the Lord was at hand. general judgment, the destruction of So that the principles of these the world, and a future state of re- men seem to be much the same with wards and punishments. .
those of the Epicureans, who denied in James, p. 1-2.. the providence of God and the im
mortality of men's souls, and consequently a future judgment, which should sentence men to rewards and punishments in another world.
Tillotson.'', You then write, copying and paraphrasing Tillotson
It was said by an infidel of former I remember it is the saying of one times, that when reason is against a who hath done more by his writings man, then will a man be against reason: to debauch the age with atheistical and it may with equal, if not greater principles than any man that lives propriety, be said, that when religion in it, That when reason is against a is against a man, then will a man be man, then a man will be against reason. against religion. The truth and the I am sure this is the true account of principles of revelation are enemies such men's enmity to religion-relito pride of intellect and depravity of gion is against them, and therefore heart; and it is matter of little sur- they set themselves against religion. prise, that they who cannot be re. The principles of religion, '&c. are conciled to humility and purity, terrible enemies to wicked men, and should scorn the system which en- this is that which makes them kick forces such virtues.
· against religion, &c. talk profanely, **James, p. 26. and speak against religion, &c.
Tillotson. Again, you paraphrase the Archbishop :
The sum of the whole matter is. The sum is, the true cause why a man says there is no God, because any man is an atheist, is because he he wishes there were none, &c.; he is a wicked man.. Religion would is an infidel because he is a sinner;. curb him in his lusts, and therefore he is a scoffer because he is an in- he casts it off, and puts all the scorn fidel, &c.
upon it he can, &c. James, p. 27,
Tillotson, In the following sentences you copy him nearly verbatim. The
reader will observe an asterisk and marks of quotation at the foot of your paragraph ; of that hereafter.
1. Let no man think the worse of re- ?. Let no man think the worse of ligion, or any of its doctrines, because religion, because some are so bold as some are so bold us to despise them; for to despise and deride it. For 'uis no tis no risparageinent to any person disparagement to any person or thing or thing to be laughed at; but only to be laughed at, but to deserve to to deserve to be so. The most grave. be so. The most grave and serious and serious matters in the world are matters in the whole world are liable liable to be abused, A sharp wit to be abused. It is a known saying may find something in the wisest or of Epictetus, " that every thing hath holiest man, whereby to expose him two bundles ;'! by which he means to the contempt of injudicious peo. that there is nothing so bad but a ple. The gravest book that ever was man may lay hold of something or written, may be made ridiculous by other about it that will afford matter applying the sayings of it to a fool of excuse and extenuation, nor noislypurpose. ?A jest may be obtruded thing so excellent but a man may upon any thing; and therefore, no fasten upon something or other beinan ought to have less reverence for longing to it, whereby to reduce it. A the principles of religion, because sharp wit may find somethiog in the profane wits can cast jokes upon them. wisest man, whereby to expose him Nothing is more easy than to take to the contempt of injudicious peoparticular phrases and expressions ple. The gravest book that ever out of the best book in the world, was written, may be made ridiculous and to abuse them by forcing an by applying the sayings of it to a odd and ridiculous sense upon them. fuolish purpose. For a jest may be But no wise man will think a good obtruded upon any thing. And, book foolish for this reason, but the therefore, no man ought to have the man that abuseth ; nor will he think less reverence for the principles of that 10 which everything is liable, religion, or for the Holy Scriptures, to be a just exception against any because idle and profane wits can thing.« *At this rate we must contemn break jokes upon them. Nothing is all things; but surely the better and so easy as to take particular phrases the shorter way is to despise those and expressions out of the best book who would bring any thing worthy in the world, and to abuse them by into contempt."*
forcing an odd and ridiculous sense Jumes, p. 44. upon ihem. But no wise man will
thiuk a good book foolish for this reason, but the man that abuseth it; nor will he esteem that to which every thing is liable, to be a just exception against any thing. At this
rate we must despise all things; but de 2013
surely the better and the shorter way is to contemn those who would bring any thing that is worthy into cons tempt
Tillotson. In a note following this asterisk you write See Archbishop Tile lotson's sermon on Scoffing at Religion. The inverted commas
"..Seeing a second edition of the Scoffer Admonished, I bought it with a view to discover if this error of the compositor was rectified by the removal