What can be the ground or motive of your shocking description of «hell ?" By the minutiæ of the detail one would suppose that you had an inventory and plan of its domains. These vulgar a warnings” are the “men-traps and spring-guns” of your divinity. And to seek thus to interest the young in religion! It was the memorable saying of old Roger Ascham's schoolmaster, « Love doth work more in a childe for virtue and learning than fear.” Is your doctrine that of mercy and salvation ? « Is God powerful to kill and to destroy, to damne and to torment, and is he not powerful to save ? Nay, it is the sweetest flowre in the garland of his attributes, it is the richest diamond in his crown of glory, that he is Mighty to save ; and this is farre more magnif. cent for him, than to be styled Mighty to destroy. What would you make the God of the whole world ? Nothing but a cruell and dreadful Erynnis, with curly fiery snakes about his head, and firebrands in his hands, thus governing the world ? Surely this will make us either secretly to think that there is no God at all if he must needs be such, or else to wish heartily there were none!" --REASON, which I consider the magnetic needle of the human understanding, you proclaim its bane ; although by the very use of it in controversial religion you recognise its necessity and lawfulness. It is the distinctive faculty of man. Doubtless you will consider this a blasphemous opinion : but, as Lord Bacon says, “ It is no less impious to shut where God Almighty has opened, than to open where God Almighty has shut.” Dugald Stewart, whom you recommend, most forcibly writes :"Among the various forms which religious enthusiasm assumes, there is a certain prose tration of the mind, which, under the specious disguise of a deep humility, aims at exalting the divine perfections by annihilating all the powers which belong to human nature." And Milton sings

There wanted yet the master-work, the end
Of all yet done; a creature who, not prone
And brute as other creatures, but endued
With sanctity of Reason, might erect "
His stature, and upright with front serene
Govern the rest, self-knowing; and from thence,
Magnanimous, to correspond with Heaven;
But, grateful to acknowledge whence his good
Descends, thither with heart, and voice, and eyes
Directed in devotion, to adore
And worship God supreme, who made him chief

Of all his works.
I think you now know my religion, if it is an object of interest

Cudworth. Sermon preached before the House of Commons, 31st of March, 1647.

or curiosity to you. I do not expect we shall agree, but I can agree to differ.

In conclusion I briefly beg, that as you cannot but see the im. possibility of abolishing the drama or the stage, you will in future shape your animadversions to advance their purity, and to gain them over exclusively to the cause of virtue and rational amusement.

I can honestly avow that my sole motive in this publication is the advancement of virtue and religion, and you will probably in future be secure against further notice from me. I trust that I have maintained the character of a gentleman and a Christian, and that I have not treated you in these pages with greater severity than was necessary, or your publications justify.

But it was not to be endured that the county of Warwick, which proudly boasts as natives, Shakspeare, Digby Lord Bristol, Fulke Greville Lord Brooke, Drayton, Somerville, and Southern (though it has not the honor of giving birth to you), should be insulted, and the sacred rights and reputation of the illustrious dead defamed.

I conclude with two items of advice : Before you again publish « Presents,” know that « Charity begins at home;" and remember, as I have no doubt you will, Bramston's counsel

“Steal not word for word, nor thought for thought,
For you'll be teaz'd to death, if you are caught!"

[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


As the following observations relate chiefly to the exterior of things lately produced, they must of course be superficial : if they had extended to all that is within, and all that is without; to all that is underground, and all that is above it, they would have swelled to volumes. Their only object is to lead the way to farther and profounder criticisms on what has been done, and to more ample suggestions for what may, hereafter, be desirable and obtainable in the way of improvement. To pass in review the whole, even of the surface of what is going on, in all directions, would require many more pages than are here offered to those who take an interest in matters of this sort. I invite them to three or four pleasant walks only: others, I hope will follow, and make a complete tour; as through, and round the metropolis, there is now space for a traveller, and on which he may find as much to gratify his curiosity, and be, perhaps, as beneficially employed, as if he were to make one on the continent. Men who have the greatest share of leisure are the best fitted for this kind of occupation; certainly not those who have much and more essential business to attend to.

If the reader should happen to be a professor of architecture, or any of its cognate arts, it will be sufficiently apparent to him that I am not. But it will sometimes occur, that a man may be gifted with the faculty of judging without rules, and be endued with some natural taste; a sort of instinctive discrimination between good and bad. Men of liberal minds will allow this to be the case; and so far from treating the non-initiated with contempt, will be ready and willing to avail themselves of all that is modestly submitted to them by the looker on. There is, besides, this advantage, that what is offered by any one who is not of their calling, cannot be supposed to proceed from motives of rivalry or jealousy. Great buildings strike all eyes ; and the looking at them, habitually with some attention, and the overlooking of the smaller parts, will teach the observer, whether

“The whole, at once, be just and regular.” With respect to suggestions, they cannot be thought to be superabundant or inopportune at a time when alterations are going on so rapidly ; partly owing to speculations, and partly to such numbers of people of all classes who travel to Italy and other countries, and who, on their return home, seem to be eagerly bent on the transferring of foreign grandeur to their own country, and particularly to their own capital.

« 上一页继续 »