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“ cold: And hence the winter of 1783-4 was more severe than "any that had happened for many years."
IN the philosophical and political career of this great man, numerous are the instances which might be given to confirm the truth of an observation already made, that one ruling passion formed the motive of every action-" a desire to do good and to communicate.” His address, in this, was great, adapting himself to subjects and persons, with the most winning affection and familiarity, as occasion required from the earliest to the latest period of his life.
In a letter, which he wrote to his sister in 1738, he conveys the first great lesson of religion, by a pleasant criticism on some verses written by his uncle, one line of which was
“ Raise faith and hope three stories higher." “ The meaning of three stories higher," he said) “ seems “ somewhat obscure. You are to understand then that Faith, “ Hope, and Charity, have been called the three steps of Jacob's “ ladder, reaching from earth to heaven: our author calls them
stories of the Christian edifice. Thus improvement in religion « is called building up, or edification. Faith is then the ground « floor, and Hope is up one pair of stairs. My dearly beloved “ Jenny, do not delight so much to dwell in these lower rooms, “ but get as fast as you can into the garret, for in truth the “ best room in the house is Charity."
IN a letter, written when in France to Dr. MATUER of Boston, he attributes his disposition of doing good, to the early impression of a book which attracted his notice when he was a boy, called Essays to do Good, written by Dr. Mather's father.
-“ It had been, says he, so little regarded by a former posses« sor, that several leaves of it were torn out, but the remainder
gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have great influence on
my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value “ on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of “ reputation ; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful “ citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.
He proceeds." The last time I saw your father was in the « beginning of 1724. He received me in his library, and on my
« taking leave, shewed me a shorter way out of the house, “ through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over “ head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying “ me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said “ hastily, Stoop! stoop! I did not understand him, till I felt my “ head hit against the beam. He was a man that never missed “ an occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me 6 —You are young, and have the world before you ; stoop as you go " through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice, “ thus beaten into my head, has often been of use to me through “ life, and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and mis« fortunes brought upon people by carrying their heads too
May 1st, 1802. WHILE this Eulogium was originally in the press, the following verses, beautifully poetical and descriptive of the character of DR. FRANKLIN, were found on the writing-desk of my study; but whether dropped there by some one of the nine muses, or by what mortal favorite of theirs, I could not then learn. They were accompanied with a request, that they might be annexed to the Eulogium ; but apprehending that the publisher, Mr. Bache, who was Dr. Franklin's grandson might think it indecent in him to give circulation to the two last stanzas, however much he might approbate the three first; they were suppressed at that time, and from a persuasion also, that, at a future day, they might more easily be endured by the warmest of Dr. Franklin's surviving friends.
The verses were found in the hand-writing of my dear deceased wife, and not recollecting, at that time ever to have seen or read them, and asking from what original she had copied them, she laughed, as I thought, at the scantiness of my reading on a subject so recent as the death of Dr. Franklin, whose panegyrist I had been appointed, by a grave society of philosophers. I replied, with a mixture of a little raillery in my turn, that if she would not satisfy me respecting the author of the verses, or from what source she had copied them, I should consider myself as happily yoked to a very good poetess, and ascribe the composition to herself, unless clubbed between her, and her dear friend Mrs. Ferguson. I knew either of them to be capable of the work, and from the spirit, wit and manner of it, as well as from frequent hints in their conversation, concerning Dr. Franklin, whose genius and talents they both admired, I knew also that the two last stanzas, as well as three first accorded well with their sentiments. Since this note was prepared for the press, I have discovered by means of a worthy friend (B. R. M. Esq.) that the rev. Jonathan Odell, formerly missionary at Burlington New Jersey, and now secretary of the British province of NewBrunswick was the real author. I had indeed suspected him to beso, and questioned him accordingly, (for he dined at my house that day), but it seems that he joined with the ladies to keep me in suspence, and in conveying a satirical hint, by means of the verses, that I was a very warm panegyrist.
VERSES ON THE LATE DR. FRANKLIN.
To a summit before unattain'd;
And the palm of philosophy gain'd.
With a spark that he caught from the skies,
He display'd an unparrallel'd wonder,
That his rod could protect us from thunder.
Oh! had he been wise to pursue,
The path which his talents design'd,
To the teacher and friend of mankind!
But to covet political fame,
Was, in Him, a degrading ambition;
Enkindled the blaze of sedition.
Let candor, then, write on his urn
Here lies the renowned inventor,
But, inverted, descends to the center!
FROM OCTOBER 1757 TO OCTOBER 1758,
TO THE READER.
THE Hermit, (first published about forty-five years ago) was among some of the author's earliest writings; and having been well received, by the more serious part of his readers, at that time, he resolved to give it a place among such works of his, as he might afterwards be induced to think, in any degree, worthy of being collected from their original fugitive state; and of being preserved and bequeathed to posterity (or at least to his surviving friends) in a more permanent way, by means of the press.
The subjects treated of by the HERMIT, in his fourth and fifth numbers, and his soliloquies in the second and sixth, having so close a relation to some of the foregoing Sermons, and especially to those from 1. Thess. chap. iv. (On Death, a Resurrection from the Dead, a future Judgment and an eternal World to come) determined the author's choice of this volume, as the proper place, to give the Hermit's speculations a chance for longer life. In the manner of composition (though the subjects are allied) there may be found some difference between juvenile writings, and those of advanced age; between compositions for a periodical work, and the public at large; and compositions for the pulpit, or a particular congregation. But the comparison of this difference will not be displeasing to ingenuous readers.