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“Upon the conquest of America in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic missionaries, who laboured during a great part of their lives to convert the natives of that vast and newly-discovered territory, found that the most essential parts of their system, such as the adoration of Three in One, the Incarnation of the Second Person in the Divine Trinity, and his expiatory sacrifice, were already admitted; and they considered the surprising fact of the reception of these sublime mysteries among tribes so barbarous and so remote, as a splendid omen of success.* That the same doctrines have been very generally believed among the nations of the Eastern world, is asserted with equal confidence, and by a numerous train of esteemed and popular authors. The late Dr. Claudius Buchanan in particular, whose authority respecting facts of this nature stands in the highest repute, and whose information was received a few years since with an avidity and admiration rarely paralleled, states that the ideas of a Tri-une God, and of the Incarnation and Atonement of the Second Person, are current throughout almost the whole of Asia. What a glaring inconsistency is it, to call these the Peculiar Doctrines of Christianity,' and yet to attempt the confirmation of them by citing the long-established convictions of innumerable heathen nations."
AN EXTRACT FROM WHITEFIELD. When Wesley began to preach and publish his opposition to the doctrines of Election and Irresistible Grace, his colleague Whitefield, who did not lack the full assurance of faith on these points, was exceedingly grieved and scandalized. He wrote a letter to Wesley in answer to a Sermon on Free Grace, in which is the following most singularly naked statement of his system.
“ Fourthly, I shall now proceed to another head. Again, says the dear Mr. Wesley, page 15, par. 16. "How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings!
*" "That which is difficult in our law to believe,' says Dr. D'Acosta, • has been made easy among the Indians, because the Devil had made them comprehend even the self-same things, which he had stolen from our evangelical law, as their manner of confession, their adoration of Three in One, and such like; the whic, against the will of the enemy, have holpen for the easy receiving of the truth.'
“ See also the History of California, by Venegas, Vol. I. pp. 83, 32. English Translation; and the History of America, by Dr. Robertson, who cites additional authorities, althougli, as we might have expected from an heterodox philosopher, he is himself very sceptical upon the subject. Book iv. $ 7."
“ Star in the East, 7th Edition, 1810."
“But who ever asserted, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings? Do not they who believe in God's dooming men to everlasting burnings, also believe that God looked upon them as men fallen in Adam ? and that that decree which ordained the punishment, first regarded the crime by which it was deserved? How then are they doomed without any preceding fault? Surely Mr. Wesley will own God's justice in imputing Adam's sin to his posterity; and also that, after Adam fell, and his posterity in him, God might justly have passed them all by, without sending his Son to be a Saviour for ANY ONE. Unless you heartily agree to both these points, you do not believe Original Sin aright. If you do own them, then you must acknowledge the doctrine of Election and Reprobation to be highly just and reasonaable; for, if God might justly impute Adam's sin to all, and afterwards have passed by all, then he might justly pass by some. Turn on the right hand, or on the left, you are reduced to an inextricable dilemma. And if you would be consistent, you must either give up the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's Sin, or receive the amiable doctrine of Election, with a holy and righteous reprobation, as its consequent: for, whether you can believe it or no, the word of God abides faithful—The Election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded."
EPITAPH, by Hannah MORE
(Never before published.]
'Till God's own plaudit shall her worth attest. New Series-vol. II.
Memoirs of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, with a selection
from her Correspondence and other Unpublished Writings. By
Miss BENGER, 2 vols. 16mo. pp. 688. London, 1818. One of the proudest characteristics of the present age, one which marks more decidedly than perhaps any thing else, the great and general progress of improvement, consists in the number of the productions of females, which have essentially contributed to increase and extend that cultivation, of which they are the proofs. It is but a few years, since, if female authors were not unknown, their efforts were principally confined to some of the lower walks of literature, and letters and novels were all that were expected, or perhaps all that would have been tolerated, from what is called the weaker sex. It is only within the present generation, that the literature of the world has been enriched by the powerful eloquence, the philosophical and poetical observation of M. de Stäel, the penetration, accuracy, strong sense, and correct feeling of Miss Edgeworth and Mrs. Hamilton, and the delicate taste and sensibility of Mrs. Grant. Religion herself will not disdain to acknowledge the obligations conferred on her, within the same short period, by the writings of Hannah More; and history will point to one among us, whose labours have been honourable to herself, and her country. These are not all, who have contributed to adorn and improve the present period; and we have not mentioned these as mere prodigies, to excite a barren admiration, but as the satisfactory and honourable evidences of the great progress of general refinement and education, and of the high powers, which may be discovered among those, who bave hitherto been regarded as unworthy or incapable of partaking the toils and the rewards of literary exertion. There are few, very few authors in higher or more deserved estimation, either for the talent they have discovered, or the good they have accomplished, than some of those we have mentioned. And we trust their labours will not be lost to the world. They have pointed out the means of a judicious cultivation of the female mind, and the result of their efforts presents a sufficient encouragement to others to pursue the path they have so successfully trod.
Nothing which serves to illustrate the progress of the important change, which has taken place in the value and estimation of the works of this class of writers, can be devoid of interest; and we have, moreover, a natural curiosity to become acquainted with the private life and character of those, who have distinguished themselves in the service of the public. The Memoirs of Mrs. Hamilton possess claims upon our attention on both these accounts, and a still stronger one from the number of her letters, which are added, and which discover the same excellent sense, and cheerfulness of disposition, which characterize her other writings. The earlier part of her life was marked by few interruptions of that enjoyment, which arises from a happy combination of external circumstances, and a peculiar buoyancy and bilarity of temper. Her domestic circle was indeed broken up by the death of her father, which occurred during her infancy, but at the age of six years, she was confided by her mother to the care of an uncle and aunt, who lived in a retired situation, and whom she describes as being in a high degree deserving of esteem, for their virtues, and of respect for their intellectual powers. * By this worthy couple,” she says, “I was adopted, and educated with a care and tenderness that has been seldom equalled. No child ever spent so happy a life; nor, indeed, have I ever met with any thing at all resembling the way in which we lived, except the description given by Rousseau of Wolmar's farm and vintage."
In 1767, when she was only nine years old, the death of her mother, from whom she had been almost entirely separated for three years, could have made but a slight and transient impression upon her. Indeed, she was accustomed to speak of the death of the aunt, who had supplied to her the place of a parent, as the first sorrow of her life. Till the age of twenty-two, therefore, she continued to enjoy, almost without interruption, the pleasures which are bestowed by youth, cheerfulness, and good dispositions.
In the year 1786, the return of her brother from India was not merely a vast addition to her happiness, but the source of much of the information and correct thought, which appear in her works. This gentleman had acquired reputation not by patronage or protection, but by unblemished conduct and unconquerable exertion.” He ranked high among the accomplished scholars in India, who were at that time devoting themselves to oriental literature, and was appointed by the Governor General Hastings to translate from the Persian, the Hedaya, or code of Mussulman Laws. For this purpose he returned to England, and after publishing a history of the Rohilla war, in which he had
been personally engaged as an officer, he devoted himself sedulously to his Persian studies. In his society, Mrs. Hamilton became insensibly familiarized to the customs and manners of the East. Under his protection she paid her first visit to the metropolis ; and in the circle, to which his acquaintance with Mr. Hastings and Sir William Jones enabled him to introduce her, she found all the charms of brilliant powers and accomplished minds, combined with the pleasure of novelty, and the delight of first becoming conscious of her own peculiar talents. She spent several years in this situation, the happiness of which was interrupted only by the death of her uncle, whose life was suddenly terminated by an epidemic disorder. But in the beginning of the year 1792, the scene was totally changed, and Mrs. Hamilton lost by the death of her brother, her dearest relative, and most valuable friend ; at a period, too, when he was about to reap the reward of his arduous and meritorious exertions. This was an irreparable loss, an almost overwhelming affliction; and she, with her only sister, Mrs. Blake, secluded herself from the society in which she had so long delighted, and retired to a quiet country village. As the poignancy of grief, however, gradually wore away, she began to turn her attention to literature, as the best source of relief, after religion has exerted its soothing and composing power. But it was not till 1796 that the Letters of the Hindoo Rajah were offered to the public, and they bear traces of the melancholy feelings under the influence of which they were written. The seal of public approbation has, however, long been set upon them, as well as upon her next literary effort, the Modern Philosophers, which appeared in 1800, and passed through two editions before the end of the year, without her name. In this year Mrs. Hamilton commenced her most important and valuable work, the Letters on Education, the first volume of which was published in 1801, and gained her "the acquaintance or correspondence of many distinguished individuals,” and the praise of all, who were interested in the subject, and capable of appreciating the value of her labours. She had now recovered the natural tone of her feelings, and was again happy and cheerful. We extract the following letter, written about this time, to illustrate the union of sense and vivacity, which gave a charm to her correspondence and her society. We must not omit to mention it, likewise, as a proof of the benevolence with which she endeavoured to develope and draw forth literary talent in those of her own sex, who were devoting themselves to such pursuits. “The following charming letter on castle-building was addressed,” says Miss Benger, “after a very short acquaintance, to one, whom her kindness distinguished in adversity, whom her encouragement