Images de page
PDF
ePub

on being “the tenth transmitter” of a pedigree, let him ask himself, is a coxcomb improved for having passed through ten filtrations such as himself? If he will strut in the pride of his ancestry and his tailor, let us not have it impressed upon us, that it is the coat in both cases that makes the man, and not the man the coat; it matters not whether it is a coat of arms, or one of Stultz's.

Non domino domus, sed domus domino honestanda. It is to be hoped the lesson of thirty years may keep this foolish arrogance for the future within some endurable bounds.

18th.—Left Paris, upon the whole very well satisfied with my few weeks' ramble, having seen much to admire, as well as much to disapprove; but certainly not less in humour with good old England than I was before; which, as far as travelling has brought me acquainted with national character, to estimate as it deserves, only requires to have visited any other country under the sun. And even with all the fascination of their polish and sociality, I confess the frank, candid, manly honesty of Englishmen, provided only that it is not vulgar, has charms for me above any French varnish of manners, however they may have been studied under a maitre d'agrémens. But, more than all, the liberty we enjoy, through the blessings of a free constitution, under the best of Kings, makes me feel quite satisfied at home,

ουτε εγωγε

ης γαίας δυναμαι γλυκώτερον αλλο ιδεσθαι. .

CHAP. VIII.

To see

so large a portion of enlightened mankind, the largest and fairest part of Europe, sunk in servitude to the stupendous and glaring absurdities of so rank a superstition as the Roman Catholic, is a phenomenon in human imbecility that confounds explanation. But however we may mourn for poor human nature, it is evidently as inconsistent with reason, as with the spirit of true religion, to hope to combat the evil by waging an eternal conflict of abuse and recrimination. Yet are there too many who regard such a polemical spirit as being only zealously affected in a good cause;" not recollecting that this zeal ends precisely where it begins, in words; occupying itself in diatribe, in place of silencing the ene

66

[ocr errors]

mies of truth, by setting the example of its practice. The

purpose of the following reflections is to afford the reader an opportunity of judging whether, notwithstanding the invulnerable excellencies of our own church, there is still not enough of infirmity left in all conscience to keep us both humble and charitable.

I cannot be ignorant of the tremendous disadvantages under which a layman ventures an opinion on the subject of religion, and that such an attempt may savour even of presumption; but so long as salvation is the common concernment of mortals, and that it cannot be intended by Providence there should be one religion for the rich, and another or none at all for the poor, one for the learned, and another for the simple, one for the clergy, and another for the laity, -it appears to me that any subject of Christendom is fairly at liberty to contribute his mite of humble opinion when he thinks it may be of use. If he sees, or even fancies he sees, that he can point out how the interests of our religion have been essentially obstructed, as a member of the Christian commonwealth, he conceives he is not merely at liberty, but that the positive duty lies upon him to do his utmost, ne quod detrimenti respublica caperet. And whether, as we read in a late address of the two houses of convocation to our beloved Sovereign, we direct our attention to the avowed enemies of Christianity, or to those who, professing the faith of Christ, sedulously labour to disparage and degrade the church,” never was there a more dangerous spirit of infidelity abroad than at the present moment, or one to which so many circumstances concur to give effect and encouragement. If we would be convinced of this, let us only take a slight general survey of the apathy of those ranks whose example is most influential, the mockery of the learned, the disregard of religion in private, its mere formality in public, the systematic levity of all ranks, the lethargy of bishops, and indolence of the clergy in general. These, though they may be considered negative signs of declension, to my view (and I think I do not see through a jaun

« PrécédentContinuer »