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Churchill Diffi Eted. A Poem. 4to. Is. 6d. Nicoll.
OULD we have imagined that Churchill should diffect
Churchill, we should have concluded, that he had here taken the incision knife in his own hand.—The operation is perfectly in his own style of execution, heavy and violent; and the display of the interior parts, indicates a thorough acquaintance with the subject :
His person—all will know him by the print
A Priest--as void of decency as grace,
Human-without one feeling for his kind,
Appears the very Villain that he draws.
The Surgeon now with sharp and shining blade,
The cross baptismal long by fin effac'd,
His Lungs, the bellows once of civil ftrife
The rest pour thundering like a mighty flood;
His Front well cas’d with brass they strip with pain,
Sermons on the following Subjects: 1. All the Works of God, in
their natural State, beautiful and lovely, &c. By the late Rev. James Duchal, D. D. Vols. IId and IIId. 8vo.
10S. W. Johnston. AVING, more than once, bad occafion to deliver our
sentiments concerning Dr. Duchal as a Writer, we shall, without any farther introduction, proceed to lay before our Readers an account of what is contained in the volumes now before us.
Prefixed to the second volume, we have an Essay on the character of the Auihor, in an anonymous Letter to a Friend. The Letter-writer observes, that in so private a walk of life, and so little diversified, as that of Dr. Duchal, it is not to be expected, that incidents worth recording should have occurred. Adventures rarely mark the lives of wise and good men, he says; they hold on the noiseless tenour of their way; and as feldom is true modesty the hero of its own tale. As to circumstances little entertaining, he tells us, he has neither lights nor curiofity to enquire.
Instead, therefore, of a particular account of the Doctor's birth, parentage, education, &c. the Reader will find in this Letter, what is much more instructive and interesting, viz. his peculiar features, the distinguishing parts of his character clearly marked by one, who says, he had access to know him intimately.--He sets out with some general reflections, which, in our opinion, are pertinent and judicious.
"It were to be wilhed, says he, that a fair hearing could be procured for obscure and humble worth ; where more is meant than commonly meets the ear and eye ; but it is no easy matter to bring out to light the hidden graces of the heart; even the lines of a fine and delicate face are not cafily hit off. Simplicity of manners, disciplin'd passions, moving in a fort of ftill life, and in a narrow sphere, are not glaring enough to attract the popular eye. As few have the powers to express, perhaps, not many have taste io discern the mild and retired beauties. Yet the humble virtucs are most truly such; they are most i:feful in common life ; all are called to the practice of them; and they are most imitable. Few are born to figure on the public stage; and it is often seen that rude undisciplin'd abilities, and paffions, nost strongly rouze attention ; for nature's shoots are most luxuriant. Sucí characters are generally struck off a: a heat, from the collision of strong powers, and fortunate conjunctures. Ard, at best, mere elevation of place, boldness of lpirit, and force of genius, produce themselves into light, rather as objects of un
discerning discerning applause, than of imitation. Indeed, characters of this cast often produce a very bad effect : the moral eye is dazzled by the false luttre of specious qualities; not to say, by Aagrant enormities, dressed out in the spoils of virtue; thus debauching the sense of right, and proftituting the rewards of true worth, to the service of vice-Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile : and thus, modelt retired virtue, in the vale of life is still móre obscured, by the splendour of folly in high place. Such virtue may, indeed, resemble the dawning light, which Ihines more and more to the fullness of day ; but from those whose senses are not exercised to discern, it will attract little regard ; shedding only a mild and gentle ray, amidst the shades of obscurity. The Thewy, the superficial, the glaring, have always, and still will draw the many to wonder. In truth, many are the mishapen and mischievous beafts the world has wondered after; while the plain, the solid, the natural, lye little noticed. For these Fame seldom sounds her trumpet : however, the is too puissant a personage to be arrested in her course by us : common fame sounds, and common sense is filent: and, in the present state of things, there may possibly be more reasons for this than our philosophy wots of.
• Now, my friend, in so hopeless a case, were it not the wiser way, to let every man's own works praise him? If, for inftance, his friends produce him as a Writer; why, let the impartial public reward him, according to such his works. What need of suspected panegyric? and not unjustly suspected in modern practice; for what happens ? An admired friend is no more; when, instantly, fond affection snatches up the pencil, and all is one blaze of light, with scarce a thade, or variety of lines, to give distinction. But surely, thus to mix up almost all the virtues, and in the highest degree, with scarce one trace of defect, or human infirmity, is neither to draw, nor colour after the life. This is not to give the portrait of a man, but the Poet's perfect monster, which the world ne'er faw ;-or, on the contrary, if malevolence conduct the work, the Roman Satir. ist's still more enormous monster, redeemed from vice by no one virtue. Credulity itself will revolt at such outrage against all truth of character; as beyond the powers of humanity, either to exemplify or to imitate. Doubt will either question the existence of the perfect pattern, or, looking up to such sublime heighths of virtue, will strain the powers; and despair of attainment, will extinguish all ardour of imitation. There ap. pears to be a natural tone of the powers, beyond which the pursuit of virtue itself may incur the imputation of folly. For truth's sake then, and for example's fake, it were better not to fet the mark to be aimed at too far out of reach, It seems safer for
each person, without violent efforts, to hold on the even tenour of his own way; in the Poet's manner, addressing his fellowcandidates-Quod fi celjas, aut ftrenuus anteis, nec tardum operior, nec præcedentibus infio.
But it may be said, what should discourage, or rather not provoke emulation, in a life of ealy, modest, unaffected goodness; and acting in an humble private station? Should not parity of circumstances, and apparently equal advantages, with those who, by a patient continuance in well-doing, have already finished their course, naturally stimulate others, to strain every nerve in the race of virtue? more especially, as the same immortal wreath. of glory shall crown equal ardour and perfeverance, though with unequal powers. Be it so: still here is the difficulty, like our late friend, to hold on this same unremitting tenour of virtue, fted fast to the end-unfeduced, like him, by the allurements of fight and sense; by temptations from within, and from without; by the current of fashion and example; unswayed by popular opinion, and the false maxims of the many; unterrified 'too, to encounter difficulties, dangers, pains, losses, and even oblo-. quy and reproach, in support of the cause of truth and good.. ness-unseen, unapplauded, unreluctant, to submit to severe trials of virtue, of self-discipline, and self-denial, for the testimony of a good conscience, and the approbation of the supreme Judge of merit! No doubt, an approving heart, and the atinition of him who is greater than the heart, is the noblest reward of virtue, far beyond the acclaim of men and angels : but, is it easy thus' not to consult with Aesh and blood; with unweasied patience to continue stedfast and immoveable; to live not by fight, but by faith? Is not this true heroism, in whatever condition of life? Does it not approach to the summit of Christian perfection? . It surely supposes the fullest conviction of all the leading principles of religion; the warmest attachment of heart to them; and an invincible firmness of spirit. Such is the hidden man of the heart; such is modeft retired worth! Befides fuch' worth is often affociated with a state of life, with circuniftances, which depress and obscure it; it naturally courts retirement'; careless, perhaps impatient of applause. Wly then obtrude it on the public cye; or draw it into the common haunts of men ?-of men, either loft in a whirl of vanity, or engrossed by the more specious pursuits of life?
Such, however, it must yet be .owned, is the force of genuine goodness, that, where there is any fenfibility remaining, any thing unison to it, in the mind of the observer, it will command respect. Even the retainers to vice, if not quite loft to she ingenuous sentiments of nature, do homage to it. Let but