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with every thing that affluence directed by the best feelings can bestow.-
- In 1728, he was presented with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen. This honour was accompanied with a transcript of the reasons that had influenced them in conferring it, replete with respect and compliments to the merits of Dr. Watts.
• His last sickness was rather a decay of nature, exhausted with age and labours, than any particular disorder. - He suffered long under a kind of intermediate existence, and at last, on the 25th of November, 1748, was received into the bosom of his God.' - A plainer Biographer would have said, in fimple language, that he died. · Dr. Watts was certainly a moft amiable and excellent character. As a man- let your Bradburys, and all such furious bigots, say all that envy can invent to insult charity and virtue -as a good and worthy man, we cannot be too lavish of our praises : and could our applause cherish the laurels which candour and piety have placed on his brows, they should flourish with immortal verdure.-But when the question relates to the prize of genius, we must never permit the impartiality and truth of criticism, to yield to the prejudices or partialities of the heart.
This collection consists of poems, letters, and sermons. On none of them have we much praise to bestow. The greatest · part of the poetical pieces is below criticism : and the best of
them are barely tolerable. Several of the Doctor's Hymns are republished in their first and most unpolished dress. Whether this was done from ignorance or design, we will not determine. The
rude efsays - the unfinished sketches of a GREAT work, is an · object of curiosity; but very few would be gratified, or im: proved, by tracing out the rise and progress of a hymn on faith and repentance. If the curiosity of any of our readers should happen to run this way, they may find some amusement, by comparing the first nine pieces in this collection with the improved edition of them in the book of “ Hymns and Spiritual Songs,” in general use amongst the Diffenters.
The succeeding piece is entitled " Song of Love;"_in which the good Doctor's fancy runs riot in the wilds of mysticism; and adopts images of too luscious an original, to be ap. plied with any sort of propriety to the chaste and awful spirit of devotion :
Shall mortal beauties at a glance
The raptures that I feel within
No motive can contain;
Breaks out into a flame.
To make their passion known;
'Tis God's eternal Son! —
None knows what I endure :
I love, yet dread the cure.
Those pledges of his love,
'Make mine affections move. —
As on my bed I roll,
Give vigour to my soul. If one line in these verses were altered, they might be very properly addressed by some foolih, love-fick maid to her darling fwain.
Dr. Watts had a warm imagination. He was alive to the attractions of beauty. We shall not enquire how far a man, · for his private amusement, may indulge himself in those spiritual
extacies, which always apply carnal ideas to intellectual objects, But we must heartily condemn a public exhibition of those soft scenes of holy dalliance. Few that approve of them will be edified by them. Persons of warm passions, and weak understandings, will be imposed on by the delirium of fancy, and mistake the fervour of the affections for the spirit of devotion. The greatest part of mankind will laugh at this crude mixture of heterogeneous principles; and turn to an ill account, what might possibly be meant to answer a pious design. .
The best piece in this collection, as it avoids this unnatural conjunction, is secured against abuse on the one hand, and ridicule on the other. It is written on Lady Sunderland; and as there is something pretty and poetical in it, we think it worthy to be offered to our Readers.
Fair nymph, ascend to beauty's throne,
Not Blenheim's field nor Ifter's flood,
And owns th’inimitable fair. Now this is as it should be:—but when Dr. Watts talks in the same strain of Jesus Christ as he does of Lady Sundere Jand, or as he would of another beauty of the noble house of Churchill, the charming Duchess of Devonshire, if he were living to behold that " inimitable fair ;"—when he talks of " diffolving in extacy, in the love of his dear objectthe blessed Jesus--of clasping him in his arms as the fixed centre of his soul's delight, on whom he feasts by day, and with whom he rests by night;" (Vide page 55. vol. I.) - when he makes use of language and sentiments, so repugnant to all ideas of that distant veneration which mortals owe to their divine Master, we are disgusted and ashamed.
The second Volume of this collection, contains a number of . infignificant letters that were never designed for the public eye, and which ought rather to have been committed to the flames
than sent to the press. By the publication of them, the re· membrance of a silly controversy, long since configned from its
worthlessness to oblivion, is now revived. The controversy was chiefly of a personal nature, between Dr. Watts and Tom Bradbury. The latter was a man of some wit and vivacity, and in his merry moments would laugh at Dr. Watts's Hymns, and in his splenetic and zealous hours would abuse his principles, and call his orthodoxy in question. He tells the Doctor very bluntly, that he never admired his mangling, garbling, transforming, &c. so many of his songs of Zion. He lashes him for his predilection for Sabellian principles, in respect to the personality of the Holy Ghost; and informs him, that he • heard and saw the holy Sir John Hartopp, with tears running down his cheeks, lament his opposition to Dr. Owen ;' which « (says Bradbury) he imputed to an instability in your temper, and a fondness for your own inventions.'
Dr. ' Dr. Watts acknowledges the sprightliness of bis antagonist's wit; but calls it “ vain and licentious.' To this accufation of wanton levity, he adds others of a more serious nature. He charges him with a spirit of contention; and he attempts, by fe. veral appeals to his conduct, to make good the charge. He next accuses him of ingratitude: and to complete the catalogue of Bradbury's crimes, the Doctor meekly calls him a liar – civilly asks his conscience if he were not one-and then says with abundant courtesy_ Give me leave to tell you, Sir, that there is not any one minister in London, whom I have heard so often charged with falfhood and injustice, in such sort of contentions, as Mr. Bradbury.'—This was a home-thrust. But yet this notorious liar was still Dr. Watts's ' dear brother,' both at the beginning and at the end of the letter; and Dr. Watts was his
lincere friend,' who," prayed heartily for him, that he might be as heavenly-minded as his own foul wished and
But we have faid, perhaps, more than enough on this idle debate. The private contentions of individuals, though important to theinselves, are of no consequence to the public; especially where wit is so little proportioned to resentment, that to endure is sufficient,- to approve is impossible.
ART. V. Public and domestic Devotion united; in a Letter to the
Heads of Christian Families. By John Martin. 8vo. 6 d.
its nature and design. The original idea of it appears to be derived from a passage in the Old Testament, in which the public and domestic piety of David is recorded. When the good King of Israel had borne a part in the solemnities which attended the establishment of the Ark in Zion, « be returned, it is said, ' to bless his house."
Mr. Martin makes a very pious use of this circumstance, and inculcates on Christians the importance and utility of a regular plan of domestic devotion, particularly on the evening of the Lord's Day.
His attempts are so laudable, that if they had been executed with less abilities than Mr. Martin appears to be poflefled of, we could not have passed any unfavourable strictures on them.
Several of this Gentleman's remarks are sensible and judi. cious; and his whole performance breathes a spirit of candour and piety. We shall select one or two of his observations, to justify our approbation of this little piece: and we shall be happy, if our testimony to the excellence of the Author's design, thould be the means of promoting the execution of it in christian families.
:. It must be confessed, that of the two, it is much easier for us to appear religious in public, than to be ro, or even to, appear so, in private. We naturally love to court the attention, and gain the applause of strangers ; nor are we always unmoved at their censure, how much soever we may affect to despise it. But true religion, though it doth not annihilate these emotions, does however so regulate them, as to make every emotion subservient to the testimony of a good conscience. To a good man, God is every where the same, and to be approved in his fight is the ruling principle of his life. He is the same man in private as in public; and in his own house as in the house of God.
Perhaps our opportunities of attending to the public woríhip of God in London are multiplied to excess : and this seems to be particularly the case on what we commonly call the Lord's Day. They who carry it to that excess, seem to forget; that the Christian Sabbath, as well as the Jewish, was designed to be the Sabbath of the Lord in all our dwellings. But what idea can we have of this in those dwellings where the family constantly, attends public worship on the morning, afternoon, and in the evening of that day? How necessary, therefore, evening lectures may be for those who live in irreligious families, or who live in families pretending only to be religious, who have no settled regard for public worship themselves, and who but seldom permit their domestics to enjoy it, yet we hope to be forgiven, if we say, that they are not likely to be productive of much good to those who have attended to the former opportunities as they ought, and who have those personal and relative duties to discharge at home, that no pretence of regard to public worship ought to set aside.'— We mention it with regret, but family religion appears to be so neglected by some worthless zealots, whole zeal blackens while it burns, tliat they seem to have no notion of it. These people hear sermons as others see plays : all is excellent, or the reverse, as they are moved in hearing; but their most violent agitations generally subside as fast as they were raised. Not so their effects in either case ; for they commonly leave the mind disgusted with the idea of their being obliged to return to the important concerns of common lite. There are, we think, professors of religion, whose pretensions to critical exactness, and to cool consistency, cannot be disputed, that hear the Gospel to as little purpose as the idly enraptured class we have mentioned before. How depraved is the talie, whose empty effusions, or lifeless harangues, naturally productive of such effects, are admired! What then is their's who delight in the dismal drudgery of gratifying tastes so vicious, and of being thought the favourites of them who can relish nothing that is better !' Rev. Dec, 1779.
being. ° There, and exactne Gospel to 46