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wants. Some wild flowers grew upon this moral wilderness, which threw around them a faint evanescent glory, and seem in some degree to decorate his grave; but they only served while he lived to cover the path of his errors, and to promote the fascinations of a ruinous example. For want of the harmonizing effects of a religious ground, his moral eloquence was unnatural, imposing, inflated, and false; full of tawdry antitheses and tricking artifice, mimicking principles to which his heart was a stranger, and glittering in the pageantry of borrowed feelings. His most celebrated attempts at moral elevation exhibit only the intimations of meanings which played about his fancy, without touching his bosom; and amidst the misdirected resources of his genius, his fine intellect prematurely fell into decay, leaving only the monuments of a grand capacity in ruins. Had he possessed those right and persevering dispositions which are the results of religious principles, instead of a few mischievous efforts to make virtue ridiculous and vice attractive, his genius would have multiplied our means of extending the boundaries of real knowledge, and our securities against hollow and presumptuous systems of empirical instruction. As it was, Mr. Sheridan could never attain in his lifetime to dignity,
opulence, or trust, or raise to himself a monument among his country's benefactors. The sincere portion of his existence was miserably vain and sensual; and never, perhaps, did the entire man sink so altogether, and at once, into the shade and frost of penury and neglect.
Is another instance required? Look at that void and dreary space, so recently filled by the greatest genius of these latter times: see the print of his unholy tread, where every noxious plant still grows in rank luxuriance. Of what was he not capable, if religion had guided his efforts and inspired his song? Who can estimate the amount of damage done by him to mind and its treasures? the waste committed upon the fairest domains of imagination by his abuse of his great capacities? In him the clearest moral perceptions, the control of all that belongs to the bright ideal world of poetic invention and combination, a magnificent store of language, pathos, and sentiment, were all dissipated, intercepted, degraded, and spoiled by a heartless principle of impiety and an atheistical buffoonery of manner. That the infidel púts a cheat upon his own understanding and starves his genius by refusing the bread of life, is no where better exemplified than in the poems of the writer here alluded to. Whatever idol claims
the honour of the sacrifice, a more costly homage was never offered at any shrine of prostitute worship. That intelligence which stood upon a level with the most glittering elevations of human character, surrendered itself to the trammels of a vicious vulgarity.
Good sense and good taste sicken at the repetition of apologies for sin in the disguise of sentiment-sensuality without relief wearies even the sensual. It may be reasonably doubted whether moral pollution, by whatever power of song it may be celebrated, can confer immortality, or even rescue poetry from the putrefying neglect by which the muse is revenged upon those who abuse her gifts. The perversion of natural feeling, the perpetual stench of the sty of Epicurus; infidel banter for ever withering the fairest forms of virtue and holiness; beauty and bravery, in the constant uniform of lust and cruelty, are surfeiting things, even to the lewdest ear, when novelty has ceased to recommend them. In a few more years, men, women, and children will grow tired of a mannerist in versifying, who, in contempt of his own capabilities, has been pleased to luxuriate in a slovenly laxity of composition, and a reprobate rhyming facility, adopted as a suitable vehicle for jests upon the marriage tie, and the profane treatment of truths
unutterably solemn; for exhibiting lust as a harmless recreation, and the world as a wilderness intended only for the wide and predatory range of the passions.
FAMILY GOVERNMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN
THE Christian gentleman is in his best estate and properest attitude as a family man: his dealing with his children, with his domestics, and with his tradespeople, manifests the operation of that central principle which radiates in every direction. But the sure sign and note of Christianity is a humbled heart; not the mere disposition of humility, which may be allied to meanness and servility, but that product of Christian grace which comports with true dignity of character. The order of society, and every relation comprehended under it, discipline and degrees, homage and honour, control and respect, all the correlative duties of life, are in perfect correspondence with spiritual humility; they belong to the same harmonious system. Christian temper must not be confounded with temperament. It is known from that which belongs to fibre and contexture, by its moral sway and the constancy of its action. By humility the Christian is made involuntarily great: his moderation is power: his