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THE

UNIVERSAL MAGAZINE.

No. XXXII.-VOL. VI.] For JULY, 1806.

[New Series.

I

SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS pursuit; so that to excel in any thing

OF BEILBY PORTBUS, D.D. LORD relating to composition under such ausBISHOP OF LONDON.

pices, must command a greater degree T is the professed object of this of our approbation. Indeed there are quainted with the distinguished cha- authors who have not devoted their racters of the times and we are happy early years to the cultivation of lanon every occasion in bringing forward guage. A good style is of gradual atsuch biographical details as may con- tainment. The labor limæ must not tribute to their instruction and en- be spared; and Cowper justly remarks, tertainment. Accordingly the states, that “ to touch and retouch, although man, the warrior, and the philosopher, some writers boast of negligence and have their several claims upon us—and others would be ashamed to show their to these claims we have already paid fuul copies, is the secret of almost all attention. We now therefore turn good writing.” aside to the contemplation of the peace- In 1755 our author proceeded to ful and retired theologian, whose la- take the degree of M.A. and in 1759 bours and writings are more immediate- he attempted the Seatonian Prize, and ly directed to the benefit and ameliora- obtained it. This prize was left by a tion of mankind. A minister of the Mr. Seaton, a private gentleman of proGospel, who is properly qualified for perty, whose will respecting this busiunderstanding and discharging the du- ness is always published along with the ties of his office, renders important ser- successful poem. The subject for the vices to society. Such an individual year happened to be Deuth-solemn has been esteemed in all ages and na- and affecting in itself, but not very fations of the world, and will continue vourable to poetical feruility. Howto be revered in spite of the ravings of ever, our author's poem having carried fanaticism and the illiberal sarcasms off the prize, was, according to the of infidelity.

usual custom, published, and it is such Beilby Porteus, D.D. was born a favourite with the public, that it has about the year 1737, in one of the run through several editions. We shall northern counties of England. His transcribe a few passages. The Minisfamily was respectable, and his parents ters of Death are thus pourtrayed : took care that he should enjoy the advantages of grammar learning, at the At his right hand, neare-t himself in place, usual early period of life. Having pas. With facal industry and cruel care,

And frightfulness of fo:m hi, pa:ent--Sin sed, therefore, through the accustomed Busics herself in pointing all his stings, branches of preparatory learning, we And tipping every shaft, with venom find himn entered as a member of the

drawn University of Cambridge, where he From her infernal store-around him rang'd soon distinguished himself; for having In terrible array and mixture strange, taken his degree of A. B. in the year of uncouth shapes stand his dread minis1752, he soon obtained the medal ters! given for the best classical Essay by Foremost Old Age, his natural ally the Duke of Newcastle, then Chancel. And firmest friend-next him Diseases

thick, lor of the University. We mention this circumstance with particular plea- A motly train. Fever with cheek of fire: sure, because we are persuaded that an And half a clay-cold lump-joint torturing

-Palsy half warm with life, acquaintance with ihe ancient lan

Gout, guages forms a solid basis for intellec- And ever gnawing Rbeum-Convulsion wild, tual improvement. Besides, it is to Swoln Dropsy, panting Asthma, Apoplexy be remembered, that at Cambridge ma- Full gorg'd." There too the Pestilence that thematics is the favourite subject of walks

more,

men?

In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys Plant themselves round my couch in grim At broad noon-day. These and a thousand

array,

And stab my bleeding heart with two-edgid Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and when

torture, By Hcav'n's command Deatu waves his Sense of past guilt and dread of future woc! ebon wand,

Far be the ghastly crew! and in their stead, Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose Let cheerful Memory from her purest cells And scatter desolation o'er the earth! Lead forth a goodly train of virtues fair,

In another paragraph, speaking of Cherished in earliest youth, now paying the murder of Abel by Cain, he takes back, the opportunity of-uttering the honest With ten-fold usury, the pious care, and unsophistícated language of the hu- And pouring o'er my wounds the heav'nig

balm man heart, respecting that monster

Of conscious innocence. But chiefly Thou WAR

Whom soft-ey'd pity once led down fron One murder makes a villain ;

Heav'n Millions a hero !!!--Princes were privi- To bleed for man, to teach him how to live, ledg'd

And Oh! still harder lesson, how to die, To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime!!! Disdain not thou to smooth the restless bed Ah why will Kings forget that they are of sickness and of pain. Forgive the tear

That feeble nature drops; calm all her fears, And men that they are brethren! Why Till my rapt soul, anticipating Heav'n,

Wake all her hopes and animate her faith, delight In human sacrifice? Why burst the ties

Bursts from the thraldom of incumbring Of nature that should knit their souls to

clay, gether

And on the wing of extacy upborne,
In one soft band of amity and love?

Springs into liberty and light and life!
Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on
Inhumanly ingenious to find out

Such is the Poem on Death: with New pains for life-new horrors for the respect to its merits, we shall just regrave.

mark, that though it cannot lay claim Artificers of death! still monarchs dream to any great degree of originality, yet Of universal empire growing up

the sentiments are just, the language From universal ruin. Blast the design, poetical, and the tenor of it is highly Great God of hosts! nor let thy creatures favourable to the interests of morality full

and piety. We perceive, indeed, a Unpitied victims at Ambition's shrine!

close' imitation of some of our best Other passages we might transcribe, Poets, but the imitation is skilfully equally interesting and impressive, and managed, and produces an happy efindeed we cannot refrain from adding

fect. the conclusion of the Poem:

But to return to the life of our au

thor: - Quitting the University and Let Deatı approach. I reck not; let him entering the Church, we find that in but come

1761, a sermon preached by him re. In genuine form, not with thy vengeance commended him to the notice of Arch

arm'd, Too much for man to bear. Oh! rather bishop Secker, which laid the founda

tion of his future advancement in life. lend Thy kindly aid to mitigate his streke,

His gratitude to his patron led him to And at that hour when all aghast I stand draw up memoirs of him in the (A trembling candidate for thy compassion) 1770, about two years after the Arch. On this world's brink, and look into the bishop's decease. In this piece of bionext,

graphy he gratefully acknowledges 'his When my soul, starting from the dark un- obligations; states clearly the events of known,

his patron's life, and defends his repuCasts back a wishful look, and fondly clings tation against Hurd and Warburton, To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd who had reflected upon him because From this fair scene, from all her custom'd forsooth he was no admirer of that

joys, And all the lovely relatives of life.

strange Quixotic work, “The Divine Then shed thy comforts o'er me, then put on

Legation," a work concerning which, The gentlest of thy looks; let no dark with all its learning, it has been a doubt crimes,

whether it has rendered most service La all their hidcous forms then starting up, either to Christianity or to Infidelity!

year

The unpardonable offence which Secker Sermons, some of which were original. had committed, was speaking lightly and the others had been preached and of this marvellous performance, though printed on former occasions. The topics it seems that few of the clergy were ad- were happily chosen ; the language was mirers of its plan or tendency. Dr. perspicuous, and even sometiines elem Porteus, however, has properly defend- gant, and the spirit in which they were ed his patron, and has displayed a spirit written congenial to the Christian dissuitable to the occasion. The literary pensation. Another volume was added world has been significantly denomi- some years, after, much in the same nated the Republic of Letters. The style and manner, and both volumes liberty of private judgment must be have had an extensive circulation ; for granted to all, and in its exercise no they are, indeer, favourites with the offence should be taken. But War- public. We differ, indeed, from his burton was a literary tyrant; he treated Lordship on many of the topics which his contemporaries with contempt when he has discussed, but we agree with they dared to crfticise his productions him in the grand leading poinıs of the or to arraign his judgment.' Tyranny, Religion of Christ, the sum and subhowever, of every description we.deli- stance of which is Glory to God in ver over to the execration of mankind, the highest; on earth, peace and goods

About the year 1766 Dr. Porteus was will towards mankind " presented with the living of Hunton, We shall now subjoin a list of the near Maidstone in Kent, where, till of subjects, from which the reader will late years, he passed a great part of his have it in his power to judge of the time in a pleasing retirement." In 1777 contents of both these volumes, which he was raised to the bench by the in- have been so generally read and adfuence of her Majesty, it is generally mired. said, though we cannot state it with The discourses in the first volume certainty. Chester was the see to are --- On the Love of God.” “Causes which he was elevated, and here he of Unbelief.” Possibility of resisting continued for a nuinber of years, dis- Temptation, asserted and prored.” “ A charging the duties of his station with summary View of the Natural, Moral, an exemplary fidelity. In the year and Scriptural Evidences of a future 1787, upon the decease of the cele- Life, and future Retribution.” “ Adbrated Lowth, he was promoted to be vantages of an Academical Education.” his successor; a proof that he was con- “ A Serions and Devout Observation sidered of no mean talents and learning of the Lord's Day enforced.”

“ The by those in whose hands the power of Doctrine of Christ crucified no just promotion is placed. At least we can. Cause of Offence to Unbelievers." not suppose ihat an insignificant indi- “ The Necessity of National Reformavidual would be raised to a situation, tion.” Christianity vindicated from the influence and dignity of which may the Charge of Cruelty.” “ The Pacific be pronounced inferior to none except and benevolent Temper of the Christhat of the Archbishopric of Canter- tian Religion proved from Scripture and bury. Besides, the successor of Lowth Facts." “ An immoderate Love of ought to be respectable; he distinguish- Diversions inconsistent with the Duties ed himself by the eminence of his lite- of a Christian.” “ Universal Obedirary labours, beginning with the well- ence to the Laws of Christ necessary to known “ Elements of the English Salvation.” “ The Civilization, ImGrammar,” and terminating with the provement and Couversion of the Nefar-famed “ Lectures on Hebrew Poe- gro Slaves in the British West India try." His candour also, and liberality Islands recominended.” of sentiment, are worthy of particular The second volume contains Sermons commendation, and this truly Chris- on the following subjects :-" Cheertian trait is to all prelates deserving of fulness a distinguishing Feature of the imitation. His sermon therefore deli- Christian Religion." The Chrisvered at Durham in 1758 surpasses our tian Doctrine of Redemption.” « Selfpraise :--we would wish it read by larest Communion recommended.”

“ The posterity.

Character of David, King of Israel, imSoon after Dr. Porteus's elevation to partially stated.” Purity of Manners the bench he published a volume of no less necessary to a Christian Character than Benevolence.” “ Early Saw in his offspring all himself renew'd, Piety enforced.” “ A Discourse at The same fair path of glory still pursued. the Anniversary Meeting of the Sons of Saw to young George Augusta's cares im. the Clergy, May 9, 1776.” “ Par

part xial Faith and partial Obedience not Blend all his grandsite's virtues with his

Whate'er could raise or humanise the heart, permitted by the Christian Religion."

own, - A Discourse preached before the And form’d their mingled radiance for the House of Lords." * « The superior Ex- throne. cellence of Christ's Preaching, and the No further blessing could on earth be giv'n, Causes of it explained.” “ A Dis. The next degree of happiness was—Heav'n ! course preached at the yearly Meeting of the Charity Schools in the Caihedral Many readers will, possibly, imagine Church of Si. Paul's, May 2, 1782.” that this epitaph is sufficiently pany“ The Government of our Passions an gerical; but the character of George indispensable Duty." “ The Charac- the Second, was on the whole very ter of our Lord, as delineated in the commendable and praiseworthy. Gospel, one convincing Proof that he When the excellent and pious Dodwas the son of God." “ A Discourse dridge was prosecuted by some high preached at St. Paul's on the Thanks- churchmen, for keeping an academy, giving Day for his Majesty's Recovery, it will be recollected, that the prosecuApril 23, 1769." “ The one Thing tion was dropped, by the express order Needful." “The many Opportuni. of his majesty, who nobly declared, ties of doing Good."

“ That there should be no persecution Such are the subjects of the two vo- for religious opinions, in his reign!"lumes of Sermons which this learned a sentiment which cannot be too much Prelate bas presented 10 the public. admired, and which onght to consign They are well chosen, and sufficiently his nanie and memory to immortality. varied to interest the attention and im- Afier the publication of his sermons, press the heart.

Dr. Portens laid before the public a When we noticed the poetical Essay series of Lectures upon St. Matthew's on Death, we ought to have mentioned Gospel, which he had preached to large an Epitaph on George the Second, by and crowded audiences, in the year Dr. Porteus, not generally known in- 1798, during the season of Lent. So deed, and therefore we shall here in- great was the aitendance that no place troduce it:

could be obtained but at an early hour,

and the nobility and gentry vied with This marble boasts what once was truly each other in frequenting St. James's great,

Church on this occasion. As the The friend of man, the father of his state! higher ranks pay little or no regard io To check ambition in its wild career, religion, it is to be hoped that this opporTo wipe from Misery's eye the starting tear, tunity of doing thein good was By well-plann'd laws oppression to con- wholly lost, so that some useful imtroul,

pression might remain even to the preBy kindest deeds to captivate the soul;

sent day. His lectures, however, have Stern Justice's sword to guide with Mercy's hand,

not been equally popular with his serAnd guard the freedom of a glorious land.

mons: we hare no roon to institute a These were his arts, these Heav'n approv'd comparison of their respective merits; and shed

but will only remark, that both publiUnnumber'd blessings on his hoary head. cations breathe the temper and spirit of Forc'd into arms he stretch'd his generous Christianity. sway

The last and very recent publication Wide as the sun extends his genial ray, of this industrious prelate, is entitled Yet saw (blest privilege) his Britons share

“ The Beneficial Eficcts of Christianity The smiles of peace amidst the rage of war; Saw to his sho es increasing commerce roll,

the Temporal Concerns of ManAnd floods of wealth flow in from either kind, proved from History and Facts.” pole.

It is an admirable performance, and Warm'd by his influence, by his bounty fed, has attracted no sinäll notice in the Saw Science raise her venerable head. religious world. We shall present the Whilst at his feet, expiring, Faction lay, reader with a brief analysis of the No contest left, but who should best obey. work, and we are persuaded that there

not

on

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