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nature is capable of being handsome on these occasions, it ought to be encouraged to be so by all the good opinions we can entertain of it for as our worst actions sometimes arise from no better cause than people's believing us capable of them, so there is no greater help to our becoming what we ought, than their giving us credit for the reverse, and thus securing our generosity by their own.
LOVE AT THE PLOUGH;
OR, JUPITER REMINDED OF EUROPA.
Imitated from Moschus.
LOVE laid aside his torch, his quiver, and his bow,
And as he went, he look'd to heav'n, and sung this merry song :-
A KISS IN REASON.
From the French of Madame Deshoulières.
IRIS amidst the fern,
Beside a tender lover,
Published by HUNT and CLARKE, York street, Covent garden: and sold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in town and country.—Price 4d.
PRINTED BY C. H. REYNELL, BROAD STREET, GOLDEN SQUARE.
No. XIX. WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1828.
"Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only to be found, in a friend."-SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
PROGRESS OF LIBERAL OPINION, AND WHAT BECOMES THE HIGHEST AMBITION ACCORDINGLY.
THE good that has been done for us by the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts consists in this; that instead of taking a sacramental oath not to injure the reigning Church, and committing the swearer's conscience on a variety of opinions, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, of eternal punishment, and the damnable nature of everybody's opinion but our own (for this is what is meant by "damnable heresies"), the person who enters upon office makes a simple declaration to that effect" in the presence of God” and “on the true faith of a Christian." In other words, the chances of insincerity are diminished, even among the insincere; and office is thrown open to a greater number of the lovers of truth. The former are rendered not so guilty; the latter find their virtue no longer an obstacle. Worldliness is discountenanced even in a
It would undoubtedly have been better, had no sort of test or declaration been retained. The chances of insincerity would then have been all done away; and honest men, who may not think themselves justified in subscribing to any construction of the Chris
3 VOL. I.
tian faith," might have been able to unite with honest men who do, to the advancement of the glorious progress of society in Christian practice. But a great gain has been acquired. The advancement is going on. If Government is not in earnest, society is; and so much power has been given to its opinion by the press and other circumstances, that Government feels itself under the necessity of not saying it nay. We are not sure, however, that Government is not more sincere than many suppose it. Jealousy of authority is natural and useful; but the tricks of state, and the ill opinion they are apt to generate of mankind, do not hinder statesmen, after all, from partaking of the virtues of humanity. Ambition itself is but the love of esteem in its most violent shape, and therefore partakes of the tendencies of a social virtue; and if once this passion can be drawn round by the voice of the great charmer, intellect, to the common cause of the world, and men can discover that to increase happiness like presiding deities, raises them to a higher degree of the glorified than to commit gorgeous ills like a hero, the hero himself may acquire wings angelical, and rise to that more exalted height. What the world demand, if they demand it with sincerity, the lovers of their applause must become; for whatever may have been said of the folly of mankind by those who nevertheless evince the greatest desire for their approbation, has been said, rather in impatience at not having better multitudes to admire, than in contempt of the sympathy of those who do. The wiser the multitude, the nobler the ambition: and therefore it is, that knowledge and a corrected ambition are likely to go hand in hand; and that in despairing of nothing (which should ever be the motto of activity) we despair not even of the philanthropy of the proud. The downfall of Napoleon, who was the representative of the classical glories of antiquity, but who failed to secure victory and esteem, because he was retrospective to those glories only, and not prospective to those of the hopes and efforts of mankind, or in other words, and to use the phrase attributed to himself, because he" sinned against the liberality of the age,' ,"* will perhaps have
* He lied in Spain; he lied in Poland; and deceived himself, and betrayed the natural truth of his own greatness, in thinking that men were deceived any longer, or willing to adore him in spite of his lying. Truth is the greatest and only final greatness.
been no mean help to a due extension of this light; but the two giants, Mechanical and Intellectual Power, will be the securers of it. The great wheels have been discovered, material and moral, by which the globe is moved, beyond all other principles of motion; and they who endeavour to guide it, and do not catch the handles of them properly, will be thrown off, like Phaetons out of the sun. In such attempts it may be "glorious e'en to fail," especially in the eyesof the readers of old school-books; but it is more glorious to ride in tranquil victory through the sky, dispensing daylight and abundance, and enjoying the praise and gratitude of the readers of the new. Ovid shall vindicate the one; and he shall do it finely. Bacon, and the sage of Weimar, shall hail the other; and the world shall bless them.
There are many signs of the times, that rejoice us when we contemplate the result of these debates on the Corporation and Test Acts.
The first is, that the House of Commons agree, very generally, in lamenting the amendments of the bill in the House of Lords, and wish it had been still more liberal. By this we may judge of the great mass of liberal opinion in that House, on matters connected with religion; and how it has been secretly increasing of late years.
In the next place, the House of Lords did nevertheless agree to the bill, as so amended; and by this we may guess at the increase of liberal opinion in that House; which cannot be expected to make such progress in philosophy as the other. Its titles alone naturally hamper it with sophistications, and make it jealous of the growth of benefits in which privileges are lessened, and nothing is taken for granted. The bill does it great honour.
Thirdly, "the true faith of a Christian," though it is a phrase apparently diminishing the bounds of the declaration, does not in reality do so; and yet by the introduction of the word "true,' shows at the same time what an extensiveness of interpretation may be given to the words "faith of a Christian," in the opinion of the Noble Lords. They doubt whether the faith of a Christian may notreasonably be considered as something very wide of the mark of a great many specific Christian faiths, and therefore they
add the very sensitive and useless word "true;" as if anybody who believes his faith to be the Christian faith, does not believe it to be the true faith; or would haggle at declaring either, if he could declare one.. True, as our friend of the Oriental Mission says, is only what a man trows, or trusteth, in consequence of knowledge; that is to say, what he believes to be true, and the right way of regarding anything: so that when a man says, that his faith is the true Christian faith, he only says he trusts that it is so; that it is so, according to his trowing, or capacity of belief and knowledge. Now, the very nicety of this phrase will do the very thing which the Noble Lords appear not to have in their contemplation. It suggests an extreme latitude of interpretation. It is not only the ordinary dissenter who will be ready to declare it. The "free-thinking Christian," one of a numerous and growing body, will be most happy to do so; and the "Christianist" (to use another term lately come up) who goes farther than he, and looks upon the great Author of Christianity in the same light, though with greater reverence, as a Platonist regarded Plato, will think it most especially becoming his notion of the faith; for, argues he, the only faith which it is possible for a Christian to trow, is the practical part, which is therefore the true faith; and this he thinks is the only part of it which his divine master cared for, because all the remainder, at the very best, is but a means; and in arguing this point, he will quote his text if required, which is the famous one of St James, the most Christian of the apostles; who says, that "true religion and undefiled before God, is to visit the sick and the fatherless and to keep ourself unspotted from the world." That is to say, exclaims the Christianist, "the true faith of a Christian" consists in doing good and not being worldlyminded; and so saying, he takes the oath with delight.
Lastly, we are glad to see the Bishops have been so liberal. Of such men (if we must have official persons between ourselves and heaven) we trust the hierarchy will be always composed. We now see the value of having a bench of Bishops more well-bred than puritanical; more accommodating than zealous; more benevolent and good-natured, than mortified and exacting. We hail them, as having exhibited in this instance more of the "true faith of a