Page images
PDF
EPUB

water just when I pleased.'-He appeared to be turned of fiftyfive, and had a frank, careless air and countenance. His brogue was not very perceptible, and his English, in other respects good.

Dublin, April 21, evening -After writing the above, objects crowded so rapidly upon me, and it took so much time to attempt giving any correction to my journal, or preserving even sketches of what transpired, that I was obliged to defer the labour, and only note a few hints which I shall now attempt to dilate. We had letters in Belfast to two gentleman, each highly respectable in their professions; one a clergyman, and the other a physician. Enough was said for the eulogium of the former, in a single remark which was made by the fellow passenger who accompanied us, as I have mentioned, to Belfast. I inquired if he knew Dr. B * * * *?

Know him, sir,' said he, every body knows him about here.' He then mentioned, what, indeed, I had learnt before, that the gentleman was distinguished for his philanthropy, and was held in great estimation throughout this whole section of country. Unfortunately for us, they were both out when we called; the physician being absent on a journey, and the other gentleman being in attendance, in an official capacity, at a meeting of the directors of some charitable institution, from which he was not expected to be released till a late hour in the day. We were introduced, however, to his family; and they evinced a desire to show us many civilities, which our arrangements did not permit us to accept. Mr. ****, son to the Rev. Dr. and a merchant by profession, politely conducted us round the city. We visited with him, the quays, the exchange, the custom-house, the interior of St. George's chapel, an elegant structure; the library, and the subscription readingroom. Our names were entered on the books of the two last, which gave a right to use for a month to come, any of the papers or volumes belonging to each institution. Our plans precluded our accepting further civilities—for such had been the vexatious delay occasioned by our passage across the channel, that we were determined to continue our journey as soon as might be; and besides, we were particularly desirous of passing the following day, which was Sunday, in Dublin.

Belfast is a populous, well built town, containing thirty thousand inhabitants, of whom, four thousand are Roman Catholics. It is situated at the head of the Carrickfergus bay, on the river Lagan, which there discharges itself. Over this stream, there has lately been constructed a magnificent stone bridge, of twenty-one arches; three of which are in the county of Antrim, the others in Down. The houses are chiefly built of bricks, instead of freestone, as in the Scotch cities; and these are not of the dingy colour common in England, but are of a bright red, and in some instances painted. Belfast has an extensive commerce, but trades chiefly, I believe, with the West Indies. Its manufactures are very considerable; the principal branch consists in the weaving of linens and cottons; but

the cotton manufacture is becoming, I was told, rather the more flourishing

We took a hasty dinner at Belfast, and remarked that the potatoes were no better than in America. At 4 P. M. we entered the stage-coach for Dublin, distant eighty miles. The whole day had proved fine, but what remained of it was beautiful. Our first stage was to Lisburn, a neat and pretty town. Several villages, which we passed on the way there, pleased us very much. The country from Belfast to Lisburn, and thence to Dromore, is most lovely. It has been well called the garden of Ireland; there being no spot of the same extent, in any part of the isle, which possesses equal beauty with this district in Ulster. We noticed a number of fine seats belonging to the nobility and more opulent gentry; and near Hilsborough, passed the palace of the bishop of Dromore, lately the residence of the lamented Dr. Percy. Beggars were frequent along the route. At the town of Dromore, while we were stopping to take a fresh relay, I was accosted by one, with_ Heaven bless you, dear sir; pray give a poor old woman one ha’-penny to keep her from starving-an’ plase your honour, an happy eternity be with you—one single ha’-penny;-may you never want for money nor meat, your honour-only one ha'-penny, dear.'- I threw her a few pence, and the coach drove off. It was common to see by the way-side, mounds called here raths, all resembling tumuli,or the larger barrows which abound in the south of England. They seem to be of great age, and are mostly referred by antiquaries to periods even earlier than the Danish invasion. The better kinds of cottages which we saw, were very comfortable in appearance; all of them were well white-washed, and generally, they had little gardens or shrubberies before them. The fields were of a deeper green than it is usual ever to see in America:—many of the trees were in full leaf, and vegetation of all kinds had made a considerable progress. Several ruinous piles of antique structures were passed, but none of them possessed much interest. A little before ten in the evening, we entered Newry, thirty miles from Belfast, and there stopped to sup.

(To be continued.)

ART. II.-Moral Sketches of prevailing Opinions and Manners,

Foreign and Domestic, with reflections on Prayer. By Hannah More. London 1819.

[Republishing by Wells ar Lilly, Boston.) A

NEW work by this venerable writer has now the additional

interest, of being probably the last. Her extraordinary talents have been devoted for about forty years to the advancement of morality and religion, and her numerous productions have established for her a reputation equally pure and enduring. But she is far declined into the vale of years, and her eloquent appeals to all that is virtuous and refined in the human heart, must soon be heard no more.

This latest effort of her mind is not in her happiest style; the object of the work is to display the evils flowing from a communion with the French nation, and her views of foreign manners, by which are of course meant manners in France, are tinctured with much of that old fashioned prejudice, formerly entertained to so great a degree against every thing French, but which, since the return of peace, better opportunities of judging have almost entirely removed, even from English minds.

That the people of France are remarkably unamiable in domestic life, will hardly be believed at the present day, and a comparison between the French nobility and that of England impartially made, would not probably show any superiority in the latter, as to morals or piety. At all events, it is beneath the dignity of the enlightened and amiable Hannah More to become a politician, or to assist in keeping alive that spirit of hostility between the two nations which has already been of so much disadvantage to both, and so injurious to the cause of humanity. · The reflections on prayer are not liable to this observation: we extract a chapter as a specimen of this part of the volume. False notions of the dignity of man, shown from his helplessness

and dependence. Man is not only a sinful, he is also a helpless, and therefore a dependent being. This offers new and powerful motives for the necessity of prayer, the necessity of looking continually to a higher power, to a better strength than our own. If that power sustain us not, we fall; if he direct us not, we wander. His guidance is not only perfect freedom but perfect safety. Our greatest danger begins from the moment we imagine we are able to go

alone. The self-sufficiency of man, arising from his imaginary dignity, is a favourite doctrine with the nominal Christian. He feeds his pride with this pernicious aliment. The contrary opinion is so closely connected, indeed is so intimately blended, with the subject of the preceding chapter, that we shall have less occasion to extend our present observation to any length.

We hear much and we hear falsely of the dignity of human nature. Prayer founded on the true principles of Scripture, alone teaches us wherein our true dignity consists. The dignity of a fallen creature is a perfect anomoly. True dignity, contrary to the common opinion that it is an inherent excellence, is actually a sense of the want of it, it consists not in our valuing ourselves, but in a continual feeling of our dependence upon God, and an unceasing aim at conformity to his image.

Nothing but a humbling sense of the sinfulness of our nature, of our practised offences, of our utter helplessness, and constant dependence, can bring us to fervent and persevering prayer. How

did the faith of the saints of old flourish under a darker dispensation, through all the clouds and ignorance which obscured their views of God. “They looked unto him and were enlightened!” How do their slender means and high attainments reproach us!

David found that the strength and spirit of nature which had enabled him to resist the lion and the bear, did not enable him to resist his outward temptations, nor to conquer his inward corruptions. He therefore prayed, not only for deliverance“ from blood guiltless," for a grievously remembered sin, he prayed for the principle of piety, for the fountain of holiness, for “ the creation of a clean heart,” for “the renewing of a right spirit,” for “ truth in the inwards parts,” that the “comfort of God's help might be granted him.” This uniform avowal of the secret workings of sin, this uniform dependence on the mercy of God to pardon, and the grace of God to assist, render his precatory addresses, though they are those of a sovereign and a warrior, so universally applicable to the case of every private christian.

*One of our best poets-himself, an unsuccessful courtierfrom a personal experience of the mortifying feelings of abject solicitation, has said, that if there were the man in the world whom he was at liberty to hate, he would wish him no greater punishment than attendance and dependence. But he applies the heavy penalty of this wish to the dependents on mortal greatness.

'Now attendance and dependence are the very essence both of the safety and happiness of a christian. Dependence on God is bis only true liberty, as attendance on him is his only true consolation. The suitor for human favour is liable to continual disappointment; if he knock at the door of his patron, there is probably a general order not to admit him. In the higher case there is a special promise, that “ to him that knocks it shall be opened.”

The human patron hates importunity; the heavenly patron invites it. The one receives his suitor according to his humour, or refuses his admission from the caprice of the moment; with the other," there is no variableness nor shadow of turning:” “ Come unto me,” is his uniform language.

'The man in power has many claimants in his favour, and comparatively few boons to bestow. The God of power, has all things in his gift, and only blames the solicitor for coming so seldom or staying so little a while. He only wishes that his best gifts were more earnestly sought.

When we solicit an earthly benefactor it is often upon the strength of some pretence to his favour-the hope of some reward for past services: even if we can produce little claim we insinuate something like merit. But when we approach our heavenly benefactor, as far from having any thing like claim, any thing like merit to produce, our only time, our only acceptable plea is our utter want both of claim and merit—is the utter destitution of all that can reconimend us; yet we presume to ask favour when we deserve nothing but rejection, we are encouraged to ask for eternal happiness, when we deserve only eternal punishment. Though we have nothing to produce but disloyalty, we ask for the privilege of subjects: though nothing but disobedience to offer, we plead the privileges of children—we implore the tenderness of a father.

'In dependence on God there is nothing abject; in attendance on him nothing servile. He never likes the great ones of the world, receives the suitor with a petrifying frown, or, what is worse, never dismisses him with a cruel smile, and a false promise.

• Even if the petitioner to human power escape the vexation of being absolutely rejected; even if his suit be granted, the grant, it may be, is accompanied with a mortifying coldness, with an intelligible hint that the donor, expects to be no further troubled. The grant may be attended with such a tedious delay, as may make it no benefit. The boon granted does not, perhaps, prove so valuable as the applicant expected; or he finds he might have spent the long season of his attendance, his watching and his waiting, to better purpose; or he might have employed his interest in another quarter, in obtaining something more important; or, after all he may have received it too late in life, to turn it to the profitable account he expected.

* But the Almighty Donor never puts off his humble petitioner to a more convenient season. His court of requests is always open. He receives the petition as soon as it is offered, He grants it as soon as it is made; and, though He will not dispense with a continuance of the application, yet to every fresh application He promises fresh support. He will still be solicited, but it is in order that he may still bestow. Repeated gifts do not exhaust His bounty, nor lessen His power of fulfilment. Repeated solicitation, so far from wearying His patience, is an additional call to his favour.

Nor is the lateness of the petition any bar to its acceptance; He likes it should be early, but He rejects it not though it be late.

"With a human benefactor, the consciousness of having received former favours, is a motive with a modest petitioner, for preventing his making an application for more; while on the contrary, God even invites us to call on Him for future mercies, by the powerful plea of His past acts of goodness--"even mercies which have been ever of old.” And as past mercies on God's part so, to the praise of His grace be it said, that past offences on our own part are no hindrance to the application of hearty repentance, or the answer of fervent prayer.

The petitioner to human power, who may formerly have offend. ed his benefactor, contrives to soften his displeasure by representing that the offence was a small one. The devout petitioner to God uses no such subterfuge. In the boldness of faith, and the humility of repentance, he cries, “Pardon my iniquity for it is great."

• It is no paradox, then to assert that dependence on God is the only true safety, dependence upon Him the only true freedom

« PreviousContinue »