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LAW, with his usual force, is very happy upon this subject: " Jucunda would have a Clergyman insist upon the most material parts of religion, and not lay so much stress upon things that are only diversions. I am of your mind, Jucunda, that a Clergyman ought to insist upon the most material parts of religion ; but then it does not follow that he must not lay so much stress upon things that are diversions. For as something that is called a diversion may be entirely sinful, so, if this should happen, it is as necessary for a Clergyman to call all Christians from it, as it is necessary to exhort them to keep the commandments. Religion seems to have as little to do with trades, as with diversions ; yet if a trade be set up, that is in its own nature wicked, there is nothing more material in religion, than to declare the necessity of forsaking such an employment. But, after all, Jucunda, the most essential, and must material parts of religion, are such as relate to common life, such as alter our ways of living, such as give rules to all our actions, and are the measure of all our conduct, whether in business or diversion. Nothing is so important in religion to you, as that which makes you sober and wise, holy and heavenly minded in the whole course of your life. But you are for such material parts of religion, as should only distinguish you from a Jew or an Infidel, but make no difference in common life, betwixt you and fops and coquettes.
and fops and coquettes. You are for religion that consists in modes and forms of worship, that is tied to times and places, that only takes up a little of your time on Sunday, and leaves you all the week to do as you please. But all this, Jucunda, is
nothing. The Scripture hath not said in vain,“ He that is in Christ is a new creature.” (2 Cor. v. 17.) All the 'law and the Gospel are in vain to you; all Sacraments, devotions, doctrines, and ordinances, are to no purpose, unless they make you
this new creature in all the actions of your life. He teaches you the most material parts of religion, who teaches you to be of a religious spirit in every thing that you do, who teaches you to eat and drink, to labour and rest, to converse and divert yourself in such degrees, and to such ends, as best promote a pious life.
If sots and gluttons should desire a Clergyman to insist upon the most material parts of religion, and not lay so great a stress upon gluttony and intemperance, which are things that only relate to eating and drinking; they would shew that they understood religion as well as Jucunda. For every one must see, that some diversions may as much disorder the heart, and be as contrary to religion, as gluttony and intemperance. And as many people have lived and died unaffected with religion, through a course of diversions and pleasures, as through gluttony and intemperance." p. 418.
B. p. 25. Having considered the subject of Heathenisni, in another work, I shall not again enter generally upon the subject here; but will refer the reader to that, and some of the authors there quoted. I am aware, that the quoting his own works, subjects an Author, in the
many, to the imputation of vanity; but, when the matter is candidly considered, I really do not see how it argues greater vanity to refer to a former work, than to have published it in the first instance. If an author publishes a work, because he thinks he can either instruct or amuse others, unless he see reason to to have altered his opinion on any point there treated, the work remains the same as when first published, and prevents the necessity of repeating what he has urged before. I therefore, without hesita. tion, refer the reader to
The Introductory Letter to my COLLECTION OF SONGS, in one volume 4to. with music, published in 1805, and republished, with corrections and some few additions, as a Preface to the Collection of the words of Song's only, in 3 vols. 12mo. 1806, and 1808. The works there quoted on the subject, are
Reflections on the Growth of Heathenisn, among modern Christians, in a letter to a friend at Oxford ; by The Rev. WM. Jones, of Nayland. Published as a Pamphlet in 1776, and 1794, and again
- vol. iii. of his works: likewise in The Scholar Armed, vol, ii.
p. 225. See also his Considerations on the Religious Worship of the Heathens, vol. xii, of his works, Letters from a Tutor to his Pupils, vol. xi. Letters, xii, xüi, and xiv.
Dr. Watts's Essays and Composures on Various Subjects, No. III. printed at the end of vol. ii. of his work on the Improvement of the Mind.
The subject is treated likewise in a most masterly manner in Foster’s Essays, Essay IV. Letter V., to the end. See the Extracts from this Essay, No. IV. of these Discourses, p. 75, &c.
A traveller in approaching our metropolis, will no doubt be struck with the magnificence of St. Paul's Cathedral; and the emblem on the top, The Cross, declares it to be a Christian structure. One of the next most conspicuous buildings is Drury-Lane Theatre, with The Statue of Apollo on the top. If the first be a sign of our religion, what is the other ? If the first declares it to have been set up by Christians, what does the other denote? Surely this is an inconsistency. - What concord hath Christ with Apollo? (2 Cor. vi. 15.) With this emblem on the outside, we must not be surprised if we find the sentiments and principles within frequently savouring of the same mythology. In Venice Preserv'd, Belvidera says, Act I.
Then praise our gods and watch thee till the morning. As many of the remarks in these Discourses apply to poetry at large, as well as dramatic poetry, I shall frequently adduce my instances from works not dramatic. It is “ passing strange,” that the pious YOUNG, who writes professedly upon religious subjects, should fall into this error. Speaking of the union of the justice and the love of God, he says, they are A mystery no less to gods than men.
N. IV. I. 225.
Give me, indulgent gods! with mind serene,
N. V. 1. 616.
It becomes a man;
N. VIII. I. 815.
In Night IX. I. 578, we find the Prous BARD invoking
Thou, who didst touch the lips of Jesse's son, *
I dare attempt, assist my daring Song.
But chiefly, Thou, great Ruler! Lord of all!
To my great subject Thou my breast inspire,
And raise my lab'ring soul with equal fire.
Yet N. III. I. 25, we find him censuring the Bards who invoke
deity my song invokes,
Now first implor'd in succour to the Muse.
N. III. I. 366,
Pleasure came from heav'n.
The goddess bursts in thunder and in flame.
N. IV. I. 828.
* David, 1 Sam. xvi. 18, 24,