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to say the truth; and has, we trust, but few attractions. The symptoms of infidelity which they shew, are not likely to operate as a general recommendation of their work: for though a cold hereditary assent to the truth of Christianity is for the most part all that we can boast, yet infidelity, either open or imperfectly concealed, has never been popular in this country. There is then a field of honourable enterprize still open to the Edinburgh Reviewers, and they are, in some respects, peculiarly qualified to enter upon
it. The station of independence which they have in general maintained, their great celebrity, together with the force which they possess of natural and acquired talent, afford them many advantages in entering on this new and splendid theatre of action. While you, Sir, and your coadjutors, are labouring, I trust not unprofitably, to cherish the true spirit of Christianity among the confined circle of its more zealous professors, the principles and conduct of a whole community are within the possible range of their dominion. Their hostility to blasphemy and licentiousness in their grosser forms, has been evidenced on more occasions than that above alluded to; and it is, but justice to say, that in many of their political articles they have shewn a generous, enlarged, and philosophical concern for the welfare of their species. Above all, they have distinguished themselves as advocates for the great cause of the abolition of the Slave Trade. Let them ascend a step higher; let them employ their powers to enforce both the truth and the practical importance of Christianity. In this age of increasing wealth and luxury, religion is in want of advocates who have the ear of the higher classes. Though they may not be able much to diminish its influence, they may materially advance it. The majority of their fashion
able readers, whether sober or thoughtless, though they may laugh at a happy vein of irony, are not disposed, we trust, seriously to favour an infidel philosophy. The sober see its mischief, and the thoughtless wish only for amusement. Butthe authority of these writers is considerable; and their admirers might perhaps be taught attention to their best interests, if tutored by such monitors. Surely an opportunity of conferring benefits so extensive, as well as so important, should not be neglected by real philanthropists. The lessons of such a school would be unsuspected, and religious reasonings and sentiments from the pens of Scotch philosophers would combine the charms of novelty, with the weight of established reputation. Shackled too by no party connections, and superior to little prejudices, they might dare to speak freely; and there are many truths to be told on such subjects, which other writers may fear to advance, lest from the state of public feeling they should advance them in vain. Thus while they become the benefactors of their country, they may still pursue that originality which they so much love. At least let them disdain the meanness of imitation in scepticism, as they have disdained it in philosophy. If they are emulous of “that distinguished person” whom they have themselves declared to be "an object of just envy to the most ambitious of mortals,” let them not be ashamed to imitate his actions; and if they must pant for praise, be instructed by him in the true path to glory, and grasp at that solid honour which is attendant on the faithful performance of our duties, and which the wise and virtuous only can bestow. If the same force of reasoning which has sometimes made error plausible, were employed to enforce the obligations of Christianity, and the same pungent sarcasm
which has too frequently been allied to infidelity, could be directed to expose the preposterous folly of a careless or vicious life; if the meanness of our present pursuits, and the grandeur of our ultimate destination, were displayed with all their felicity and energy of diction; vice would become more timid, and truth be restored to a larger share of her just empire: and under the protection of such authority, the free avowal of religious sentiments, and a frequent reference to her standard in common life and conversation might again become fashionable. While contemplating the power
ing the power of beneficence which these Reviewers possess, and the fearful responsibility attached to it, I feel a mixed emotion of envy and compassion; and am ready to cry out with a true Poet,
Oh! to your godlike destinies arise,
Awake, and meet the purpose of the skies. But my hopes are not sanguine.
ON THE SUPPOSED CONNECTION BETWEEN
RELIGION AND MELANCHOLY.
I am not about to assign any single cause to explaini the phenomenon in question. Philosophy in all her branches has suffered too much already from our love of generalizing, which is in fact the love of system. This method of reducing every appearance in the natural and moral world under a few general rules, is very agreeable to our indolence, but not quite as safe as it is pleasant. In the present case at least, I am satisfied that no single reason would be found satisfactory; though I hope it will appear upon inquiry, that most cases of religious melancholy may be sufficiently accounted for; that they grow naturally out of the established order of things, and reflect not the slightest discredit on Christianity.
Before I enter on this inquiry, I must make a few preliminary remarks.
1. Religious persons, (I mean they who are indeed the children of God, who walk by faith and not by sight), are by no means universally disposed to be melancholy. If a subject so indefinite could admit of computation, I doubt not but a large majority of real Christians would be found to be truly happy; not only as compared with worldly men in similar circumstances, but beyond all worldly men in any circumstances. I know those whose very aspect is enough to tempt one to be religious; whose bosoms seem cheered by unvaried sunshine, the regions of eternal spring, like the fabled mansions of the blest;
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Thrice happy isles ! But these are they who stand upon the very verge of heaven, and are arrived within prospect of the New Jerusalem. `Such are rarely to be found among young Christians; and religious gloom is most frequently visible in our younger brethren. “Many persons,” it has been said, “especially young persons, enjoy few, if any, of the consolations of religion.” I am inclined to think that the observation may be qualified still further. Religious melancholy will, I believe, principally be discovered in young men, and among them most frequently in young converts. The reason of this (if the fact be trụe) will appear in the course of our inquiry. I state it, however, only as theoretically probable. My own knowledge of particulars is too confined to warrant any experimental inference.
2. I am apt to think that we are deluded in estimating the happiness of others, by outward appearances; just as we are in estimating their worth. If a man laughs loud, and overflows with animal activity, and boisterous merriment, we cry, happy fellow! But without denying that such coarse ebullitions may indicate constitutional joyousness, surely this turbulent vivacity is not a necessary element or evidence of gladness. The bounding kitten may be happy, and is not the purring cat? Are the gambols of the dolphin upon the ocean more enviable, than