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religious experience of those personages, is surprising indeed. Cowper's pointed and severe description of the spirit that characterized the multitude in his age is applicable to not a few in ours.

Build by whatever plan caprice decrees,

With what materials, on what ground you please;
Your hope shall stand unblamed, perhaps admired,
If not that hope the Scripture has required.

The strange conceits, vain projects, and wild dreams
With which hypocrisy for ever teems,
(Though other follies strike the public eye
And raise a laugh,) pass unmolested by.
But if, unblamable in word and thought,
A man arise, a man whom God has taught,
With all Elijah's dignity of tone,

And all the love of the beloved John,

To storm the citadels they build in air,

And smite th' untempered wall 'tis death to spare,
To sweep away all refuges of lies

And place, intead of quirks themselves devise,
Lama Sabacthani before their eyes;

To prove that without Christ all gain is loss,

All hope despair, that stands not on his cross;
Except the few his God may have impressed,
A tenfold frenzy seizes all the rest.

Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least,
There dwells a consciousness in every breast
That folly ends where genuine hope begins,
And he that finds his heaven must lose his sins.
Nature opposes, with her utmost force,
This riving stroke, this ultimate divorce;
And, while religion seems to be her view,
Hates with a deep sincerity the true.
For this, of all that ever influenced man
Since Abel worshiped, or the world began,
This only spares no lust, admits no plea,
But makes him, if at all, completely free;

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Sounds forth the signal, as she mounts her car,
Of an eternal, universal war;

Rejects all treaty, penetrates all wiles,

Scorns with the same indifference frowns and smiles;
Drives through the realms of sin, where riot reels,
And grinds his crown beneath her burning wheels!
Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art,
Powers of the mind, and feelings of the heart,
Insensible of truth's almighty charms,

Starts at her first approach, and sounds to arms!
While bigotry, with well-dissembled fears,
His eyes shut fast, his fingers in his ears,
Mighty to parry and push by God's Word,
With senseless noise, his argument the sword,
Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace,

And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face.



THE same year, 1762, may be taken as a year of survey, in regard to the aspect and influences of times, circumstances, society, and literature, as well as religion. It was about twenty years after the death of Pope, forty-one from the death of Prior, forty-three from that of Addison, thirtythree from that of Steele, seventeen from that of Swift, thirty from that of Gay, thirty-six from that of Vanbrugh, and thirty-nine from that of Congreve. Arbuthnot died in 1735, Lord Bolingbroke in 1751. Some of these writers had stamped the manners and opinions of the age by their genius, and formed a taste and style then fully prevalent. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, so distinguished for the ease, wit, and beauty of her letters, died in 1762. Lord Shaftesbury had died in 1713, and the collection of his works had been published in 1716; and the powerful influence which the mingled fascination of his style and deistical opinions



exerted in various directions may be learned in the autobiographies of two men as contra-distinguished as Dr. Franklin and John Newton, both having been brought, at an early period, under a temporary despotism beneath that nobleman's writings.

Atterbury died in 1731, Defoe in the same year. Bishop Berkely died in 1753; Bishop Lowth, 1787; Dr. Samuel Clarke, 1729; Bishop Butler, 1752; Handel, 1759; Garrick, 1779. Hannah More was born 1745, and commenced her literary career when Cowper was writing the Olney Hymns. Among the most celebrated divines of the period were Bishop Newton, Farmer, Lardner, Lowman, Lowth, Leland, Chandler, Warburton, Jortin, Hoadly, Wesley, Whitefield, John Newton, Soame Jenyns, Scott, Kennicott, and Cecil.

The period we are contemplating was fourteen years after the death of Thomson, and thirty years since the publication of the Poem of the Seasons. It was fourteen years after the death of Watts. It was just after the publication of Young's "Night Thoughts." "Blair's Grave" had been published in 1743, the "Night Thoughts" in 1760. Yet Southey has spoken of "The Grave" as a poem written in imitation of the "Night Thoughts"; a criticism which indicates the carelessness and haste with which some other portion of his "Life of Cowper" may have been composed. Dr. Johnson had published his Dictionary in 1754, and his Rasselas soon



after. It was three or four years after the publication of Gray's Odes. It was just after the publication of Goldsmith's "Citizen of the World," and just before the appearance of his poem of "The Traveler." It was the year before the death of Shenstone. It was eight years after the death of Collins, the poet so nearly at one time resembling Cowper in the dread eclipse of reason under which he died, and in his inimitably exquisite poetry, coming nearer, in every line, to the perfection of Cowper in his most harmonious pieces, than any other poet in the English language. Chatterton, the marvelous boy that perished in his pride, was at this time ten years old, and began his sad, strange, poetical career only one year afterward. Churchill was in the brief bonfire of reputation, and had just published his "Rosciad.” The admiration of his poems was like the gaze of a crowd at a display of fire-works from the top of the London Monument. Falconer had just published his "Shipwreck," and it was the year of the publication of M'Pherson's "Fingal."

Edmund Burke had published his "Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful," but had not yet entered Parliament, nor began that development of his wonderful genius which afterward attracted the gaze of all Europe. Garrick and Foote were in the midst of their fame, and Sir Joshua Reynolds of his. The Johnsonian Club and circle were in

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