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But, considered simply as an intellectual production, who will compare the poems of Homer with the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament? Where in the Iliad shall we find simplicity and pathos, which shall vie with the narrative of Moses, or maxims of conduct to equal in wisdom the Proverbs of Solomon, or sublimity, which does not fade away before the conceptions of Job or David, of Isaiah or St. John.
But I cannot pursue this comparison. I feel that it is doing wrong to the mind which dictated the Iliad, and to those other mighty intellects, on whom the light of the holy oracles never shined. Who, that has read his poem, has not observed how he strove in vain to give dignity to the mythology of his time? Who has not seen how the religion of his country, unable to support the flight of his imagination, sunk powerless beneath him?
It is the unseen world, where the master spirits of our race breathe freely, and are at home; and it is mournful to behold the intellect of Homer, striving to free itself from the conceptions of materialism, and then sinking down in hopeless despair, to weave idle fables about Jupiter and Juno, Apollo or Diana. But the difficulties, under which he laboured, are abundantly illustrated by the fact, that the light, which he poured upon the human intellect, taught other ages how unworthy was the religion of his day, of the man, who was compelled to use it. It seems to me,' says Longinus, that Homer, when he ascribes dissensions, jealousies, tears, imprisonments, and other afflictions to his deities, hath, as much as was in his power, made the men of the Iliad gods, and the gods men. To man, when afflicted, death is the termination of evils; but he hath made not only the nature, but the miseries of the gods eternal.'
If, then, so great results have flowed from this one effort of a single mind, what may we not expect from the combined efforts of several, at least his equals in power over the human heart? If that one genius, though groping in the thick darkness of absurd idolatry, wrought so glorious a transformation in the character of his countrymen, what may we not look for from the universal dissemination of those writings, on whose authors was poured the full splendour of eternal truth? If unassisted human nature, spell-bound by a childish mythology, have done so much, what may we not hope for, from the supernatural efforts of pre-eminent genius, which spake as it was moved by the Holy Ghost?
LORD LITTLETON'S SPEECH ON THE REPEAL OF THE ACT ENTITLED
THE JEW BILL.
SIR, -It has been hitherto the rare and envied felicity of his Majesty's reign, that his subjects have enjoyed such a settled tranquillity, such a freedom from angry religious disputes, as is not to be paralleled in any former times. The true Christian spirit of moderation, of charity, of universal benevolence, has prevailed in the people, has prevailed in the clergy of all ranks and degrees, instead of those narrow principles, those bigoted pleasures, that furious, that implacable, that ignorant zeal, which has often done so much hurt both to the church and the state.
But from the ill understood, insignificant act of parliament, you are now moved to repeal, occasion has been taken to deprive us of this inestimable advantage. It is a pretence, to disturb the peace of the church, to infuse idle fear into the minds of the people, and make religion itself an engine of sedition.-It behoves the piety, as well as the wisdom of parliament, to disappoint those endeavours. Sir, the very worst mischief that can be done to religion, is to pervert it to the purposes of faction. The most impious wars ever made were those called holy wars. He, who hates another man for not being a Christian, is himself not a Christian. Christianity, sir, breathes love, and peace, and good-will to man. A temper, conformable to the dictates of that holy religion, has lately distinguished this nation; and a glorious distinction it was! But there is latent, at all times, in the minds of the vulgar, a spark of enthusiasm; which, if blown by the breath of a party, may, even when it seems quite extinguished, be suddenly revived and raised to a flame. The act of last session for naturalizing Jews, has very unexpectedly administered fuel to feed this flame. To what a height it may rise, if it should continue much longer, one cannot easily tell; but, take away the fuel, and it will die of itself.
Sir, I trust and believe that, by speedily passing this bill, we shall silence that obloquy, which has so unjustly been cast upon our reverend prelates, for the part they took in the act which this repeals. . And it greatly concerns the whole community, that they should not lose that respect which is so justly due to them, by a popular clamour kept up in opposition to a measure of no importance in itself.
But, if the departing from that measure should not remove the prejudice so maliciously raised, I am certain that no further step you can take, will be able to remove it. This appears to be a reasonable and safe condescension, by which nobody will be hurt; but all beyond this would be dangerous weakness in government: it might open a door to the wildest enthusiasm, and to the most mischievous attacks of political disaffection working upon that enthusiasm.
If you encourage and authorise it to fall on the synagogue, it will go from thence to the meeting-house, and in the end to the palace. But let us be careful to check its further progress. The more zealous we are to support Christianity, the more vigilant should we be in maintaining toleration. If we bring back persecution, we bring back the anti-christian spirit of popery; and when the spirit is here, the whole system will soon follow. Toleration is the basis of all public quiet. It is a charter of freedom given to the mind, more valuable than that which secures our persons and estates. Indeed, they are inseparably connected together; for, where the mind is not free, where the conscience is enthralled, there is no freedom.
SPEECH OF A CREEK INDIAN IN A COUNCIL OF HIS NATION,
AGAINST THE USE OF SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS.
I do not stand up, O countrymen! to propose the plans of war, or to direct the wisdom of this assembly in the regulation of our alliances. My intention is to open to your view, a subject not less worthy of your deliberate notice.
I perceive the eye of this assembly dwells upon me.Oh! may every heart be unveiled from its prejudices, and receive the disinterested, the pious, the filial obedience I owe to my country, when I step forth to be the accuser of my brethren:--not of treachery; not of cowardice; not of deficiency in the noblest of all passions, the love of the public: these, I glory in boasting, are incompatible with the character of a Creek.
The tyrant I arraign before you, O Creeks! is no native of our soil, but a lurking miscreant, an emissary of the evil
principle of darkness.—'T is that pernicious liquid, which our pretended white friends artfully introduced, and so plentifully pour in amongst us.
Tremble, O ye Creeks! when I thunder in your ears this denunciation,—that if the cup of perdition continue to rule with so intemperate a sway amongst us, ye will cease to be a nation: ye will have neither heads to direct, nor hands to protect: this diabolical juice will undermine all the powers of your bodies and minds. In the day of battle, the warrior's enfeebled arm will draw the bow with inoffensive zeal:-in the day of council, when national safety hangs suspended on the lips of the hoary Sachem, he will shake his head with uncollected spirits, and drivel out the babblings of a second childhood.
Think not, O Creeks! that I present an imaginary picture, to amuse or affright you: it is too evident! it is too fatally evident, that we find the vigour of our youth abating; our numbers decreasing; our ripened manhood a premature victim to diseases, to sickness, and to death; and our venerable Sachems a scanty number.
Does not that desertion of all our reasoning powers, when we are under the dominion of that depraved monster, that barbarian madness wherewith it inspires us, prove, beyond a doubt, that it dislocates all our intellectual faculties, pulls down reason from her throne, and dissipates every ray of the Divinity within us? I need not, I hope, make it a question to any in this assembly, whether he would prefer the intemperate use of this liquor, to clear perceptions, sound judgment, and a mind exulting in its own reflections?
However great may be the force of habit, how insinuating soever the influence of example, I persuade myself, and I perceive by your countenances, O Creeks! that there is not one before whom I stand, so shameless, so lost to the weakest impulses of humanity, and the very whisperings of reason, as not to acknowledge the turpitude of such a choice.
EXTRACT FROM MR. MERCER'S SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF A GRANT
TO GEN. LAFAYETTE.
WHEN we advert to the services of Gen. Lafayette in our revolutionary cause--the cause of freedom in Europe and America—we feel that their value is immeasurable. There is not a man who now treads, or may hereafter tread our soil or breathe our air with the elastic spirit of liberty, who does not, or will not owe him an inestimable debt; a debt to be felt, not to be computed. I defy the united power of Euclid and Archimedes to calculate or measure the height and depth, and the length and breadth of the obligation of America to her benefactor. It is here. (laying his hand upon his heart.) It belongs to the soul, and no guage can graduate it.
Are gentlemen alarmed at what is called the example, the precedent, we are about to offer to our successors? I have laboured with all the powers of memory, to recall to my mind an example of disinterested and heroic benevolence, which can form a parallel to the conduct of Lafayette; and if the history of the past affords none, why need we not trust the future? The only spirit of prophecy which is not of Divine Inspiration, exists in the analogy which infers the future from the past.
But what is the character of the example from which this unfounded apprehension arises? Was it not to our fathers -is it not to us--and will it not be to our posterity invaluable? Need we go back to the crusades to demonstrate the influence, the contagion of chivalrous enthusiasm? No sooner was the consecrated banner of Peter the hermit, unfurled for the recovery of the Redeemer's sepulchre from the infidel Saracen, than one spark of inspiration electrified all Europe; one common soul pervaded all Christendom, and poured her armed nations on the plains of Asia
Contrast the heroism of that age with the solitary selfdevotion of Lafayette. When I look back to the early period of our independence, and behold our own unrecognised ministers in France, with a tenderness which does them immortal honour, remonstrating with the young enthusiast, on the hazard and hopelessness of his projected enterprise in our behalf: when I hear them, in a tone of generous remonstrance, tell him that our cause was sinking, and they