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follow that such an abundance of it as would give to a work a sort of heathenish aspect, could be admissible: and with respect to the Egyptian gold, it must be obvious to remark, that such a product could be much more easily worked up so as to lose its profane aspect, than the stories of the gods could be made to accord with the sobriety of religion. The pious commentator, Mr. Scott, in one of his notes on the 23d chapter of Exodus, suggests whether the familiar acquaintance with the heathen mythology which generally accompanies a clas sical education, is not unfavourable to genuine Christianity. But though I should not readily admit that it is so, yet I can more easily believe, that the heathen mythology in a near and studied connexion with the sacred truths of the Bible, is not precisely what it would be in its proper place.

2. It may be suggested whether some of the sentiments and expressions put in the mouths more especially of the evil spirits, do not in a degree offend against the sacredness of religion, the awe with which holy subjects should be approach ed. These sentiments and expressions may perhaps be necessary in order to preserve consistency of character: but it seems unhappy that any circumstance should make it necessary for such depraved creatures to give utterance to all their malignity, and, I may say also, to all their folly. They talk of dethroning, circumventing, disappointing, and vexing the universal Sovereign; as if, even in the view of the most limited understanding, he were no more than the creature of chance, or the sport of destiny. And they detail their malicious and inipotent plans with such a fearlessness of front, and in language of such insult and defiance, as a good man hardly knows how to dwell upon long enough to admit into his mind the representation.

It is true they make some proper concessions respecting the Divine


perfections, and speak, at times, the language of self-reproach. reader, however, more than keeps pace with them in these relentings of nature; and he cannot but feel conscious what a tremendous defeat they must at length experience from the exertions of sleepless intelligence and almighty power. This is so much the case, that it seems not altogether natural that beings so purely intellectual should be made to possess such confidence in their ill-concerted designs, and exult so much in only the appearance of success. Their partial concessions, moreover, do not destroy, so much as might be desired, the effects of their contumelious and insulting language. The effusions of their depravity are master-pieces of eloquence in their kind. They are emphatically to the purpose, as addressed to the ear, and to the feelings of consummate impiety; and they come to the heart of man with an energy which it would require some piety to resist. Would not the soul delighted with war, sympathize a little, and mingle while it hastens its movements with the strong and frantic tide of feeling in Moloch the "homicide," and with him fondly brood over its schemes of revenge, even in the face of utter ruin? And would not satan's famous apophthegm speak, and almost elicit, the congenial language of the illimitable heart of ambition,

To reign is worth ambition, tho' in hell.” "In my choice

If there is danger that our corrupt propensities may be roused into greater efficiency by such represen tations, they should be either altogether spared, or more lightly touched upon. At least the remedy should be at hand, and be made to bear upon the evil. I am not certain but that in the conduct and issue of the story is to be found all the corrective that justice demanded of the poet; although it can hardly have escaped observation,

that human depravity is far less satisfied with that which is designed to eradicate, than with that which is calculated to excite it. Perhaps also moderation in this department, that is, in the delineation of character by speeches, might be construed into tameness of genius; yet even this fault might be more easily forgiven than the necessary (if it be necessary) ministration to unhallowed feeling.

Under the present head, may be included not only the taunting and punning language of the evil angels in the sixth book, but also something there exhibited which falls short of the dignity and unruffled feelings of purity and gentleness, which must be supposed to prevail in the bosoms of good angels. Their "fierce desire of battle" and "inextinguishable rage" are too couspicuous. The scenes in this book seem to be unpleasant on this account. We do not easily associate the agitation, fierceness, and vauntings of war, with the hallowed serenity and sweet charities of heaven. The martial spirit loses none of its unsightliness, though displayed in that pure region by "brightest seraphim." Perhaps, however, the representations in this book should not be objected to in an entire view, since they seem to be not altogether unauthorized by Scripture; although some parts might have been spared, without offence to our better feelings.

3. The nature of the subject, as well as the poet's design, led him to give a prominent agency to satan, the prince of the evil spirits.-In the representation of such a character, perhaps no human skill was adequate to do it entire justice, and to cause the mind of the reader, in each successive development, to assent to its worthlessness. In order that he might compass his objects, the prince of darkness is made to appear, at times, not altogether destitute of qualities which mankind both venerate and love. Public spirit, honour, attachment to his

associates, a considerable share of self-denial, and the movement of sympathetic feeling, he occasionally manifests. In some instances, at least, he does not appear so evil as he ought to appear. There is not a proper correspondence between the collective amount of his character, and the several items that are intended to constitute it. Hence a degree of interest, probably contrary to the main intention of the poet, is attached to this evil agent, which is not a little unfavourable in its moral influence. He is sometimes shielded from our indignation under the sacredness of misfortune, To excite our pensive admiration of him, his form appears not less than archangel ruin'd, and the excess of glory obscured." We almost pity him, when we learn that "care sits on his faded cheek," and that "his eye casts signs of remorse and passion," on the associates of his rebellion. We almost forgive him, when in addressing them,


"Thrice he essay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn,

Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth.”

He appears, when occasion requires, with a noble and dignified demeanour-is pensive, and touching, and eloquent, and prodigal of suffering; and like no inconsiderable representative of him in the Roman history, Mark Anthony, he is the idol of those who are sacrificed to his flagitiousness.

This relief to his awful character, though happy as to poetical effect, is not otherwise pleasant or salutary. Under such appearances, the heart-that is, if it enters into the spirit of the representation-favours him more than is consistent with the entire detestation which is due to sin. Owing to the particulars that have been mentioned, an abatement of our abhorrence takes place, without a proportional corresponding conviction, that from his general character and conduct he is entitled to it. Whether such repre

sentations, from the nature of the case, be not pardonable, as supposing the reader will make the proper allowances and reservations, I will not undertake positively to say; yet I would suggest that every thing within the skill of the poet to counteract the effect should be brought forward. It is due to Milton to observe, that he has done much in the latter way, although, in one species of representation, his design is not fully answered. Satan is made at times to defend himself with such amazing art, and to offer such plausible reasons for his conduct, without an adequate counterbalancing representation, that the depraved mind of man, which takes at least as much pains to find excuses for its wickedness as to admit the force of considerations against it, would easily take sides with the foe of God and man. One would think that the following words were put into the mouth of that evil agent almost on purpose to have them appear, as every sneer does, irrefutable. Satan, after his success in circumventing man, says to his comrades ;

"Him by fraud I have seduc'd From his Creator; and (the more to in

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giv'n up

Both his beloved man, and all his world, To sin, and death, a prey; and so to us."

The cause of scepticism, it may be feared, is often aided by such perhaps inadvertent touches.

4. Our moral associations and feelings must be considered as in some danger of being injured, from the grossness and materialism which enter into some of the poet's representations of spiritual subjects. It is to be remarked that the Scriptures, in aid of our weak conceptions, sometimes employ on these subjects a language similar to that used by the poet. But representations of this nature are there mostly made in the way of comparison;

and besides are very concise. They are merely slight touches, or circumstantial strokes, and do not form the ground-work of the picture. In Paradise Lost the description is extended. The comparison constitutes the entire representation. The scene, in every part, is invested with the attributes of materiality. The pure spiritual world of the Bible becomes the palpable world of our senses, though more delicately touched. Hence we seem to be conveyed into a sort of unaccustomed region of mere fancied existence. This is so much the case, that the temporary suspicion of Andrew Marvell, expressed in the following lines, is not without foundation.

"Heaven, hell, earth, chaos, all! the

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Who but must feel, that the sacred truths of the Bible worked up into a story, told in the language, and after the manner, of men, with the necessary extended representations, as to scenery, plot, incidents, characters, speeches, and the like, would, more or less, wear the garb of fable and old song, especially when the representations of certain high and mysterious subjects must be looked upon not only as inadequate in themselves, but as unlike to the reality? These subjects, or rather the truths connected with them, would, in this case, appear with an unlikelihood and a weakness which they by no means inherently possess. The mighty results, particularly concerning man's redemption, must have been connected with some previous supernatural agency: but what created intellect can suitably conceive and trace its various steps? In what manner are we to imagine angels as holding intercourse with one another? What is the form of communication between them and the Deity? And what

is the process by which the Three Persons in the Godhead, consulting from eternity, take their appropriate parts in the works of creation and redemption? We almost shudder at the temerity of any mortal, who, entering into this pure spiritual world, shall mark it with earthly stains, or present it to us in the darkness and materiality of his own native abode. The poet here would be too apt to mix heaven with earth, spirit with body, God with nature, and to bring every thing down to the form and measure of created objects. That power of the mind by which he gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name," would be rather incautiously and perversely employed, in giving to eternal realities the evanescent form of illu

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stances, the representation is carried. How far the poet here offends, it is left to the reader to decide. To some minds it would undoubtedly be desirable, that the taint and corruption of earth should, as far as possible, be removed from these pure and spiritual beings. In the attempt to describe the Supreme Being, and to rehearse dialogues between the Father and Son, the poet has been considered as failing in poetical effect. If from this we deduct a little on the score of the debasing, influence of unnecessary earthly associations; and if we make the same deduction, on the same account, in regard to certain representations of heaven and the state of things there, of the employment and circumstances of angels, and of a few other things occasionally appearing in the work; nothing, it is believed, would be lost as to desirable moral influence. I would not however proscribe the following noble description of the Deity, since it so nearly imitates the modesty of Scripture.

"Fountain of light! thyself invisible Amidst the glorious brightness where

thou sitt'st,

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Particular miscellaneous criticism, especially on the excellencies of Paradise Lost, might be indefinitely extended. The remarks hazarded in this essay have been reduced to general heads, both as precision and advancement towards an object were in view. Less therefore has perhaps been illustrated, in regard to single perfections and blemishes, than might have been illustrated, had the attempt been made in a more desultory and unfettered manner. But whatever are the valuable moral qualities of the poem, and what ever are its defects as to religious influence, they might have been more fully developed if there were any uncertainty whether the attentive reader would fail either to perceive, or to feel them. As enough has been said to answer the purpose in view, if not to task the indulgence of the reader, it is observed, in conclusion, that although Paradise Lost as a religious poem has faults which we are by no means required to pass over without notice; yet its general character is that of excellence, and, I may say, of evangelical excellence. Its defects, as will have been seen, are far from being of such a general or radical nature, as wholly to neutralize its valuable qualities-an effect which takes place in many books-although there is a degree of unfavourable operation. The most constant and the most powerful impressions which Paradise Lost is calculated to make, are however evidently in aid of true religion. We sometimes meet with a representation which seems exceptionable, or an influence which we may deem it our duty to repress; but we find more that tends to manly seriousness, to sublime devotion, and to strict practical piety.


(Continued from p. 153.)

THE present is a most favourable season for investing money in this country; and a judicious capitalist, who would take time to look about him, and watch opportunities, might lay out his money to great advantage. The depreciation of real estate throughout the Union is perfectly astonishing, and sales are occasionally forced at sacrifices almost incredible. You will have seen in the American newspapers, the various plans before Congress and the recommendation in the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, for remitting part of the price, and extending the time of payment, to those purchasers of the public lands whose instalments are not yet paid up. This proposed relief will probably prevent the Alabama settlers from executing the intentions, which in my letters from thence I mentioned having been so generally expressed to me, of relinquishing their purchases, and forfeiting the instalments already paid.

In Richmond, where the disastrous results of the Bank mania have been pre-eminently conspicuous, and where real estate has fallen 50 to 75 per cent. there have been several instances in which property having been sold payable in three or four instalments, has, after the payment of all the previous instalments, been re-transferred to the seller to discharge the last. It is estimated that more than one half of the city and its immediate vicinity is mortgaged to the banks.

In Baltimore, about one third is similarly situated, and property there is only prevented from exhibiting a depreciation nearly equal to that of Richmond, by the policy adopted by the banks of holding it, in the expectation that its gradual advance will pay them a better interest for their money than could be obtained from investments or discounts, if they were to force a

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