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mischiefs; but of which the influence must, after all, be considered as the most certain effect of the most efficacious cause of civilization; and which, whether it be a blessing or a curse, is the most powerful engine that a politician can move I mean the press. It is a curious fact, that in the year of the Armada, Queen Elizabeth caused to be printed the first Gazettes that ever appeared in England. And I own, when I consider that this mode of rousing a national spirit was then absolutely unexampled, that she could have no assurance of its efficacy from the precedents of former times, I am disposed to regard her having recourse to it as one of the most sagacious experiments, one of the greatest discoveries of political genius, one of the most striking anticipations of future experience, that we find in history. I mention it to you, to justify the opinion that I have ventured to state, of the close connexion of our national spirit with our press, and even with our periodical press. I cannot quit the reign of Elizabeth, without laying before you the maxims of her policy in the language of the greatest and wisest of men. Lord Bacon, in one part of his discourse on her reign, speaks thus of her support of Holland :-'But let me rest upon the honourable and continual aid and relief she hath given to the distressed and desolate people of the Low Countries; a people recommended unto her by ancient confederacy and daily intercourse, by their cause so innocent, and their fortune so lamentable!' In another
of the same discourse, he thus speaks of the general system of her foreign policy, as the protector of Europe, in words too remarkable to require any commentary :
Then it is her government, and her government alone, that hath been the sconce and fort of all Europe, which hath lett this proud nation from overrunning all. If any state be yet free from his factions erected in the bowels thereof; if there be any state, wherein this faction is erected, that is not fired with civil troubles ; if there be any state under his protection that enjoyeth moderate liberty, upon which he tyrannizeth not; it is the mercy of this renowned Queen that standeth between them and their misfor. tunes.'”
CHARACTER OF LUTHER.
One wet Sunday morning, as the Bachelor and his Nymph had resolved not to go to church,-bachelors, indeed, are not in general church-going personsthey fell into discourse concerning the history of religion, -and in the conversation, Egeria, with her wonted acumen, bore the principal part.
“ I am surprised,” said she, “ that the spirit of religious reformation has been so long dormant,but I think the eve of its awakening cannot be very far off. There is a great stir abroad in the world relative to religious instruction, much of this is made by worthy and pious persons, but the cloven foot of worldly corruption may be seen among and in the very nature of things, some bold hypocrite will, sooner or later, attempt to turn the effects of all this to his own particular renown and advantage.
“May not,” replied the Bachelor, “ some honest man do the same, not, however, for his particular gratification, but for the general advantage of the world ?"
“ No!” said the Nymph,—“ honest enthusiasm no longer exists,—there is no sacrificing now of present interests, — the interests of this world, for the hope of that reward which passeth not away. The existing spirit of the world is altogether mercantile; the epoch of the rider on the black horse, with the balance in his hand, and his oil and corn for sale, has come to pass. There is besides a plain and obvious tendency in the current of human affairs, to undermine the great edifices of ecclesiastical pomp and patronage. But it shall not be till violence has been again called in to uphold them, that any change will take place in the dominion of the spirit that is now abroad on the earth.
“ But how is it, Benedict, that you think an honest man may seize the preparations which are making for a change in the religious ordinances of the world ? Surely you forget that it was by the patient and the suffering -by the martyrs alone,—that the cause of pious truth was advanced. The honest men were the victims. Your Luthers,-your Calvins,—your John Knoxes,--your Mahomets.".
“ Monstrous ! Mahomet and Luther,—John Knox and Mahomet !"-exclaimed Benedict,-“ my Life, you are growing quite shocking. Madam de Staël's philosophy was sky-blue to the indigo of such licentiousness.”
“ To be sure," replied the Nymph, “ it is perhaps a little too much to include Mahomet's name among the list of Christian reformers; but those who have well considered the history of that singular man, will, I am persuaded, agree with me, that if he set not out as a reformer of the church, he was an
enemy of idolatry; and whether the church was or was not a very sink of idolatry in his time, I leave you to judge,—that is to say, if you will take the trouble to read his history, and compare it, as I have done, with the general history of the world.
“ At that era, the pagan religion was in a great measure restored, but in a more irrational form than in its original mythology; for the ancient pagans believed in the existence of intellectual powers, or deities, suitable to the different occasions on which they required celestial aid. In love, they addressed themselves to Cupid and Venus ; in their vengeance, to Jove; in their voyages, to Neptune and Æolus ; and in their resentments to Mars. But to the human deities of the Christian idolaters of Mahomet's time an universal influence was ascribed, and the saint was preferred according to the fancy of the suppliants. Is it therefore to be wondered, that so shrewd a man as the impostor was, should not have seen that there were many among mankind who despised the idolatry of his time, and were ripened for more rational dogmas? But we have lost sight of the real character with which Mahomet set out in his career, in the warlike principles which he was afterwards, partly from necessity, though generally from ambition, induced to adopt.
“ He was in his youth the handsomest man of all the Arabs; he was descended of a sacred race, the guardians of the Caaba, an altar consecrated to the service of God, in the days of antiquity, by Ishmael ;
- he spoke with singular grace and eloquence, and in his deportment he was distinguished for a wisdom beyond his years ;--- all those who knew him from his boyhood had a presentiment that he was destined to greatness ; indeed his very name signifies as much, for it means “ the glorified, and no other had ever borne it before himself.
“ When he was only thirteen years of age, he happened to be in Bosra, and his appearance so struck a monk, that he admonished the person with whom the boy was in company, to take care of him, for that he was assuredly ordained to become an extraordinary person.
“ He was a great traveller, and his conversation was remarkable for a wonderful sagacity and knowledge of the mysteries of human nature,-and he often, long before he became a teacher, expressed great contempt for the state of religion throughout the world, declaring that it had no resemblance to the religion inculcated by Adam, by Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, which was all very true; and it was remarked, that in maintaining these opinions, he was never contradicted, either because he made the truth so plain by his eloquence, or because it was felt by others to have been so indisputable. And it cannot be questioned, that the version of Christianity with which he opened his lectures, was far more pure, and according to the Gospel, than any thing then taught in the churches. His subsequent pretences to prophecy, and all the errors that followed in his imposture and apostacy, have thrown a cloud over the greatness, and the wisdom, and the boldness of his first endeavours; but I question very much if he kindled not a light within the body of the church that has never yet been extinguished. Men of his stamp, to be justly