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179 things impossible. They have long ago mouldered into that common dust, by which all human things inust be ultimately absorbed and forgotten ! But let us be thankful that we have in our possession a sufficient number of ancient manuscripts, on which, diligently collated together, we can rely; and whence, for the formation of our faith, as well as the regulation of our practice, we may derive every reasonable satisfaction. From this source learned men, both of the Establishment and among the Protestant Dissenters, are constantly educing fresh testimonies to authenticate the records of ETERNAL LIFE! And approximating thus nearer to the primitive purity of the Sacred Writings, it is to be hoped that the professors of Christianity, however diversified their creed, or varied their mode of worship, will be yielding more substantial proofs both of their virtue and piety.
JAMES HERVEY, the ingenious author of the Meditations, resided at the little village of Weston Favell, about three miles from Northampton. The Rev. Mr. H., the worthy, though not the immediate successor of the late Dr. Doddridge, both in his congregation and academy, obligingly accompanied me thither, and the walk gave rise to pleasing sensations. Upon my reaching the church of Weston, of which Hervey was Rector many years, I was surprised at the smallness and meanness of its appearance. On entering the edifice, the eye was caught by no long aisles, pompous monuments, or indeed splendid embellishments of any description. Plain and unadorned, it had no
TOMB OF HERVEY. one thing to recommend it except the recollection that within these walls the pious and charitable Hervey exercised his ministry, and that here his remains were deposited till the resurrection of the just ! Close to the COMMUNION-TABLE, within the rails by which it stood encircled, I discovered a stone void of decoration, and inscribed with the following lines, after informing the reader that he breathed his last on Christmas Day, 1758, aged 45:
Rrader, expect no more to make him known;
The lateness of the evening left me scarcely enough of light to pick out the inscription, and threw a gloom over the place, which impressed me with an additional solemnity. It is at such moments that the soul, concentrating her powers, meditates on the vanity of terrestrial enjoyments, and feels the inestimable value of that REVELATION which brings life and immortality to light! · Mr. Hervey, notwithstanding all his popularity, never rose in the church. His works, particularly his Theron and Aspasio, and Meditations, were favourites with the public. The sentiments they contain are Calvinistic, in perfect unison with popular orthodoxy. The language, exceedingly figurative, caught the attention of the young, and drew after it a herd of imitators; but the sober critic, whose taste is cultivated, and whose
MEDITATIONS ON A PUDDING. 181 judgment is correct, has spoken of it with severity. Blair recommends his pupils to imitate, not his diction, but his unaffected benevolence and ardent piety. And Dr. Johnson has thus, with great good humour, ridiculed his style, in giving importance to trifles, by his
MEDITATIONS ON A PUDDING. 6 Let us seriously reflect on what a PUDDING is composed. It is composed of flour, that once waved in the golden grain, and drank the dews of the morning; of milk, pressed from the swelling udder, by the gentle hand of the beauteous milkmaid, whose beauty and innocence might have recommended a worse draught--who, while she stroked the udder, indulged no ambitious thoughts of wandering in palaces, formed no plan for the destruction of her fellow-creatures--milk, which is drawn from the cow, that useful animal, that eats the grass of the field, and supplies us with that which made the greatest part of the food of mankind in the age which the poets have agreed to call golden! It is made with an egg, that miracle of nature, which the theoretical Burnet has compared to creation. An egg contains water within its beautiful smooth surface; and an unformed mass, by the incubation of the parent, becomes a regular animal, furnished with bones and sinews, and covered with feathers ! Let us consider—can there be more wanting to complete the Meditation on a pudding? If more is wanting, 182 A TRIBUTE TO DEPARTED GENIUS. more may be found it contains salt, which keeps the sea from putrefaction--salt, which is made the image of intellectual excellence, contributes to the formation of a Pudding !” .
You will not, my young friend, blame me for my curiosity in visiting spots, (several having been noticed in the course of this letter,) which eminent men have hallowed by their exertions to promote the best interests of mankind. The theologian, as well as the literary man, is entitled to his gratification. Dr. Beattie, in drawing the character of a beloved son, of whom he was prematurely deprived by death, mentions this curiosity among the commendable traits for which he was distinguished. .. “ He had a passion,” says this pleasing writer, “ for visiting places that had been remarkable as the abodes of eminent men, or that retained any memorials of them; and as in this I resembled him, we often walked together on what we called classic ground. Westminster Abbey, in the neighbourhood of which we lived several months, was a favourite haunt of his, and suggested many images and meditations. He had wandered in the bowers of Twickenham, and amidst the more majestic scenes of Blenheim and Windsor. At Oxford, where he passed some time, he met with many interesting objects and attentive friends. He kissed, (literally he did so,) the grave-stone which covers the dust of Shakspeare, at Stratford, and sat in the same chimney-corner, and in: A TRIBUTE TO DEPARTED GENIUS. 183 the same chair in which tradition tells that the immortal bard was wont to sit. He once or twice visited the house, and even the chamber, (near Coltsworth, in Lincolnshire,) in which Sir Isaac Newton is said to have been born. The last time he and I were at Cambridge, I gratified him with a sight of those apartments in Pembroke Hall, which were once honoured with the residence of my memorable and long-lamented friend Mr. Gray, of whom he was a warm admirer, he being the greatest poetical genius that Britain had produced since Milton. He composed an ode to the genius of Gray, of which I find among his papers a few stanzas, but far the greater part is irrecoverably lost. This ode, I think, he wrote or planned while we were passing some time, in 1787, at Windsor, where, from the terrace, he had a view of Stoke church, in which Gray is buried, and towards which I often found him directing his eyes.”
Pleading such a precedent, you cannot with justice censure my curiosity. Indeed, the desire of visiting places on which talents, and virtue, and piety, have shed a kind of sanctity, is connected with the best feelings of our nature, and affords refined gratification. Great and good men, even when they are no more, may be likened to certain leaves, which, after they have fallen in the autumnal season from the trees which they once enriched and decorated, leave behind them a kind of fragrance with which the surrounding