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of lies, and brings them directly into the net of the great deceiver. Yet as novels catch the attention by promising amusement, they might be so managed, as greatly to promote the cause of religion and virtue. Infidel and dissolute as the times are, a work of this sort may be made exceedingly agreeable. An inverted novel would be a new thing, and therefore read. Let us suppose a man of true genius, such as the author of Chrysal, to give us a Mr. M. of good understanding, and a sentimental heart, married to a Mrs. M. of like mind and temper; neither of them a beauty, but very agreeable in person and countenance; not in love with each other, but warmed with conjugal and mutual affection. Let us suppose them both tinctured with a sense of religion ; but whereas Mr. M. sets out with a pretty ample fortune in money, and a very
honourable and somewhat lucrative post at court, this sense of religion is overborne by pride, parade, luxury, and a taste for high life, in them both. Together with the extravagance of a magnificent table and equipage, they give into the fashion of playing high. Mr. M. engaged with stock-jobbers and in the SouthSea, soon dissipates bis fortune, and by a sudden change in the ministry loses his post, is reduced to the utmost distress, thinks of laying violent hands on himself
, and Mrs. M. is going fast into a state of distraction, when Mr. O. a country parson, of very good understanding, and of great piety, by his advice calmly administered, saves the one from madness, and the other from suicide; persuades them to retire to a neat little lodge and a small purchase, made by Mr. M. in a remote part of England, near the Land's End, worth about one hundred pounds a year, wbich, together with about one hundred pounds in money, was all, in the wreck of Mr. M.'s fortune, that could be saved by the brother of Mrs. M., an honest friendly attorney. When Mr. M. was in power he had obtained a little parish for the parson, and introduced the attorney into good business; and these two men, facetious and good humoured, had served Mr. and Mrs. M. on a thousand occasions, as butts, in the time of their grandeur. All the four had some humour, and valued themselves on somewhat more than they had. When Mr. M. introduced the attorney to the parson, he said, Parson, know the attorney P. sor as honest a man, if not more so, than any of your order. O. Are you sure of that? M. There never lived an honester man than J. P. O. Mr. P. take this shilling. P. Well, I have taken it, but pray, why, sir? 0. I once gave a sixpence for the sight of a camel; and that of an honest attorney
is as rare as the sight of an elephant, and is worth a shilling. Pray, Mr. M., will you give me as much credit for the character of St. Paul, as I have given you for that of Mr. P.? M. Perhaps may, as soon as I have reason to know you, and you to know St. Paul, as well as I do honest P. O. Well, keep your shilling till you do, at which time, I fear, a shilling will be as much a medal with you, as it is now with me. P. Lord forbid. 0. I would say, amen, if I durst pray for such a miracle. The little estate mentioned, most agreeably situated, as to prospects and adjacencies, makes a part of Mr. O.'s small parish. This worthy clergyman, with a handsome collection of books, both religious and entertaining, owes his living to the interest of Mr. M. in the days of his worldly prosperity. Thither Mr. and Mrs. M., glad to get out of the place of their fall, hurry as fast as they can, with their son and daughter, both very young, and with their friend Mr. O. In this asylum, their vanity and passion for luxury soon subside, and their religious principles, aided by the conversation of Mr. 0. take an early lead in their minds; and they begin to aspire to an infinitely higher grandeur, than that from whence they had been precipitated. They now no longer say they have fallen, but maintain, they have risen in the true sense of the word. In this state of tranquillity, the culture of their own minds, and that of their children, well supplies the place of that attendance they wasted on people, alive only to their appetites and bellies, on interested expectants, on designing fatterers, on gamblers, and false friends. The improvement of their garden, and of the adjacent lands, hitherto long neglected, carries them out to healthful air and exercise, in a scene every day growing more and more beautiful by their attention to it and Millar's Dictionary. These produce a species of happiness never tasted at the courts of this world, and known only to the candidates for that of heaven. Here reason and religion have leave to speak; and here God is seen in his works, and heard in his word. Here the parents learn humility, simplicity, and industry; and instil them into their children, with no other ambition, than that of aiming at true glory, honour, and immortality. The parishioners, old and young, of Mr. O. consider and love him as their father. He and Mrs. O. only physicians. When they come to the glebe-house, whether with, or without a little basket of fresh eggs, or a sucking pig, they are sure of a glass of good cider or made-wine, with a cordial inquiry about their families and their affairs. On the Lord's day
there is no one absent from his house, who is able to go thither ; nor does any one so much as think of absenting himself from his table, if above the age of fifteen. Mr. and Mrs. M. with the parson and his wife, all musical, sing the psalms as loud as they can roar; so do all the parishioners, previously well instructed by their good minister, and his wife. Among these there is a poor Irish labouring man, who always throws himself on his belly, upon the flags, just within the church door, and in that posture continues during the whole service and sermon. Finding him tenacious of this posture, Mr. O. caused him to lay a matt under bis breast; Mr. and Mrs. M. having early inquired the meaning of this, had an answer from Mr. O. Poor Ben Blatal, the son of a rich farmer in the north of Ireland, at the age of twenty-five, found himself possessed, in right of himself and his wife, of about a thousand pounds. Tempted by this fund, he gave himself entirely up to drinking strong beer and spirits. This practice swelled him to a most enormous size ; dyed his face, at first in scarlet, and then in purple; nor was it long before the gout confined him during the greater part of every year, in the most excruciating pains. His vice soon became his only medicine, and he drank to keep the gout from his stomach. But at the age of thirty, he had not left himself worth a single shilling. At this period of his life, poverty cured him at once of his vice, bis distemper, and of his bloated belly, and restored to him the use of his limbs. It did more.
It forced him to take a spade into his hands, and hire himself out as a day-labourer. He declares, he never knew what happiness was till then. He fed hither from the people who knew him; and I, as soon as I knew bim, offered him the key of my church, which he refused, because, as he said, having lived five years in the tent of sin, he was not worthy to become a door-keeper in the house of God. My parishioners and I then gave the key to his grandson, a fine boy, whom you may have seen sitting beside him in church, and often weeping over him. How apropos to you and me! said Mrs. M. to her husband. So apropos, said Mr. M. that if you dwell a little longer on the affecting subject, I do not know, but I may prostrate myself beside him in the church. I should not object to your so doing, said Mr. O. if God and my people had not a more important service for you in his house. Your business there, beside the services peculiar to yourself, is to stand fast in the faith, and by your example to lead my poor flock in the way they should go. Mr. M. I will take
him into my garden, and into my heart. Mr. 0. Do so. He is now five-and-forty; but he does as much work as two English labourers. He digs with either foot, and with either hand foremost on the spade-shaft, which, he says, is to him almost as refreshing as rest. This is a practice not known to other labourers. Mr. M. A most marvellous man! I will make something of his grandson. Mr. O. Ben will not suffer him to be raised in the world, nor made rich. It is a maxim with him, that no man can be safely trusted with riches. The boy can read, write, cipher, and sing psalms, to the full as well as any one of his age in Great Britain. A novel of this kind, and conducted after some such manner as this, by a genius fertile in incidents and in matter for suitable conversations on particular occasions (which I submit merely as a hint, rather than even a sketch), might, I think, be extremely entertaining, and highly instructive. I know the story of Ben Blatal to be literally true, while the scene of it lies in Ireland; but the name I give him is fictitious.
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