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I must confess here, I am at some loss to know who and what sort of men are “ toad-eaters.” I have heard of monsters, in human shape ; I have heard and read of a late certain “political pander,” and political canibals; I have heard and seen fire eaters, equestrian performers, tumblers and mountebanks, and a host of other diabolical performers, called Messrs.--gentlemen, and sirs ! to say nothing here of the inimitable indian jugglers, who could did they, eat red-hot iron, and swallow swords? I have heard of a man, it is true, thad did eat a very large toad alive ; (for a wager ;) but such was the
vol. 2, if I recollect aright.) On the above however, I must here remark, it was no flattering compliment to the authors of those works which they review ; such as have attained or deserve a portion of celebrity; and whom they style Reverend, Mr. Gentleman, and such like titles of distinction. But had these new poteptates in the regions of literature, if the talents of those who are the conductors of this work are of “ no common description," “talents of such magnitude and variety, as have very rarely been united in a periodical work," I am not a little surprised that they have not laid aside epithets and titles alto. gether.
This formidable tribunal, this critical bench, it should seem, “ appears to consider itself rather as a court of justice than of equity:" but their qualification may be estimated by a comparison with the following extract from a writer who has attained (and perhaps deservedly) a great portion of celebrity," Robert Macfarlan. In his preface to a work entitled, “History of the reign of George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c. &c. after grounding the truth of his parliamentary researches of the effects of six or seven and twenty years attendance at the debates in both houses, apologizes for omitting the epithet Mr. before every proper name throughout his book. “This omission (says he) arises neither from plebeian insolence, nor from a levelling principle, but from an attachment to classical purity; Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Fox being as uumusical to the author's ears, as Mr. Cicero, extraordinary craving of the poor man's nature, that scarce any thing could be prepared soon enough to satisfy his hunger; raw meat as well as dressed came not amiss to him. But if I was left to designate these men “toad eaters,” I should suppose them to be the epicureans of the day, those convivial souls, who “glory in their shame,” and boast of their anniversary dinners, and feasts,-eating of fish, flesh, fowls, and all sorts of deserts ;" besides taking their “ bottles of wine.” Such despicable wretches and gluttons as these, I should not be at all surprised to
and Mr. Demosthenes, and likely to reflect more ridicule thau dignity on historical composition."
Whether Robert Macfarlan's work, or the Edinburgh Criti. cal Journal, or both, may survive the wreck of uumberless annals of Europe, that spring up like mushrooms, or not, I fear neither the inquisitorial scrutiny of being branded with " ignorance or dulness," on my forehead, by the latter, nor need apologize with the former for “ plebeian insolence,” or “ levelling principles ;" I have higher authority than the classics, for my conduct and conversation, even that of the purity of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the practice in the truly “golden age," pot of the “ literati," but the liberty of the gospel, whereby Christ has 'made all his followers free freemen.
From hence I infer, that the Edinburgh reviewers are not those men of superior talents which they set themselves up for to be; and had I no other documents (though I have cited one of no inferior merit,“inscribed to the Edinburgh Review," p. 133, let. 1.) it appears clearly to me that they have “wasted the midnight oil;" and that they stand in need of more learning, and a teacher--.---. Their excellency of wisdom is that of man's wisdom, not that which cometh from above, but of mere human invention; or like that of a Hume, a Godwin; “ general expediency as the standard of all moral duty," and “ eloquence as the grand object to be pursued !” Thus, truly, “ reducing virtue" and religion, “ to a mere computation of consequences !!! hear they eat a toad, (if an ingredient of mock turtle, or) if " served up under cover.”*
This, however, brings to my mind a passage of that primitive worthy “latin father,” though somewhat ironical writer, yet truly, I believe him the smartest, strongest, and most irresistable writer of the age ~" the flower of antiquity”- Tertullian. In his vindication of the usefulness of christians to the public, against those called gentlemen; “ shall I tell you,” who the gentlemen be, if there be any in good truth, (mark that reader,) who make these heavy complaints, of the unprofitableness of christians to the public? Why, first, they are your panders and pimps, and filthy players about your baths, next, your cut-throats, poisoners, and magicians ; lastly, your soothsayers, wizards, and astrologers: these are the gentlemen we christians are so useless to; and I thiņk it is very well for the public we are so. However, if you are sufferers in any thing by chrisțians, they make you ample recompence another way; for what a valuable blessing you are in possession of, in having such a people among you, who are not only your defence against devils, always upon their knees to the true God, in your behalf; not to insist upon this, I say, what a treasure is it, barely to have such people to serve you, as you are sure will never do you any harm.”+
* The “saline draught,” which a certain concubine or harlot (m. a. c.) was instrumental in administering, one night, to her prince-like master, doctor" --sitov (an epicurean of no small note,) and though of their own compounding “the most nauseous, yet he swore “it was the finest cooler he had ever tasted in his life!
+ V. the Apologies of Justin Martyr ; Tertullian, &c. &c. by Reeves, p. 851. vol. l.
· I must haste to conclude this important subject, though with much reluctance. I know many argue the same way for receiving the epithets and titles Mr. and master, &c. as they do for fine attire and costly furniture, &c. namely by opposites. I have been told to my face, that “ there is as much pride (may be) and vanity in common attire, and a mean habitation, as another in silks and satins, and sumptuous dwellings !" If this be true, (though I am hard to believe it,) I am astonished that thousands should be at so much expense, and lose so many days, nights, and years to procure those things which another can enjoy, “have equally the same pride!” at ten times less expense, and a quarter of the time procure them. What infatuated mortals! I pity them who lose so much precious time to procure that, which few enjoy but a little time, and some not at all, or just a few days, before they receive the awful summons—" come to judgment !" To such, the fool in the parable (or rich man who had laid up store for many years) is an excellent warning. But some few in the latter case, (for titles and hopours,) exceed in enormity to procure that, which the rustic-John, is equally “as proud”_happy without.
But admit, for argument sake, that the disciples of Christ (whose kingdom he himself declares is not of this world, John xviii. 36.) had no express commission to alter the temporal condition of men, but only to prepare them for a better world, by the general doctrines of faith, repentance, hope, charity, peace, and good will, (universal love and benevolence to all mankind,) submission to injuries, &c.
yet surely, though general doctrines are amply and enfficiently efficacious, for the particular reformation of all conditions of men. And if, as the writers of “ Virtue's Friend” observes, “a practical acquaintance with the quiversal virtues, temperance, justice, and benevolence, will lead individuals to the performance of all their particular duties,"* Masters and mistresses may depend upon it, that a religious, or God-fearing servant, will not only watch over them, that they do not exact more than the agreement, and fulfil their agreement, but also watch over them for good, as the apostle hath it. This, my friends, I believe, is the principal reason and cause why the more wealthy and rich among you, cannot find poor members enough to be their servants !
From hence, surely, nothing can be construed as an acknowledgment of any right or property really vested in masters, with respect to servants ; neither can it be supposed that the submission enjoined by the apostle, (1 Tim. vi. 1. Titus ii. 9. Coloss. iii. 22. &c.) implies “right of dominion”-a right in the master to exercise such a dominion as that of oppressing others unjustly; that, for instance, of making their servants (or those employed as journeymen, &c.) work what time they please, and at what wages (or hire they chuse to affix, (as shall be noticed presently.). Nay, the reciprocal duty of 'fathers, is
* Essay, or No. 27. p. 22. vol. How the adept in general morals, is better qualified for vicis situdes of station, than he whose more confined views only comprehend particular duties, although he may abide in one unvaried condition, (or uniform tenor of events,) (ibid.) 1 must leave with these celebrated wri. ters to reconcile if they can.