Page images
PDF
EPUB

“Marriage is, moreover, of excellent use, as a means of transferring our affections from ourselves to others. A series of family cases, Carid greatly improves, and as it were, mellows the mind of man. It furnishes a kind of exercise and discipline, which eminently fit him for great and generous conduct; and, in fact, makes him a superior kind of being, with respect to the generality of those who have had no family connections.

“ Those persons who give themselves up to lawless indulgence of their passions, besides being exposed to the most loathsome and painful disorders; besides exhausting the powers of nature prematurely, and subjecting themselves to severe remorse of mind; have not, whatever they may fancy or pretend, any thing like the real pleasure and satisfaction that persons gene, rally have in the married state.

“ Before I conclude these observations, I shall add, that it is more in the power of young women, than of any thing that can be suggested to young men, either by myself, their friends, or their own reflections, to bring them into a right method of thinking and acting in this respect. Were it sufficiently known to young

men, that a commerce with the abandoned part of the sex, would be a bar to their acceptance with the modest and worthy part of it, and that known profligacy, in this respcct, would be real infamy, the end that I have in view would be effectually answered. But I am sorry to observe, that I cannot avail myself of an appeal to the conduct of the generality of young ladies, who have had what is called a polite edication, in aid of my argument.

« Would this amiable part of our species only do themselves the justice to insist upon the same strict chastity and honour with respect to men, which men universally insist upon with respect to them, our sex would no doubt be as virtuous as theirs, and then they would make much better husbands and fathers than they. do now. In countries where no object is made of the chastity of women before marriage, their morals in this respect are as dissolute as ours.

“ It gives me pain to lay any part of the profligacy of morals in young men to the charge of young women, whose own morals are so exemplary; and especially to hint, as I must do, that it is in reality owing to their having less delicacy, in this respect than the men have. But each sex is naturally the tutor of the other, and by this aid vices are best reformed, and. virtues promoted.”

· The little tract from which the above quota.tions are taken, ought to be attentively read by every young man, who wishes to see his. true interests placed in a clear light. But the sons of dissipation are in general too deeply tainted with depravity, to listen to the voice of wisdom.

The many-headed'hydra of dissipation seems to have infected the air of the fashionable world with its pestiferous breath, insomuch, that masquerades, gaming, and seduction, are now considered as necessary in high life, as the liveried menial, and the splendid chariot. The great vulgar, or at least ninety out of every hundred of these pampered sons of opulence, who annually visit the capital,are ingenious in the production of: human misery. As the distiller converts wholesome grain into liquid poison, so they, by the abuse of the blessings of life, render their: existence a curse, instead of a blessing to themselves and their fellow mortals.

A candid review of the character of Dr.' Priestley, will convince us, that he was a man of extraordinary talents and virtues. Indefatig. .able in the pursuit of truth, the great primary object of all his studies; profound in research; and clear in his illustrations of many useful discoveries in science. Strictly honest in his pecuniary transactions ; justice was his guiding star, and his ethical works inculcate piety to the great Creator, and universal philanthropy.

With regard to his speculative opinions, he is accountable only to God: “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant; to his own master he standeth or falleth.”

The following observations on this subject, communicated by a friend, seem well entitled to the consideration of persons who, from a mistaken zeal, or fanatical malignity, may be too ready to judge rashly of things above their comprehension :

“ I shall be glad to see a life of Dr. Priestley. Your object is to do good, by giving the public a fair account of the life of a great and useful man. As a philosopher, I highly esteem him, and consider him an honour to his country. I have often regretted that he ever meddled with politics, which were foreign to his calling, as an experimental philosopher and chymist; and still more so that he ever meddled with experimental divinity, which I am certain he never properly understood.

“Many of the religious world imagine the Doctor to have been a bad man, because he had a bad creed. But the one is by no means a necessary consequence of the other. I have known very bad men who had a sound creed, and I have certainly known good and useful men, who held, what I thought, a very bad creed. Dr. Priestley, as far as I ever had an opportunity of knowing, was a strictly honest upright man: and when his outside was so fair, and his life so useful, it would be a most infamous usurpation of the prerogative of God, to judge his heart, or even suspect his motives.”

That the sentiments of Dr. Priestley were inimical to church establishments, he never attempted to conceal. In the preface to the first volume of his “ Experiments on Different Kinds of Air," he says, “ It was ill policy in Leo X. to patronize polite literature. He was cherishing an enemy in disguise, and the English

« PreviousContinue »