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they are actuated by the fear of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
“ But it was not in the court of Louis the Sixteenth that characters remarkable for piety were to be looked for; since, among those persons who formed this society, there were few distinguished above the rest by any ideas which were not of the commonest order. There were, indeed, a few literary men-some individuals who read and thought-and among this number was my father. But, as he has since said of himself, his intellectual pleasures had no reference whatever to religion; and though by no means an avowed infidel, or an open enemy of his God, it never once occurred to him, that the word of God could be made of the slightest use in enlightening and clearing the intellect, or improving the taste: and as to its power, under the divine blessing, of correcting the heart and controlling the passions, it was an idea which never could have suggested itself to his mind in the state in which he then was; for the natural man receiveth not these things.
“My father, however, read much; and, pursuing the bent given him at the University, he particularly devoted himself to the classics, together with all such books as are in any way connected with that study. And if he gained no other advantage from this plan of reading, it served to pass his time in a less hurtful way, in some respects, than it might otherwise have been employed in ; it kept him at home; it led him to associate with those of the court who were not entirely sunk into modern frivolities; and it preserved him from entering into that very low style of conversation which I have described as prevailing in the habitations of kings. The society also which frequented his house was of a literary description, men of wit and quickness; yet probably shallow, though I am not authorized to say thus much; and it is highly probable that, had they not been recommended to him by their intellectual endowments, their society would have had few charms for my
father. Though my mother was never accustomed to speak much, yet she laid little restraint on me; and I can well remember, when I was about eight years of age, that I used to steal into the saloon, where my
father was entertaining his friends, and actually to make my
way through the circle to his knees. Situated in this my place of safety, from which I knew that no one would dare to force me, I used to listen to much that passed; and once in particular I ventured to make such remarks, that a certain abbé, a friend, or rather frequent companion, of my father's, expressed in my presence his regret that a child of such talents, as he was pleased to say I possessed, should be brought up under an ordinary governess.—' Give your daughter,' said he, 'a classical education; cultivate her taste by presenting the finest models of composition to her examination; enrich her fancy with the beauties of ancient authors; allow her not to read any modern writers which are not of the same school; and be assured that your daughter will, one day or other, surpass the most celebrated females of her age.'
“ I do not pretend that I should have recollected the whole of this speech from the first hearing of it, and that at so early an age as my ninth year, had it not often been repeated by my father; although we are very ready, even in our most tender years, to receive and understand that which we think redounds to our own honour.
“But notwithstanding the good abbé, in the plenitude of his politeness, had thought proper to invest me with such extraordinary talents, I am not aware that any such really existed. I know not that there was any thing out of the common way in me, excepting that I undoubtedly inherit in some degree that vivid imagination which always enabled my father to seize, and as it were to make his own, all such poetical images as were presented to him through the medium of words, of sculpture, of painting, or of scenic representation; although the power of combining these afresh, and arranging them in new and striking forms, (which power we honour with the name of invention,) was not equally bestowed upon him. But however this might be, my beloved father, being encouraged by the abbě, and find ing that much leisure remained to him after discharging the various functions of his office in the suite of the ambassador of the English court, resolved to employ himself in the cultivation of my mind, excusing himself for not having provided the same means of instruction for
his elder daughter, who was still with her grandmother, upon the plea that her countenance, though mild and amiable, exhibited in infancy no promising symptoms of genius.
“ Thus having quieted his feelings of duty towards his firstborn, my dear father lost no time in procuring for me such a tutor as should bring me through the drudgery of Latin and Greek. This tutor was to ground me well in grammar, and while he led me gently forward through this stony road, my father never omitted any occasion of opening my mind to the beauties of the classics; the more elegant passages of the lieathen mythology; the fabulous histories of ancient heroes, kings, and demi-gods; as well as the brilliant actions and heroic sentiments of the most celebrated personages of those periods of ancient history which are not concealed beneath the cloak of fable or the mists of doubt.
Many of these lessons were given me in the highly decorated environs of Versailles, or in those parts of the palace into which we had admittance- in the halls of the Louvre-in the gardens of the Thuilleries and the Luxemburg-in the pleasure-grounds of Marlyand other places in the neighbourhood of Paris; and assuredly had I been born at Rome itself, before the name of Jesus had extended beyond the precincts of his native land, I could not have enjoyed (if such a word be not ill used in this place) better opportunities of studying the figures, attributes, and characters of the heathen divinities, than those which I possessed in and near the capital of His Most Christian Majesty.
“I was at that time too young to be introduced into company, and there was no enjoyment which I could conceive to be greater than walking with my parents in the gardens of Versailles, and listening to my father's conversation, for his lessons were at that time always given through the medium of conversation, and generally taken from the objects which presented themselves; and there can be no doubt but that lessons thus given and thus brought before the eye, are not easily forgotten. Is it possible for me to forget the outlines of the history of the son of Jupiter and Latona, when that history was given me as I stood in the very presence as it were of the demi-god himself, in that beautiful grove
of Versailles where three exquisite groups are placed in a grotto formed out of an enormous rock, the entrance of which represents the palace of Thetis ?- in the centre is the celestial hero himself, accompanied by six nymphs, the two other groups representing tritons watering the horses of the sun. These last figures are reckoned chef-d'oeuvres of the art of sculpture, and seem to be inhaling with fiery nostrils the waters which on days of high festivity gush in torrents from the rock. Or could I lose the recollection of the various adventures of Bacchus, Diana, or Mars, when every perfection of painting and tapestry had been employed to fix them in my imagination? And though my father, no doubt, endeavoured, with all the delicacy that parental affection could adopt, to keep all that was decidedly vicious in these histories as much as possible in the background, yet their effect, when purified as much as they were capable of being purified, was every thing but good; for the imagination of unregenerate youth is ever ready to add that which is wanting, when such aliment only is supplied as carries not with it a strong corrective to evil, just as a disordered stomach turns all to poison, which is not an actual antidote to its distempered state. Thus the imagination of children being always in a vitiated state, some such corrective as the word of God supplies should be constantly administered to them, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds ; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. x. 4, 5.) I was not more than twelve
age parents left Versailles, at which time also I quitted my tutor, who had already carried me through the first seven books of Virgil, together with a part of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and had begun to initiate me in the mysteries of Homer amid all his original beauties. Young however as I then was, the various recollections and impressions I carried
away with me of mythological subjects, the sentiments I had acquired from the heathen writers, and the strong bent which had been given to my taste, were such, that I am persuaded no means which could have
been used under any system of education, would have effaced those impressions, or changed that bent.
“ Now it may be asserted that no school-boy in England, while obtaining the rudiments of classical literature, can ever be precisely in the circumstances in which I received my education; for our more enlightened land abounds not with that multitude of images and symbols of a polluted polytheism, with which various parts of the Continent are overspread. Nevertheless, do we not convey to our sons, and even our daughters, the same images, through the medium of books? And though the cold colouring of words undoubtedly makes not its way so speedily to the heart of a child, as the warmer tints of painting and the more palpable forms of sculpture; nevertheless, the solemnity and gravity which accompany our classical lectures, and the importance we affix to them, are perhaps as likely to give them influence over the minds of our young people, as the lighter mode in which these lessons are conveyed on the Continent. However, to leave those to judge of this subject who may understand it better than I do, I hesitate not to say, that I have no doubt but that the prevalence of classical and heathen imagery among the more refined of our continental neighbours, is one grand source of their corruption, one great cause of their darkness with respect to religion, and that which has upheld the influence of popery, where otherwise it must have fallen from its own inherent absurdity. Of this prevalence none can have an idea who have not quitted the shores of England: nor am I able to understand how this circumstance can have been so long overlooked by the many excellent men who have visited our continental neighbours, unless perhaps that they are deluded with the opinion so commonly enforced among us, that the ancient heathenism of Greece and Rome is an enemy so entirely overthrown, so utterly mortified and subdued, as to be no longer an object of fear; while the papal power, though in a declining state, is waiting only a fair opportunity to rise again and obtain fresh triumphs.
• The occasion of our leaving Versailles was the sudden death of my mother's only brother, by which a very large property devolved to her in the duchy of Baden.