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by which Satan has held the dominion of the world for the last four thousand years. It is not, however, my present object to ascertain precisely how large a portion of the habitable globe is still lying in absolute paganism. The horrors and enormities of open heathenism are evident enough to every observer: we can all of us see the follies and absurdities of Hindoos and Hottentots with a sufficient degree of clearness; and I trust that there are none of you, my dear young people, who are not zealously promoting the cause of missions, whose direct purpose
is to evangelize these dark corners of the earth. present business is not with these remote evils : by looking continually towards them, we are perhaps in danger of drawing comparisons too favourable to ourselves, and by constantly gazing upon the mote in our brother's
eye become insensible of the beam which is in our own eye.
“From the first day that I was honoured in being permitted to become your instructress, it has been my object to draw your attention as much as possible to your own spiritual concerns, and to guard you against those dangers which grow out of the present state of society in this country. Every age and every state of life have their peculiar trials and temptations, and dangers often arise in quarters whence they were least suspected.
• It is well known that there is much actual idolatry in the papal Church, in which the Virgin Mary and the saints are made the constant objects of divine honours : but the Roman Catholic religion has been losing ground and influence for some years in Europe. Neither is it from this quarter that the young people of England, and we may even add those of the Continent, have now most reason to fear.
“ It is impossible, one should suppose, for a thoughtful person to visit the Continent, or to become acquainted with our places of public education in England, without perceiving that true religion has another enemy now existing more powerful than popery itself, and one indeed to which the continuance of the Roman Catholic religion on the Continent, and the very slow advancement of religious truth in England since the period of the Reformation, may be traced with a degree of certainty which in after ages will be as apparent as the influence of popery before the time of Luther.
** This enemy of true religion, my dear young people,” added the lady of the manor, “is no other than the ancient heathen literature; and it might perhaps be very useful on the present occasion to enquire whether the dark shadows of paganism are so absolutely passed away from Christendom as is generally believed ; and whether Satan has not been enabled, with a degree of art unrivalled in the annals of mankind, to keep up the influence of heathen morality with nearly undiminished force, and to preserve the fascinations of heathen profligacy upon the minds of our young people, under the mask of classic elegance and ancient wisdom, not only for ages after the light of true religion had shone on various parts of the earth, but even down to the present period-a period, in this country especially, of no small light and illumination in
other respects?” In this place one of the young ladies interrupted the lady of the manor, to ask whether she comprehended aright what she had heard; and whether their kind instructress meant them to understand that she considered it a kind of heathenism to study the writings of idolaters in the manner in which they were studied by the learned in the present day?
“My dear young friend," replied the lady of the manor, “ I am by no means such a barbarian as to wish the destruction of a single interesting vestige of ancient days; neither do I believe it to be any offence against the Almighty to study the writings of antiquity in order to throw light either upon history in general or upon the sacred volume in particular. But when I consider that the reading of these books is made the constant employment of our sons from early infancy until the period of education is supposed to be finished, to the almost total exclusion of all biblical learning ;-when I consider that the countenance and authority of all we hold sacred, and all we hold dear, is given to these works which abound in mythological allusions of the most impure nature, and whose choicest passages are replete with such vain-glorious and worldly sentiments as a man must utterly renounce before he can enter the kingdom of heaven ;when we consider that a knowledge of the classics is counted indispensable to the character of a gentleman, while a very slender acquaintance with Scripture is re
quired even from a minister of our Established Church;
we must acknowledge that, although we do not actually bow the knee to Jupiter and Saturn, the shadows of paganism have not yet passed away from our country; and if not from our country, how much less so from our continental neighbours !"
The lady of the manor then proceeded to inform her young people of the result of her observations on this subject in a visit made some years before to the Continent.
“ I had expected,” said she, “ to have found our neighbours on the Continent, at least those who preserved the old order of things as it existed before the Revolution, quiet and simple papists, having their houses decorated with the images of their saints, and their walls perhaps enriched with representations of the Holy Family, of St. Agnace, and St. Ursula, &c. &c. How much then was I astonished to find that those pieces of sculpture and painting which had any reference to their religion were almost wholly confined to places of worship and burying-grounds; while nearly all the ornaments of their houses and gardens, whether produced by the pencil or the chisel, bore allusion to mythological and classical subjects. The inhabitants of the Continent are immoderately fond of paintings and statuary, insomuch that they frequently adorn their gardens and houses with them; the figures in each being large as life, and representing scenes from Ovid, and other ancient writers of the same description.
"I am rather inclined to think that our continental neighbours are not the deep scholars that we are, and probably do not for the most part enter so accurately into the niceties of language and criticism as we do; at least I believe our islanders wish to have it thought so. But be this as it may, their minds seem very deeply imbued with classical ideas, and not possessing the delicacy which we affect, they represent in colours and proportions which none can mistake, those unholy conceptions of the unregenerate imagination which are found in the above-mentioned authors-which very authors are made the study of our infant boys when scarcely weaned from the breast.
“ The enlightened English tutor may perhaps reply
to this—No: we select with care; choosing that which is likely to be profitable to our pupils, and casting the
In return to which it may well be asked, How can good be selected from that in which no good exists ? or how can we draw any thing
that is profitable from that which is universally evil? There may indeed be found in heathen writers some beautiful descriptions of the works of God, and the glories of nature: but all that proceeds from the writer himself, is and must be corrupt; since every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart are declared, in the sacred volume, to be only evil continually. The carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be: every sentiment, therefore, of a heathen writer must needs be corrupt, and opposed to that which is right; neither can we wonder at any evil effect which is or may be produced by placing the sentiments, actions, and imaginations of the heathen world under the constant observation of our children. And I have seriously apprehended that much, very much of the depravity of the young people on the Continent may have proceeded from the constant recurrence of these unholy images, whether represented in sculpture, painting, or needlework; whether found in the original languages, or in translations; or merely re-modelled in the shape of epic poems, dramas, songs, or romances. “But,” proceeded the lady of the manor,
as I know your partiality, my dear young people, to any thing in the style of narrative, instead of detaining your attention any longer with my remarks on a subject which may be more interesting to you hereafter than it now is, I shall read a letter to you, which I received a short time ago from a lady, who is now the happy wife of an excellent man in exalted life, and the joyful mother of a beautiful and pious family.
The lady of the manor then rang her bell, and directed her servant to bring in a small casket which she had placed on her dressing-table.
During the absence of the servant, the young people ventured to put some enquiries respecting the lady in question.
In answer to all these enquiries, the lady of the manor referred them to the letter, which she said contained a
little epitome of the lady's life, written with the express purpose
of being shewn to a person who was a total stranger to any part of the author's history.
On the casket being put into the hands of the lady of the manor, she opened and drew from it a letter, together with a small painting representing a young and extremely lovely person dressed in the habit of a huntress. Her figure was singularly elegant and majestic; her golden hair was knotted with classic simplicity on the back of her head; health bloomed on her cheek; and genius sparkled in her eye. The back-ground of the little picture represented a wild wood, and two delicate Italian greyhounds occupied some part of the fore-ground. The execution of this little painting was as excellent as the design was beautiful.
When the young people had satisfied themselves with looking upon this picture, they laid it on one side, and the lady of the manor commenced the letter.
A Letter from Ellen Temple respecting the Effect produced
upon the youthful Mind by our usual Classical Studies.
• My grandfather, as you well know, my dear Madam, was the Earl of K and my father a younger son of that nobleman. My father was a remarkably handsome man; his personal accomplishments being of a kind which served as a letter of recommendation to him whereever he wished to be introduced. His figure was strikingly majestic, while his countenance expressed a peculiar sweetness mixed with an extraordinary degree of vivacity. After being educated in one of the first public schools in England, he was considered as one of the most elegant scholars of his time in the University of Oxford, through which he passed as a gentleman com
“ My father's private tutor at Oxford was a man of talent; and having, no doubt, in his situation as an instructor of youth, often suffered the penance of being obliged to bear with much dulness, he seemed to be particularly delighted with the rapid manner in which my father received ideas and adopted them as his own. And he was not a little gratified in the success of his