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was displayed. We refer to one instance, in particular, already mentioned in our account of Mrs. More, viz., the establishment of her charity-schools, in Cheddar, and the adjoining villages, amidst discouragements, that would have shaken ordinary minds, and even a virulence of opposition, that would have driven from the field, any one who was not a hero, or rather a heroine ; for it could be only a woman's spirit of zeal and endurance, that was able so to triumph. Her long-continued prosecution of this object, is one of the most pleasing instances of the effects of the temper of which we are speaking, that are to be found in the history of modern philanthropy. This trait in Hannah More, had it not been directed by divine grace, would have shown itself in the unwearied pursuit of literary pleasures and distinctions,—the eager chase of fashion, taste, and splendor,-a course of life on which she once entered, though under the influence, at the same time, of many moral restraints. Or, had she yielded to her inborn love of the country, and retirement, this same vigor of character would have appeared in prolonged devotion to the muses, in the idolatries of a heart, expending its energies on the decorations of a garden, or in the passionate hankering after an ideal perfection. The fondness with which she panted after the quiet and pleasures of retired life, was, at length, actually indulged, so far as it could be consistently with the interruptions of company, the consequence of her wide-spread fame. Yet, governed as she was by a heavenly principle, she could not be contented with the gratification of these lower, though innocent wishes of her nature. She was uneasy, after having attained the summit of eartbly good. Mere speculation had no charms for her; and she felt, that she must fulfill the better and nobler purposes of religion : or, as her biographer expresses bimself, " there was no rest for her, but in the consciousness of being useful.”
It has given us pleasure, in reading the life of this christian lady, to notice her firm and decided spirit. It was a trait of character which she often had occasion to manifest. Few, with her susceptible feelings, could have pursued so independent a course of moderation and integrity, amidst the worldly fascinations which surrounded her, particularly in the early and middle period of life. Gratified she must have been, with the flattering attentions, that were paid her, by the learned and the great ; nor with all her humility, could she have remained wholly unconscious of her influence: yet, she was too firm to be corrupted,—too decided to be seduced from the path of duty, either by the examples that were placed before her, or by the adulations that were addressed to her heart. She practically adhered to her own notions of right, amidst these brilliant scenes,-the theater of literary glory,-at the hazard of being accounted singular; and her firmness, as might justly be anticipated, commanded respect. On fitting occasions also, both in her correspondence and in her social intercourse, sh bore her decided testiniony in favor of correct principles and evan gelical religion, and against error and impiety, of whatever nam or degree. In her published works, notwithstanding the tender ness of her feelings, and the consideration which she must bavi felt to be due to many of her friends in high life, on account o their courtesies and kindness, she spoke boldly and plainly, in con cerns which affected their spiritual welfare, the prosperity of the gospel, and the honor of God. Her Thoughts on the Manner : of the Great, and her Estimate of the Religion of the Fashiona ble World, especially the latter work, was a message of faithfulnes to those classes of people, whose vices were reproved, and whose righteousness was weighed in the balance, and found wanting and yet, such were the reputation of genius, and the influence on inflexible principle, that, though those classes were never before so completely exposed, in their corruptions and deficiencies, they never before so patiently submitted to the censure. Her independent and decided turn was conspicuously displayed, in the purpose which she formed and executed, of quitting the theater of her fame, and the allurements of fashionable life, and of consecrating herself, in a more secluded situation, to the service of God, “to be used as an instrument in the work of grace upon the soul, and the extension of the Savior's kingdom.” This was a most important era in her life, in its consequences, both to herself and to the world. This scheme, however, was not suddenly formed and matured,-she had long revolved it in her mind; but having resolved to adopt it, she cheerfully submitted to the selfdenial which such a step required. Like the Roman consul, who ordered his magnificent private dwelling to be pulled down, because he would not have the citizens surmise, that he was affecting the state of a king; so this favorite of refined and fashionable society, abjured distinctions, the acceptance of which, the enemies of vital piety might naturally have supposed, as implicating her in their own worldliness: and she thenceforth sought the obscurities and labors of a far different scene.
Scarcely any thing can have impressed the mind of the reader more forcibly, than the low estimate which Mrs. More placed on herself, and her performances. Her humility was equal to her other extraordinary qualities. We have seldom noticed, in literary history, so fair an example of this virtue. The vanity of authors is proverbial,--to say nothing of what has been often flippantly asserted, respecting the female character in particular, on this subject. The greatest minds only are exempted from such an infirmity. According to a sensible writer, one infallible characteristic of genuine magnanimity of soul, is unalterable modesty or humility.
It is a feeling which arises from the comparison, which such a mind makes between itself and abstract excellence. We will not say, that Mrs. More had no spice of vanity in her constitution; but we are constrained to say, that she manifested a far smaller portion of it, than literary biography has been wont to record. It may seem incredible, to ordinary minds, that, with all the notice which she received at home and abroad, and the immense circulation of her works, she could persist, (to use her own familiar expressions in her correspondence,) in calling herself a nobody, and her performances nothings, mere trifles. This was not affectation. She was too honest, too scrupulously conscientious, to employ such a method, for the purpose of having her humility itself panegyrized by her friends. She evidently acted agreeably to her own noble precept, that “ humility is the foundation of virtue, and that pride is as incompatible with piety towards God, as it is with the repose of our own hearts." A practical exemplification of this trait of her character, incidentally appears in her correspondence. It was a case, in which some one attempted to impose a work on the public, as though it had been Mrs. More's own work. Contrary to the advice of her friends, she took no public notice of the imposition ; only remarking to her correspondent, “it is the humblest of all possible deceits, in any author, to wish to pass for me; and I would not expose any body, for such a meritorious act of humiliation."
Mrs. More's industry deserves all commendation. The full employment of time, in useful labors or studies, was a principle which she held to be sacred, as well as a babit which she found to be delightful. Whatever of reputation, attainments, influence, and usefulness, she realized, was owing, perhaps, as much to diligence as to genius. With some persons of superior endowments, she did not feel, that native capacity was any reason why the powers should not be tasked and strengthened, by constant and persevering exertion. She was, accordingly, a wonderful example of industry. In all her pursuits, whether secular, literary, or religious,-in her household cares, in the decorations of her dwellings and grounds, in the management of her charity-schools, in the prosecution of benevolent objects, in the cultivation of her understanding, and in the productions of her pen, she showed a constancy, as well as an energy of application, which has rarely been equaled. The number of her books alone, produced amidst large demands of time, occasioned by circumstances already adverted to, is a striking proof of the success with which she learned economy in the use of that invaluable trust. This, and every other monument which she reared to the glory of God, attested the strength of her conviction on this subject, and the unabated diligence with which she pursued her high and holy aims.
It appears to us an admirable quality in Mrs. More, that she Vol. VII.
was characterized by a peculiar spirit of self-control, and sel denial, united to a wise and tender consideration of others. Thi consideration was directed, uniformly, to the ease, confort, an especially the spiritual good, of her fellow-creatures; and wi most successfully exercised through the control which she had ove her own feelings, and the self-denial she was enabled habitually 1 practice. With a wonderful sagacity, she hit upon the most effec ual and winning ways of doing good; and her spirit was equal t the labors, and even the drudgery, necessary for the accomplish ment of the object. To this quality in Hannah More, we migh give the single name of benevolence, did it not also include tb idea of management. If the latter term is too nearly associate with duplicity, or disingenuousness, yet we may, arbitrarily a least, conceive of it in a better sense. Connected with a sanctifying principle, it is identified with the maxim of a living author, who
looked deeply into human life, viz. : “ Manage yourself well and you may manage all the world.” In Mrs. More, it was a benevolent, holy management; it had benevolent, holy ends in view. According to her own account, naturally inclined to impatience and irritable feelings, she yet learned, through grace, to curb this out-going of our common depravity; having in view, at the same time, the influence, which, by means of her own selfpossession, she might exert over others, for their best good. And has she not shown what an able tactician she was, in the worthiest sense of the word ? Who, in modern times, has left more enduring monuments of holy skill, than this female, in molding to her own gentle and benevolent purposes, a mighty mass of minds ? Among the ranks of beauty, and fashion, and greatness, as well as among the children of want and obscurity, and through all the gradations between them, her awakening and healing spirit insinuated its way, with a view to lead every order of mind to objects worthy of itself. In the time of Britain's greatest peril, from the inundation of revolutionary principles, and the doctrines of “an ambiguous scepticism," the single head and heart of this woman, caring for the ark of her God, her country, and her kind, was the principal means, under Divine Providence, as many were ready to acknowledge, of saving the constitution, is not the religion, of the empire. She seemed to be purposely raised up for a work of this kind, with an admirable genius and training, for touching the springs of action, in minds of every variety of taste and capacity.
But piety ruled the ascendant, in her character. It was her crowning excellence, as it is the crowning excellence of every one who has any moral worth in the sight of God. It was the root of all her virtues, the test of their genuineness, the bond of their union, and the principle of their permanency. It was deep, humble, experimental, practical piety, based on a correct belief, and exhibited
in a holy temper, and well-ordered life. Involving in its elements, as it does in every case where it really exists, love to God, faith in the Redeemer, benevolence towards men, a spirit of penitence, submission, prayer, and other fruits of the Spirit,-all proceeding from a renewed heart,-it shone, in Mrs. More, with unwonted purity, brightness, and constancy. It formed the basis of her activity, the incentive of her works of charity, the spring-head of her consolation, and the sheet-anchor of her hopes. Like the powers of her mind, her religion was well balanced; it possessed a fine, scriptural proportion; nothing was unsightly, distorted, or out of its place. She avoided, to a far greater extent than christians commonly do, those incongruities, those discrepancies, those shades, so ominous to religious character and influence, of which the history of piety, or its profession, has furnished so many examples. Her religion lived, and moved, and had its being, in principles drawn from the word of God, and rendered efficient by the Holy Spirit. It seemed to partake, in due mixture, of the opposite, yet compatible, properties of activity and study ; of zeal and contemplation; of boldness and caution; of the use of means, and dependence on God. She exemplified, in a remarkable degree, her own doctrine of consistency, as inculcated particularly in Cælebs,—a doctrine, which, though held by her in contra-distinction from sinless perfection, is yet a desirable approximation towards it. It appears, from the account of her life, that her religious feelings and principles began to operate at a period somewhat early, though we are uninformed respecting the circumstances connected with their commencement. But they did not assume, for a considerable length of time, that decided character which they afterwards assumed, and by which her name has been rendered so illustrious. She was, more than most others, tempted, by the adulation offered to genius, to mingle in scenes and company, ill calculated to promote eminent spirituality of mind, and undivided consecration to God. Yet, through the whole period of her literary triumphs, while she was in the habit of going the round of the refined and fashionable society of London, it is evident, that her soul aspired after a higher good, if she had not indeed at times a taste of it. She was distinguished, among her associates, by her chastened spirit, the avowal of her religious sentiments, attention to public worship, and observation of the sabbath. The theater she visited but a short time, having quitted it in the height of her success as a writer of plays; and, by degrees, the estimate which the gospel puts on all the objects of human pursuit, was admitted, in her own miod, as the criterion of truth, and the regulating principle of life. Portions of a diary which she kept, as selected by her biographer, are affecting sketches of a heart alive to every holy and benevolent work, and yet deeply sensible of native corruption, and con