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IMMEDIATELY after the Commencement be embarked for England, carrying with him recommendations to the Society for propagating the Gospel in foreign parts, as a fit person to supply the new Mision, then proposed to be opened for-Gloucester county, in New Jersey. Upon the Society's nomination, he was admitted into holy orders by the present Lord Bishop of London, Dr. Terrick, who expressed great satisfa£tion in his examination, and particularly in the perusal of an elegant Englis piece which he composed in a few minutės, upon a Theological question, which he was desired to give bis sentiments upon.
He returned from England, and landed at Philadelphia, December 26th, 1765; having had for his fellow-passenger (among others) the worthy and ingenious Lady, to whom niany of his pieces are addressed. Upon his arrivai, be entered immediately upon the business of his Mission ; and alas! but just lived long enough to Mhew, by the goodness of his temper, the purity of bis morals, the cheerfulness and affability of his conversation, the sublimity and soundness of his do Elrines, and the warmth of bis Pulpit Compositions, how well he was qualified for the sacred office, to which he had now wholly devoted bimself. He died Oetober 29th, 1767, lamented by all that knezo bim; and by none more earnestly and effectionately, than by his own Congregations, whom be had not yet served two years !
Soon after his death, the papers which compose the following Volume were committed to the care of myself, and the Lady already mentioned, agreeable to some of his own last directions ; and to sacred is the trust consigned by deceased friend, that I scarce know how to excuse my long delay in offering them to tve world; especially after the great encouragement given to the publication, by the numerous and respectable list of Subscribers, prefixed to the work. The true excuse will be the best, and I am persuaded, the most acceptable ; namely, my want of leisure to seleet and review the different papers, and the interruption which the work met with, by 19cy being obliged to take a voyage to South Carolina, during the last winter.
WHAT high and rapturous Ideas our Author had formed of true PopTIC GENIUS, may be in some measure conceived from the following Preface, which seems to' have been intended for bis Pieces, and was undoubtedly written by him, in the foort interval between his last dangerous illness, and that fatal relapse, which put an end to his life--This Preface I shall give literally as he left it; for here tbe least variation would be criminal.
P R E F A C E.
, be, bas been accounted the
most peculiar of all the liberal arts; and it is the only One, in the circle of literature, which a man of common capacity cannot, by meer dint of conftant ap
plication,, become master of. The most exalted prose · writers that ever graced the learned world, have ren
dered themselves - liable to ridicule in their addrefies to the Muses."
“ The great Cicero, not less famous for the elegance of his style, than for his universal knowledge, was a remarkable instance of the truth of this obfervation. And the wonder ceases, if what a celebrated Critic* says, be true, to wit-That to constitute a Poet, is required “ an elevation of soul, that depends not only on art and study, but must also be The Gift of Heaven.” 1 say, if this be the case, the riddle is immediately expounded, and we are at no loss to align a reason, why some, (comparatively speaking) illiterate men, have been the sublimest poets of the age they lived in.”
" It is not strange, therefore, that those whom nature has thus distinguished, jould be looked on as a kind of prodigies in the world. For, according to Horace, it is not a trifling power the man is endued with
-meum qui pectus inaniter angit, Irritat, mulcet, falfis terroribus implet, Ut MAGUS
LIB. II. EPIST. I.
“ There is a pleasing Je ne scay quoi in the produetions of poetic genius, which is easier felt than described. It is the voice of nature in the Poet, operating like a charm on the soul of the reader. It is the marvellous conception, the noble wildness, the lofty sentiment, the fire and enthusiasm of Spirit, the living imagery, the exquisite choice of words, the variety, the sweetness, the majesty of numbers, and the irresistable magic of expressiont.
THE prose writer, may indeed warm his Reader with a serene and steady fire; he may keep up his attention with the energetic, the flowing period. But the Poet's it is, to wrap him in a flame-- to
+ This sentence, so truly rich and poetic in itself, is a fine infance of the Author's just conception and feeling of a true Poetic genius and enthusiasm.
disolve him, as it were, in bis own rapturous blaze ! The Poet's it is, to hurry.bim out of himself, with the same velocity, as though he were really mounted on a winged Pegasus - It is his to lift him up to Heaven, or plunge him into the gloom of Tartarus— It is his, to unveil to him the secrets of the deep, or to exhibit to his mind, all the novelty of this varied world—to carry him back into the darkness of antiquity, or waft bim forwards into the vast sea of futurity-and finally, to inspire him with the patriot glow, or fire his soul with the heavenly ideas of MORAL Beauty, and all the varied paßions of Love, Fear, Terror, Compassion, &c. &c."
“ Such is the genuine Poet, when improved by the precepts of Art; and the works of such have been the continual delight of mankind, as they afford the fublimest intellectual enjoyment. With such, to tread the flowery fields of imagination, and gather the rich fruits of knowledge, is HAPPINESS indeed!"
“ But it is rare, that such Natural Geniuses are seen to arrive at this envied height. Some black obstacle still clogs their wings, and retards their pro. gress---- Frequently those to whom. Nature has been thus bountiful, have net leisure to attend to the cultiva