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But, if you inquire with the least degree of attention, you will find, that this is often the case. When the government are to be deceived by direct and premeditated falsehoods, who are the primary instigators ? Who are a terror to those, whose consciences will not allow them to violate the truth?
Who, let me further ask, are the first to contrive low and unworthy acts of opposition to authority ? Who are the most ready to tempt you to neglect your studies, and to engage in dissipation ? Are they not generally those, whose sentiments and whose conduct in your cooler moments you contemplate with disapprobation ? Are they those, whom you are willing to exhibit to the world, as your intimates and exemplars ?
If not, why will you forego your independence in favor of such characters ? Why will you so readily consent to a line of conduct, which, if it do not now fill you with selfreproack, can hardly fail to do this on mature reflection ?
Certain kinds of independence you may observe very prevalent. The students are, for example, without difficulty persuaded to feel independent on the instructions, the authority, and the counsels of their teachers.
Advice from any other source they are apt to consider, as unnecessary, or ill adapted to their situation. They feel perfectly competent to invent their own modes of study, and to form their own rules of conduct.
Were such selfsufficient characters to be addressed, however they might need advice, it would be treated with scorn, unless it should flatter their peculiar turn of thought, or be given in honeyed language, adapted to their taste.
But I am happy in the correspondence of one, who is willing to listen to the dictates of experience, though contrary to his preconceived opinions, though destitute of the modern ornaments of style, and though they have nothing but truth and the general suffrage of the wise and virtuous to recommend them.
Allow me then, as one, who cherishes a parental concern for your welfare, and who has long taken a lively interest in whatever relates to our Alma Mater, to dissuade, you from
that spurious kind of independence, which consists in a proud contempt of wholesome counsel and restraint.
At the same time let me enforce on you that independence of mind, which will lead you ever to act from the sober dictates of your own judgment, and to despise the influence and the example of those, who would cause you to deviate from the path of rectitude ; that true independence, which will always cause you “ et sentire quæ velis, et quæ sentias dicere.” Yours, &c.
AN ESSAY ON MODERN IDOLATRY.
10 perceive the imperfections of others before we discover our own, and to censure those very faults, to which we ourselves are addicted, is a trait in the human character, which not unfrequently exposes us to ridicule. In no particular does the truth of this assertion appear more evident, than in our decisions concerning the religion and morality of the Ancients. When we consider the degree of refinement, at which they had arrived, their sacrifices, orgies, and other religious rites raise in us astonishment at their depravity ; while we, although aided by the light of revelation, have equalled them in almost every species of idolatry. The calamities, which befel the Israelites for their apostacy, appear to us just, and we do not hesitate to pronounce them idolaters, without even suspecting, that the appellation applies with equal propriety to ourselves. .
To evince that these assertions are not without proper foundation, and at the same time to exhibit a succinct view of modern Pagan theology, are the objects, now to be accomplished ; and, should I fail to convince, I may perhaps amuse,
Plutus, the god of wealth, for the number of his votaries, deserves to be placed first on the catalogue of modern idols. He was emblematically painted by the Ancients, as both blind and foolish, lame in his approach, but winged in his
departure. Of the extent of his influence over the ancient world information is deficient ; but at the present day we may safely affirm, that “all nations, people, and languages fall “ down and worship this golden image.” As a counterpart to the hierophants of antiquity, men, who seceded from the world, and devoted their time to the service of idols, are the priests of Plutus, who, from their selfdenial, and extreme devotion to the object of their worship, are denominated " Misers.” From the extraordinary veneration, in which this idol is held among the moderns, the province of some of the most celebrated deities of the ancients is now devolved on him. The fair goddess of Love has yielded to his superior influence, and, like Moloch and Saturn of old, he is now the object of human sacrifices. To obtain the object, held forth in his worship, infatuated mortals brave death in a thousand forins ; in the horrors of shipwreck on unknown and desolate shores, in the chilling atmosphere of the polar regions, and in the no less inhospicable climes of the tropics. Nor are his sacrifices always thus voluntary ; for, since the commencement of the fifteenth century, thousands of human victims have been forcibly conveyed from the coasts of Africa, and immolated on the shores of the New World, in a manner far more cruel, than ever was practised by the ancienţs, or even by those, whom we are pleased to denominate “ the unenlightened savages of the South Sea islands.”
Dame Fortune too has always maintained no inconsiderable share of influence over mankind. Her reputation is so. far enhanced at the present time, that no enterprize of moment is embarked in, without previously invoking her aid, and in a manner no less modern, than novel. Men, famed for integrity among the people, are nominated to serve in her priesthood ; and with them are deposited the offerings to Fortune. In process of time alluring manifestoes are pubJished, intimating, that at the appointed place the blind, but munificent goddess will, by the agency of her wheel, bountifully signalize those, who may engage in her cause, without Fespect to rank or age. Never did the ancient fanè of Delphos, nor the sacred groves of Dedona, witness such crowds of suppliants. There the civilian and the statesman disdain not to intermingle with the herd, and to wait with anxiety to hear the declaration of their fate. But the blind goddess of chance distributes her favors with the same illjudged libee rality, with which she did formerly į for, among the numerous candidates, who solicit her uncertain favor, the least deserving may prove the most successful. To quiet the murmurs of those deluded votàries, who had been indulging themselves in the golden dreams of fancy, they are told, that their dona. tions are not misapplied, but will be employed in a manner, in which they were never designed, in benevolent and (tell it not in Gath) religious purposes.
Honor is a “capricious idol, and accommodates himself to the pleasure and convenience of his followers." The diversity of opinion, entertained among the moderns concerning this idol, is worthy of note. Every sect, profession, and chan racter, make pretensions to his worship; each differing from the rest in almost every particular except the name. . “ I am a man of honor is an emphatical expression in the mouth of every one, from the officer of state to the tenant of the Bride well. If Varro could enumerate three hundred Jupiters among the ancients, we can certainly furnish as many Honors among the moderns. Their laws are to me involved in such a maze of obscurity and inconsistency, that I must pass them over in silence, briefly observing, that among the ancients access to his temple was obtained only by passing through that of virtue. Among our honorables this is so far from being esteemed a prerequisite, that it is deemed a disparagement.
The next, which merits our attention, is Bacchus. That he still maintains, and that he ever will maintain his ancient godship inviolate, we cannot hesitate to affirm. For the number and respectability of his votaries he should rank next to Plutus ; and for universality of influence yield to none in the modern pantheon. The muses were formerly said to have been under theguardianship of Apollo, but it is generally believe ed, that they are now worshipped through the secret medias tion of Bacchus. If Mercury once presided over eloquence, we all know, that Bacchus now enjoys that prerogative. Like ancient Circe too, he alone possesses the power of transforming men into brutes. To a few of his favored and enlightened sons are entrusted the modern Elusinian mysteries. Their pretensions to secrecy and hidden knowledge are proverbial; but this they cannot conceal, their actions bespeak them the votaries of the generous god of the grape. Although it be notorious, that Bacchus does not, as formerly, bestow the blessings of wealth on his followers; yet this is certain, that by enlisting under his banners the favorites of Plutus may rid themselves of their golden boons more effectually, than Midas did by bathing in the streams of Pactolus.
It will perhaps be thought, that the fair goddess of love should ere this have arrested our attention ; but alas ? of all her once boasted influence nought remains but her name in the numbers of the poet. For when she had been suspended in the exercise of her functions in the civilized world by the influence of Plutus, she bade adieu to the dedicated groves of Paphos and Idalia, and winged her way to the fertile plains of Otaheite, the Eden of love. There she and Mars hold an undisturbed empire over the numerous islands of the great Southern Ocean. Ever since her flight her province has been wholly under the guidance of the god of riches ; and without his assent seldom does Hymen light the torch, or Calliope sing the marriage song. Virtue, delicacy, symmetry of features, and the long list of female accomplishments are but baubles, when compared with the solid and lasting charms of gold. In fact the true golden age has returned. Gold has monopolized almost the whole province of love. Our modern Danäes too must yield to its influence; and Cupid seldom aims a shaft, unless tipt with gold.
The virgin, Vesta, who had been esteemed a goddess ever since the days of the daughter of Jephtha, has fallen into disrepute in this degenerate age. Her numerous convents or temples in the eastern world, which sometime since afforded