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amongst many other notices taken of Dr. Jortin's different writings as they occurred in publication, the following is placed at the head of his Six Dissertations upon different Subjects ;-a work', of whose merit the learned need no information.
« Ces Dissertations ont pour auteur un homme, qui se distingue également par ses connoissances et par ses vertus. Littérateur du premier ordre, il n'estime l'étude des Mots que ce qu'elle vaut, et qu'autant qu'elle conduit à la science des Choses. Versé dans la lecture des anciens Auteurs, et dans les recherches de l'Antiquité, il ne se fait point une gloire de décrier son siécle, et de donner une injuste préférence à ceux qui l'ont précédé. Consacré par état à l'instruction des hommes, il leur présente une Religion simple, et destinée à les rendre contens de la Vie, et préparés à la Mort. Plus jaloux de trouver le Vrai, que d'inventer du Neuf, il ne s'attache à aucun système ; n'affecte point la singularité; promet rarement des démonstrations, et manque plus rarement encore à ses promesses. Modeste enfin, et modéré, il n'attache point la gloire à déprimer ceux qui courent la même carrière, ou qui pensent différemment de lui. A ces traits, que mon cœur a tracés, que la voix publique confirme, et qu'un Prélat universellement respecté des gens de lettres et des gens de bien a consacrés, il est peu de lecteurs, du moins dans notre Isle, qui ne reconnoissent Mr. le Docteur JOŘTIN'
The Author of these Dissertations is a man equally distinguished for science and virtue. Of the highest class in literature, his unstudied regard for words is solely proportioned to their consequence, as they stand in connection with his sub
d In 8vo. printed for Whiston and White, London. 1755.
e See the Journal Brit. vol. xvii, Mois de Novembre et de Décembre 1755, page 373. Vol. I.
ject, and conduce to the knowledge of things. Perfectly familiarized to antient writers, and deep in the researches of antiquity, he never seeks to raise himself on the depression of the times in which he lives, by giving an undue preference to those which have gone before him. His sacred profession naturally disposed him to consult the instruction of others; and to effect this, he presents to them a religion, simple in its appearance, and calculated to render them happy in existence here, and prepared for their great change. He is more solicitous to investigate truth than to fabricate novelty; and, as being unshackled by any system,
he aims not at singularity, seldom leads you to expect a demonstration, and, when he does, is sure to fulfil his engagements. In disposition equally modest and temperate, he does not make it his boast to depreciate either those who run with him in the same course, or those who think differently from him. From these outlines, dictated by my own heart, confirmed by the public voice, and sanctioned by a prelate of universal esteem amongst men of worth and letters, few readers, in Britain at least, can fail to anticipate the name of Doctor JORTIN.'
Such were the sentiments of a learned foreigner; and, to show that such are the sentiments of our own countrymen, the following extracts are adduced :
In the Preface to Dr. Newton's edition of Milton's Poems, first published in 1749, we find that amiable editor expressing the assistance which he had received from our Author, amongst many others, in the course of that elaborate work. I
am obliged too to Mr. Jortin for some remarks, which he conveyed to me by the hands of Dr. Pearce [afterwards Bishop of Rochester]. They are chiefly upon Milton's Imitations of the Antients : but every thing that proceeds from him is of value, whether in poetry, criticism, or divinity; as appears from his Lusus Poetici, his Miscellaneous Observations upon Authors, and his Discourses concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion.'
In the third volume, Preface to Paradise Regained, &c. he
says, • The notes, as upon the Paradise Lost, so likewise upon the Paradise Regained and other Poems, are of various authors, and of various kinds : but these, excepting only a few, were never printed before, and have therefore novelty to recommend them; as well as some names of the first rank and greatest eminence in the republic of letters. The truth of my assertion will be fully justified, by mentioning only the names of Mr. Warburton and Mr. Jortin; who, while they are employed in writing the most learned and elaborate defences of religion, yet
find leisure to cultivate the politer arts; and to promote and improve, both in themselves and others, a classical taste of the finest authors. And, whatever may
be the success, I can never repent of haying engaged in this undertaking, which hath given me so many convincing proofs of their friendship and kindness; and at the same time hath happily conjoined, what perhaps might never else have been joined together--my studies, and my name, with theirs.'
The editor apprehends he cannot do a more acceptable service to the reader than by subjoining Dr. Jortin's character, as it is admirably drawn in a late anonymous publication:
As to Doctor Jortin, whether I look back to his verse, to his prose, to his critical or to his theological works, there are few authors to whom I am so much indebted for rational entertainment, or for solid instruction. Learned he was, without pedantry: he was ingenious, without the affectation of singularity: he was a lover of truth, without hovering over the gloomy abyss of scepticism; and a friend to free inquiry, without roving into the dreary and pathless wilds of latitudinarianism. He had a heart which never disgraced the powers of his understanding. With a lively imagination, an elegant taste, and a judgment most masculine and most correct, he united the artless and amiable negligence of a school-boy. Wit without ill-nature, and sense without effort, he could at will scatter upon every subject; and in every book the writer presents us with a near and distinct view of the real man :
HOR. Sat. I. Lib. II. ver. 32.
* His style, though inartificial, is sometimes elevated; though familiar, it is never mean; and though employed upon various topics of theology, ethics, and criticism, it is not arrayed in any delu, sive resemblance, either of solemnity, from fanatical cant; of profoundness, from scholastic jargon; of precision, from the crabbed formalities of cloudy philologists; or of refinement, from the technical babble of frivolous connoisseurs.
• At the shadowy and fleeting reputation which is sometimes gained by the petty frolics of literary vanity, or the mischievous struggles of controversial rage, Jortin never grasped. Truth, which
some men are ambitious of seizing by surprise, in the trackless and dark recess, he was content to overtake in the broad and beaten path: and in the pursuit of it, if he does not excite our astonishment by the rapidity of his strides, he at least secures our confidence by the firmness of his step. To the examination of positions advanced by other men, he always brought a mind which neither prepossession had seduced nor malevolence polluted. He imposed not his own conjectures as infallible and irresistible truths, nor endeavoured to give an air of importance to trifles by dogmatical vehemence. He could support his more serious opinions without the versatility of a sophist, the fierceness of a disputant, or the impertinence of a buffoon. More than this, he could relinquish or correct them with the calm and steady dignity of a writer, who, while he yielded something to the arguments of his antagonists, was conscious of retaining enough to command their respect. He had too much discernment to confound difference of opinion with malignity or dullness ; and too much candour to insult, where he could not persuade. Though his sensibilities were neither coarse nor sluggish, he was yet exempt from those fickle humours, those rankling jealousies, and that restless waywardness, which men of the brightest talents are too prone to indulge. He carried with him into every station in which he was placed, and every subject which he explored, a solid greatness of soul, which could spare an inferior, though in the offensive form of an adversary; and endure an equal, with, or without, the sacred name of friend. The importance of commendation, as well to him who bestows as to him who claims it, he estimated not only with justice but with delicacy: and there