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sited with a biographer who is bold enough to use them without reserve , there is a hope that a very accurate knowledge may be obtained of a mind and character . Such a concentration of requisites is very rare ; but we can no longer call it impracticable ; for we have an instance of it in the case before us . Our readers , perhaps , have been accustomed to suppose that they had a pretty intimate acquaintance wkh the character of Doddridge . Never were they more mistaken . It is true , we have many volumes of his works in which , as he was above all disguise , and as his mind was of a peculiarly ingenuous cast , his very soul appears to be revealed , and from which we seem to have the power of learning every thing about him , except those external circumstances which have been supplied in his biography by Ortoru But we have all been in a great error ; and however long the impress of
his mind may have remained on our own , apparently complete and finished , we must yet submit to have it considerably modified . Innovation and change of this kind are somewhat painful ; but we cannot fail to see that they are useful and right , not only on the ground that truth is always preferable to error , but because it is undeniable that much mischief has been done by partial representations of the character and views of pious minds ; and by none more than by that of Doddridge . We speak warily when we say that minds of a cast like his own , tender , sensitive , to which devotion was a vital element , have been encouraged to an excitement of religious feeling , an overstrained exertion after objects too high for human reach , under which one of two equally fatal consequences has ensued—that either
mind and body have sunk under a painful and protracted effort , or that an awful reaction has taken place—a chilling indifference has succeeded to intemperate rapture , and levity has been substituted for a forced seriousness The heart of Doddridge was of that kind which all men love , and his example , therefore , was widely influential , as we trust it will long continue to be . His meek and tender spirit , his universal love for his race , his ingenuous simplicity , are universally endearing ; his peculiar temperament fitted him for a life of devotion , and , united with his particular circumstances , strengthened him for a loftier flight into the regions of life and light than
can be attained by all who strive to follow him there . We have in his works a faithful transcript of his emotions while under the influence of devotion : his biographer , Orton , represents him as ever under that influence ; and we have hence imagined that his mortal existence was one lofty aspiration , his state o ^ mind one unrelaxed effort of piety , more fit for the vigorous , unconsuming frame of the glorified body than for the frail and mutable constitution to which we are at present united . We have listened with
delight and awe to the swelling tones of an instrument whose chords were finely strung ; forgetting that " this harp of thousand strings" could not have remained uninjured in the mutable atmosphere of this world , if those strings had been for ever stretched . If never let down , they would have snapped ; as we cannot but know from our experience of the mournful effects of religious excitement . Doddridge was as devotional as his works
shew him to be . He was a fit example for us in the fervour of his piety , the unremitting influence of his principles , and the gentle virtues of an affectionate and ingenuous spirit . But if he had always been exalted above these lower regions , if he had been ever as a saint among men , he would not have been so fit for an example as we now find him to be ; for a resemblance to him would have been thought , or ( if attempted ) would have been found , impracticable . It is , therefore , a relief to discover , as we now
DoddriHge ' s Correspondence and Tyianj . 19
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1830, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2580/page/19/