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In this sad situation, I espied on one hand of me a deep muddy river, whose heavy waves rolled on in slow sullen murmurs.

Here I determined to plunge, and was just upon the brink, when I found myself suddenly drawn back.

I turned about, and was surprised by the sight of the loveliest object I had ever beheld. The most engaging charms of youth and beauty appeared in all her form ; effulgent glories sparkled in her eyes, and theirawful splendors were softened by the gentlest looks of compassion and peace. At her approach the frightful spectre, who had before tormented me, vanished away, and with her all the horrors she had caused. The gloomy clouds brightened into cheerful sunshine, the groves recovered their verdure, and the whole region looked gay and blooming as the garden of Eden. I was quite transported at this unexpected change, and reviving pleasure began to glad my thoughts, when, with a look of inexpressible sweetness, my beauteous deliverer thus uttered her divine instructions:

“ My name is RELIGION. I am the offspring “ of Truth and Love, and the parent of BeneVOLENCE, Hope, and Joy.

That monster “ from whose power I have freed you is called “ Superstition; she is the child of Discon" TENT, and her followers are Fear and Sorrow. “ Thus different as we are, she has often the inso“ lence to assume my name and character, and “ seduces unhappy mortals to think us the same, .. till she, at length, drives them to the borders “ of DESPAIR, that dreadful abyss into which

you were just going to sink.
“ Look round and survey the various beauties


“ of the globe, which heaven has destined for the “ seat of the human race, and consider whether a

world thus exquisitely framed could be meant “ for the abode of misery and pain. For what « end has the lavish hand of Providence diffused “ such innumerable objects of delight, but that “all might rejoice in the privilege of existence, " and be filled with gratitude to the beneficent “ Author of it? Thus to enjoy the blessings he “ has sent, is virtue and obedience ; and to reject " them merely as means of pleasure, is pitiable “ ignorance or absurd perverseness. Infinite good

ness, is the source of created existence; the pro“per tendency of every rational being, from the « highest order of raptured seraphs to the meanest “ rank of men, is to rise incessantly from lower “ degrees of happiness to higher. They have “ each faculties assigned them for various orders « of delights.”

“ What,” cried I, “is this the language of • Religion? Does she lead her votaries through “ flowery paths, and bid them pass an unlaborious “ life? Where are the painful toils of virtue, the o mortifications of penitents, the self-denying exer6 cises of saints and heroes ?"

“ The true enjoyments of a reasonable being," answered she mildly,“ do not consist in unbounded “ indulgence, or luxurious ease, in the tumult of “ passions, the languor of indolence, or the flutter “ of light amusements. Yielding to immoral “pleasure corrupts the mind, living to animal and “ trifling ones debases it ; both in their degree “ disqualify it for its genuine good, and consign it “ over to wretchedness. Whoever would be really



happy, must make the diligent and regular exer“ cise of his superior powers his chief attention, " adoring the perfections of his Maker, expressing

good will to his fellow-creatures, cultivating “ inward rectitude. To his lower faculties he “ must allow such gratifications as will, by refresh“ing him, invigorate his nobler pursuits. In the “ regions inhabited by angelick natures unming“ led felicity for ever blooms; joy flows there “ with a perpetual and abundant stream, nor needs “ there any mound to check its course. Beings “ conscious of a frame of mind originally diseased,

all the human race has cause to be, must use “ the regimen of a stricter self-government. Who

ever has been guilty of voluntary excesses, must “ patiently submit both to the painful workings “ of nature, and needful severities of medicine, 6. in order to his cure.

Still he is intitled to a “ moderate share of whatever alleviating accom“ modations this fair mansion of his merciful Pa“ rent affords, consistent with his recovery. And “ in proportion as this recovery advances, the “ liveliest joy will spring from his secret sense of

amended and improving heart.-So far from “ the horrors of despair is the condition even of “ the guilty. — Shudder, poor mortal, at the

thought of the gulph into which thou wast but 66 now going to plunge.

6. While the most faulty have every encourage66 ment to amend, the more innocent soul will be “ supported with still sweeter consolations under “ all its experience of human infirmities ; sup“ported by the gladdening assurances that every * sincere endeavour to outgrow them, shall be


« assisted, accepted, and rewarded.

To such a one the lowliest self-abasement is but a deep “ laid foundation for the most elevated hopes ; “ since they who faithfully examine and acknow

ledge what they are, shall be enabled under my « conduct to become what they desire. The “ Christian and the hero are inseparable; and to the “ aspirings of unassuming trust, and filial confi. “ dence, are set no bounds. To him who is ani: “ mated with a view of obtaining approbation “ from the Sovereign of the universe, no difficulty u is insurmountable. Secure in this pursuit of every

needful aid, his conflict with the severest “pains and trials, is little more than the vigorous “ exercises of a mind in health. His patient de“ pendence on that providence which looks through “ all eternity, his silent resignation, his ready ac$ commodation of his thoughts and behaviour to “ its inscrutable ways, is at once the most excel. * lent sort of self-denial, and a source of the most e exalted transports. Society is the true sphere

of human virtue. In social, active life, difficulties will perpetually be met with ; restraints of

many kinds will be necessary; and studying to “ behave right in respect of these, is a discipline « of the human heart, useful to others, and im“ proving to itself. Suffering is no duty, but “ where it is necessary to avoid guilt, or to do o good; nor pleasure a crime, but where it “ strengthens the influence of bad inclinations, or « lessens the generous activity of virtue. The “ happiness allotted to man in his present state, is

indeed faint and low, compared with his immors tal prospects, and noble capacities ; but yet « whatever portion of it the distributing hand of “ Heaven offers to each individual, is a needful sup“ port and refreshment for the present moment, so “ far as it may not hinder the attaining of his final « destination.

“ Return then with me from continual misery “ to moderate enjoyment and grateful alacrity. « Return from the contracted views of solitude to “ the proper duties of a relative and dependent “ being. Religion is not confined to cells and “ closets, nor restrained to sullen ́retirement. These “ are the gloomy doctrines of SUPERSTITION,

by which she endeavours to break those chains “ of benevolence and social affection, that link “ the welfare of every particular with that of the “ whole. Remember that the greatest honour you “ can pay to the Author of your being is by such a “ cheerful behaviour, as discovers a mind satisfied “ with his dispensations.”

Here my preceptress paused, and I was going to express my acknowledgments for her discourse, when a ring of bells from the neighbouring village, and a new-risen sun darting his beams through my windows awakened me.

I am, Yours, &c.


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