Sivut kuvina

the offer of his services to assist Sir Caprice in writing his Book upon the Supremacy of Reason, with which the Baronet is soon to enlighten the world.— The young man willingly engaged in the talk. But 'fatal are the effects of early prejudices to the peace of a philosopher! His thoughts became gloomy; his speech has often of late been incoherent; and every action . betrayed the restlessness of a mind at war with itself. Even his zeal against the advocates of Christianity, had in it a degree of bitterness which shewed that they still retained an authority over his mind, at which, though his pride revolted, bis understanding could not conquer. *:*

For the last few days, he had appeared to exert more than usual spirits. He laughed, when he had no occasion; talked, when he had nothing to fay; and sedulously sought the company of the Ladies, whom he had before neglected with the frigidity of indifference. Yesterday evening, his spirits were raised to a pitch which gave reason to suspect intoxication. When he retired to his chamber, it appears that he did not go to bed, but employed himself in writing letters to his father, all of which he had again torn, and scattered about the room. At four o'clock in the morning, the re

port of a pistol was heard: the family were instantly alarmed; the door of his chamber was broken open; and, on entering it, the first object that presented itself to view, was the lifeless corse of the young philosopher, extended on the floor.

On the table at which he had been writing, lay two letters. The first was from his father, and feelingly descriptive of the agony of a parent's heart, on the first discovery of ^a son's unworthiness. The other was from his cousin. It pourtrayed the picture of 'a virtuous mind, struggling with the dread of infamy, bitterly regretting the loss of peace and self-respeo^ and gently reproaching the author of its calamities, for depriving her of that hope which is the resource of the wretched, the comfort of the penitent, and the sovereign balm for the evils of life !" To her," she said, " hope was' a shadow, which had passed away. Once, there was a. time, when she could have smiled at calamity, endured the severity of pain with unshrinking resignation, and, supported by faith, have cheerfully resigned her soul into the bosom of her Creator. Now, doubt and darkness fat upon the realm of death; she feared to die, butshe had not courage to live.—Death," she

said, " was the only refuge of despair; lo it she fled, to save her from the reproaches of the world, and the torments of her own perturbed mind"—and with an affecting apostrophe to the days of unspotted innocence, this unhappy creature eoneludes her melancholy epistle; which, it seems, she had no sooner written, than she put an end to her existence, by plunging into the sea!

Such has been the effects of performing poojah to System, in the family of the Sceptics!

Ah! how little do the Christians of this country consider the nature and extent of the obligations they are under to those enlightened men, whose indefatigable endeavour it is, to free them from the narrow prejudices of their religion! O- ye incomparable moralists, who so freely blowout your own brains, from a fense of gerural . utility, little doth the world consider how much it is .indebted to your labours!

Reverenci' k> Ganeja.l

The previous arguments of the philosophers in praise of suicide, had not sufficiently enlightened the minds of the family of Ardent-Hall, to prevent their regarding the death of young Sceptic as a melancholy catastrophe! Though tb< difference of character give a variety to the expression of their feelings, all appeared to feel. The shock was universal.


The worshippers of System, and the votaries of Christianity, appeared, indeed, to be affected in a very opposite manner. The former, who had, till this event, been so clamorous in support of the pretensions of their Idols, were all at once struck dumb. Not one appeal was now made to exijling circumjlances. Not one ray of hope darted from the age of reason. Nor did either general utility, or the ftness- of things, appear in this juncture, to afford any comfort to their votaries. Eut while the lips of the philosophers were sealed in silence, those of the Christian religionists wrere opened. Their prejudices, indeed, appeared to have gained fresh strength: these prejudices, which are calculated to foster the sensibility of the tender heart, and to encrpase the feelings of sympathy, seemed likewise endowed with power to support their votaries in the hour of affliction, to soften the rigour of anguish, and to preserve from the tyranny of despair.

It must be confessed, that Lady Grey, amiable as she is, had not sufficient greatness of mind to applaud the heroism of the young philosopher, or to speak of his last action—but with a mixture of ,fifty, horror, and regret. With much feeling, did she deplore his having ever imbibed the liberal opinions that led to the destruction of his wife; the murder of his child; his own death, and the misery of his family.

The consolation of that unhappy family was the first object of her concern. Having seen Lady Ardent and the young Ladies set off for the house of a friend, to which they had been invited on the first accounts of the melancholy event; she hastened to the house of affliction; there to mingle the tears of sympathy; to speak comfort to the wounded heart; and, by sharing in its sorrows, to lessen their severity.—Such, Maandaara, are the offices pointed out by the prejudices of Christianity!

Deeming it improper at such a juncture, to incommode the family by the presence of a stranger, I took my leave of Sir Caprice Ardent, and left the Hall, impressed with a deep sense of the kindness and hospitality 1 had experienced beneath its roof.

Full of melancholy, I proceeded, without having'fully determined on the route I was to pursue.. To London, I was averse to return, and yet knew not how otherwise to dispose of myself. As I was debating this point with myself, while

« EdellinenJatka »