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feize my

“ could muster: But of this hour I have “alas ! no foresight; it may be this mo“ment, or the next, or years may intervene “ before it comes to pass : It behoves me " then to be upon my guard : He may ap

proach in terrors, that agonise me to think of; he

may my soul in the commif“ fion of some dreadful act, and transport it “ to a place whose horrors have no termi“ nation: I will not then commit that dread“ ful act, because I will not expose myself to “ that dreadful punishment: It is in my own “ choice to refrain from it, and I am not such

a desperate fool to make choice of mise

ry: If I act with this precaution, will he “ still appear in this shape of terror ? Cer

tainly he will not, nor can he in justice

transport me to a place of punishment, “ when I have committed nothing to deserve “ it : Whither then will he convey me? To “ the mansions of everlasting happiness : “ Where are my fears? What is now be“ come of his terrors? He is my passport, niy

conductor, my friend : I will welcome “him with embraces; I will smile upon him “ with gratitude, and accompany him withi « exultation.”

No. LX.

I

WOULD with no man to deceive himself

with opinions, which he has not thoroughly reflected upon in his solitary hours: Till he has communed with his own heart in his chamber, it will be dangerous to commit himself to its impulses amidst the distractions of society : In folitude he will hear another voice than he has been used to hear in the colloquial scenes of life ; for conscience, though mute as the antient chorus in the bustle of the drama, will be found a powerful speaker in soliloquy. If I could believe that any man in these times had seriously and deliberately reasoned himself into an abfolute contempt of things sacred, I should expect that fuch a being should uniformly act up to his principles in all situations, and, having thrown afide all the restraints of religion, should discharge from his mind all those fears, apprehensions, and solicitudes, that have any connection with the dread of futurity. But, without knowing what paffes in the private thoughts of men, who profess these daring notions, I cannot help

observing

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observing, that, if noisy clamour be a mark of cowardice, they also have the symptoms strongly upon them of belying their own conscience: They are bold in the crowd, and loudest in the revels of the feast; there they can echo the insult, dash the ridicule in the very face of Heaven, and stun their consciences in the roar of the carousal.

Let me picture to myself a man of this description surprized into unexpected folitude after the revels of an evening, where he has been the wit of the company, at the expence of decency and religion ; here his triumphs are over; the plaudits of his comrades no longer encourage him; the lights of the feast are extinguished, and he is surrendered to darkness and reflection : Place him in the midst of a desart heath, a lonesome traveller in some dark tempestuous night, and let the elements subscribe their terrors to encounter this redoubted champion

Who durft defy th' Omnipotent.

If consistency be the test of a man's fincerity, he ought now to hold the same language of defiance, and with undaunted spirit

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cry out to the elements__"Do your worst,

ye blind tools of chance! Since there can “ be neither intelligence nor direction in

your rage, I set you at nought. You may “ indeed subject me to some bodily incon“ venience, but you can raise no terrors in

my mind, for I have said you have no “master : There is no hand to point the

lightning, and the stroke of its flash is di“ rected to no aim : If it smites the oak, it

perishes; if it penetrates my breast, it an“nihilates my existence, and there is no “ foul within me to resume it. What have “ I to fear? The worst you threaten is a mo

mentary extinction without pain or struggle; and as I only wait on earth till I am

weary of life, the most you can do is to « forestall me in the natural rights of sui- cide. I have lived in this world as the “ only world I have to live in, and have “ done all things therein as a man, who acts “ without account to an Hereafter. The “ moral offices, as they are called, I have

sometimes regarded as a system of worldly “ wisdom, and where they have not crossed

my purposes, or thwarted my pleasures, I “ have occasionally thought fit to comply

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“ with them : My proper pride in some in« stances, and self-interest in others, have “ diffuaded me from the open violation of a “ trust, for it is inconvenient to be detected; “ and though I acknowledge no remon“ strances from within upon the score of in

famy, I do not like the clamours of the “ crowd. As for those mercenary induce

ments, which a pretended revelation holds “ forth as lures for patience under wrongs “ and tame resignation to misfortune, I re

gard them as derogatory to my nature ;

they sink the very character of virtue by “meanly tendering a reversionary happi

piness as tlie bribe for practising it; the “ doctrine therefore of a future life, in which

the obedient are to expect rewards, and

the disobedient are threatened with pu“nishments, confutes itself by its own in“ ternal weakness, and is a system fo fordid " in its principle, that it can only be cal« culated to dupe us into mental slavery, “ and frighten us out of that generous pri

vilege, which is our universal birthright, “ the privilege of dismissing ourselves out .“ of existence, when we are tired with its « conditions.”

Had

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