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me for 'what I have done. That is a great cause of sorrow. I have lost their good opinion for ever. That indeed is terrible. But why so terrible?: I could not help it; the passion, which caused my will to do the deed, was caused. Will they not think of that, and forgive me? No; they cannot forgive me; it is impossible they should. They may indeed not inflict physical punishment on me, may not torture me, may not kill me, may not expel me from among them, but they cannot think of me as they did before. That is wholly impossible. They now know what they never knew before, that I am a man whose passion will carry him the length even of killing his own good and loving brother. How can any one ever love me more? It is impossible. I am a fallen man. But how fallen? Let me not imagine myself worse than I am. I am not fallen, for I was always the same; would have done the same thing the day before, or a week before, or a month before, or a year before, or twenty years before, if the same occasion had arisen. The same cause would have produced the same passion, the same passion caused the will to perform the same act. I am therefore no worse than before; nay the very same as before; am not fallen; only fallen in men's estimation. Then they estimated me too highly before; and should I sorrow that they now know the truth of me, that they are no longer deceived; know that I am a man unsafe to live with, to come near, to have anything to do with: a man whom they should either shun, or expel from among them, or kill? Should I sorrow for this ? No; I should rather rejoice; rejoice that the truth is known of me; that my friends are no longer deceived about me; will be ware of me. That at least is a good consequence of my unhappy deed. If they had known it sooner the deed might have been prevented, and how happy had it been for me! my brother at least would still have been living. Their knowledge of me although too late to prevent that deed, is time enough to
prevent a similar. Let me then not sorrow that men have now that true knowledge of my character, which will prevent them from trusting themselves in my society for the future. They will shun me, or expel me, or kill me. Let me rejoice if they do. I cannot blame them if they do. They do it in selfpreservation. They are not safe near me. They now know they are not, and if they are wise will punish me; not out of wrath or vengeance, as I killed my brother; but to preserve themselves from me, and to deter others from following my example. But cannot I excuse myself to them ? Let me think. Have I no excuse? Can I not silence their accusation as I silenced that of my own conscience? What did I tell Conscience? “I could not help it; my passion made my will do the deed, and my constitution, and education, and circumstances at the moment, caused my passion.” This excuse satisfied my conscience, but did not satisfy my sorrow; will it satisfy men? Let me try: “I could not help it. My will was made do the deed. I am not responsible. Ye cannot righteously either hate or punish me." What do they answer? “Villain, we hate thee and punish thee, not because of the deed, but because the deed was done, even as thou thyself sayest, by thy will, and thy will made to do it by thy passion, and thy passion caused by thy constitution and education and circumstances at the moment. We will not keep among us a man of such a constitution and such an education and such consequent passion. Begone from amongst us, and be thankful that we don't kill thee as thou didst thy brother.” I have nothing to reply: out of my own mouth they condemn me. Better I had not been born! But is this: all the cause of my sorrow? Has it no further cause? Let me see. Not only has this act of mine displayed to men my true character, but to myself; I sorrow to find myself such a man as I am: to think that even before this deed I was such a man as this deed has proved me to be. I shudder at
the very sight of myself, of what I have been even while no one, not even myself, so much as suspected it. My pride is humbled. I am a man of such constitution, such education, and such consequent passion, as wilfully to kill my own brother. “Wretch, hide thy face even from thyself. Happy for thee if men would kill thee before thou committest a worse act than even this! for as no one, not even thyself, could know beforehand that thy constitution, and education, and consequent passion, were such as would cause thee to commit this act, so no one, not even thyself, can know beforehand that thy constitution, and education, and consequent passion, are not such as to cause thee yet to commit an act even worse than this. Even by this one act how hast thou debased thyself in thine own eyes!” Let me console myself however with the reflection that I am no longer deceived about myself; that I know, better than ever I did before, my true character. Poor consolation! and yet something; for bad as it is to be base and vile, it is still worse to be base and vile, and believe myself noble and honorable.
Well then, is this the whole? The loss of my brother; the injury done to my brother; the loss of my own esteem, and of men's esteem, and the fear of men's vengeance. Is this the whole? Have I nothing more to lament? nothing more to fear? Will not my father's God punish me also ? will he not send fiends to torment me, to haunt me day and night? That is a weighty consideration. Let me see. Let me consider it well. First of all, can he? To be sure he can, for he is almighty; that is his very name, father calls him. Resistence and escape are alike hopeless. He can punish me if he will. But will he? Let me see.
. To be sure he will, for he is a terrible God, as terrible as he is strong; given to passion and anger, even as I am myself; vindictive like a man; hates like a man; remembers like a man; judges and punishes as if he were
a man; and only differs from man in his greater strength, and never forgiving for he is justice itself, must execute, cannot remit or forgive; else he becomes injustice. Terrible God! he will punish me; and men's punishment will be as nothing to his punishment, not only on account of his unlimited power and infinite sternness, but on account of his immutability. Men may after a time forget me and my crime, but my father's God never forgets; never softens; never relents; never, never; is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. His revenge therefore lasts for ever, for ever and ever; death which puts an end to all other sorrow is ineffectual to put an end to this; for this terrible, this malignant, this irresponsible despot drags me out of that death which closes the sufferings even of the beast of the fields, and infuses into me a new and everlasting life, for the sole purpose of tormenting me everlastingly; of tormenting me everlastingly for no good either to myself, or to himself, or to mankind, or to any one, or to any thing, but merely to indulge the malignancy of his own nature: me the work of his own hands; me to whom he gives the irresistible inclination and the power to do the very thing which he commands me not to do, the very thing to which he attaches his everlasting punishment. Tyrant, it was not I that killed my brother, it was thou that killedst him: where is my brother, tyrant? what hast thou done with him ? The guilt is thine, not mine. I was but the club in thine hand: inflict thine eternal torment upon thyself. Cain, Cain, how spotless pure art thou in comparison with the monster with the malignant, detestable, diabolical monster! But stay: whose God is this? Thy God, Cain? believest thou in such a God? worshippest thou such a God? prayest thou to such a God? humblest thou thyself to such a God ? to the inexorable, to the immutable, to the malignant, to the sole cause of all thy sorrow? No, I 'm not a fool: he is not my God: he is my father's God. Let my father, if he
will, honor him, and pray to him, and flatter him, and wheedle him to let him back into paradise; let him coax him, if he will, to reconstruct and remodel his bungled and imperfect work, I will have nothing to say to him. I renounce and disclaim him. What have I to do with him? What do I know about him? Better for me if he had never existed. But for him I could not this day have been the murderer of my brother. But let me see. Does he exist? Is there really such a God? Most devoutly do I hope there is not. How happy for me, for my father, for all men, if there were not! Let me see; let me see. Where did he come from? Who made him? What good in him ? What use in him? Better without him. But my father says, this world required a God to make it. But if it did, the God that made it required another God to make him, for it is quite as easy, nay much easier, to conceive this world existing without a maker, than its maker existing without a maker. Who knows when this world which we see and feel was not to be seen and felt? who knows that, I say? First show me that there was a time when this world which we see and feel was not to be seen and felt, and then come and ask me to imagine a God to make it. First show me that there was a time when there was no time, and then come, if thou wilt, and ask me to imagine a God to make time. First tell me at what time did this God of thine make time. If thou answerest, at such a time, then there was time before God made it. If thou answerest, at no time, then no time is never. Or where was this God of thine when he made space ? where was he when there was no “where”? Or where is this God of thine now? Is he any where? Yes, he is somewhere. Where then? In heaven. Why the change of abode? Why leave where he was before he created heaven? Nonsense, mere nonsense; absurdities which full grown men instil into children; bugbears with which they frighten them until at last they