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I would, if called upon, die a martyr for the Christian religion, so completely is (in my poor opinion) its divine origin proved by its beneficial effects on the state of society.'
As to the Christian religion, Sir, besides the strong evidence which we have for it, there is a balance in its favour from the number of great men who have been convinced of its truth, after a serious consideration of the question. Grotius was an acute man, a lawyer, a man accustomed to examine evidence, and he was convinced. Grotius was not a recluse, but a man of the world, who certainly had no bias to the side of religion. Sir Isaac Newton set out an infidel, and came to be a very firm believer.2
The great difficulty of proving miracles should make us very cautious in believing them. But let us consider, although God has made nature to operate by certain fixed laws, yet it is not unreasonable to think that he may suspend those laws, in order to establish a system highly advantageous to mankind. Now the Christian religion is a most beneficial system, as it gives us light and certainty, where we were, before, in darkness and doubt. The miracles which prove it are attested by men who had no interest in deceiving us; but who, on the contrary, were told that they should suffer persecution, and did actually lay down their lives. in confirmation of the truth of the facts which they
1 W. Scott, Life, vii. 107.
2 Johnson (Boswell), i. 466. (Croker's ed.)
asserted. Indeed, for some centuries the heathens did not pretend to deny the miracles, but said they were performed by the aid of evil spirits. This is a circumstance of great weight. Then, Sir, when we take the proofs derived from prophecies which have been so exactly fulfilled, we have most satisfactory evidence.'
1 Johnson (Boswell), i. 458. (Croker's ed.).
In fine, the credibility of the Christian religion, arising from experience and facts, is fully sufficient, in reason, to engage men to live in the general practice of all virtue and piety, under the serious apprehension, though it should be mixed with some doubt, of a righteous administration established in nature, and a future judgment in consequence of it: especially when we consider how very questionable it is whether any thing at all can be gained by vice; how unquestionably little, as well as precarious, the pleasures and profits of it are, at the best; and how soon they must be parted with at the longest: for, in the deliberations of reason concerning what we are to pursue and what to avoid, as temptations to any thing from mere passion are supposed out of the case, so inducements to vice from cool expectations of pleasure and interest, so small and uncertain and short, are really so insignificant as, in the view of reason, to be almost nothing in themselves, and, in comparison with the importance of religion, they quite disappear and are lost.2
OH WOMAN! in our hours of ease,
By the light, quivering aspen made :
Oh SEX! still sweet, or bitter to extreme,
To save or damn, for bliss or ruin given,
3 La Bruyère.
Les femmes sont extrêmes: elles sont meilleures, ou pires que les hommes.3
Heal my unquiet mind, and tune my soul:
To hear thee speak might calm a madman's frenzy,
In pleasure, and in pain, alike, I find
2 Chaucer (New Version, ii. 33.) 4 The Orphan.
But then they must be truly women, not
Kind, candid, simple, yet of sterling sense,
He (Pope) felt the want of that sort of reciprocal tenderness and confidence in a female, to whom he might freely communicate his thoughts, and on whom, in sickness and infirmity, he could rely.2
Tant il est vrai que ce que nous attache le plus aux femmes est moins la débauche, qu'un certain agrément de vivre auprès d'elles."
But mother sure he has that's such a mate No man can boast, nor boastful tongue relate, Though fancy, to give semblance of her face, From all her sex should cull each separate grace; To speak her soul should rob from every saint, Low yet were praise, and all description faint.4 Sans les femmes les deux extrémités de la vie seroient sans secours, et le milieu sans plaisirs."
Such as I am, she loved me, prayed for me, looked at me with pleasure, reared me from the little feeble, unsightly infant that crawled to her knee.
The deep, strong, deathless love within a mother's breast, quickened by the fears and sympathies of the Christian. Her thoughts will follow you over
1 Byron (the Choice in "The Liberal”).
2 Loves of the Poets.
4 Chaucer (New Version, ii. 86.)
the world of waters, they will be with you in the stillness of evening, in the deep silence of midnight, in the glad brightness of morning. How many wishes will be breathed! how many prayers offered up for you!1
Never did I know a person of either sex with more virtues or fewer infirmities; the only one she had, which was the neglect of her own affairs, arising wholly from the goodness of her temper.
So great then was her loss, not only to me, but to all who have any regard for every perfection that human nature can possess.2
His affection to his mother was always one of the strongest feelings of his heart. With that selfdenying devotion to the happiness of others which was his distinguished quality through life, he deprived himself of every indulgence that he might devote to her his hard-earned pittance; and, in after-days of comparative affluence, he delighted in surrounding her with every comfort.3
Je crois là voir, encore, cette bonne vieille, le charmant naturel! la douce et riante gaieté !4
Il sentait quelque charme dans ces soins données à la vieillesse."
Come past help.
with me-past hope- past cure
1 Reference mislaid.
2 See (vol. xv. 504.) a beautiful letter by Swift, on that bitter and irreparable loss a mother's death.
3 Mem. of Sir T. S. Raffles, 31. 6 Romeo and Juliet.