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ly, you, fir, forget the maxim of a poet whofe mifdirected mufe is often quoted by our prefent deifts to efta"blifh principles from which he would "have fhrunk with horror. If
-The great first cause
"Acts not by partial but by general laws; "he is not bound by those rules of "conduct which determine the equity "of the actions of imperfect, shortfighted, perishable man. He, in whofe "hands are the iffues of life and death, "cannot be called upon by his crea"tures to answer for the operations " of any of his inftruments of punish"ment, be they famine, peftilence, or To fulfil fome vast design, per"fected perhaps centuries after its for"mation, the Jewish babe may bleed 66 at Bethlehem, or the Calabrian infant "be ingulphed with its parents by the defolating earthquake, without im
peding the juftice of the Creator, "with whom a thousand years are but as a day. We finite creatures, ftand
ing upon a little fpeck of time, can"not comprehend the plans of infini "tude, which extend to eternity. Ad"mit a future ftate, and every idea of "particular severity vanishes. He who "exifts for ever can recompenfe the "unoffending children of the idolatrous "worshippers of Moloch with an happy << immortality. He who knows the "heart can crown with perpetual blifs "the confcientious affertors of a declining perfuafion, whom the more "peftilent fanaticifm of infidelity im-"molated upon the banks of the Loire. "The Giver of eternal life can reward. "the patience he exercifes, and amply (8 repay the premature privation of tem"C poral existence."
The company liftened with profound attention, roused by the folemn energy with which Mr. Powerfcourt delivered these fentiments. Mifs Evans enjoyed the unaffected applaufe which appeared on every countenance. That of the lovely countess was lighted up by a most exhilarating fmile, and her exulting heart whispered; "Edward fought con"viction; furely he cannot refift the
heavenly energy of Henry's heartfelt "expreffions." The converfation was not continued on this fubject.
Eager to know if Fitzofborne's opinion of Powerfcourt had been changed by this difpute, Geraldine feized the earliest opportunity of afking him, if fhe had over-rated her kinfman's merits.
"Not in the leaft," was the reply. "He is certainly very eloquent, and "he poffeffes fome command of temper, a virtue rarely found among << your
But I need
your keen difputants. "not, lady Monteith, explain to your fagacity the exact point in which I "could have preffed him, if politeness "would have permitted me to have con"tinued the argument. His whole re"ference is to infinitude and eternity, "terms of which we can form no "clear ideas. He gives no pofitive proof, no mathematical demonftra"tion of the inspiration which he tries "to infer from contefted pofitions; "and till this is given by our school"men, deifm may always reply, that "inattention to thofe duties which are " merely prescribed by revelation, ad"mits of fome excufe, if we confider "the extreme doubt which attaches to "these subjects; for, if our present "code of religion may be true, it may "alfo be falfe."
"But is there not a great difficulty, "if not a total impoffibility, of giving "the fatisfactory proofs which you fay " are required?"
"There, madam," said Edward, “ is "unhappily the ftrong hold of scepti"cifm, of which all the powers of or"thodoxy have not been able to dif
poffefs it. It is pleaded, and certainly "with an air of reason, that if divine "intelligence really dictated what we << call revelation, it would carry with " it incontestable proofs of its origin by "filencing every objection, and enforcing conviction upon every mind." Cowardly lady Monteith! why, reftrained by a fear of offending determined depravity, forbear affirming, that the gift of reafon was never intended to fuperfede the practice of christian graces? It was intended to confirm and aflure that faith which fhall one day be changed