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"But is there not a great difficulty, "if not a total impoffibility, of giving "the fatisfactory proofs which you fay "are required?"
"There, madam," faid Edward," is "unhappily the ftrong hold of fcepti"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 reafon, that if divine "intelligence really dictated what we "call revelation, it would carry with "it inconteftable 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 reason was never intended to fuperfede the practice of christian graces? It was intended to confirm and affure that faith which fhall one day be changed
changed into certainty, to animate that hope which her boafted power could never clearly difcover without divine guidance. Why fear to drive the mean diffimulator from the affected decency of deifm into the bold audacity of atheism, by asking, how animated dust and afhes can prefume to question the power which called it into existence, demanding, "Why haft thou made "me what I am?" How intelligence confeffedly finite can charge the counfels of that mind which pervades infinitude, and extends through eternity, with inconfiftency in prescribing a rule of action to probationary beings, without at the fame time compelling obfervance? Why forbear to inquire how his favourite free-will can confift with fuch a scheme of government? Nay, bid him not stop at the moral world; but fay, why earth is not heaven, and man
an incorporeal effence, fuch as we believe the bleffed inhabitants of that better region. Reftrained by the growing attachment which, though confined within the flricteft bounds that the fpecious affectation of Platonic affection could impofe, and unacknowledged even to herfelf, certainly made Fitzofborne's approbation of confequence to her peace, lady Monteith forbore to oppose where the dreaded to offend; and she contented herself with wishing the mind of the most amiable of men to be relieved from thofe doubts which his converfations fometimes transfufed into her own bofom.
Why, I can fmile, and murder while I smile;
And frame my face to all occafions.
THE difpute which occupied the preceding chapter was not the only inftance of the triumph of manly fenfe and found principle over fophiftry, declamation, and hypocrify. Conscious of his advantage, Mr. Powerfcourt, at every opportunity pursued infidelity into its retreats of falsehood. He exposed the credulity of difbelief, the inconfift ency of scepticism, and the inconclufive futility of every argument which dared to fet up Nature in oppofition to its Author.
It was not with a hope of effecting any change in Fitzofborne that Henry thus continued to dare him to the "keen encounter of their wits;" he knew from inconteftable authority," that those who love darknefs rather than light, because their deeds are evil," must constantly refift the elucidating ray of truth. It was the fituation of the Monteiths which urged him to this continual warfare. He plainly faw the predilection of the countefs, and the infatuation of her lord; and he vainly wifhed for that" warning voice" which might aroufe them to a consciousness of their danger, He was not without hope too, that Edward's pride, mortified by repeated defeats, might provoke him to quit a refidence which continual oppofition must render difagreeable; and ftimulated by the enterprifing warmth of fincere friendship, he fcarcely cal