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life to all men; but his disciples, anxious to indulge the natural vanity of the human mind, and mifled, in fome degree, by the false philosophy which at that period overfpread the heathen world, introduced various doctrines of falvation, and new schemes of faith. Bigotry, a fpecies of fuperftition hardly known before, took place in mens affections, and armed them with new jealoufies against each other: barbarous terms and idioms were every day invented; monftrous definitions imposed; and hoftilities, the fiercest imaginable, exercised on each other by the contending parties. Fanaticifm, with all the train of Visions, Prophecies, Dreams, Charms, Miracles, and Exercifes, fucceeded; and spiritual feats of the most abfurd and ridiculous nature were performed in monafteries, or up and down, by their mendicant or itinerant priests and ghostly miffionaries. Solitude impreffed the principles upon which these extravagances were founded with uncommon force on the imagination; and the mind, working itself into holy fervors and infpirations, gave birth to new extravagances. The causes which operated on the minds of men to produce fuch ridiculous effects, acted with double force on the ardent temper, warm imagination, and exceffive fenfibility of the female world. That which was mere phantafy with the one sex, became phrenzy with the other. Women,


Women, indeed, are, according to the opinion of PLATO, the nurfes of fanaticism; and their favourite theme is that which has been dignified by the appellation of a fublime passion for piety; an ardent and refined love of heaven; but which, in fact, is only the natural effects of the heart, fwoln intumescently by an unreined, prolific, and too ardent imagination. Inftances of this kind are discoverable in all the accounts that have been published of the holy fervors of these penitents, particularly in those of CATHARINE of Sienna, of JOAN of Cambray, of ANGELINA of Foligny, of MATILDA of Saxony, of MARIA of the Incarnation, of MARY MAGDALEN of Pazzio, of GERTRUDE of Saxony, and many others. The celebrated ARMELLE, who was born in the year 1606, at Campenac, in the diocese of St. Malo, and who died at Vannes in the year 1671, poffeffed great perfonal beauty, a quick and lively mind, and an uncommon tenderness of heart. Her parents, who were honeft and induftrious villagers, placed her as a menial fervant in the house of a neighbouring gentleman, with whom she lived for five and thirty years, in the practice of the most exemplary piety, and extraordinary virtue at least, according to the accounts which he gave from time to time of her conduct. During the time fhe refided with this gentleman, his groom finding the kitchen door M 4 faftened,


faftened, had the curiofity to peep through the key-hole, where he discovered the pious maid in a paroxyfm of divine extacy performing the humble office of spitting a capon. The agitation of this holy spirit fo affected the mind of the aftonished youth, that, it is faid by the Urfaline fifter who has written the life of this great luminary of French fanctity, under the title of The School for the Love of God, he became immediately enamoured with the beauties of religion, and renouncing the pomps and vanities of the world, entered into a monaftery at the fame time that his holy companion thought proper to withdraw from future obfervation into the convent of Vannes, where the devoted the remainder of her life, and died, as it is reported, of an excess of divine love. The youthful days of ARMELLE had been passed in almost total folitude; for her occupation at the house in which she was placed by her parents was confined entirely to the kitchen, and she had scarcely any other intercourse than with its furniture. It appears, however, from the hiftory of her life, that fhe was from her childhood exceffively fond of reciting an ave or pater nofter; and while occupied in tending the flocks, her original employment, amused herself in telling her rofary, "by which means," fays the Urfaline fifter, "fhe made, even in her pas"toral ftate of fimplicity and ignorance, fuch great

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Published July 20 1799 by Vernor & Hood 31 Poultry.

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