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<< great advances in divine love, that the first "moment she was allowed to pay her adoration "to the CRUCIFIX, the fervency of her pious. "paffion burft forth with fuch extacy, that fhe "eagerly fnatched the holy object to her arms, " and embraced it with a transport fo warmly "affectionate, that streams of tenderness rushed "from her eyes."
It is truly faid by a celebrated English writer, to be" of the utmost importance to guard against extremes of every kind in religion. We must beware, left by seeking to avoid one rock we split upon another. It has been long the fubject of remark, that SUPERSTITION and ENTHUSIASM are two capital fources of delufion Superftition, on the one hand, attaching men with immoderate zeal to the ritual and external points of religion; and Enthusiasm, on the other, directing their whole attention to internal emotions and mystical communications with the fpiritual world; while neither the one nor the other has paid fufficient regard to the great moral duties of the Chriftian life. But running with intemperate eagernefs from thefe two great abuses of religion, men have neglected to obferve that there are extremes oppofite to each of them, into which they are in hazard of precipitating themselves. Thus the horror of Superftition has
has fometimes reached fo far as to produce contempt for all external institutions; as if it were poffible for Religion to fubfift in the world without forms of worship, or public acknowledgment of God. It has also happened, that fome who, in the main, are well affected to the cause of goodness, observing that persons of a devout turn have at times been carried away by warm affections into unjustifiable excesses, have thence haftily concluded that all DEVOTION was a-kin to Enthusiasm; and feparating Religion totally from the heart and affections, have reduced it to a frigid observance of what they call the rules of Virtue." These extremes are to be carefully avoided. True devotion is rational and well founded; and confifts in the lively exercise of that affection which we owe to the Supreme Being, comprehending several emotions of the heart, which all terminate in the fame great object.
These are among the evils which an irrational Solitude is capable of producing upon an unreftrained and mifdirected imagination: but I do not mean to contend indiscriminately, that Solitude is generally to be confidered as dangerous to the free indulgence of this delightful faculty of the mind. Solitude well chofen, and rationally purfued, is fo far from being either the open enemy
enemy or the treacherous friend of a firm and fine imagination, that it ripens its earliest shoots, ftrengthens their growth, and contributes to the production of its richest and most valuable fruits. To him who has acquired the happy art of enjoying in Solitude the charms of Nature, and of indulging the powers of Fancy without impairing the faculty of Reason,
The princely dome, the column, and the arch,
This fair infpir'd delight: her tempered powers
The world's foundations, if to these the mind
For what the eternal Maker has ordain'd
The powers of Man. We feel within ourselves
He meant, he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of Life and Being; to be great like him,
Whom NATURE'S WORKS CAN CHARM, with God
Hold converfe; grow familiar, day by day,
THE EFFECTS OF SOLITUDE, &c.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.
THE EFFECTS OF SOLITUDE ON A
DISPOSITION to enjoy the filence of fequestered Solitude, and a growing distaste of the noify tumults of public life, are the earliest and most general symptoms of approaching melancholy. The heart, on which felicity was used to fit enthroned, becomes fenfelefs to the touch of pleasure; the airy wing of high delight finks proftrate to the earth on broken pinions; and care, anxiety, chagrin, and regret, loads the mind with distempering ideas, and renders it chearless and forlorn. The dawning fun and heaven-lighted day give no pleasure to the fickened fenfes of the unhappy sufferer. His only pleasure is to "commune with his own griefs;" and for this purpose he feeks fome gloomy glen,
"Where bitter boding Melancholy reigns
But a mind thus difpofed, however it may for a time console its forrows * by retiring from the
* METODORUS, in one of Seneca's Epiftles, fays, that there is always a mixture of pleasure in the indulgence of forrow: