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is of long standing; and so little is it a secret in the world that every schoolboy is acquainted with it. I doubt not, madam, but you will take the measures your prudence must suggest on this occasion. All my motive in this affair has been to prove with how much zeal and affection I am,
Your devoted and obedient.
ON EVIL:-A RII APSODY.
O Evil, creature abhorred of God and man !-whence is thy origin? how did so deformed and monstrous a birth gain entrance into the fair creation? Canst thou be from God,-since thou art so opposite to his nature ? And if from man,—why was he suffered to produce thee? Weak, unexperienced, unsuspecting man,-why was he permitted to bring such enormous ruin on his own head, and that of all his posterity? Was there no warning voice, no sheltering hand, to save him from such a fall—to save thy image, O God, from pollution ? Let us sit down in sad shades, and join the moral poet,
“ Who mourns for virtue lost, and ruined man.”
What fair, what amiable creatures were our first parents when they came from the hands of their Maker! They knew neither Pain, nor Sin, the sire of Pain; nor Shame, the daughter of Sin. Innocent, happy, and immortal:—so far from practising evil, that they had not even the knowledge
of it. Their passions, nicely balanced, admitted no internal war. A milky innocence in their veins, their eyes beaming with smiles,—the smiles of candour and simplicity,—they were the head of the happy creation, till one fatal moment ruined all :-the garden of paradise is shut for ever; and man (unhappy outcast!)-exposed to the war of elements without and passions within; his peace broken, his heart torn by the conflict of jarring emotions ; his life worn away by perplexing doubts and heart-withering care,-moistens his daily bread with tears : and after struggling a few
years in the hard, unequal warfare, he returns to the dust from whence he was taken.
Such is the dark side of the picture.—But let us change the view, and see whether in reality the human race have such great reason to lament the fall of their first progenitor. Whether virtuous man now, is not a nobler creature than sinless man then ?--the pupil of reason, than the child of nature ?—the follower of the second, than the offspring of the first Adam? Man in his first state had a mind untainted with crimes; but unformed, uncultivated, void of moral ideas, he could not rise, but by his fall; he could not attain to more perfection, but by moral discipline; he could not know the joys of self-approbation, withont being subject to remorse, -of sympathy, without feeling distress. Had he been always innocent,
he had been nothing more than innocent;-had he never known his weakness, he had never acquired strength. Behold him now, fashioned by the hand of culture, and shining through the dark cloud of ruin, guilt and pain, that is spread over him. What a different creature from the former man! He now knows vice, but abhors it; temptation, but resists it; error, but he laments it. His passions were once balanced, they are now subdued; he has tasted good and evil, and he knows to choose the one and refuse the other. Intellectual ideas crowd upon him, and a new world opens within his breast. His nature is raised, refined, exalted : he lives by faith, by devotion, by spiritual communion, by repentancehe, weeping beneath the bitter cross, washes off the stain of sin. The world is beneath his feet; for behold he prayeth, and things unseen become present to his soul. Meek resignation blunts the edge of suffering; and triumphant hope looks beyond all suffering, to glory and to joy. Thus advancing through life, he learns some new lesson at every step,--till by receiving, but still more by conferring, benefits; by bearing, and still further by forgiving, injuries, -his mind is disciplined, his moral sense awakened, his taste for beauty, order and rectitude, unfolded. He becomes endeared to those he has wept and prayed and struggled with through this vale of sin and suf
fering ;-he learns to pity and to love his fellowpartners of mortality; till at length the divine flame of universal charity begins to kindle in his breast. Then is the æra of a new birth; then does he become partaker of a divine nature : sense is mortified, passion is subdued, self is annihilated. And is not this a noble creature? a being worth forming by so expensive and painful a process? a being God may delight in? a faithful well-disciplined soldier, fit to cooperate in any plan, or mingle with any order of rational and moral beings throughout the wide creation ? Place him where you will, he has learned to follow, to trust in, the Supreme Being: he has learned humility from his errors, steadiness and watchfulness from his weakness; his virtues depend not now on constitution, but on firm principles and established habits. Is this the feeble being whose infant mind was unable to resist the allurements of forbidden fruit? who so easily listened to the seduction of the tempter? See him now resisting unto blood, superior to principalities and powers, to wicked men and bad angels :neither terrors nor pleasures can move him. He once believed not the living voice of his Maker; having not seen, he now believes. His gratitude once was faint and languid, though he was surrounded with pleasant things : he now loves God, though overwhelmed with sorrow and pain; trusts