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for myself, I will bow me down, even to the dust, to the dispensation of Him, in whose hands are the issues of life and death.'But he was my brother, and such a brother! I must feel my sorrows as a man, I cannot but remember such things were, that were most precious to me.' Did Heaven look on and would not take his part? The Lord is righteous, let him do that which seemeth good unto him.' 'The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away.' I am no dissembler: I cannot now add, Blessed be the name of the Lord." But I am dumb: Pardon me, O God! and support me in this hour of affliction; teachi me to rejoice in that the righteous are taken away from the evil which is to come."
He was taken away lest evil should beguile his soul.' Never, oh! never, till this hour of trial, this day of sorrow, did I so decidedly experience the superiority of religion over every other consideration.
"I lately had an opportunity of seeing, in a misfortune similar to that which I now deplore in the fulness of my grief, the desolating blast of atheism wither all the hopes,
and close up for ever all the avenues of consolation from an afflicted fellow-creature. Surely,' Infidelity, thy ways are ways of bitterness, and all thy paths are death. Not long since, while I was engaged in intimate and confidential discourse with a gentleman, to whose superior ability I bow down, and whose moral excellencies I cannot but admire, a letter came, informing him of the loss of his only brother, who had perished at sea. Never, till the latest hour of my existence, shall I forget the tremendous burst of blasphemy, the horrid effusions of execrations, which rushed from the lips of the unhappy sufferer, who, instead of yielding to the storm, defied the raging of the blast. In vain I endeavoured to inspire some comfort from the consideration of a future life. All there was dark; not a ray, not a glimmering of hope, served to illumine the dreary, cheerless prospect. He turned to me, and said, with a pale, livid, quivering lip, with eyes emitting intolerable flashes of fire, and with a countenance rendered ghastly by despair, what comfort can I derive from the contempla
tion of a state, the existence of which I disbe lieve; or what can I hope from the mercy of that God, whose being I more than doubt, and who, if he exists at all, is a tyrant, that delights to snuff the scent of blood; a tyrant rejoicing in misery, in cruelty, and in devastation? Has he not bereft me of my brother?' Here he threw himself on the floor, and uttered such horrid curses, and poured forth such a torrent of imprecations, as harrowed up my soul, and benumbed every faculty of reflection. After a long and gloomy he faltered out with a look of unutter
pause, able woe,
My young but mistaken friend, if ever such a brother, so brilliant, so dignified, so endeared, shall be rent from your bleeding heart, then will you feel the childish inutility, and the pitiful inefficacy of your boasted religion. Mock me no more, I beseech you, with the phantoms of speculation; nothing is certain, but that man is born to lamentation, to anguish, and to destruction, as his only inheritance.' Now another burst of tears choked his voice, and for a while forbade further articulation. After a few minutes, he said, in bro
ken and trembling accents,
Do not tell my wife of it yet! her delicate frame, and feeble state of health, cannot withstand the shock of such a disastrous occurrence, if suddenly related; we will break it to her by degrees: if she were to be murdered, I do not think that I could survive it; no, by every curse which ever fell upon mankind, I would clap a pistol to my head, and go to see that future state you talk so much of." Here his laugh was so horridly terrific, that my blood ran cold through all my veins. I left him; but little, indeed, did I think that the hour would so speedily arrive, when I should want that consolation which I had offered him. But thy ways, O'Lord, are just; infinite are thy mercies, O God!" Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and correcteth every son whom he receiveth."
AMONG all the definitions which a multitude of writers have given of man, none pleases me so much as that which describes him to be a risible animal. And, here, let not any cold, and phlegmatic, and dull observer remark, that there have been men who were never seen to laugh: even admitting this assertion to be true, it only proves that such beings do not deserve the name of men; and I would seriously exhort all naturalists, in future, to class such animals among the brute species, to which family they certainly belong. It is, with me, always a very bad sign; when I see a thing in a human shape not subject to risibility, I set it down as a mark of a weak and uncultivated intellect, or a bad and a vitiated heart, or both: we find the greatest quantity of laughter among those nations which possess the greatest quantity of understanding and of virtue. By laughter, I