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them. The equality which fubfifts among these sisters of obscurity, the similarity of their fate, the peace, the leisure they enjoy, give rise to the most endearing friendships. Their innocence is shielded by the simplicity of their life from even the idea of ill; and they are flattered by the notion of a voluntary renunciation of pleasures, which, probably, had they continued in the world, they would have had little share in.
After all that can be said, we have reason enough to rejoice that the superstitions ; of former times are now fallen into disrepute. What might be a palliative at one time, foon became a crying evil in itself. When the fuller day of science began to dawn, the monkish orders were willing to exclude its brightness, that the dim lamp might still glimmer in their cell. Their growing vices have rendered them juftly
odious to society, and they seem in a fair way of being for ever abolished. But may we not still hope that the world was better than it would have been without them; and that he, who knows to bring good out of evil, has made them, in their day, fubfervient to some useful purposes. The corruptions of christianity, which have been accumulating for so many ages, seem to be now gradually clearing away; and some future period may perhaps exhibit our religion in all its natjve simplicity
So the pure limpid stream, when foul with stains
ON THE PLEASURE DERIVED FROM
OBJECTS OF TERROR;
SIR BERTRAND, A FRAGMENT.
HAT the exercise of our benevolent
feelings, as called forth by the view of human afflictions, should be a source of pleasure, cannot appear wonderful to one who considers that relation between
the moral and natural fystem of man, which has connected a degree of satisfaction with every action or emotion productive of the general welfare. The painful sensation immediately arising from a scenę of misery, is so much foftened and alleviated by the reflex sense of self-approbation attending virtuous sympathy, that we find, on the whole, a very exquisite and refined pleasure remaining, which makes us desirous of again being witnesses to such fcenes, instead of flying from them with disgust and horror. It is obvious how greatly such a provision must conduce to the ends of mutual support and assistance. But the apparent delight with which we dwell upon objects of pure terror, where our moral feelings are not in the least conçerned, and no passion seems to be excited but the depressing one of fear, is a paradox of the heart, much more difficult of solution.
The reality of this source of pleasure seems evident from daily observation. The greediness with which the tales of ghosts and goblins, of murders, earthquakes, fires, shipwrecks, and all the most terrible disasters attending human life, are devoured by every ear, must have been generally remarked. Tragedy, the most favourite work of fiction, has taken a full share of those scenes ; “ it has supt full with horrors”—and has, perhaps, been more indebted to them for public admiration than to its tender and pathetic parts. The ghost of Hamlet, Macbeth descending into the witches” cave, and the tent scene in Richard, command as forcibly the attention of our souls as the parting Jaffeir and Belvidera, the fall of Wolsey, or the death of Shore. The inspiration of terror was by the antient critics assigned as the peculiar province of tragedy; and the Greek and Roman tra