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trait. And this being accomplished, I further contracted with him to throw something of an opposite character into the mouth and eyes, by which I might be stimulated to kindness. All which, I must add, he executed to my perfect satisfaction so that whoever shall compare
that picture with any other of my aunt, which still glitters in antiquated majesty upon the walls of the family mansion, will be delighted to discover how successfully in this portrait, as in those of some other persons, art has kindly supplied the deficiencies and remedied the defects of nature.
I think it well, however, to add, that one of the evils arising out of this very seducing property of the fine arts is, that men are tempted to transfer it to the sketches they make of their own mind and character. But I love my readers too well, not earnestly to beseech them never, in such delineations, to borrow the flattering
pencil of the artist. And that they may now, as they always ought before they go to rest, sit to themselves for a few moments, and, in so doing, avail themselves of the above caution, I will at once put an end to the chapter.
THE WAY TO BE NO CHRISTIAN.
"REAL charity, then," said I, repeating the old clergyman's words, "according to this good man, descends from Heaven."
Here was thesis enough for a very extensive
argument; and I did not quit the subject till I had come to a fixed resolution to devote myself to the study of religion - a subject which, as it will be remembered, my aunt declared herself to have noticed "only in compliment to general opinion."
Now, it is but just to myself to confess, that my resolution, on this occasion, was not dictated by the same motive with that of my aunt. I was by no means in good humour with the world; and, therefore, in no degree disposed to
pay any deference to its opinions. But then, I was also violently out of humour with myself and my way of life; and this state of mind naturally prompted me to seek my happiness in any new pursuit.-I will acknowledge that my recent disappointments had for a moment shaken my confidence in my aunt's opinions—so that her contempt for religion, perhaps, a little exalted it in my esteem. But if these suspicions carried me thus far, they did not lead me on to the desperate length of disputing the worth of the maxims on the subject of religion contained in the code. Though I could consent at the moment to abandon my aunt, I could not at once take so tremendous a leap as, simultaneously, to abandon her and those proverbs which I had valued perhaps more highly than herself. Indeed, had not my nature in itself abhorred precipitancy, the accredited and much-admired maxim of "looking before we leap," stood in the way of all such sudden apostacy. I adopt
ed, therefore, the half measure of studying the subject denounced by my aunt, but of studying it by the light of the maxims which she herself prescribed. Duty to myself seemed to require thus much-duty to my aunt to allow no more.
My reader may now, therefore, if he please, conceive me in my walks, in my chair, in my bed, by day and by night, endeavouring to thread the mazes of religious controversy with these mystical clues in my hand. And possibly he can predict the result of the attempt. But, lest he should fail, I think it right very faithfully to record it.
Now, in the first place, it is most certain that truth and error are not the same thing-that it is not indifferent what opinions we embracethat the high and holy God is not alike satisfied with the mere fancies of man, and the dictates of his own hallowed word. And, under the influence of these very obvious truths, I was actually setting down to a creed very like that