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“My head was like an ardent coal, “One stern, tyrannic thought, that made My heart as solid ice;

All other thoughts its slave; My wretched, wretched soul, I know, Stronger and stronger every pulse Was at the devil's price :

Did that temptation craveA dozen times I groaned, the dead Stili urging me to go and see Had never groaned but twicc ;

The dead man in his grave ! “ And now from forth the frowning sky, Heavily I rose up—as soon

From the heaven's topmost height, As light was in the sky, I heard a voice—the awful voice, And sought the black accursed pool of the blood avenging sprite :

With a wild misgiving eye ; “Thou guilty man! take up thy dead, And I saw the dead in the river bed, And hide it from my sight

For the faithless stream was dry ! “I took the dreary body up,

“ Merrily rose the lark, and shook And cast it in a stream

The dewdrop from its wing ; A sluggish water black as ink,

But I never marked its morning flight, The depth was so extreme.

I never heard it sing : My gentle boy, remember this

For I was stooping once again Is nothing but a dream!

Under the horrid thing. “Down went the corpse with a hollow “With breathless speed, like a soul in plunge,

chase, And vanished in the pool ;

I took him up and ran-
Anon I cleansed my bloody hands, There was no time to dig a grave
And washed my forehead cool,

Before the day began ;
And sat among the urchins young In a lonesome wood, with heaps of leaves,
That evening in the school!

I hid the murdered man ! “Oh heaven, to think of their white souls, “And all that day I read in school, And mine so black and grim!

Lut my thought was other where ! I could not share in childish prayer, As soon as the mid-day task was done, Nor join in evening hymn :

In secret I was there : Like a devil of the pit I seemed, And a mighty wind had swept the learca, 'Mid holy cherubim !

And still the corse was bare ! went with them one and all, “ Then down I cast me on my face, And each calm pillow sprcad;

And first began to weep,
But Guilt was my grim chamberlain For I knew my secret then was one
That lighted me to bed,

That earth refused to keep;
And drew my midnight curtains round, Or land or sea, though he should be
With fingers bloody red !

Ten thousand fathoms deep! “All night I lay in agony,

“So wills the fierce avenging sprite, In anguish dark and deep ;

Till blood for blood atones ? My fevered eyes I dared not closc, Ay, though he's buried in a cave, But stared aghast at slecp ;

And trodden down with stones, For sin had rendered unto her

And years have rotted off his fleshThe keys of hell to keep!

The world shall see his bones ! “All night I lay in agony,

“Oh God, that horrid, horrid dream From weary chime to chime,

Besets me now awake! With one besetting horrid hint,

Again-again, with a dizzy brain That racked me all the time

The human life I take ; A mighty yearning, like the first And my red right hand grows raging hot, Fierce impulse unto crimo !

Like Cranmer's at the stako,

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And peace

“And still no peace for the restless clay That very night, while gentle sleep Will wave or mould allow :

The urchin's eyelids kissed, The horrid thing pursues my soul- Two stern-faced men set out from Lyun, It stands before me now!”

Through the cold and heavy mist; The fearful boy looked up, and saw And Eugene Aram walked between Huge drops upon his brow!

With gyves upon his wrists.

35.-THE STRANGE CONTRARIETIES DISCOVERABLE IN HUMAN NATURE.

PASCAL. [BLAISE PASCAL was characterized by Bayle as “one of the sublimest spirits in the world.” He was born in 1623; he died in 1602. His genius led him to the strictest inquiries of human reason; his piety compelled him to the most complete submission of his reasoning faculty to the truths of revelation. Up to his twenty-fifth year he devoted himself to the pursuits of science; thenceforward, to the time of his early death, his mind was dedicated to religious contemplation. His ‘Pensées' furnish a monument of the elevation and purity of bis devotional feeling; his Lettres à un Provincial,' in which he assailed the morality of the Jesuits, with a power of logic and of wit which have never been surpassed, show how com. pletely his religion could be separated from the enthusiasm of his temperament, and the ascetic practices of his life. It lias been said of him that he knew exactly how to distinguish between the rights of faith and of reason. The passage which we select from his 'Pensées' is thus noticed by Dr. Arnold :

—The necessity of faith, arising from the absurdity of scepticism on the one hand, and of dogmatism on the other, is shown with great power and eloquence in the first article of the second part of Pascal's . Pensées,' a book of which there is an English translation by no means difficult to meet with.']

Nothing can be more astonishing in the nature of man than the contrarieties which we there observe, with regard to all things. He is made for the knowledge of

ruth : this is what he most ardently desires, and most eagerly pursues ; yet when he endeavours to lay hold on it, he is so dazzled and confounded as never to be securo of actual possession. Hence the two sects of the Pyrrhonians and the dogmatists took their rise ; of which the one would utterly deprive men of all truth, the other would infallibly insure their inquiries after it : but each with reasons so improbable, as only to increase our confusion and perplexity, while we are guided by no other lights than those which we find in our own bosom.

The principal arguments of the Pyrrhonians, or sceptics, are as follow :-If we accept faith and revelation, we can have no other certainty to the truth of principles, than that we naturally feel and perceive them within ourselves. But now this inward perception is no convictive evidence of their truth; because, since without faith we have no assurance whether we were made by a good God, or by some evil demon, nay, whether we have not existed from eternity, or becn the offspring of chance. It may be doubted whether these principles within us are true or falsc, or uncertain in correspondence to our original. Indeed, it is by faith alone that we can distinguish whether we are asleep or awake ;-because in our sleep we as strongly fancy ourselves to be waking as when we really are so: we imagine that we sca space, figure, and motion : we perceive the time pass away, we measure it as it runs. In fine, we act, to all intents, as in our most wakeful hours. Since then, by our own confession, one-half of our life is spent in slecp, during which, whatever we may suppose, we have rcally no idea of truth, all that then passes within us being mere illusion, who can tell but that the other moiety of our life, in which we fancy ourselves to be awake, is no more than a second sleep, little differing from the former; and that we only rouse ourselves from our sleep by day when we enter into that at night ; as it is usual with us to dream that we dream, hy heaping one fantastic image upon another,

I waive the whole declamations of the sceptics, against the impressions of custom, education, manners, and climates, and the like prejudices ; which they observe to govern the greatest part of mankind, who are wont to reason on no other than theso false foundations.

The main forte of the dogmatists is this, that would we but speak honestly and sincerely, there is no man who can doubt of natural principles. We are capable of truth, say they, not only by reasoning, but by perception, and by a bright and lively act of immediate intelligence. It is by this latter way that we arrive at the knowledge of first principles which the forces of reason would attack in vain, having nothing to do with them. The sceptics who labour to bring all things to their own standard, are under a continual disappointment. We may

be
very

well assured of our being awake, though very unable to demonstrate it by reason. This inability shows indeed the feebleness of our rational powers, but not the general incertitude of our knowledge. We apprehend with no less confidence, that there are such things in the world as space, time, motion, number, and matter, than the most regular and demonstrative conclusions. Nay, it is upon this certainty of perception and consciousness, that reason ought to fix itself, and to found the whole method of its process. I perceive that there are three dimensions in space,--viz. length, breadth, and thickness,—and that number is infinite : hence my reason demonstrates, that there are no two square numbers assignable, one of which shall exactly double the other. We apprehend principles and we conclude propositions ; and both with the like assurance, though by different ways. Nor is it less ridiculous for reason to demand of these perceptive and intellective faculties a proof of their maxims before it consents to them, than it would be for the said faculties to demand of reason a clear perception and intuition of all the problems it demonstrates. This defect, therefore, may serve to the humbling of reason, which pretends to be the judge of all things, but not to invalidate our assurance, as if reason were alune able to inform our judgment. On the contrary, it were to be wished that we had less occasion for rational deductions ; and that we knew all things by instinct and immediate view. But nature has denied us this favour, and allows us but few notices of so easy a kind, leaving us to work out the rest by laborious consequences, and a continued series of argument.

We see here an universal war proclaimed against mankind. We must of necessity list ourselves on one side or on the other ; for he that pretends to stand neuter is most effectually of the sceptical party : this neutrality constitutes the very essence of scepticism ; and he that is not against sceptics, must be in a superlative manner for them. What shall a man do under these circumstances ? Shall he question everything ? shall he doubt whether he is awake ? whether another pinches him, or burns him ? shall he doubt whether he doubts ? shall he doubt whether he exists ? It seems impossible to come to this ; and therefore, I believe, there never was a finished sceptic, a Pyrrhonian in perfection. There is a secret force in nature which sustains the weakness of reason, and hinders it from losing itself in such a degree of extravagance. Well but shall a man join himself to the opposite faction ? Shall he boast that he is in sure possession of truth, when, if we press him never so little, he can produce no title, and must be obliged to quit his hold ?

Who shall extricate us from this dilemma? The sceptics we see are confounded by nature, and the dogmatists by reason. To what a distracting misery will that man, therefore, be reduced, who shall seck the knowledge of his own condition by the bare light and guidance of his own powers : it being alike impossible for him to avoid both these sects, for he cannot repose himself on cither.

Such is the portrait of man, with regard to truth. Let us now behold him in respect of felicity, which he prosecutes with so much warmth through his whole course of action ; for all desire to be happy: this general rule is without exception. Whatever variety there may be in the means employed, there is but one end universally pursued. The reason why one man embraceth the hazard of war, and why another declines it, is but the same desire, attended in each with different views. This is the sole motive to every action of every person ; and even of such as most unnaturally become their own executioners.

And yet, after the course of so many ages, no person without faith has ever arrived at this point, towards which all continually tend. The whole world is busy in complaining : princes and subjects, nobles and commons, old and young, the strong and the feeble, the learned and the ignorant, the healthy and the discascd, of all countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions.

So long, so constant, so regular, and uniform a proof :ught fully to convince us of our utter inability to acquire happiness by our own efforts. But example will not serve for our instruction in this case ; because there being no resemblance so cxact as not to, admit some nicer difference, we are hence disposed to think that our expectation is not so liable to be deceived on one occasion as on another. Thus the present never satisfying us, the future decoys and allures us on, till, from one misfortune to another, it leads us iuto death, the sum and consummation of eternal misery.

This is next to a miracle, that there should not be any one thing in nature which has not been some time fixed as the last end and happiness of man; neither stars, nor elements, nor plants, nor animals, nor insects, nor discases, nor war, nor vice, nor sin. Man being fallen from his natural estate, there is no object so extravagant as not to be capable of attracting his desire. Ever since he lost his real good, everything cheats him with the appearance of it; even his own destruction, though contrary as this seems both to reason and nature.

Some have sought after felicity in honour and authority, others in curiosity and knowledge, and a third tribe in the pleasures and enjoyments of sense. These three leading pursuits have constituted as many factions ; and those whom we compliment with the name of philosophers, have really done nothing else but resigned themselves up to one of the three. Such amongst them as made the nearest approaches to truth and happiness, well considered that it was necessary the universal good which all desire, and in which each man ought to be allowed his portion, should not consist in any of the private blessings of this world, which can be properly enjoyed but by one alone, and which, if divided, do more grieve and afflict each possessor, for want of the part which he has not, than they oblige and gratify him with the part which he has. They rightly apprehend that the true good ought to be such as all may possess at once, without diminution, and without contention ; and such as no man can be deprived of against his will. They apprehended this; but they were unablo to attain and execute it; and instead of a solid, substantial happiness, took up at last with the empty shadow of visionary excellence.

Our instinct suggests to us that we ought to seek our happiness within ourselves. Our passions hurry us abroad, even when there are no objects to engage and incite them. External objects are themselves our tempters, and charm and attract us, while we think not of them. Therefore, the wisest philosophers might weary thenselves with crying, “Keep within yourselves, and your felicity is in your own gift and power.” The generality never gave them credit, and those who were so easy as to believe them, became only the more unsatisfied and the more ridiculous. For is there anything so vain as the happiness of the stoics, or so groundless as the reasous on which they build it ?

They conclude, that what has been done once may be done always; and that, because the desire of glory has spurred on its votaries to great and worthy actions, all others may use it with the same success. But these are the motions of fever and phrenzy, which sound health and judgment can never imitate.

The civil war between reason and passion has occasioned two opposite projects for the restoring of peace to mankind; the one, of those who were for l'enouncing their passions, and becoming gods; the other, of those who were for renouncing their reason, and becoming beasts. But neither the one nor the other could take effect. Reason ever continues to accuse the baseness and injustice of the passions, and to disturb the repose of those who abandon themselves to their dominion ; and on the contrary, the passions remain lively and vigorous in the hearts of those who talk the most of their extirpation.

This is the just account of human nature, and human strength, in respect of truth and happiness. We have an idea of truth not to be effaced by all the wiles of the sceptic; we have an incapacity of argument not to be rectified by all the power of the dogmatist. We wish for truth, and find nothing in onrselves but uncertainty. We seek after happiness, and are presented with nothing but misery. Our double aim is, in effect, a double torture ; while we are alike unable to compass either, and to relinquish either. These desires seem to have been left in us, partly as a punishment of our fall, and partly as an indication and remembrance whence we are fallen.

If man was not made for God, why is God alonc sufficient for human happiness? If man was made for God, why is the human will, in all things, repugnant to the divine ?

Man is at a loss where to fix himself, and to recover his proper station in the world. He is unquestionably out of his way; he feels within himself the small remains of his once happy state, which he is now unable to retrieve. And yet this is what he daily courts and follows after, always with solicitude, and never with success ; encompassed with darkness, which he can neither escape nor penetrate.

Hence arose the contest amongst the philosophers; some of whom endeavoured to raise and exalt man, by displaying his greatness; others to depress and abase him, by representing his misery. And what seems more strange, is, that each party borrowed from the other the ground of their own opinion. For the misery of man may be inferred from his greatness, as his greatness is deducible from his misery. Thus the one sect, with more evidence, demonstrated his misery in that they derived it from his greatness ; and the other more strongly concluded his greatness, because they founded it on his misery. Whatever was offered to establish his greatness, on one side, served only to evince his misery in behalf of the other; it being more miserable to have fallen from the greater height. And the same proportion holds vice versa. So that in this endless circle of dispute, cach helped to advance his adversary's cause ; for it is certain, that the more degrees of light men enjoy, the more degrees they are able to discern of misery and of greatness. In a word, man knows himself to be miserable ; he is therefore exceedingly miserable, because he knows that he is so ; but he likwise appears to be eminently great, from this very act of knowing hiraself to be miserable.

What a chimera then is man ! What a surprising novelty! What a confused chaos! What a subject of contradiction ! A professed judge of all things, and yet a feeble worm of the earth ; the great depositary and guardian of truth, and yet a mere medley of uncertainty ; the glory and the scandal of the universe. If he is too aspiring and lofty, we can lower and humble him ; if too mean and little, we can exalt him. To conclude, we can bait him with repugnances and ccı:tradictions, until, at length, he considers himself to be a monster even beyond conception,

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