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Divine close to you my falseness, though, instead of reLove proaching me, I persuade myself you will shed conquers tears of joy. When I tell you what Rival hath

ravished my heart from you, you will praise my inconstancy, and pray this Rival to fix it. By this you will know that 'tis God alone that takes Heloise from you. Yes, my dear Abelard, He gives my mind that tranquillity which a vivid remembrance of our misfortunes formerly forbade. Just Heaven! what other rival could take me from you? Could you imagine it possible for a mere human to blot you from my heart? Could you think me guilty of sacrificing the virtuous and learned Abelard to any other but God? No, I believe you have done me justice on this point. I doubt not you are eager to learn what means God used to accomplish so great an end? I will tell you, that you may wonder at the secret ways of Providence. Some few days after you sent me your last letter I fell dangerously ill; the physicians gave me over, and I expected certain death. Then it was that iny passion, which always before seemed innocent, grew criminal in my eyes. My memory represented faithfully to me all the past actions of my life, and I confess to you pain for our love was the only pain I felt. Death, which till then I had only viewed from a distance, now presented itself to me as it appears to sinners. I began to dread the wrath of God now I was near experiencing it, and I repented that I had not better used the means of Grace. Those tender letters I wrote to you, those fond conversations I have had with you, give me as much pain now as they had formerly

given pleasure. Ah, miserable Heloise!' I She is resaid, if it is a crime to give oneself up to such pentant transports, and if, after this life is ended, punishment certainly follows them, why didst thou not resist such dangerous temptations? Think on the tortures prepared for thee, consider with terror the store of torments, and recollect, at the same time, those pleasures which thy deluded soul thought so entrancing. Ah! dost thou not despair for having rioted in such false pleasures?' In short, Abelard, imagine all the remorse of mind I suffered, and you will not be astonished at my change.

Solitude is insupportable to the uneasy mind; its troubles increase in the midst of silence, and retirement heightens them. Since I have been shut up in these walls I have done nothing but weep our misfortunes. This cloister has resounded with my cries, and, like a wretch condemned to eternal slavery, I have worn out my days with grief. Instead of fulfilling God's merciful design towards me I have offended against Him; I have looked upon this sacred refuge as a frightful prison, and have borne with unwillingness the yoke of the Lord. Instead of purifying myself with a life of penitence I have confirmed my condemnation. What a fatal mistake! But, Abelard, I have torn off the bandage which blinded me, and, if I dare rely upon my own feelings, I have now made myself worthy of your esteem. You are to me no more the loving Abelard who constantly sought private conversations with me by deceiving the vigilance of our observers. Our misfortunes gave

Further you a horror of vice, and you instantly consecrated struggles the rest of your days to virtue, and seemed to submit willingly to the necessity. I indeed, more tender than you, and more sensible to pleasure, bore misfortune with extreme impatience, and you have heard my exclaimings against your enemies. You have seen my resentment in my late letters; it was this, doubtless, which deprived me of the esteem of my Abelard. You were alarmed at my repinings, and, if the truth be told, despaired of my salvation. You could not foresee that Heloise would conquer so reigning a passion; but you were mistaken, Abelard, my weakness, when supported by grace, has not hindered me from winning a complete victory. Restore me, then, to your esteem; your own piety should solicit you to this.


But what secret trouble rises in soul-what unthought-of emotion now rises to oppose the resolution I have formed to sigh no more for Abelard? Just Heaven! have I not triumphed over my love? Unhappy Heloise! as long as thou drawest a breath it is decreed thou must love Abelard. Weep, unfortunate wretch, for thou never hadst a more just occasion. I ought to die of grief; grace had overtaken me and I had promised to be faithful to it, but now am I perjured once more, and even grace is sacrificed to Abelard. This sacrilege fills up the measure of my iniquity. After this how can I hope that God will open to me the treasure of His mercy, for I have tired out His forgiveness. I began to offend Him from the first moment I saw Abelard; an unhappy sympathy engaged us both in a guilty

love, and God raised us up an enemy to separate She us. I lament the misfortune which lighted upon demands us and I adore the cause. Ah! I ought rather a letter to regard this misfortune as the gift of Heaven, which disapproved of our engagement and parted us, and I ought to apply myself to extirpate my passion. How much better it were to forget entirely the object of it than to preserve a memory so fatal to my peace and salvation? Great God! shall Abelard possess my thoughts for ever? Can I never free myself from the chains of love? But perhaps I am unreasonably afraid; virtue directs all my acts and they are all subject to grace. Therefore fear not, Abelard; I have no longer those sentiments which being described in my letters have occasioned you so much trouble. I will no more endeavour, by the relation of those pleasures our passion gave us, to awaken any guilty fondness you may yet feel for me. I free you from all your oaths; forget the titles of lover and husband and keep only that of father. I expect no more from you than tender protestations and those letters so proper to feed the flame of love. I demand nothing of you but spiritual advice and wholesome discipline. The path of holiness, however thorny it be, will yet appear agreeable to me if I may but walk in your footsteps. You will always find me ready to follow you. I shall read with more pleasure the letters in which you shall describe the advantages of virtue than ever I did those in which you so artfully instilled the poison of passion. You cannot now be silent without a crime. When I was possessed with so violent a love, and pressed you so earnestly to write to me,

God holds how many letters did I send you before I could her heart obtain one from you? You denied me in my

misery the only comfort which was left me, because
you thought it pernicious. You endeavoured by
severities to force me to forget you, nor do I
blame you; but now you have nothing to fear.
This fortunate illness, with which Providence has
chastised me for my good, has done what all
human efforts and your cruelty in vain attempted.
I see now the vanity of that happiness we had set
our hearts upon, as if it were eternal.
What fears,
what distress have we not suffered for it!

No, Lord, there is no pleasure upon earth but that which virtue gives. The heart amidst all worldly delights feels a sting; it is uneasy and restless until fixed on Thee. What have I not suffered, Abelard, whilst I kept alive in my retirement those fires which ruined me in the world? I saw with hatred the walls that surrounded me; the hours seemed as long as years. I repented a thousand times that I had buried myself here. But since grace has opened my eyes all the scene is changed; solitude looks charming, and the peace of the place enters my very heart. In the satisfaction of doing my duty I feel a delight above all that riches, pomp or sensuality could afford. My quiet has indeed cost me dear, for I have bought it at the price of my love; I have offered a violent sacrifice I thought beyond my power. But if I have torn you from my heart, be not jealous; God, who ought always to have possessed it, reigns there in your stead. Be content with having a place in my mind which you shall never lose; I shall always take a secret

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