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painful, dangerous, and hopeless illness, I found myself once more in a confirmed state of health, surrounded by my little stock in trade, which was but just saved from thieves, and which to me was an im. mense treasure.
“ Pass some fleeting moments by,
Heav'n renews its smiles serene.' West's Pindar. Add to the above, my having won a second time in a game where the odds were so much against me; or, to use another simile, my having drawn another prize in the lottery of wedlock, and thus, like John Buncle, repaired the loss of one very valuable woman by the acquisition of another still more valuable.
“O woman! let the libertine decry,
HAYWARD. Dr Watts, in his poem entitled Few Happy Matches, supposes that souls come forth in pairs, male and female, and that the reason why there are so many unhappy matches, is occasioned by many souls losing their partners in the way to this lower world. That the happy matches take place when souls arrive safely, and meeting again instinctively, impel the bodies they animate towards each other, so as to produce a hymeneal union. So that, according to the good doctor's hypothesis, it must be very dangerous indeed for a person to be married more than once; but perhaps such cases as mine might be exceptions to the general rule, and three souls might come out together;
but how very fortunate was I to meet with both my partners !
Reflecting on the above united circumstances, I found in my heart an unusual sensation, such as until then I had been a stranger to, and something within me adopted the sentiments of Anacreon, when he said,
Hence, sorrows, hence, nor rudely dare
As cheerful as I can." My mind began to expand, intellectual light and pleasure broke in and dispelled the gloom of fanatical melancholy; the sourness of my natural temper, which had been much increased by superstition, (called by Swift, “the spleen of the soul,”, in part gave way, and was succeeded by cheerfulness and some degree of good-nature.
“ As when a wretch from thick polluted air,
As if new-born he triumphs in the change." Young. It was in one of these cheerful moods that I one day took up the “Life of Jolin Buncle;' and it is impossible for my friend to imagine with what eagerness and pleasure I read through the whole four volumes of this whimsical, sensible, and pleasing work; it was written by Thomas Amory, esq., (who was living in the year 1788, at the great age of ninety-seven), and I know not of any work more proper to be put into the hands of a poor, ignorant, bigoted, superstitious Methodist ; but the misfortune is, that scarcely one of them will read anything but what suits with their own narrow notions, so that they shut themselves up in darkness and exclude every ray of intellectual light; which puts me in mind of the enthusiasts on the banks of the Ganges, who will not look at anything
beyond the tip of their noses. By the time I had gone through the last volume,
“ My soul had took its freedom up." GREEN. John Buncle's merry life puts me in mind of Peter Pindar's sensible, whimsical lines.
• Who told man that he must be curs'd on earth?
The God of Nature ? No such thing!
Don't cry, my lad, but dance and sing ;
Yet mind me if, through want of grace,
Thou mean'st to fling the blessing in my face,
For ever brooding over mis’ry's eggs,
To catch their happiness by the legs." I also received great benefits from reading Coventry's Philemon to Hydaspes; it consists of dialogues on false religion, extravagant devotion, &c., in which are many very curious remarks on visionaries of various ages and sects. This work is complete in five parts octavo. There has also been a decent Scotch edition, published in twelves, both editions are now rather scarce.
I now began to enjoy many innocent pleasures and recreations in life, without the fear of being eternally damned for a laugh, a joke, or for spending
a sociable evening with a few friends, going to the playhouse, &c. &c.
6. The hours so spent shall live, Not unapplauded in the book of heav'n,
For dear and precious as the moments are
VILLAGE CURATE. In short, I saw that true religion was no way incompatible with, or an enemy to rational pleasures of any kind. As life (says one) is the gift of heaven, it is religion to enjoy it.
“ Fools by excess make varied pleasure pall,
VOLTAIRE, by Francklin. I now also began to read with great pleasure the rational and moderate divines of all denominations : and a year or two after I began with metaphysics, in the intricate, though pleasing labyrinths of which I have occasionally since wandered, nor am I ever likely to find my way out.
“ Like a guide in a mist have I rambled about,
In darkness it must be my fortune to grope.” I am not in the least uneasy on that head, as I have no doubt of being in my last moments able to adopt the language of one of the greatest men that ever existed.
“ Great God, whose being by thy works is known,
In the meantime I can sincerely adopt the following lines of Mr Pope :
“If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
heart To find the better way.' Having begun to think rationally, and reason freely on religious matters, you may be sure I did not long remain in Mr Wesley's society. No,
“A ray of welcome light disclosed my path!
Boyd's Dante's Inferno.
What is remarkable, I well remember that some years before, Mr Wesley told his society in Broadmead, Bristol, in my hearing, that he could never keep a hookseller six months in his flock (all fanatics are enemies to reason). He was then pointing out the danger that attended close reasoning in matters of religion and spiritual concerns, in reading controversies, &c. At that time I had not the least idea of my ever becoming a bookseller; but I no sooner began to give scope to my reasoning faculties, than the above remarkable assertion occurred to my mind.
But that which rather hastened my departure from Methodism was this :-The Methodist preachers were continually reprobating the practice of masters and mistresses keeping servants at home on Sundays, to dress dinners, which prevented them from hearing the word of God (by the word of God they mean their own jargon of nonsense); assuring them if the souls of such servants were damned, they might in a great measure lay their damnation at the doors of such masters and mistresses, who rather than eat a cold dinner, would be guilty of breaking the sabbath, and risking the souls of their servants. But how great was my surprise on discovering that these very men