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so dreadful a light. This humour of turning every misfortune into a judgment, proceeds from wrong notions of religion ; which in its own nature produces goodwill towards men, and puts the mildest construction upon every accident that befalls them. In this case, it is not religion that sours a man's temper, but it is his temper which sours his religion.
People of gloomy uncheerful imaginations, or of envious malignant tempers, whatever kind of life they are engaged in, will discover their natural tincture of mind in all their thoughts, words, and actions : as the finest wines have often the taste of the soil, so even the most religious thoughts, often draw something that is particular, from the constitution of the mind in which they arise.
When folly or superstition strike in with this natural depravity of temper, it is not in the power even of religion itself, to preserve the character of the person who is possessed with it, from appearing highly absurd and ridiculous.
If the stage opponents will still persist in drawing conclusions by no means liberal, will they please to ponder on the following short catalogue of human misery.
The two Theatres in London were both burnt down within a year of each other, when they were completely unoccupied by actors and spectators. Do these fires demand the necessity of ranking them among the chastisements of the Almighty? Is it not a well known fact, that several Churches in New-York, and other places, have fallen under the ravages of the same devouring element. “In 1787, Bury Theatre fell down and buried three hundred people under its ruins-Five were killed. The floor of a meeting house gave way at Leeds, in 1796, and killed sixteen women, a man, and a child.
We all remember the steeple of a church in Liverpool falling in; and the greatest number of the killed were children, who were repeating their catechism. It is not a century since the earthquake at Lisbon swallowed up, in the short space of eight minutes,
, whole streets, and destroyed fifty thousand of its inhabitants. About the year 1785, a number of people were assembled at Winster, in England, to see a puppet-show, when the upper part of the house (which contained the exhibition) was blown off by the accidental explosion of gunpowder, and not a single person was injured.
St. Paul's cathedral has been burnt, not less than three times, and once considerably injured by lightning.
Greenwich Hospital had its steeple and one of its quadrangles burnt down, and it was with difficulty, any part of the building could be preserved; and in 1813, the church and steeple were struck by lightning and most materially damaged.
What conclusions will they presume to draw from these few instances, where we find Churches, Hospitals, and Theatres, liable to the same awful visitations ?. Are we to conclude that the congregation at Leeds were more wicked than the audience at Bury? That the fifty thousand, who perished at Lisbon, were all objects of divine wrath and the spectators at the puppet show all so meritoriously employed that they escaped punishment ? Absurd !--We find ourselves surrounded by a continual exhibition of phenomeva, inexplicable in themselves and perplexing to the wisest,
To draw conclusions without knowing the premises, betrays ignorancemato make uncharitable constructions upon the secret movements of the Deity, evinces any thing but the mild principles of Christianity. Let us rather reverentially repeat the words of the great bard, which he has piously put into the mouth of one of his characters“The will of God be done in this and all things.”
The unfortunate affair at Richmond is passed over, as it is not my wish to infliet an unnecessary pang, by remarks on that melancholy erent.