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Brave Men and Women

Brave Men and Women

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Publicado porDharmsen Soni

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Published by: Dharmsen Soni on Jan 26, 2011
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04/06/2015

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consolatory peace of a celestial abode."

She was always an acute observer and a caustic commentator, and she soon
discovered that the cloister is not necessarily a celestial abode, and that its
inmates do not inevitably enjoy consolatory peace. She found feminine
spite there of the same texture with that wreaked by worldly women upon
each other, and she notes the cruel taunts which good, old, ugly, and
learned sister Sophia received from some stupid nuns, who, she says, "were
fond of exposing her defects because they did not possess her talents." But
her devotional fervor did not abate. She fainted under the feeling of awe in
the act of her first communion, for she literally believed that her lips
touched the very substance of her God, and thereafter she was long brooded
over by that perfect peace which passeth understanding.

She remained there a year, when her destiny was changed by some
domestic events which made her services necessary to her parents, and she
returned home. Her resolution was unchanged, and she read and meditated
deeply upon the Philotee of Saint Francis de Sales, upon the manual of
Saint Augustine, and upon the polemical writings of Bossuet. But by this
time the leaven of dissent began to work in that powerful intellect, for she
remarks upon these works, that "favorable as they are to the cause which
they defended, they sometimes let me into the secret of objections which
might be made to it, and set me to scrutinizing the articles of my faith;" and
she states that "this was the first step toward a skepticism at which I was
destined to arrive after having been successively Jansenist, Cartesian, Stoic,
and Deist." By this skepticism she doubtless meant merely skepticism as to
creeds, for in her memoirs, written in daily expectation of death, and in
most intense self-communion, she writes upon the great subjects of
immortality, Deity, and providence in language of astonishing eloquence.
"Can," she writes, "can the sublime idea of a Divine Creator, whose
providence watches over the world, the immateriality of the soul and its
immortality, that consolatory hope of persecuted virtue, be nothing more
than amiable and splendid chimeras? But in how much obscurity are these
difficult problems involved? What accumulated objections arise when we
wish to examine them with mathematical rigor? No! it is not given to the
human mind to behold these truths in the full day of perfect evidence; but

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