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Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

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salutary reflection of the mind upon itself; and for
that mental activity upon other objects, and that re-
laxation from the severer task of thinking, which is
at once necessary to preserve the healthy state of the
mind and body, and to give efficacy to the meditation
which is thus encouraged. But this alternation of
labour and reflection is not the only, nor, perhaps, the
greatest advantage of the plan. The unaided thoughts
of the corrupt and hardened might recur to topics
which would be any thing but salutary; but, in the
silence and darkness of night, the voice of religious
instruction is heard; and, if any circumstances can
be imagined, calculated to impress the warnings, the
encouragements, the threats, or the hopes of religion
upon the mind, it must surely be those of the convict
in his cell, where he is unseen and unheard, and
where nothing can reach him but the voice which
must come to him, as it were, from another world,
telling him of things which, perhaps, never before
entered into his mind; telling him of God, of eter-
nity, of future reward and future punishment, of suf-
fering far greater than the mere physical endurances
of the present life, and of joy infinitely beyond the
pleasures he may have experienced. These instruc-
tions frequently discover to the guilty tenant of the
cell, what seems often not to have occurred to him,
the simple fact, that he has a spiritual nature; that he
is not the mere animal which his habits and hitherto
uncontrolled propensities would indicate; and this is
a discovery which alone may, and does effect, a great
change in a man's whole character. He feels that he
is a being superior to what he had thought himself,
and that he is regarded as one having higher powers
than he had supposed. The first step in the path of
improvement is a prodigious one; a new ambition is
created, and the encouragement of it is the principal
thing now needed. This encouragement it is part of
the system to give. The spiritual guide of this out-
cast flock must study the character and previous cir-