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[391]

Fanaticism

there are occasionally deeds committed almost too horrible and revolting for publication. The tongue falters in giving them utterance; the pen trembles that records them. Such is the ghastly horror of a late tragedy in Edgecomb, in the State of Maine. A respectable and thriving citizen and his wife had been for some years very unprofitably engaged in brooding over the mysteries of the Apocalypse, and in speculations upon the personal coming of Christ and the temporal reign of the saints on earth,—a sort of Mahometan paradise, which has as little warrant in Scripture as in reason. Their minds of necessity became unsettled; they meditated self-destruction; and, as it appears by a paper left behind in the handwriting of both, came to an agreement that the husband should first kill his wife and their four children, and then put an end to his own existence. This was literally executed,—the miserable man striking off the heads of his wife and children with his axe, and then cutting his own throat.

Alas for man when he turns from the light of reason and from the simple and clearly defined duties of the present life, and undertakes to pry into the mysteries of the future, bewildering himself with uncertain and vague prophecies, Oriental

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