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[395] forted.

While I revolved these things new warmth flowed in upon my heart. I was wrong. These feelings were the growth of selfishness. Of this I was not aware; and, to dispel the mist that obscured my perceptions, a new light and a new mandate were necessary.

From these thoughts I was recalled by a ray which was shot into the room. A voice spoke like that I had before heard: “ Thou hast done well; but all is not done—the sacrifice is incompletethy children must be offered—they must perish with their mother! ”

The misguided man obeys the voice; his children are destroyed in their bloom and innocent beauty. He is arrested, tried for murder, and acquitted as insane. The light breaks in upon him at last; he discovers the imposture which has controlled him; and, made desperate by the full consciousness of his folly and crime, ends the terrible drama by suicide.

Wieland is not a pleasant book. In one respect it resembles the modern tale of Wuthering Heights: it has great strength and power, but no beauty. Unlike that, however, it has an important and salutary moral. It is a warning to all who tamper with the mind and rashly experiment upon its religious element. As such, its perusal by the sectarian zealots of all classes would perhaps be quite as profitable as much of their present studies.

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