« ElőzőTovább »
things corrupted are the worst, was never more verified than in her. An excellent understanding and a good education are perverted to the dreadful purpose of palliating heresy. And the best natural teinper (with sorrow I speak it) is turned into the gall of asps ; for whenever she speaks of the holy religion wherein she was educated, the most malicious heretic could never say more disrespectful things. The very temples wherein we worship the God of our fathers, though the glory of the world, are no bet. ter, if you will believe her, than the paltry conventicles of mushroom sectaries, many of whom disappear before they have been honoured with a name. The faith of the holy Roman church was spoken of with admiration throughout the world, in the time of the apostles ; and like its temples, it continues firm and unmoved to the present hour; nor shall the gates of hell prevail against it.
It is my earnest wish, Eusebia, said my father, and I implore you not to refuse my request, that you will take the veil. When you are in the company of the holy sisters, I have no doubt but their gentle manners, and pious conversation, will bring you to a juster way of thinking, You will then bless me and my venerable friend for the care we have taken of your everlasting interest. !
O my dear father, cried I, (falling upon my knees,) I beseech you not to ask your poor child the only thing she cannot grant. My friends may come to me; but I cannot go to them.
Indeed, young lady, said father Albino, if I were your parent, I would soon convince you that it is not so impossible as you suppose it to be. I know you rely upon his promise not to force your inclination ; but I hope he will consider, that a rash promise, or even vow, is better broke than kept.
Ah, father, replied I, how oft have I heard you accuse the protestants of injustice, in supposing that catholics think a breach of faith with heretics no sin.
And I still accuse them, interrupted he angrily; but this is a different case. The promise of my friend that he
would not compel you to renounce your errors, was virtually a promise to become an accomplice in your guilt.“ Moreover, if we are commanded to compel persons to come in, that Christ's house may be filled, ought we not to compel those to come back who have strayed from the good ways of God? If your father had promised to murder you, it would not be his duty to keep his promise ; but he would act infinitely worse, if he were to keep his promise of letting you go to hell without interruption.
Indeed, Eusebia, said my father, you must renounce your errors, or submit to take the veil. I did not act rightly when I promised to be the cause of your ruin. I have had a long conversation with my
this subject, and am convinced that no engagements to break the laws of Christ can be binding. I must do myself the justice, however, to declare, that, when I promised not to force your inclination, I intended to keep my word. But as the apostles could do nothing against the truth, but for the truth ; so no good catholic can bind himself, either to do any harm to the faith and church of Christ, or to omit doing them all the service in his power.
I was so terrified when I heard this reasoning, that it was with difficulty I kept from swooning. My dear brother, perceiving my disorder, put his arm round my neck, and besought my father not to carry matters to such an extremity, or at least to allow me time for consideration.
Alas, my son, cried Signior Albino, you cannot conceive the indulgence she has already had. Yet I dare say her father will have no objection to grant her any reasonable time to retract her errors, provided she will promise to employ that time in endeavouring to reconcile herself to the church, which like a tender parent, is willing to receive returning prodigals. To this my father assented, desiring me also to consider, that they had nothing in view, nor could have, but the glory of God, and the good of my precious soul.
How sad a thing it is to have a conscience misinformed. This was the case of those who murdered the Lord of glory; and it was once the opinion of Paul, that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. A Christian makes the Scriptures the entire rule of his faith and practice. The Jews could not have crucified the Messiah, unless they had first made the word of God of no effect through their traditions: and to this source must be imputed all the bloodshed and murders which have been perpetrated in the name of the meek and lowly Jesus.
I have this day conversed with my father, and pleaded his promise, but without effect. His conscience is under the direction of the priest, who tells him that no promise can be binding which is made to the prejudice of religion. And indeed I remember, that when a protestant gentleman was once telling father Albino that the council of Constance had decreed that no faith was to be kept with lreretics, he replied, that the council was misrepresented; for that, on account of a safe conduct being granted by the emperor to that arch-heretic Huss, it had decreed, not that no faith was to be kept with heretics, but that no safe conduct ought to be of any prejudice to the catholic religion. This excuse I remember was not satisfactory to me; since it was then my opinion, as much as it is now, that no consideration whatsoever should make us deviate from truth and justice.
I am very sorry that my father has been persuaded to break his promise, for his own sake ; for, as to myself, I trust that, through the kind providence of God, I shall be cnabled to defeat the counsels which are taken against me. I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing you at Islington, unless my dear parent should alter his resolution, which I have no reason to expect. I frequently think that but little food is requisite for the preservation of life. I am the worst off with respect to clothes, having few that will suit my mean condition : but I have a trifling sum of money, which is a great mercy. I shall not show my brother this letter, being determined not to inform him how I intend to extricate myself out of my present difficulties. He is truly all I could wish in so near and dear a relation :
but I am determined not to involve him in my misfortunes. Besides, such a double shock might be more than my dear parent could bear.
I am, with the best respects to you and my other kind friends,
From Miss Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
- DEAR MADAM, * I HAVE received your kind letter, enclosing one from iny excellent but much injured sister ; injured by no one more than by myself. My mind is so much agitated, that nothing less than the obligations which I and my dear sister are under to Mrs. Worthington could have made me put pen to paper. I thank you for your good wishes and seasonable instruction, and entreat your prayers that I may never turn my back on the good ways of God. How much have I been mistaken! I pity and pray for my dear parent and Signior Albino, who know not what they are doing,
It would give me great pleasure, Madam, to hear that my dear sister were under your friendly roof. As it is her intention to make an attempt to escape, the moments will appear to me very tedious till I shall hear of her having effected her purpose. With regard to myself and my dear brother, we have undoubtedly much to fear, if we carry our views no further than to a furious priest, and an incens-. ed parent: but I trust I have in some measure been enabled to rely upon him who said to the boisterous waves, Peace, be still.
I am convinced that the doctrine of election is true, The divine sovereignty, as you justly observe, is inscribed
upon every thing which we behold. And my dear Miss Barnwell has proved to me, that it is far from wearing an unfriendly aspect, even to the unconverted and the chief of sinners. It does, indeed, said she, put an insurmountable obstacle in the way of working for life ; but that ought not to be lamented, since it lays the axe at the root of pride. It puts no bar in the way of salvation : for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
How forcible are right words. How wise and excellent are the ways of God. How far does our wisdom fall short of those things of the most High, which we esteem unreasonable, weak, or foolish. My friend was a mean, in the hand of God, of making me fall in love with a doctrine which seemed before to wear the most terrific aspect, The truth is this; those parts of divine revelation which appear unfriendly, or even unreasonable, in theory, are salutary in practice.
Notwithstanding the magnitude of my crimes, I hope I have not committed the unpardonable sin. In addition to what
you have said concerning that sin, Miss Barnwell ascribes its unpardonableness, not to the insufficiency of the blood of Christ, but to its being a proud or malicious rejection of the way of salvation. The first ray of divine light which shone into my soul, was a conviction that I had trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God; and the moment I saw what I had done, floods of tears accompanied the happy discovery; I fled for refuge to that Being whom I had injured ; and my grief was swallowed up by joy.
It remains that I labour continually to make my calling and election sure. If Mrs. Worthington will be so kind as to send me, in her next letter, a description of a true Christian, it will be a valuable addition to the favours conferred on,