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much respect from Mr. Neville and his family, I think I shall stay here some time longer. When I remove, I 'intend to accept my dear aunt's invitation.
In reading your conversation with my father, sorrow and joy took possession of me alternately. Sorrow, that so near a relative should not only be a stranger, but an enemy to the Redeemer; and joy, that God in sovereign mercy should call me to the knowledge of himself, notwithstanding I am sprung from one who is a stranger to the covenant of promise. When the temple of God shall be finished, every stone in the building, as well as the headstone, will ascribe it entirely to the grace of the almighty Architect, that it was chosen out of the common quarry, and fashioned for the intended use, in preference to other stones of equal goodness. May I always remember with self-abasement the rock whence I was hewn, and the hole of the pit whence I was digged.
With regard to my father's estate, I should look upon it as a happy thing for him to lose it, if that were to be a mean in the hand of Providence of making him seek the true riches. Nothing used to give me more pain than to liear him value himself upon his being a gentleman. Alas! what a poor prerogative it is for the offspring of God, for immortals, to live in a large house, and to wear clothes made of fine wool or linen, and this for only sixty or seventy years. I have not mentioned their living without labour, and eating and drinking much more than nature requires; because these things ought to be considered as curses rather than blessings. O my God! may I and all thy servants rather glory in the cross of Christ, and in all that infamy which attends the confession of thy name.
You wish to hear, Madam, how we go on at the Abbey. I have conversed with father Albino several times since I wrote last, and I hope with good effect. I have chiefly
endeavoured to prove out of the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ, the only Saviour; and also that it is the employment of Satan, under the disguise of an angel of light, to substitute in the room of the perfect obedience of Christ,
and of that atonement which he made for sin, a religion of which the love of God makes no part. Notwithstanding, continued I, the helpless condition of man since the fall, and that it is now impossible for him to live by his own righteousness, yet the enemy of souls, continually labours to make him build a Babel that will reach to heaven, thereby endeavouring to render the mediatorial work of Chri of no effect.
He asked me what I thought of the monks and nuns in their church.
I told him, that the way of life followed by those people, if it be viewed in the most favourable light, must be considered as an endeavour to approach the divine presence in a different way from that which has been appointed ; and that notwithstanding the name of Christ is not entirely omitted in their religion, yet in general, as well as among protestants, it is only used as an auxiliary to their own inventions.
He then asked my opinion concerning purgatory.
I answered, that that also was invented to supersede the redemption which is by Christ Jesus, by pretending that it is possible for sinners to be purged from their guilt by their own sufferings.
My dear friend, cried he, what you have told me I know to be the truth. Where have I been, and what have I been doing all my life time?
You have been doing Sir, replied I, that which millions of men called Christians do all their days. But it is your infinite mercy that God has stopped you in your career, while thousands around you are left in blindness and unbelief.
Miss Barnwell, said he, you will insensibly lead me to believe the doctrines of election and reprobation, which I have looked upon to be so dishonourable to God, that I have frequently thought I could sooner become an atheist than believe them. They have always appeared to me to be unworihy of a merciful God, and discouraging to poor sinners.
Their being discouraging to sinners, Sir, replied I, is in my humble opinion an excellency; since they only dis. courage them from seeking to be justified by their own righteousness. They discourage no one from coming to God for mercy, as the prodigal went to his father, or from crying out with the publican, God be merciful to me a sin
It is indeed a certain truth that the elect only will be saved; but then it is also equally certain that whosoever believes the gospel, and applies to God for mercy, will be saved.
The judge of the whole earth, said he, must do the thing that is right. Vain man would be wise and independent of his Creator. How little did I think that I should stoop to be taught by the daughter of Mr Barnwell! God has determined that the loftiness of man shall be made low. Had I known but half what I do now, I should not have persecuted that amiable young lady. But God has taken her to himself: henceforth may
ambition to follow her to the regions of immortality,
I can say but little concerning Mr. Neville. He frequently rides about the fields, or walks in the wilderness. He speaks but seldom, seems averse to company, and when in the house is chiefly in his study. The loss of his daughter is a stroke which he is scarcely able to bear. When he hears that his son and daughter, as well as his priest, have left the church of Rome, it is impossible to foresce what will be the consequence. Mr. William Neville and his sister desire their kind respects to you, as does, Dear Madam, your affectionate niece,
From Signior Albino to Mr. Neville.
MY VERY DEAR PATRON,
I DID not think the time would ever arrive when I should dread a verbal communication of any thing I should have
to say to you ; yet that is now the case. You have blamed me with too much reason for being the cause of your daughter's death : a daughter who had not her equal in the world; the guilt, the shame, and the sorrow, will be for ever mine, O
my dear friend, if you did but know how much I have suffered on that accouat, you would think me an object of your compassion. Alas, the deed is done never to be recalled, and I can only pray that the sin may not be laid to my charge !
My thoughts concerning that excellent young lady are the reverse of what they were. When the truths of God flowed from her lips, my heart was as hard as adamant, and my ears were like those of the deaf adder that will not attend to the voice of the charmer. You wished me,
Sir, to read the correspondence between her and her friends, that I might be the more able judge concerning the everlasting state of your justly beloved child. I acknowledge to my shame, that I complied with your request with a determination to reprobate every thing which it contained, entertaining no doubt of the truth of my own sentiments, and of the fallacy and dampable nature of theirs.
I accordingly read the whole and some of the letters se. veral times over: but how shall I relate the effect? I can never forget it. I soon perceived that my confidence had been equalled only by my ignorance; and that, with the malice and rage of an infernal spirit, I have been crucifying Christ afresh in the person of my own child; for so I esteemed your angelic daughter. I have no doubt, Sir, that you will, yea, that you
have forgiven me : but I shall never forgive myself. Mine is a crime of the blackest dye ; and I should have been entirely without hope of forgiveness, if the providence of God had not informed me, through the same medium, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. I have been stripped of all my former confidence, and now lie as a beggar at the door of divine mercy. I ought to confess that it is doubtful whether I possess one sentiment of a religious kind that I entertained before. Even the God I adored was the creature of my own imagination. It becomes me not, therefore, to expect better treatment from you, than your excellent child received from me. With what measure ye inete, said our Lord, it shall be measured to you again.
I cannot contemplate religious establishments without horror. Christianity could never have been so corrupted, had it not been for the bloody alliance between church and state. Since I read the correspondence, I have read the New Testament, and am amazed that I could think myself a Christian. Othou despised Son of God, what reason hast thou to be ashamed of me, and of millions who are called by thy name; Christians without thy spirit ; Christians, ignorant of thy truth, ignorant of the first principles of thy soul-reviving religion! What would I not do, what would I not suffer, if my friend could but see with niy new eyes! Though an old man, I am become a child. I am learning the rudiments of Christianity. Hitherto I have been a cumberer of the ground ;-an enemy to God, to Christ, to his Spirit, to his word, to his children. Tought to abhor myself in dust and ashes.
Having been called at the eleventh hour out of Egypt, Babylon, and Sodom, to labour in the Lord's vineyard, I am under the greatest obligation to spend my little remaining time in glorifying him. The sacred volume shall be my only guide. Henceforth I will not engage in
religious worship which is not clearly pointed out in the New Testament. Only prove to me, my dear Sir, that
doctrine is taught, or any practice commanded in the oracles of truth, or that any form of church government is recorded in the New Testament to have been used by the apostles, and you shall find me all submission. I lately thought that I knew every thing, and that wisdom would die with me. I now desire to sit at the feet of the Saviour, and to learn of him.
It is not every one who saith to the Redeemer, Lord, Lord, that will enter into the kingdom of heaven; nor in
but those who do the will of their Father who is