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I know he will have his own way, I cannot hear such an assertion from you, and be silent. Is not Christianity the established religion in every catholic country in Europe ? Why then is it not fit to be the established religion in protestant countries.
It is unfit, Sir, replied I, for that purpose, in any country; since the church or kingdom of Christ is neither of this world, nor governed by worldly maxims. Christ is the only head and lawgiver of his own kingdom, and his subjects are all brethren. Neither wealth, learning, nor genius, can exalt any one of his subjects above the rest. The bishops whom they choose from among themselves to preside over them, are neither directors of their faith nor of their practice : they can only inform them what Christ and his apostles have commanded, and enforce those commands by the penalties mentioned in Scripture, which do not extend either to life or limb, to fine or imprisonment. The forms of proceeding in a bishop's court against a delinquent would be in vain sought for in the New Testament. I might make the same observation concerning the election of bishops by virtue of a congé d'elire, or royal mandate; concerning the consecrating and enthroning of them when chosen ; and concerning their being lords of parliament, or indeed lords in any sense. They who have learned this kind of Christianity from the precepts of Jesus, or of his humble followers, must have read the New Testament to little purpose. Religion is now said to wear golden slippers; but it is a very different religion from that of Jesus Christ, whose followers have by the noble and wise men of this world been always esteemed the offscouring of all things, or, as Mr. Law terms them, the scum of the earth. This is the hour and the power of darkness. Christians must wait a little while, and every thing will be in their favour; their enemies will then be ashes under the soles of their feet. With regard to you, Mr. Barnwell, permit me to tell you, that in persecuting your daughter you are wounding yourself to death. She is a daughter of whom you are unworthy. While you are despising her, treating her as an enemy and alien, and rendering her an orphan, she is praying for your happiness, and weeping over that distress, that misery and destruction, which she too well knows are coming upon you.
Sir, replied Mr. Barnwell contemptuously, you are a young man. When
have lived as many years as your father or I, you will know better. You will by that time I doubt not have learned, that God and nature have made you the rightful guardian of your children, and that their conduct ought to be under your direction, at least while they are under your care.
We will soon settle this point, con-. tinued he. Pray, Sir, answer me this plain question. Does not an apostle command chilchen to obey their parents ? But faith, faith, faith, among enthusiastsnow-a-days, is every thing, and morality is nothing at all.
Well done, exclaimed Mr. Law, smiling; I dare say you have given this young gentleman a knot that he may cut, but that he will not be able to untie.
Pray, Sir, said I, when will you acknowledge it to be untied ?
When you have proved, Sir, said he, that children are not to be obedient to their parents.
I suppose, said I, that you confine obedience to parents to their lawful commands.
Undoubtedly, answered Mr. Law.
Suppose, Sir, said I, Mr Barnwell and his daughter had lived in the time of the apostles, and had heard Paul preach at Philippi when Lydia was converted. Suppose further the word of God had made the same impression upon Miss Barnwell's mind, which it did upon the mind of that excellent woman, would it have been lawful for her after this to obey her father by joining in the worship of Jupiter or Apollo ?
It would not, answered he; but the case is not similar. Miss Barnwell was commanded to attend the worship of God in a Christian church.
I will not take the advantage, Sir, replied I, of showing the unlawfulness of forcing the conscience in any case
whatever. It is sufficient for me to deny that she was commanded to attend the worship of God in a Christian church. If you cannot prove that she was so commanded, it will follow from your own concession that Mr. Barnwell commanded his daughter to do that which was unlawful. It will also follow that it was not her duty to obey him, for filial obedience is restricted in the New Testament to ļawful things. Children, says the apostle, obey your parents in the Lord: and our Lord predicted that parents and children would become the most bitter enemies to each other on account of the gospel,
Am I put upon proving, said Mr, Law, that the church to which Miss Barnwell was commanded to go, is a Christian church? It would be a difficult thing to prove that the sun shines, to a man who shuts his eyes. I am willing to allow the church of Rome to be a true church, and I think myself entitled to equal candour from you. But I am doubtful, Sir, whether you are a catholic ; for
you strangely for one of that communion.
It is sufficient, Sir, answered I, to inform you, that I am a member of no national church, and that I consider the numerous corruptions which have been introduced into Christianity as one great cause of the infidelity of the great, both in catholic and protestant countries; since, in opposing and deriding priestcraft, they unwisely imagine they are opposing and deriding Christianity. A Christian church, continued I, is an assembly of faithful men, meeting together in one place to hear their pastor or bishop explain and enforce the writings of the apostles and prophets. This bishop is a person of their own choice, possessing the qualifications which are enumerated in Paul's first epistle to Timothy. The things taught at the universities to youth designed for the ministry are no part of those qualifications : it is no marvel therefore that reading a moral essay should by such teachers be mistaken for preaching the gospel. A composition that would have been heard with pleasure by a Roman audience in the time of paganism, must be essentially different from that divine morality which has its foundation in the love of God, manifested in the gift of his Son to die for sinners, and which is powerfully and properly enforced from that consideration. Mr. Barnwell's insinuation that the doctrine embraced by the despised servants of Jesus consists of nothing but faith, is a libel on Christianity. They who hold the doctrine of justification by faith alone, maintain with the apostles, that wherever the truth of the gospel is received, it will be productive of love to God, and of universal submission to his will; and that where this is not in a considerable degree the case, there is no real Christianity. .
I tell you what, my friend, said Mr. Clifford, (looking at Mr. Law,) I would advise you to give it up. I don't mean the argument; that you have lost; but the profession of Christianity. Have not I always told you that you believe no more of it than I ?
And has not my young friend demonstrated it? What a vile imposition has priestcraft been in every age
of the world! I don't mean in the least to reflect upon my friend Law; he does but as others do: but that consideration would not satisfy my conscience, though I am an infidel.
Mr. Clifford, replied Mr. Law, I have long determined to enter into no dispute with you, as I can neither impart any good to you, nor receive any good from you ; and Mr. William Neville I see has formed his opinion; we must therefore agree to differ. If I ain but as good as many gen. tlemen who have been members of the church of England, I need not wish to be
better. For my part, said Mr. Barnwell, I would rather have been employed in shooting butterflies. Talking about religion is to me the most unprofitable, insipid, unintelligible thing in the world. Besides, if we talk for ever, can we be any thing more than honest ? I beg, young gentleman, you will answer me that one question, by saying Yes or No.
I reply then, Sir, said I, by answering, No.
There then, cried he, you see what it all comes to when you can bring people to the point.
Ah, my friend, said Mr. Clifford, be assured you are no
ucarer than you were before. Mr. William Neville may
have not behaved very honestly to your daughter, nor done to her as you would be done by. I pretend to no religion, and you have no religion ; therefore being both upon a footing, I should imagine we should be induced to act alike. She is as fine a girl as any parent can boast of, and a sensible good girl. I have heard how you have used her: it came from one of your servants, and I blushed for you. Before I could have used my Charles so for one hour, I could have plucked my heart out with my own hands. You perceive how our friend Neville and his son compassionate her case, though they are not related to her. If she marry an honest man, (and if he be a man of their approving I have no doubt but he will be so,) I will add five hundred pounds to what Mr. Neville does for her, whether you give her any thing or not.
Here, Madam, I rose hastily, and went out; for I found myself se exceedingly moved, that like Joseph I was obliged to go and weep in secret. Those words occurred to my mind, And the earth helped the woman ; by which I think we are taught, that when the church is oppressed by wicked Christians, or by the man of sin, God will raise it up friends from among men of the world, who make no profession of Christianity.
I learned from my father that all that Mr. Clifford and himself could say respecting my dear Miranda, made no impression on her cruel parent. The sum of what he re. plied was, that he hated all pretenders to religion; that she was welcome to come home, and behave as she used to do; but that her refusing Mr. Clifford, on a religious ac• count, was what he never could forgive.
As Mr. Charles Clifford did not return home while we were there, his father promised that he should call on us the next day. I expect him every minute. My father invited all the company to dine with us this day fortnight, which will be your niece's birthday. If any thing should occur worth relating, my good Mrs. Worthington will hear from me. My dear girl, and all our family, know of my