« ElőzőTovább »
I pray for you that you may not be swallowed up with over. much sorrow. Your daughter had very few equals in any respect : it is no wonder therefore, you regret the loss of her. But remember that Christianity was her chief excellence. It was that which ennobled her nature, and raised it to immortality. The dissolution, therefore, of her mor tal frame, has ushered her into the presence of her Lord, where she is now like him, and beholds him without a cloud between.
You undoubtedly were her persecutor, though you meant not so to be. And where can an unregenerate person be found that is a friend to the children of God as such? Your being an enemy therefore to your own dutiful child, did not prove you to be a greater sinner than unregenerate men in common are. A gracious God has made you a monu. ment of his mercy, in order that you may be sensible of his goodness both in time and eternity. And do you think she does not view herself as a monument of mercy like wise? Yes, Sir, all the redeemed so consider themselves on one account or another.
That you have so just a view of the Revelation much pleases me. The accomplishment of the prophecies in the rise of antichrist, who like Babylon of old has been a thorn in the sides of the people of God, has abundantly proved the truth of Christianity; and his fall, which has already commenced, is a proof of the same truth, which proof, like Ezekiel's river, is growing broader and deeper every day.
· I am sorry to hear that you are so ill. The disorder which you have described is a frequent appendant to richies, and makes the lord of ten thousand acres more miserable than the poorest of his vassals. Nervous complaints are not generally the portion of the poor. If the rich would be free from this dreadful malady, they must become poor, either in reality or artificially. The person whose labour or exercise does not bear a pretty exact proportion to his food, will be a valetudinarian in some form or other: and although a good constitution may put off the evil day, yet it must come; and nothing hastens its approach so much as trouble. Trouble affects the nerves of the stomach, and brings on indigestion, accompanied with sinking, lowness of spirits, and mental horrors more dreadful than all the rest To many persons thus afflicted it would be a mercy to be stripped of their substance, in order that that moderation and labour might ensue which their present opu. lence prevents. The great art of preserving health consists in proportioning the food to the power of digestion. If this be not attended to, the stone, the dropsy, the jaundice, or a complication of disorders will succeed ; and very frequently a train of nervous symptoms, which have long been the opprobrium of medicine.
One considerable bar in the way of the cure of persons afflicted with nervous diseases is, that in general they think themselves the most abstemious people living. Now with what decency can they be exhorted to abridge themselves of half their habitual food, who think they eat too little al ready?
Cornaro, the noble Venetian, the account of whom you possibly may not have seen, had, by his excesses, brought himself to the borders of the grave before he was forty years
He then formed a resolution to be tempe rate. He began with confining himself to twelve ounces of solid food, and a pint of wine, in twenty-four hours. Thus he continued to live for a great number of years : but he was obliged, many years before his death, gradually to lessen the quantity, until he found the yolk of an egg sufficient for a day. During all this time he enjoyed per. fect health, together with a fine flow of spirits, which continued to the last hour, and almost to the last minute of his life. At upwards of a hundred he laid his head back in his chair, and expired without a groan, and apparently without pain.
After he had entered upon this temperate course, an estate was unjustly wrested from him and his relations. This broke the heart of some of them, while he was very
little affected by it.
Many of the servants of God who have not feared to be dead, have dreaded dying, and that not without reason, since the generality of mankind die a violent death. A reasonable expectation of leaving this world by slow degrees, without pain or sickness, and with a serene resignation to the divine will, is worth all that self-denial which temperance demands.
There are thousands of persons who are considered by themselves and others as very temperate, who yet eat more than they can digest. Let me therefore entreat you, Sir, to diminish the quantity of your food a little, and, if you find yourself better, then to diminish it a little more, till you find by experience that you eat no more than nature requires.
Too great variety of food at one meal is in this respect very injurious. After a person has eaten to loathing, a new dish will procure him a fresh appetite, and every additional dish will be an additional incentive to gluttony.
Different constitutions require different kinds of food. You must find out by experience what best agrees with your own. I cannot but think that too great a proportion of animal food is eaten in this kingdom ; and also that there are many persons who ought not to eat any solid animal food, and who, if they were to live entirely on soups and a vegetable diet, would gain that health which they in vain seek for from medicine.
Permit me to add a word or two more.Use a great deal of exercise in the open air. Let your suppers be very early, and very light. After evening family worship let Miss Neville or my niece play a psalm tune for a quarter of an hour on your organ, and let the rest of the family accompany it with their voices, singing a psalm or hymn, from Dr. Watt's Psalms and Hymns, or from Dr. Rippon's Selection, each person having a book. And to conclude, retire to rest early, and rise early.
I cannot but think that a compliance with these directions, accompanied with that serenity of mind which flows from a sense of the pardon of sin, from communion with God, and from a good conscience, would greatly alleviate, if not entirely remove your disorder.
I rejoice to hear of the change in Signior Albino. How rough and unpolished by nature are the stones which God uses in building his spiritual temple. Bears and lions change their natures, agreeably to the beautiful description by Isaiah, and become proper companions for the laborious ox and the harmless sheep.
I thank you, Sir, for your kind invitation to Thorton Ab. bey. I hope some time to have the pleasure of seeing a family in whose happiness I am so much interested, but cannot make it convenient to myself at present. - I also thank you and your family for the very great kindness shown to my niece. You think she had formerly too much vivacity. You kindly give it the best name it would bear: you might more properly have called it pertness. Poor girl! her mother died when she was young; and it is not every father that knows how to educate his children as he ought. Justice obliges me to say in her behalf, that she had a pliant temper, and might have been bent to almost any thing. But where parents cherish their children's defects, and mistake pertness for wit, which was Mr. Barn, well's case, it is no wonder that children behavę improperly. I hope a sense of redeeming love has seasoned her mind with becoming gravity, and has made her a posses. sor of that cheerfulness and serenity which is not allied to noisy mirth, and of that wisdom which does not consist in pert loquacity, and in being ever on the watch to say smart things, but in constantly endeavouring to glorify God, and to benefit ourselves and others, by our words and actions. Whenever I perceived her culpable, I reproved her freely, and she readily acknowledged her fault.
Whatever may take place at the time mentioned in the close of your letter, I earnestly pray that it may be attended with the divine blessing:
I am, dear Sir,
LETTER LIX. is,. ; From Mrs. Worthington to Mis& Barnwell.
"V DEÁ'R 'NIECE, " IN a letter I have received from Mr. Neville, he has hinted that something may possibly take place on your birthday: I think he means your intended marriage. He has also inyited me to Thornton Abbey. I have promised, with the divine permission, at some convenient opportuni. ty to accept the invitation ; but I have added that I cannot do so at present. If my conjecture is well founded, and you and my other friends choose to come to town, and can be contented with my accommodations, I need not tell you how happy I shall be in the company of those I so highly esteem.
It becomes you, my dear niece, to admire and adore the providence of God that has watched over you for good! You have reason to adopt the words of the psalmist, When my father, and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. As you have received much mercy, it may be justly expected that you should love much; that God should be in all your thoughts; and that you should endeavour to glorify him in every thought, word, and action. Very great esteem and gratitude will also be due to him, who will have taken you from the low and deserted state wherein he found you. Common affection and esteem will not be accounted sufficient, either by God or man, as a return for great and uncommon favours. It will become you also lo reflect, that the higher you are exalted above what. you had reason to expect, so much the greater hazard you will run of losing the affection of him who has thus far voured you. I doubt not but you now make it your study to give Mr. Neville not the shadow of a reason to complain of you. In so doing you act rightly; but marriage, instead of lessening the necessity of this prudent caution, will increase it ; since time considerably cools that ardent affec