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These words were arrows that piérced deeply into my soul. My grief, in spite of my endeavours to suppress it, vented itself in a flood of tears. At length I said, Pray, my dear Sit, what would you have me do? I can only, replied he, give the same answer which Paul gave to the Philippian jailor, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Be so kind, Sir, said I, as to inform me what your reason is for supposing me to be an unbeliever. They who are born again, answered ke, not only see the kingdom of God, but also, in general, discern who are not the subjects of that kingdom. I saw in you, when we first met, much that I approved, but lamented that I did not also see the Christian. I perceived by your answers to several of my questions, that your hope of eternal life was built upon your own rigliteousness. ~ Mankind may be classed under two grand divisions, the regencrate and the unregenerate The latter of these may be subdivided into the publicans, or the profane; and the Pharisees, or the self-dependent. The former, or those who are born of God, are composed of babes, young men, and fathers in Christ. The difference between these different classes of the regenerate consists not in the foundation of their hope of eternal life, for that is the same in all, but in their different degrees of knowledge. Will it be an improper question, Sir,' said I, if I ask upon what your hope of eternal life is founded ? By no means, replied he. My hope is the same as Peter's when he said, We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ auc shall be saved. The soul of the Messiah was made an offering for sin. A Christian is distinguished from all other men by his embracing this truth, which is the great subject of divine revelation. Every man in a state of onregeneracy substitutes something in its room, as I perceive you have done. It signifies not what this something is, whether prayers or alm's, vows of poverty, or vows of celibacy, fasting, or the mortifying of the body in any other manner, none of these thing being of divine appointment. No name under heaven is given by which salva
tion can be obtained but the name of Jesus, nor any works beside his works, nor any sufferings beside his sufferings. This is the Christianity of the Bible, and it is written as with a sunbeam. But the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. The same blindness of heart which hinders the world from seeing the church of Christ, prevents their seeing the gospel of Christ. Books written in defence of Christianity may have their use with the divine blessing ; but Christianity cannot be taught like geography or astronomy. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, must shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
These truths entered into my soul : I knew and felt their force. I acknowledged this to my friend. But alas, Sir, said I, I am a guilty sinner. It is true, replied he ; for under the Christian name, you have been rejecting the Redeemer as the only Saviour of sinners. When you substituted other things in the room of that one oblation, you thought that you did right. Saul also thought the same, when he did many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and when he dragged men and women to prison. Christians have been thus persecuted both by catholics and protestants ; for every man is by nature an enemy to the Christ of the Scriptures. If he call him. self a Christian, he has substituted a false Christ in the room of the true, and his religion is the reverse of Christianity.
I ingenuously told M. de Bethune, that it was impossible for me to be more convinced than I was of the truth of what he had said. I desired him to pray for me. friend, said he, most gladly ; I trust I shall ever pray for you. We are going to worship God in my family: will you join with us? To this I assented. Bibles being brought, his eldest daughter, who was about thirteen, read the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, which contains an ac
count of Abraham's offering up his son. My dear, said M. de Bethune, what do you think this chapter teaches? The divine intention, answered she, to provide a better sacrifice than Isaac, which intention Abraham prophetically intimated when he said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb. True, my dear, said he. It also contains a promise, that in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed. This seed, promised to our first parents under the name of the seed of the woman, is the Saviour of sinners. The blood shed under the Mosaic dispensation, was the gospel preached to that people. If it be asked why God could not pardon sin without an atonement of infinite value, I answer, It is sufficient for us that he has informed us of its impossibility. If, said the apostle, there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. Sinners cannot yield a perfect obedience to a perfect law; and a holy God cannot be pleased with imperfect obedience, or with obedience to an imperfect law. Salvation, therefore, must be by mere mercy, or not all; and yet it could not have been by merr cy at the expense of justice. God, in saving sinners has magnified his justice as well as his mercy, and has shown to angels and men the dreadful nature of sin by his detestation of it. And it is more than probable, that this display of its dire malignity will be instrumental in securing the everlasting obedience of many millions of creatures. Every attempt to save ourselves is not only an act of rebellion against the most High, and a contempt of the mediation of the Son of God, but resembles an attempt to wash the Ethiopian white, or to take from the leopard his spots..
The youngest daughter, who was about ten, having read the second chapter of Ephesians, and his son, a boy about nine, having read the second psalm, he kneeled down and prayed. I shall never forget with what fervour, accompanied by many tears, he recommended my case to God, pleading what Jesus Christ had done and suffered, and what he had promised to them who come to him for mercy. It was such a display of unaffected piety, and di
vine eloquence, as I had never before been witness to. I seemed to myself to be in a new world. I had once thought myself something, but now I saw that I was nothing. () my God, cried I, I am nothing but guilt and pollution in my own eyes : what then must I be in thine, who seest not as man seeth! Wash me, I humbly beseech thee, in the blood of Jesus Christ, and I shall be clean. This I believe was the first real prayer I had ever uttered. I had said many prayers, but had never prayed in this manner. My God heard in heaven his dwelling place, and sent from above, and took me, and drew me out of many
M. de Bethune and his obliging and happy family entreated me to sleep at their house. The day being closed, I gladly accepted the invitation, as the gates probably would have been shut before I' could have arrived at St. Omer's.
I had many interviews with this truly Christian family, and would gladly have accompanied them to America ; but my love to my parent and sisters would not permit me to gratify this desire.
My dearest Miranda joins with me in the most affection ate esteem.
I am, dear Madam,
From Mr. Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
DEAR MADAM, I
AM very glad that I mentioned to you my bad state of health. I am now much better. Indeed I felt better the day after I began to follow your advice. I sleep well, and my mind is more composed.
I thought before that I was very temperate, and so I was, if compared with many others, but not sufficiently so for a person in trouble. About eleven o'clock I generally found myself sinking, and ate a slice of ham or other meat to remove my faintness. I dined at three, drank tea at six, and supped at ten. I ate meat both at dinner and supper.
I now take about eleven o'clock a small tumbler of red port and water warm, with a slice of toasted bread, and hope to leave this off when my stomach is strengthened by my new regimen. I dine about one ; and the principal part of my dinner consists of pudding and a bason of strong broth. I eat a great proportion of onions, turnips, potatoes, and other boiled vegetables, with my meat, and sometimes no meat at all. I think I am better those days that I do not eat it than when I do. I do not think that I ought entirely to leave it off, but I shall find by experience how often I ought to eat it. It is my intention never to eat it above once in the day, except upon some extraordinary oc casion.
I drink tea at five, and sup at eight. For supper I have sometimes boiled milk thickened with an egg, sometimes wine and water with toasted bread, and sometimes watergruel.
I find that I am now not so sinking, and that I have a better appetite. Beside better health, good spirits, and sound sleep, another advantage attends this way of living. I used to be at a stand what to have for dinner and supper; I was first tired of this, and then of that; but now the plainest food is more grateful to me than the most dainty used to be.
I have consented, Madam, that my son and your niece shall be married on her birthday. My son has told you that the Mr. Cliffords, Mr. and Mrs. Barnwell, and Mr. Law are to dine with us. It had not been fully determina ed, when they were invited, that the marriage should take place on so early a day. My family unite in best respects to you with,