will suffer you to become a protestant without manifesting the utmost indignation.

I know it, Thomas, replied I; but nothing which I can suffer bears any proportion to lifting up my eyes in hell. However, I do not see the necessity of my becoming a protestant: If I only leave the church of Rome in those things in which she has corrupted herself, will not that be sufficient?

Without doubt, Miss, replied he ; and I would wish you to follow my advice. Read the New Testament with care and attention, and as much as possible without prejudice ; and accompany the reading of that divine book with supplication to him whose word it is, that he will open your understanding, and incline your will to receive his truth, whatever may be the consequence: and if you find the Roman Catholic religion taught there, embrace it ; if not, leave that church, so far as she has left divine revélation.

Thomas, replied I, the advice you have given me is so excellent, that an angel could not prejudice me against it. Yes, my dear friend, I will endeavour, with the divine assistance, to learn what I am to believe, and what I am to practise, entirely from the word of God; and if I perish, I perish.

This is not the language, my dear young lady, said he, of one who is likely to perish; for in proportion as any person loves God's word, and is disposed to be guided by it, he loves also its Author. Every person, on the contrary, who wrests the Scripture from its obvious meaning, so far shows his dislike to God: for the Scripture is his mind revealed to us; and if we dislike his mind, we dis. like him.

Since this, I have had three or four conversations with Thomas. We have botlı been reading archbishop Leighton, and we agree that he was a star of the first magnitude. The writings of this excellent man are a comment upon the observation of Paul, that if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. The truths which he has de. livered are so weighty and important, and his manner is so modest and affectionate, that before I had finished one page I had a sensation which I cannot describe. I blessed God for having sent such labourers into his vineyard. Yet he does not appear, at least while he retained his archbishopric, to have understood the nature of Christ's kingdom. I am more and more convinced, that if the magistrate were to convert the best religion in a country into the state religion, and to allow salaries to its teachers, it would soon degenerate. Church emoluments will always be considered as a provision for the younger branches of the families of the great ; and if these needy persons do not engross all the livings in the gift of the state, or of their families, the remainder will in general be obtained, as my dear Mi. randa observes, by those bold pushing men, who in contentions for gain are always uppermost. That there are many ministers in the church of England who have the Spirit of Christ, cannot be doubted; and I believe the church of Rome is not destitute of pastors of this description. But national Christianity seems to carry in it the principles of corruption.

I beg you will remember my love to my suffering friend, if she continue with you. I pray that she may not think it a strange thing to be despised by her parent for Christ's sake. Dear Madam, I am most respectfully,

Your sincere friend,
And humble servant,



From Mrs. Worthington to Miss Eusebia Neville.



RECEIVED your letter the day after my niece had left

She returned home with a heart full of grief both on her own account and mine. Every day gives a Christian fresh proof that this is not his rest, but that he must prepare himself to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


You have, perhaps, heard of Mr. M. a very reputable merchant, and an intimate acquaintance of my dear husband. He is become a bankrupt: unhappily for me, he had at least half my fortune in his hands.

It was a great shock to me at first; but the pleasing thought, that my chief treasure is laid up in Heaven, has removed my distress. Besides, a great house, rich furniture, many servants, and an expensive table, are ingredients not absolutely necessary to the comfort of a Christian. I cannot do without food and raiment; and them I have the best security for.

My dear Mr. Worthington was always determined to live below his income, however small. This made us comparatively rich, while several of our acquaintance, who, to all appearance, had a much better trade than we, came to poverty. I have troubled myself chiefly upon my dear niece's account, as her father behaves very unkindly to her, and as I had thought that my fortune would maintain her and me both. But our Redeemer has cautioned us against being anxiously solicitous about what we shall eat, or what we shall drink ; and when we survey the multitude of different creatures that God has brought into being, which have their different wants, and which, as the psal. mist observes, all wait upon God, that he may give them their meat in due season, it will appear unreasonable for his own children to suppose, that them only, of all his creatures, he either cannot or will not provide for.

It was a most kind providence which brought you to be acquainted with our friend Thomas, who is able to teach you all that a Christian needs wish to know. As our heavenly Father intended the religion of the Redeemer for men of all ranks in life, but chiefly the poor, and for those of weak as well as of strong intellects, he has taken care that those things which are necessary to be known should

not be difficult to be learned, where there is a willing mind : and I believe the instances are rare, where the obvious meaning of Scripture is not the true meaning. I said this once to a learned friend of mine, and he was unwilling to agree to it. The most obvious meaning, said he, of our Lord's words, Take, eat ; this is my body, which is broken for you, is that which the Catholics affix to it; yet that is not the true meaning. No, Sir, replied I ; neither is it the obvious meaning The Apostles were accustomed to hear our Lord speak in metaphorical language, which is used in all nations. When, therefore, he called himself a vine, and his disciples the branches, and spake of himself as being a door, and a shepherd, the dullest of his followers, in the darkest age of the church, never misunderstood his meaning. And when he said, This is my body, which is broken for you ; this do in remembrance of me, his meaning would have been equally obvious, if the wise men of this world had not darkened it by their comments; for our Lord, in calling himself the living bread which came down from Heaven, alluded to the manna with which the Israelites were fed in the wilderness, and which was undoubtedly a type of the Messiah. Well, Madam, cried he, suppose I give up this passage, you must acknowledge that when our Lord says, My Father is greater than I, the most obvious meaning is that held by the Arians, to wit, that our Lord was inferior to the Father. This inferiority, Sir, replied I, referred not to his nature, but to his state of humiliation upon earth compared with his heavenly glory, as appears by the connexion : If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I.

I sometimes dread the arrival of your friends ; but when I consider that every new event is a link of that providence by which the universe has always been, and will be for

ever governed, my fears are calmed, and I am enabled to say, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I am, with the sincerest affection,
My dear Miss Neville,
Your friend and servant,


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

DEAR MADAM, I RECEIVED your kind favour, and am very sorry to hear you have had so great a loss.

My father and sister, and father Albino, arrived from Bath three days ago, which is a week sooner than I ex. pected them. My father told me yesterday, as we sat by ourselves in the parlour, that he wished I bad gone with them, as he could not be happy without me, The letters, said he, you sent while I was at Bath, were scarcely any, thing but answers to what I asked you: there was neither life nor spirit in them. Tell me, my dear love, what is the matter; for before I went, I narrowly watched you when you little thought of it, and every now and then saw a tear stealing down your cheek: indeed, my Eusebia, that is not the index of a mind at ease. I apprehend you have receiva ed so!ne impression which your modesty will not suffer you to mention. Take care that your affections do not stray beyond your judgment.

You may dcpend upon it, my dear father, said I, that I shall never enter into any engagement of that kind without your knowledge: I should think myself culpable if I madhe any advances towards it even in thought.

I could expect no less from your prudence, my father was pleased to say; but I have knowo many that in other

« ElőzőTovább »