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when he comes I desire you to be cheerful, and to receive him as you ought.
I held my peace, for I knew I ought to do that when I was commanded : but I cannot think of marrying an irreligious man, merely because he is rich, handsome, and well-bred. I would much rather live as I am all my days than be a dutchess, if my husband were an ungodly, atheistical libertine. I believe, therefore, I shåll soon let Mr. Clifford know, if he should pay his addresses to me, that I cannot accept his offer.
'I have been thinking of the great vanity which there is in every thing the world produces, except wholesome, plain food, clothing proper for the season, and a house just large enough for the family which inhabits it. I pray that my desires may never be so intemperate as to suffer me to think that I want any real earthly good, so long as my heavenly Father gives me these necessary things. A thousand a year Mr. Clifford has already, and a noble house, and much more in expectation. Some persons would tell me, that such an ample fortune would not only be for my own advantage, but for the benefit of my children. I hope I should have that love for my children, which every parent ought to have : but if their father taught them, by his example, to be irreligious, or if my heavenly Father should punish me with irreligious children, for daring to accept an ungodly husband merely because he was rich, handsome, and well-bred, all the wealth in the Indies would not be a compensation either to them or to myself. What comfort could I take in worldly possessions, when I saw my chil. dren travelling to everlasting destruction ? It is true I might have ungodly children if I married a Christian : but the probability of it would be less ; for I should suppose that Gd in general gathers his elect from the posterity of his servants, by blessing their godly examples and instructions, as he usually does every other mean of his own appointment. Besides, if I were conscious that I had done what I ought by marrying only in the Lord, at the worst I could not reproach myself with being instrumental in their
perdition by an unrighteous love of wealth and grandeur ; so that it is a fixed point with me; I am determined, with the divine assistance, to give Mr. Clifford no encouragement. He shall be the domestic animal, as he terms it, of somebody else. A smaller house, less money, and a husband less polite, will do very well for me."
But you little think, my dear aunt, what is the reason that I am to be married in such haste. The minute we arrived at home my father went to Mr. Pink's, and I dare say stayed there an hour. I have no doubt but Miss Pink is to be my mother-in-law ; for the footman told me this morning, in confidence, that his master had sent several letlers directly to her while they were in Jamaica, I should be greatly distressed, did I not know that nothing comes to pass by chance, but that all the affairs of the children of men are directed by an unseen hand. Charlotte Pink is but two-and-twenty ; for I know she is only two years older than I. She is not only too young to be a suitable wife for my father, but is the last person in the world I would wish to call mother. She has a scornful look, and she and her sisters dress as if they were to have a thousand a year for their fortune ; yet it is well known that Mr. Pink cannot make his fortune maintain him. I should not mention these things did they not so nearly concern me; for I think the rule to speak evil of no one does not mean, merely, that we ought not to propagate falsehoods to their disadvantage, but that we should keep our mouths as with a bridle where telling the truth would be to their dishonour, except where our silence would be the occasion of their injuring others.
I was persuaded, or rather commanded, by my father, to go to church yesterday with him. Mr. Law, our rector, preached from these words of Peter, Add to your faith virtue, 2 Pet. i. 3. We had a florid discourse, which lasted about fifteen minutes, in which he endeavoured to show, that a virtuous life is its own reward in the present world, by preventing a thousand evils which are entailed upon vice, and by recommending us to the esteem, not only of
good men, but even of the wicked, who are never só abandoned as not to reverence a virtuous character, however they may be hurried on by the impetuosity of their passions to act contrary to their judgment. He also observed, that a virtuous life ensures the divine favour; and that every benevolent and worthy action will be a jewel in that crown which the virtuous will wear hereafter.-Charity does not oblige me to call this an evangelical discourse ; for, instead of excluding boasting, which is the design of the gospel, it admitted and encouraged it, and was contrary to the word of God, which informs us, that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified.
There is a Mr. Lowe, a Baptist minister, who preaches here. I must endeavour to go and hear him; for I shall not be willing to countenance by my presence another gospel than that of the apostles. If preachers of a mere heathen morality be under the curse of God, their abettors cannot be guiltless, especially if they know better.
I expect to see our dear friend here soon, as I have sent her word that I am at home. 'I hope, my dear aunt, that you bear your loss with becoming fortitude. It is appointed by our heavenly Father that we should enter his king. dom through much affliction ; and we ought to be willing that our trials should be what and when he pleases,
From Miss Miranda Barnwell to Mrs. Worthington.
KNOW you have been in expectation of hearing whether I have had a suitor, and what has been the result. Yes, Madam, Mr. Clifford has been here, and has received such
an answer as a person of his importance would little expect. My father is very angry that I refused him, notwithslanding he acknowledged hinıself to be a deist. It was happy for me that my dear Eusebia was here, or I do not know what would have been the consequence.
I repeatedly told Mr. Clifford, that I wished, both for his own sake and mine, that he would not continue his addresses, since I should not consent to be his wife.
What, was I already engaged?
Had any person traduced his character, or spoken any thing to his disadvantage.? I ought to tell him, that he might have an opportunity of doing himself justice.
I replied, that that was no part of my reason for refusing him ; and I begged him to cease inquiry, since I might have objections which it would be improper for him to know. I further said, that as I was obliged to him for his good opinion of me, it would give me pain to offend him.
He paused, laying his hand upon his forehead. You Surprise me, Madam, cried he; the cause of your refusal originates in me, otherwise your telling me could not of
If my person is not to your liking, or you think my fortune less than you have a right to expect, I beg you to tell me ingenuously, and I promise not to be offended.
Forbear, Sir, replied I, to ask me, I beseech you. However, I ought to tell you, that neither of the reasons you have mentioned is in any measure the ground of my objection.
Indeed, Miss Barnwell, cried he, I am not so much of an Edipus as to find out your riddle. Then, holding up his fingers, he said, My finger-nails are not turned into the fangs of a wild beast, and yet, Madam, you seem to take me for one of the shaggy savages of the desert.
Indeed, Sir, I replied, I view you in the best light I am able. There are many of my sex whom you may make happy; but I am not of that number..
You alarm me, Madam, cried, he ; for I perceive by a tear, that you are very much in earnest. I humbly en
treat, I beg as a friend, that you will make me acquainted with the reason of your rejecting me; and I promise, oni my part, if there be any weight in it, I will acquiesce, whatever pain it may give me.
The real case then, Sir; is this; I found you, as I had too much reason to expect, destitute, unhappily for yourself, of the fear of God. And, as I reverence that Livine Being who gave me the life which I enjoy, and who, I trust, will give me eternal life, I am not willing to have a husband who would retard me in my Christian course.
All this may be very well, replied he, blushing, and, as I thought, a little angry; but who made you a judge? I suppose it is God only who knows the heart.
True, Sir, answered I, the heart is known to God only, until the mouth manifest what is in it, and then it is known to men also. The minute you rode into the yard, I observed that, on some account, you cursed your dog; and since you have been here, I have heard you use the divine name irreverently, by crying, O Lord! and O God! As you are thus guilty of taking that sacred name in vain, I infer that you are destitute of a just fear of that God before whose bar we must all stand.
Being thus reproved, he stood motionless. At length, resuming courage, Madam, cried he, I must allow your reproof to be in some measure just: at the same time truth obliges me to declare, that I have never been a common swearer: I have always esteemed it to be beneath a gentleman so far to put himself upon a level with the dregs of the people.
I commend you, Sir, replied I; but if ever I give away my heart and my hand, it shall be to one who abhors an oath, or any approach towards such profaneness, merely because it is a sin against God.
To be sure, Madam, that is right; but But, Sir, you know your own condition : if there was the least weight in my objection, you promised to acquiesce.
He replied, that if he had known me to be so scrupulously nice, he would have endeavoured not to offend me.