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you mentioned belong. Their religion is su. perstition and self-dependence ; their godliness, gain ; and they not only hate the children of God, but each other also; for though in general the world loves its own, as you, Sir, showed in the case of the pagans, yet when their desires or their interests have clashed, they have given numerous proofs that they could murder each other with ve-, ry little remorse.
I will appeal to you, Sir, if the history of the world, both ecclesiastical and civil, be not a history of men resembling infernal spirits.
There, Sir, exclaimed my father laughing, did I not tell you what would become of us?
Indeed, Mr. Barnwell,, said he, this is a serious affair. I have frequently thought that the evil of which the religion of Jesus Christ appeared to me to have been the cause, sufficiently demonstrated that it was not of God; but it now appears that his followers have been the suffer. ers, and not the actors, in those inhuman tragedies.-But, my good friend, addressing himself to Eusebia, according to this view of things, a person cannot be a Christian unless he be a saint.
You judge rightly, Sir, replied Eusebia ; for if the apostles were saints, those who believe and practise as they did must be saints also.
Mr. Clifford bowed to my dear friend, and acknowledg. ed that she had acquitted herself well. But, cried he, Christianity is too sublime a thing for me to think of attaining to it ; I should be almost as much discouraged as if I were going to take a voyage to the moon.
You, my friend, exclaimed my father, are too honest for it : these saints, Sir, are the most arrant villains in nature. Here
father mentioned several persons whom he called saints, merely because they were Presbyterians, which is the name that he gives to all dissenters, and who he said to his certain knowledge had become bankrupts, and ruined their creditors, who were ten times more honest than themselves without being saints. It is indeed a great wound to religion, when dissenters act improperly. The
misconduct of a few persons who are not of the establishmed religion, will always be placed by the enemies of godliness to the account of dissenters at large ; whereas the dissenters are a great body of people, and, as might be expected, have many persons among them who differ in nothing from the worst of mankind, except perhaps in doing in a sly and hypocritical manner those things which wicked men in the establishment, who neither fear nor regard reproof, do in the face of the sun.
I am glad that our dear friend so fully confuted Mr. Clifford ; and I am not a little pleased that he was ingenuous enough to confess it ; for it too frequently happens in disputes, thar pride stands its ground after argument is defeated.
When Mr. Clifford was gone, my father asked me what encouragement I had given him ; to which I replied, that he had given me very little, by publicly denying the truth of the Christian religion. I received for answer, that I had no concern with his religion ; that every person must answer for himself; and a great deal more to the same purpose. But, with the divine assistance, I will sooner suffer every evil that can befall '
me, than marry either a freethinker, as these gentleman are pleased to call themselves, or a self-dependent pharisaical hypocrite. Our friend Eusebia unites in love to you, with,
My dear aunt,
DEAR MADAM, It is a week since I wrote my last letter ; -and as I have received none from you, I am fearful something of a distressing nature has again occurred.
I am no longer in doubt concerning my father's intertion. The morning after Mr. Clifford had been here, when we were by ourselves, Miranda, said he, I desire you to give Mr. Clifford every proper encouragement in the prosecution of his addresses. Assure yourself, that if you should play the fool now, you will not have such an offer any more ; for (I will not keep it a secret from you) I am determined to marry again. I believe I should not have thought of such a thing, if you had been as you used to be ; but I can take no pleasure in pretenders to religion. I have therefore fixed my eye upon Charlotte Pink: she is a girl after my own heart, and indeed just what you used to be. Therefore I say again, that unless you take time by the forelock, you may chance to die an old maid.
Indeed, Sir, replied I, Mr. Clifford knows my mind. I plainly told him that I would never be married to a per son who I had not some reason to believe was a sincere Christian; and this answer you yourself, Sir, must approve, if you wish my happiness. With regard to your marrying, I ought not to dictate to my parent, and tell him svhat he ought to do. All I will say is this : I think there is too great a disparity in your years ; for I know Miss Pink is but about two-and-twenty. With respect to my dying an old maid, as that gives me no concern, I hope Sir, it will give you none ; since I well know, that if it be the will of God I should marry, he will provide me a proper husband.
Alas, cried my father, the end I perceive will be this ; you will soon offend this gentleman in such a manner, that he will come no more ; nay, I question if that be not the case already. Eusebia and you were enough to surfeit him with religion. He pretended to be confuted : yes ; he was just as much confuted as I was. Alas! he knows the world : he thought he would please the children ; and so he did ; and laughed at them, I have no doubt, when he was gone. Men of his reading and knowledge, not to mention his fortune, if they go to see a lady, do not ex
pect to clasp their hands before them while they say their catechism.
To this I only replied, that it was possible Mr. Clifford might be as great a hypocrite as my father represented him.--However, his father was here yesterday, and I see no reason to doubt that he really perceived himself to be confuted, and was no hypocrite ; which last character I think much worse than that of an infidel, because an infidel is more open to conviction.
Our rector and Mr. Clifford were both at dinner, and spent the afternoon at our house. As our conversation had so displeased my father, I determined to say as little as possible. But though he does not like to hear us talk, he will not suffer us to be silent; for no sooner had Mr. Law said, or rather muttered grace, as it is called, (which consisted of five or six words spoken very fast, and so low, that nobody could tell what was said,) than my father told him, that if he did not take care he would lose one of his flock. I left my daughter, said he, with her aunt, while I was gone to Jamaica, and she has taken her to the meeting, and made her keep company with Presbyterians, till she is ruined; and it signifies nothing what I say; she knows better than I. Miss Eusebia Neville tooI believe I must write to her father; for I dare say my daughter will pervert her, if she has not done it already. I would have all persons keep to the religion to which they were brought up.
Hey! Miss Barnwell, cried the rector, what is this I hear? I always esteemed you the flower of my flock. The dissenters, child! their hearts may be good, though that is a disputable point; but their heads are very weak. The church of England is undoubtedly, and is so esteemed by foreigners, the purest church upon earth : why then should they by unnecessary divisions rend the seamless coat of Christ? · I am not at liberty, sir, replied I, to speak, because I should offend my father; otherwise I have no doubt but I
could clear myself and the dissenters too, from these aspersions.
Me? cried my father, pray say what you please ; I shall be glad if Mr. Law will have the goodness to set you right.
Come, Miss Barnwell, said Mr. Law, tell me what fault you can find with the church of England ? You will please to observe, Sir, replied I, that I only proposed to act upon the defensive ; but as you desire me to do otherwise, I must truly tell you, that there appear to me to be very
few things in which the church of England resembles the New Testament churches.
I suppose, said Mr. Law, that one of those things is, their meeting together for the worship of God.
The principal thing, Sir, replied I, in which the church of England resembles the New Testament churches, appears to me to be, the public reading of the Scriptures. The resemblance in meeting together for the worship of God seems rather questionable. There is no church mentioned in the New Testament, which did not assemble for divine worship in one place : you will not say that the church of England does this. When a church became too numerous to meet in one place, then its members divided; and those who went away formed another church, distinct from, and entirely independent of that which they had left. Christianity was sadly corrupted before any one church or society of Christians, with its bishop, pretended to exercise authority over other churches and their bishops : so that, instead of the church of England's resem. bling the apostolic churches in this particular, it resembles in it none but the church of Rome, and those other national churches which have copied after that model.
Well done, Madam, cried Mr. Clifford : I will bet fifty guineas on her head, Sir, that she distances you.
Mr. Clifford, replied the rector, I have never had oc casion to carry on disputes of this kind; whereas Miss Barnwell, I perceive, is armed cap-a-pee. (1 hen addressiog himself to me) As to the Independents, Madam, whose cause, I perceive, you espouse, they have not a bishop