Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Husb. They are tears of joy, my dear, tears proceeding from a satisfaction otherwise inexpressible.

Wife. Are they not mingled with some doubt, and proceeding from some fear, that I shall break in again upon those resolutions, as I hare oftentimes done before, and as many people do after their death-bed astonishments are over?

Husb. No, my dear, I hope God, in whose strength you have made those vows, will give you grace and strength to keep them.

Wife. My dear, those thoughts of mine are not digested into formal vows and protestations; things which, often being made in our strength, we are justly forsaken by the Divine assistance in, and are left to break and fall from, relapsing with greater violence into the very sins we in that manner abjure. But I find my heart so fully convinced of the folly and vanity of those diversions, the unsatisfying, uninstructing pleasures in them, which at death we would give millions to retrieve, and the many other attending snares they are inseparable from, that I look on them with the utmost detestation, and reproach myself with the greatest admiration, at the influence wbich those things had upon me.

Husb. My dear, this is a greater assurance to me of the stability of thy resolutions, than a thousand formal oaths and vows against them; which, as you well observe, being often made in our own strength, God is pleased for our mortification, to leave us to break, and which also the devil never gives over soliciting us to forget and undervalue.

Wife. Well, my dear, I hope I shall never alter my sentiments of these things; and you may, I hope, depend upon it, that neither the practice itself, nor the company that used to make those things delightful to me, will ever be tolerable to me again.

Husb. My dear, you must be civil to your acquaint

ance.

Wife. Truly it will be with difficulty that I shall be so to some of them; and I shall miss no oceasion of wearing out the acquaintance with them, especially that of Sir Anthony and my Lady Lighthead.

Husb. I believe, my dear, their company can be little diversion to you; I cannot think they ever really were ; they bave so little in them, I think it was impossible.

Wife. They bave been engines in the hand of the devil to do me mischief, and to make me run a dreadfal length in my own ruin, both of soul and body.

Hush. It must be by. mere drollery and mimic then, for they bave neither of them any such thing as solid wit or agreeable behaviour.

Wife. It has been by that bewitching thing called gallantry and honour, by which my lady especially, as it were, baptered me out of my sense of all kind of duty either to God or man,-made me think it below me to regard relative obligations, and ungenteel to be bound by the duties either of a child to my father, or of a wife to my husband.

Husb. She has done thee no harm in the main, I hope.

Wife. She has employed me, my dear, these five years, in diligently laying up a vast stock for repentance, and making work for tears and reproaches, as long as I live.

Huso. Those things often end worse, my dear; I fear they will end worse with them.

Wife. If the end is any thing with me but ruir of soul and body, it must be the effect of infinite mercy and the free grace of God.

Husb. And is not that a blessed fruit?

Wife. But in the mean time it is a fountain of secret regret, self-abhorrence, constant reproaches, and sighs that break the very soul. This is the fruit I have of those things whereof I am now ashamed.

Husb. A blessed fruit it is, however, in the end, viz. the peaceable fruit of righteousness to the saving of the soul.

Wife. But what mortification, what regret, what havoc, has it made in my soul! Here I have been an undutiful child,-a terror to my relations, grief to my father and mother,-the ruin of my brother!

[Tears stopped her speech for a while, at the mention of her brother.]

Husb. Do not mention that now, my dear.

Wife. Not mention it! yes, I must mention it; he is undone and I was partner with him in bis sin! nay,

was worse than he! Why has'God ruined him, and spared me? I'was a rebel to my father! I have been a traitor to thee, my dear! and, above all, a forsaker of God, and a despiser of religion, and all that was good! And why am I not destroyed, rather than my dear brother?

Husb. But God, that gives repentance, gives also pardon; and blessed be God thou art now rejoicing in hope!

Wife. Aye, my dear; but what work is here for repentance, not towards God only, but to every one else! I have asked forgiveness of thee, my dear, and I ought to do it of my brother, and of my father, and they ought all to refuse me.

Husb. But I am sure we are all too glad of the occasion to entertain such a thought: where God is pleased to pardon, who is man that he should resent? I dare say thy father forgives thee freely.

Wife. Well, whether he will or not, it is my duty to acknowledge my fault to him.

Husb. My dear, thou hast done it already, and he is satisfied; he will be here to visit us to-night.

Wife. But that is not sufficient to me.
Hasb. Here's thy father already.

Her father knocks at the door, and comes in; she runs to hím, falls on her knees, and cried, My dear father! but faipted again, and could not speak a word more, and continued so ill afterwards, that she was obliged to be carried

to bed, which put the family into a great disorder, fearing the return of her distemper. After she had lain some time, and was a little refreshed, sbe desired her father and hus. band to come up to her chamber. While she lay indisposed on her bed, her husband had related to her father all the discourse that passed between them; which so affected her father, that he could not bear giving her the uneasiness of farther confessions; and, therefore, when she sent for them up, the father spoke to her husband thus :

“ Son, I desire you will go up first, and tell her, word for word, what I say to you, as near as you can remember. First, tell her

you

have related to me the discourse that has been between her and you ; and that I am fully satisfied with, and rejoice in the acknowledgment she has made of her former carriage to me, and of her design to acknowledge it farther;-that I already think it more than enough; that as neither her weakness, on the one hand, can bear it, so neither can my affection to her, on the other hand, bear any more submissions; and therefore I will not come up to her, unless see will promise not to speak one word to me of it more; but only hear what I shall say to her, and so put an entire end to it.”

Her husband did so, and with much difficulty prevailed with her to promise : upon which her father, being brought in, went to her, and kissed her as she lay; and praying earnestly in a few words to God to bless ber, and continue his goodness to her, he comforted her in the following

manner:

My dear child,” said he, “ I have acknowledgments enough, and I am fully satisfied ; my joy and comfort is, that God has given you a due and deep sense of your offences against him, and I hope has pardoned you also. Your offence against me is nothing, but as it was a sin against him; nor had I ever any other resentment of it, but That my common affection could have prevailed over. 1

rejoice that God has given you repentance; and I think it is as much my duty to forgive you now, as I thought before I was obliged not to do it, till you had acknowledged it; therefore I freely and heartily forgive you, as if

if you had never offended me; and I make but this one condition of my forgiveness, which I oblige you to comply with, viz. that you say not one word more by way of asking pardon; for as you cannot

bear to do it, so neither can I bear to hear it."

She kept her werd as to speaking, but abundance of tears testified bow sensible she was of what her father had said to her, and thus an entire reconciliation was made of all that was past; and she proved ever after a sober, religious, and shining Christian ;-a dutiful and affectionate daugbter to her parents,-a tender and obliging wife to her husband, --and a careful instructing mother to her children,

The tragical part of this story remains, and will make the conclusion of this work. The subject is, the miserable wretched case of the young gentleman, the brother to this lady; and who had gone abroad, as has been said, but was partly by bis wounds, sickness, and misfortune, but principally by his vices and extravagance, reduced to the last extremity of misery, had wasted his estate, sold his commission, lost one of bis arms, and was brought to the necessity of writing to his father for subsistence, and for money to bring him over to England; of which the particulars will appear in the next dialogue.

« ElőzőTovább »