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in heaven. If you should ask me where that will is reveal ed, or who has made it known, almighty truth obliges mé to confess, that we shall in vain look for it in the decrees of popes or of general councils, or even in the fathers, and still less in tradition ; for I am convinced that these have all of them not only contradicted one another, but themselves likewise.
The will of God, as it respects the faith and obedience of a Christian, is no where to be found pure and uncorrupted except in the Scriptures: and there the way to the heavenly Canaan is delineated so plainly that the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein.
What would I not give to have my friend see things as I do now? I pray continually for him, and that is all I can do.
We have been educated in the bosom of error. There certainly is a way which seemeth right unto a man; that way we have trodden from our youth ; but the end thereof are the ways of death.
What but the power of God could have overcome my prejudice? That power could do it. When he works, the most obstinate resistance is like setting up thorns and briars to oppose the progress of a devouring fire.
I could not but write what I have written. I am at Mr. Grove's. If I do not there receive a letter of consolation, I do not know that I shall dare to see you or your family. any more. I am, my ever dear patron,
Your sincere friend,
From Mr. Neville to Father Albina.
MY DEAR FRIEND, I
RECEIVED your letter, but never was more surpris ed than when I read it. Is this, said I, that heroic champion of the catholic church, who if he thought he had a drop of heretical blood in his heart would let it out? How unstable a thing is man! Well might my dear angel say to her persecuting sister', when she reproached her for changing her sentiments, It is not for mortals to say what "they will do, or what they will be.
I have been again reading the correspondence between my child and her friends. It breathès a divine spirit. O what a child I once had! She was an unfit companion for you and me. She walked with God, like Enoch; and he has taken her from a world which was unworthy of her. It is a sad consideration, that, like the kind and dutiful daughter of Jepithah, she should fall a sacrifice to the superstition of her own father. Her friends too are different persons from what I expected. I have hitherto looked' upon protestants either as enthusiasts, or as mén destitute of religion ; but it is wrong to judge of people in the gross. There are persons among them whose understanding and piety greatly exceed any thing I am acquainted with in our own church. We have, it is true, many whose zeal has led them to practise austerity and self-denial; but my child would have told me, that mortisication of the flesh is no part of holiness, unless it be practised in obedience to the divine precepts. And who can contradict this? The catholic religion is sadly corrupted. One person has made one addition to divine revelation, and another has made another, till the simple truth has been choked and smothered among the weeds. The annexing of princely revenues to the profession of Christianity, has excited worldly-minded men to struggle for the emoluments of the church ; and when they have come into office, the doctrines of the gospel have been corrupted to their carnal taste, and an ostentatious'ceremonious religion has taken place of the plain, unadorned religion of Jesus Christ. This is what my de ir Eusebia often told us, and the same obvious trụth is often repeated in the correspondence between her and her friends. Genuine Christianity must not be expected to fourisht in a national church. It is no wonder that an es
tablished clergy should generally consist of worldly-minded men, whose grand object of inquiry is, what may be gained by religion in this world, and not how they and their hearers may be saved in the world to come.
How glad should I be if my son and daughter were what their dear sister was. I hope God will continue to make Miss Barnwell a blessing to my family. It was a kind providence that Maria sent for her when she was ill. I have heard of the treatment she has received from her father; but I have no room to reproach, him. However, I ought to be a father to her, especially as I am certain my dear Eusebią, if she were alive, would wish me to act in that manner.
You seem to have written with fear and trembling; but your letter was the most welcome one I ever received from you. I need not add to the above that I shall be glad to see you,
I am, my good friend,
From Mr. William Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
DEAR MADAM, It is with great pleasure I inform you of a fresh instance of the goodness of God to me and my fricnds, because I know you will rejoice with me.
Yesterday my father and I were alone. I am continual. ly thinking, said he, of your dear sister. I look at the places where I used to behold her, and immediately her lovely image presents itself to my view. I think I see her just as she was at St. Omer's, when on her knees she besought me for the love of Christ to have compassion on her. I was deaf to her entreaties and her tears. O that I had made
my bed in the ocean with her. But the righite
ous Judge of the earth has reserved me to suffer the pu.. nisliment of my iniquity. My dear son, what do you think of the state of your sister? I hope you think her salvation possible, notwithstanding she died out of the pale of the church.
It afforded me great pleasure that my father began a discourse of this kind with me when we were alone. I was anxious to inform him that I was a protestant, yet wished to do it by slow degrees, as I found him able to bear it. I therefore answered, that I had no doubt that the soul of my sister was in the divine presence, among the spirits of the just, and that I did not believe she did die out of the church.
Not out of the church? said he ; what evidence have you of that?
If, Sir, answered I, we suppose the church of Christ to be composed of his faithful servants, as undoubtedly it is, my sister, being one of them, must consequently be a member of his church.
This appears to be good reasoning, said my father : but then have we not hitherto erred in supposing the church of Rome to be the only true church?
Have not you, Sir, replied I, often told us that some abuses have crept into the church of Rome, the amendment of which is rather to be desired than expected ? Her assertion that she is the only true church of Christ, I must confess I have long considered as an abuse of truth.
What, said my father, have you long considered it in that light, or only since you conversed with your sister at St. Omer's ?
It was my sentiment, Sir, replied. I, long before I knew that it was her's.
I am glad of it, said my father; for it is an important truth, that all the servants of Jesus are his church; wherever they may be scattered, or by whatever name they may be known.
I now perceived that my dear parent had read your and Miss Barnwell's correspondence with my sister. I there
fore told him it was to be lamented that he had not perceiva, ed so great a trụth before, since it was 'a capital article wherein he had differed from my dear sister.
Ah, my son, replied he, I wish I could recall one month : I should then be happy
Bit it is
gone I hope, Sir, said I, you will yet be happy: what you have clone I know was with the very best intent,
That is a poor excuse, replied he, except my intention had been regulated by God's word, or I had lived where the oracles of truth are unknown. In either of those cases the goodness of the intention would in some measure have palliated the action. But it was otherwise with me. God's mind and will are revealed in his word. This word was in my hand, and I ought to have acquainted myself with it, and to have submitted to it without reserve.
Your observation, Sir, is just, replied I; but as it is impossible to recall what is past, the only thing which remains is, for each of us to pray for the divine illumination, and, in dependence on God, to endeavour to lay aside our former prejudices, and to learn the whole of our faith and practice from his revealed will. Without doubt we may receive helps from other quarters: but we are commanded to call no man on earth father or master in these res. pects, nor to follow him one step further than he is a fol. lower of Christ.
O my son, replied my honoured parent, taking my hand: and pressing it to his lips, thou art a blessing to my declining years. I only wish that I had profited by the modest hints thou .gavest me in thy letters from St. Omer's, of the immoral lives of catholics, of that corruption which has crept into the church by slow degrees, and of the necessity which there is that religious societies. should frequently recur to first principles. The faith and practice of a Christian are no where so clearly delineated as in God's word: henceforth may it be the business of me and mine to draw living water from those wells of salvation.
I was greatly affected at this discourse." I have no