« ElőzőTovább »
Thus ended Mr. Bethune's narrative, which afforded us great pleasure.
I must now hasten to a close. I am continually thinking of my friends in England. I long to see my dear brother, and my highly valued friend Miss Barnwell. My dear Mrs. Worthington, too, dwells much on my mind, as well as Thomas and Mary Livingstone.
I am, with the greatest regard,
P. S. If three months should elapse before I hear from England, I shall begin to be impatient.
MY DEAR SON, FOR what appellation can be more proper for a friend whom Mrs. Bethune and myself love with parental tenderness, and whom my children love as a brother? It afforded me equal pleasure and surprise to see your dear sister in America. She is now at my house, as you will learn by her letters to Mrs. Worthington. She is frequently much concerned on your account: but when she reflects how wonderfully she has been delivered, she trusts that God will also deliver you. She often wishes that you, and her friend Miss Barnwell, and the worthy Thomas Livingstone and his wife, were in this country.
When you were with us in France, I could perceive that you had a great inclination to accompany us. But I did not encourage it. I remembered that I was a parent: how then could I desire you to leave your family? I could not think of acting so unjust a part. If your parent shall have renounced you on account of your religion, in me and
Airs. Bethune you will find another father and mother, and in my children, brothers and sisters. I do not say that we will love you, but that we do love you, with a love which I trust will never end. In this world the love of the redeemed does but commence, and it meets with many stor. my blasts to stop its growth: but on the other side of the everlasting hills an eternal spring abides, and the love of God and of each other will be ever growing, ever strengthening, ever improving.
You have repeatedly told me how excellent a parent, and how worthy a man your
father is. His being your father gires him a claim to your love and obedience; and his being such a father entitles him to your most affectionate love and obedience. If your leaving him would give him any pain, by no means do it. My invitation, which I need not assure you is most sincere, goes only on the supposition that, on account of your religious sentiments, your fa. ther may be able to part with you without regret. In that case come over to us, and bring Thomas Livingstone and bis wife with you, if you can do so.
I can add no more, but that your mother, and brother, and sisters, are well. Francis has settled in Kentucky, about thirty miles below Louisville. I do not know what would give us greater pleasure than to hear that Mr. Wil. liam Neville had landed at New York.
I am, my dear son,
From Signior Albino to Mr. James Neville,
DEAR SIR, As
you and your family were in London, and we had no one to conduct divine worship in your chapel, Thomas Li
vingstone and I went yesterday to Barnwell to hear Mr. Lowe. We had scarcely left Thornton, when Mr. Henry Clifford came to the Abbey to inquire when you were expected to return. Being informed whither we were gone, he followed and soon overtook us. Thomas seemed for the first time ashamed of his ass, and said, that if he had expected to have Mr. Clifford's company, he would have ridden upon one of his master's horses. If you think, Thomas, replied Mr. Clifford, that I esteem your company a dishonour to me, on account of your riding on an ass, I assure you that you are mistaken. However, it seems a little out of character, if we consult the etiquette of the world, for Mr. Neville's major-domo to ride on so unfashionable an animal. I wish mankind would learn to despise those things only which are in their own nature dishonourable.
As we were passing by Mr. Barnwell's house, he and his lady stood at the gate of the court-yard. Mr. Clifford, cried Mrs. Barnwell, is the age of chivalry returned ? I see you have got your squire.
We are going, Madam, answered Mr. Clifford, to hear Mr. Lowe.
Astonishing ! cried Mrs. Barnwell. He is an illiterate fellow; and when such commence preachers, they hold themselves up to contempt.
It is no new thing, replied Mr. Clifford, for the servants of God to meet with contempt. The poor fishermen of Galilee held themselves up to contempt, and they were treated as you have treated your neighbour.
Come, come, friend Clifford, cried Mr. Barnwell, get off your horse and go to church: we shall have service in the afternoon. Of all the people in the world, I never thought that you would have gone mad. However, I desire that you and Signior Albino will dine with me.
thank you, Sir, for your invitation, answered Mr. Clifford; but I cannot think of forsaking my friend Livingstone. Surely, Sir, cried Mrs. Barnwell, no apology is neces
sary, because he was not invited. Every one ought to keep up his dignity.
In what a beggarly soil will pride flourish! said Mr. Clifford, after we had left them. Poor Barnwell took this pert woman, not only without a shilling, but a hundred pounds in debt to milliners and others : and she knows that I am not ignorant of this; for they have quarrelled about it in my presence.
Mr. Clifford having ordered a dinner at the public house, we went to the meeting. The building was small and unadorned: but in real grandeur it far surpassed many stately edifices. When God manifest in the Aesh came suddenly to the second temple, its glory was rendered far greater than that of the first. And it is the presence of the same Jehovah among his servants, that gives a digni. ty to the meanest place of worship, which cannot be conferred by a profusion, either of stones and mortar, or of gold and silver. The place was large enough for the number of worshippers, and sufficiently magnificent for those who are influenced by the spirit of their divine Master, who entered this part of his dominions in a stable, and retired from it on the cross. You and I, my dear friend, have thought otherwise, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Barnwell; but I am now convinced, through the divine mercy, that if Christianity does not humble us to the very dust, it does nothing for us.
Having seated ourselves on a form, among a decent but poor people, whose attention was so great that it would have been almost possible to hear the falling of a pin, the minister, who appeared to be about fifty years of age, and the size and colour of whose hands showed, that, like Paul, he was obliged to make use of them for his own and his family's support, read the 92d psalm by Watts, which the congregation sung with great devotion. Mr. Cliffordheld his handkerchief all the time before his eyes. In prayer, which was extemporary, Mr. Lowe appeared to have awful views of the majesty of God, joined with a humble confi
dence in his mercy.
His text was Rev. iii. 22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.-M.. Lowe, in a very impressive manner, stated the importance of a reverential regard for the word of God. Mr. Clifford heard with great attention, and, as he told us at dinner, with great pleasure.
In the afternoon, the text was in John vii. 37. If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. Mr. Lowe proved, both by arguments and examples, that no created good, whether it be riches, or pleasure, or honour, can satisfy the desires of an immortal soul; but that, after the greatest possible enjoyment of these, a thirst will remain, which can only be removed by the promises and prospects of the gospel, by the love of God shed abroad in the heart, and by a sense of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, with that holy Being against whom we have sinned.
When divine worship was concluded, Mr. Clifford invited this good man to drink a cup of tea with us, to which he consented. He was very meek and unassuming, and appeared to be perfectly contented with his situation. Mr. Clifford asked him what he received yearly from his hear.ers. He answered, on an average about ten pounds, which he said he looked upon as a very liberal contribution, when he considered the poverty of those who subscribed it.
Ten pounds! cried Mr. Clifford; you amaze me. Be so kind, Sir, as to accept of this, (at the same time offering him a sum of money in a silk purse.)
I cannot accept so great a favour, especially at this time, said Mr. Lowe : however, I return you, Sir, my sincere thanks.
What is the reason, said Mr. Clifford, that you cannot
and his hich the ford hell
The reason, replied he, is this. Your passions have been warmed by hearing the gospel. Such impressions are sometimes lasting, and at other times only temporary. "There can be no fruit without blossom ; but there is sometimes blossom without fruit. If this should only be a sudden flow of the affections, without any genuine love to the