תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

protestants in general do ? Christ's kingdom, which is not of this world, does not consist of the multitude, nor ever did ; but of one here, and another there, whom he has redeemed from among men, and called by his word and spirit out of the world. Were my dear father happy enough to be acquainted with protestants of this character, he could not draw a conclusion in favour of Roman catholics.

We are to begin our journey the latter end of this month, or the beginning of May. I shall not write again before we go, unless something occur which I do not expect,

I have transcribed your letter to Miss Barnwell. I thank you, Madam, for your kind remembrance of my brother. I intend to show him the whole of our correspondence ; and I desire your prayers that it may be accompanied with a divine blessing. I intend to write to you from France by the first opportunity, and am,

Dear Madam,
Most affectionately yours,

EUSEBIA NEVILLE,

LETTER XXIX.

From Miss Barnwell to Miss Eusebia Neville.

MY DEAR EUSEBIA,

OUR friend Thomas has just been here, and brought your letter to my aunt, which I shall seal, and send by the post to-day ; and, as it will be almost night before he calls again, I intend to send you a hasty scrawl. And now, what shall I say to my dear friend? As she has such a desire to see her brother, I cannot importune her not to go this journey ; but I hope she will take care that she be not trspanned into a nunnery. You may assure yourself, that, if you are obliged to escape in consequence of violenee being offered to your inclination, Mrs. Worthington will re

[ocr errors]

Sonda sometime painted when

ceive you as kindly as if she were your mother; nay, more. so than if that were the casc, and you were a stranger to Jesus Christ. - What you heard about my mother's loss at play is but too true. My father and she have been at home these three days. She comforts herself by saying, that she thinks she understands cards as well as most people, but no one has always luck alike; and the worse luck now, the better another time. My father said some time past, that when he was young, he had often played deeply himself; but that he generally found cause to repent it. To this my mother replied, that she abhorred playing for paltry sums, because there was no chance then of gaining any thing : besides, she could not bear any thing that was mean and low-lived.

I, who know my father much better than she does, can perceive he is chagrined, and truly not without reason; for what she has laid out in lace, ruffles, head-dresses, gowns, and aprons, since she has been married, is amaz. ing. Though my father has a pretty estate, yet, as he keeps what is called a noble house, he has always spent his income ; so that I cannot say but I have been a little uneasy lest he should be brought to poverty. He has loved me, though he slights me now: it would grieve me therefore, to see it, because I know how unable he would be to bear it.

In reading what my aunt has written on the subject of temperance, I reflected with pleasure, that it will diminish our anxiety about what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed, when we know how little will supply our real wants. In the present age an expensive way of living almost universally prevails ; it is as if every one strove in dress, in high living, and in furniture, to exceed his neighbour. When Christians are carried away by this torrent, they are not only guilty of a sinful compliance with the manners of the world, but they pierce themselves through with many sorrows. In order to acquire the means of supporting

this vain expense, either an immoderate portion of their time is occupied, and their minds are devoured by corroding cares; or they engage in undertakings too great for their capital, bring themselves to ruin, and cause religion to be evil spoken of on their account. Contentment with mean food and clothing either prevents, or diminishes anxiety ; bears up the mind against fear of loss; and keeps it from immoderate sorrow when losses are sustained. When I consider these things, I envy the simplicity of the patriarchal age.

If you have time and opportunity, any thing which drops from the pen of my Eusebia will exceedingly gratify her Miranda. I know I need say no more, if there be a possibility. . .

If your brother should inquire about his old playfellow, pray give my kind respects to him. I shall not cease to pray for your safe and speedy return.

Since I wrote the above, Mr. Henry Clifford called and dined with us; and he is at our house now. His principal conversation has been about what he calls the folly of his son ; who, he says, before he went to Ireland, was always either in his closet, or walking alone in the fields. My father said, he believed half thie world would go mad. There is a time, added he, for all things. Undoubtedly people ought to be religious; that is, they ought to go to church, once at least, on a Sunday, unless any thing extraordinary prevent. The better sort ought to do so, if it were only to set an example to the lower class, who might in a great measure be kept from poaching, if they could be induced to attend divine service.

Mr. Clifford was of opinion, that preaching had never done any good to the morals of mankind, and that the whipping post and the pillory were the best instructors. Pray what is your opinion, Miss Barnwell ? cried he.

I replied, 'that rewards and punishments were certainly powerful stimulants to action ; but that even whippingposts and pillories would have but little effect, if people did not believe there were any such things. This is the rea. on, continued I, that so little regard is paid to the promi. ses and threatenings in the word of God. Men are willing to persuade themselves that they are without foundation.

I always took you for a reasonable girl, said Mr. Clifford. Now tell me seriously, Miranda, whether you can believe that a good and gracious Being, as every one supposes God to be, can have the heart to burn poor creatures in a furnace of fire, as hot as a baker's oven, during a long eternity, for petty offences committed in the space of sixty or seventy years ? The crimes and the punishment bear no proportion to each other ; so that I do not wonder nobody believes them. Such accounts do violence to reason.

Permit me, Sir, to say, replied I, that you err, not knowing the Scriptures. The wicked will indeed be destroyed, with an everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord; which destruction is compared to unquenchable fire, because God will never be reconciled to them. But the whole of divine revelation shows, that sinners will be punished with few or many stripes, in an exact proportion to their sins. You call the aggravated rebellions of men against their maker, petty offences. But if you, Sir, should be unhappy enough to bear the just punishment of your transgressions, which I fear will be the case, you may then entertain different thoughts concerning your crimes.

Do you seriously then believe, cried he, several of the tales related in the Old Testament, such as Samson's car. rying the gates of Gaza, and throwing down a temple of the Philistines ?

I will answer this question, Sir, replied I, by asking you another. Can you conceive in what manner the eye in, forms the soul of the colour and figure of bodies at a great distance, and of the beauties of creation around us ; or how the ear was so exquisitely contrived, as to distinguish ten thousand different vibrations of air from each other? Can you tell me who poised the earth so exactly as to make it hang upon nothing; and also who put it in motion, and continued that motion with such regularity for nearly six

thousand years ? Naj, Sir, if you can tell me who enabled you to lift a straw, I will tell you who enabled Samson to carry the gates of Gaza, and to throw down the temple of Dagon. Know, Sir, that almost every thing under the Old Testament dispensation was intended to point out the Messiah to the Jews, and to confirm the faith of the NewTestament church. Samson was a Nazarite, or one dedicated to the service of God from his birth ; and was continually at war with the enemies of God's people, like him of whom he was the type; he therefore did nothing more to the gates of Gaza, than the Redeemer has done to the gates of hell. If you ask by what means this and other things were effected; I answer, by the power of God. If you say it was very wonderful, I say so too ; yet not more wonderful than the sun's rising this morning. But this last wonder has been so often repeated, that people cease to wonder.

Here my father cried out, that he had heard so much of this kind of stuff, that he was surfeited. It is a pity, said my mother, but that Miss Barnwell had worn men's clothes, like the Chevalier d'Eon; she would have made an excellent soldier of the black regiment. This pitiful witticism produced a general laugh. Mr. Clifford said, he supposed his booby was of my way of thinking. But if you were 10 change your mind, Miranda, added he, I believe it would be too late for you to think of being my daughter.. By some hints which he has now and then dropped, he seems to be over head and ears in love with a lady whom you know. According to him, Eusebia Neville has so many perfections, that none are left for the rest of her sex We do not know, my dearest friend, what is the design of Providence. Mr. Charles Clifford, peradventure, is raised up by the wise Disposer of all events to be a blessing to my friend. I sincerely pray, both for his own sake and yours, that that may be the case.

Our friend Thomas tells me you look very pale and thin, which I am exceedingly sorry to hear; as the loss of

« הקודםהמשך »