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writing, and unite in the most sincere respects. The first moment I have any leisure, I will do what you desire : it. will recall to my remembrance some very bitter, and some very happy moments.
I am, dear Madam,
WILLIAM NEVILLE. ,
From Mr. Neville to Mrs. Worthington. DEAR MADAM, TOUGHT not any longer to omit informing Mrs. Wore thington, under my own hand, how much I consider both my farnily and myself indebted to her. , What a treasure have I lost and last through my own guilty ignorance! I repeat it, through my guilty ignorance ; for having the oracles of truth in my hand, I ought to have consulted them, and to have yielded an implicit obedience to those infallible directors. I bless God, I now endeavour to do so with my whole heart, so far as I know that which is justly said to be deceitful above all things. What would I not be willing te do or to suffer, if I could but live the time over again in which I persecuted my dear child.,. Let superstitious bi. gots and persecutors take warning by me. Let them hear my unhappy tale, and tremble, lest like me they make bitter work for repentance when it shall be too late. Paul bewailed all his lifetime his having persecuted the friends of the Redeemer: but he did not persecute a dutiful child. I can compare myself to none but Jephthah, whose superstition occasioned the death of his beloved daughter. But alas! he did not consider his child as God's enemy.. She too was willing to fall a victim to her father's rash vow. But the mercy of God is equal to my crime. That mercy manifested in Christ Jesus has been my only refuge. Oceans of water would not have cleansed me ; nitre and
much soap would not have purified me. O that my repentance did but equal that of M. de Barreaux. He seems to have had the deepest sense of his vileness, and a glorious view of the mercy of God manifested in Jesus Christ. This is my own case. I had fainted under the sense of my guilt, unless I had seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Henceforth may I deterinine to know nothing, saye Jesus Christ and him crucified.
My dear friend, cannot you make it convenient to pay us a visit? If you will make such an addition to the fa. vours I and mine have already received, either my daughter or. your niece shall go to London and accompany you down. I do not mention the time of your stay, since, if we could render it agreeable to yourself, I should wish it to be as long as you have any thing to do with time, being sensible that Mrs. Worthington will be a blessing to any family wherein she resides.
I account it no small mercy that my son has been directed by Providence to the choice of a woman for a wife who I believe sincerely loves him, and, which is of greater importance, who loves God. Your niece meets with every kind of respect in my family. I love her for her own, as well as for my son's sake ; and my daughter esteems her as much as if she were her sister. I used formerly to think she had too much vivacity. But the brutal treatment she has received from her parent has pruned every exuberance of that kind; or it is possible the just sense she now entertains of eternal things has given her that becoming gravi. ty, which is an ornament to persons of every age, and in every station.
When I was in the church of Rome, I misunderstood the nature and design of Christianity. I now see that the wound made by sin is an alienation of mind from God, or in other words a hatred of him. In vain might I have fasted till I had been a skeleton, and in vain have given all my goods to feed the poor ; for mere self-love was the principal motive that influenced my actions : at best, what good I did proceeded from tender feelings, and
natural sympathy. I did not perceive that the death of Christ was intended to show us the infinite evil of sin, the infinite love of God to a perishing world, and the impossibility of purchasing or meriting the divine favour, and by all these considerations to reconcile us to God. I have been obliged to unlearn almost every thing which I had learned while I was in that communion.
In my dear Eusebia's closet I met with archbishop Leighton's works, which I found by the correspondence between her and her friends were your valuable gift. I have read the four volumes with unspeakable pleasure and profit. The writings of that great man breathe the same spirit with the gospels and epistles, and also with the religion of Abraham and the patriarchs, and of David and the prophets. How different is that spirit from the hea. then divinity which we find in the Greek and Roman writers. Almost every page carries in it a demonstration of its own truth, and of the truth of that divine revelation which dwelt in him in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. I feel the truth of what he says. I have that in myself which answers to it as face answers to face in a mirror. In vain would it be to try for days and months and years to make a man born blind comprehend the nature of light and colours ; but if his eyes be opened, he will immediately understand it. Much has been said concerning the time when the epistles and gospels were written, both by those who have maintained, and by those who have denied the authenticity of those writings; and many are the arguments which have been offered to prove their divine origin. But if I may judge of others by myself, all these things are like music to the deaf, or paintings to the blind, if the same Spirit be not received who dictated them. I have been a blind man, having eyes, and a deaf man, having ears. I say not this to excuse myself: my blindness was a moral, a guilty, and not an innocent blindness.
The letters which passed between you, Madam, your niece, and my daughter, were blessed to me by the Spirit of God. They convinced me first of all, that till that time my hopes of eternal life had been founded upon my own excellence, although I deserved everlasting destruction. At the same time I saw a door opened into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, capacious enough to admit the chief of sinners. The next thing of which I was convinced was, that Christ's kingdom is not of this world. All my popery was hereby slain. I read that divine prophecy, the revelation of John, with new eyes. I could not doubt who was denoted by the woman riding upon a scarletcoloured beast, and drunken with the blood of the saints ; nor who are the daughters of this mother of harlots. What church, said I, is that which has committed fornication with the kings of the earth ?. Who are so likely to strip her of her possessions as those who first endowed her with them ? And who will bewail ber fall, except those spiritual merchants who are represented as trading in the souls of men ? I clearly discerned that the leading subject of that book is the rise and fall of an antichristian society, which should be permitted for a limited time to persecute the faithful followers of Jesus. These are represented as a woman preserved by the power of God in the wilderness from the devil, who pursues her with all the malice and venom of a dragon, and endeavours to destroy her and her seed by a flood of persecutions.
My son wishes to be made happy in his dear Miranda. To this I have no other objection than the recent death of a sister for whom he had the most tender affection, and whom in disposition, as well as in person, he very much resembles. She had a gentle behaviour, a winning softness, a gravity without moroseness, and a modesty without excessive timidity. How should I enlarge, if I were to describe the beauties of her person and of her mind! but I must forbear; the remembrance is too distressing. I must endeavour to console myself with the consideration, that she has passed the swellings of Jordan, and has mingled with kindred spirits to be for ever with the Lord.
God only knows how long I may continue in this vale of tears. I am exceedingly oppressed with lowness of spiro its; I sigh frequently, sleep little, feel myself sinking, notwithstanding I have a good appetite, and am terrified as it were by my own shadow. A sudden rapping at the door, the receipt of a letter, or almost any trifling thing, makes me tremble and feel unhappy. The mercy of God manifested in Christ, and his promises to guilty sinners who lie under the shadow of his wings, are almost my only consolation : and that is sometimes impeded by my dreading, lest after all I should be like those hearers who received the seed into stony places or among thorns.
You will be glad to hear, Madam, that Signior Albino, whom you have often seen at Mr. Barnwell's, is the reverse of what he was. He is I trust a sincere Christian. What a change in my family! The death of my daughter has through the divine mercy been a blessing to us all, as I doubt not it has been to herself also.
Mr. Charles Clifford has just been here. What a dif. ference has divine grace made between him and his father! He is in mourning for ny child, for whom he had the most sincere affection. He gave me an account of all the places at which he had inquired after her. He heard nothing of her. I feel for him almost the affection of a parent, and have entreated him to let us have as much of his company as he can. His father, with Mr. and Mrs. Barnwell, and Mr. and Mrs. Law, are to dine with me this day fortnight, and he promises to accompany them. It will be your niece's birthday: I do not know what may then take place. I am, with the sincerest esteem,
Dear Madam, your friend, and
LETTER LVIII. From Mrs. Worthington to Mr. Neville. DEAR SIR, I RECEIVED your obliging letter, and rejoice with you that in great mercy you are brought into the glorious li. berty of the sons of God.