« הקודםהמשך »
· LETTER LXII.
From Signior Albino to Mrs. Worthington.
OU have heard of the wonderful change which God has wrought in this family, and of the almost unexampled mercy which has been shown to me, a most guilty sinner. The mercy of God in saving me through Christ Jesus is infinite mercy. God is indeed love. I now know him not only to be the greatest, but the best of beings. After me no one will be obliged to despair. The Scriptures have long been a sealed book unto me; but whereas I was blind, now I see.
young friends, convinced me of this important truth, that Christ's kingdom is not of this world, nor governed by worldly maxims; that the Christian religion is intended to save mankind, and not to aggrandize them ; and that it has nothing to do with politics, or the government of kingdoms. Civil governors have corrupted it, and exposed it to the derision of infidels, who in deriding this corruption of Christianity, have fancied themselves to be deriding Christianity itself. My detestation of popery exceeds, if possible, the blind zeal I lately had for its propagation. .
I cannot doubt that God, in every age, has had faithful servants in that corrupt church, who were not of it. I trust the time will arrive, perhaps speedily, when there will not be a religious establishment in the world. God is proclaiming in the rising states of America, that true religion needs not civil aid. I believe he is there showing the nations of the earth his power to protect his own cause, and that it does not require to be propped by their unhallowed hands. In fact he has hitherto supported it in spite of all their opposition. I will not say concerning spiritual Ba. bylon, as was saia concerning the typical, Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
No, I hope they will be slain by the sword which procee. deth out of the mouth of himn who is called the Word of God, and then they will have reason, like me, to bless the arm that smote them.
With what contempt have I formerly looked upon the humble Thomas Livingstone! What folly was it in me to suppose, because I understood Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that therefore I understood Christianity better than he! But my pride has been laid in the dust: there let it for ever lie! () my God, if I have one wish concerning myself, it is that I may be clothed with humility. I am nothing; and I pray that I may be willing to be accounted the last and the least.
I rejoice that my beloved pupil is about to be united to so amiable a Christian as your niece. I hope I shall never forget the gentleness, the humanity, and the affection with which she treated me, even while I was her bitter enemy. Charity, Christian charity suffereth long, and is kind. She overcame me much more effectually than if she had opposed me with all the virulence which human nature in: its worst state can show. I afterward plainly perceived, that I was the vulture, and she the dove ; that I was the lion, and she the lamb. It is my happiness that the lion hath been made to eat straw like the ox. May that glorious prophecy be more and more accomplished to the ends of the earth.
I have written a desultory letter, and have poured out my whole soul. I know you will rejoice with me, that one who was mad against the servants of the Redeemer is now sitting at his feet in his right mind. I am, with great esteem, dear Madam, Your friend and humble servant,
W ITH the divine permission before this arrives at Is. lington, I shall have entered into a new relation. This morning my dear Mr. Neville presented me with a ring, by which I am to be bound to be his loving and obedient wife. I am indeed under every obligation, as well as the divine command, to be so, and to study in every thing to render him happy. I hope, when the knot is tied, I shall not relax in my duty. I beg, my dear aunt, your prayers
for us, that we may enter into this solemn and sacred en-gagement in the fear of the Lord; and that we may endea
vour to promote his glory in every part of our conduct, and in every period of our lives. How has my gracious God favoured me! How ought I to remember his goodness and his mercy, which have been very abundant to me from my birth to this moment! I pray that my whole life may be dedicated to his service.
My dear Mr. Neville yesterday entreated his father to take a part in the ceremony, by presenting him with my hand. He desired to be excused, observing, that the guilty part he had acted toward his dear Eusebia had made him determine to go mourning to the grave; and that he could not take that pleasure in our nuptials which he should otherwise have taken, since every thing served to remind hiin of the treasure he had lost.
Yesterday afternoon Mr. Clifford and his son called at the Abbey, as they were returning home from Belcaster. They staid to tea, and the discourse turned upon the truth of the Mosaic history. Mr. Neville, since he dined with Mr. Clifford, had frequently lamented that a man of his good sense should be so unwise as to espouse the cause of infidelity. He therefore determined to seize the first opportunity of endeavouring to show him the folly, as well as
the guilt, of opposing divine revelation. An opportunity now presented itself; for upon Mr. Neville's asking Mr. Charles Clifford what Commentary on the Scriptures he had, and upon his replying that their steward, who is a very pious man, had lent him Henry on the Old and New Testainent in six volumes folio, the following conversation took place.
Mr. Clif. Six volumes in folio! Certainly the Bible must be a very obscure book to need six volumes in folio to illustrate it: and yet I doubt, after all, whether the writer has proved the tale of Moses's dividing the Red Sea to be true.
Mr. Nev. It is very unfair, Sir, to carp at particular pas. sages in a historian, and to contend that this or that fact is incredible. We should first examine the character of the author, and inquire whether marks of veracity are visible in other parts of his history; whether pride and vanity were his prevailing passions; whether he had sinister ends to serve by propagating a falsehood; whether he appears to have feared God; and whether his history was well received by the people of his time. Now, Sir, you must acknowledge that the Jewish historian and legislator will bear to be examined by all these criteria. Why then do you reject his testimony?
Mr. Clif. I cannot think Moses was a wicked man; but indeed, Sir, I cannot believe in Miracles. Only prove to me that any one miracle was ever wrought, and I will grant the pentateuch to be true.
Mr. Nev. What kind of proof do you expect? If that which is admitted for substantiating every other historic fact be admitted in this case, I can furnish you with it in plenty.
Mr. Clif. Prove it to me by your own certain knowledge.
Mr. Nev. If that were in my power, you would have just as good a right to question my testimony as that of other men, and probably would do so, concluding either that I was deceived as to the faci, or that the division of the waters was a natural phenomenon,
Mr. Clif. You are about right.
Mr. Nev. With i gard to myself, I have never heard por read of any thing more wonderful than the diurnal motion of the earth, and its annual motion round the sun. In these works and ways of God we see great wisdom and great power exercised every moment. The Almighty not only caused these motions to commence at first, but he still continues them. The sun likewise has dispensed light and heat for several thousand years. These things certain. ly are as wonderful as the dividing of the Red Sea. The formation of man also at first, must have been an act of as great power and wisdom as the raising of him from the dead. A miracle is distinguished from the other mighty works of God in this way. The latter, being performed for constant and general utility, are seen every day i whereas miracles are performed occasionally, and for particular purposes. If I had never seen a comet, it would be unreasonable to discredit the evidence of those who have seen them. In like manner, if I have not seen the dead raised, or the eyes of the blind opened, I ought not lightly to doubt the testimony of those who have.
Mr. Clif. There is some reason in what you have said. He who formed the sun, and gave us life and breath and being, certainly can do every thing. But will he do any thing in vain ? I cannot discover the utility of miracles.
Mr. Nev. If miracles have never been necessary, I will grant there never have been any. For my part, I do not perceive how Moses, who had been forty years absent from Egypt, could have accomplished the emancipation of such a body of slaves without a single act of resistance on their part, but by the intervention of miracles. Pharoah parted with them with as much reluctance as the West-Indian planters would part with their negroes. Hencé arises another reason for the necessity of the miracles performed in Egypt. When they were in the wilderness forty years, without a succession of miracles they must have perished. And without the instrumentality of miracles, such a nume. rous body of people could not have been induced to em