« הקודםהמשך »
From Thomas Livingstone to Mrs. Worthington.
M y wife and I received your noble present, for which we bless God, and thank our kind, benefactress. It came very seasonably, as we have had the misfortune to lose our cow, and this sum will both buy me another, and a good load of hay; and milk is a great blessing in a poor man's family. My poor wife wept at the death of our cow, and told me we should never have another; and I had reason to fear that that would be the case: but our gracious father has provided for us much beyond either our hopes or deserts. I rejoice, also, because I know that this, my dear friend, is fruit which will abound to your account: it is bread cast upon the waters, which you will find after many days.
That very worthy young lady, Miss Eusebia Neville, read to me the letters which she had received from you and your niece, with which I and my wife were exceed. ingly delighted. No part of your letter gave us greater pleasure than that, wherein you prove the truth of the facts related in the Old Testament, from the festivals appointed by God to commemorate them. A whole nation would not have agreed to expend their time and property, that they and their children might remember events which never happened. Other divine ordinances convey the same instruction. Without revelation, we cannot account for the origin of circumcision. But we there learn, that there was a twofold design in that institution. It was intended both to keep the Israelites a distinct people, and to typify the circumcision of the hearts of believers.
The death of Christ proves the legal sacrifices to have heen of divine origin. Had they not referred to his death, they would have had no design visible in them. They prefigured his death, as the prophecies predicted it.
The great atonement for sin was made by the Lamb of God at the time of the passover; and thus the Jews fulfilled their own scriptureș. Was it casual that the paschal lamb was eaten, and the Redeemer crucified, on the same day? One would imagine it to be impossible that any person should believe these things to have been accidental. Must we not shut our eyes against the truth if we deny that the often-repeated promise has been fulfilled, that in the seed of Abraham all the families of the carth should be blessed; as well as the numerous pro. phecies that the Gentiles should partake with the Jews of the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom, and in a much greater degree? What could induce as wise a man as Moses to relate the offering up of Isaac, if the history were not true? And if it was true, did not God intend thereby to show to Abraham what he had determined to do respecting his own well-beloved Son ?-But I ought to remember that I am writing to a person who is able to instruct me. However, she will not despise the weak attempt of the least of the servants of Jesus Christ to es. tablish the truth of the Scriptures; from a total unbelief, or at least a partial belief of which, proceed all the here. sies which are in the world.
In my conversation with Miss Neville, I frequently endeavour to confirm her in the belief of the Scriptures; for there it is that the wicked spirit makes his attacks upon her, as he does upon many young converts. She had numerous convictions before her conversion of her being a sinner, and she pacified her conscience by confessing her sins to the priest, by receiving absolution, and by determi. ning to offend no more. « But in reading Fox's Acts and Monuments of the church, I was convinced,” said she, 6 that I was an unbeliever, and that I had trusted in my own righteousness. I now desire, and shall ever desire, to be found in my beloved Lord, not having my own right
eousness, which, in my own sight, is so imperfect that I count it but dross; what then must it appear in his eyes who searches the reins and hearts !” . I forbear to enlarge upon this pleasing subject, because she intends to give you an account of the mercy of God in calling her to the knowledge of himself. Poor child ! she is dreadfully apprehensive of the consequences of her father's knowing that she has forsaken the religion of her ancestors. He is a man that would be an ornament to any religion. His compassion and liberality know no bounds: nor is his benevolence confined tớ persons of the Romish religion. He seeks out the abodes of misery, and endeavours to alleviate every distress. In his devotion, I have reason to believe that he is constant and fervent. To his servants he is a parent rather than a master and though he takes care of his affairs, and sees that his servants are diligent and faithful, he neither rules with rigour, expects any thing unreasonable, nor reproves with bitterness. His commands are so mild, and are mixed with so much politeness, even to the meanest person who works for him, that one would be ready to imagine he was suing for a favour. His children have been admirably educated. He never permitted any bickerings or contentions to arise 'among them, observing, that they often sow the seeds of a hatred or an indifference which continues through life. He discouraged in them a proud conceit of themselves, and a haughty contempt of their inferiors. He detested idleness, and used every effort to accustom his children to diligence. Idleness, he would tell them, is no more the privilege of the rich than of the poor; it being the parent of poverty and rags to the one, and of ignorance and disease to the other..
I could fill many pages, Madam, with the character of this excellent man, even although I were to confine myself to thitags which I have seen. And these things are good and valuable as far as they go. Even where they proceed from a self-righteous and self-dependent principle, they are good and profitable to men, and are infinitely to be preferred to those vices which have been the curse of mankind. But the true Christian is he who gives a cup of cold water to a friend of Jesus because he belongs to him; and who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart, which is a principle of action which unregenerate men are unacquainted with.
Notwithstanding what I have said of Mr. Neville, I can. pot add that he appears to be under the guidance of divine revelation. On the contrary, he seems to be entirely under the direction of father Albino and the church of Rome. Christ has taught us to call no man master on earth. We ought, therefore, to follow no one, any fur. ther than he appears to us to follow the great Head of the church.
Mr. Neville is truly a worthy man; very inoffensive, humane, and charitable ; but blindly attached to the Ro. mish religion. His zeal would be commendable, if it were directed by the word of God. Thousands, who are zealous, think they cannot fail to be accepted by their Maker.' They suppose that all which is required of them is to do what they imagine to be right. It is true that, where divine revelation has never appeared, the light of reason iş the only guide ; but in countries where the Scriptures are known, every person is in a state of condemnation who does not implicitly and habitually submit to them in the general tenour of his cenduct. This submission is the Shibboleth which distinguishes Christians from unbelievers.
I believe that Miss Eusebia Neville is as much afraid on account of the priest as on account of her father. The old gentleman has spared no pains in her education, and has a parental affection for her. She fears, therefore, that her leaving the pale of the church will be a shock too great for him to bear. · I have almost filled my paper, and must therefons conclude with congratulating you, Madam, on the wonderful deliverance which God has wrought for our young friend.
I have had some difficulty to convince her that the Ra
mish church is the Antichristian society spoken of in the Revelation; not because she did not perceive a great number of errors in it, but because she thought other churches to be as bad. I believe Miss Barnwell has taken an effectual method to remove every remaining doubt, by showing my friend that religious establishments are in their own nature Antichristian. Pray give my kind love
to that young lady, and accept my most sincere thanks for : the favour conferred upon, dear Madam, .... Your grateful, most obedient,
And very humble servant,
. ' LETTER VIII.
From Mis: Eusebia Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
I RECEIVED your kind letter, together with that of my dear friend Miss Barnwell, and I thank you both for them. I have the happiness to agree with you, as does also my friend Thomas Livingstone, as you will perceive by his letter, which at his desire I have transcribed for your inspection. I have not altered the language much; the ideas not at all.
I need not tell you, Madam, that Thomas possesses a good natural understanding, which he had an opportunity of improving in his youth, by reading a variety of authors. He was the servant of an elderly gentleman, who employed him several hours in a day in reading to him, and who had so fine an ear, that he knew if at any time he did not under. stand is author, and made him repeat the passage till he did. After his master's death, Thomas married the housekeeper, and they took a little farm of thirty pounds a year. Having five children, who are all either married or at ser