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ing over precise. Besides, all the genteel people in the neighbourhood will be there to night.
It may be so, Madam, replied I: but I hope I shall never deliberately go to a play ; nor indeed any where else, except I am first persuaded that the Son of God would go thither if he were upon earth.
Well, Louisa, said my mother, (looking at her sister, and laughing) we may venture to go. Miss Barnwell has religion enough for herself and us too.
This is the ground I myself have trodden; and I should still have walked in the same path, if God in sovereign mercy had not prevented it. What reason have his servants to adore his distinguishing favour, in saving and calling them with a holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace given them in Christ Jesus before the world began. I can only add that I am, Dear Madam,
Your dutiful and
I'rom Mrs. Worthington to Miss Barnwell.
* DEAR NIECE,
I HAVE read your letter with pleasure. Your situation; my dear child, though disagreeable, is not a bad one upon the whole. That cannot be injurious to us which causes jis frequently to repair to a throne of grace. Affliction is as necessary for us in the present life, as rainy and frosty weather are necessary to fertilize the earth. As your af. fictions lead to God, you may infer that they come from him in a way of love. Their nature and measure, there fore, will be properly adjusted ; and as your duty is, such also will be your strength.
It is a delightful night. I have been viewing the stars. I cannot without transport behold this profusion of luminaries, few of which are less than the sun that enlightens our earth and its kindred planets. How great that Bcing
who created those luminaries, and who placed them at such a stupendous distance from us, and from each other! It is He who bringeth forth Mazzaroth in his seasori : it is, He who guideth Arcturus with his sons. Amid such great affairs, are not our trifling concerns overlooked ? No, the hairs of our head are numbered ; and we are as much the objects of the care of our infinitely wise, august, and be. neficent Creator, as if he had brought us alone into existence. He marked the bounds of our habitation before we came into being; and he has promised that he will never leave us, nor forsake us. What then should hinder us from being calm and serene in every situation, and in every condition of life?
Mr. C. Clifford's letter gives me great hope concerning him. Poor young man! he comes out of as irreligious a family as any in the kingdom. I once heard his father boast that he had not been in a place of worship during the last twenty years. But as in the house of Jeroboam there was an Abijah, in whom was found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel ; so, in the present day, God sometimes takes his servants out of the families of his avowed enemies.
I wish our dear Eusebia not to refuse this gentleman, if he shall appear to be a sincere Christian. This can only be known by his continuing in the doctrine which is according to godliness, and by his bearing such fruit as is produced by those vines which are of God's planting. It affords me pleasure to view the gracious providence of our heavenly Father, who appears to me to be raising him up for a blessing to my friend.
Does there not appear to you in Mr. Clifford's letter an internal proof of his sincerity? I seem to myself to have such a kind of certainty of it, as Delilah had of the sincer. ity of Samson when he showed her all his heart.
I have been thinking of the difference between a true Christian and a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a religious professor destitute of the love of God, and of the spirit of Christ, and who has no love to the truth. He frequently deceives the servants of God; those who are of the truth: but most of all he deceives himself. Christians frequently have doubts concering him : that, however, is not always the case. Judas had art enough not to be detected for a considerable time. But as a worldly spirit entirely ac.
tuates every hypocrite, that spirit, however he may curb it to render himself agreeable to those with whom he associates, will constantly influence him. Because he endeavours to disguise his motives, and to appear what he is not, he is called a hypocrite ; that is, an actor or player, whose employment is to appear in the character of others, and not in his own. Great wisdom is required to enable us to judge of our own sincerity, and of the hypocrisy of others; since, in this imperfect state, a Christian is not entirely destitute of hypocrisy, nor a hypocrite of every kind of sincerity. In worldly matters, our own interest demands that we be sincere. A hypocrite, therefore, if he be a prudent man, will, in general, be sincere in his dealings; and a Turk or a Jew will be the same. On the other hand, an imprudent Christian may, through remaining ignorance and temptation, be warped from sincerity in worldly things; but he will suffer severely for it. In this seems to lie the great difference between the one and the other. The Christian is sincere in his love to God, to his law, to his pure gospel, and to sincerity, justice, mercy, and righteousness of every kind. He shudders at the thought of being drawn aside from any of these things, and abhors himself in dust and ashes when he is convinced that this has been the case. Peter wept bitterly when he reflected how deceitfully and unkindly he had behaved respecting his Lord : and we may infer that the same apostle suffer. ed considerable compunction on account of the insincerity and dissimulation for which Paul so kindly and so faith. fully reproved him. On the contrary, the hypocrite, or the religious professor destitute of the spirit of Christ, cannot love God as his character is drawn in the Scriptures. He
love a God; but it is the idol of his own imagination. In like manner, if he love the gospel, it is a corrupted gospel; for not being actuated by the Spirit of Christ, which leads to an entire dependence on Christ, he is necessarily influenced by a spirit of self-dependence. This is the case with every unregenerate man. Nor does he love the law of God, because it is a transcript of the divine mind, infinitely excellent in itself, and agreeable to his own renewed nature ; but he yields an unwilling and very partial obedience to it, because he loves himself, and is willing to compound matters with his Maker, and to give him the tithe of mint, anise and cummin,
willing to sacrifice the blind and lame of his flock, proví. ded he may permitted to gratify his pride, his covetousness, or his ambition. In a word, he loves the gospel for no other reason than because, through his mistaken view of it, he can sin without remorse; and the law, no further than he thinks that obedience to it secures him against future punishment.
How vain and silly were the arguments of Mrs. Barna well in behalf of stage entertainments. No arguments against them need to be addressed to the servants of God; for he effectually teaches his children to abhor such principles, and such practices.
I intended to write also to our friend; but upon perusing the above, I perceive that what I have said to you is equally proper to be said to her. I request you, therefore, when
you have read it, to send it in a cover to Thomas Livingstone, to whom, as also to his wife, I desire my Bind respects.
am, my dear niece,
From Miss Barnwell to Mrs. Worthington.
MY DEAR AUNT,
I HAVE been to visit Mrs. Law. She was at our house. last week, and made me promise to come to see her, for that she had something of importance to say to me. I suspected that she wanted me to return to the church; nor was I mistaken.
Mrs. Law, as you well know, was the daughter of an independent minister. She is of a mild and affable disposition, and is very religious I believe that what she did was by Mr. Law's desire; for he cannot bear the thought that any of his parishioners should go to meeting.
Mrs. Law began with saying, that she was exceedingly sorry to see my place at church empty: that she believed me to be a well-disposed young lady; and that such ought
10 stay in the church to benefit others by their example, I, continued she, who was brought up a dissenter, am persıraded that there is nothing in the church of England but what the pious and well-disposed may conscientiously submit to, and that in some things the church is even superior to the meeting. For instance: dissenting ministers are dependant on their hearers for their stipend, poor as it generally is. This is a snare, and tends to warp their judgment, and to make them preach such doctrine as they know will be agreeable to their hearers. Besides, it is really degrading to, and beneath a man who has received a liberal education, and is indeed a gentleman, at least in that respect, to live on the alms of his hearers ; for I can call their contributions by no better a name. I have heard my father regret that the terms of communion in the church of England were such as he could not conscientiously submit to as a minister. But this obstacle does not lie in the way of private Christians ; for they are not called to subscribe to any thing.
There are many dissenters, Madam, replied I, who think with your father that it would be possible to form a national church upon a Scriptural plan: but I must dissent from those dissenters. The apostolical churches were assemblies of Christians, separated from the world, and maintaining no religious connexion with it. They were not of the world, even as their Lord and Master was not of the world. And if any unbelievers crept in among them, they were commanded to purge out the old leaven, that they might be a new lump. Churches, therefore, instead of being national, ought to consist of the servants of God, selected out of a nation.
Mrs. Law. But if the chief magistrate be a Christian, ought he not to provide able and religious ministers ?
Mir. What kind of ministers, Madam, ought he to provide, if he be a Roman Catholic? What kind will he then be likely to provide ; or though a protestant, if he be merely a nominal Christian? Or what kind is likely to be provided by that description of men to whom the right of presentation to church livings in general belongs ?
Mrs. Law. If the maintenance of the clergy depended upon voluntary subscription, many would sooner part with their Christianity than with their money. It is the opinion of some wise men, that if the interference of government