« AnteriorContinuar »
I lately told my sister, that I doubted whether the consecrated elements of bread and wine were proper objects of worship, admitting that they were transubstantiated into the real body and blood of Christ; since it was God manifest in the fiesh who was the proper object of divine worship, and not the flesh in which he was manifested,
You make me tremble, Eusebia, cried she : such heretical thoughts ought to be repressed.
Are we, my dear sister, replied I, never to see through our own eyes ? Are we tever to judge for ourselves ? Ought we not to examine whether a thing be false, before we consider whether it be heretical ?
By no means, replied she. This would be to begin at the wrong end. We ought first to examine whether it be heretical ; and if we find it to be heretical, we ought then to conclude that it is false. Would it not be presumption to set up our own private judgment against the determinations of the church?
I was silent. Perhaps it was my duty to be so; as there was no appearance that by continuing the conversation, I could render her
service. Your letter, my dear friend, gave me much 'pleasure ; for I have here no one to converse with, except a poor man and his wife, named Livingstone. These I have discovered to be real Christians; and their conversation has been very instructive to.me. They are now in the lowest circumstances, but have seen better days ; though he would scarcely allow the propriety of that expression. I once intimated something of this kind to him, and he replied, that his God and Father had chosen his portion for him, and that he believed that station to be the best, all things considered, in which providence has placed him. He is a Dissenter, and goes every Sunday to hear a person at Barnwell whose name is Lowe, and he speaks very much in praise of his minister.
O Miranda! I should be happy if my dear parent did but know and love the truth as well as Thomas Livingstone, even if he were in the same circumstances. Alas what is the most exalted sphere of life to us, if we areignorant of the true God, and enemies to salvation by the death of Christ? My dear father is all that I could wish
His benevolence to the poor, of all denominations, is far beyond any thing I have seen, and equals any
as a man.
thing I have read of. But alas, as faith without works is dead, so works without faith are dead also.
I am exceedingly happy in the company of Thomas and his good wife, and whenever I can steal an hour in the evening 7 spend it with them. How magnificent appears in my eyes the little cottage wherein they reside. There dwell, say I to myself, two heirs of eternal glory; while many a superb mansion is disgraced by being the habitation of the sons of Belial ;-of men, who evidently have their portion in this life. O that God may be my portion ! This is all I ask. A little cottage like this of my friend Livingstone's, with the divine presence and blessing, I trust I should not consider as too humble a dwelling. That place cannot be dishonourable where God resides.
I beg you will purchase for me the Nonconformists' Memorial. I saw it at a house in our village, and borrowed it for a short time. Among these sufferers for the cause of Christ, I found Christians of a very different stamp to those I had hitherto been acquainted with in the church of England. I have not sufficient fortitude to inform my dear father of my change of sentiment, lest it should overwhelm him with grief. Whatever befall me, spare, O my God, I beseech thee, my dear parent ! It is my consolation that thou canst do every thing:
I need not desire my friend to show this letter to no person except Mrs. Worthington. I have long known her to be a prudent lady. Would it be right for me to take the liberty of requesting a letter from her? Please to direct your letter to Thomas Livingstone, as well as the books, for which I shall thankfully repay you.
Pray present my kind respects to Mrs. Worthington, and accept the same from, my dear Miranda,
Your affectionate friend,
From Mrs. Worthington, to Miss Eusebia Neville.
MY DEAR YOUNG LADY,
I AM unable to describe our joy at the receipt of your letter. My neice was so delighted, that her pleasure could no otherwise vent itself than by a flood of tears. She has received great mercy at the hands of God, and it is natural for such to rejoice when a subject is added to the Redeemer's kingdom. The deliverance of a sinner from the power of Satan gives joy to the angels of God. They know the importance of the divine favour, and the dread. ful nature of the divine displeasure,
It is the duty of every disciple of Jesus to take up his cross and follow him. The christian is not, however, without his reward; for to those who forego any worldly advantage for his sake, our Lord has promised a hundred fold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. And although he has permitted many of his servants to be put to a violent death in the defence of his cause, the support which he has afforded them in those fiery trials has far outweighed all their sufferings. Where shall we find, among the yotaries of festivity and mirth, that real joy which was experienced by Paul and Silas when their feet were fastened in the stocks? The thoughts of suffering for Christ ought not to move us, since every condition in life is that only to us which God is pleased to make it.
My counsel, therefore, is, that you commit yourself to the protection of the Almighty. Do that which appears to be your duty ; learn that duty from the Scriptures ; and be not anxious about the consequences. Meditate on the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews; remember the three children in the fiery furnace; and consider that the Lord's hand is not shortened that he cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear.
I rejoice that you are in such good company as that of Thomas Livingstone and his wife. Pray give my kind love to those friends of the Redeemer. I observe, with pleasure, your willingness to be contented with as humble a dweling as that of those good people. This disposition is right; since we do not know what an adherence to the Saviour may cost us.
My niece has bought the Nonconformists' Memorial for you. I must beg your acceptance of the works of Archbishop Leighton. He was a pattern of humility, and of love to Christ and to the souls of men. But that good man did not see the nature of Christ's church or kingdom, which, not being of this world, cannot be governed by worldly maxims. The moment the alliance commenced between church and state, antichristianism was established, and the man of sin was exalted into the throne of him, who is the only Lord and Lawgiver of his people.
My dear niece is happy in her mind, and her health is 'much improved. She has leavned that best of lessons, to joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ : but I shall say the less on this subject, as she intends to write to you.
Cannot you come and stay with us two or three months? It would give us great pleasure, and might not be disadvantageous to you.
I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, and am, my dear young Lady,
Your sincere friend,
From Miss Barnwell to Miss Eusebia Neville.
MY DEAR EUSEBIA,
I HAVE read your letter with very great pleasure. O my friend, if we examine what is called the Christian world, how few shall we find who so far understand and believe divine revelation as to be convinced that Jesus is the only Saviour of guilty sinners, and who manifest that they are in earnest, by yielding an unreserved submission to his government! I rejoice that this is your case, and I would humbly hope my own likewise. Here, my friend, we may lay the reins on the neck of Ambition. However vast our expectations, or unbounded our wishes, they will be gratified beyond our utmost conception; since it has never entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for them that love him. I frequently wish for the arrival of that happy time, when I shall see him whom my soul loveth as I am seen of him, and know him as I am known of him. In the meanwhile, what have we to hope or fear from the sons and daughters of the earth? We must not expect that they will treat us better than they did the Lord of life and glory. No one, however, can hold up his hand against us without his permission.
I know my dear Eusebia has much to fear from her fa.. ther; not more, however, than I have to fear from mine. But say, will these things bear to be put in the balance against the favour of God here, and the enjoyment of him hereafter? They are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. When we begin to turn our backs upon the world, and to set our faces Zionward, we ought daily to expect some cross or other; and we must be willing to carry it, even as the Redeemer carried his, and as the saints in glory have carried theirs. A crown is prepared; but the road to it is by the cross. In a word, if we are Christians, we must not only be willing to be saved by the work finished by the Redeemer upon the cross, but we must also enter his kingdom, as he entered it, through much tribulation. Whether, therefore, our names be cast out as evil by Catholics or Protestants, the difference is small; and I pray that neither of us may be discouraged above measure ; since thousands of the children of God have testified, that reproaches for the name and truth of Christ, together with prisons, racks, gibbets, and flames, are much alleviated by those divine consolations which the Redeemer affords to his suffering servants, and which are infinitely preferable to the most prosperous circumstances of those who have their portion in this life.
I have used no argument, my dear Eusebia, to induce you to leave the church of Rome. Whatever you find in that community that is agreeable to the word of God, continue to embrace; and whatever is contrary to it, reject. The last indeed may be attended with the great displeasure
father and sister; but if God have given you an understanding to know him that is true, he who is the