« AnteriorContinuar »
chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely, will appear so amiable to you, that you will esteem even the reproach you meet with on his account more than all the treasures upon earth; yea, my friend will not esteem her life dear, if she must either part with it, or be disobedient to his commands.
I wish soon to hear from you again. Be assured that I am, my dear Eusebia, Yours in our common Father and Friend,
From Miss Eusebia Neville to Mrs. Worthington.
I THANKFULLY received your kind present together with the book which I wished my friend to procure for
I have at present looked very little into the works of the good archbishop: but wherever I have read, I have found a true spirit of piety, joined with great knowledge of the subject on which he treated.
I desire my friends to pray for me, that my faith and hope may be strengthened, and that I may not faint in the day of adversity. In your kind letters, for which also I return thanks, you labour to make me understand how unworthy the sufferings of the present time are to be compared with the following glory. But alas, how little have you said! How little could angels say upon this subject! o that time could mend its pace, that I might put off this body, and enter into that world of everlasting felicity. But if I must abide in a world so much unlike that to which I am travelling, I pray that I may not be left to dishonour my Lord, by doing or submitting to any thing that is contrary to his will, through the fear of those that can only kill the body.
I am obliged to confess to you, my friends, that I cannot see my way clear at present to renounce the religion in which I have been educated. It is true, that in a long series of years, the gospel has been gradually corrupted among us: but is the religion of Protestants uncorrupt? You, my dear friends, will not affirm it. Education makes a lasting impression on young minds. You will not wonder therefore when I tell you, that as soon as my friend Thomas Livingstone has answered one objection, another springs up in its room. Had I the pleasure to be with Mrs. Worthington, or Miss Barnwell, I should ask them,
1. Where the church of Christ was before Luther?
2. Which of all the numerous sects of Protestants is the true church?
3. Whether a center of unity is not wanting among Protestants ?
4. Whether to prevent confusion, public interpreters of Scripture be not necessary ? especially as the apostle St. Peter tells us, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
My friend has answered these questions several times, and it is possible very properly ; but old prejudices, he observes, are rooted up with great difficulty ; and I have reason to believe it. However, I would not on anv account leave the religion of my ancestors entirely, without the most undoubted proof that it is the divine will that I should
But should it ever appear plain to me, that I must either abandon the church of Rome, and submit to be abhorred by my friends, and to be turned into the wide world, or displease my Lord and Saviour, I pray that I may not be so far lost to a just sense of my true interest, as to require a moment's consideration which to prefer. But I dare not confide in my own strength. I remember St. Peter's confidence, as well as his fall, which naturally succeeded it. Indeed, my dear friends, I am many time distressed with fears, lest when it comes to the trial, I should imitate those persons who went away, and walked no more with the Redeemer.
Apprehensions also of a more alarming nature, if possible, frequently distress me, namely, lest the word of God shou d be a cunningly devised fable. When such horrid temptations have invaded my mind, my only relief has been to pour out my soul in prayer to God. Tranquillity, and a well-grounded hope of the truth of the Scriptures, have generally ensued i but new storms have frequently suc. ceeded these calms.
I am greatly obliged to you, Madam, for your kind in
vitation. I should have no doubt of beini happy in such agreeable company: but my father, and s ster, and father Albino our priest, set out this morning for Bath, where I expect them to stay six weeks or two months ; so that I only am left to keep house.
When I write to either of my friends, they must consider it as to both. Pray give my kind love to my dear Miss Barnwell, and accept the same from, dear Madam,
Your much obliged friend,
From Mrs. Worihington to Miss Eusebia Neville.
MY DEAR YOUNG LADY,
THE glorious views you have of the felicity which awaits the friends of the Redeemer, cannot be indifferent to’them who also hope to enjoy those blessings, which no eye hath seen nor heart conceived, except in a partial and inadequate manner The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and the pleasure we derive from obedience to his commands, are an earnest of our inheritance, and a foretaste of the happiness of that kingdom where our work will be our reward.
I pray for you, my dear friend, that you may never do any thing deliberately to dishonour the cause of Christ. Having put your hand to the gospel plough, you cannot look back but at your peril.
Remember Lot's wife. We are enbarked in a good cause: and although, from the violence of the winds and waves, we may apprehend that ourselves and our cause are sinking, there is one with us in the vessel who can again say, Peace, be still. Your fear that
you should go from Christ, and walk no more with him, God has put into your heart lest you should depart from him. It operates like the fear of the disciples, who said, Lord save us, we perish. Every thing is a blessing, however painful it may be, which leads us to a throne of grace. Were it not for our calamities, God would have much less of our company
The dreadful suggestions of Satan, that the Scriptures may prove a fable, are very distressing. But console yourself with reflecting, that they are not only more or less experienced by Christians in general, but that they are among the all-things that work together for their good. Many have been induced, and even compelled, through such temptations, to be fervent in prayer, and diligent in searching the Scriptures, which have never sustained any dishonour from an impartial and judicious examination. Speculative unbelievers are far less numerous than practical : the transition, however, is easy from one to the other. Every unregenerate man is an unbeliever; but the strong man armed seldom disturbs his subjects with doubts concerning the truth of a religion which has no practical influence upon them. When inquisitive unbelievers search the Scriptures, they do it, either in hopes of proving them to be entirely false, or with a determination to reject such cloctrines as are contrary to unsanctified reason : and the god of this world blinds their minds, lest the light of the gospel should shine unto them.
The Old Testament is the foundation on which the New is built; and they will stand or fall together. To-morrow is the thirtieth of January, a day observed with much solemnity by many persons in the church of England. Should this service continue for a hundred ages, it would be a proof of the existence and sufferings of Charles I. Do not the Passover, and other Jewish festivals, equally prove the truth of the historical facts to which they owed their origin? The Jews in every country continue to commemorate those facts; and as well might we deny the gunpowder-plot, an annual commemoration of which is maintained throughout England, as dispute those divine deliverances which are annually and universally celebrated by the descendants of Jacob. The Lord's supper also is a standing proof, not merely that he was crucified, but likewise that he foretold his crucifixion, and appointed this ordinance as a memorial of it. When our Lord died, the number of his disciples was about a hundred and twenty. It is incredible that so many men should have agreed to commemorate frequently the crucifixion of their Lord, in professed obedience to his command, if such a command had never been given.
Please to give my kind love to Thomas Livingstone and his wife. I shall inclose something in this letter to alleviate their sufferings in this inclement season.
That God may strengthen and support you to bear every thing which he shall permit you to suffer for his name, is the prayer of, my dear young Lady, Your sincere friend,
From Miss Barnwell to Miss Eusebia Neville.
MY DEAR EUSEBIA,
MY aunt, who has a very great regard for you, desired me to answer that part of your letter which contains your doubts, whether you ought or ought not to leave the church of Rome. This was doing me very little honour, since she told me there was no difficulty attending it. For, said she, they must be very indifferent scholars indeed in the school of Christ, who cannot demonstrate that national churches are in their own'nature unfriendly to Christianity.
The good confession which our Lord witnessed before Pontius Pilate was this, My kingdom is not of this world. His church, which is his kingdom, he has upholden in the midst of the nations, as he supported the children of Israel in the wilderness; his servants have always dwelt alone, and will never be reckoned among the nations.
1. You ask, Where the church of Christ was before Luther? I ask in return, where is it now? And I answer myself, that there are three members of this Church at Thornton : Miss Eusebia Neville, and our good friends Thomas Livingstone and his wife. The Redeemer has many thousands scattered over Great-Britain and Ireland, and the neighbouring nations, known by various names of reproach, who are marked with his seal, supported by his arms, and kept as the apple of his eye ; and, however they may be reviled and hated by the world, not a hair of their heads will perish. My friend, I dare say, has heard of those heretics, the Hussites in Germany, the Waldenses