Obrazy na stronie

doubt that my dear parent has profited by reading the correspondence between you, Madam, Miss Barnwell, and my sister ; but I desire to ascribe the glory to the divine Being, without whose almighty energy no instruction can be of any avail.

We had much conversation beside what I have related. He told me of the amazing change that had taken place in the mind of Signior Albino, and also asked me whether I had had any religious conversation with Maria. I thought this a proper time to relate the whole without reserve. I told him the reason of my sister's sending for Miss Barnwell, and gave him copies of the letters which had passed between you, Miss Barnwell, and Maria, in his absence. He read them with great emotion, a tear now and then stealing down his cheek. My son, said he, I thank you for being so unreserved, and I thank God for the great mercy shown to my family : it is infinitely more than I deserve. I perceive that Maria was prepared to suffer for the sake of Christ; and if God had not stopped me by the way, as he did Saul, my fellow-persecutor, it is prohable I should have treated each of you as I did your dear sister. There is Miss Barnwcil, continued he, who is a sufferer for holding faith and a good conscience ; I cannot consistently reproach her father, but with God's leave I will be a father to her.

I blushed; and the more I endeavoured to conceal my emotion, the less able I was to succeed.

William, said my father, thou hast a face that will speak the truth. What may I not conjecture from those blushes?

I confessed that I had a regard for that lady on many accounts, but chiedy because she was a servant of Jesus Christ. I said that I had, however, determined not to go one step further than esteem, without first acquainting him.

My father replied, that that was a becoming resolution ; and that children could not show greater marks of folly and disrespect to their parents, than by fixing their affec

tions and making overtures without their knowledge. You have made, added he, a proper choice. This young lady will have little or vo fortune. If you also had none, that would be an objection to your union, as you have both been unused to labour. But as you, my son, will have a sufficiency. I do not perceive any thing which is likely to be a bar to your mutual happiness.

Undoubtedly, Sir, answered 1, there is always a necessity for the exercise of prudence. Yet the man who already possesses wealth equal to the sphere in which he desires to move, ought to make a fortune with a wife the last and the least consideration. Miss Barnwell loves God, and is grateful, humble, sincere, modest, and discreet. She would neither be elated by prosperity, nor depressed by adversity She is careful and diligent; not a waster, nor fond of that fantastical levity which characterizes the women of the present day. These qualifications, I humbly apprehend, are the best portion a man can have with a wife. On the contrary, if a woman be destitute of the fear of God; if she be proudy. ignorant, and vain ; and if she cannot find any happiness in her own family, but from an idle indolent habit, spends, one part of her time in dress, and the other in sauntering, like the butterfly from place to place, no fortune can compensate for her defects.

The present mode of educating children, said my father, is not calculated to make them good husbands or wives ; and indeed we cannot but perceive that all ranks, from the palace to the cottage,' have adopted such a luxurious and expensive way of living, that every one seems to vie with his neighbour who shall be most extravagant. We ought not to wonder that so many gentlemen spend their estates, and that there are such numerous failures in trade. Ifa person will live to the extent of his income, no provision is made against the misfortunes which are liable to be fall him, and which therefore will probably plunge him into inextri.. cable difficulties. Extremes are bad: the golden mean ought to be preserved. Every person ought to live below.

his income, without running into sordid avarice on the one hand, or profuse prodigality, on the other, 1

My father added, that he believed Miss Barnwell to be possessed, of every qualification necessary to constitute a good wife. But then, said he, are you certain that this lady is not already engaged? Or ifslie be not, do you know whether she could esteem you.?

. No, Sir, replied I, I know neither the one nor the other. But being thus favoured with your approbation, I will endeavour to learn both from her own mouth.

I soon went to your excellent niece, and had some conversation with her. I please myself with the hope that she will not reject me. She has formed a prudent determination not to take one step in a business of this kind without your approbation, nor without asking the consent of her father. It is by her permission that I write to you on the subject. · My dear Miss Barnwell and my sister unite in most sincere respects to you with

Dear Madam,
of Your very humble servant,



From Miss Barnwell to Mrs. Worthington.


DEAR MADAM, I GAVE you an account in my last of the great change in Signior Albino. I have every day. more and more reason to believe that he has passed from death unto life. He is remarkably humble, and diffident of himself, and laments continually his being the cause, though indirectly, of the death of our dear friend. He told Mr. William Neville yesterday, that nothing less than the consideration of the infinite dignity of the person of Christ, his spotless purity, and perfect atonement, could have kept him from de.pair. I now, said he, remember the many things your sister said concerning the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus, and, when I look back, am amazed that I should be as ignorant as a heathen, with the oracles of God in my hand.

I know, Madam, it will give you great pleasure to hear that Mr. Neville has read our correspondence with his daughter; and that he has acknowledged to me that he believed the truth to be with us, and that he has hitherto put darkness for light, and light for darkness.

There are many things, however, to which he can with difficulty as sent; and yet he does not know how to deny them.

I remarked, that if the sublime truths of the gospel were agreeable to our native sentiments as fallen creatures, they would not stand in need of being impressed upon the heart by the mighty power of God. I instanced in the divinity of Christ, and endeavoured to show that men of science and crudition, who are accustomed to think closely upon every subject, if they profess themselves Christians, naturally fall into Arianism, or Socinianism; it being contrary to the reasoning of depraved creatures that the everlasting Jehovah should come into this world at all, if we consider the small proportion which it bears to the solar system, and yet more so when we consider its nothingness in comparison of the universe. But, added I, when the Scriptures assert, not only that the most High came into our world, but that he was united to our nature, and that in that nature he expired on the cross, we are not to wonder that philosophers and thinking men should call these hard sayings, and difficult to be believed, or that they should strain every nervę to make revelation speak what is agreeable to their precon. ceived notions. Mr. Neville acknowledged the justice of my remark, and told me that he had had a good deal of conversation with his son and daughter, which indeed I already knew, and that he unexpectedly but agreeably found they had embraced every sentiment of their sister.

I have now to relate to my dear aunt an event in which the happiness of my life is considerably involved. Last night Mr. William Neville found me in his sister's closet.. After some conversation concerning the wonderful religious change which has taken place in the family, and 'after saying many obliging things to me, as he has likewise done at former times, he asked my permission to pay me his addresses. I blushed, and could not at first reply. After I had recovered a little from my confusion I said, that I was greatly obliged to him for his favourable opinion of me, and for his regard for an orphan almost destitute of friends, and entirely destitute of fortune ; that my aunt however had treated me with such parental and Christian tenderness, and felt such an interest in my happiness, that I could not make any answer till I had written to her; nor till my father also had been applied to ; for that my duty to him was not cancelled by his unkind treatment of me. To the propriety of these things Mr. Neville fully assented.

7. It is unnecessary for me to conceal from you, my dear aunt, that I have for some time felt an uncommon regard for this amiable man. I struggled with my feelings, and endeavoured to persuade myself that it was nothing more thạn respect.

If Mr. Neville had said nothing to me on the subject, I hope and believe that with the divine assistance my affection would have been kept within due bounds by my judgment; but if that gentleman is to be my hus. band, it will no longer be my duty to repress now that he has disclosed his regard for me, I feel a strange kind of revolt, for which I do not know how to account, and which I cannot describe.

I told Mr. Neville, that I did not doubt but he had previously mentioned it to his father. He replied, that his father gave his most cordial consent, and spoke of me in the highest terms of affection and respect.

I promised that I would write to you upon the subject; and that I would at the same time request you to write to my father, without disclosing to him the name of the gentleman, or any thing concerning him, for which I said there would be no necessity, as ủis total unconcern about me would render him indifferent about the whole matter,


And yet,

« PoprzedniaDalej »