« PoprzedniaDalej »
truth, you would regret what you had done. This, Sir, I am not willing to hazard..
God forbid, cried Mr. Clifford, putting the money into his pocket. I would much rather that a mill-stone should be tied about my neck, and that I should be cast into the sea.-But, my friends, you must all promise to dine with me on Wednesday at one o'clock : it will make a longer afternoon.To this we consented. With my kind respects to my good friends at Islington,
I am, dear Sir, your obedient
And obliged servant,
From Signior Albino to Mr. James Neville.
DEAR SIR, MR. Lowe and Thomas and I went, according to our appointment, to dine with Mr. Clifford, on Wednesday last. The first thing Mr. Clifford said was, that he was exceedingly pleased and much instructed by Mr. Lowe's sermons.
We took a walk in the gardens; and while Thomas and I were admiring the works of art, as well as of nature, and observing that both were equally the gifts of God, we found that our companions had doserted us. They soon rejoined us; but we knew not the reason of their absence till we were returning to the house,
We then learned, that Mr. Clifford had beckoned Mr. Lowe to go with him, and that when they were in a remote part of the garden he said-Wellmy dear Sir, I have had time to consider whether I can part with my money to a servant of Jesus Christ, and I am thankful that I can do it with pleasure. This (putting a purse into his hand) contains twice as much as the other did, and I will be your friend in future. Mr. Clifford, after having lamented his former enmity to the gospel, and blessed God for his mercy manifested in Jesus Christ, thus continued;
O my friend, hope from any other quarter is despair ; but in the Son of God I behold a fulness capable of supplying all my wants. But why do you not put up that trifle I have presented you with? I can now receive it, replied Mr. Lowe, with great thankfulness, and with inexpressible pleasure, as fruit which will abound to your account. After ner Mr. Clifford began the conver
ersation with praising the simplicity of the dissenting worship. The church of Rome, said he, in the magnificence of its temples, in the vestments of its priests, and in its ostentatious ceremonies, has taken for its model the old Testament dispensation. In these things the church of England too nearly resembles the church of Rome. The dissenting worship appears to me far more congenial to the spiriLuality of the Christian dispensation. But do you not think, Sir, said he to Mr. Lowe, that there are real Christians in protestant national churches ?
Mr. Lowe. I have no doubt of it; and in Catholic national churches also. But if the bishops of Rome had, as Christians, been equal to Paul or John, yet in their official capacity, they would have been the heads of the antichristian body,
Mr. Clif. If a member of a national church may be a Christian, is it unlawful for a Christian to continue in a national Church ?
Mr. Lowe. A Christian is not contented with being inerely in a safe state, but anxiously desires to make the revealed will of God the rule of his practice. If any one were to say to me, “ I have examined the New Testament with a sincere desire to learn whether it be lawful to continue in a national church, and I have prayed to God for direction, and am after all persuaded that it is not my duty to leave it,” I should thus reply : You ought undoubtedly to act according to your judgment; but it is your duty to examine whether your judgment be not biassed by the prospect of worldly interest, or by the fear of temporal disadvantage. Either of these is sufficient to bar the gate of heaven against you.
Mr. Clif. It undoubtedly becomes us to take heed, that we do not condemn ourselves in those things which we venture to practice.
After a short pause, Thomas said to Mr. Lowe, I have had many thoughts concerning the 1960 days or years mentioned in the Revelation. When do you think, Sir, they began? Was it at the civil establishment of Christianity, or when the pope became a temporal prince?
Mr. Lowe. Both opinions may be right. As the Babylonish captivity of seventy years had different beginnings and different endings, so may it be with regard to the reign of antichrist. When the emperor of Rome profess. ed himself a Christian, the « let” or hindrance was re. moved, whereby Judaizing Christians were impeded in making a gain of godliness. After that event, there was little or no obstruction to the gratification of the selfish pas. sions, except that which arose from competition between the contending parties. 1260 years from the year 312, when Christianity or rather antichristianism was established, bring us down to the latter part of the sixteenth century, when considerable progress had been made in the divine art of printing, and in the Reformation. As antichrist began visibly to rise, and to deny the Son of God as Head of the church, when Constantine had taken the “ let” out of the way, so * * at the expiration of 1260 years from that time he began vi. sibly to fall. For what is a pope or an archbishop of Canterbury, now, compared with their predecessors in the time of our Henry the second? But if, for the commencesnent of the reign of antichrist, the time be fixed on when he became a temporal prince, its conclusion will bring us to the
year 2016, at which period it is possible that the an, tichristian hierarchy will be totally extirpated. In my opinion, however, neither the pope and his clergy, nor the protestant bishops and their clergy, think that it will conzinue so long. The diffusion of knowledge has long made the ground tremble whereon that great great city is built ; and its inhabitants feel the shaking. · Mr. Clif. The dissenters are sometimes spoken of as a
disloyal body of people. Is there any ground for such a charge ?
Mr. Lowe. There are certainly intemperate persons among them, as well as in the church of England ; and a few such characters attract a great deal of public notice, and are beheld with exultation by the high-church party : but taking them as a body, there certainly is not the least foundation for such a charge. Their political principles are now the very same which they were in the reigns of George I. and George II. when they were considered and treated by government as inferior to none in attachment to the Hanoverian family, while the bulk of the established clergy were in opposition to the court. During the present reign the clergy have gone over to the court; and it is become the fashion to call the dissenters disloyal. As under dif. ferent administrations opposite measures are pursued, it would be the basest hypocrisy to pretend to approve of both. But I am firmly persuaded that, under the most unpopular administrations, they would be the last persons in the kingdom to abet riot or rebellion.
Mr. Clif. What do you think would be the conduct of the dissenters in case of an invasion ?
Mr. Lowe. That they would be surpassed by none in the zealous defence of their country.
Mr. Clif. Don't you think, Sir, that they would, with pleasure, take an active part in the demolition of religious establishments ?
Mr. Lowe. They are the most determined enemies of rioting, and of anarchy and could not do so without first renouncing their principles. With respect, Sir, to my few hearers, they are a poor people; they understand nothing about politics, nor do they meddle with them. I teach them to honour the king, and to obey magistrates in civil concerns; but to learn their religion entirely from the holy Scriptures, and in the concerns of their souls to consider themselves as accountable only to God.
Mr. Clif. I thank you, Sir, for your answers to my inquiries. They are perfectly satisfactory to me.
The conversation at tea was on miscellaneous subjects..
I am, with due respect to all my good friends at Islington, Dear Sir, Your obliged friend and servant,
From Mr. Charles Clifford to Mr. Henry Clifford.
MY DEAR AND HONOURED FATHER, I have received the joyful information that my beloved Eusebia is in the United States. I intend, with the divine permission, to embark in the first ship that sails for America, whether from London or Bristol. She is in the family of a Christian Jew. They are most worthy people. How kind the providence of God has been to her, to introduce her into so excellent a family. I long to be under sail, and clear of the British channel. How I shall delight to see the shores of the country which contains my Eusebia I hope to be there in two months: but that will be a long time.
Mrs. Worthington received yesterday a parcel by the Mentor, which had a passage of six weeks from New-York. It contained eleven letters from Eusebia, and a letter to Mr. William Neville from a friend of his who resides in Connecticut.
I have read two letters from Signior Albino, wherein he gives an account of his going with you and Thomas Livingstone to Barnwell meeting, and also of his dining at your house with Thomas and Mr. Lowe. I rejoice, and my friends rejoice, that we have received so strong a confirmation of your love to the Redeemer, in the kindness of which
you have shown to him in the person of one of his servants.
I have sent my servant to Bristol to inquire whetherthere is a vessel there that is on the point of sailing. It