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a lay a little by. What ne a happy man, it may be
d. I wanted humility; ted every thing : because
basis on which happiting humility, as it con
rong, and heaping
EMANCIPATION. me to live with comfort, and lay a little hv more did I want to render me a happy man asked; and it may also be answered, I wanted hun and, in wanting that, I wanted every thing: humility is the only substantial basis on which ness can be reared; for in wanting humility, a cerns our spiritual affairs, we must ever remain i of our need of a Saviour; and in wanting it in oi poral affairs, we must be ever going wrong, and h up stores for the future of regret and sorrow.
I am about to speak of my wife as she was. she would now speak of her former self, witho fear of incurring the smallest displeasure ; for I that she is now, and has been for some years, a totally changed character.
She was young when I married her; and, bei orphan, she had been brought up at an ordinary She was handsome, and had acquired a taste for company,
Fainary school. but was not a bad housewife; and, as I was much from bome, provided I found a good meal, and my house nean on my return, and discovered that my hill at Christi were not larger than I had exr U ILLS satisfied ; though, even durvroceearted, I w riage, my father hintedo this repe things in my wife’sced agairing correct. “Your rested to me
rmer self, without the
Co this repected, I was very well
edu to me that there were some
not you cought con
shorset this ma
a fe interrup hd wa not do an,
quot th.ded Robi, “is young, and you are a great deal
carnipamily are known to be plain sort of people, it
I interrupted him, by saying, “ As long as my wife
interfere with her. If every person, in unimportant
fashion them as she pleases. In these matters I am for liberty of conscience.”
“ Your comfort, James,” replied my father, “is not what we are talking of, but your respectability. If your wife is not prudent in such matters, you will be blamed. A man either derives shame or honour from his wife's appearance. He therefore cannot be so independent of her as you pretend.”
“ Your ideas, let me tell you, sir,” I replied, " are quite old-fashioned-obsolete-out of date. Permit me to explain to you the change of views which has taken place since your juvenile days. The march of intellect, during the last thirty years, has been more rapid than for hundreds of years before. The present generation, instead of blindly following the past, has been brought to perceive the fallacy of many opinions which were formerly held as infallible. · For instance: that system of domestic tyranny which has pervaded all ranks and degrees of men until the present time, is now exploded, and a new code of morals is introduced-one more suited to the weakness of our nature, and to the laws of the Divine government--one, in fact, more rational, and better suited to the amiable nature of man.”
My father looked perplexed as I proceeded, and I was wicked enough to be amused by his very apparent confusion of manner. I was enjoying my triumph, standing behind my counter, and seemingly more engaged with my phials and drugs than with the argument, when a champion, with whom I never could grapple so successfully as with my father, entered the shop. Yhis was my brother; who had scarcely appeared, when my father appealed to him, asking him if he had not heard some very unpleasant remarks made on the dress dut his sister-in-law on the Sunday before, as he was conping out of church. “And I was just saying to James, Rabert," continued the good old gentleman, " that, as hils wife is so young, a kind word from him might be advan tageous : not that I would make mischief, for the world between man and wife ; but, as James is five or six years older than Eliza, he might, you know, just give a gentle hint, and set things all right at once; for, after all, there is no great sin in these fine fashions; only; you know, people will talk."
Robert smiled, and shrugged up his shoulders, hinting that it would never do for him to interfere between
his brother and his wife; and was proceeding to other matters, when I insisted on his hearing what I had to say.
« Robert,” I said; “it would save a vast many contentions, in future, if my father could be made to understand my way of thinking; and could learn not to bring my actions to the standard of his own opinions; which,
as I just now said, are obsolete and out of date. The i progress of intellect,” I continued, with much pomposity,
“has, it is very certain, proceeded with increased ve-
“And what was once thought wrong is now right,” added Robert: “is that what you mean by vice versâ ?”
« Vice! vice!" said my father, getting quite warm : 1006 “you may well talk of vice and wickedness; too much
learning, I am sure, has made you mad, James. I fear Eas con you don't deal in such a drug as common sense in your
shop, boy, or I should turn doctor myself, and prescribe Ehat, as b a few grains for your own use;" and, so saying, he the 2012 walked out of the door, sighing heavily, as he stepped the way into the street.
“ There now,” said Robert, with displeasure, “ you just got i have made our father unhappy with your abominable
nonsense. Pray, is it among your new discoveries that it is a good and right thing to make a gray-headed
parent weep, for I saw the tears in his eyes ? but you ters be cannot have taken leave of your senses altogether,
James. What do you mean by all this nonsense ? you have some meaning, I suppose ?”.
I became angry in my turn, and spoke roughly to my brother; but we were both more calm presently; and, as I was just stepping out to visit a patient who resided about half a mile in the country, we walked together, and I then tried to make him understand what I meant. I first began by asking him if he thought that a custom or principle must be good because it was ancient ?
he replied, “ Certainly not; otherwise the customs and habits instituted before the Flood must have been the best, because they were the first established on earth.'
I must remark in this place, that almost all my brother's learning is derived from Scripture.
“You grant, then," I answered, “that old customs may be bad, and old received principles may be false ?"
“Neither customs nor principles are necessarily good because they are old," replied Robert; “neither are they necessarily bad for that reason.”
" True," I replied ; “ I am willing to argue fairly."
“But is it not probable," I continued, “ that, as science and literature advance, many things may hereafter appear right to us .which now seem wrong, and the contrary ?"
“I allow that every thing is capable of improvement, in theory, and in practice too,” replied Robert, “excepting religion and morality. These, indeed, may, and we trust will, be better attended to in practice as knowledge increases, but their theory cannot be amended. We can have no new lights on these subjects beyond what the Bible can supply; and our fathers had the Gospel; and the moral law was declared ages past, and will continue in its perfection for ever. Therefore, I deny what you assert, that the opinion of religious persons can ever change respecting right and wrong.”
“ Surely," I replied, “ the same things may be seen in a different point of view, by an enlightened and an ignorant person."
“ Not simple matters of morality, and right and wrong, replied my brother. “In these things the conscience is an unerring guide. Every man is more or less aware when he is doing wrong. Else why have even the smallest children recourse to concealment when they meditate an immoral act ?”
“ The fear of shame or punishment,” I answered, “is what induces this deceit or concealment, which we see in all children, when they seek to do what they think will not please their parents. And now I am come to the point at which I was aiming. Those persons who have received the new and improved light of which I am speaking would wish to see a more easy and charitable discipline established in the place of those severe laws by which offences are multiplied, and occasions of guilt are created."
“Really, James,” replied Robert, “ you must explain yourself further before I can understand you."
“ For instance : let us first speak of our religious establishment as it exists in this country," I answered. “ Why should it be a sin to preach without a gown and cassock? or to pray extempore, instead of using a pre scribed form ?”
“I do not know that it is a sin,” replied Robert.
6 It is so far a sin that those persons who do not conform to these rules are excluded from many offices in church and state," I replied.
“ For the same reason,” replied Robert, “that you would refuse to take a partner or apprentice in your profession who disapproved of your mode of practice."
"" I don't say that I should refuse any partner or apprentice on that account," I answered; for I was determined to uphold my sentiments through thick and thin.
Nothing used to provoke me, at that time, so much as the playful way of my brother, though there was not the least appearance of sarcasm in his manner, or, I verily believe, in his mind. And I asked him what amused him so much.
“I was thinking,” he answered, “what a plight the poor patients would soon be reduced to, when the doctor and his apprentice chose to think and act upon different principles.”
“Robert,” I said, “ surely you can never be serious ?"
“ Well, I will," he replied. — And to return to our religious establishment. I think it is reasonable that persons whose opinions do not agree with those of the bulk of the nation in spiritual matters should be excluded from situations of authority in the country; though I think it would be very hard to deprive them of the free exercise of their religion.".