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many unmeaning professions of friendship, so much insincerity, and so little real religion, that he is weary of the haunts of inen, and frequently wishes that he lived in some desert, where he had no one to converse with but the Creator of all things. He desires his kind respects to several of his friends by name, among whom is Miss Barnwell. I wish my brother liad just such a wife, and that through her instrumentality he might be brought to the knowledge of that salvation which is by Jesus Christ. To him, the great Shepherd of the sheep, I commend both my friends, and am, dear Madam,
Your affectionate friend,
From Mrs. Worthington to Miss Eusebia Neville,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
We received your letter, and that of our friend Thomas, I am happy to find that I agree so exactly with that wor, thy man.
I recommend it to you, above all other things, to be very conversant with the Scriptures; since they are mines which can never be exhausted, wells of salvation, which will never fail, and breasts of everlasting consolation. No. thing gives me a meaner opinion of any one's Christiani. ty, except an irreligious life, than his running from place to place after this or that preacher, while his Bible is nege lected.
I once asked a friend of mine what he thought to be the best mark of regeneration ?
I believe, Madam, replied. he, I may venture to assert, that a love to the things revealed in the New Testament, is the first and best of all marks; because we thereby show that we love him who revealed them.
And pray, Şir, said I, what mark do you think to be next in point of importance ? ** I must answer, said he, as our Lord did in another case, The second is like unto it, to wit, a love to the Old Testament. Wherever these two marks are conspicuous, there is no great necessity to look for a third ; inasmuch as he who sincerely loves the word of God cannot run into very great errors either in doctrine or practice. If he at any time should fall into a mistake, either through the temptations of Satan, or the wily arts of those who lie in wait to deceive, he will resemble a good clock, whose pendulum has been shaken by some rude touch, the improper motion of which continues no longer than until it has recover. ed its natural vibration. God has frequently left the most acute and learned of his servants to err, even in comparatively easy and obvious things, that he may thereby honour his word, and teach us not to glory in men, the very best of whom, especially if they write much, have wood, hay, and stubble, in their productions, as well as gold and precious stones.
The use I would wish my friend to make of the great mercy shown to her is, to reflect on the power and good. ness of her heavenly Father. This reflection will tend to support her under the prospect of future trials. Her case is truly alarming, when we look no further than to an incensed parent ; but if we take off our eyes from these sensible objects, and view the great I AM, who holdeth the waters in the hollow of his hand, we shall have reason to exclaim, Alas, what are our small affairs ! How little can the powers of earth or hell obstruct the designs of that Being who doeth whatsoever he will! The ravens cry to him, and their wants are not beneath his notice : but the names of his children he engraves upon his breast, and he keeps them as the apple of his eye. If therefore he is for us, who can be against us? Moreover, my dear child, you ought to pray and hope, that God in his great mercy will give you your friends, as it were, from the dead. When the Lord delivered Paul from a terrible shipwreck, he also gave him those who sailed with him : and I have known several instances (besides those recorded in the Scriptures) where salvation has come to an individual, of its also coming to the whole house : so that there has been a general jubilee-a deliverance from the worst of all bondage, the servitude of Satan.
I rejoice, Miss Neville, that you perceive the idolatry of the mass. That is abundantly manifested in almost every leaf of the third volume of Fox's Acts and Monuments. We there see many servants of Jesus choosing to lose their lives by the most terrible of all deaths, rather than submit to an idolatry as gross and stupid as that of the Egyptians, who adored leeks and onions. The method taken by those idolatrous bishops and priests to propagate their superstition, sufficiently demonstrates its impiety. They called the mass an unbloody sacrifice ; with what propriety, I leave those persons to judge, who know how many thousands have been murdered by those bloody prelates, because they would not fall down and worship the idol, made of flour and water, which they had set up. That idolatrous error, as well as almost every other, was invented by Satan, to supersede the atonement made by the Lamb of God, when he bowed his head and cried, It is finished. I am thankful that the providence of God directed you to the sight of that valuable book, where the fruits are discovered which have been borne by the partizans of the church of Rome, At the time when it was published, the servants of God seemed to apprehend, that a national church of Christ was not in the nature of things impossible. The Reformers, therefore, compiled the thirty-nine articles of the church of England, to exclude all such from being teachers as were destitute of the truth and spirit of Christ ; but with how little effect time has demonstrated : since in the church of England, as well as the church of Rome, and all other national churches, young men are educated for the ministry at public seminaries, -not because their parents perceive
them to be influenced by a love to the souls of men, or apt to teach, but because they hope they have influence enough to get them preferred in the church. Or if they have no such hope, yet the vanity of some parents is sufficiently gratified, if they can see their child in a gown and cassoc, and styled the Reverend; although it would have been much better both for the youth and the community, if he had been brought up to a calling, wherein he might have been a useful member of society.
I have been frequently surprised at the simplicity of our Reformers. However abstracted they were from the world, they could not but have observed, that in contentions . for gain the wicked will always be uppermost. If, therefore, they would have a national church, they should have abolished tithes, and every other ecclesiastical emolument; and if any one had desired to be a parish minister, he ought to have been elected by the majority of the people. I do not say that a good national church could have been procured by these means. The majority of the inhabitants of a parish are nominal. Christians; and such would never, from an approbation of his sentiments, choose a mi. nister of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, so long as that gospel continues to be offensive and foolish in the eyes of unregenerate men. If, therefore, there were no other argument to be used against the church of Rome, than her being a national church, that would suffice to show that she is not a church of Christ. But alas! she is the mother of harlots and abominations, and is become, (as it was foretold of her,) the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. . .
You ask me, my dear friend, what I think of those monks, nuns, and anchorites, who have retired from the world, that they might give themselves up to fasting and prayer. I answer, They make great pretences to holiness, but I fear with very little reason, if a love to God and to his revealed will be the rule by which we are to measure the holiness of ourselves and others. Vows of celibacy in either sex are contrary to natural religion, as well as to the
injunction given by God to our first parents. Forbidding to marry is one of the marks of antichrist, or the grand apostacy from Christianity.
With respect to hermits, I need only say, that man was formed a social being; and that, as we were not made merely for ourselves, but for the good of each other, we ought to abide in the calling where God in his providence has placed us. Every Christian soldier has a warfare appointed him by his general; and it is unlawful for him to desert his post, and to leave society, where he is obliged to endeavour to be useful. Besides, may not our God justly say to all who abandon society, be their intentions what they may, Who hath required this at your hands?
Since I wrote the above my brother-in-law, Mr. Barnwell, is arrived from Jamaica, after an absence of eight months, to the great joy of his daughter. But I doubt, poor dear girl, she is going to encounter many troubles, which in one form or other await all the servants of Jesus Christ. She joins me in the best wishes for the happiness of all our friends at Thornton. Pray be kind enough to continue your narrative, which I doubt not will edify as well as oblige,
My dear young friend,
From Miss Barnwell to Miss Eusebia Neville.
MY DEAR EUSEBIA, My aunt has acquainted you that my father is returned from Jamaica. I was exceedingly glad to see him ; but I fear I shall never more enjoy an hour's comfort in his company. How do I wish he were like our excellent friend Thomas Livingstone!