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Loveg. O Sir! you should not call it preaching.
Wor. I hope it was something very like it. For if you had got upon a table, and taken a text, as
do in Brookfield Church, who would have been the most inconsistent, the minister (though I hate to give him the vame, when applied to such characters,) who is jigging and dancing about, with all the frothy, vain people in the town; or the minister, who takes a similar opportunity to preach among his fellow sinners, “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ ?" And so the apostles acted, when they preached among the Heathens.; and you have frequently told us, how nearly allied the Heathens in ancient times, were to the nominal professors of Christianity in the present day, who scarcely hold the form of godliness, while they not only totally deny, but even ridicule the power. (To Henry.) But, Mr. Henry, if Mr. Lovegood is so much ashamed to tell of all his wicked ways, during his absence, I must request you to tell them for him.
Hen. Sir, the last meeting in the assembly-room• [Mrs. Worthy interrupts, to Mr. Lovegood.] Sir, whenever you
choose to call on' me upon a similar occasion, I'll go with you, and we won't mind what people say about our going together to the assembly with such a design, and in such company ;-but, Mr. Henry, we must not interrupt you in telling us about your last meeting at the assembly-room.]
Hen. Madam, the people crowded in so fast, that our minister was almost like Jonah in the city of Nineveh, ready “ to fly from the presence of the Lord.” I told him, as the providence of God had directed him there, and as the same Divine Providence had sent the people to hear, and all entirely without his own seeking, that he must not resist a call which God might have designed for the eternal salvation of many souls : 'and I never heard our dear minister so much at liberty in his blessed work before. It is astonishing how his whole soul was led out after them, while he was pressing upon them the necessity of seeking for salvation by Jesus Christ : and when he came to pray for the condemned prisoners, (for as we had heard nothing from Mr. Lovely, we began to conclude they would all suffer on the next day,) it is astonishing how the whole multitude were melted into tears.
Wor. Though he preached upon such an unconsecrated spot, yet I dare say an abundance of good was done.
Hen. Sir, a gentleman and a lady who were guests at the house on that night, were very much affected indeed: they afterwards called me into their room, and I had a deal of conversation with them, upon the very serious and important subjects which Mr. Lovegood had been delivering among us : besides, we picked up a very excellent aquaintance there. The dissenting minister, who lives in that town, was one of Mr. Lovegood's hearers, on the last evening of our meeting, and a very worthy, serious, good man he seems to be. He came in afterwards, and passed the rest of the evening with us. Some people, however, got hold of this, and said, this was a full proof that Mr. Lovegood was nothing better than a Presbyterian in heart.
Loveg. I wish they had just such pious ministers as I believe he is, in every church in the town. But while dissenters are at liberty to provide for themselves whatever ministers they choose, who are pious and good, many of the churches are left to be supplied with those who are dissolute and profane; no wonder, under such circumstances, that matters are frequently so bad with us.
Hen. Well, Sir, you know it is quite as it should be respecting that worthy minister: we were told with what a deal of diligence and attention, he goes about
preaching and exhorting from village to village, and how much good he does, not only by his preaching, but by his exemplary conduct wherever he goes. But, Sir, you cannot conceive what a state of perplexity our minister was in by a letter he received from the minister of the Parish, in which the George Inn stands, after Mr. Lovegood bad finished his last meeting in the assembly
Wor. (To Mr. Lovegood.) Dear Sir, I should be glad to see it, if you have it with you.
Loveg. (Handing the letter.) Sir, you are very welcome'; it is a strange production! (The letter is read.)
" Rev. SIR:
“I hear, that you have had the audacity to fly in the face of all decency and order, by making your ranting extemporaneous preachments in the assemblyroom in this town; which stands in my Parish. Sir, I charge you to desist coming into this town on the same errand any more, or I will send you a citation from the Spiritual court. Sir, I hear you are come after some of your followers, who are to be hanged to-morrow, and no wonder at it, for I am told, by Mr. Primrose, one of the ministers in this town, that you preach faith without works, except when you are ranting upon inspiration. “ I am Sir, and I will soon give you to know who
" JOHN BELLWEATHER.”
Wor. Well, well,
little to fear from such letter-writers as these : if they were to send their citations after those of the Clergy, who can follow up their midnight revellings and dancings from time to time in these assembly-rooms, it would be much more to the purpose, than to talk of citations for those who use them for the praise-worthy purpose of the service of God.
Hen. Why, they say, that minister is very little better than a common bully, and that when he is at the as. sembly, calling after the waiter for more wine, or cards, or what they may want, he has a voice like a town bull; but when he is in the pulpit, he mutters over his sermons in such a miserable, low, mumbling voice, that nobody can hear him. “Like a humble bee in a pitcher," as my good old father used to say.
Wor. Ah! his heart goes with his words, while he is roaring in the assembly-room; but when he gets into the pulpit, he leaves his heart behind him.
Mrs. Wor. [To Mr. Lovegood.] But do, Sir, let us now hear what was the result of your second visit to the gaol.--You mentioned nothing about Sam Blood.
Loveg. O madam ! the poor creature was a malignant, bitter, hard-hearted papist; and cried, all the world should not make him change his religion, and die a heretic. He would not hear a word we said ; but when we prayed, he got from us as far as he could : I suppose by the command of his Priest.
Wor. Oh! the horrid delusion that others, besides papists, are under ! who can deceive themselves by a superstitious confidence, in mere forms and modes, independent of every principle of inward and personal holiness, so-essential to the salvation of the soul! But I hope you found the other poor prisoners, on this second visit, in a better frame of mind.
Loveg. Really, Sir, I have some hope of poor William Frolic ; he not only could speak of the outward. wickedness of his conduct, but he had also a deal to say against the inward depravity of his heart.
Hen. Several things that he said to me, affected me very much. After Mr. Lovegood had given them a most solemn exhortation and prayer, taking some hints from what our dear minister said, he thus exclaimed: “And must this horrid tongue of mine, which has been
so ready to utter so much blasphemous, filthy, and lying conversation; and never thought of uttering one word of prayer, till I had brought myself to the very door of death by my crimes, after one day more, never be allowed to speak again ?. And must these eyes, that have been the inlet of every evil, and my guide to seek after a thousand wicked devices, be so soon sealed up
in eternal darkness and death ? And must these handsoh! these thievish hands, and hateful feet, what have they been at ? Oh! what a wretch ! what a filthy and abominable wretch! body, soul, and spirit !-And must I in a few hours, stand before that God, whom I have insulted all the days of my life?" ---Poor creature, it made my heart bleed to hear how he exclaimed against himself.
Loveg. I confess I had not half the hope from what Edward Sparkish said; for he talked, amidst all his occasional exclamations against himself, that he repented as well as he could, that he said his prayers as well as he could ; and he would do all in his power to receive the sacrament worthily, the morning before he died: and that when the minister pronounced the absolution, he would believe in it with all his heart, and that he trusted God would forgive him, as he was sure from his heart, he forgave every body else.
Wor. Why, he seemed to have darker conceptions how fallen sinners are to be saved, than he had the day before.
Loveg. O Sir, I found that the ordinary of the gaol was Mr. Primrose, who, though an orderly decent man, and well-intentioned, was very ignorant of the gospel way of salvation ; and he had been putting a book into his hands, quite in the pharisaic, proud, free-will style, as though by a certain process of repenting, praying, receiving the sacrament, forgiving his enemies, all of which he conceived to be within his own reach, he