« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
matician, went about from house to house, saying, that all this talk about regeneration and conversion was downright nonsense; and that they could explain all these things from physical causes, And I heard that a Mr. Discussion, a man of considerable reading and a very leading man in the town, though it seems he is wonderfully wise in his own conceit, went about saying he could not tell whether he was more disgusted at the ignorance of Mr. Fribble, or the enthusiasm of Mr. Lovegood; while several other comrades of Mr. Fribble, especially one Jack Pert, pretended to ridicule what they could not understand. But still I humbly trust an abundance of good has been done : and the most pleasing circumstance of all arose from a visit I received from a Mr. Thoughtful, a serious, respectable clergyman, who seems to have been entirely bewildered with the religious notions of the day.
Mrs. Wor. It will be a great mercy if some of the clergy in those parts should be influenced by divine grace to preach, what all of them should preach, according to the Bible, and their own subscriptions—the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ; instead of downright heathenish morality, or a sort of undefined jumble between law and gospel which nobody can understand.
Loveg. Well, Sir, I think Mr. Thoughtful is in a fair way of being all that can be wished, as a minister, in those parts. He heard me twice expound the Scriptures in private houses; and with a great deal of humility, he acknowledges his defective views of the plan of the gospel salvation. His moral conduct, at all times, has been perfectly correct, and he seems to me like a devout Cornelius, and one who wishes to know the truth.
Wor. I should hope his acquaintance with Mr. Reader will be a benefit to them both.
Loveg. I trust it will; for before I left Locksbury,
Mr. Reader seeing how many people of the town were struck at these things, became quite courageous : though at first he was timid, yet he is now determined to open his school-room upon the plan I first mentioned.
Wor. I really hope an abundance of good will come upon all this. O Sir! you must visit them again as soon as you can: we must put up with Mr. Considerate, or even Mr. Legal-definition, sooner than that you should neglect this call in Providence.
Mrs. Wor. You said, you thought poor Mrs. Chipman began to look a little more cheerful before you left town. These tokens for good were enough to make you all cheerful.
Loveg. Madam, I prevailed with her so far as to get her into the school-room on the Sunday evening; she sat next to her father, weeping and sobbing all the time; but when she heard how much the people of the town were affected at the sermons which had been preached on the Sunday, she began to take some consolation from what I had frequently hinted; that God permits evil indirectly, for the advancement of his own glory. So all this good was brought about at Locksbury, indirectly, by her unhappy elopement, in submitting to the intrigues of the abominable Sir Charles Dash.
Wor. But under such uncommon displays of divine mercy, what need there is to guard our minds against the sad temptation of doing evil that good may be the
Loveg. Yes, Sir, St. Paul's caution on that subject is truly wise and good : but all true penitents are sure to be preserved from such presumptuous sins, while they fear God, and tremble at his holy word. The idea of apostatizing into sin, will be more tremendous to them than hell itself: such as are among the pure in heart, who shall see God, will never more wallow in the filth of sin. After this commenced a deal of talk about regeneration, on which point Mr. Lovegood was very accurate, and great; and it might be very edifying if here transcribed for the reader's perusal. But as these Dialogues have already swollen far beyond their original design, nothing further shall be related than an abridgment of the present subject.
Mr. Reader wrote to Mr. Lovegood about a fortnight after his departure, sending him the most desirable information he could possibly have wished to receive as it respected his visit to Locksbury. This letter threw an abundance of labour into the hands of that attentive and invaluable servant of God. He had first to write Mr. Reader a letter, half as long as a sermon, for his own private instruction ; then he conceived it necessary to aid Mr. Reader, in giving him some heads of sermons, upon a better plan than what he had formerly adopted : and, besides all this, he had to write a variety of letters to each of his new friends at Lócksbury; as from the state of spiritual ignorance in which he found them, he thought it necessary to give them, individually, a copious share of his wise and pastoral advice.
While thus engaged, he received a letter from his old friend, Mr. Slapdash, informing him of his intention to give him a visit; for though he had never seen him since his removal from Abley, yet, that now Providence seemed to grant him a release, he hoped they might be indulged with an interview with each other, from the following cause: His church was much out of repair, and wanted also a considerable enlargement. He had been reading prayers, and preaching in the church yard as long as the season would permit, that on this account he should have about three sabbaths to spare before the public service could recommence. This unexpected event, gave Mr. Lovegood an opportunity of repeating
his visit to Locksbury, much sooner than he intended ; he having been brought to a determination thereby, to pass the first sabbath with Mr. Slapdash at Brookfield, and then offer his services at Locksbury, for the two last sabbaths, his good old friend meant to continue in those parts. Matters being thus settled, Mr. Lovegood immediately determined upon a considerable abridgment of his epistolary design as a personal interview with his new friends was likely so soon to be renewed. On the arrival of Mr. Slapdash, the reader may expect a further narration of events.
THE REV. MR. SLAPDASH, MR. MERRYMAN, AND
THE FOLLY AND EVILS OF SECTARIAN BIGOTRY EXPOSED: TOGETHER
WITH A FURTHER ILLUSTRATION OF THE CHARACTER ОР MR. SLAPDASH.
AT T the time appointed, Mr. Slapdash arrived at Brook
field. He first went to the Vicarage; but as Mr. Lovegood's house and pocket were too scanty to deal much in the entertainment of others, he was immediately conducted to Mr. Worthy's, where he was most affectionately received, according to the standing order of that hospitable house.
Here Mr. Slapdash first met with Mr. and Mrs. Merryman, who were there on a visit, after their marriage. The unmeaning compliments of the people of the world are never needed among those who “ love the Lord Jesus in sincerity :" Mr. Slapdash says, he never had any, and therefore never attempted to fabricate them. The courtesy of the Christian, being composed of better materials, however, was not wanting. A deal of conversation naturally took place, as it related to the various events which have already been made known to the reader. These were heard with delight and rapture by Mr. Slapdash, and attended with such remarks, as might naturally be expected from one of his warm, and animated, yet affectionate turn of mind.
Mr. Lovegood, however, was very desirous to hear how matters stood at Abley, after he had been dis