Изображения страниц

gone? why don't he bring us pretty things as he used to do? and when at times they see her in tears, they will ask, What makes you cry, Mamma? you say we are naughty if we cry. Then again when their mother provides them with but a scanty meal, being apprehensive that her little remaining stock will soon be exhausted, they will be asking with artless surprise, why thy are allowed so little; and what is become of the good things they formerly used to have.

Miss Wor. What painful feelings such sort of questions must excite in a mother's breast!

Mrs. Lov. Yes: and what additional pain must she have felt, when she began to find it necessary to part with the furniture out of her house, at different times, to provide even such scanty meals as these, while she was painfully at a loss to know how to provide a sufficiency to pay the taxes, as they were demanded of her. The most disconsolate widow upon earth has not half the cause of grief as has fallen to the lot of this afflicted woman; what less can be expected, than that grief should send her to the grave with a broken heart? even a detail of such uncommon sufferings, is quite sufficient for any person of common humanity to narrate.

Mrs. Wor. Perhaps you had better defer the rest of the narration, until another opportunity, lest it should be too much for your spirits.

Mrs. Lov. I have but little farther to observe concerning her-Oh here is my dear George, and Mr. Worthy riding up to the door; I am glad they have returned so soon.

No sooner had they alighted, than the conversation became too desultory to demand the reader's attention, nor is it necessary that the narration respecting Mrs. Sharp should be continued, as all that is material has been sufficiently made known. I shall only observe that though the Lovelys could not but be charmed with the affectionate hospitality of the Worthys; yet but little was said respecting Mr.

Lovegood, only from general hints and as he was sacarcely from home on the Saturday, the first time they saw him, was his official duty on the Sunday morning. Mr. Worthy however stepped aside for a short time, to the Vicarage, to tell him what sort of guests had been providentially brought to his house, together with a short detail of their history, supposing that Mr. Lovegood with his wonted wisdom and readiness of mind, might know how to improve the event, by introducing such wise, though, indirect remarks, as might be best calculated to do them good. The result of that day's services, it is to be hoped, will prove sufficiently interesting to captivate the reader's attention, and to improve his mind.




THE following day being Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Lovely attended the family to Brookfield Church. The pleasing sight of so large and devout a congregation, collected from every quarter, and the holy reverence with which the service was conducted, surprised them not a little. Mr. Lovegood took his text from 2 Cor. iv. 17; "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ;" and though they both felt the text suitable and desirable, as it related to their own situation; yet the application, at first, rather surprised them, that we were all sinners before God; and that chastisement was needed to detect the latent venom of corrupted nature, however it might be cloaked from our view, by the favourable circumstance of a good disposition, and a life of strict morality; that though we should esteem every good we enjoy, as "the gift of God," and hold such gifts in due estimation, as they, at least prevent an abundance of evil; yet the real good which makes us meet for heaven arises, from another source and though he believed that where there is a high degree of morality or uprightness before man, (as even so much as this is of uncommon growth,) he humbly trusted, that there may be the seeds of the divine principle secretly implanted; yet after all, it is " the grace of God that bringeth salvation, and which

teacheth us, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." And in Mr. Lovegood's application of his sermon, though he cautiously avoided an indiscriminate charge against all good, as though it were evil because we ourselves are so; yet he still urged that there is nothing good in us, but what is blended with evil. He appealed to the consciences of his hearers, if all of them had not found, more or less, some unwarrantable murmurings and repinings against God, during sharp and heavy afflictions, until their hearts under the influence of divine grace, were duly humbled to acknowledge their own sinfulness in his sight. He then brought the instance of holy Job, how he for a time, was found in rebellion against the correcting hand of God, till he was better instructed, by a deeper knowledge of his holiness, to cry in humble submission, "Behold, I am vile !"

These considerations brought to Mrs. Lovely's recollection the many unwarrantable reflections, which had passed her own mind during her afflictions, though she thought little of them for the moment; yet now, for the first time, her conscience began to recoil at them, as being a proof of the inbred corruption of her nature; of which before she had scarcely the most distant conception. She had frequently been reflecting upon the native goodness of her heart, praising herself rather than God, that she was naturally so much better than the rest of mankind; and wondered how a merciful God, should permit her to be so afflicted, while many, so far her inferiors in all the principles of virtue and morality, were prosperous.

Under these dark conceptions of her own heart, she would be arguing, with Job in his unhumbled days," that she was clean and without transgression; that she was innocent, and that there was no iniquity in her; but that God yet found occasion against her, and counted her for his enemy." However a very few reflections of this sort, forced the penitential tear VOL. II. 16

from her eye, and laid her humbled heart in the dust before God. Instead of "entering into judgment with God," she could now cry, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justified."

At the sight of this, Mr. Lovely was not a little affected, as he greatly feared that these strong impressions, might be attended with such consequences, that her delicate frame might thereby sustain fresh injury. After their return from Church, they retired for a short time before the dinner was placed on the table, to a private seat in the pleasure ground, and the following conversation took place.

Mrs. Lov. My dear what a wonderful sermon we have been hearing this day! If these things be true, I fear we are both wrong.

Lov. Wrong my dear-How can we be wrong? What harm have we done? If we are not right, the Lord have mercy upon thousands!

Mrs. Lov. Though I dare not say that I can accuse myself of any gross immoralities, yet you cannot conceive what proud, angry, and rebellious thoughts I have secretly had against God, during our affliction. I never had the most distant idea, till this day, what an evil state we must be in, when such a tribe of evil thoughts are to be found in our hearts. But I hope, and I believe your heart is not so bad as mine.

Lov. O my dear love! we must not suppose that the Almighty will eternally condemn us, for a few bad thoughts; you know that "his mercies are over all his works," and that " he will not be extreme to mark iniquity."

Mrs. Lov. Oh no! it is not, that I fear I shall be eternally condemned for my bad thoughts; but I find and feel myself such a sinner, because I have them. Why should I for a moment have harboured such evil conceptions against God, when he so justly

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »