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grant that I may have a little of that blessed inspiration! for I am sure we need it.

Dolit. Now, I am sure, Mr. Littleworth, you must have misrepresented their words; I never can believe that they wrote so enthusiastically as all that.

Far. No indeed, Sir; they are just as fresh, and as pat in my memory, as though I had read them but yesterday. But so it was, Sir, that Thomas's good life and talk made me determine to go and hear Mr. Lovegood; and my daughter Nance went with me; and when I came to the church, I prayed to the Lord, that as he had made Thomas so good a man, so I might be made a better man; for I am sure there was room for me to mend: and a fine sermon he made (all off hand) from those words, "You cannot serve God and Mammon."

Dolit. And pray, Sir, why could not my sermons, as well as his, have made you a better man? I know that such extemporaneous effusions please ignorant and vulgar minds, that are fond of gaping after novelty; but I am not ashamed of the sound and sober sermons I have been preaching among you, ever since I have been your rector.

Far. Why, Sir, did I find fault with you, or any one else? I was only about to tell you how I was struck with Mr. Lovegood's sermon; for I certainly thought he made it all for me: and I actually asked Thomas if he had not been telling him about me.

But he declared he could not have been so bold to his minister against his master; and then he said to me, that Mr. Lovegood could tell any one's heart from the knowledge he had of his own, and the word of God.

Dolit. Why, then, I suppose when all other trades fail, he'll turn fortune-teller?

Far. I cannot say as to that Sir, though, I am sure, he told my fortune plain enough that day; for

I thought he turned me inside out, while he shewed me what a fallen worldly-minded creature I was.

Dolit. Yes; and all these preachers run on just in the same way. If any of us step a little as, we are to hear of nothing but hell and damnation; and for every innocent infirmity, man is to be painted out as black as the Devil.

Far. Why, Sir, to my way of thinking, both the Bible, and Common Prayer-Book, and the Articles of Religion, just say the same; and they say, all you clergy subscribe to them a many times over before you come to your livings.


Mrs. Lit. Yes, Sir, and my husband has brought home such a heap of books and prayers from his new parson about the articles and homicles, I think he calls them, and Common Prayer-Book! Then he tells us, that his is the old religion of the church; and he wants to read all these books over to us. has got a book of prayers made by an old Bishop *, that he says, was of his way of thinking: and now wants us to kneel down, to say prayers to us, before we go to bed. But how can we have time for all these devotions in our way of living?

Dolit. Why, you are very right there, Mrs. Littleworth. If you do your duty well on a Sunday, and have a family prayer on a Sunday evening; and say some good rational prayers to yourselves before you go to bed on a week-day, God Almighty, who is very merciful, and forbids us to be righteous overmuch, cannot expect more from you, in your line of life.

Miss Polly. There, Father! I hope you will beguided by what Mr. Dolittle says, and not be led so much by your homicles and new religion.

Dolit. Why, Mr. Littleworth, you know I spent many years at Oxford; and there I'll assure you, I

*Bishop Hall's Manual.

was not inattentive to the study of divinity under Dr. Blunderbuss, a man of approved religion in those days (though since then I have heard of a Mr. Brightman, and some others, who have adopted your notions of religion:) yet it was not only his opinion, but that of many other learned and orthodox divines, that though our reformers were well-meaning men, yet they were not over-wise in religion and that though religion, in the opinion of some, is now less practised, yet it is more improved; for we live in a very learned day. And our clergy now-a-days don't confine themselves to a few abstruse notions of those old divines, but make their sermons out of a variety of the most excellent moral writings that ever were composed, from among those we call heathens, but who had a deal of the light of nature, and knew much about natural religion; and they make the Bible much more intelligible. Master Littleworth, if I may give my advice, I would not wish you to be over-nice, nor over-wise in your religion. Do your duty as well as you can; and if you fail, trust in the Almighty's mercies. The rational clergy, in our day, know very well that there is a new sect, who puzzle people's minds about the terms original sin, the atonement, regeneration, imputed righteousness, and I know not what notions besides, which I am sure you need not mind, provided you do your duty without affecting to be more righteous than your neighbours. However Mr. Lovegood may pretend to be wiser than the rest of us, yet, if you will take our advice, according to the Scriptures, and "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God," I am sure you need not fear. To be sure, Sir, you have not forgot my sermon on that text, which I have never failed preaching to you, year by year, ever since I was inducted into the living.

Far. Ah! but, Sir, that very text cuts me quite up; for first, I confess the many tricks and fibs I

have been guilty of at market; so that I have not done justly and I have been as bad at mercy, for I always loved myself better than my poor neighbours: and then, with regard to walking humbly with my God, never did any man strut about at market like a braggadocia more than I have done and as to humbling myself before God in prayer, or by repentance, I was as ignorant of these things as I am of the learning of an Oxford schollard As for our articles, homilies, and prayer-book, let folks be ever so wise and learned now-a-days, they seem to me to have been made by men wonderfully knowing in the Scriptures: for they not only explain to us what hearts we have by nature; but how mercifully we poor sinners are to be saved, through Jesus Christ our only Redeemer. And it is all laid out to admiration in a little book, given me by Mr. Lovegood, called "The Good Old Way ;" and it was there that I think I see my picture just as it is in the 9th article, on the Fall of Man; where it is said, in a wonderful wise way, that "Every man, of his own nature, is inclined to evil; and that every person born into this world, deserves God's wrath and damnation."

Mrs. Lit. There, Sir; this is the way my husband would be talking, morning, noon, and night, if we chose to hear him, in his uncharitable way, about all of us deserving God's wrath and damnation.

Dolit. But, Mr. Littleworth, if we are not quite so good as we should be in our present laps'd state, we may all make ourselves better, if we please.

Far. Why, Sir, it appears to me that "men chuse darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil;" and that no bad man can have a good choice, or will, till God changes the heart: and though I cannot say any thing as to the learning of the old men that made our church-books, yet to me it appears sure and certain, as they say in the next ar

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ticle, That the condition of man, after the fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God; wherefore, we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, "without the grace of God, by Christ, preventing us, that we may have a good-will, and working with us when we have that good-will." And though, I confess, I have not minded the prayers so much as I should have done, yet I remember having heard you say from the desk, " Almighty God, who seeth we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; and that, through the weakness of our mortal natures, we can do no good thing without God; and the frailty of man without God, cannot but fail." And I remember, when my school-mistress taught me the catechism, she used to say to me, My good child know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and serve him, without his special grace."

Dolit. Why, if you take all these words in such a strict sense, you will make us out to be mere machines and then it is no matter what we do, for I am sure there can be no merit in our goodness.

Far. Ah! why Sir, how can there be any merit in such poor services as ours? I can't help thinking with our old folk in the article of the justification of man, that "We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings; wherefore, that we are justified by faith ONLY, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort." And then they tell us the same in the homily "of the salvation of mankind by only Christ our Saviour," in which the doctrine is more largely expressed and there they give a deadly stroke at our VOL. I.


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