Imágenes de páginas

tion which makes lovers blind to each other's imperfections. If the wife be chaste, humble, submissive, patient, industrious, frugal, and kind and obliging to her husband's relatives and friends, as well as to himself, although ardent affection may decrease, esteem will be augmented, which is a passion far more durable than what is termed love ; since if the latter be not supported by qualities intrinsically valuable, it will, like a fiery meteor, produce a blaze, and then be extinguished for ever.

Married persons should endeavour to practise whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report; the best preparative and security for which are the love of God shed abroad in the heart, and an habitual desire to please him. Need we wonder that persons destitute of the love and fear of God, and educated in a course of luxury, idleness, and dissipation, and in a continual round of sensual gratifications, should after marriage cool in their af. fection, and first slight and afterwards hate each other? If they possess a degreee of prudence sufficient to prevent elopement, adultery, and divorce, yet how many instances are there where they are continually wrangling, striving for mastery, and crossing and contradicting each other. Such wretched -beings resemble infernal spirits, whose temper and disposition are the reverse of that love, joy, and peace, which constitute the happiness of the blessed. Even provided the husband or the wife have so much good sense as to give up every thing, and submit to every thing, rather than live in continual warfare, this is a state neither to be envied nor desired. But I believe there are few unhappy marriages in which the parties stop at this miserable mediocrity. The husband frequently, soon after marriage, turns his thoughts upon forbidden objects, spends his time and his substance at a tavern or a brothel, and finding no oomfort at home, where indeed he has no just right to expocii any, becomes a furious tyrant, and treats her whom he took to love, to defend, and to protect, with brutal fero


city, till disease, beggary, and death, end the dreadful scene. Frequently also the wife, determined to have her will in every thing, begins from the day of marriage to put her design in execution, by suffering no contradiction, and by giving up no point whatever, lest having yielded in one instance she should be obliged to yield in another: and if she be determined to persevere, she will inevitably accomplish her purpose. If the husband be disposed to sacrifice almost every thing for peace, it only serves to inflame her passion for mastery. The weapons used in this domestic warfare are numerous and powerful. If clamour will succeed, seldom any thing else is thought of. But as that will not always prove successful, intreaties, coaxing, continual teazing, tears, fits, and illness, are so many different modes of attack, perseveringly carried on until the husband surrenders.

you should show Mr. Neville this picture of matrimony, the original of which I fear is frequently to be seen, he will perhaps say with the disciples, If the case of the man be 80 with his wife, it is not good to marry. To this however I would reply, that in numerous instances marriage is the most happy state in the world, and for both parties very far excels a single state. I have known many cases, in which there has been little or no sense of religion, where nevertheless good sense and good temper have so far şupplied the place of better principles, as to make the parties tolerably happy. And I have also known many married persons, who, possessing the best principles, yet wanting good sense and a good natural temper, have not been happy. Grace, as has frequently been observed, is sometimes grafted upon a crab-stock. Where that is the case, without good sense and great self-denial, a person's own happiness, and the happiness of his connexions, will be considerably diminished. But instances are not wanting where good sense and good temper in both parties are connected witi an experimental knowledge of salvation by Jesus Christ. The conjugal union of such persons, endowed with a great portion of the Spirit of God, is the highest

· state of felicity of which movtality is capable. It beats a

resemblance to the happiness of the blessed. And indeeel the love of Christ and his church is represented by a happý marriage, in the Canticles, and also in the xlvth psalm, which is a beautiful ode upon the same subject, and from which Solomon possibly borrowed the idea of that fine allegorical poem. Such a union of hearts is strengthened by the consideration, that their interests are inseparable, and that nothing is undertaken or done by either but with a view to their mutual advantage. They behold themselves living as it were again in their children, and the love which each manifests to their offspring is another pleasing bond by which they are united. They love too as children of the same heavenly Father, destined to spend a happy eternity in his presence. By worshipping God together, and offering up prayer daily with and for each other, their reciprocal affection is invigorated. All these things united, form a friendship of the purest kind, which is strengthened rather than weakened by age and infirmities; for they remember with pleasure and gratitude their former mutual endearments, kindnesses, and good offices.

As I do not expect nor desire you to keep this from the sight of Mr. William Neville, I here acknowledge the receipt of his kind letter. In Mr. Clifford we see the true representation of a man, who has so long cast off the fear of God, that his accusing conscience, having received ma ny rebuffs, first loses its feeling, and then its voice. Yet such characters are less injurious to society, in many respects, than furious bigots, who have no other reason for adhering to their sect or party than because they were born in it. I will pursue this subject no further, since I perceive it leads me to the consideration of your father's unkindness. You cannot indeed be insensible of it, but I would not wilJingly contribute towards the alienation of your affections from him. It also becomes you to consider, that unless divine mercy had prevented it, if not a similar, yet perhaps an equally culpable part would now have been acting by pou.

I was much affected with the generous proposal of Mr. Clifford, if you should marry with Mr. Neville's approbation. I think he has a right to an invitation to your wedding Generous actions always meet with their reward from him who is himself the most beneficent giver; and although they may proceed from no better motives than vanity or self-love, yet I believe God never fails to reward the most trivial favour done to his people. "Undoubtedly, if the favour is done because they belong to Jesus, it is of much greater value, and proves the person who does it to be a Christian.

I pray continually that you may fill up the station before you in an honourable manner, and that your conduct through life may promote the happiness of your husband, your family, and yourself. I entreat you both to accept my blessing. It is all I have to bestow at present.

When I die, the little I possess will be yours.

I present my kind respects to all the friends of the Redeemer at Thornton Abbey. Believe me to be,

My dear niece,

Your affectionate aunt,



From Mr. William Neville to Mrs. Worthingtoni


OUR niece has shown me your kind letter, wherein you have displayed the miseries of unhappy marriages, and the blessings of happy ones. I hope we shall endeavour, with the divine assistance, to escape the rocks and quicksands you have pointed out; and we entreat you to continue your prayers for that purpose.

Agreeably, Madan, to your request I will relate the method which my God and father took to discover to me the errors of the church of Rome. I might properly begin

as Paal did, and say, that after the straightest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. I and my sisters were educaced at home, and were ander the care of Signior Albino, in whose commendation truth obliges me to declare, that a more diligent, friendly, and faithful man could scarcely any where be found. We loved him as a parent, and rnet with a return of affection. It was his const: nt object to fortify our minds against heresy, with which name he stigmatized the opinions of all who, according to him, had rent the seamless coat of Christ by forsaking the communion of the Church of Rome. The arguments he used we bad no doubt were unanswerable, and I am convinced he thought the same. The prayers which he gave me I repeated pretty regularly ; I cannot say devoutly, for I thought that when I had said them all was well, and my sins would be forgiven. Signior Albino had assured me that this would infallibly be the case, and I believed him, who I thought knew better than I. . . .

. . When I was about seventeen years of age, being a lover of books, and taking delight in rumaging among a great vumber of old volumes which were piled up in one of the garrets, I found among them Fox's Acts and Monuments, and my curiosity prompted me to see what the heretics had to say for themselves After reading a considerable part of the third volume, my belief in the infallibility of the church of Rome, and in its being the only true church, was shaken, though not destroyed. I wept at the relation of the sufferings of those valiant defenders of the truth who were burned at Smithfield, Oxford, and other places. I believed that they were good men, and that they were dealt very hardly with. I was sorry, if they were wrong, that they were so cruelly treated; for, said I to myself, this severity at best could only have made them hypocrites, by causing them to profess what they did not believe.

I was frequently wanted either by my father or Signior Albino, and when I was inquired for, the servants often used to say, Most probably he is in the garret. At one of

« AnteriorContinuar »