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unexamined. And having thus picked out, and patched up, a creed just as they please, they affect the utmost contempt for those who are satisfied with nothing but “ the whole counsel of God." The entire Bible, in their opinion, is a “yea and nay” Gospel ; but their creed is all “yea and amen." Very like the worthy country justice who would not hear both sides of a question “because it puzzled him so,” were the disciples of that school to which the parents of Major Goode belonged. Thus, then, was his young mind cramped up in the narrow mould of Antinomianism, and his temper soured by the Ismaelitish character of this miserable creed.
This narrow and contentious spirit developed itself as might have been expected. It might truly be said of the father of Major Goode, that, in matters of religion, his hand was against every man's, because he had a lurking suspicion that every man's was against his. Allowing that he held the doctrines of the Gospel at all, he held them as those pestilent fellows did in apostolic days, who could even preach Christ of contention and strife. His life was, in fact, one continued passion, and his son following in his footsteps, saw of course no harm in fighting. In this, perhaps, he was influenced by his tendencies to look only at one side of a question. Conquest was a fine thing, and neither defeat, suffering, or death, ever entered into his calculations. Hence then his choice of a military life.
Before he left the neighbourhood of London he had officiated as secretary to a fractional schism of some Bible-circulating society, founded upon certain principles of human invention. Not only had this society, like a precocious child, undutifully criticised the praiseworthy conduct of its parent, but had arrayed all the little learning it possessed against its versions and translations of the Bible. It had, moreover, translated a few sections of the Word of God into Spanish and Irish, as if entirely ignorant that its venerable father had rendered the entire Scriptures into these, as well as into fifty other languages and dialects. But then the latter versions had called heretics, heretics; and Romans, romans; instead of denouncing the first as "free-willers,” and the last as “sons of Belial.”
Consistent in their inconsistency, these little-minded men had been provoked to this step, less from love to the cause of truth
than from bitter hatred to that of Popery. Their vow was the vow of Hannibal-eternal enmity to the Romans; and this enmity they sought to wreak on them, by filing and trimming a word here and there in the current versions of the Bible, as if the great principles of that book were not of themselves sufficiently opposed to every form and phase of the Mystery of Iniquity.
On his removal to this part of the country, Major Goode had relinquished his appointment, and had now nothing to do but to find his own amusement.
Such then was Major Goode. On ringing the bell, for the garden gate was not only fastened, but securely locked-we waited some time before any one came. At length a voice, certainly not one of the sweetest, called out from within
“Well—and what do you want?”.
I replied civilly as to the nature of my errand, and the door was leisurely unlocked. The old lady, for it was no other than Mrs. Griffin, attempted what she might have considered a pleasant look, but it certainly was rather enigmatical to the uninitiated in the ways of Pihahiroth, as they called their odd little dwelling place. The entry to the house was in the centre, up a few steps, and as the major had seen us approaching from the parlor, he opened the door, bowed us in, and coldly took me by the hand-for he could not be said to have shaken it. He had been reading at a table in the window, and as my eye glanced rapidly over it, I noticed the singular title of the serial he was engaged upon —“The Saint's Sinecure, or Princely Pickings for Poor Penniless Pilgrims.”
“Pray be seated,” said he; and then looking sternly at my little girl, enquired, “ Is that the boy I saw before?"
I smiled at his mistake, and told him it was no boy- it was my daughter Clara.
“Oh! girl is it-girl: I hate girls.''
“Do you,” said I, laughing outright; though I could not help thinking the compliment somewhat gratuitous. “ Clara, my dear, perhaps you would like a run in the garden?” The child leaped up at the hint, and in a few seconds we saw her walking up and down the straight gravel walk, counting her steps, and deluding herself into the idea of merriment, for want of better amusement.
After the usual compliments, the major favored me unsolicited with a few snatches of his personal history. He told me, amongst other things, that he liked the quiet of the country. “But,” said he, knitting his brows, and condescending to a low, but earnest whisper—“We have no gospel here, sir-no full, free-grace gospel. Your preachers are so horridly legal -- that is what I miss most. To be sure I had to go five miles for it in London; but then I did get it at last.”
“I am afraid,” I interposed, “you must be rather fastidious that way, I thought that London and its neighbourhood abounded with sound, searching preachers of the truth ?”
" As far as they know, poor things, but they are all dark, sirall dark. It's moral law, and moral law; do this and do that, nothing of the liberty of the gospel."
“You remind me,” said I, “ of a little incident connected with my district-visiting amongst the poor. Calling once on a man of very high doctrine and very low practice, and urging his attendance at church, “Sir,” said he, 'I can't hear the truth anywheres—it's all ‘you must,' and 'you must,' and you mustso many mustes.' Well,” I enquired, “and what is it you musi do that you don't like?" “Why, sir," chimed in his wife, with great apparent simplicity, my master don't like to shut up his little bit of a shop on Sundays, because you see, he takes more on that day nor on any other.”
The major did not appear to like this home-thrust; he therefore led off in another direction. “ I could not make up my mind,” said he, “ to stay in London, in the face of the Canaanites that dwell in the land. I never could be reconciled to that Babylon—that Mother of Abominations, since she received the mark of the Beast-never, sir, never !”
“ And pray when was that ?" I enquired.
“When?" ejaculated the major with great emphasis — “When? Why, on that fatal day, sir, when the godless court of Common Council decided for the second time to efface the inscription, so piously restored by our protestant William."
“ The inscription !" what inscription ?
“On the Monument, sir—the inscription that attributed the Great Fire of 1666 to the Papists. They did burn it, sir—they did burn the city ; and that inscription spoke nothing but the
truth when it charged it on the treachery and malice of the Popish faction in order to the carrying on their horrid plot for extirpating the Protestant religion and Old English Liberty. Yes, sir, by blotting out that record they have made peace with Rome.
I was astonished, and really thought the major was beside himself : but he reiterated the statement so solemnly, and with such a sense of deep belief in its truth, that I saw it would be useless to attempt a reply.
“ The country,” said he--" the whole kingdom is wedded to Popery: we are lost-we are joined to idols." And, added he very solemnly, as if the possession of an exclusive piece of information, “I can tell you that God has said of us, 'Let them alone.'"
"I told him that I felt as much concern as he could do with respect to the advance of Popery, but that, perhaps, God was now sisting us by permitting it thus to make head. It therefore behoves us," said I, “ to be each and all fully persuaded in our own minds, to know in reality what we do believe-to have some sound scriptural basis for every item of our creed, and every act of our practice.”
“Ah !" said he rather vaguely, “ The Lord knoweth them that are his."
“ And let every one,” said I, “ that nameth the name of Christ depart from all iniquity.”
“I hear,” said he, after a pause of some minutes—“I hear there's a good man not far from here : he's a clergyman to be sure; but the Lord has his people in the church, as well as elsewhere—his name's Glose-Glose--Dear me! I forget his name exactly." “ Glosenfane ?” said I.
“That's it-his name's Glosenfane; but I have not yet heard him. I hear he preaches the inward cross; I must find him out.”
“Find him out!” thought 14" perhaps you may find him out to your cost.” But feeling that I was called upon to speak decidedly in such a case, “Sir,” said I, “the man is half a Romanist : nay, I don't know that he is not really worse than a whole one; he may preach the inward cross, if by that expression you mean the penance of self-denying forms, of fastings, and of vain repetitions ; but he does little towards laying bare the abominations of the heart, or illustrating the inward antagonism of the law of the members and the law of Christ."
It required no great discrimination to perceive that these remarks made but little impression. If I could read rightly the feelings of the major, as developed in his countenance, they seemed to say very plainly—“Your opinion is not worth much; I shall see for myself." Whether he meant this, or not, we shall perhaps discover presently.
My visit was not a very protracted one. Little Clara was recalled from the garden, and we proceeded to take our leave. “Griff,” said the major, calling down stairs from the hall“the gate !" and up came Griffin.
“ If you please, sir,” said she, as she turned the key, “I don't like to make complaints ; but if your little girl comes here again, I should like her to be told she must scrape her shoes before she comes into my kitchen.” “There, miss,” she added, turning with an air of triumph to little Clara—“I told you I would tell your papa.” And so saying, she closed the gate and walked back again.
“Oh! I'm so glad !" exclaimed the child, as she left Pihahiroth behind her. Her spirit seemed completely subdued, and she said little as we walked homewards, thus affording me ample opportunity for reflection.
Well, thought I, in this instance, the seed, the soil, and the season, have all been good, and yet the result is any thing but satisfactory. I am not yet prepared to solve my wife's enigma. Good seed thrown into good soil, during the good season of childhood, has produced no good fruit
:- no sound nor firm system of principle or action. Strong in his opinions, but strong in his own strength only, I cannot think that Major Goode is
grounded and settled” in the truth. We shall see whether he is not liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, and if so, he has not been well schooled.
The reader, perhaps, is not anxious to know what farther thoughts passed through my mind on the way home. I shall therefore content myself with reporting our safe arrival, rather before than after the time anticipated.
Charlotte," said I, “when once again seated in my own arm chair, “ I have solved your enigma."