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roofs are no hindrance to the eye of God: He will look down from the throne of his holiness, and behold every individual so engaged as a member of the one great national congregation, assembled on that day to honour Him, by offering him thanks and praise.'
* You are right: it may prove the last time that ministers will be authorized to observe the day in their houses of worship. If certain events take place, one year may produce a fearful revolution, in curtailing the Protestant liberty still left to us. how melancholy is the aspect of Holland !'
• The king is about to marry a Papist?'
· Yes, an avowed one: the lady is said to be somewhat disinclined to the suit of her aged admirer, but the Jesuits have persuaded her that the pious deed of bringing back the most obstinate of heretical nations to the bosom of Popery, is worth any sacrifice of personal feeling on her part. The princes of Nassau are deeply grieved at their royal father's dereliction of duty as the head of a Protestant state; but what are princes, what are people, when the envenomed breath of the mother of abominations has once tainted the atmosphere of a throne ! This affair in Holland is a striking commentary on what now appears to be going on much nearer our home. Our old ally, the country of our delivering William, has long run in nearly a parallel of destiny with ourselves. Together we have stood : are we now to fall together?'
My uncle was much moved while uttering this: after a short silence, I remarked, ‘On how strange a principle are all vacancies in the state, and in influential quarters, now filled up!'
His eye kindled. • Strange? nay, the principle is an outrage on all decency. It has of course been customary for the ministry—any ministry—to shew partiality to their own political adherents, so far as it could be done with any regard to public feeling, public justice, public bonesty: but when was England condemned to grovel under the heels of such a set of shameless traffickers as that which could not even allow the old sailors of Greenwich Hospital the privilege of owning a commander who had fought his country's battles, and gathered laurels to enwreath his country's flag! I tell you, niece, that deed outdoes in barefaced injustice all that preceded it, and almost defies competition in any act that may follow.'
• It is most disgraceful, most unjust, and calculated to render us doubly contemptible in the sight of the whole world.'
• Rotten boroughs and schedule A l'ejaculated my uncle, as he paced the room : why there was not an abuse in the whole system which the redoubtable Reform Bill was projected to do away with ; no, not one worthy to be named with this of prostituting our noblest national establishment to the degrading purpose of recompensing a useful parliamentary partizan.'
• Surely they might at least have placed him one step lower, by giving Sir Jahleel Brenton the chief command, and putting their friend into his vacant place, as Lieutenant Governor.'
• You are a simpleton: Şir Jahleel is a staunch Conservative, and what is in their eyes more unpardonable still, a sound Protestant: a veteran in the service of his country, distinguished by zeal and
gallantry when afloat, and to this day the notorious enemy of irreligion and of vice in every form. Sir Jahleel Brenton so promoted would be a token for good that I fear my poor country is never, never more to behold.'.
"Don't say never, uncle. .
· Well, God grant I prove mistaken: bat regarding as I do our headlong course to ruin as the rushing of a torrent, the restraining banks of which have been broken down, I cannot see how anything short of miraculous interposition is to stay it. A change of men may indeed produce a change of measures ; but in order to undo any part of the evils now daily in progress of perpetration, they must be men of such fixed, unbending, stern principle, so resolved not to turn to the right hand or to the left for any persuasives of expediency, so enlarged beyond the narrowness of self, and elevated above the grovellings of worldly ambition, that in vain shall we look for such characters save among those whom God has enlightened, and taught, and richly gifted, not merely for the political, but for the spiritual rescue of an erring people. It may be that He will be thus gracious unto our land; but I almost cease to hope for any less deliverance than that which His own right hand shall achieve when he takes unto him his great power, and comes to reign.'
Be it so, uncle; the Lord is at present glorified even in the troubles that are falling upon us. We have sowed the wind; and the whirlwind and the storm that we are about to reap do but fulfil his word. We will adore him in his just judgments, as in his unmerited mercies.'
I trust we shall be enabled so to do. It is in the
midst of judgment that his mercy is most apparent, in enabling us to understand-to“ hear the rod and who hath appointed it.” Alike in our own hearts, and in the Christian world around us, we may clearly trace a need-be for these chastening visitations. In the first, what a mass of unbelief, of pride, of selfrighteousness, of rebellion, and discontent in every form lies coiled and cherished by the warmth of our bosoms! In the latter we may discern a growing approximation to that which they profess to have abjured. There is a wide and increasing departure from the sobriety that scripture enjoins, in the appearance and deportment of believers. Luxury, in our houses, our tables, our garb; conformity with worldly opinions, habits and modes of speeech ; coldness and lack of sympathy towards those who are perisbing spiritually for lack of knowledge, or bodily for lack of what we expend in superfluities ;—these things and many more are creeping in among God's children to an extent that we are unwilling to confess or to believe. It is in mercy that he sends any startling message, warning us to " be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die.” Wonderful is the contemplation of this perfect love ; which, whether it assumes the aspect of the dark cloud, or of the joyous sunbeam, is love still; unmixed, unfailing, everlasting love!
‘How that thought sweetens every painful contemplation, dear uncle. Viewed in themselves, all surrounding objects may be fraught with gloom and grief: regarded in connection with God's unchangeable purposes of mercy to his church, the scene changes, and brightness invests the whole.'
· Yes, as far as we are concerned; but shun the
selfishness that would lead you to overlook in your own privileges the sad fate of others, the dishonour brought on the God of your country by the misdeeds of your people. The prophets of old, while experiencing even miraculous manifestations of the divine favour towards themselves, lamented day and night over the provocations of their nation; yea, the King of prophets and of kings, as he looked upon his own Jerusalem, wept because she refused to know the things that belonged unto her peace. Next to gross carnal-mindedness, I desire to hate selfish spiritualmindedness. Our ties, family, social, national, are ordained and woven of the Lord; and those who lightly regard their binding obligation, despise his ordinance, neglect his commandment, and contemn the example that he vouchsafed to give.'