« AnteriorContinuar »
ever they go. Would either of you, gentlemen, have thought it proper to have gone upon the stage, and acted for them, had any of them been sick, and there feigned the charaeter of a filthy whorémonger, or a swearing sailor? Or would it have become you, Mr. Brisk, (for you have a good voice) to have sung one of their nasty foolish songs?
Brisk. I confess, Sir, I should not have thought that proper, any more than yourself.
Far. But, I think, it would have been quite as proper for you to have done it yourself, as to hire these strolling buffoons to do it for you. Whether would have been the greater sin in me, to have hired Thomas Newman to go and steal a sheep for me off Mapleton common, or to have stolen it myself?
Smisking. I confess, Sir, I wish we had not gone to the play to-night, because you are so offended.
Far. Your having offended such a poor ordinary creature as I am, is of very little consequence indeed. But should you not both be much concerned that you have offended God. Could but you ministers know, (whether you call yourselves Churchmen or Dissenters, is of no consequence,) how people are hardened in sin by your lives; how many laugh at all religion, because they see so little in those who profess it; while they make the duties of religion their burden, and seem never happy but when they are acting like others who know not God. And what must many of your hearers think and feel, when they see the same man in the pulpit, and perhaps with them at the Sacrament on the Sunday, who was their companion at the playhouse, or any other foolish amusement, on the week day. If he attempt to hold up the truths of the Bible, he holds them up against himself; he is therefore under the necessity of covering all these awful declarations that are so plainly revealed against these ways; and preaching
in its stead a bit of a sermon made up of heathenish morality ; in short, as their lives do not come up to the Bible, they are determined to bring down the Bible to their lives. That this night, gentlemen, you have been attempting to do, and if by our conversation you are not convinced that wrong, I am, through the grace of God, more than ever convinced that I am right. God has lately wrought a wonderful change in my heart! And I am sure the Bible does not give us unmeaning metaphors, but tells us of divine realities. Through infinite mercy, poor wicked sinner as I have been till very lately, yet now I know what it is to be “ a new creature in Christ Jesus." This has made the Bible to me a delightful book; and now I trust I can say, “Lord, how I love thy law, all the diy long is my study therein." Nancy, since then, I trust, is born of God. I pray for my wife, and other children daily: I think they must see I am an altered man, though I seem to be called at the eleventh hour; for time with ne must soon be at an end. I confess, I have been kept back much from these things by the careless and neglectful lives of gentlemen of your profession. O that you were but better men, for the sake of those precious souls who depend upon the instruction they receive from you! But I speak it plainly, neither of you can be fit to be the instructors of others till better instructed yourselves. I never could keep my son Harry in any order, after he had been led to those places where you have been taking my daughters this night.Though he was wild enough before, yet it was there that he met with his complete ruination, in this world; and I now begin to fear, I never shall see him any more.
And how shall I meet him in the world to come? I ai• ashamed of the bad example I have set before him. [The Farmer weeps, and
adds.] But blessed be God that I ever met with that dear man of God .Mr. Lovegood; by him I have been directed to see the evil of sin, and to seek for salvation in Jesus Christ, and that salvation, I bless his name, I now find, and feel in myself.
Supper being ended, the Farmer asks one of the ministers to return thanks: they are confused and silent. The Farmer stands up and prays thus:
THE FARMER'S PRAYER.
“ Holy and merciful Saviour, we bless thee for feeding our vile bodies; but what are our bodies to our souls! O feed and save them for thy mercy's sake! My dear wife and children are here before thee; I lift up my eyes and heart to thee for their salvation: turn them, O Lord, and so shall they be turned. Surely thou hast already saved the vilest sinner in the family, in all the world, in saving me.. Is there not love in thy bleeding heart for them also, O my God and Saviour! And if my poor son, that prodigal son as he has been, is still alive, save him. O save him for thy mercy's sake! Hear the prayers of a broken-hearted parent for his ruined child.. Thou blessed Shepherd of souls, seek after that poor wandering sheep who is gone so far from thee, so far from thy fold, and from his father's house, and bring him near thyself
. Have mercy on these young men, who call themselves thy ministers: make them what they should be, by saving them from the love of the world, and all their vain ways; that they may be thy ministers in deed and in truth. Pardon them, dear Lord, in that my children have been led, into such paths of vanity by them; and 'lead them by thy Holy Spirit, that for the time to come they may be the faithful leaders of ruined souls to the knowledge of thy great salvation. Grant this, O Lord,
for the sake of Christ our most compassionate Saviour and only Redeemer. Amen and Amen."
The ministers, surprised with such an unexpected treat from the Bible, and such a prayer, looked at each other under considerable agitation, and, after the usual salutations, retired.
THE PRODIGAL'S CONVERSION AT SEA.
MR. LOVEGOOD, FARMER LITTLEWORTH, SQUIRE WORTHY,
Mr. Littleworth comes from Grace-hill farm, near
Mapleton, and sits down in the kitchen deeply affected. Mr. Lovegood soon afterwards comes in from visiting his parishioners. Mr. Lovegood. WHY, Mr. Littleworth, I am
sorry to see you so much affected-is all well at home?
Far. Oh, Sir, I cannot stand it; it quite over
Loveg. What overcomes you, Sir? Weshould not be “ cast down with overmuch sorrow;" upon every event we should learn to say, Thy will be done.
Far. Oh, Sir! My son! my son!
Far. Dead, Sir! No; blessed be God: “this my son was dead, and is alive again;" he that was lost, and, as I thought, for ever lost, is found again, and I trust, found in Christ. Oh, Sir, it so overcomes me, that I think I never shall be able to outlive it! But, blessed be God, come what will of it, I can
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation!” The Lord has not only saved me, a vile old · sinner, and my daughter Nance, but now, I trust, my dear Harry is a saved soul. See, Sir, what a sweet letter he has sent to me. [The farmer gives