Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the sin of not coming to church, and I intend to make no small stir on this head. They have, however, vexed me far more by sending for bales of Beverley's pamphlets, not one of which had ever yet been read in my parish. I have, however, seen them in many of the cottages within the last few days, and much mischief, I fear, will be done in consequence. They tell me that a rich Dissenter of London has sent 500 of each of these pamphlets to the Baptist teacher, who sells them for 2d., and that the greater part are sold already! Will no one crush this noxious writer? He it was that began the mischief, but who shall say where it is to stop ? We live in evil days, dear Brother.

The teachers of schism have further agreed, according to what I hear, to deliver each a course of lectures in their chapels in defence of schism. The first lecture will be delivered at the conventicle of the Independent Sectarians next Wednesday evening; and when Mervyn has finished his lectures, which are to be four in number, the Baptist teacher is to glean any remnants of iniquity let fall from the bosom of his “ dear Brother," so that nothing may be lost to the Devil's harvest.

Dear Mr. Screw tells me that his notices of taking all tithe, to the last farthing, of the gardeners, and of all others in the parish, have put the town in a still greater ferment. Here, how

66

ever, I am sure of victory, and the more yells the beasts set up the better. I will sell every bed and table in Tuddington sooner than give up a sixpennyworth of my rights. I owe this to my

successors,” and to the Apostolical church of which I am an unworthy priest.

“ Muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn."

As for more private concerns, the thorn in the flesh is not removed, nor likely to be ; Jane* continues as obstinate as ever. She has told me point blank, that she finds my sermons so little profitable to her soul, and the Church service so tedious and objectionable, that she cannot go to church any more.

She says, however, that she has no inclination to frequent any of the chapels in Tuddington, for she dreads hearing controversial sermons, in which it is very probable I may be mentioned with no great respect; and besides, she wishes, as long as possible, to keep up appearances in the eyes of the parish. I have put into her hands all the sound books. I can think

* Mrs. Gathercoal, here first mentioned, was a Dis. senter when she married Rabshakeh; her parents were Baptists, and she_herself an attendant at the Baptist chapel at Leeds, Rahshakeh himself was a nominal Independent at the time of their marriage.

These great men, L. S. E. and his brother, seem each to have had the same domestic affliction, fur we read in the Letters of L. S. E., p. 185, the following melancholy sentence: “ When it is considered that those who are nearest and dearest to me upon earth are at this moment Dissenters, it must be supposed that my own feelings are in no trifling degree interested."-Ed.

1

of—first, the Letters of L. S. E., then Southey's Book of the Church, Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, and the warmest tracts of the Christian Knowledge Society, besides various others recommended by friends—but she seems to me a more rigorous Dissenter after reading works written in defence of our Scriptural church than she was before ; indeed, she begs me to torment her no more with the Church controversy, for she assures me she knows all the Episcopalian arguments perfectly, and that all the libraries in the world never can persuade her that the Church of England is the Church of Christians seen in the Acts of the Apostles, or in any part of the New Testament. To do her justice, I do not believe she has ever read any of the Dissenters' books on Church Government; the Bible is her library in this controversy, and whenever we argue on these subjects, she quotes the Scriptures and nothing else. I never can get her to listen to the evidence of the Fathers and tradition; she turns a deaf ear to all my rhetoric when I read to her passages from Ignatius and Ambrose.

Here, however, is the weak part of my fortress. When I see Jane looking cold or melancholy in the midst of my zeal, it makes me furious, and I say and do things in my wrath which I am sorry for afterwards ; particularly when I see she has been weeping in private, for she never sheds a tear before me, and is silent and submissive in the midst of our disagreements. I am fearful that sooner or later she will join the Baptists, and be baptized in their way. I have told her that if she ever should take this step I will shut my doors against her, and send her and her child back to her parents. She gives me no answer, and by this silence I dread the worst. So you see, my dear brother, I have much to perplex me.

I have received a flattering letter from the Bishop of L, thanking me for my "golden” sermon; he styles me“ a pillar of the Church ;" this letter is going the round of the neighbouring clergy, and its contents are so well known, that the schismatics here have printed handbills, pretending to give a correct copy of the letter, but changing the word pillar into caterpillar. Thus you see the malice of these rascals !

In my next I hope to give you some account of Mervyn's Lecture on Dissent. Screw has promised me an exact transcript of all the fellow will say by sending to the chapel one of his clerks, who can take the whole lecture down in short handwriting. Your affectionate Brother,

RAB.

LETTER XII.

From Mrs. THOMPSON to the Reverend RAB

SHAKEH GATHERCOAL.

REVEREND SIR,

The subject matter of my letter must be my apology for writing to you with whom I have not the honour to be personally acquainted ; and if I express myself in very plain language without the help of that eloquence of which my case stands much in need, I trust I shall find the deficiency of my letter, in regard to proper arguments, made up by the kind and merciful disposition of your own heart.

I am the widow of the late Vicar of Tuddington, to whom I bore nine children, the eldest being nearly eighteen, and the youngest an infant at the breast. To educate and support so large a family on 5501. a-year, which was the utmost we ever had by uniting the proceeds of the vicarage to my own little fortune, required the utmost economy and management ; and when you take into consideration also my dear husband's liberal care of the poor and subscription to religious institutions, I trust we may be freed from all charge of extravagance; for though we always were able to show

« PredošláPokračovať »