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And should the writer of these dialogues have so conducted himself, as that he can be followed by his readers, even to the last page of the publication, with mat a nod; while they are read as an evening's entertainment, even to a late hour, he shall not regret the many late hours he also has spent, in proseeating the work; and especially if any of his dear readers, should be brought near to God thereby.
The general invitation given at the conclusion of the last Dialogue, brought on the Monday, to the family repast of the hospitable Mr. Worthy, the following guests: Mr. Lovegood, Mr. and Mrs. Considerate, and Farmer Littleworth. After the accustomed how do you do salutations, the good old farmer thus began.
Far. An't please your honor, my dear child Harry, did insist upon it that I should come to-day, agreeably to your honor's invitation, and that he would stay at home at this busy time, to mind the farm, especially as my poor daughter has got a letter from her husband, which old Nelly Trot brought from the post-office to our house yesterday, after we re turned from Brookfield Church ;-and I should be very glad of a little of your honor's good advice upon the subject. Poor fellow! he writes in a very humble style. What a mercy it will be, if the Lord brings about the salvation of his soul, by these sore afflictions !
The farmer gives Mr. Worthy the letter.] Wor. Mr. Littleworth, would you wish me to read it out?
Far. Oh yes Sir, I should like that Mr. Conside rate, and our Minister may bear it, that we may all consult together. [The letter is read to the company.] "My dear wife, . You must have heard from
brother Henry, how my wicked and unworthy life has been preserved, by that worthy gentleman, Mr. Lovely, the
high-sheriff who brought us a pardon from the Judge just when we were all ordered to prepare for death. What a merciful man Mr Lovely has proved himself to be! And as to Mr. Lovegood, oh that I had not despised him as I have done! for I am sure in despising such men, I have been setting at nought my own good, all my days. I now see and feel it was through the most vile wickedness of my heart, that the whole of my life bas been so abominably profane. Wbat Mr. Lovegood preaches from the pulpit, I now know must be true ; and the faith of his preaching has been so set before us in the wonderful change that has appeared on you Father, your Brother, and your Sister Nancy, as should shame us, while we cannot but admire what the grace of God has wrought on them.
Oh! my dear Patty, let me intreat you no longer to be regardless of what your good old Father has to say. Do not grieve his heart, do not send him any more, as we have often 'done, with tears of sorrow to his bed, by neglecting family prayer, and by desa pising his good advice. I know he was right, and that we were wrong ; tell him I beg his pardon in the most bumble manner, for all that I have done to grieve him ; beg your aged Mother also to forgive me, and your Brother to pray for me. Oh what a happy life he bas led, since God has changed his heart ! and bow comfortable he and his wife live together ! --and we might have been quite as happy as they, if it had not been through our own wicked natures, whereby we have been living in such perpetual and shameful neglect, of all the ways of a holy life. It was on this account, my dear wife, that I go frequently used you cruelly, and with so much unkind vegiect; while I had to run after every abominable evil, far and wide : but now I most humbly request your forgiveness for what is passed. And oh! that God would change both your beart and mine, that if we are permitted to live together again,
we may live to see better days than ever we have seen yet.
Though my life has been spared, yet my circumstances are ruined by my folly. Transportation, I confess, I well deserve : and as to myself, I had rather be sent abroad, if I work as a slave, that I may get out of the reach of my wicked companions, lest I should be drawn into sin again, by those who can never cease from sin, till God shall change their hearts.
Now my dear wife, I would not wish to be so cruel as to desire you to go into banishment with me, unless I had some hope that God has so far given me to abhor my past life, so as, that I shall not be permitted to return into my old ways of sin again.
I am ashamed to desire you to consult with your Father, how far he would advise you to this step ; no wonder if he should at once determine that you never should go with such an abominable wretch as I have been : nor will I ask it, but as during my future continuance in this land, I should give evidence that my repentance is sincere. But remember my dear Patty, that you are my wife ; and that if God, in great mercy, should bless us both with his converting grace, as it is with your brother Henry and his wife, so you and I shall be happy wherever we may be sent.
I have only one request further to make to you, mv dear wife : I beseech you, at all times, go with your worthy Father to Brookfield Church : do not let
your sister Polly keep you back; her laughing and scoffing at religion, did me a deal of harm. Surely dear Mr. Lovegood is one of the best men that ever lived, his exhortations and prayers among the poor prisoners, will never be forgotten: he appeared more like an angel than a man. [Here Mr. Lovegood cried, I cannot stand all this, and was going to leave the room ; Mr. Worthy stopt him by saying, there was scarce a line more about him, as the letter was just
finished ;] and by all accounts of his preaching in the assembly room, it had such an effect upon the people of the town, as never was known before; and they are very much grieved that all the Clergy did not ask him to preach in their Churches, but I fear it was their wicked envy that prevented them, while the bad lives of too many of the Clergy, greatly hardened me in my wicked ways.
Present him with my most dutiful respects; tell him I hope I shall never forget his good advice, to the day of my death; and believe me to be, my dear wife, though once your very cruel, yet now, I trust,
Your truly penitent
Wor. Really Sir, I should hope that the grace of God has reached the young man's heart after all. He confesses himself in language very becoming his situan tion.
Far. Oh Sir! I hope the Lord in mercy has met with him at last. It cost me many a tear before I conld read his letter through : to be sure, there is a wonderful difference in the wild blade; nothing is too hard for the Lord. But I don't know what to say about my daughter's going with him into transportation : my poor wife is desperately afraid, lest he should turn back again into his old ways, and then the poor girl would be miserable, all the days of her life.
Consid. Very true Mr. Littleworth ; I would by no means determine upon any thing hastily. He has had enough to make him penitent for a while. If his repentance be genuina, it will be evidenced by his " bringing forth fruits, meet for repentance;" but I think much should depend upon the feelings of your daughter's own mind.
Far. Why, I believe the poor silly girl loved him .very much, and that was the cause of all her trou. bles; and she would be willing to go with him, if she
could thoroughly depend upon it, that he is an altered
Consid. Under such circumstances, I would advise your daughter, by all means, to go with him : I think their separation from each other, might be attended with bad consequences. Besides, what is the way of duty ? they are united for life; we have no right even to propose a separation, while they are willing to continue in connexion with each other: and from his present broken and contrite state of mind, we have much reason to hope that his repentance may be sincere; and if God in mercy does the same for her, they will be happy all the world over.
Far. Though I should be sorry to have my daughter so far from home, if she has not been the child I could have wished, yet I know that he will be in much less danger, if he were to be sent abroad, than if he were to continue within the reach of his rakish companions about home; and he says the same in his letter to Patty.
Wor. But his staying in this country is quite out of the question : thank God, that his life has been spared; and what justice still demands, he well deserves: there is nothing left but that we do our best for him, till he is sent abroad, and by that time we shall better understand the real state of his mind, and shall be able to determine, how far it may be adviseable for your daughter to attend him, or not. [To Mr. Lovegood.] Cone Sir, let us have a little of your advice on this occasion--what makes you so silent ?
Loveg. Oh Sir, what I only meant as private family service and prayer, I find by William Frolic's letter, is taken for public preaching all the town over: but is the people would come in, how could I prevent them?
Wor, What are you frightened at Mr. Bellweather's letter? are you afraid of a citation to the spiritual court? or are you sorry you did so much good in the town ?
Loveg. Ob Sir! I don't know what to say to it.