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profiteth me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light; for all these things God often works with man, bring back his soul from the pit, and to be enlightened with the light of the living.'
How wise and applicable therefore was the advice of Elihu ? Surely, it is meet to be said unto God, “I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more; that which I see not, teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more."
Wor. Indeed Mr. Lovely, I think you would find it truly profitable, if you would attend a little more closely to the experience of Job. The speech of Elihu always struck me, as containing some of the most strong and conclusive arguments, against the proud and vain conceit, that any of us can be righteous before God. What arguments he deduces from the purity of God, the infinity of his wisdom, the dignity and majesty of his existence, to shew man the emptiness and folly of all he does, and to lay him in the dust, that he may be sensible what a poor unprofitable creature he is in every point of view, and that "in his best estate, he is altogether vanity."
Miss Wor. Why through the kind providence of God bestowed upon me in my education, I am not chargeable with outward sins before man, yet I am sure it is not so with me before God; surely it is the height of folly for any of us to conceit, that we can be righteous before God.
Lov. But did not God after all this, turn the captivity of Job, and make the latter end of his life more glorious than the former, as a proper reward for his Integrity, humility, and patience ?
Loveg. No verily my good Sir. God never gave him a reward for his goodness; though he mercifully restored him by his mere grace and forgiving love, even after all the hard and presumptuous thoughts he had uttered against him : but not till after he had cast him down from the high pinnacle
of his pride, into the valley of humiliation, where we all, either sooner or later, must be brought to lie. And there, if you read with attention, that most instructive and remarkable history, you will find how God himself condescended to deal with him, till he made him to lie in the dust: and then he was first constrained to cry, “Behold I am vile ! what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand
upon my mouth : once have I spoken, but I will not answer ; yea, twice : but I will proceed no further.” And let me request you to consider the solemn conclusion of the controversy: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Wor. My dear Mr. Lovely, I have heard Mr. Lovegood frequently remark, what a mistaken book this has been among all those who have not been sufficiently attentive to this blessed portion of holy writ; and that no part of the word of God can be better calculated to humble the pride of man, and to produce in us a deep sense of our own unworthiness;
as that we may be brought to accept salvation, where only it can be found, in the person of our blessed Savior, who lived and died to “justify the ungodly."
Mrs. Lov. O my dear! sure you must be convinced what Mr. Lovegood, Mr. and Mrs. Worthy have been saying is all true; as to myself, I must confess what proud, blasphemous, and rebellious thoughts I have had—The Lord for Christ's sake, have mercy upon me!_[She drops a tear.]
Lov. [To Mr. Lovegood.]. Sir, I must request you to drop this subject; you see my wife cannot bear it; her mind is much too tender to sustain the shock of your harsh religion ; besides Sir, I cannot admit the doctrines you have advanced, till I have examined matters more closely for myself: (to Mr. Worthy] and I believe Sir, with your leave, it will be necessary for my wife to recreate her spirits by a short walk in your pleasure ground.
They accordingly submit, and the parties retire. Between the Lovelys, the conversation took the same turn as before: he continuing to plead the necessity of her non-attendance on Mr. Lovegood's ministry, for the sake of her health ; and she repeating her most anxious wishes to hear more of those things, which though they had forced some tears from her cyes, yet she was satisfied were well calculated to do infinite good to her heart. Mr. Lovely still finding 10 necessary to submit to her importunate desires, they returned, and attended with the rest of the family to the meeting of the poor children. Mr. Lovegood's method with the children, was at all times the most tender and engaging; but now in his exhortation, especially so, as he had found a poor child that had lately been impressed under the evil of sin, he made it a point to bring forward, in sweet abundance, those cious promises of the gospel, which might be best calculated to cheer the heart of Mrs. Lovely, under the new discovery of her sinful state : and this had so far the desired effect, that the gloomy apprehensions of Mr. Lovely, seemed in a measure again to subside, and a degree of cheerfulness took place, which continued through the evening of the day.
However, Mr. Lovely's mind continued to be so exercised upon the subject, that he was not only determined to dispute every inch of ground with Mr. Lovegood ; but to provide himself with such materials as he conceived would be best calculated, to make him a successful combatant. He accordingly went the next morning to Mapleton, and enquired where there was a bookseller's shop; he was recommended of course to Mr. Wisehead; and asked him if he had any books of good sound divinity! Mr. Wisehead would have put into his hands many of the books of the modern Socinians, and among others, he requested him to read a few pages of Priestly on Necessity. Mr. Lovely then asked Mr. Wisehead, if that was not an abridgment of Hobbs, Spinoza, and other infidel philosophers. Upon this some conversation took place between Mr. Wisehead and Mr. Lovely, who was much more shocked at the horrid extremes of the Socinians, than ever be could be at the dreary notions of Mr. Lovegood. Finding however, that he could not make any thing out from this quarter, he next enquired about the Minister of the Parish, whether he thought it would be deemed impertinent, if he went to consult him as a divine. Mr. Wisehead observed, that he supposed Mr. Dolittle might give him a kind reception, and that he was sure to find him at home, as he was but just gone by, towards the Rectory; but that there was a Dr. Dronish, the dissenting Minister, whom he attended, who was looked upon to be a very able and rational divine. Mr. Lovely thanked him for his information; but that if the Doctor was an admirer of the same sort of divinity as was to be found in his shop, he had rather go the regular way to work, and consult the Minister of the Parish. Having thus resolved, he purchased nothing more than a flimsy sermon of Mr. Archdeacon Smooth tongue's, which is much admired by the Socinians, shewing that all the austere texts in the Bible, ought to be confined to primitive times, as they were not fit for the present day, and took his leave of Mr. Wisehead, and resorted to Mr. Dolittle's.
He first introduced himself as a traveller ; mentioned his kind entertainment at Mr. Worthy's, and then began telling him how his mind had been unhinged and puzzled by the preaching of Mr. Lovegood. Dolittle immediately interrupts him by saying, "What did you go to hear that mad fellow for?” “ Sir” said Mr. Lovely, “ I always love to go to the Parish Church on a Sunday; and his divinity struck both me and my wife, as being very different from what we commonly hear. I should be glad Şir, if you would but explain some matters to me; I come with your leave, to con
sult you as a divine."_"I explain matters !" says Dolittle: "what have you to do with such abstruse notions in religion as he preaches? You are not the first person that has had his brains turned, by going after the ranţing nonsense preached by that goodfor-nothing designing fellow.”— [Lovely adjoins : ) " Why Sir, Mr. Lovegood in my opinion, is neither a mad man, nor a bad man; but I confess, I at least expected a civil answer to a civil question.” Dolittle answers :
Sir, to tell you the truth, when people come canting and talking about their souls, I always suspect they come with some design ; and I am sure they do, if they come from that quarter. None of my parishioners ever come to me with such whining tales. I tell them their duty on a Sunday; and if they practise it, that is enough for them; and it will be enough for you : and so you may go away and mind your business ; for I expect Sir, you are upon the catch; but you shall get nothing out of me." This coarse reception was quite like a thunder-clap to the mild and amiable Mr. Lovely, and made him glad to escape from the presence of the enraged Rector as fast as he could.
However, these rebuffs did not damp the in quisitive zeal of Mr. Lovely after truth ; and while he could start many objections against Mr. Lovegood's doctrines, yet notwithstanding he had some serious misgivings, that all might not be right. However this visit had this good effect. The contrast between the rudeness and ignorance of Rector Dolittle, and the meek, humble, and affectionate conduct of Mr. Lovegood, made Mr. Lovely, afterwards receive with greater candour and moderation, whatever he had to advance on these important subjects.
Another circumstance however occurred, which also gave a still more favorable turn to his prejudices. Though Mr. Merryman had left Brookfield-Hall, on the previous Sunday, yet he returned thither on the Wednesday. An attractive loadstone in the person