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assuredly become more circumspect in the use of those classical authors, to the study of which our children are now almost universally constrained, to the almost entire exclusion of the word of God, and of that instruction which leadeth unto life.
I close my memoirs in this place, and cannot do so without expressing my most grateful thanks to Almighty God for the strong convictions of sin with which he was pleased to visit me immediately after my commission of that dreadful act, by which I had nearly sacrificed the life of the most tender parent.
" This endeared father soon recovered from the shock he had received; and being thoroughly reconciled to me, he devoted the rest of his life to receiving and giving that blessed instruction which in his earlier days he had considered but as a secondary thing. He was assisted, after some time, to exclude from his imagination all the rubbish of the heathen writers, and so richly to store his mind with divine knowledge, as to render it no longer doubtful, that the Father of lights had liberally bestowed upon him that true wisdom, of which he Himself is both the author and the end. And now it was, that the Christian graces added such an ornament to his outward appearance, and so highly embellished his manners, which were at all times of the noblest order, that it was remarked of him by all who knew him in the later part of his life, that he exhibited the finest specimen of the gentleman which could possibly be conceived, every courtly habit being united in his person with the pure courtesy and humility of the Christian; his human learning being rendered entirely subservient to his spiritual intelligence, and never brought forward but to throw light on those passages of holy writ which otherwise would have remained in obscurity.
“ After the grievous offence of which I had been guilty, I was received again, on due submission, to the affection of this dear parent; and I have reason to think, that the shame to which I was subjected on this occasion was rendered useful to me, as the means of lowering my high thoughts, and convincing me that superior intellectual endowments of a certain kind are very compatible with extreme want of prudence in common matters, and that they even tend to destruction when they
exalt the creature at the expence (if the term may be allowed) of the Creator.
« The troubles which broke out in France soon after the events above spoken of, induced my father to come to England when I was in my twentieth year; my mother, Mr. Gisborne, and Alfred, accompanying us of
In this highly favoured island my parents resided some time; and here I left them, to become the wife of one of the best of men; a man not less distinguished by his elegant manners and intellectual endowments than by his superior piety,
“ In England we were rendered peculiarly happy by falling into such society as confirmed all those desires which, under the blessing of God, had been first excited in our minds by the conversation of Mr. Gisborne. My beloved mother died before the termination of the war upon the Continent. And as we were enabled, after the peace, to dispose of our possessions in Baden on advantageous terms, we no longer consider ourselves as allied to foreigners, excepting by those ties of affection which ought ever to unite those who partake of one common nature; but considering England as our home, we desire to live and die in this country, and to devote the remainder of our lives to the dissemination of that truth which has formed the happiness of our lives for some years past, and gives us the assurance of still greater happiness in the life to come.
Mr. Gisborne still lives, and still pursues his calm and uninterrupted course, though bent down with years, and sometimes reminded, by his increasing infirmities, that ere long he may look for a removal to a happier home. My father, who is younger than Mr. Gisborne by many years, clings to him with the most tender regard and unmingled esteem; and Alfred, who is now as fine a youth as England can boast, (and if England, surely all the world beside,) is the fairest and most faithful
prop of the declining years of that excellent man, who first introduced him to the way of holiness.
“ And now, my dear Madam, I close this long epistle, or rather this little volume, hoping that what I have said may confirm
you in the opinions which you have professed, and induce you, as much as in you lies, to substitute the word of God in the school-room of your
sons in the place of those heathen authors, the study of which I scarcely think can be admitted, in the way it is, without the breach, if not of the letter, at least of the spirit, of that commandment which saith—- Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shew mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep my commandments.'
The lady of the manor having concluded the history of Ellen Temple, and finding that the evening was further advanced than she had expected, dismissed her young people, after having engaged with them a short
time in prayer.
A Supplication that we may be enabled rightly to com
prehend, and duly to attend to, the Spirit of the Second Commandment.
“BLESSED and glorious Lord Jehovah Almighty, the Omnipotent God, thou only adequate object of love and adoration, thou who alone hast any title to our reverence, submission, confidence, and obedience; impress our minds, we humbly entreat thee, with such a sense of thine excellence and glory, that we may never suffer any creature to be thy rival in our affections. Set us free, we earnestly supplicate thee, from that spirit of idolatry which insinuates itself into the heart of every unregenerate man. Grant us power to set our foot upon the neck of every idol, and enable us henceforward to worship Thee alone. Thou hast represented thyself in thy blessed word as a jealous God; thou hast spoken of the idols of the heathen as abominable and detestable things, threatening destruction to all those who shall yield them reverence or respect; thou hast set forth the state of the heathen as utterly corrupt, and hast forbidden all intimate intercourse with such. O Almighty Father, preserve thy redeemed ones from all the evil
effects which yet may threaten them from the heathenism of former ages. Grant that we may be wholly kept from all the influence which Satan may still endeavour to exercise over our minds through the medium of infidel writings, and the prevalence of ancient infidel customs. May we no longer be induced, by the idolatrous productions of former ages, to call evil good and good evil, to seek earthly honours and human praise, to delight in violence and bloodshed, and to forsake those rules of life which are laid down in thy holy word.
“ Preserve us also, O blessed Father, from all human idols. Grant that it may ever be present to our minds, that thou art the source of all created excellence, that at thy word it is brought into existence, and that at thy word it perishes. There is nothing desirable on earth but what is made by thee, nothing glorious in heaven but what is the produce of thy power. The finest efforts of human genius are only admirable when devoted to thy service; and when otherwise employed, the wisdom of man is turned into folly. Pardon, o blessed Lord, our former blindness to thy excellencies; forgive us for having overlooked the glories of thy word, and forsaken the living fountains of water to hew unto ourselves broken cisterns, and for perversely shutting our eyes against the light of heaven, in order to walk by those sparks which the unhallowed imaginations of the besotted heathen were employed in kindling, during the darkest ages of a benighted world.
“ Increase the light of truth unto the glory of a perfect day. Dispel the mists of heathenism throughout the world. Reveal the truths of thy blessed word, and the glories of thy adorable name, to all the surrounding nations. And in the mean time, assist us, who have already renounced the profession of heathenism, effectually and for ever to renounce its fascinating influence, that henceforth we may acknowledge no other Lord but Him whose name is incommunicable, even the Lord Jehovah, the glorious and only true God and Father of all created things; to whom be all honour and praise, now and for
CHAPTER X V.
Third Commandment.— Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.
THE discourse this evening at the manor house was commenced by the lady of the manor, who, having repeated the third commandment, addressed her young people with this question: “ Having heard this commandment, my dear young friends, shall we confess that we are guilty here also ? or shall we presume to
that we are innocent?”
“A few weeks ago," replied Miss Emmeline, “I think I should have ventured to answer, that of this offence, at least, I am free; and I should have made this assertion upon the childish supposition that this commandment applies only to common swearers, and such profane persons as use the name of God in ordinary conversation. I cannot however now entertain a doubt, but that, when the spiritual nature of this commandment is explained, I shall find myself to have been as grievous an offender here as in all those other points of the divine law which have come under our consideration.”
“I rejoice to find, my dear Miss Emmeline," replied the lady of the manor, your
mind is opening upon these subjects. The wise man says- The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” (Prov. xv. 31-33.)
The lady of the manor then, addressing herself to the company in general, said, “The commandment which