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What do you think of that, Sir? A fine fellow truly, to make such consequential conclusions, while he holds forth such abominable doctrines !
Consid. Why, Sir, it is very unfortunate, that you should have blundered upon the express words of scripture, and suppose them to be the words of Mr. Lovegood, and especially as you have been just vindicating the Bible, I wonder that you should be so ignorant of its contents.
Spitef. Sir, it is impossible. I say it is impossible, (To Mrs. Toogood.) Mrs. Toogood, madam, lend me your Bible; (To Mr. Considerate) and then, Sir, you shall find them if you can.
Madam Toog. L-d, Sir*; you can't want the Bible, now you have just done playing at cards.
Wiseh. Really, Mr. Spiteful, I would not have you put it to the test, for I remember reading some such words not very long ago; and I recollect it shocked me, when I thought of it, what a bad use vulgar minds would be liable to make of such sort of expressions. Consid. Yes, Sir, I believe you'll find the
passage in the third of the Romans; but I don't think we need to be shocked at the consequences of free forgiveness, when it is always connected with the idea of holiness; “ that we may live unto his glory who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
Spitef. And I suppose, Sir, that you think the horrid notions of predestination are also to be found in the Bible ; but I am sure they are not.
Consid. I am sure they are not as well as yourself, as you have represented them; nor yet where you
These sort of religious old ladies are very apt to take the Lord's name in vain. VOL. I.
have placed them, in the brains of good Mr. Love. good. I have heard in the word of God of “an election according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedi. ence;" and that “we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son:" but an election from sin, that we may live in sin, is a doctrine as much abhorred by Mr. Lovegood, as it can be by you. No, Sir! Mr. Lovegood is better taught to distinguish between causes and effects; and he always insists upon it, that the effect of our election is, that we may “live unto God ;” and as to his opinion relative to the freedom of the will, I hope we have had enough upon that score already.
Wiseh. I am sure we have Sir: for it has given me such a head-ache, that I have felt it ever since. (To Mrs. Toogood.) Can you give me a pinch of your cephalic snuff, madam? [The snuff box is handed; Spiteful continues.]
Spitef. I have no sort of doubt, but that Love. good knows how to gloss over hisabominable tenets. He is an artful fellow; and if all be true, as wicked as any of us,—and no wonder at it, from the doctrines he preaches. There is a fine story gone all round the country about him, and I'll warrant it is all true.
Consid. What is that, Sir ? I have heard it re. ported, that my wife is too intimate with the parson. Is that the story you have got hold of? But instead of being jealous on that score, I wish her to be yet more intimate. I am sure she cannot have a more excellent and instructive acquaintance; and I now mean to go myself with her and my daughters, much oftener than I have done; though, being one of the corporation, I am expected at Mapleton church
more than I could wish.—But, pray what is the story?
Spitef. Why, have you not heard how Parson Lovegood has persuaded a lady to leave her husband; because he would not be converted to his religion, as well as herself; and that she would not live with him, because he was a carnal man, according to their canting way of talk : while, madam, with all her pretended sanctity, is carnal enough to admit the parson to come and see her as often as he likes; and there he keeps her at Ned Swiggs, at the Golden Lion; and some say Mr. Worthy, with all his religion, is admitted to pay her the same sort of visits; and that Mrs. Worthy is quite jealous upon the occasion.
Madam Toog. O shocking! shocking! Well, I always thought Lovegood must be a very bad man at heart, from the first sermon I ever heard him preach; for no one, I am sure, could have made out all people to be so very wicked, if he had not been a very wicked man himself: and from that time I was determined never to hear him no more..
Consid. Why, madam, I think we had all better have been at cards, though it is the week before sacrament, than talk scandal against the innocent; but I have heard, from my wife and others, a very different story than what is now made out.
Spitef. Aye, aye, they give it out that the lady was the gentleman's mistress; and that, when she saw the evil of her ways, by one of Lovegood's preachments, she would not live with him any longer; but he swore again and again by his Maker, that she was his lawful wife, and that he would soon
Consid. You know the old proverb, “ they that swear will lie;" and I have no doubt but the up
rightness of Mr. Lovegood's conduct will soon appear.
Spitef. They may preach up their innocence as long as they like it; but Mr. Bluster of Revel Hall, knows the family very well ; and Mrs. Scandal, his aunt, says, she could take her oath of it, that it is a fact.
Madam Toog. Yes, and she was going to tell me all about it one morning, when she met me at Friday prayers; but I had not time to stop to hear it all.
Miss Prateapace. Yes, and Mrs. Tittletattle was at our house the other day to tea, and told us a great deal about it ; I am sure, Lovegood must be a very wicked man if it is true.
Consid. And, I am sure, you are all acting a very wicked part if it is false.
Spitef. False! how can it be false ? are they not always prating and preaching about faith without works, though you pretend to deny it? and what can be expected among those who hold such loose notions of religion? Why, to be sure, a conduct as loose as their religion : every body knows it is all free grace with them, that they may live as they list. I am afraid these abominable fellows will soon overturn both church and state. A Consid. Why, Mr. Spiteful, what can ail you
tonight, to run on at this rate ?
Spitef. Why, have you not seen Bishop Bluster's Charge against these mock reformers, proving that, under the mask of a great zeal for religion, they are, notwithstanding, Infidels and Atheists ?*
Consid. How can you, in your conscience, think
* It seems, a charge not very dissimilar to Bishop Bluster's, made its appearance not long ago.
so, while, by Sunday schools, and every possible exertion, these people are doing all they can for the reformation of mankind ?
Spitef. Fine reformers, truly! when, under the pretence of a reformation, their design is by their seditious machinations, to throw all things into anarchy and confusion : and the bishop says, this hé knows to be a matter of fact. "I wonder government does not ston their progress!.
Consid. What! is it a matter of fact, that some attempt to make people infidels and atheists, by directing them to read their Bibles, and attend on the public worship of God? and as to the charge of seditión, malice can say any thing, but stops- to prove nothing
IV iseh. Bishop Bluster, Sir! who is Bishop Bluster? Being a dissenter I am not so well acquainted with the names of the bench of bishops.
Spitef: Why, Sir, he is not only a man of very high blood, for he is cousin german to Mr. Bluster of Revel Hall, but à very learned man, I will assure you.
Consid. As for his learning, that I shall not attempt to dispute ; 'but if a person wilfully, delibe- . rately, and publicly, bears false witness against his neighbours, by urging such crucl charges without any evidence to substantiate the fact, while he can thus directly transgress the ninth command, it is no proof of his integrity: supposing any one should wantonly charge him in return, that he was a common swearer, a liar, a gambler, a Sabbath-breaker, and register him among the meanest of common swinders, as running into every one's debt, and paying nobody till compelled by law, and all without the least évidence to substantiate the fact, how would he like it?"