Imágenes de páginas



him for the Church; Bo there is a good prospect in store for him."

"What do you say? My son a priest I No, never I That shall never be—never I"

""Will you allow me to ask, Why not I He may become a bishop."

"Never, never, I say I I will never be the mother of a priest. Of what are you thinking? If I had a hundred sons, I would never consent to it"

"A strange whim of yours, dear wifel In spite of all and every aversion to priests, you would not certainly oppose yourself to his happiness and ours?"

"I declare, most solemnly, it shall never be! Call it bad temper, whim, or whatever you please. I know that you have a whim, which is the love of having every thing your own way. Don't forget, however, that a mother has certain rights."

"Not in affairs of this kind. The father has judgment—"

"If such judgment should not, however, suffice?"

"If mine should not suffice, miladi, yours would certainly be the last I should ask for. You may depend upon that Should such be the case, I shall know how to make my will respected."

"Dear me! I am aware that you are my husband and master, but certainly I have not the honor to be. your servant-maid."

"Nor I your fool, miladi. I have always shown you indulgence in every thing, perhaps too much so ; but, willingly as I bear with your caprice, pardon me for thinking there are sometimes ideas which are rather too ridiculous."

"Much obliged to you for the moralization, of which you have yourself given me this very moment so convincing and practical a proof. Whoever may have been the most indulgent, I know that for many years I have submitted silently to your caprices, and pardoned them generously, ascribing them to want of reflection and breeding rather than to the absence of a good heart; but you tire out the most divine patience—"

"With regard to that, you are certainly in the right, miladi. Your whims and vagaries have tried my patience most severely, and you may call it good-luck that I have endured them so long; for believe me that I speak sincerely when I say it has been by no means pleasant to make one's self the obedient servant of your flights. I must tell you so, once and for all."

"If I had only determined to speak my mind, I could have told you years ago of your being a proud, self-sufficient egotist, with whom it is really difficult to get on in any fashion; a heartless creature, who speaks of feeling just as it is the way of such to boast of what they do not possess."

"Indeed! That accounts for your talking so much about discernment and delicacy. Yon may deceive others; thanks to Heaven, I am undeceived! The more perfectly I become acquainted with you, the more disgusting do I find your affectations; and, upon my word, were it not that I had compassion upon you, I would long ago have sent you back to your friends, in order that I, at least, might live in peace."

"You only anticipate my wishes. A clumsy and tiresome egotist like yourself is not created to make the happiness of a sensible woman; and after such an explanation you may easily imagine that no greater pleasure or relief can be in store for me than to be quit of you as soon as possible."

"Delightful, indeed I All comes above-board now. I take you at your word, and wish for nothing better. Good-night, madame! pleasant dreams to you! To-morrow we will see all this settled."

"The sooner the better, milord."

Thus they separated. On the mcrrow a notary was called in. Witnesses were proeure •*, the act of divorce written out, and signed on both sides, in spite of the entreaties, expostulations, and scoldings of friends, relatives, and even persons of high rank. Thus a long and apparently happy union was abruptly broken off. The ridiculous quarrel about the future destination of three sons not yet born broke up, betwixt two persons, that happiness which was expected to last for ever. And really the Count and Countess were among the most agreeable persons in the world. Nothing can be preferred against them except weakness; and to that, however, we are all liable.

"Ludicrous and amusing you call this tale!" said Louise to her aunt, with a sad look. "I am quite low spirited about it. I comprehend now how very excellent people may make their union turn out unhappily. You ought to console and comfort me, because you know yon have done much towards making me wretched. I should never be able to look my future hug



band in the face without fear for our future etatel Only think! what a misfortune—" "What do you mean I" asked the aunt . "Oh, dear aunt, if I could only remain young, I could then be eertain of my husband's everlasting attachment."

"You are very much mistaken, dear child. If you were to preserve your freshness and beauty for ever, long habit would be sure to make your husband indifferent towards it . Habit is the greatest necromancer in the world, as well as one of the most benevolent household gods. Handsome as well as ugly, all becomes alike. If one is young and grows old, habit prevento the husband from observing it, and vice versa. If she remained young whilst he became old, it might lead to consequences—the old gentleman might become jealous. It is much better as it is. Only imagine yourself an old matron, and your husband a blooming young man! What would your thoughts be then I"

Louise blushed, and said, "I don't know."

"But," continued the aunt, "I'll tell you a secret, which"

"That's it!" interrupted Louise, eagerly. "That is just what I should like to hear."

"Now listen to me," resumed the aunt . "Take heed of all I am going to tell you now. I have experience. It consists of two parts. The first part relates to the sources of a happy union; prevents, in itself, all possibility of discord; and would, at last, make spiders and flies the very best of friends. The other and second part gives the surest and safest method to preserve female gracefulness."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Louise.

"Now, then, for the first part: Almost immediately after the wedding, take your husband, and demand of him a solemn promise, offering to take the same yourself. Vow to each other solemnly that you will never, even for a mere joke, tease or quarrel with each other. Never, I tell you, never. Because teasing and quarrelling in fun may change at length to teasing and quarrelling in good earnest. Take this as a warning. Then you must promise each other, sincerely and solemnly, never to have any secrets between you, whatever reason or excuse you may have for them. You must know each other thoroughly, and if either of you should have committed a mistake, it should be instantly confessed, without a moment's hesitation; even should it be with tears in your eyes, only confess it. And, in the same manner as there are no secrets betwixt you, endeavor to keep your domestic, ma

trimonial, and other matters in secret from your father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, and all the world. God and yourselves are sufficient to be acquainted therewith. Every third person you include would side with either the one or the other, and create mischief. This must never be. Promise this faithfully to each other, renew your promise with every temptation, and you will find that all will be well. Thus you will unite hearts and souls, and become one. Many a young couple, if they had but known on their weddingday this simple recipe of prudence, and practised it, would be happier than they unfortunately are."

Louise embraced and kissed her aunt ardently, saying, "My dear aunt , I easily perceive it »ul be so; and wherever this complete confidence does not exist, the wedded couple remain but as strangers, not knowing each other even after their union. It shall be so, for otherwise there can be no happiness. And now, my dear aunt, something about the best means to preserve female beauty."

The aunt smiled and said, "You know, my dear girl, we cannot deny that a handsome man pleases us a hundred times more than a plain one, and men like very much to see us handsome. What, however, we really like in men, and men in us, is not mere skin, hair, features, figure, ,Vc., as with a portrait or a statue, but the prime source of delight is in the heart , the sentiment which, thence arising, gives significance and eloquence to every look, every word, and every action; to earnestness, to joy, and sadness. Men adore us the more they suppose us to be possessed of virtues of the heart which our exteriors promise, and, on our part, we find a malicious man loathsome, however handsome and polite he j may be. A young woman, therefore, who wishes j to preserve her beauty, must endeavor to cherish the same mind, the same excellent qualities of the heart, and the same virtues, by which she attract*! ber lover; and the finest agency by means of which virtue may be kept from growI ing old, and enshrined in perennial youth, is i religion. Preserve an innocent and pious heart, i trusting constantly in God, and you will always i have that beauty of soul for 'h» sake of which thy lover adores thee at present . I am no Ph riaee, nor am I a bigot . I am your aunt of eevenand-thirty years. I am fond of dancing, I am j fond of dressing myself, and I like to joke; so you cannot take it amiss that I speak to yo thus. Be, and continue to be, a good and sin cere Christian, and take my word for it, you will



be still handsome when a mother—still handsome when a grandmother!"

Louise, with tears upon her happy face, embraced her aunt tenderly. "I thank you," said she," my dear, dear, angelic aunt I"



Pattgrttr, the book divine

To which we turn for aid When prosperous skies unclouded shine.

Or dark-winged storms invade,
Is ever open to thine eye:

Imprint it on thy soul,
And wisdom that can never die

Shall thy young thoughts control.

Sweetest, the cheek of bloom,

Alas I how soon 'twill wear
The clay-cold coloring of the tomb;

Then, while thin? own in fair,
Low at His feet imploring fall,

Who loves the humble mind, Whose glorious promise is, that all

Who early seek, shall findCome, ere thy hand hath wove

The first fresh wreaths of spring; Come, ere a worn and withered love

Is all thou host to bring. Remember thy Creator's power,

While life from care is free; And when the days of darknew lower,

He will remember thee.

Yes, give thy heart to Him, •

While budding hope is green;
And when thy mother's eye is dim

To every earthly scene,
When this fond arm that circles thee

Must ehill and powerless be,
Our parting tears the pledge shall be

Of union in the sky.



Tve have the most ample and satisfactory proofs that the books of the Bible are authentic and genuine, that is, that they were written by the persons to whom they are ascribed. The soriptures of the Old Testament were collected and completed under the scrupulous care of inspired propheta. The singular providence of God is evident in the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, nearly three hundred years before the birth of Christ, for the benefit of the Jews who were living in countries where

that language was used. The testimony which our Saviour bore to the Old Testament used by the Jews in Judea, and the quotations which the New Testament writers have made from its several books, generally from the Greek translation, confirm what has been already said on the antiquity of the Bible, and prove its authenticity. This will appear in a much stronger point of view when we consider the Jews as the keepers of this Old Testament—their own sacred volume, which contains the most extraordinary predictions concerning the infidelity of their nation, and the rise, progress, and extensive prevalence of Christianity—their still existing and remaining the irreconcilable enemies of its claims—and that their enmity should also be foretold.

That all the books which convey to us the history of the events of the New Testament were written and immediately published by person* living at the time of the things mentioned, and whose names they bear, is most fully proved— 1. By an unbroken series of Christian authors reaching from the days of the apostles, down to the present time. 2. By the concurrent and well-informed belief of all denominations of Christians. 8. By the unreserved acknowledgment of the most learned and intelligent enemies of Christianity.

That the books we possess under the titles of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written by the persons whose names they bear, cannot be doubted by any well-informed and candid mind; because, from the time of their first publication, they have been uniformly attributed to them by all Christian writers. That all the facts related in these writings, and all the accounts given of our Saviour's actions and sayings are strictly true, we have the most substantial grounds for believing. Matthew and John were two of our Lord's apostles; his constant attendants throughout the whole of his ministry; eye-witnesses of the facts, and ear-witnesses of the discourses which they relate. Mark and Luke were not of the twelve apostles, but they were contemporaries and associates with the apostles, and living in habits of friendship and intercourse with those who had been present at the transactions which they record. Many suppose that Luke was one of the seventy disciples who were ordained by our Lord to preach his gospel; and if so, his personal knowledge of Christ must have been almost equal to that of the twelve apostles. However, if not one of the seventy, he was the constant companion of 209


Paul for many years, and well knew the things concerning which he wrote. In the beginning of his gospel, therefore, Luke declares his intimate acquaintance with his subject. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word: it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Tbeophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed."

Luke being also the author of the Acts of the Apostles, we have for the writers of these five books, men who had the most accurate knowledge of the things which they relate, either from their own personal observation, or by means of immediate communication with those who saw and heard every thing recorded. They could not, therefore, have been themselves deceived; nor had they any inducement or inclination to deceive others. They were men of honesty, simplicity, eminent integrity, and amiable candor, which are qualities singularly manifest in all their writings; and their greatest enemies have never attempted to caet the least stain upon the purity of their characters. It was not possible for them to gain any thing by false statement•; and the doctrines which they published, they themselves at length ratified with their own blood.

But besides all these qualifications to compose those writings which contain the gospel of our salvation, they were moved, not only by a benevolent regard for the souls of men, but by the sovereign influences of the Holy Spirit; and his gracious and infallible directions secured them from every possible error and mistake, in writing books adapted for the edification and sanctifieation of all nations, and for all succeeding generations.

The same effectual inspiration of the Holy Spirit influenced the apostles in writing the epistles to the newly-founded churches, agreeably to the promises of their Master, Christ. About the commencement of the second century, copies of the most of the New Testament books .were collected into one volume. At first, indeed, for want of full information—the epistles and gospels being in the care of different and distant churches, and as several books, falsely attributed to the apostles, were published and widely cir

culated—some of the churches hesitated about receiving the epistle to the Hebrews, the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and the book of the Revelation. A scrupulous investigation of their claims was therefore instituted; and after a rigorous examination it appeared evidently clear that they were the inspired productions of the apostles of Christ, and therefore they were admitted by consent of all the churches, as of equal authority with the other parts of the New Testament.

As to the preservation of the sacred books down to our times, it is certain that although the original copies may hove been lost, the books of the New Testament have been preserved without any material alteration, much less corruption; and that they are, in all essential matters, the same as they came from the hands of their authors. In taking copies of these books by writing, from time to time, as the art, of printing was then unknown, some letters, syllables, or even words may have been omitted, altered, or even changed in some manuscripts; but no important doctrine, precept, or passage of history has been designedly or fraudulently corrupted. This would have been impossible: because, as soon as the original writings were published, great numbers of copies were immediately taken, carried by the evangelical missionaries wherever they went, and sent to the different churches; they were soon translated into foreign languages, and conveyed into the most distant countries; they were constantly read in the Christian assemblies, diligently perused by many private Christians, some of whom had whole books by heart; they were quoted by numerous writers, and appealed to as the inspired standard of doctrine by various sects, who differed from each other, some on important points; and consequently they were jealously watchful against the least attempt either to falsify or to alter the word of divine revelation.

"Who can imagine that God, who sent his Son to declare this doctrine, and his apostles, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to indite andspeak it, and by so many miracles confirmed it to the world, should suffer any wicked persons to corrupt and alter any of those terms on which the happiness of mankind depends? It is absurd to say that God repented of his goodwill and kindness to mankind in vouchsafing the gospel to them; or that he so far maligned the good of future generations, that he suffered wiekad men to rob them of all the good intended to them by this declaration of his holy will."—Dr. Wbitbt. 210



SsvEnAL centuries ago, old Bishop Aylmer, seeing his congregation pretty generally asleep, took his Hebrew Bible from his pocket and read a chapter, which roused attention, when the old minister sharply rebuked them for sleeping when they might have understood him, and listening when they knew not a word that he said.



Tuerk are but two kinds of religion in the world; humility aud faith on the one hand, pride and ceremony on the other. There is a religion of repentance, and a religion of penance; of self-mortificatiou from the sorrow and hatred of zin, and of self-mortification for the acquisition of merit and sejf-esteem. There is a religion of rites and ceremonies, totally separate from the religion of which they are the dress; a religion of mint, anise, and cummin; atid one of judgment, mercy, and faith. AH ordinances, when you take away the soul of piety, the faith of the gospel, become superstitious, the watchwords and talismans of pride and spiritual despotism. There is a religion that worships God, and another that worships the altar; a religion that trusts in Christ, and another that trusts iu the sign of the cross, the wafer, and the holy water; a religion that brings every thought into subjection by love, and a religion that yokes the body to the car of Juggernaut; a religion of broad phylacteries, and garment-borders, and Rabbis; a religion of gnat-straining and camelswallowing, and cleansing of the outside of the cup and platter, and garnishing of prophets' tombs, and of the fathers' sepulchres. There is a religion whose justification and whose whole essence is faith, and a religion whose whole material, inward and external, is form, and it makes but little difference what the form may be. A man may drown himself in a puddle of mud, if he pleases, as well as in the ocean. The fctichet, and the hooks, and the amulets of dirt, and the crocodiles and lizards, and the sacred fires and rivers, of one vast class of devotees of this monstrous god of form and merit, are just as noble as the beads and scapularies, the altars and the crosses, the dead bones and pilgrimages, the saints and virgiue, the wafer and the water, the masses and absolutions, the anointings and enrobings, the enshrining of martys and the damning of heretioe, that constitute and characterize the devotion of the other. The mending of the fish's tail in the house of Dagon was just as good a mark of religion, just as noble a work of piety, just as lofty an elevation of spirit, as the washing of pots, and cups, and brazen vessels in the temple. The primacy of the Pope and the burning of hereties is just as good as the assumption of the exclusive divine right »f ordination, and the consecration, of all dia

« AnteriorContinuar »