The family instructor: In two parts. I. Relating to family breaches, and their obstructing religious duties. II. To the great mistake of mixing the passions, in the managing and correcting of children. ... Vol.II. [pt.2] — Family instructor.

[Page]
THE Family Inſtructor. In Two PARTS.
  • I. Relating to Family Breaches, and their obſtructing Religious Duties.
  • II. To the great Miſtake of mixing the Paſſions, in the Managing and Correcting of Children.
WITH A great Variety of Caſes relating to ſetting Ill Examples to Children and Servants.

VOL. II.

LONDON: Printed for EMAN. MATTHEWS, at the Bible, in Pater-Noſter-Row. MDCCXVIII.

PREFACE.

[Page]

I AM not ignorant, that as Times and the Humour of People go, it is a bold Adventure to write a Second Volume of any thing; nor is the Succeſs of a Firſt Part any Rule to expect Succeſs to a Second. On the Contrary, it is rather a Rule to obſtruct it. The modern Readers of Books having a general Opinion which they entertain, like a fundamental Principle in Reading, That Second Parts never come up to the Spirit of the Firſt; tho' perhaps here they may find an Exception to that Rule.

This was the Fate of that excellent Poem of Mr. Milton's, call'd, Paradiſe Regain'd; which, whether by the Error of common Fame, or the real Value of the Thing, could never obtain to be nam'd with the Firſt.

[Page 2] Mr. Milton himſelf differ'd from the whole World in his Opinion about it, affirm'd that it was by much the better Poem, and gave this Reaſon for the general Diſlike, (viz.) That People had a common Senſe of the Loſs of Paradiſe, but had not an equal Guſt for the Regaining of it; but his Judgment, however good, could not prevail.

I ſhall ſay but little of the Reaſon why People may like or diſlike the preſent Work. The firſt Part of it gives the Story of Two very bad Wives; it would be ſcandalouſly fooliſh and unjuſt, to take Exceptions at my repreſenting the Women ſo bad, as if I was partial againſt the Sex; but becauſe ſome may be weak enough to do ſo, for want of underſtanding the Connexion of the Story, ſuch are deſir'd to obſerve the clear Reaſon of it, as follows.

The Reproof is upon Husbands for omitting Family Worſhip, and pretending the Fault is in their Wives; it was abſolutely neceſſary then to repreſent Two Wives inimitably bad, eminent for their Oppoſition to every thing that was good in their Husbands, and in a Word, extravagantly wicked, to ſhew that even in theſe extraordinary Caſes, the Husband ought not to omit his Duty, and to infer, that if not in theſe Caſes, certainly not in Caſes leſs difficult, and conſequently [Page 3] in no Caſe at all. This is the true and only Reaſon of bringing Two ſuch bad Wives upon the Stage, as is alſo obſerv'd at large by Way of Note, upon that Part afterward, to which I refer.

If Novelty had only recomended the Firſt Part, then indeed we might ſuggeſt, that the Thoughts of People being once entertain'd, could no more be pleas'd again with the ſame Scheme: But this can no way affect us here; for if Novelty, the modern Vice of the reading Palate, is to jugde of our Performance, the whole Scene now preſented, is ſo perfectly new, ſo entirely differing from all that went before, and ſo eminently directed to another Species of Readers, that it ſeems to be more new than it would have been, if no other Part had been publiſh'd before it; nay, to any conſidering People that reflect upon the differing Scenes of Human Life, and the ſeveral Stations we are plac'd in, and Parts we act, while we are paſſing over this Stage; it cannot but be known, that there are Follies to be expoſed, Dangers to be caution'd againſt, and Advices to be given, particularly adapted to the ſeveral Stages of Life.

Upon this Account, inſtead of ſuggeſting that a Second Volume of this Work ſhould be leſs neceſſary than the Firſt, I cannot but think they would either of them be imperfect [Page 4] without the other; and if the Turkiſh Spy, and ſuch other Books, from the known Variety of them, have pleaſed and diverted the World, even to the Seventh or Eight Volume: If this Subject is leſs pleaſing, and fails of running the ſame Length with thoſe looſer Works, it muſt be becauſe People have leſs Pleaſure in Things that are inſtructing, than in Things merely humouring and diverting; leſs Patience in bearing a juſt Reproof, and leſs Humility in applying it to themſelves than they ought to have.

Doubtleſs there are Duties in our relative Stations of every Sort, one to another, Duties from Parents to Children, and from Maſters to Servants, as well as from Children to Parents, and from Servants to Maſters; and it muſt be own'd by all that look narrowly into theſe Things, that as on the one hand there are great Miſtakes committed in the Government of themſelves and their Families, by Parents and Maſters, ſo there is perhaps leſs ſaid upon theſe neceſſary Heads in publick than upon any other; even the beſt Writers upon the Relative Duties, have ſeemed to be wholly ſilent upon this Subject: whether they did not ſee into the Want of it, or thought it was a Point ſo nice, that their Readers could not bear, or what other Thing has been the Hindrance, I know not.

[Page 5] Correction! the moſt neceſſary Part of Family-Government, and the beſt Part of Education, how difficult a Thing is it! How little underſtood! How generally wrong apply'd! Omitted in neceſſary, and adminiſtred in unneceſſary Caſes! The Nature, Reaſon, and End of it miſtaken! the Meaſure of it taken not from the Circumſtances of the Childrens Offences, but from our own Tempers at that Time! How is it mingled with our Paſſions, and ſmother'd by our Affections, and in either Caſe the Uſe of it entirely deſtroy'd! and what Advantage, to get above Correction, do Children make of the Miſtakes of their Parents in correcting them!

Miſtaken Parents may here be ſet to rights in ſome of the moſt dangerous Parts of that difficult Duty of correcting their Children: Here will be ſhewn how inconſiſtent it is with the great and weighty Office of a Parent to conceal the Paſſions in their Rebukes, or to let their want of Temper add to the Weight of their Hands: Here they will be inſtructed in what Frame they ought to be when they Correct, and from what Principle their Hands muſt be lifted up to ſtrike their own Fleſh and Blood: How they are to exhort, inſtruct, expoſtulate, perſwade, with the utmoſt Teſtimonies of Affection, all the while [Page 6] they are correcting: How inconſiſtent with correcting a Child, the Noiſe, the Rage, the Fury of our Paſſions are; and how often the true Parent corrects with more Tears in his own Eyes, than he brings out of the Eyes of the Child he chaſtiſes; and yet here he will ſee that this Tenderneſs muſt not be permitted, to prevent or withold that wholſom Correction, which Duty to the Child calls for, and which, if it be with-held, deſtroys the Force of every other Part of his Education.

I ſhall ſay nothing more of what is here publiſhed, but this: The ſame Deſire of doing Good, which mov'd the Firſt Part, has been ſincerely and principally the Occaſion of writing this Part. With all poſſible Humility and Thankfulneſs, I acknowledge and believe I have had the ſame Preſence and Aſſiſtance; and I cannot but hope for the ſame Bleſſing and Succeſs; and with the Comfort and Confidence of this, I chearfully ſend it into the World, not concern'd at all at the Oppoſition it ſhall meet with from the Infirmities and Unworthineſs of its Author.

ERRATA.

PAge 65. Line 13. dele a. p. 76. l. 13. r. your Wife. p. 205. l. 30. r. out of. p. 266. l. 15. dele that Parents. p. 292. l. 10. r. be afraid. p. 304. l. 4. dele he. p. 227. l. ult. for Lody r. Lady. p. 386. l. 4. for here r. her. p. 388. l. 10. dele was.

1. THE Family Inſtructor, &c.

[Page]

1.1. The Firſt DIALOGUE.

THIS Diſcourſe is too much of Hiſtory, and was occaſioned by an unhappy Quarrel between a Man and his Wife, both ſober religious Perſons, about their religious Conduct in their Family.

The Husband provok'd by ſome raſh Words of his Wife's, and eſpecially by her ſpeaking ſlightingly of his performing Family-Worſhip, takes the worſt Method in the World with himſelf, flinging away in a Paſſion, without calling his Reaſon and Conſcience of Duty to his Aſſiſtance, and goes Abroad, having not called his Family together to Morning-Prayer, as was before his conſtant Practice; and being gotten into a Field near his Houſe, when he had the Advantage of converſing with himſelf, without being heard; his Paſſion being not much abated, [Page 2] you may ſuppoſe, he fell to reaſoning himſelf out of his Duty, inſtead of into it, and to forming Arguments to juſtify his laying aſide the Thoughts of performing it for the future.

What can I do, ſays he, when a Woman is arriv'd to ſuch a height as to make a Mock of me in my own Family? She has brought Things to ſuch a paſs, that I do not think it is my Duty to pray among them any more; ſhe openly told me, before my Children, that I need not give my ſelf the Trouble to keep up the Ceremony; that they none of them value it; that they hate the Offering for the ſake of the Prieſt; and that they care not to join with me, they can ſerve God to more Purpoſe without me. Why, I don't think it is my Duty; certainly God does not expect I ſhould worſhip him in ſuch Company; I am not to caſt my Pearls before Swine: Beſides, where there is no Charity, no Unity, what ſignifies Duty? what Worſhip can there be, that can be acceptable to God or comfortable to me? I'll trouble my ſelf no more about them; and as to its being my Duty, I think I am fairly diſcharged of it; at her Door be the Sin, who has been the Cauſe of it; as I am not the Occaſion of the Breach, ſo neither will the Conſequence lie at my Door; I'll perform my Duty by my ſelf, and let them take their own Courſe.

With this kind of Diſcourſe he ſatisfied himſelf for the preſent; the Devil, no doubt, aſſiſting; and coming home to his Family, took no Notice at the uſual Time of Family-Worſhip, but went unconcerned about his Buſineſs; ſat down to Dinner at the Time of it, and at Night ſtay'd abroad till it was time to go to Supper.

After Supper, his Wife, (who kept up her Reſentment as high as he) calls her Maid to bring her a Candle, and away ſhe goes to Bed, taking no Notice of him, or of the uſual Family-Order.

[Page 3] It was a little unnatural to him, as it had been unuſual to cloſe the Day thus, without either his Duty to God, or any Society with his Wife; And, as he ſaid afterwards, had ſhe ſpoken but one kind Word to him, or given him but a ſociable Look, he had forgot all, and gone on again in his Duty, as he uſed to have done: But ſhe unwarily and imprudently prompting his Diſguſt, and throwing Oil inſtead of Water into the Fire, enrag'd him again, and aſſiſted the Temptation, to confirm him in the wicked Reſolution of neglecting of his Duty.

The Breach was now made, and every thing contributed to make it wider: The Man went to Bed ſome time after; but as ſhe was aſleep when he came to Bed, ſo he was aſleep when ſhe roſe, and they had no Interval or Opportunity of Converſation to allay their Heat, or bring them together: Thus they went on with their Diſcontent, and continued two or three Days hardly in ſpeaking Terms one with another; during which time, as there was no Reconciliation of their fooliſh Breach, ſo it may eaſily be ſuppoſed there was no complyance with one another in the Matter of religious Duty: But the Family Orders dropp'd, and Religion ſeem'd wholly laid aſide; and that which was ſtill worſe, the Diſorders of their Minds was ſo great, that it broke in upon their private Duties, as well as their publick, and one was neglected as well as the other. Indeed it might have been concluded, that had either of them retired to their private Duties; had they gone into their Cloſet and look'd up for Direction what to do, the ſecret Ejaculation would have ſtrongly moved them to another Frame, and ſoon have returned them to their Duty, and reſtored them to one another.

A little time it is true, reſtor'd them to better Terms of Living together, the paſſionate Part cool'd again, and they converſed a little more [Page 4] friendly than before. But the Blow was given, the Religion of the Family was overthrown; and as the Woman, on one hand, ſhewed no Concern about it, but ſeemed to be much of the ſame Temper as to Charity as before, and not to deſire his Performance; ſo he bolſtring up his Neglect, and checking his Convictions with this Notion, That the Breach was upon his Wife, and not upon him; that ſhe had refus'd him, and that now it was not his Duty: Perſwading himſelf, I ſay, in this manner, he ſeem'd to be ſatisfied in the Omiſſion, neither did he ſeem to think of it any more.

It was to be obſerved, that as they had now as it were lay'd aſide their Family-Worſhip, ſo in the Nature of the thing, their Family Peace vaniſhed; they were continually quarrelling, and falling out with one another; their Humours joſtled in every Trifle, upbraiding one another's Sincerity, Affection, Integrity, on every little Occaſion; reproaching the leaſt Miſcarriage, reviling one another with Bitterneſs, and forgetting nothing that might tend to make them diſagreeable to one another; peeviſh, waſpiſh and fretful, even when they agreed beſt, and ſcandalouſly furious, and hot when they fell out.

Hardly any Diſcourſe happen'd between them however mildly it began, but it ended in a Broil; ſhe would thwart him in every thing he ſaid, and he contradict her as often; their Orders in the Houſe claſh'd ſo in every thing, that Children knew not how to behave, or Servants to obey; whilſt the Father commanded this, and the Mother that, it was impoſſible to preſerve any Harmony among the Children; two of them, one Son and one Daughter, taking part with the Father; and another Son and two Daughters with the Mother; ſo that as the Father and Mother differed, the Children differed, and that with ſuch Heat, as to fill the Houſe with Diſorder.

[Page 5] It happen'd once, that a Diſcourſe began between the Father and Mother about the Eclipſe of the Sun, which fell out in April 22. 1715.

The Eclipſe of the Sun was the Subject of all Converſation at that time, having been, as is well known, ſo Total, and the Darkneſs ſo great, as that the like had not been known in that Age, or ſome hundreds of Years before.

The Wife had enquired of her Husband, what the Nature of the Thing was, and he was deſcribing it to her and the Children in a familiar way; and, as I ſaid, that a kind of Reflection upon one another was the uſual Iſſue of their common Diſcourſe, ſo it was there; the Husband tells her, that the Moon was like a croſs Wife, that when ſhe was out of Humour, could Thwart and Eclipſe her Husband whenever ſhe pleaſed; and that if an ill Wife ſtood in the Way, the brighteſt Husband could not ſhine.

She flew in a Paſſion at this, and being of a ſharp Wit, you do well, ſays ſhe, to carry your Emblem to a ſuitable height; I warrant, you think a Wife, like the Moon, has no Light but what ſhe borrows from her Husband, and that we can only ſhine by Reflection; it is neceſſary then you ſhould know, ſhe can Eclipſe him when ſhe pleaſes.

Ay, ay, ſays the Husband, but you ſee when ſhe does, ſhe darkens the whole Houſe, ſhe can give no Light without him.

Ʋpon this ſhe came cloſer to him.
Wife. I ſuppoſe you think you have been Eclips'd lately, we don't ſee the Houſe is the darker for it.
Husband. That's becauſe of your own Darkneſs; I think the Houſe has been much the darker.
Wife: None of the Family are made ſenſible of it, we don't miſs your Light.
Husb. It's ſtrange if they don't, for I ſee no Light you give in the room of it.
[Page 6] Wife. We are but as dark as we were before; for we were none of us the better for all your Hypocritical Shining.
Husb. Well, I have done ſhining, you ſee; the Darkneſs be at your Door.
It's evident that both meant here, his having left off Family-Worſhip; and it is apparent, both were come to a dreadful Extremity in their Quarrel.
Wife. At my Door! am I the Maſter of the Family! don't lay your Sins to my Charge.
Husb. No, no; but your own I may; It is the Retrograde Motion of the Moon that cauſes an Eclipſe.
Wife. Where all was dark before, there can be no Eclipſe.
Husb. Your Sin is, that my Light is your Darkneſs.
Wife. That won't excuſe you, if you think it a Sin; can you not do what you pleaſe without me?
Husb. I don't think it a Sin in me to refrain Publick Prayer among thoſe that contemn it, and who reject it for my ſake; I am forbid to caſt Pearls before Swine.
Wife. Yes, yes, your Wife and Children are all Swine with you, and are treated like ſuch by you; and becauſe you want an Excuſe for Neglect of your Duty, therefore we are all Swine. The Compariſon is ſomething ſwiniſh, I think, on your Part.
Husb. My Authority is good, the very Compariſon the Scripture makes of thoſe that trample Religion under their Feet, and fly in the Faces of thoſe that offer to Officiate: They are Swine in both, for they make Dirt of Religion, and turn again and rent thoſe who offer it; that is, deſpiſe them, and aſſault them, deſpiſe them as unworthy; which is the Caſe exactly.
Wife. What Matter is it what I think, can't you pray with them that will bear you?
[Page 7] Husb. Do you know the Nature of Family-Worſhip; is it not that the whole Family may ſhew their Agreement and Harmony, in acknowledging and ſerving God? If Half the Family, or any of the Family ſeparate, it is a Schiſm in the Houſe; and the Unity being broke, the reſt is but private Worſhip, and may as well be done alone. I do not think I am at all required to perform Family-Worſhip, if my Family refuſes to join.
Wife. A fine Deluſion of the Devil! or rather an Artifice to throw your Burden upon me, there's nothing in it; when you reform your Life, no Body will ſlight your Performance.
Husb. And yet you have no Crime to charge me with but want of Obedience to my Wife; when you firſt return to your Duty, I ſhall think my ſelf oblig'd to return to mine.

All this while here was no Abatement on one ſide or other, and both of them dreadfully miſtaken about their Duty; they wrangl'd thus upon every Occaſion, and this laſt Dialogue is only given as a Skerch of their almoſt daily Converſation: Their Communication was poiſon'd by the Breach in their Affection, and like the ſweet Dews which falling into the Sea, become Salt like the Ocean; ſo the moſt caſual innocent Diſcourſe between them, generally iſſued in a Broil: yet none of theſe Diſcourſes brought them together, as they might have done; or convinc'd them that both were in the Wrong, ſo as to have produc'd a Return to their Duty, or at leaſt a Truce, that they might not have let their Contention have hindred their religious Performance. But Paſſion prevailing, they continued in a dreadful Courſe of Irreligion, and reſtraining Prayer before God.

It was alſo obſervable, that while thus they laid aſide the Appearance of Religion in their Families, [Page 8] it abated in the reſt of their Converſation, and they grew entirely careleſs, living as it were without God in the World; the Decay of Family-Worſhip, like a Gan-green in the religious Body, ſpread it ſelf from one Limb to another, till it affected the Vitals, and proved mortal. In a word, it deſtroyed the Senſe of Duty and Religion in their whole Lives.

And as Sin entred in by this Breach, ſo it made way for every other Breach; which made them more and more peeviſh, waſpiſh, apt to quarrel and ſnarle at the leaſt Occaſion; removed all that Sweetneſs of Converſation and Harmony of Affection that was between them before, and the Houſe became deſtitute, not of Religion only, but of every pleaſant thing.

It happen'd ſome time after this, that this Gentleman had an intimate Friend, who liv'd Thirty or Forty Miles off in the Country, who had likewiſe a Wife that had brought him almoſt into the ſame Difficulty, tho' from a differing Occaſion; for ſhe was a profane, irreligious, and negligent Perſon, as to Religion, from her Original; by Education a Mocker and Deſpiſer of all that was Good, and one who did her utmoſt to diſcourage her Husband, who was a good Man, from all his Meaſures in the religious Government of himſelf, or of his Family.

He had had a great Quarrel with his Wife about her Conduct, and her reproaching him for doing his Duty; and ſhe had ſaid ſome ſuch ſhocking Things to him, that almoſt conquer'd his Reſolutions in the Matter of his Duty; almoſt the ſame Temptation offering to him, as had been the Caſe of the other Perſon mentioned before: For a while, this good Man began to waver in his Reſolution; but his Senſe of Duty return'd upon him too ſtrongly to be reſiſted, and he maſter'd all the Difficulties that were before him; reſolv'd, that let Satan and a perverſe Woman [Page 9] do their utmoſt, he would not live without the Worſhip and Service of God in his Houſe: And ſo he went on with his Duty in ſpight of all his Wife's Clamour, made his whole Houſe ſubmit to it, and condemn her for oppoſing it, as we ſhall hear more particularly preſently.

This good Man coming to Town, and meeting with his old Friend, of whom we have been ſpeaking, and both being intimate Chriſtians as well as Acquaintance, it was not long before they began to converſe about religious Affairs, as well as Things uſual in common Diſcourſe; both being alſo too full of their reſpective Family Grievances, to be long together before they unboſom'd themſelves to one another, which produc'd the following Dialogue.

Says the Citizen to his Friend. Well, old Friend, I hear you have been marry'd ſince we met laſt, and I muſt give you Joy; I hope it is to your Satisfaction.

Friend. Truly, my good Friend, I am marry'd, but I cannot ſay it is much to my Satisfaction, for I am diſappointed in the main Happineſs of a marry'd State.
Cit. I am very ſorry to hear you have a bad Wife.
Fr. Nay, I cannot ſay I have a bad Wife neither; in the common Acceptation of the Word.
Cit. Well, I am very ſorry then, be it how it will, that you are diſappointed.
Fr. Truly, upon a farther Reflection, I ought not to have ſaid I am diſappointed neither, for it needs Explanation.
Cit. Pray explain it then, for you amuſe me now; it looks as if you had only a Mind I ſhould enquire farther into the Particulars.
Fr. Truly, I ought to be aſham'd of the Particulars, and yet I cannot ſay but I have long'd a great while to unboſom my Sorrows to ſome body, and I know no Friend I can better truſt than your ſelf.
Cit. Be free with me then.
[Page 10] Fr. I know not where to begin, for my Grief is very great.
Cit. I find you are willing to ſpeak, and yet loath to begin, and you act as if you would have me skrew things out of you: Prethee, what have you got for a Wife, is ſhe a Drunkard, Immodeſt, a Scold, or what is ſhe?
Fr. None of them all.
Cit. Shall I be very free with you then? Are not your Wife's Faults to be found in your Part? Are you ſure ſhe would not alter, if you could mend her Husband? For I muſt own, many of us that find ſuch fault with our Wives, are guilty ſometimes of a very unhappy Miſtake, (viz.) that we do not remember that they have bad Husbands.
Fr. I will not defend my Part of the Charge, and perhaps you know your own Part to be juſt; if you do, pray reprove me when you have reform'd your ſelf; but my preſent Caſe is too ſerious to be jeſted with.
Cit. You muſt deſcribe it a little, or how can a Friend give you Comfort or Counſel?
Fr. Why, in ſhort, my Wife is ſober, vertuous, peaceable. You ſee, I oppoſe the Heads of her Character to your Suggeſtion, of drunken, immodeſt, turbulent, &c. She is Houſewifly, Frugal, Quiet, Mannerly, Tender, Kind, and has all the Qualifications needful to make her a comfortable Relation. BUT—
Cit. I can ſee but one thing you have left out, and that is, RELIGIOUS.
Fr. You have ſaid it all in a word; ſhe is perfectly void of any Senſe of, or Concern about God or her Soul, or the Souls of any that belong to her.
Cit. Indeed, if ſhe is unconcern'd about her own Soul, you can hardly expect ſhe ſhould be concern'd for any one elſe.
Fr. No indeed, ſhe is ſo far from it, that my Heart [Page 11] trembles to think what will become of my poor Children when they grow up; for I have one already, and another coming.
Cit. It is a ſad Diſappointment indeed; but had you any Apprehenſions of it before you marry'd?
Fr. There indeed you touch me to the Soul; there's the Blot with which I reproach my ſelf, and which gives me no Peace, I read my Sin in my Puniſhment; I look'd another way, I troubled not my Thoughts about Religion, I look'd at the Money, I went for it, and I had it; and now I feel the Curſe that came with it.
Cit. Why, tho' you did look at the Money, ſure there are Women who have Money too, that have the Bleſſing of a religious Education; they are not all Atheiſts that have Money; nor are all the pious, religious Women Beggars. Certainly you were in great Haſte, and look'd little before you in your Choice.
Fr. Indeed I run into the Devil's Mouth, I ſingl'd out a Family where nothing was to be expected; a Houſe, where I may ſay without Breach of Charity, God had not been within the Doors for ſome Ages: I tell you, as I ſaid before, I ought not to ſay I am diſappointed.
Cit. I confeſs, you have ſome Reaſon to blame your own Conduct in that regard; for I know nothing more uncomfortable, than for a Man that knows any thing of Religion, to be match'd to a Woman that has no Notion of her Duty.
Fr. Blame my Conduct! do you carry it no farther? Without doubt, I committed the greateſt Sin of its kind that I was capable of, and moſt juſtly provoked God to make that Relation, which ought to have been my Comfort and Bleſſing, be my Snare, my Temptation, and at beſt, my conſtant Affliction.
Cit. It is indeed againſt the expreſs Rule which the [Page 12] Apoſtle lays down, Be not unequally Yoak'd. I believe, for a Man or Woman that is religious enclin'd, to marry a Perſon of no Religion, or to marry a Perſon of differing Principles in Religion from themſelves, is poſitively forbidden in that Text.
Fr. Alas! it is not only againſt the Apoſtle's Rule, but it is againſt all the Rules of Religion, of Nature, and of common Senſe: What Communication can there be between God and Belial?
Cit. Indeed it was the Reaſon given in Scripture, why God commanded the Iſraelites not to give their Daughters to the Sons of the Heathen, nor take their Daughters to Wife, leſt they ſhould be drawn in to ſerve their Gods, and to forſake the Lord their God, Judges 1.
Fr. Nor has it ever fail'd to be a Curſe to all the Families that ever I have heard of, or that practiſed it; the Scripture is full of Inſtances of it, particularly in Solomon, in Ahab; and once in a whole Nation, as in the Caſe of the Midianitiſh Woman. And all this I knew.
Cit. Well, but I hope you have not marry'd an Idolater; your Wife is not a Heathen, is ſhe?
Fr. No, but I think ſhe is worſe; for ſhe deſpiſes all Worſhip, whether of the falſe Gods, or of the True; I know no Senſe ſhe has of any Religion at all, other than to make a Mock at it, to make all ſerious Things her Sport, and to banter thoſe that dare not do ſo too.
Cit. That's a dreadful Caſe indeed; I beſeech you, does ſhe not go to Church? Where was ſhe bred? Is ſhe a Proteſtant?
Fr. Yes, yes, ſhe goes to Church, and is a Proteſtant, ſuch a kind of Proteſtant as this Age is too full of; I think ſhe had as good be a Papiſt, for then ſhe would make ſome Profeſſion, and might, in Time, be brought over to the true Profeſſion of right Principles; [Page 13] but as ſhe is, I think there is more hopes of a Heathen than of her, for he worſhips ſomething, but ſhe neither fears God or Devil.
Cit. But you ſay ſhe goes to Church; what does ſhe do there?
Fr. Do there! why, ſtare about her, or ſleep, or furniſh her ſelf with ſomething or other to banter the Infirmities of the Miniſter. I never hear her talk a Word of what ſhe hears, except it be to ridicule and expoſe it. The unhappy Wit ſhe is Miſtreſs of, and which ſhe might make a much better uſe of, exerts it ſelf this way; and when ſhe can no longer run down all revealed Religion, nay and natural Religion too, then the Failings, Slips, and Miſtakes of the Miniſters and Profeſſors of Religion employ her Tongue, which makes my Houſe a Temple of the Devil to me; where I can hear nothing but Abuſes upon God, the Worſhip and Servants of God, and every thing that is good, till I am made to abhor the Converſation of my own Family.
Cit. And no queſtion, it is a great Obſtruction to you in the way of your own Duty, or a Temptation to you wholly to neglect it.
Fr. How come you to reach my Caſe ſo effectually, and ſo very particularly.
Cit. Not that I know any thing of it I aſſure you, but I am too much concern'd; I know one too like it.
Fr. It is my Caſe exactly, as I will tell you at large.
Cit. But before you come to that Part, I beſeech you tell me how you came to link your ſelf to ſuch a Family of Heathens, for I know you had been otherwiſe taught?
Fr. I'll anſwer you in one word, MONEY! MONEY! This was the Snare; the Devil laid the Hook, and I bit at the Bait. It is true, I was better taught, and my Father had propoſed ſeveral tolerable Matches for me in our Neighbourhood; Women [Page 14] agreeable in Perſon, and valuable for their Vertue, of religious Education, and with good Portions too, with whom I might have been very happy; but I rejected them all.
Cit. You have been very ill adviſed.
Fr. No indeed, I have not been advis'd at all; but I got the Cant of your Town Gentlemen at my Tongue's end, and made it my Catch-Word for a long time, (viz.) that I cared not what Religion my Wife was of, or whether ſhe had any Religion or no, if ſhe had but Money; and now I am fill'd with my own Deſires. Nor were my Meaſures for furniſhing my ſelf with a Wife leſs extravagant than the Humour I profeſs'd to act by; for as I cared not who I took, ſo I car'd not where I found her: and as he that abandons himſelf is juſtly abandon'd by Providence, ſo in purſuit of the Idol I worſhip'd, I went to the Temple of Wickedneſs, the Play-Houſe, a thing I had not been bred to I aſſure you, and when the Devil had me in his Bounds, he took care to hold me faſt. There I choſe me a Wife.
Cit. I thought you ſaid you choſe for Money?
Fr. Yes, yes, ſo I did too; I was ſhew'd her there for a Fortune.
Cit. And perhaps miſs'd your Aim too.
Fr. No, no, I had the Idol and the Idolater too; I have the Money and the Woman, but not the Wife, for ſhe is no Wife to me; neither does ſhe concern her ſelf about the Duty of her Relation, either to Do it or to Know it.
Cit. Then I perceive ſhe has no manner of Love for you.
Fr. I cannot ſay, but that if I would have conform'd to her wicked abominable looſe Way of Living, ſhe might have loved me well enough; but as ſoon as ſhe found my Way of Living was different from what ſhe expected, ſhe became uneaſy and indifferent, [Page 15] till at laſt it grew up to a perfect Contempt; and it often makes ſuch Breaches between us, as in Time muſt certainly root out all manner of conjugal Affection on either Side.
Cit. It is no doubt very afflicting to you, eſpecially if you have a real Love for her.
Fr. I confeſs, I cannot ſay but it wears out what Love I had for her apace; for it is impoſſible while I abhor her Conduct and cannot reclaim her, that I can preſerve my Affection for her: Vertuous Love is founded upon two things only, both which are wanting in her, Merit and Suitability. What Merit can there be in one who appears to have a general Contempt of all that is Good? and what Suitability can there be in two Tempers ſo extreamly oppoſite?
Cit. Well, but it is afflicting to you too, I dare ſay:
Fr. Indeed it is ſo many ways.
Cit. And without doubt, as I obſerved before, it is a ſtrange Obſtruction to you in the Exerciſe of your Duty in your Family; for what Performance of Duty, what good Government of Servants or Children, what religious Order can there be in the Family, where conſtant Breaches obſtruct the Charity and Underſtanding between thoſe upon whom the Performance and Support of thoſe, Duties lie? I know it by my ſelf, there can be no Family-Worſhip, where there is no Family Love: Who can kneel down to pray with thoſe that ridicule and contemn it, or perhaps refuſe to joyn? For my part, I do not, think it a Husband's Duty in ſuch a Caſe; let the Blame be on thoſe who are the Cauſe.
Fr. Tho' you ſay true in part, yet I cannot go your length neither; I acknowledge it is a ſad Obſtruction to the carrying on a religious Government in the Family, and the firſt Beginnings of this refractory Carriage of my Wife was a great Snare to me that way; and I had almoſt thrown up all my Reſolutions [Page 16] of Family-Religion, in Compliment to her Folly: And doubtleſs, if I had, all perſonal Religion had gone after it; but I bleſs God, I got the better of her in that Point.
Cit. I wiſh you would relate me the Particulars of your Management then, for a particular Reaſon that I will tell you afterward.
Fr. Alas! it is a long and melancholy Story, and will be but of ſmall Uſe to you.
Cit. It will be of great Uſe I aſſure you, and perhaps do more good than you imagine, for there are other People in the World in your Caſe, and the Example of one is often a Caution and Direction to another.
Fr. Nay, you will make ſad Work if you propoſe me for an Example to any Body; I am fit for nothing but a Memento Mori, a Beacon or Bouy, to ſhew where the Rock lies that I have ſplit upon.
Cit. Leave that Part to farther Diſcourſe, and pray let me into the Story, that I may know how you manag'd your ſelf in the Matter of religious Worſhip in your Family; for I aſſure you, there is a great deal depends upon the Queſtion, and a greal deal upon the Anſwer.
Fr. Why then I'll tell you as diſtinctly as I can, not to make the Story too long: When firſt I marry'd, I continued ſome time in the Family of Sir Richard. . . . . whoſe Siſter my Wife was, and with whom ſhe lived, her Father and Mother being dead: The Family you know had never been famous for any thing of Religion; as for Sir Richard, he is no Hypocrite, for to give him his due, as he practis'd nothing, ſo he profeſs'd nothing; he reaily made no Pretence to Religion; nay, ſo far are they from any Senſe of Religion among them in that Family, that I never heard any one, till very lately, ſay Grace at the Table, or return Thanks after Meat, or ever heard him ask any [Page 17] body elſe to do it, except when any Clergyman happen'd to be there, or except, as I ſhall have Occaſion to tell you in conſequence of this Story.
Cit. That's a ſtrange Family indeed!
Fr. Alas! it would be ſtrange if they ſhould be otherwiſe, in a Houſe where you have nothing but Luxury, Rioting, Gaming, Swearing and Drinking, all Day and all Night; Maſter and Miſtreſs, and Servants, all alike.
Cit. How could you think of tying your ſelf to ſuch a Family?
Fr. Nay, that Queſtion's unkind, after what I have ſaid to you already; the Thing is done and over, I told you the wretched Reaſon I had for it, the Buſineſs now is to tell you the Story.
Cit. I ask your Pardon, pray go on.
Fr. I liv'd here, as I tell you, near half a Year, till ſome Apartments which my Wife deſir'd to have added to my own Houſe were finiſh'd.
Cit. And were you not heartily tir'd of ſuch a heatheniſh Life?
Fr. Let me tell you, my Friend, with Sorrow, I really cannot ſay I was at firſt; and let all wiſe Men beware how they make an irreligious prophane Way of Living too familiar to them; I can aſſure them by ſad Experience, it is very dangerous, and they will run great riſque of their Principles; for Habits of Levity grow inſenſibly natural, ſapping the Foundation of all religious Inclination, and preparing the Mind to approve the Practice. I was new marry'd; the Circumſtance joyn'd with the Uſage of the Family, and it ſeem'd to be a time when Mirth and Diverſion might be reaſonably indulg'd.
Cit. That's true, but not ſo as to exclude Religion.
Fr. I know that very well; but what could I do? I was not Maſter of the Houſe, it was none of my Buſineſs there, to mind any thing but my private [Page 18] Duty, and it was too ſoon to begin to dictate to my Wife; and beſides, do I not confeſs to you, that my Heart was devour'd with Pleaſure, and engroſs'd with the Mirth and uſual Jollitry of the Occaſion, and that it began to make all their Levity natural to me? Do I not ſay, that every Man ſhould take heed of the Example? I am ſure it was a dreadful Example to me.
Cit. Well, but you were there but half a Year.
Fr. Do you ſay, BƲT half a Year, is that but a little Time to live without a Senſe of Duty, without Fear, as I may ſay, of God or Devil? But as if it were but a little Time, I muſt tell you it did not end there, I have worſe yet behind.
Cit. But pray let me interrupt you a little; did you never Diſcourſe with your Wife all that while about it, or enquire how ſhe lik'd it?
Fr. Yes, yes, I did; but I receiv'd poor ſorry empty Anſwers, ſuch as evidently ſhew'd ſhe made no great matter of it, and would never complain if ſhe liv'd ſo all her Days.
Cit. Well, but pray be particular in that part if you can.
Fr. Why, I'll give you a Paſſage or two; you muſt know, that for three or four Days while our Wedding was upon the Wheel, and a pretty many Friends in the Houſe, ſome of the neighbouring Clergy were continually there; either the Miniſter of the Pariſh, or of the next Pariſh, or a Gentleman's Chaplain that liv'd about a Mile off; and once or twice a Presbyterian Clergyman, who kept the Meetinghouſe in the Town, and to whom I found not Sir Richard . . . . . . only, but even the Miniſter of the Pariſh behav'd very reſpectfully; and as he was a Man of Worth and a very good Scholar, they were very intimate together. While theſe were there, as I ſaid, there was always ſome or other to ſay the [Page 19] Grace, as they call it, at Table. But as for Prayers at Night, that was never offer'd, or perhaps thought on. It happen'd at length we all ſat down to Table without a Chaplain, and as Sir Richard made no offer to ſtand up, ſo no ſooner was the Dinner ſet on, and the Ladies plac'd, but my Lady . . . . . . had her Knife in a boil'd Turkey, and we all fell to work as decently, and with as little regard to him whoſe Hand fill'd us, as any Pack of Hounds in the Country.
Cit. I never heard the like in my Life; and was it ſo always?
Fr. Conſtantly; never otherwiſe, except as before.
Cit. I thought there had been no ſuch People in the World, eſpecially among Proteſtants; nay, not a Papiſt, as ever I met with, would fall too, without croſſing the Table, which is in them an Acknowledgment to their Saviour for the Mercy of their Food.
Fr. Well, I aſſure you, there was nothing like it here:
Cit. And did you take no Notice of it?
Fr. Good Manners forbid it me at Table.
Cit. But methinks you ſhould have ſpoken to your Wife about it.
Fr. So I did, and you ſhall hear what I met with for my Labour: As I was really ſurpriz'd at the thing the firſt time, I mention'd it to my Wife at Night when we were alone, and which occaſion'd the following ſhort Diſcourſe. ‘
Husb. My Dear, ſaid I, was not ſomething wanting among us at Supper to Night?
Wife. Not as I know, ſays ſhe; what was wanting?
Husb. Nay, my Dear, ſaid I, 'tis none of my Buſineſs.
Wife. Well, but tell me what was wanting; for I can't imagine what you mean.
[Page 20] Husb. Won't you take it ill, my Dear, ſaid I, if I tell you?
Wife. No not I; what can it be that, I ſhould take it ill?
Husb. Why, did not we want a Chaplain?
Wife. Phoo, ſays ſhe, is that all?
Husb. Why, my Dear, ſays I, does Sir Richard never thank God for his Meat?
Wife. Nay, what do I know? we never trouble our Heads about thoſe things.
Husb. I confeſs I never ſaw it ſo before, and I have been in very good Families.
Wife. Then it may be they kept Chaplains?
Husb. No indeed, my Dear.
Wife. No! ſays ſhe, it's an odd thing for a Gentleman to meddle with it.
Husb. What, my Dear, to thank God for his daily Bread?
Wife. O! 'tis perfectly ungenteel to do it publickly; can't they mutter it to themſelves?
Husb. I am ſorry to differ from you, my Dear, ſaid I.
Wife. Well, ſays ſhe, I'll ſpeak to Sir Richard to morrow, and you ſhall have the Honour of being Chaplain.
Husb. No, my Dear, I hope you won't make what I ſaid to you ſo publick, it is no Buſineſs of mine.
’ Well, I was ſo unable to perſuade her, to forbear making a Jeſt of me, the next Day at the Table, that I was oblig'd to make an Excuſe to be abſent, both at Dinner and at Supper. And at Night again I own'd to her that was the Reaſon, and was forc'd to tell her plainly, I would not dine there again, unleſs ſhe would promiſe me not to ſpeak of it; which with much difficulty, at laſt, I prevail'd with her to do.
Cit. I would e'en have let her ſaid what ſhe would, [Page 21] and if ſhe had ſpoke of it, I would have own'd I was ſurpriz'd at it.
Fr. Well, you ſhall hear how ſhe ſerv'd me, and how handſomely ſhe was ſerv'd for it by her own Brother: She kept her Word with me about a Week; but one Evening, as we were at Supper, ſhe made a Motion to me, and ſeem'd to ſmile: I kept my Countenance as long as ſhe kept it from being taken Notice of; but ſhe took care to let Sir Richard ..... ſee her, who, as he was a merry Man, and full of good Humour, would needs know what the Matter was; ſhe points to me, Let him tell you, ſays ſhe, for he won't let me. Sir Richard preſs'd me, and I bluſh'd as red as the Colour of Blood would allow; at length my Wife ſaid, Nay, Mr. ...... it is not ſuch a mighty Thing, you may tell it. No, my Dear, ſaid I, I am ſure I ſhan't; and I am ſure you won't. This made the Caſe worſe, for they were doubly importunate then; and Sir Richard, who always thought it had been ſome little Jeſt or other, lays hold of his Siſter, and ſwore ſhe ſhould tell him. I interceeded with him and perſuaded him, told him ſhe had engag'd to me not to ſpeak of it, and I hop'd he would not make her break the firſt Promiſe that ever I ask'd her to make, ſince ſhe was my Wife. My Wife turn'd upon me, and would have me relinquiſh her Promiſe; I told her I could not; in a Word, it began to warm us on all Hands, and my Wife in particular, told me I us'd her ill. My Dear, ſaid I, 'tis very hard you ſhould ſay ſo, when you know you are only deſir'd to conceal one of my Faults. I know no Fault in it, ſays ſhe; and if it be, I deſire to conceal none of your Faults. But if you don't my Dear, ſaid I, you will expoſe [Page 22] me very much, for you will find I have a great many Faults worſe than this, that I hope no Body ſhall know but your ſelf. She was afraid I had, ſhe ſaid; and this had given her ſuch a Surfeit of me, that if the reſt were much worſe, ſhe was afraid they would give her a Vomit, that would bring up all her Love. My Dear, ſaid I, I hope that lies too deep for ſuch a ſlight Operation. I was going to ſay more, but I ſaw ſhe was in a Rage, ſo I forbore. She anſwered, I don't know whether it does or no; and with thoſe Words roſe from the Table and went up Stairs. Sir Richard. . . . . . the beſt humour'd Man in the World, run and took hold of her, ſwore ſhe ſhould not go, and drag'd her back a good way, but ſhe flung from him; I followed her, but ſhe was too nimble for me, and got into her Room, and with flinging the Door after her, and I too near her, ſtruck me on the Noſe, and ſet me a bleeding moſt violently. You may be ſure this Carriage and my Bleeding ſpoil'd our Mirth, and indeed our Supper; nor could my Lady. . . . . or another Siſter prevail with her to come out of her Chamber, or let me in for ſome Hours; indeed, when ſhe heard of my Bleeding, and had opened the Door after I was gone down, and ſeen how much I had bleed upon the Stair-head before a Servant could be call'd with a Baſon and Towel, ſhe was much concerned, and ſent her Maid down to ſee how I did. In the Interim of this Sir Richard, who appeared very much concern'd at what had had happen'd, came to me, and ſmiling ſaid, Brother, I am very ſorry that I ſhould be inſtrumental to put my Siſter out of Humour, eſpecially with you; and I muſt acknowledge, I never knew her ſo much out in her Behaviour in my Life. [Page 23] Sir, ſaid I, it would have been no Trouble to me, if it had not been that the Thing itſelf was from ſomething I had fooliſhly let fall, which if ſhe had told in her Way, would have made you think me wanting in my Reſpect to you, which of all Things in the World I would give no occaſion for, having been treated ſo obligingly by you, ever ſince I had the Honour to be related to you. Come Brother, ſays Sir Richard, here's my Hand and my Word, it ſhall move no ſuch Imaginations in me; beſides, I would not have preſs'd her, if I had thought in the leaſt it had related to me. Indeed Sir Richard, ſaid I, it had not the leaſt Diſreſpect in it to you; yet I freely own, I ſhould not have ſaid it, no not to my own Wife. And I freely own, ſays he, my Siſter is in the wrong if it be ſo, for it's hard a Man cannot ſpeak a Word in his Bed-Chamber to his own Wife, but ſhe muſt betray him; O theſe Wives, ſays he ſmiling, are ſuch Boſom Friends! There's my Wife, ſays he, pointing to his Lady, is juſt ſuch another Privy-Counſel-keeper. Well, Sir Richard. . . . . . . ſaid I, however, I heartily ask your Pardon for what I ſaid, whether ſhe tells it or not; and I acknowledge it was what did not become me to ſay, nor was it any of my Buſineſs. Says Sir Richard, Let it be what it will, and whether I know it or no, I give you my Promiſe, Brother, I will not take any thing ill from you. Come, ſays my Lady, who ſat by all this while, my Brother makes more of it than he needs, and his Modeſty in it is too much his own Diſadvantage; I have the Secret, and he ſhall give me leave to tell it; I aſſure you, Sir Richard, neither you or I have any Reaſon to take it ill, tho' I muſt blame my Siſter too. Upon this my Lady told the Story; and told it like one that had more Senſe of the Reproof than I expected. [Page 22] [...] [Page 23] [...] [Page 24] And was this all? ſays Sir Richard ..... Come, Brother, ſays he, I am far from taking it ill; your Remark was very juſt, and I aſſure you, I am very ſenſible I ought not to do ſo; but we are a wicked Crew, and have been ſo from Father to Son; I don't know when I ſhall mend. But this I'll tell you, I'll convince my Siſter to Morrow that ſhe has been much in the wrong to you; and I'll promiſe you I'll take your Admonition too. Sir, ſaid I, all this is the Conſequence of Sir Richard's being a Man of the beſt Temper in the World, but ſtill it was no Buſineſs of mine. Come, come, ſaid Sir Richard, let's talk no more of it. This paſs'd on; we ſpent the Evening well enough, but no Wife appear'd, neither was ſhe to be ſpoke with till almoſt Bed-time. When I had Admittance, ſhe made me a Bow, ask'd me how I did? ſaid ſhe was ſorry the Door ſtruck me, and behav'd mighty mannerly, but not a bit kindly; ſhe hardly knew how to differ with me; we had not been long enough married to know how to manage a Broil, ſo we carry'd it aukwardly and ſhy; I went to her and kiſs'd her; ſhe made me a Curteſy as if I had been a Stranger ſaluting her; and thus it paſs'd off till the next Day. In the Morning ſhe asked me if I intended to dine from her again? I ſaid, No my Dear, and ſmil'd, at which ſhe ſeem'd very well pleas'd. At Dinner-time, being all come into the Room, and juſt going to ſit down, Hold, ſays Sir Richard . . . . turning to his Siſter, to let you ſee that I take very kindly from my Brother what you took ſo ill, I aſſure you we will dine no more without a Chaplain; upon which very gravely, and in very handſome decent Expreſſions, he asked God's Bleſſing, not giving his Siſter Leave to reply. I could eaſily ſee my Wife was ſurpriz'd, but ſhe could not imagine which Way her Secret came out. [Page 25] After Dinner Sir Richard . . . . ſtood up, and return'd Thanks with the ſame Gravity, and immediately my Wife offer'd to withdraw. Sir Richard, who happen'd to ſit next her, caught hold of her; Siſter, ſays he, I hope you are not angry ſtill? No, no, ſays ſhe, Mr. — ought to have the telling of his Secrets himſelf; tho' he need not have ty'd me up ſo cloſely in what he reſolv'd to tell himſelf; but Wives muſt be ſubject. I was going to ſpeak; Pray Brother, ſays Sir Richard, leave it to me; it's my Quarrel, and I'll have no Seconds. Indeed Siſter, ſays he, it's bad to be miſtaken once, but you have the Misfortune to be twice wrong; for THERE's the falſe Siſter that told your Story, pointing to his Lady, and whether ſhe had it from my Brother or you, none knows better than your ſelf. She was going to Reply, when Sir Richard put in thus; ‘'I have but one Requeſt to you Siſter, ſays he, and that is, that you will never ſpeak a Word of the Unkindneſs of it, as you call it, on either Hand; I am ſo far from taking it ill, that I am more glad it happen'd, than if you had given me 500 l: Why Siſter, continued he, tho' I am looſe enough and wicked enough in other Things, yet do we not all own that GOD gives us our Daily Bread? And I think we ſhould always ask him Leave to eat it, and thank him when we have done; and you ſhall never find me omit it again.’ My Wife gave him no Anſwer, but got away as ſoon as ſhe could, went to her Chamber and ſat and cry'd for two Hours, and afterwards was well humour'd enough; and we never heard any more of that Matter afterwards. But now, as I told you, our Houſe being finiſh'd, we prepar'd to Remove, and here began my Difficulty; the looſe profane Life we had led began to be too familiar to me; and this join'd with the [Page 26] Diſcouragements of a Wife that I knew had no Taſte of religious Things, made me cold in the Matter of my Duty, and we began to live juſt as we did before. It continued thus above four Months; at laſt an odd Accident, as my Wife call'd it, but a wonderful good Providence to me, as I call'd it, gave a Turn to us, a Way by which I had the leaſt Expectation of any ſuch Thing; for it made my Wife, tho' without the leaſt Affection to the thing, be the firſt Mover of it to me.
Cit. That was a happy Turn indeed.
Fr. My Wife had an old Uncle, her Father's own Brother, who was a Miniſter, and who lived farther in the Country, who about this Time came to our Town to ſee us; he had been a Week or two at Sir Richard's, and then came to ſee his Neice, my Wife, and to ſtay three or four Days, as was his Cuſtom; he was rich, and had no Heirs but my Wife and her Siſter; and as ſhe expects a good Lift from him when he dies, ſhe was mighty obſervant and reſpectful to him. The old Gentleman being come, and Preparations being made for his Lodging, my Wife comes to me in the Evening.

My Dear, ſays ſhe, we muſt be wonderful Religious now for two or three Days, for this old Gentleman will make us all come to Prayers every Night and Morning; it may be you won't like it, but we muſt not diſoblige him.

How diſoblige him my Dear, ſays I, I do not underſtand you?

Why, ſays ſhe, if we ſhould not comply and ſeem very well pleas'd, he will be very uneaſy, and think we are all Heathens.

Will he ſo, my Dear, ſaid I, then he will have the ſame Thoughts of us, that I think we ought to have [Page 27] of our ſelves; for indeed I think we do live worſe than Heathens.

Wife. Well, it's no matter for that; we muſt not let him think ſo; and therefore I told you of it before-hand.
Husb. My Dear, if he will call us all to Family Prayer, I wiſh he would come and live with us all his Days.
Wife. What do you want a Chaplain again? why can't you do't your ſelf?
Husb. I wiſh you would ſay ſo much in earneſt, as I am ſatisfy'd you do in jeſt.
Wife. Why let me be in earneſt or in jeſt, I never hindered you; you may take Orders and turn Parſon can't you, and then ſaying your Prayers will be but Part of your Trade, as it is my Uncle's?
Husb. My Dear, I doubt you are but ill prepar'd to be a Miniſter's Wife.
Wife. Not half ſo well as to be a Miniſter's Widow; I'd anſwer for the ſecond Venture.
Well, I laid up her Words in my Heart, (viz.) I never hindered you, and it began to be a very weighty Reflection to me, (viz.) That the Neglect of my Duty in my Family had been not my Wife's Fault ſo much as my own; and that tho' I knew ſhe had no Sence of Religion upon her Mind, and did not ſpeak of her hindering me from any Willingneſs to have it done, yet ſtill it was true, ſhe had not actually oppoſed me, for I had never offer'd it; and it had been my Duty firſt to have propoſed it to her, to have endeavour'd to perſuade her, and prevail with her to conſent to it; and at laſt, if ſhe had refuſed, to have put it out of her Power to have hindered me, and have perform'd it whether ſhe would or no. Upon a ſerious Reflection in this Manner on the Neglect of my own Duty, and how juſtly ſhe had reproach'd me with her not having hindered me, I reſolved that as this good Man was likely to begin ſetting [Page 28] up good Order and Worſhip of GOD in my Houſe, I would endeavour to keep it up when he was gone: And another Circumſtance happened to make this Work eaſier to me than I expected. It happened that our Uncle the Miniſter had not been two Days in the Houſe, but he was taken very Lame of the Gout; and after that had lock'd him in for near two Months, he fell into an Ague, which held him almoſt two more; ſo that we had his Company near four Months, to my great Satisfaction, and no leſs to the Affliction of my Wife. The good old Man being Lame, as above, call'd me to him one Morning, and told me he deſir'd to ſpeak with me; when he began very ſeriouſly to talk with me upon the Subject of Family Worſhip, and we talk'd of it in the following Manner. ‘
Min. Couſin, ſaid the old Father, I ſeem to be caſt upon you here by GOD's Providence, and being a Miniſter, I have a little taken the Work of Family Prayer out of your Hand; but hope you will not take it ill that I tell you, that you muſt not look upon your ſelf as excuſed in that Caſe, for as you are the Maſter of the Family, I ought to leave you a Part of the Day to perform that Duty your ſelf; and ſo I would have you tell me which is the moſt convenient for you, Morning or Evening, and I'll take which Part of the Day you pleaſe.
’ I was never ſo confounded in all my Life; all my Blood in my Body ſeem'd to fly up in my Face, and I ſtood like one ſtruck Dumb; I could not ſpeak a Word to him for a long while; the old Gentleman perceiving my Diſorder, but not gueſſing at the Meaning or Reaſon of it, went on thus: Pray Couſin, ſaid he, do not be uneaſy that I take upon me to hint to you what I think is your Duty; it is not that I believe you do not do it, but that perhaps [Page 29] you may think the Charge devolv'd upon me while I am in your Houſe. I was ſtill in Confuſion, and my own Convictions crowding in upon me, I preſently had a little Battle in my Thoughts; between the honeſt Deſire of confeſſing the Truth to him, and the hypocritical Pride of paſſing for a better Chriſtian than I was; however, at length the better Side prevail'd, and I ſaid to may ſelf, Who knows but this good Man may be an Inſtrument to bring my Wife to promote th [...] good Work which I have ſo long deſir'd, and which hitherto ſhe has ſuch a manifeſt A verſion to? Upon this Reſolution I turn'd pretty quick upon him,

Alas! Sir, ſaid I, you are unhappily miſtaken in us.

Min. Miſtaken in you, Couſin! How do you mean?
Maſt. Why, Sir, as to the Management of our Family.
Min. Dear Couſin, I do not intermeddle with your Family Affairs; I only ſpeak about your praying to GOD, I hope every good Man does that in his Family.
Maſt. Indeed, Sir, I believe every Man but I do; but I am oblig'd to confeſs—
Here I made ſome Stop, for indeed I was aſham'd to go on.
Min. Not pray, Couſin! what not pray with your Family? it cannot be!
Maſt. I wiſh, Sir, ſaid I, you would ſpeak to your Neice about it.
Min. Nay Couſin, ſays the good Man ſmiling, do not be Adam, do not be Adam; your Wife cannot bear the Blame, for 'tis your Duty, and ſhe cannot hinder.
Here, however, I took occaſion to lay before him the Truth of my Caſe, the Temper of my Wife, how much it had been my Snare; and that tho' it was indeed my Duty, yet that being thus diſcouraged, I [Page 30] had yielded to the Temptation; but told him alſo what an Affliction it had been to me; and tho' it was true that my Wife's Averſion ought not to be any Hindrance, yet I beg'd he would join his Help, and endeavour to bring my Wife to encourage it, and be Aſſiſtant in it if poſſible. He promiſed me he would; and the next Day he was as good as his Word, as far as his Skill could reach; but how little Succeſs he had upon her in the Main, you ſhall hear; their Dialogue however, was of great Uſe to me in what happen'd afterwards, as you ſhall hear. Our good religious Uncle had muſed, as he afterwards told me, almoſt all Night, how he ſhould begin with my Wife in ſo nice an Affair, as to bring her into the Thing without diſguſting her; for he found ſhe was none of thoſe who had much of Religion upon her Mind; and after he had reſolved upon his Method, he takes occaſion in the Morning, as ſhe waited on him to give him ſome Chocolate, to enter into Talk with her; and began thus. ‘
Min. Neice, ſays he, why do you bring it up your ſelf, why don't you let a Servant do it?
Neice. Sir, becauſe I love to wait upon you; I think 'tis my Duty.
Min. That's a rare Principle in Religion, Couſin; if we could but love every thing that was our Duty we ſhould be excellent Chriſtians.
Here the Miniſter ſtops, and makes a ſilent ejaculatory Prayer as a Grace, &c. to his Chocolate.
Neice. Dear Sir, ſays ſhe, we never ſay Grace to Chocolate or Tea.
Min. No Child! why who gives you the Chocolate and Tea?
Neice. Nay, that's true, but we never mind it; beſides, 'tis not the Faſhion, no Body does it, as ever I heard of.
[Page 31] Min. It may be he that gives them their dally Bread, is not the ſame that gives them Chocolate and Tea; that is to ſay, they do not think ſo.
Neice. It would look very oddly in Company.
Min. I am no Phariſee, Couſin, nor do I encourage any one to be ſingular; but if we are to acknowledge God's Goodneſs in all his Mercies, we have no Rule to take more Notice of one than another. But as to the looking oddly, I confeſs, in theſe odd Times it does ſo, and therefore where I think it will be cenſur'd as Hypocritical, or making an out-ſide Shew of Religion, I do it ſo ſilently and unperceiv'd, as to give no Man that Advantage. But I muſt tell you, Neice, that even in that which ſome call Modeſty, I reproach my ſelf with acting as if I was aſham'd of worſhipping God, which is my known Duty.
Neice. Why, Sir, in this Caſe, as it is not the Faſhion, it would be cenſur'd.
Min. Truly, Neice, I know it; but I think it is a ſad Caſe, that what is our unqueſtioned Duty ſhould be ſo unfaſhionable. I thi [...] the Office of a Clergyman will be at this rate ſoon at an end in this Nation, for Religion grows out of Faſhion apace; it will be out of Faſhion, perhaps, quickly, to pray to GOD at all.
Neice. No, Sir, I hope we ſhall always go to Church.
Min. Well, Child, but muſt we pray to GOD no where but at Church? Are not our Families and Cloſets to be Oratories and Places of Prayer, as well as the Church, and do not all good Chriſtians ſeek God there?
Neice. They ſhould do ſo to be ſure, Sir.
Min. Ay, ay, and it is there that I ſay Religion grows unfaſhionable, and I am afraid will grow quite out of Faſhion in this Nation; and if GOD ſhould, according to the Text, pour out his Fury upon all the [Page 32] Families in England, that call not upon his Name, I fear it would be as near to a univerſal Judgment as any thing that was ever heard of in the World.
Neice. I don't know indeed how it is.
Min. Nay, Couſin, I do not ſpeak of your Family, I hope your Husband knows his Duty better, than not to pray to GOD in his Family.
Here ſhe was hard put to it, ſhe was loath to ſay yes, becauſe it was not true; and loath to accuſe her Husband, and which was worſe to her, afraid to diſoblige her Ʋncle, for fear of the Money; ſo ſhe paus'd a good while, and did not ſay a word.
Min. I am very ſorry, NEICE, ſays the Miniſter, obſerving her Silence, that I ſeem to examine into a thing, which perhaps you are not willing to be free in; but my End is only, as it always is, to do you good.
Neice. Sir, we are but young Houſe-keepers yet, and Mr. . . . . . is not thoroughly ſettled; but you ſee, I believe, he is very glad of the Occaſion of your performing it for him.
Min. Well but, Neice, ſhall I ſpeak freely to you, I may not care perhaps to be ſo free to him? I hope you will think it your Duty to prompt him, and to perſuade him to it; he ſeems to be of a ſober religious Diſpoſition, and a Word from you perhaps, would do more good than you are aware of.
Neice. I don't hinder him.
Min. But, Child, that is not enough, your Duty is to urge and preſs him to it.
Neice. Sir, I am not to ſet up for my Husband's Director.
Min. Do not think to excuſe your ſelf by that nicety; you are mutually to provoke one another to Love and to good Works; you are to uſe the Power of Perſuaſion, Entreaty, and all agreeable Importunities [Page 33] to bring him, if you can, to do his Duty; if you prevail, he will thank you for it afterwards.
Neice. He won't mind what I ſay.
Min. You do not know that; come, Neice, you muſt not put it off with ſuch ſlight Anſwers; I am ſerious, that it is your Duty to perſuade him to his, if you can do it.
Neice. I can go but a little way, Sir, to perſuade him: if it is his Duty, why does he not do it, I do not hinder him?
Min. I wiſh you would tell me how you are ſure of that? I know, my Dear, that ſince my Siſter, your Mother, died, and you have been in Sir Richard's Family, you have not had much good Example; but I can aſſure you, your Mother liv'd after another manner; and tho' ſhe had not the Succeſs which her Endeavours deſerv'd, and could never bring old Sir Richard, your Father, to any Senſe of his Duty; yet ſhe never fail'd to perſuade him to it: and when ſhe could get no more of him, ſhe prevail'd on him to keep a Chaplain; and ſo the Worſhip of GOD was ſet up in the Family by Proxy, which I think to be the worſt way, tho' he would not do it himſelf.
Neice. I was ſo young then, I remember nothing of it.
Min. Now, my Dear, you ſay you do not hinder your Husband; you know that Brute, my Nephew, (excuſe me, Couſin) minds nothing of Religion; and this Gentleman taking you out of ſuch a heatheniſh Family, may think that you are like your Brother, Sir Richard . . . . . . . which I ſhould be very ſorry for; and he may think, that praying to GOD and Family-Worſhip, may be things as little agreeable to you, as they would be to your Brother: and if you have not told him otherwiſe, this may be the Reaſon why it is not done; and thus it may be plain, that you may have hinder'd him.
[Page 34] Neice. Nay, we never had any talk about it.
Min. Why, I'll give you a like Caſe; you know Sir Richard and I never agreed, he hated I ſhould be in the Houſe, becauſe I always call'd to Prayers: and I hated to be in his Houſe, becauſe I ſaw he had no Taſte of Religion, and therefore you know I left it; and yet Sir Richard may ſay as you ſay of your Huſband, that he never hinder'd me; it is a Miſtake, he did hinder me. Now, my dear Child, if you have hinder'd your Husband the Sin is at your Door, and therefore I entreat you, do not hinder him any more.
Neice. No indeed, Sir, I won't hinder him.
Min. Well, but that is not enough, Child; will you perſwade him?
Neice. I can't talk to him of ſuch things.
Min. Well, Child, I'll take that part off of your Hands; are you willing I ſhould talk to him? for I have a great mind to do it for all your ſakes.
Neice. What you pleaſe, Sir.
Min. And ſhall I tell him, that you are very willing that he ſhould ſet up the Worſhip of GOD in his Houſe?
Neice. Yes, Sir, if you pleaſe.
Min. Methinks, Neice, you ſpeak coldly of it, as if it was a mighty indifferent thing to you, or a thing you had rather ſhould be let alone, you muſt ſpeak plain to me, my Dear, or I ſhall take it for diſſembling.
Neice. No, Sir, I don't diſſemble.
Min. Well, ſhall I tell him you are ſenſible it is his Duty, and that you are very deſirous of it?
Neice. Yes, Sir.
’ Here the Miniſter broke off, he ſaw her dull, ignorant, and without any Reliſh of what he had ſaid, and that the Anſwers ſhe had made were, as it were extorted from her, not at all Natural, or ſpoken with any Freedom; and ſo he, told me when we talk'd. [Page 35] However, Couſin, ſays he, I have made the way clear for you to begin that Work, which is your Duty; and I hope you will have no Obſtruction from your Wife. This good Man ſtay'd, as I told you, about four Months, and when he began to be well again, he prepar'd to go Home; but the Evening before he went away, he call'd me to him, and as my Wife was ſitting by him before, he directed his Speech to us both—He made a ſhort, but very ſignificant Diſcourſe, of the Neceſſity and Advantage of a religious Family-Government, an orderly Houſhold, and the ſhewing juſt Examples to our Servants and Children; and the Duty upon Maſters of Families to worſhip GOD in a publick manner, for the Advantage, Example, and Encouragement of all under their Roof—And after this he turn'd to me, and with a kind of an Air of Reproof, but very reſpectful, he put me in mind, how the weight of all his Diſcourſe was upon me; that I was the Head of the Family, and anſwerable for the Government and Management of it, as well Civil as Religious. I know, Couſin, ſays he, you are but new marry'd, and perhaps your Wife and you may not yet have enquired of one another, what of this kind may be your Duty: But as I have taken upon me to preſs you to this Work, as your Duty, I take it upon me likewiſe to anſwer for your Wife, that ſhe will not be any Hindrance to you; nay, ſhe has own'd to me, that ſhe is deſirous of it, and will do all that lies in her to encourage you in it. I made him a Bow, and told him, I was very glad of it; that indeed I had always been educated in a religious Family, and that I had never omitted my Duty in that Matter till ſince I was marry'd; but however, that I did not in the leaſt charge the Neglect upon my Wife. I told him it was true, that I never had propos'd it to her, and ſo I did not know her Sentiments [Page 36] of thoſe things; but I acknowledg'd that was my Fault, and that I was exceeding glad that ſhe had ſo happily prevented me; and that ſince ſhe deſir'd it of me, I was ſure I never willingly deny'd her any thing ſhe deſir'd, much leſs ſhould I do it in a thing that was as much my Inclination as my Duty. I aſſure you, Couſin, ſaid he, your Wife deſires it, and gave me leave to tell you ſo; I hope ſhe will confirm what I ſay; Do you not, Neice, ſays he turning to her? At which ſhe made a Bow to him, as her Conſent; but I thought then I ſaw a kind of Contempt in her Countenance of the whole Diſcourſe, and particularly, of that Part, of her being deſirous of it; at which I ſaw ſhe plainly ſmil'd. However, in a word, the good Man made us both promiſe, that as he had been our Chaplain now for four Months, and brought the Servants to a Courſe of good Order and Family-Worſhip, that now it ſhould be conſtantly kept up. For my part, I never made a Promiſe with greater Satisfaction in my Life, and thought my ſelf gotten over the greateſt Difficulty that ever was upon me, (viz.) of bringing my Wife to conſent. But I little thought how much I was miſtaken. When my Wife was gone, I thank'd the good Gentleman very ſincerely, and told him how glad I was of the Step he had taken; yet I own'd to him, that I thought my Wife had come into it rather to oblige him, than from any ſincere Regard to the Duty it ſelf. I ſee that plainly, Couſin, ſaid he, but do you go on; it is your Part to do your Duty, whether ſhe likes, or conſents or not. And beſides, ſaid he, you do not know, but in time ſhe may be convinc'd, as I hope ſhe will. At which he repeated theſe words, How knoweſt thou, O Man, but thou mayeſt gain thy Wife. And thus we ended this Diſcourſe. [Page 37] The next Day our good Chaplain being gone; as my Wife and I was ſitting together after Dinner, I ſaid to her; Well, my Dear, do you remember what we promis'd to do to Night, are you of the ſame Mind?

What Mind, ſaid ſhe?

Why, that we ſhould keep up the Order of the Houſe, and go to Prayer every Night and Morning.

Ay, ay, ſays ſhe, I am juſt in the ſame Mind now as I was then.

Well, ſays I, then I will perform my Promiſe [...] well as I can, it ſhall not be wanting on my part; and the more willingly, becauſe, as you ſaid you were deſirous of the Performance, I doubt not you will bear with the Meanneſs of the Performance.

I deſirous of it! ſays ſhe?

Yes, ſaid I, did you not ſay you were?

Wife. Not I; it's true, I made a Bow and ſaid nothing, becauſe I would not anger the old Parſon; but I never ſaid I was deſirous of it.
Husb. I am very ſorry you ſhould ſtrive to come off of a thing which it was ſo much your Honour that you conſented to it, and my double Satisfaction, that I thought you had deſired it.
Wife. I wonder you ſhould make ſuch a-do about theſe things, I never trouble my Head about them; but ſince the old Man would have it ſo, you know I muſt not diſoblige him.
Husb. I am ſorry you have no other Motive; however, I hope you have nothing to ſay againſt praying to GOD: and you know, it is not only my Duty but my Promiſe.
Wife. Well then, you may do your Duty, and keep your Promiſe; I do not hinder it, as I know of.
This was but a cold way of beginning: However, as I had promiſed, I call'd up my People together in the Evening, and as well as I could, did my Duty.
[Page 38] Cit. That was right, and I hope your Wife came into it with more willingneſs in ſome time after.
Fr. Quite the contrary; and this is the Grievance I wanted to tell you of: For my Wife and I, that liv'd the moſt pleaſant and agreeable Life in the World before, have hardly enjoy'd an Hour of peaceable Converſation ſince; ſhe is the uneaſieſt Creature living; ſhe ſees that this religious way of living is quite different from her former Temper; ſhe tells me, ſhe is brought quite our of her Element; her Delight is in Company, Cards, the Play, and all the gay Things of the Times; ſhe wants to come to London all the Winter Seaſon, and go back in the Country only for a little Shade in the Heat of Summer; ſhe treats Religion with the utmoſt Contempt; ſhe hates the melancholy Life we lead; ſhe tells me, ſhe thinks if I reſolve to live thus, ſhe'll go to London with Sir Richard, when he goes up to the Parliament, and I may ſtay at home and pray for them.
Cit. Well, but how does ſhe behave as to the Duty it ſelf? I hope ſhe complies with the Form of it, and is Decent in the Time of Worſhip.
Fr. Truly hardly, ſhe is ſilent indeed, and that's all. But ſhe will ſit when we kneel, reading in ſome other Book while we ſing Pſalms; nay, and ſometimes continue Reading while we are Praying: And it ſeems a Favour if ſhe only ſleeps, and gives me no Uneaſineſs but her ſnoring.
Cit. How can you have Patience with her?
Fr. When I have perform'd the Duty ſhe'll Banter it in a moſt profane manner; ask me why I did not pray for a better Wife; tell me, I forgot to pray for ſuch a Thing and ſuch a Thing; and in ſhort, ſhe lets the whole Houſe ſee that ſhe hates the Duty, and undervalues the Performance. I told her, if ſhe did not like my Performance I would keep her a Chaplain. No, no, ſays ſhe, then [Page 39] we ſhall have no Sport, I take it to be an excellent Opera; all the Grievance to me is, that it is a little too often; beſides ſuch as this, ſhe will frequently mix ſuch profane Stuff with her Banter, that ſometimes ſhe talks Words I dare not repeat, and indeed downright Blaſphemy.
Cit. And could you go on with the Performance under all this?
Fr. Indeed I have been often at the Point of giving it quite over; I have thought that Charity is ſo abſolutely neceſſary to every Chriſtian Duty, that I neither could perform it with Profit to my ſelf, or Profit to thoſe that heard me without it.
Cit. I will not ſay as to Profit, but I do not ſee it poſſible to perform it with Compoſure, when we know they that hear us are not equally affected with it.
Fr. Much more when we know they Deſpiſe and Contemn it.
Cit. Very true, it is my own Caſe exactly; and as this was what I meant when I told you I knew one whoſe Circumſtances were like yours; ſo I muſt acknowledge it has made your Relation exceeding pleaſant to me.
Fr. I am very ſorry, that what is my Affliction ſhould be your Diverſion; I am ſure it has been a very unpleaſant Circumſtance to me.
Cit. You miſtake me very much, it has not been pleaſant to hear that you have been under ſuch a ſevere Affliction; but it was a great Pleaſure to me, to find a dear Friend in a Caſe, from which I was ſo likely to receive Inſtruction, Comfort and Advice in my own, which is almoſt the ſame in every Circumſtance, and in which I have been ſo much at a loſs how to behave, that I have neither known what to do, or who to go to for Advice.
Fr. I am ſure, if your Caſe is like mine, you need no other Affliction.
[Page 40] Cit. Mine differs in nothing but ſuch Particulars in which it is much worſe.
Fr. That can hardly be, for mine has broke the Peace of my Mind and the Peace of my Family too: I confeſs, I have a little recover'd the firſt, but the laſt I believe will be never recover'd:
Cit. My Mind and Family too are in the utmoſt Diſtraction, and I ſee no way for reſtoring either of them.
Fr. Well, but deſpair of nothing, GOD can reſtore both.
Cit. That's true; but there is a Circumſtance or two in mine that, as I ſaid, makes it worſe than yours, and that is in this Particular, (viz.) that there is leſs hope of recovering mine than there is of yours.
Fr. You will have ſome Difficulty to make me ſenſible of that; can any thing be more hard to reclaim than an original Atheiſt, one bred without the Knowledge of GOD, and reſolving never to learn to know him?
Cit. Yes, yes, a great deal, (viz.) a harden'd Hypocrite, who is paſt the Power of Conviction, and arriv'd to ſuch a Pitch in the Pretences to Religion, as to make it a Cloak of Maliciouſneſs.
Fr. They are gone far indeed, but I know not which are the worſt; what can be worſe than A DESPISER, a Scoffer at every thing that is ſerious, that neither looks up or looks in, that mocks her Maker, and mocks all thoſe that ſerve him; that ſays to the Almighty, Depart from us, we deſire not the Knowledge of thy Ways?
Cit. Yes, another ſort, (viz.) thoſe who are Phariſaically religious, and ſay to every one, ſtand off, I am holier than thou; That can ſay of a Husband or a Relation, with the Pride of their own Performances, GOD, I thank thee, I am not as this Publican; that trample upon every one's Sincerity and Humility as [Page 41] an Imperfection, and think no Pattern imitable but their own: Theſe are they of whom our bleſſed Lord ſaid, they were like painted Sepulchers, full of Rottenneſs and Putrefaction within. And this is the Caſe in my Houſe exactly, and therefore I ſaid it was worſe than yours.
Fr. You ſurpriſe me very much, I think it's your Turn now, pray let me hear the Particulars of your Caſe.
Cit. You ſhall, but it is a very melancholy Story.
Here he repeats to him all the Particulars relating to himſelf and his Wife, as they ſtand in the beginning of this Dialogue.
Fr. Indeed yours is a melancholy thing, and in one Particular goes beyond mine for the preſent; but mine is coming fairly up after it.
Cit. In one Particular do you ſay? I think it is worſe in many Particulars. It is worſe in what I ſaid above, that I think my Wife will be harder to reclaim than yours; becauſe ſhe pretends at leaſt to think her ſelf already in the right, and that I am the Profligate and the Enemy to Religion. Your Wife cannnot think ſhe is right, only carries it on upon the Foot of an entire Neglect of Right or Wrong; not being touch'd with any Conviction, but being juſt in the original State we ſhould all have been in, but for the Advantages of a better Education; there's all the Room for the Grace of GOD to work in that can be expected; nay, ſuch are the proper Field in which GOD is often pleaſed to diſplay the Glory of redeeming Mercy and the Soveraignty of his Grace: When thou wert caſt out to the Loathing of thy Perſon, when thou wert in thy Blood, I ſaid unto thee, Live. But Phariſaical Hypocrites ſeem to be the Abhorrence even of the Spirit of GOD, and it is at leaſt very rarely that ſuch are brought back.
Fr. You go very far in the Caſe of your Wife.
[Page 42] Cit. I aſſure you I do her no Wrong, I rather conceal and cover her Behaviour than make it worſe: But then I have two Circumſtances more which make my Caſe worſe than yours. 1. My Children are grown up, ſo far at leaſt as to diſtinguiſh themſelves in the Debate; and Three of them out of Five, take part with their Mother, prepoſſeſs'd by her deluding Tongue, and by the Advantage ſhe has, of being always with them, and wheedling and crying to them; ſo that they carry it almoſt as inſolently to me as my Wife, and eſpecially in this part, of deſpiſing and ſcorning the needful Union which the Duty of our Family calls for.
Fr. Well, and what is the other?
Cit. Why, the other is the greateſt Affliction to me of all the reſt (viz.) that by this abuſive brutiſh Behaviour of my Wife and Children, my Family is quite unhing'd, all Appearance of Order and Duty is loſt, my Servants and my other Children are let looſe to the World, and are like Sheep without a Shepherd, like People without Government, we have no Worſhip of GOD among us; my Wife and her three Children go up Stairs, and there ſhe pretends to pray and read with them by her ſelf, as if her Husband was a Heathen, her other Children Out-caſts, and her Family Reprobates, and I am quite diſtracted between the Senſe of my Duty and the Impoſſibility of performing it.
Fr. Hark ye, my Friend, this is a ſad Caſe 'tis true, but give me leave to tell you that this is not really ſo much Matter for your Affliction as of your Repentance; for I ſee little or nothing in all this but what lies at your own Door, and is in your Power to rectify, and which you muſt ſet to work immediately to rectify, or your Family will be ruin'd and undone, and your ſelf too.
Cit. What can I do? Can I reform a perverſe Woman? [Page 43] Can I reduce an obſtinate Temper? Am I in GOD's ſtead! Can I convince a Hypocrite, whoſe Pride fortifies her againſt Reaſon or Scripture, and whoſe Vanity makes her deſpiſe Reproof? How can you have ſo little Charity as to ſay, it all lies at my Door?
Fr. But, my Friend, do not be full of your own Caſe; I do not ſay you can work upon your Wife; and I acknowledge what you ſaid, that ſuch a Temper is harder to be touch'd than any other; ſpiritual Pride is the ſtrongeſt Fortreſs of the Devil in our Hearts, and which he is hardeſt to be beaten out of; this is not what I ſpoke of; but what is this to your doing your own Duty?
Cit. How can I do my Duty in ſuch a Circumſtance? And what is my Duty? I told you the Argument I uſed at firſt; I cannot think it is my Duty to throw Pearls before Swine, who will turn again and rent me.
Fr. Come, my Dear Friend, let me tell you, this was my Temptation, as it has been yours, but I bleſs GOD I got over it; your great Miſtake has been, that you went out into the Fields, as you ſaid, and conſulted with your Enemy; had you look'd into your own Conſcience, or into the Word of GOD, the faithful Counſellors of all that ſincerely conſult with them, you would have found the Difference; you conſulted your Paſſions, your Reſentment, and the juſt Cauſe your Wife had given you to be angry; and the Devil, who watches all Advantages, took you by the right Handle; and thus you argued your ſelf out of your Duty, inſtead of arguing your ſelf into it.
Cit. Why, what could I do? Was it not enough to provoke the calmeſt Man alive to a Paſſion?
Fr. I'll allow that too; but remember this, whoever he is, that when (tho' by the moſt injurious Treatment) provok'd, ſhall conſult with his own Paſſions only, [Page 44] he ſhall be ſure to be wrong; you ſhould have ſummon'd your Reaſon; you ſhould have conſulted Conſcience; in a Word, you ſhould have looked up to GOD for Direction what to do.
Cit. That is true, I confeſs it; but I do not now ſee after all my Paſſion is over, what I could do?
Fr. I know, if I ſhould tell you the Courſe I took, you will anſwer, that my Caſe is not like yours, and perhaps it is not; but you do not know but the ſame Method purſued in your Caſe, might have brought with it ſecret Inſtruction, equal to your Difficulty, as it did to mine.
Cit. I ſhall be willing to take any Advice, for my Caſe is indeed deplorable; I have no Peace Night nor Day, to ſee the Ruin of my Family, and to live in a conſtant Breach of known Duty.
Fr. Why, as I told you, my Temptation was the ſame with yours; and perhaps the Arguments againſt my Duty were ſtronger, for I had no Family, no Children but one half a Year old; ſo it naturally offer'd to me thus, Why let her alone, if ſhe will be a Heathen, and die like a Heathen, what can I do? I muſt retire my ſelf; ſeeing ſhe will not let me pray with her, I muſt pray by my ſelf, and pray for her; and wait the Time when it may pleaſe GOD to reclaim her, and then I may ſet up Family-Worſhip again: This went a great way with me, and I argued juſt as you did, that it was not my Duty to offer the Worſhip of GOD to the Contempt of a Scoffer; that there could be no Compoſure, no Engagement of the Affections, no Energy in Prayer, where I knew I was ridicul'd and laugh'd at by her that ſhould join with me; and, in a Word, that it was impoſſible I ſhould pray to my own Edification, or to the Profit of others in ſuch a Circumſtance, and therefore I would not pray at all. In this Strait I continu'd ſome Time, eſpecially [Page 45] on the Occaſion of an unhappy Breach between us, in which my Wife had particularly vented her ſelf with all that Bitterneſs and Banter which her unhappy Wit furniſhes her too much with, on the Account of my praying in my Family. But after my Paſſion was abated, I conſider'd calmly, that for me to omit my Duty, becauſe my Wife would nor do hers, had no manner of Coherence with it ſelf, any more than that I ſhould not eat my Meat if my Wife would not eat hers; I look'd upon praying to GOD, as not my indiſpenſable Duty only, but as an ineſtimable Privilege, and that to abate it for the Miſtake of a weak or wicked Woman, was to puniſh my ſelf, not to puniſh her: I remembered an unhappy Accident which happen'd in the Town where I live, That a poor Man, a Shoe-maker, who had a very turbulent provoking Wife, and being driven into Paſſions and Deſparation by her wicked Uſage of him, ſtab'd himſelf with his Knife; it came freſh into my Mind how univerſally all the Neighbours condemned him as guilty of Self-Murder; and how in particular I was one of the forwardeſt to cenſure him on that very Account, and to ſay, that to kill himſelf becauſe his Wife was unkind, was making one Affliction two, ſo was irrational; and which was worſe, made her Sin againſt him be an occaſion of his Sin againſt GOD and himſelf, which was a horrible Wickedneſs: As I thought upon this, I then argued with my ſelf thus; By this Woman's Unkindneſs, I am rob'd of the Comfort of my Family, and of the Expectation I had from her as a Relation; but if I omit my Duty, I then rob my ſelf of my Peace, ſin againſt GOD and my Family, and open a Door to all manner of Sin and Diſtraction. Upon theſe Conſiderations I immediately lifted up my Heart for Direction to him who has ſaid, If any [Page 46] Man want Wiſdom, let him ask it of GOD: Immediately came to my Mind the Words of JOSHƲA to the People of Iſrael, As for me and my Houſe, WE WILL ſerve the LORD; the Story of DANIEL, who would not, no not to avoid the being devoured by Lyons, omit his Publick, and perhaps Family Worſhip: It preſently offered then, that Daniel might have ſatisfy'd himſelf with his private Retirement, and performed his private Prayer in his Cloſet, and this he might have done with Safety; but then he had ſeem'd to yield up the Point to his Enemies, and to grant that his Life was of more Concern to him than his Duty to GOD, which he abhorred the Thought of, and therefore continued his Duty at the utmoſt Hazard.
Cit. Indeed you took a different Courſe from mine, and you met with Aſſiſtance from it, which I wanted.
Fr. Immediately, upon this, I reſolved to do my Duty, whatever Oppoſition I met with; and withal, that if my Wife continued to be obſtinate, I would take upon me to let her know, that if ſhe would not ſubmit to attend the Worſhip of GOD decently, and with that Reverence as ſhe ought to do in the Family, ſhe ſhould ſubmit to be abſent, and ſhould ſee her ſelf thruſt out, as not fit to be admitted to the Worſhip of her Maker in Company with her Family, till ſhe thought fit to behave as became her.
Cit. That was a noble Reſolution, but look'd a little rigid to your Wife; pray how did ſhe take it?
Fr. Truly I cannot give you much Account of that Part yet; for my Buſineſs calling me to London ſoon after, I was oblig'd to leave her before her Temper had brought her ſo much as to think it any Affront, for at firſt ſhe ſeemed very well pleaſed with it.
Cit. It would be very obliging if you would let me hear the Particulars of this Part, for I begin to be very much affected with it.
[Page 47] Fr. Nay, our Dialogue was very ſhort; I told her how ill ſhe uſed me upon the Occaſion of my performing my Duty, and we had too many Words about it, and indeed ſome very diſobliging, which on my ſide occaſion'd the Retirement I have told you of juſt now; after which, having compoſed my ſelf as well as I could, I came back to my Wife, who I found not ſo much out of Humour as I expected, for it ſeems ſhe made ſuch a Mock of the Thing, that indeed it had been all acted like a Jeſt with her, and ſhe made a Sport even of the Words we had had about it.
Cit. By your Relation, your Wife muſt be as barren of any thing religious, as moſt Women ever I heard of.
Fr. Ay, or ever will hear of as long as you live; however, I reſolved to go ſeriouſly to work with her, and let her ſee it was no Jeſt with me, whatever it was with her; ſo I began the Diſcourſe thus: ‘
Husb. My Dear, ſaid I, when you and I was married, I thought we ſhould never have lived to treat one another as I ſee we are like to do, and eſpecially on ſuch a Subject; I was in hopes we ſhould have lived better together.
Wife. Why, how do we live? I think we live mighty well, if you can but be contented.
Husb. My Dear, no Man can be contented to be ill uſed.
Wife. Why who uſes you ill? I know of no ill Uſage, unleſs you mean my jeſting a little with you about your new Fits of Devotion; ſure you may bear a Jeſt a little, can't you?
Husb. Jeſting with ſacred Things is diſallow'd by all good Men in the World; and is indeed not Jeſt [...]ng, but downright Profaneneſs.
Wife. I find you have a mind to pick a Quarrel with your Wife; you may talk of your Religion [Page 48] and your Prayers as much as you will, I will be at liberty to laugh when I think fit; I know I am your upper Servant, but I am not ſuch a Servant but I may have Liberty to laugh at my Maſter when I think proper.
Husb. My Dear, I never made a Servant of you in my Life, nor offer'd to abridge you of any Liberty you deſir'd; but I would fain perſuade you to treat me with the common Reſpect ſuch Things require; your Uncle was the Man that put us upon it, you did not laugh at him, why ſhould you make your Husband only the Subject of your Jeſt?
Wife. O, my Uncle! he's a Parſon, 'tis his Buſineſs.
Husb. Well, and I'm convinc'd it is my Duty, and I cannot, I dare not omit it; methinks common Civility might prevail on you to behave decently to me.
Wife. I am ſorry my Behaviour does not pleaſe you; and more, that I have you for my Teacher.
Husb. My Dear, I do not go about to teach you, but to perſuade you to be Civil to me; if you have drop'd your Affections, yet certainly good Manners requires ſomething.
Wife. Yes, yes, I'll be as mannerly to you as you pleaſe.
Husb. All I ask is, that you will banter any thing elſe rather than my ſerving GOD, which I tell you plainly I cannot omit; neither can I bear to hear your Reproaches about it, or ſee your Behaviour at it.
Wife. Then you muſt exerciſe your Authority to ſtop my Mouth, which perhaps you may not find ſo eaſy as you imagine; for I will have my Liberty when you have done all.
Husb. Well then, I hope you will give me my Liberty too; I have as good a Title to it as you.
Wife. You put the Caſe wrong, it is not in my Power to give, it is yours to take; your Liberty is abſolutely your own; and I find you think to claim [Page 49] ſome Authority over mine; but pray what Liberty do you ſpeak of?
Husb. Why to be plain, if you reſolve to behave indecently, during the Worſhip of GOD, and treat me with Jeer and Ridicule for doing my Dury; I deſire this Favour, that you will withdraw when we go to Prayer, and leave us to ſerve GOD without diſcompoſure, by the Favour of your Abſence.
Wife. Yes, yes, with all my Heart, you ſhall be obey'd.
Husb. Well then, ſince I can obtain no more from you, I expect that; and deſire you will not take it ill that I ſhut you out from that Duty which you render your ſelf unworthy the Privilege of being preſent at; for I will not purchaſe your Favour at the Price of diſobeying my Maker, and I hope in Time your Eyes may be open'd.
Wife. They are already, ſays ſhe, to ſee what an obliging Husband I have.
Husb. I doubt they are not, ſaid I; and with that I left her, being unwilling to have more Words with her; for I found nothing made the leaſt Impreſſion upon her; and to have told her what an Affliction it had been to me, would have been nothing; ſhe would have but bantred it the more.
Cit. Well, and did you begin with her that Evening?
Fr. Yes, but being as cautious as I cou'd of expopoſing her, I ſtaid out a little later than uſual, ſo that ſhe was gone to Bed when I came home, and we had the Family Worſhip without her of Courſe.
Cit. Well, but in the Morning?
Fr. In the Morning ſhe was in her Dreſſing-Room, and as I had order'd my Man to call to Prayers, her Maid came up and ſaid the Servants were ready; ſo I roſe up, and as I went, my Dear, ſaid I, we won't give you the Trouble of going down; ſhe made me [Page 50] no anſwer, but ſtaid behind; and this is the Length we are gone, for in the Afternoon I came away to come to London.
Cit. You have been both a wiſer Man and a better Chriſtian than I; for like a Fool I gave way to my Paſſions, without making uſe of my Reaſon; and, like a Man void of Religion, I gave up my Duty a Sacrifice to the Wickedneſs and Pride of a Woman; and now ſhe glories in my Shame, for ſhe upbraids me with living void of Religion, without the Sence of it upon my Mind, or the Face of it upon my Behaviour; and ſhe has ſo much Truth on her ſide, as to Fact, tho' ſhe her ſelf has been the unhappy Occaſion, that her Words are as Solomon ſays, like the piercing of a Sword. I cannot anſwer her, for I am convinc'd, that however wicked ſhe had been, however ſharp her Taunts and Reproaches, however contemptibly ſhe might ſpeak or think of my Performance, I ought to have done my Duty.

1.2. The Second DIALOGUE.

THE Conference between the Two Friends in the laſt Dialogue, left them almoſt in the ſame Condition; both of them being oppoſed in the Performance of their Family Duty by their Wives, and both of them reſolv'd to go on in the Way of their Duty, and to keep up the Worſhip of GOD in their Families, whether their Wives would or not.

For the Diſcourſe of the Country Gentleman had opened the Eyes of the Citizen; and he reſolved to [Page 51] follow his Example; tho' as he had moſt eaſily given up his Duty at firſt, ſo he had far the greater Difficulty in bringing his Family to a Compliance afterwards, as will preſently appear.

When he came home the ſame Evening from his Friend, he ſat penſive and melancholy a good while, muſing with himſelf what Courſe he ſhould take with his Wife; his Reſolution to take upon himſelf the Government of his Family had not failed him, but he was ſo ruffled by his Wife before in the Caſe of his Performance, that he hardly knew in what manner to go about it, nor how to manage it; he was loth to ſhut his Wife out of the Room, and yet was afraid of her going away, and taking away thoſe Three Children with her, who, as was ſaid, had ſided with her againſt him, and who he was reſolved ſhould attend him at his publick Worſhip; however, it ſo happened to his great Mortification, that going but out of the Room into a Cloſet for ſome particular Occaſion, his Wife in the Interval goes away with her youngeſt Son, and her two eldeſt Daughters, and retiring to her own Apartment, continued there near an Hour.

This ſo ſurprized, and which was worſe, ſo diſcompoſed him, that together with ſome unkind Words which paſs'd afterwards between him and his Wife, and which put him into a violent Paſſion, he was quite unfitted for his Duty for that Night; and, as he ſaid afterwords, it had ſo diſcouraged him, that he was almoſt at the Point to have given over the happy Reſolution he had taken of returning to his Family Performance; however, it quite broke off his Thoughts of it, as I ſaid, for that Night.

In the Morning he compoſed his Mind as well as he could, and reſolved to enter upon his Work, whether his Wife conſented or not; and yet being wiling to have it all managed, as it ought to be, in a loving [Page 52] and Chriſtian Manner, if he could, he reſolved to diſcourſe with his Wife firſt, if poſſible, to bring her to Compliance with him, and to a Senſe of her Duty both to GOD and her Husband; and I think the following Diſcourſe was before they were up, or at leaſt before they were come out of their Chamber.

My Dear, ſays the Husband, you and I have had a ſad Breach about our Family Worſhip, and it has been attended with a great deal of Sin on both Sides; is there no Hopes of putting an end to it? 'Tis a ſad thing, that ſeeing we both acknowledge it to be our Duty, we ſhould fall out about the Manner of doing it!

Wife. All ſuch Breaches are beſt ended by them who began them.
Husb. I am loth to enter into a new Strife about who began the old; I had rather enter into Meaſures of Peace for putting an End to it on both Sides.
Wife. I have no Hand in it; do not think to excuſe your Sin by laying it upon your Wife; as I told you before, that won't take the Charge off from your ſelf.
Husb. My Dear, I am not excuſing my ſelf, I have been Guilty of a great Sin in ſuffering your bad Uſage of me to be my Snare, and leting your Contempt of my Performance put me upon a Neglect of my Duty; but have you been to blame in Nothing? Have you done all your Duty, and are you ſure that all the Fault is mine?
Wife. I know nothing I have been to blame in, but in telling you what is true enough, that your praying in your Family is, to me, a Piece of cold inſignificant Stuff; I look upon you as one of them whoſe Prayer is an Abomination.
Husb. That is calling me a wicked Man in the firſt Place; and yet even ſuch are commanded to repent, [Page 53] to pray, to turn to GOD, and to call upon him; you do not argue I hope that becauſe you eſteem me ſo much worſe than your ſelf, that therefore I muſt not pray to GOD, nor take care to have religious Worſhip kept up in my Family? to do that, is the way to have our Children worſe than any of us.
Wife. I'll take Care of my Children; they ſhan't be the worſe for your Example, if I can help it.
Husb. I queſtion whether that would be in your Power, if my Example were really bad, as I hope it is not; however, I hope in praying for them and with them, I can do them no harm, there is no bad Example in that.
Wife. You may do as you pleaſe; your Prayers are of no Uſe to me.
Husb. Have a care, my Dear, leſt ſome time or other you come into a Condition to deſire, nay perhaps to want the Prayers of every one that will but pity you enough to pray for you.
Wife. That's none of your Buſineſs, I don't ask your Prayers now you ſee; you may ſtay till I do.
Husb. I'll pray that GOD will be pleaſed to give you a better Mind.
Wife. You may as well let it alone.
Husb. Your Temper is perfectly void of Charity; and you act as if you deſir'd the Worſhip of GOD ſhould be wholly neglected, or wholly drop'd in the Family.
Wife. I look upon that and your performing it to be much at one; if it were otherwiſe, I ſhould do as becomes me.
Husb. I wiſh you would do as becomes you now, and not diſcourage the Work of GOD; how if GOD ſhould accept, my imperfect Petitions, I am ſure you are not a Judge of the Sincerity of the Heart? And if he that knows the Heart ſhould accept what you ſo much deſpiſe, you will then be [Page 54] found a Fighter againſt GOD? I intreat you to conſider your Duty.
Wife. I don't want to be taught my Duty by you, that do not underſtand your own.
Husb. How can you ſay I do not underſtand my Duty, when I now tell you with Grief, my Senſe of having omitted it, and my Deſire to return to the Diſcharge of it.
Wife. Well, what is it you pretend to deſire of me?
Husb. My Deſire is, that you would concur in the Exerciſe of our Morning and Evening Sacrifice, that we may join together in praying for the Pardon of our Family Sins, and for a Bleſſing upon us and our Children.
Wife. I tell you my Reaſons why I cannot join with you; I do not look upon your Performance to be call'd Praying, becauſe I do not ſee that your Lips and your Heart go together; or that your Life conforms to the Holineſs of your ſeeming Expreſſion.
Husb. Why, my Dear, muſt none pray but thoſe that have no Infirmities to be laid to their Charge? And pray, as I ſaid before, Who made you a Judge of the Sincerity of the Heart?
Wife. Well, what is all this Diſcourſe for?
Husb. Why, my Dear, I would fain reſtore the Face of Religion in my Family, which our laſt Diſpute has made a dreadful Breach in.
Wife. Well, and ſo you would ſet up your hypocritical Formalities again?
Husb. That's very unchriſtian, very unkind, and very diſcouraging.
Wife. BƲT, may be very juſt for all that.
Husb. NO, nor is it juſt: But however, ſince you are ſo rude to me, and in a thing ſo neceſſary, and which I cannot, I dare not any longer omit; I tell you I am reſolv'd to do my Duty, do you what you will.
[Page 55] Wife. Then what need was there of this Diſcourſe?
Husb. Becauſe I would fain have had your Concurrence and your Countenance in it; which it is your Duty to give to ſuch a Work among your Children and Servants.
Wife. I don't think any of the Children like it any more than I do.
Husb. To you, my Dear, I'll offer no Force of any kind; but as for my Children, I ſhall expect their Attendance, and will take care to make them comply with it, whether they like it or not; that's another Queſtion.
Wife. I believe they will all be Diſſenters; I hope you will give them Liberty of Conſcience.
Husb. Liberty of Conſcience relates to different Ways of Worſhip, but is not concern'd in the Diſpute between Worſhip in general, and no Worſhip at all; there's no Toleration to be an Arheiſt, to deny GOD or abandon Religion.
Wife. But they may pray by themſelves.
Husb. I'll oblige them to give their Attendance to Family Orders; I am ſure it is their Duty; they may pray by themſelves at other Times, and I hope they will.
Wife. If they don't think it their Duty, it is Perſecution and Tyranny.
Husb. Family Worſhip is an undoubted Duty, if they don't think ſo, it is time they were taught better.
Wife. Perhaps they do worſhip in the Family without you, and more to their Satisfaction.
Husb. Let them worſhip GOD as often as they will, I hinder none; but at my ſtated Times I ſhall expect them; their worſhiping in the Family without me, is not Family Worſhip.
Wife. They will let you ſee plainly enough then, that it is a Force upon their Inclinations, and perhaps ſometimes in a Manner which you will not like.
[Page 56] Husb. I know not what your Example may have encourag'd them to; however; as it is their Duty to do otherwiſe, if they fail in their Duty, I ſhall find means to teach them better Manners: And as for your ſelf, ſeeing you oblige me to force my way thus to that, which as a kind Wife, you ought to have aſſiſted me in, and as a good Chriſtian, you ought to have encourag'd in your Family, I ſhall be beſt pleaſed if you will prevent the Diſcouragement I have formerly met with from you, by withdrawing your ſelf, till you can with Charity and Decency join with me; and in the mean time I'll pray for you, that GOD will reconcile you better to what I am ſo well aſſur'd is your Duty.
Wife. I believe you will be ſooner gratify'd by me than by your Daughters.
Husb. Leave that to me.

The good Man was exceedingly afflicted with this Obſtinacy of his Wife, and the more, becauſe he look'd upon it to be incurable: However, being reſolv'd to do his Duty, he takes his little Boy in his Hand and goes down Stairs; and after ſome time, call'd for his two eldeſt Daughters, who came down Stairs alſo to him: Upon this he calls his Servants into his Parlour, and cauſing his eldeſt Son to read a Chapter, had faſten'd the Door and went to Prayer with them.

During his Performance, he had the Diſturbance to hear his Wife come down Stairs and offer to open the Door, but finding it faſt to retire and go up again.

At Night, he reſolv'd to do the ſame, but before the uſual Hour; and that his Wife might not prevent his Childrens Attendance, he call'd his eldeſt Daughter, of about 17 Years old, to him, and begun to diſcourſe a little with her of the Nature of Prayer; which occaſion'd the following Dialogue, his ſecond Daughter being alſo by.

[Page 57] Well, my Dear, ſays he, what are you one of them that are diſſatisfy'd with your Father's calling you to Prayer in the Family?
Da. No, Sir, not I.
Fa. No! what made you then, and your Siſter, go away laſt Night?
Da. My Mother call'd us.
Fa. Well, I hope your Mother call'd you into her Cloſet, to reading and private Prayer.
Da. Yes, Sir.
Fa. But that muſt not interrupt Publick Worſhip, my Dear.
Da. But if my Mother calls us—
Fa. Why, that's true, my Dear; but I'll ſpeak to your Mother not to call you at that time when we ſhould all meet for Family-Worſhip.
Da. But my Mother will, it may be.
Fa. Then, my Dear, you muſt anſwer that your Father has call'd to Prayers.
Da. But my Mother will be angry.
Fa. No Child, I hope ſuch an Anſwer will ſatisfy her; if not, you muſt anſwer her as now you do me, and tell her your Father will be angry.
Da. Yes, Sir.
Fa. But hark ye, my Dear, do you love praying to God, or is it a Burthen and Tireſome to you?
Da. No, Sir, I am not tir'd with it, I hope; my Mother has always told us, it is our Duty, and ſhew'd us God's Command for it in the Scripture.
Fa. Well, my Dear, then if your Father prays with you in the Family, and your Mother alſo in her Cloſet, I hope you won't think it too much?
Da. No indeed, Sir.
Fa. I hope you know the Nature and Meaning of Praying to God; you have learnt your Catechiſe, my Dear.
Da. Yes, Sir.
[Page 58] Fa. And you too Child! turning to the other.
Child. Yes, Sir.
Fa. Well, my Dear, come be plain with me then; have you any Scruple in your Thoughts againſt joyning with your Father when he prays in the Family?
Da. I don't know what you mean, Sir.
Fa. Are you willing and ſatisfied to come to Prayer, when I call the Family together to worſhip GOD, do you like it? and are you as willing when I do it here, as when your Mother does it above Stairs?
Da. O Dear! willing, Sir! what can you think of me to ask ſuch a Queſtion?
Fa. My Dear, I think nothing amiſs of thee; but there is a Reaſon for my Queſtion, which perhaps you will know another time, ſpeak now freely to me; are you willing and deſirous to attend the Family-Worſhip?
Da. Yes, very willing, Sir.
Fa. And you too, my Dear? (ſpeaking to the ſecond Daughter.)
2d Da. Yes, Sir, with all my Heart.
Fa. Have you any Objection againſt it, my Dear, or againſt my performing it?
Da. No, none at all, Sir.
Fa. Nor you neither, my Dear?
2d Da. No, Sir, indeed not I.
Fa. NO! nor had you never any Diſlike of it in your Thoughts?
Da. No never, Sir; I can't imagine why you ask, Sir; did I ever ſhow any backwardneſs to come when you called? I am ſure I was very ſorry when you left it off.
Fa. My Dear, I don't ſay you have ſhewn any backwardneſs, nor have I known that you did; but you have been repreſented ſo to me, as if you diſlik'd the Duty, or diſlik'd your Father's Performance.
Da. They did me a great deal of Wrong, Sir, [Page 59] whoever ſaid ſo; you have taught me better than to diſlike praying to GOD; and as for the other, I hope I do not ſet up to judge; I am ſure I never heard any that I like better.
Fa. But, my Dear, did you never ſpeak a Word of that kind in the Houſe?
Da. No never, Sir, not a Word, I never had ſuch a Thought.
2d Da. Nor I neither, Sir, I wonder who ſhould ſay ſo of us!
Fa. Well, my Dear, I am ſatisfy'd, I hope you underſtand the Nature of Prayer to be ſuch, that as we have a heavenly Pattern ſet us in the Scripture, to direct our Form, ſo we have a merciful heavenly Father to pray to, who is pleas'd to paſs over our Imperfections and accept us for the Sincerity of our Hearts, not the Aptneſs or Excellence of our Expreſſions.
Da. If it was not ſo, Sir, very few ought to ſay their own Words when they pray.
Fa. It is true, my Dear, and tho' Forms of Prayer may be uſeful to help the Tongue, eſpecially with reſpect to the Edification of thoſe that hear; yet, bleſſed be GOD, that he hears the Thoughts of the Heart, when the Tongue has no Words to expreſs it ſelf by, or Forms to aſſiſt it in ſpeaking.
Da. Sir, you always told us, that whatever Form we prayed by, GOD would hear us if we prayed with Sincerity and Faith in the Name of Jeſus Chriſt.
Fa. I did ſo, and I have the Scripture to ſupport it; Whatſoever ye ask the Father in my Name, believing that you ſhall receive it, you ſhall receive it.
Da. I don't remember, Sir, that in all the Scripture, I am forbid to join in Prayer with any, on account of their Words, or for any perſonal Defect or Infirmity; my Buſineſs is to ſee that I am ſincere my ſelf.
[Page 60] Fa. Very true, Child, if they that pray are not ſincere in what they ſay, it is their Fault; thoſe that join may be accepted, when he whoſe Words they join with may be rejected; elſe we ſhould have a dreadful Task in Prayer, and ſuch Confuſion of Thoughts muſt follow, as would deſtroy the Nature of the Duty; for we ſhould never know when we were to be accepted and when not.
Da. I am ſure I need not pretend to make Difficulties, I know none but what can do it better than I.
Fa. Well, my Dear, the Spirit of GOD will help your Infirmities, you muſt pray for the Aſſiſtance of the Spirit: but I ſhall talk to thee of that another Time.

Upon this Diſcourſe the Father diſmiſs'd the Children, charging them not to fail to be always ready when he ſhould call to Prayer. After which, that his Wife might not pretend to interfere with him as to Time, he reſolv'd, if he could bring her to any thing, to make Terms with her about the Time of her ſeperate Performance: Beſides, as the Child had in the Diſcourſe above, entirely contradicted what his Wife had ſuggeſted about her Averſion to his Performance, he reſolv'd to talk with her about that too.

In the mean time, the Mother caſually hearing ſome of his Diſcourſe with the Children, and a little nettled the Night before at the Door's being faſtned while he was at Prayer, was now in a perfect Rage at him, and thought to have broke in upon him while he was talking to them; but ſomething in the Family calling her off, tho' ſhe return'd in a few Minutes, it ſo happen'd, that he had diſmiſs'd the Children firſt: However, ſhe began with him in a manner as ſhew'd, that ſhe was quite deſtitute of all Temper and almoſt of good Manners.

Wife. I have heard ſome of your wiſe Diſcourſe with your Children, Mr. .....
Her Husband expected ſomething of it by her Carriage all the Day, but had reſolv'd to keep himſelf from any Paſſion; and yet preſerve the Reſolution he had taken.

[Page 61] He gave her no Anſwer for ſome time, which ſhe took for a Slight, and began again.

Wife. I tell you, I have heard ſome of your extraordinary Talk to the Children.
Husb. Well, then you have heard it.
Wife. You think, I ſuppoſe, that you have acted mighty wiſely.
Husb. I have done what I think is my Duty; I pray GOD you might do yours.
Wife. You made a wiſe Diſcourſe to them.
Husb. Whether you like what I ſaid to them or not, you have reaſon to bluſh at what they ſaid to me.
Wife. Learn to bluſh for your Sins, and trouble not your ſelf with me.
Husb. Indeed, my Dear, I wiſh I could do both perfectly.
Wife. You are not fit to talk to Children of religious Things.
Husb. That's your Opinion, but the other is my Duty; fit or not fit is not the Queſtion, I muſt do it as well as I can; the Lord make you and I both better Inſtructors, and teach us to give them better Examples.
Wife. You underſtand nothing of Religion; what Example can you ſhow them?
Husb. Not as I ought, my Dear, that I acknowledge.
Wife. Pray let my Daughters alone.
Husb. No, my Dear, I can't promiſe you that, unleſs you'll promiſe to anſwer at laſt, for my Neglect of my Duty, in failing to inſtruct my Children.
Wife. I tell you, you don't underſtand it.
Husb. And I tell you, that for all that I am bound to do it.
Wife. Well, I think your Diſcourſe to the Children was very impertinent ſilly Stuff.
[Page 62] Husb. But I aſſure you their Diſcourſe to me has been much to the Purpoſe; and if I have not inſtructed them, I aſſure you they have inſtructed and informed me and that of ſomething their Mother ought to be aſhamed of.
Wife. I aſham'd! that's what you cannot make out.
Husb. I wiſh, for your ſake, it were not ſo; did you not ſay, my Children cared not to join with me in my Family-Worſhip; that they would be Diſſenters, and that if I obliged them to attend, it would be a Force upon their Inclination.
Wife. Well, and ſo I believe it is.
Husb. Have I forced their Attendance?
Wife. Yes, did you not lock the Door, when you were at your formal Stuff you call Prayer?
Husb. Yes, my Dear, to keep you out, who I know, by ſad Experience, have reſpect little enough for me, and ſo little Reverence to the Duty, that I had Reaſon enough to expect Diſturbance, at leaſt Diſcompoſure, from your being Preſent; but you know well enough by the Lock, that tho' you could not come in, any one might have gone out.
Wife. What's that to the purpoſe? they might like it no better than I.
Husb. But they have both declared the contrary, and that they never ſaid any thing that look'd like a Diſlike of it in their lives.
Wife. Then they are Lyars.
Husb. I am loth to bring in the poor Children to prove their Mother ſo; but I muſt acknowledge I am convinc'd of their Innocence and Sincerity, and have great Reaſon to be fully ſatisfy'd of your Crime.
Wife. I value not what you are convinc'd of, I know your Hypocriſy.
Husb. And I bleſs GOD he knows my Sincerity. I appeal from you.
Wife. You are harden'd in your Self-conceit in the midſt of groſs Ignorance.
[Page 63] Husb. And you are hardned in your want of Charity—But this is not to the Purpoſe; the Queſtion between you and I is of another Nature.
Wife. I know no Queſtion between us, I have nothing to do with your Queſtions.
Husb. Well, but you muſt have ſomething to ſay to them; my Queſtion is of a poſitive Nature, and muſt have a direct Anſwer.
Wife. I'll anſwer none of your Queſtions.
Husb. Then I muſt anſwer them my ſelf. The Caſe is plain, I am reſolved to ſerve and worſhip GOD in my Family; I hope and believe I ſhall pleaſe, and be accepted of him, tho' it ſeems I can't pleaſe my Wife; I do not ask your Attendance, till you will be pleaſed to join in a Chriſtian manner, with a Spirit of Charity and Devotion; the laſt towards GOD, and the firſt towards your Husband.
Wife. I don't purpoſe to trouble you.
Husb. Then you ſave me the Trouble of forbidding you, and ſhutting you out; neither do I ask your leave for your Children to attend; for they have declared themſelves willing and deſirous of it, and profeſs'd ſolemnly, that they never had the leaſt Thought to the contrary in their Lives. So in that you are a Slanderer of your own Children.
Wife. Your new way of commanding may well bring Children to it.
Husb. You miſtake again; nay, if it be true, as you ſaid, that you heard my Diſcourſe to them, then you know that you miſtake; which deſerves a Word leſs ſoft than that of being miſtaken.
Wife. You are diſpos'd to treat your Wife very magiſterially.
Husb. You have driven me to the Neceſſity of exerciſing ſo much Authority in my Family, as is neceſſary to ſupport the Service and Worſhip of GOD; and more than that I do not ſeek.
Wife. Well, you may go on.
[Page 64] Husb. Since then you have obliged me to it, the Queſtion I deſire your Anſwer to is this, That as you take upon you to call your Children up to you at what time you pleaſe, and keep them with you as long as you pleaſe, I hope it is for no ill Purpoſe; I deſire you will appoint the Hour when you think proper to call them away, that I may not interfere with your Hours, and call them to Family-Worſhip at the ſame time.
Wife. I cannot appoint a certain Hour, it muſt be when my Leiſure allows.
Husb. Well, for once then, you muſt give me leave to tell you, that an Hour muſt be ſet, or elſe I ſhall ſet an Hour for their Attendance on Family-Worſhip; in which if you call, you muſt not take it ill from the Children if they cannot obey you.
Wife. You begin very lordly; do you take this to be religious?
Husb. Yes, very religious, unleſs you can firſt bring a Text of Scripture to juſtify the obſtinacy of your Oppoſition to your Husband in ſo juſt a Caſe.
Wife. You muſt take your own way.
Husb. GOD direct us both to the right way, I hope I am in it, but I am ſure you are out of it; what think you of that Scripture, 1 Pet. i. 8. and Chap. 5. 5. Be ye all of one Mind, having Compaſſion one of another; be courteous, be clothed with Humility, be all of you ſubject one to another.
Wife. 'Tis much you omitted, Wives be in ſubjection to your Husbands—But you take care to quote it in Practice.
Husb. You pretend to much Religion, and yet are a Scoffer at the ſincereſt Endeavours of your Huſband, religiouſly to do his Duty: where is the Ornament of a Meek and quiet Spirit, which you are commanded to put on?
Wife. You are mighty full of Scripture.
[Page 65] Husb. I'll name but one more, and leave it upon your Thoughts, if you can act in Obedience to your Paſſions, againſt ſuch expreſs Rules of God's Word, you muſt go on till the ſovereign Grace of GOD, which alone can work in ſuch Caſes, makes Impreſſions upon you ſome other way; the Words are, Philip. ii. 3. Let nothing be done through Strife or Vain-Glory, but in Lowlineſs of Mind, let each eſteem other better than himſelf.
Wife. Your Ignorance is as great as your Pride, you underſtand not what you read, but pretend to quote Words ſpoken to a Society, a whole Church, nay, perhaps a whole a Diſtrict of Churches; and reſpecting the general Unity of the Church, in oppoſition to the Heathen; and apply it to the little Debate between you and your Wife. I'm aſham'd of you, I have no Patience with ſuch Impertinence.
Husb. GOD ſend you more Patience and more Humility, and then you will know, that the Scripture is not of private Interpretation, but was given for general Inſtruction; but they are always hardeſt to learn, who think themſelves qualify'd to teach. I entreat you, let us have no more of this diſorderly, unkind Diſcourſe; I have no more to ſay, but that I expect my Children ſhould not be hindred from attending upon the Worſhip of GOD.
Wife. If I thought it Worſhip, I ſhould be as forward as you to have them attend.
Husb. My Dear, I hope for your being in a better Mind in GOD's due time; in the mean time it is not fit that your Error ſhould interrupt their Duty; neither can I ſatisfy my ſelf to ſuffer it.

His Wife went away in a great Paſſion, and ſaid ſome things to him at parting which I care not to mention, and which grieved the good Man extreamly; but he made her no Reply.

In the mean time, the Man went on with his Family [Page 66] Order, and had the Worſhip of GOD, as Reading the Scriptures, ſinging Pſalms, and Prayer, regularly and conſtantly perform'd; his Children attended conſtantly and chearfully; but his Wife never.

It had indeed been ſome Trouble to his Mind, that for ſome time after the Breach above-mention'd, he had ſhut the Door of his Parlour when he went to Prayers; which he had not only done to keep his Wife out, but had told her too, as before; and ſhe had twice, or three times, come down to the Door, and finding it lock'd, went back again.

He had found her ſo Paſſionate, and ſo fill'd with Contempt of his Performance, that it was his real Belief her Deſign was at firſt to give him ſome Diſturbance, to behave with ſome Indecency, or at leaſt to take hold of ſome Expreſſion of his, more unguarded perhaps than ordinary, to upbraid him with, and perhaps to make a Mock of among the Children, as ſhe had done once or twice before; and therefore thought it better to have her abſent, at leaſt till ſhe was come to a better Temper. But after ſome time, and finding her, as I ſaid, come two or three times down to the Door, he began to conſider, that it was not for him to judge of what Temper ſhe came in; that to ſhut her out was not only unkind, but was depriving her of an Opportunity of being convinc'd; that perhaps when ſhe might come with a Deſign to ſcoff at or inſult him, GOD might direct ſomething to touch her Thoughts, that might turn her Affections to him, and remove her Pride and want of Charity all at once, and ſo make the very Thing that ſhe had deſpiſed, be the Means of her Reformation: And as theſe were Things which above every thing elſe he deſired, he was exceedingly troubled that he had ſhut the Door.

If he was concern'd on theſe Accounts, and upon [Page 67] Debates only with himſelf, that Concern was exceedingly encreaſed, when he underſtood by his Daughter, that the laſt time her Mother came down and found the Door faſt, ſhe had been crying vehemently in her Chamber for ſome Hours after; this mov'd him exceedingly: for he was a very kind and tender Husband to her, and he reſolved never to faſten the Door again, and order'd his Daughter to let her Mother know the Door was never lock'd, but always left a little open, even without the Latch being touch'd: However, his Wife never offer'd to come down after the Door was left open.

It may be eaſily believ'd, that while this Breach continued in religious Things, the Family Peace, as to common Affairs, went all to wreck; the Countenances of Husband and Wife were perfectly chang'd to one another; no Smiles, no pleaſant Word, no kind Thing paſs'd between them; but a Cloud of Melancholly and Diſcontent, and an Air of Eſtrangement ſpread it ſelf over the whole Family; every little Diſpute broke out into a Feud, every Feud was carried on to the extreameſt height; and, in a word, there was very little room, if any, for the poor Remains of conjugal Affection to ſhew it ſelf: So certain is it, that where the religious Peace is broken, no other Peace can long continue.

This afflicted the Husband's Mind to the laſt Degree; and not the Wife only, but all the Family perceived it. As to his Wife, ſhe kept it more to her ſelf, and continued to carry it with an unſociable haughtineſs of Temper; if he offer'd to ſpeak of it, ſhe would always put a ſhort End to the Diſcourſe; tell him, ſhe had nothing to ſay to him; or flying away from him, or perhaps ſay ſome very paſſionate thing that put an End to it; ſo that ſhe would never enter into any Diſcourſe with him; ſhe ſeemed to live altogether in her Chamber retir'd from all Com [Page 68] pany, and came down into her Family, as if it were with Reluctance; and more by the Neceſſity of ordering her Servants and Houſhold-Affairs, than by Choice, or from any Pleaſure ſhe took among them; and as this had not only continued a long time, but ſeemed to have no viſible Proſpect of any Alteration, it gave her. Husband a moſt unſufferable Affliction.

But alas! the good Man's Affliction was far from ending there, and the Tragical Part of the Family is yet behind.

I could have been very glad to have brought this poor weak, but proud Woman upon the Stage, as a Penitent, acknowledging her Miſtake in Duty, for miſuſing her Husband; and her Miſtake in Religion, for deſpiſing the ſincere humble Performance of her Husband in Matters of Duty in his Family; and for obſtructing that, for want of Charity, which every ſober Chriſtian would rejoice in (viz.) to ſee GOD ſerv'd, honour'd and worſhip'd in their Family, and their Children brought up in the conſtant Exerciſe of thoſe religious Duties, which their natural Homage to their Maker calls for.

But the Truth of this Hiſtory forbids, and I muſt be forced to record this unhappy Wife as a ſad Momento againſt ſpiritual or religious Pride, and to be an Evidence of the exceeding Difficulty of reſtoring a Phariſaical Hypocrite to Repentance.

The Man's Affliction, as I have ſaid, was viſible; but yet he had ſome Comfort within himſelf, particularly, that he was in the Way of his Duty; and the Satisfaction he had in his recovering from that wicked Step he had at firſt taken, of neglecting his Family, and throwing up the Practice of what he knew to be his Duty, was a very great and conſtant Support to him.

He had alſo the Satisfaction to ſee, that all his [Page 69] Children joined with him heartily, and ſeemed to rejoice in the Meaſures he had taken for the Order and Regularity of the Houſe; and the eldeſt Daughter, a good ſober, and well-enclin'd Child, would often ſay to him, Dear Father, perſwade my Mother to come down to Prayers.

He would be very cautious of ſaying any thing to the Child that ſeem'd to reflect on her Mother; but one Day the Child ſaying ſo to him, he anſwered; My Dear, I am very ſorry your Mother does not come down, do you perſwade her to it, I ſhould be very glad to have her come.

Said the Daughter, ſhall I go and tell her you ſent me to deſire her to come?

Ay do, my Dear, ſaid he, with all my Heart.

The Child went, and when her Father ask'd her what her Mother ſaid, ſhe could not anſwer him, but broke out into Tears; her Father underſtood it.

Well, my Dear, ſaid her Father, don't let it trouble thee, I ſee how it is, we muſt wait GOD's time.

He fail'd not to take all Opportunities to ſpeak to her himſelf after this; but found his Wife, as he thought, had taken a new Method; for as before ſhe would always anſwer him with ſomething very illnatur'd and unkind, ſo now tho' ſhe were ever ſo free in Diſcourſe of other Things, when ever he began to ſpeak of this Affair, ſhe would not anſwer one Word.

Theſe things continued about three Quarters of a Year, and far from abating by length of Time, as Family Heats between Husband and Wife ordinarily do; on the contrary, they took Root like a ſtrong Diſtemper, by the Length of their Duration.

At length his Wife was taken Ill; the Man was exceedingly afflicted at his Wife's Sickneſs, and eſpecially as he ſaw ſome Danger of Death; and it almoſt diſtracted his Thoughts to think ſhe ſhould die [Page 70] without being reconciled to him; her Diſtemper at firſt appeared a kind of a Lethargick Fever, which, as it prey'd upon her Spirits one way, and brought her very low, ſo it kept her dozing, and uncapable to be talk'd with, another way.

He often attempted to ſpeak to her. but found ſhe would not anſwer a Word; or if ſhe did, it was either to deſire him not to trouble her, or ſomething quite remote from what he ſaid; by which he found that ſhe was too much ſtupify'd by the Diſtemper to talk, and unwilling to diſcourſe when ſhe was otherwiſe.

The Diſtemper however in about three Weeks time abated, and ſhe began to get Strength, but no Life came into her Temper, no Chearfulneſs into her Spirits; but a deep Melancholy ſeemed to ſucceed the Fever; and one Morning the Phyſician that attended her came to her Husband, and ask'd him if he knew any extraordinary Trouble ſhe had upon her Spirits? Her Husband ſaid no, no extraordinary one; But why do you ask me that Queſtion, ſays he with great Concern? Why, ſays the Doctor, becauſe I fear ſhe has a little Spice of Diſorder in her Head, and if we do not prevent it, ſhe will be in danger of a confirm'd Melancholy.

It is impoſſible to expreſs the Concern this put him in, and he began to enter into a ſerious Conſultation with the Doctor, who had ſpoke cantiouſly, becauſe he would not ſurprize him; but the Apothecary came down immediately after, and with leſs Prudence ſaid aloud to the Doctor, who ask'd how ſhe did? Do, ſays he, why ſhe is mad, quite diſtracted, we muſt get ſome Help immediately to tie her in the Bed.

Her Husband, who had by the Prudence of the Doctor entertained only an Apprehenſion of the Danger of ſuch a thing as remote, and poſſible to be prevented, [Page 71] when he heard what the Apothecary ſaid, ſpoke not a Word, but ſunk down on the Floor.

The Phyſician being at Hand, they were not ſo much at a Loſs for applying proper Remedies; but it was ſo long e'er they recovered him, that the Doctor himſelf was once of the Opinion that he was dead, and was going out of the Room; but ſome Signs of Life appearing ſoon after, they went on with their Applications, and opening a Vein, the Blood flowing, recovered him to Life, but left him very ill, which was followed by a Fever, and that threw him into the Small-Pox, which it ſeems he had not had, and from which he did not recover without great Danger of his Life.

There was a ſad Family we may be ſure, while the Maſter and Miſtreſs of the Family remained in theſe Circumſtances: But however, the Husband recovered with the help of Time; but the Wife grew worſe, till he was obliged to have her removed out of the Houſe for a Time; and as it is allowed that a melancholy Lunacy is the hardeſt to cure, ſo indeed they found it here, for ſhe lay above a Year under the Hands of the Phyſician, without much Appearance of Alteration, except at Intervals, ſcarce knowing, or at leaſt not noticing her own Children or Husband.

It was obſervable, that during her Diſtemper, ſhe was always reading the Bible and religious Books, but would never talk with any Body otherwiſe than of common Things; and during the whole Time, was never heard ſo much as once to mention the Breach with her Husband; and when ſhe was thought well enough to go home again, it appeared ſhe had forgot it as perfectly as if ſhe had never known any thing of it; nor had ſhe forgotten that only, but even her Family and common Things, her Husband having removed to another Dwelling; ſhe [Page 72] did not ſo much as know that it was not the ſame Houſe ſhe had lived in before; ſhe knew her Husband and Children indeed, but did not know any of the Servants; no, not enough to diſtinguiſh who had been before her Illneſs, or who had come after.

This filled her Husband with dreadful Apprehenſions that her Diſtemper was not removed; but as he communicated his Fears to the Phyſician, he ſaid it was a ſign that it would entirely remove at laſt; but ſhe continued a long time in but a very indifferent Condition, much altered in her Temper, and often ſubject to little Returns of Melancholy; but in her Family ſhe liv'd orderly, and kept in a very good Diſpoſition, as to the religious Part; and if ſhe had any Remembrances of the Breach that had been carried on, ſhe kept it to her ſelf, for ſhe never would diſcover that ſhe received any Notion of it in her Thoughts; ſhe attended Duly on the Orders of the Family, appeared very ſerious at the Times of Worſhip, and never offered to diſlike or reflect upon, much leſs to mock or ſcoff at her Husband's Performance in the leaſt.

Her Children were warn'd by their Father, never to endeavour to put her in mind of former Differences; no, not ſo much as in Curioſity to try whether ſhe really remembered any thing or not; which Orders they very punctually obſerved.

It was not long after this, when the Country Gentleman, whoſe Story makes a Part in the former Dialogue, came to Town; and as their Caſes were ſo exactly alike when they had laſt diſcourſed upon the Subject of their Family Circumſtances, ſo they had kept up a conſtant Correſpondence by Letters; but now at their meeting they enter into Particulars more at large; which as near as poſſible is continued in the following Diſcourſe.

[Page 73] Cit. The Citizen begun with him thus: Well, my Friend, I took your Advice, but I have had a dreadful Task of it.
Fr. What Advice?
Cit. Why about taking a Reſolution to ſet up, or rather reſtore Family-Worſhip in my Houſe, in ſpite of all the Scoffs and Jeers, Flouts and Taunts of an unkind Wife; but it has coſt me very dear.
Fr. I hope the Purchaſe is worth the Price: I dare ſay, let it have coſt you what it will, 'twill pay you all again; it will yield you a plentiful Rent or Intereſt, if you maintain it; for, as the Northern Proverb ſays, God comes into no Man's Houſe to bilk the Landlord; you will find a Bleſſing in it, no doubt.
Cit. I have had a hard Task of it, but I have got the better at laſt.
Fr. Pray let me hear it again; for tho' your Letters have let me into the general Heads of it, yet you muſt let me have the full Story at length; I hope the Relation will be a Comfort, not an Affliction to you.
Cit. You ſhall, with all my Heart.
Here the Citizen tells him the whole Story, Word for Word, as it is in the Dialogue paſt.

His Friend liſten'd to the Relation with great Attention, and was particularly pleaſed with the Succeſs he had in that Part about his Children; but was extreamly affected with the Tragical Part of it in his Wife, which indeed brought Tears into his Eyes; and the more, from the Sence he had on him, how much more comfortable an Iſſue he had had on his own Side.

My dear Friend, ſays he, you have had an afflicting Part indeed, with reſpect to your Wife; but you are not yet without hope that ſhe may be wholly reſtored to you again; and you have the preſent Comfort of ſeeing her Diſpoſition altered.

[Page 74] Cit. That is true, but it would have been a greater Comfort to me to have known that ſhe had been made truly ſenſible of the Sin of her former Conduct, that ſhe had repented heartily of it, and that ſhe had received Comfort in the Hope of Forgiveneſs.
Fr. I confeſs that is a thing that you may think wanting, but you cannot judge her not to have been a Penitent, becauſe you cannot tell what Intervals for Conviction ſhe might have had, either before, in, or after her Diſtraction.
Cit. That is true; but as I ſaw no Signs of it, I have room to fear, and that's a continual Affliction to me.
Fr. Well, but what ſhall we ſay as to her being made incapable by being depriv'd of the Uſe of Reaſon; it's hard to determine what ſhall be expected of ſuch; we muſt judge with Charity.
Cit. I have ſeriouſly digeſted that Part in my Thoughts; and I'll tell you to what Iſſue I have brought it: I aſſure you the Reſult is no Abatement of my Trouble in the Caſe of my Wife; no, not in the leaſt, but rather an Increaſe of it.
Fr. Pray let me hear your Opinion in ſuch a Caſe; I cannot think GOD will lay to our Charge the Sins committed in a diſtracted Condition, when the Body is demented, and has not the Uſe of Reaſon to guide it; when Conſcience is put out of its Office, and can neither accuſe or excuſe; when the Soul is no more a Free Agent, and the Creature is reduced to the meer ſenſative Life.
Cit. You miſtake me quite, I am not arguing on that Part, and perhaps I may incline to think as you do, with reſpect to what is done during the Power of Lunacy; but what will you ſay to the Sins of Life committed before that Diſtraction, and which the Diſtemper coming haſtily upon her, ſhe had no Time to reflect upon or repent of? Pray what is the [Page 75] Difference between ſuch a Condition, and one dying without Repentance? I look upon my Wife as one dead, for while the Soul is diſabled in its Operations, ſhe is dead to all thoſe Things which are neceſſary to a true Penitent; ſuch as Sorrow for the Sin, Abhorrence of the Evil of it, asking Pardon of GOD, acting Faith on the Blood of CHRIST for Remiſſion, Reſolutions to reform, and the like; theſe it is impoſſible ſhe ſhould have any Part in, and therefore ſhe ſeems to me to be juſt in the ſame State as one dying impenitent.
Fr. You have a little ſurprized me indeed, in giving that Turn to it, which I did not think of before; and I muſt acknowledge that I am of your Opinion in the thing it ſelf; only that in the Caſe of your Wife, there is room for Hope to you, in two Particulars: 1. That, as before, you are not ſure that ſhe had no Intervals, in which GOD might ſpeak to her Soul, and her Soul fly to and embrace her Saviour with effectual Relentings, and ſaving Dependance on him for Salvation; all which might be acted in a Moment, as I doubt not it often is in the very Article of Death; witneſs the Thief upon the Croſs; and this might much better be in the Time of her Sickneſs, tho' the Diſtraction of her State ſince that, may have given her no room to diſcover it. 2. And then you have this Comfort, viz. that ſhe is ſtill alive; and tho' ſhe has given no Teſtimonies of the remembring the Error of her former Life, to repent of it; ſhe has yet ſhewn that ſhe has alſo no Remembrances of her former Miſtakes to renew them, ſhe begins upon a new Scheme of Life, acts quite another Part; and who knows but that in Time GOD may call to her mind her former Evils, and give her Repentance ſtill; ſo that you have no Reaſon either Way to look on her as one loſt.
Cit. Truly your Argument, in that Point eſpecially [Page 76] the laſt, has ſome Comfort in it, and I am in hope that ſhe may yet be a Penitent, for ſhe has a great ſtock of religious Knowledge, and I find it remains ſtill, the Diſtemper has not made any Breach of that kind.
Fr. Well then, comfort your ſelf, and bear up under the Affliction, and believe that ſhe ſhall yet be reſtor'd to her Family and Husband; I am ſure if I had ſeen half ſo much room to hope for my profligate ignorant Creature, I ſhould have rejoic'd in it.
Cit. I am ſorry for your Caſe too, that leaves ſo little room for Hope, as you ſeem to ſuppoſe; but Wife is living too I hope?
Fr. Yes, ſhe is alive, but dead to me, dead as a Relation, and dead as a Chriſtian.
Cit. How dead as a Relation, ſhe is your Wife ſtill?
Fr. Alas! ſhe is a Wife and no Wife; ſhe is gone from me.
Cit. How! gone from you!
Fr. Yes, I believe never Man and Woman of common Sence ever parted upon ſuch trifling and ſuch ſcandalous Foundations; I am aſhamed when I think of them.
Cit. Well, but I hope you are not aſhamed on your own Account? You know your Duty better than to do any thing to give Occaſion of ſuch a groſs Reflection as you ſpeak of.
Fr. I believe a Man and his Wife never quarrel, but there are Faults on both ſides.
Cit. 'Tis often ſo I believe, but it may be otherwiſe ſometimes.
Fr. 'Tis very ſeldom then; for my Part I never ſaw it otherwiſe, but that if one is to blame for beginning it, the other is to blame for carrying it on; if one raiſes the Storm, the other increaſes it; if one is paſſionate, the other is provoking; one wants Temper, the other wants Patience; one kindles the [Page 77] Fire, and t'other heaps on Fewel; both ſides are to blame.
Cit. I find you ac [...]ſing your Wife, but not excuſing your ſelf.
Fr. Indeed I am far from excuſing my ſelf in the Particular of our laſt Breach, but in the general, that is, in her Averſion to my doing of my Duty, and indeed to every thing that had but the Face of Religion on it, in that I cannot excuſe her, the Fault was all her own; and yet I have reaſon to be thankful that GOD has opened her Eyes in a great Meaſure, even againſt all the reaſonable Grounds of Expectation.
Cit. You ſurprize me! what, your Wife! that was ſo perfectly without GOD in the World, as neither to know any thing of him, or ſo much as to deſire to know him?
Fr. Yes, even my Wife, ſhe is a great Inſtance of the invincible Power of GOD's Grace.
Cit. Pray let me hear the Particulars of this Story, for I find there is a great deal in it.
Fr. They will be worth your hearing I aſſure you, tho' it may be redious: You may remember that I told you I had been obliged to uſe ſome Violence with my Wiſe to get leave to carry on our Family-Service; and that after our good old Uncle was gone, ſhe was mighty uneaſy at my ſetting up, or rather keeping up the good Man's Cuſtom of Morning and Evening Sacrifice: But that I had ſo far conquered her Temper in that Particular, as to reſolve not only to perform my Duty in the Houſe, but to do it ſo without her, as that ſhe ſhould think her ſelf entirely ſhut out from it; it's true, I came away to London as ſoon as I had begun, without waiting to ſee whether ſhe lik'd it or not; or ſo much as enquiring whether ſhe propoſed to attend or nor, in the carrying it on.
Cit. Well, but what did you do when you came back?
[Page 78] Fr. Do! why I reſolv'd not to ſuffer the Matter to interrupt any of our Converſe together; ſhe made me very Welcome at my Return, was very kind and obliging, and we ſupp'd together; after which ſhe prepar'd to go to Bed, and when ſhe went into her Chamber, I told her I would follow her, and going into the Parlour where we uſed to perform, I I called for the Cuſhions, and bad bring the Servants in to Prayer.
Cit. And did they not go and call your Wife?
Fr. I believe not, I did not forbid them; but I ſuppoſe they did not.
Cit. What ſaid ſhe to it?
Fr. Nothing at all, nor I to her: She neither ask'd why I ſtaid ſo long; nor did I tell her the Occaſion: But when I came in, I ſaid, my Dear, Have I made you wait? She anſwered No; and ſo it ended. In the Morning I did the ſame before ſhe came out of her Dreſſing-Room; and thus it continued ſome time without any Notice taken on the one ſide or the other; at length ſhe broke the Silence upon the following Occaſion: One Night, when the uſual hour for Bed-time was come, and ſhe had calle'd for a Candle to go up Stairs, ſhe would needs oblige me to go up with her; I declin'd it, and told her I'd come preſently; ſhe wou'd not be put off, but took me by the Hand, ſpeaking very pleaſantly; Come, come, I won't go to Bed without you. ‘
Husb. Well, my Dear, ſaid I, to oblige you I'll go up, but I muſt come down again before I go to Bed; ſo I went up, but as I had ſaid; told her I muſt go down again, but would not ſtay.
Wife. I know no Buſineſs you have to do, ſays ſhe.
Husb. Yes, my Dear, I have ſomething to do that I cannot put off.
Wife. What Buſineſs?
Husb. Why, my Dear, ſhould you ask? You know [Page 79] 'tis Buſineſs you don't like; and which till you do like, I cannot deſire you to trouble your ſelf.
Wife. Good lack! your Prayers! ſays ſhe; come, come, let 'em alone for one Night, to Morrow will do as well, I deſire your Company now; all this ſhe ſaid ſmiling, and in a meet thoughtleſs kind of good Humour.
Husb. My Dear, you can't promiſe me I ſhall be alive to Morrow; and beſides, praying to GOD to Morrow, makes up no Part of the Sin of omitting it to Day.
Wife. Well, well, ſtay with me to Night.
Husb. Pray, my Dear, don't deſire it of me, becauſe you know I can't comply.
Wife. Muſt I not deſire it?
Husb. My Dear, I'll be back again preſently.—
’ At which Words I broke from her, and came down Stairs. I overheard her as I was going, ſay aloud, I'll promiſe you I'll deſire you leſs than I have done, and flung her Chamber Door after me in a Rage; I came back in about a Quarter of an Hour, but found her gone to Bed, and I got not a Word of her that Night; the next Day ſhe was likewiſe unconverſible; and tho' her Paſſions wore off in two or three Days, yet ſhe never ſhewed the uſual Pleaſantneſs of her Temper as long as ſhe ſtaid with me.
Cit. It was very ſtrange ſhe ſhould be ſo provok'd on ſuch an Account.
Fr. But that was not all; for which was ſtill worſe, this Diſorder affected our general Converſation, for we grew waſpiſh and petulent, every thing almoſt gave Ground of Quarrel, and every little Quarrel was carry'd to that Height for want of Temper, that it run us up to the maddeſt Extreams, even to be downright abuſive, and in the higheſt Manner diſobliging to one another, and this even on my ſide as well as on hers, for I do not excuſe my ſelf.
Cit. Indeed it was juſt ſo with me too, as I told you.
[Page 80] Fr. I believe 'tis ſo every where, where the firſt Contention is grounded ſo ill, it cannot but unhinge the Temper on both Sides, and make way to all kind of Miſchief.
Cit. The Scripture ſays ſo plainly, Where there is Strife and Contention, there is every evil Work.
Fr. Well, ſure never was Feud carry'd to ſuch a Height between a Man and his Wife from ſo ſcandalous a beginning; in ſhort we differed once to ſuch a degree about nothing, but whether we ſhould go into the Garden by the Hall Door, or the Green-houſe Door, that it ended in Separation, as you ſhall hear.—We were both going into the Garden one Evening to walk together, I was for going this way, and ſhe that way; we were as well to one another, as to Humour, but the Minute before, as we had been at any time ſince the Breach above-named; I'll go this way, ſays ſhe; I'll meet you, ſays I; and accordingly we both met immediately in the firſt Walk, for it was not twenty Steps either way. You will always be Diſſenter from your Wife, ſays ſhe. My Dear, ſays I, ſtill without the leaſt Paſſion, it put me in mind of the Diviſions among the People of this Nation about Religion; methinks the Church and the Diſſenters act a little as you and I did, one goes this way and another that; one out at one Door and one out at another, but all meet, I hope, in Heaven at laſt: Upon which we entred into this malicious illgovern'd Diſcourſe which ſhe began, ſhewing her ſelf to be very much out of Humour. ‘
Wife. Don't trouble me with your Diviſions, you may divide to the End of the Chapter, and be one of one Side and another of another; for my part I believe you're all Hypocrites, and that you'll [...] in a worſe Place than you talk of [...]
Husb. Do not judge ſo ha [...]ly, [...]
[Page 81] Wife. I do not judge at all; what care I where you go?
Husb. I hope we ſhall go both to one Place.
Wife. Don't curſe me, I don't deſire to go with you any where.
’ In a Word, my Friend, one Word brought on another, till the firſt Shower encreaſed to a Flood; the firſt angry Word grew to a Storm, and my Wife told me in ſo many Words, I uſed her at ſuch a Rate ſhe would live no longer with me. I was a little too warm, being provok'd by ſuch Uſage, and told her plainly, that unleſs ſhe reſolv'd to uſe me better, not living with me would be a great Favour to me. She told me ſhe would try me, and away ſhe flung out of the Garden; and that very Evening, to be as good as her Word with me, in ſpight of all the Arguments I could uſe with her, ſhe went away to her Brother Sir Richard's, and came no more to live with me for a long time, as you ſhall hear.
Cit. She was of a very raſh Temper certainly.
Fr. Ay, or elſe ſhe had been a very deſirable Perſon. But we were now parted.
Cit. But did ſhe not let you know where ſhe was?
Fr. No, not at all, till by the Neceſſity of ſending for Cloathes, Linnen, and other things that ſhe wanted, I came to know it.
Cit. I ſhould have been apt to have let her alone.
Fr. I would have done ſo, and for ſome time I did ſo; but my Caſe was, that I lov'd her to an extream. However, an Opportunity offer'd, which gave me almoſt a Neceſſity of letting her alone ſome time; for as I was riding out one Day very Melancholy and Penſive, [...] account▪ I met Sir Richard, who was going a Hunting▪ he would have had met with him, but I was not diſpoſ'd for Sport, [...] [Page 82] and excus'd my ſelf: Well, ſays he, Brother, where ſhall I ſee you after we have done; for I want a little talk with you? and laugh'd: which was as much as to tell me, I knew what he meant. Where you pleaſe, Sir Richard, ſaid I. So he made an Appointment at a Publick Houſe in our Town; and we met accordingly. When we were ſet, he took me by the Hand very kindly, and told me, He was very glad to ſee me; and before we entred into any Diſcourſe, ſaid he, BROTHER, don't think that I deſign to Affront you, or to take any Part againſt you; I aſſure you, I am of your Side; and if I have the right of the Story, I think my Siſter worſe than a mad Woman. But prethee, ſays he, will you be free with me, and let me into the Story; for ſhe tells it her ſelf contrary to the Practice of moſt People, the moſt to her own Diſſadvantage of any thing in the World. SIR, ſaid I, that is not uſual I confeſs. And ſo our Diſcourſe began. ‘
Sir Rich. In troth, Brother, I told her but this Morning plainly, that I thought ſhe was read.
Husb. But I ſuppoſe ſhe did not tell you that ſhe thought ſo her ſelf.
Sir Rich. No, indeed; ſhe ask'd me firſt why I ſhould ſay ſhe was mad: I'll tell you why, SISTER, ſaid I; you muſt allow, that according to the Cuſtom of all Women, you have made your own Story tell as well as you can; and then, according to the Cuſtom of Men, ſaid I, ſmiling, you muſt allow me to believe, it is not ſo bad on your Husband's ſide as your repreſent it. That's unkind, SAYS SHE, I have done both ſides Juſtice, according to my own Senſe of Things: Well, well, ſaid I, but there muſt be Allowances on both Sides for the Paſſions, and I muſt take it as before, according to Rule. You may take it how you pleaſe, ſays ſhe, what's that to my Caſe? Why, yes, ſaid I, it is to the Caſe THƲs; that as you relate it [Page 83] your ſelf, there's no Body alive but will blame you entirely, and ſay, you are the moſt in the Wrong of any Woman in the World. And if it be ſo by your own Account, what muſt it be if we know the whole, and had heard what your Husband had to ſay?
Husb. Sir, you was too much my Friend, perhaps you will blame my Curioſity, if I ſhould ask what ſhe could return to ſo plain a Truth.
Sir Rich. Truly nothing, but that which indeed ſhe ought to be aſhamed of.
Husb. Indeed, Sir, it is a great Affliction to me, whatever it is to her, to think we ſhould break up our Family in ſuch a manner: And I think, if you knew what a Trifle this Quarrel was about, you would ſay, we were both mad; ſhe, to go away, and I, to let her.
Sir Rich. You let her go! How could you hinder her? If a Woman will run away, who can ſtop her? If ſhe had been mine, ſhe ſhould have gone I aſſure you; and as ſhe had gone when ſhe pleas'd, ſhe ſhould not come again till I pleaſed.
Husb. But I would have yielded to any thing rather than ſhe ſhould have gone away.
Sir Rich. What do you mean? would you have yielded up your Religion and Conſcience, and turned Arheiſt like your Wife; if you could have laid down all that, why did you begin it? Sure you would not have done that for a Wife; you'd have paid dear enough for her I aſſure you, and more a great deal than ſhe was worth: If I had half that Religion, and Honeſty that you have, Brother, I would not break into it one inch for the beſt Wife in the World.
Husb. You appear by that, Sir Richard, to have more Religion and Honeſty too, than many that pretend to the higheſt Degree of Sanctity in the World.
Sir Rich. No, no, you don't know me; I am a [Page 84] wicked Dog, a Fellow that has never been taught any thing, and never learn'd any thing, and GOD knows whether ever I ſhall be better or no.
Husb. That is only what you ſay of your ſelf, Sir Richard; I think you have a greater Senſe of thoſe Things, and more Knowledge of what Religion is, than many that ſeem to talk very religiouſly.
Sir Rich. No, I am the very ſame drunken, looſe, profane DEVIL my Father was before me, and that my Grandfather was before him; we are a helliſh Family, Brother, that's the Truth of it; 'tis Pity a good Man ſhould have the Misfortune to come among us.
Husb. Pray don't talk ſo of your ſelf, Sir; you have yet one thing that leaves your Friends great hopes for you.
Sir Rich. I wiſh you could tell me what it is then, for I ſee nothing in me that can make me hope any thing for my ſelf; and that's the reaſon I never care to think of it.
Husb. I can tell you ſomething, Sir Richard, that is very particular.
Sir Rich. But don't flatter me, for I hate ſmoothing and ſoftning; I am a plain Dealer, and you ſee I uſe my ſelf very coarſly, but 'tis all true, therefore don't pretend to flatter me, I ſay.
Husb. Sir, I flatter no Body; that Plainneſs you ſpeak of, is the thing I have hope of you from; you have ſomething ſo ſincere in you, that I cannot but he ſatisfied it will ſome time or other kindle a Fire in your Soul that will flame up to Heaven, and burn up all the Harveſt the Devil hopes for in you; Sincerity is a Foundation for all that's religious to build upon.
Sir Rich. Nay, I [...] diſſemble; you ſee I don't make my ſelf better than I [...] worſe; I'll [...] [Page 85] and I'll give you an Example, as to my ſelf; I am a looſe, ſwearing, blaſpheming Wretch, that's ſure; but you never hear me uſe that common Expreſſion, as I hope to be ſaved; I can't do it, I can't be ſuch a Hypocrite—for I have no Notion of the Thing, nor any Hopes about it.
Husb. Don't carry it that length, Sir Richard, I entreat you; many worſe than you have been made happy.
Sir Rich. Well, I'll be glad to enter into that Diſcourſe with you ſome other time; for really, tho' I have no Religion, I love them that have, and love to diſcourſe with them about it: But I am ſuch a profligate Fellow my ſelf, that no Body that has any thing good in them, cares to come into my Company.
Husb. Indeed, Sir Richard, your loving religious People, is a Token to me, that you will love Religion it ſelf ſome time or other; and I'm perſwaded, did thoſe religious People you ſpeak of, hear what you now ſay to me, they would not ſhun your Company, as you ſay they do.
Sir Rich. I can't bear the Thoughts of religious Things long together, they run me into ſtrange Convulſions of Mind; and ſo I run away to Company, and drink off the Chagrin of thoſe Things; and when I am once Drunk, the next Morning it is all over, and I am well enough.
Husb. That's a ſad Remedy againſt ſerious Thoughts. Sir Richard, I hope you may find a better in time.
Sir Rich. Well, I will have ſome ſerious Talk of thoſe Things with you one time or other; I'll make you my Father Confeſſor: But let us go on now where we left off, about my Siſter.
Husb. With all my [...]
Sir Rich. [...] ſaid that you would have yielded to any thing rather than have parted with your Wife; [Page 86] and then I ſpoke of your yielding up the Point about Religion, which you differ'd about; and that I ſuppos'd you could not yield thoſe Things up upon any Account whatever.
Husb. No, Sir, I did not mean that; I hope we did not differ ſo much about that, as to make thoſe things the ground of our Separation; if ſo, I am a Martyr in a better Cauſe than I expected.
Sir Rich. Then I don't underſtand you, and believe your Wife does not underſtand you either; for I aſſure you, that's all the Reaſon ſhe pretends to give, why ſhe is come away, (viz.) that you are too Religious for her.
Husb. Indeed I could not have imagin'd that was the Reaſon of it, much leſs that ſhe would give that Reaſon for it; you might well ſay, ſhe told the Story to her own Diſadvantage.
Sir Rich. Indeed that's all the reaſon ſhe gives; but ſince you ſay there is more in it, I wiſh you would let me into the Story, if it may be convenient; or into as much of it as you think fit.
Husb. With all my Heart, Sir Richard.
Here he gives Sir Richard a full Account of all that had paſſed from the coming of the Country Miniſter to their Houſe, to the Breach about the two Doors in the Garden: At which Sir Richard falls a ſwearing, and flies into he terrible Paſſion at his Siſter; calling her Atheiſt, Fool, Sot, and moſt abominable Creature; and, in ſhort, all the Names of that kind he could think of.
’ When he had ſpent ſome Admiration in his way, upon the Particulars, we renewed the Diſcourſe, and our Dialogue went on thus. I ſpoke firſt and ſaid,

Dear Sir, do not be in a Paſſion at her, ſhe is a [...] [...]oung Body.

Sir Rich. Not in a Paſſion at her, Brother! who [Page 87] can forbear? was ever ſuch unaccountable Folly! Trouble not your ſelf about it, I'll ſend her Home to you again, with a Vengeance.
Husb. I wiſh much rather to have her come Home with Repentance.
Sir Rich. That is neither in your Power to work, nor in hers to act, till he that gave her too much Wit gives her more Grace. But of all the Creatures that ever I met with, I never ſaw her equal; why, ſhe is worſe than I am.
Husb. That Sence you have of your own being ſo bad, Sir Richard, will, one time or other, be a Means to make you better than perhaps you ever think you can be.
Sir Rich. Why, tho' ſhe is an atheiſtical untaught Creature her ſelf, and has no Senſe of GOD or Devil, ſhe can never like a Husband the worſe for being better than her ſelf; why ſhe is worſe than Nature can make her, ſhe muſt be poſſeſs'd with the Devil.
Husb. No, Sir Richard, ſhe is not ſo bad as that, I hope; ſhe did not ſeparate from me about the Matter of Religion; it muſt be the other Quarrel we had about the Garden.
Sir Rich. No, no, it's all about your being religious, ſhe owns it her ſelf; 'tis the only honeſt Thing ſhe has been guilty of; beſides, the other was ſuch a fooliſh ridiculous Trifle, ſhe was aſham'd to pretend to part with her Husband upon it; 'twas all, ſhe ſays, about your breaking from her one Night to go down to Prayers, when ſhe deſired you to ſtay with her, and let them alone.
Husb. I think ſhe ſhould much rather be aſham'd of that, than have told it!
Sir Rich. I think ſo too; but ſhe is of another Opinion it ſeems.
Husb. I am ſorry for her, and ſorry for the Breach between us; and, as I ſaid before, I would do any [Page 88] thing in the World to put an End to it; that is, any thing that I could do with Satisfaction to my Conſcience, and a reſerve to my known Duty.
Sir Rich. Pray what did you reſolve to do? was you in any Method about it?
Husb. None at all, I did not ſo much as know where ſhe was, till ſhe ſent one of your Servants and my Lady ....'s Woman to fetch her Linnen and Cloaths.
Sir Rich. And did ſhe ſend no Meſſage to you, nor bid them take any Notice of her being at my Houſe?
Husb. Not the leaſt word, I aſſure you, any more than if ſhe had not known me.
Sir Rich. She is in a ſtrange Fury ſure; But what did you reſolve on before I ſaw you in the Morning?
Husb. I reſolved to go and ſee her, and try, if by any Method in the World, I could prevail on her to come Home again.
Sir Rich. You don't know my Siſter, I find; I can aſſure you, that is not the way to deal with her; ſhe would but have deſpiſed all your Submiſſions; if you will let me manage her, I have known her longer than you, I'll bring her to a better Temper, I'll engage.
Husb. I wiſh you could, Sir Richard, any reaſonable and mild way.
Sir Rich. If you will but keep away from her, and not follow her, to ſolicite her Return, I'll engage I bring her to ſolicite you.
Husb. I am obliged to go to London, Sir Richard, for a Month, but I am very loth to go before I am reconciled to her.
Sir Rich. By all means go, and leave the reſt to me.
Thus, my Friend, I have given you a melancholy Account of the Affair of my Family; I am come away, none of my Family kno [...] [...] come to London but the Nurſe and another Servant; and Sir Richard is to manage my Wife as he thinks fit. How I [Page 89] ſhall find Matters at my Return I know not, but it is a great Affliction to me to be here all this while, and hear nothing from my Wife, any more than if I had no Wife, I mean from her ſelf: I have two Children; 'tis true, they are too young to know any thing of the Matter, but all the Houſe ſeems abandon'd and going to ruin.
Cit. Well, I am perſwaded Sir Richard has put you in the right Way.
Fr. How do you mean?
Cit. Why not to ſeem to regard her, or ſeek after her, but leave her to come to her ſelf gradually; I dare ſay you will find it all wear off, if you don't follow her; like Children, who fancy themſelves not well; do but whine over them, and you really hand them to Bed; and they will at laſt be as ſick as at firſt they pretended to be; I intreat you be rul'd by Sir Richard, let her alone and ſhe will ſoon change her Mind.
Fr. Indeed I have left it all to him; he is her own Brother. But I cant bear to ſlight her for all this.
Cit. You gave a ſtrange. Account of his Diſcourſe about Religion and his own Wickedneſs; I have a great Opinion that Gentleman will, ſome time or other, be a reform'd Man.
Fr. Indeed ſo have I; and depend upon it, if he is, he will be a very bright Chriſtian as well as a very bright Man; he is of an excellent Temper, nicely Honeſt, unſeignedly Sincere, and wants nothing that Nature can furniſh him with towards a Change. I hope GOD will work upon him in Time, for he will be a Miracle of GOD's Grace, that will ſet all round him at gaze; ſuch a Sinner brought to Repentance, would make Joy in Heaven and Joy on Earth at the ſame time.
Cit. I have but one Requeſt to you about him.
Fr. What's that?
Cit. Do not fail to talk to him; you know how he has beſpoke you, and deſires it.
[Page 90] Fr. I do often think of it.
Cit. But can you not contrive to give him an Opportunity?
Fr. There's no Difficulty in it.
Cit. Then I would do it; how do you know how far you may be made an Inſtrument to do him good?
Fr. That is true, and I promiſe you I will.
Cit. I have one thing more to ask; and that is, that you will be ſo kind to write me a Line or two by the Poſt of your Succeſs in it; for I have a ſtrong Perſwaſion it will have unexpected Succeſs.
Fr: Well, I promiſe you I will not fail. But there is an odd Circumſtance in my Affair, which I have not given you an Account of yet, which has happen'd ſince my coming away; and which indeed I have but an imperfect Account of my ſelf, and area diſtance; but it makes me very deſirous to go Home.
Cit. Pray let's hear what it is.
Fr. Why, my Man writes me word that he underſtands there has been a great Quarrel at Sir Richard's, between Sir Richard himſelf, and his Siſter, my Wife.
Cit. That is about you, to be ſure.
Fr. I ſuppoſe ſo; for he ſends me word, that Sir Richard came to my Houſe the very Day that I came away, in hopes to have found me before I was gone; that he would not believe a good while, that I was gone; but that after my Man had convinc'd him of it, he ſaid, he could find in his Heart to [...]ike Horſe, and ſee if he could not overtake me: But that my Man telling him I uſed to ride pretty hard, that it was not probable he ſhould overtake me, he went away, but ſeemed very uneaſy to ſpeak with me.
Cit. It's a great pity he does not write to you.
Fr. So it is; but thoſe Gentlemen of Pleaſure don't care to take the Pains to write Letters.
[Page 91] Cit. Well, is that all?
Fr. No indeed, my Man writes me word, that in two or three Days after Sir Richard had been there, he heard that my Wife was gone away from Sir Richard's, and that ſhe was gone away in a Diſguſt. It ſeems the Nurſe had a Mind to go and ſee her Miſtreſs, and ſhe takes the two Children with her; not doubting but her Miſtreſs would be glad to ſ [...] the Children; and away ſhe goes with them to Sir Richard's: when ſhe came to the Houſe, Sir Richard ſeeing her, began thus. ‘
Sir Rich. Well Nurſe, what are you come for? what are you turn'd out of Doors as well as your Miſtreſs?
Nurſe. No, an'r pleaſe your Worſhip, I am not turn'd out of Doors, nor my Miſtreſs wasn't turn'd out of Doors neither; I hope no Body has told your Worſhip ſuch a Story.
Sir Rich. No, no, I do but jeſt; but this I'll tell you in earneſt, if ſhe was not turn'd out of Doors, ſhe very well deſerv'd it, Nurſe.
Nurſe. GOD bleſs your Worſhip, I hope it will be all over and well again; my Maſter is gone to London, and if my Miſtreſs would be pleas'd to come Home now; my Maſter is ſo good a humour'd Gentleman, I am ſure before he comes again it would be all forgot.
Sir Rich. Your Maſter, Nurſe! ay, your Maſter is too good for her; 'tis pity ſhe han't a worſe Huſband and he a better Wife, then both would have their due.
Nurſe. GOD bleſs your Worſhip, perſwade my Miſtreſs to come Home; here are two little pretty innocent Babies, what will become of them? It breaks my Heart to think of them, and't pleaſe your Worſhip; Lord bleſs us! hovv can my Miſtreſs forget her own Children ſo?
[Page 92] Sir Rich. I perſwade your Miſtreſs; Nurſe! your Miſtreſs is a Brute, ſhe is a Devil incarnate, I'll have nothing to do with her.
Nurſe. O dear, and't pleaſe your Worſhip, do not ſay ſo; ſhe is your Worſhip's own Siſter.
Sir Rich. Ay, ay, Nurſe, I know it, and ſhe's never the better for that neither.
Here he fetch'd a deep Sigh, and ſaid, Aſide, we are a curſed helliſh Brood.
Nurſe. But I have brought the two Children and't pleaſe your Worſhip, it may be when my Miſtreſs ſees them again ſhe will be perſwaded.
Sir Rich. Her Children! ſhe values her Children no more than if they were a Couple of Calves from one of her milch Cows; ſhe is without natural Affection, Woman, don't you ſee it? If ſhe had had any Love for her own Children, could ſhe have left them as ſhe has done?
Nurſe. And't pleaſe your Worſhip, I hope ſhe does love them tho' for all that; what have the poor Babes done? The eldeſt is not two Years old; to be ſure, my Miſtreſs loves them dearly, and't pleaſe your Worſhip.
Sir Rich. Yes to be ſure ſhe does; pray, has ſhe ſent any Body to ſee how they did ſince ſhe came away?
Nurſe. Why indeed, NO, and't pleaſe your Worſhip, and we all wonder'd: Bleſs us all, and't pleaſe your Worſhip, it is a ſad thing.
Sir Rich. I tell you, ſhe neither regards GOD or the Devil; ſhe neither has natural Religion or natural Affection; ſhe does not value both her Children ſo much as I do that Hound.
Nurſe. Oh! and't pleaſe your Worſhip, don't ſay ſo; I'll go and ſee my Miſtreſs, and your Worſhip pleaſes to give me leave.
Nurſe offers to go into the Houſe.
[Page 93] Sir Rich. Why, you old Fool, where are you going? your Miſtreſs is not here.
Nurſe. Not here, Sir, for the Lord's ſake! and't pleaſe your Worſhip, not here! my Miſtreſs not here! and't pleaſe your Worſhip; where is my Miſtreſs? She was here, I hope your Worſhip is but in Jeſt.
Sir Rich. No indeed, Nurſe, I am not in Jeſt, ſhe is gone, I have ridded my Houſe of her, and never deſire to ſee her within my Doors again, till ſhe has changed her Life.
Nurſe. Where is ſhe gone, and't pleaſe your Worſhip?
Nurſe falls a crying, and Sir Richard's Lady hearing of her, ſends a Servant to fetch her and the Children in.
Sir Rich. I know nothing of her.
’ This Dialogue between Sir Richard and old Nurſe, has much more in it to be ſure, than I know of yet.
Cit. No doubt but it has.
Fr. But my Man writes me too, that the next Day after this happen'd, my Wife came Home; at which they were all ſurpriz'd; that ſhe went up into the Nurſery to the Children, and went into her own Chamber, but could not get into her Cloſet, or into ſeveral other Rooms which I had lock'd up: it's true, I had left the Keys with the Servant that writes; but as ſhe did not ask him for them, and I had not order'd him to tell her of it, ſo ſhe knew nothing of it.
Cit. Well, and did ſhe not ſtay?
Fr. No, it ſeems the Nurſe cry'd, and beg'd of her to ſtay; the poor old Woman fell down of her knees, and begged her to take Pity on her two little Children, and to ſtay; and told her, ſhe was ſure her Maſter would rejoice to hear of her being come again, and would come Home as ſoon as ever he ſhould know it. But it would not do; ſhe [Page 94] anſwer'd coldly, ask'd when their Maſter would be at Home; and they told her, in about a Fortnight; ſo ſhe went away: But to quiet the Nurſe, told her, ſhe would come again in two or three Days, and ſtay for good and all.
Cit. It is a very odd Story; and pray what do you intend to do in it?
Fr. Do? I muſt go Home as faſt as I can, tho' I leave my Buſineſs undone, and come again; for I have no Patience to think of my Wife being left to wander I don't know where, now ſhe has quarrel'd with her Brother.
Cit. Why, what will you do, will you ſubmit to her?
Fr. Ay, I'll do any thing to bring her Home; I'll go to her where-ever ſhe is; and if all the Entreaties in the World will move her, I'll never leave her till I get her Home.
Cit. You are only the beſt Husband in England.
Fr. And ſhe will be the beſt Wife in England, if it pleaſes GOD to reſtore her from this unhappy Condition; if ſhe continues thus, ſhe is ruined Soul and Body, and I cannot bear to let her periſh, and not uſe all poſſible Endeavours to reclaim her; I cannot believe but her Paſſion is cool'd and abated before this; perhaps, Sir Richard has been too hot with her, and put her into a fret; I'll take the contrary Courſe: 'Tis my Duty to bear with her Paſſions and Miſtakes; her Brother is not under the ſame Obligations; my Affections lead me to all the tender Methods I can take, he is not under the ſame Influence; my Concern is for her Soul, and for her Children; he is not touch'd that way yet: In a Word, he is her Brother, but I am her Husband; he is a Relation to her, but I am a Part of her; he is of her Family, but I am her ſelf. As I do [Page 95] not reflect on him for want of Succeſs, for I dare ſay, he is full of Good-Will to us both; ſo yet I cannot doubt of Succeſs my ſelf; therefore I am reſolved to go Home and find her out, and never leave her till I have made her my own again; ſhe ſhall have a Heart of Stone if ſhe refuſes me.
They part, and his Friend took Horſe the next Day and went Home; what followed will be told in the next DIALOGUE.

1.3. The Third DIALOGUE.

WHEN Sir Richard — and his Brother-in-Law parted, neither of them had entertained any Notion of what might be, much leſs of what was the Conſequence of the Diſcourſe, which the Knight afterwards had with his Siſter; the Gentleman went away for London, as is expreſſed in the former Part; Sir Richard having firſt made him promiſe not to ſend to, or take any Notice of his Wife before he went, but to leave that Matter entirely to him.

In the mean time, his Siſter having ſent Sir Richard's Lady's Maids to her Houſe for Cloaths and Linnen, was very buſy enquiring of them who they had ſeen? How her two Children did? And every now and then a little Interrogatory would come in, [Page 96] What, did you not ſee Mr. —? meaning her Huſband. The Servant anſwered nothing at firſt, but made as if ſhe had been buſy about the Things ſhe had brought her, and did not hear; ſo ſhe began again.

Miſtreſs. Well, Suſan, and did you not ſee Mr. —?
Still the Maid did not hear; at laſt ſhe repeats it.
Miſt. I ſuppoſe Mr. — was not at home?
The Maid ſeeing no Remedy but ſhe must anſwer, ſays:
Maid. Yes, Madam, I believe he was at Home.
Miſt. Why, did you ſee him?
Maid. Yes, Madam.
Miſt. Did he ſay nothing to you?
Maid. Yes, Madam, he ſaid ſomething, but I did not mind it much, except what was about our Buſineſs.
Miſt. But what did he ſay Suſan?
Maid. He ask'd what we came about? And you know, Madam, we could not have had the Things without asking him, ſo we told him what we wanted.
Miſt. Well, and what ſaid he then?
Maid. He ſaid, yes, yes, by all means, take whatever ſhe has ſent for.
Miſt. What, did he not ask how I did?
Maid. Nothing like it, Madam.
Miſt. Nor where I was?
Maid. No, Madam; I ſuppoſe he gueſs'd where you was by our coming.
Miſt. And was that all he ſaid then?
Maid. No, Madam, he bid us take all we could find, for that he was going a Journey to London, and ſhould not be at Home in a Month or two, and he could not leave the Rooms open.
Miſt. A Journey to London, and for two Months! that's odd; what, and ſay nothing to me! it's very odd.
Miſt. Hark ye, Suſan, did Mr. — look pleaſed, or did he ſeem uneaſy?
[Page 97] Maid. He was mighty merry, for he was playing with one of the Children, Madam.
This ſtill made it worſe to her.

This Diſcourſe happening juſt as Sir Richard was come home, he overheard it; O, ſays he, Now I ſee I am right, the fooliſh Creature relents already; ſhe knows not what ſhe has been doing either to GOD or her Husband.

As ſoon as ſhe was gone, Sir Richard called the Maid into his Room; Hark ye, Suſan, ſaid Sir Richard, what made you teize my Siſter ſo about her Husband?

Maid. Teize her, Sir! indeed I didn't.
Sir Rich. Why, you may eaſily ſee, what ſhe meant; and I eaſily ſee what you meant, you were very right Suſan.
Maid. O dear, Sir, I know not what to do or ſay! 'tis pity a young Lady ſhould puniſh her ſelf ſo; it's plain ſhe wiſhes ſhe had never come away.
Sir Rich. Then why does ſhe not go home again as ſhe ought, Suſan?
Maid. Sir, it's plain on the other Hand, ſhe wants nothing but to have him creep after her and fetch her, I wiſh he would.
Sir Rich. And ſo you made as if he ſhewed no Concern about her?
Maid. Indeed, Sir, I ſee 'tis the only way to bring her to her ſelf; 'tis great Pity ſhe ſhould uſe an honeſt Gentleman ſo, all the Houſe cries Shame on it.
Sir Rich. Well, Suſan, thou haſt done right, and carry it on as far as you can; I have taken care he ſhall not come after her; I'll ſee if I can't bring her to her Senſes, and make her go home; ſhe does not treat him honourably indeed.
Maid. Truly, Sir, we all-think ſo; but we muſt not ſpeak
[Page 98] Sir Rich. But I'll ſpeak, and make her hear it too.

Upon this Sir Richard takes an Opportunity to talk with his Siſter, as if it was upon other Affairs, which occaſioned the following Dialogue.

Sir Rich. Siſter, Good Morrow t' ye.
Siſt. Good Morrow Brother, won't you come in and take ſome Chocolate.
It ſeems ſhe was in her Chamber, and he went by the Door and ſaw her there.
Sir Rich. Is any Body with you?
Siſt. No, no Body but Suſan; but my Lady is a coming, and the Chocolate is juſt ready.
Sir Rich. Well, I'll come preſently.
He went up a few Steps into a Cloſet, as if he had ſome Buſineſs; tho' his true Deſign was to have an Opportunity to talk with her, and therefore he returned immediately and went into her Chamber.
Siſt. Suſan, fill Sir Richard ſome Chocolate.
He takes it and drinks.
Sir Rich. Come, Siſter, won't you ſit down and bear me Company, I won't drink by my ſelf, that's meer ſotting in Chocolate as well as in Wine.
Siſt. I am coming.
She ſits down, and Suſan retires.
Sir Rich. Well, Siſter, when did you hear from my Brother?
Siſt. I hear from him! I han't heard a Word from him, and care not if I never hear from him more.
Sir Rich. Don't ſay ſo, Siſter, I'm ſure you don't ſpeak as you mean.
Siſt. Don't I, but I do tho'.
Sir Rich. Well, but han't he ſent to know how you do?
Siſt. No indeed, he don't think it worth his while
Sir Rich. Well, but did you tell him you were [...]
Siſt. No, not I.
[Page 99] Sir Rich. Very well; then how ſhould you hear from him, when you did not let him know where you were? that's clever enough.
Siſt. He ne'er troubled his Head to enquire.
Sir Rich. That is to ſay, Siſter, he did not ſend the Bellman up the Town and cry you; what would you have had the Man do? I remember you told me you came away from him in a Huff, and never bid him God b' w' ye.
Siſt. Well, what if I did? Is there an end of it? Is there no Concern due to a Wife when ſhe is provok'd to do her ſelf Juſtice?
Sir Rich. But, Siſter, if I remember right, you told me too, that he uſed all the Perſwaſions he could to have you ſtay at home; and that when he ſaw you reſolute to go, he ask'd you if you would not let him know whither you went? You told him no, you would not; and ask'd what he had to do with that?
Siſt. Well, I did ſo, What then?
Sir Rich. And that then he ask'd you very kindly, if you would not let him come and ſee you? and you ſaid No, no, don't trouble your ſelf to come after me, I deſire none of your Company.
Siſt. Well, I did ſay ſo; what do you infer from all that? I was in a Paſſion perhaps, what then?
Sir Rich. Why either you were in Jeſt, Siſter, or you were in Earneſt.
Siſt. Well, whether I was in Jeſt or Earneſt, I ſee he takes it in Earneſt.
Sir Rich. Why truly Siſter, when a Woman goes away from her Husband, moſt Folks will be apt to think ſhe is in Earneſt for 'tis an ugly ill-natur'd Jeſt.
Siſt. Truly I was in very good Earneſt.
Sir Rich. And he has been an obedient Husband, it ſeems; for you ſay he has not come nor ſent after you.
[Page 100] Siſt. No indeed, not he.
Sir Rich. Why no, you could not expect it; beſides, how ſhould he ſend after you, when you acknowledge he does not know where you are.
Siſt. Yes, yes, he knows where I am well enough.
Sir Rich. How is that! what have you ſent him Word?
Siſt. No indeed, not I.
Sir Rich. Nay, if you had, I know no Harm there would have been in it; only that I ſhould have thought you had acted a wiſer Part in that, than I think you did in coming away.
Siſt. But you could not have believ'd ſuch a thing, of one that you call Siſter; do you think ſuch Meanneſs of Spirit is in the Blood of your Family?
Sir Rich. Why truly, Siſter, we are a hot paſſionate Brood, that is true indeed; but I muſt tell you, for my own Part, my being ſo violently paſſionate, is one of the Things that I as much hate my ſelf for, as for any thing I have about me; and I have often thought that one time or other that furious Temper of mine will bring me to ruin; make me commit Murther, or ſome Miſchief or other that will make me miſerable all the Days of my Life; and I heartily wiſh none of my Relations would give way to their Rage, as I have done, and ſtill do, GOD forgive me.
Siſt. Well, I hope you will govern your Temper, for all that, tho' I cannot mine.
Sir Rich. But, Siſter, you muſt govern your Temper too, or elſe you may ruin your ſelf as well as I.
Siſt. Nay, I have done that already.
Sir Rich. I hope not, Siſter; I would fain have you think a little, and put an end to this Breach with your Husband; certainly you cannot have had reaſon to carry it ſo far.
Siſt. What are you on his Side already? I ſuppoſe [Page 101] he has ſent ſome Body to tell his Tale for him.
Sir Rich. No, really Siſter; I take the Story from no Body, but from your own Mouth, and juſt as you tell it your ſelf; and ſure you would not tell it to your own Diſadvantage.
Siſt. I told you nothing but what was true.
Sir Rich. I confeſs I doubted it.
Siſt. Why ſhould yo do ſo, do I uſe to ſpeak untrue?
Sir Rich. No, Siſter; but really I fancy'd you ſaid more againſt your ſelf than was your due; for I could not think it was poſſible you could differ, and part with your Husband upon ſuch an Occaſion only, as you ſaid you did; and from ſuch a Husband too as I think he is.
Siſt. Well, you muſt believe what you pleaſe, but I did for all that.
Sir Rich. Why then you acted about two Degrees worſe than a Madwoman.
Siſt. Why ſo? I am not in a Condition to go to Bedlam, at leaſt I do not ſee it?
Sir Rich. Why truly, Siſter; if ſuch a Cauſe ſhould come before us at the Quarter-Seſſions; I muſt own, that as there is no Law to puniſh bad Wives, and ſuch a Caſe as yours is was ſcarce ever heard of before, I ſhould certainly move my Brother Juſtices to Vote her Lunatick, and commit the Woman to Bedlam.
Siſt. You would be very unjuſt then.
Sir Rich. Indeed I think not, Siſter; I hope you do not take my Plainneſs-amiſs?
Siſt. No, not I; but I think you are a little Partial.
Sir Rich. Nay, there you wrong me too; how can I be Partial, when I take the Story as you tell it your ſelf.
Siſt. Becauſe you Cenſure me, as if I was in all the Fault.
Sir Rich. That's becauſe I am impartial; nay, 'tis [Page 102] a Proof of my being ſo; for it cannot be ſuppoſed I would give my Opinion againſt my own Siſter, if I was not impartial; it is a ſtrong Argument that the Reaſon and Nature of the Thing is againſt you, when I am convinc'd of the Fault's being in you, by the very things you ſay in your own Vindication.
Siſt. But there may be Faults on both Sides, Brother.
Sir Rich. Let whoſe will be the Fault, yours is the Folly; for as a Man cannot put away his Wife, but for the capital Crime of Adultery; ſhe muſt be a great Fool that will put her ſelf away, when ſhe is guilty of no Fault at all.
Siſt. I put my ſelf away! you miſtake me, I retire from an unreaſonable burthenſome Humour.
Sir Rich. We will talk of that afterwards, Siſter, if you will; but I would fain convince you, if you will give me Leave, of one Miſtake in your Conduct, which perhaps you are not ſenſible of.
Siſt. What is that?
Sir Rich. Why it is this; that as there is no Rule in GOD's Law to direct a Woman, upon what Occaſions ſhe may part from her Husband, the Law of the Man being ſuppoſed to ſtand for both; ſo there is a manifeſt Difference between the Caſes; and a Woman cannot part with her Husband, but with a greater Diſadvantage to her ſelf, than it is to the Man to put her away.
Siſt. Why ſo pray?
Sir Rich. The Caſe is plain; the Woman's parting from her Husband is eaſier to do, but liable to more Hazards, when done; I'll explain my ſelf immediately in both: 1. It is eaſier to do; if a Woman reſolves to part with her Husband, ſhe has nothing to do but to open the Door and go out; he can neither by Force, nor by Law prevent her, nor fetch her home again: But if the Man reſolves to put his Wife [Page 103] from him, he can do it no way but by a formal Proſecution; if he bids her be gone. ſhe may anſwer ſhe won't go; if he forces her out, ſhe may come in again; nay, the Law will force him to take her in, till he has made his turning her out legal.
Siſt. So then, you think we have the Advantage; but you Men have Ways enough to be even with us.
Sir Rich. For the 2d, the Turn is on our ſide: As the Difficulty is on the Husband's Part, the Scandal is on the Woman's; for as it is very well known ſhe cannot be forc'd away but for Adultery, ſo it is preſently taken for granted ſhe is guilty, if ſhe is gone.
Siſt. What? tho' ſhe goes by her Choice, not by his Force?
Sir Rich. Who will know the Particulars, compar'd to the Number that will know the general; every Body knows in general that they are parted, but not one in fifty will enquire into, or hear of the Merits of the Cauſe between the Woman and her Huſband, or ask whether ſhe went away, or he ſent her away?
Siſt. It is true, the Diſadvantage is of our Side, but what's this to my Caſe?
Sir Rich. Truly, Siſter, it applies very aptly thus, (viz.) That then a wiſe Woman ſhould never part from her Husband, but upon the greateſt Neceſſity, and with the moſt juſtifiable Reaſons in the World.
Siſt. I don't know but you may be in the right in that; but I don't know that it touches my Caſe; for I do not know that this will be call'd a Parting from my Husband for good and all.
Sir Rich. It is not the Time will alter the Crime; no, nor will it remove the Scandal, Siſter, it is that I am arguing upon.
Siſt. Nay, I don't know for what Time it may be neither, if he carries it thus.
Sir Rich. Why, how does he carry it? I don't ſee he minds you; I find he leaves you to your own Courſe.
[Page 104] Siſt. That's true, I am come away, and he troubles not his Head about it, as I ſee, nor intends to trouble himſelf, ſo we are not likely to come together again in haſte.
Sir Rich. Trouble himſelf! No indeed, and as I hear he reſolves never to trouble his Head about you again, unleſs you come home as you ought to do, and as it is your known Duty to do; nor can you blame him, for you acknowledge that you gave him the Occaſion; and I muſt own Siſter, that in all ſuch Caſes, they who gave the firſt Provocation, ought to make the firſt Submiſſion.
Siſt. So you would have me make my Submiſſion, would you?
Sir Rich. Nay Siſter, 'tis nothing to me, I won't take upon me to ſay what I would have you do.
Siſt. Not I, I aſſure you, I'll ſubmit to no Body.
Sir Rich. And I can aſſure you he'll never ſubmit to you.
Siſt. Are you ſure of that?
Sir Rich. I underſtand ſo by ſomething that I have ſeen or heard; and I muſt own I cannot blame him, I think I ſhould do juſt the ſame.
Siſt. I told you that you were partial; you are ſo, meerly as a MAN.
Sir Rich. Well, ſuppoſe that; we have the Laws of GOD on our ſide; you are commanded to ſubmit.
Siſt. I would not have you enter upon that Diſcourſe, you will claim more for the Men than you you will practiſe as a kind Husband.
Sir Rich. I am not talking of what is your Duty as a Wife, for there Siſter you muſt acknowledge you are quite wrong; but I am really concern'd for your own ſake, your Intereſt, your Eaſe, your Reputation; I wiſh you would think of thoſe Things for they are all going to Wreck.
Siſt. What can I do in any of them? What can a Woman do with a croſs Husband?
[Page 105] Sir Rich. If every Woman that had a croſs Huſband, or every Man that had a croſs Wife, ſhould come away from them, what think you would become of the World? beſides, my dear Siſter, ſhall I ask you a plain Queſtion?
Siſt. You know you may uſe your Freedom.
Sir Rich. Can you lay your Hand upon your Heart, and ſay you have a croſs Husband?
Siſt. I think him ſo to be ſure.
Sir Rich. Did you ever try to mend his Wife, and to ſee if that would not cure him.
Siſt. I never told you I was a good Wife.
Sir Rich. But I can tell you, that if you are not you ought to be a good Wife.
Siſt. Let him go on his own Way, I am good enough for him.
Sir Rich. Nay, Siſter, it is you that go on your own Way, the Man is at home.
Siſt. What do you infer from that?
Sir Rich. I infer, that he is where he ought to be; and you are where you ought not to be.
Siſt. Dear Brother, be plain with me, are you talking from him, and for him, or is it only an accidental Diſcourſe, as I thought it was?
Sir Rich. Truly Siſter, I will be plain; I have ſeen your Husband, and he has ſo convinc'd me of your being in the wrong, that I reſolv'd for your ſake to talk with you, and perſuade you to act with more Prudence; you know theſe are Things quite out of my Way, but I profeſs I think talking with you, and hearing of your Conduct with your Husband, has done more to make me ſerious, than all the teaching I had in my Life.
Siſt. I make you ſerious! you make me ſmile to hear you talk of being ſerious, and eſpecially at my making you ſo.
Sir Rich. In Troth Siſter, your Extream of Atheiſm, [Page 106] is enough to make an Infidel religious; why you act as if you believ'd there was neither God or Devil, Hell or Heaven, and that we were to reckon for nothing in the next World, that we do in this; and tho' Siſter I am a poor wicked, profligate, unthinking Wretch my ſelf, yet I know I am ſo, and that I ought to be otherwiſe; BƲT YOƲ are worſe than a Heathen in this, that you deſpiſe being religious, as a thing quite below you; for GOD ſake, Siſter, let you and I both think a little what will become of us.
Siſt. Bleſs me! that ever my eldeſt Brother, the well-known Sir Richard — ſhould turn Parſon! why I never heard ſuch a Sermon in the Houſe in my Life; you need not have told me you had ſeen my Husband, why if I had heard you talk thus before, I would have ſworn you had been talking to my Huſband, and he had been preaching Repentance to you; come, come, Brother, tell me what he ſays.
Sir Rich. He ſays, Siſter, what I could never have believ'd; he tells me you are a Deſpiſer of all Religion.
Siſt. Well, what News is that to you? What have I to do with Religion, or you either?
Sir Rich. It's true, Siſter, I have heard that Women have no Souls; but I never thought you believ'd it till now.
Siſt. I hate him, and all his religious Impertinences; you know thoſe Things never were reliſh'd in our Family.
Sir Rich. To our Shame be it ſpoken Siſter.
Siſt. Not at all! I think 'tis much to our Credit, for then we are ſure we have no Hypocrites.
Sir Rich. Siſter; upon my Word, your Way of talking has been the moſt of a Sermon to me that ever I heard in my Life; you really make my very Blood run chill, and my Joints tremble; it's true, I have not been religious, GOD pardon me, but I [Page 107] never thought my ſelf the better for it, or to be commended for it; there is a great deal of Difference Siſter, between one that practices no religious Part, and one that deſpiſes Religion it ſelf; and I doubt that is juſt the Difference between you and I.
Siſt. I don't trouble my ſelf about Religion, nor do I intend to trouble my ſelf about it.
Sir Rich. Why then your Husband has not ſlandered you.
Siſt. But he might have held his Tongue, and not endeavour'd to blacken his Wife.
Sir Rich. Why really Siſter, you do him Wrong, he is the backwardeſt Man alive to ſpeak it of you; but did not you own it to me your ſelf, when you and I talk'd laſt?
Siſt. What did I own?
Sir Rich. Why truly you own'd what I could hardly believe, (viz.) That all the Quarrel between you and your Husband, was becauſe he is too religious; that he kept up the Worſhip of GOD in the Houſe, and prays, and reads the Bible in the Family.
Siſt. Well, and ſo it was; I had rather behalf hear him ſing a Song.
Sir Rich. I vow Siſter, you aſtoniſh me! I thought there had been nothing wickeder than I in the World; you need not talk of your Husband expoſing you.
Siſt. But I do talk of it for all that.
Sir Rich, But I'll do him ſo much Juſtice, that he conceals your Folly as much as poſſible; nor would he own the Reaſon of your leaving him, till I extorted it from him, by telling him that you told me your ſelf that you left him for nothing, but becauſe you could not bear his going to Prayers; tho' indeed Siſter, I always thought you had jeſted.
Siſt. Not I, why ſhould you think I jeſted? Did you think I would come away from my Husband in Jeſt?
[Page 108] Sir Rich. Why I thought it was impoſſible any Woman in Earneſt, could leave a Husband upon ſuch an Occaſion, much leſs own it when ſhe had done; and when I mentioned it to your Husband, he would have perſuaded me that it was ſome other thing you had taken ill from him, and that he hoped ſome time or other you would forget it.
Siſt. Well, and did he preach a long Sermon to you? Come, tell me what he ſaid.
Sir Rich. I aſſure you Siſter, you have preach'd a Sermon to me, that I believe will ſtick to me as long as I live.
Siſt. I preach! what have I ſaid to you? I hate Preaching, you know it.
Sir Rich. Truly Siſter, I cannot repeat what you have ſaid; but you have expoſed the Folly and Brutality of an irreligious Converſation ſo much by your practiſing it, that I reſolve from this Time to amend my Life, and change my whole Practice, Society, and Converſation: GOD forgive me what is paſt; and if he will give me Grace to follow my Reſolutions, I will be quite another Man than ever you knew me.
Siſt. A fine new-faſhion'd Cant indeed! by all Means Sir Richard, go on with your Show; but depend upon it, we ſhall all laugh at you moſt heartily.
Sir Rich. With all my Heart; and ſee who will have the worſt of it.
Siſt. And this is the Effect of your talking with my Husband, is it?
Sir Rich. No Siſter, tho' your Husband ſaid ſome Things that touch'd me very cloſe; yet the Alteration in me, is not from him, but from you; and I am really allarm'd by your Deſperation, like a Man that I have heard of, who was made a true Convert to Religion by ſeeing the Devil.
Siſt. That's ſmart, Sir Richard, upon your Siſter.
[Page 109] Sir Rich. No, Siſter, I am free, but I would not affront you; you'll pardon the Expreſſion; pray don't take it ill, I am heartily concern'd about this Breach with your Husband, and would fain make it up between you, if I could.
Siſt. What would you have me do?
Sir Rich. Do! go Home like a Woman of Senſe, like a Wife, and like a Chriſtian, and do your Duty in your Family, and among your Children; did ever Woman leave her Husband and Children, and Family, only becauſe the honeſt Man pray'd to GOD with her, and perhaps for her? For Shame go Home to him.
Siſt. No, no, e'en let him come and fetch me, if he will have me.
Sir Rich. I can aſſure you if you ſtay till he fetches you, it will be long before you get Home.
Siſt. And I'll never go to him if he don't, and perhaps not if he does.
Sir Rich. But who does the Duty of a Relation then all this while?
Siſt. Why, is there no Duty of his Side?
Sir Rich. Yes, Siſter, there is; but he is not out of his Duty, the Scripture and the Marriage Contract obliges him to love his Wife, and provide for his Wife; but I confeſs I do not find that it obliges him, when ſhe runs-away from him, to run after her, to perſwade her to come Home again; eſpecially when he has given no juſt Reaſon for her Elopement.
Siſt. And does he think it is not his Duty to come after me?
Sir Rich. Why, Siſter, I will tell you ſo far what he ſays; tho' I aſſure you I am not commiſſion'd from him to tell it you, or meddle with it; he ſays, you are gone from him, he has not put you from him; that he is at Home in his Family, which is his Place, and his Duty; that he gave you no Provocation to [Page 110] go away, and that his Buſineſs is not to force you back; that his Doors and his Arms are always open to receive you, if you pleaſe to return to your Family, and to your Habitation; that if not, he ſubmits to it as an Affliction, but that he can do no more, or concern himſelf no farther in it; and indeed, Siſter, what can he do more? I am amaz'd at you!
Siſt. I believe he will do ſomething more before I go Home to him.
Sir Rich. He ſays, he will do any thing in the World that he can do, which is not inconſiſtent with his Conſcience and his Duty, in order to engage your Affections to him; but upon my Word, Siſter, if you inſiſt upon his breaking off his religious Government of his Family, you cannot expect it of him: Why, it would be Perſecution, and he ought to die a Martyr, rather than comply with it.
Siſt. And I am his Perſecutor, am I?
Sir Rich. Why truly, Siſter, ſo far you are; for there are many kinds of Perſecution, beſides that of Fire and Faggor.
Siſt. Well, I have done perſecuting him then, I don't meddle with him now, do I?
Sir Rich. I can't ſay you have done; while you continue in a ſeparate Condition from him, and that on Account of his Family Orders; is not that preſſing him in the moſt forcible manner that you are able to do, to lay them down? and if he has any Affection to you, and any Deſire to have your Company, as no doubt he has, is it not laying a ſtrong Temptation before him to throw off thoſe things to oblige you? I believe you cannot ſay, but he has been a very tender obliging Husband.
Siſt. Yes, I can't ſay but he was well enough till theſe curſed Quarrels about Religion begun; I know no good ſuch things do in Families, but to breed Contention.
[Page 111] Sir Rich. Horrid Creature! how can you talk at that dreadful rate?
Siſt. Horrid, Brother! what's the Matter with you all of a ſudden, your are turn'd ſo ſober? This Fit of Religion will be over with you quickly; by and by, when you come among your Hounds and your honeſt Neighbours. If I were to ſee you, and Sir Charles ........ and Jack T....... together at the Green-Man, I ſhould hear you damn and ſwear as faſt as ever you did; and I'll warrant you, we ſhall have you come Home as drunk as a Wheel-barrow to Night, for all your pious Diſcourſe now at Breakfaſt. Come, come, leave off Canting, Brother, be as ſincore as you always have been.
Sir Rich. Siſter, Siſter, you are reſolv'd to make a Chriſtian of me, by making a Devil of your ſelf. Here I am, your poor wicked horrid Brother! 'tis too true; and among my ſporting Companions, I have been the Scandal of my Neighbours; more abominable and more ravingly wicked than any Man in the Country: I acknowledge it, Siſter, I am aſham'd of it, I abhor my ſelf every time I look back upon it; and, Siſter, 'twould be juſt, if my Maker, whoſe Name I have blaſphem'd, whoſe Goodneſs I have abus'd, ſhould give me up, even now, after I am convinc'd of the Brutality and Wickedneſs of it, to fall again into the ſame deteſtable Crimes: But believe me, Siſter, your telling me I ſhall do ſo again, alarms my very Soul; I hope I ſhall make you a falſe Prophet in that Part; tho' the Warning you give me, I acknowledge, is very ſeaſonable: But, as I ſaid before, Siſter, every Word you ſay is an Inſtruction; and tho' I am very ſorry the Teacher ſhould be my Siſter, yet I muſt own it is an excellent Leſſon to me, to ſee one in the World wickeder than my ſelf.
Siſt. Nay, if you are all turn'd Monks and Hermits, I muſt do by you, as I have done by my Husband, [Page 112] be gone out of the Hearing of it; for I hate ſuch Stuff.
Sir Rich. As you will for that Siſter, I only make one Prayer for you before you go.
Siſt. Don't pray for me, The Prayers of the Wicked are an Abornination, you know.
She laughs at him.
Sir Rich. That's a dreadful Text, Siſter, for me; I confeſs it's hard, the firſt Word of Scripture ever I heard from you in my Life ſhould touch me ſo cloſe.
Sir Richard ſtarted at that Scripture, and paus'd here a while, as if he had been ſtruck with a Bullet.
Siſt. Dear, Sir Richard, what's the Matter with you? Will you have any Thing? An't you well?
She ſaw him turn Pale, and run to him, fearing he was fainting.

He comes to himſelf again, and goes on.

Sir Rich. Siſter, Siſter, you are doing a Work that you know little of.
Siſter. I don't underſtand you.
Sir Rich. I know you don't; but if GOD makes you the Inſtrument of awakening a ſtupid harden'd Wretch as I have been, and turning me from Darkneſs to Light, I hope he will not let the Preacher be a Caſtaway.
Siſt. I have no Notion of what you talk of, Brother; I don't underſtand theſe things, I ſee you are under a ſtrange Operation of ſome thing or another. Come, let us talk of ſomething elſe, I hate to ſee you diſorder'd thus.
Sir Rich. Well, Siſter! I hope you will better underſtand theſe Things ſome time or other: In the mean time, 'tis wonderful to me, that an Inſtrument of the Devil ſhould be made a Preacher of Repentance. But all ſerves to magnify the Riches and Power of inviſible Grace; 'tis all wonderful! all wonderful!
[Page 113] Siſt. I find you are in ſome Raptures, Brother, you talk'd of praying for me juſt now, did not you? Are you about it now? I wou'd fain know what you mean, what do you pray for me for?
Sir Rich. I ſincerely pray, that where-ever you go, your wicked and blaſphemous Diſcourſe, ſo long as GOD ſhall permit you to go on thus, may have the ſame Effect upon others, as it has had upon me; till at laſt, meeting with ſome Body wickeder than your ſelf, if that be poſſible, their deſperate Talk may have the ſame Effect upon your ſelf; and you may be awaken'd, at the Surprize, of finding ſome Body nearer Hell Gate than you are.
Siſt. What Stuff's all this? I thought we had been taling of ſomewhat elſe; pray, what's all this to me and my Husband?
Sir Rich. It's true, Siſter, it is not much to that Caſe, but it is to me: However, we'll leave that, and talk about you and your Husband, if you will give me room to ſay any thing that may be of uſe to you, and may tend to reconcile you to your Duty, and bring you together again; but if you are reſolved to be obſtinate, what can I do for you?
Siſt. Your whole Diſcourſe runs as if you had no Deſign of reconciling; for you lay all the Blame on one Side, and he is in no Fault in your Opinion: Is that the way to bring us together?
Sir Rich. Why, if he is in no Fault, how can I help that? If he is, let me hear it; I have had the whole Story from your ſelf, and I han't heard you charge him with any thing. I confeſs, when you told me your ſelf, that you broke from him for no other Reaſon, but that you could not bear the Burthen of his Formalities, as you called it, I did not believe you; but thought that ſome other thing had happen'd between you, and that you were willing to conceal the true Occaſion.
[Page 114] Siſt. What ſhould make you believe ſo?
Sir Rich. Becauſe, as I ſaid before, Siſter, I did not think it poſſible any Woman in the World could be ſo mad to call that an Offence, which all the World, even the wickedeſt Part of it, value People for; much leſs, that you who always paſs'd for a modeſt Woman, and a Woman of Senſe, could act ſuch a wild, diſtracted Part, as to come away for ſuch a thing as that, from the beſt Husband in the World.
Siſt. Indeed I have done it, I have had no other reaſon, and don't pretend to have any other.
Sir Rich. I am amaz'd then, Siſter, at what you mean, by ſaying, I lay all the Fault on one Side.
Siſt. Why, ſo you do.
Sir Rich. Well, Siſter, if I do, it is from your own Mouth; but pray tell me any thing you have to ſay to your Husband, that you can charge on him as a Fault.
Siſt. Why did he let me come away? Why did he not oblige me ſo much, as to ſtay with me that Night when I deſired him?
Sir Rich. Siſter, if I may take the Story from your own Mouth, you acknowledg'd to me that he broke from you but for a Quarter of an Hour, to go down to pray with his Family, the Servants being call'd together, and ſtaying for him: Now this is the main Point again; He believes it is his Duty, you would have him omit it; his Conſcience tells him, he muſt not omit it; his Wife ſays, he muſt omit it to oblige her: In this caſe, I think I muſt quote ſome Scripture too, Whether it is meet for a Man to obey GOD rather than his Wife, judge you?
Siſt. He might have oblig'd me for once, it had not been ſuch a Matter.
Sir Rich. Siſter, you and I have made a ſmall matter of Conſcience; but with Men of Principles and of Religion it is quite otherwiſe; and I frankly acknowledge to you, they are in the right, and we are dreadfully [Page 115] miſtaken. I ſee it plainly now, Siſter; very plainly; a Man once touch'd with a Senſe of his Duty to his Maker, will, like Daniel, die rather than omit it: But you could not ſee into the Reaſon of thoſe things, and therefore took it unkindly of him; another Wife would have embrac'd, and lov'd him for it.
Siſt. I ſee into the reaſon of it! No, not I, nor don't deſire to trouble my ſelf about it: But this I can ſee, I can ſee when a Husband carries it obligingly or brutiſhly.
Sir Rich. But, Siſter; do you really think that the little Unkindneſs you complain of, had it been real and unjuſtifiable in him, juſtifies your parting and ſeparating from your Husband? can your anſwer it to GOD or Man?
Siſt. It juſtifies it to me and that's enough; I am accountable to no Body.
Sir Rich. I differ there from you too—You will find you are accountable to ſome Body: But to let that paſs, it cannot juſtify it to your ſelf, becauſe 'tis a Breach of your Obligation, without an Offence.
Siſt. Is it no Offence?
Sir Rich. It puts me in mind, Siſter, of what I have often obſerv'd in many Families, tho' I never expected to ſee an Example of it ſo near home; that indeed moſt of the Family Breaches in the World, are begun in the verieſt Trifles, the moſt ridiculous, ſimple, inſignificant Differences imaginable: Don't you remember our Neighbour, Mr. Bar—t; his Father, old Juſtice Bar—t, parted from his Wife, Mr. Bar—t's Mother, about 20 Year before he dy'd, upon a Quarrel between them upon this fooliſh Queſtion; Whether ſhe would not lead him about if he ſhould be blind, when he was an old Man? She ſaid, ſhe would not: And, he ſaid, 'twas unkind. She ſaid, 'twas Work for a Servant. And, he ſaid, ſhe [Page 116] did not love him; for if ſhe did, ſhe wou'd not truſt him to a Servant. And ſo one Word brought in another, the Devil blowing the Coals, till the Fire of Contention flam'd out: He ſtruck her in a Rage: She threw ſomething at him in the ſame Paſſion; and he growing furious, Curs'd her; and falling on his Knees, wiſh'd ſomething very terrible to himſelf if he liv'd another Day with her; ſhe lifts up her Hands and her Eyes and ſays, AMEN to it: and ſo they parted.
Siſt. I think they were in the right of it.
Sir Rich. Do you ſo, Siſter, I don't think you ſpeak as you mean; do you remember what ſad Conſequences it had upon the Family?
Siſt. I have forgot a great deal of it, I know they were a very unhappy Houſe.
Sir Rich. I'll put you in mind of it then, Siſter; the poor old Lady was a good quiet minded Creature, and repented heartily of her Paſſion, tho' ſhe was not the Cauſe of the Quarrel; however, ſhe came to him and acknowledg'd her Fault, and beg'd his Pardon, and told him, ſhe was ready to do it on her Knees: That ſhe would come and live with him whenever he deſir'd it, but was afraid to preſs him to it, becauſe of the Imprecations he had made upon himſelf. At laſt ſhe dyed, and made a very penitent Chriſtian End, warning all that ſhould hear of her, to beware of raiſing Feuds in their Families upon ſlight Occaſions. The old Man had ſtood it out againſt GOD and Man till then; but hearing of his Wife's Death, and the Manner of it, went mad, and in one of his Fits, deſtroyed himſelf.
Siſt. What's all this to me?
Sir Rich. I'll tell you what it is to you; 'tis a fair Warning, and indeed an Exhortation to you, not to lay a Foundation of ruining your Family, for ſuch little Quarrels, ſuch unjuſtifiable Things. I was but [Page 117] a little Boy when old Juſtice Bar—t hang'd himſelf, but I remember the People uſed to ſay, it was a juſt Judgment of GOD upon him, for the treating his Wife in ſuch a barbarous manner for ſuch a fooliſh thing, that had nothing of Provocation in it; and I think yours is really worſe. Here you are parted with your Husband, and have left your Family (and in Confuſion enough to be ſure) and all becauſe he ſtay'd a Quarter of an Hour away from you, when you deſir'd his Company; and this without allowing for the Neceſſity he was under, in Point of Conſcience, to deny you that Quarter of an Hour: Without allowing for its being his Duty to go; and which is more, without conſidering, that it was your Duty to have gone with him.
Siſt. All you ſay ſignifies nothing, he might have gone away afterward; 'tis the Unkindneſs of the Matter which made the Impreſſion; I hate him heartily ever ſince.
Sir Rich. Any one would laugh at you to hear the firſt, and hate you heartily to hear the laſt.
Siſt. I can be even with all the World, for I'll laugh at them that laugh at me, and hate them that hate me. I think you will make a Quarrel of it, Brother, what do you mean? If you are uneaſy at my being here, I'll deliver you of the Burden.
Sir Rich. You turn every thing to ſomething diſobliging, Siſter; I do not ſay I am uneaſy at you, but I acknowledge I am uneaſy for you; if you can't make the Diſtinction, I cannot help that; you know I am a plain Dealer.
Siſt. It's indifferent to me, Brother; you know I need not be troubleſome to any Body.
Sir Rich. No, no, Siſter; no Body ſhall be troubleſome to me, I will be eaſy be it how it will: It is true, I was in hopes, by a plain Diſcourſe, to have perſwaded you to act a wiſer part than this, that I [Page 118] ſee you are going on in. But ſeeing you are reſolv'd to expoſe your ſelf, I have done; tho' I can't approve of what you do, I ſhall meddle leſs with it; and ſeeing you can't bear to have Truth plainly told you, I ſhall let you alone.
Siſt. I deſire every Body to let me alone.
Sir Rich. I believe few will be ſo much your Friend as I have been; others will reproach you for not doing your Duty, not perſwade you to do it.
Siſt. Then I'll bear their Reproaches as well as I can.
Sir Rich. Do, Siſter; but remember, you will not be ſo well able to bear your own Reproaches, when your Conſcience, perhaps very late, ſhall come to tell you what you ought to have done; how you ruin'd your ſelf, your Family, your two innocent Children, and your Husband; and for what a ſordid Notion your Paſſions, aſſiſted by the Devil, carry'd you on to ſuch a dreadful Extremity: I entreat you, Siſter, conſider it, and remember, that tho' I have gone but a little way in my Reflections, I hope they ſhall encreaſe; yet 'tis the Anguiſh of my very Soul, that I have ſold my ſelf, as it were, to the Devil, for the moſt empty unſatisfying Things called Pleaſures, that can be imagin'd, and that in themſelves cannot bear the Name of Pleaſures: That to gratify the Madneſs of Youth I have given a full Swing to every Appetite, an unreſtrain'd Liberty to every Paſſion, and a Looſe to the wicked Guſt of an unbridled perverſe Inclination: If you were able to know, how loathſome theſe things look now, when I hope my Judgment is a little at Liberty to diſcern better, you would ſee nothing in all the Pleaſure of Life, but Madneſs, Folly, and a making ſad Work for Repentance: And let me add, Siſter, that 'tis my Opinion, that this is a great part of the unſufferable Torments of Hell, (viz.) that they ſee with dreadful Self-Reproaches, [Page 119] for what ſordid Trifles, what empty abhor'd and ridiculous things, they have forfeited the higheſt Felicity, and loſt themſelves, Soul and Body, for ever. I am but a mean Teacher, Siſter, you have been a good Inſtructor to me, tho' you have no Senſe of it your ſelf; I pray GOD open your Eyes.

The Siſter was partly provok'd and partly affected with this ſurprizing Diſcourſe of her Brother; and falling out into Tears, their Diſcourſe ended, and Sir Richard went away, going ſoon after to find her Husband, with whom he hop'd to have a long Diſcourſe, relating both to his Siſter and to himſelf.

But he was diſappointed; for when he came to her Husband's Houſe, he was juſt gone away for London. Sir Richard was ſo diſturb'd at his being gone, that he could hardly be perſwaded from riding after him; but the Servant aſſur'd him it would be impoſſible to overtake him, ſo he gave it over.

The Servant wrote an Account of it to his Maſter, as is related in the former Dialogue; and that Circumſtance added to his eager Deſire of coming Home, not doubting but ſomething extraordinary had happen'd about his Wife; and it was happy enough that he had theſe Apprehenſions, on account of what fell out afterward, and which ſhall be related in its Courſe.

But Sir Richard's Buſineſs was of another kind; we have ſeen what Diſcourſe he had been engag'd in with his Siſter; the ſerious and kind Arguings he made uſe of to move her to a Senſe of her Duty to her Husband, to her Family, and indeed to her ſelf; and eſpecially what Anſwers ſhe gave him: How profane, even blaſphemous; but particularly, taſting of a Mind perfectly deſtitute of the Knowledge of good Things, and of any Deſire to be inſtructed; contemning GOD, Religion, Duty, the Worſhip of GOD, or the common Regard to his Commands.

[Page 120] Sir Richard was a Man as void of Religion as cou'd well be ſuppos'd of any Man bred up in a Chriſtian Country: He was a drunken, ſwearing, ranting Gentleman; a Man of Pleaſure; kept his Hounds and Horſes, lov'd his Sport and his Bottle, and had his Companions for the Purpoſe; drank hard, kept great Company; and, in a word, ſwam down the common Stream of Vice, as a Man that never look'd behind him. As to Religion, he us'd to ſay, he had as much as a Gentleman of 2000 l. a Year had Occaſion for; he knew very little of it, and minded it leſs; nor was there the leaſt Concern about ſuch Things to be ſeen in the Family.

But otherwiſe, he was a Man of a clear Head; underſtood the World and himſelf perfectly well; was, as is ſaid before, of an excellent Temper, eaſily reaſon'd into or out of any thing; very ſincere, and without any ill Meaning to his Neighbours; beneficent to his Tenants; compaſſionate to all; and charitable, not from a Principle of Religion, but of meer good Nature.

When firſt he took Notice of this Breach between his Siſter and her Husband, he was extreamly concern'd to make it up: But when he come to know the Reaſon of it, he was extreamly ſurpriz'd; his Reaſon dictated, that the Husband was in the right, that GOD was to be worſhip'd: and he was aſtoniſh'd, that a Woman ſhould make it a Crime, or a Thing to diſlike any Man for: Devolving thoſe Things in his Mind, and being by the natural Conſequence of the Convictions which were offer'd by his Reaſon, led to take Part with her Husband; that Conſequence came back upon himſelf, and brought the Conviction cloſer to his own Caſe.

Immediately after he came out of his Siſter's Chamber therefore, he went into his own Parlour, where muſing a while upon what they had been talking [Page 121] of; Well, ſays he, it's plain my Brother is right, [...] good Man, and my Siſter is a Brute to uſe h [...] thus for doing what every Body muſt own is HIS DƲTY to do. While he revolv'd the Caſe thus in his Mind, the word DƲTY ſeem'd to bear a kind of Emphaſis in it more than ordinary, and hung upon his Lips. She is a Brute, ſays he to himſelf, for it was his DƲTY; he ought not to omit it to gratify her, for it was his DƲTY; he muſt have acted againſt his Conſcience if he had done otherwiſe, for he knew it was his DƲTY. This followed him ſo much, and the word DƲTY lay upon his Thoughts ſo much, that he could think of nothing elſe; and ſometime after, taking a Walk in his Garden, he began to talk to himſelf thus.

Let me ſee, I juſtify this Man upon the Foot of this Word DƲTY; What is DƲTY? And what Sence are we to take the Word in, as it is uſed in this Caſe? Do I underſtand it my ſelf? Then he revolv'd it in his Thoughts farther, thus:

Duty is a Debt, not of Money to be paid, but of Service to be done.

Duty is a Homage; 'tis due from a Vaſſal to its Lord; a Subject to its Sovereign; a Creature to its Maker; and indeed from all Creatures to their Maker.

He halted there; and with a kind of a Smile, but with juſt Reflection, added; Now I ſhall hook my ſelf in; I need not enquire much about it; I am ſure I have done none of my Duty.

I have paid no Homage to him that made me; I am an ungrateful, unthankful Dog to him that has given me Life, Eſtate, and every thing I have in the World.

I have liv'd as if there was nothing due from me, becauſe I am a Gentleman. Well, ſays he, I love my Brother —; tho' I do not do my DƲTY, I muſt acknowledge he does his, and I can't but value him for it; and that Brute my Siſter, what can ſhe be made of, that [Page 122] ſhe ſhould break with him for that which he does, and which we all ought to bluſh for not doing; I'll go and talk to her about it again, ſure I ſhall make her change her mad Reſolutions.

All this was upon the Diſcourſe already related; and he had by this little turning the Thing in his Thoughts, mightily poſſeſs'd himſelf with the Notion of our Serving and Worſhipping GOD, being a Homage due to him, and a Debt moſt reaſonable to be paid.

The Power of Natural Religion having gone thus far, he was prepar'd by it to have an aweful Reverence for the ſerious Part of Religion, and a Love to thoſe that practiſed it; and we have ſeen ſince, that the Profaneneſs and Wickedneſs of his Siſter brought him to a Horror of her Practice; eſpecially that kind of triumphing in Sin, which both ſhe and he too had been always guilty of before; it's true, he was not yet brought to a Senſe of the Nature of ſinning againſt GOD, the Offence againſt Divine Love, the inſulting Sovereign Mercy, and acting in Rebellion to the Dominion of Grace in the Heart: In a Word, he was not come to the two great Fundamentals of Religion, Faith and Repentance; but we ſhall ſoon ſee him advance.

The wicked and blaſphemous Anſwers his Siſter gave to every thing that he offer'd to ſay in Defence of Religion; fill'd him with Horror; his Soul abominated to ſee Religion, the Name and Worſhip of GOD made a Jeſt, and the Honour due to GOD his Maker treated with Contempt; and yet he owned himſelf to be a Creature void of all Religion himſelf; it was true, that the pleading for Religion was perfectly caſual to him, but his Reaſon told him he was right: And it was a Shock to his very Underſtanding at laſt to think, that he was then ſtrong pleading for what he did not practiſe.

[Page 123] Wherefore it often retorted upon him, even in their very Diſcourſe, I am telling her of DƲTY, what is her DƲTY, and of her Husband doing his DƲTY: But what is my DƲTY? And why do I not enquire a little about that? This Reflection brought that Expreſſion again from him, mention'd a little before, p. 108. when he told her ſhe had been preaching to him, and her Words were as good as a Sermon; for, ſays he, you have expoſed the Folly and Brutality of an irreligious Converſation ſo much, by your Way of practiſing it, that I reſolve from this Time to amend my Life, &c. And this he repeated often to himſelf.

This I may venture to call a full Conviction; and ſhe gave him abundance of other Occaſions to encreaſe it ſeveral Times after the firſt; for ſhe talk'd ſo profanely and had ſuch horrid Expreſſions, that I have not thought it proper to leave them upon Record, or to acquaint the Mouths of young Readers eſpecially, with the very Sound of the Words; it's enough to tell you, that ſhe ſtruck him with a kind of Terror, to hear her blaſpheme and inſult her Maker; and he was carry'd to that length by it afterward, as to deſire her, as civilly as his Paſſion would allow him, to leave his Houſe; telling her very plainly, that he could not ſuffer his Maker to be treated at that rate in his Hearing, or under his Roof.

But the good Knight, for ſuch I may now begin to call him, receiv'd a Wound from her in the beginning of his Convictions, that had like to have proved Mortal to his Reformation, and to have driven him back to his former looſe Courſe of Life, merely by Deſpair.

This was, when ſhe told him, upon his ſaying he would pray for her, that he might as well let it alone; intimating, that his Prayers would not be heard; [Page 124] for, ſays ſhe, The Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination, &c. See p. 112. This Expreſſion, as it is obſerv'd there, was a Stab to his Heart, and he ſtop'd in his Diſcourſe, look'd Pale, and his Siſter was frighted, thinking he would have fainted. He recovered indeed, and talk'd a great while with her. But the Arrow was ſhot into his Vitals, and the Poiſon drunk up his Spirits; he haſten'd the Diſcourſe with his Siſter, and went away to have found her Husband, as before; and this was the reaſon that made him ſo uneaſy, when he found his Brother-in-Law was gone to London.

His Trouble encreas'd upon him ſome Days, and brought him to a dangerous Criſis; he began diſputing againſt his own Peace from the fatal Text, as he call'd it, which that wicked Inſtructor, his Siſter, had preached from; and he brought it to this dreadful Concluſion:

"I am a WICKED Creature, that's out of Doubt, never was a worſe, this wretched Branch of my own unhappy STEM excepted; WICKED beyond others; And to aggravate his Character to himſelf, he reckons up its parts thus: I am a common Swearer, a common Drunkard, a Blaſphemer of the Name of GOD, a Deſpiſer of all Religion, that have lived in the Omiſſion of all that can be called Duty, and in a general Neglect of Religion all my Days. If I am not included in the word WICKED, then there is no wicked Man in the World.

"The Premiſes being thus plain, the Conſequence is upon me, my Prayer would be an abomination to GOD.

"Why then, ſays he, I muſt not pray at all; and if I cannot pray, all my Thoughts about Religion are at a full Stop; I am juſt where I was—And here he mus'd a while.

"Juſt where I was, ſays he, and Where's that? A [Page 125] Rebel to GOD, a Villain to a merciful Creator, a Reprobate condemned to be ſo ſtill; forbid to pray to that GOD for Mercy, againſt whom I have behav'd ſo wickedly; unworthy his Mercy, and ſhut out from asking it.

At this full Stop, at this dreadful Period, this poor Gentleman was come; and having miſs'd his Friend, from whom he hop'd to have had ſome Comfort and Direction, he came back very melancholly and dejected.

His Diſorder was viſible to all the Houſe; his Lady thought him not well; his Servants thought him out of Humour; his Siſter thought he was angry with her; which, by the way made a downright Quarrel afterward; when Gentlemen came to ſee him, he excuſed himſelf as indiſpoſed, juſt ſpoke to them, and beg'd their Pardon to retire; he went out no where; kept no Company; in a Word, he was given up to Melancholy and Deſpair.

It continued thus with him ſeveral Days; during which Time he had no Aſſiſtance but from his own Thoughts, however he oftentimes argued ſtrongly with himſelf, that certainly it did not conſiſt with the merciful Nature of GOD to forbid Sinners to repent, and to forbid them when they were Penitent, to pray for Forgiveneſs. But ſtill as theſe were but Reaſonings within himſelf, and here was a poſitive Scripture againſt him, it overwhelm'd all his Arguments, and left him always in the utmoſt Diſcouragement.

Poor Gentleman, he had had no religious Education to have Recourſe to; no Inſtructions of ancient Parents, which lie as a Fund or Magazine of Directions; and tho' they ſleep for many Years, yet often revive to the Conſolation and Direction of the returning Prodigal; his Parents had been all like himſelf, who had bred him up as they had been bred themſelves, more to good Manners, than to good [Page 126] Principles, more to Letters than to Religion. Nay, ſo ignorant and ſo remote had he been led on from any ſacred Knowledge, that the Scripture, which is the Treaſure of Wiſdom and Knowledge to the Ignorant, the Fountain of Comfort, and the Reſtorer of Life to the oppreſs'd Mind, had little Effect here; he had but little of it in his Head, and conſequently little of it could occur to him on ſuch a ſolemn and needful Occaſion.

However, as when GOD will ſpeak to the Heart by his Spirit, he never wants a Miniſter, ſo it happened here; this Gentleman had ſome Books, but not many, and fewer ſtill of ſuch Books as were ſuitable to his preſent Purpoſe: But ruminating upon theſe Things one Day in his Cloſet, he found an old, torn, dirty imperfect Book, written by he knew not who, and perhaps ſcarce ever look'd upon in that Place for many Years, entitled, The Excellency and Ʋſefulneſs of Reading the Scriptures.

The Author in purſuing his Diſcourſe, tells a Story of a Man who was made to deſpair even to Rage and almoſt to Self-deſtruction, by reading the 15th Verſe of Iſaiah I. and going no farther, when the very next Verſe would have comforted him, and did ſo it ſeems afterwards. The Words of the 15th Verſe are thus; When you ſpread forth your Hands, I will hide mine Eyes from you; yea, when you make many Prayers, I will not hear; your Hands are full of Blood. This put the poor Man, ſays the Story, into ſuch a [...]age of Deſpair, that on a ſudden he threw his Bible into the Fire, and run about with his Hands lifted up in the Air, crying out, he was caſt off, was damn'd, was a Reprobate, and that GOD would not hear his Prayer if he went about it; and that therefore it was to no Purpoſe for him to pray at all. The Story was ſo appoſite to Sir Richard's Caſe, that he ſtew to the Bible, and read the Verſe, with the four Verſes before it, which [Page 127] are all to the ſame Purpoſe, and had almoſt fallen into the ſame Snare the poor Man did, of whom the Story was told, for he could not with-hold his Paſſion: But ſtopping at the Verſe, ſaid to himſelf, Who can blame the poor Man? my Caſe is the ſame, juſt the ſame; and if this Scripture is to be believ'd, I am undone.

He kept the little old torn Book in his Hand, and tho' he was under an unexpreſſible Concern, he was willing to know what became of the Man; when the Story goes on thus: A good Miniſter in the Neighbourhood coming to viſit him while he was in this Extremity, ask'd him from what Occaſion he had taken up his deſpairing Thoughts? From reading the Bible, ſays the Man; I wiſh I had never ſeen it. The Bible! ſays the Miniſter, that's impoſſible! Yes, yes, ſays the Man, 'twas from reading the Bible. It ſhall never be ſaid, ſays the Miniſter, that reading the Word of GOD ever made a Man deſpair; it has awaken'd and alarm'd many a Sinner, ſays he, but it always led them by the Hand to Comfort at the ſame time; and I am here, ſays he, to vindicate the Word of GOD from that Scandal, and do affirm that there is not a Word of Terror in the Bible, without a Word of Comfort near hand to it. Come Friend, ſays he, Where did you read? Nay, I know not, ſays the Man! What were the Words, ſays the Miniſter? The Man repeats the Words; Very well, ſays the Miniſter, come let me ſee the Bible. Nay, ſays the Man, I have not the Bible, it is burnt; I immediately threw it into the Fire, for I could not bear to read any farther. The Miniſter pulls a Bible out of his Pocket and gives him; Come, ſays he, let me ſee what were the Words you are ſo terrify'd with? Look there, ſays the poor deſpairing Creature, and turns him to the five ſequent Verſes of the 1ſt of Iſaiah, beginning at the 10th. The Miniſter knowing the Place, ſtands up and gives GOD Thanks for vindicating the [Page 128] Honour of the Goſpel, in directing this Man to quote a Place ſo qualify'd to make good what he had affirm'd in Defence of the Goſpel of Peace; and pray'd aloud that GOD would open the poor Man's Eyes to ſee and receive the Comfort from the Promiſes, as well as to fear and be diſmay'd at the Threatnings of the Scripture; when he had ſaid this, Come hither Friend, ſaid he, look you here; Why had you not Patience to read on the three next Verſes, ſtay now and read them for thy Comfort, Ver. 16, 18, 19. Waſh ye—Make ye clean, put away the Evil of your Doings from before mine Eyes; ceaſe to do Evil, learn to do well. Come now, let us reaſon together, ſaith the LORD; tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they ſhall be as white as Snow; tho' they be red like Crimſon, they ſhall be like Wool; if ye be willing and obedient, ye ſhall eat the good of the Land: Having read the Words to him, he added, Here's Comfort, if you can ſay you repent of your Sins and reform; Ceaſe to do Evil, and learn to do well; the Promiſes of GOD are pledg'd to you, that you ſhall be forgiven; and that tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they ſhall be whiter than Snow.

The Story goes on thro' many Particulars, but the Sum of it is, that the Man was comforted, the Word of GOD and the Mercy of GOD vindicated, and a clear View given to every penitent Sinner of the Way to Life and Salvation.

Sir Richard read this Story with great Satisfaction, and it kept his Mind in a State of Quiet, tho' not with any great degree of Comfort till his Friend came home from London, of which we ſhall hear farther in in its time.

But to return to his Siſter; after the laſt Dialogue between Sir Richard and her, ſhe had made ſome Excurſions in the Family, that had not been very obliging; particularly ſhe had fallen out with Sir Richard's Lady, which put an end to their Friendſhip, [Page 129] and removed her from the Houſe: The Caſe was thus:

My Lady — was a quiet, peaceable, good humour'd Perſon; not over and above ſerious: but far from a deſpiſer of Religion; and ſhe coming in to her Siſter's Chamber, as ſoon as Sir Richard was gone, found her in Tears, as was ſaid before, when Sir Richard left her; it ſeems her Crying was the Effect of Rage more than Grief, at what Sir Richard had ſaid to her; and ſhe falls out with the Lady upon the Subject of Sir Richard's ill treating of her; and, among the reſt, rally'd his being turn'd ſo Religious all of a ſudden.

My Lady heard her peaceably 'till ſhe began to banter Sir Richard's talking Religiouſly; when ſhe entred into the following Diſcourſe with her.

Lady. Indeed Siſter, I am glad to hear you ſay Sir Richard talks Religiouſly; I think it would be happy for us all, if we were more Religious than we are.
Siſter, More Hypocrites you mean; I ſee nothing elſe in it all.
La. I hope not, Siſter; methinks you want Charity.
Siſt. I hate this mocking and mimicking; Men talk all that's Wicked abroad, and then come and talk Religion at home.
La. That indeed is another thing; but if they were once truly Religious, Siſter, their Diſcourſe would be the ſame abroad and at home.
Siſt. I am for nothing of it, abroad or at home, 'tis all a Cheat at beſt; and then 'tis ſo unfaſhionable, nothing of a Gentleman ever meddles with ſuch things.
La. Indeed Siſter you miſtake, I have known very good Gentleman be very Religious, and talk very Religiouſly too; and I think it becomes them very well; and if Sir Richard ſhould do ſo, I ſhould be very glad.
Siſt. O Madam, Sir Richard fits you to a Tittle, he has had ſuch a fit of Religion to Day, no Mountebank ever was a better Mimick.
[Page 130] This ſhe ſaid with a great deal of Banter and Railery.
La. Upon what Subject pray?
Siſt. O upon this Siſter of his, you may be ſure; about doing my Duty, and obſerving my Marriage Contract, talking prophanely, and a hundred ſuch things, I ſcarce know what, without either Head or Tail, but all upon me.
La. About your parting from your Husband, I ſuppoſe.
Siſt. Yes Madam.
La. Truly Siſter, he had field enough there, for every body that I hear ſpeak of it blame you; but I don't Care to meddle.
Siſt. If every body blames me, then I'll blame every body; for what have they to do with it?
La. Why that's true, but they that have a Reſpect for you, cannot but be troubled for you.
Siſt. Troubled for me, for what?
La. Why Madam, they ſay, you parted from your Husband, for no Reaſon but becauſe he was too Religious for you.
Siſt. And Reaſon enough, I think; what had he to do to impoſe his religious doings upon me? He knew I hated every thing about it.
La. You do not hate Religion I hope, Siſter.
Siſt. I hate all things that I do not underſtand, I han't thought it much worth my while to enquire about Religion; and when I want Help I can ſend to my Husband to chooſe it for me.
La. Dear Siſter, I can't abide to he [...] you talk ſo.
Siſt. I ſhall talk ſo for all that, if any body enters into ſuch Diſcourſe with me.
La. Well Siſter, then I'll meddle no more with it: But for your own ſake, I wiſh ſome body would befriend you ſo much, as to make up this Broil between you and your Husband, that you might go home again and live as you ſhould do.
[Page 131] Siſt. I care not if I never go near him more.
La. I am very ſorry for you, Siſter; I think you are murdering your Reputation and ruining your Family, and I cannot but be griev'd for you.
Siſt. That's no body's Buſineſs but my own.
In this Interval comes in Sir Richard again, and as he was chagrin'd before, and now ſeeing his Lady wiping her Eyes, he thought his Siſter had ſaid ſomething to grieve his Wife; and that mov'd him to be a little warm.
Sir Rich. My Dear, What is the Matter? What have you been engag'd with this Mad Woman too?
La. I am ſorry to ſee my Siſter ſo obſtinate, and ſo hard to be perſwaded.
Sir Rich. Ay, and in ſo ſhameful a Cauſe too; that makes me ſay ſhe is a Mad Woman.
Siſt. That is the kindeſt thing, I ſuppoſe, I am to expect from my Brother.
Sir Rich. Indeed Siſter, 'tis the kindeſt thing can be ſaid of you; to ſay any thing elſe of it, is to ſay you are poſſeſs'd, that you are given up to Sathan.
Siſt. I can expect no other of you, I find you are a Party, you have been with the Religious Brute again I ſuppoſe; but it's all one, I'll neither be forced by him at home; nor by you from him abroad; this is driving me Headlong to Heaven.
Sir Rich. I wiſh you were not running Headlong ſomewhere elſe.
Siſt. Well well, if this be the Treatment I muſt have in your Houſe Brother, I'll take Sanctuary ſomewhere elſe, and ſo good buy to ye.
Sir Rich. Indeed Siſter you have but ſaved me the labour of deſiring tha favour of you, for I deſire none of God's Enemies in my Houſe; you had been welcome upon any other Occaſion: I wiſh you Repentance, and that you may know your own Intereſt both as to God and Man.

[Page 132] They had not many more Words about it; but taking her Brother at his word, ſhe went away the ſame Day in Diſguſt, and not reſolving preſently whether to go, ſhe ſtay'd at a Neighbour's Houſe two or three Days; in which Time ſhe went once down to her own Houſe: She knew indeed her Husband was not at Home, but ſhe had a mind to ſee the Children and talk with her Nurſe, who it ſeems ſhe heard had been at Sir Richard's.

The old Nurſe was over-joy'd to ſee her, and treated her with abundance of God bleſs you's, Madam, as was the poor Woman's way; and it was believ'd, if her Husband had been at Home, ſhe might have been prevail'd with to ſtay; but ſhe broke away again, tho' the poor old Nurſe fell down of her Knees to her, to entreat her to ſtay.

Being gone thus in a wild Humour, enrag'd that her Brother had, as it were, turn'd her out of Doors; ſhe paſſes by a good ſober Houſe in the Town, where ſhe might have been welcome, and would have had good Advice, and went to the Houſe of one of her old Companions, about two Miles off; who was indeed ten times more the Child of Hell than her ſelf.

Here ſhe told her Tale, and had a She-Devil at her Elbow to ſay YES to all ſhe affirm'd, and AMEN to all ſhe reſolved; that prompted her to be worſe than ever the Devil, for want of an Agent, perhaps, had an Opportunity to deſire her to be; till at laſt, ſhe made her ſo wicked, that ſhe was frighted with her own Picture, and was brought to reflect upon her ſelf, and repent, by thoſe very Steps the Devil took to ruin her.

It would be a ſad, and far from a diverting Story, to give an Account of all the mad Steps theſe two Creatures took together, I do not mean as to common Vices; ſhe was too much a Gentlewoman to behave her ſelf ſcandalouſly; nor was any thing of that kind [Page 133] ever ſuggeſted, that I have met with. But her Diſguſt at her Brother, her Averſion to her Husband, and her Contempt of all that was ſober and religious, was carried up by the Aſſiſtance of this Companion of hers, to ſuch a height, that ſhe deſpiſed all Advice, was deaf to the Importunities of her Friends, and even of her Husband as ſhall be farther related preſently.

This Companion of hers took that common, but fooliſh way, that many think the beſt Method of obliging their Friends, (viz.) of agreeing, and ſaying Yes, to every thing, Right or Wrong; ſhe had been intimate with this Gentlewoman from her Youth, and bred up juſt in the ſame looſe untaught manner; as to any thing religious, a perfect Stranger; as to Senſe, ſhe was like her ſelf, a Toy, gay and vain, empty of all that was Good; as fooliſh and as profane as her Heart could wiſh. Here ſhe was perfectly eaſy, for no Body was friendly enough to admoniſh her, or ſincere enough to adviſe her; and ſhe liv'd to ſee, and to acknowledge, how empty and inſignificant that Friendſhip is, that is not honeſt enough to bear, and faithful enough to give Reproof.

This She-Friend, among the reſt of her Follies, had accuſtom'd her ſelf to a moſt abominable Looſeneſs of the Tongue, and gave her ſelf ſuch a Latitude of ill Words, that ſhe ſcarce ſpoke ten Words without intermixing ſome of them by way of Ornament; a Cuſtom grown up of late to ſuch a height, that it is become the Vice of our Converſation; while at the ſame Time it is ſo faſhionable too, that ſuch People think it adorns their Speech, and that their Language is not polite or genteel without it.

Among the reſt of her fooliſh Phraſes, ſhe had this in particular, Poiſon it; or if ſpoken of any Perſon, Poiſon him, or Poiſon her; this was grown ſo frequent and ſo familiar to her Tongue, that it became the [Page 134] very Catch-word of all her Diſcourſe; nothing came without it, tho' in it ſelf an unmuſical, courſe, and odd Saying, ſcarce ever uſed by any before her: if her Coffee or her Tea was too hot, or too cold, 'twas always the ſame; O Poiſon it, 'tis naſty Stuff. If ſhe talk'd to her Servants, 'twas Poiſon them at every word, if ſhe did not like any thing: So that in ſhort, it run through all her Diſcourſe, and yet the fooliſh Creature had no Thoughts of ill, when ſhe ſaid it; meant nothing, would not have hurt any Body, much leſs poiſon'd them; but the Word had gain'd upon her Fancy, ſhe lik'd it for a Word to be toſs'd upon her Tongue; ſhe thought it ſat well upon her Speech; and in a word, ſhe had let it grow upon her to a Habit, ſo that it was meerly natural to her. Our unhappy Lady being now in the Family, they grew intimate to be ſure, and in their Converſation ſhe fail'd not to tell this new Confident all her Grievances; firſt, about her Uncle, the good old Miniſter, and his calling all the Houſe to Prayers. And you know, Madam, ſays ſhe, how I hate their Prieſt-Craft, and the wheedling ways that theſe Parſons take to make themſelves the Heads of Peoples Families, and to make us think them all Saints; yet as I expect to be the old Man's Heir, and he has a good Eſtate, what could I do? You know, Madam, a Body would not differ with an old Fool, and ſo diſoblige him.

NO, Poiſon him, ſays ſhe, one would bear any thing on that account.

But then, Madam, ſays the Lady, he carried it on ſo long, that my poor Fool of a Husband, pretends to like it; and when the Parſon was gone, he pretends to be Chaplain himſelf.

O Poiſon the old Fellow, ſays ſhe, what did he ſtay ſo long for?

Why, Madam, ſays the other, he was Lame of the Gout, and we could not be rid of him ſooner: Nor [Page 135] did that trouble me ſo much, but to ſee my Husband turn'd Parſon, and whine out the Prayers Morning and Night; that was ſuch a thing, 'twould have provok'd any Body; wou'd not it, Madam?

Indeed, Madam, it would, ſays ſhe again; Poiſon me, I ſhould never have born with it.

Truly, Madam, ſays the Lady, I did not bear with it long, I tried to break him of it a good while; but when I found 'twas to no purpoſe, I told him my Mind very plainly; and in ſhort, this is the Reaſon of our Parting.

Poiſon me, Madam, ſays the Companion, and a good Reaſon too.

Wife. And now, my Brother, wants to have me to go Home again, and beg my Husband's Pardon; and becauſe I won't do that, he falls upon me like a Fury.
Comp. Who? Sir Richard, Madam? Poiſon him, no Body minds what he ſays.
Wife. Yes, and my Lady too, ſhe has been upon my Back.
Comp. Ay, Poiſon her, ſhe is a mighty wiſe buſy Thing too, ſhe knows nothing of the Matter; ſhe only ſays as Sir Richard bids her.
Wife. Now, Madam, would you adviſe me to go back to my Husband, Madam, upon ſuch Terms?
Comp. Go back, Madam; no, Poiſon him, you ought never to go near him till he gives you Satisfaction, Madam.

This was a Companion now to her Heart's Content, and in ſuch Converſation you may be ſure her ſeparate Condition began to be very eaſy to her, and ſhe began to have a perfect Averſion to her Husband; nay, ſo natural was this fooliſh empty, flattering Converſation of her new Companion's grown to her, that ſhe began to be infected with her Language; and if any Body talk'd of her Husband, or of her going back [Page 136] to her Husband, ſhe would frequently anſwer, he ſhould be poiſon'd firſt.

In the middle of this Extravagance, and as if ſhe was now brought to a right Diſpoſition for affronting the tendereſt Husband that ever Woman had, a Meſſenger brought her Word one Morning, that her Huſband was come to the Houſe to ſee her, and was below Stairs.

The Story of the honeſt Gentleman's being come from London, his Reſolution to find out his Wife, and to uſe all poſſible Means to perſwade her to return to him, is reſerved to another Place; only it is proper to obſerve, that he came prepar'd with all the Calmneſs and Affection that he was capable of, to invite her Home, and that all things might be forgotten between them: and in a word, to do even more than became him, to win and engage her to him again.

She was ſurpriz'd very much, when ſhe heard he was below Stairs; and had ſhe not had the evil Spirit at her Elbow in her wicked Adviſer, ſhe had certainly gone down to him, and Home with him; nay, had ſhe done the firſt, ſhe could not have reſiſted the laſt; he had reſolv'd to treat her with ſo much Affection, and ſuch paſſionate Perſwaſions, that ſhe muſt have been a Tyrant to her ſelf, and a very Monſter of her Sex, if ſhe had refuſed him.

But in the very Juncture this Creature comes into her Chamber; O! Madam, ſays ſhe to her new Companion, who do you think is below?

Com. I can't imagine; but you look ſurpriz'd, I warrant 'tis Sir Richard. . . . . . if it be, you ſhall not ſee him; let me go down to him.
Wife. No, no, it is not Sir Richard, I aſſure you.
Com. Who is it then, I beſeech you?
Wife. No Body but my Husband.
Com. Your Husband! Poiſon him, that's impoſſible, why he's at London, Madam.
[Page 137] Wife. Why, I thought ſo too; but it ſeems he is come back, and he has ſent for me; what ſhall I do, Madam? I entreat you adviſe me.
Com. Do! Poiſon him, you ſhan't ſee him.
Wife. I think I had not beſt ſee him; what would you adviſe me to?
Com. By no means; he wants to have you go Home, he ſhou'd be poiſon'd firſt: No, no, Madam, if you let him have you too cheap, he will make you pay for it too dear. No, Poiſon him, he ſhould go Home as wiſe as he came.
Wife. I am of your Mind, I won't ſee him; here Betty, go down and tell Mr. . . . . . I can't be ſpoke with.
She calls in the Servant.
Betty. Madam, have they told you how long he has been here? he has waited above an Hour already; and if I ſay you can't be ſpoke with, he'll ſtay longer.
Wife. Well, well, do you do as I bid you, or go and call my own Maid to me.
Betty. Yes, Madam.
Betty goes and calls her own Maid; here, Su. ſays ſhe, go to your Miſtreſs, I think ſhe's ſtark mad; your Maſter is come a purpoſe to her, and ſhe won't be ſpoke with; for my part, I can't carry the poor Gentleman ſuch a Meſſage, not I; ſo your Miſtreſs bids me call you.
Says, Suſan, I'll go to her, but I won't carry ſuch a Meſſage to my Maſter, I'll aſſure her.
Suſan. Madam, did you want me?
Wife. Yes, yes; go down and ſee who that is wants me, and tell them I am indiſpoſed, and can't be ſpoke with.
Suſan. Indiſpos'd, Madam, why, 'tis my Maſter! I wonder Betty ſhould not tell you who it was all this while; he has ſtay'd this Hour, and more, walking all alone.
[Page 138] Wife. Your Maſter, you Fool; your Maſter is at London.
Suſan. Madam, I hope you'll believe I know my Maſter when I ſee him; I'm ſure I ſpoke to him.
Wife. Spoke to him! and what did you ſay?
Suſan. Why, Madam, he ask'd me how you did, and I told him you were very well; then he ask'd me if you were up; and I told him, up, Sir, yes, a great while ago; and that you were up and dreſs'd: Then he ask'd me if you were buſy, or had any Body with you? and I told him, you were not buſy; you were doing nothing but drinking a Diſh of Tea: You know, Madam, it was all true; what I could I ſay elſe?
Com. Poiſon you, for a dull Jade, could not you have run up firſt, and have ask'd your Miſtreſs what you ſhould have ſaid.
Suſan. I might have done ſo indeed, Madam; but my Maſter came in before I was aware; but what could my Miſtreſs have bid me ſay to ſuch Queſtions as thoſe?
Com. Why, you Fool you, Poiſon you, you might have ſaid, your Miſtreſs was not at Home, cou'd not ye? You know ſhe did not deſire to ſee him.
Suſan. Madam, I'll ſerve my Miſtreſs as faithfully as any Body; but I can't lye for my Miſtreſs.
Com. Can't you, Huſſy, then Poiſon me, if I'd give Six Pence a Year for ſuch a Servant.
Suſan. Others will, Madam; nay, ſome Ladies will give Six Pence a Year the more for a Servant on that very Account, than they will for another.
Com. They are fit for nothing, that can't ſpeak their Miſtreſs's Mind.
Suſan. Madam, you'll be pleaſed to remember, that thoſe Servants who will tell a Lye FOR YOƲ, will tell a Lye TO YOƲ.
Com. 'Tis no Matter for that.
Suſan. Well, Madam, 'tis my Misfortune perhaps, [Page 139] but I can't do it; and if I am not fit for your Service, I am for the Place I'm in, I hope, and I am very eaſy; I deſire no better a Miſtreſs.
Wife. Well, what muſt we do? She has ſaid I am well, I am up, I am dreſs'd, I am at leiſure; what can I ſay next?
Com. Say? Poiſon him, ſend him word plainly, you have no Buſineſs with him, and you won't be ſpoke with.
Wife. Well, let it be ſo then; go Su.
Suſan falls a crying.
Com. What ayles the Fool?
Wife. Go, Su.
Sue cries, but does not go.
Com. Can't ye go, ye Fool, and deliver the Meſſage as your Miſtreſs orders you?
Suſan. If I had as little reſpect for my Miſtreſs as you have, Madam, I could; but I can't ſee my Miſtreſs ruin'd, and be the Meſſenger to help to bring it to paſs.
Com. You are a ſaucy Wench, Poiſon you; if you were my Servant, I'd turn you out of Doors this Minute.
Suſ. I had rather be turn'd out of Doors than deliver ſuch a Meſſage to my Maſter; I wiſh I had been turn'd out of Doors before I came into your Houſe; I am ſure you'll be the Ruin of my Miſtreſs.
Wife. Hold your Tongue, and go down, and ſay as I bid you.
Su. Indeed, Madam, I love your Service, and will do any thing to oblige you; but I beg you would not let me go of ſuch an Errand.
Com. Come, Madam, Servants will be ſaucy, I'll go my ſelf, I warrant you I ſend him packing; he ſhall trouble you no more here.
She goes down.
Su. O dear, Madam, how can you uſe my Maſter ſo?
Suſan cries.
Wife. How do I uſe him?
[Page 140] Su. Why, to let this Devil of a Woman go down to hector and bully him, when he comes ſo kindly to ſee you? Did not you tell me, Madam, that you only wanted him to come after you, and you would go Home again?
Wife. Well, but my Mind is alter'd now; that's none of your Buſineſs.
Su. Such Power has bad Counſel, Madam, where it is liſten'd to! can this wicked Woman be ſenſible of the Miſchiefs that will follow this, Madam? Have you not two poor innocent Children at Home, left without a Mother? Han't you diſoblig'd Sir Richard and all your Friends already? and will you provoke your Husband without the leaſt Occaſion, by ſetting a mad Creature to inſult him? I beſeech you, Madam, conſider.
Wife. All this is no Buſineſs of yours, Miſtreſs.
Su. It is true, Madam, 'tis none of my Buſineſs; but as I am come from your Houſe with you, the World will ſuppoſe I have had ſome Hand in the Breach, which God knows I abhor; and if I beg my Bread, I won't live with any Miſtreſs upon ſuch Terms. I wiſh, Madam, you may ſee your Miſtake before you are quite ruin'd; if you pleaſe to give me the ſmall Matter that is due to me, I'll withdraw, and I hope you won't take it ill.
Wife. Well, well, I'll give you your Wages by and by.

During this little Dialogue, the raving Creature, her Companion, goes down Stairs, and enters into the following Diſcourſe with her Friend's Husband.

Wom. Who wou'd you ſpeak with, Sir?
Husb. My Wife, Madam.
Wom. Your Wife, Sir, who is that pray?
Husb. Mrs. ...... Sir Richard.....'s Siſter; I ſuppoſe ſhe is here.
Wom. Yes, Sir, ſhe is here, but ſhe is not to be ſpoken with.
[Page 141] Husb. No, Madam, that's very odd; does ſhe know I am here?
Wom. I ſuppoſe ſhe does.
Husb. Is ſhe not to be ſpoken with by any Body, or not by me only?
Wom. I ſuppoſe the latter, Sir.
Husb. Pray, Madam, let me ask you one Queſtion more; do you deliver her Words or your own?
Wom. Her Words, I aſſure you, Sir.
Husb. Can I ſpeak with Suſan, her Maid?
Wom. I believe not, Sir, I do not know where ſhe is.
Husb. But, Madam, you can cauſe her to be call'd.
Wom. It's true, Sir, but I ſee no Occaſion for it; I can deliver any Meſſage to your Lady.
Husb. You ſeem to treat me in a manner very diſobliging; but do you know, Madam, that I have Authority to command my Wife out of your Hands, and that you have no Authority to detain her.
Wom. I value not your Authority; I know you are a Juſtice of Peace, but that ſignifies nothing in this Caſe.
Husb. If it were not in reſpect to my Wife, I ſhould try it, Madam; I have other Power, I aſſure you, than my own.
Suſ. comes by the Door.
Wom. Sir, my Anſwer is ſhort; your Wife ſays in ſo many Words, ſhe has nothing to ſay to you, nor will not ſee you; and I won't have any Body ſeen here by Force.
Husb. Suſan, Suſan, come hither.
Suſan. Yes, Sir.
Husb. Go to the Door, and bid George and Goodman Page come to me.
They come in.
Here Page, you are a Conſtable, ſeize that Woman, and keep her ſafe, I'll make her Mittimus inſtantly; I'll ſee, Madam, whether I can't teach you Manners, whether I do the reſt of the Buſineſs I come about or no.
The Companion offers to go back and run up Stairs.
[Page 142] Conſtable. Nay-Madam, you muſt not go away.
Comp. What in mine own Houſe too?
Husb. Yes Madam, better in your own Houſe than any where.
Comp. I don't value this, nor all the reſt you can do.
Husb. Suſan, you can prove your Miſtreſs is in the Houſe, can't you?
Suſ. Yes, Sir, I come this Minute from her, and I am ſure my Miſtreſs would have come to you, Sir, at firſt Word, if that wicked Creature had not hindred her.
It ſeems he had had an Account from ſomebody how Things went, and how he might expect to be treated; and that a Warrant from my Lord Chief Juſtice might be wanted: So he furniſh'd himſelf accordingly.
Husb. Well Suſan, I'll deal with her well enough; but in the mean time do you go up to your Miſtreſs, deſire her not to be frightned, I am not come to give her any Diſturbance; if ſhe would have been pleas'd to let me ſpeak with her, I ſhould have treated her very kindly: But ſince ſhe is prevail'd upon to be ſo unkind, I will offer her no Violence, though I have Power to do it, as you ſee; nor would I have meddled with this Firebrand if ſhe had not treated me rudely.

Suſan went up, but before ſhe came her Miſtreſs had heard what had paſs'd, and was in a terrible Fright; there was a Pair of Back-Stairs, and a Door at the Stair-head, at which ſhe might have got away: But the Door was lock'd, and the Servants were all ſo enrag'd at her, that though ſhe enquir'd of them for the Key, no body would give it her: So finding no way to eſcape, ſhe ſat trembling, and expecting every Minute her Husband, or the Conſtable, ſhould come up and take her away by force.

But he had no Mind to expoſe her ſo much, nor to [Page 143] diſorder her at all, his Deſign being to uſe all the Perſwaſions and Entreaties he could, if poſſible to bring her to a kind and willing Complyance; ſo he went away, and bad Suſan tell her, he would come again another Day when her Surprize was over.

Suſan deliver'd her Meſſage with all the comforting Expreſſions to her Miſtreſs that ſhe was able. But ſhe had thrown herſelf on the Bed, and would not ſpeak a Word. So the Cavalcade ended; her Husband went away, and the Conſtable kept the Lady's Companion in Cuſtody, and carry'd her away with him.

She was now left alone, her Spirits were in a Flame, and ſhe ſeem'd to talk Wildly and Extravagantly, like one diſcompoſed in the higheſt Degree. Poor Suſan, though ſhe was diſmiſt, would not leave her in that Condition, but ſat by her all the Afternoon, and watch'd her all Night; for Suſan was afraid ſhe might do her ſelf ſome Miſchief.

But alas, her Head run upon worſe things; the Devil had loſt his Agent, and was now fain to do his Work himſelf; and indeed, finding his Advantage, he laid hold of it: Her Paſſion, the Devil's beſt handle, and by which he takes the faſteſt hold of us all, was in a violent Ferment; and nothing was ſo horrid but ſhe was capable to entertain a Notion of it, and approve it.

The Object of her higheſt Averſion now was her Husband; the Affront offer'd her was ſuch, that nothing could appeale her, nothing be a Satisfaction to her; the Sleep ſhe took in the Night gave no Aſſiſtſtance to abate her Fury, but ſhe meditated Revenge with an implacable and an unalterable Reſolution.

While ſhe was thus playing with the edg'd Tools of her own Paſſions, dangerous Weapons they are! the Queſtion preſents to her Thoughts what ſhould ſhe do, once or twice, as ſhe own'd afterwards? The Devil prompted her to go home to him, and in the [Page 144] Night to ſet the Houſe a Fire. But ſhe had not Courage fot that. No, ſaid ſhe to her ſelf, uſing her Companion's wicked WORD; No, Poiſon him; I won't do that, I may burn the Children too.

The dreadful Word which her profligate Companion had us'd without any Meaning, or at leaſt without any Thought of Miſchief, continually rung now in her Ears; it only dwelt upon the Tongue before; but the ſubtil Deceiver handed it into her enflam'd Inclination, and plac'd it in Ambuſcade there; it was for ſome Days working up to a height, the Words follow'd her like a Voice, Poiſon him, poiſon him: At firſt ſhe ſtarted at the Suggeſtion, and ſeem'd frighted at the Thoughts of ſuch a horrid Thing; but he that ſet it at Work, ply'd it ſo cloſe, that ſhe thought ſhe heard no other Sound for ſome time, but that, Poiſon him, poiſon him; and as her wicked Companion had made the ugly unſounding horrid Word familiar to her; ſo her new Tempter begun by degrees to make the Fact familiar to her alſo; and firſt ſhe por'd upon the Practicableneſs of the Thing, her Head run Night and Day upon the Methods of doing it, and of concealing it; ſhe found all eaſy enough; he that prompted her to do it, preſented her with a great variety of practicable Schemes; ſo that finding no great Difficulty in the Thing, and that it would, as ſhe ſuppos'd, anſwer her End, ſhe came to a Point, and in a Word, ſhe took up the horrid Reſolution to POISON her Husband.

It was not long after ſhe had reſolv'd upon this horrid Fact, but ſhe prepar'd for the Execution: ‘"And one Morning ſhe calls her Maid Suſan, and with a moſt compleat Face of Hypocriſy tells her, ſhe had conſider'd her Circumſtances, and found Things were run to ſuch a height, that truly ſhe was loth all the Fault of ruining the Family ſhould lie upon her; and ſhe could find in her Heart, if [Page 145] her Husband and ſhe could come to any reaſonable Conditions, that ſhe might be ſatisfyed ſhe ſhould not be ill uſed after it, ſhe would go and live at home again.’

O Madam, ſays Suſan, if God would put it into your Heart, I dare ſay my Maſter would do any thing you ſhould deſire of him.

And will you go to him, Suſan, and tell him I deſire to ſpeak with him?

Yes Madam, with all my Heart; I am ſure he will come.

Well Suſan, to Morrow Morning you ſhall go.

Suſan rejoyces, and was ſo elevated with the Thoughts of it, that ſhe did nothing but cry for Joy all that Afternoon; but little did the poor Wench imagine that ſhe was to be the Inſtrument of the Devil, to betray an Innocent Gentleman to be murthered.

At this Meeting, and under the colour of this Treaty, did this enrag'd Woman wickedly reſolve to give her Husband Poiſon in a Diſh of Chocolate, and it ſeems had furniſh'd her ſelf with the Materials for that Purpoſe.

It is hardly poſſible for any one that has not been engag'd in ſuch dreadful Work as this, to expreſs, or indeed to conceive of the Horror and Confuſion of her Spirits all that Day, and all the Night; neither her Reaſon, or her Affection, not the Natural Pity of a Mother for her Children, or the Tenderneſs of her Sex as a Woman, took any Place with her; but ſhe went to Bed, nay and to Sleep, with the helliſh Reſolution of deſtroying her Husband; and was ſo far guilty of intentional Murther, as it is poſſible for any one to be that had not actually made the Attempt.

She had not been long aſleep but her diſturb'd Imagination working ſtill upon the ſame Subject, ſhe dream'd her ſelf into the very Fact.

[Page 146] She dream'd that her Husband came to her, according to the Meſſage ſhe had ſent by Suſan; that ſhe entertain'd him with a ſhew of Tenderneſs and Kindneſs; that he kiſt her, and told her, he was very ſorry ſhe would not ſee him laſt time he came; that he had reſolved to be reconciled to her, and that the Terms ſhould be her own, for he could have no Comfort or Satisfaction without her; that if ſhe was offended; he would ask her Pardon, and would abate all acknowledgment on her Part.

In her very Dream ſhe fancy'd her Conſcience reproach'd her with the reflection upon her Wicked Reſolution; and bad her ask her ſelf how ſhe could be ſo Treacherous to one, that after all ſhe had done, treated her in ſo obliging a manner.

Yet it ſeems ſhe got over it all, for though ſhe did not dream of her actually giving him the Poiſon, and his drinking it; yet, at ſome diſtance of Time, for ſhe awaked between, ſhe dream'd ſhe ſaw her Huſband and her Two Children lye dead upon the Floor, and that ſome body ask'd, How it all happened? and a Servant that ſtood by anſwer'd, That no body could tell: When on a ſuddain, ſhe thought ſhe ſaw a black Cloud, and heard a Voice as loud as Thunder out of it, which ſaid, That wicked Woman, his Wife, has Poiſon'd him and her own Children, let her be taken, and let her be burn'd.

It is not to be wondred at if ſhe wak'd in a dreadful Fright; ſhe skreek'd and cry'd in ſuch a manner that frighted all the Houſe; the Servants riſe and come to her, and an Ancient Woman in particular, that lay near her Chamber, came in firſt, and ask'd her, What was the Matter? When they came in ſhe was ſitting upright in her Bed, but Trembling and Staring in a dreadful Manner: However, it being ſome time after her crying out, before they could get out of their Beds to come to her, ſhe was thoroughly [Page 147] awake, and had recover'd her ſelf ſo far as to know that it was but a Dream, before they ask'd her what was the Matter.

This gave her ſome immediate Relief, and particularly it brought her to ſo much preſence of Mind as to conceal the Particulars; and when they ask'd her what it was ſhe dream'd? She ſaid, ſhe dream'd her Two Children were murther'd: which was true.

Though ſhe recover'd from her firſt Surprize, yet ſhe remain'd very ill all the Night, and all the next Day; and particularly was overwhelm'd with Melancholly, ſpeaking very little, and receiving no manner of Suſtenance: Suſan ſtay'd with her, and endeavour'd to divert her; but ſhe was capable of receiving no Comfort from her, and often bid her withdraw, and ſit in the next Room within Call.

In thoſe Intervals when Suſan had left her, ſhe began to reflect upon her ſelf, and would fly out with ſuch Words as theſe; What a Monſter am I? What a length has the Devil gone with me! Murther my Husband! What, my own Fleſh and Blood! Nay, and murther my little dear Innocent Children! Horrid Wretch! It's True, I had not intended to murther them: But would it not have been murthering them, to kill their Father? It's true alſo, I have not murther'd him; but I had fully reſolv'd it, my Soul had conſented to it, and I am as guilty as if I had done it: Nay, I have been murthering him theſe three Weeks paſt, I have murther'd that Peace and Satisfaction which it was my part to preſerve and and encreaſe to him; I have tormented and griev'd his very Soul; I have kill'd all his Joy, all his Comfort that he was to have had in a Wife; I am a Murtherer every way, a vile abominable Monſter, and Murtherer.

Then ſhe gave ſome vent to her Paſſion by Crying; after which, throwing her ſelf on the Bed, and her Fright and Diſorder having kept her waking moſt part of the Night, ſhe fell aſleep, but in ſo diſorder'd [Page 148] a Manner, and with ſo much Confuſion upon her Thoughts, that ſhe ſtarted every now and then, as if ſhe had been terrify'd with ſome Apparition.

At length ſhe got up again, and walking about the Room, but ſtill confuſed with ſtrange Diſtraction of Thoughts; on a ſudden a caſual Storm happening abroad, it lightned, and a terrible Clap of Thunder follow'd; ſhe was ſo frightned at this, conſidering the Relation it had to the other part of her Dream, that ſhe ſwoon'd and fell down on the Floor, without ſpeaking a Word.

Suſan, who ſat in the next Room before, but had come in while ſhe was on the Bed, run and took her up, and lay'd her on the Bed again; but it was long e're they brought her to her ſelf: When ſhe began to come to her ſelf, ſhe asked Suſan if ſhe heard the Thunder?

Yes, Madam, ſays Suſan, it was a dreadful Thunder; and the Lightning was ſo terrible, Madam, ſaid ſhe, it frighted me out of my Wits.

Miſt. But did you hear nothing but Thunder, Suſan?
Suſ. No, Madam; what ſhou'd I hear?
Miſt. No, did not you hear a Voice?
Suſ. No, Madam, I ſhould have dy'd away, I'm ſure, if I had.
Miſt. Well, but I did dye away you ſee, for I'm ſure I heard it.
Suſ. You fright me, Madam; pray what did you hear?
Miſt. A Dreadful Voice, Suſan! a Dreadful Voice, Suſan!

By this time ſhe was more compos'd, and Suſan being inquiſitive, ſhe put her off; I don't mean now, Suſan, ſaid ſhe, but in my Dream Suſan thought ſhe talk'd a little wild with the Fright, and ſo ſaid no more.

But now the Thunder in her Dream came into her Thoughts; Well, ſays ſhe, if I had been ſuch a [Page 149] horrible monſtrous Wretch to have murther'd my Husband, what a Fool had I been alſo to have thought to conceal it, when a Voice from Heaven ſhould proclaim it in Thunder and Lightning, to my certain Deſtruction. She paus'd, and then breaks out again, thus.

‘"Well, there is certainly ſome Mighty Power above, ſomething that knows and ſees all we Think or Act. I have been a dreadful Creature; for there is certainly a God that knows all Things, and can diſcover the moſt ſecret Deſigns that we form but in our Thoughts: and I never acknowledg'd him.’

And what if he ſhould by ſuch a Voice, diſcover now that I intended this bloody thing; then I am undone, and ſhould be the very Abhorrence and Loathing of all Mankind.

She went on a while in Private Reflections; at length ſhe breaks out again, And is there a God! ſaid ſhe, How can that be, and I yet alive! Why did not that Clap of Thunder ſtrike me dead! Sure if he is a juſt God, he could not ſuffer me to live, I ought to be brought out and burned, as the Voice ſaid of me, for I am a Murtherer, a Blaſphemer, a Deſpiſer of God, an Enemy both to God and Man, a Monſter, not a Reaſonable Creature.

She liv'd in theſe Agonies two or three Days, when calling Suſan to her one Morning before ſhe was up; Dear Suſan, ſays ſhe, carry me out of this dreadful Place.

Suſ. Carry you out, Madam: Ay, with all my Heart.
Miſt. But whither ſhall I go?
Suſ. Go, Madam! to your own Houſe, and to your own Family, Madam, where you will be welcome, I am ſure, and where my Maſter longs to have you come.
Miſt. Home Suſan! How can I go home! if your Maſter did me juſtice he would never let me come within his Doors again.
[Page 150] Suſ. Dear Madam, do not afflict your ſelf, and your Family, and more; will you give me leave to let my Maſter know you intend to come home?
Miſt. Do what you will Suſan: But if I ſleep another Night in this wicked Place, I ſhall be frighted to Death.

Honeſt Suſan ſent her Maſter Word of all that had happen'd, and of all the Diſcourſe, by a very truſty Meſſenger. But when the Meſſenger came to his Houſe he was not at home: Suſan uneaſie, for fear her Miſtreſs's Mind ſhould alter, pack'd up all their things they had, and ſending to borrow Sir Richard's Coach, gets her Miſtreſs, who was now wholly in her diſpoſing, and carries her directly home.

It ſeems Sir Richard and her Husband were gone to deliver the Wretch out of Cuſtody, who they had taken up, ſhe having humbled her ſelf, and promiſed to uſe her Endeavour to perſwade the other Lady to return home; and it ſeems ſhe came home to her Houſe juſt as Suſan was helping her Miſtreſs down Stairs. She ſent Suſan word, ſhe would ſpeak with her Miſtreſs before ſhe went: But Suſan bad the Servant tell her, that her Miſtreſs had nothing to ſay to her. So ſhe came away, brought her Miſtreſs home, carry'd her up Stairs in her Arms, for ſhe was very Ill, and put her to Bed.

When ſhe had done thus, ſhe ſent far and near for her Maſter, but he could not be found a good while, which perplex'd Suſan very much: But at laſt her Maſter came home, and Sir Richard with him.

Her Maſter had but juſt Patience to hear Suſan tell part of her Story, and then run up Stairs to his Wife: She was ſo weak ſhe could hardly raiſe herſelf upon the Bed; but ſhe took him in her Arms, ask'd him Pardon in the moſt paſſionate Terms, 'till he could bear it no longer; and 'till he oblig'd her to ſay not a Word more of it. He told her, Sir Richard was below. [Page 151] My Dear, ſays ſhe, I am not able to ſpeak to him now; but tell him, I am ſenſible I have uſed him very Ill; and I will ask him Pardon, and my Lady too.

Sir Richard would fain have ſeen her; but ſhe deſired to be excuſed for that Night, for ſhe was very Ill and deſired a little Reſt.

She was now brought home to her Family; but as this was not done 'till ſhe was touch'd from Heaven with a Senſe of her Sins, ſo it was evident in her, that the firſt Effect of real Conviction, is an immediate Return to a Senſe of Duty: She had broke over all the Obligations and Bounds of her Conjugal Relation, as a Conſequence of her Rebellion againſt God; and as ſoon as ever ſhe was ſtruck with a Senſe of her Sin againſt God, it carry'd her immediately back into the Courſe of her Relative Duty.

We muſt now leave her for a while, and go back to Sir Richard, who was now as wonderful an Inſtance of the Grace of God, as his Siſter; and both of them firſt touch'd with a Senſe of their Wickedneſs, by the Deformity and odious Appearance of others worſe than themſelves; that is to ſay, he from his Siſter, and his Siſter from her abominable Companion.

Sir Richard, as I obſerv'd, had been in a very uncomfortable Condition upon the Occaſion of his Siſter's caſting out a Text of Scripture in her Diſcourſe, which though ſhe deſign'd in a Banter, was made a terrible Text to him, (viz.) that the Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination: From whence he fell, firſt, to examining his own Condition; and with too much Reaſon, to be ſure, concluded himſelf a wicked abominable Perſon; and from thence he infer'd that he was forbid to pray to God, that his Prayer would but provoke God the more, and be an Abomination.

I have given an Account by what Accident he receiv'd ſome Comfort. But ſtill he was in great Pain [Page 152] of Mind, and moſt impatient 'till his Brother in Law came home, who, as before, was then gone to London: As ſoon as he came, they met, and he unboſom'd himſelf to him, as in the following Dialogue.

Sir Rich. Dear Brother, I am glad you are come; no Man ever long'd ſo earneſtly for a Friend as I have done for you; I have had no Reſt Night or Day for want of you.
Bro. What's the Matter, Sir Richard? I ſuppoſe I gueſs the Buſineſs.
Sir Rich. I do not think you do.
Bro. It muſt be ſomething about my Wife.
Sir Rich. Not at all; unleſs it be to tell you, ſhe has done me more good than all the Miniſters in England ever did, and is at the ſame time herſelf the Wickedeſt Woman upon Earth.
Bro. You ſurprize me with two Extreams; I do not underſtand you at all.
Sir Rich. I will explain myſelf to you preſently: You muſt know, —
Bro. Dear Sir Richard, before you enter into that, give me leave to interrupt you a little with my own Caſe; for you may eaſily ſee I am come back from London, as it were Expreſs; have left all my Buſineſs undone, and could not be eaſie about my Wife: I had ſeveral Letters from my Servants about her wild Conduct, and not a Word from you. I entreat you tell me how my Caſe ſtands with her, that I may take ſome ſpeedy Courſe about it; for I cannot bear to think of being thus long from her.
Sir Rich. Indeed Brother, I am ſorry I can give you no better an Account of that Part than this (viz.) that ſhe quarrell'd with me, huft my Wife, ſlighted all I could ſay or do in order to reconcile Things, and flung away in a Rage from me; and which is worſe, ſhe is gone into the Family of an old Companion of hers, that I am ſure will make her worſe rather than better.
[Page 153] Bro. I have heard all this by Letters, I know that Woman well enough, and have heard much more of her; and having a Hint, that if I went to her Houſe, I ſhould be refus'd the Civility of ſeeing my Wife, and perhaps ill uſed too, I have brought my Lord Chief Juſtice's Warrant to force my way into the Houſe, and to take up that Woman if there be occaſion.
Sir Rich. That's very right, and I'm glad of it, for ſhe deſerves to be made an Example, on many Accounts. But what will you do with your Wife? When you come to uſe any Violence with her; I am afraid ſhe will offer you ſome very provoking thing or other, for ſhe is an outragious Wretch.
Bro. I reſolve to offer her no Violence, but that of Entreaties and earneſt Perſwaſions: If ſhe refuſes me, ſhe muſt be harder-hearted than I can believe ſhe ever was: I'll ask her Pardon, even for thoſe Errors which are of her own committing; I'll give up every Diſpute, and every Quarrel; I'll beg her on my Knees to come away, to return to her Family, and be reconciled: ALAS! Sir Richard, If ſhe ſtays there ſhe is ruin'd Body and Soul; her Family is ruin'd, and I am ruin'd; I am reſolv'd to get her Home whatever low Steps I take, or whatever Family-Prerogative I give up; I value not thoſe things at all, in Compariſon of the Souls of my Wife, and my Children.
Sir Rich. I hope you will not give up the main Point; I mean, your Family-Devotion, and your Duty to God as a Parent, and as the Head of your Family?
Bro. THAT, Sir, is not mine to give; THAT's a Debt, and muſt be paid; we are oblig'd to it as Creatures, as Rational Creatures, and as Chriſtians; we muſt reſerve THAT as the great Quit-Rent of Nature, to be paid to the Supream Lord of the Mannor, by all the Tenants; ſhe can't inſiſt upon it; 'tis [Page 154] not to be deſir'd without Injuſtice to him that give us all we enjoy, and can give us all we hope for; I perſwade my ſelf ſhe will quit that Demand; and except that, I'll give up every Thing elſe to her.
Sir Rich. Well Brother, you deſerve a better Wife, I pray GOD give her Repentance, and you the Comfort of her; for you really merit all ſhe can ever be able to do for you.
Bro. If I can recover her from this curſed Houſe, and get her Home, I am not afraid but ſhe will be a comfortable Wife ſtill; ſhe is in her ſelf a moſt excellent Perſon; and if GOD ſhall ever pleaſe to reclaim her, ſhe will be an excellent Chriſtian; ſhe has a moſt endearing obliging Behaviour, a bright Genius, a vaſt Extent of Knowledge, a world of Wit, perfectly Miſtreſs of good Breeding, ever way agreeable in Perſon, and of an untainted Vertue; what room can we have to fear, that GOD ſhall deny his Grace, where he has been pleaſed ſo viſibly to prepare the Subject for it? For my Part, I have a full Dependance, that ſhe ſhall be reſtor'd to me at laſt.
Sir Rich. GOD grant you Succeſs, Brother; when do you purpoſe to go?
Bro. I would have gone this Afternoon, but ſeeing we are thus happily met, I'll put it off till Morning, when I ſuppoſe I may find them all at home.
Sir Rich. Who do you take with you Brother? Will you have any of my Servants to help, if need be?
Bro. I thank you Sir Richard, but I think we are enough, I take two Servants, and your Tenant Page the Conſtable, perhaps we may want him.
Sir Rich. Well, I believe you are ſtrong enough; pray let me hear how you ſpeed.
Bro. You ſhall not fail of that: But now, Sir, I have interrupted you long enough; pray Sir Richard, be pleas'd to go on now with your own Caſe, where you left off.
[Page 155] Sir Rich. I think I was telling you I had got a great deal of good by the Preaching of my Siſter, and yet that ſhe was at the ſame Time the wickedeſt Woman on Earth; tho' I think I ſhould have excepted that young Monſter, whoſe Houſe ſhe is now gone to; and I promiſed to explain my ſelf, which I ſhall now do.
Here Sir Richard repeats all the ſeveral Diſcourſes he had with his Siſter, and that his Lady had with her, and the Iſſue of them.
Bro: Indeed Sir Richard, theſe are ſtrange Things, and your Siſter is gone a great Length; but I ſee it is all the Effect of the natural Witchcraft, with which our corrupt Inclinations ſeize upon us in our Youth, when neither GOD's Grace or Parent's Inſtructions intervene.
Sir Rich. You are right Brother; it's all want of Education, or rather the Fruit of that helliſh Education we were both of us bleſs'd with. Alas! Brother, old Sir Richard, my Father, he is in his Grave; he was our Father, and we ſhould cover his Aſhes: But this was our Caſe, he never was the Man that ſaid a Word to us about Religion, or any Thing ſerious in his Life; he perfectly abandon'd us to Nurſes and Servants, Tutors and Chaplains; who rather gratify'd our Vices, to engage our Affections to them, than inſtructed or reproved us, when they found us do ill. We had, in a Word, no manner of Education but that of going to School at firſt, to do little more than Play and get bad Words.
Bro. Well, Sir Richard; Grace was promiſed, and is given to rectify Nature.
Sir Rich. Ay, come Brother, this is what I want to talk with you about; I have been educated as ill as my Siſter, and have gone as great a Length as ſhe can have done; what may I take my Caſe to be? You have hopes of her, but I have had ſad Thoughts about my ſelf.
[Page 156] Bro. Sad and ſerious Reflections are ſome of the firſt Diſcoveries of GOD's Grace being at Work in the Heart.
Sir Rich. I wiſh you would explain your ſelf, what you mean by GOD's Grace, and by its Working in the Heart; I have had ſomething working in my Heart, but I cannot think it to be GOD's Grace.
Bro. Why ſo, Sir?
Sir Rich. Becauſe it was raiſed there by a wicked Inſtrument; does the Devil think you work for GOD?
Bro. GOD can make uſe of what Inſtrument he pleaſes, and can make even the Devil himſelf inſtrumental to his Work; but pray, what mean you by the Devil being an Inſtrument?
Sir Rich. Why, I have told you what I mean; how your Siſter's artheiſtical Carriage, and blaſphemous horrid Expreſſions made my Blood run chill in my Veins, and my very Heart tremble within me; In ſeeing her dreadful Condition, my own was repreſented to me, and it made this Reflection in my Thoughts; Lord! what a Wretch am I? this Creature and I am of one and the ſame Education and Growth in Wickedneſs, ſhe one way, and I another; it's evident, ſhe is ſet on Fire of Hell, and I am the ſame in Kind and in Degree too, only in another manner excited; my Conſcience bids me reprove her; but theſe very Reproofs turn upon me again, and reproach me with moſt of the ſame Crimes which I reprove her for.
Bro. And do you think thoſe Convictions are your own Work, Sir?
Sir Rich. Nay, when I reprov'd her, and ſhe laugh'd at me, and told me, how odd, how abſurd it was out of my Mouth, and what had I to do to talk of Religion, it touch'd my very Soul; which anſwer'd, as it were within me, That's very true; What have ye to do to tread my Courts, or to take my Name into your Mouths?
[Page 157] Bro. And do you think all theſe Convictions were your own? Can the Leopard change its Spots, or the Aethiopian his Skin?
Sir Rich. Why, what can they be then?
Bro. Depend upon it, and do not ſlight young Convictions; it is all the ſecret Operation of the Spirit, the ſame we call the Grace of GOD.
Sir Rich. I wiſh I was ſure of that.
Bro. I cannot ſay I will prove it to be the Spirit mathematically, but I'll prove to you that it can be nothing elſe; Of our ſelves we can do nothing: Not I, but the Grace of GOD, 1 Cor. 15. 10. When the Diſciple confeſs'd the Name of Chriſt Jeſus, what was his Anſwer; Fleſh and Blood has not revealed this unto thee, but my Father,—Mat. 16. 17. GOD reveals himſelf to our Souls by the powerful Influence of his Spirit; it is the Spirit of GOD that works Conviction of Sin, nothing elſe can do it; believe me, Sir, it is all the free Grace of GOD.
Sir Rich. You religious People talk ſo much of the Grace of GOD and the Spirit of GOD, I remember we us'd always to laugh at you for it; and now, tho' I do not laugh at it, yet I do not underſtand it; pray tell me what you mean by Grace, and by the Spirit; are they all one?
Bro. No, by no means not all one, and yet joyn'd in the Operation very much.
Sir Rich. Why, you ſaid juſt now, theſe Convictions are the Work of the Spirit, the ſame that you call the Grace of GOD.
Bro. It's true, I did ſo, and yet diſtinguiſh.
Sir Rich. Let me hear how you diſtinguiſh them, ſo as I may reach it.
Bro. The Divines may make many more Diſtinctions, but I'll only ſtate it, as it relates to your Caſe: By Grace, I underſtand the Love and Favour of GOD TO ƲS, with all its Effects and bleſſed Conſequences [Page 158] in the Hearts of Men: The original Love of GOD to us, in making us Veſſels of Mercy and not of Wrath; in ſhewing Pity and Compaſſion to us while we were yet in our Blood, and making us Heirs of Salvation: And then the Love of GOD IN ƲS, working our Souls up even involuntarily and without our own Agency, at leaſt without any that we can account for, to love him, drawing out our Affections, and engaging us to love him. Theſe ſeem to be diſtinguiſh'd by the Grace and the Spirit. Love of GOD to us, muſt be from his own infinite GRACE; the Love of GOD in us, is the Operation of Grace by the Spirit.
Sir Rich. I can make little of all this.
Bro. Sir, this is indeed a Myſtery; and a Myſtery hid from Ages, but it is revealed to us by the Spirit of GOD: and this I ſhall prove to you very plainly by the Word of GOD, where the Myſtery of the Goſpel is called a Diſpenſation of Grace; Epheſ. 3. 2. If ye have heard of the Diſpenſation of the Grace of GOD. Ver. 3. How that by Revelation he made known to me the Myſtery. Ver. 5. Which in other Ages was not made known to the Sons of Men, as it is now revealed by the Spirit. Here it is evident, the Myſtery of GOD's Goodneſs and Love to a loſt World, is call'd the Grace of GOD; the revealing this, is called a Diſpenſation of Grace; and the Revealer the bleſſed Agent, is the Spirit of GOD.
Sir Rich. But what is the Myſtery? You read there, that he made known a Myſtery, and this Myſtery is revealed by the Spirit; pray what Myſtery is that?
Bro. Be pleas'd to read on, Sir, Ver. 5. That the Gentiles ſhould be Fellow-Heirs, and Partakers of the Promiſe in Jeſus Chriſt. This was the Myſtery of the Goſpel, and is therefore called the Revelation of Goſpel Grace. The Caſe was thus: The Promiſes of GOD were at firſt all made to the Jews, and they [Page 159] underſtood all the reſt of the World to be excluded: But now when by the Coming and Suffering of Jeſus Chriſt, the Vail of the Temple was rent, and the Separation taken away, Men were call'd upon every where to repent, and were taught, that they ſhould be all equally made Children by Adoption, as if they had been ſo by Birth; and if Children, then Heirs. This was the Myſtery of the Goſpel, and was now laid open, and was revealed by the Spirit of GOD; ſignifying, that the Gentiles were made Partakers of the Promiſe in Chriſt, by the Goſpel.
Sir Rich. And how do you bring this down to my Caſe?
Bro. Very clearly thus: That the Convictions of Sin upon your Mind, all the Reflections you make upon your paſt Life, be they occaſion'd by what Concurrence of Cauſes ſoever; all the ſecret Averſions and Abhorrence of paſt Follies, and every ſecret Deſire to alter, amend, and change your Courſe; every degree of Regret, Shame and Self-Reproach, which (as you will find) your Thoughts will be fill'd with on theſe Occaſions, are a Degree of the Diſpenſation of the Grace of GOD to you; revealed to, or wrought in you by his Spirit.
Sir Rich. And does this Grace and this Spirit work theſe Convictions, and theſe repenting Thoughts, and theſe Reſolutions to reform in our Minds, by an involuntary Agency, and without our Concurrence?
Bro. Dear Sir, let me be very cautious of running you ſo early, into thoſe dangerous Niceties and Diſtinctions between what we can do, and our being able to do nothing. It is moſt true, that we can do nothing as we ought to do: But we are commanded to repent, to break off our Sins, to ceaſe to do evil, to learn to do well; theſe are all Scripture-Expreſſions, and the Bible is full of them. Be it then, that the Spirit works this all in us, before we can do [Page 160] any Thing, ot be it that our Duty and Endeavour is accepted, or at leaſt our concurring with his Work; certainly we are bid to work, to give diligent heed; we are called upon to turn to GOD, and to pray; and it is our Duty: Let the Operations of inviſible Grace be what they will, and direct how they will, we muſt be labouring and working, that this Grace of GOD may not be in vain. Nay, this very Grace of GOD prompts us to do thus, as is expreſly ſaid, Tit. 2. 11, 12. The Grace of GOD that bringeth Salvation, hath appeared unto all Men, teaching us, that denying Ʋngodlineſs and worldly Luſts, we ſhould live ſoberly, righteouſly, and godly in this preſent World: So that we are not allowed, on Pretence of the Spirit working all in us, to ſit ſtill and do nothing; this would be to ſin, becauſe Grace abounds.
Sir Rich. I begin to underſtand you, and what you ſay affects my Mind wonderfully; eſpecially when you put me in hopes, that theſe ſecret Struggles I feel, are from an Operation of the Spirit of GOD. But is that poſſible? Will the Spirit of GOD work ſuch things in the Mind of one ſo harden'd, ſo abandon'd to all that's wicked, as I have been!
Bro. He not only will, but often does; nay often chooſes to do it; and that for many Reaſons, I mean, Reaſons that we can account for, beſides ſuch as are alone known to himſelf; ſuch as the glorifying the Power of his Grace, in conquering his Enemies and magnifying the Sovereignty of his Grace in taking and chuſing how, who, and where he pleaſes.
Sir Rich. But was there ever ſuch a Creature wrought on before as I am, one choſen out from ſo many, of whom none half ſo ſcandalous? It can never be.
Bro. Not you Sir! why Mary Magdalen! why the Publican! why the crucify'd Malefactor! why many glorious Examples of ſovereign Grace! For this reaſon it is called FREE GRACE; and we find [Page 161] the Scripture full of Reaſons for this Method, of laying hold of the worſt and greateſt Sinner; the Whole need not the Phyſician: It's true, this is meant of thoſe who had Conceit of their being whole, as the Phariſee; but it reaches the Caſe we are upon: Chriſt came as the Phyſician, to heal thoſe who were moſt dangerouſly ſick; to juſtify ſuch Publicans as durſt not go up to the Temple to pray; to receive ſuch Prodigals who were yet afar off.
Sir Rich. None of all the Inſtances I have read of come up, in my Opinion, to mine; I have run ſuch a horrid Courſe of all kinds of Wickedneſs, that I ſee none of them can come up to it: I will not doubt but as you ſay, infinite Goodneſs can forgive more Sins than a finite Being can commit. But when I come to the Queſtion, whether HE WILL, it does not ſeem rational to me to expect it.
Bro. Why Sir? If I were ſure you were the greateſt Sinner that ever was ſuffer'd to live on the Earth, I ſhould think it would be a Reaſon, why I ſhould expect the Grace of GOD ſhould ſingle you out, to make you a Miracle of Divine Goodneſs, that none after you might be capable of being diſcourag'd, when they had ſuch an Example to ſupport them.
Sir Rich. If I were ſure the Grace and Spirit of GOD were at work in my Heart, I confeſs the Greatneſs of my paſt Wickedneſs would not ſo much terrify me; I ſhould ſeem like a Man fallen among Murderers, and a powerful Troop came in to his Aſſiſtance; at whoſe coming all the Thieves and Villains trembled, and would be unavoidably taken Priſoners, and the Man be deliver'd. But how ſhall I know it?
Bro. Try the Spirits; ſee if the Work be for GOD, if ſo, 'tis certainly from GOD.
Sir Rich. You muſt explain your ſelf, I am as ignorant in thoſe things as a little Child; and you ſee [Page 162] I expoſe my Ignorance to you without any Scruple: You muſt talk to me as if you were inſtructing a Child; all my Infant-Work is yet to do.
Bro. My Meaning is this: You have had Convictions upon your Mind for ſome Time; you have been mov'd to reflect upon your ſelf for the Wickedneſs of your paſt Life; and to ſpeak of thoſe things you us'd to call Pleaſures, with the greateſt Contempt; and of your Delight in them with the greateſt Deteſtation: I do not doubt you were ſincere in it, you had no occaſion to be otherways with me.
Sir Rich. My Sincerity to you, I hope, admits no Queſtion; whether my Heart may not be inſincere and deceive me, that I cannot anſwer for.
Bro. That's what I'm upon; I ſay, Try the Spirits, whether do all theſe Motions tend? Do they carry you on to humble Repentings for Sin paſt, and holy Reſolutions for time to come? If this Work puts you forward to Reformation, to a change of Life, to a Love of the Name and Ways of God, and of the People of God; in a Word, if it apparently directs to Holineſs, it is the Work of the Spirit of God, there is no room to doubt it; 'tis a Diſpenſation of the Grace of God to you, by the Operation of the Spirit: It muſt be ſo, there is no other Influence either able, or by the Nature of things enclin'd to work in ſuch a Manner; and you have great Reaſon to rejoyce in it.
Sir Rich. Alas! I rejoyce! is it poſſible for me to hope? and without Hope is there any rejoycing?
Bro. The lower you are in the Eſteem of your Penitent Thoughts, the nearer you are to the Gate of Hope: Remember the Publican, he durſt not go forward to the Temple to Pray.
Sir Rich. There you touch my very Soul again: why that wicked Creature wounded me there ſo deep that it entirely robb'd me of all my Hope; ſhe was [Page 163] a true Inſtrument of the Devil in that; for as he is in the worſt kind of Deſpair himſelf, he labours to puſh every one elſe into the ſame Condition; that in their Reflections upon Sin, they may commit the more; for I am very ſenſible 'tis a great Sin to deſpair, 'tis a Diſhonour to the Power and Omnipotency of Divince Mercy.
Bro. I ſuppoſe that was, when ſhe banter'd prophanely about your praying to God for her, and told you 'twould ſignifie nothing.
Sir Rich. That had been nothing; for what ſignified the Words of a fooliſh enraged Creature: But when ſhe repeated that Scripture, The Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination to the Lord; it was like a Dart ſtruck through the Liver. I knew that was the Word of God, tho' it was ſpoken out of the Mouth of an Evil Meſſenger; my Heart ſunk within me at the Words; I quitted talking to her as ſoon as poſſible, and while I did talk I hardly minded what I ſaid, my Thoughts were ſo harraſs'd; then I came out to ſeek for you, but you were gone to London, and what to do I knew not.
Bro. I am very ſorry I was gone; but I hope the ſame Spirit of God, who was working Convictions in your Mind, gave you Comfort.
Sir Rich. Indeed Brother I receiv'd but ſmall Comfort; I look'd upon my ſelf in the ſame Condition as King Saul was, when he ſaid, the Philiſtines were upon him, and God was departed from him; the Weight of my Convictions lay upon me, and I look'd upon my ſelf as ſhut out from the Gate; one whom God would not hear, as Saul ſaid; and that in a Word, that I was forbid to pray to him; and it wrought ſuch a Dejection upon my Mind, that I could ſcarce hold up; my Wife and all my Family took notice of it.
Bro. It was well no ſtrong Temptation preſented [Page 164] while you were under thoſe Troubles.
Sir Rich. I ſuppoſe they were really Temptations, for I was often preſs'd in my Thoughts to give over my Concern about it, to go to the Tavern, or a Viſiting, or a Hunting, and drive away theſe melancholly Thoughts: But it was all like Muſick to a ſorrowful Heart, that ſerv'd but to make it more heavy; and I had no taſte of thoſe things, though they were formerly my greateſt Delight: But all that follow'd me during this whole time, was the Words of the Publican, whoſe Story you mention'd juſt now, and the Words would often break from me with a kind of involuntary Emotion, Lord be Merciful to me a Sinner.
Bro. Very well; and was it not the Powerful Grace of God think you, that preſerv'd thoſe Averſions in you againſt your former Delights; that took away your Taſte of thoſe Things, and the Guſt of your Appetite from your Pleaſures; that ſeaſon'd your Soul with Godly Sorrow, that by the Sadneſs of the Countenance the Heart might be made better? Dare you ſay that it was by your own Strength, that thoſe things which were doubtleſs laid in your way as Snares, proved no Temptation to you?
Sir Rich. My Strength! How is it poſſible that I ſhould have the leaſt Strength to any thing that is Good, who have given up my ſelf to all that's wicked, through the whole Courſe of my Life?
Bro. Very well. Then the Powerful Grace of God muſt have ſupplied you: Give him the Honour of his own Work; let him have all the Praiſe.
Sir Rich. How can I praiſe him, that cannot pray to him; that am not admitted to take his Name into my Mouth: Whoſe Prayer is an Abomination? Why he may ſtrike me dead if I ſhould offer to look up to him. How can I praiſe him?
Bro. That's all a Deluſion of the Devil; and I muſt [Page 165] ſay, 'tis one of his moſt old-faſhion'd Temptations. You ſaid, it came out of the Mouth of one of his Agents; did you not? Why ſhould you then ſuffer it to take any hold of you?
Sir Rich. It is the Word of God for all that.
Bro. Yes, ſo it was the Word of God with which the Devil tempted the Son of God; his ſecond Temptation was ſupported in that manner, For it is written, or, Thus ſaith the Lord; which is the ſame Thing: But you muſt explain one Scripture by another, and take the Word of God in the General Meaning, as well as in the Literal Expreſſion.
Sir Rich. Theſe are things I underſtand not. Is not the Thing Plain? Are not the Words Expreſs? If they have any other Signification, let me hear it.
Bro. It is true, a wicked Man, while reſolving to continue in his Sins, his Prayer is an Abomination; the Reaſon is evident: He mocks God, and the Word is expreſs in that, God will not be mocked; that is, it is an Abomination to him to be mocked, he will revenge it, and do his own Honour Juſtice.
Sir Rich. Is this the true meaning of that Place; and how ſhall I be ſatisfied that it is ſo?
Bro. By farther ſearching into the Scriptures, and by the general Purpoſe of God in the Goſpel. It is evident, the whole Scope of the Goſpel, and of the Diſpenſation of Grace, which I have mention'd before, is to perſwade Sinners to Repent and Turn to God. Innumerable Texts might be quoted to convince you of this; but it ſeems needleſs: If Sinners are to turn to God, and yet are ſhut out from God, from praying for his Grace to turn them, and for his Pardon; how ſhall they turn?
Sir Rich. That's very true; but ſhew me ſome oppoſite Caſe to this, that may overthrow the Force of its Literal Senſe.
[Page 166] Bro. I'll ſhew you ſeveral; firſt, take the Story of Simon the Sorcerer; an eminent Caſe, and exactly the Oppoſite to what you are upon; Simon was a WICKED Man, that muſt be allow'd to an Extream, beyond what can be thought of here; a Sorcerer, a Conjurer, one that dealt immediately with the Devil, of whom the Apoſtle teſtifies afterward, that he was in the Gall of Bitterneſs, and the Bond of Iniquity, and that his Heart was not right in the Sight of God. If any Man alive was in the Predicament of One whoſe Prayer is an Abomination, Simon was the Man: Yet obſerve what Peter, the bleſſed Preacher of Repentance, ſays to him, Acts 8. 22. Repent therefore of this thy Wickedneſs, and Pray God, if perhaps the Thought of thine Heart may be forgiven thee. Now Sir, what think you? May Simon the Sorcerer pray to God, and may not you?
Sir Rich. You have brought a ſtrange Caſe, I confeſs, and it grows upon my Mind, if I take you right, it is thus, then; That if I am convinc'd of my Sin, regret my paſt Life, and in a ſincere Abhorrence of my paſt Offences, reſolve to reform and become a New Man, I may be aſſur'd that I am permitted to pray to God; to ask Pardon, Bleſſing, Aſſiſtance, Support, and every thing that I want.
Bro. You have ſtated it right, and I am ſure, I have the Authority of God's Word to confirm it: I'll give you the ſame Text which was mention'd in our former Diſcourſe, which you ſaid you found in the Book about reading the Scriptures, 1. Iſaiah 15. There are 5 Verſes, from 11. to the 16. full of God's Abhorrence of, and Abominating the Sacrifices, that is, the Prayers of Men who continued in their Sins; the laſt runs thus, When ye ſpread forth your Hands I will hide mine Eyes from you; yea, when ye make many Prayers, I will not hear. This is a dreadful Scripture; what can be the Reaſon of it? the next Words explain it, [Page 167] Your Hands are full of Blood. This is plain, full of Sin unrepented of, and Sins to come reſolved on; to what purpoſe can ſuch Creatures pray? But read the next Verſe, and there you ſee the Terms on which GOD is always ready to hear the worſt of Sinners; Ver. 16, 17. Waſh ye, make you clean, put away the Evil of your Doings from before mine Eyes; ceaſe to do evil, learn to do well: Come now, let us reaſon together. The meaning of this is as clear as the Light; come repenting, reſolving to break off from your Sins, and GOD will then accept your Offering: and then follows the gracious Promiſe; Tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they ſhall be whiter than Snow, &c.
Sir Rich. Dear Brother; bleſſed be GOD for theſe Scriptures, and GOD's Bleſſing be upon you for your clear and comforting Expoſition. Now I ſee my Way clear, I ſee the Gate of Heaven open'd, it muſt be my own Fault, if I do not fly thither for Help and Comfort; I am ſure I am a Penitent; for my Soul abhors the Sins of my paſt Life; and if he that has wrought this Part in me, will ſupport my Mind in the Purſuit of it, I hope I ſhall continue to abhor it. And this is what I ſhall pray for with as earneſt a Deſire, even as for Pardon it ſelf.
Sir Richard diſcover'd all the while he was ſpeaking, a ſtrange unuſual Satisfaction and Joy in his Diſcourſe; and when he had done, he embrac'd him very affectionately.
Bro. GOD give you the Comfort of it.
Sir Rich. But I am a moſt ignorant Creature in all theſe things.
Bro. I would recommend earneſtly to you, the Reading of the Scriptures, and ſearching for the Meaning and Coherence of every Thing, one with another. Study them, as well as read them; and as they are a Treaſure of Wiſdom and heavenly Knowledge, [Page 168] you will encreaſe apace in Knowledge and Experience.
Sir Rich. I have a great deal of work to do, I have a wicked Heart to ſtruggle with and reform, wicked Habits to correct, a wicked Courſe of Converſation to change, a wicked Wife to perſwade and win over, if poſſible; a wicked Family to reform and correct: Alas! what Work is here for me to do, Brother?
Bro. Sir, your Zeal for a holy religious Life, will make all thoſe things eaſy.
Sir Rich. But this is the Conſequence of late Repentance, Brother; how happy are they, and how much leſs Struggle have they who look into their own Hearts early, and begin this Work betimes; ſo much earlier is their Work, and ſo much greater their Reward.
Bro. That's very true, but you are not of the lateſt, you are but a young Man, not two and thirty; you may have many Days to live, and may if GOD pleaſe, be an Honour to his Ways, and be honour'd by him, to be a great Encouragement to others to look up to him, tho' it ſhould be later than you do it: I wiſh the eminent Appearance of GOD's Grace in your Caſe, may be made uſe of as a Summons to other Gentlemen, to turn their Eyes inward and ſee into their Follies, and into the wretched Life moſt of them live at this time.
Sir Rich. Alas! Brother, you don't know that ſort of People; there is a ſtrange kind of Pride among them of late, for I do not think it was ſo formerly, that makes them think Religion below their Quality.
Bro. My Wife told me ſo indeed once, in our Diſputes, that Gentlemen never meddle with ſuch Things; that it was inconſiſtent with good Breeding; that it was fit for Parſons indeed; and that if I would ſet up to be Chaplain, and ſay Prayers in the [Page 169] Family, I ſhould put on the Chaplain's Gown too, and take Orders. But I minded none of theſe things.
Sir Rich. No, neither will I mind them; but this I tell you, I muſt be a Recluſe, and keep no Company; I muſt leave off viſiting Sir Harry C— and Col. Bra—, I muſt go no more a Hunting, nor meet the Club at —, I am no Company for theſe People now; and I am ſure they will be none for me.
Bro. I hope you will not find ſo much Loſs in that as you may imagine.
Sir Rich. It's no Grievance to me at all, there is nothing in all the Mirth that I have been given up to, but what is now as nauteous to me as ever it was pleaſant. The Wit, the Gayety, and the Revelling which they uſe ſtill, and which was my whole Employ, is to me ſo diſagreeable, and has been ſo for this Week paſt, that I cannot bear the Thoughts of it.
Bro. I hope, Sir, you will find better Entertainment in Things of another Nature.
Sir Rich. I know not what I may attain to, as to the Comfort of a religious Life Brother, that's a very remote Thing to me yet; but I am ſure I have Work of another kind before me, I have Buſineſs enough to employ me more Years than I can life; to mourn for the Vanity and abhorr'd Practices I have liv'd in for thirty Years paſt.
Bro. But that Affliction will have more Joy in it than all the Pleaſures of Sin, which are indeed Pleaſures of but a ſhort Continuance. There is a Pleaſure in Repentance, which none can deſcribe but they who have had the Experience of it, and which none can give but he alone, who gives Repentance.
Sir Rich. I know nothing of that yet, but this I know, I have more ſecret Joy in my Mind from this Reflection, viz. that a ſtop is put to that helliſh wretched Courſe of Life I have liv'd for ſome Years paſt, than all the Enjoyment of this World ever was [Page 170] able to give; and I would not exchange that Joy for all that I can ſee with my Eyes. Methinks I am like one Shipwreck'd, and that being ſunk twice in the Water, is taken by the Hair of the Head by ſome kind unlook'd-for Hand, juſt in the Moment as he was ſinking the laſt Time, and brought up into a Boat and ſet on Shore.
Bro. Or as a Brand ſnatch'd out of the Burning.
Sir Rich. I am like one taken off of a Rack, and laid in a Bed of Roſes; I never knew what it was to have the leaſt Enjoyment before, without the Gnawings of that Worm that never dies, without a Fire burning in my Soul, even the ſame Flame that ſhall never be quench'd: Do they call it Pleaſure! I am aſtoniſh'd now to think how I did to call it ſo my ſelf; for I had nothing but Bitterneſs and Reflection in it all. How often have I torn my Fleſh almoſt for Rage, at my being ſo much a Fool to be drunk, and for ſeveral other little Follies which thoſe Exceſſes were often attended with; and yet in all that, there was no Repentance; no Senſe of its being a Sin againſt GOD; no Thought of its being injurious to my Soul; no regard to its being a Fire, that in the End would burn into the loweſt Hell.
Bro. Bleſſed be GOD, Sir, you ſee now with other Eyes, and diſcern Things as they really are; then you ſaw with the Eyes of a corrupted Appetite, now you ſee with the enlightned Opticks of a Penitent: Then you were darken'd with the Miſt and Vapours of Ignorance: now I hope your Soul is illuminated with the Beams of heavenly Grace, may that Grace encreaſe, and encreaſe your Comfort, that you may arrive to that Joy and Peace in believing, which the Scripture ſpeaks ſo much of.
Sir Rich. Well Brother, I have Cauſe to bleſs GOD for you, and for every Occaſion that I have had to converſe with you; nay, even for the Converſation [Page 171] I have had with my wicked Siſter, your Wife. GOD reſtore her to you a true Convert, ſhew her the Wickedneſs of her Heart, and the horrid Spirit ſhe is poſſeſs'd with, and give her as much cauſe to rejoice in you as a Husband, as I have to rejoice in you as a Brother.
Bro. Do not lay any Part of this happy Turn upon my Agency, it is all the ſoveraign Grace of GOD, 'tis due to him; there pay your Praiſes, and rejoice in him evermore.
Sir Rich. Bleſſed be the Day you ever came into our wretched Family; it was a bold venture Brother, and I have often wonder'd how you that were a good Man, and had been quite otherwiſe educated, could think of marrying into ſuch a Brood of Hell-Hounds as we were.
Bro. Do not call your ſelf and your Siſter ſuch Names; I acknowledge it was what I cannot adviſe any Body to venture upon; I mean, to match without any regard to religious Qualifications; and I have had my Affliction too by it, that you know; tho I cannot but hope ſtill it will end well: As for your ſelf, you know I had always other Thoughts of you than you had of your ſelf; and you know, Sir, I told you ſo too, and Providence has made my Prediction good.
Sir Rich. I wiſh we may make it all up to you, and I aſſure you nothing ſhall be wanting on my Part.

It pleaſed GOD this Gentleman did not live many Years; but while he did live, he encreas'd in Wiſdom and Knowledge, and the Fear of GOD; he reform'd his Houſe, brought up his Children in a moſt excellent and Chriſtian Manner, and made a moſt exact Regulation in his Family; and he did this with ſo much Conduct, and behaved to all Men ſo much like himſelf, and ſo far from any thing melancholy, phlegmatical or ſullen, which are the Extremes [Page 172] which ſome in ſuch Caſes run into, that he recommended a Chriſtian Life to all round him; his Companions honoured his Reformation, tho they had not the Grace to imitate it: All good Men valued him; and even thoſe that had no Religion themſelves, ſpoke well of him; he made a happy and a comfortable End; and his eldeſt Son, who enjoys his Eſtate, is a ſober well enclin'd Gentleman, that promiſes to be one of whom his Father, if he had liv'd, would have ſeen no Cauſe to be aſham'd.

1.4. Brief Notes on the foregoing three Dialogues.

I Should make no Notes upon theſe Dialogues, the Book being ſo crowded that I can very ill ſpare Room for them, but I am aware that Differences between Men and their Wives are ſuch nice Things to handle, that it will be very difficult to avoid the Cenſure of ſome People on one Side or other: The LADIES, if they are enclin'd to find Fault, will perhaps ſay, I am partial to the Sex, and give them the worſt End of the Staff, making them more the Occaſion of Family-Breaches than their Husbands; and making their Husbands treat them ſo much more tenderly and religiouſly than moſt Husbands in ſuch provoking Caſes do; that it looks as if I was teaching Men how to manage their Wives.

The Men perhaps may on the other hand, complain, that I have treated them ill; which I ſhall anſwer in its Place, when I come to ſpeak of paſſionate Fathers and Husbands; which when the ſame Ladies read alſo, they will be leſs apt to think me partial.

But to ſpeak to every Thing in its Place thro' this whole Part, it will be eaſy for an impartial Eye to diſcern the Deſign of the Work; which is this, and no other, (viz.) to let every one have ſomething for their own Caution and Direction.

[Page 173] (1.) The wretched Trifles which are ſometimes the Occaſion of fatal Breaches in Families; how ſimply, how weakly, and indeed how wickedly ſuch People act when they run little Family Bickerings up by raſh and imprudent Degrees, from ſuch unforeſeen Beginnings, and by ſuch haſty and bitter Words, to real Quarrels.

And (2.) how ſuch Quarrels, however ſmall in their Beginnings, are oftentimes fatal in their Conſequences to the whole Family.

In the managing theſe Breaches will be diſcover'd, how particularly fatal they are to all Family-Religion; how deſtructive to that moſt eſſential Part of it, I mean, Family-Worſhip; and how ruinous in the Example to Children, Servants, and all that are any way acquainted with, or concern'd in the Family: Theſe Things being not only the chief, but indeed the true and only Deſign of theſe Dialogues, I cannot but hope that all impartial Readers will keep their Eyes principally upon that Part; and then they will not enquire which Side the Story bears hardeſt upon, the Man or the Woman. I hope both may ſee their Duty here, and yet before they come to the End of the Book, I believe the Women will find the Hiſtory will do Juſtice to their Sex too, and that it will appear, as I believe, (without Flattery) is true in general, that there are more religious Wives than religious Husbands. I wiſh and pray, that what is related here may increaſe the Number of both.

Another Inſtruction I cannot omit to repeat here, and to preſs Husbands again to obſerve it; and this I profeſs to be the true Reaſon of bringing the Story of two deficient Wives upon the Stage (viz.) that as it is true, that Husbands and Maſters of Families too often make uſe of Trifles as Occaſions to them to omit their Duty, SO they too often throw the Blame of it upon their Wives. Here now they will be mov'd to [Page 174] ſee, (1.) That in the Caſe of real Provocation and Oppoſition, and that of the worſt Kinds, even of Wives deſpiſing and mocking at it, they are yet by no means juſtify'd in laying down and omiting their Duty. (2.) How much leſs then ſhould they ſeek Occaſions and Pretences to argue themſelves out of their Duty, and load their Wives with the Blame, when indeed the Occaſion is in themſelves.

But the moſt uſeful and moſt ſignificant Thing to be learn'd out of this Part of the Work, and which equally concerns both Husbands and Wives, is ſtudiouſly to avoid ſudden Cavils and Diſputes between themſelves about Trifles, in which often the Devil blowing the Coals, the Paſſions take Fire, and it encreaſes to a terrible Flame; when perhaps neither Side had at firſt the leaſt Deſign or Thought of a Quarrel.

I perſwade my ſelf, none are ſo inſenſible of the Truth of the Occaſion as to ſay, it does not often ſo happen: Perhaps in our Story, the Husbands are brought in talking more mildly and patiently than moſt Husbands do, and as ſome may think, than moſt Husbands can do in like Caſes of Provocation. BƲT let none be offended at that, for this is ſo far from a Compliment to the Men, that it is really a Satyr upon them; letting them ſee, how they OƲGHT to act in the worſt Caſes; and giving their Wives too much Occaſion to ſhow them the real Difference between what they do and what they ſhould do: And if on the other hand, ſome Wives here are brought in as exceedingly and more than ordinarily provoking; the Application is ſtill againſt the Husbands, who too often are leſs patient, when their Pretence of Provocation does nothing near come up to this Copy.

The End of the Firſt Part.

2. THE Family Inſtructor.
PART II.

[Page]

2.1. 1

THERE liv'd in the City of London, a Family circumſtanc'd in the following manner: The Maſter of the Family was a ſubſtantial trading Man, above the World, as we ſay, a Man in very flouriſhing Circumſtances, that got Money apace, and had the Proſpect of raiſing a good Eſtate for his Children, by his Trade; he had a very ſmall Beginning, but what he had was raiſed from little or nothing, being the Fruit of God's Bleſſing upon a great deal of Induſtry, and about 30 Years Application.

He had been marry'd to a very good Wife: But ſhe dy'd too early to have any great ſhare in the Education of her Chilren, the eldeſt being not above ſeven years Old when they loſt their Mother.

The Man was a ſober honeſt Man, made an Appearance of being very Religious; by his general Conduct had obtain'd a very good Character, and was well reſpected among his Neighbours: But in his [Page 176] Family he could by no means paſs for a Man of the beſt Temper in the World: He was froward and waſpiſh, very poſitive and haſty, ſoon put into a Paſſion, and very unhappily raſh, and violent in his Paſſion; and, as to ſuch Tempers it often happens, he fail'd not oftentimes both to do and ſay Things in his Paſſion, which he would be very ſorry for when his Temper cool'd: When he came to himſelf, he was convinc'd, as we ſhall ſee in his Story, that he had taken wrong Meaſures: and that being hurry'd on by the Torrent of his Paſſions, he had been leſs a Man, leſs a Chriſtian, leſs a Friend, leſs a Neighbour, leſs a Parent, than he ought to have been; and in a Word, that almoſt all his Children were ruin'd, or injur'd, and he robbed of the Comfort of them, by the Miſtakes committed in their Education, and by the Heat of his miſguided Anger.

Yet the Man was of himſelf, and when himſelf, an Excellent Perſon, extreamly affectionate and tender; lov'd his Children, and meant every thing for their Good: But wanting Judgment to direct himſelf in the Government of his Family, not chooſing out proper Perſons to adviſe with in the doing it, and then being impatient in bearing the Excurſions of his Children, who, for want of early Diſcipline, [...]oon grew ungovernable: Theſe Things all conſpir'd to make him very unhappy, and his Children too; and his Unhappineſs appeared in nothing more than this, that none of his Children gave him any hopes of their Behaviour; nor indeed could they, unleſs they forc'd their Way, as it were, over the Belly of their Father's Injunctions, and ſeem'd diſobedient to him in his moſt Poſitive, and almoſt Tyrannical Family Government.

This Caſe before me, of the Citizen and his Family, had many Things in it very unhappy both to the Parent and to the Children, which a little early [Page 177] Conduct might have prevented in both, viz.

The want of a Mother in the Family, was a Miſfortune both to the Father and to the Children; tho' as Things were manag'd, the Father ſupplied that Want as well as in ſuch a Caſe could be expected, committing his Children to a good, grave, ſober, and religious Woman, a near Relation of his Wife's; who was poor, and depended upon him, and who he placed in a kind of Superintendency over his Family, while his Children were very young.

This Gentlewoman was diligent in the Government of his Houſe, as could be expected; faithful, frugal, and to the beſt of her Judgment, manag'd every thing both for his Advantage, and the Advantage of his Family. But as ſhe neither had the Obligation, much leſs the Affection of a Mother; ſo neither had ſhe the Temper, the Patience, the Concern, which are natural to the Conduct of a Mother; neither had her Authority an Influence upon the Children equal to that of a Mother; and beſides, ſhe was as Paſſionate as the Father.

However, while they were little, Things went pretty well in the Family; ſhe took a Houſwifely Care of them as to Food, Cloathing, Phyſick, and the like: But alas! when we come to talk of the Duty of a Mother, in the more ſerious Part of Children's Education, ſuch as inſtilling betimes Religious Principles; forming early Ideas of the Nature of God, and of our Homage and Duty to him; the Power of Perſwaſion, to prevail calmly on the Minds of Children by Argument, ſuitable to their Capacities, and ſuited to their Temper; watching over them with an Affectionate Care, leſt they receiv'd Evil Impreſſions from the Company and Example of others; warning them, reproving them, reſtraining them, gently drawing them off from the Evil, and engaging them by all the Arts, and honeſt Subtilties [Page 178] of an Affectionate Mother, to what was their Duty; theſe, in which conſiſts very much of the Advantages of Education, were all wholly wanting.

I will not ſay it was wanting from the Negligence of the Perſon, ſo much as from a kind of Natural Impoſſibility: Perhaps theſe things cannot be found in any thing but a Parent, as being built upon the Affections and Tenderneſs of a Mother only; and capable of being form'd upon no other Foundation than that of Nature, and natural Duty.

On the contrary to this, the Children were brought up in a general Way, without much Judgment, and with no great Aſſiſtance from Affection. The Father, a Man of Buſineſs, left it wholly to his Governeſs, and found himſelf little concern'd, but upon any of her Complaints, to correct them; which he did in a Manner that ſeem'd rather to be the Effect of his Paſſion, than of a meek and calm Affection for their Good; which is the main, and perhaps the only juſt End of Correction.

This intemperate Conduct of the Father, had a double Effect upon the Children: (1.) that it cauſed them to hate the Government, and even the Perſon of their Houſe Tyrant (ſuch they call'd her when they grow up.) who they look'd upon as the malicious Cauſe of their Father's Anger, which often appear'd to be aggravated by her Manner of repreſenting Things to him; when a candid and juſt Information, perhaps, would have had a different Effect. (2.) It made their Father terrible to them, by which they ſtood in a kind of Awe of him, far different from what was Filial, and which conſiſts with the Duty and Affection of Children; but help'd to eſtrange them rather than engage them: And they grew up by theſe degrees to ſhun their Father as a furious dreadful Governour, and not at all either to deſire or delight in him; which is the only effectual Method to enforce [Page 179] the Commands and Inſtructions of a Father upon his Children.

As this eſtrang'd the Children from their Father, ſo in increas'd his Severity to them; and in a Word, there was ſo little Calmneſs on one ſide, and ſo little Inſtruction on the other, that in a manner it wore out what we call Affection, on both ſides; eſpecially that endearing Part which alone unites the Souls of Parents and Children, and which ſo much aſſiſts in the Inſtructing of Children, as to give a far greater Force to the Words of a dear and tender Parent, to a loving, dutiful and affectionate Child, than can be poſſible in the Blows and Stripes of a Father governing by his Authority purely; for as Reproof enters farther into a wiſe Man, than an Hundred Stripes into as Fool; ſo doubtleſs the Perſwaſions, the Arguments, the Obligation of a Father to a Child, when once that Child is convinc'd that his Father loves him, acts for his Advantage, and aims wiſely for his Good only, muſt go a great way farther with an Ingenious Temper, than meer Blows with Paſſion and Heat of Anger can ever do.

The Father too late found his Miſtake, and that his Paſſion in Correcting his Children had quite ruin'd all that which was to be call'd Inſtruction; that they were rather terrify'd and frighted at his Fury, than influenced by his Perſwaſion: That this way of treating them was ſo far from engaging their Affections to him, or making them love and delight in him, that it made them ſhun and avoid him; that his Anger being ſo much their Terror, it made his Company their Averſion, and they were always mute when he came into the Room to them.

By this he loſt all the Power of Inſtruction, his Arguments made no Impreſſion upon their Reaſon; his Perſwaſions were of, no Force to byaſs their Inclinations; nay, it rather obſtructed their Compliance, [Page 180] and created an Averſion to the Precepts of their Father, from the diſlilke they had to his paſſionate Uſage of them: As he had made his Paſſion the Medium of his Government, ſo their Fear was the Medium of their Obedience; and this was ſo far from winning upon the Judgment of his Children, that it rather ſtupifyed their Underſtandings, and made them incapable of getting Good by the Inſtructions of their Parents.

It happen'd one time, that a good grave Chriſtian, a Neighbour of this Man's, coming by his Houſe, heard a terrible Noiſe of Blows, and the Cries of a Boy mingled with the Voice of a Man, threatning, calling Names, and ſaying on Blows in an unuſual Manner; and gueſſing what it was, for he knew the Diſpoſition of the Perſon, he knocks hard at the Door.

Knocking at the Door gave the poor Boy ſome Relief, for the Father leaves off beating his Son, and comes with a little Cane in his Hand to open the Door, but ſo out of Breath that he could ſcarce ſpeak. The good Neighbour made the Diſcourſe of ſome other Buſineſs ſerve for the Reaſon of his Knocking at the Door, and did not ſeem to purpoſe ſpeaking of the Caſe in Hand: But after other Diſcourſe accidental, the Father preſented him an Opportunity; for when he began to ſpeak of other Buſineſs, he began to talk of his wicked Son, as he call'd him, and of his own Heat, thus:

Fa. Sit down Neighbour, ſays the Father, for I am ſo out of Breath with this young Villain, that I can hardly talk to you;—let me blow a little: And thus the Dialogue came in.
Neigh. I think you are out of Breath indeed; What have you been Fighting?
Fa. Yes, I have been Fighting, as you may call it, a young Rogue! I think I have dreſs'd him! he has not been Cudgell'd ſo this Fortnight.
[Page 181] The Father holds his Sides, and puffs and blows, and hardly recovers his Breath.
Neigh. O but you have beat the Child too much.
Fa. Too much! Hang him! a Young Villain! I han't given him half enough.
Neigh. But han't you done him ſome Miſchief?
The Boy is crying all this while moſt diſmally.
Fa. Miſchief! I'll Miſchief him! I'll give him twice as much before I have done with him.
Still puffing, and out of Breath.
Neigh. Is he your own Child?
Fa. My own! yes, yes, he is my own, the more is my Sorrow; he may come to the Gallows for all that.
Neigh. O, then it is well enough if he be your own.
Fa. Why is it well enough?
Neigh. Becauſe then I take all you ſay to be in Jeſt.
Fa. Why ſo?
Neigh. Why you would not talk thus, as hang him, and I'll miſchief him, and ſuch as that, in Earneſt; ſeeing he is your own Child.
Fa. No, no, I would not hang him, I would keep him from being hang'd.
Neigh. Then you ſhould not beat him in ſuch a Manner as you do.
Fa. Why in ſuch a Manner?
Neigh. Why you make your ſelf dreadful to the Child, and that's the way to drive him to Extremities; and that again is the Road to his Deſtruction.
Fa. Ay, ay, let him come to Extremities, I'll venture that.
Neigh. You are not qualify'd to correct a Child in this Temper.
Fa. Why ſo?
Neigh. You are in a great Paſſion.
Fa. A Paſſion! this Rogue would put any Man into a Paſſion! why he has been gone this Hour of an Errand, but to carry a Letter to a Neighbour, two [Page 182] or three Doors off here, at the upper End of the Street; and here he pretends to me Mr. — was not at home, and that he went to him to a Tavern I know not where, almoſt as far as the Bridge; but I am as ſure 'tis a Lye, as if I had been with him.
Boy. I am ſure 'tis not a Lye, for I did go to him there.
Fa. Sirrah, do ye prate! I'll be with you again preſently.
He holds up his Cane again at the Boy.
Neigh. Well, come Neighbour, lay aſide your Paſſion for the Preſent, and let us go take a Pint of Wine ſomewhere, for I have a Mind to talk a little with you.
The Neighbour was willing to put a Caſual Stop to his Paſſion, and to Diſcourſe a little with him about it.
Fa. Well, I'll go with you; but I'll give you your Hire before I ſleep yet Sirrah, I will ſo.
Turning to the Boy, and ſhaking his Cane at him again.

All this while his Family Governeſs was ſtanding at the Stair-head, and finding he had left off, cries out, Why don't you pay him? Why don't you pay him? You han't given him half enough: He'll ne're be good for any thing if you don't pay him ſoundly: And ſuch-like Stuff, to help enflame him.

However, the Father being a little cool'd, did not Strike the Boy any more at that time, but went out with his Neighbour; and when they were together by themſelves, after ſome talk of Buſineſs for a Time, the good Neighbour renews the Dialogue about his Correcting his Son, asking him Pardon for meddling; ſays he, I do not care to be officious, but if you will give me Leave, and not take it ill, I would gladly ſpeak to you a little about the Quarrel between you and your little Son.

[Page 183] Fa. Says the Father, No, no, I won't take it ill, my Paſſion is over now, you are very welcome to ſay your Mind about him; he is a wicked young Rogue.
Neigh. Why I muſt ſay then, if you can bear ſo much Freedom, that I think you are greatly to blame.
Fa. To blame! what to correct a young lying Rogue? why, as I ſaid juſt now, he will come to the Gallows if I do not correct him; beſides, it is my Duty.
Neigh. I know that Correction rightly manag'd, is both your Duty, and the kindeſt Thing that you can do to your Child; you could neither act the Parent or the Chriſtian, if you did not correct him. But I think you are miſtaken, and err exceedingly, both in the Manner and in the Meaſure; and I doubt, are wrong too in the Cauſe.
Fa. You muſt explain your ſelf: What you mean as to the Manner, I know not; and as to the Meaſure, how can you judge of it, unleſs you knew the Offence more exactly?
Neigh. Well, but firſt let me begin with the Manner; I do undertake to ſay, you ſin more in the manner of Correction, than your Son can have ſinn'd againſt you, in the Offence you ſpeak of.
Fa. How can I ſin in correcting my Child, is it not my Duty? Am I not commanded to do it, and not to let my Soul ſpare for his Crying?
Neigh. It is true, you are ſo commanded, and if you corrected him purely in Obedience to the Command of God, and for the Amendment and Reforming, or Reclaiming the Child, and from no other Motives, you were right in the Manner.
Fa. Well, and ſo I do, I think; what other Motives can I have?
Neigh. But then, dear Sir, what Reaſon for all this Heat? And whence comes this Paſſion? The Duty of Correcting a Child knows no Paſſion: You quite [Page 184] ſink the Father and the Chriſtian, by turning a Fury and a Mad-man.
Fa. Not at all, I think you are miſtaken; how can I beat the Boy, if I am not angry?
Neigh. Before I anſwer that, give me leave to tell you, that I diſtinguiſh between Anger and Rage; there is Diſpleaſure and there is Paſſion: I may be diſpleas'd with my Son when he commits an Offence; for no good Man but is diſpleas'd at every Thing that is ſinful; but when that Diſpleaſure riſes up to Paſſion, 'tis quite another thing; Paſſion is but a kind of ſhort Madneſs, and has no relation to the Duty of correcting our Children; 'tis a Frenzy.
Anger is Madneſs, and as ſtrong
In Force, tho not in Courſe ſo long.
Fa. And do you think I can beat a Child, and not be in a Paſſion?
Neigh. I know not what you can do, but I know what you ought to do.
Fa. Well, pray tell me your Way.
Neigh. Why, Sir, the End of Correction is to amend the Child, not giving vent to a Provocation; if you correct your Child or your Servant otherwiſe, you only gratify your Paſſion; you can't be ſaid to correct.
Fa. Pray, what do you call Correction then?
Neigh. I am glad you put that Queſtion, for I think you do not know in the leaſt what it is. Correction is ſhowing the Child our Diſpleaſure at his Offence: And this is done, Firſt, By Reproof. Secondly, Inſtruction. Thirdly, Puniſhment. For I take them to be all but Part of Correction. The Reproof is perform'd generally in Words of Diſpleaſure, in which we are particularly to take care to be angry, and ſin not: That is to ſay, ſhow your Diſpleaſure at the Crime, be angry; but let not that Diſpleaſure cun you out into a Paſſion, into Indecency and Diſorder, [Page 185] into violent and furious Words, which are ſinful; be angry, but ſin not.
Fa. You make ſtrange Diſtinctions, I do not ſee the Neceſſity of them.
Neigh. After the Reproof, Inſtruction is the next Duty of a Parent; which is no more or leſs than an Exhortation, which the Parent ſhould always give the Child to reform.
Fa. And do you think I can ſtand and make a long Story to him, to inſtruct and exhort, as you call it, when I am to correct him? Why, firſt of all, he is ſuch a harden'd young Rogue, he would laugh at it all; he would not mind a Word of it, no, nor remember a Word of it half an Hour after, but go away and mock at it, and do the ſame Thing again, till he forces me to make him remember, by his feeling the Smart of it.
Neigh. Have you try'd it? do you ſpeak of your own Knowledge or by Suppoſition?
Fa. I know the Temper of him ſo well that I am ſure of it, nothing but Blows will do with him; I tell you, you don't know him.
Neigh. But ſuppoſe that were true now, yet do you think you do well to correct, before you have inſtructed your Child?
Fa. I tell you, Inſtruction to him is ſpeaking to the Air, 'tis Water ſpilt upon the Ground; he muſt be cudgel'd, he muſt be broke like a Horſe; and I'll break him, or I'll break the Heart of him.
Neigh. Nay, I ſee your Paſſion is ſo much concern'd in your managing your Child, that you begin to be in a Paſſion with but ſpeaking of it.
Fa. Why, you talk ſo much out of the way as to him, that it puts me into ſome Heat again; but come excuſe me, I'll lay it aſide, I am not in a Paſſion with you; I hope you don't take it ſo.
Neigh. I believe I do not talk out of the way of [Page 686] your Management, but I am ſure I do not talk out of the way of your Duty; I cannot be miſtaken in that, I doubt not to convince you of it.
Fa. You muſt take the Temper of the Boy with the Duty of the Father, and the Laſt may alter according to the Firſt.
Neigh. I find you talk of your Boy, as if he had no Capacity of receiving Inſtruction; that he has no Senſe but that of Feeling; or Paſſion, but of Fear; and ſo you expect to reform him as you break a Horſe. Now I muſt tell you your own Alluſion, beſides its being unnatural and unchriſtian, as to your Child, is againſt you too, even as to a Horſe; for you ought not beat a Horſe in a Paſſion any more than a Child; but with Management and Art, that he may be taught to know at the ſame Time what 'tis for, and how he may avoid it: And the ill timing of Blows by the Heat of Paſſion, even to a Horſe, makes him worſe, not better, and has coſt many a Man his Life. For Example: A Horſe ſtumbles perhaps on plain Ground, the fooliſh Rider flies into a Paſſion; a Dog! a Toad! ſays he, What ſtumble upon ſmooth Ground! and then lays on upon the Horſe. The next time the Horſe ſtumbles, he runs away for fear of more Blows, and perhaps falls and throws his Rider, and it may be breaks his Neck. Pray who is to blame, the Man or the Horſe? And this Uſage teaches a Horſe to do it; ſo that ſome Horſes when they happen to ſtumble, they'll run forward let the Ground be proper or improper for it; and I tell you, many a Man has had his Bones broke by that very thing; I appeal to your own Knowledge.
Fa. That's very true, I confeſs; I have obſerv'd it in a Horſe, but never with ſuch a Reflection as you make of it; but I own, it requires Judgment and Skill in breaking a Horſe, and to diſpoſe the Blows ſo as to bring the Creature to our Hand.
[Page 187] Neigh. And much more ſurely in the Caſe of a Child than of a Horſe; Blows are to inſtruct, and calm Words with them help that Inſtruction, and ſometimes abate, if not totally prevent the Blows.
Fa. Alas! Neighbour, I can't talk to them: If I ſhould ſtand over them and preach to them as you propoſe, I ſhould forget all my Anger; the Paſſion would be over, and I could not ſtrike them one Blow.
Neigh. This is ſtill a Demonſtration that your bearing your Boy has nothing at all of Correction in it, but a meer Excurſion of your own Paſſion.
Fa. I underſtand no other Correction.
Neigh. Why then you underſtand nothing at all of the Duty of correcting a Child; Blows have no Voice that a Child can underſtand, without having them explain'd: Whenever you correct your Child, you ſhould firſt explain to him the Nature of the Offence, lay before him his Sin againſt GOD, in breaking in upon his Duty to his Parents. The Sin of the particular Crime you have found him commiting, ſuppoſe of Lying, or Stealing, or whatever it be; you ſhould then with an affectionate Tenderneſs, tell him the Neceſſity you are in to correct him, to ſave his Soul from Death; how loth you are to do it; how ſorry to have ſuch an Occaſion; how fooliſh and unkind to himſelf it is to oblige his Father to do this, ſo much againſt his Will. Theſe Diſcourſes will ſink deeper in his Mind than all your Stripes, and to an ingenuous Spirit it will be worſe than Correction, and your Blows may be the fewer. For, as before, Reproof enters farther into a wiſe Man, than an hundred Stripes into a Fool; and it will be the ſame in a wiſe Child. Dr. Busby, the famous School-maſter of Weſtminſter School, us'd always while he was correcting the Boy for a Fault, to ſay this Sentence to them, Caſtego te, non quod odium habeo ſed amem, I chaſtiſe thee, not that I hate thee, but becauſe I love thee.
[Page 188] Fa. This is fine Philoſophy, but you had as good ſay nothing; it is impoſſible for me to talk all that to a Boy, and then correct him.
Neigh. Then you will never be able to diſcharge that moſt neceſſary Duty of a Parent, to give wholeſome Correction; for Paſſion deſtroys the very Nature of Correction.
Fa. Why then I ſhall not indeed; for I tell you, if I talk to the Boy before I ſtrike him, my Paſſion will be all over.
Neigh. And ſo it ought to be, before you begin to correct, and yet you ought to correct him too; but if your Paſſion is not over before you correct, I tell you, you deſtroy the End of Correction; Blows are to be given for Inſtruction; if you give your Child Correction without Reproof and Perſwaſion, you do like a careleſs Phyſician, that ſends you Phyſick, but gives no Direction when, or how to take it.
Fa. But then I muſt talk to him afterwards; for I tell you, it is impoſſible for me to talk to him when I am in a Paſſion, or to correct him when I am out of it.
Neigh. You may as well ſay, it is impoſſible for you to do the Duty of a Father; it is your Duty, and it muſt be done; and never talk of its being impoſpoſſible; there is no ſuch thing in Religion as an impoſſible Duty.
Fa. I do not ſo much argue againſt the Thing; I think you are in the right, that it would be beſt, and that it is the propereſt way; but I ſay again, it is impoſſible for me to do it.
Neigh. What makes it impoſſible to you?
Fa. Why, my Temper is haſty when provok'd, and tender when it is over; and both to an Extreme.
Neigh. Then that Temper is your Infirmity, and if not ſtruggl'd with and teſtrain'd, is your Sin, and muſt be repented of, and pray'd againſt; perhaps if [Page 189] you did ſo, you ſhould find, that He to whom nothing is impoſſible, might teach you, that this would not be impoſſible to you.
Fa. But it is an Infirmity perhaps of my very Conſtitution; and what, can I help it?
Neigh. If that be true, you muſt then correct your Conſtitution, before you are fit to correct a Child.
Fa. How can I alter my natural Temper?
Neigh. If your natural Temper leads you to do unnatural Things, you may and you muſt oppoſe the Crime; you muſt endeavour to reſtrain and govern your Paſſions, it is your unqueſtion'd Duty; for elſe all the Wickedneſs we can commit in the World, may have the natural Temper and Conſtitution of the Man to plead in its Excuſe. The Murderer will excuſe himſelf by his being of a paſſionate Temper, juſt as you do: The Drunkard will plead the Heat of his Conſtitution that makes him continually thirſty: The Thief, an avaritious Temper: The debauched Rake, the Acrimony of his Blood, and the like; no doubt, Nature is vitiated and tainted with ſeveral Infirmities, whether originally, and by Deſcent from the firſt Man, is not our preſent Subject, but ſo it is; there are powerful Inclinations to do Evil in every one, which we can give very little account of; and where theſe are not govern'd by the Power of our Reaſon or Senſe of Religion, they become our Governors, and puſh us upon unavoidable Folly: So far theſe natural Inclinations are ſinful, and we muſt oppoſe, reſtrain, watch againſt, and ſtruggle with them; and the Omiſſion of that Oppoſition is a great Sin.
Fa. But what is this to my correcting my Son?
Neigh. I ſhall bring it home directly to you: If any of theſe predominate Inclinations govern you; pray how can you, under their evil Influence, pretend [Page 190] to be a good Governour of your Children? Is it poſſible, that which is Evil in it ſelf, can direct you to that which is Good? Can you gather Grapes of theſe Thorns? or Figs of theſe Thiſtles? Can theſe corrupt Trees bring forth good Fruit? Can you under the Influence of a demented Rage, give a Child a due, a paternal, a conſcientious Correction? Is it a Temper fit to go about that Work in! Can you think to bring your Child to himſelf, when you are not maſter of your own ſelf? Can you reaſon with the Youth when you are out of your Reaſon your ſelf? Paſſion diveſts the Soul of the uſe of its Reaſon for the Time: And is a Man that cannot act his own Reaſon, a proper Perſon to reduce a rebellious Child to Reaſon! Nature forbids it, as well as Religion; it cannot be, neither is it to be thought of with Patience.
Fa. But I am not ſo out of my ſelf in my Paſſion, as you may imagine.
Neigh. I'll ſuppoſe you ARE NOT, firſt for Argument ſake, and then prove YOƲ ARE afterwards for your Conviction. (1.) Suppoſe you are not; that is, you are not SO MƲCH out of your ſelf as I have mention'd; if that be ſo, it is becauſe you are not in ſo great a Paſſion, or ſo much mov'd as thoſe that are ſo. But as every ſuch Paſſion is a Degree of that Madneſs, you are more or leſs unfit to correct your Children while it laſts, as that Paſſion is more or leſs Hot; but ſtill abſolutely unfit, while one Grain of Paſſion remains: While one Spark of that Fire is unquench'd; you ought by no means ſo much as ſpeak to, much leſs ſtrike your Child.
Fa. What, muſt I neglect correcting him then when he is faulty?
Neigh. No, no, by no Means.
Fa. What then? your Rules are very obſcure; I muſt correct him, and I muſt not correct him, perhaps [Page 191] I am in a Paſſion, his Wickedneſs has provok'd me; I am juſtly angry with him; nor is it in the Power of Fleſh and Blood to avoid being angry at ſuch obſtinate, rebellious, inſolent Carriage: it is my Duty to reſent it, and it is my Duty to correct him; and you ſay, I muſt not correct him, becauſe I am angry; tho it is my Duty to be angry too at ſuch Crimes; this does not hang together at all.
Neigh. You crowd it too faſt together; diſtinguiſh fairly, and you will ſee your Duty clearly: you are allow'd to abhor the Crime which your Son may have committed: A juſt deteſtation of Sin is no part of your Paſſion; that is, as before, to be angry and ſin not. But you muſt diſtinguiſh between abhoring the Sin, and being in a Rage at the Child; all your Anger againſt your Child, that is not founded upon a paternal Pity, and a Zeal for his Amendment, is ſinful: 'tis a Degree of Rage and Madneſs; and ſo far as you ſuffer that Rage to influence you in his Correction, ſo far you Sin: Pity, not Paſſion, ſhould influence you in the Conduct of your Child; and a ſincere Zeal for his Soul's Good, ſhould be the only Motive of Correction; all the Warmth that is not founded upon this Principle is ſinful, and is a meer Gratification of your own Rage, nor does it deſerve the Name of Correction; 'tis a Quarrel with your Child, not a paternal Action; 'tis a tyrannical Uſurpation, not a Patriarchal or Paternal Exerciſe of legal Authority, and without doubt 'tis a great Sin.
Fa. Well then, I muſt not meddle with him in my Paſſion, muſt I?
Neigh. No, not touch him.
Fa. And I am ſure I can't when I am out of my Paſſion; ſo the Boy muſt be ruin'd.
Neigh. NO, the Boy muſt not be ruin'd neither; and let-ſuch Parents remember, that if they neglect the due Government of their Families, there is a [Page 192] Hand that can remove them from the Seat of that Government, and provide better and more faithful Overſeers in their Room, that the Children may be taken Care of; and I queſtion not, but many Fathers are removed from their Families, either by Death or Diſaſter, by the Direction of Providence, that the Children may fall into better Hands.
Fa. I do confeſs I ſee ſome Weight in the Direction, but no Capacity of taking the Counſel; what muſt I do when I am provoked beyond the Power of all the Patience I am truſted with?
Neigh. Do! why forbear 'till your Paſſion is over; retire your ſelf from the Provocation, or lift up your Heart to GOD, to grant you Power to reſtrain your own Paſſions, that you may not do an unſeemly improper thing in your Rage; and when you are perfectly calm, when your Blood flows coolly, and your Pulſe beats true; then take your Son to task, reaſon with him, argue with him, perſwade, exhort, threaten, and puniſh as your cool Thoughts find proper, and not the laſt otherwiſe than as Neceſſity and Duty oblige.
Fa. I acknowledge you are right, but who can practice this Rule? No Fleſh and Blood can pretend to it.
Neigh. Whoever it pleaſes GOD to influence with a Senſe of its being a Duty, will practice it; and I need not put you in mind that every Chriſtian ought to ſtudy his Duty, and conſcientiouſly endeavour to perform it: Nor need I tell you that we ought to pray daily for the Direction of the Spirit of GOD to teach us our Duty, and his Aſſiſtance to enable us to do it: In ſuch a Method you cannot doubt but you ſhall be aſſiſted; nay, you may venture to ſay, you will practice it, GOD aſſiſting, according to that Text, Teach me thy Way, O Lord, I will walk in thy Truth, Pſalm 119.
[Page 193] Fa. But do you not carry it too far? Sure I may be a little angry, a little in a Paſſion, and not be ſo unfit to correct as I ſhould be, if it came on to what you call Rage and ungovern'd Fury: Sure I may talk to the Boy, and correct him too without Sin, tho I am a little moved.
Neigh. I affirm the contrary, it is againſt the Nature of the Thing: Correction I tell you, is an Act of Love, Pity, Duty, Zeal; Duty to GOD, Duty as a Parent, as a Chriſtian; Love to the Child, to his Soul, to his Body; 'tis the greateſt Inſtance of Paternal Affection, 'tis the higheſt Token of a ſincere Concern for his Proſperity here, and his Salvation hereafter: 'tis an Inſtance of Zeal for the Honour of GOD and of Religion; for the Preſervation of Vertue and Humanity; what Concern can the Paſſions of a Man have in theſe Things? We know, ſays the Scripture, that the Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteouſneſs of GOD. The Rage and Fury with which Men correct Slaves, is acted upon another Principle; it aims at breaking the Spirit, ſubduing the Will, and obtaining an abſolute entire Subjection in the poor Bond's Man, to the tyrannical Authority of his Patron: There is neither Concern for Soul or Body expected in the Maſter; no Love to his Slave's Perſon or Concern for his Future State; nothing is in View but to have his Work done, and his Commands be without reſerve obey'd: To treat a Child with Paſſion and Rage, is the ſame Thing as other Men treat Slaves; But the Nature of Correction, as it reſpects a Father to a Child, or a Chriſtian Maſter to a Servant, is quite different; Paſſion can bear no ſhare in it. Nor ought you to touch the Child while one Spark of the Flame is left unextinguiſh'd.
Fa. What Rule have you for this ſtrict Injunction? I ſee nothing of it in the Scripture.
Neigh. I readily acknowledge that the Scripture [Page 194] ſeems to be more ſilent in this Caſe than in any other of like Conſequence; and yet the Scripture is not altogether empty of Directions: But it is true, that Children are ſo apt to lay hold of every Thing that they can but ſuppoſe abates their Obſervance of the Subjection they are commanded to be in to their Parents, that the Wiſdom of the Apoſtles was not a little ſeen, in touching more lightly than ordinary the Danger of Parents Miſtakes, in the Manner of their exerciſing their Authority. But, as I ſaid, the Nature of the Thing directs it ſo evidently, that there ſeems to be no Occaſion of inculcating it ſo expreſly; the natural Affection to, and the Concern and Care of all Fathers for the Welfare of their Children, makes it rational, that Correction muſt conſiſt with thoſe Tenderneſſes; and what Share have our Paſſions in thoſe Paternal Principles? How conſiſts together the Rage of the Man as a Man, with the Bowels of a Father, as a Father?
Fa. Well, but a little Anger may be ſo natural that it cannot be avoided.
Neigh. I cannot abate a Tittle: No Anger! no, not the leaſt in Correction; the Nature of the Office of a Father is inconſiſtent with it: It may be Correction indeed, but it is not Paternal; a Father's Correction muſt be all in Love, meer Kindneſs and Tenderneſs; if one Spark of Anger be in your Breaſt, touch not your Child, at your Peril be it: For the Principles are directly contrary, and will claſh; and in a Word, cannot be conſiſtent one with another. Beſides, by being calm and cool in your Correction, you leave room for the Pleading of your Children; perhaps, ſometimes for a juſt Vindication, which in your Paſſion you will not allow: Perhaps ſometimes you may ſee leſs Reaſon for Correction than at firſt you imagin'd, and that the Blows might be ſpar'd; for Parents, like the great Parent of the World [Page 195] ſhould not willingly correct; ſhould be always glad to find, that the Child did not deſerve what he thought at firſt he did: Correction is an Act of Neceſſity, not of Satisfaction; and by a wiſe and tender Parent, is done with Reluctance, not with Delight.
Fa. But you forgot what I ſaid, I ſay you do not allow for unavoidable Anger; there may be ſome Paſſions riſe either by the Groſſneſs of the Offence, the frequent Repetition of it, or many other Circumſtances which may force Anger; ſo that a Man cannot help it.
Neigh. It is true, a Man may be ſo provok'd, that he cannot help being angry; but he can help correcting his Child, while that Anger is upon him; he may defer the Execution, when he cannot defer the Sentence. Nor can I ſay, but even that Anger which cannot be help'd or ſuppreſs'd is an Evil, be the Cauſe ever ſo provoking: But to go about to correct the Child while the Fit of Anger is not off, is making that ſmaller Evil a very great one. I once ſaw a Father act in a Manner which I would recommend as an Example to all Chriſtian Parents: He was provok'd exceedingly by an inſolent and obſtinate Child in a trifling Matter, but to ſuch a height, as to give his Father very ſaucy and undutiful Language. The Father, with a Smile of Compaſſion upon his Folly, return'd thus: SON, if I was not very angry with you, I would teach you better Manners this Minute; but I'll give my ſelf Time till to morrow. Before to morrow, the Son relented, humbled himſelf, and prevented the Correction he would certainly have had.
Fa. I cannot ſay, that what you propoſe is poſſible to human Nature.
Neigh. There is no queſtion to be made of the Poſſibility, if Men would ſet ſeriouſly to work to govern their Paſſions, reduce themſelves to Temper, [Page 196] and not be too haſty to act even where they may think they have juſt Occaſion. Simeon and Levi had unqueſtionably a very juſt Occaſion to be angry, and they give the greatneſs of the Provocation as an Excuſe for their unbounded Rage, Should he deal with our Siſter as with an Harlot! Yet good Jacob, who knew that all Excurſions of human Paſſions tended to Sin, paſs'd Sentence upon it as an abominable Fact; Curſed be their Anger, for it was fierce, and their Wrath for it was cruel. And to this he added a terrible Sentence, I will divide them in Jacob, and ſcatter them in Iſrael.
Fa. I have heard much of Mens governing their Paſſions, but I ſee little of it in Practice; for my own Part, I confeſs I have not the Government of my ſelf when I am in a Paſſion, any more than a drunken Man has in his Wine; but I never am in a Paſſion but it is a trouble to me afterwards on many Accounts; particularly, I am fain to break all the haſty Vows and raſh Reſolutions I make in my Paſſion, becauſe if I did not, I ſhould ruin my ſelf and all my Family ſometimes, and that has often troubled me very much; but as to this of not correcting my Children in a Paſſion, I never conſider'd it at all before, but I begin to believe I have been in the Wrong very much; and I think verily it is one Reaſon why my Children are not one Jot the better for all the Blows I give them; and yet what with one or other of them, I think my Hand or my Tongue is ſeldom unemploy'd about them.
Neigh. As to governing the Paſſions, it is a thing would take up a long Conference by it ſelf, and I ſhall be glad to talk of it with you at any Time; and particularly, I could tell you a melancholly Story of a Friend of mine and an Acquaintance of yours, who is juſtly at this Time, in a dreadful Extremity, between the Wicked making of paſſionate Vows and [Page 197] Wiſhes, and the Neceſſity he is in of breaking them again, or deſtroying himſelf and his Family; all which lie very heavy upon him.
Fa. I know who you mean I ſuppoſe, and I know the Caſe too, it is Mr. — the —r, about the Marriage of his Children; he told me the Caſe himſelf: but I am too guilty my ſelf of thoſe raſh Things, to be able to give him any advice, I rather want Advice in like Caſes.
Neigh. I cannot ſay that I am fit to adviſe him, but I am ſure he is not capable to adviſe himſelf; and he has deſir'd a Meeting with me and a Friend or two of his, to talk about it.
Fa. I would be glad to be there, if I thought it was proper; I may perhaps ſtand in need of your Admonition as well as he.
Neigh. It is not for me to introduce you; but if he brings you with him, it is well enough.
Fa. I doubt not but I'll have his leave to come.
Neigh. But to return to the Caſe in hand; I deſire to go back where we were juſt now: You ſaid, that you thought you were not ſo our of your ſelf in your Paſſions as I might imagine; and I have been arguing ſince that, upon a Suppoſition, that it was ſo; and that you were maſter of your ſelf more than perhaps I imagin'd, and than perhaps is true; and yet I have prov'd to you, that even then, ſuppoſe you were in a Paſſion at all, you ought not at all to correct your Child till that Paſſion was entirely cool'd and gone. But now you muſt give me leave to tell you, that I believe you were really in a moſt violent Paſſion, and under the Impreſſion of ſo much Rage, that you ſcarce car'd or conſider'd what you did, or what became of the Child.
Fa. No, no, you miſtake me quite, I had not beaten him ſo violently; did not you hear my Kinſwoman that keeps my Houſe, call to me, and tell me, that I had not beaten him enough?
[Page 198] Neigh. Yes, I did hear a Voice of one juſt doing the Devil's Work for him, viz. throwing Oyl inſtead of Water upon the Fire; any one might have known it was not the Mother of the Child, nor the Wife of the Husband, and I muſt ſay, hardly a Chriſtian; I have ſcarce ever heard the like.
Fa. It is true, ſhe is not their Mother, but ſhe loves the Children very well.
Neigh. Ay, perhaps very well for a Stranger.
Fa. Nay ſhe is no Stranger, ſhe is nearly related to them.
Neigh. It's no matter for that, ſhe has no Principle from Nature to dictate to her the Affection of a Mother, or a Wife; had ſhe been the Mother, compaſſion to the Child would have mov'd her; had ſhe been a Wiſe, compaſſion to you would have mov'd her.
Fa. She is a good Chriſtian.
Neigh. If you had not ſaid ſo, I ſhould have believ'd quite otherwiſe of her.
Fa. Indeed I hope ſo, and I am ſure ſhe wiſhes the Children very well.
Neigh. Then ſhe muſt be a Fool, for to be ſure ſhe knows nothing what belongs to Education, much leſs to Correction; for as every Father has need to be very careful not to mix his own Paſſion and Folly with his Duty in Correction; ſo every By-ſtander in the Family, that has either Affection to the Duty, or to the Party, will be acting the Part of a Mediator rather than an Inflamer; and they that prompt the Paſſions of the Parent are Incendiaries in the Family, not Friends to the Family.
Fa. She is rather a Good Woman than a Wiſe Woman.
Neigh. But can you ſay it was a right part for her to act, as a Relation to the Child, or as a Relation to you; and did it pleaſe you to hear what ſhe ſaid?
Fa. I muſt own, I thought ſhe might as well have [Page 199] held her Tongue; I am apt enough to overdo the Work, ſhe needed not to prompt me.
Neigh. Indeed I perceived you did not give the Boy one Blow the more for her.
Fa. But I have given them all many a Blow by her procurement, when I have had Reaſon little enough, and when it has griev'd me afterwards very much.
Neigh. She is of a mighty Healing Spirit I find; ſhe vends her own Reſentments too, and only lays the Drudgery of her Paſſions upon you; Is that her being a Mediator?
Fa. That's an Office very few underſtand, nor is it to be expected from Houſe-Keepers.
Neigh. And that makes the Duty of a Father the more difficult, where he is left deſtitute of the aſſiſtance of a Mother to his Children; and for that Reaſon Fathers ought to be very cautious of ſetting Governeſſes over their Children, and much more cautious of what Authority they put into their Hands: It's a dangerous thing to truſt the Correction of Children to thoſe who want the Bonds of Nature to tye their Hands, however otherwiſe intruſted in the Family: Children ſhall be often abuſed, but ſeldom corrected by ſuch: Nor will the Children ever fail, as they grow up, to remember the uſage of that kind as Injuries, not as Acts of Faithfulneſs to their Truſt. But that by the by. What I am now upon, in the Duty of ſuch Family Tyrants, for they are generally ſuch, in tempering and cooling the Paſſions of Parents; a true Father is always glad of a Mediator, to abate and take off the edge of his Paſſion.
Fa. That's true, and indeed I want that help as much as any Man living; but my Houſe-keeper, tho' otherwiſe well enough, has not much of the tender Part, ſhe ſeldom takes a Blow off from a Child, but rather calls for laying more on, as you heard her.
Neigh. Then, as before, ſhe is a Firebrand in your [Page 200] Family, and wants either to be taught the Duty of her Place, or to be diſmiſs'd from it: Her Duty would be, when the Child has committed a Fault, to repreſent it as favourably and as affectionately to you as poſſible; to perſwade you firſt of all not to reſent it too much; and if there was a neceſſity of Correction, ſhe ſhould ſtand by in cool Blood and prevail with you to hold your Hand, when perhaps you might not ſo well govern your Warmth; and ſometimes you ſhould permit her to reſcue the Child from you, and you would thank GOD and her too for it afterwards.
Fa. That is in ſhort, you would have her be a Mother, which ſhe is not, nor can be.
Neigh. Well, though ſhe cannot have the natural Tyes, yet Prudence would teach her thus much; that by this ſhe would gain deep Root in the Affections of the Children, and that Affection would give her Words a double influence over them; and this ſhe ought to improve for their Good, for when ſhe has either conceal'd part of their Guilt, or ſav'd them from part of their Puniſhment, ſhe has room to perſwade and argue with them to amend, and to deſerve no more what ſhe deliver'd them from before; and thus ſhe may win upon their Diſpoſitions, and obtain an Authority over them that you are not able to give her, I mean, an influence on their Affections; by which ſhe would have a vaſt advantage to do them Good.
Fa. Ay, but you do not know my Children; they all hate her.
Neigh. And why is that? but becauſe ſhe has not practis'd this Method with them. I know nothing of your Family Affairs, but the nature of the thing dictates it. Go home, and ask any of your Children the Queſtion, Why do not you love your Couſin—I dare undertake, if the Children dare be ſo free with you, they would anſwer, Becauſe Sir, we know ſhe [Page 201] ſets you againſt us; ſhe always magnifies every trifling things to you, and makes you angry with us when ſhe need not, and when with a good Word we might mend it without a Complaint; and when we have done a Fault, and you are juſtly angry, ſhe always makes you more angry than you would be. Tell me now honeſtly, if you don't think this would be the Caſe?
Fa. I confeſs, you have hit very exactly the thing, and I have often ſaid to her, when I have been too furious in beating my Boys, COƲSIN, Why would you let me beat him ſo much? Why did'nt you come' and take him away? And ſhe would always ſay, I take him away! not I truly, I think you don't Correct him enough; the Boy will be good for nothing, and the like; and it has made me anſwer, if you were a Mother you would be of another Mind. But I confeſs, my Boys are ſurely refractory Creatures, and it alters the Caſe very much.
Neigh. But if you, or ſhe either, had begun with them when they were very Young, and had joyn'd together, the one to have acted like a Chriſtian Father, and the other to have taken the Mother's Part ſo much upon her, as I hinted juſt now; your Children would have been quite another ſort of Creatures, and you would have had little or none of this Work to do now; they would have lov'd you as well as fear'd you, and they would have had, not a Value for her only, but for what ſhe had ſaid too; whereas now all ſhe can ſay to them, by way of Inſtruction, will ſtand for nothing with them: For where they hate the Perſon, they will very rarely take the Advice.
Fa. Nay, that's the Truth of it, there is not one of them loves her; and now they begin to grow up, they don't fail to let her know it.
Neigh. Nay, it's a wonder if they love you any more than they do her; for where the Paſſions of a [Page 202] Father run your length, they rather whip their Children's Affections away than encreaſe them; and when your Children once ceaſe to love you, what good do you think your Inſtructions will do them? They will only get from under your Government as ſoon as they can, and then you will have the Charge of them indeed, but very little of the Delight that you would have had in or from them; for you are but now laying in a ſtore of Unkindneſs between you and them, and robbing them of the bleſſing of a Father, and your ſelf of the comfort of your Children; whereas Correction given in a Fatherly and Chriſtian manner will make your Children love you the more, and the Impreſſion of it leave not only an immediate Influence upon their Manners and Morals, but the more they grow up to years of Underſtanding, the more they will be ſenſible of the Juſtice and Kindneſs of their Father in their former Diſcipline, and will love and value them the more for it; the Scripture is plain in this, We have had Fathers of the Fleſh who corrected us, and we gave them Reverence; that is, we gave them Reverence for that very Correction.
Fa. You are very right in this part indeed, for I ſee very little Affection in my Children to me, eſpecially my Sons; but they ſhun and run away from me, and care not to converſe with me now they begin to grow up, and I think verily it is from my being ſo furious to them all along; I ſee my miſtake, but 'tis too late now to help it.
Neigh. Why you ſhould ſtrive to alter your Conduct ſtill, and eſpecially with thoſe who are ſtill young.
Fa. Nay, I do not know how to be familiar with them my ſelf; I have been ſo uſed to beat and whip them, and to give them hard Words, that I hardly know how to give them any other Uſage now they grow bigger.
[Page 203] Neigh. I confeſs there is a danger in the Familiarity with Children too; it requires a great deal of Prudence to treat our Children with a decent Familiarity, and yet preſerve the Majeſty and Authority of a Parent; and much of the Prudence of this Part lies on the Children's part in not aſſuming an indecent equallity; and therefore though I do not wholly agree to the Proverb, that Father and Son are good Friends, but bad Company; yet in many Caſes, and eſpecially where the Children want Manners and the Father wants Gravity, it will be true: A Levity of Behaviour in a Father, diſhonours the Parent in the Eye of his Children, and will ſoon bring him into Contempt with them; and a forwardneſs to an Equality in a Son, diſguſts the Father, and is not at all grateful to a Man of any Senſe; but there is a modeſt Medium which will, if it can be hit right, make the Father the moſt agreeable Company to his Children in the World.
Fa. But this is as difficult a Part, as any Father has to act in his whole Paternal Office.
Neigh. It is ſo, but the Foundation of it is all laid in the early Conduct of the Parents to their Children; and this brings me back to the Article of Correction, in which I have one thing more to ſay, which perhaps more nearly concerns you than all that I have ſaid yet.
Fa. Pray what is it? You a little ſurprize me.
Neigh. Why as we ought not to mix our Paſſions with the Reſentment in the Offences of our Children, nor correct them in gratification of our Anger; ſo we ought to be very careful that we do not do them Injuſtice in correcting them, and inflict a Puniſhment without a Crime.
Fa. What do you mean by Injuſtice?
Neigh. Why I mean, we ought to give them a fair hearing, and with a calm Examination patiently inquire [Page 204] firſt into the Fact, and be very ſure that they are guilty of the thing for which we are angry; otherwiſe it muſt kindle in the Mind of the Child an inexpreſſible Contempt of their Father's Juſtice, and conſequently leave hereafter a deep impreſſion of Anger and Reſentment in their Children.
Fa. Well, but what does this relate to me? I am ſure I have juſt cauſe enough to correct mine, for he is one of the refractoreſt young Creatures that ever a Father had to do with.
Neigh. If you will not take it ill, I will convince you that it relates to you.
Fa. I will take nothing ill; pray ſpeak freely.
Neigh. Firſt of all anſwer me this Queſtion, Did you correct your Son for the Fault you mention'd, viz. his ſtaying of the Errand you ſent him, or did you clear an old ſcore with him?
Fa. No, no, I am not ſo patient neither; I never run in Debt to my Sons I aſſure you, I always make punctual Payment.
Neigh. And perhaps ſometimes make your Payment when there is no Debt.
Fa. They take pretty good care of that, they make a conſtant Claim.
Neigh. Well, but NOW you ſay, you had but one particular thing that you puniſh'd him for; pray let me hear what it was over again, for I doubt I have you faſt in a Nooſe.
Fa. I corrected him for ſtaying on that Errand, and for nothing elſe; and conſidering how often he had been corrected for the ſame Fault, I think he deſerv'd it very well.
Neigh. But had you firſt calmly enquir'd into the Fact? Are you ſure he was Guilty?
Fa. Ay, ay, Guilty, I am ſure he was Guilty; he had been gone above an Hour, and the diſtance was next to nothing.
[Page 205] Neigh. Well, but had he nothing to ſay for himſelf?
Fa. Yes, Yes, he never wants ſomething to ſay; he made a formal ſtory of his going to the Hoop Tavern by London-Bridge, to find him, and of ſtaying there I know not how long for an Anſwer; but I knew his Rogues Tricks, I knew 'twas all a Lye, he has been at play all the while, to be ſure.
Neigh. And ſo you corrected him at a venture.
Fa. Ay, and no great venture neither, for I did not believe a word he ſaid.
Neigh. But ſuppoſe now the Boy was Innocent, and really had been ſo far, and had ſtaid there ſo long, what then? would not you think you had done him wrong?
Fa. Why truly yes, I ſhould own I had been wrong, but he is ſuch an old Offender, that if it had been ſo, it had only been an advance of Payment, and he would ſoon have ballanc'd Accounts with me; if he did not deſerve it to day, he would be ſure to deſerve it to morrow.
Neigh. Well, but we are not now in jeſt, I am arguing ſeriouſly, that the Injury is to our ſelves to fall upon our Children unjuſtly; obſerving how it leſſens us in their Affection, weakens our Authority, ennervates juſt Correction it ſelf, and plants an early Contempt of the Parents in the Minds of the Children.
Fa. I know you are ſerious, and I do not ſet light by what you are ſaying, I aſſure you; only I know I am out danger of having that part charg'd upon me.
Neigh. Perhaps not ſo much out of danger as you think you are.
Fa. I am very eaſie about it.
Neigh. Well, but do you acknowledge this, or do you not, that a Parent who corrects his Child without due examination into the Fact, and fair calm hearing of his Defence, if the Child ſhould be really Innocent, [Page 206] is himſelf guilty of a great Sin?
Fa. Yes, I will readily acknowledge that; for without doubt there is Juſtice due to our Children as well as to any other; and Solomon ſays, He that judges a matter before he hears it, 'tis folly and ſhame unto him.
Neigh. Why then in the words of Nathan the Prophet to King David, THOƲ ART THE MAN; for I am providentially a Witneſs at this time for the poor Child, though I knew nothing of this part, that he is wholly Innocent.
Fa. You ſurprize me; it is Impoſſible!
Neigh. You ſhall ſee that immediately; you ſay, you ſent him to Mr. — at the upper end of the Street.
Fa. Yes, and he ſaid he was at the Hoop Tavern by London-bridge, and that he went to him thither, which I took for a ſham.
Neigh. Well, and did he not bring you a Letter from Mr. —
Fa. Yes indeed, he did bring me a Letter.
Neigh. And why then did you queſtion his having ſeen the Perſon?
Fa. I did not queſtion that, you may be ſure, indeed I could not becauſe I ſaw his Hand; but his going after him to London-Bridge, that I know was a ſham, becauſe Mr. — was at home but a few Minutes before.
Neigh. All raſh ſtill, unjuſtly raſh and fierce, for Mr. — was at the Hoop Tavern by London-Bridge, and I was there with him upon a ſpecial Affair, and I ſaw your little Boy come in with a Note to him; nor was the Hour's time, which you ſay the Child ſtay'd, any fault, for I think verily Mr. — made him ſtay near half an Hour for his writing the Anſwer.
Fa. Is this poſſible! Then indeed I have been too raſh with my Boy.
[Page 207] Neigh. And have done him a great deal of wrong I aſſure you.
Fa. Indeed I did not give the Boy time to anſwer me, for I was in a Paſſion at his ſtaying.
Neigh. You ſee then that Paſſion is the Foundation of Injuſtice, even to our own Children.
Fa. Well, it ſhall be a Warning to me.
Neigh. I hope you are convinc'd then, that Paſſion is of no uſe in Correction of Children.
Fa. I am indeed, neither is it of any uſe in any part of our Family-Conduct as I ſee; for I aſſure you, my fooliſh haſty paſſionate Temper has run me into ſuch raſh things relating to my Children, and to my Family, that I have cauſe to repent of them as long as I live.
Neigh. I doubt not but a paſſionate Man muſt do ſo; and though I know not the Particulars, yet I can eaſily judge it is ſo, for I muſt tell you, a Man very ſeldom does any thing at all in a Paſſion but he finds reaſon to repent of it afterwards; for as the Paſſion it ſelf is wicked, and muſt be repented of, ſo the Production of it is all the ſame; the Fruit can never be good if the Tree be evil.
Fa. I have mention'd one miſchievous Effect it has had upon me, viz. that when I am heated, or mov'd, I am apt to make raſh Vows and Reſolutions, ſuch as if I durſt keep them would ruin my Family; and then my breaking them is a continual breach of Peace to me.
Neigh. I know it is uſual for Paſſionate Men to do all manner of raſh Actions; the World is full of dreadful Examples, of which I could tell you ſome if I had time.
Fa. Pray ſpare a little time for what I deſire of you as to this. I wiſh you could counſel me as effectually in that Caſe, as you have done in this; for I think what you have ſaid in this Caſe is ſo clear, and ſo convincing, that if it pleaſes God to keep me, and [Page 208] to help me to keep my Reſolution, I will never ſtrike a Child again, let the Provocation be as great as it will, 'till my Paſſion is quite gone, and 'till I have enquir'd fully into the Fault and fairly heard what Defence he can make; and even then will, as you hint, talk as calmly and moving to him as I am able in order to reform him.
Neigh. I am glad to hear what you ſay, and I thank GOD for the occaſion of a Diſcourſe that has been ſo effectual: But pray take one thing with you, you muſt not always after this calming Diſcourſe, omit the Correction of your Children, eſpecially where the Crime requires it; only take care never to give your Paſſion any ſhare in it, or room in your Mind when you do it.
Fa. I'll endeavour that too, but I ſcarce know how to promiſe for my ſelf; I am ſure I ſhall ſhed as many Tears as the Child.
Neigh. So you will, and it's the mark of a ſerious Correction when the Parent is afflicted as much as the Child is corrected; that's a true Paternal Spirit; and I muſt tell you, there's a great many teaching Circumſtances in a ſerious Father's correcting a Child: When he is calling the Child to an account for his Offences, how naturally does it occur, that if God ſhould thus enter into judgment with us all, what would be our Portion! when he concludes that the Child deſerves Correction, it immediately occurs again, if GOD ſhould deal with us as we deſerve, how ſhould we ſtand before him! When he corrects, he remembers how GOD's Correction is leſs than our Iniquity deſerves, that there is no proportion between the Crime and the Puniſhment! When the Child ſtretches out its Hand for Mercy and Pardon, how juſt an Emblem is it of our Penitent Application to GOD for Forgiveneſs of our Sins? I know nothing in the World ſo fruitful of profitable Meditations, [Page 209] as the Authority of a Father in Correcting, and the Compaſſion of a Father in Forbearing his Child. The Reluctance of the Mind with which we correct our Children, the Joy we have to find them Innocent when we fear them Guilty; alas, when Paſſion intervenes, all this is loſt; the end is deſtroy'd, the Child ſuffers, the Father ſins, and the Benefit of Correction is loſt entirely.
Fa. I have heard you with a pleaſing attention, I believe it is all ſo; I acknowledge I have never uſed to act that wiſe Part, my Paſſions have always rob'd me of the comfortable Reflection you mention; but I reſolve to act quite another Part I aſſure you.
Neigh. GOD continue your Reſolution, and fortify your Soul againſt the violent attacks of your own Paſſions, for they are all fatal Enemies to your Peace.
Fa. But what ſay you to theſe raſh Vows, and hair-brain'd Proteſtations, which in my Paſſion I have often made, and which it is impoſſible for me to keep?
Neigh. I cannot pretend to adviſe in that Caſe 'till I hear the Particulars, and perhaps it may not be convenient.
Fa. Yes, yes, I am too much aſham'd of having offended, to be aſham'd to acknowledge it.
Neigh. That is a certain Token of a true Penitent.
Fa. My great Folly is, that when I am in ſuch a Paſſion I make raſh, wicked, and intolerable Promiſes and Vows, which I dare not keep, and yet dare not break; if I keep them I ruin my Family, if I break them I ruin my Soul: What wretched Condition does Paſſion run a Man into when not guarded with Grace?
Neigh. That is a very terrible Extream of Paſſion indeed.
Fa. Why, it's not many Weeks ago that in a violent Paſſion with one of my Sons, for a Fault indeed bad enough, but too trifling for ſuch a Reſolution, I [Page 210] turn'd him out of Doors, and vow'd I would never have any thing more to do with him, and he ſhould never come into my Doors again.
Neigh. Well, and did you keep it? Pray, what is become of the Boy?
Fa. Poor Child! he ſat crying upon a Stone juſt without the Door a good while, and by and by it rain'd; and there he ſat till he was thorough wet, and till I cry'd as faſt within Doors as he did without Doors; and I had no more Power to keep my Vow, than I had Power to refrain making it; ſo one wicked Thing follows another, and both gives us Occaſion for Repentance; and theſe Things break the Peace of my very Soul.
Neigh. I'll tell you a ſhort Story, like yours; I knew a good Man, but ſubject to like Paſſions with you, that upon ſome unkind provoking Words of his Wife, went out of his Houſe, and wiſh'd it might fall on his Head if ever he came into it again. He had a Family of Children, to whom he was a render Father; neither was he an unkind Husband to his Wife, and ſhe was a very loving affectionate Wife to him; but a ſudden Breach happen'd: Nor was the thing about which it happen'd of any great Value or Conſequence proportion'd to ſo much Heat; but Words on one hand begat Words on the other, and both paſſionate at that Time; in ſhort, the Man went away, and kept away two Days, and ſo long his Diſguſt kept his Paſſion up. But when the Heat cool'd, and the Man conſider'd what dreadful Conſequences to his Family muſt neceſſarily attend the keeping ſuch a Vow, he immediately came to this concluſion; I have ſinn'd greatly in making this raſh Vow, but I muſt continue to ſin as long as I live, if I keep it; I'll caſt my ſelf upon GOD's Mercy and ask Pardon for my Sin, and venture the Conſequence; for it is my unqueſtion'd Duty, not to caſt off my Wife and Children. [Page 211] In this Frame the good Man went comfortably, tho' penitently home to his Wife, who received him with the ſame Temper as he came in: I think I need ſay no more to your Caſe than tell you this Story, only add one Thing for your Obſervation; the good Man I ſpeak of was too ſincere in his Reflections, ever to make any more ſuch raſh Wiſhes: I hope you underſtand the Application of the Story, as well as the Parallel of it.
Fa. It is a dreadful Miſchief to Men and to Families, when Men mov'd by the Violence of their Paſſions make ſuch Vows, as are ſcarce lawful for them to break, and yet is by no means lawful for them to keep; by which means they bring themſelves to this unhappy Criſis, that they muſt ſin very greatly whether they keep or break their Vows, and have only the wretched Choice to make, which of two wicked Things they muſt do.
Neigh. This is exactly the Caſe of one that you know very well; and his Example may ſeem to give us all a Caution, not to act paſſionately, and particularly in our Families, not to be Tyrants over our Children inſtead of Parents, and meer Magiſtrates in our Families inſtead of juſt Governours.
Fa, Who is that pray?
Neigh. It is Mr. —, one of your Neighbours.
Fa. Why, his Children have acted barbarouſly by him.
Neigh. Ay, that's true, but where did it begin? Such Education will always produce ſuch Children; and I aſſure you, that even in ſome of thoſe Children who have acted ill, he is the moſt to blame of any Man in the World; and what between his Paſſion one way, and his Poſitiveneſs another, he went a great way to ruin the only Children he had, that there was any Reaſon to think wou'd be good for any thing.
[Page 212] Fa. Pray let us diſcourſe a little of his Caſe; I know 'tis a long one, but it is a remarkable Caſe; and I am not ſo much enquiring into the Particulars as it is another Man's Concern; for I never meddle with any Man's Buſineſs but my own. But I think in talking together of that weak Man's Conduct, I may ſee ſomething that may be inſtructing to me about my own.
Neigh. I find I am call'd away, but if you will ſtay a few Minutes I'll come again preſently, and tell you all that tragical Story; perhaps it may be of Service to you.
Here a Servant came to ſpeak with him on ſome particular Buſineſs, which obliged him to go away for a while; ſo their Dialogue ended for that Time, but he ſoon return'd again.
The End of the Firſt Dialogue.

2.2. The Second DIALOGUE.

UPON the return of this good Neighbour, the paſſionate Father told him, he had ſeriouſly conſider'd their Diſcourſe; that he thank'd GOD for the providential Occaſion which had brought him by his Door at the Juncture, when he was acting a Part which he had ſo many ways Reaſon to be aſham'd of; and that he promiſed himſelf a great Advantage from his good Advice. But, ſays he, pray go on, and let me have [Page 213] the Hiſtory of Mr. —, I have already heard much of him, and have fooliſhly blam'd his Violence, when I never had any Reflections upon my own.

Neigh. Ay, Sir, that's frequent, the Obſervation of other Mens Errors do not always make us reflect upon our own.
Fa. Methinks it ſhould tho'; for how can we blame a thing in other People, and yet approve of it in our ſelves?
Neigh. Becauſe we do not ſee our own Actions in the ſame Light as we do other Mens.
Fa. Indeed I have look'd on this Man's Conduct with the utmoſt Deteſtation; I uſed to ſay, that he perfectly call'd Evil Good and Good Evil; and now I think I have done ſo my ſelf more than he.
Neigh. No doubt but you have been both to blame.
Fa. I know not now which way to take my View, I begin to think better of his Conduct and worſe of my own.
Neigh. You may have reaſon to have meaner Thoughts of your own Conduct than you did before, but I cannot ſee how you can think better of his.
Fa. I think my Behaviour has been much the worſe of the two.
Neigh. Truly his Conduct was the moſt extravagant with his Children that ever I heard of; nay, I muſt ſay, that I never met with any thing like it; and all by this very Miſtake we have been talking of.
Fa. What, about his Paſſion? I know he is a paſſionate, fiery, raſh Man as well as I.
Neigh. The worſt, I ſay, that ever I met with.
Fa. And yet I hope he is a good Man too.
Neigh. GOD knows how he does to reconcile his Temper to his Principles; ſuch Paſſions will coſt him many a ſad Thought hereafter, if ever he comes to be made ſenſible of the moſt abominable Sinfulneſs of them.
[Page 214] Fa. Beſides, he has ruin'd ſome of his Children you ſay.
Neigh. Some of them! did I ſay, nay, he went a ſad length in the Ruin of them all; why, he was for three or four Year in ſuch a Rage with three of them, that he was not in ſpeaking Terms with them, or they with him all that while.
Fa. What, not they with him?
Neigh. No, they had been ſo cruelly treated, they ſaid, that it deſtroy'd all Affection in them from their Childhood; and afterward, it the eaſier deſtroy'd Reſpect, that we may be ſure of.
Fa. But then they were out of their Duty too; I hope you allow that?
Neigh. Yes, yes, they were out of their Duty to be ſure; but where begins it all? And what Comfort is it to a Parent, that his Children do not do their Duty? that's an Addition to the Affliction, not a leſſening of it, if he is a Chriſtian.
Fa. Paſſion is indeed a Deſtroyer of Duty on both Sides; he had not done the Duty of a Father to them when they were little; and they did not do the Duty of Children when they grew up.
Neigh. It's very true, there's no Duty regarded on either Side; they were all Three from him, as I ſaid before, for ſome time; and that which is the Sting of all is, that their not doing their Duty to him, is the Conſequence of his firſt not doing his Duty to them; and ſo he may ſee his Sin in the Puniſhment.
Fa. Nay, his Sin to them laid a Foundation of Sin in them too; that's another ſad Conſideration.
Neigh. Ay, and his Unkindneſs occaſion'd their Unnaturalneſs; he turn'd them out of Doors, and they ſtaid out of his Doors; and ſo they neither liv'd with him, or he with them; which was a melancholly thing among Father and Children.
Fa. Nay, it might be they were happier ſo than if [Page 215] they were to have lived together.
Neigh. No doubt; but it alienated the Minds of his Family, as I told you; he made himſelf a Terror to them firſt; and how could they take delight in their Father, when he was perfectly made frightful to them?
Fa. I am of your Mind in that; if they were firſt made to be ſo afraid of him, they could ſcarce ever love him; I find it ſo already in my own Family: Fear is a Species of Hatred, and will riſe up to it by degrees; my Children are a coming up to it as faſt as they can; and 'tis all my Fault originally, tho' it will be their Fault too at laſt.
Neigh. You have this Mercy, that they are younger than his, and perhaps you may bring them off by a prudent Management of your Counſel and Reproof for the future.
Fa. GOD knows whether this may not be too late; evil Impreſſions take Root earlier and eaſier than good; and I have a much harder Task to do now than it would have been, had I taken ſuch a Courſe as you have been ſpeaking of from the Beginning.
Neigh. That may be true; but you muſt now apply to it with the more ſeriouſneſs, and it may pleaſe GOD to give his Bleſſing to it ſtill; 'tis never too late.
Fa. Well Neighbour, pray go on with your Story of Mr. —; for I know ſomething of that unhappy Man's Conduct too, and I think I begin to ſee him ſet before me as a Warning for my own Mannagement, tho' he brought it all back again afterwards, if my Account of it be right.
Neigh. Well, you ſhall hear that Part too in its place; but I ſhall begin with the Story of one of his Sons firſt; the Caſe was this: The young Man had committed a Fault, that indeed he had; the Story of which will come in of courſe.
[Page 216] Fa. Which of his Sons was it, for he has ſeveral; and I hear, he is out with them all?
Neigh. It was his youngeſt Son, who he bred up in his own Buſineſs.
Fa. What could it be? Had he robb'd him?
Neigh. No, no, I do not hear that he charg'd him with wronging him; but it was ſome Errand or Meſſage which his Father order'd him to do, and the Lad had done it wrong; and he flew in a dreadful Paſſion upon him, beat him ſeverely, and in a too violent manner to be deſcrib'd.
Fa. All Rage, all Rage, Neighbour; I ſuppoſe, juſt as you found me a doing.
Neigh. Ay, but the Circumſtance makes it more pernicious even than yours, becauſe his Son was then almoſt a Man; and the Paſſions of Youth we all know are warm at that Time, and apt to precipitate them into fooliſh and raſh Things; and ſo it was here.
Fa. As they are our own Children, we may expect they partake a little of our own Tempers; and I can ſee now, my Friend, ſince your Reaſonings have cool'd me, a great many Allowances which we ought to make to our Children, and for want of which we often hurt our own Peace, and ruin our Children effectually.
Neigh. Why ſo it was here; after Mr. — had beaten his Son ſo violently that he put the young Man into almoſt as great a Fury as himſelf, he bad him go to the Place again, which he had ſent him to before, and do the Buſineſs right, which it ſeems he had done wrong; the Youth, whoſe ill Part was not begun till then, ſat ſtill ſobbing in his Breaſt; for he was in too much Rage to cry, and did not ſtir. Upon which his Father bidding him again GO, he anſwer'd, he would not. The Father again provok'd at that, was taking up ſomething to ſtrike him again; [Page 217] when his Son flying up on a ſudden to go to the Door to run down Stairs, his Father ſtep'd between and ſtop'd him: Upon which, being in the utmoſt Terror, he turns about, and in mere Deſparation, runs to the Window, and jumps clear out a full Story high into the Street.
Fa. Theſe are dreadful Examples of Paſſion indeed, both in Father and Child; but the Youth was certainly in the Fault.
Neigh. I am not excuſing the Children, when I am admoniſhing the Parent: I deſire you will take that with you in all I ſay; GOD forbid I ſhould ſay any thing to encourage the Diſobedience of Children; I hope you did not ſee any thing of it in what I ſaid to you in your own Caſe.
Fa. No, no, I do not charge you with it; Pray go on with your Story; What came of the poor Child?
Neigh. Why, it ſeems he got no capital Miſchief by the Fall or Leap out of the Window; that is, he broke no Bone, tho' he hurt himſelf very much otherwiſe; but getting up as well as he could, he went away to a Relation's Houſe in the City; who ſeeing him in that Condition, and hearing his Story, took him in, and took care of him.
Fa. And what ſaid the Father to it?
Neigh. Why you might expect, as you are a Father, it might be ſome Surprize to him; but quite otherwiſe, which is very ſtrange; his Paſſion was ſo great, that he had no room to entertain any Apprehenſions of what harm might have befallen his Child; but ſeem'd rather vex'd that he had eſcap'd him, than troubl'd at his Deſparation.
Fa. This is a terrible Inſtance indeed of the Exceſs of Paſſion; but how long did it hold? I ſuppoſe when his Anger was over, it griev'd him in proportion.
Neigh. There now, is the difference of Temper, [Page 218] between ſome Fathers and others; his Rage was ſo great, that I know not whether it abated at all, or ever will abate; it was remov'd indeed from one Object to another, as you ſhall hear at laſt; but I think it may be ſaid to continue to be Rage even to ſome Years after: But to return to the Story. The Youth did not come home that Night you may be ſure, which very much diſappointed him; nor did he let his Father know where he was for ſeveral Days; for indeed he was ſo bruiſed with his Fall or Leap, that he could not go abroad, and he was ſo afraid his Father ſhould come to him, that he was ready to ſwoon away at the very thoughts of it.
Fa. Well, but after ſome time, I ſuppoſe it muſt abate a little?
Neigh. You ſhall hear: There was a Relation of the Child's, (viz.) his Mother's Brother, who hearing of the Quarrel and the unhappy Circumſtances of it alſo, concern'd himſelf to make up the Breach, and to get the Father to be eaſy, and the young Man home again to his Buſineſs.
Fa. That was the Part of a true Friend, and like a religious Relation.
Nei. But the Succeſs did not anſwer at all; for when he came to the Father, and did but name him, he flew out in a Paſſion, and even abuſed his Brother-in-Law for coming to him; falls a calling his Son all the Names a Man in a Rage could be ſuppos'd to do; tells him, he had nothing to do but to keep out of his way, where-ever he happen'd to ſee him; that he had made a Vow that he ſhould never come within his Doors again: ſo that, in a word, there was no room for Interceſſion of any kind.
Fa. This was furious indeed.
Neigh. His Brother-in-Law ask'd him what the Child muſt do then? and expoſtulated with him upon the Diſtreſs of the young Man; argued his own Duty as [Page 219] a Parent; the Degree of his Son's Offence, the ſinfulneſs of his Paſſion; and ſaid all that could be ſaid in the Caſe, as a Relation and as a Chriſtian, but to no purpoſe.
Fa. It may be, he had ſome other great Crimes, or ſome unuſual diſobliging Things to charge him with, which had ſerv'd to exaſperate him.
Neigh. No; I do not find that he had.
Fa. It's true, his refuſing to go again of the Errand, and telling his Father he would not, was provoking.
Neigh. That's true; but where now is the Affection of a Parent? where the Aim at the Child's Good, Soul and Body in all this? This is not Correction, 'tis meer Enmity, 'tis Wrath and Revenge; and this is the Reaſon why I told you this Story.
Fa. Well, but what is become of the young Man, pray?
Neigh. Why, when his Uncle had been with his Father, he came back to him; he did not tell him preſently how poſitively his Father had refuſed to receive him; but began to perſwade him to go home, and ſubmit to his Father, as it was his Duty to do.
Fa. Well, what ſaid the Youth?
Neigh. With Tears in his Eyes, he beg'd of his Ʋncle that he might never go home to his Father any more, whatever Miſchief befel him; he ſaid, he would ſubmit to his Father, reſpect him, ask his Pardon, or any thing that could be reaſonably deſir'd; but that as his Father had no command of himſelf, no government of his Paſſions, he did not think he was qualify'd for the Government of his Children, and he would ſubmit to any Hardſhip in the World, but going home to his Father; but that he would never do what ever befel him.
Fa. I confeſs, this is a ſad Proof of the Conſequence [Page 220] of Father's letting looſe their Paſſions in the government of their Families; but yet the Youth was wrong alſo.
Neigh. Well, I am now upon the Hiſtory, not the Comment, let me go on. When his Uncle found the Tempers on both ſides were ſo entirely averſe to one another, he mov'd no farther in it; but began to conſider what was to be done to prevent the Ruin of the young Man, which it ſeems the Parent had no Concern about.
Fa. So that the Uncle was more a Father to him than his real Father.
Neigh. That is true indeed, and has put him out again to the ſame Trade; which his Father knew, but took no more Notice of it or him, than if he was not his Child, or any way related to him.
Fa. And was the young Man no other ways wicked?
Neigh. No indeed; he is now a ſober, vertuous, and I hope, a religious young Man.
Fa. Well, and what will become of him when he is out of his Time?
Neigh. Nay, that is the Thing we are now upon; did you not ſay you heard it was all made up again? That belongs to the other part of this Story.
Fa. Well go on, I know not what the other Part may be; but this Part is all fierce, cruel, and unnatural.
Neigh. Did I not ſay, that all Paſſion mingled with Correction, is unnatural?
Fa. And would my violent Paſſion, think you, have run me up to ſuch a dreadful Extream as this, if it had gone on?
Neigh. I hope not.
Fa. But I ſee plainly it might; for as my Children were growing up, ſo was my violent Meaſures with them growing up alſo; and as I ſhould have made them fear (that is, hate) me, for I take it to [Page 221] be the ſame; ſo when they had provok'd me in this manner, I might have ripen'd up to the ſame Rage.
Neigh I hope the Influence of ſoveraign Grace will reſtrain you from ſuch Extreams; was not this Man's Family, and himſelf too, miſerable by theſe Things! There were two other of his Children almoſt in the ſame Condition with him upon different Accounts.
Fa. What Account pray?
Neigh. Why, his eldeſt Daughter, a young Woman of a very good Character, a modeſt, ſober, religious young Lady, had diſoblig'd him to the laſt Degree, much about the ſame time, becauſe ſhe would not marry a Fellow no way ſuitable to her, either for Perſon or Manners; but one, who becauſe he was rich, the Father impoſed upon her; ſhe us'd all the Arguments, all the Perſwaſions and Entreaties ſhe could to her Father, to excuſe her from it; ſhe told him, ſhe could not love him, nay he was odious to her; ſhe could not endure him; ſhe repreſented, that it would be a Sin in her, and an Injury to the Man to marry him, ſeeing ſhe could not love him, or diſcharge her Duty as a Wife to him, in that Affection and Kindneſs that ought to be between ſuch Relations; all was one: She employ'd Friends to ſpeak to her Father and perſwade him, but all to no purpoſe; till at laſt he came upon her with Violence one Morning, and told her, he had ſent for Mr. —, meaning the Perſon he would have her to marry; and he was reſolv'd to ſee them marry'd that Day.
Fa. Why, the Man's a Lunatick; ſure you can't call this a reaſonable Man?
Neigh. Well, his Daughter manag'd him better however than his Sons could do; for when ſhe ſaw her Father warm, and reflected how raſh he was in his Paſſions, ſhe made little anſwer, but in general, That ſhe hoped he would not force her to marry againſt [Page 222] her Conſent; that ſhe had given him an account already that ſhe could not marry that Perſon, and hoped he would not take it ill from her that ſhe could not do it. He minded little what ſhe ſaid, but about Eleven a Clock brings the Perſon up to her, and leaves them together. The Man addreſs'd himſelf handſomely enough to her: But ſhe, reſolving to take the occaſion to extricate herſelf, told him, ‘'That ſhe deſir'd to be very plain with him, and hop'd he would not take it ill, ſeeing there was a neceſſity for it: That ſhe had ſome Reaſons why ſhe could not comply with his Deſire; that ſhe hop'd he would not deſire to marry her againſt her Will: That it was not any deſign to affront him that ſhe uſed this freedom with him; and that if her Father would have been pleaſed to do it for her, ſhe would gladly have been excuſed, but ſhe had no other remedy; and if he had any real Reſpect for her, ſhe beg'd he would not urge her Father about it any more; for as it was her ſettled Reſolution never to have him his preſſing her Father to it was to no purpoſe as to the thing it ſelf, and would only make a breach between her Father and her, which could be no Service to him; and with this ſhe related to him all that had paſs'd between her Father and her.’ The Gentleman told her, he was was ſurpriz'd to hear her talk ſo, ſeeing her Father had aſſur'd him of another kind of Entertainment; But ſince it was ſo, and ſhe was not to be prevail'd upon by Perſwaſion to alter her Mind, he aſſur'd her, he was far from deſiring any violent Methods ſhould be uſed with her, and that he would be as careful not to exaſperate her Father againſt her, as poſſible, and thus took his leave: He ſaw her Father as he went out, but ſaid little to him, only putting off his Hat as be paſs'd by, the Father being talking with ſomebody elſe. It paſs'd on for above an Hour without any Notice, [Page 223] the Father, it ſeems, expecting the return of the Perſon; but when he ſaw he came not, he came up to his Daughter and enquir'd the meaning of it; ſhe made no ſcruple to tell her Father, That as ſhe had told him before, that ſhe could upon no Terms think of that Gentleman for a Husband, ſhe thought ſhe was oblig'd to tell him ſo plainly too; for that ſhe could not think of keeping a Man Company, after ſhe reſolv'd not to have him. Her Father interrupted her at that Word, but rather rav'd than talk'd to her, flying into ſuch a Paſſion as hardly to forbear his Hands from her; ſaid all the unkind rude Things to her he could think of; made ſolemn Imprecations that he would never give her a Groat, that he would never own her for his Daughter; and, in a Word, bad her go out of his Houſe. The young Woman you may be ſure was under great Affliction at this Treatment, but there was no remedy; it's true, ſhe did not go out of his Houſe, but he neither Eat or Drank with her, would not ſuffer her to come into the Room where he was, gave her neither Neceſſaries, Cloaths, or Money to buy them: Several Gentlemen made Propoſals to him to marry her, and ſome very handſome Offers; but he would neither entertain them, or make any offer in her behalf: If any Relation ſpoke to him of her, and offer'd to perſwade him, he anſwer'd, ſhe had diſoblig'd him, and he would have nothing to ſay to her.
Fa. Sure this cannot be Mr. — why it is not like a Man, 'tis all a kind of Barbariſm that I never heard the like of: It's a ſign the Mother of theſe poor Children is dead.
Neigh. Truly when ſhe was alive it was not much better, for the Man was ſo entirely given up to the impetuoſity of his Paſſions, that there was no perſwading him; but if once he was angred thoroughly, [Page 224] he was ſcarce ever reconcil'd, or prevail'd upon to be eaſy again.
Fa. You have drawn a Picture of a paſſionate Man for me to take Warning by; no Painter could have deſcrib'd it ſo to the Life.
Neigh. Pray take the Aggravation with it (viz.) that 'tis all a Repreſentation of a paſſionate Father; for I keep to my Text, (viz.) that there is no room, nor can be any reaſon for Paſſion in a Father to his Children. The higheſt Reſentment in a Father ſhould end in Pity, in Compaſſion for the Soul, Concern for the Welfare of the Child; no Correction is truly Paternal that is built upon any other Foundation.
Fa. I underſtand you; but as the Diſciples ſaid to our Saviour, Who then can be ſaved; ſo I ſay to you, Who then knows how to be a Father?
Neigh. I hope you do now eſpecially; for I believe you are ſo convinc'd of the Deformity of theſe unchriſtian Practices; their inconſiſtency with Nature, Reaſon or Religion, that you muſt look on them with Contempt.
Fa. Indeed I look upon my own Paſſions with Contempt too; for I think I have been as much to blame as Mr. —, and my Fury and Rage with my little Boy was as brutiſh and inhumane, and altogether as unchriſtian as his too, with this Aggravation; that it began earlier, and might perhaps have been much worſe by that Time my Children came to the Age of his.
Neigh. No, I cannot ſay your Paſſions were equal to his in degree, becauſe his ſeem to be implanted, riveted in his Nature, and never to be alter'd.
Fa. But perhaps mine return'd oftner; and who knows where they might end?
Neigh. The more you are alarm'd at the Danger of them, the better you are ſecured againſt it; and methinks I rejoice to ſee you ſo much affected with this unhappy Gentleman's Mannagement: there was [Page 225] no doubt but he would ruin his whole Family firſt or laſt, if he went on; for there is another Part of his Story ſtill behind.
Fa. What of his paſſionate Part?
Neigh. Yes, yes, all paſſionate; and this was with his eldeſt Son, with whom he had a worſe Broil in its kind, than any of the other.
Fa. Truly that can hardly be.
Neigh. Yes, it run up to more Sin in the Son, and to a more fatal Unkindneſs in both, tho in the End it help'd to bring both to ſome ſight of their Folly.
Fa. Pray go on with it.
Neigh. Why, his eldeſt Son was a young Man of very promiſing Parts, and an extraordinary Character: As for the reſt of his Sons, for he has two more, who were then in his Favour; they were really worthleſs in their Qualifications, and the World expected little from them, and indeed found little: As their Father was their Terror, when young, he was their Averſion when they were grown up; there was between them, neither Affection, Reverence, Duty or Society; they fear'd, and therefore hated him; they ſhew'd evidently that they had a Contempt of his Conduct, only an Apprehenſion of his Reſentment in point of Intereſt; and all this was the Effect of a furious, abſolute, raſh, paſſionate Conduct in his Family; the farther Effect of it you ſhall ſee afterwards.
Fa. Well; but I long to hear the Story of the eldeſt Son firſt.
Neigh. Truly the Caſe of the Eldeſt is ſevere enough; for tho the young Man is in the Wrong exceedingly, yet it is ſo viſible a Judgment upon his Father, that, as I ſaid, he may really read his Sin in his Puniſhment: The young Man was bred in a gentlemanly Manner by him, only with this Difference, that he was always ſo abſolute a Tyrant in his [Page 226] Family, and made himſelf ſo terrible by his Paſſions, among his Children, that it could ſcarce be expected he ſhould ever have any Comfort in any of them; for he never taught them any Obedience but that of Slaves, I mean the Obedience of Fear; and this made them naturally Diſrepectful to their Father, when they came to be remov'd out of the Reach of that Fear; and tho this could not be, without manifeſt Breach of Duty in the Children, yet the Father had great Cauſe to reflect upon himſelf, and to reverence the Juſtice of that Providence which made his own unlawful Paſſions, as a Father, be the real Cauſe of the ſinful Diſobedience of his Children.
Fa. But pray let me hear the particular Caſe, becauſe I have heard the Father wonderfully blam'd on his Account?
Neigh. I own the Father is to be blam'd, but the Son alſo is inexcuſable; and I am the warmer upon that Head, becauſe I know the Example is dangerous in its Nature; and if the Crime is not truly repreſented with the Fact, Children are but too apt to ſet the laſt up for an Example, without enquiring into the firſt. It is a certain Rule, and all ſober religious Children will adhere to and acknowledge it, that tho the Parent may fail of his Duty to his Child, yet that by no means diſpenſes with the Duty of a Child, becauſe the Child's Obedience is not founded upon the Father's Conduct, but upon the Laws of Nature. A Son can never argue that the breach of Duty in his Father is a Superſedeas to his Obligation: Obedience of Children to Parents is a natural Law; 'tis a firſt Principle, neither Humanity or Chriſtianity can ſubſiſt without it; nor can any Defect in the Conduct of the Father diſcharge that Duty; for this Reaſon I think this Perſon's Son inexcuſably to blame, whatever his Father's Conduct was; and, at the ſame Time, that we muſt condemn the Father's [Page 227] ungovern'd Paſſion, every good Man muſt deteſt the Treatment of him by his Son.
Fa. Then perhaps you have had a different Account of it from what I heard.
Neigh. I am ſure my Account is right, becauſe I have heard both Sides. The young Man had a deſire to Marry a certain Lady, whom he had lov'd for ſome Years. The Father abſolutely refuſed to give his Conſent, and charges him upon his Duty not to do it. The young Man tells him he will obey him, ſince he is ſo abſolute, tho he thinks it very hard, and ſuſpecting his Father deſign'd another for him, who he did not like; he adds to his Father, that if he will not let him have her he deſign'd to have, he is reſolv'd he never will have any Body elſe, and that he will not Marry at all. This enraged the Father to that degree, that he flew out into a violent Paſſion at his Son; told him he would renounce his Relation to him, that he would have nothing to do with as long as he liv'd; that he would not own him to be his Son, and that, if he beg'd his Bread, he ſhould not come to him for Relief; for if he did, he would charge a Conſtable with him, and ſend him to the Houſe of Correction; and bid him go out of his Houſe. The Son, as he ſaid, afterwards, for he repented of this Raſhneſs of his Temper, inheriting a Share of the ſame Paſſion from his Father, was ſo provoked too, that, according to his Father's Command, he remov'd the next Day in a formal Manner from his Father's Houſe with all his Books, for he was a Scholar, and whatever he call'd his own. His Father, continuing in his Paſſion, ſearch'd his Boxes or Trunks, as if he had been a Thief; told him he did well to remove voluntarily, that he might not be oblig'd to kick him out of Doors; that he would entertain no ſuch Rebel in his Family, tho every [Page 228] Child he had was to turn out in the ſame manner; and added ſome ſuch violent and opprobious Words to him, that at laſt the young Man grew as outragious as his Father, and gave him very rude and indecent Language too.
Fa. This was a ſad height for Things to be brought to between a Father and a Child.
Neigh. It was ſo, and both gave Cauſe to be aſham'd of it, and above all of the Occaſion.
Fa. Well, but pray go on with what the Son ſaid to him.
Neigh. It was the Afternoon, and the Son's Paſſion was a little abated, tho the Father's was not: He had ſent away all his Things, and was juſt going civilly to have bid his Father farewel; when the Father, continuing his Paſſion, ſaid ſomething to him very diſhonourable of his Mother, and this raiſed his Paſſion again; whereupon he told him, ‘'He had liv'd under his Tyranny, for Government he could not call it, 22 Years, and had never willingly done any thing to diſoblige him; That he had always been treated as his Brothers and Siſters were, in a manner that was a Shame to him to mention; but that now he was uſed ſo (eſpecially in this Caſe of his Mother, who was in her Grave, and could not vindicate her ſelf) as he could bear it no longer, ſo was oblig'd to tell him, That it was a Deliverance to him to eſcape from his Inhumanity, and that he deſerv'd not the Name of a Father, but rather of a wild Creature, that no one ſhould be ſubject to: That what was his Mother's Jointure he expected in its Time, but would not acknowledge it to him, becauſe he had defam'd his Mother, whoſe Shoes he was not worthy to carry after her: That as for his Eſtate, he relinquiſh'd it freely, for he believ'd a Curſe attended it, and he deſir'd none of it ſhould mingle with his own: That from thence forward [Page 229] he diſown'd him for a Father, and took upon him to tell him, that in a few Years he would not have a Child left but what would abhor him, and be aſham'd of him: That he had given him no juſt Cauſe to treat him as he had done now, ſo he would put it out of his Power to do it again: That for his Family, he wiſh'd for his own ſake he might repent of ruining his youngeſt Son, abuſing his eldeſt, and murthering his Daughter, for the young Woman was by that Time in a deep Conſumption, having juſt as it were broken her Heart with grief for her Father's Ʋſage of her; and he did not doubt but in a little Time he would have the Ruin of more of his Children to anſwer for.’ The Father was terribly aſtoniſh'd at his Son's Words, and ſaying not one Word to him, his Son left him, and went entirely away from him?
Fa. This is the dreadfulleſt Story that ever I heard in my Life: Is it poſſible that any Behaviour of a Father can juſtify ſuch Carriage in a Son?
Neigh. No, no, I am not upon juſtifying it, but relating it; and I tell you that the Son, who prov'd afterwards a very ſober, pious and religious Perſon, acknowledg'd the Crime of it, and wrote his Father a Letter, to beg his Pardon for it; not but that he inſiſted even in his Letter, upon the Cruelty and Inhumanity of his Father's Conduct; but own'd, he ought to have born with the Provocation, by the Ties of his Duty; that he ought not to have ſuffer'd his Paſſion to have carry'd him into any indecent or undutiful Language; and therefore thought himſelf obliged to ask him forgiveneſs for that Part. And the Uſe I make of it, and the Reaſon why I tell you the Story is this; that without doubt it was a terrible Judgment upon the paſſionate government of a Father, and he found it ſo afterward: and it may teach Parents what wicked Things they may have reaſon to fear from their Children, [Page 230] if they take Meaſures with them in their Education, which ſo neceſſarily brings their Children to hate and deſpiſe them.
Fa. It is true, and I deſire to bring it all home to my ſelf; and if I have not gone too far already, I will, with GOD's Aſſiſtance, baniſh Paſſion out of all my Family-Government; for I have Children will do juſt ſo, if I go on, I am ſure.
Neigh. It is partly upon this Account I tell you this Story; for 'tis a ſad Caſe, when our Children are led to break in upon their Duty to us, by our firſt being wanting in our Duty to them.
Fa. But harkye, as I told you before, I have heard, that my Neighbour Mr. — has ſeen a great deal of this Folly in theſe Things, and has alter'd his Conduct and his Family too, ſince all this happen'd. Now if you know the bright ſide of his Story as well as the dark Side, pray let me know it too; for there is certainly as much Profit in the Relation of the Repentance, as there can be in the Story of the Offence; and it would be ſomething unjuſt to leave his Family Hiſtory in the Form of a Tragedy, when it has pleaſed GOD to reſtore them, and heal the diſmal Breaches theſe furious Paſſions have made, ſome of them at leaſt.
Neigh. Truly I am of your Opinion in that, nor do I love to relate a Story with a dark Side only; it is a more bleſſed Work to tell of the Mercies of GOD to Families and Perſons, than of their Breaches and Crimes; I think Milton's Paradiſe Regain'd a pleaſanter Work, tho' it may not have ſo much variety in it, than his Paradiſe Loſt, at leaſt there is a greater Beauty in the Subject.
Fa. In that you go againſt the common Opinion.
Neigh. Mr. Milton himſelf was of my Opinion.
Fa. I have heard ſo.
Neigh. Do you know the Reaſon he gave, why the [Page 231] World lik'd the firſt Part better than the laſt? He ſaid the Reaſon was, becauſe they had a Senſe of the Loſs; but no Taſte of the Recovery. But this is by the way.
Fa. Well, 'tis very well to our purpoſe; for I aſſure you, tho the diſmal part of Mr. —'s Caſe has been very ſuitable to me, who was running on blindly in the very ſame Meaſures with my Family; yet the merciful Providences which afterwards occurr'd in his Family, and which, as I hear, has given a Turn to his Management, as well as to the Children's Duty, will be both pleaſant and profitable too.
Neigh. Truly I cannot ſay but there is ſomething Tragical even in the brighteſt Part of his Family; for his unhappy Conduct firſt or laſt, made every Child he had embroil themſelves with him: in ſome, he was not in the Right, and in others, they were more in the Wrong.
Fa. Well, but pray enter into the Particulars, if you can.
Neigh. You may remember I told you he had two Sons more; and I added, that they were in themſelves worthleſs Creatures, and ſo you will ſoon find they were, at leaſt one of them: You muſt note, the Father being thus diſguſted at the Three I have told you of, began to carry it with more familiarity and eaſineſs to the reſt, and ſeem'd to court them as much as he had oppreſs'd the other.
Fa. I have often ſeen it ſo, where Partiality in Affection guides the Parents; and almoſt as often ſeen, that thoſe Children return it ill.
Neigh. So indeed it was here; the Eldeſt of the two, who was at Man's Eſtate, diſcover'd evidently the utmoſt Contempt of his Father upon all Occaſions; and on the other hand, the Father, after the Quarrel with his other Children, turned ſo fooliſhly fond and wrapt up in this Son, that it was as ſcandalous an [Page 232] Extream on the other, and was a Judgment on him no doubt; he would bear every thing from him, imagine every thing he did was well, and hear nothing againſt him; and in a word, fell in ſo with this Son, that it came up to Dotage.
Fa. That's an Abſurdity on the other hand, which I hope I ſhall never come to be Fool enough for.
Neigh. Had this Son known how to have manag'd his Intereſt politically, he might have ruin'd all the reſt of the Family; for the Father gave up himſelf and his Affairs, in a manner, into his Hand, truſted him with all he had; and had he died under that Poſſeſſion, for I think it was little better, would, I believe, have given him the beſt Part of it all, without regard to the Diſtreſs of his other Children.
Fa. But I hope this violent Humour did not laſt,
Neigh. It was happy for the Family, that this Son prov'd otherwiſe than his Father expected, or they had been all undone: In a word, he prov'd the ungratefulleſt Wretch to his Father that ever could be imagin'd.
Fa. Nay, be his Father's Conduct what it would to the reſt, he was it ſeems a kind Father to him.
Neigh. He regarded none of it; he impiouſly own'd, that he loſt all reſpect for his Father when he was a Boy; that his Father had us'd him ſo like a Dog when he was young, that he could never love him, or have any Affection for him as long as he liv'd; nay, he was come to ſuch a height, that he would tell his Father ſo to his Face, and give him the moſt opprobrious Language, and make the moſt ſcandalous Reflections upon him in his hearing, even to the making a Jeſt and Reproach of his own Father, and in his Family too. And yet ſuch a tame Creature was this furious Father become in the Caſe of this Wretch that thus inſulted him, that he would bear it all; and that with a meanneſs, as far below the [Page 233] Authority and Dignity of a Parent, as his Paſſions before had been above the Calmneſs and Temper of a Chriſtian.
Fa. This muſt be a Judgment upon him indeed; ſure never Man run into two ſuch contrary Extreams: why, it was no more his Duty to bear ſuch Treatment, than it was his Duty to correct with ſuch Violence.
Neigh. I grant you that readily: Every Parent ought to preſerve the Dignity and Authority of his Station; otherwiſe, neither his Inſtructions or Commands receive the juſt Force, or make the due Impreſſion which they ought to do.
Fa. Why, to bear ſuch Inſults as thoſe you ſpeak of, deſtroys all ſubordination, which is the moſt eſſential Part of Government; and his Houſe could no more be called a Family, but a Bedlam; beſides; 'tis a horrible thing in its Nature.
Neigh. You are very right, and I tell it you as ſuch.
Fa. Mine was an Extream, but this is an Extream of a different Nature; pray how will you direct any Man to bear ſuch Treatment, and how ſhall a Father do to govern his Paſſion in ſuch a Caſe?
Neigh. Why, tho that be a Digreſſion, I ſhall ſpeak to it before I go any farther, by telling a ſhort Story of another Acquaintance of mine, who has two Sons at this Time of very different Age; but both in their Degree, guilty of the ſame Crime.
Fa. And perhaps the Younger, ſpoil'd by the Example of the Elder, as I have known to be the Caſe oftentimes in the Compaſs of my Acquaintance.
Neigh. My Friend was a good Man, but in the Conduct of his Family, fell into the contrary Extream to what we have been talking of; for being an indulgent fond Father, he, like good old E L I, let his Sons run on, at leaſt uncorrected, if not unreprov'd; [Page 234] till ſome of them not knowing how to manage themſelves under ſo much Lenity, took the Liberty from it to grow upon their Father, and uſe him very ſcurvily upon many Occaſions.
Fa. The old way, I ſuppoſe, of riding upon the ſoft Diſpoſition, and abuſing the Goodneſs of their Father; which ſhould rather have mov'd them, and engag'd them to a return of Duty and Affection.
Neigh. It's very true; they began to treat their Father with the greateſt Slight and Contempt, even to laugh at him when he directed any thing this way or that; and tell him, it was better ſo or ſo, and they would do it their own way.
Fa. They ſaw their Father a Fool, I ſuppoſe, or they would never have gone that Length with him.
Neigh. Their Father was no Fool I aſſure you; nor was it either Ignorance of his Duty, or want of Spirit to make himſelf be obey'd; but his Affection to his Children was his Snare; he had made himſelf their Play-fellow and their Companion, and could nor, bear the thoughts of differing with them, but choſe rather to bear their want of Reſpect to him, till indeed it came up to Indecency.
Fa. You had as good have ſaid, he bore with it ſo long till it was too late to cure it, and they grew paſt his Government.
Neigh. A Child is ſeldom grown ſo old in his Father's Life-time, but a Father may find ſome way or other to reſent his Diſreſpect; and ſo it was here. The youngeſt of theſe two Sons had committed a Fault which was in its Nature provoking, but was made ten times worſe, by giving ſaucy and undutiful Language to his Father when he came to enquire into it: He was but a Youth, and one that ought to have been under Family Government; but he had, it ſeems, a Haunt among ſome ill Company, which his Father had with great Tenderneſs, perſwaded [Page 235] him againſt; Now he had nor only been with them, but had ſtay'd out two Nights together.
Fa. It was high time indeed for his Father to concern himſelf, if it was gone that Length.
Neigh. When he came home, his Father, like old Eli, began calmly with a nay, my Son, but it is no good Report that I hear; I mean, he talk'd kindly and tenderly to the Boy: But he ſoon found reaſon to alter his Tone and his Conduct too; not with the young One only, but with his Eldeſt alſo, who put himſelf into the Broil of his own accord.
Fa. It's often ſo, that when our eldeſt Children grow paſt government, they drag up the reſt after them, who think they may inſult their Parents by the Authority of the Example; and that what a Parent bears from one, he muſt bear from all.
Neigh. Well, I ſhall therefore ſhew you here the Patern of a Father; who tho he had erred in the firſt Part of his Conduct, I mean, in treating his Children too tenderly; yet when he found them abuſe that Tenderneſs, and break the Bounds of their Duty, knew how to reſent it as he ought in the Eldeſt, and to correct it as he ought in the Other.
Fa. Such Examples are as neceſſary as the other; for hitherto, moſt of your Diſcourſe has run pretty much upon the Miſtakes of us that are Parents.
Neigh. I reprov'd thoſe Miſtakes firſt which came firſt before me; but I ſhall give every Side their juſt Meaſure, as far as my Judgment guides. I hope I have ſaid nothing to give Children any Encouragement to inſult their Parents; if you think I have, the following Story will make you full amends.
Fa. Well, pray return to the Story.
Neigh. After he had talk'd kindly to his Son a while, and repreſented to him the Evil Conſequence of ſuch Courſes; he ask'd him, where he had been? The Boy would give no Anſwer a good while to him: [Page 236] His Father told him, he would know where he had been; that he could not anſwer to his Conſcience, the paſſing it over; no, nor to him too, who might hereafter blame him for not ſtrictly enquiring into ſuch Things as thoſe. A great while the Boy was mute, and would not anſwer; till at length his Father, not in a Paſſion, but raiſing his Voice into a higher Tone; Tell me, ſays he, where you have ſpent your Time, for I am reſolv'd I will know. The Boy hearing him ſpeak angrily, inſtead of being moved by it to give an Account of himſelf, as was as his Duty; inſolently anſwer'd his Father, that he would give an Account to no body.
Fa. That was enough to provoke him indeed.
Neigh. No, no, he was not provoked; he acted juſt as I perſwaded you to act with your Child, and as I would have all Parents act with rebellious Children. Say you ſo, William, ſays his Father, is that the Return you make me for all the Kindneſs I have treated you with? Is that your Duty to your Father? I ſhall give you ſome time to conſider of it Child; only remember, I will have an Account of it; that you may depend upon, or elſe you and I ſhall quarrel, and that after a manner as we have not quarrel'd a great many Years.
Fa. This is juſt what you directed me to, and I'll do it if I can; for I allow you, 'tis an extrrordinary Method. But I pray GOD I may never have the Tryal.
Neigh. Well, he had a greater Tryal for his Patience yet; he left his Son, and went away into a Cloſet on the other ſide of the Houſe. But the Door being open, and the young Gentleman making no Secret of their Diſcourſe, he heard his eldeſt Son talking to the young one in a moſt inſolent Manner, encouraging him not to comply with his Father's Demand; and this in ſuch Language as I care not to repeat. This mov'd him exceedingly, both as it was [Page 237] ungrateful, and as it was undutiful; and in particular, it had this effect upon his Reſolutions, (viz.) that he now found by Experience, that he muſt lay by the Fondneſs and pleaſant Part of being a Father, and take upon him the Authority and Juſtice of a Parent; and tho, as he told me, he had great Reluctance in the Beginning, yet he ſaw the Neceſſity of it, and therefore went about it with a Reſolution that was not to be maſter'd, neither by oppoſition or compliance. He took a ſmall Cane in his Hand, with which, if he found there was Occaſion, he intended to correct his younger Son; but reſolv'd to begin with his eldeſt: So he comes gravely into the Room; Very well, ſays he to his eldeſt Son, I find you have been giving your Brother very good Counſel; I am oblig'd to you for talking loud enough to be heard, I could not elſe have known whoſe Door to place the Ruin of the Child at. The Son, far from excuſing himſelf, began to talk ſaucily to him: Look you, ſays he, I will have no dialoguing with you, eſpecially in a Caſe ſo notorious as this; anſwer me only to the Queſtions I ask: How can you have the Face to encourage your Brother in his Rebellion againſt your Father, and in refuſing to give me the juſt Satisfaction I ought to have, of knowing where, and how, and with whom he ſpends his Time? Says the Son impudently, I don't encourage him in any thing, not I. The Father, by way of Queſtion returns; Did not I hear you? I don't care if you did, ſays the Son. Very well, ſays his Father, all Evils are to be beſt cured in their Beginnings and Cauſes; and ſeeing his Rebellion receives its Encouragement from you, and you are his Inſtructor, I muſt begin with you; for I am oblig'd, in Duty to GOD and my Family, to root this wickedneſs out of my Houſe. What you pleaſe, ſays the Son.
Fa. This was a dreadful Dialogue indeed; but [Page 236] [...] [Page 237] [...] [Page 238] had the Father Patience with him, could he keep his Hands off of him all this while?
Neigh. Yes, yes, very eaſily; he never broke his Temper with him at all.
Fa. Well, and what do you think of me? Do you think I could do thus after all the Convictions I have had, and all the Acknowledgements I have made to you that it is my Duty?
Neigh. I don't know that indeed; but I hope you could.
Fa. The Lord grant I may never be try'd! It is impoſſible.
Neigh. No, no, it is not impoſſible; he that you pray to not to be try'd, can, if he thinks fit to try you, give you Moderation and Temper for more than this.
Fa. Well, pray go on.
Neigh. His Father went then on to talk to him of all the Tenderneſs and Kindneſs he had ſhewn him; how he had treated him with ſo much Gentleneſs, and with ſo much Softneſs, as he thought might have engaged his Affection as well as Duty; that this was ſuch a Return as he never could have expected from him, and which for many Reaſons was unſufferable; and that if an immediate End was not put to it, he muſt pretend no more to be Maſter of his own Houſe, or a Father to his Children: His Son, inſtead of falling under the Reproof, began to inſist, that 'twas an unreaſonable. Thing to force the Boy to tell where he was, and if he was the Boy he would not, and ſome other very undutiful Expreſſions. His Father took him up ſhort, and told him, Tho it was rude enough to tell him what he would do if it was his own Caſe, yet as it happen'd now, it was not his own Caſe; that he could not pretend he had any Buſineſs to interpoſe between his Brother and his Father, much leſs to prompt his Brother in his Diſobedience, which he deſerv'd Correction for; and therefore he expected [Page 239] he ſhould go immediately to his Brother, and tell him, that he was in the wrong to adviſe him to ſtand out againſt his Father, and to adviſe him to give an Account of his Ramble, or elſe, ſays his Father, you may aſſure him I ſhall correct him ſeverely for it, and that preſently.
Fa. Well, I hope he could not refuſe this, when he was ſo plainly detected.
Neigh. Quite the contrary: He told his Father he would not trouble himſelf about it.
Fa. Well, that mov'd him, I hope, a little; was he not in a Paſſion then neither?
Neigh. No, not yet; well Child, ſays his Father, come, you are warm now, you are vex'd it may be, that I overhead you, but it cannot be help'd; however, conſider of it, you muſt needs be convinc'd you are in the Wrong, and that it is but juſt you ſhould ſay thus to your Brother, that you may not prompt him in his Folly, and force me to correct him into the Bargain; pray think of it, I'll give you till to morrow Morning. The fooliſh Youth ſtill refractory anſwer'd, He would neither do it now, or to Morrow, nor never, as long as he liv'd. Don't ſay ſo, Child, ſays his Father with the ſame Mildneſs; I tell you, think of it till to Morrow, you will be wiſer when you have conſider'd of it; for you know it is reaſonable; and to let you know I am in earneſt. I tell you poſitively, that I will have it done, that you may depend upon.
Fa. Well, theſe are the Men that are fit to be Fathers; I am ſure I am none of that ſort.
Neigh. The next Morning his Father calls him to him, and ſpeaking ſtill calmly: Well, Son, ſays he, I hope you have conſider'd of what I told you, and ſpoke to your Brother, as I deſired. No, he ſaid, he had not. Well, then, pray go and do it, ſays his
[Page 240] Father. No, he ſaid, he would not, not he; he would not trouble his Head with it: Upon this his Father raiſing his Voice a little, to let him to ſee he was reſolv'd, told him, He thought he would never have treated him thus; and that as he had always uſed him with Diſtinction and Affection, he never expected ſuch a Return as this from him; that tho it was very provoking, yet that he was loth to come to extremity with him; and therefore, once more, deſir'd him to go to his Brother, and to let him know his Duty; letting him know at the ſame Time, that he was reſolv'd to have it done, and uſed theſe Perſwaſions that he might not be forc'd to uſe rougher Meaſures with him. It was all in vain; his Son not only refuſed, but gave him very ſurly, unmannerly and undutiful Anſwers, and in ſpight of all the calmeſt Perſwaſions of his Father, told him flatly he would not. Well, ſays his Father, it is abſolutely neceſſary that the Government and Authority of a Father be maintain'd in my Family, or otherwiſe 'tis no Family, but a lawleſs Company; and if any one will not be under my Laws, they muſt not ſtay within my Dominion; I'll make but few Words with you, for you are not a Child, either do as I command, or remove out of my Houſe. The Son anſwer'd fooliſhly and raſhly, as well as abominably and wickedly, with all his Heart. The Father kept his Temper ſtill, but goes up cloſe to him, and takes him by the Hand, Well Son, ſays he, you have made a ſad Choice, but 'tis your own; ſo he leads him by the Hand to the Door; Once more, ſays his Father, 'tis in your Power either to do your Duty, which I am ſure is juſt in me to expect, and juſt in you to perform, or not do it; either go this way, or that way; for I'll have no Rebels in my Houſe.
Fa. Well, now he began to act the Father. This Part I could have done; but I dare not anſwer for all thoſe cold-blood Things that went before.
[Page 241] Neigh. But they are the Ornament of the Thing, and make the Father's Conduct a moſt excellent Pattern.
Fa. Well, pray what Courſe took the ſtubborn Wretch his Son? The worſt, I warrant you.
Neigh. Yes, raſh like a Youth; he choſe the Ruin rather than the Duty, and boldly went out of his Father's Doors, and his Father himſelf ſhut the Door after him.
Fa. Well, what came of the young One?
Neigh. When he had thus dealt with his Eldeſt, he ſtay'd ſome Time, that the might not be in any Paſſion; and then coming to his younger Son, he told him, he ſhould not now ask him whether he would comply with his Demand or no, having heard what he had ſaid to his elder [Note: It ſeems he had heard the Boy boast to his elder Brother, how his Father had examin'd him; but he neither had, nor would tell him where he had been.] Brother; that he did not come now to make Terms with him, but to correct him for his ſcandalous Behaviour, ſtaying two Nights out of his Houſe, and refuſing to give him an Account of himſelf; and that he would talk with him about where he had been afterwards: He told him, that he had too much Affection for him to ſuffer a Thing that would be ſo certain to ruin both Soul and Body; and that if ever he liv'd to be a Man, he would bleſs GOD, and the Memory of his Father, for having in the ſtricteſt manner imaginable reſtrained his Follies, and [Note: With this he corrected him ſoundly with a ſmall Cane he had in his Hand, till he made him not only tell him where he had been, and with who, but engage ſolemnly never to do the like.] corrected him for them.
Fa. I acknowledge this was all as it ſhould be, and [Page 242] as I ſhould do; and I reſolve to try, if it be poſſible, to imitate him; but, I fear, it is not in my Nature; my Paſſions are not ſo much in my own Government, and, I fear, never will.
Neigh. Well, as long as you are convinc'd this is your Duty, and that this is the beſt Way, I leave the reſt to your Conſcience.
Fa. But pray go on.
Neigh. The Father had this Comfort in having done his Duty, that he ſaw his youngeſt Son perfectly reclaim'd by it, and he never ſtood in need of any more Correction; and his Eldeſt, when he ſaw, his Father in earneſt, and that he was not to be conquer'd, made uſe of the Interceſſion of ſome of their Relations to be let in again, and reconcil'd to his Father, who, a mild, quiet, good humour'd Man, ſoon forgave him; but never till he comply'd, and went to his Brother openly, and acknowledg'd he had given him bad Counſel.
Fa. This Story is fruitful of many good Things; but I ſee nothing that I admire ſo much as how the Softneſs of the Father's Diſpoſition, the Calmneſs of his Temper, his Patience and Moderation could all conſiſt ſo with his Steadineſs to his Reſolution, as well in the Caſe of correcting the youngeſt, as not to abate an Inch to the eldeſt of what he had ſo juſtly made his Duty; I fear I ſhould have given it all up.
Neigh. This proves that our Affection to our Children, and the Expreſſions of it in all the Softneſs and Tenderneſs, that attends the mildeſt Temper, is yet very conſiſtent with, and no obſtruction to the Duty of a ſtrict Reſtraint of their Follies, and a due correcting them when their Obſtinacy makes it neceſſary.
Fa. I wonder how he could do it all, and keep his Temper; that would be my Difficulty.
Neigh. Religion did all that; his Affection to his Children kept him calm, and yet his Zeal for GOD, [Page 243] and his Duty, made him ſteady to his Reſolution: In a word, he durſt not go from it, he durſt not abate a Tittle; to have yielded had been to fortify and harden the Rebellion of his Children, as well againſt GOD as their Father, and thereby to ruin his Family, and ruin the Souls of his Children.
Fa. Well, that is true, and nothing but Religion can do it; without it, every Father will have too much Affection, or too little; too much Paſſion or too little; it can never be.
Neigh. You ſee this good Man did it, and now he has as quiet well-order'd a Family as any Man can deſire; whereas our other Friend Mr. —'s Family has been a meer Bedlam inſtead of a regular well-govern'd Houſe.
Fa. Well, if this Story be at an End, pray go on where you left off.
Neigh. I left off at telling you the Story of Mr. — and how he that was ſo paſſionate, ſo furious, and ungovern'd in the Caſe of his beſt Children, that he even became intollerable to the moſt dutiful, was now become ſo tame, ſo gall-leſs a Creature, to an ungrateful, unthankful Wretch, who deſpis'd him, that he could take nothing amiſs from him, and ſaw nothing amiſs in him.
Fa. That introduc'd this Pattern of a moſt excellent Father, of which you ſpoke laſt, which was indeed juſt the Reverſe of Mr. —, ay, and of me too, and of all furious, paſſionate Fathers.
Neigh. It would offend the Ears of good Men, if I ſhould repeat the common Diſcourſes of this young Fellow, either of, or to his Father; the Servants in the Houſe, Workmen in the Street, Neighbours in the Town cry'd Shame of it; but the Father himſelf, blinded by the violence of his Affection, ſaw none of it; what he did meet with, that ſhock'd him at any Time, he would turn off with a Jeſt, and ſay, Well, [Page 244] he will have more Wit hereafter, and the like.
Fa. It was meet indeed ſuch a Father ſhould make a Jeſt of himſelf, who could ſuffer himſelf to be made a Jeſt by his Children.
Neigh. Such is the ſtupifying Power of a blinded Affection; and yet even this Dotage began in a kind of a Paſſion, as if he had pitch'd upon this Son to revenge himſelf of the reſt. who he pretended had diſoblig'd him.
Fa. It is often ſo, when Mens Paſſions hurry them on ſo violently, either one way or other.
Neigh. In conjunction with this Rebel, his other Son (and the laſt we have to ſpeak of) became a meer Rake, a common Scandal in his Morals, and extravagant to the laſt Degree. The two Sons held together, and became Companions as well in their Vices as in their Behaviour to their Father; and to ſuch a degree of Stupidity did they bring him, that, in a word, they dipp'd deep into his Caſh to ſupport their Extravagancies: The youngeſt had the keeping of his trading Caſh; and it happen'd one Day, that his Father looking over his Caſh-Book, to ſee if there was Money enough to anſwer ſome Payment he had to make, found the Caſh-Book not ballanc'd, or made up, and call'd his younger Son to make it up. His Son put him off for that Time. In a Day or two more he tells his Son he wants ſuch a Sum of Money; his Son tells him he has not ſo much in Bank. No, ſays his Father, how much have you? He anſwer'd him ſurlily, he did not know. Well, ſays his Father, go make it up and let me know. He ſhuffl'd it off a good while, till his Father began to be out of Humour; for he could be angry with him, tho he could not with the eldeſt: However, to be ſhort, the Caſe was, that the eldeſt had confederated with the other ſo far as to get about 600 l. of his Father's Money away, and when it could be conceal'd no longer, he runs away from him.
[Page 245] Fa. What, the Darling run away?
Neigh. Yes, it was he run away; the Youngeſt, tho he was wicked enough, yet had not robb'd his Father or embezzled his Money, and he was left at home to bear the Brunt. But were it poſſible to deſcribe the Extravagance of the Father, when he came to know how he was ſerv'd, it might have its Uſes too, but Words cannot do it. It was to no purpoſe to perſwade him that it was that Son that had wrong'd him; he would have it be all the Trick and Management of the other Son, and was in the greateſt Paſſion with him imaginable. But then his innocent Son, as he would have him thought, was run away, and that admitted no Excuſe; then he would fly out again, and be in a raving Condition, like one diſtracted.
Fa. Six hundred Pound! ſay you, that was a terrible Blow.
Neigh. It was not ſuch a Blow as to wound his Credit, or hurt him in his Buſineſs, his Foundation did not feel it; for he is an old Trader, and is in very good Circumſtances; but the greateſt Shock was this of his Child, as he called him.
Fa. His Rage would abate in ſome Time, as to that.
Neigh. Truly it carry'd him ſo far, that it impair'd his Health; and when the firſt Hurry of it did wear off a little, then it made an Impreſſion upon his Mind, ſunk his Spirits, and he began to be melancholly. In his Family, he carry'd it ſo moroſe, ſo cynical and reſerv'd, that no body could ſpeak to him; he had but one Son left, as is ſaid, and who as I told you, was a worthleſs Wretch at that Time; but however, his Father treated him with ſo much ſeverity upon this Occaſion, that he was not able to bear it. As for the poor Daughter, ſhe had not been turn'd out of Doors, as you may remember [Page 246] I ſaid; but ſhe liv'd ſuch a diſconſolate Life at home, that ſhe was almoſt dead with the Grief of it, having been for ſome time in a deep Conſumption, occaſion'd by the Trouble at her Father's Unkindneſs. His Son tired, as I ſaid, with living ſo ill with his Father, reſolv'd to be gone any where out of the reach of it; and taking his Father one Morning, when he thought he might be ſpoke to, he told him he had a Mind to go to the Eaſt-Indies, naming a Captain of his Father's Acquaintance, and deſired he would give him leave to go with him. His Father told him, very ſhort, Ay, if he would, and from thence to the Weſt-Indies; for he cared not if he never ſaw him more: and added ſome dreadful raſh Words farther, that I do not care to repeat.
Fa. That was a moſt unnatural Anſwer.
Neigh. 'Twas ſuch an Anſwer as was ſuitable to the Temper he was then in.
Fa. Why then he was in no Temper at all.
Neigh. That's true; he was in a conſtant Rage, his Paſſions, like the Sea, had been diſturb'd by a violent Storm, and the Waves continu'd their Motion by the meer Influence of their own Weight, tho the Cauſe was at an end.
Fa. Indeed I think the Paſſions of a Man are very aptly compar'd to the Sea in a Storm; for they do not preſently abate, tho the Storm ceaſes.
Neigh. Such Paſſions as theſe, are of a ſtronger and more violent Nature than others, becauſe they ſink deeper in the Mind, and ſhould be therefore ſhun'd with the greater Care, as they are capable of worſe Events than other Diſturbances of the Mind.
Fa. Well, what ſaid the Son? I ſuppoſe by the Character you gave of him before, he flew away from him, and went abroad, without troubling his Head with his Father; and it may be, abus'd him into the Bargain.
[Page 247] Neigh. No, I aſſure you, quite the contrary. The Anſwer was ſo ſurprizing to the young Man, that as rakiſh as he was thought to be, and as little reſpect as he had for his Father, he ſpoke not one Word; but ſat down, trembled, and was ſo ſtruck with the Horror of it, that he had much Difficulty to keep himſelf from fainting away.
Fa. What ſaid his Father then?
Neigh. He had turn'd away from him, about ſome B [...]neſs, as ſoon as he had given him that Anſwer, and troubled his Head no more about him: But a Maid-Servant in the Houſe ſeeing him look Ill, run to him, and ask'd him what was the Matter, and if he would have any Thing? He was not able to ſpeak to her a good while; but after ſome time, getting Vent to the Oppreſſion of his Spirits, he ſaid, Call my Siſter. When his Siſter came, ſhe immediately gueſs'd there had been ſome Quarrel between her Father and him; and at firſt, ſhe imagin'd her Father had ſtruck him in his Paſſion, and perhaps done him ſome Miſchief; ſo charging the Maid not to ſtir from him, ſhe ran and ferch'd ſomething for him to take, and ſat by him till he was a little better. When he had recover'd a little, he fetch'd a deep Sigh; dear Siſter, ſaid he, what a dreadful Creature have we for a Father! What has GOD's Providence determin'd to do with us all, or to bring us to, that we ſhou'd be brought into the World, under the Government of ſuch a Tyrant? ‘
Siſter. Nay, Brother, do not call my Father a Tyrant; whoever has reaſon to complain, he has always carry'd it well to my Brother and you.
Bro. Carry'd it well! Do you call this carrying well?
Siſt. Why, what is the Matter, Brother, has my Father ſtruck you?
Bro. Struck me! he has ſtabb'd me.
[Page 248] Siſter. You fright me, Brother; what do you mean? Where has he hurt you? Shall I ſend for a Surgeon?
Bro. No, no, don't be frighted; he has not ſtruck me with his Hands, but he has ſtabb'd me to the Heart with his cruel and unnatural Tongue; you know there are Words that are like the Piercing of a Sword.
Siſt. We have had too much ſuch woundings in our Family; the Lord forgive them that are guilty: it is evident, I have had my Death's Wound that way ſome Years ago.
Bro. I was never affected with it till now, I never valued my Father enough to value his Bleſſing; and never troubled my Thoughts about his Curſe before.
Siſter. Why, did he curſe you Brother? ſure that can never be: What had you done to provoke him? What did you ſay to him?
Bro. I'll tell it you Word for Word, and his Anſwer.
He repeats what paſs'd between him and his Father.
Siſt. Dear, Brother, I place it all to the Account of his great Diſorder about my Brother's going away, and he thinks you had a hand in it; you know he doats upon my Brother, even to diſtraction; you muſt bear with him till that is a little over.
Bro. He may doat upon my Brother if he will, I can aſſure him, my Brother does not doat upon him; and if I ſhould give him a Letter which my Brother has ſent me to deliver to him, he would never doat on him more; it is the moſt abuſive Thing ſure that ever Son wrote to a Father.
Siſt. What is my Brother mad? Why, I heard that my Father had written a kind Letter to him, to deſire him to come home again, and that he would forgive what was paſs'd, and receive him kindly.
[Page 249] Bro. It is true; and he has return'd the moſt inſolent, railing, abominable Anſwer that ever you heard of; but I have kept it, and have not deliver'd it, for his own ſake: becauſe, methinks, I would not have him bar the Door for ever againſt himſelf; it may be, he may want his Father again, as ill as he loves him.
Siſt. And have you ſent him Word, that you have done ſo?
Bro. Yes; and he has ſent me ſuch an abuſive, ſcandalous Letter back again, becauſe I have not deliver'd it, as you never ſaw the like; and ſwears he will ſend his Letter to my Father by another Hand, that ſhall be more faithful to him.
Siſt. That ſhall be more unhappily faithful to his Folly and Paſſion, he means; for without doubt, you have been kind and faithful too, to his Intereſt, if he knew what it was.
Bro. This, Siſter, and my Father's Treatment of me, has given me a ſad Heart for ſome Time; I know I have been out of Government, and run into a great many fooliſh and wicked Courſes: the Truth is, my Father's Paſſions made ſuch a terrible Work among us always, that I hated the Houſe; and, like a Fool, to make my ſelf eaſy, run out of one Miſchief into another, and my Brother led me by the Hand into the worſt Courſes; and thus I have ruin'd my ſelf, both Soul and Body.
Siſter. Dear Brother, I hope you are not ruin'd, they run far that never look back; I hope it is not too late to recover your ſelf, GOD can reſtore you whenever he pleaſes; you are but young yet, and may have Time ſpar'd you to repent; I am glad, whatever the Occaſion is, that you had any ſerious Reflections about it.
Bro. Truly Siſter, I have had many ſad Thoughts about it; but what can I do in ſuch a Cloud and [Page 250] Storm of ill Uſage? I wanted to be both out of this, and out of the Way of that wicked Company that had been a Temptation to me: and this was it made me propoſe to my Father a Voyage to the Indies, in hopes, if ever I did come back again, to have been entirely free from both.
Siſt. I hope you may have a Deliverance at a leſs Expence.
Bro. Indeed my Father has effectually ſtop'd my Voyage; for he firſt told me I might go, and then curs'd me if I went.
Siſt. You have then the more reaſon to believe Providence has determin'd better Things for you; have Patience Brother, wait the Iſſues of the divine Government of Things; there are inviſible Hands in all theſe Matters, and in GOD's Time Deliverance will come perhaps in the way that you may not look for it; I have but one Thing to beg of you.
Bro. What's that Siſter?
Siſt. Keep your Reſolution, to abandon what you ſay has been your Temptation; you will be much the better able to ſupport this, that is your Affliction.
Bro. I reſolve, GOD willing, to live quite another Life; my Father has taught me more by his ungovern'd Paſſion, and ill-guided Affection, than ever he taught me by Inſtruction in his Life.
Siſt. Dear Brother, my Father's Weakneſs ſhould be our Affliction; I am ſure it is mine, and may be inſtructing many ways to us: GOD has many ways to teach and bring us to a Senſe of our Duty that we do not think of; natural Affection bids us Pity and Pray for our Father, and yet Duty and the Laws of GOD, bid us learn to avoid the Follies he may be guilty of.
Bro. Indeed Siſter, I never lov'd my Father before; I muſt own, I hated and deſpiſed him always till now; I thought his furious Paſſions were brutiſh and unnatural; his Treatment of us who were his own [Page 251] Children, unreaſonable and unjuſt; that he did not uſe us like Chriſtians, much leſs like Children; and that I was under no Obligations of Duty and Reſpect to him, for that very reaſon. But now I come to ſee this unnatural Carriage of my Brother, I ſee likewiſe my own Follies and Madneſs in other Things; I ſee it in that too, that I ſhould think, becauſe my Father is but a Man and ſubject to violent Paſſions, and perhaps ſuch as I may think Unjuſt, that therefore I muſt be a Beaſt, and withdraw my Affection from him that gave me Being; That becauſe my Father is not a Saint, therefore I muſt be a Devil: My Notion of theſe Things therefore, Siſter, are quite chang'd; I pity my Father's Infirmities, I am ſorry for his Provocations, and love him in a different Manner now from what I underſtood before. On the other hand, I think my Brother's Conduct the moſt to be abhor'd of all that I ever met with; and I doubt not, but he will repent it, with a ſad Heart.
Siſt. I wiſh it may not be too late; for I muſt own to you Brother, ſuch Carriage to our Parents is a Sin that I think is oftner puniſh'd in this World than any other, and is oftner confeſs'd at the Gallows than any where elſe.
Bro. That is true Siſter, and that very thing has not fail'd to lie upon my Thoughts I aſſure you.
Siſt. Indeed Brother, I did not ſpeak with any Thoughts to you; my Brother has gone a length that you never went, and it's evident I cannot reach your Caſe; for GOD be prais'd, you are confeſſing it early; and early Repentance is a peculiar Bleſſing.
Bro. Dear Siſter, there goes a great deal more than moſt People think of to a true and ſincere Repentance; and one thing is, to make Acknowledgment to the Perſons injur'd; I would, with all my Heart, acknowledge all my undutiful, diſreſpectful Carriage to my Father; but he is of ſuch a Temper, that he [Page 252] is not capable to receive ſuch an Acknowledgment; if I ſhould ask him Pardon, he would but Jeſt at it, and ſcorn me, and perhaps refuſe it, and curſe me; I am in ſuch a ſtrait I know not what to do.
Siſt. Why, you ſay you gave my Father no Provocation now.
Bro. No, no, I do not mean this; I have nothing to ask Pardon for in this, for I gave not the leaſt Cauſe of Offence, much leſs did I give any Cauſe for ſuch bitter Words: But I ſpeak of all the formen Part of our Conduct, when my Brother uſed to inſult him, and I too; I am ſenſible it was the wickedeſt Thing I could be able to do, let my Father's Conduct be what it will; and I remember that terrible Scripture with many a terrible Reproach upon my ſelf, Curſed be he that ſetteth light by his Father and Mother: This is what I would ask him Pardon for; but there is no doing it.
Siſt. Well Brother, bleſſed be GOD he will forgive upon Terms on which Men refuſe to forgive: Ask GOD Pardon, and wait the Iſſue of his Provividence, he can turn my Father's Heart, and no doubt will open a Door for you to ſhow the Return of your Duty to him, and bring my Father to be ſenſible of and accept it.
Bro. But Siſter, what ſhall we do about this raſh, fooliſh Creature my Brother? I would fain prevent methinks, his Letter coming to my Father's Hands, as well for his own ſake, for I am ſure my Father will never forgive him; as for my Father's ſake, becauſe it muſt needs grieve and exaſperate him to the laſt Degree; for I know how he loves him.
Siſt. I do not ſee that's poſſible; for if any Letter be left for him, no body dares open it, and there is no knowing it from another: Beſides Brother, why ſhould you deſire it, you know my Father's preſent Diſguſt at you is, that he thinks you have been the [Page 253] Occaſion of my Brother's going away; and it's plain, he had rather you had gone than my Brother a great deal.
Bro. Truly as it happen'd I did not embezzle his Money as t'other did; what I extravagantly ſpent, my Brother ſupply'd me with; had I robb'd him as he has done, I had never had room to have look'd towards home again.
Siſt. No indeed—
Here a Maid comes in and interrupts them, and begs the young Woman to go down Stairs to her Father; for he had received a Letter from ſome body, that had put him into the violenteſt Rage, ſhe was frighted.
Bro. It is as I fear'd, Siſter, 'tis a Letter from my Brother.
Siſt. I dare not go near him, he won't ſee me.
Bro. Nor I dare not go near him, he will fly in my Face.
Maid. I don't know what to do, I never ſee any Man in ſuch a Paſſion in my Life, he tears his Hair off his Head; I muſt call for ſome help in the Street.
Bro. Did you ſee the Letter Mary?
Maid. Yes, Sir, I ſaw it, but I had no time to read far in it; but it begins with calling him all the Names that can be reckon'd up; calls him Fury, Mad-man, unnatural Brute, unworthy the Name of Father, Tyrant, Villain, and I know not what; ſure it can never be from Mr. —.
Siſt. I am afraid it is indeed.
Bro. Yes, yes, I know it is from him, for 'tis the very Language of that Letter he ſent to me to deliver for him, I thank him.
Maid. O dear Sir, but you wou'd not deliver it, I hope.
Bro. No indeed Mary, I had more Reſpect for my Brother as well as for my Father; I would fain have prevented it quite, if I could.
[Page 254] Maid. GOD will bleſs you for it, I hope; ſure, tho my Maſter is a paſſionate Man, none of his Children ſhould uſe him ſo.
Bro. So! Mary; no, let my Father be as paſſionate as he will, his Children ſhould not fail in the leaſt part of their Duty; ſure the Duty of Children is not a conditional Debt, and only to be paid if the Father does his Duty: If my Father omits his Duty, he ſins againſt GOD; but if we don't do our Duty, we ſin againſt GOD too; his Omiſſion does not diſcharge us.
Maid. I am glad to hear you talk ſo, Sir; I wiſh my Maſter heard you too.
Bro. Ay Mary, I wiſh ſo too; but my Father is too much prejudic'd againſt me to hear me, or to believe me, if he did hear me.
Maid. I am call'd Sir, I muſt run.
Some of the Servants call Mary to their Maſter.
Siſt. Bring us word Mary, how my Father does immediately.
’ Their Father had it ſeems received this inſolent Letter, which being from that only One of all his Children that he had ſhewn an extraordinary Affection to, put him out of all Patience; and as is deſcribed, he threw down the Letter, and flew into all the uſual Extravagancies of ungovern'd Paſſion; in a word, it overcame him to that Degree, that it maſter'd all his Reaſon; and in a manner, put him beſides himſelf: No body could come near him; that is, ſo as to ſay any thing to him to paciſy him: ſometimes he wept; ſometimes he rag'd, ſometimes he call'd himſelf a thouſand Fools and Sots for his kind Uſage of his Son; other times would not believe it was his doing, but ſome body had counterfeited his Hand. Between Grief and Anger he made himſelf ſo ill, and was ſo out of Order, that a good, ſober, grave [Page 255] Woman, who was kept in the Houſe to look after his Family, perſwaded him to go to Bed, which at laſt he did. The careful good Creature was ſo concern'd for him, that ſhe would not let any body elſe go to Bed that Night; and ſometimes her ſelf, and ſometimes Mary ſat up in the Room with him. When he had ſlept a while, tho but a diſturb'd uneaſy Sleep, he wak'd, and hearing ſome Body up, he call'd: The ancient Woman came to him, and ask'd how he did; he told her, he was a little better; and finding his Spirits a little more compos'd, ſhe began to talk ſeriouſly to him; firſt, of the Occaſion that was given him, which tho it was injurious and provoking, yet that he had no reaſon to fly into ſuch Exceſſes; that he ought to deſpiſe, and treat his Son as he was, a Rebel and a Thief: That it is true, he had ſhown great Kindneſs to his Son; and that it grieved him, as he was diſappointed in his Affection which he had placed in him, above the reſt of his Children; he turn'd pretty ſhort upon her in that, which ſhew'd, that it was there his Oppreſſion lay. ‘
Fa. So I did, ſaid he, I lov'd him above them all put together: And when they had all carry'd it diſobliging to me, my Comfort was, that I had this Son to pleaſe my ſelf with ſtill; and I thought my ſelf as happy in him, as if I had all the reſt about me.
Wom. I know you did, and there was your Sin: And now it pleaſes GOD to be opening your Eyes, and making that which you plac'd a falſe Delight in, be your real Affliction, that you may ſee you are not a proper Judge of the Object; and perhaps, to lead you back to take Comfort in thoſe you have taken no Comfort in.
Fa. Alas! I have none to take Comfort in now.
Wom. O do not ſay ſo Sir, you have ſober and vertuous Children that you may take Comfort in if you pleaſe.
[Page 256] Fa. Have they not all been undutiful and unkind to the laſt Degree?
Wom. I am perſwaded there is none of them that have been ſo, but would be glad to ask your Pardon, and ſhow you that they are very ſorry for it.
Fa. I ſee no ſign of ſuch a Thing among them.
Wom. Be pleaſed to conſider Sir, there has been failing on every Hand; you have been Paſſionate and your Children are Raſh: but I dare ſay there's not a Child you have, but deteſts and abhors the Treatment you have receiv'd now, and would be very willing to let you know it.
Fa. How can that be? Do any of them ſhow the leaſt Concern for me upon this Occaſion?
Wom. You ſee Sir, how your Paſſion robs you of the Comfort of your Family; do they not all ſhow the greateſt Concern imaginable? There's your Son and Daughter in the Houſe, have been up all Night in the greateſt Concern and Affliction imaginable for you; and if I am not miſinform'd, your Son us'd all the Endeavours poſſible to have prevented this Letter coming to your Hand, and to have perſwaded his Brother againſt it; but in vain.
Fa. I wiſh I were ſure of that.
Wom. You may be ſure of that and a great deal more, if you pleaſe to call Mary and examine her; ſhe is but in the next Room.
Fa. Say you ſo, can Mary tell me? ſhe is a good religious Body, I dare ſay ſhe would not impoſe upon me, call her in.
Mary comes in.
Wom. Mary, pray give your Maſter an Account of the Diſcourſe you had with Mr. James laſt Night, and with your young Miſtreſs.
Fa. Mary, prithee be plain with me, I dare confide in what you ſay; you know James has been Confederate with this Rebel, and has been a wicked profligate Creature as well as he.
[Page 257] Suſ. Yes, Sir; but I aſſure you it is quite otherwiſe now, and I hope and believe he is not only quite alter'd, but a true Penitent.
Fa. How doſt mean alter'd, Mary?
Suſ. Why, Sir, he is reform'd; he has left all his wild Haunts and Company, and in particular I find he is extremely afflicted for his Behaviour to you, and for the Rudeneſs his Brother ſhows you, and endeavour'd to prevent it; for he had this Letter ſent to him to deliver before, and refuſed it, and uſed his utmoſt to perſwade his Brother not to ſend it.
Fa. Art thou certain of this, Mary? Prithee tell me all the Particulars?
Suſ. Yes, Sir, as well as I can.
Mary repeats the Diſcourſe between her and her Maſter's Son, mentioned above.
Fa. Who was by when this Diſcourſe happen'd?
Suſ. Your Daughter, Sir; if you pleaſe to enquire of her, ſhe will give you a larger Account a great deal; for they were talking of it before I came to them.
Mary withdraws.
’ The good Man was touch'd with this Diſcourſe, and it brought Tears into his Eyes; and the good Woman taking this Opportunity, mov'd him to talk with his Daughter; laid before him how hard a Thing it was to carry it ſo ſeverely ſo long together, to a Child that never offended him; and arguing calmly with him the Caſe of his Daughter, prevail'd upon him, to have her come up to him: When ſhe came to his Bed-ſide, he took her in his Arms and kiſs'd her, but could very hardly ſpeak to her, and ſhe much leſs to him for ſome Time; however, at length he told her he deſir'd ſhe would be faithful in one Thing to him. His Daughter told him, ſhe would be faithful to him in every Thing that ever ſhe was entruſted with; that nothing had ever gone ſo near her Heart as having offended him; and that ſhe wanted [Page 258] an Opportunity to ask Pardon in the humbleſt Manner poſſible, for having diſpleaſed him without ſo much as conſidering what Reaſons or Neceſſity ſhe might have for doing it. He found that ſhe could hardly ſpeak for Tears, and therefore very kindly told her, he forgave her; and, my Dear, ſays he, you and I will be better Friends than ever, if you will give me a true and impartial Account of what Diſcourſe your Brother James and you had Yeſterday, what you know of him, with reſpect to the Differences between him and I, and how far he has any Hand in this brutiſh Part your Brother — has acted. ‘
Dau. I will, Sir, with all my Heart, and ſhall be the more glad to do it, becauſe I know it will be ſo much for his Intereſt and for your Satisfaction, that you ſhould know how Things ſtand with my Brother.
Fa. Stand with him, Child! I know how they ſtand with him; he has been not only an ungrateful Rebel to me, but has run out into all manner of Wickedneſs.
Dau. You may hear him ſay all that, Sir, of himſelf, and a great deal more, when you pleaſe.
Fa. What! does he boaſt of his Wickedneſs then?
Dau. No, indeed, Sir, very far from it; he condemns himſelf, and acknowledges his Sin with an unfeign'd Repentance, I verily believe.
Fa. He has treated me very barbarouſly, I am ſure.
Dau. It is one of his Afflictions, that he cannot come to acknowledge his Offences to you, and ask you Forgiveneſs; and I am perſwaded, if you would give him leave, you would ſee no Cauſe to doubt his Sincerity.
Fa. What will he acknowledge? Will he acknowledge his Confederacy with his wicked Brother to rob and inſult me, as you ſee is done?
Dau. He will rather convince you, Sir, that he always abhorr'd and deteſted both; and I know ſo much, as to this abominable Letter, that he did his utmoſt to prevent it.
[Page 259] Here ſhe gives her Father an Account of the Diſcourſe ſhe had with her Brother, except only thoſe Paſſages which mention'd the Paſſion of his Father, and curſing him.
Fa. And is all this true, my Dear?
Dau. Indeed, Sir, it is all true, and a great deal more; I would not deceive you, Sir; it's a Thing of ſuch Conſequence, that it muſt be doubly wicked to give you a wrong Account; I aſſure you, Sir, this is his real Caſe.
Fa. Then, indeed, I am ſorry I ſaid ſome raſh Words to him when he ask'd me leave to go beyond Sea: I ſhall rejoice in his Repentance; he may make up all to me this Way, if he pleaſes, and I may ſtill have a Son to have ſome Comfort in.
Wom. Here the good Woman, that watch'd for all Opportunities to heal if poſſible theſe Breaches in the Family, put her Word in; I hope, Sir, ſaid ſhe, you have other Sons to have Comfort in too.
Fa. And where is your Brother, my Dear?
Dau. He is in his Chamber, Sir; but has been ſo concern'd at this wicked Buſineſs, and the Diſorder it has put you into, that we have had much ado to keep Life in him, and juſt now we perſwaded him to lye down.
Fa. Well, do not wake him.
Dau. No, Sir, he is not aſleep, he cannot ſleep, nor hardly draw his Breath, he is ſo choak'd with Vapours, upon this Buſineſs; I believe, if he could have come at his Brother, he would have been in danger of doing him ſome Miſchief, he is ſo provok'd.
Fa. Well, my Dear, I am ſatisfy'd; go and tell him I rejoice in the Change that GOD has wrought in his Heart; and that I am Friends with him, and that I forgive him all he has done againſt me, without giving him the Difficulty of a Submiſſion.
Dau. I'll carry that Meſſage with great Satisfaction.
She runs out to her Brother.
[Page 260] The good old Woman took this Opportunity of the good Diſpoſition he was in, to repreſent to him how much happier both he and his whole Family would be, in this Chriſtian dutiful engaging Treatment of one another, than in continual Breaches and Diſcontents; and particularly preſs'd him to conſider how ſinful, as well as how miſchievous to his Family, his own violent Paſſions had been, and in particular how far they had conbributed to the Diſaſters of his Family, and the Diſorders of his Children, tho their Diſobedience was to be laid at their own Door alſo. He bore it with much more Temper than ſhe expected; and told her, with great Earneſtneſs, he was very ſenſible, that his ungovern'd Paſſion in the Conduct of his Children, eſpecially when they were young, had laid the Foundation of all the reſt; that it had deſtroy'd the Affection of his Children, and brought them from a filial Fear of diſpleaſing him, to a Slave-like Terror at his being diſpleaſed, which were two very great Extreams. Why, truly, Sir, ſays the pious Woman, if I may be ſo free, and none of your Children being preſent to hear me, I fear it has; and 'tis a hard Matter for Children to think that their Paſſions ſhould have no room in their Conduct, as well as their Parents. And that, as your Son James ſaid very religiouſly, a Father's omitting his Duty gives no Allowance to the Son to fail in his Reſpect: 'Tis true, ſays ſhe, Children ought not to fail in their Duty, on pretence of the Miſcarriages of their Parents; but it is true alſo, that few Children have ſo much Regard to their Parents, or Senſe of their Duty, as to conſider it; and therefore, adds the good Woman, Parents ſhould be very careful that they do not, by their Paſſions, put Excuſes into the Mouths of their Children, and Arguments to reaſon them out of their Duty. [Page 261] Says the Father, I am convinc'd that I laid an early Foundation, in the Education of my Children, to have had them all Rebels, both to GOD and their Father, and now you ſee how they fly in my Face for it. Here the good Woman took an Opportunity to ſpeak to him of his two other Sons; but there being no room for running back too far at that Time, ſhe let it alone for the preſent, but never gave it over, with the Aſſiſtance of their penitent Son, till the Father was reconcil'd to them all; nor did it take up much Time, for ſhe follow'd her Diſcourſe, not only with religious Arguments, but with earneſt Perſwaſions, till ſhe brought him to be very willing to receive them; and ſhe uſed the ſame Earneſtneſs to perſwade the Children, and to convince them that it was their Duty to ſubmit to their Father, tho they were in the right. Thus ſhe happily brought about a perfect Reconciliation, and they are now a very comfortable, pleaſant Family; and I hear ſince, that even that wicked Creature, that uſed his Father ſo ill, has ſent over very penitent Letters from Jamaica, where it ſeems he went, expreſſing his Senſe of his Ingratitude to, and horrid Treatment of his Father, and begging him to forgive him.
First Fa. I have heard your long Story with ſo much Attention and Pleaſure, that it has been very far from being tedious to me; for it has in it not only a full Reproof to my fooliſh Conduct in my Family, but a plain Conviction of the Duty of Children to their Parents, and the indiſpenſable Obligation they are under to Obedience and Reverence, let their Father's Infirmities, Miſcarriages and Miſmanagements, be what they will.
Neigh. This was the End of my telling you this Story, that after having endeavour'd thereby to move Parents not to expoſe the paternal Authority to Contempt, [Page 262] and not to lay before Children the Temptation of contemning their Parents; it might alſo help to convince Children, that, let the Infirmities and ill Management of their Parents be what they will, they can never be diſcharg'd of their Duty to them; their Reverence and Reſpect to their Parents cannot abate, without a horrible Breach upon their Morals and their Conſciences, and without abandoning Humanity and alſo Religion.
Fa. I cannot but obſerve alſo, the excellent Conduct of that good Houſe-keeper, her Faithfulneſs to his Intereſt, her religious Zeal for healing the Breaches of his Family, and her Kindneſs and Concern to bring about a Reconciliation between the Children and their Father.
Neigh. Yes, I took Notice a little how different a Carriage that was from one you know of.
Fa. Mine! I underſtand you; mine is a Firebrand rather than a Peace-maker; my Houſe-keeper is as Paſſionate as I am, and is forwarder to throw Oil than Water into the Flame, when it is kindled: In a Word, ſuch a Woman as yours was, is a Treaſure to a Family, and acts the Tenderneſs of the Mother, without the Relation.
Neigh. Faithful Servants are a Bleſſing to a Houſe, and in ſuch Caſes as theſe, where any of the Heads of the Families are gone, much of the Felicity of a Family depends upon them.
Fa. It is very true; but where are ſuch to be had?
Neigh. There are ſome ſuch in the World, tho very few, and if it were not too long, I could give you ſuch a Relation of a faithful religious Maid-Servant, in a Family where there was no Senſe of Religion, no Fear or Knowledge of GOD, as you have ſcarce ever heard the like.
Fa. Well, and was ſhe not a Bleſſing to the whole Family?
[Page 263] Neigh. Yes, indeed, and that in ſuch a Manner as few Servants ever were; but I muſt confeſs, I believe, if all Servants in ſuch Places did their Duty like her, it would ſpread Religion thro' the World in a ſecret and imperceptible Manner, for ought I know, equal to all other Means that GOD has appointed for it.
Fa. You ſurprize me! How can that be?
Neigh. Becauſe Servants, that tend Children in their firſt ſteping into Knowledge, have infinitely more Advantage than other Teachers to form Idea's in the Minds of the Children of the greateſt and beſt Things, (viz.) Of GOD, Nature, the World, their Duty, and what they ought to do, or not to do; a Word then is more than a Sermon afterwards; The plain little Hints of Things given ſo early, are like ſmall Plants or Seeds depoſited in Nature's beſt Soil, which grow inſenſibly up to maturity, and, I believe I may ſay, are never entirely rooted out of the Mind.
Fa. You ſpeak of a Thing that is the proper Duty of Parents.
Neigh. That's true; but as I ſpeak of a Thing which few Parents do, the Field for pious and religious Servants to act in, is exceeding large.
Fa. Beſides, ſuch Servants often come into Families, where the Parents, or at leaſt one of them, are dead.
Neigh. And to others, where the Parents are Ignorant, and know nothing of it themſelves; either that it is their Duty, or how to perform it.
Fa. Ay, or perhaps if they know both, they are Negligent in the Performance, which I am oblig'd to confeſs has been my Part.
Neigh. In all theſe there is room for ſuch a Servant to act; nay, even where the Parents do beſt, and are moſt careful, ſtill ſuch a Servant is a great Aſſiſtant to bring the Children to ſubject their Minds to Inſtruction, and to liſten to the pious Teachings of their religious Parents.
[Page 264] Fa. Pray let me hear the Story of this Maid-Servant.
Neigh. At our next meeting, I'll tell it you all; but 'tis impoſſible now, we have not Time for it.
Fa. Then I'll meet you to Morrow again on Purpoſe.
Neigh. With all my Heart.
Here they part, and the next Evening met again; when he gives him the long Account which takes up the three following Dialogues.
The End of the Second Dialogue.

2.3. The Third DIALOGUE.

THE Gentlelman having in the foregoing Dialogue, promis'd to give his Friend, at their next Meeting, the Story of a faithful religious Maid-Servant, the Father was very impatient to hear it; and accordingly being met, as by their Appointment, the next Night his Friend began the following Relation, embelliſh'd with a great many uſeful Digreſſions, all fit to be apply'd the ſame Way.

There was a Family, ſays he, in the Out Part of the City, of whom it may be ſaid, they were as odly circumſtanc'd for the Production of any thing proper to this Work, as any Family could be imagin'd to be.

They were of middling Circumſtances as to Wealth, not conſiderably Rich, and yet far from Poor: The Father was of an Employment in one of the publick Offices belonging to Sea-Affairs, which, in the Nature [Page 265] of his Buſineſs, brought abundance of Company continually to his Houſe, and that too, Company of the worſt Sort, as to Sobriety and Modeſty, as well in Words and Geſtures as ordinary Behaviour: This had a very unhappy Effect upon the Behaviour of his Children, made his Daughters bold and forward, and his Sons wicked; and even familiar with Vice, as ſuch ſort of People muſt be.

The Family was as void of Religion, as it is poſſible to ſuppoſe a Family can be in a Country where any thing of Religion is nationally profeſt. Their Converſation was ſo far from being religious, that it was ſcarce Sober; perfectly Prophane and Looſe; nothing of the Practiſe of Religion, no, not ſo much as the Show of it; for either Father or Mother were hardly ever known to go to Church, from one End of the Year to t'other.

The Sabbath-Day was generally among them a Day of Company and Diverſion, and they ſeldom din'd alone; after Dinner the Time was generally ſpent in drinking by the Father, and either in ſleep or walking in the Fields by the Mother and Daughters: Now and then, by accident, or as Company came in and propoſed it, the Children might perhaps go to Church, but very ſeldom.

Their Diſcourſe, as the Converſation of ſuch Families generally is, was a meer Complication of Levity and Vanity, to ſay no worſe; a Collection of ill Language, Oaths, taking the Name of GOD in vain, and all kinds of looſe, leud, and wicked Talk.

They had a Houſe full of Children, having no leſs than four Daughters and five Sons, and they were moſt of them grown up to be near Men and Women, except one Son and one Daughter; the Son was about three or four Years old, and the Daughter ſix; and it can hardly be doubted but the Children were all of them following after their Father and Mother, [Page 266] as faſt as it could be imagin'd Children ſhould, who had no other kind of Education than the wicked Example of their Parents.

The little Son was juſt entring upon the Stage of Life; could talk, and run about and play with Neighbours Children, which came to the Houſe. His Mother caus'd him at firſt to be carry'd to School Morning and Afternoon, rather to be out of the Way, than that they ſuppos'd he could learn much ſo young.

It was a little ſenſible Child for its Age, and many little remarkable Diſcoveries of its being more than ordinarily ſo, were every Day made by its Actions and Diſcourſes; which the Mother, tho a Woman perfectly void of all Capacity of making juſt Obſervations from that Parents, yet, as Parents oftentimes tire us with telling long Stories of the Forwardneſs of their Children, when there's little or nothing extraordinary in them; ſo it was here; his Mother, who was mighty fond of this Boy, was continually telling People one ſimple Story or another of the extraordinary Wit, cunning Queſtions, and apt Anſwers of this Child; tho perhaps, at that Time, little more than what was common. It was one Day, when, upon ſome particular Occaſion, they had an Entertainment of ſome Friends in the Houſe, that after Dinner the Mother was making her ſelf merry with this little Boy's Prattle, and asking him a great many little Queſtions, to divert her ſelf and the Company; and the Boy as inquiſitive as ſhe, ask'd many little Queſtions too, not much to the Purpoſe, but ſufficient to ſet the Mother, and thoſe about it, a laughing, which was all the Mother wanted.

There was a plain, rough, honeſt and ſober Man among the Company, a Captain of a Ship; and he not ſeeing ſo much Jeſt in the Matter as the Woman made of it, the Mother was a little tart upon him, and told him, ſhe ſuppos'd he was none of the fond [Page 267] Fathers: Yes, he was, he ſaid; but he did not ſee the Jest was worth ſo much Laugh. Juſt at that Moment the Child ſaid ſomething, or ask'd the Mother ſome Queſtion or other, that pleas'd the Company mightily. Why, Captain, ſays ſhe, was not that a ſtrange Queſtion for a Child of three Years old? Madam, ſays the Captain, that is not all my Objection; but, if I may be plain with you, methinks the Child asks wiſer Queſtions than its Mother, pray why don't you ask him fitter Queſtions? O dear! ſays the Mother, I ſuppoſe you would have me ask him, who made him: He will learn his Catechiſe when he comes to Church. Says the Captain blantly, If he don't learn it at Church till his Mother carries him thither, it may be late enough. It's no great matter, ſays ſhe (with an Air of Prophaneneſs) whether ever he goes there or no; there's no great loſs in it. Like Mother, like Son, ſays the Captain, jeſting, but yet a little rough, he's in a fair Way to be a hopeful Man with ſuch Educating. He may ſerve, ſays ſhe, for a Sea Captain; he may ſoon have Religion enough for a Tarpaulin. Yes, Madam, replies the Captain; I ſuppoſe you'll teach him to ſwear by the Compaſs. The Boy look'd earneſtly upon the Captain, while he was ſpeaking, and without any Heſitation, ſays very gravely to him, I won't ſwear. The Captain was affected with what the Child ſaid, and particularly with the Manner of his ſpeaking of it; for on a ſuddain the Child turn'd from his Mirth, and look'd as ſerious and ſurly as could be; and the Captain asking him, What do you ſay, my Dear; he anſwer'd again as gravely, I won't ſwear; and look'd as if he was near crying; but the Mother carry'd it all off with Rallery and Jeſt at the Captain. Now Madam, ſays the Captain, there's more in that one Word the Child ſaid, and his Way of ſpeaking it, than in all that you have laught ſo much at. How fooliſh it is to talk ſo to Children! ſays his [Page 268] Mother, why you'll make the Child cry, Captain; what do you mean? I ſhan't make the Child cry, ſays he, but the Child almoſt makes me cry; it's pity that Child ſhould not be taught; it grieves me for him: She banter'd him ſtill, O you are ſo religious ſays ſhe, now you are on Shore, I warrant, when you are at Sea, you can thunder like a North Wind; what would you have me teach him at this Age? I'll venture a Wager, ſays the Captain, if you ask him who made him, he does not know. Come, ſays ſhe, you ſhall ſee I'll try him, My Dear, ſays the brutiſh Wretch to the Child, (pointing to a little Kitten that he had been playing with) Who made that Cat? The Boy had taken in ſome little Idea's ſuitable to himſelf, from what the Captain had ſaid, and had been very attentive to him; and when his Mother ask'd him that Queſtion, ſtair'd at her as if he had been frighted: What ails the Child, ſays the Mother? Nay, what ails his Mother, ſays the Captain? I never heard any thing ſo abominable in my Life; upon this, the Child fell a crying. The Mother, far from being touch'd with any reflex Thought upon what ſhe had ſaid, fell to work to quiet the Child; but ſtill bantering the Captain with the ridiculous Stuff, as ſhe call'd it, of talking ſo to Children, and asking them ſuch Queſtions as they underſtood nothing of: Well, well, ſays he, you have ask'd him a wiſer Queſtion than any of them, and I think the Child has anſwer'd you as well. Nay, ſays ſhe, he has not anſwer'd me at all. Not anſwer'd you! ſays the Captain, I think he has effectually anſwer'd. Why, ſays ſhe, he did nothing but cry. Well, and what do you think he cry'd for, ſays the Captain? Nay, what do I know? ſays the Mother; you made him cry, I think: No, no, Madam, ſays the Captain, he cry'd to hear his Mother talk ſo prophanely. Was that it, ſays ſhe, think you? You ſhall ſee, I'll ask him again and he [Page 269] won't cry, and that will prove you are miſtaken. If you ask him ſuch a vile Queſtion again, ſays the Captain very warmly, I am ſatisfy'd he will cry again, or GOD will put ſome Words in the Infant's Mouth to anſwer you; for out of the Mouths of ſuch as theſe he has ordain'd Praiſe. Nay, ſays ſhe, not at all touch'd ſtill, if you come to propheſy, Captain, we have an opportunity to know whether you are a falſe Prophet or a true. I don't Propheſy, ſays he, but I hope he will. I'll try your Gift, ſays ſhe, and impudently ask'd the Child again, who made that Cat? The Boy did not cry, but ſaid nothing. The Captain look'd ſteadily on the Child, and the Child look'd ſteadily on its Mother. Now, Captain, ſays ſhe, where's your Gift of Propheſy? You ſee he don't cry, nor he don't ſpeak; why don't you anſwer me JACKY? ſays the Mother. Let him alone, ſays the Captain, he is big with it, he will bring out ſomething preſently: The Child heſitated two or three Times, and then looking up in his Mother's Face, ſays he, very gravely, Who made you, Mother? The Captain pulling off his Hat, ‘'Bleſſed be GOD, ſays he aloud, that has not left himſelf without a Witneſs againſt his Enemies, even in the Mouths that are not yet open'd.’

This Diſcourſe, as it may be well ſuppos'd, put all the reſt of the Company to a little ſtand, and the Mirth ceas'd with every Body but the Mother: But ſhe having not the leaſt Impreſſion made upon her, turn'd it all into Jeſt and Banter; and ſo the Converſation chang'd for a while, and the Captain entertain'd himſelf with the reſt of the Company. It happen'd, he fell into Talk with a Gentlewoman, who was a Relation to the Family, who he found was much ſoberer than the reſt of the Company, and very religious; and they had not been long in Diſcourſe, but the Gentlewoman took Notice of his Battle with the Mother of the Child, and told him, ſhe thought [Page 270] what he ſaid was very juſt, and ſhe wondred that her Couſin was not ſtartled at what the Child had anſwer'd; for, ſays ſhe, it was very ſurprizing. Alas! Madam, ſays the Captain, ſhe is paſs'd all that, and it is impoſſible ſhe ſhould be mov'd by any thing, till he that made the Child ſpeak, ſpeaks to her: But, ſays he, there is certainly ſomething extraordinary in that Child; and if it had pleaſed GOD it had been born in a religious Family, I dare ſay it would have been a very religious good Child. Well Sir, ſays ſhe, but I hope you do not confine the Grace of GOD; there may be a Principle founded in the Heart of the Child, I hope, by inviſible Grace, without the Agency of Parents one way or other. That's true, ſays the Captain, ſhaking his Head, but how ſhall it work! againſt Education, againſt Example, without Inſtruction, without Reproof, without Encouragement. O, Sir, ſays ſhe, I do not ſay but the outward Helps are all wanting here: but we muſt not confine the Work of the Spirit of GOD to Means only; that would be, to own Religion to be only the Profeſſion of our Education, whereas that Wind bloweth where it liſteth. The Captain was greatly ſurpriz'd to find a Perſon of ſuch Judgment in religious Things in ſuch Company, where indeed he did not expect it; and was very deſirous to enter into farther Diſcourſe with her, about the Child and its Mother: And being retired to a Corner of the Room, he entred into a very cloſe Diſcourſe with her about it: He told her, that he was greatly mov'd at what the Child had ſaid; That he knew little of its Mother, having only come into the Family as his Buſineſs called him there. But you, Madam, ſays he, that I perceive are related to the Family, for they call you Couſin; and as I find, have a Senſe of Religion upon your Mind; methinks you cannot be without ſome Concern for this poor Lamb, which is to be brought up on the [Page 271] very Borders of Hell, as I may call it. Indeed, Sir, ſays ſhe, I have had many a ſad Thought about him. The Child has ſomething extraordinary in him, and that more than you have had Opportunity to obſerve.

Capt. Nay, Madam, I ſpeak but juſt from what has happen'd now; for tho you ſee I have been very plain with its Mother, I never had ſo much Diſcourſe with her before.
Couſin. I think ſhe gave you a great deal of Reaſon to be plain with her.
Capt. Nay I flatter no body, not I; eſpecially, where Things of ſuch a Nature happen to be diſcours'd of; I think there is no room for it then.
Couſ. She is a horrid Creature for ſuch Things, ſhe deſpiſes all Religion, and every Thing belonging to it.
Capt. And pray how are the reſt of the Children?
Couſ. All alike; how ſhould they be any otherwiſe? You know what the Father is, I ſuppoſe; and you have had a Specimen of the Mother; and by them you may take the Character of all the Family, except this little Baby, which hardly knows its Right Hand from its Left; and indeed how ſhould they be otherwiſe?
Capt. Nay, Madam, you hinted juſt now how it might be otherwiſe.
Couſ. That's true, the eſpecial Grace of GOD may make a Difference, but it is not often ſo; and I am ſure there is nothing of it appears here.
Capt. But you except this Child, Madam; I think verily there is ſomething more than common in that Child.
Couſ. You would ſay ſo indeed, if you had heard ſome Paſſages that I have heard in the Family; there is ſcarce a Day paſſes but they meet with ſome ſeaſonable, ſome ſtrange, and ſome ſurprizing Reproof from that Child.
[Page 272] Capt. And does it make no Impreſſion upon them?
Couſ. Not at all; there is not ſure ſuch a Family of Atheiſts, and Heathens, and Drunkards in the Nation.
Capt. What do they take no Notice of it at all?
Couſ. Yes, they make a Jeſt of him, tell him he ſhall be a Parſon, and call him the Doctor; nay, his Mother in a meer Frolick, had a little Gown and Caſſock made for him on purpoſe the other Day, and dreſs'd the poor Child up in it; you never ſaw a little Creature look ſo pretty and ſo grave in your Life; if I ſpeak but a Word to her, you ſhall ſee her dreſs him up in it preſently.
Capt. Pray do, for I think he may ſerve for a Preacher to all the Family.
Couſ. With all my Heart, for I think ſo too; and particularly, one Time I was here about half a Year ago, there was a Paſſage, which if you pleaſe, I'll relate to you.
She calls out to her Couſin, Hark ye, Couſin, ſays ſhe, pray will you dreſs up the Doctor in his Habit; and ſhe ſays, Ay, ay, ſhe will.
Capt. I ſhall be very glad to hear it.
Couſ. It was enough to have mov'd a Stone; I think any Thing in the World but his Mother would have been ſurpriz'd at it.
Capt. She may have Time enough ſtill to reflect on theſe Things.
Couſ. We were all ſitting by the Fire, and very merry; the Child was at Play at his Mother's Knee, and my Couſin was taken ſuddenly Ill with the Cholick in her Stomach; ſo I took the Child away, and he ſtood by me a while: her Diſtemper was not very violent at firſt, tho afterwards it encreaſed: but every now and then the Cholick ſurpriz'd her with ſharp, ſhooting, ſudden Pains, like a Stich in the Side; and whenever it did ſo, ſhe would, as is the [Page 273] profane way of ſuch People, cry out, O GOD! The Child ſtood, as I ſaid, at my Knee very mute, ſeeing his Mother not well, and continu'd ſo a good while; and the Mother continuing ill, frequently repeated the Expreſſion as above. At laſt the Child goes of its own Accord from me to its Mother's Knee, and ſtands ſtill looking ſteadily up in its Mother's Face: Says the Mother, what's the Matter Jacky? what do you look up at me ſo for? are not you ſorry your Mamma is not well? The Child made her no Anſwer at all. She ask'd him again, and again, three or four Times, but 'twas all one, he would not ſpeak a Word. She would have been angry with him for not anſwering, but the Cholick interrupted her, and a Stitch or Pain ſhooting in her Side as before, ſhe clap'd her Hand to her Side, and cries out again O GOD. The Child, as if it had waited for the Occaſion, look'd up gravely in her Face again, and ſays Mamma, Who is O GOD, Mamma?
Capt. O dear! O dear! what could the profane Creature ſay to him?
Couſ. It was ſuch a ſurprize to me that I never met with the like, but 'twas nothing at all to her.
Capt. Was none of the Family by but you?
Couſ. Yes, two of the Daughters were there, and one of them was ſtruck a little and look'd up at me, but ſaid nothing; her Mother's Illneſs prevented it at that Time.
Capt. Well, but what ſaid the Mother to him?
Couſ. She ſaid nothing juſt then, ſhe was ſo ill; but you know Children are not eaſily ſilenc'd, they will have their Queſtions anſwer'd, and ſo the Boy ask'd her again and again: She put him by, and bid him be quiet, for ſhe was not well; but it wou'dnot do, he wou'd know who it was: She put him off again, and told him 'twas No Body.
[Page 274] Capt. That was true enough, tho not in the Senſe of the Queſtion.
Couſ. However, it would not do with the Boy; he reiz'd his Mother for an Anſwer, and I ſaw ſhe was a little perplex'd with it; ſo I took the Child away, and ſet him in my Lap, and to divert him, I ask'd him, who he thought it was? The Boy anſwer'd me, it was the Doctor. And why the Doctor, Jack, ſaid I: Becauſe his Mother, he ſaid, call'd him to come and cure her. I ask'd him, how he knew that? he ſaid, becauſe ſhe call'd for him when ſomething hurt her.
Capt. But I ſuppoſe you took the Occaſion to tell him who GOD was?
Couſ. Truly, there was no Room for it, without telling him, that his Mother was a wicked, wretched Creature, and uſed the Word prophanely; or elſe letting him think there was no Harm in it; and I was in ſome Strait what to do; but I let him alone a while, and turn'd my Diſcourſe to the Daughter, who, I obſerv'd took Notice of what he had ſaid: Says I to her, we ſee what need we have to be cautious what we ſay before Children, tho they are never ſo little.
Capt. But it's like ſhe took as little Notice of it as the reſt.
Couſ. I can't ſay but it ſeem'd to make more Impreſſion upon her than upon any of the reſt, at that Time; but it went off again: For if ſuch Things would have any Effect upon them, they meet with them every Day from this little Creature: What it is in the Child, or whence it comes, I cannot pretend to ſay; for I know the Family is ſo perfectly Graceleſs, and void even of the leaſt Show of Religion, that I am confident the Child never had a Word of good ſpoke to it, or a Word of who made him, ſaid in its hearing (till within theſe two Months), ſince it was able to ſpeak.
Capt. It is an eminent Inſtance of that diſtinguiſhing [Page 275] Grace, of which you were ſpeaking, Madam, who ſingles out the Object of Mercy where-ever he pleaſes; and it is a Teſtimony to the Divine Original of Religion, that it is not the Effect of Prieſtcraft, or of the Prejudices of Education; clamour'd into our Heads by Nurſes, and whipt into us by School-miſtreſſes, Mothers and Pedagogues while we are little, and then whin'd into us by the Parſons, as we grow up: That it is not owing to the Mechaniſm of the Spirit, working by the Artifice of Words upon the Senſes and Paſſions; but that a religious Awe of GOD, a religious Abhorrence of Evil, and a religious Rectitude of the Deſires and Affections may be, and oftentimes is, wrought in the Mind, not only where no Example, Inſtruction, or other Prepoſſeſſion intervenes to attach the Mind; but even in oppoſition of the evil Examples of Parents and Inſtructors.
Couſ. Sir, if I was able to tell you one half of the ſtrange and unaccountable Things, which happen every Day in the Family, from the ſurprizing Tongue of this little Creature, you would make a much better uſe of it than I can do; and yet 'tis but a little while ago, that, to my Knowledge, it had never known who made him, or what it was to ſay bad Words, or indeed that any thing was wicked, and ſhould not be done; and even then it had none of it from any of its Family, or Relations.
Capt. Who was ſo kind to the Child, to do ſo much for it?
Couſ. Truly a poor Maid-Servant, that they providentially, no doubt, took into the Houſe to tend it; and that dreſſes, undreſſes it, and lyes with it; you ſaw her there juſt now; ſhe is a good ſober Wench, and a very good Chriſtian; ſhe has done it all.
Capt. She has but a ſorry Chance of it, to be plac'd in ſuch a Family.
[Page 276] Couſ. I verily think Providence caſt her Lot here, for the Sake of this Child; for ſhe is better than Father or Mother to it, nay, indeed, than all its Relations; but all the Houſe hates her for it.
Capt. What does ſhe do to the Child?
Couſ. She teaches it to read; ſhe is always a talking gravely to it; ſhe has told it a great many religious Things, ſuch as the little Creatures Thoughts are capable of working upon; and particularly, that it is a wicked, dreadful Thing to ſwear, and take GOD's, Name in vain; from which, as you may obſerve, when you ſpoke juſt now of his learning to Swear, the Child was affronted; Did not you ſee how ſurly he was, and how angrily he ſpoke to you, and ſaid, I won't Swear?
Capt. Yes, I did, and it was very pleaſant to me, to take Notice of it.
Couſ. We had a very pleaſant Paſſage with him about that, the other Day: This honest Maid had been talking to him, it ſeems, about ſpeaking bad Words, and how wicked they were that took GOD's Name in vain, and mingled their Diſcourſe with Swearing and Curſing: The Boy too had ask'd abundance of pretty little innocent Queſtions of her, and ſhe was ſtill, buſy with him, talking to him of theſe. Things all the while ſhe was dreſſing him; when there came in two or three Gentlemen, I think they were Lieutenants of a Man of War, or ſuch ſort of People, to dine with her Maſter; and walking to and again in the Room where ſhe was, they diverted themſelves with talking to the little Boy, and to the Maid; but mingled their Words ſo continually with horrid Oaths, Curſing, and Damning, that the poor. Wench had no Patience with them; however, to keep her Diſtance, and reprove them with good Manners, ſhe ſet the Child to work to talk to them.
Capt. She's no Fool, I'll warrant her.
[Page 277] Couſ. No, indeed; but ſhe is a very good, ſober Wench too, which is worth all the reſt.
Capt. Well, and pray how did ſhe order it?
Couſ. She did it prettily enough, and ſo as not to offend them neither: They ask'd the Child ſome Queſtion or other, but ſwore ſo terribly, even while they were ſpeaking to the Child, that the Boy hardly knew what to make of it. The good Girl took the Opportunity, and ſaid, but very modeſtly, O! Gentlemen, you Swear ſo, you fright the Child. Hang him, a young Dog, ſays one of them, fright him! he hears his Father and Mother ſwear as faſt as we do every Day; ſo he turns to the Boy again, Come Jack, ſays he, why don't you anſwer me? Says the Maid, ſpeaking to the Child, Tell 'em you will, my Dear, if they won't Swear; and they fall a ſwearing the worſe for that: Says the Maid to the Child again, Ask 'em where they have been, my Dear; ſo the Boy ask'd 'em where they had been? Where have we been, ſays one of them, we have been all very honeſtly at Church; it ſeems it was Sabbath-Day. Says the Wench, Ask 'em, my Dear, if they went to Chuch to learn to ſwear? The Boy ask'd them exactly as the Maid bid him. Yes, Sir, ſays one of them, perhaps we did, and what's that to your little Rogueſhip? and ſo jeſted and laught and talk'd to the Boy, till other Company coming in, took them off.
Capt. The Maid manag'd 'em very handſomely.
Couſ. But this is not the Paſſage I am telling you the Story for; in the Afternoon ſome Body either ask'd the Boy to go to Church, or talk'd of carrying the Boy to Church, and he overheard them; but the Boy falls a crying moſt vehemently, and it was a long Time e're they could get it out of him why he cry'd; at laſt the Maid quieting him by degrees, and asking him what ail'd him, he ſaid, He would not go to Church! His Mother coming to him, and hearing [Page 278] him ſay that, No, no, you ſhan't go to Church my Dear, ſays ſhe; what would they carry the Child to Church for, ſays ſhe? He was never there ſince he was chriſten'd, and I know no Buſineſs he has there again till he is to be bury'd.
Capt. She is one of the horrid'ſt Creatures that ever I heard of.
Couſ. Or that ever was in the World, to be ſure.
Capt. Well, but what was the Reaſon he would not go to Church?
Couſ. Why, no Body ask'd him a good while about that, till after he was quiet and merry again; and then jeſting with him, his Mother call'd him and ask'd him what was the Reaſon he would not go to Church? He grew ſerious and grave upon her Queſtion, and would not ſpeak a great while; at laſt he told her, he would not learn to Swear. They were all ſurpriz'd at the Boy's Anſwer, and could not imagine what it meant: Why, Sirrah, ſays his Mother, do Folks learn to ſwear at Church? Yes, he ſaid, they did; and he would not go to Church; the Maid preſently recollected the Paſſage, and told the Story. They did but jeſt; my Dear, ſays the Mother, they don't learn to ſwear at Church; but all would not do, the Boy did not ſee the Jeſt, he took them at their Words; and his Mother was very indifferent as to perſwading him, and ſo it paſs'd on.
Capt. But I ſuppoſe the Maid inſtructed him better after?
Couſ. Yes, ſhe did; but to this Day, if thoſe Gentlemen come to the Houſe, he won't come into the Room where they are; and if his Mother, or any of his Siſters take GOD's Name in vain, if the Boy be never ſo merry, he will turn grave and ſurly, and ſhew his Diſguſt; and if they do it again, as ſometimes the wicked Creatures will do it on purpoſe to angry him; if it is his Mother, he will cry; if it be [Page 279] his Siſters, he will fly at them, and tear their Laces and Headcloths, and any thing he can come at; and if it be any of his Brothers, he will ſpit at them.
Capt. Theſe Things are only diverting to them; I perceive; but, I aſſure you, they are very inſtructing to me; what great pity it is that ſome well-enclin'd capable Perſon does not get this Child out of the wretched Family? It would be a great Act of Charity; for doubtleſs Charity to the Soul, is the higheſt Degree of Charity in the World.
Couſ. There's no doing it; who can take a Child from its own Father and Mother? They are not Poor, and ſo they do not want to have it kept; if they were, I would have took it away long ago.
Capt. It's great pity ſuch a Child ſhould be ruin'd.
Couſ. Never fear it, Sir; I am perſwaded the Work in the Child's Heart is from GOD, and he will carry it on; ſuch as he takes up never want a Father; he that ſent this poor honeſt Servant hither, will always find Tutors for One that he will have taught: Who ever lives to ſee that Child a Man; will I dare ſay ſee him ſuch a Man as never was ſeen in ſuch a Family.
Capt. Can't you contrive that I may ſpeak with that Maid?
Couſ. Yes, Sir, I believe I could; but may I ask you what you would ſpeak with her about? I hope you will not mention the Diſcourſe we have had.
Capt. No, indeed; but I would hire her.
Couſ. Hire her, Sir! I hope you would not do any Thing ſo unjuſt, as to draw her away from her Miſtreſs; you know we are not to covet our Neighbour's Servant in particular; beſides, I would not do the poor Child ſuch a Prejudice on any Account whatever: Alas! Sir, what have we been talking of, if this Servant was ſent of GOD to do good to this Child, will you take her away?
[Page 280] Capt. No, Madam, by no means, you do not underſtand me right; her Miſtreſs ſhall have her ſtill for her ordinary Buſineſs; I'd hire her for GOD.
Couſ. I underſtand you; I'll call her as ſoon as ſhe comes into the Room.
Capt. There ſhe comes.
Couſ. I'll call her; Margy, Margy.
The Maid paſs'd by with the Child in her Arms to go to her Miſtreſs, and ſhe calls her.
Marg. Madam.
Couſ. Come hither, Margy.
Marg. I'll but carry little Maſter to his Mother, and I'll wait on you, Madam.
Margy returns.
Couſ. This Gentleman wants to ſpeak with you, Margy.
Capt. Margaret, are you hir'd to look after that little Boy?
Marg. Yes, Sir.
Capt. And do you do it as it ſhou'd be done?
Marg. I do it as well as I can, Sir; but my Miſtreſs makes me do a deal of other Work, which makes me I cannot tend him ſo well as I would.
Capt. But do you look after him Soul and Body, Margaret?
Marg. I am not his Mother, Sir; my Buſineſs is to dreſs him and undreſs him, and to tend him Night and Day.
Capt. Then you was not hir'd to look after him, Soul and Body?
Marg. No, indeed Sir, I am ill qualify'd for that Part.
Capt. But who does take care of his Soul then? what, no Body! that's a ſad Thing, Margaret.
Marg. Truly Sir, that Work is ſorrily done in this Family; I am ſorry for it, but Madam there knows how 'tis; I never heard a Word of GOD in the Family in my Life.
[Page 281] Capt. I know it very well, Child, and therefore I have a mind to hire you to a new Maſter.
Marg. Sir I am in Place here, and, except what I was ſaying, I have no Fault to find with my Buſineſs, Sir, and I cannot fairly leave my Miſtreſs's Service.
Capt. Why, look you, Margaret; I'll hire you to a very good Maſter.
Marg. I thank you, Sir, I don't queſtion that; but I am loath to leave my little Maſter too; 'tis a ſweet Baby, and I love it very dearly.
Capt. Well, Margaret, you ſhall not leave your Child, nor your Miſtreſs neither, and yet you ſhall do all the Work I'll hire you for too.
Marg. I do not underſtand how that can be, Sir; if you pleaſe to explain it.
Capt. Here, Margaret, I give you Earneſt, I hire you for GOD; and your Buſineſs for this Money ſhall be, that you ſhall take care, in his Name, of the Soul of this Child, as far as lies in your Power, Margaret.
He puts two pieces of Gold in her Hand.
Marg. You terrify me, Sir; alas, I am not fit to take ſuch a Charge upon me.
Capt. I ſay only as far as lies in your Power, Margaret; don't be afraid to do your Endeavour.
Marg. That's my Duty, Sir, and I hope I ſhall do what I can; but I am but a poor ignorant Servant-Maid, what can I do?
Capt. I'll tell you what you ſhall do, Margaret; you ſee the poor Lamb has neither Teaching nor Example; it knows nothing of GOD, or of it ſelf, or of what is Good, or what Evil; what to do, and what not to do; and yet you ſee, Margaret, that the little Creature has ſomething extraordinary in it ſelf, even without teaching.
Marg. To be ſure, Sir, there never was ſuch a Child in the World.
Capt. Well, Margaret, I know it is ſo; and I believe [Page 282] it is from the Hand of GOD upon him; and that Providence has determin'd ſome thing extraordinary about him; and tho I am a perfect Stranger to them all, yet I cannot but be concern'd, that outward Helps may not be wanting; I have heard what you have done already, and I do this to encourage you to go on.
Marg. I have done as much as I could do, if he were my own, Sir; but he will learn any thing faſter than I can teach him.
Capt. Well, Margaret, do you but go on within your own Reach; teach him to know and reverence GOD that made him; teach him to hate Evil, and to avoid the little firſt Sins of Children; teach him all that your Reaſon and Senſe of Duty ſhall direct you.
Marg. I'll do my Endeavour, Sir; and I think it is every Servant's Duty to do what you ſay.
Capt. I know you will make Conſcience of doing it, Margaret; and remember GOD will require the Soul of this Child at your Hand: I have hir'd you for GOD you ſee, and you have taken his Wages; look you do your Duty.
Margaret trembles and looks pale, and the Tears run out of her Eyes.
Marg. Sir, I beg of you take your Money again, I am dreadfully frighted.
Capt. No, no, Margaret, do not be frighted; you have a Maſter now that will enable you to do all that he expects from you: I told you I would hire you to a good Maſter, and if you do but your Endeavour, Margaret, he will both bleſs your Deſires, and ſucceed your Endeavours, and therefore don't be diſcouraged, Margaret; if ever this Child lives to be a Man, he will both Honour and Reward you for it.
Marg. I will do what I can, Sir; but pray do not expect great Things of me; for as ſoon as this poor [Page 283] Lamb comes to be a little bigger, he will fall into ſuch dreadful Hands, Sir, and have his Ears ſo continually crouded with abominable Words, and have ſuch ſad Examples before him, that it is impoſſible, Sir, but he muſt be ruin'd.
Couſ. No, Margaret, don't ſay 'tis impoſſible, that Child cannot be ruin'd.
Marg. Truly, Madam, it is next to impoſſible; a Child brought up in ſuch a Family, ſeems to be brought up for the Devil; for my Part, it grieves me ſo for the poor innocent Lamb, that I think verily I ſhall break my Heart for him.
Capt. NO, Margaret, you ſhall not break your Heart about him; but it ſhall be the Comfort of your Heart hereafter, that you were ſent into this Family for a Bleſſing to this Child; and this Child ſhall, with your help, be a Reproof to the whole Family.
Marg. I have often thought, Sir, if it had been lawful, I would have run away with him; tho I had begg'd with him at my Back, or work'd for him as long as I had liv'd, ſo I might but have carry'd him out of this dreadful Houſe, where he is ſure to be ruin'd Soul and Body.
Capt. No, Margaret, you ſhall have no need to do that; do you but do your Part, and inſtruct him privately and early, I tell you the Wickedneſs of the Family ſhall have no power over him; he ſhall rather be an Inſtrument to reclaim them.
Marg. I wiſh it were in your Power, Sir, to prevent it, I perceive you have Good-will enough for it; but you diſcourage me a little, Sir, in being ſo poſitive.
Capt. Why does that diſcourage thee, Margaret; I think it ſhould be quite the contrary?
Marg. Becauſe, Sir, I think you cannot be ſure of the Thing, tho you affirm it ſo poſitively: I hope you will pardon me, Sir, we may be too raſh in ſpeaking, [Page 284] tho we mean well, where there is no immediat Knowledge of the Thing.
Capt. Well, Margaret, you ſay true, and I acknowledge I am no Prophet; but it is true, I am very warm for this Child: I think GOD has diſcover'd viſibly that he has ſome extraordinary Work in ſtore for him, and I believe it; let us not diſpute the reſt, do you do your Duty, Margaret, and lay up theſe Things in your Heart: I am a going a long Voyage, and if I live to return, I will enquire of you, and expect from you, what Obſervations you ſhall have made upon this quarter of an Hour's Diſcourſe.
Marg. I will give you the beſt Account I can, Sir.
Couſ. Pray go and fetch little Jacky to me.
Margaret goes away to fetch the Child, and brings him dreſs'd up in a little Gown and Caſſock, a Band, Scarf, a Circingle, and every way dreſs'd in the complete Habit of a Clergy-man.
Marg: Here, Sir, is my little Maſter; I think they don't call him Doctor for Nothing.
Capt. What does his Mother mean by this Jeſt? Does ſhe intend the Child for a Clergy-man?
Couſ. I dare ſay ſhe would as ſoon breed him up to be a Chimney-Sweeper; ſhe has an Averſion to the Employment, and abuſes all the Miniſters of every Sort, as if they were the Scum of the Earth.
Capt. It is no wonder, that they that have no Taſte of Goſpel-Truths ſhould have no Reſpect for Goſpel-Miniſters: They that ſcorn the Meſſage, will hate the Meſſengers.
Marg. I'm ſorry to ſee my Miſtreſs is ſuch an Enemy to all that is good; I believe ſhe has made this Habit for my little Maſter in deriſion; but I'm perſwaded he will be a Miniſter ſome time or other.
Capt. Why do you think ſo, Margaret?
Marg. Why, Sir, I am but a ſilly Creature; but [Page 285] I'll tell you a Paſſage of my obſervation, and the Occaſion of it: I have taught my little Maſter to know his Letters, and ſpell a little, as well as I could out of my own Bible; for they have given him neither Horn-book or Primmer; and one Day, when they had dreſs'd him up in this new Habit, and made as much Game with him as they thought fit, they ſent him up to me to undreſs him: I happen'd to have a little Time, and I ſaid to him, Come, my Dear, will you ſay your Book now? Yes, Margy, ſays he, ſo he calls me: So I took down the Book, and went to look the Place where I us'd to teach him; but the Book opening accidentally at another Place, the Child claps both his Hands upon the Leaves, as if he had been at play, and began to look upon the Book: No, my Dear, ſays I, that is not the Place; let me look your Leſſon. No, ſays he, I will learn my Book here. I would have turn'd it over again, but he would not ſtir away his Hands: Here, Margy, here, ſays he. What just here, my Dear, ſaid I. Yes, ſays he, just here, just here; and puts his Finger to a Line, as if he had known it: I was a little ſurpriz'd, becauſe I know he could not read a Word, nor know any thing of what was before him; but it came into my Thought that I would ſee what it was the Child pointed ſo at; for I ſee him ſo poſitive, that I ſay it a little ſurpriz'd me; but I was more ſurpriz'd, when I found the Words were in the 1 Cor. 9. 16. Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Goſpel: Well, thought I to my ſelf, this Child will certainly be a Miniſter.
Capt. 'Tis a very remarkable Thing indeed, Margaret; nay, I think 'tis ſomething wonderful.
Couſ. Indeed this I never heard before.
Marg. I never mention'd it to any one before, Madam, for I laid it up in my Thoughts, as I have done many other Things.
Couſ. 'Tis a wonderful Paſſage indeed.
[Page 286] Marg. Truly, Madam, I think every thing this Child does is wonderful.
Capt. Well, Margaret, lay up this in your Heart too, till you ſee the Event, as I deſire you would what I ſaid to you before; and take care to do your Part with him till I come again.
Couſ. She will have every Day new Things to lay up in her Heart, as well as theſe; for the Child is every Hour ſaying ſomething or other extraordinary.
Capt. Well, Madam, there is another Thing is yet more wonderful to me than all this, and that is, that ſuch remarkable Paſſages as theſe, in a Child ſo young, does not work ſome great Alteration in the Family: Why, ſuch a Child is enough to make a whole Family ſerious, if they were the prophaneſt Wretches in Nature before.
Couſ. Really, Sir, it is ſo; but it has a quite contrary Effect here; the Mother of this Child is ſo effectually harden'd againſt all manner of Conviction, that nothing affects her; and while it is ſo, how ſhould it touch any of the reſt of the Family?
Capt. Certainly it will firſt or laſt.
Couſ. I ſee no Signal of it; ſhe ridicules it all, and they by her Example; and if at any Time ſome of them are a little concern'd, it wears off again, as I told you of one of the Siſters; and the Mother laughs them our of every thing that is ſerious.
Capt. 'Tis a ſad Thing; but I cannot but think it will be otherwiſe at laſt; if this Boy proves ſuch a Preacher of Righteouſneſs to them, as he ſeems to be, it will certainly have ſome Effect upon ſome of them, one Time or other, tho it may not juſt now: Pray what ſays the Father to it?
Couſ. Why really, Sir, the Father is Maſter of more Senſe, and more Modeſty than the Mother, or than any of the Children; and he is not ſo harden'd as they are to banter and make a Jeſt of Religion.
[Page 287] Capt. I think ſo of him, and that made me ask what he ſays to it.
Couſ. But then, Sir, you know his Infirmity, that he is almoſt always in drink.
Capt. Why, he is oblig'd to keep Company with theſe great Men, there's Admiral — and Captain —, and the Commiſſioners of the —, and he cannot get away from them.
Couſ. No, indeed, his Servants are generlly fain to fetch him away Head and Heels, as if he was dead.
Capt. He can have no room for ſerious Things, in ſuch a conſtant Courſe of a wicked Life, if he were never ſo well inclin'd.
Couſ. Truly the Man has a Senſe of Religion upon his Mind at other Times, and he hates mortally to hear his Wife talk ſo prophanely as ſhe ordinarily does, and will often reprove her for it.
Capt. And how does ſhe take it?
Couſ. Take it! truly ſhe does not take it at all; ſhe rallies him with his Drunkenneſs, and his Fits of Repentance between it; and then talks the more prophanely for his Admonition.
Capt. Why that is the juſt Conſequence of a Man reproving Sin, that is not reform'd himſelf.
Couſ. So ſhe tells him; and asks him how long his Fit of Repentance will laſt.
Capt. Then I fancy he is apt to talk penitently when it is over.
Conſ. Exceedingly indeed; he will call himſelf all the drunken Sots, and wicked, curſed Wretches that he can think of, the next Morning after he has been drunk, and repent, and cry, and beg GOD to forgive him; it is hardly to be deſcrib'd how he reproves himſelf.
Capt. And makes a thouſand Promiſes that he will never be drunk again.
Couſ. Ay, ay, and ſolemn Vows and Reſolutions; and I dare ſay intends to keep them too.
[Page 288] Capt. But does not keep them it may be above two or three Days.
Couſ. Two or three Days! alas, not through the ſame Day they were made in, oftentimes; if that wretched Company comes to him, or ſends for him, he will be as bad the ſame Night.
Capt. Why does he not avoid them?
Couſ. He often ſays he will, but he has no Power to refrain.
Capt. And he is loath to diſoblige them; for they are People he gets well by, another way.
Couſ. Ay, that's true; but there is a ſecret ſtrong Inclination within too, which bids him go, and not only ſo, but bids him drink when he is there; and this I look upon to be the worſt Part of the Temptation, and the hardeſt for him ever to get over.
Capt. Well, but you ſay he does not do as his Wife does, at worſt; he does not contemn GOD and Religion, as ſhe does.
Couſ. No, indeed; on the contrary, drunk or ſober he abhors it in her, and can't abide to hear her talk ſo.
Capt. And how does he carry it to this Child?
Couſ. O he loves it moſt paſſionately, and loves it for theſe very Things that we are talking of; and often tells the Mother GOD has taken that Child from her; that ſhe is left to breed up all the reſt for the Devil, but that this Child will live to reprove her, and will be able to teach them all; and 'tis he keeps the Maid Margaret in the Houſe, the Mother wou'd have turn'd her away elſe long ago, for ſhe hates the Maid becauſe ſhe teaches the Child good Things.
Capt. I warrant the Father will be ſome Time or other reform'd, perhaps by this very Child.
Couſ. I wiſh he may with all my Heart.
The End of the Third Dialogue.

2.4. The Fourth DIALOGUE.

[Page 289]

THIS Diſcourſe ended here; Margaret went up Stairs with the Child, the Captain went away, and the Gentlewoman, who it ſeems lay in the Houſe that Night, went to the reſt of the Company; but Margaret, as ſhe was bid to do, laid up theſe Things in her Heart, and apply'd her ſelf with more Diligence than ever, to inſtruct and teach the Child; and particularly, ſhe brought him to be able to read very prettily, before any Body in the Houſe knew that he could tell the Letters when he ſaw them; for tho, as I ſaid, he was carry'd to School to an old Woman in the Neighbourhood, it was more to be out of the Way, when they had any thing elſe for his Maid to do, than for any thing they thought he ſhould learn; and beſides, it was chiefly before Margaret came, that they ſent him to School, and he very ſeldom went afterward.

As ſhe taught him to read, ſo ſhe taught him to know Things proper for a Child ſo young to know; ſhe fill'd his young Thoughts with an Awe and Reverence of GOD; a love of every thing that was Good and Religious; ſhe taught him ſeveral little Prayers for Night and Morning, and poſſeſt him with juſt Notions of it being his Duty to pray to GOD to bleſs him, and keep him; and that it was a wicked Thing to lye down to ſleep without kneeling down, and praying to GOD to keep him while he was aſleep; or to be dreſs'd in the Morning, without praying to GOD to bleſs him in the Day.

She had before taught him to believe, that it was [Page 290] a very wicked Thing to mention the Name of GOD upon common Occaſions; and that, when the Children that play'd with him did ſo, they were wicked Children; and abundance of ſuch Things as theſe, ſuitable to the Capacity of the Child, and of his Years; and ſhe always obſerv'd, and it was an Encouragement to her, that the Child was ſo exceedingly pleaſed, and eager for her little Diſcourſes and Inſtructions to it, that it would leave its Play at any time to go up Stairs with Margy; and at other Times would hale and pull her from his Mother, or any Body elſe, crying Margy, Margy, up Stairs, up Stairs; ſo that Margaret never wanted Opportunity, and yet no Body in the Houſe perceiv'd it; for when ever the Child call'd Margy to go up Stairs, no Body would hinder her, ſuppoſing he wanted her on other Occaſions.

While ſhe was talking to him one Day, of the wicked Children uſing bad Words, and taking GOD's Name in vain at their Play: The Child ſtop'd her; but Margy, ſays he, it is not a wicked Thing to call for O GOD when One an't well, or any thing hurts, is it not, Margy? Yes, my Dear, ſays Margaret, we muſt never call upon GOD but with Reverence, to help, and bleſs, and aſſiſt us, as you do in your Prayers, my Dear. Why, Margy, ſays the Child, won't O GOD come and help them when they cry out ſo, and they ben't well? No, my Dear, ſays ſhe, if he ſhould, it would fright them dreadfully, not help them; and ſo ſhe went on to explain to him, as well as ſhe could get him to underſtand it, the Wickedneſs of that unhappy Cuſtom, which many People have of crying out O GOD! in their Pain, or upon any Suprize; and the Difference between that Way of uſing the Name of GOD, and an awful ſolemn uſing it in his Prayers; but ſhe could not make the Child a great while leave off joyning the Word GOD with the [Page 291] great O as one Word, and as a Subſtantive: So ſhe let him alone in that, as a Thing of no Conſequence.

But one Day, as he was liſt'ning very attentively to her, and ſhe talking of its being a wicked Thing for People to cry out O GOD! when they were in Pain, except it was in a ſolemn way: He ſays to her, But Margy, was it a wicked Thing when my Mamma call'd for O GOD? The Maid was at a little Surprize, for ſhe was loath to give the Child an Idea of his Parent's doing wicked Thinys; ſo at firſt ſhe ſaid nothing: but he was never to be left unanſwer'd in any Queſtion he ask'd, for he would not leave it; he ask'd her again and again, and then teiz'd her with, was it Margy? Was it? Was it? and would not be put by. At laſt, the Maid was forc'd to ſay, Yes it was indeed. At which the Child fell a crying.

It was ſome Time after this, that his Mother had another Fit of the Cholick, as it ſeems ſhe frequently had, and was in great Pain; and the Gentlewoman their Couſin, who we have mention'd before, was ſent for, as ſhe uſually was on thoſe Occaſions, to be aſſiſting to her: And ſtill when the Pains of the Cholick affected her Nerves, and made her ſtart, or grip'd her Stomach, as 'tis known is the Caſe in that violent Diſtemper, ſhe, according to her profane Uſage, ſtill cried out O GOD! And once in particular, having more Pain than ordinary, ſhe repeated it four times together, without any other Words, as faſt as her Tongue could ſpeak it: The Child was in the Chamber, but was at play at a Window on the other ſide of the Room, a good way from her. When he firſt heard his Mother cry out O God, he ſtop'd his Play, and turning about, ſtood ſtock ſtill, looking very gravely at his Mother; But when he heard her repeat the Words four times [Page 292] together in a kind of a Paſſion, as above, he ran to the Bed ſide to her; MAMMA! ſaid he; what d'ye ſay? ſays his Mother, Don't call O GOD Mamma, ſays the Child; why, ſays his Mother, what's the Matter? Why, he won't come Mamma, ſays the Child: Won't he Sirrah, ſays his Mother, how do you know he won't? The Boy ſtood ſtill a good while, hammering his Thoughts to bring out what he had in his Mind; at laſt, ſays he, If O GOD ſhould come, Mamma, you would be afraid. Well, and would not you he afraid too? ſays his Mother: Yes, Mamma, ſays the Child: And mus'd a while, and then brings it out, A-but I don't call him Mamma: The Mother, had ſhe had a Heart leſs obſtinate and inſenſible than an Idiot, would have been mov'd with it; but ſhe put it off and ſpoke angrily to the Child, to be rid of him: However, he was not to be put off, neither with good Words or bad; but after a little Stop, he falls to it again. Mamma, ſays he, don't call O GOD, no more, Mamma. Well, well, ſays his Mother, be quiet. Won't you then, Mamma, ſays the Boy? She would not promiſe a great while; but the Boy pull'd her, and teiz'd her with, Won't you, Mamma, Won't you, Mamma? At laſt, to be rid of him, ſhe ſaid, Well, I won't then. No more, Mamma? ſays the Boy. Well, no more then, ſays his Mother. Never no more, Mamma? ſays the Boy: The Boy's mad, I think, ſays his Mother; take him away a little ſome body; where's his Maid? Well, the Boy would not be taken away till ſhe had ſaid, Never no more; and then he went away quietly.

As ſoon as the Boy was gone, the good Gentlewoman, who was by, burſt out into Tears, ſhe could hold no longer. Couſin, ſays ſhe, are you not at all concern'd at what this little Child has ſaid to you. No not I, ſays ſhe, what ſhould I be concern'd at it for? I don't mind ſuch Prattle; what ſignifies what Children [Page 293] ſay at three or four Year old? Why, Couſin, ſays ſhe, do you think this Child could ſay all this to you of meer Prattle and from meer Nature? Do you think there's nothing elſe in it? What elſe can there be in it, ſays the Mother? What ſtrange thing would you make of it? INDEED COƲSIN, ſays ſhe, I ſhould think it was a Reproof ſent from Heaven to me. And certainly this little Creature could not ſay all this of it ſelf: ſays the Mother, I know Margy is always talking her litt'e idle Stories to the Child; but if I thought ſhe had the Impudence to teach him to talk thus to me, I'd take care to rid the Houſe of her. You miſtake me quite, replies her Couſin, I don't think 'tis from Margy, but from him that made Margy. And I'll tell you, Couſin, if you do not look upon it to be ſo too, I think you will be much in the Wrong. I don't trouble my Head about it, not I, ſays the Mother.

While they were talking of this, in comes the Child's Father; and after asking his Wife how ſhe did, and ſpeaking to his Couſin a little, he ask'd, Where's my Boy? And this introduc'd a ſhort Diſcourſe among them all, about what had happen'd: Says his Wife,

Your Boy! Your Maſter you mean; he is but juſt gone.

Fa. What d'ye mean by my Maſter, ſays he, jeſting? I have no Maſter, as I know of, but my Wife.
Mother. Nay, if he ben't your Maſter, it ſeems he is to be mine. Truly, your Son has been Chatechizing me this Morning at a ſtrange Rate.
Couſ. Ay indeed! it is at a ſtrange rate I muſt acknowledge; I believe none ever-heard the like.
Mo. Nay, here's my Couſin — all in Tears about it.
Couſ. And I am perſwaded his Father wou'd have had Tears in his Eyes too, if he had heard it.
Fa. Well, but may not I hear it at ſecond hand?
[Page 294] Moth. Couſin, pray tell Mr. — the Particulars, for I cannot talk ſo much, I an't well, you ſee.
Couſ. Why, to tell it all, I ſhould tell him what happen'd once before, you know, when you were laſt ill.
Fa. Come do then, for I long to hear it.
Couſ. Why, you muſt know when my Couſin was laſt ill, and the Cholick made her cry out; ſhe ſeveral times, as the Pain encreas'd, cry'd O God, as it is her way to do pretty often.
Fa. Yes, yes, it is her way I know, and abundance of other People's; but I confeſs it's what I always have thought very ill of.
Moth. Good lack! how wonderful religious you are of a ſudden.
Fa. I did not tell you I was ſo religious neither, and yet there was always ſomething that ſhock'd me in that very Particular; that People ſhould take GOD's Name ſo often in their Mouths, juſt when they are under his Hand, and when there's more need to pray to GOD, than to provoke him.
Moth. Well, well, come don't preach, one Parſon in a Houſe is enough of all Conſcience.
Fa. Well, go on with your Story, Couſin.
Couſ. Upon this Occaſion the Boy, who was ſtanding at my Knee—
Here ſhe tells him how the Child ran to his Mother, and ask'd, who is O GOD, Mamma? and all the Particulars as before.
Fa. And was it not ſurpriſing, Couſin?
Couſ. To me it was, I confeſs.
Fa. Nay, I don't ask if it was ſo to my Wife, nothing of that Nature can reach her; if ſhe has any Conſcience, 'tis lock'd up in a Priſon with ſeven Bolts of Braſs upon it, that it can neither hear, feel, nor ſpeak, and I am afraid never will till the laſt Minute or two.
Moth. And what are you the better for all your [Page 295] Qualms of Conſcience? You are always as bad again, or worſe the next Day: Here he will come Couſin, and ſit down and wring his Hands, and cry out, What a Wretch he is, and the Lord have Mercy upon him, he ſhall go to Hell; and then he'll ſay his Prayers like any Sea Captain upon a Lee Shore; and the next Day one Bottle drowns all his Repentance, he gets drunk again with Admiral — or Captain — his old Companions, and then the Devil is ſure of him for a Week or Fortnight at leaſt; when that hurry is over he repents again, as the Fit takes him, and he will be as religious for two or three Days as can be; and this is his Courſe of Life as conſtantly as the Tide ebbs and flows.
Fa. Well, well, Couſin, do not heed her, there's too much Truth in it, GOD forgive me, I don't juſtify my ſelf.
Moth. Dear Couſin, talk no more of theſe Things, for it will certainly put him into one of his penitential Fits again.
Couſ. Why, if it ſhould, I hope it will be no harm, perhaps one Time or other, he may repent for good and all; it's never too late.
Moth. Well, then let us ſtay till it comes, that we may have but one Trouble of it all together.
Fa. Couſin, my Wife is one of them that would convert an Atheiſt.
Moth. I convert an Atheiſt! how muſt I convert them?
Fa. By letting them ſee themſelves out-done ſo much in Wickedneſs, that they ſhould be frighted at their own Picture.
Couſ. Come Couſin, do not run upon one another ſo, I hope the worſt of us ſhall repent at laſt: Will you let me go on with my Story?
Fa. Ay, pray do, pray do.
Couſ. Why juſt now we have had the Second Part of this little Preacher's Sermon.
[Page 296] Moth. A Sermon d'ye call it?
Couſ. I'm ſure 'tis a Sermon to me, it has preach'd Tears into my Eyes.
Here ſhe relates the Story of the Boy and his Mother, as juſt told above.
Fa. It is a Sermon indeed! and would have brought Tears into any one Eyes I think, except my Wife.
Moth. Why truly your Wife thinks ſhe has more Wit than to lay ſo much Streſs upon ſuch Things as theſe, which have no more in them than the common Prattle of Children.
Fa. Well, however, it ſeems he made you promiſe.
Moth. Yes, yes, I have promiſed.
Fa. Then I would adviſe you to keep it, for I think verily that Promiſe is not made to the Child, but to GOD himſelf, break it at your Peril; 'tis certain, the Child could not do it of himſelf.
Mo. No, no, I know whoſe doing 'tis, I ſhall take care of Mrs. Margaret; one Teacher's enough in a Houſe.
Fa. For my part, I am very well content to be taught by any Body, for I know I want it.
Couſ. Nay, if this Child be a Teacher, he muſt be a Teacher ſent from Heaven.
Fa. Couſin, we may make any Thing teach us, if we are but willing to learn.
Moth. Well, if I ever do learn, it ſhan't be at ſecond Hand, from my Maids, nor my Children.
Fa. I think you are very angry without any Cauſe: Prithee call the Maid down.
Couſ. I'll call her.
Marget was called, and came down preſently.
Fa. Margy, what's this you have been doing to this Boy.
Marg. Doing to him? Nothing, Sir, but taking all the Care I can of him, as my Buſineſs is to do; I hope nothing is amiſs with the Child, Sir.
Fa. No, no, amiſs Margy, that is not the Caſe; but have you dictated nothing to him that he ſhould come and ſay to his Mother here?
[Page 297] Marg. No, never in my Life.
Fa. Have you taught him nothing to ſay by Rote, and bid him ſay it to his Mother?
Marg. I hope I have more Manners Sir; if you pleaſe to let me know what it is, I'll give a particular Anſwer to it if I can.
Fa. Prithee Margy, tell me faithfully; have you taught him any Thing at all?
Marg. I know Sir, 'tis common for Nurſery Maids to teach the Children they look after, Songs and little ſimple Sayings; but I thought it was as well to teach him ſomething that was good, and ſo I taught him, Sir, to ſay the Lord's Prayer, and two little Prayers out of a good Book which I have above, and which I'll fetch you if you pleaſe; and the Ten Commandments, and the Apoſtles Creed, and this is all I have taught him; I hope, Sir, you won't be angry with me for that?
Fa. No indeed Margy, they ought not to have the Name of Fathers or Mothers that are Angry with you for that, if you taught him nothing elſe.
Marg. Indeed, Sir I have taught him nothing elſe, but that and ſuch as that is. And beſides, he is ſuch a Childas I never met with: If I would have taught him fooliſh Things, as Children are generally taught, he would have Spit at me, and would not have learn'd them.
Fa. And is all this true, Margy? Is this all you have taught him?
Marg. Sir, I' endeavour'd to teach him to read; for when I came he did not know his Letters.
Moth. No, nor does not yet; you have taught him to read moſt nicely.
Marg. Madam, I had no Order to teach him at all, and ſo if I had not, I had not offended; but if my Maſter pleaſes to have me bring the Child down, it will ſoon be ſeen whether I have taught him to read or no.
[Page 298] Fa. Ay, ay, Margy, fetch him down?
Margy brings him down, and he runs to his Father.
Couſ. Where's his Book?
Marg. Indeed, Madam, he has no Book.
Couſ. What has he tore it?
Marg. He never had any ſince I came.
Couſ. What have you taught him out of?
Marg. I taught him out of my own Bible; but if you give him any Book, he will tell his Letters.
Couſ. Come here's a Bible.
The Boy reads very diſtinctly the firſt place they offer him.
Moth. He ſays it by Rote, ſhe has ſhown him a Verſe that he knows.
Marg. Nay, Madam, let him be ſhow'd any Place in the Bible.
Margy ſhuts the Book.
Fa. Give me the Book; come hither Jack, I'll poze him I warrant you.
Marg. It is very eaſy to ſee whether the Child can read or no.
The Father opens the Book and bids him read, and he reads two whole Verſes. The Father opens another Place, and he does the ſame. At which the Father ſurpriz'd, throws by the Book in a Paſſion, and with an Oath, riſing up ſays—
Fa. —The Boy reads as well as I can; go Margy, I have no more to ſay, but that you have done very well.
Margy goes up Stairs again.
Moth. I told you, Couſin, how long his Fit of Repentance would laſt; you ſee he ſwears again already:
Fa, Why, you put me in a Paſſion, to ſee you fall upon a poor Girl that has done more than her Duty, for the Child, and has only made up to him the want of what his Father and Mother ought to have done.
Couſ. Don't ſwear again, Couſin, if you do, Jack will reprove you.
[Page 299] Fa. GOD forgive me, I don't deſire ever to ſwear, I know I ought not to do it; but it is ſo natural to me by Cuſtom, that I ſcarce know when I do it, and when not; eſpecially if I am but a little mov'd with any Thing: and what can be more ſurprizing and provoking than this?
Couſ. Jack is a little out of Humour already I ſee; he begins to look grave at his Father.
Moth. Ay, ay, he'll have it by and by, as well as I.
Fa. Well, if I have I deſerve it.
Moth. Ay, you are one of thoſe Penitents that confeſs every thing and reform nothing?
Fa. And you neither confeſs nor reform.
Moth. And which is the beſt of the two, Couſin?
Couſ. Truly both are bad enough—I ſcarce know what to ſay to either of you, only this; you had much better both mend, than find Fault with one another.
Moth. I believe we ſhall both mend together.

All this while, tho the Father of the Child ſeem'd a little affected juſt at the Time, while any thing was freſh upon his Mind, yet the Mother ſaid true enough in that; he was one that confeſs'd all and reform'd none. He was always crying out upon himſelf, what a wicked Wretch he was, and how wicked a Family he had, and how all his Children were bred up for the Devil; and every now and then he would cry, The Lord have Mercy upon him, and GOD forgive him. But ſtill he continued a poor drunken, ſwearing Creature, that was never the better for all his Repentance; and the Family went on juſt as they were before.

The little Boy, choſen by Providence from the Bowels of ſuch a wicked Race, and ſingl'd out as a Mark of divine ſpecial free Love, went on as before, and grew in favour both with GOD and Man; Wonderful Marks of early Piety appear'd in him, as [Page 300] ſoon as his Years would admit: The Father, tho' he had little or nothing in him of GOD, yet had been ſo well pleaſed with what he found the Maid had done for the Child, that he reſolv'd ſhe ſhould not be remov'd from him; and the Mother hating the Wench for her religious Care of the Child, reſolv'd to turn her away. This Strife between the Father and Mother remov'd the Bleſſing of the Child from them both, for a Time; and that, which had GOD's Grace concur'd, would have been a Means to awaken and reſtore them all, was made a Bleſſing to another Family; for the Mother was ſo provok'd at the Reproof theſe Things had been to her, and that her Husband would not conſent to her putting away the Maid, that ſhe began to hate the Child as well as the Wench; and the Father perceiving it, he reſolv'd to ſend the Child, and the Maid with it, into the Country. The Mother, it ſeems, being glad to be rid of them both, was very willing they ſhould go; ſo they were ſent to a Brother of the Father's at Greenwich, where the poor Maid did not change at all for the Better as to Religion; for the Family was not one Jot more religious than the other, only, of the two, they were a little modeſter and better natur'd People.

The Boy growing a little bigger, now began to run about, and play with ſuch other Children as were ſuitable to him in Years; but was ſo nice in his Company, that if any of the Children he was with, uſed bad Words, he wou'd not keep them Company, nor play with them any more. There happen'd to come a Lady to viſit at the Houſe, who brought a little pretty Boy with her; and the two Children were playing together a while, when, on a ſuddain, the Child came away from the other, and would not play with him any longer, for any Perſwaſions they could uſe: The Lady wanted to know the Reaſon. [Page 301] Says the Child, He is a wicked Boy, he ſays bad Words: The Lady wanted to know what Words they were the Child had ſpoken; the Boy would not anſwer; they preſs'd him earneſtly, but he would not ſpeak: After long perſwading, he told them, He was afraid to ſay the Words; nor could they make him ſay the Words over again; for he told them, he muſt never ſpeak thoſe Words, but when he ſaid his Prayers.

Abundance of ſuch Inſtances he gave of his early Senſe of Religion, while he ſtay'd at this Place, inſomuch that he reform'd two Girls in the Family where he was, and their Example reform'd their Mother; but their Stories are too long for this Work, even the very little Boys, that play'd with him, were the better for him; and the Children would go Home again and tell their Parents what a little Boy they play'd with; that if any Boy uſed wicked Words, ſaid O LORD, or O GOD, or any naughty Word, he would beat them, and put them out of his Company. This brought the Childrens Mothers from all Parts of the Town to ſee this wonderful Child, and he became ſo well known round the Country, that many came from other Towns to ſee and talk with him, to ſatisfy their Curioſity: All this while the Maid continu'd to take a great deal of Care of him; ſhe taught him his Catechiſe diligently, and the firſt Principles of Religion; and the Miniſter took a deal of pleaſure in talking with him, and inſtructing him, in ſhort he was ſo inquiſitive in religious Matters, ſo ſerious and ſo agreeably improving, that any one that had a Senſe of Religion muſt needs be delighted with him. He began now to be a great Boy, and it was time for him to go to School; ſo, after about three Years tending him, honeſt Margy was diſmiſs'd, and the Boy was taken Home to his Father and Mother again.

[Page 302] By what has been ſaid, Notice may be taken how ſignally the Providence of GOD provided Inſtruction, and Opportunity for religious Knowledge in the Infancy of this Child; ſo that, tho it was brought forth in a Family where there was no Advantages of Education to be had, yet the Child gain'd a ſtock of Knowledge above his Years, which added to his original Inclination, and ſteady Purſuit of early Piety, made him an extraordinary Child every way, and this is indeed the Reaſon of my telling this Part of the Child's Story, (viz.) To record the ſignal Diſpoſitions of that Providence, which, as in its original Decrees, it ſingles out Objects of Mercy from Families, where no Fear of GOD is; ſo it does not however illuminate the Minds of thoſe ſo ſingl'd out by meer Inſpiration and miraculous Revelation; but furniſhes the ordinary Means of Inſtruction, letting us know that Education and inſtructing of Children in the Knowledge of GOD, and the moſt early Reverence of Religion, is not the Duty of Parents only, but is the ordinary Means which GOD has appointed for the reaching the Hearts of thoſe Children, who are ſingl'd out by him for his own Service. But to return to the Story:

The Father of this Child having now gotten his Son home again, put him to School to learn Latin at a Grammar School in the Neighbourhood; and as he was acquainted much among Sea-faring Men, a Captain of a Ship, that came home from Berbadoes, brought him home a little Negro Boy about 14 Year old: The Boy, it ſeems, was born in that Iſland, and yet he ſpoke but imperfect Engliſh, however, as he was of a ſuitable Age for ſuch Work, he appointed him to wait upon his little Son.

The Child, however acceptable abroad, as I have obſerv'd, yet was ſo far from winning upon his own Family, by his religious and ſober Carriage, that his [Page 303] Mother had ſlighted him for ſome Years; and his Brothers and Siſters did the ſame by her Example; his Father only moſt affectionately lov'd him; and tho his Son's religious Life had no ſaving Influence upon him, at leaſt not for a great while, yet it had a great effect upon his Morals; for it abated in his Father the uſe of Swearing, and ill Words, meerly becauſe he could not think of being reprov'd by his own Son; indeed it partly civilliz'd the whole Family, for he would never fail to reprove them all, and that very roughly too in his Way; only it had this Difference in its Effect, that as his Brothers and Siſters hated him for it, ſo his Father lov'd him for it moſt paſſionately.

The young Negro being now to be his Comrade; the firſt Day or two after he had him, truly he turn'd him away, and would have nothing to do with him: His Father coming to hear it; I warrant you, ſays his Father, this young black Rogue has had ſome ugly Words in his Mouth, either he has ſworn, or taken GOD's Name in vain, or ſome ſuch Thing, and if he has, Jack will ne'er endure him again; ſo he caus'd the Child to be ask'd, and he told his Father he had ſaid ſuch dreadful Words as he never heard in his Life; it ſeems he had uſed the common Phraſe of the Iſland where he was born, Dam him, or ſuch like: Upon this, the Father call'd the Boy to him, and told him how the Caſe was, that Toby (ſo the Negro was call'd) was not a Chriſtian, and did not know GOD, and therefore did not know it was a Sin; but that he ſhould be ſoundly whipp'd for it, and then he would do it no more.

His Son ſeem'd very well ſatisfy'd with that Account; but ſaid, No, if he did not know it was a Sin, he ſhould not be whipp'd for it the firſt Time; but that he ſhould be told then what GOD was, and that it was a Sin to uſe ſuch Words, and then if he [Page 304] broke the Law that was ſet him, he made his Father promiſe him that he would have him be whipp'd foundly: Upon this, and his Father promiſing, he he took the Negro to him again.

But to ſee how he uſed this Boy! how he examin'd him! inſtructed him! talk'd to him! could it be all ſet down, it would be very inſtructing; but it is impoſſible: however, one of their Diſcourſes being ſomething publick, may be uſeful for its particular variety.

Toby, ſays the Boy to him, you ſay you no know GOD; where were you born?

Toby. Me be born at Berbadoes.
Boy. Who lives there, Toby?
Toby. There lives white Mans, white Womans, Negro Mans, Negro Womans, juſt ſo as live here.
Boy. What, and not know GOD!
Toby. Yes, the white Mans ſay GOD Prayers; no much know GOD.
Boy. And what do the black Mans do?
Toby. They much Work much Work; no ſay GOD Prayers, not at all.
Boy. What Work do they do, Toby?
Toby. Makee the Sugar, makee the Ginger; much great Work, weary Work, all Day, all Night.
Boy. What do they Work on Sabbath-Days too?
Toby. No; they ſing, they dance, they ſleep the Sunday.
Boy. What do the white Men do then?
Toby. They feaſt, they dine, they ſee Folks Houſe.
Go a Viſiting, he means.
Boy. What, don't they go to Church?
Toby. Little few go to Church, very little few.
Boy. Why, do not the black Men go to Church too?
Toby. Black Mans be Servant, white Mans be Maſter.
Boy. Well; but don't they make their Servants go to Church, Toby?
[Page 305] Toby. No, no; Negro no muſt go to Church, white Mans no let them go.
Boy. Why, do they not teach their Servants to know GOD?
Toby. No indeed; Negro no muſt know white Mans GOD.
Boy. Would the Negro Mans know GOD if their white Maſters would let them?
Toby. Yes, yes.
Boy. Why, will they not let them?
Toby. When Negro Mans know GOD, he go take the Name, and be free Mans.
Be baptiz'd.
Boy. So they won't let them know GOD, becauſe they ſhall not be free Mans; is that the Reaſon, Toby?
Toby. Yes, that the Reaſon truly.
Boy. Then they are very wicked Men there, Toby, very cruel Men.
Toby. Yes, very cruel, they beat the Negro Mans very much cruel, for go to Church.
Boy. Beat them for going to Church, Toby!
Toby. Yes, indeed.
Boy. So they keep them from knowing GOD, rather than teaching them to know GOD, for fear of loſing them from their Work.
Toby. Yes, indeed.

Here the Boy ſtop'd his Diſcourſe, and ſitting ſtill, the Tears run down his Face, and he wept a good while; no Body taking Notice of it, till the Negro Boy ſeeing it, but not underſtanding the Meaning of it, runs into another Room, and tells ſome of the Houſe, his little Maſter was very ſick: It happen'd that the Gentlewoman, formerly mention'd, their Couſin, was in the Houſe at that Time, and ſhe run in to ſee what ail'd him; ſhe found him crying vehemently, but not ſick; ſhe urg'd him a great while to tell her what ail'd him, but ſhe could not prevail [Page 306] with him: After ſome Time his Father came in, and he preſs'd him, but to no Purpoſe; but both ſaw the Child was in a great Agony; ſays the Gentlewoman to his Father, I'll engage this Diſorder is upon ſome Diſcourſe between him and Toby, let the Boy be examin'd; ſo the Father call'd in Toby and talk'd to him.

Fa. Toby, what have you done to your little Governour there? What have you done to my Son?
Toby. I do no-ting, I ſay no-ting.
Fa. What did he ſay to you then?
Toby. He make Queſtion to me; ask me much Things.
Fa. What Queſtions? What did he ask you?
Toby. He ask me where I am born, what I do, where I know GOD.
Couſin. I told you 'twas ſomething of that kind.
Fa. Well, and what ſaid you to him?
Toby. Me tell him where I am born, at Berhadoes; what Work Negro Mans do.
Fa. Well, and what ſaid you about knowing GOD? Poor Toby, thou know'ſt little of that, I ſuppoſe.
Toby. No, I ſay me no know GOD.
Fa. Well, go on.
Toby. He ask me why me no know GOD.
Fa. Well, and what did you ſay to him then?
Toby. Me ſay white Mans no let Negro Mans go to Church at Berbadoes; no teach them know GOD.
Fa. That's too true indeed; for they are rather afraid they ſhould be Chriſtians, and get their Liberty, than they are afraid they ſhould be Infidels, and go to the Devil.
Couſ. I dare ſay that made the Child cry.
Fa. Tell me, Jacky, was it that made you cry?
Boy. No; but I ask'd why I was not born there too, and kept without knowing GOD as well as poor Toby.
Fa. Ask'd, who did you ask?
[Page 307] Boy. I wonder'd; I ask'd my ſelf; I was amaz'd, and then I cry'd.
Couſ. Why then, Child, you cry'd for Joy and not for Grief; did you not think how good GOD had been to you that you were not born like poor Toby, where you ſhould not be taught the Knowledge of GOD, and of your Duty, nor ſuffer'd to know GOD; was it not that made you cry, my Dear?
Boy. Yes, it was.
Fa. Truly Child I have more Reaſon to cry, that have been your Father ſo many Years, and never taught you ſo much as to know who made you.
Boy. But Margy did Father, and that's all one.
Fa. Ay, Child, all one to you; but, GOD forgive me, 'tis not all one to me.
The Father could not hold from Tears, and therefore went away.
Couſ. Margy was a good Maid to you, and taught you a great deal; don't you love her for it? and did not you thank her for it?
Boy. Yes, I love her dearly; but I did not thank her for it, ſhe would not let me.
Couſ. No, how ſo?
Boy. She ſaid I muſt thank GOD, when I ſaid my Prayers, that I had been taught any thing, and pray to him to encreaſe my Knowledge.
Couſ. And do you do ſo, my Dear.
Boy. Yes, I do every Day.
Couſ. Well, and now you ſee the Cauſe you have to do ſo Child; for if you had not been taught by that poor Maid-Servant, you might have been as ignorant as this poor black Boy.

Here the Child ſtopt a while again, and the Tears run down his Cheeks again: What's the Matter Child, ſays his Couſin, why do'ſt cry again? The Child fetches a deep Sigh, O, ſays he, what if I had been a black Boy, then Margy could have taught me nothing?

[Page 308] Couſ. Why ſo Child? Might not Margy have taught you then as well as now?
Boy. No, ſays he, the Negro Mans do not know GOD.
Couſ. That's becauſe thay are not taught, my Dear.
Here he ſtopt again a little, and then asks his Couſin this Queſtion very affectionately, and his Eyes full of Tears.
Boy. Why, has Toby any Soul?
Couſ. A Soul Child! why do'ſt ask if he has a Soul?
Boy. And have the Negro Mans in Berbadoes any Souls?
Couſ. Yes Child, certainly; why do'ſt ask ſuch a Queſtion?
Boy. Becauſe the white Men there won't teach them to know GOD.
Couſ. That is a moſt abominable Thing, Child, that is true.
Boy. But ſhall not Toby learn to know GOD then?
Couſ. Would you have him taughr, my Dear?
Boy. Yes, Margy ſhall teach him.
Couſ. No, you ſhall teach him your ſelf, Child.
Boy. I can't teach him.
Couſ. Yes, you can, my Dear, better than any Body in this Houſe.
This ſhe ſays ſoftly to her ſelf, and the Child being call'd away, that Diſcourſe ended.

The Child was ſtill unanſwer'd in his grand Queſtion, Whether Toby the black Boy, ſhould not be taught to knew GOD? Two or three times he ſpoke of it in the Houſe, but his Mother and his Siſter's laugh'd at him, and once his Mother was very angry with him; You Fool you, ſays ſhe, you'll put into the Boy's Head to be baptiz'd, and then he'll run away from you. [Page 309] The Boy muſed upon that a little while; at laſt, ſays he to his Mother, very gravely, Muſt Toby know no GOD for fear he ſhould run away? then Toby muſt go to Hell Mother, rather than run away. The profane Mother, vex'd to be put ſo hard to it by a little Boy: hold your Tongue you prating Fool, ſays ſhe, what's that to you where he goes? The Boy was bauk'd a little with his Mother's fiery way of ſpeaking; but he did not give it over yet: but as it was his way to ſtop a little before he ſpoke, and then to bring out his Words very demurely; ſo after a little ſtop, ſays he to his Mother, No Body ſhould go to Hell, if I could help it. Well, well, ſays ſhe, but it may be, you can't help it, and what then? Why, ſays be, but you may help it Mother may be; wou'd you let poor Toby go to Hell Mother?

Moth. I help it Boy, how can I help it?
Boy. If he learns to know GOD, he won't go to Hell.
Moth. Who told you that? What was it your preaching Maid Margy?
Boy. She ſhow'd it me in my Bible Mother, here it is, John xvii. 3. And this is Life Eternal, that they might know thee the only true GOD, and Jeſus Chriſt whom thou haſt ſent.
He holds out the Bible to his Mother.
Moth. Prithee don't come Preaching to me with your Bible in your Hand, like a Parſon; I'll fetch your Gown and Caſſock to you; and then we'll all hear you Preach.
Boy. Why Mother, this Book is the Word of GOD; won't you let me read the Word of GOD?
Moth. That's ſome of Margy's Cant again; ſhe told you ſo, I ſuppoſe.
Boy. Yes, Mother, ſo ſhe did; did not you bid her, Mother? She told me it was the Word of GOD, and that it would teach me to know GOD; and [Page 310] that to know GOD and Jeſus Chriſt was Life Eternal; I thought you bid her teach me Mother?
Moth. I bid her? you Fool, no not I, I aſſure you.
Boy. Did not ſhe do well, Mother, to teach me the Word of GOD?
Moth. Yes, yes, mighty well:
Juſt at this Diſcourſe the Father was coming into the Room; but hearing his Wife talking with the Boy, he ſtop'd a little to hear their Diſcourſe; but could bear it no longer, and comes in.
Fa. Go Jack there's Toby wants you, it's time to go to School.
The Boy goes out, and the Father goes on with his Wife.
Moth. Why, 'tis not School time for the Boy; what makes you hurry him to School.
Fa. If it is not time for him to go to School, it is high time to put an End to your Diſcourſe with the Child, and therefore I ſent him away; why, you are enough to ruin the Child, I never heard any thing like you.
Moth. Why, what's the Matter now? what are your Fits return'd?
Fa. The Matter! why tho I am a wicked Creature my ſelf, yet ſure I would not deſire to have my Child be like me; did ever any Body bauk and Brow-beat a poor Child ſo, in his moſt affectionate Concern for the Soul of a poor Heathen, a Savage that knows neither GOD nor Devil?
Moth. Why, he'll cant to the Boy about Religion and his wild Notions, till he'll get a ſmattering of Things; and then he'll run away to the Parſon and be baptiz'd, and ſo you loſe the Boy.
Fa. Well, and can you anſwer what the Child ſaid to you? Muſt the Boy be ſent to the Devil, for fear of [Page 311] running away? For my part, let him run away when he will, if he can be brought to be a true Chriſtian, I ſhall be glad to carry him to be baptiz'd my ſelf.
Moth. I tell you, your religious Flaſhes comes ſo by Fits, that they are enough to give any one a Surfeit of ſuch Things: What need you care where any Body goes, you know well enough where you are a going?
Fa. I ſaid, you were wicked enough to convert an Atheiſt.
Moth. Why, I han't converted you yet.
Fa. I don't know whether you have or no; to be ſure you act by the poor Child as I could not do by a Stranger for all the World: you make me tremble to hear you.
Moth. O dear! you Tremble! 'tis becauſe you han't your two Bottles in your Belly then; Drunkards always ſhake till they have their Doſe.
Fa. Why, you hate the Boy, tho he be your own Fleſh and Blood, becauſe he minds good Things; you make that which I believe is the Work of GOD in him, your Jeſt, and would Banter the Boy out of all Religion if you could; was ever any Thing ſo unnaturally wicked?
Moth. I don't hate the Boy, but I hate your hypocrirical talking thus of religious Things; ſuch as the Work of GOD, teaching the Boy to know GOD, and ſuch Stuff; when I know you have no more Religion your ſelf than your grey Turkey Cock.
Fa. Well, but I wiſh I had more; and in the mean time I rejoice to ſee my poor Child embracing good Things, and would be far from diſcouraging him as you do. I wonder how you could bear to oppoſe the Child, when he told you, that he would have no Body go to Hell, if he could help it? Why you would have your own Child go to Hell? Was ever any Thing ſo horrid?
[Page 312] Moth. What does the young Prieſt come preaching to me for?
Fa. I wonder you did not ſink down under the Reproach of it, when he held out the Bible to you, and told you it was the Word of GOD.
Moth. I ſink down! what do you mean by that?
Fa. Why, to think that you ſhould be an open Deſpiſer of GOD, and of his Word, and that to your own Child.
Moth. Prithee, go and reform your ſelf, I tell you, before you ſet up to preach to me.
Fa. Well, and ſo I will, if GOD pleaſe to give me Grace to do it; for ſure this is a dreadful Life that we live, ſuch a Family was never in the World, I think verily.

Every Diſcourſe between theſe two ended in ſuch Broils as theſe; he was always left touch'd with a Senſe of good Things, and Convictions of his own wicked Life; ſhe always was hard, inſolent in her Wickedneſs, and deſpiſing good Things to ſuch a degree, that, as is ſaid, ſhe hated the poor honeſt Wench mortally, for inſtructing her Child; and cou'd not endure the Child it ſelf, becauſe of the little innocent Reproofs he always gave her, and others about her; and now the Boy began to grow up, and be able to argue and talk of good Things, it ſet her perfectly raging againſt him.

However, partly by the wonderful Effect of GOD's Grace in the Child, and partly by the horrid Diſcourſe of his Wife, the Child's Father was brought to a full Stop in his courſe of Sin from this very Day; and firſt, being under ſtrong Convictions, on the looking ſeriouſly into himſelf, he effectually reform'd his Life, and from a common Swearer and Drunkard, became a grave, ſober, and perfectly alter'd Man, as to that Part I mean; he left off his Company entirely, and drank neither Wine or ſtrong [Page 313] Drink, or at leaſt ſo little, as not to be in the leaſt danger of Intemperance; and to ſwearing, his Converſation was ſo ſerious, that not an ill Word was ever after heard to come out of his Mouth: On the contrary, he was reſerv'd, ſerious, retir'd much alone, and grew a little melancholly; his Wife, after her uſual manner, banter'd it, and treated him with all poſſible Scorn and Contempt, eſpecially at firſt; ſhe told him it would ſoon be over with him, and the next Time ſuch a Captain came, it would be all at an end, naming a Gentleman who us'd to come to the Houſe, and who drank exceſſive hard. However, her Husband convinc'd her that ſhe was in the wrong; for that Gentleman came, and three or four more with him, and all hard Drinkers, like himſelf; and her Huſband, who was oblig'd to be with them and entertain them, did ſo; he gave them what Wine they would have, made them a great Bowl of Punch, and they were merry after their own wont; but as to himſelf, he told them in ſo many Words, he had reſolv'd to leave off drinking, and he muſt be excus'd, he would not drink as he had done; ſo he ſat with them, drank now and then a Glaſs, but no Perſwaſion could prevail with him, tho they uſed both ſmooth Words, and rough Words with him, to drink as he us'd to do.

When his Wife was told this, ſhe made ſtill a mock of it, told him, he would not live long then ſhe was ſure; that if ſuch a wonderful Alteration was come to him, he would die very quickly; and, ſays ſhe, if you go on, I'll certainly go and beſpeak a Coffin for you. Well, ſays he, I have the more need to reform, if my End be ſo near; however, be it near or far off, if it pleaſe GOD to aſſiſt me, I'll keep where I am, I'll never Drink any more, otherwiſe than I did laſt Night.

Wife. You'll never Drink! you had as good ſay, you'll never Sleep; you can no more forbear one than the other.
[Page 314] Husb. I will try however; why ſhould I not forbear?
Wife. Nature will call for it; your Body is us'd to it; your Conſtitution requires it, and you muſt drink or die; do you think ſuch a ſuddain Alteration in your Way of living can be ſuffer'd? Ask any Phyſitian? they will tell you 'tis dangerous to alter haſtily your Way of living, tho it be bad; you muſt do it by degrees, if you will do it, and not all at once, like a mad Man.
Husb. You argue the Devil's Cauſe, as if you were of Council for the Defendant; I own all you ſay, in your way of ſpeaking; but as our little Jacky ſaid of black Toby, muſt the Boy be ſent to Hell for fear of his running away! Muſt I ruin my Soul for fear of my Health! No, no, this is my neceſſary Sin, but it is more neceſſary to repent of it: I'll do my Duty, and truſt GOD with my Health.
Wife. Well, well, in this Fit of Religion you will do any thing; but then I tell you your Inclination to Liquor, your Guſt to the Claret is too ſtrong; they will prevail over all theſe pious Reſolutions, I warrant you.
Husb. The ſtronger they are, the more neceſſity of mortifying them, and getting the abſolute Maſtery over my Appetite: I'll ſet an Example to thoſe that cry they can't forbear it; and let all Drunkards know by me, that they are Sots becauſe they will be ſo; that 'tis an eaſier Thing than ſome imagine to avoid Drink, if they pleaſe but to ſet heartily to work with it.
Wife. Well then, for your Company; ſee how you will manage, next Time Admiral — dines here; and when the Commiſſioners adjourn hither; I'm ſure they never were here, but you were carry'd drunk to Bed, as dead as a Corpſe.
Husb. That's a ſad Truth; but you ſhall ſee I'll ſtand it out againſt them all.
[Page 315] Wife. Why then you are an undone Man, and your Family is ruin'd and undone; too for you will diſoblige them all, and loſe your Buſineſs; you are a going to make a fine Piece of Work on't, with your Reformation, an't you?
Husb. If my Reformation were a Jeſt, as you ſuppoſe it to be, what you ſay would be of ſome Moment; but it is not a Jeſt: I tell you it muſt be done, or I am undone for ever; and if there be no middle in this dreadful Choice, whether I muſt ruin my Buſineſs, or ruin my Soul, I hope I ſhall be taught which to chooſe.
Wife. Nay, I don't care which you ruin, not I, I ſhall ſhift as well as the reſt of 'em; you may e'en go on your own Way, and ſee where it will end.
Husb. I know where it will end, if I don't; and I'll truſt GOD with all the reſt.

The Husband had now brought his Reformation to a bleſſed and comfortable length; and as to the Gentlemen, which ſhe told him would be diſoblig'd, they uſed him very kindly: When they ſaw he was reſolute in it, they left off importuning him to drink; and knowing that he did it on Principles of Religion and Reformation, they reſpected him openly, the more for it, and rather abated in drinking themſelves, by his Example, than prompted him to drink beyond what he was willing to take; ſo that he found his Work very eaſy, after he had once ſet reſolutely about it.

But the Alteration of his Way of living had a little of the other Effect, which his Wife ſpoke of, upon him; for, firſt, he found a ſtrong Inclination in him to drink, and, as he call'd it, he had an irreſiſtible Guſt in his Appetite, preſſing him, like violent Hunger, to ſtrong Liquor of every kind; and this he had a great deal of Difficulty to ſtruggle with: It pleas'd GOD however, to fortify his Reſolution in this [Page 316] Caſe, by an accidental Word from the Scriptures: He was very penſive and melancholly one Day, upon the violent Motion which he felt in his Stomach to drink; he felt his Appetite craving and eager, and his Stomach out of order: He had taken a Glaſs of Wine or two, and he found himſelf better after it; but for want of Quantity, the Deſire return'd as furious as ever, and he was ſcarce able to reſiſt it: He conſider'd, if he comply'd again, he was undone, and ſhould return to all his former Exceſſes; and if he did not gratify his Stomach, he was intollerably ſick, and what to do, he knew not: In this Interval, his little Son came into the Room, being juſt come from School, and had a Book in his Hand; he calls to him, and asks him what Book he had in his Hand: His Son told him, It was the Bible: Come hither then, ſays he, and ſit down and read a Chapter to me. The Boy asks him where he ſhould read. Any where, ſays his Father, where GOD ſhall direct thee. The Boy ſits down, and providentially pitches upon the viiith Chapter of the Romans, and reads it to his Father; when he came to the 13th Verſe, his Father bad him read that Verſe again, which he did, If ye live after the Fleſh, ye ſhall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the Deeds of the Body, ye ſhall live. He bid him ſtop there, and read no more; my Work is plain, ſays he, I muſt mortify theſe Deeds of the Body, if I expect to live.

With theſe Reſolutions he gain'd ſome Ground of his Appetite; but it threw him into an aguiſh Indiſpoſition, and he grew much out of order; however, he reſolv'd upon this, that Life or Death was before him, and that not only Death in the ordinary Conſtruction of that Word, but eternal Death, Soul, and Body; and he reſolv'd to keep his Ground, whatever was the Conſequence; and to aſſiſt his Health, he remov'd into the Country.

[Page 317] He took Lodgings [...] remote Village, out of the Way of Company, and carry'd no Liquors with him, as he was always uſed to do; and as for his Society, he took his little Son, and the Negro Boy Toby, with him, and no Body elſe.

The little Boy was mighty buſy with Toby, talking to him continually upon Points of Natural Religion, telling him he had a Soul, that there was a GOD, Heaven and Hell; but cou'd not make the Boy receive any Notion of theſe Things for his Life: So taking his Father one Morning, when he found him in a good Humour to talk, he began with the ſame Queſtion that he had formerly ask'd his Couſin.

Boy. Dear Father, ſays he, has our Toby a Soul?
Fa. Yes Child, a Soul! what makes thee ask that ſimple Queſtion?
Boy. Why, has all the black Folks got Souls too?
Fa. Yes certainly, Child; for they and we came all from one Original, old Adam was the common Father of all living, and your Bible ſays, when GOD breathed into him the Breath of Life, Man became a living Soul.
Boy. But how came they to be black, Father? was Adam a Blackamore?
Fa. Some ſay it was the Effect of the Curſe upon Cham, the ſecond Son of Noah; but we have Natural Reaſons for it Child, ſuch as the violent Heat of the Climate which they come from in Africa, and the length of Time the Race have dwelt there; alſo their Way of living, their Diet, and the like; ſo that if a white Man and Woman was to go thither, and live by themſelves, without mingling with the reſt of the Natives, yet in Time their Poſterity wou'd be black, like them.
Boy. And are their Souls black too, Father?
Fa. Truly Child their Souls are dark, they are darken'd thro' Ignorance of the true GOD, and for [Page 318] want of the ſaving Light of [...]e Goſpel; but elſe the Soul cannot be ſaid to be of any colour.
Boy. How do we know they have Souls, Father?
Fa. Becauſe they exerciſe all the Faculties of the Soul, Child, as we do; it appears that they have Underſtanding, Memory, the power of Reaſoning; knowing Things abſent and future, and can act and operate upon immaterial Objects.
Boy. I don't underſtand all that, Father; Can they know GOD? Can they repent of their Sins? And can they go to Heaven?
Fa. Yes, yes, they are capable of all we are capable of, both here and hereafter.
Boy. And will they go to Hell too, Father, as we must, if they are wicked?
Fa. Yes, my Dear, if they either do not know GOD, or do not obey GOD, they will go to Hell as well as other wicked People.
Boy. And muſt Toby go to Hell, Father, if he does not know GOD?
Fa. Yes, Child, why not Toby as well as others? The Wicked ſhall be turn'd into Hell, and all the Nations that forget GOD, or know not GOD.
Boy. But then, may we not keep poor Toby from going to Hell, Father, if he is taught to know GOD?
Fa. You may be the Means or Inſtrument in GOD's Hand to ſave him, Child.
Boy. Why Toby ſays he can't learn; he told me juſt now, me can no know GOD.
Fa. Yes, yes, if he was taught he wou'd learn that as well as other Things, tho he is a Negro; they are as capable as any of us.
Boy. But will GOD let them be taught, Father, for Margy told me, that GOD denies the Knowledge of himſelf to ſome; and that GOD muſt teach us himſelf, or we cannot know him.
Fa. How did ſhe prove that Child?
[Page 319] Boy. She ſhow'd it me in my Bible, that Chriſt came to give the Knowledge of Salvation, Luke i. 27. and that in him are hid all the Treaſures of Wiſdom and Knowledge.
Fa. Well Child; but that does not prove that he denies the Knowledge of himſelf to any; and therefore 'tis our Duty to give Inſtruction to every one; how ſhou'd you have known GOD, if Margy had not taught you?
Boy. My Mother would have got ſome Body elſe to do it Father.
Fa. Well, but Margy or ſome Body elſe, Child; if you had not been taught, you had been as ignorant as poor Toby is.
He was loth to tell the poor Child, that neither his Father or Mother took any care about it; and that neither of them knew or concern'd themſelves about the Knowledge of GOD, any more than the poor black Boy Toby did.
Boy. Wou'd not GOD have taught me himſelf, Father?
Fa. He always makes uſe of Means Child, and then teaches himſelf alſo; and ſo it muſt be with this poor Boy, when he is taught; if GOD does not bleſs Inſtruction to him, it will be all to no purpoſe.

The Boy laid up theſe Things in his Heart, and reſolv'd he wou'd talk with Toby again about it; and while he was ſtudying what to do for the poor black Boy, it came into his Head, that it may be Toby cou'd not read, and he wou'd teach him to read; for then he might read the Bible, and that being GOD's Word, it may be GOD wou'd reach him afterward himſelf: While he was thinking of this, Toby comes to him, and tells him he wants to ſpeak to him.

Toby. Me much want ſpeak to you.
Boy. What's the Matter, Toby?
[Page 320] Toby. The white Mans here, and white Womans, and white Boys, and white Maids, all go to the Church Yeſterday, no Body no bid me go to the Church; why no bid me go to the Church?
Boy. Why, wou'd you go to Church Toby, if they had bid you?
Toby. What they go for to Church?
Boy: To ſerve GOD Toby.
Toby. Why me no ſerve GOD too? me go ſerve GOD too.
Boy. No Body will hinder you, Toby, you ſhall go along with my Father; but you do not know what ſerving GOD means; did not you tell me you cannot know GOD? How ſhall you ſerve GOD, if you don't know him?
Toby. They ſay much good Thing at the Church; that teachè me know GOD.
Boy. No, that won't teach you.
Toby. You teachè me then.
Boy. I am but a little Boy, Toby, I cannot teach you.
Toby. Yes, you teachè me well; GOD make you teachè me.
Boy. Do you know that GOD made you Toby? Did no Body tell you in Berbadoes who made you?
Toby. Yes, GOD make me; GOD make me black Boy, GOD make you white Boy; GOD make ev'ry Body, every Thing.
Boy. As GOD has made us, Toby, he can kill us; do you know that too?
Toby. Yes, he can kill us, can kill any thing again.
Boy. Then we muſt not make GOD angry.
Toby. No, we muſt do every thing GOD bid us do; do nothing that GOD no bid us do.
Boy. We muſt fear GOD, and keep his Commandments.
Toby. Keep his Commandments! what that?
Boy. I will teach you the Commandments, Toby; cannot you read?
[Page 321] He ſays over the Ten Commandments to him.
Toby. No, me no read, me no read, that be ſad Thing.
Toby ſhakes his Head, and Tears ſtood in his Eyes.
Boy. Shall I teach you to read, Toby?
Toby. Yes, yes, teachè me to read, pray teachè me.
Now the poor Boy cries for joy that he ſhall read.
Boy. You muſt learn to ſay your Prayers too, Toby.
Toby. Prayers! ſay Prayers! How that?
Boy. Pray to GOD.
Toby. Where is he?
Boy. Up there in Heaven.
Toby. How GOD hear up there? I no ſpeak much loud.
Boy. GOD is there, and is here, and hears all we ſay.
Toby. GOD here! me no ſee him!
Boy. But he ſees us, Toby; and hears all we ſay, knows all we think, ſees all we do; when we ſay our Prayers, we are ſure he hears what we ſay.
Toby. That very much ſtrange; what, GOD be here? me no ſee him!
Boy. He is every-where.
Toby. Did he make every where, as well as every Thing?
Boy. Yes, Toby, he made all Things.
Toby. Well then, if he make every where, he ſee, he hear every where; then he hear me when I ſpeak, what muſt I ſay?
Boy. I'll ſhow you, Toby.
He ſays over the Lord's Prayer to him.
Toby. Muſt I ſay ſo?
Boy. O yes, and you muſt kneel down.
Toby. Muſt I ſay nothing elſe?
Boy. Yes, you may pray for what ever you want:
Toby. May I ſay, Our Father! make me know GOD? Me want to much know GOD.
[Page 322] Boy. Yes, you may, to be ſure.
Toby. And me kneel down too?
Boy. Yes.—
The poor Child falls down on his Knees, with the Tears running down his Face, and with his Voice rais'd as loud as ever he could ſpeak, as if he thought to be heard up to Heaven, and cry'd, O our Father, make me know GOD, me poor black Boy: And when he had done, he cry'd, and beat his Face and Head with his Hands, like a little diſtracted Creature. The poor Child, his little Teacher, was frighted, and ſo affected with it too, that he cry'd as fast as Toby; but after a little while, the Boy ſpoke to him.
Boy. But what do you cry and ſtrike your ſelf for, Toby?
Toby. Me much afraid.
Boy. What are you afraid of?
Toby. We much afraid GOD no hear me, poor black Boy.
Boy. He will hear you, Toby; for he has bid you pray.
Toby. When he bid me? You bid me; GOD no bid me; when he bid me?
Boy. We have a Book, which is GOD's Book; all that is ſaid in that Book, GOD ſays.
Toby. Where that Book? What! GOD ſpeak in the Book?
Boy. Yes, it is the Word of GOD.
Toby. Me tell you, GOD no hear me, me can no read his Book, he no ſpeak to me; How GOD ſpeak to me? me can no read.
He cries and beats himſelf again.
Boy. You ſhall learn to read; and till you can read, I will read it to you, Toby.
[Page 323] Toby. Read to me that, what you ſaid, that GOD bid me pray, me poor black Boy!
Boy. Harken then Toby, Jer. xvi. 19. The Gentiles ſhall come unto me from the Ends of the Earth. You black Mans are Gentiles, and you came from the Ends of the Earth. 2 Pet. iii. 9. The Lord is not ſlack, &c. not willing that any ſhould Periſh; but that ALL ſhould come to Repentance, Matt. xi. 28. Come all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: We are all bid to come, and you poor black Boy, as well as me white Boy, all may come; and we are bid here, Matt. vi. 5. Pray to your Father which is in ſecret, and thy Father which ſeeth in ſecret ſhall Reward thee openly.
Toby. All this GOD ſay! all ſay to me! no ſure; no to me black Boy!
The poor Boy cries again.
Boy. Do not cry, Toby.
Toby. Why, no cry; me muſt cry, GOD bid me cry; GOD hear me, poor black Boy! that make me cry much; why, GOD hear me? me very much wicked Boy.
The poor Boy was touch'd with a Senſe of the Goodneſs of GOD, in hearing him, and bidding him come.
Boy. You muſt repent of your Wickedneſs, Toby, and you ſee GOD will forgive and forget.
Toby. Repent! what is repent?
Boy. You muſt be ſorry for your wicked doing, and pray to GOD to forgive you.
Toby. And will GOD forgive wicked Boys?
Boy. Yes, if you are ſorry for your Wickedneſs.
Toby. Me very ſorry; me never do wicked again, me very ſad ſorry.

The Work of GOD upon the Heart of this poor Savage was ſtrong, and its Progreſſion wonderful; his Repentance appear'd to be founded in the Senſe [Page 324] of GOD's Mercy, the beſt Motive to the beſt Repentance; and of all that he underſtood of GOD's Mercy, this affected him moſt, that he would hear and forgive ſuch a poor black wicked Creature, ſuch a deſpicable loſt Wretch as he. This brought Tears in his Eyes, melted his Heart; and tho he was as ignorant as meer Nature can be ſuppos'd to be, yet his Conviction led him the right Way, to the right End of Convictions, (viz.) to Admiration and Aſtoniſhment at the Goodneſs of GOD, and then to Contrition and true Repentance for his Sin.

But his poor pious Teacher was as full as his Heart could hold with it; he was affected to an extream not to be expreſs'd, but was at a ſad Loſs how to direct any farther: He wept and cry'd over poor Toby every Day; but he was too young; he did know what to ſay to him; and the poor Negro ask'd him a thouſand Queſtions every Day, that he knew not how to anſwer: GOD had been pleas'd to touch this poor Creature's Heart, and make him a ſincere Convert, and this poor Child was all the Inſtructor he had, and he could go but a little Way with him: They were always together, and Toby made the Child ſay his Prayers over to him, and teach him; and he learnt Toby the Lord's Prayer, and the two little Prayers which Margy taught him; and ſtill the black Boy, who was older than the other, was ſo inquiſitive into good Things, that the white Boy could not fully anſwer him; for, poor Child, he had had no Inſtructor himſelf, but the honeſt religious Maid, except the Miniſter at Greenwich, and he was not acquainted long with him, ſo that he was at a great Loſs.

But Providence, which never leaves ſuch Work as this unfiniſh'd, ſoon aſſiſted them both; for his Father not liking the Accommodations they had there, very well, took a new Lodging; and it happen'd that they found in the Houſe a Lodger, an antient good Lady, as [Page 325] eminent for her great Knowledge in Religion, as her exact religious and holy Life and Converſation.

It was impoſſible that ſuch a Boy as this could be long in the Houſe, and not be diſcover'd to this good Woman; ſhe obſerv'd very often that Toby and his little Maſter were with their Heads cloſe together, both of them looking over one and the ſame Book; ſo ſhe begins with him one Day thus:

Lady. Well, young Gentleman, I ſee you and your black Foot-Boy are mighty bookiſh, I hope 'tis a good Book you are a reading ſo diligently?
Boy. Yes, Madam, it is the Bible.
Lady. I am glad to hear that; why does he love to read the Bible?
Boy. Yes, he loves it, but he can't read; I am ſhowing him to read; he would fain learn.
Lady. That's very well indeed, my Dear; that's a good Work, GOD will bleſs you for it; teach him the Bible, it will make you wiſe to Salvation; and then turning to the Negro Boy, Well Toby, ſays ſhe, (I think they call ye) can you read?
Toby. He teache me, he make me read, he make me know.
Lady. That's well; if he makes you read and know too, he will be a good Teacher indeed.
Toby. He very much teachee me; he very good teach.
Boy. I can't teach him, I know but little my ſelf.
Lady. My Dear, you may know enough to teach him perhaps; it may be he never knew any thing of GOD or Religion in his Life.
Toby. No, me know no-ting; me no know Book Bible; me poor much wicked Boy.
La. Come hither my Child, tell me what you taught him? Have you told him any thing of GOD?
Boy. Yes, Madam, as well as I could.
Here the Child tells her how Toby enquir'd [Page 326] Things of him, and that be could not anſwer, him; that he told him how he must pray, and how he did pray, all as it is ſet down above.
Lady. GOD's Bleſſing be upon thee, my Dear, for thy ſincere Love to this poor Creature's Soul; why, thou haſt acted the Part of a Parent to him, before thou art able to know what the Duty of a Parent means.
She is wonderfully affected with the Account the little Boy gave her; and as ſhe is talking, the Boy's Father comes in, and they begin to talk; but first, ſeeing her talking in his little Boy, he was glad of it, and offer'd to retire.
Fa. I ask your pardon, Madam, I won't interrupt you; I deſire my Son ſhould be always in ſuch Company.
Lady. Your Son is fit for better Company than mine, I aſſure you.
Fa. Poor Child, he wants the help of Inſtruction.
Lady. Don't ſay ſo, Sir; the Pains you have taken in his Inſtruction is ſeen in his Improvement; why, he is fit to teach others rather than wanting to be taught.
Fa. Poor Child, he teach others! it may be he may teach Toby there to read, I ſuppoſe that's all.
While the Father and the Lady are talking thus, the Boys go away.
Lady. He has taught him more than to read, I aſſure you.
Fa. Madam, now the Boy is gone, I may be free to ſay to you, what I was not able to mention before: This poor Child has had the Diſaſter to be brought forth in a Family, where no Fear or Knowledge of GOD has been taught or entertain'd; he has had a Father and Mother who have been given up to commit [Page 327] Iniquity with Greedineſs; we have neither known GOD our ſelves, or taught our Children to know him; we have been abandon'd to all manner of Wickedneſs, and our Children are ſo alſo, by our wicked Example: In ſhort, Madam, the Fear of GOD has not been in our Houſe, and our Children are all ruin'd by us, who ſhould have been their Inſtructors.
Lady. Sir! what are you ſaying! Is not this your own Son then?
Fa. Yes, yes, Madam, he is my Son, to my Shame and Reproach I ſpeak it; he never had one Word of GOD, or of any thing that is good ſaid to him, by me or his Mother in his Life, except what I have ſaid to him ſince he came hither.
Lady. He has been taught by ſome Body elſe then, for he is the knowingeſt little Creature that ever I met with.
Fa. He is taught from GOD, Madam; 'tis all other Means, and other Perſons, none of it from us, or any of us; for—
Here he tells her ingenuouſly the Hiſtory of his own Life, and his Family; and alſo of his little Boy and his Maid Margy.
Lady. Why, Sir, by what I ſee, if this ſad Story be the true Account of your Family, this Child has been your Inſtructor, rather than you his.
Fa. Indeed, that is very true.
Lady. Well, you have the more Reaſon to think 'tis the Work of GOD, for your good; for ſure he is a wonderful Child.
Fa. I have not told you, Madam, nor can I tell you a hundredth Part of what has been obſerv'd in this Child, even when he was very little: However, if it be agreeable to you, Madam, I will tell you ſome Paſſages which I have ſeen, or heard about him, in the Family.
[Page 328] Lady. With all my Heart; I love to obſerve the early Touches of GOD's Grace in the Hearts of Children; but pray before you begin, what is become of that honeſt Servant, that Margy as you call her?
Fa. Indeed I do not well know where ſhe lives; but ſhe is marry'd to a Captain of a Ship, who lov'd her for her Uſage of this Child, and ſhe lives very handſomely.

Note, At about four Years end, the Captain, mention'd before, return'd from a long trading Voyage in the Eaſt-Indies, and very rich; and the first Thing he did, he enquir'd out Margy, and examin'd her and the Gentlewoman the Couſin (ſpoken of above) about what ſhe had done with the Child, and how ſhe had diſcharg'd her ſelf of the Work he hired her for: And having a faithful Account of her extraordinary Conduct, and how ſhe had brought the Child up, he marry'd her, as he ſaid, that ſhe might bring up his own as well, for he had four ſmall Children, his Wife dying while he was Abroad; and Margy made as religious a Wife as ſhe had done a Servant, and liv'd like a Lady, as we ſhall hear by and by.

Lady. I am glad to hear it, ſhe deſerv'd it very well, and I ſhould not queſtion but a Bleſſing from GOD would attend ſuch a Servant; for Godlineſs has the Promiſe of this Life, as well as of that which is to come.
Fa. I owe her many a good Wiſh now; but I was but little ſenſible of my Obligation to her then.
Lady. It ſeems you were more ſenſible than the reſt of your Family, becauſe you would not ſuffer that faithful Servant to be remov'd from him.
Fa. Why, that is true; but that amounted to no more than this, that I was willing the Boy ſhould [Page 329] have a little common teaching, ſuch as to read, to ſay his Prayers, and anſwer Queſtions; but I ſaw nothing of the Work of GOD in the Heart of the Child; how ſhould I Madam?
Lady. Nay, Sir, how ſhould you not? It was impoſſible thoſe Things you obſerv'd could be from any Original, but the Power of inviſible Grace.
Fa. And how ſhould I ſee any thing of that, who entertain'd no Notion of any thing Religious; but was given up to Vice and all manner of Wickedneſs, I and all that were about me?
Lady. You are anſwer'd by the Account you give of your ſelf; you ſee the Light of GOD's Grace ſhone ſo bright in the Child, that it reach'd into your very Soul at laſt, in ſpight of all the obſtinacy of Ignorance and Folly.
Fa. It did ſo; I ſaw it at laſt clearly.
Lady. And it will ever do ſo; 'tis a Light from Heaven which cannot be withſtood, and this made me ſay, How ſhould you not ſee it?
Fa. Madam, we withſtood all manner of Light; and tho I have by the ſingular Goodneſs of GOD been convinc'd; and have, I hope, felt the Impreſſion, yet all my Family are loſt and gone; nothing can reach them, at leaſt nothing does; my Children, my Wife, my grown-up Children eſpecially; they are paſt all Recovery, and this wounds my very Soul; for I have led them by the Hand into it all, I have given them the moſt horrible Example of all Looſeneſs, Irreligion, Drunkenneſs, and Prophaneneſs, and what is my Repentance to them?
Lady. It is at leaſt a good Example.
Fa. Alas, Madam! 'tis too late now, they have learnt to ſin by my Example when they were young; but they won't learn to repent by my Example, that muſt come another way, it is the Gift of GOD only.
[Page 330] Lady. It is true; 'tis a ſad Thing for Parents to lead their Children into Wickedneſs, at the very Time when they ſhould lay Foundations of Piety and Vertue in their Minds; but tho this is one of the great Things no doubt you now repent of, yet you may have the Comfort ſtill, to ſee the Grace of GOD recover them, and it is not too late for you to uſe ſome Means for their Reformation.
Fa. Alas Madam,. I can do nothing now but pray for them, and mourn for them, and, as I may ſay, break my Heart for them, and that I do I am ſure.
Lady. Yes, you may take Occaſion to let them ſee the Miſtake you have committed; the Affliction it is now to you; and exhort them to Amendment, and to a Change of Life.
Fa. O! it's too late now, Madam! they will but make a Mock of it, and of me too.
Lady. But you may then uſe your Authority, and ſet vigorouſly about the Reformation of your Family; no doubt it is what you ought to do, and what they muſt ſubmit to.
Fa. Madam, I know this is my Duty; but I am circumſtanc'd ſomething like Lot, a Preacher of Righteouſneſs in the midſt of Sodom: My Family are out of the Reach of Inſtruction, and paſt the Awe of Government; in particular, their Mother is a dreadful Example of one given over to a reprobate Mind; and none was ever treated with ſo much Contempt as I have been, on account of the Reformation I have begun on my ſelf.
Here he relates to her the Story of the Child and his Mother, and of himſelf, as related before.
Lady. That is their Sin, Sir; but you are not thereby diſcharg'd from your Duty.
Fa. It is true, I am not; but when I ſpeak to them, as the bleſſed Apoſtle did to Foelix, the Governour, of [Page 331] Righteouſneſs, Temperance, and Judgment to come; they are ſo far from trembling, as that more religious Heathen did; that they look on me as the Diſciples did on Mary Magdalen, when ſhe told them the Story of her Viſion at the Sepulchre; they think me diſtracted, and my Words ſeem to them as idle Tales. I tell you a little of their Behaviour, Madam, but you will the better judge of the reſt.
Lady. This is a ſad Caſe; but however, you muſt not give over to perſwade your Wife, and pray for her, and to influence your Children as much as you can.
Fa. You ſee, Madam, how low I am reduc'd by my own Infirmities; and that, with the Affliction of the ſad Circumſtances of my Family, has brought me to ſo weak a Condition, that I do not expect I ſhall recover it; and it grieves me again to think what Condition I ſhall leave this poor Child in, to be brought up among ſuch a Crew as his Brothers are: indeed I came hither chiefly to bring him out from among them, tho I made the Recovery of my Health paſs for the Reaſon of it.
Lady. You may recover, Sir, yet, and I hope you will; but if you, ſhou'd not, I hope you will take ſome Concern upon you for your younger Children at leaſt.
Fa. I reſolv'd, if GOD ſpare my Life, to make a new Family of them; but I foreſee ſad Conſequences from it.
Lady. What Conſequences? What can you foreſee? What can be worſe than neglecting it?
Fa. Why, I foreſee my Wife will break up the whole Houſe; my Sons will inſult me, and my eldeſt Daughters will ſide entirely with their Mother.
Lady. But as nothing can excuſe your doing what you know is your Duty; ſo you do not know but GOD may touch their Hearts, at leaſt leave it to the Diſpoſal of his Providence.
[Page 332] Fa. I reſolve indeed to do ſo, if I live; but I ſee no rational Proſpect of it, and therefore my Care is for this poor Child.
Lady. What are you afraid of about him?
Fa. Leſt he ſhould be ruin'd by ill Example, and want of Inſtruction.
Lady. I am perſwaded you need not be afraid for him; GOD that ſingled him out in ſuch a Family, from his Infancy, and that gave him a Spirit and Courage to withſtand, and reprove the Prophaneneſs even of his own Mother, will ſecure him from the power of any Temptation; he will be rather a means to do good to them, than they to do hurt to him.
Fa. I know GOD can effectually protect him; but whether or no, is it my Duty to leave him under the Government of thoſe who have no Government of themſelves?
Lady. Sir, be pleaſed to make ſuch Proviſion for him, that they may not wrong him of what you leave for his Subſiſtance; and for the reſt, I do not ſee how you can reaſonably take him out of the Hands of his Mother.
Fa. Alas! his Mother! ſhe is the worſt Enemy the Child can have; ſhe hates him already, for thoſe little Turns and Reproofs he has given her, which I told you of; and in ſhort, becauſe he will not be as wicked as the reſt of them.
Lady. But GOD may turn her Heart; and then ſhe will hate her ſelf and love the Child; and ſtill ſhe is his Mother; I would leave him to her, and truſt his Soul in the Hands of GOD.
Fa. I ſhall have no Peace to do ſo, becauſe I know the Tenderneſs of the Child's Temper; they, like the Men of Sodom to Lot, will vex his righteous Soul from Day to Day; they will be an early Affliction to him, if they are not a Temptation to him.
Lady. Well, I'll tell you, Sir, there is a middle [Page 333] way; leave, as I ſaid, what you will give him, out of their reach, that they may not wrong him; and empower ſome particular Friend to take Care of him ſo far, that if the Child is ill uſed and deſires to be remov'd, that Friend may take care of him; but let it be a religious conſcientious Perſon, or none at all.
Fa. But where is there ſuch a Friend to be found?
Lady. Who can be fitter than his Maid Margy, ſeeing ſhe lives ſo well, and is marry'd to one who you ſay is ſo honeſt and religious a Man.
Fa. That very Propoſal revives my Heart; and I thank GOD that put it into your Thoughts to move it to me; I'll certainly do ſo.

The Father liv'd not above half a Year after this; but made a very Chriſtian and religious End; being a moſt ſincerely humbled Penitent for his paſt Life; frequently bleſſing GOD for the firſt Alarms he received in his wicked Courſes, by the Reproof of that little Child. But neither his reformed Life, or his religious Death, had any immediate Influence upon his Wife, or any of the reſt of his Children; nay when his Will was open'd and read, ſhe was rather enraged than affected with a Clauſe in it, which took the diſpoſal of his youngeſt Son John out of her Hands, and left him to be diſpoſed by Margy — that was the Captain's Wife, formerly the Child's Maid, and by the Lady Barbara —, that was the Lodger, with whom he had the Diſcourſe above, about the diſpoſing of the Child: And it was thus expreſs'd in his Will, I do hereby empower them to enquire into the Treatment my ſaid Child meets with under his own Relations, and to remove him if he is willing to be removed, and that they ſee Cauſe; according to a written Paper of Directions, ſign'd and ſeal'd by my own Hand and Seal, declaring what ſhall be eſteem'd a ſufficient Cauſe for ſuch a removing my Child; which Paper [Page 334] I have left in the Hands of the ſaid Mrs. Margaret — and the Lady Barbara —. The Mother was exceedingly uneaſy at this Clauſe about the Child; and it rather encreas'd than abated the Averſion ſhe had before conceiv'd to him: And this made her perhaps the willinger to leave the Boy in the Country, where it ſeems his Father had got a School for him, and had left him and the black Boy a little before he dy'd, recommending him earneſtly to the pious Lady, who was the Lodger in the Houſe, and who promiſed to take as much care of him as if he was her own.

And indeed there was no need to recommend him to her; for the Child recommended himſelf to her, by the Sweetneſs of his Diſpoſition, the Sobriety of his Carriage, and his continual hanging about her to ask religious Queſtions, and talk of ſerious Things with her; which, as it was exceeding delightful to her, ſo it was all his Diverſion; for when other Boys were at Play, this was his Recreation, and he drunk in Knowledge like Water; for his Search after Inſtruction was ſo earneſt, that nothing was loſt upon him.

It pleaſed GOD ſo to order Things for the early furniſhing Inſtruction to this Child, that (1.) this Lady, who was a Perſon of very good Quality was without any Family but two Servants, and ſo was perfectly at Leiſure to give, as it were, her whole Time to the Advantage of his Education. (2.) That ſhe was a Lady of vaſt Knowledge and Capacity, join'd with admirable Experience, and a moſt excellent Chriſtian. And (3.) that ſhe took ſo much delight in the Child, and in his Inſtruction, that it was an unſpeakable Affliction to her, when he was taken away from the School by his Mother; which was not, however, till ſomewhat more than two Years.

[Page 335] In this Time he had acquir'd a Knowledge, and Experience in religious Matters above his Years; and as he received Inſtruction himſelf from this pious Lady, ſo he brought up under him his Negro Boy, in the Knowledge of Religion, and the Practice of it too. Nor did the good Lady ſpare any Pains, or think it below her to inſtruct the poor Negro; and her favourite Boy would often deſire her to do it, when any thing the Negro ask'd was too hard for him; by which ſhe was a Means at leaſt, to make the poor Savage Creature an Example of GOD's wonderful Grace, in revealing himſelf to his Soul, and bringing him from Darkneſs to Light. Among the many Diſcourſes which happen'd between her and the Child, I think one more than ordinarily worth recording, which happen'd ſoon after the Child was come back from the Burial of his Father.

She had been up in her Chamber ſomething longer than her uſual Time; and as ſhe came down Stairs, ſhe ſaw her little Scholar ſitting alone in one of the Parlours, looking very Melancholy; and as ſhe thought, he either was, or had been crying; ſhe preſently imagin'd, as was moſt natural to his Caſe, that the Child was thinking of his Father, and perhaps caſt down to be left alone among Strangers, and no Father to have recourſe to as uſual; ſo ſhe thought ſhe would ſpeak chearfully to him. My Jacky, ſays ſhe (ſo ſhe had call'd him for ſome time) what's the Matter my Dear? Come, you muſt not be caſt down Child, what have you been crying for?

The Boy made her no Anſwer, but cry'd again; for he was not crying when ſhe call'd to him, tho he had been crying ſome time before.

Lady. Come, my Dear; you muſt not grieve your ſelf, you will make your ſelf Sick: Did not you and I talk the other Day before your Father dy'd, of the great Duty of Reſignation to the Will of GOD; do you remember it?
[Page 336] Boy. Yes Madam.
Lady. Well, my Dear, then practiſe it now. You muſt not only reſign your Father, but your ſelf; for you know, my Dear, you muſt die too, as well as your Father.
Boy. Yes, Madam.
Lady. Well, and how do you think any one can die with Comfort? There is no Temper in the World fit to die in, or that we can die comfortably in, but that of Reſignation and Adherence; and they are in one reſpect both the ſame.
Boy. I don't cry for my Father, I believe he is gone to Heaven; he told me he ſhould go to Heaven, and bid me not cry for him.
Lady. What doeſt cry for then Child?
Boy. I cry for my Mother.
Lady. Why doeſt cry for thy Mother, my Dear?
Boy. Do Folks go to Heaven, that do as my dear Mother does?
Lady. Why, my Dear, what does ſhe do?
Boy. O! ſhe ſays ſuch Words, it frights me.
Lady. My Dear, if your Mother ſays bad Words, you muſt not learn them, or think they are not bad Words becauſe it is your Mother.
Boy. But ſure if it was ſo wicked a Thing to ſay ſuch Words, my Mother would not do it.
Lady. It may be ſhe might, my Dear, in a Paſſion.
Boy. What, my Dear Mother!
Lady. It may be ſhe was in a Paſſion Child, when ſhe did ſo; Folks ſay Words ſometimes when they are provok'd, which they would not ſay at another time.
Boy. O then, it is not a wicked thing to ſay bad Words, if they are in a Paſſion, is it?
The Boy look'd a little chearful at that, as if he had gotten an Excuſe for his Mother.
Lady. Nay, Child, do not miſtake me, I do not ſay [Page 337] ſo neither; Paſſion may be the Cauſe, but it is far from being an Excuſe; 'tis rather making two Sins of one.
Boy. You ſaid, it may be ſhe might be in a Paſſion.
Lady. I ſaid ſo Child, becauſe many People in a Paſſion, or when they are provoked, will ſay Words, and do Things which they do not approve, and are ſorry for after.
Boy. But why do they do ſo, if it be not that it is leſs a Sin than at another Time?
Lady. Child, they do it becauſe Paſſion tranſports them to do they know not what.
Boy. Why then the Paſſion makes it a greater Sin, not a leſs, don't it?
Lady. Yes it does ſo: But what doeſt thou cry for again, was thy Mother in a Paſſion?
The Boy cries again.
Boy. My Mother is always in a Paſſion then, for ſhe always uſes thoſe ſad words.
Lady. Well, but may be ſhe is ſorry for it afterwards, my Dear, and repents.
Boy. No, no, my Mother does not repent.
Lady. How do you know that Child?
Boy. Becauſe ſhe does it again every Day; and I remember Margy told me a great while ago, that to repent of my Sins, was to be ſorry for them, and forſake them; and that if I did not forſake them, I might be ſure I had not repented.
Lady. And do you remember that ſo long ago?
Boy. Yes, and I ſhall never forget it as long as I live; for I have always Sins to repent of; and they always put me in mind of poor Margy?
Lady. Poor Margy was a good Maid to thee, ſhe was better to thee than ten Mothers; don't you love her for it?
Boy. Yes dearly. But I love my Mother too. I wiſh—
[Page 338] Lady. What do'ſt wiſh, Child?
Boy. I wiſh my Mother would not ſay them ſad words.
Lady. You muſt pray for your Mother, my Dear, that GOD would touch her Heart.
Boy. So I do every Day, but I did more than that.
Lady. What could you do more, Child?
Boy. I told my Mother that it was not good to uſe ſuch Words; and that I was afraid GOD would be angry with her for it.
Lady. And what did ſhe ſay to thee?
Boy. She laugh'd at me, as ſhe uſed to do; and asked me, if I had not left off Preaching yet, and told me, ſhe would make me another Gown and Caſſock.
Lady. And what ſaid you, my Dear?
Boy. I cry'd; and ſaid, what I ſhould not have ſaid, becauſe ſhe was my Mother, for I know I ſhould Honour my Mother; I told her, I had heard my Father ſay, that ſhe would make GOD angry with her, and all of us for her ſake; for ſhe broke GOD's Commands her ſelf, and taught us all to do ſo too.
Lady. And what ſaid ſhe to that?
Boy. She flew in a Paſſion at my Father, tho he is dead, and ſhe bear me too.
Lady. Poor Child, did ſhe beat thee too; that was hard.
Boy. I had not car'd for that ſo much, if ſhe had not ſaid the ſame dreadful Words over again all the while ſhe was beating me.
Lady. Well, but why do theſe Things trouble thee? Thy Mother has moſt reaſon to be troubled, for them, Child.
Boy. But can I not be troubled to think, that my, dear Mother won't go to Heaven?
Lady. But Child, you do not know but your Mother [Page 339] may live to repent; you muſt pray to GOD to give your Mother Repentance.
Boy. I told my Mother I would, and I do every Day.
Lady. Did you tell your Mother ſo when ſhe was beating you?
Boy. No, it was another Time, and then I think I did what I ſhould not do too; for I made my Mother cry.
Lady. It may be, my Dear, you ſaid ſomething that touch'd her; how do you know, but you may be made an Inſtrument in GOD's Hand, to do good to your Mother: but pray, what did you ſay?
Boy. Why, my Mother was in a good Humour, and talking pretty chearfully with me and my two Siſters, and on a ſudden ſhe fell a taking GOD's Name in her Mouth at a ſad rate; at which I cry'd.
Lady. Why did you cry, Child?
Boy. I remembred that Scripture, which made my Father cry many times, on account of my Brothers, Pſal. 119. 136. Rivers of Tears run down mine Eyes, becauſe they keep not thy Law. And my Father told me, we ſhould mourn for the Sins of others, becauſe of GOD's being diſhonour'd by them; but I cry'd, becauſe it was my dear Mother that diſhonour'd GOD, and broke his Law.
Lady. And what did your Mother ſay to you; was ſhe angry again?
Boy. No, not at firſt; ſhe ask'd me what I cry'd for, but I would not tell her; at laſt ſhe began to be angry that I would not ſpeak: I told her, ſhe was angry becauſe I w [...] not tell her, and ſhe would be angry if I did; ſo ſhe promiſed ſhe would not be angry if I would tell he [...] let it be what it would.
Lady. [...], and wh [...] [...] you ſay then?
Boy. [...] of my Pocket, and read the [...] Comm [...]ment to her, and ſaid to [Page 340] her, Dear Mother, don't break GOD's Commands, and went to kiſs her; for my Heart was ready to break for her: But ſhe thruſt me away, and bid me be quiet. I told her, I ſhould break my Heart for her; and yet ſhe was angry with me. No, ſhe ſaid ſhe was not angry, but bid me not trouble my ſelf for her, it was none of my Buſineſs to teach my Mother. I ſaid; I did not go to teach her, ſhe knew all this better than I, but that it was a dreadful thing ſhe ſhould do ſo, and know it to be wicked too at the ſame time. Well, ſays my Mother, but what's that to you, Sirrah? do you mind your own ſelf, you have nothing to do with me; I tell you it's none of your Buſineſs to teach your Mother. No, Mother, ſaid I, but I may cry for you I hope, and I am ſure I ſhall do that as long as I live; what will you cry for, ſays ſhe? So I ſhew'd my Mother this Verſe in the Pſalm, and ſaid, if I might cry for other People's Sins, ſure I muſt for my Mother's; for I was ſure that no Body could go to Heaven that did ſo: And when I ſaid that, both my Siſters cry'd too. At laſt my Mother ſaid, Get you gone, SIRRAH; this Boy will make me cry too, I think: So I was put out of the Room. And the next Day, the Maid ask'd me what I had done to my Mother? Why, ſays I, what have I done to her? Nay, I don't know, ſaid the Maid, but you anger'd her ſo, ſhe has been crying and ſighing all Night almoſt, and will let no Body ſpeak to her; and I can aſſure you, that you will be ſent away to School for it to morrow; for your Siſter Judith ſays, you are not fit to be ſuffer'd in the Houſe. And ſo I found it Madam, for I was ſent hither again the next Day, and they would not let me ſee my Mother, but told me, ſhe was not well.
Lady. Dear Child, pray ſtill for your Mother, but ſhed no more Tears ab [...] [...]er, I da [...] ſay, GOD will cauſe thee to be the [...]eans of b [...]nging her back, [Page 341] and of reforming perhaps not her only, but the whole Houſe.
She takes him in her Arms and kiſſes him.
Boy. They think they have puniſh'd me, but I am glad I am come away.
Lady. Why ſo?
Boy. O! it is the dreadfuleſt Thing to me to hear ſuch Words, ſuch Oaths, ſuch horrible Curſing and Swearing as there is among them, I am not able to bear it, if I were a Man I would not bear it.
Lady. Why, you little Creature, what would you do?
Boy. Why, I would make my Brothers leave it off, or I would beat them.
Lady. No, you muſt not beat your Brothers.
Boy. Why, my eldeſt Brother beat my next Brother once for ſaying ſomething againſt his Father, and every Body ſaid he did very well; now is not GOD my heavenly Father, ſhall I ſuffer them to affront and abuſe him, and take no Notice of it? I am ſure I ſhould beat them if I could.
Lady. Why, by the ſame Rule it ſeems you muſt beat your Siſters, and beat your Mother too.
Boy. No, I may not do that, I am commanded to honour my Mother; as for my Siſters, I would find Ways to weary them out of it, but I muſt not beat them becauſe they are Girls; but I might beat the t'other ſure.
Lady. Well, but my Child praying for them is much better; you are not call'd to fight with every Body that prophanes the [...] GOD; he will take his own Time to [...] the Honour of his Name, and avenge [...] of his Commands; that is not your D [...] [...] ſaid, Vengeance is mine, and I will rep [...] [...]
Boy. [...] no more; but 'tis a ſad Thing [...] continually, and not be able to [...]
[Page 342] Lady. Well Child, you are out of it now, do not be concern'd about it.
Boy. O but, ſhould I have ſaid to my Mother, that no Body goes to Heaven that did ſo?
Lady. I ſee no harm in it Child, ſo as you did not ſpeak in an undutiful manner to your Mother: You ſay you ſpoke it with Tears, and would have kiſs'd her, but ſhe put you away; I ſhould have thought ſhe ſhould rather have took you in her Arms, and have kiſs'd you a hundred Times for it, I am ſure I ſhould.
This ſhe ſaid ſoftly to her ſelf.
Boy. Yes, I did indeed; but pray do Folks go to Heaven, Madam, that ſay ſuch wicked Words?
Lady. No, indeed Child, unleſs they repent; but I hope your Mother will repent of it; 'tis no bad Sign, I aſſure you, that ſhe was ſo much concern'd at what you ſaid to her.
Boy. I am afraid ſhe won't repent; my Father ſaid ſhe would never repent till ſhe came to die, and what if ſhe ſhould die before ſhe repent, ſhe won't go to Heaven then?
The Boy ſhows a great Concern for his Mother, and here was ready to cry again.
Lady. Child, you have no Remedy but to pray for your Mother, that GOD would be pleas'd to give her Repentance before it be too late.
Boy. I do; but I can never pray for my Mother but my Heart trembles, for fear GOD will not hear me.
Lady. Why ſo, Child?
Boy. Becauſe, I believe, [...] never prays to GOD for her ſelf, and will [...] me for her, and give her that which ſhe [...] her ſelf?
Lady. GOD may [...] Senſe of her Sin; and if once [...] ſoon pray for her ſelf; but the [...] GOD [Page 343] often moves the Heart before it looks up; he is found of them that ſeek him not.
Boy. I had a ſad Dream about my dear Mother laſt Night.
Lady. What did'ſt thou dream of her, Child? Do not terrify thy ſelf with ſuch Things.
Boy. I dream't my Mother was very ſick, and ſent a Coach for me hither, to come and ſee her before ſhe dy'd; then I thought I was carry'd up in a Coach, and when I came home, my Mother was ſo bad that ſhe could not ſpeak; but a little after I was in the Room, ſhe took me by the Hand and kiſs'd me, and ſaid, O Child! I would repent now, but 'tis too late, and then ſhe dy'd.
Lady. And this was it you had been crying about, was it?
Boy. Yes, I had been crying about her, but not for the Dream, for I ſaw it was but a Dream; but the Thoughts that my dear Mother ſhould not go to Heaven, has almoſt broke my Heart before that Dream, and I cry'd about that a great while, and it makes my Heart tremble every Time I think of it.

While the Child was ſaying this, just as he had dream'd, came a Coach, with one of their Servants in it, to fetch him to Town, and brought him word, that his Mother was very ſick at the Point of Death, and he muſt go to London, that ſhe might ſee him before ſhe dy'd: The Lady ſaw the Child was ſurpriz'd, and much the more becauſe of his Dream, and ſo indeed ſhe was her ſelf a little, to ſee Things concur ſo exactly one with another; however, ſhe conceal'd it from him, and did [...]at ſhe could to encourage him, ſo ſhe ſaid, Come Child, do not be ſurpriz'd, tho' this Part of your Dream may be true, I hope the other won't; he [...] but as ſoon as he was dreſs'd, went away the Meſſenger.

When he came, to London, he found his Mother [Page 344] on her Death-bed indeed, and very near her End; but ſuch a Penitent as the like had not been known by any that converſt with her; and upon enquiry, it appear'd that ſhe had been ſtruck with a Senſe of her Condition for ſome Time before ſhe was taken ſick, and that it began immediately upon that affectionate Diſcourſe the Child had with her, mention'd before, when he went to kiſs her, and ſaid, Dear Mother, don't break GOD's Commands, and particularly when he told her, that he was ſure no Body could go to Heaven that did ſo.

She had lain ſome Time under the Horror of her firſt Convictions, and in a ſad deſpairing Condition, which began the ſame Evening the Boy had ſpoke to her; and this it ſeems was the Reaſon of the Boy's being ſent away, which was not done by his Mother's Order, but by his eldeſt Siſter, who was no more ſenſible of the Nature of the Thing, than one given over, and therefore hated the Child for having griev'd and vex'd his Mother with his impertinent and ſaucy Diſcourſe, as ſhe call'd it, and therefore took upon her to ſend the Child away, which her Mother was very much diſpleas'd at when ſhe knew it.

As ſoon as the Child came back, and was carry'd up into his Mother's Chamber, ſhe reviv'd a little at the Sight of him; Come hither, thou bleſſed MESSENGER of GOD, ſays ſhe; and taking him in her Arms, ſhe kiſs'd him, but could not ſpeak for a great while, her Heart was ſo full; after ſome Time, holding the Child faſt in her Arms, Thou wert the first, my Dear ſaid ſhe, that ever gave me a ſeaſonable Admonition of my deteſtable Ways; [...] I call to mind all the little Reproofs I had from thee in [...] Infancy, when thou could'st hardly ſpeak plain.

The Child could ſay nothing in anſwer to his Mother, but hang about her, and cry [...]; ſhe went on to repeat to him all the little Say [...] that [Page 345] he had uſed in reproving her, for taking GOD's Name in vain, and how affectionately he had ſaid to her, that his Heart was almost broke for her; and, my Dear, ſays ſhe, I have had many Nights and Days of Sorrow ſince that, for thoſe Sins for which you were made my ſeaſonable Reprover; but GOD has turn'd my Sorrow into Comfort, and I have hope that my Repentance has been ſincere, and is accepted.

The Child was ſo full of the Affliction of ſeeing his Mother ſo ill, that he could ſcarce ſpeak; but when he heard her ſpeak of her Repentance, he pull'd out his little Bible: Come, my Dear, ſays his Mother, what has GOD directed thee to look for there, I ſhall take every Thing that comes from thee to be by the ſpecial Inſtance of the Divine Spirit. The Child ſaid nothing ſtill, but look'd out the xxviii. Prov. 13. Whoſe Confeſs, ſhall find Mercy; and Pſalm cxxx. 4. With thee there is Forgiveneſs. As ſoon as his Mother heard the Verſes, eſpecially the laſt, ſhe lifted up her Hands and Eyes, and gave publick Thanks for the wonderful Circumſtance that attended the Child's looking out that particular Text; ‘'Bleſſed be GOD, ſaid ſhe, that has guided thy Hand to that Scripture; NOW I am ſatisfy'd it was of GOD, that this Scripture was caſt in upon my Thoughts, when my Soul was over-whelm'd with the terrible View of my paſt Life, and the Greatneſs of my Sins: I knew not where to find it, for I was perfectly unacquainted with the Scripture, otherwiſe than as every Body has one Ti [...] or other heard it read; but when the dreadful Appearance of my horrid Life ſtood like a large Draft before my Eyes, this Word was darted into my Soul, as if it had been ſpoken with a Voice, There is Forgiveneſs with him, and it brought with it an unaccountable, but irreſiſtable Comfort; for from that Time to this very Moment, whenever my [Page 346] Thoughts ſuggeſted Terror to me, whenever Sin appear'd black and horrible to my Soul, whenever Death and launching into an eternal State ſhow'd it ſelf before me, this ſounded in my Ears ſo loud, that nothing elſe could ſilence it, There is Forgiveneſs with him! Then my Soul melted into Tears, Tears of repenting Shame for the Vileneſs of my Life, and my abominable Crimes againſt a GOD, whoſe Nature and Property is ever to have mercy, and to forgive: Tears of Sorrow and Regret, for having, in ſo horrid a manner, offended the Father of Mercy; and Tears of Affection, and flaming Love, drawn from the ſurprizing Thought; that GOD ſhould have ſtill Forgiveneſs with him, for One that had ſo long ſtood out againſt his Patience and forbearing Goodneſs; that it ſhould be poſſible, that GOD had not yet been provok'd by ſuch a Sinner as I had been, to reject me for ever; but that there ſhould yet be Forgiveneſs with him, even for me! And now I know, and am more and more comforted by it, that the Application of that Scripture to my Thoughts, was from the Spirit of GOD, who is the Comforter of diſtreſt Souls, the Applier of his Word, and the Guide of our Thoughts; ſince this dear little Miniſter of GOD, for ſuch he is to me, has been guided to read to me the ſame comfortable Words.’

She went on to ſay a great many more moſt affectionate tender Things, which mov'd all that were in the Room, in a Manner ſcarce poſſible to be expreſs'd, ſtill bleſſing GOD for this Chiid, and for the particular Providence of GOD in ſingling him out ſo, among ſuch a vile Crew, as ſhe call'd them, as her Family was: One Day in particular, when a neighbouring Miniſter, who frequently viſited, pray'd with, and comforted her, was diſcourſing with her, ſhe gave a vent to her Thought on that Subject.

What a wonderful Thing, ſaid ſhe, was it that GOD [Page 347] ſhould ſingle out a little Infant, even before it could ſpeak plain, and, to be ſure, long before it could have any Knowledge of what it ſaid, to ſpeak ſuch Things, as, in ſpight of the moſt obſtinate harden'd Wickedneſs, ſhould touch the Soul of every one that heard him.

Here ſhe gives the Miniſter an Account of most of the remarkable Paſſages, which have been mention'd before of the Child, eſpecially relating to his reproving her ſelf for ill Words, and of the Influence it had on his Father.
Miniſter. The End and Deſign of GOD's Goodneſs is viſible in this Child; he has been appointed to be a Miniſter of GOD indeed, as you call'd him, to the Family, a Preacher of Righteouſneſs, and as GOD has given him a viſible Miſſion to you, ſo he has ſeal'd his Miniſtry with Succeſs.
Moth. I hope ſo.
Min. He has been a viſible Inſtrument in the Converſion both of his Father and Mother, and I hope he will be ſo of the whole Family.
Moth. I pray GOD he may, for they are a ſad wretched Family yet; and conſidering what their Father and Mother have been, it is no wonder; for we have been the Ruin of them all.
Here ſhe burst out in a terrible Paſſion, exclaiming on the dreadful Example ſhe had been to her Children, and how they had Reaſon to reproach her to their last Hour.
Min. Do not afflict your ſelf with that more than in general, as among the reſt of thoſe Sins, which, bleſſed be GOD, you have the comfortable Hope of being forgiven.
Moth. O my poor wretched Family may be loſt by my Neglect; and tho GOD may forgive me, they are not ſure of having a ſhare in the ſame [Page 348] Grace; I cannot aſſiſt them to repent, but I have dreadfully aſſiſted them to ſin.
Min. But they have the ſame little Inſtructor for an Inſtrument, the ſame Spirit of GOD to ſet home Inſtruction, and the ſame Father of Mercies, with whom there is Forgiveneſs, to accept their Repentance; leave them to him.
Moth. I deſire to do ſo; but O! that all Parents might know from me what the Affliction is, what the Reproaches of the Conſcience are, what moving of the very Bowels it is to a Mother to think, when it is too late to retrieve it, that ſhe has been an Inſtrument, in the Hands of the Devil, to ruin her own dear Children by her dreadful Example; whoſe Souls, on the contrary, ought to have been her Care and Concern: Pray recommend it from me to all Parents to think of their Childrens Souls, and at leaſt not to help them on in Wickedneſs.
Min. It is true, it is a Reflection that is in it ſelf very afflicting, and I will improve it, Madam, as upon all Occaſions you deſire, to admoniſh Parents to concern themſelves earneſtly for the Good of their Children, both by early Inſtruction and Example; but our preſent Buſineſs is to look beyond all your own Failings, to the free Grace of GOD in forgiving, and to adore the Wonders of his Goodneſs, in bringing you back from a Courſe of preſumptuous ſinning, to a ſincere Repentance.
Moth. 'Tis true, that is my Work; but I cannot but mourn over the loſt Condition of my poor Children.
Min. But forget not to rejoice over this one great Inſtance of free Grace among them, I mean this happy little Son of yours.
Moth. Indeed I cannot forget him, nor the ſtrange Work of GOD in him, which, conſidering the Family he has been born in, I think is next to miraculous.
[Page 349] Min. It is indeed a Token of the invincible Operation of the Grace and Spirit of GOD.
Moth. But that GOD ſhould inſpire a little Creature ſo young! and fortify his Mind, to reſiſt all the wicked Examples, all the early Introductions to Sin, that he met with even in his own Parents, and to chooſe the Good and refuſe the Evil, even before he knew the one from the other!
Min. There are ſome whom he is pleas'd to ſanctify from the Womb, and thoſe he will keep from Sin, as a Teſtimony of the Dominion of invincible Grace.
Moth. But that ſuch a Creature ſhould be born of ſuch Parents! ſingled out from a Family of GOD's Enemies, taken out of a Race of Blaſphemers and Haters of GOD, and of every Thing that is good!
Min. This ſhould teach us in general to reverence the Sovereignty of Grace, who chooſes out the Objects of his Mercy, according to the good Pleaſure of his own Will; and to rejoice in his Goodneſs, that we are honour'd with having any of the Heirs of Salvation in our Houſes; but you in particular have reaſon to give Thanks to GOD, who has not only of his infinite Mercy made one of your Children the Subject of ſo bleſſed a Work, but has made this Work a Bleſſing to you, and has made the early Sanctification of your Children, a Means to open your Eyes, who were his Parents, and to bring to the Knowledge and Faith of your Redeemer.
Moth. It is true, he has been made a Means for the reſtoring both his Father and Mother, and I pray GOD he may be inſtrumental to the awakening his Brothers and Siſters, and ſupply by his ſeaſonable Reprehenſion and excellent Example, the want of Chriſtian Care in their Education.
Min. I dare ſay the Child will do more than can be expected from his Years, to do them good, if they will but accept of it.
[Page 350] Moth. Alas, they will only hate him for it; they do already.
Min. Have you any thing to direct in the managing of this Child Madam, if you ſhould not live? Have you provided what Hands he ſhall fall into?
Moth. His Father has done it already.
Min. Methinks Madam, you ſhould recommend to him the being bred up to the Office of a Miniſter; he that has ſo viſibly had the heavenly Call, ſhould not want the human Introductions.
Moth. There's no need for me to direct it, he will never be any thing elſe, as you will perceive by what I am going to tell you.
She repeats to him the Story of the Child's pointing out that Verſe, where he would learn his Leſſon, mention'd before.
Min. If ever any Child had a Call from Heaven to be a Preacher of GOD's Word, I believe this Child has; however, as the outward Preparations are neceſſary; ſuch as the Knowledge of Letters, the pious Inſtructions of religious Maſters, Rules of moral Vertue, and at laſt, a ſufficient Authority for the Exerciſe of the Office, it would be very much the Child's Advantage that you ſhould leave ſome Body intruſted with your Mind about it.
Moth. He has been the Care of Providence hitherto, and I am ſatisfy'd he will not be forſaken ſtill. He will be guided by Heaven. I leave him to the Conduct of the ſame Hand that took him ſo early into his peculiar Direction; but my Concern, and that which lies heavieſt at my Heart, is the reſt of my poor Children, who ſo long ago have been abandon'd both by Father and Mother.
Min. You muſt reſign them alſo to the Will of GOD; but you may yet give them Caution, and warn and charge them to break off their Courſe of ſinning, by the Example both of their Father and [Page 351] Mother; you do not know, but as your evil Example living has done them Hurt, ſo your dying Example may do them ſome Good.
Moth. I have talk'd to them all as long as I had Strength, but I ſee evidently 'tis too late, they take little Notice of it; at leaſt, they do not ſeem at all affected with it.
Min. You can do no more now but pray for them.
Moth. Yes, Sir, one Thing more I may do, I may beg you to acquaint them how heavy it has lain upon my Heart, and what a Grief it is to me now, that I have been wanting in my Duty to them; and as you have an Opportunity, ſeriouſly warn them from me, to ſet about a new Life, and to think in time of that great Work of Repentance.
Min. I will not fail to do my utmoſt with them.

A few Days after this Diſcourſe the Mother dy'd, and made a very happy and comfortable End; and the poor Child was left in an unhappy ill-guided Family, where he was capable of doing no Good, or of receiving any. After ſome Time the Family ſeparated, and this Child with one of his Siſters were, at their own Requeſt, ſent down to the Houſe where he was before, and where he had ſo happily fallen into the Hands of that good Lady, who acted the Part of a Mother, and indeed more than a Mother with him before.

Here he was a Means of not only reforming, but effectually turning his Siſter to be the moſt ſerious and religious young Woman imaginable; and this he did by a continual following her with Reproofs, religious Diſcourſes, and conſtant Perſuaſions to pray to GOD, and to read the Scripture, and to leave off all looſe Words, as ſcandalous and unbecoming. And here he, with the Aſſiſtance of the Teachings and Inſtructions of the good Lady, brought the poor Negro Boy Toby, who it ſeems his Father had given to [Page 352] him to be his own, to be an extraordinary Chriſtian; and ſo knowing in religious Principles, Doctrines, and Rules of Practice, that he was the Wonder of all that convers'd with him; all which he conſtantly acknowledged to be owing, under GOD, to the Inſtruction and affectionate Care of his little Governour, for ſo he always call'd him; I mean, the Child that was then become his Maſter.

It was farther obſervable of this Negro Boy, that after he had been by the Exhortations and unwearied Pains of that good Lady, fully inſtructed in the Knowledge of Religion, ſhe cauſed him at his own Deſire, and with the Conſent of his little Governour, to be ſolemnly baptiz'd: Upon which Occaſion, he made ſuch a Confeſſion of his Faith in Chriſt, and of the Reaſons why he deſir'd to be baptiz'd, as gave great Satisfaction to the Miniſter who baptized him, and to all that heard it. But altho his being baptiz'd and becoming a real Chriſtian, gave him a Title to his Liberty, ſo as that he was no more a Slave to ſerve without Wages; yet he would never accept of that Advantage, nor by any Means leave his Maſter, or become a Servant for Wages, till his Maſter was grown up and voluntarily gave him his Diſmiſs.

After the Child had been ſome Time longer in this Place, the Captain, of whom mention was made in the beginning of this Story, and who had marry'd his Maid Margy, having Notice of the Death of his Mother, come to ſee him. It ſeems the good Lady who had taken ſo much the voluntary Charge of him, for it was no otherwiſe, had found Means to let the Captain know how his Father had, at his Death, recommended his Son to his Care, together with his Wife; and it ſeems the Lady being now to remove, and the Child growing to be pretty big, ſhe thought the guiding of him a little beyond her Management, at leaſt ſingly, and ſo ſhe deſir'd the Captain [Page 353] to come and conſult about his farther Education.

2.5. The Fifth DIALOGUE.

BEfore I come to ſpeak of the Meaſures taken by the Captain, which will finiſh the Story of the Boy, and does not go much farther, it will be very entertaining to go back a little to the Story of his Maid Margy, who it pleaſed GOD to make the firſt Inſtructor of this Child, as has been obſerv'd already: How the Captain, after his rough manner, beſpoke her conſtant Application to the teaching and inſtructing this Child, and gave her Money to encourage her; which he call'd Hiring her for GOD.

The honeſt Wench needed none of thoſe warm Engagements, her Affection to the Child was ſuch as led her many times to ſhed Tears over him, on account of the ſad Condition ſhe ſaw him expoſed to, and how miſerable an Education he was like to have; and as ſhe told the Captain when he gave her that Money, ſhe thought it would break her Heart to think what Example, what guiding, and what dreadful Temptations the poor Child would be expoſed to as it grew up, ſo ſhe was the moſt anxious Creature in the World, when ſhe had the Teaching of him, leſt ſhe ſhould not be able to prevent the evil Impreſſions ſuch Things might make upon him, after ſhe ſhould be oblig'd to leave him.

[Page 354] But as he grew up he deliver'd her from thoſe Fears, and ſhe had the Satisfaction to have a faithful Account from the Child's Father while he lived, not only that he had been preſerv'd himſelf, but how he had been a Means to do Good to others; and particularly, how he had a great Hand in the convincing him (the Father) of the deſperate Wickedneſs of his Life, and of bringing him to a ſerious and ſincere Repentance.

Providence ſome time after this, carry'd this Maid into the Country, by the Accident of a Family ſhe ſerv'd in for ſome Years; ſo that ſhe was not at that Time acquainted with what occur'd in this Family; and particularly, did not hear of the Enquiry made after her on the following Occaſion.

The Captain had been at Sea, as was ſaid, and going a trading Voyage to the Eaſt-Indies, had been kept out no leſs than four Years; but to make amends for the Length of Time he was out, he came home exceeding rich; he was ſo far from being unmindful of the little Boy, who he had in ſo affectionate a manner recommended to this Maid Margy, that during his being abroad, he wrote twice to his Wife to enquire after the Child, and to know in particular, if Margy did her Duty to him; and if ſhe did, to give her a Sum of Money which he order'd for that purpoſe. The firſt time the Captain's Wife found Margy with the Child in her Care, and gave her the Money; but the ſecond time Margy being remov'd from the Child, and gone as I have ſaid, into the Country to another Service, the Captain's Wife could not find her, which very much troubl'd her; for hearing ſhe was gone from the Child, ſhe had reſolv'd to hire her into her own Houſe, to look after her own Children.

This was Margy's Loſs and the Captain's Wife's alſo. At firſt it was Margy's Loſs, becauſe ſhe had [Page 355] not the Money which was intended for her, and it was the Family's Loſs becauſe they miſs'd of ſo good and ſo faithful a Servant in the Houſe among the Children, which were then very young; but the Loſs was fully repair'd at laſt.

After ſome time the Captain came Home, and brought a vaſt Wealth with him, God had been pleas'd to give him great Succeſs abroad, and he came home reſolv'd to go no more to Sea. But he had, with all his Succeſs, the bad News to receive at his coming Home, that his Wife was dead; which was a great Affliction to him, ſhe being both a very good Wife to him, and a very tender, careful, conſcientious Mother to his Children.

He had not long conſider'd the Circumſtances of his Family and Children, and the Want they ſtood in of a careful, faithful Hand to guide and bring them up, but he bethought himſelf of honeſt Margy.

He enquir'd, and ſoon found ſhe was gone ſome time from the Child ſhe had the Charge of, and this made him deſirous to find her out; but he could by no means hear whither ſhe was gone. However, that he might have ſome account of her Conduct, and how ſhe had diſcharg'd her ſelf of the Truſt he committed to her, he apply'd himſelf to the Gentlewoman who was preſent when he engag'd her, and gave her the Money to take Charge of the Child; whom in the former Dialogue we call'd the Couſin.

He had from her the whole Hiſtory of the Family, and particularly, of Margy's Behaviour, and how careful ſhe had been of the Child, and with what good Succeſs her Care had been bleſs'd, as has been ſaid. He alſo learn'd from her, that the ſecond Sum of Money which he had ſent her, had not been paid her, becauſe neither his Wife nor ſhe her ſelf, could by any Means hear whither the Maid was gone.

It troubled the Captain exceedingly that he could [Page 356] not hear of her, becauſe upon the Loſs of his Wife, he had alter'd his Reſolution of not going to Sea any more; but was greatly concern'd who to leave the Government of his Children to in his Abſence; and being not only a tender Father, as to their being provided for, but a moſt religious Father, as to their being well inſtructed, he would have given any thing in the World to have left his Children in the Conduct of ſuch a Servant as Margy.

It happen'd in this Juncture, that the Captain going by Water in a Wherry from his Ship, which lay about Deptford; the Boat accidentally run foul of another Boat, in which there was a Maid and a Child. The Maid appear'd very much frighted at the Boat's falling foul of another; and the Captain ſaid to her, Sweet-heart do not be afraid, there is no Danger. She made no Anſwer, being ſtill in ſome Diſorder, and particularly afraid for the Child that was with her; yet he obſerv'd afterwards that ſhe bow'd two or three times to him very reſpectfully.

The Boats being clear, the Captain's Boat, which was Oars, and conſequently had two Watermen, went before the Maid's Boat, which was but a Sculler; and as he paſſed by, looking at the Wench, he thought he knew her Face, but did not call to mind who ſhe was; however, he had not gone far, but he recollected his Memory, and it came into his thoughts that it was Margy: Upon which he ſtop'd the Boat, and ſpoke to her, and ſoon found that it was Margy indeed.

He ask'd her where ſhe liv'd; and ſhe told him in the Country, not far from Warwick. He ask'd her, if ſhe had that Child in keeping? ſhe ſaid, Yes, and two more: That her Maſter, who was a Baronet, and his Lady, were both at Greenwich; and ſhe was ſent up to their Lodging in London with that Child, becauſe it was not well. He enquir'd where her Maſter's [Page 357] Lodging was; and told her, he muſt needs ſpeak with her; and that if ſhe could be ſpar'd to come to his Houſe the next Day, he deſir'd ſhe would, and bring the Gentlewoman with her laſt ſpoken of, who was with her when he firſt ſpoke to her. She told him, ſhe believ'd ſhe could not be ſpar'd ſo ſoon; but that the firſt Day ſhe could get any Time ſhe would wait on him. And as he was going away ſhe told him, ſhe humbly thank'd him for his having been ſo mindful of her, as to ſend her a Sum of Money, which ſhe was in no Means able to deſerve. He told her, part of his Buſineſs was to enquire what ſhe had done to deſerve it; and that tho he did not queſtion but ſhe had done her Part, yet he wanted the Satisfaction of knowing what Succeſs ſhe had: Then he ask'd her, how much ſhe had receiv'd; ſhe told him, five Guineas. Well Margy, ſaid he, but you were to blame not to leave word whither you were gone; for I ſent you Ten more, but my Wife could by no Means find you out; however, ſays he, it ſhall not be your Loſs.

He row'd away again, but could not be ſatisfy'd to leave her till he had talk'd with her effectually; ſo he row'd back a ſecond time, and ask'd her, if ſhe could not as well be ſpar'd now as at another time for half an Hour's Diſcourſe, or thereabouts; and that being near the Place where the Gentlewoman liv'd, if ſhe would land and go thither, he would come to her to the Houſe; ſhe readily agreed to it, and he came accordingly: Where the following Dialogue may give ſome Account of their Diſcourſe.

Well Margy, ſays the Captain, you know who I hir'd you for; what Account can you give of your Service?

Marg. Truly, Sir, I acknowledge I have but ill deſerv'd my Wages.
Capt. How ſo Margy, I hope your little Charge did not prove unteachable.
[Page 358] Marg. No indeed, Sir, on the contrary, he ſoon learn'd more than I was able to teach him.
Capt. I did not Hire you to do more for him than you could, but as much as you could.
Marg. He was able to teach me and all the Family before he was 11 Year old.
Capt. I expected he would be ſuch a Child as never was before; and that was the Reaſon I concerned my ſelf for him; but pray tell me Margy, give me an Account of him.
Marg. Sir, he has taught Religion and good Principles to old and young; he has reform'd I know not how many Children that have been only his Playmates; he has inſtructed old and young; People have come far and near to enquire about him: and he has converted his Father, confounded his Mother, and much reform'd two of his Siſters; and yet he is not now 12 Year old: And they are not without good Reaſon to believe that his Mother, who is ſurely one of the moſt harden'd and obſtinate Creatures under the Sun, is at a little ſtand, and check'd in her uſual Courſe of Profaneneſs by him.
Here ſhe told him the Story of the Child's Father's Change, and of his Debate with his Mother, upon the Subject mention'd.
Capt Well, and why then Margy do you ſay you have ill deſerv'd your Wages?
Marg. Alas Sir! what is all this to my part? I have no Pretence to any Share in it; he is taught from Heaven, and would have been all that he is now, if he had never ſeen my Face.
Capt. I do not know that Margy; GOD works by Means; you were his firſt Inſtructor.
Marg. I could teach him but little, Sir; he is taught of GOD.
Capt. GOD has been pleas'd to bleſs your teaching Margy; you ſhould rejoice in it, not diſown it; you [Page 359] taught him his firſt Knowledge of GOD, and you taught him firſt to read the Word of GOD.
Marg. If I had not, GOD would have found Inſtruments; he never wants Servants where he has Work to do.
Capt. Well, but he appointed you to the Work; Are you aſham'd of your Maſter that employ'd you?
Marg. No, Sir, the Lord forbid; I am glad I was inſtrumental to do any good to my little dear Maſter; ſure there was never ſuch a Child upon Earth.
Capt. Well Margy, I told you I would hire you to a good Maſter, and I intended to have paid you your Wages better, but you could not be found.
Marg. I have been very well paid, Sir, and particularly by you, of whom I deſerv'd nothing; for I had my Wages very well paid beſides.
Capt. Well Margy, it's no matter for that, I promis'd you Wages for GOD too, as I hired you for the Work of GOD; and I ſent it you too, but my Wife could not find you; but you ſhall not loſe it; here, bear Witneſs that I have paid you your Wages, and the Lord reward your Labour of Love to that poor ORPHAN, for ſuch he was; I ſay, the Lord give you his Bleſſing, and reward you for it, both here and for ever.
He gives her Ten Guineas, and bleſſes her heartily.
Marg. Sir, I neither expected this, nor can I ſay I have deſerved any Part of it.
Capt. I think you have fully deſerv'd it, Margy; and may the eternal Judge at the Great Day, ſay to you, That foraſmuch as you did this to that little One, you did it unto him, and reward you openly.

She bow'd in token of her Thanks to him; but could not ſpeak, her Heart was ſo overcome with what he had ſaid to her.

Capt. But Margy, I would hire you again in earneſt, if you are willing.
[Page 360] Marg. For who, Sir? I have no more little Maſters like that to inſtruct.
Capt. But I have, Margy; I have two little Sons, and two little Daughters, and they want their Mother.
Marg. How ſo, Sir! I believe your Lady wants no Aſſiſtant to that Work.
Capt. My Wife, Margy, did not want Help that way; but I want my Wife, Margy; GOD has depriv'd me of the Comfort, and my Children of the Bleſſing of the beſt Wife, and the beſt Mother in the World.
Marg. I am very ſorry to hear it, Sir; but, I doubt not, your Lady has laid ſuch a Foundation, Sir, as I can add nothing to.
Capt. Such a Foundation, Margy, as you may build well upon.
Marg. I am ſorry, Sir, I am ſo engag'd, that I cannot offer you my Service, to whom I am under ſuch Obligation.
Capt. How are you engag'd, Margy?
Marg. Only, Sir, that I am in Place, where I have no Objection, either to my Wages or Uſage, and cannot therefore honeſtly come away without a good Reaſon.
Capt. I would not covet my Neighbour's Servant, any more than his Money; but if you can leave your Service, I ſhall give you good Encouragement, Margy.
Marg. My Lady is the moſt obliging Miſtreſs that ever Servant liv'd with; and I did promiſe her I would not leave her, unleſs ſhe put me away.
Capt. But you did not bind your ſelf to her I hope; I ſhall give you good Encouragement, Margy.
Marg. Indeed Sir, I cannot leave my Lady honourably, nor indeed with a good Conſcience; for I know ſhe depends upon me for the Care of three Children, as much as for the dreſſing and undreſſing them.
[Page 361] Capt. You are very nice in that Caſe, Margy.
Marg. Sir, if I could be honeſtly diſcharg'd from my Lady, I would rather ſerve in your Family than in any Family in England; but to come away diſhoneſtly, GOD will never proſper me if I ſhould do ſo.
Gent. Sir, I find Margy makes Conſcience of leaving her Miſtreſs, who gives her no Cauſe to diſlike her Service; and I deſire, in Margy's Favour, that you will not preſs her in any Caſe, where ſhe thinks it not juſt.
Capt. Well, Margy, I won't preſs you any farther; but this I deſire you to promiſe me, that you will come to me when you are free from your Miſtreſs.
Marg. That I promiſe, Sir, readily, and before any Maſter in England.
Here Margy takes her leave, and goes away; and the Captain ſtays talking with the Gentlewoman, the Couſin formerly mention'd.
Capt. This Margy is the niceſt Girl, upon ſuch Things as theſe, as ever I met with.
Couſin. Why, truly Sir, I cannot but ſay ſhe is very ſtrait in that Point, and yet, ſtrictly ſpeaking, ſhe is but juſt.
Capt. Well, I muſt have her to tend my Children, whatever it coſt me.
Couſ. I would not deſire you to puſh it; for if ſhe really ſcruples it in point of Conſcience, you won't bring her to it, if you would give her all you have in the World.
Capt. Say you ſo; why that makes me ſtill more poſitive to have her, if it be poſſible; and I have one Way left, which I believe will not fail.
Couſ. What Way is that pray? I know none unleſs you would make a Wife of her; and, I hope, you do not think of that, for your Family's ſake.
Capt. Why, if I ſhould, I think ſhe deſerves the Reſpect and Affection of any thing that loves and values [Page 362] a Principle not to be imitated in the World.
Couſ. Nay, Sir, if you will do ſo, I doubt not but her Lady will conſent to diſmiſs her; and, I confeſs, I have been afraid you have that in your Thoughts.
Capt. I do not ſay I have it in my Thoughts; but if I ſhould, I ſhould do it purely for my Children: She that has been ſuch a voluntary Mother to that Child, from a meer Principle of Conſcience, cannot fail to be a Mother to my Children, if I ſhould add ſuch an Obligation as that of making her my Wife; beſides, ſhe is to be valu'd for her exact Honeſty.
Couſ. Nay, Captain, ſhe wants nothing to make her a compleat Wife, but Money; for, I aſſure you, ſhe came of a very good Family, and has been very well bred, tho her Parents are low; and yet I cannot adviſe to it, for many Reaſons.
Capt. I know not what your Reaſons are; you ſay ſhe wants nothing but Money, and I want every thing but Money; and ſhe is then the beſt Wife for me, and I am the beſt Husband for her; but theſe Things are remote, and may never happen; in the mean Time, I am ſure my Children want ſuch a Mother, tho I do not want ſuch a Wife.
Couſ. There are abundance of Changes and Uneaſineſſes always attend ſuch unequal Marriages; I would never adviſe any good Man to expoſe himſelf to the hazard of the Change of his Opinion.
Capt. You bring me involuntarily into ſuch a Diſcourſe; I tell you plainly I have no ſuch View.
Couſ. But I am afraid for you, and was from the Beginning, and that made me mention it.
Capt. If ever I ſhould think of ſuch a Thing, I ſhall do it from a Principle that is not apt to change; I can have Wives enough with good Fortunes, my own Circumſtances make it rational to expect I [Page 363] could; but then I ruſh like a Horſe into the Battle, and venture upon I know not what; I know Margy has a Principle of Virtue and of Religion, and is Miſtreſs of the beſt Family-Conduct that ever I met with, and this is what I want in a Wife more than Money.
Couſ. But why may not a Woman be found as well qualify'd with a Fortune as without; I cannot ſee the Reaſon of that.
Capt. That's true, it is poſſible; but where is the Perſon, and how great is the Hazard? Here I know, is the Woman that is ſo qualify'd; and if ſhe be not rich, if I can make her rich, is it not the ſame thing?
Couſ. You lay a great Streſs upon the Wife's Part, as if your whole Happineſs depended upon her.
Capt. Indeed I think it does ſo, but eſpecially mine, who have four Children to be taken care of Soul and Body; if I have a Wife that neglects my Children, I am undone, I ſhall abhor the Sight of her.
Couſ. Nay, I confeſs Margy ſeems to be qualify'd for that Work; ſhe will love your Children, I dare ſay.
Capt. I know this of Margy, that if ſhe ſhould not take care of them from a Principle of Affection, ſhe will from a Principle of Conſcience; I do not expect ſhe ſhould have the Affection of a Mother, but I dare ſay ſhe will do the Duty of a Mother.
Couſ. GOD forbid I ſhould injure Margy ſo much as to go about to leſſen your Value for her, either as a Wife, or as a Servant; I verily think ſhe will deſerve as well as any One in her Circumſtances: But I am for your own Sake, and your Family's Sake, moving you againſt ſuch a kind of Marriage in general, as unequal and apt to be unhappy.
Capt. Well, Madam, that is not my preſent Buſineſs; my Deſire at preſent is to get her to take the [Page 364] Charge of my Family upon her, while I am abroad; and I beg two Things of you.
Couſ. Any thing, Sir, but to make a Propoſal of Marriage for you.
Capt. I don't offer it now, nor do I think of it, if ſhe will but come and take Care of my Children; I am a going abroad.
Couſ. I ſee plainly you will have her afterward, and of the two, you had better take her before; for a Widower marrying his own Maid, is not a Thing the cleareſt from Reflection of any in the World.
Capt. I aſſure you I have no Thought of it now, nor, if ever I ſhould, I ſhall not till I have been another Voyage, which, I tell you, I am now reſolv'd upon, and who knows what may fall out in that Time?
Couſ. Why, I heard you ſay you had reſolv'd to leave off the Sea.
Capt. I had reſolv'd ſo indeed, while my Wife was alive; but I have loſt the Delight of my Eyes, and ſince that I have chang'd my Mind, and reſolve to go to the Indies again, and this makes me ſo willing to have this Maid to manage my Children.
Couſ. I will do my utmoſt to anſwer your End that Way, provided there is nothing of the other in it.
Capt. I aſſure you there is not; I do not purpoſe ſo much as to mention it to her.
Couſ. What then would you have me do?
Capt. I deſire you would talk to Margy again, and get her if you can; and if ſhe will not come without it, go to her Lady, and ſee if you can obtain her Conſent to it; perhaps when ſhe knows the Circumſtances, ſhe will part with her.
Couſ. I won't ſay one Word of the reſt.
Capt. I am content, and indeed deſire you would not; for it's what may never happen.

[Page 365] The Gentlewoman accordingly went the next Morning to Margy, where her Lady being not come up from Greenwich, ſhe had full Leiſure to diſcourſe with her, and between them began the following Dialogue.

Couſ. Margy, I fancy you wonder a little what has brought me to ſee you this Morning.
Marg. So I do Madam, I hope you have no bad News; pray is my old little Governour well? have you heard from him?
Couſ. No, Margy, I have no bad News; I have not heard lately; I believe he is well, he is in the Country; but I came to talk with you about Yeſterday's Buſineſs, and your refuſing to ſerve Capt. —; you know Margy he has been very civil to you, without the leaſt Obligation, and if I am not miſinform'd, he made you a very fine Compliment Yeſterday, upon the old Account of your Service to my little Couſin, your Governour, as you call him.
Marg. Indeed, Madam, that is very true; he gave me a Sum I was aſham'd to receive, and what to do I know not; I would as willingly come into his Family, as into any Family I know in the World, becauſe I know he is a very religious good Man, and has four poor Motherleſs Children, prettily brought up hitherto; for his Wife was an extraordinary Mother, and the Children are quite out of all Management now, and may be ruin'd: But what can I do, Madam, to come away from my Lady without any juſt Cauſe, and a Lady that not only uſes me well, but depends upon me for the Managing her Family, and eſpecially of her Children? I think 'tis the moſt unjuſt Part a Servant can do.
Couſ. I do not know what to ſay to that, Margy; but it muſt be done if it be poſſible; the Captain has ſo much Dependance upon it, that he will never think his Children taken due Care of, unleſs they are [Page 366] in your Hands: I believe you may have any Wages you will ask of him; nay, I have Power to offer you, that whatever Wages you have here, he will double it, therefore do not be in a ſtrait about it.
Marg. If I was free, Madam, I ſhould be in no ſtrait; for I ſhould undertake it as ſoon as you had ſpoken of it; and as I am not free, Madam, I am in no ſtrait neither, for I cannot do it with a ſafe Conſcience, and no Body ſhould be in a ſtrait to refuſe every thing on that Account.
Couſ. Well, but Margy, what if I ſhould get your Lady's Conſent?
Marg. That's quite another Caſe, Madam; if my Lady is willing, I ought in juſtice to ſerve the Captain's Family before any other; for I have many Obligations on me which you know of, both from him and his Wife too, when ſhe was living.
Couſ. Well Margy, I know you have; but the Captain does not inſiſt upon that, you know he gave you that Money on another Account; he gave it firſt to engage you to do your Part conſcienciouſly with my little Kinſman, and after, as a Reward for your faithful diſcharge of your Duty; I wiſh all faithful Servants had the like Encouragement.
Marg. I did nothing but what was my Duty, and what that dear little Creature would have forc'd any one almoſt to do.
Couſ. Well, it is an Encouragement however to all Servants to be honeſt and careful, and to diſcharge their Duty well; you ſee GOD will find Ways to have them rewarded even in this World, and if they who are concern'd will not do it, Strangers ſhall; the Captain had no more Concern in that Child, or in that Family, than you had, before you were their Servant, only did it in a Principle of generous Charity to the Soul of the poor Child, who he ſaw abandon'd by its own Parents.
[Page 367] Marg. I know it, Madam, it was all Charity in him; but I look farther, I think it was all from a higher Hand, both to the Child and to me: I am perſwaded that Child has been the peculiar Care of Heaven from its Infancy; and as to me, I bleſs GOD I ever had the Charge of him; not that I have done the Child ſo much good as another might have done it; but I am ſure the Child has been a Means to do me a great deal of good, it had ſomething of the higheſt Principles of Chriſtianity in it from the very Cradle.
Couſ. Now Margy, it is from the ſame Principle of Chriſtian Affection to the Soul of his own Children, beſides his fatherly Concern for them, that the Captain deſires you to come and take Care of them; their Mother is gone, and he talks of going to Sea again, tho if his Wife had liv'd, he did not intend it; and he cannot go away with any Peace, if his Children are not left in ſome Hand that he can be eaſy with.
Marg. It is a great Charge, Madam, for me to take upon me; if there was but one, I could do it pretty well, and ſhould do my Endeavour; but four Children, and all of them ſmall Ones, is a Burthen too heavy for me.
Couſ. He will let you have what Help you can deſire, Margy; you ſhall have no leſs than two Servants under you; he only wants you to have the Government of them.
Marg. Well, Madam, I can ſay no more than this, if my Lady, that I am now with, diſmiſſes me, I ſhall be willing to do what I can.

The Couſin was faithful to her Word, and took not the leaſt Notice of her Diſcourſe with the Captain; neither would ſhe ſay any more to her at that Time, reſolving to talk with her Miſtreſs, and knowing where the Lady was at Greenwich, ſhe immediately takes Boat and goes down to her, and tells her the [Page 368] whole Story of Margy and the Captain, as it related to the Child ſhe had tended before, and the Captain's Deſire now to have her for the Conduct of his own Children; and, Madam, ſays ſhe, I come from the Captain to beg your Ladyſhip's Conſent to part with her.

Lady. Indeed, Madam, you come of the moſt unwelcome Meſſage in the World; the Captain is in the right to deſire her, and ſignifies to me that he is a true Father to his Children; but I ſhould be as ill a Mother to mine if I ſhould part with her, for ſure there never was ſuch a Servant in any One's Houſe, and therefore, Madam, if you have any Senſe of Juſtice, do not attempt to rob me of a Servant that I take to be as Jacob was to the Houſe of Laban, (viz.) a Bleſſing to my Family.
Couſ. Madam, you put me to the greateſt ſtrait in the World, I ſcarce know how to act in ſuch an Affair; but the Captain has laid great Obligations upon Margy, and ſhe ought a little to conſider them.
Lady. Nay, Madam, I hope you will not tamper with her, to entice her away.
Couſ. No, Madam, neither is ſhe to be tamper'd with; if ſhe were to have ten Times the Wages you give her, ſhe will never come from you without your Leave.
Lady. But then I find you have mov'd it to her.
Couſ. Not in any unfair way, Madam, I aſſure you, as you ſhall know afterwards.
Lady. But did ſhe deſire you to ask my Conſent?
Couſ. No indeed Madam, I muſt do her that Juſtice; ſhe is ſo ſtrait-lac'd in that Point, that ſhe would not give her Conſent that I ſhould come to ask you: She ſays you have been very good to her, and ſhe has nothing to complain of; and tho ſhe owns her Obligation to the Captain and his Family, and tho he offered to double her Wages, ſhe ſays ſhe cannot in [Page 369] Conſcience quit your Family, where ſhe thinks you have ſome little Dependance on her Service among your Children; nothing can bring her to it but your Conſent.
Lady. Why then your Buſineſs is at an end; for the Captain may be ſatisfied, that the very ſame Reaſon which makes him deſire to have her, makes me deſire to keep her; and you may be aſſured you will never have my Conſent, no hardly, if he would marry her.
Couſ. Really, Madam, I foreſaw it before I came, and ſo did the Captain; and if I had not had ſomething to ſay which I did believe you could not reſiſt, I had not given you this Trouble. It was evident, the Maid would not ſtir without your Diſmiſs; and we knew no Lady that had any Affection for her Children, and Senſe of the Manner with which this Maid behaves her ſelf among Children, would part with her; and therefore I muſt own it is my Opinion, tho I am not empower'd to tell you ſo poſitively, that rather than his Children ſhall want ſuch a Teacher, he will, one Time or other, make her their Mother.
Here ſhe tells the Lady all the Diſcourſe between the Captain and the Maid, and between the Captain and her ſelf, after the Maid was gone.
Lady. Then my poor Children are ruin'd.
The Lady weeps.
Couſ. O Madam, do not ſay ſo, your Children, bleſſed be GOD, have their Mother; while your Ladyſhip lives they will never want an Inſtructor. The Captain's Children are left to the wide World, withour a Mother, and if he goes abroad, withour a Father too.
Lady. I tell you, this Maid has been Father, Mother, Nurſe, School-miſtreſs, every Thing to my Children; ſhe is a Pattern to all the Servants in the [Page 370] Nation; ſhe has a Rule with her, that I fear Maid-Servants that tend Children know little of.
Couſ. I know not what her Rules are, but I know what her Practice was when ſhe tended my little Couſin.
Here ſhe relates to her the Conduct of the Maid with the little Child her Couſin.
Lady. One of her Rules is, that when a Maid-Servant takes upon her to tend little Children, it is her Duty to inſtruct and teach them, as well as tend and wait upon them. I wiſh all Maid-Servants obſerved the ſame Method.
Couſ. Indeed Madam, I believe few Maid-Servants mind that part much.
Lady. On the contrary, they teach Children little ſimple Songs, bad Words, ill Habits and Cuſtoms; but this Wench is ſuch a conſcientious Creature, ſhe makes Children Chriſtians even before they know what a Chriſtian is; ſhe teaches them the Fear and Knowledge of GOD, even before ſhe is able to make them read.
Couſ. She has alſo a moſt affectionate way with her, to bring Children to love what they learn, and they come out of her Hands ſtrangely alter'd.
Lady. Alter'd Madam! my Children are quite another ſort of Creatures ſince ſhe has had them; ſhe infuſes Things inſenſibly into them; they learn Manners, Duty and Religion, all together, of her. I have a little Child here, my Daughter, that is but five Year old, and I am ſure when it came to her it had learn'd nothing but little fooliſh Anſwers to common Queſtions, which it underſtood nothing of when it ſpoke, and a great many little ſimple Songs which were ſcarce fit for Children to repeat; but now we hear nothing at all of-them.
Couſ. No Madam, I believe Margy would ſoon perſuade the Child off of that.
[Page 371] Lady. I know not what ſhe has done, but I aſſure you the little Creature fetch'd Tears out of my Eyes one Night ſince we came hither, to ſee how it acted when it wanted Margy; for you know, ſhe ſtays at London ſometimes while we are here. I'll tell you a ſhort Story of her. I made the Child lie with me one Night, Margy being away, and I put her to Bed my ſelf, not caring to truſt any other Servant; when I had almoſt undreſs'd her, ſhe pull'd me, and pull'd me two or three Times, and I could not imagine what the Child meant: At laſt ſhe look'd up in my Face very ſteadily, but ſaid nothing; and ſtill I did not underſtand the Child. When ſhe could find no way to make me know what ſhe meant without ſpeaking, ſhe ſays two or three times over, Down Mamma, down Mamma: Down My Dear, ſaid I, what muſt I ſit down for? She pulls me again; Down Mamma, ſays ſhe: ſo I ſat down upon a little Stool; No, down here Mamma, ſays the Child, looking on one ſide of the Stool. So ſtupid a Fool was I all this while that I could not yet imagine what the Child meant! So it ſaid again, Down here Mamma, and points to the Floor; not dreaming yet what ſhe meant, I laugh'd at her; What, muſt I ſit upon the Floor? ye ſimple little Rogue you, ſaid I; no, no, I'll ſit here. With that the Child looking mighty grave, and a little tending towards crying, ſays to me, Down ſo Mamma, and claps down upon its Knees. This a little ſtartled me: O my Dear, ſaid I, I did not underſtand thee: Come then, kneel down and ſay your Prayers. It would not do yet, this was not what the Child meant. No Mamma, ſays the Child, you kneel down, ſay Prayers.
Couſ. It was very pretty indeed.
Lady. Pretty, Madam! 'twas ſuch a Reproach [...] me, my very Blood and Bowels turn'd within me, and I knew not what to ſay or do; it was a long [Page 372] while before I could ſpeak to the Child, and it began to pull me again. At laſt I ſaid, why? my Dear, why muſt I ſay Prayers? Becauſe Margy is gone Mamma, ſays the Child. Why, my Dear, ſays I, does Margy kneel down ſo always and ſay Prayers when you go to Bed? Yes Mamma, ſays the Child, and me too. I ſaid nothing awhile; for indeed my Heart was full: But after a little more ſtop, ſays the Child, Mamma, May we go to Bed without ſay Prayers? No, no, my Dear, ſays I; tho GOD knows, my Heart reproaches me, that I had done it many a Time. The Child continu'd to teize me again; Do then Mamma, ſays ſhe, and pulls me by the Apron. Then Tears burſt out of my Eyes in ſpight of my Reſiſtance, and I took the poor little Creature in my Arms, and kneel'd down with it, and pray'd to GOD to bleſs it as well as I could; for I was hardly able to ſpeak a Word.
Couſ. It was very moving indeed.
Lady. But it did not end here. When I had ſet the Child down and was ſtep'd a little way from it, to tell you the Truth, to give vent a little to my Paſſions, I turn'd about after ſome time, to ſee what the Child was doing, becauſe I did not hear it; and the dear little Creature was gone to the Foot of the Bed, and kneel'd down, and praying ſoftly by it ſelf. Judge you, Madam, what a Sight this was to a Mother that really had never had any hand in the happy Inſtruction that had brought it to this. After ſome time I ask'd her, if Margy taught her to do ſo? and ſhe ſaid, Yes. Then I ask'd her, how often? and ſhe ſaid, every Night and every Morning. And this is the Maid you are come to take away from me.
Couſ. Well Madam, but as ſhe has carry'd your Children on ſo well and ſo far; for this, I ſuppoſe, is your youngeſt, you can the better ſpare her; ſhe has taught them very happily I find hitherto.
[Page 373] Lady. Taught them! indeed ſhe has taught them, and taught me too; ſhe is a Pattern to all Servants, ay, and Miſtreſſes too, for the Conduct of Children.
Couſ. Well, Madam, and can you blame the Captain for deſiring to have ſuch a Teacher for his Children?
Lady. No indeed, nor for taking ſuch a one to be his Wife neither; ſince I underſtand he is vaſtly rich, and needs not value the marrying a Wife without Money.
Couſ. Indeed tho I am very much Margy's Friend, yet I have argued againſt her; for ſuch unequal Matches are not always the moſt happy.
Lady. I have nothing to do with that; but I aſſure you, Margy is ſo well bred, ſo modeſt, and of ſo excellent a Temper, that ſhe will not ill become her Condition if ſhe was to riſe much higher.
Couſ. Well Madam, Margy has not deſerv'd ſo well of you in vain.
Lady. I do but do her Juſtice I aſſure you, and tho I ought not to repine at what is ſo much for her good, yet I cannot but own to you, the Loſs is a particular Affliction to me.

Here the Diſcourſe broke off, and the Gent [...] man comes away, and comes directly to Marg [...] [...] begins a new Diſcourſe with her. Well Margy, [...]ays ſhe, you have the beſt Miſtreſs that ever Servant liv'd with, and you are as much in her Favour; but I have got her Conſent.

Marg. Is it poſſible? Is my Miſtreſs ſo free to part with me then?
Lady. No indeed Margy, ſhe is far from being willing; but ſhe ſees it is for your Good, and ſhe conſents upon that Account, and no other, I aſſure you.
Marg. That is ſtill laying the higheſt Obligation upon me to ſtay with her.

[Page 374] To cut ſhort this Part of the Story, the End of which is to inſtruct Servants in what is their Duty, when little Children come into their Hands, that they are to do more than Dreſs and Undreſs them: and to encourage them to it, I ſay this was the End of this Part. But to cut it ſhort; when Margy had heard by her Lady, that there had been ſome Diſcourſe of the Captain making her his Wife, ſhe was more averſe to going away than before, reſolving not to be a Servant in his Family upon any Terms whatſoever: So the Diſcourſe of thoſe Things broke off, and it was not till two Year after, that the Captain returning again from Sea, found her out and marry'd her. Indeed ſhe was his Wife when the Youth (for he was then 14 Year old,) who ſhe had firſt brought up, being Fatherleſs and Motherleſs, as is noted above, was, by the Courſe of his Father's Will, left to the Care of the Captain; and he knowing how grateful it would be to his Wife, as well as from a ſincere Affection to the Child, took him Home, and made him like one of his own.

Here he was uſed with ſuch an Affection, ſuch Tenderneſs, and ſuch Care, that he was far from having any Loſs either of Father or Mother; and after [...] had been furniſhed with all the needful Parts of Learning to fit him for the Work, became a Miniſter; and prov'd an extraordinary Man, as well for Piety and Principle, as Capacity; and the Captain, to make him finally and effectually his own, marry'd him to his eldeſt Daughter, with whom he received a very comfortable Fortune of 8000 l. Thus Providence finiſh'd the Work which was in ſo eminent a Manner begun in this Child, ſingling him out from his Infancy, to be an Honour and Encouragement to the Profeſſion of Religion, and qualifying him even in his Infancy to be an Inſtructor of others; ſo that he might be ſaid to be a Miniſter of the Goſpel from his Cradle.

[Page 375] The Citizen had liſtend with great Attention to this Story; and when it was finiſhed, he ſays to his pious Neighbour, who told it, this is a Story full of admirable Examples, as well among the whole Family as in the Servant: Indeed, continued he, I have wanted ſuch a Servant in my Family; had my Houſekeeper been a Margy, my Children had had no ſuch viſible Appearances of Vice in their moſt early Days; it was for want of early Inſtruction that they have put me to the trouble of violent Correction; if they had had ſuch a ſoft Teacher at firſt, I had, I believe, never been ſuch a paſſionate furious Corrector.

Neigh. Without doubt ſuch Servants are a Bleſſing to a Family, where-ever they are found.
Fa. But when I reflect upon my Conduct with my Children, and my wretched want of Temper in the Management of them, my Fury in Correction, and dreadful Neglect of Inſtruction, I think, if their Mother had liv'd to teach them her ſelf, or even if I had a Margy to educate them, I ſhould have ſpoil'd it all, and have made a Bedlam of my Houſe in ſpight of it all: You can bring no Inſtance in all your Experience, that can ſhew me the Abſurdity of my Conduct; I am like them that never learn the [...] of their Conduct, but by the Conſequences.
Neigh. That's an Experience that brings Reflectio [...] with it, but is generally too late to give Inſtruction.
Fa. Mens Eyes are ſhut to their own Infirmities, and open to every other Bodies Failings. The ſame Poſſeſſion which incapacitates them to conſult their Reaſon, blinds their Eyes, that they cannot ſee their own Temper.
Neigh. Therefore the beſt Way to convince a paſſionate Man of his Folly, is to let him ſee his own Picture drawn to the Life in another Man's Practice.
Fa. I know not whether you can find out a Parallel to repreſent me to my ſelf or no; there are few ſo bad as I have been.
[Page 376] Neigh. Yes, I can give you a Story of a Man, who I knew, that went far beyond you, and with this Addition too, that he made his whole Family miſerable by it: His Paſſion deſtroy'd every thing that could be call'd Comfort or Happineſs in his Family, and in himſelf too.
Fa. Perhaps he had great Provocations.
Neigh. The leaſt of any Man living; he had an excellent Wife, dutiful and well-accompliſh'd Children, eaſy Circumſtances, every thing but his own Paſſions conſpired to make him happy; and thoſe Paſſions made his Life miſerable, and all thoſe that belong'd to him liv'd very uncomfortably with him.
Fa. He was then a Man of no Morals or Religion.
Neigh. Yes, he was a Man both of Morals and Religion, and a mighty pleaſant good humour'd Man, except only his want of Temper.
Fa. Eaſily provok'd, I ſuppoſe.
Neigh. Ay, ay; all Tinder! fir'd with but one Spark, and very hard to put out.
Fa. How did his Wife do to bear it?
Neigh. She was a Woman of that admirable Prudence, that ſhe never added Fewel to the Fire of his Paſſions; but ſtudy'd, by all poſſible Methods, to pre [...] the Flame breaking out, and to allay and pre [...] the Fury of it when it was rais'd.
Fa. That was doing her Duty to a Perfection indeed; but who alive is able to act that Part?
Neigh. You ſhall judge of this when you have heard out the Story.
Fa. Go on then, for I am impatient to hear it.
Neigh. They had ſeveral Children, and generally they were ſober well-inclin'd Children; but their Father's paſſionate Temper was a ſad Example to them. Among a great many Inſtances of the paſſionate Temper of this Man, this was one, That if he met with any extraordinary Diſappointment in his [Page 377] Affairs abroad; if any Loſs happen'd; if any Miſtake was committed in his Buſineſs, nay, even tho' it was done by himſelf; in a Word, what-ever diſordered him Abroad, the Diſtemper of his Paſſions was ſure to vent it ſelf upon his Family at Home; and whether it was his Wife, his Children, or his Servants, whoever came firſt in his way, he was ſure to quarrel with them. Nor was this all; but ſo violent was the Flame of his Paſſions, when any thing had thus prepar'd the Way for them, that he was not at all under his own Government, but his Anger was all Rage, and his Blows, whether upon his Children or Servants, oftentimes prov'd dangerous to them, as you ſhall hear preſently. And yet after his Paſſion was over, which was not long neither, no Man was more concern'd for it than he; inſomuch, that if he had beaten any of his Servants, he would be very anxious, leſt he had done them any Miſchief; and he had reaſon to be ſo indeed; for he had once ſtrook a young Man that was his Apprentice an unhappy Blow, which did him a very great Injury, and which the Parents of the Youth proſecuted him at Law for, and it coſt him a great deal of Money to make it up, I think it was above 200 [...] he paid on that Account.
Fa. His Wife had a ſad Time of it with him ſure; how did he carry it to her, pray?
Neigh. It is eaſy to gueſs what a Poſt a prudent, tender, ſober Woman muſt have, to be Wife to ſuch a Man, and what Terror muſt be upon her Thoughts when ſhe ſaw him at any time in theſe Paſſions, leſt in a Rage he ſhould do Miſchief to ſome of her Children, or perhaps to himſelf; for his Paſſions would run him up ſometimes to that Extravagance, that if the Object of his Anger was out of his Reach, he would