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ters assure me, be such a sight as never yet blessed the eyes of man; or, in case we are not permitted to remain here till that period, we shall be allowed to make a part of his glorious train,* when he comes to take possession of his own, so that turn the matter which way you please, nephew, we are to be the gainers by his coming, and to be the partakers of his triumph over that enemy who has lorded it so long over his inheritance."!
Here I interrupted my uncle, to ask what he meant by that expression which he had used, to wit, if we are not permitted to remain here.
“ Nephew," he replicd, “ you must understand that the servants of this house, and the tenants of this estate are often changed. The Master calling one and another from time to time into his presence in some place far distant, where he keeps his court, but of which we,” continued my uncle, “have but little account, inasmuch as none of those who have visited it have ever returned to give us the description of it.t Yet we are assured by my Master's letters that they who love him are there entertained in a very agreeable manner; although no such hopes are held out for thoset servants who have been unfaithful. But while we feel that perfect assurance that our Master (who, as I have often before said, is one of ten thousand), being altogether without fault, will assuredly provide for those whom he hath loved and redeemed from the slavery to which his enemy had subjected then, yet we have many fears (and those well grounded, for the case of such as have refused his service. But, nephew, to return to that from which I set out, and that is your peculiar case, which I desire especially to explain to you, and that more largely than I could by letter. You were a
"*“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess. iv, 16-18.
+ “ As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more." Job vii.9, 10.
I" And if the tree falleth toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." Eccles. xi. 3.
9 "The Lamb without blemish, and without spot." I Peter i. 19. wanderer in a strange land, hungry, and clothed in rags, when the call came to you through my instrumentality, but through the suggestion of the Lord, to turn your steps hitherward ; not that you were accounted worihier than others, for truly, nephew, there is no good in you, nor excellence of any kind, to render you acceptable in sight of our Master; nevertheless, it has pleased him to call you, and thus to reveal his love to you: and be it remembered by you, that the Master who thus exhibited his love for you, in your filthy* and destitute situation, will never forsake you, for he is a man of his word, and he is able to do all which he purposes; and now, even now, at this time, you may be assured that he will preserve you, promote you, and raise you from the dunghill, to a place of high honour in his service, and all independent of any desert of your own,t as I before said. Nevertheless, the love which he has testified towards you will have a constraining power upon you, and will compel you to do his work; and what is his work which he has given you to do, but to copy the letters which he has sent us, and to disperse them among his servants? This has been the work for which he has employed these feeble hands; and I have found such delight in the employment, that I may truly say it brings its reward with it.”I The good man then took down the volume which I had seen in his hand the evening before, and having given me a desk, with the implements for writing, he appointed me my work. As soon 'as we were refreshed, and being himself set in his place, the windows being open to admit the air, we pursued our work in a stillness which was most pleasing to me, who had experienced much fatigue from the labour and turmoil of a long and wearisome journey. But before I began to write, I turned over the letters, and examined their contents. Their subjects were
* “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Rom. v. 10.
+ "For who maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive ? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" 1 Cor. iv. 7."
I“ Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works." Eccles. ix. 7. co" And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah xxxii. 17.
various; they contained the account, first, of our Master's title to the estate, of the establishment of the people therein, and of the beauty of its first condition, when it was a garden planted by a Divine hand,*-then of the rebellion of the people, who being desirous to become their own masters, sell under the thraldom of their Lord's enemy, the consequence of which, every one must feel.† Then these letters spoke of a visit made by the Master to this place with the purport of reclaim• ing his servants from the enemy to whom they had sold themselves, with a long and most distressing account of the manner in which these unfaithful ones had rejected him, driving him from them with every species of contumely :I and finally, it contained multitudes of prom. ises of his second coming to establish his rights, and to exterminate the enemy.
But as I perused these letters rapidly, I could not be said to comprehend them in any other way than very imperfectly; however I consoled myself by thinking that this knowledge would come in its course, not knowing that it never could be obtained by human reason.
And thus the forenoon wore away, when suddenly we heard a tapping at the door, and my uncle crying, “ If you come in the Master's name, walk in," who should enter but the doctor, who, stepping forward with much politeness, said that he was come to pay his respects to me, having been apprized of my arrival.
“ My nephew is obliged to you,” replied my uncle, taking the word out of my mouth, and at the same time directing me to set a chair for the visiter.
Now this gentleman, as I before said, was the chaplain of the household; a man of a pleasant and comely appearance, and of a serious manner, though somewhat pompous and sententious, laying down the law as it were in his discourse, and more given to talk than to listen,-a habit, as my uncle told me, which he had acquired from his station in the family, as reader and expounder of his Master's letters; for the duty which his
* Genesis ii.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him : neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Cor. ii. 14.
Master had given him to do when he left the house was to instruct the servants in their Lord's will, as laid down in these letters; and to explain such parts of them as might be difficult to understand, the interpreter being supposed to be his guide in these duties. How far he performed this duty faithfully at all times will hereafter appear. In the eyes of some indeed, he had always done all things well ; yet as my uncle afterward made me understand, he had in some degree of late fallen into the error of Father Peter, in having his reservations also, and in maintaining that there were certain portions of these letters not fit for the ear of the lower servants, or of those of the higher ranks who were not instructed; he did not indeed go the lengths of the father, who held that the letters ought never to be given to any one who could not have the advantage of his own comments thereon ; but he still maintained that there were some parts and portions of these writings which ought not to be dwelt upon in his public discourses. Nay, he went so far as to say, that very dangerous consequences might ensue to the servants, by giving them too clear a view of the extent of the Lord's love for them, and by leading them to see that that love is independent of their own merits, not considering that the Lord had himself made no exceptions or distinctions of the persons for whom these letters were intended, * but had addressed them alike to all his servants, high and low, and of every degree, enjoining the same on those to whom he had left the ministry of his word.t But I am falling into so many digressions, that I am in danger of losing myself and my reader also; it will be well, therefore, to return from whence I sat out, to wit, the visit of the chaplain in my uncle's room.
After the first compliments, had passed, the visiter, looking towards the desk from which I had just risen, and taking as it were his text from the book and writing apparatus which were spread thereon, began to congratulate ine on the agreeable situation, and pleasant and profitable occupation into which I had fallen; adding,
*“Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts X. 34.
+“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath inade you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts XX. 28.
happy are those who, from their youth up, are engaged in the service of such a Master as ours, who are called upon in the days of their strength to devote themselves to his work, and who may hope to live to see their exertions crowned with success in the advancement of the good of the people, and the restoration of peace and order to the heritage of our dear Lord. All this sounded mighty fine in my ears, insomuch that I looked from the speaker to my uncle, and from my uncle to the speaker, as if I would have said, “ Speak for me, uncle, and express for me how agreeable these expressions are to me.” How. ever, my uncle neither returned my looks, nor spoke a word, but sat playing with the pen with which he had been writing, like one either absent, or determined not to speak. I was, therefore, left to make as good an answer as I could; though I do not rightly remember what it was, yet I think it was something to the following effect, to wit,“ that I trusted that I should be found faithful and useful, and that my services would prove to be profitable to my Master.”
“They can be no further profitable, my young friend," replied the chaplain," than as our good Master chooses to account them such; for we are after all poor creatures,* and can scarcely be said to earn our salt by our labours, for think of the charge and the cost we are and have been to our Master.” And then he began and went on a long time on that theme, on which he often delighted to descant, as my uncle had informed me, viz. on what had passed when the Master had been last at the house, and the shameful treatment he had then met with, at the very time when his errand was that of the most tender love, viz. the redemption of his people from the bondage to which they had sold themselves; drawing this conclusion from thence, that we must ever remain debtors for kindness like this, and never count ourselves as profitable servants: to all which my uncle heartily agreed, but, as I observed, relapsed again into silence, when the chaplain went on to speak in the way I shall show.
“Well,” said he, “and we have suffered, and deserve to suffer for our misconduct, and are hourly made to see and to feel what poor sinful creatures we are, and how severe the bondage of the enemy of our Lord is; but we
* Unprofitable servants.--"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke xvii. 10.