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* That is as you and I think,” replied my uncle, “but the father would count us as under the worst of cone demnations for uttering such a sentiment." And he was going on to say more, when a very venerable looking person, clad in scarlet, with a sort of crown or mitre on his head, came forward to address us, and that with much blandness and courtesy of manner; and I was presently made to understand that this was Father Peter himself.
It seemed that he knew perfectly well who I was, though my uncle did not name me to him, and called me Mr. Nicodemus, as if he had known me all his life. So my uncle had no more trouble in showing off the collection, for the father seemed to have great delight in the work, and grew quite brisk in the idea of having a stranger to exhibit before ;--and first he made me to remark certain long rows of shelves fixed in the wall, numbered to eighteen or thereabouts, on which were disposed in order varieties of dried birds, chiefly owls, the oldest of which (and these he pointed out to me as the most precious) were all tumbling to pieces, being worn and moth-eaten. These he would have me admire, although he did not like my uncle to lift up his lamp to help my discernment, but pushed it down with his hand, saying, “My brother, you do but perplex the young man's sight.” These owls I found had been the inhab itants of the towers time immemorial; and as my uncle told me, there is scarcely an owl dies in the old building but the father has him stuffed and set in his place ;** pretending that there is a virtue in the old skins, by the touch of which many grievous maladies have been cured.
When the father told me this I could not help laughing, thinking that he was jesting with me; at which he was very angry, saying something about want of faith, of which however I took no notice. He showed me also some others of his wonders; but as they all seemed to me to be about of equal value with the owls, I soon got tired of looking at them, and motioned to my uncle to take leave; but we were not to get off quite so easily,
** The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech-owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest: There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow; there shall the vultures also be gathereut; every one with her mate.” Isa. xxxiv. 14, 15.
for I had no sooner betrayed a wish to be going, than he brought out a huge book, bound and fastened with clasps of brass, and saying at the same time, “This, Mr. Nicodemus, is the true copy of my Lord's letters, which he left to me, with the keys of this castle (which are and ought to be mine and mine only),* neither is there any other true copy than mine; hence you, Mr. Secretary, are doing the work of the Master's enemy, in spreading those copies abroad which are known to be spurious, and of which the tendency is to inculcate that which is contrary to truth.”.
6 Well, be it so, for argument's sake,” replied my uncle," and let it be granted that the truth lies with you and you only, why therefore do you not labour to spread abroad that truth, t and to distribute copies of your book among the people ? Or granting you yet more, according to what I know you would urge, were I to give you space so to do, that the mass of the people would not be able to make a good use of the volume, but would rather wrest it to their own injury, why not in that case, as an honest man, take this holy book, and make it the basis of your own public instructions, fairly and openly selecting those parts which you may judge most profitable, instead of teaching as you do the traditions of men, and thus making our Lord's word of none effect? But you shut up this sacred book, and yet call it the word of truth, asserting that you only possess that truth. What have you to answer for in thus doing?” With that my uncle turned away, being vehemently moved. Nevertheless, as he went out at the door he looked back, and spoke as one who regretted that he had been led to
*“ And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt. xvi. 19.
+“But wo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matt. xxiii. 13.
I“Ye hypocrites ! well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matt. xv. 7-9.
0“ Wo unto you, lawyers ! for you have taken away the key of knowledge : ye enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ge hindered.” Luke xi. 52.
an expression of too great heat, for he wished the father a good day, adding a prayer that he might be led, ere it should be too late, from the error of his way. And so we passed out; but as we were returning, my uncle infornied me that but little of that part of the house which Father Peter called his own was built on the old foundation, or within the old wall of the castle,* but that it had been added from time to time to the principal building, and though not by any means so large as it once was, it is yet of greater magnitude than the rest of the house.
When we were quite clear of the domains of Father Peter, I began to make my comments on what I had seen; and should, no doubt, have run to great length with them, had not my uncle rather repressed their exuberance, by bringing me, as his manner generally was, to first principles.
“Nicodemus,” he said, “when the foundation of a house is bad, what is the use of arguing or commenting on the disposition of the chambers above? or again, if a worm has gotten to the root of a tree, what signifies lopping, or pruning, or graffing? I tell you, that the Father Peter is building on a false foundation; or rather, to put emblems aside, acting on a false principle. I fear that there are others, and I am sorry to name the good doctor among them, who in one point of view, that is, as it refers to things temporal, are quite as mistaken as the father himself. They err in this one point, and that is, they expect through their own exertions, and those of their followers, to establish a paramount rule on earth; and be it for their own aggrandizement, or for that of their master, as they would pretend (or, to judge them more kindly, as they would make themselves believe), the pretension is arrogant, contrary to the express written will of the Lord,t contrary to the experi
*" And it came to pass, after all thy wickedness (wo, wo unto thee! saith the Lord God), that thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street. Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.” Ezek. xvi. 23-25.
+ “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Heb. xiii, 12-14
ence of those who have gone before,* and contrary to the hopes and expectations of all those who have been truly instructed by the Lord the Interpreter.”
To all this I had nothing to say, for I was by no means convinced that my uncle was right; so I held my tongue. We passed next from out of the house into the inner courts, where we had many opportunities of observing the spirit of the rulers of the household-their system being that of pampering the superior servants, and indulging such even to excess, while the sare of the inferiors was scanty even to the extreme, their very countenances exhibiting the tokens of hard living and severe labour, at the same time that the surplus of the upper tables was cast rather to the dogs of the family, than to the beggar at the door.f Neither could it be questioned but that every species of dishonesty and pilfering was then, and is still, as much exercised by the oppressed odrers, as riot and profligacy are encouraged by those who oppress. Hence I observed that in the lower offices of the house, the conveniences were bare and few, and in fact all I saw was so offensive and disgusting to me, that before I passed out from the courts, I broke out again in expressions of doubt and dissatisfaction: “ And this,” said I, “is the purchased possession of a Master, such as you, sir, say has not his equal anywhere. What then are the tokens of his love to his servants? I must not doubt your word, uncle ; but I would simply inquire, if such persons exist in the house in any numbers, how is it that I should not yet have fallen in with any of them ?"'$
*“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” John xv. 20.
+ “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, leșt they trample them under their feet, and iurn again and rend you.” Matt. vii. 6.
["For in eating, every one taketh before other his own sup. per: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.” 1 Cor, xi. 21. '8" And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts : because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the Lord said unto him,.... Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” i Kings xix. 14, 15, 18.
“Simply,” replied my uncle, “because they are the hidden ones."*
“I do not quite understand you, sir," I replied. · My uncle sighed, as if oppressed by my unbelief and slowness of comprehension, and then spoke-"I know not wherefore I should be impatient with you, Nicodenius, for not comprehending what no human wisdom could help you to understand, for these things can only be explained by the Interpreter himself; although we, the servants of the only true Lord, are commanded to teach, to exhort, to prove, humbly awaiting the kindling of that fire for which we can only prepare and collect the dead coal.f Nevertheless, I am inclined to say, Why are you so slow of comprehension ? why must i repeat this truth so often to you, that the rule and dominion are not at this time in the hand of the Lord, but that hc, for purposes which as yet we (even those who have been brought to place their whole confidence in the promiscs) cannot fully comprehend, has delivered this doniinion into other hands, viz. the hands of him who having been his enemy from the beginning, obtained his first footing in this place by subtilty and hellish craft,g and hath ever since kept that place among us; insomuch that the faithful servants of the Lord have never yet been able to make head against him. Neither indeed can it be expected that they ever should during the absence of their Lord, inasmuch as we acknowledge no head but him, nor look for any perfect union of our members, but with the head ;l and hence it has always
*“ Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that haté thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones." Psalm lxxxiii. 1-3.
“There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.” 2 Sam. xxii. 9.
I“ Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matt. iv. 8.9. “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." John xiv. 30.
D“ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ? Gen. iii. 1.
I “ But I would have you know, that the head of every man is