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With what avidity do the young and the thoughtless seek after novels—the amorous and flighty after tales and romances—the warrior after the lives of the Cæsars and Alexanders--the student after Newtons and Platos—and the Christian after Saints and Holy Souls.
These demonstrate their aim by their pursuit, and give the strongest evidence of the bent of their hearts, by that reading which affords them the most entertainment and delight. A vitiated and sickly appetite can as soon relish plain and wholesome food, as a corrupted heart Pious Lives and Divine Writings.
Here then we plainly perceive the dangerous and deadly tendency of all Works of Fancy and flighty genius.--Not to speak at all of that filthy tribe of lewd, profane, and unprofitable Stuff, that is the detestation of every man of sense, and every woman of virtue.—But those more approved Works, wherein humanity is displayed --sentiments are sweetly refined, and even virtue itself comes forth to claim your respect and applause.-Here-too, too often-if not ever, the deluding or deluded writer, offers to your view a mixed and totally inconsistent Character, a jumble of unnatural and incompa
tible qualities, and sets them up as a standard of Virtue and imitation, a touchstone of truth; while the poor deceived reader-finding in himself some of the sweet and amiable natural softness, and generous disposition of the hero he admires, imagines himself necéssarily possessed of all the piety and virtue, which the author had ascribed so liberally to his patched up charater,—and thus lulls himself asleep in the delusion of death.
The sacred Scriptures, indeed, give us, above all other writings, faithful and just characters of men-where, if we read of a Saint’s turning Sinner, we read also of the just judgment of God upon his crimes, and the bitterness of his repentance.
The lives of pious persons, wrote by themselves, compiled from their own papers, or related by some faithful friend, who gives us mostly their own words, and carefully collects their important sentences--these are the precious Books--the blessed treasures of inestimable worth. Here we have not only true precept but animating exampleand the Soul that thirsts after .grace and salvation, has the whole
progress, by which her fellow-traveller encountered all difficulties, escaped all dangers,
and overcame all obstacles that poor pilgrims meet with in their journey to life.
God assures us, that he is no respecter of persons—but in every Nation, he that fears him and works righteousness, shall be accepted of him.--Let this divine sentence be our rule and guide,so shall we not greatly err.For those whom God bears with and accepts, let us not dare to judge and reject-Whät! poor wretched mortals as we are; shall we presume to limit and restrain that mercy, that is over all his works? or how far he shall shower out his graces and gifts upon
the creatures of his Workmanship, and the redeemed of his blood ?-Shall we utterly despise and cast away all the experience and leadings of a chosen Vessel-because the product of a French soil and foreign clime -Shall we not rather glory, that lillies grow among thorns, and that the true Son of Righteousness can call up and nourish a precious Flower, amidst the weeds of a Wilderness, and the brambles of a Desert.-What, because she was born in a Romish Country, and bred a Papist, shall we exclude herfrom a place among the great multitude, which no man can number, of all Nations and Kindreds and people and tongues, which stand before the Throne and before the Lamb. (Rev. vii. 9.)
The principal advantages in the usefulness of this lady's life, above most others, are-First, that the whole is recent; many, even middle aged persons, may yet remember the noise of her persecutions made through Europe. She was not secluded in a Convent-hid in a Cell-or buried in the Desert -But lived in communion and friendship with her fellow-creatures, without affecting any thing singular or extraordinary.-She had the disadvantages of title and rank, beauty and fortune; and the embarrassments of husband, children, and high relations.Yet her soul gloriously surmounted alland triumphed over every impediment in her spiritual race. Be roused by her example, and encouraged by her victory God is the same God yesterday, to-day and for ever...What he gave her he may bestow upon thee-go thou and do likewise.