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THE HAPPY TERMINATION OF THE MELANCHOLY EVENT OF
THE DEATH OF MR. MERRYMAN.
BETWEEN MR. LOVEGOOD, MR. BRIGHTMAN, MR. SPRIGHTLY, AND
THE FAMILY OF BROOKFIELD HALL.
to Brookfield, principally to assist in the settlement of Mrs. Merryman's affairs, were under the necessity of continuing at Brookfield Hall, till near the conclusion of the week.
While the family were assembled at the tea-table on the Thursday evening following, a messenger came from Sandover, with a letter directed to the Rev. John Brightman. The letter being put into his hands, he read it. Immediately the agitation of his mind became so very considerable, that it even fetched a tear of surprise from his eyes ; insomuch that Mr. Lovegood asked the question :
Loveg. Dear Sir, 'what is the matter? I hope there is no more bad news from Sandover.
Bri. O no, Sir! but the contents of the letter have quite overcome me. Contrary to all my expectations, I am actually appointed Curate of Sandover.
Wor. You don't say so ! Bri. Yes, Sir, I am. The letter is from Mr. Tugwell himself. He tells me the presentation was sent to him yesterday: the patron at the same time requesting that I might be nominated to the curacy, by the dying request
of his nephew, and especially as he found it was almost the universal wish of the parishioners that he should acquiesce.
Mrs. Wor. Oh! how rejoiced our dear son-in-law would have been, if he could but have known of this event.
Bri. I dare say he would, dear madam ; but I find by the letter I shall be wanted at Sandover almost directly: for my new Rector, as I must now call him, means to go over to the Bishop for induction, early in the next week; and begs I would attend with him, that I may be licensed to the curacy at the same time.
Wor. Well, Sir, we shall be very happy to part with you upon that score. But your new Rector seems to be in a great hurry in the transaction of this affair.
Bri. O Sir! he explains himself further in his letter: -That as there is a strong propensity in his constitution to gout, he means still to reside at his other living, though a small one, as it is full fifty iniles nearer Bath than Sandover; and that his patron means to take him to that city as speedily as possible, before the winter sets in; and therefore he wants me to attend upon that duty almost immediately.
Loveg. Oh! what delightful tidings this will be to the poor disconsolate people at Sandover! they will be as much overcome with joy, as they have been with grief.
Bri. Yes, and my Rector writes with so much good nature about the matter; he seems to be as well pleased with our plan, as we can be with his ; for he tells me as he has some incumbrances that his patron wishes him to discharge, (probably a sum of money that he might have borrowed from him,) he is sorry he can advance me no more than sixty pounds a year, and the surplice fees, which he hopes may do while I continue a single
Wor. We shan't mind what he allows you, provided
he will allow you the uninterrupted use of the Church, that you may do all the good you can in it.
Spri. [To Mr. Brightman.] I am sure, dear Sir, the people of Sandover, who loved Mr. Merryman and his ministry, will never suffer you to want: nor can we allow the kind liberality of Mr. Worthy to be imposed upon to keep our minister for us, while we alone are interested in the benefit.
Wor. Yes, but a minister, if he be a good one, (no matter for the bad ones,) should not merely have enough to keep him from starving upon such a miserable pittance as sixty pounds a year; he should have something in his pocket to give to the poor. We have no charges against us for expensive visitings and idle amusements; and if my purse is not wanted in a bad way I am thankful that it is wanted in a better.
Spri. As he means to be a non-resident, I suppose he designs to let you live in the Rectory house.
Bri. It would be strange living in that house on such an income : though I bless God, I have besides a little of my own, arising from my college fellowship, so long as I continue a Bachelor. * But as to the Rectory house, he tells me he means to let it: and he is in hopes that the rent of the house, will answer to the payment of thc salary, as he hears it is a good one. [To Mrs. Merryman.) But he says he has no design to hurry you, dear madam, out of the house, till it is perfectly convenient to yourself.
Mrs. Mer. Ah me! Mr. Tugwell will meet with very little interruption from me, on that score. As soon as ever the effects can be disposed of, I shall be happy to have' my mind relieved from such reflections as too frequently occur, under such a loss. Were I ever to
* I must not tell what College Mr. Brightman came from, 1 ki which of the universities he was educated.
enter into the doors of that house again, it would revive feelings too painful to be sustained.
(Mrs. Merryman's eyes are embossed with tears. She retires out of the room. Mrs. Worthy follows her.)
Mr. Wor. Alas, my poor daughter ! I know not when she will recover this heavy stroke. I should have supposed that if any thing would have revived her spirits, the news of your appointment to the curacy would at least have created one cheerful look.
Bri. O Sir! the loss is irreparable : I cannot wonder at all she feels. But the appointment to be the successor to such a man makes me tremble.
Loveg. Yes, Sir, and if we all trembled more at the vast importance of the work in which we are engaged, it would be just so much the better for our hearers : selfsufficient and self-important preachers can never be good ones.
Bri. Sir, it seems impossible for me, if I imitate, that I can ever equal, that lively and lovely zeal, he adopted in all he did. Though I trust I shall aim at doing my best, yet what a comparative distance will be felt between him and me! My style of preaching, I now find, has been too discussional, cold, and phlegmatic. His was always animated, affectionate, and warm. My preaching hitherto, though I trust consistent with divine truth, has been like the light of the moon, clear, yet cold. His like that of the sun, at times brilliant, and even if intervening clouds intercepted its brighter rays, yet still the warmth was felt, and its fertilizing effects were evident. Perhaps he was one of the brightest exemplifications of genuine conversion, and scriptural regeneration, that ever shone forth to the glory of the grace of God.
Loveg. But, dear Sir, you do not want either erudition or mind. The improvement of these Mr. Merryman sadly neglected in his thoughtless days; but afterwards
the change in every point of view was to the astonishment of all; his whole time was afterwards devoted to his work : every book which I recommended to him he would read with avidity, and soon afterwards would tell me of its contents in a manner that was remarkably correct. Let then your superior human acquirements be put upon the altar of a warm and affectionate heart, fully devoted to God; and then if the people do not forget Mr. Merryman, yet they will soon find that he is no longer wanted as a minister, if God should teach and animate a Brightman, as he taught him.
Bri. Ah, Sir! what are all human abilities and acquirements, when compared to such spirituality and devotedness to God as he possessed !
Loveg. I am glad you think so. Though all other qualifications without holy zeal to set them at work for the promotion of the glory of God, can be of no avail ; still it is acknowledged, that wisdom and spiritual understanding, are at all times nectssary to guide this useful machine aright.
Bri. Ah, Sir ! there was my mistake. I have been treating religion more like a dry, speculative science, than as a divine reality between God and the soul : while the strange enthusiastic reveries of Mr. Whimsey and his friends, might have driven me further into the contrary extreme, if the Lord, in his kind providence, had not directed me into these parts.
Wor. I am happy we have none of these whimsical preachers near us: the scriptures are designed to make us “wise unto salvation;" the rhapsody and nonsense they preach will never do for us.
Lovey. Well, Sir, the scriptural style of preaching, we shall always find to be the best ; for none of the first Apostles had the ability to dress their preaching in the forced and false style of human eloquence; and when the Apostle Paul was sent forth “as one born out of due