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the letter to Mr. Lovegood.] Here, Sir, take and read it, if you please, for I cannot read it again, it so affects me. I was above an hour before I could read it through: I cannot stand it again: besides, you can read better than I. [Mr. Lovegood takes the letter, and reads it. ]
“ Island of Antigua. "Dear and honoured Father, “ It is now full four years since, in a most wicked, disobedient, and rebellious state of mind, I left your house, and entered as a captain's clerk on board the Rambler. I confess you might have heard from me before, but I was ashamed to write. Whenever I thought of it, guilt flew in my face, while I considered how kindly you treated me as your only son ! how you gave me the best education in your power! and which, I am sure you did out of pure love, and to the best of your judgment; though I confess it laid the foundation of that conduct before you and my God, which must have been my eternal ruin, had not such undeserved mercies prevented, as must for ever fill my heart with praise and glory to my most merciful God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In that school, my dearest father, I met with those who first secretly led me into sin. Even when a schoolboy, none but God knows the wicked devices of my heart. And as “evil men and seducers are sure to wax worse and worse," so it was with me. I look upon my abominable and cruel conduct to you, and my dear mother, with perpetual abhorrence and grief. I pray you both a thousand and a thousand times to forgive me, as I now trust that, vile as I have been, I myself am forgiven of God. I shall for ever bless the most merciful mame of God my Saviour and Redeemer, if I find you both alive, should I return to my native shore ; for again and again have I done enough to bring your grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.
“ I have oftentimes thought, that by my v: grue. ful silence you must, at least in your imagation, have numbered me with the dead: for ileed I have been in deaths ofier. But a most gracious God would not suffer me yet to die, because it was his merciful design to change my heart, and constrain me to live the rest of my life, I trust, to the glory of his name. Yes, my most kind father, it was all designed by a gracious providence, that your poor prodigal son should be for a while given over to the devices of his wicked heart, so as that he should be sent far from home to be brought near to God. I fear the word of life, which has since then been mude known to me, is but little known in the neighbourhood in which I received my birth and education. O, my dear parents, I want now only to live, that I may impart unto you how I have been converted from my vile ways, and have been constrained to live to God; and you may rely upon it, while I am enabled to depend on him, that I shall never grieve your dear hearts any more. Christ's love to me has made me love him; and now I love you most dearly for his name's sake.
“ Your once rebellious, but now affectionate son most humbly requests, that neither you nor my dear mother, would blame yourselves that I had not from you a better example before I went to sea. Few in our parts knew or did better, nor yet so well; for I fear the knowledge and love of God was then sadly wanting among us all. Some time before I went to sea, I heard of a Mr. Lovegood who was presented to the living of Lower Brookfield, and was much ridiculed for his religious zeal; and I remember we all, especially my sisters, used to join in the general laugh against him.. Now as this is the common
lot of all good men, I hope you will find him a faithful and upright minister of the gospel. My dear father, do for your own soul's sake, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, go and hear him. [Here Mr. Lovegood is so much affected that he joins with the Farmer, and weeps abundantly. After several attempts he continues the letter.] Perhaps he may administer to your soul those precious words of the gospel of Christ, which have proved the power
of God to my salvation; though once, as you well know, to the grief of your heart, the vilest, the most abandoned wretch that ever lived on the earth. I should be glad, if I had time, to tell you all the most merciful steps in judgment, providence, and grace, that have brought my vile heart to repent and return to God; but the packet is likely to sail every hour, which will take this to England; and it is supposed, in about a fortnight afterwards our little fleet will sail for Portsmouth: so that within a month or five weeks after you receive this, you may expect to see your most undutiful and ungrateful child upon his knees before you, begging pardon for all his base behaviour to you and dear
my mother. And though I shall bring home but a very scanty share of prize money ; yet, if I can but bring to my dear parents the inestimable prize of the knowledge of Christ, that pearl of great price! how joyful shall I be! As to the small sum that
may to my lot, the moment I see you I shall tell you it must be yours : for, as I have confessed the sin with much grief before the Lord, I now confess it before you; that when I used to go to markets and fairs, unknown to you I too often kept back a part of the price of the things I sold; and in a few other instances the money for which I sold your goods, I entirely kept to myself. I am very happy that it.is now a little in my power to make restitution; while
I hope I shall in a measure earn my daily bread by applying myself diligently to the business of your farm as soon as I shall have my discharge, which is promised me on account of the wound I received in my hip, by a splinter from the ship, in an engagement with the enemy; whereby I had nearly been sent to stand before the tribunal of my God, in a state most deplorably wicked : and though I may go halting to the grave thereby, yet I bless God for his most merciful correction; for if I had not been most severely wounded, and afterwards brought to the very gates of death by a fever that attended, I might have continued the same thoughtless and wicked wretch. O blessed, for ever blessed be God for that judgment, sent in so much mercy, whereby I was made willing to attend to the very affectionate advice and prayers of some few, who are Christians indeed in this floating hell! Though before I could, with others, ridicule them, yet in the time of my danger, when I felt the terrors of the Lord upon my soul, I was made willing to attend to that voice of tender mercy, they administered to my desponding heart.
Since I have been on this island, God has wonderfully preserved my health amidst an abundance of sickness. As soon as I landed, I sought after those who knew the converting grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and found it among the people called Moravians. I cannot express with what tenderness and love they carried it towards me; and it is wonderful, whenever they saw me downcast, under a sense of the evils of my past life, how they recommended me to the dying love of the Lord Jesus Christ, that my poor sinful heart might be comforted in him.
“ Present my affectionate love to my sisters; and as we have often joined together in sin, so may we live to pray together! I grieve, my dear father,
to think how ignorant and vain we all were before I went to sea; and I write with many tears, while, with much shame and grief, I acknowledge what a vile sinner I once was; but now I can bless his dear name, who has so mercifully softened and changed my polluted nature, as that I can from the bottom of my heart, subscribe myself,
Your most dutiful
[Mr. Lovegood having read the letter, returns it to Mr. Littleworth.]
Loveg. My dear friend, I enter into all the joys you feel, and can sympathise with you, knowing how much you need divine support, though the event be so blessed and glorious.
Far. Oh, Sir ! what mercies God is pouring down upon the family of such a poor old sinner as I have been ! O that my wife and daughters might live before him!
Loveg: Well, Sir, hope and trust; for nothing is too hard for the Lord. But don't you admire what the grace of God truly is, in that broken and humble spirit the Lord has given to your son ? and how true it is, “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ? that old things are passed away, and that all things are become new?"
Far. Ah, dear Sir, and don't you think I have felt something of the same change upon my poor old sinful heart; and for sure it is a most glorious change!
Loveg. Yes, Mr. Littleworth, it is truly glorious.: As in your son, so on the hearts of all wherein the converting grace of God is felt. Sin, however strongly rooted in our corrupted natures, must give way to the omnipotent agency of God's Holy