The family instructor: In two parts. I. Relating to family breaches, and their obstructing religious duties. II. To the great mistake of mixing the passions, in the managing and correcting of children. ... Vol.II. [pt.2]
Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731.
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THE Family Instructor → . In Two PARTS.

  • I. Relating to Family Breach|es, and their obstructing Religi|ous Duties.
  • II. To the great Mistake of mixing the Passions, in the Mana|ging and Correcting of Children.
WITH A great Variety of Cases relating to setting Ill Examples to Children and Servants.

VOL. II.

LONDON: Printed for EMAN. MATTHEWS, at the Bible, in Pater-Noster-Row. MDCCXVIII.

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PREFACE.

_I AM not ignorant, that as Times and the Humour of People go, it is a bold Adventure to write a Se|cond Volume of any thing; nor is the Success of a First Part any Rule to expect Success to a Second. On the Contrary, it is rather a Rule to ob|struct it. The modern Readers of Books ha|ving a general Opinion which they entertain, like a fundamental Principle in Reading, That Second Parts never come up to the Spirit of the First; tho' perhaps here they may find an Exception to that Rule.

This was the Fate of that excellent Po|em of Mr. Milton's, call'd, Paradise Re|gain'd; which, whether by the Error of com|mon Fame, or the real Value of the Thing, could never obtain to be nam'd with the First.

Page  2 Mr. Milton himself differ'd from the whole World in his Opinion about it, affirm'd that it was by much the better Poem, and gave this Reason for the general Dislike, (viz.) That People had a common Sense of the Loss of Paradise, but had not an equal Gust for the Regaining of it; but his Judgment, however good, could not prevail.

I shall say but little of the Reason why People may like or dislike the present Work. The first Part of it gives the Story of Two very bad Wives; it would be scanda|lously foolish and unjust, to take Exceptions at my representing the Women so bad, as if I was partial against the Sex; but because some may be weak enough to do so, for want of understanding the Connexion of the Story, such are desir'd to observe the clear Reason of it, as follows.

The Reproof is upon Husbands for omit|ting Family Worship, and pretending the Fault is in their Wives; it was absolutely necessary then to represent Two Wives ini|mitably bad, eminent for their Opposition to every thing that was good in their Hus|bands, and in a Word, extravagantly wick|ed, to shew that even in these extraordina|ry Cases, the Husband ought not to omit his Duty, and to infer, that if not in these Cases, certainly not in Cases less difficult, and con|sequently Page  3 in no Case at all. This is the true and only Reason of bringing Two such bad Wives upon the Stage, as is also observ'd at large by Way of Note, upon that Part afterward, to which I refer.

If Novelty had only recomended the First Part, then indeed we might suggest, that the Thoughts of People being once entertain'd, could no more be pleas'd again with the same Scheme: But this can no way affect us here; for if Novelty, the modern Vice of the read|ing Palate, is to jugde of our Performance, the whole Scene now presented, is so perfectly new, so entirely differing from all that went before, and so eminently directed to another Species of Readers, that it seems to be more new than it would have been, if no other Part had been publish'd before it; nay, to any considering People that reflect upon the differ|ing Scenes of Human Life, and the seve|ral Stations we are plac'd in, and Parts we act, while we are passing over this Stage; it cannot but be known, that there are Follies to be exposed, Dangers to be caution'd against, and Advices to be given, particularly adapt|ed to the several Stages of Life.

Upon this Account, instead of suggesting that a Second Volume of this Work should be less necessary than the First, I cannot but think they would either of them be imperfect Page  4 without the other; and if the Turkish Spy, and such other Books, from the known Varie|ty of them, have pleased and diverted the World, even to the Seventh or Eight Vo|lume: If this Subject is less pleasing, and fails of running the same Length with those looser Works, it must be because People have less Pleasure in Things that are instructing, than in Things merely humouring and divert|ing; less Patience in bearing a just Reproof, and less Humility in applying it to them|selves than they ought to have.

Doubtless there are Duties in our relative Stations of every Sort, one to another, Du|ties from Parents to Children, and from Ma|sters to Servants, as well as from Children to Parents, and from Servants to Masters; and it must be own'd by all that look narrowly in|to these Things, that as on the one hand there are great Mistakes committed in the Govern|ment of themselves and their Families, by Parents and Masters, so there is perhaps less said upon these necessary Heads in publick than upon any other; even the best Writers upon the Relative Duties, have seemed to be wholly silent upon this Subject: whether they did not see into the Want of it, or thought it was a Point so nice, that their Readers could not bear, or what other Thing has been the Hindrance, I know not.

Page  5 Correction! the most necessary Part of Fa|mily-Government, and the best Part of Edu|cation, how difficult a Thing is it! How lit|tle understood! How generally wrong apply'd! Omitted in necessary, and administred in unne|cessary Cases! The Nature, Reason, and End of it mistaken! the Measure of it taken not from the Circumstances of the Childrens Offences, but from our own Tempers at that Time! How is it mingled with our Passions, and smother'd by our Affections, and in either Case the Use of it entirely destroy'd! and what Advantage, to get above Correction, do Children make of the Mistakes of their Parents in correcting them!

Mistaken Parents may here be set to rights in some of the most dangerous Parts of that difficult Duty of correcting their Children: Here will be shewn how inconsistent it is with the great and weighty Office of a Parent to conceal the Passions in their Rebukes, or to let their want of Temper add to the Weight of their Hands: Here they will be instruct|ed in what Frame they ought to be when they Correct, and from what Principle their Hands must be lifted up to strike their own Flesh and Blood: How they are to exhort, instruct, expostulate, perswade, with the ut|most Testimonies of Affection, all the while Page  6 they are correcting: How inconsistent with correcting a Child, the Noise, the Rage, the Fury of our Passions are; and how often the true Parent corrects with more Tears in his own Eyes, than he brings out of the Eyes of the Child he chastises; and yet here he will see that this Tenderness must not be permitted, to prevent or withold that wholsom Correcti|on, which Duty to the Child calls for, and which, if it be with-held, destroys the Force of every other Part of his Education.

I shall say nothing more of what is here published, but this: The same Desire of do|ing Good, which mov'd the First Part, has been sincerely and principally the Occasion of writing this Part. With all possible Humi|lity and Thankfulness, I acknowledge and be|lieve I have had the same Presence and As|sistance; and I cannot but hope for the same Blessing and Success; and with the Comfort and Confidence of this, I chearfully send it into the World, not concern'd at all at the Opposition it shall meet with from the Infir|mities and Unworthiness of its Author.

ERRATA.

PAge 65. Line 13. dele a. p. 76. l. 13. r. your Wife. p. 205. l. 30. r. out of. p. 266. l. 15. dele that Pa|rents. p. 292. l. 10. r. be afraid. p. 304. l. 4. dele he. p. 227. l. ult. for Lody r. Lady. p. 386. l. 4. for here r. her. p. 388. l. 10. dele was.

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THE Family Instructor → , &c.

The First DIALOGUE.

_THIS Discourse is too much of History, and was occasioned by an unhappy Quarrel be|tween a Man and his Wife, both sober religious Persons, about their religious Conduct in their Family.

The Husband provok'd by some rash Words of his Wife's, and especially by her speaking slightingly of his performing Family-Worship, takes the worst Method in the World with himself, fling|ing away in a Passion, without calling his Reason and Conscience of Duty to his Assistance, and goes A|broad, having not called his Family together to Morn|ing-Prayer, as was before his constant Practice; and being gotten into a Field near his House, when he had the Advantage of conversing with himself, with|out being heard; his Passion being not much abated, Page  2 you may suppose, he fell to reasoning himself out of his Duty, instead of into it, and to forming Argu|ments to justify his laying aside the Thoughts of per|forming it for the future.

What can I do, says he, when a Woman is arriv'd to such a height as to make a Mock of me in my own Family? She has brought Things to such a pass, that I do not think it is my Duty to pray among them any more; she openly told me, before my Children, that I need not give my self the Trouble to keep up the Ceremony; that they none of them value it; that they hate the Offering for the sake of the Priest; and that they care not to join with me, they can serve God to more Purpose without me. Why, I don't think it is my Duty; certainly God does not expect I should worship him in such Company; I am not to cast my Pearls before Swine: Besides, where there is no Charity, no Unity, what signifies Duty? what Worship can there be, that can be acceptable to God or comfortable to me? I'll trouble my self no more about them; and as to its being my Duty, I think I am fairly discharged of it; at her Door be the Sin, who has been the Cause of it; as I am not the Occa|sion of the Breach, so neither will the Consequence lie at my Door; I'll perform my Duty by my self, and let them take their own Course.

With this kind of Discourse he satisfied himself for the present; the Devil, no doubt, assisting; and coming home to his Family, took no Notice at the usual Time of Family-Worship, but went unconcerned a|bout his Business; sat down to Dinner at the Time of it, and at Night stay'd abroad till it was time to go to Supper.

After Supper, his Wife, (who kept up her Resent|ment as high as he) calls her Maid to bring her a Candle, and away she goes to Bed, taking no No|tice of him, or of the usual Family-Order.

Page  3 It was a little unnatural to him, as it had been un|usual to close the Day thus, without either his Duty to God, or any Society with his Wife; And, as he said afterwards, had she spoken but one kind Word to him, or given him but a sociable Look, he had forgot all, and gone on again in his Duty, as he used to have done: But she unwarily and imprudently prompting his Disgust, and throwing Oil instead of Water into the Fire, enrag'd him again, and assisted the Temptation, to confirm him in the wicked Reso|lution of neglecting of his Duty.

The Breach was now made, and every thing con|tributed to make it wider: The Man went to Bed some time after; but as she was asleep when he came to Bed, so he was asleep when she rose, and they had no Interval or Opportunity of Conversation to allay their Heat, or bring them together: Thus they went on with their Discontent, and continued two or three Days hardly in speaking Terms one with another; during which time, as there was no Reconciliation of their foolish Breach, so it may easily be supposed there was no complyance with one another in the Matter of religious Duty: But the Family Orders dropp'd, and Religion seem'd wholly laid aside; and that which was still worse, the Disorders of their Minds was so great, that it broke in upon their pri|vate Duties, as well as their publick, and one was neglected as well as the other. Indeed it might have been concluded, that had either of them retired to their private Duties; had they gone into their Closet and look'd up for Direction what to do, the secret Ejaculation would have strongly moved them to ano|ther Frame, and soon have returned them to their Duty, and restored them to one another.

A little time it is true, restor'd them to better Terms of Living together, the passionate Part cool'd again, and they conversed a little more Page  4 friendly than before. But the Blow was given, the Religion of the Family was overthrown; and as the Woman, on one hand, shewed no Concern about it, but seemed to be much of the same Temper as to Charity as before, and not to desire his Performance; so he bolstring up his Neglect, and checking his Convictions with this Notion, That the Breach was upon his Wife, and not upon him; that she had refus'd him, and that now it was not his Duty: Perswading himself, I say, in this manner, he seem'd to be sa|tisfied in the Omission, neither did he seem to think of it any more.

It was to be observed, that as they had now as it were lay'd aside their Family-Worship, so in the Na|ture of the thing, their Family Peace vanished; they were continually quarrelling, and falling out with one another; their Humours jostled in every Trifle, up|braiding one another's Sincerity, Affection, Integrity, on every little Occasion; reproaching the least Mis|carriage, reviling one another with Bitterness, and forgetting nothing that might tend to make them dis|agreeable to one another; peevish, waspish and fret|ful, even when they agreed best, and scandalously furious, and hot when they fell out.

Hardly any Discourse happen'd between them how|ever mildly it began, but it ended in a Broil; she would thwart him in every thing he said, and he contradict her as often; their Orders in the House clash'd so in every thing, that Children knew not how to behave, or Servants to obey; whilst the Fa|ther commanded this, and the Mother that, it was impossible to preserve any Harmony among the Chil|dren; two of them, one Son and one Daughter, taking part with the Father; and another Son and two Daughters with the Mother; so that as the Fa|ther and Mother differed, the Children differed, and that with such Heat, as to fill the House with Disorder.

Page  5 It happen'd once, that a Discourse began between the Father and Mother about the Eclipse of the Sun, which fell out in April 22. 1715.

The Eclipse of the Sun was the Subject of all Con|versation at that time, having been, as is well known, so Total, and the Darkness so great, as that the like had not been known in that Age, or some hundreds of Years before.

The Wife had enquired of her Husband, what the Nature of the Thing was, and he was describing it to her and the Children in a familiar way; and, as I said, that a kind of Reflection upon one another was the usual Issue of their common Discourse, so it was there; the Husband tells her, that the Moon was like a cross Wife, that when she was out of Humour, could Thwart and Eclipse her Husband whenever she pleased; and that if an ill Wife stood in the Way, the brightest Husband could not shine.

She flew in a Passion at this, and being of a sharp Wit, you do well, says she, to carry your Emblem to a suitable height; I warrant, you think a Wife, like the Moon, has no Light but what she borrows from her Husband, and that we can only shine by Reflecti|on; it is necessary then you should know, she can Eclipse him when she pleases.

Ay, ay, says the Husband, but you see when she does, she darkens the whole House, she can give no Light without him.

Ʋpon this she came closer to him.
Wife.

I suppose you think you have been Eclips'd lately, we don't see the House is the darker for it.

Husband.

That's because of your own Darkness; I think the House has been much the darker.

Wife:

None of the Family are made sensible of it, we don't miss your Light.

Husb.

It's strange if they don't, for I see no Light you give in the room of it.

Page  6
Wife.

We are but as dark as we were before; for we were none of us the better for all your Hypocri|tical Shining.

Husb.

Well, I have done shining, you see; the Darkness be at your Door.

It's evident that both meant here, his having left off Family-Worship; and it is apparent, both were come to a dreadful Extremity in their Quarrel.
Wife.

At my Door! am I the Master of the Fami|ly! don't lay your Sins to my Charge.

Husb.

No, no; but your own I may; It is the Retrograde Motion of the Moon that causes an E|clipse.

Wife.

Where all was dark before, there can be no Eclipse.

Husb.

Your Sin is, that my Light is your Darkness.

Wife.

That won't excuse you, if you think it a Sin; can you not do what you please without me?

Husb.

I don't think it a Sin in me to refrain Pub|lick Prayer among those that contemn it, and who re|ject it for my sake; I am forbid to cast Pearls before Swine.

Wife.

Yes, yes, your Wife and Children are all Swine with you, and are treated like such by you; and because you want an Excuse for Neglect of your Duty, therefore we are all Swine. The Com|parison is something swinish, I think, on your Part.

Husb.

My Authority is good, the very Comparison the Scripture makes of those that trample Religion under their Feet, and fly in the Faces of those that offer to Officiate: They are Swine in both, for they make Dirt of Religion, and turn again and rent those who offer it; that is, despise them, and assault them, despise them as unworthy; which is the Case exactly.

Wife.

What Matter is it what I think, can't you pray with them that will bear you?

Page  7
Husb.

Do you know the Nature of Family-Wor|ship; is it not that the whole Family may shew their Agreement and Harmony, in acknowledging and serving God? If Half the Family, or any of the Fa|mily separate, it is a Schism in the House; and the Unity being broke, the rest is but private Worship, and may as well be done alone. I do not think I am at all required to perform Family-Worship, if my Family refuses to join.

Wife.

A fine Delusion of the Devil! or rather an Artifice to throw your Burden upon me, there's no|thing in it; when you reform your Life, no Body will slight your Performance.

Husb.

And yet you have no Crime to charge me with but want of Obedience to my Wife; when you first return to your Duty, I shall think my self o|blig'd to return to mine.

All this while here was no Abatement on one side or other, and both of them dreadfully mistaken a|bout their Duty; they wrangl'd thus upon every Oc|casion, and this last Dialogue is only given as a Skerch of their almost daily Conversation: Their Commu|nication was poison'd by the Breach in their Affecti|on, and like the sweet Dews which falling into the Sea, become Salt like the Ocean; so the most casual innocent Discourse between them, generally issued in a Broil: yet none of these Discourses brought them together, as they might have done; or convinc'd them that both were in the Wrong, so as to have pro|duc'd a Return to their Duty, or at least a Truce, that they might not have let their Contention have hin|dred their religious Performance. But Passion pre|vailing, they continued in a dreadful Course of Ir|religion, and restraining Prayer before God.

It was also observable, that while thus they laid aside the Appearance of Religion in their Families, Page  8 it abated in the rest of their Conversation, and they grew entirely careless, living as it were without God in the World; the Decay of Family-Worship, like a Gan-green in the religious Body, spread it self from one Limb to another, till it affected the Vitals, and pro|ved mortal. In a word, it destroyed the Sense of Duty and Religion in their whole Lives.

And as Sin entred in by this Breach, so it made way for every other Breach; which made them more and more peevish, waspish, apt to quarrel and snarle at the least Occasion; removed all that Sweet|ness of Conversation and Harmony of Affection that was between them before, and the House became destitute, not of Religion only, but of every pleasant thing.

It happen'd some time after this, that this Gentle|man had an intimate Friend, who liv'd Thirty or Forty Miles off in the Country, who had likewise a Wife that had brought him almost into the same Dif|ficulty, tho' from a differing Occasion; for she was a profane, irreligious, and negligent Person, as to Re|ligion, from her Original; by Education a Mock|er and Despiser of all that was Good, and one who did her utmost to discourage her Husband, who was a good Man, from all his Measures in the religious Government of himself, or of his Family.

He had had a great Quarrel with his Wife about her Conduct, and her reproaching him for doing his Duty; and she had said some such shocking Things to him, that almost conquer'd his Resolutions in the Matter of his Duty; almost the same Temptation of|fering to him, as had been the Case of the other Per|son mentioned before: For a while, this good Man began to waver in his Resolution; but his Sense of Duty return'd upon him too strongly to be resisted, and he master'd all the Difficulties that were before him; resolv'd, that let Satan and a perverse Woman Page  9 do their utmost, he would not live without the Wor|ship and Service of God in his House: And so he went on with his Duty in spight of all his Wife's Clamour, made his whole House submit to it, and condemn her for opposing it, as we shall hear more particularly presently.

This good Man coming to Town, and meeting with his old Friend, of whom we have been speak|ing, and both being intimate Christians as well as Ac|quaintance, it was not long before they began to con|verse about religious Affairs, as well as Things usual in common Discourse; both being also too full of their respective Family Grievances, to be long toge|ther before they unbosom'd themselves to one ano|ther, which produc'd the following Dialogue.

Says the Citizen to his Friend. Well, old Friend, I hear you have been marry'd since we met last, and I must give you Joy; I hope it is to your Satisfaction.

Friend.

Truly, my good Friend, I am marry'd, but I cannot say it is much to my Satisfaction, for I am disappointed in the main Happiness of a marry'd State.

Cit.

I am very sorry to hear you have a bad Wife.

Fr.

Nay, I cannot say I have a bad Wife neither; in the common Acceptation of the Word.

Cit.

Well, I am very sorry then, be it how it will, that you are disappointed.

Fr.

Truly, upon a farther Reflection, I ought not to have said I am disappointed neither, for it needs Explanation.

Cit.

Pray explain it then, for you amuse me now; it looks as if you had only a Mind I should enquire farther into the Particulars.

Fr.

Truly, I ought to be asham'd of the Particu|lars, and yet I cannot say but I have long'd a great while to unbosom my Sorrows to some body, and I know no Friend I can better trust than your self.

Cit.

Be free with me then.

Page  10
Fr.

I know not where to begin, for my Grief is very great.

Cit.

I find you are willing to speak, and yet loath to begin, and you act as if you would have me skrew things out of you: Prethee, what have you got for a Wife, is she a Drunkard, Immodest, a Scold, or what is she?

Fr.

None of them all.

Cit.

Shall I be very free with you then? Are not your Wife's Faults to be found in your Part? Are you sure she would not alter, if you could mend her Husband? For I must own, many of us that find such fault with our Wives, are guilty sometimes of a very unhappy Mistake, (viz.) that we do not re|member that they have bad Husbands.

Fr.

I will not defend my Part of the Charge, and perhaps you know your own Part to be just; if you do, pray reprove me when you have reform'd your self; but my present Case is too serious to be jested with.

Cit.

You must describe it a little, or how can a Friend give you Comfort or Counsel?

Fr.

Why, in short, my Wife is sober, vertuous, peaceable. You see, I oppose the Heads of her Character to your Suggestion, of drunken, immodest, turbulent, &c. She is Housewifly, Frugal, Quiet, Mannerly, Ten|der, Kind, and has all the Qualifications needful to make her a comfortable Relation. BUT—

Cit.

I can see but one thing you have left out, and that is, RELIGIOUS.

Fr.

You have said it all in a word; she is perfect|ly void of any Sense of, or Concern about God or her Soul, or the Souls of any that belong to her.

Cit.

Indeed, if she is unconcern'd about her own Soul, you can hardly expect she should be concern'd for any one else.

Fr.

No indeed, she is so far from it, that my Heart Page  11 trembles to think what will become of my poor Children when they grow up; for I have one already, and another coming.

Cit.

It is a sad Disappointment indeed; but had you any Apprehensions of it before you marry'd?

Fr.

There indeed you touch me to the Soul; there's the Blot with which I reproach my self, and which gives me no Peace, I read my Sin in my Punish|ment; I look'd another way, I troubled not my Thoughts about Religion, I look'd at the Money, I went for it, and I had it; and now I feel the Curse that came with it.

Cit.

Why, tho' you did look at the Money, sure there are Women who have Money too, that have the Blessing of a religious Education; they are not all Atheists that have Money; nor are all the pious, religious Women Beggars. Certainly you were in great Haste, and look'd little before you in your Choice.

Fr.

Indeed I run into the Devil's Mouth, I singl'd out a Family where nothing was to be expected; a House, where I may say without Breach of Charity, God had not been within the Doors for some Ages: I tell you, as I said before, I ought not to say I am disappointed.

Cit.

I confess, you have some Reason to blame your own Conduct in that regard; for I know nothing more uncomfortable, than for a Man that knows any thing of Religion, to be match'd to a Woman that has no Notion of her Duty.

Fr.

Blame my Conduct! do you carry it no far|ther? Without doubt, I committed the greatest Sin of its kind that I was capable of, and most justly pro|voked God to make that Relation, which ought to have been my Comfort and Blessing, be my Snare, my Temptation, and at best, my constant Affliction.

Cit.

It is indeed against the express Rule which the Page  12 Apostle lays down, Be not unequally Yoak'd. I believe, for a Man or Woman that is religious enclin'd, to marry a Person of no Religion, or to marry a Person of differing Principles in Religion from themselves, is positively forbidden in that Text.

Fr.

Alas! it is not only against the Apostle's Rule, but it is against all the Rules of Religion, of Nature, and of common Sense: What Communication can there be between God and Belial?

Cit.

Indeed it was the Reason given in Scripture, why God commanded the Israelites not to give their Daughters to the Sons of the Heathen, nor take their Daughters to Wife, lest they should be drawn in to serve their Gods, and to forsake the Lord their God, Judges 1.

Fr.

Nor has it ever fail'd to be a Curse to all the Families that ever I have heard of, or that practised it; the Scripture is full of Instances of it, particu|larly in Solomon, in Ahab; and once in a whole Na|tion, as in the Case of the Midianitish Woman. And all this I knew.

Cit.

Well, but I hope you have not marry'd an Ido|later; your Wife is not a Heathen, is she?

Fr.

No, but I think she is worse; for she despises all Worship, whether of the false Gods, or of the True; I know no Sense she has of any Religion at all, other than to make a Mock at it, to make all serious Things her Sport, and to banter those that dare not do so too.

Cit.

That's a dreadful Case indeed; I beseech you, does she not go to Church? Where was she bred? Is she a Protestant?

Fr.

Yes, yes, she goes to Church, and is a Prote|stant, such a kind of Protestant as this Age is too full of; I think she had as good be a Papist, for then she would make some Profession, and might, in Time, be brought over to the true Profession of right Prin|ciples; Page  13 but as she is, I think there is more hopes of a Heathen than of her, for he worships something, but she neither fears God or Devil.

Cit.

But you say she goes to Church; what does she do there?

Fr.

Do there! why, stare about her, or sleep, or furnish her self with something or other to banter the Infirmities of the Minister. I never hear her talk a Word of what she hears, except it be to ri|dicule and expose it. The unhappy Wit she is Mi|stress of, and which she might make a much better use of, exerts it self this way; and when she can no longer run down all revealed Religion, nay and na|tural Religion too, then the Failings, Slips, and Mi|stakes of the Ministers and Professors of Religion employ her Tongue, which makes my House a Tem|ple of the Devil to me; where I can hear nothing but Abuses upon God, the Worship and Servants of God, and every thing that is good, till I am made to abhor the Conversation of my own Family.

Cit.

And no question, it is a great Obstruction to you in the way of your own Duty, or a Temptation to you wholly to neglect it.

Fr.

How come you to reach my Case so effectu|ally, and so very particularly.

Cit.

Not that I know any thing of it I assure you, but I am too much concern'd; I know one too like it.

Fr.

It is my Case exactly, as I will tell you at large.

Cit.

But before you come to that Part, I beseech you tell me how you came to link your self to such a Family of Heathens, for I know you had been otherwise taught?

Fr.

I'll answer you in one word, MONEY! MONEY! This was the Snare; the Devil laid the Hook, and I bit at the Bait. It is true, I was better taught, and my Father had proposed several tolera|ble Matches for me in our Neighbourhood; Wo|men Page  14 agreeable in Person, and valuable for their Ver|tue, of religious Education, and with good Portions too, with whom I might have been very happy; but I rejected them all.

Cit.

You have been very ill advised.

Fr.

No indeed, I have not been advis'd at all; but I got the Cant of your Town Gentlemen at my Tongue's end, and made it my Catch-Word for a long time, (viz.) that I cared not what Religion my Wife was of, or whether she had any Religion or no, if she had but Money; and now I am fill'd with my own Desires. Nor were my Measures for fur|nishing my self with a Wife less extravagant than the Humour I profess'd to act by; for as I cared not who I took, so I car'd not where I found her: and as he that abandons himself is justly abandon'd by Provi|dence, so in pursuit of the Idol I worship'd, I went to the Temple of Wickedness, the Play-House, a thing I had not been bred to I assure you, and when the Devil had me in his Bounds, he took care to hold me fast. There I chose me a Wife.

Cit.

I thought you said you chose for Money?

Fr.

Yes, yes, so I did too; I was shew'd her there for a Fortune.

Cit.

And perhaps miss'd your Aim too.

Fr.

No, no, I had the Idol and the Idolater too; I have the Money and the Woman, but not the Wife, for she is no Wife to me; neither does she concern her self about the Duty of her Relation, either to Do it or to Know it.

Cit.

Then I perceive she has no manner of Love for you.

Fr.

I cannot say, but that if I would have conform'd to her wicked abominable loose Way of Living, she might have loved me well enough; but as soon as she found my Way of Living was different from what she expected, she became uneasy and indiffe|rent, Page  15 till at last it grew up to a perfect Contempt; and it often makes such Breaches between us, as in Time must certainly root out all manner of conjugal Affection on either Side.

Cit.

It is no doubt very afflicting to you, especially if you have a real Love for her.

Fr.

I confess, I cannot say but it wears out what Love I had for her apace; for it is impossible while I abhor her Conduct and cannot reclaim her, that I can preserve my Affection for her: Vertuous Love is founded upon two things only, both which are want|ing in her, Merit and Suitability. What Merit can there be in one who appears to have a general Con|tempt of all that is Good? and what Suitability can there be in two Tempers so extreamly opposite?

Cit.

Well, but it is afflicting to you too, I dare say:

Fr.

Indeed it is so many ways.

Cit.

And without doubt, as I observed before, it is a strange Obstruction to you in the Exercise of your Duty in your Family; for what Performance of Du|ty, what good Government of Servants or Children, what religious Order can there be in the Family, where constant Breaches obstruct the Charity and Understanding between those upon whom the Per|formance and Support of those, Duties lie? I know it by my self, there can be no Family-Worship, where there is no Family Love: Who can kneel down to pray with those that ridicule and contemn it, or perhaps refuse to joyn? For my part, I do not, think it a Husband's Duty in such a Case; let the Blame be on those who are the Cause.

Fr.

Tho' you say true in part, yet I cannot go your length neither; I acknowledge it is a sad Ob|struction to the carrying on a religious Government in the Family, and the first Beginnings of this refra|ctory Carriage of my Wife was a great Snare to me that way; and I had almost thrown up all my Reso|lutions Page  16 of Family-Religion, in Compliment to her Folly: And doubtless, if I had, all personal Religi|on had gone after it; but I bless God, I got the bet|ter of her in that Point.

Cit.

I wish you would relate me the Particulars of your Management then, for a particular Reason that I will tell you afterward.

Fr.

Alas! it is a long and melancholy Story, and will be but of small Use to you.

Cit.

It will be of great Use I assure you, and per|haps do more good than you imagine, for there are other People in the World in your Case, and the Example of one is often a Caution and Direction to another.

Fr.

Nay, you will make sad Work if you propose me for an Example to any Body; I am fit for nothing but a Memento Mori, a Beacon or Bouy, to shew where the Rock lies that I have split upon.

Cit.

Leave that Part to farther Discourse, and pray let me into the Story, that I may know how you ma|nag'd your self in the Matter of religious Worship in your Family; for I assure you, there is a great deal depends upon the Question, and a greal deal upon the Answer.

Fr.

Why then I'll tell you as distinctly as I can, not to make the Story too long: When first I marry'd, I continued some time in the Family of Sir Richard. . . . . whose Sister my Wife was, and with whom she lived, her Father and Mother being dead: The Family you know had never been famous for any thing of Re|ligion; as for Sir Richard, he is no Hypocrite, for to give him his due, as he practis'd nothing, so he pro|fess'd nothing; he reaily made no Pretence to Re|ligion; nay, so far are they from any Sense of Reli|gion among them in that Family, that I never heard any one, till very lately, say Grace at the Table, or return Thanks after Meat, or ever heard him ask any Page  17 body else to do it, except when any Clergyman hap|pen'd to be there, or except, as I shall have Occasion to tell you in consequence of this Story.

Cit.

That's a strange Family indeed!

Fr.

Alas! it would be strange if they should be o|therwise, in a House where you have nothing but Luxury, Rioting, Gaming, Swearing and Drinking, all Day and all Night; Master and Mistress, and Ser|vants, all alike.

Cit.

How could you think of tying your self to such a Family?

Fr.

Nay, that Question's unkind, after what I have said to you already; the Thing is done and over, I told you the wretched Reason I had for it, the Bu|siness now is to tell you the Story.

Cit.

I ask your Pardon, pray go on.

Fr.

I liv'd here, as I tell you, near half a Year, till some Apartments which my Wife desir'd to have added to my own House were finish'd.

Cit.

And were you not heartily tir'd of such a heathenish Life?

Fr.

Let me tell you, my Friend, with Sorrow, I really cannot say I was at first; and let all wise Men beware how they make an irreligious prophane Way of Living too familiar to them; I can assure them by sad Experience, it is very dangerous, and they will run great risque of their Principles; for Habits of Levity grow insensibly natural, sapping the Founda|tion of all religious Inclination, and preparing the Mind to approve the Practice. I was new marry'd; the Circumstance joyn'd with the Usage of the Fa|mily, and it seem'd to be a time when Mirth and Diversion might be reasonably indulg'd.

Cit.

That's true, but not so as to exclude Religion.

Fr.

I know that very well; but what could I do? I was not Master of the House, it was none of my Business there, to mind any thing but my private Page  18 Duty, and it was too soon to begin to dictate to my Wife; and besides, do I not confess to you, that my Heart was devour'd with Pleasure, and engross'd with the Mirth and usual Jollitry of the Occasion, and that it began to make all their Levity natural to me? Do I not say, that every Man should take heed of the Example? I am sure it was a dreadful Exam|ple to me.

Cit.

Well, but you were there but half a Year.

Fr.

Do you say, BƲT half a Year, is that but a little Time to live without a Sense of Duty, without Fear, as I may say, of God or Devil? But as if it were but a little Time, I must tell you it did not end there, I have worse yet behind.

Cit.

But pray let me interrupt you a little; did you never Discourse with your Wife all that while about it, or enquire how she lik'd it?

Fr.

Yes, yes, I did; but I receiv'd poor sorry empty Answers, such as evidently shew'd she made no great matter of it, and would never complain if she liv'd so all her Days.

Cit.

Well, but pray be particular in that part if you can.

Fr.

Why, I'll give you a Passage or two; you must know, that for three or four Days while our Wed|ding was upon the Wheel, and a pretty many Friends in the House, some of the neighbouring Clergy were continually there; either the Minister of the Parish, or of the next Parish, or a Gentleman's Chap|lain that liv'd about a Mile off; and once or twice a Presbyterian Clergyman, who kept the Meeting|house in the Town, and to whom I found not Sir Ri|chard . . . . . . only, but even the Minister of the Pa|rish behav'd very respectfully; and as he was a Man of Worth and a very good Scholar, they were very intimate together. While these were there, as I said, there was always some or other to say the Page  19 Grace, as they call it, at Table. But as for Prayers at Night, that was never offer'd, or perhaps thought on.

It happen'd at length we all sat down to Table without a Chaplain, and as Sir Richard made no of|fer to stand up, so no sooner was the Dinner set on, and the Ladies plac'd, but my Lady . . . . . . had her Knife in a boil'd Turkey, and we all fell to work as decently, and with as little regard to him whose Hand fill'd us, as any Pack of Hounds in the Country.

Cit.

I never heard the like in my Life; and was it so always?

Fr.

Constantly; never otherwise, except as before.

Cit.

I thought there had been no such People in the World, especially among Protestants; nay, not a Papist, as ever I met with, would fall too, without crossing the Table, which is in them an Acknowledg|ment to their Saviour for the Mercy of their Food.

Fr.

Well, I assure you, there was nothing like it here:

Cit.

And did you take no Notice of it?

Fr.

Good Manners forbid it me at Table.

Cit.

But methinks you should have spoken to your Wife about it.

Fr.

So I did, and you shall hear what I met with for my Labour: As I was really surpriz'd at the thing the first time, I mention'd it to my Wife at Night when we were alone, and which occasion'd the fol|lowing short Discourse.

Husb.

My Dear, said I, was not something wanting among us at Supper to Night?

Wife.

Not as I know, says she; what was want|ing?

Husb.

Nay, my Dear, said I, 'tis none of my Bu|siness.

Wife.

Well, but tell me what was wanting; for I can't imagine what you mean.

Page  20
Husb.

Won't you take it ill, my Dear, said I, if I tell you?

Wife.

No not I; what can it be that, I should take it ill?

Husb.

Why, did not we want a Chaplain?

Wife.

Phoo, says she, is that all?

Husb.

Why, my Dear, says I, does Sir Richard ne|ver thank God for his Meat?

Wife.

Nay, what do I know? we never trouble our Heads about those things.

Husb.

I confess I never saw it so before, and I have been in very good Families.

Wife.

Then it may be they kept Chaplains?

Husb.

No indeed, my Dear.

Wife.

No! says she, it's an odd thing for a Gentle|man to meddle with it.

Husb.

What, my Dear, to thank God for his daily Bread?

Wife.

O! 'tis perfectly ungenteel to do it publick|ly; can't they mutter it to themselves?

Husb.

I am sorry to differ from you, my Dear, said I.

Wife.

Well, says she, I'll speak to Sir Richard to morrow, and you shall have the Honour of being Chaplain.

Husb.

No, my Dear, I hope you won't make what I said to you so publick, it is no Business of mine.

Well, I was so unable to persuade her, to forbear making a Jest of me, the next Day at the Table, that I was oblig'd to make an Excuse to be absent, both at Dinner and at Supper. And at Night again I own'd to her that was the Reason, and was forc'd to tell her plainly, I would not dine there again, un|less she would promise me not to speak of it; which with much difficulty, at last, I prevail'd with her to do.

Cit.

I would e'en have let her said what she would, Page  21 and if she had spoke of it, I would have own'd I was surpriz'd at it.

Fr.

Well, you shall hear how she serv'd me, and how handsomely she was serv'd for it by her own Brother: She kept her Word with me about a Week; but one Evening, as we were at Supper, she made a Motion to me, and seem'd to smile: I kept my Countenance as long as she kept it from being taken Notice of; but she took care to let Sir Richard ..... see her, who, as he was a merry Man, and full of good Humour, would needs know what the Matter was; she points to me, Let him tell you, says she, for he won't let me. Sir Richard press'd me, and I blush'd as red as the Colour of Blood would allow; at length my Wife said,

Nay, Mr. ...... it is not such a mighty Thing, you may tell it.

No, my Dear, said I, I am sure I shan't; and I am sure you won't.

This made the Case worse, for they were doubly importunate then; and Sir Richard, who always thought it had been some little Jest or other, lays hold of his Sister, and swore she should tell him.

I interceeded with him and persuaded him, told him she had engag'd to me not to speak of it, and I hop'd he would not make her break the first Promise that ever I ask'd her to make, since she was my Wife.

My Wife turn'd upon me, and would have me re|linquish her Promise; I told her I could not; in a Word, it began to warm us on all Hands, and my Wife in particular, told me I us'd her ill.

My Dear, said I, 'tis very hard you should say so, when you know you are only desir'd to conceal one of my Faults.

I know no Fault in it, says she; and if it be, I desire to conceal none of your Faults.

But if you don't my Dear, said I, you will expose Page  22 me very much, for you will find I have a great many Faults worse than this, that I hope no Body shall know but your self.

She was afraid I had, she said; and this had given her such a Surfeit of me, that if the rest were much worse, she was afraid they would give her a Vomit, that would bring up all her Love.

My Dear, said I, I hope that lies too deep for such a slight Operation. I was going to say more, but I saw she was in a Rage, so I forbore.

She answered, I don't know whether it does or no; and with those Words rose from the Table and went up Stairs.

Sir Richard. . . . . . the best humour'd Man in the World, run and took hold of her, swore she should not go, and drag'd her back a good way, but she flung from him; I followed her, but she was too nimble for me, and got into her Room, and with flinging the Door after her, and I too near her, struck me on the Nose, and set me a bleeding most violently.

You may be sure this Carriage and my Bleeding spoil'd our Mirth, and indeed our Supper; nor could my Lady. . . . . or another Sister prevail with her to come out of her Chamber, or let me in for some Hours; indeed, when she heard of my Bleeding, and had opened the Door after I was gone down, and seen how much I had bleed upon the Stair-head be|fore a Servant could be call'd with a Bason and Towel, she was much concerned, and sent her Maid down to see how I did.

In the Interim of this Sir Richard, who appeared very much concern'd at what had had happen'd, came to me, and smiling said, Brother, I am very sor|ry that I should be instrumental to put my Sister out of Humour, especially with you; and I must ac|knowledge, I never knew her so much out in her Behaviour in my Life.

Page  23 Sir, said I, it would have been no Trouble to me, if it had not been that the Thing itself was from something I had foolishly let fall, which if she had told in her Way, would have made you think me wanting in my Respect to you, which of all Things in the World I would give no occasion for, having been treated so obligingly by you, ever since I had the Honour to be related to you.

Come Brother, says Sir Richard, here's my Hand and my Word, it shall move no such Imaginations in me; besides, I would not have press'd her, if I had thought in the least it had related to me.

Indeed Sir Richard, said I, it had not the least Disrespect in it to you; yet I freely own, I should not have said it, no not to my own Wife.

And I freely own, says he, my Sister is in the wrong if it be so, for it's hard a Man cannot speak a Word in his Bed-Chamber to his own Wife, but she must betray him; O these Wives, says he smiling, are such Bosom Friends! There's my Wife, says he, pointing to his Lady, is just such another Privy-Counsel-keeper.

Well, Sir Richard. . . . . . . said I, however, I hear|tily ask your Pardon for what I said, whether she tells it or not; and I acknowledge it was what did not become me to say, nor was it any of my Business.

Says Sir Richard, Let it be what it will, and whe|ther I know it or no, I give you my Promise, Bro|ther, I will not take any thing ill from you.

Come, says my Lady, who sat by all this while, my Brother makes more of it than he needs, and his Modesty in it is too much his own Disadvantage; I have the Secret, and he shall give me leave to tell it; I assure you, Sir Richard, neither you or I have any Reason to take it ill, tho' I must blame my Sister too.

Upon this my Lady told the Story; and told it like one that had more Sense of the Reproof than I expected.

Page  22〈1 page duplicate〉Page  23〈1 page duplicate〉

Page  24And was this all? says Sir Richard ..... Come, Brother, says he, I am far from taking it ill; your Re|mark was very just, and I assure you, I am very sensible I ought not to do so; but we are a wicked Crew, and have been so from Father to Son; I don't know when I shall mend. But this I'll tell you, I'll convince my Sister to Morrow that she has been much in the wrong to you; and I'll promise you I'll take your Admonition too.

Sir, said I, all this is the Consequence of Sir Ri|chard's being a Man of the best Temper in the World, but still it was no Business of mine.

Come, come, said Sir Richard, let's talk no more of it.

This pass'd on; we spent the Evening well enough, but no Wife appear'd, neither was she to be spoke with till almost Bed-time.

When I had Admittance, she made me a Bow, ask'd me how I did? said she was sorry the Door struck me, and behav'd mighty mannerly, but not a bit kindly; she hardly knew how to differ with me; we had not been long enough married to know how to manage a Broil, so we carry'd it aukwardly and shy; I went to her and kiss'd her; she made me a Curtesy as if I had been a Stranger saluting her; and thus it pass'd off till the next Day.

In the Morning she asked me if I intended to dine from her again? I said, No my Dear, and smil'd, at which she seem'd very well pleas'd.

At Dinner-time, being all come into the Room, and just going to sit down, Hold, says Sir Richard . . . . turning to his Sister, to let you see that I take very kindly from my Brother what you took so ill, I assure you we will dine no more without a Chaplain; upon which very gravely, and in very handsome decent Expres|sions, he asked God's Blessing, not giving his Sister Leave to reply.

I could easily see my Wife was surpriz'd, but she could not imagine which Way her Secret came out.

Page  25 After Dinner Sir Richard . . . . stood up, and re|turn'd Thanks with the same Gravity, and imme|diately my Wife offer'd to withdraw.

Sir Richard, who happen'd to sit next her, caught hold of her; Sister, says he, I hope you are not angry still?

No, no, says she, Mr. — ought to have the telling of his Secrets himself; tho' he need not have ty'd me up so closely in what he resolv'd to tell himself; but Wives must be subject.

I was going to speak; Pray Brother, says Sir Ri|chard, leave it to me; it's my Quarrel, and I'll have no Seconds. Indeed Sister, says he, it's bad to be mistaken once, but you have the Misfortune to be twice wrong; for THERE's the false Sister that told your Story, pointing to his Lady, and whether she had it from my Brother or you, none knows better than your self. She was going to Reply, when Sir Richard put in thus;

'I have but one Request to you Sister, says he, and that is, that you will never speak a Word of the Unkindness of it, as you call it, on either Hand; I am so far from taking it ill, that I am more glad it happen'd, than if you had given me 500 l: Why Sister, continued he, tho' I am loose enough and wicked enough in other Things, yet do we not all own that GOD gives us our Daily Bread? And I think we should always ask him Leave to eat it, and thank him when we have done; and you shall never find me omit it again.

My Wife gave him no Answer, but got away as soon as she could, went to her Chamber and sat and cry'd for two Hours, and afterwards was well hu|mour'd enough; and we never heard any more of that Matter afterwards.

But now, as I told you, our House being finish'd, we prepar'd to Remove, and here began my Difficulty; the loose profane Life we had led began to be too familiar to me; and this join'd with the Page  26 Discouragements of a Wife that I knew had no Taste of religious Things, made me cold in the Mat|ter of my Duty, and we began to live just as we did before.

It continued thus above four Months; at last an odd Accident, as my Wife call'd it, but a wonderful good Providence to me, as I call'd it, gave a Turn to us, a Way by which I had the least Expectation of any such Thing; for it made my Wife, tho' with|out the least Affection to the thing, be the first Mo|ver of it to me.

Cit.

That was a happy Turn indeed.

Fr.

My Wife had an old Uncle, her Father's own Brother, who was a Minister, and who lived farther in the Country, who about this Time came to our Town to see us; he had been a Week or two at Sir Richard's, and then came to see his Neice, my Wife, and to stay three or four Days, as was his Custom; he was rich, and had no Heirs but my Wife and her Sister; and as she expects a good Lift from him when he dies, she was mighty observant and respect|ful to him.

The old Gentleman being come, and Preparations being made for his Lodging, my Wife comes to me in the Evening.

My Dear, says she, we must be wonderful Re|ligious now for two or three Days, for this old Gen|tleman will make us all come to Prayers every Night and Morning; it may be you won't like it, but we must not disoblige him.

How disoblige him my Dear, says I, I do not un|derstand you?

Why, says she, if we should not comply and seem very well pleas'd, he will be very uneasy, and think we are all Heathens.

Will he so, my Dear, said I, then he will have the same Thoughts of us, that I think we ought to have Page  27 of our selves; for indeed I think we do live worse than Heathens.

Wife.

Well, it's no matter for that; we must not let him think so; and therefore I told you of it before-hand.

Husb.

My Dear, if he will call us all to Family Prayer, I wish he would come and live with us all his Days.

Wife.

What do you want a Chaplain again? why can't you do't your self?

Husb.

I wish you would say so much in earnest, as I am satisfy'd you do in jest.

Wife.

Why let me be in earnest or in jest, I never hindered you; you may take Orders and turn Par|son can't you, and then saying your Prayers will be but Part of your Trade, as it is my Uncle's?

Husb.

My Dear, I doubt you are but ill prepar'd to be a Minister's Wife.

Wife.

Not half so well as to be a Minister's Wi|dow; I'd answer for the second Venture.

Well, I laid up her Words in my Heart, (viz.) I never hindered you, and it began to be a very weighty Re|flection to me, (viz.) That the Neglect of my Duty in my Family had been not my Wife's Fault so much as my own; and that tho' I knew she had no Sence of Religion upon her Mind, and did not speak of her hindering me from any Willingness to have it done, yet still it was true, she had not actually opposed me, for I had never offer'd it; and it had been my Duty first to have proposed it to her, to have endeavour'd to persuade her, and prevail with her to consent to it; and at last, if she had refused, to have put it out of her Power to have hindered me, and have per|form'd it whether she would or no.

Upon a serious Reflection in this Manner on the Neglect of my own Duty, and how justly she had reproach'd me with her not having hindered me, I re|solved that as this good Man was likely to begin set|ting Page  28 up good Order and Worship of GOD in my House, I would endeavour to keep it up when he was gone: And another Circumstance happened to make this Work easier to me than I expected.

It happened that our Uncle the Minister had not been two Days in the House, but he was taken very Lame of the Gout; and after that had lock'd him in for near two Months, he fell into an Ague, which held him almost two more; so that we had his Com|pany near four Months, to my great Satisfaction, and no less to the Affliction of my Wife.

The good old Man being Lame, as above, call'd me to him one Morning, and told me he desir'd to speak with me; when he began very seriously to talk with me upon the Subject of Family Worship, and we talk'd of it in the following Manner.

Min.

Cousin, said the old Father, I seem to be cast upon you here by GOD's Providence, and being a Minister, I have a little taken the Work of Family Prayer out of your Hand; but hope you will not take it ill that I tell you, that you must not look upon your self as excused in that Case, for as you are the Master of the Family, I ought to leave you a Part of the Day to perform that Duty your self; and so I would have you tell me which is the most con|venient for you, Morning or Evening, and I'll take which Part of the Day you please.

I was never so confounded in all my Life; all my Blood in my Body seem'd to fly up in my Face, and I stood like one struck Dumb; I could not speak a Word to him for a long while; the old Gentleman perceiving my Disorder, but not guessing at the Meaning or Reason of it, went on thus:

Pray Cousin, said he, do not be uneasy that I take upon me to hint to you what I think is your Duty; it is not that I believe you do not do it, but that per|haps Page  29 you may think the Charge devolv'd upon me while I am in your House.

I was still in Confusion, and my own Convictions crowding in upon me, I presently had a little Battle in my Thoughts; between the honest Desire of con|fessing the Truth to him, and the hypocritical Pride of passing for a better Christian than I was; how|ever, at length the better Side prevail'd, and I said to may self, Who knows but this good Man may be an Instrument to bring my Wife to promote th•… good Work which I have so long desir'd, and which hitherto she has such a manifest A version to? Upon this Resolution I turn'd pretty quick upon him,

Alas! Sir, said I, you are unhappily mistaken in us.

Min.

Mistaken in you, Cousin! How do you mean?

Mast.

Why, Sir, as to the Management of our Family.

Min.

Dear Cousin, I do not intermeddle with your Family Affairs; I only speak about your praying to GOD, I hope every good Man does that in his Family.

Mast.

Indeed, Sir, I believe every Man but I do; but I am oblig'd to confess—

Here I made some Stop, for indeed I was asham'd to go on.
Min.

Not pray, Cousin! what not pray with your Family? it cannot be!

Mast.

I wish, Sir, said I, you would speak to your Neice about it.

Min.

Nay Cousin, says the good Man smiling, do not be Adam, do not be Adam; your Wife cannot bear the Blame, for 'tis your Duty, and she cannot hinder.

Here, however, I took occasion to lay before him the Truth of my Case, the Temper of my Wife, how much it had been my Snare; and that tho' it was in|deed my Duty, yet that being thus discouraged, I Page  30 had yielded to the Temptation; but told him also what an Affliction it had been to me; and tho' it was true that my Wife's Aversion ought not to be any Hindrance, yet I beg'd he would join his Help, and endeavour to bring my Wife to encourage it, and be Assistant in it if possible.

He promised me he would; and the next Day he was as good as his Word, as far as his Skill could reach; but how little Success he had upon her in the Main, you shall hear; their Dialogue however, was of great Use to me in what happen'd afterwards, as you shall hear.

Our good religious Uncle had mused, as he after|wards told me, almost all Night, how he should begin with my Wife in so nice an Affair, as to bring her into the Thing without disgusting her; for he found she was none of those who had much of Religion upon her Mind; and after he had resolved upon his Method, he takes occasion in the Morning, as she waited on him to give him some Chocolate, to enter into Talk with her; and began thus.

Min.

Neice, says he, why do you bring it up your self, why don't you let a Servant do it?

Neice.

Sir, because I love to wait upon you; I think 'tis my Duty.

Min.

That's a rare Principle in Religion, Cousin; if we could but love every thing that was our Duty we should be excellent Christians.

Here the Minister stops, and makes a silent ejaculatory Prayer as a Grace, &c. to his Chocolate.
Neice.

Dear Sir, says she, we never say Grace to Chocolate or Tea.

Min.

No Child! why who gives you the Choco|late and Tea?

Neice.

Nay, that's true, but we never mind it; be|sides, 'tis not the Fashion, no Body does it, as ever I heard of.

Page  31
Min.

It may be he that gives them their dally Bread, is not the same that gives them Chocolate and Tea; that is to say, they do not think so.

Neice.

It would look very oddly in Company.

Min.

I am no Pharisee, Cousin, nor do I encourage any one to be singular; but if we are to acknowledge God's Goodness in all his Mercies, we have no Rule to take more Notice of one than another. But as to the looking oddly, I confess, in these odd Times it does so, and therefore where I think it will be cen|sur'd as Hypocritical, or making an out-side Shew of Religion, I do it so silently and unperceiv'd, as to give no Man that Advantage. But I must tell you, Neice, that even in that which some call Modesty, I reproach my self with acting as if I was asham'd of worshipping God, which is my known Duty.

Neice.

Why, Sir, in this Case, as it is not the Fa|shion, it would be censur'd.

Min.

Truly, Neice, I know it; but I think it is a sad Case, that what is our unquestioned Duty should be so unfashionable. I thi•… the Office of a Clergy|man will be at this rate soon at an end in this Na|tion, for Religion grows out of Fashion apace; it will be out of Fashion, perhaps, quickly, to pray to GOD at all.

Neice.

No, Sir, I hope we shall always go to Church.

Min.

Well, Child, but must we pray to GOD no where but at Church? Are not our Families and Closets to be Oratories and Places of Prayer, as well as the Church, and do not all good Christians seek God there?

Neice.

They should do so to be sure, Sir.

Min.

Ay, ay, and it is there that I say Religion grows unfashionable, and I am afraid will grow quite out of Fashion in this Nation; and if GOD should, according to the Text, pour out his Fury upon all the Page  32 Families in England, that call not upon his Name, I fear it would be as near to a universal Judgment as any thing that was ever heard of in the World.

Neice.

I don't know indeed how it is.

Min.

Nay, Cousin, I do not speak of your Fami|ly, I hope your Husband knows his Duty better, than not to pray to GOD in his Family.

Here she was hard put to it, she was loath to say yes, because it was not true; and loath to accuse her Husband, and which was worse to her, afraid to disoblige her Ʋncle, for fear of the Money; so she paus'd a good while, and did not say a word.
Min.

I am very sorry, NEICE, says the Mini|ster, observing her Silence, that I seem to examine into a thing, which perhaps you are not willing to be free in; but my End is only, as it always is, to do you good.

Neice.

Sir, we are but young House-keepers yet, and Mr. . . . . . is not thoroughly settled; but you see, I believe, he is very glad of the Occasion of your performing it for him.

Min.

Well but, Neice, shall I speak freely to you, I may not care perhaps to be so free to him? I hope you will think it your Duty to prompt him, and to persuade him to it; he seems to be of a sober reli|gious Disposition, and a Word from you perhaps, would do more good than you are aware of.

Neice.

I don't hinder him.

Min.

But, Child, that is not enough, your Duty is to urge and press him to it.

Neice.

Sir, I am not to set up for my Husband's Director.

Min.

Do not think to excuse your self by that ni|cety; you are mutually to provoke one another to Love and to good Works; you are to use the Power of Persuasion, Entreaty, and all agreeable Importuni|ties Page  33 to bring him, if you can, to do his Duty; if you prevail, he will thank you for it afterwards.

Neice.

He won't mind what I say.

Min.

You do not know that; come, Neice, you must not put it off with such slight Answers; I am serious, that it is your Duty to persuade him to his, if you can do it.

Neice.

I can go but a little way, Sir, to persuade him: if it is his Duty, why does he not do it, I do not hinder him?

Min.

I wish you would tell me how you are sure of that? I know, my Dear, that since my Sister, your Mother, died, and you have been in Sir Richard's Fa|mily, you have not had much good Example; but I can assure you, your Mother liv'd after another man|ner; and tho' she had not the Success which her En|deavours deserv'd, and could never bring old Sir Ri|chard, your Father, to any Sense of his Duty; yet she never fail'd to persuade him to it: and when she could get no more of him, she prevail'd on him to keep a Chaplain; and so the Worship of GOD was set up in the Family by Proxy, which I think to be the worst way, tho' he would not do it himself.

Neice.

I was so young then, I remember nothing of it.

Min.

Now, my Dear, you say you do not hinder your Husband; you know that Brute, my Nephew, (excuse me, Cousin) minds nothing of Religion; and this Gentleman taking you out of such a heathenish Family, may think that you are like your Brother, Sir Richard . . . . . . . which I should be very sorry for; and he may think, that praying to GOD and Family-Worship, may be things as little agreeable to you, as they would be to your Brother: and if you have not told him otherwise, this may be the Reason why it is not done; and thus it may be plain, that you may have hinder'd him.

Page  34
Neice.

Nay, we never had any talk about it.

Min.

Why, I'll give you a like Case; you know Sir Richard and I never agreed, he hated I should be in the House, because I always call'd to Prayers: and I hated to be in his House, because I saw he had no Taste of Religion, and therefore you know I left it; and yet Sir Richard may say as you say of your Hus|band, that he never hinder'd me; it is a Mistake, he did hinder me. Now, my dear Child, if you have hinder'd your Husband the Sin is at your Door, and therefore I entreat you, do not hinder him any more.

Neice.

No indeed, Sir, I won't hinder him.

Min.

Well, but that is not enough, Child; will you perswade him?

Neice.

I can't talk to him of such things.

Min.

Well, Child, I'll take that part off of your Hands; are you willing I should talk to him? for I have a great mind to do it for all your sakes.

Neice.

What you please, Sir.

Min.

And shall I tell him, that you are very wil|ling that he should set up the Worship of GOD in his House?

Neice.

Yes, Sir, if you please.

Min.

Methinks, Neice, you speak coldly of it, as if it was a mighty indifferent thing to you, or a thing you had rather should be let alone, you must speak plain to me, my Dear, or I shall take it for dissembling.

Neice.

No, Sir, I don't dissemble.

Min.

Well, shall I tell him you are sensible it is his Duty, and that you are very desirous of it?

Neice.

Yes, Sir.

Here the Minister broke off, he saw her dull, ig|norant, and without any Relish of what he had said, and that the Answers she had made were, as it were extorted from her, not at all Natural, or spoken with any Freedom; and so he, told me when we talk'd. Page  35 However, Cousin, says he, I have made the way clear for you to begin that Work, which is your Duty; and I hope you will have no Obstruction from your Wife.

This good Man stay'd, as I told you, about four Months, and when he began to be well again, he pre|par'd to go Home; but the Evening before he went away, he call'd me to him, and as my Wife was sit|ting by him before, he directed his Speech to us both—He made a short, but very significant Discourse, of the Necessity and Advantage of a religious Fami|ly-Government, an orderly Houshold, and the shew|ing just Examples to our Servants and Children; and the Duty upon Masters of Families to worship GOD in a publick manner, for the Advantage, Example, and Encouragement of all under their Roof—And after this he turn'd to me, and with a kind of an Air of Reproof, but very respectful, he put me in mind, how the weight of all his Discourse was upon me; that I was the Head of the Family, and answer|able for the Government and Management of it, as well Civil as Religious. I know, Cousin, says he, you are but new marry'd, and perhaps your Wife and you may not yet have enquired of one another, what of this kind may be your Duty: But as I have taken upon me to press you to this Work, as your Duty, I take it upon me likewise to answer for your Wife, that she will not be any Hindrance to you; nay, she has own'd to me, that she is desirous of it, and will do all that lies in her to encourage you in it.

I made him a Bow, and told him, I was very glad of it; that indeed I had always been educated in a religious Family, and that I had never omitted my Duty in that Matter till since I was marry'd; but however, that I did not in the least charge the Neglect upon my Wife. I told him it was true, that I never had propos'd it to her, and so I did not know her Sen|timents Page  36 of those things; but I acknowledg'd that was my Fault, and that I was exceeding glad that she had so happily prevented me; and that since she desir'd it of me, I was sure I never willingly deny'd her any thing she desir'd, much less should I do it in a thing that was as much my Inclination as my Duty.

I assure you, Cousin, said he, your Wife desires it, and gave me leave to tell you so; I hope she will confirm what I say; Do you not, Neice, says he turn|ing to her? At which she made a Bow to him, as her Consent; but I thought then I saw a kind of Con|tempt in her Countenance of the whole Discourse, and particularly, of that Part, of her being desirous of it; at which I saw she plainly smil'd. However, in a word, the good Man made us both promise, that as he had been our Chaplain now for four Months, and brought the Servants to a Course of good Order and Family-Worship, that now it should be constantly kept up.

For my part, I never made a Promise with greater Satisfaction in my Life, and thought my self gotten over the greatest Difficulty that ever was upon me, (viz.) of bringing my Wife to consent. But I little thought how much I was mistaken.

When my Wife was gone, I thank'd the good Gentleman very sincerely, and told him how glad I was of the Step he had taken; yet I own'd to him, that I thought my Wife had come into it rather to oblige him, than from any sincere Regard to the Duty it self.

I see that plainly, Cousin, said he, but do you go on; it is your Part to do your Duty, whether she likes, or consents or not. And besides, said he, you do not know, but in time she may be convinc'd, as I hope she will. At which he repeated these words, How knowest thou, O Man, but thou mayest gain thy Wife. And thus we ended this Discourse.

Page  37 The next Day our good Chaplain being gone; as my Wife and I was sitting together after Dinner, I said to her; Well, my Dear, do you remember what we promis'd to do to Night, are you of the same Mind?

What Mind, said she?

Why, that we should keep up the Order of the House, and go to Prayer every Night and Morning.

Ay, ay, says she, I am just in the same Mind now as I was then.

Well, says I, then I will perform my Promise 〈◊〉 well as I can, it shall not be wanting on my part; and the more willingly, because, as you said you were desirous of the Performance, I doubt not you will bear with the Meanness of the Performance.

I desirous of it! says she?

Yes, said I, did you not say you were?

Wife.

Not I; it's true, I made a Bow and said no|thing, because I would not anger the old Parson; but I never said I was desirous of it.

Husb.

I am very sorry you should strive to come off of a thing which it was so much your Honour that you consented to it, and my double Satisfaction, that I thought you had desired it.

Wife.

I wonder you should make such a-do about these things, I never trouble my Head about them; but since the old Man would have it so, you know I must not disoblige him.

Husb.

I am sorry you have no other Motive; how|ever, I hope you have nothing to say against praying to GOD: and you know, it is not only my Duty but my Promise.

Wife.

Well then, you may do your Duty, and keep your Promise; I do not hinder it, as I know of.

This was but a cold way of beginning: However, as I had promised, I call'd up my People together in the Evening, and as well as I could, did my Duty.

Page  38
Cit.

That was right, and I hope your Wife came into it with more willingness in some time after.

Fr.

Quite the contrary; and this is the Grievance I wanted to tell you of: For my Wife and I, that liv'd the most pleasant and agreeable Life in the World before, have hardly enjoy'd an Hour of peace|able Conversation since; she is the uneasiest Creature living; she sees that this religious way of living is quite different from her former Temper; she tells me, she is brought quite our of her Element; her Delight is in Company, Cards, the Play, and all the gay Things of the Times; she wants to come to London all the Winter Season, and go back in the Country only for a little Shade in the Heat of Sum|mer; she treats Religion with the utmost Contempt; she hates the melancholy Life we lead; she tells me, she thinks if I resolve to live thus, she'll go to Lon|don with Sir Richard, when he goes up to the Parlia|ment, and I may stay at home and pray for them.

Cit.

Well, but how does she behave as to the Duty it self? I hope she complies with the Form of it, and is Decent in the Time of Worship.

Fr.

Truly hardly, she is silent indeed, and that's all. But she will sit when we kneel, reading in some other Book while we sing Psalms; nay, and sometimes continue Reading while we are Praying: And it seems a Favour if she only sleeps, and gives me no Uneasiness but her snoring.

Cit.

How can you have Patience with her?

Fr.

When I have perform'd the Duty she'll Banter it in a most profane manner; ask me why I did not pray for a better Wife; tell me, I forgot to pray for such a Thing and such a Thing; and in short, she lets the whole House see that she hates the Duty, and undervalues the Performance.

I told her, if she did not like my Performance I would keep her a Chaplain. No, no, says she, then Page  39 we shall have no Sport, I take it to be an excellent Opera; all the Grievance to me is, that it is a little too often; besides such as this, she will frequently mix such profane Stuff with her Banter, that sometimes she talks Words I dare not repeat, and indeed down|right Blasphemy.

Cit.

And could you go on with the Performance under all this?

Fr.

Indeed I have been often at the Point of giving it quite over; I have thought that Charity is so ab|solutely necessary to every Christian Duty, that I neither could perform it with Profit to my self, or Profit to those that heard me without it.

Cit.

I will not say as to Profit, but I do not see it possible to perform it with Composure, when we know they that hear us are not equally affected with it.

Fr.

Much more when we know they Despise and Contemn it.

Cit.

Very true, it is my own Case exactly; and as this was what I meant when I told you I knew one whose Circumstances were like yours; so I must acknowledge it has made your Relation exceeding pleasant to me.

Fr.

I am very sorry, that what is my Affliction should be your Diversion; I am sure it has been a very unpleasant Circumstance to me.

Cit.

You mistake me very much, it has not been pleasant to hear that you have been under such a severe Affliction; but it was a great Pleasure to me, to find a dear Friend in a Case, from which I was so likely to receive Instruction, Comfort and Advice in my own, which is almost the same in every Circumstance, and in which I have been so much at a loss how to behave, that I have neither known what to do, or who to go to for Advice.

Fr.

I am sure, if your Case is like mine, you need no other Affliction.

Page  40
Cit.

Mine differs in nothing but such Particulars in which it is much worse.

Fr.

That can hardly be, for mine has broke the Peace of my Mind and the Peace of my Family too: I confess, I have a little recover'd the first, but the last I believe will be never recover'd:

Cit.

My Mind and Family too are in the utmost Distraction, and I see no way for restoring either of them.

Fr.

Well, but despair of nothing, GOD can re|store both.

Cit.

That's true; but there is a Circumstance or two in mine that, as I said, makes it worse than yours, and that is in this Particular, (viz.) that there is less hope of recovering mine than there is of yours.

Fr.

You will have some Difficulty to make me sen|sible of that; can any thing be more hard to reclaim than an original Atheist, one bred without the Know|ledge of GOD, and resolving never to learn to know him?

Cit.

Yes, yes, a great deal, (viz.) a harden'd Hy|pocrite, who is past the Power of Conviction, and arriv'd to such a Pitch in the Pretences to Religion, as to make it a Cloak of Maliciousness.

Fr.

They are gone far indeed, but I know not which are the worst; what can be worse than A DE|SPISER, a Scoffer at every thing that is serious, that neither looks up or looks in, that mocks her Maker, and mocks all those that serve him; that says to the Almighty, Depart from us, we desire not the Knowledge of thy Ways?

Cit.

Yes, another sort, (viz.) those who are Phari|saically religious, and say to every one, stand off, I am holier than thou; That can say of a Husband or a Relation, with the Pride of their own Performances, GOD, I thank thee, I am not as this Publican; that trample upon every one's Sincerity and Humility as Page  41 an Imperfection, and think no Pattern imitable but their own: These are they of whom our blessed Lord said, they were like painted Sepulchers, full of Rottenness and Putrefaction within. And this is the Case in my House exactly, and therefore I said it was worse than yours.

Fr.

You surprise me very much, I think it's your Turn now, pray let me hear the Particulars of your Case.

Cit.

You shall, but it is a very melancholy Story.

Here he repeats to him all the Particulars re|lating to himself and his Wife, as they stand in the beginning of this Dialogue.
Fr.

Indeed yours is a melancholy thing, and in one Particular goes beyond mine for the present; but mine is coming fairly up after it.

Cit.

In one Particular do you say? I think it is worse in many Particulars. It is worse in what I said above, that I think my Wife will be harder to reclaim than yours; because she pretends at least to think her self already in the right, and that I am the Profligate and the Enemy to Religion. Your Wife cannnot think she is right, only carries it on upon the Foot of an entire Neglect of Right or Wrong; not being touch'd with any Conviction, but being just in the original State we should all have been in, but for the Advantages of a better Education; there's all the Room for the Grace of GOD to work in that can be expected; nay, such are the proper Field in which GOD is often pleased to display the Glory of redeeming Mercy and the Soveraignty of his Grace: When thou wert cast out to the Loathing of thy Person, when thou wert in thy Blood, I said unto thee, Live. But Pharisaical Hypocrites seem to be the Ab|horrence even of the Spirit of GOD, and it is at least very rarely that such are brought back.

Fr.

You go very far in the Case of your Wife.

Page  42
Cit.

I assure you I do her no Wrong, I rather con|ceal and cover her Behaviour than make it worse: But then I have two Circumstances more which make my Case worse than yours. 1. My Children are grown up, so far at least as to distinguish them|selves in the Debate; and Three of them out of Five, take part with their Mother, prepossess'd by her deluding Tongue, and by the Advantage she has, of being always with them, and wheedling and cry|ing to them; so that they carry it almost as insolent|ly to me as my Wife, and especially in this part, of despising and scorning the needful Union which the Duty of our Family calls for.

Fr.

Well, and what is the other?

Cit.

Why, the other is the greatest Affliction to me of all the rest (viz.) that by this abusive brutish Be|haviour of my Wife and Children, my Family is quite unhing'd, all Appearance of Order and Duty is lost, my Servants and my other Children are let loose to the World, and are like Sheep without a Shepherd, like People without Government, we have no Worship of GOD among us; my Wife and her three Children go up Stairs, and there she pretends to pray and read with them by her self, as if her Husband was a Hea|then, her other Children Out-casts, and her Family Reprobates, and I am quite distracted between the Sense of my Duty and the Impossibility of perform|ing it.

Fr.

Hark ye, my Friend, this is a sad Case 'tis true, but give me leave to tell you that this is not really so much Matter for your Affliction as of your Repen|tance; for I see little or nothing in all this but what lies at your own Door, and is in your Power to re|ctify, and which you must set to work immediately to rectify, or your Family will be ruin'd and undone, and your self too.

Cit.

What can I do? Can I reform a perverse Wo|man? Page  43 Can I reduce an obstinate Temper? Am I in GOD's stead! Can I convince a Hypocrite, whose Pride fortifies her against Reason or Scripture, and whose Vanity makes her despise Reproof? How can you have so little Charity as to say, it all lies at my Door?

Fr.

But, my Friend, do not be full of your own Case; I do not say you can work upon your Wife; and I acknowledge what you said, that such a Tem|per is harder to be touch'd than any other; spiritual Pride is the strongest Fortress of the Devil in our Hearts, and which he is hardest to be beaten out of; this is not what I spoke of; but what is this to your doing your own Duty?

Cit.

How can I do my Duty in such a Circum|stance? And what is my Duty? I told you the Ar|gument I used at first; I cannot think it is my Duty to throw Pearls before Swine, who will turn again and rent me.

Fr.

Come, my Dear Friend, let me tell you, this was my Temptation, as it has been yours, but I bless GOD I got over it; your great Mistake has been, that you went out into the Fields, as you said, and consulted with your Enemy; had you look'd in|to your own Conscience, or into the Word of GOD, the faithful Counsellors of all that sincerely consult with them, you would have found the Difference; you consulted your Passions, your Resentment, and the just Cause your Wife had given you to be angry; and the Devil, who watches all Advantages, took you by the right Handle; and thus you argued your self out of your Duty, instead of arguing your self into it.

Cit.

Why, what could I do? Was it not enough to provoke the calmest Man alive to a Passion?

Fr.

I'll allow that too; but remember this, whoever he is, that when (tho' by the most injurious Treatment) provok'd, shall consult with his own Passions only, Page  44 he shall be sure to be wrong; you should have sum|mon'd your Reason; you should have consulted Con|science; in a Word, you should have looked up to GOD for Direction what to do.

Cit.

That is true, I confess it; but I do not now see after all my Passion is over, what I could do?

Fr.

I know, if I should tell you the Course I took, you will answer, that my Case is not like yours, and perhaps it is not; but you do not know but the same Method pursued in your Case, might have brought with it secret Instruction, equal to your Difficulty, as it did to mine.

Cit.

I shall be willing to take any Advice, for my Case is indeed deplorable; I have no Peace Night nor Day, to see the Ruin of my Family, and to live in a constant Breach of known Duty.

Fr.

Why, as I told you, my Temptation was the same with yours; and perhaps the Arguments against my Duty were stronger, for I had no Family, no Children but one half a Year old; so it naturally of|fer'd to me thus, Why let her alone, if she will be a Heathen, and die like a Heathen, what can I do? I must retire my self; seeing she will not let me pray with her, I must pray by my self, and pray for her; and wait the Time when it may please GOD to re|claim her, and then I may set up Family-Worship a|gain: This went a great way with me, and I argued just as you did, that it was not my Duty to offer the Worship of GOD to the Contempt of a Scoffer; that there could be no Composure, no Engagement of the Affections, no Energy in Prayer, where I knew I was ridicul'd and laugh'd at by her that should join with me; and, in a Word, that it was impossible I should pray to my own Edification, or to the Profit of others in such a Circumstance, and therefore I would not pray at all.

In this Strait I continu'd some Time, especially Page  45 on the Occasion of an unhappy Breach between us, in which my Wife had particularly vented her self with all that Bitterness and Banter which her unhap|py Wit furnishes her too much with, on the Account of my praying in my Family.

But after my Passion was abated, I consider'd calmly, that for me to omit my Duty, because my Wife would nor do hers, had no manner of Cohe|rence with it self, any more than that I should not eat my Meat if my Wife would not eat hers; I look'd upon praying to GOD, as not my indispen|sable Duty only, but as an inestimable Privilege, and that to abate it for the Mistake of a weak or wicked Woman, was to punish my self, not to punish her: I remembered an unhappy Accident which happen'd in the Town where I live, That a poor Man, a Shoe-maker, who had a very turbulent provoking Wife, and being driven into Passions and Desparati|on by her wicked Usage of him, stab'd himself with his Knife; it came fresh into my Mind how univer|sally all the Neighbours condemned him as guilty of Self-Murder; and how in particular I was one of the forwardest to censure him on that very Account, and to say, that to kill himself because his Wife was unkind, was making one Affliction two, so was irrational; and which was worse, made her Sin against him be an occasion of his Sin against GOD and himself, which was a horrible Wicked|ness: As I thought upon this, I then argued with my self thus; By this Woman's Unkindness, I am rob'd of the Comfort of my Family, and of the Expectation I had from her as a Relation; but if I omit my Du|ty, I then rob my self of my Peace, sin against GOD and my Family, and open a Door to all manner of Sin and Distraction.

Upon these Considerations I immediately lifted up my Heart for Direction to him who has said, If anyPage  46Man want Wisdom, let him ask it of GOD: Imme|diately came to my Mind the Words of JOSHƲA to the People of Israel, As for me and my House, WE WILL serve the LORD; the Story of DANIEL, who would not, no not to avoid the being devoured by Lyons, omit his Publick, and perhaps Family Worship: It presently offered then, that Daniel might have satisfy'd himself with his private Retirement, and performed his private Prayer in his Closet, and this he might have done with Safety; but then he had seem'd to yield up the Point to his Enemies, and to grant that his Life was of more Concern to him than his Duty to GOD, which he abhorred the Thought of, and therefore continued his Duty at the utmost Hazard.

Cit.

Indeed you took a different Course from mine, and you met with Assistance from it, which I wanted.

Fr.

Immediately, upon this, I resolved to do my Duty, whatever Opposition I met with; and withal, that if my Wife continued to be obstinate, I would take upon me to let her know, that if she would not sub|mit to attend the Worship of GOD decently, and with that Reverence as she ought to do in the Fami|ly, she should submit to be absent, and should see her self thrust out, as not fit to be admitted to the Worship of her Maker in Company with her Fami|ly, till she thought fit to behave as became her.

Cit.

That was a noble Resolution, but look'd a lit|tle rigid to your Wife; pray how did she take it?

Fr.

Truly I cannot give you much Account of that Part yet; for my Business calling me to London soon after, I was oblig'd to leave her before her Temper had brought her so much as to think it any Affront, for at first she seemed very well pleased with it.

Cit.

It would be very obliging if you would let me hear the Particulars of this Part, for I begin to be very much affected with it.

Page  47
Fr.

Nay, our Dialogue was very short; I told her how ill she used me upon the Occasion of my per|forming my Duty, and we had too many Words a|bout it, and indeed some very disobliging, which on my side occasion'd the Retirement I have told you of just now; after which, having composed my self as well as I could, I came back to my Wife, who I found not so much out of Humour as I ex|pected, for it seems she made such a Mock of the Thing, that indeed it had been all acted like a Jest with her, and she made a Sport even of the Words we had had about it.

Cit.

By your Relation, your Wife must be as bar|ren of any thing religious, as most Women ever I heard of.

Fr.

Ay, or ever will hear of as long as you live; however, I resolved to go seriously to work with her, and let her see it was no Jest with me, whatever it was with her; so I began the Discourse thus:

Husb.

My Dear, said I, when you and I was mar|ried, I thought we should never have lived to treat one another as I see we are like to do, and especial|ly on such a Subject; I was in hopes we should have lived better together.

Wife.

Why, how do we live? I think we live mighty well, if you can but be contented.

Husb.

My Dear, no Man can be contented to be ill used.

Wife.

Why who uses you ill? I know of no ill Usage, unless you mean my jesting a little with you about your new Fits of Devotion; sure you may bear a Jest a little, can't you?

Husb.

Jesting with sacred Things is disallow'd by all good Men in the World; and is indeed not Jest|ng, but downright Profaneness.

Wife.

I find you have a mind to pick a Quarrel with your Wife; you may talk of your Religion Page  48 and your Prayers as much as you will, I will be at liberty to laugh when I think fit; I know I am your upper Servant, but I am not such a Servant but I may have Liberty to laugh at my Master when I think proper.

Husb.

My Dear, I never made a Servant of you in my Life, nor offer'd to abridge you of any Liberty you desir'd; but I would fain persuade you to treat me with the common Respect such Things require; your Uncle was the Man that put us upon it, you did not laugh at him, why should you make your Husband only the Subject of your Jest?

Wife.

O, my Uncle! he's a Parson, 'tis his Business.

Husb.

Well, and I'm convinc'd it is my Duty, and I cannot, I dare not omit it; methinks common Ci|vility might prevail on you to behave decently to me.

Wife.

I am sorry my Behaviour does not please you; and more, that I have you for my Teacher.

Husb.

My Dear, I do not go about to teach you, but to persuade you to be Civil to me; if you have drop'd your Affections, yet certainly good Manners requires something.

Wife.

Yes, yes, I'll be as mannerly to you as you please.

Husb.

All I ask is, that you will banter any thing else rather than my serving GOD, which I tell you plainly I cannot omit; neither can I bear to hear your Reproaches about it, or see your Behaviour at it.

Wife.

Then you must exercise your Authority to stop my Mouth, which perhaps you may not find so easy as you imagine; for I will have my Liberty when you have done all.

Husb.

Well then, I hope you will give me my Li|berty too; I have as good a Title to it as you.

Wife.

You put the Case wrong, it is not in my Power to give, it is yours to take; your Liberty is absolutely your own; and I find you think to claim Page  49 some Authority over mine; but pray what Liberty do you speak of?

Husb.

Why to be plain, if you resolve to behave indecently, during the Worship of GOD, and treat me with Jeer and Ridicule for doing my Dury; I de|sire this Favour, that you will withdraw when we go to Prayer, and leave us to serve GOD without dis|composure, by the Favour of your Absence.

Wife.

Yes, yes, with all my Heart, you shall be obey'd.

Husb.

Well then, since I can obtain no more from you, I expect that; and desire you will not take it ill that I shut you out from that Duty which you ren|der your self unworthy the Privilege of being present at; for I will not purchase your Favour at the Price of disobeying my Maker, and I hope in Time your Eyes may be open'd.

Wife.

They are already, says she, to see what an obliging Husband I have.

Husb.

I doubt they are not, said I; and with that I left her, being unwilling to have more Words with her; for I found nothing made the least Impression upon her; and to have told her what an Affliction it had been to me, would have been nothing; she would have but bantred it the more.

Cit.

Well, and did you begin with her that Evening?

Fr.

Yes, but being as cautious as I cou'd of expo|posing her, I staid out a little later than usual, so that she was gone to Bed when I came home, and we had the Family Worship without her of Course.

Cit.

Well, but in the Morning?

Fr.

In the Morning she was in her Dressing-Room, and as I had order'd my Man to call to Prayers, her Maid came up and said the Servants were ready; so I rose up, and as I went, my Dear, said I, we won't give you the Trouble of going down; she made me Page  50 no answer, but staid behind; and this is the Length we are gone, for in the Afternoon I came away to come to London.

Cit.

You have been both a wiser Man and a better Christian than I; for like a Fool I gave way to my Passions, without making use of my Reason; and, like a Man void of Religion, I gave up my Duty a Sacrifice to the Wickedness and Pride of a Woman; and now she glories in my Shame, for she upbraids me with living void of Religion, without the Sence of it upon my Mind, or the Face of it upon my Be|haviour; and she has so much Truth on her side, as to Fact, tho' she her self has been the unhappy Occa|sion, that her Words are as Solomon says, like the pier|cing of a Sword. I cannot answer her, for I am con|vinc'd, that however wicked she had been, however sharp her Taunts and Reproaches, however contemp|tibly she might speak or think of my Performance, I ought to have done my Duty.

The Second DIALOGUE.

THE Conference between the Two Friends in the last Dialogue, left them almost in the same Condition; both of them being oppo|sed in the Performance of their Family Duty by their Wives, and both of them resolv'd to go on in the Way of their Duty, and to keep up the Worship of GOD in their Families, whether their Wives would or not.

For the Discourse of the Country Gentleman had opened the Eyes of the Citizen; and he resolved to Page  51 follow his Example; tho' as he had most easily given up his Duty at first, so he had far the greater Diffi|culty in bringing his Family to a Compliance after|wards, as will presently appear.

When he came home the same Evening from his Friend, he sat pensive and melancholy a good while, musing with himself what Course he should take with his Wife; his Resolution to take upon himself the Government of his Family had not failed him, but he was so ruffled by his Wife before in the Case of his Performance, that he hardly knew in what manner to go about it, nor how to manage it; he was loth to shut his Wife out of the Room, and yet was afraid of her going away, and taking away those Three Children with her, who, as was said, had sided with her against him, and who he was resolved should attend him at his publick Worship; however, it so happened to his great Mortification, that going but out of the Room into a Closet for some particular Occasion, his Wife in the Interval goes away with her youngest Son, and her two eldest Daughters, and retiring to her own Apartment, continued there near an Hour.

This so surprized, and which was worse, so dis|composed him, that together with some unkind Words which pass'd afterwards between him and his Wife, and which put him into a violent Passion, he was quite unfitted for his Duty for that Night; and, as he said afterwords, it had so discouraged him, that he was almost at the Point to have given over the happy Resolution he had taken of returning to his Family Performance; however, it quite broke off his Thoughts of it, as I said, for that Night.

In the Morning he composed his Mind as well as he could, and resolved to enter upon his Work, whe|ther his Wife consented or not; and yet being wil|ing to have it all managed, as it ought to be, in a lov|ing Page  52 and Christian Manner, if he could, he resolved to discourse with his Wife first, if possible, to bring her to Compliance with him, and to a Sense of her Duty both to GOD and her Husband; and I think the following Discourse was before they were up, or at least before they were come out of their Chamber.

My Dear, says the Husband, you and I have had a sad Breach about our Family Worship, and it has been attended with a great deal of Sin on both Sides; is there no Hopes of putting an end to it? 'Tis a sad thing, that seeing we both acknowledge it to be our Duty, we should fall out about the Manner of do|ing it!

Wife.

All such Breaches are best ended by them who began them.

Husb.

I am loth to enter into a new Strife about who began the old; I had rather enter into Measures of Peace for putting an End to it on both Sides.

Wife.

I have no Hand in it; do not think to ex|cuse your Sin by laying it upon your Wife; as I told you before, that won't take the Charge off from your self.

Husb.

My Dear, I am not excusing my self, I have been Guilty of a great Sin in suffering your bad Usage of me to be my Snare, and leting your Contempt of my Performance put me upon a Neglect of my Duty; but have you been to blame in Nothing? Have you done all your Duty, and are you sure that all the Fault is mine?

Wife.

I know nothing I have been to blame in, but in telling you what is true enough, that your praying in your Family is, to me, a Piece of cold in|significant Stuff; I look upon you as one of them whose Prayer is an Abomination.

Husb.

That is calling me a wicked Man in the first Place; and yet even such are commanded to repent,Page  53to pray, to turn to GOD, and to call upon him; you do not argue I hope that because you esteem me so much worse than your self, that therefore I must not pray to GOD, nor take care to have religious Wor|ship kept up in my Family? to do that, is the way to have our Children worse than any of us.

Wife.

I'll take Care of my Children; they shan't be the worse for your Example, if I can help it.

Husb.

I question whether that would be in your Power, if my Example were really bad, as I hope it is not; however, I hope in praying for them and with them, I can do them no harm, there is no bad Example in that.

Wife.

You may do as you please; your Prayers are of no Use to me.

Husb.

Have a care, my Dear, lest some time or o|ther you come into a Condition to desire, nay perhaps to want the Prayers of every one that will but pity you enough to pray for you.

Wife.

That's none of your Business, I don't ask your Prayers now you see; you may stay till I do.

Husb.

I'll pray that GOD will be pleased to give you a better Mind.

Wife.

You may as well let it alone.

Husb.

Your Temper is perfectly void of Charity; and you act as if you desir'd the Worship of GOD should be wholly neglected, or wholly drop'd in the Family.

Wife.

I look upon that and your performing it to be much at one; if it were otherwise, I should do as becomes me.

Husb.

I wish you would do as becomes you now, and not discourage the Work of GOD; how if GOD should accept, my imperfect Petitions, I am sure you are not a Judge of the Sincerity of the Heart? And if he that knows the Heart should ac|cept what you so much despise, you will then be Page  54 found a Fighter against GOD? I intreat you to con|sider your Duty.

Wife.

I don't want to be taught my Duty by you, that do not understand your own.

Husb.

How can you say I do not understand my Duty, when I now tell you with Grief, my Sense of having omitted it, and my Desire to return to the Discharge of it.

Wife.

Well, what is it you pretend to desire of me?

Husb.

My Desire is, that you would concur in the Exercise of our Morning and Evening Sacrifice, that we may join together in praying for the Pardon of our Family Sins, and for a Blessing upon us and our Children.

Wife.

I tell you my Reasons why I cannot join with you; I do not look upon your Performance to be call'd Praying, because I do not see that your Lips and your Heart go together; or that your Life con|forms to the Holiness of your seeming Expression.

Husb.

Why, my Dear, must none pray but those that have no Infirmities to be laid to their Charge? And pray, as I said before, Who made you a Judge of the Sincerity of the Heart?

Wife.

Well, what is all this Discourse for?

Husb.

Why, my Dear, I would fain restore the Face of Religion in my Family, which our last Dis|pute has made a dreadful Breach in.

Wife.

Well, and so you would set up your hypo|critical Formalities again?

Husb.

That's very unchristian, very unkind, and very discouraging.

Wife.

BƲT, may be very just for all that.

Husb.

NO, nor is it just: But however, since you are so rude to me, and in a thing so necessary, and which I cannot, I dare not any longer omit; I tell you I am resolv'd to do my Duty, do you what you will.

Page  55
Wife.

Then what need was there of this Discourse?

Husb.

Because I would fain have had your Con|currence and your Countenance in it; which it is your Duty to give to such a Work among your Chil|dren and Servants.

Wife.

I don't think any of the Children like it any more than I do.

Husb.

To you, my Dear, I'll offer no Force of any kind; but as for my Children, I shall expect their Attendance, and will take care to make them comply with it, whether they like it or not; that's another Question.

Wife.

I believe they will all be Dissenters; I hope you will give them Liberty of Conscience.

Husb.

Liberty of Conscience relates to different Ways of Worship, but is not concern'd in the Dispute between Worship in general, and no Worship at all; there's no Toleration to be an Arheist, to deny GOD or abandon Religion.

Wife.

But they may pray by themselves.

Husb.

I'll oblige them to give their Attendance to Family Orders; I am sure it is their Duty; they may pray by themselves at other Times, and I hope they will.

Wife.

If they don't think it their Duty, it is Perse|cution and Tyranny.

Husb.

Family Worship is an undoubted Duty, if they don't think so, it is time they were taught better.

Wife.

Perhaps they do worship in the Family with|out you, and more to their Satisfaction.

Husb.

Let them worship GOD as often as they will, I hinder none; but at my stated Times I shall expect them; their worshiping in the Family without me, is not Family Worship.

Wife.

They will let you see plainly enough then, that it is a Force upon their Inclinations, and perhaps sometimes in a Manner which you will not like.

Page  56
Husb.

I know not what your Example may have encourag'd them to; however; as it is their Duty to do otherwise, if they fail in their Duty, I shall find means to teach them better Manners: And as for your self, seeing you oblige me to force my way thus to that, which as a kind Wife, you ought to have assisted me in, and as a good Christian, you ought to have encourag'd in your Family, I shall be best pleased if you will prevent the Discouragement I have formerly met with from you, by withdraw|ing your self, till you can with Charity and Decency join with me; and in the mean time I'll pray for you, that GOD will reconcile you better to what I am so well assur'd is your Duty.

Wife.

I believe you will be sooner gratify'd by me than by your Daughters.

Husb.

Leave that to me.

The good Man was exceedingly afflicted with this Obstinacy of his Wife, and the more, because he look'd upon it to be incurable: However, being re|solv'd to do his Duty, he takes his little Boy in his Hand and goes down Stairs; and after some time, call'd for his two eldest Daughters, who came down Stairs also to him: Upon this he calls his Servants into his Parlour, and causing his eldest Son to read a Chapter, had fasten'd the Door and went to Prayer with them.

During his Performance, he had the Disturbance to hear his Wife come down Stairs and offer to open the Door, but finding it fast to retire and go up again.

At Night, he resolv'd to do the same, but before the usual Hour; and that his Wife might not prevent his Childrens Attendance, he call'd his eldest Daugh|ter, of about 17 Years old, to him, and begun to discourse a little with her of the Nature of Prayer; which occasion'd the following Dialogue, his second Daughter being also by.

Page  57

Well, my Dear, says he, what are you one of them that are dissatisfy'd with your Father's calling you to Prayer in the Family?

Da.

No, Sir, not I.

Fa.

No! what made you then, and your Sister, go away last Night?

Da.

My Mother call'd us.

Fa.

Well, I hope your Mother call'd you into her Closet, to reading and private Prayer.

Da.

Yes, Sir.

Fa.

But that must not interrupt Publick Worship, my Dear.

Da.

But if my Mother calls us—

Fa.

Why, that's true, my Dear; but I'll speak to your Mother not to call you at that time when we should all meet for Family-Worship.

Da.

But my Mother will, it may be.

Fa.

Then, my Dear, you must answer that your Father has call'd to Prayers.

Da.

But my Mother will be angry.

Fa.

No Child, I hope such an Answer will satisfy her; if not, you must answer her as now you do me, and tell her your Father will be angry.

Da.

Yes, Sir.

Fa.

But hark ye, my Dear, do you love praying to God, or is it a Burthen and Tiresome to you?

Da.

No, Sir, I am not tir'd with it, I hope; my Mother has always told us, it is our Duty, and shew'd us God's Command for it in the Scripture.

Fa.

Well, my Dear, then if your Father prays with you in the Family, and your Mother also in her Closet, I hope you won't think it too much?

Da.

No indeed, Sir.

Fa.

I hope you know the Nature and Meaning of Praying to God; you have learnt your Catechise, my Dear.

Da.

Yes, Sir.

Page  58
Fa.

And you too Child! turning to the other.

Child.

Yes, Sir.

Fa.

Well, my Dear, come be plain with me then; have you any Scruple in your Thoughts against joyn|ing with your Father when he prays in the Family?

Da.

I don't know what you mean, Sir.

Fa.

Are you willing and satisfied to come to Pray|er, when I call the Family together to worship GOD, do you like it? and are you as willing when I do it here, as when your Mother does it above Stairs?

Da.

O Dear! willing, Sir! what can you think of me to ask such a Question?

Fa.

My Dear, I think nothing amiss of thee; but there is a Reason for my Question, which perhaps you will know another time, speak now freely to me; are you willing and desirous to attend the Family-Worship?

Da.

Yes, very willing, Sir.

Fa.

And you too, my Dear? (speaking to the second Daughter.)

2d Da.

Yes, Sir, with all my Heart.

Fa.

Have you any Objection against it, my Dear, or against my performing it?

Da.

No, none at all, Sir.

Fa.

Nor you neither, my Dear?

2d Da.

No, Sir, indeed not I.

Fa.

NO! nor had you never any Dislike of it in your Thoughts?

Da.

No never, Sir; I can't imagine why you ask, Sir; did I ever show any backwardness to come when you called? I am sure I was very sorry when you left it off.

Fa.

My Dear, I don't say you have shewn any backwardness, nor have I known that you did; but you have been represented so to me, as if you dis|lik'd the Duty, or dislik'd your Father's Performance.

Da.

They did me a great deal of Wrong, Sir, Page  59 whoever said so; you have taught me better than to dislike praying to GOD; and as for the o|ther, I hope I do not set up to judge; I am sure I never heard any that I like better.

Fa.

But, my Dear, did you never speak a Word of that kind in the House?

Da.

No never, Sir, not a Word, I never had such a Thought.

2d Da.

Nor I neither, Sir, I wonder who should say so of us!

Fa.

Well, my Dear, I am satisfy'd, I hope you un|derstand the Nature of Prayer to be such, that as we have a heavenly Pattern set us in the Scripture, to direct our Form, so we have a merciful heavenly Father to pray to, who is pleas'd to pass over our Im|perfections and accept us for the Sincerity of our Hearts, not the Aptness or Excellence of our Ex|pressions.

Da.

If it was not so, Sir, very few ought to say their own Words when they pray.

Fa.

It is true, my Dear, and tho' Forms of Pray|er may be useful to help the Tongue, especially with respect to the Edification of those that hear; yet, blessed be GOD, that he hears the Thoughts of the Heart, when the Tongue has no Words to express it self by, or Forms to assist it in speaking.

Da.

Sir, you always told us, that whatever Form we prayed by, GOD would hear us if we prayed with Sincerity and Faith in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Fa.

I did so, and I have the Scripture to support it; Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my Name, believing that you shall receive it, you shall receive it.

Da.

I don't remember, Sir, that in all the Scrip|ture, I am forbid to join in Prayer with any, on ac|count of their Words, or for any personal Defect or Infirmity; my Business is to see that I am sincere my self.

Page  60
Fa.

Very true, Child, if they that pray are not sin|cere in what they say, it is their Fault; those that join may be accepted, when he whose Words they join with may be rejected; else we should have a dreadful Task in Prayer, and such Confusion of Thoughts must follow, as would destroy the Nature of the Duty; for we should never know when we were to be accepted and when not.

Da.

I am sure I need not pretend to make Diffi|culties, I know none but what can do it better than I.

Fa.

Well, my Dear, the Spirit of GOD will help your Infirmities, you must pray for the Assistance of the Spirit: but I shall talk to thee of that another Time.

Upon this Discourse the Father dismiss'd the Chil|dren, charging them not to fail to be always ready when he should call to Prayer. After which, that his Wife might not pretend to interfere with him as to Time, he resolv'd, if he could bring her to any thing, to make Terms with her about the Time of her se|perate Performance: Besides, as the Child had in the Discourse above, entirely contradicted what his Wife had suggested about her Aversion to his Performance, he resolv'd to talk with her about that too.

In the mean time, the Mother casually hearing some of his Discourse with the Children, and a little nettled the Night before at the Door's being fastned while he was at Prayer, was now in a perfect Rage at him, and thought to have broke in upon him while he was talking to them; but something in the Family calling her off, tho' she return'd in a few Mi|nutes, it so happen'd, that he had dismiss'd the Chil|dren first: However, she began with him in a man|ner as shew'd, that she was quite destitute of all Temper and almost of good Manners.

Wife.

I have heard some of your wise Discourse with your Children, Mr. .....

Her Husband expected something of it by her Carriage all the Day, but had resolv'd to keep himself from any Passion; and yet pre|serve the Resolution he had taken.

Page  61He gave her no Answer for some time, which she took for a Slight, and began again.

Wife.

I tell you, I have heard some of your ex|traordinary Talk to the Children.

Husb.

Well, then you have heard it.

Wife.

You think, I suppose, that you have acted mighty wisely.

Husb.

I have done what I think is my Duty; I pray GOD you might do yours.

Wife.

You made a wise Discourse to them.

Husb.

Whether you like what I said to them or not, you have reason to blush at what they said to me.

Wife.

Learn to blush for your Sins, and trouble not your self with me.

Husb.

Indeed, my Dear, I wish I could do both perfectly.

Wife.

You are not fit to talk to Children of reli|gious Things.

Husb.

That's your Opinion, but the other is my Duty; fit or not fit is not the Question, I must do it as well as I can; the Lord make you and I both better Instructors, and teach us to give them better Examples.

Wife.

You understand nothing of Religion; what Example can you show them?

Husb.

Not as I ought, my Dear, that I acknowledge.

Wife.

Pray let my Daughters alone.

Husb.

No, my Dear, I can't promise you that, un|less you'll promise to answer at last, for my Neglect of my Duty, in failing to instruct my Children.

Wife.

I tell you, you don't understand it.

Husb.

And I tell you, that for all that I am bound to do it.

Wife.

Well, I think your Discourse to the Children was very impertinent silly Stuff.

Page  62
Husb.

But I assure you their Discourse to me has been much to the Purpose; and if I have not in|structed them, I assure you they have instructed and informed me and that of something their Mother ought to be ashamed of.

Wife.

I asham'd! that's what you cannot make out.

Husb.

I wish, for your sake, it were not so; did you not say, my Children cared not to join with me in my Family-Worship; that they would be Dissen|ters, and that if I obliged them to attend, it would be a Force upon their Inclination.

Wife.

Well, and so I believe it is.

Husb.

Have I forced their Attendance?

Wife.

Yes, did you not lock the Door, when you were at your formal Stuff you call Prayer?

Husb.

Yes, my Dear, to keep you out, who I know, by sad Experience, have respect little enough for me, and so little Reverence to the Duty, that I had Reason enough to expect Disturbance, at least Discomposure, from your being Present; but you know well enough by the Lock, that tho' you could not come in, any one might have gone out.

Wife.

What's that to the purpose? they might like it no better than I.

Husb.

But they have both declared the contrary, and that they never said any thing that look'd like a Dislike of it in their lives.

Wife.

Then they are Lyars.

Husb.

I am loth to bring in the poor Children to prove their Mother so; but I must acknowledge I am convinc'd of their Innocence and Sincerity, and have great Reason to be fully satisfy'd of your Crime.

Wife.

I value not what you are convinc'd of, I know your Hypocrisy.

Husb.

And I bless GOD he knows my Sincerity. I appeal from you.

Wife.

You are harden'd in your Self-conceit in the midst of gross Ignorance.

Page  63
Husb.

And you are hardned in your want of Cha|rity—But this is not to the Purpose; the Question between you and I is of another Nature.

Wife.

I know no Question between us, I have no|thing to do with your Questions.

Husb.

Well, but you must have something to say to them; my Question is of a positive Nature, and must have a direct Answer.

Wife.

I'll answer none of your Questions.

Husb.

Then I must answer them my self. The Case is plain, I am resolved to serve and worship GOD in my Family; I hope and believe I shall please, and be accepted of him, tho' it seems I can't please my Wife; I do not ask your Attendance, till you will be pleased to join in a Christian manner, with a Spi|rit of Charity and Devotion; the last towards GOD, and the first towards your Husband.

Wife.

I don't purpose to trouble you.

Husb.

Then you save me the Trouble of forbid|ding you, and shutting you out; neither do I ask your leave for your Children to attend; for they have declared themselves willing and desirous of it, and profess'd solemnly, that they never had the least Thought to the contrary in their Lives. So in that you are a Slanderer of your own Children.

Wife.

Your new way of commanding may well bring Children to it.

Husb.

You mistake again; nay, if it be true, as you said, that you heard my Discourse to them, then you know that you mistake; which deserves a Word less soft than that of being mistaken.

Wife.

You are dispos'd to treat your Wife very magisterially.

Husb.

You have driven me to the Necessity of ex|ercising so much Authority in my Family, as is ne|cessary to support the Service and Worship of GOD; and more than that I do not seek.

Wife.

Well, you may go on.

Page  64
Husb.

Since then you have obliged me to it, the Question I desire your Answer to is this, That as you take upon you to call your Children up to you at what time you please, and keep them with you as long as you please, I hope it is for no ill Purpose; I desire you will appoint the Hour when you think proper to call them away, that I may not interfere with your Hours, and call them to Family-Worship at the same time.

Wife.

I cannot appoint a certain Hour, it must be when my Leisure allows.

Husb.

Well, for once then, you must give me leave to tell you, that an Hour must be set, or else I shall set an Hour for their Attendance on Family-Wor|ship; in which if you call, you must not take it ill from the Children if they cannot obey you.

Wife.

You begin very lordly; do you take this to be religious?

Husb.

Yes, very religious, unless you can first bring a Text of Scripture to justify the obstinacy of your Opposition to your Husband in so just a Case.

Wife.

You must take your own way.

Husb.

GOD direct us both to the right way, I hope I am in it, but I am sure you are out of it; what think you of that Scripture, 1 Pet. i. 8. and Chap. 5. 5. Be ye all of one Mind, having Compassion one of another; be courteous, be clothed with Humility, be all of you subject one to another.

Wife.

'Tis much you omitted, Wives be in subje|ction to your Husbands—But you take care to quote it in Practice.

Husb.

You pretend to much Religion, and yet are a Scoffer at the sincerest Endeavours of your Hus|band, religiously to do his Duty: where is the Or|nament of a Meek and quiet Spirit, which you are commanded to put on?

Wife.

You are mighty full of Scripture.

Page  65
Husb.

I'll name but one more, and leave it upon your Thoughts, if you can act in Obedience to your Passions, against such express Rules of God's Word, you must go on till the sovereign Grace of GOD, which alone can work in such Cases, makes Impres|sions upon you some other way; the Words are, Philip. ii. 3. Let nothing be done through Strife or Vain-Glory, but in Lowliness of Mind, let each esteem other better than himself.

Wife.

Your Ignorance is as great as your Pride, you understand not what you read, but pretend to quote Words spoken to a Society, a whole Church, nay, perhaps a whole a District of Churches; and respecting the general Unity of the Church, in op|position to the Heathen; and apply it to the little Debate between you and your Wife. I'm asham'd of you, I have no Patience with such Impertinence.

Husb.

GOD send you more Patience and more Humility, and then you will know, that the Scrip|ture is not of private Interpretation, but was given for general Instruction; but they are always hardest to learn, who think themselves qualify'd to teach. I entreat you, let us have no more of this disorderly, unkind Discourse; I have no more to say, but that I expect my Children should not be hindred from attending upon the Worship of GOD.

Wife.

If I thought it Worship, I should be as for|ward as you to have them attend.

Husb.

My Dear, I hope for your being in a better Mind in GOD's due time; in the mean time it is not fit that your Error should interrupt their Duty; neither can I satisfy my self to suffer it.

His Wife went away in a great Passion, and said some things to him at parting which I care not to mention, and which grieved the good Man extream|ly; but he made her no Reply.

In the mean time, the Man went on with his Fa|mily Page  66 Order, and had the Worship of GOD, as Reading the Scriptures, singing Psalms, and Prayer, regularly and constantly perform'd; his Children at|tended constantly and chearfully; but his Wife never.

It had indeed been some Trouble to his Mind, that for some time after the Breach above-mention'd, he had shut the Door of his Parlour when he went to Prayers; which he had not only done to keep his Wife out, but had told her too, as before; and she had twice, or three times, come down to the Door, and finding it lock'd, went back again.

He had found her so Passionate, and so fill'd with Contempt of his Performance, that it was his real Belief her Design was at first to give him some Di|sturbance, to behave with some Indecency, or at least to take hold of some Expression of his, more unguarded perhaps than ordinary, to upbraid him with, and perhaps to make a Mock of among the Children, as she had done once or twice before; and therefore thought it better to have her absent, at least till she was come to a better Temper. But after some time, and finding her, as I said, come two or three times down to the Door, he began to consider, that it was not for him to judge of what Temper she came in; that to shut her out was not only unkind, but was depriving her of an Opportunity of being convinc'd; that perhaps when she might come with a Design to scoff at or insult him, GOD might di|rect something to touch her Thoughts, that might turn her Affections to him, and remove her Pride and want of Charity all at once, and so make the very Thing that she had despised, be the Means of her Reformation: And as these were Things which above every thing else he desired, he was exceedingly trou|bled that he had shut the Door.

If he was concern'd on these Accounts, and upon Page  67 Debates only with himself, that Concern was exceed|ingly encreased, when he understood by his Daugh|ter, that the last time her Mother came down and found the Door fast, she had been crying vehemently in her Chamber for some Hours after; this mov'd him exceedingly: for he was a very kind and ten|der Husband to her, and he resolved never to fasten the Door again, and order'd his Daughter to let her Mother know the Door was never lock'd, but always left a little open, even without the Latch being touch'd: However, his Wife never offer'd to come down after the Door was left open.

It may be easily believ'd, that while this Breach continued in religious Things, the Family Peace, as to common Affairs, went all to wreck; the Counte|nances of Husband and Wife were perfectly chang'd to one another; no Smiles, no pleasant Word, no kind Thing pass'd between them; but a Cloud of Melan|cholly and Discontent, and an Air of Estrangement spread it self over the whole Family; every little Dispute broke out into a Feud, every Feud was car|ried on to the extreamest height; and, in a word, there was very little room, if any, for the poor Re|mains of conjugal Affection to shew it self: So cer|tain is it, that where the religious Peace is broken, no other Peace can long continue.

This afflicted the Husband's Mind to the last De|gree; and not the Wife only, but all the Family per|ceived it. As to his Wife, she kept it more to her self, and continued to carry it with an unsociable haughtiness of Temper; if he offer'd to speak of it, she would always put a short End to the Discourse; tell him, she had nothing to say to him; or flying a|way from him, or perhaps say some very passionate thing that put an End to it; so that she would never enter into any Discourse with him; she seemed to live altogether in her Chamber retir'd from all Com Page  68 pany, and came down into her Family, as if it were with Reluctance; and more by the Necessity of or|dering her Servants and Houshold-Affairs, than by Choice, or from any Pleasure she took among them; and as this had not only continued a long time, but seemed to have no visible Prospect of any Alterati|on, it gave her. Husband a most unsufferable Af|fliction.

But alas! the good Man's Affliction was far from ending there, and the Tragical Part of the Family is yet behind.

I could have been very glad to have brought this poor weak, but proud Woman upon the Stage, as a Penitent, acknowledging her Mistake in Duty, for misusing her Husband; and her Mistake in Religi|on, for despising the sincere humble Performance of her Husband in Matters of Duty in his Family; and for obstructing that, for want of Charity, which every sober Christian would rejoice in (viz.) to see GOD serv'd, honour'd and worship'd in their Family, and their Children brought up in the constant Exercise of those religious Duties, which their natural Ho|mage to their Maker calls for.

But the Truth of this History forbids, and I must be forced to record this unhappy Wife as a sad Mo|mento against spiritual or religious Pride, and to be an Evidence of the exceeding Difficulty of restoring a Pharisaical Hypocrite to Repentance.

The Man's Affliction, as I have said, was visible; but yet he had some Comfort within himself, parti|cularly, that he was in the Way of his Duty; and the Satisfaction he had in his recovering from that wicked Step he had at first taken, of neglecting his Family, and throwing up the Practice of what he knew to be his Duty, was a very great and constant Support to him.

He had also the Satisfaction to see, that all his Page  69 Children joined with him heartily, and seemed to re|joice in the Measures he had taken for the Order and Regularity of the House; and the eldest Daughter, a good sober, and well-enclin'd Child, would often say to him, Dear Father, perswade my Mother to come down to Prayers.

He would be very cautious of saying any thing to the Child that seem'd to reflect on her Mother; but one Day the Child saying so to him, he answered; My Dear, I am very sorry your Mother does not come down, do you perswade her to it, I should be very glad to have her come.

Said the Daughter, shall I go and tell her you sent me to desire her to come?

Ay do, my Dear, said he, with all my Heart.

The Child went, and when her Father ask'd her what her Mother said, she could not answer him, but broke out into Tears; her Father understood it.

Well, my Dear, said her Father, don't let it trou|ble thee, I see how it is, we must wait GOD's time.

He fail'd not to take all Opportunities to speak to her himself after this; but found his Wife, as he thought, had taken a new Method; for as before she would always answer him with something very ill|natur'd and unkind, so now tho' she were ever so free in Discourse of other Things, when ever he be|gan to speak of this Affair, she would not answer one Word.

These things continued about three Quarters of a Year, and far from abating by length of Time, as Family Heats between Husband and Wife ordinarily do; on the contrary, they took Root like a strong Di|stemper, by the Length of their Duration.

At length his Wife was taken Ill; the Man was exceedingly afflicted at his Wife's Sickness, and e|specially as he saw some Danger of Death; and it almost distracted his Thoughts to think she should die Page  70 without being reconciled to him; her Distemper at first appeared a kind of a Lethargick Fever, which, as it prey'd upon her Spirits one way, and brought her very low, so it kept her dozing, and uncapable to be talk'd with, another way.

He often attempted to speak to her. but found she would not answer a Word; or if she did, it was either to desire him not to trouble her, or something quite remote from what he said; by which he found that she was too much stupify'd by the Distemper to talk, and unwilling to discourse when she was other|wise.

The Distemper however in about three Weeks time abated, and she began to get Strength, but no Life came into her Temper, no Chearfulness into her Spirits; but a deep Melancholy seemed to succeed the Fever; and one Morning the Physician that at|tended her came to her Husband, and ask'd him if he knew any extraordinary Trouble she had upon her Spirits? Her Husband said no, no extraordinary one; But why do you ask me that Question, says he with great Concern? Why, says the Doctor, because I fear she has a little Spice of Disorder in her Head, and if we do not prevent it, she will be in danger of a confirm'd Melancholy.

It is impossible to express the Concern this put him in, and he began to enter into a serious Consultation with the Doctor, who had spoke cantiously, because he would not surprize him; but the Apothecary came down immediately after, and with less Prudence said aloud to the Doctor, who ask'd how she did? Do, says he, why she is mad, quite distracted, we must get some Help immediately to tie her in the Bed.

Her Husband, who had by the Prudence of the Doctor entertained only an Apprehension of the Dan|ger of such a thing as remote, and possible to be pre|vented, Page  71 when he heard what the Apothecary said, spoke not a Word, but sunk down on the Floor.

The Physician being at Hand, they were not so much at a Loss for applying proper Remedies; but it was so long e'er they recovered him, that the Doctor himself was once of the Opinion that he was dead, and was going out of the Room; but some Signs of Life appearing soon after, they went on with their Applications, and opening a Vein, the Blood flowing, recovered him to Life, but left him very ill, which was followed by a Fever, and that threw him into the Small-Pox, which it seems he had not had, and from which he did not recover without great Danger of his Life.

There was a sad Family we may be sure, while the Master and Mistress of the Family remained in these Circumstances: But however, the Husband recovered with the help of Time; but the Wife grew worse, till he was obliged to have her removed out of the House for a Time; and as it is allowed that a melancholy Lunacy is the hardest to cure, so indeed they found it here, for she lay above a Year under the Hands of the Physician, without much Appearance of Alteration, except at Intervals, scarce knowing, or at least not noticing her own Children or Husband.

It was observable, that during her Distemper, she was always reading the Bible and religious Books, but would never talk with any Body otherwise than of common Things; and during the whole Time, was never heard so much as once to mention the Breach with her Husband; and when she was thought well enough to go home again, it appeared she had forgot it as perfectly as if she had never known any thing of it; nor had she forgotten that only, but even her Family and common Things, her Husband having removed to another Dwelling; she Page  72 did not so much as know that it was not the same House she had lived in before; she knew her Husband and Children indeed, but did not know any of the Servants; no, not enough to distinguish who had been before her Illness, or who had come after.

This filled her Husband with dreadful Apprehen|sions that her Distemper was not removed; but as he communicated his Fears to the Physician, he said it was a sign that it would entirely remove at last; but she continued a long time in but a very indiffe|rent Condition, much altered in her Temper, and often subject to little Returns of Melancholy; but in her Family she liv'd orderly, and kept in a very good Disposition, as to the religious Part; and if she had any Remembrances of the Breach that had been car|ried on, she kept it to her self, for she never would discover that she received any Notion of it in her Thoughts; she attended Duly on the Orders of the Family, appeared very serious at the Times of Wor|ship, and never offered to dislike or reflect upon, much less to mock or scoff at her Husband's Perform|ance in the least.

Her Children were warn'd by their Father, never to endeavour to put her in mind of former Differen|ces; no, not so much as in Curiosity to try whether she really remembered any thing or not; which Or|ders they very punctually observed.

It was not long after this, when the Country Gen|tleman, whose Story makes a Part in the former Dia|logue, came to Town; and as their Cases were so exactly alike when they had last discoursed upon the Subject of their Family Circumstances, so they had kept up a constant Correspondence by Letters; but now at their meeting they enter into Particulars more at large; which as near as possible is continued in the following Discourse.

Page  73
Cit.

The Citizen begun with him thus: Well, my Friend, I took your Advice, but I have had a dread|ful Task of it.

Fr.

What Advice?

Cit.

Why about taking a Resolution to set up, or rather restore Family-Worship in my House, in spite of all the Scoffs and Jeers, Flouts and Taunts of an unkind Wife; but it has cost me very dear.

Fr.

I hope the Purchase is worth the Price: I dare say, let it have cost you what it will, 'twill pay you all again; it will yield you a plentiful Rent or Inte|rest, if you maintain it; for, as the Northern Proverb says, God comes into no Man's House to bilk the Land|lord; you will find a Blessing in it, no doubt.

Cit.

I have had a hard Task of it, but I have got the better at last.

Fr.

Pray let me hear it again; for tho' your Letters have let me into the general Heads of it, yet you must let me have the full Story at length; I hope the Relation will be a Comfort, not an Affliction to you.

Cit.

You shall, with all my Heart.

Here the Citizen tells him the whole Story, Word for Word, as it is in the Dialogue past.

His Friend listen'd to the Relation with great At|tention, and was particularly pleased with the Suc|cess he had in that Part about his Children; but was extreamly affected with the Tragical Part of it in his Wife, which indeed brought Tears into his Eyes; and the more, from the Sence he had on him, how much more comfortable an Issue he had had on his own Side.

My dear Friend, says he, you have had an afflict|ing Part indeed, with respect to your Wife; but you are not yet without hope that she may be wholly re|stored to you again; and you have the present Com|fort of seeing her Disposition altered.

Page  74
Cit.

That is true, but it would have been a greater Comfort to me to have known that she had been made truly sensible of the Sin of her former Conduct, that she had repented heartily of it, and that she had received Comfort in the Hope of Forgiveness.

Fr.

I confess that is a thing that you may think wanting, but you cannot judge her not to have been a Penitent, because you cannot tell what Intervals for Conviction she might have had, either before, in, or after her Distraction.

Cit.

That is true; but as I saw no Signs of it, I have room to fear, and that's a continual Affliction to me.

Fr.

Well, but what shall we say as to her being made incapable by being depriv'd of the Use of Reason; it's hard to determine what shall be ex|pected of such; we must judge with Charity.

Cit.

I have seriously digested that Part in my Thoughts; and I'll tell you to what Issue I have brought it: I assure you the Result is no Abatement of my Trouble in the Case of my Wife; no, not in the least, but rather an Increase of it.

Fr.

Pray let me hear your Opinion in such a Case; I cannot think GOD will lay to our Charge the Sins committed in a distracted Condition, when the Body is demented, and has not the Use of Reason to guide it; when Conscience is put out of its Office, and can neither accuse or excuse; when the Soul is no more a Free Agent, and the Creature is reduced to the meer sensative Life.

Cit.

You mistake me quite, I am not arguing on that Part, and perhaps I may incline to think as you do, with respect to what is done during the Power of Lunacy; but what will you say to the Sins of Life committed before that Distraction, and which the Distemper coming hastily upon her, she had no Time to reflect upon or repent of? Pray what is the Page  75 Difference between such a Condition, and one dying without Repentance? I look upon my Wife as one dead, for while the Soul is disabled in its Operations, she is dead to all those Things which are necessary to a true Penitent; such as Sorrow for the Sin, Ab|horrence of the Evil of it, asking Pardon of GOD, acting Faith on the Blood of CHRIST for Remis|sion, Resolutions to reform, and the like; these it is impossible she should have any Part in, and therefore she seems to me to be just in the same State as one dying impenitent.

Fr.

You have a little surprized me indeed, in giv|ing that Turn to it, which I did not think of before; and I must acknowledge that I am of your Opinion in the thing it self; only that in the Case of your Wife, there is room for Hope to you, in two Parti|culars: 1. That, as before, you are not sure that she had no Intervals, in which GOD might speak to her Soul, and her Soul fly to and embrace her Saviour with effectual Relentings, and saving Dependance on him for Salvation; all which might be acted in a Mo|ment, as I doubt not it often is in the very Article of Death; witness the Thief upon the Cross; and this might much better be in the Time of her Sickness, tho' the Distraction of her State since that, may have given her no room to discover it. 2. And then you have this Comfort, viz. that she is still alive; and tho' she has given no Testimonies of the remembring the Error of her former Life, to repent of it; she has yet shewn that she has also no Remembrances of her former Mistakes to renew them, she begins upon a new Scheme of Life, acts quite another Part; and who knows but that in Time GOD may call to her mind her former Evils, and give her Repentance still; so that you have no Reason either Way to look on her as one lost.

Cit.

Truly your Argument, in that Point especial|ly Page  76 the last, has some Comfort in it, and I am in hope that she may yet be a Penitent, for she has a great stock of religious Knowledge, and I find it re|mains still, the Distemper has not made any Breach of that kind.

Fr.

Well then, comfort your self, and bear up un|der the Affliction, and believe that she shall yet be restor'd to her Family and Husband; I am sure if I had seen half so much room to hope for my profli|gate ignorant Creature, I should have rejoic'd in it.

Cit.

I am sorry for your Case too, that leaves so little room for Hope, as you seem to suppose; but Wife is living too I hope?

Fr.

Yes, she is alive, but dead to me, dead as a Relation, and dead as a Christian.

Cit.

How dead as a Relation, she is your Wife still?

Fr.

Alas! she is a Wife and no Wife; she is gone from me.

Cit.

How! gone from you!

Fr.

Yes, I believe never Man and Woman of com|mon Sence ever parted upon such trifling and such scandalous Foundations; I am ashamed when I think of them.

Cit.

Well, but I hope you are not ashamed on your own Account? You know your Duty better than to do any thing to give Occasion of such a gross Reflection as you speak of.

Fr.

I believe a Man and his Wife never quarrel, but there are Faults on both sides.

Cit.

'Tis often so I believe, but it may be otherwise sometimes.

Fr.

'Tis very seldom then; for my Part I never saw it otherwise, but that if one is to blame for be|ginning it, the other is to blame for carrying it on; if one raises the Storm, the other increases it; if one is passionate, the other is provoking; one wants Temper, the other wants Patience; one kindles the Page  77 Fire, and t'other heaps on Fewel; both sides are to blame.

Cit.

I find you ac••sing your Wife, but not ex|cusing your self.

Fr.

Indeed I am far from excusing my self in the Particular of our last Breach, but in the general, that is, in her Aversion to my doing of my Duty, and indeed to every thing that had but the Face of Religion on it, in that I cannot excuse her, the Fault was all her own; and yet I have reason to be thankful that GOD has opened her Eyes in a great Measure, even against all the reasonable Grounds of Expectation.

Cit.

You surprize me! what, your Wife! that was so perfectly without GOD in the World, as neither to know any thing of him, or so much as to desire to know him?

Fr.

Yes, even my Wife, she is a great Instance of the invincible Power of GOD's Grace.

Cit.

Pray let me hear the Particulars of this Story, for I find there is a great deal in it.

Fr.

They will be worth your hearing I assure you, tho' it may be redious: You may remember that I told you I had been obliged to use some Violence with my Wise to get leave to carry on our Family-Service; and that after our good old Uncle was gone, she was mighty uneasy at my setting up, or ra|ther keeping up the good Man's Custom of Morning and Evening Sacrifice: But that I had so far con|quered her Temper in that Particular, as to resolve not only to perform my Duty in the House, but to do it so without her, as that she should think her self entirely shut out from it; it's true, I came away to London as soon as I had begun, without waiting to see whether she lik'd it or not; or so much as enquiring whether she proposed to attend or nor, in the carry|ing it on.

Cit.

Well, but what did you do when you came back?

Page  78
Fr.

Do! why I resolv'd not to suffer the Matter to interrupt any of our Converse together; she made me very Welcome at my Return, was very kind and obliging, and we supp'd together; after which she prepar'd to go to Bed, and when she went into her Chamber, I told her I would follow her, and go|ing into the Parlour where we used to perform, I I called for the Cushions, and bad bring the Servants in to Prayer.

Cit.

And did they not go and call your Wife?

Fr.

I believe not, I did not forbid them; but I suppose they did not.

Cit.

What said she to it?

Fr.

Nothing at all, nor I to her: She neither ask'd why I staid so long; nor did I tell her the Occasion: But when I came in, I said, my Dear, Have I made you wait? She answered No; and so it ended. In the Morning I did the same before she came out of her Dressing-Room; and thus it continued some time without any Notice taken on the one side or the other; at length she broke the Silence upon the fol|lowing Occasion: One Night, when the usual hour for Bed-time was come, and she had calle'd for a Can|dle to go up Stairs, she would needs oblige me to go up with her; I declin'd it, and told her I'd come pre|sently; she wou'd not be put off, but took me by the Hand, speaking very pleasantly; Come, come, I won't go to Bed without you.

Husb.

Well, my Dear, said I, to oblige you I'll go up, but I must come down again before I go to Bed; so I went up, but as I had said; told her I must go down again, but would not stay.

Wife.

I know no Business you have to do, says she.

Husb.

Yes, my Dear, I have something to do that I cannot put off.

Wife.

What Business?

Husb.

Why, my Dear, should you ask? You know Page  79 'tis Business you don't like; and which till you do like, I cannot desire you to trouble your self.

Wife.

Good lack! your Prayers! says she; come, come, let 'em alone for one Night, to Morrow will do as well, I desire your Company now; all this she said smiling, and in a meet thoughtless kind of good Humour.

Husb.

My Dear, you can't promise me I shall be alive to Morrow; and besides, praying to GOD to Morrow, makes up no Part of the Sin of omitting it to Day.

Wife.

Well, well, stay with me to Night.

Husb.

Pray, my Dear, don't desire it of me, be|cause you know I can't comply.

Wife.

Must I not desire it?

Husb.

My Dear, I'll be back again presently.—

At which Words I broke from her, and came down Stairs. I overheard her as I was going, say aloud, I'll promise you I'll desire you less than I have done, and flung her Chamber Door after me in a Rage; I came back in about a Quarter of an Hour, but found her gone to Bed, and I got not a Word of her that Night; the next Day she was likewise unconversible; and tho' her Passions wore off in two or three Days, yet she never shewed the usual Pleasantness of her Tem|per as long as she staid with me.

Cit.

It was very strange she should be so provok'd on such an Account.

Fr.

But that was not all; for which was still worse, this Disorder affected our general Conversation, for we grew waspish and petulent, every thing almost gave Ground of Quarrel, and every little Quarrel was carry'd to that Height for want of Temper, that it run us up to the maddest Extreams, even to be down|right abusive, and in the highest Manner disobliging to one another, and this even on my side as well as on hers, for I do not excuse my self.

Cit.

Indeed it was just so with me too, as I told you.

Page  80
Fr.

I believe 'tis so every where, where the first Contention is grounded so ill, it cannot but unhinge the Temper on both Sides, and make way to all kind of Mischief.

Cit.

The Scripture says so plainly, Where there is Strife and Contention, there is every evil Work.

Fr.

Well, sure never was Feud carry'd to such a Height between a Man and his Wife from so scanda|lous a beginning; in short we differed once to such a degree about nothing, but whether we should go into the Garden by the Hall Door, or the Green-house Door, that it ended in Separation, as you shall hear.—We were both going into the Garden one Evening to walk together, I was for going this way, and she that way; we were as well to one another, as to Hu|mour, but the Minute before, as we had been at any time since the Breach above-named; I'll go this way, says she; I'll meet you, says I; and accordingly we both met immediately in the first Walk, for it was not twenty Steps either way.

You will always be Dissenter from your Wife, says she.

My Dear, says I, still without the least Passion, it put me in mind of the Divisions among the People of this Nation about Religion; methinks the Church and the Dissenters act a little as you and I did, one goes this way and another that; one out at one Door and one out at another, but all meet, I hope, in Heaven at last: Upon which we entred into this malicious ill|govern'd Discourse which she began, shewing her self to be very much out of Humour.

Wife.

Don't trouble me with your Divisions, you may divide to the End of the Chapter, and be one of one Side and another of another; for my part I believe you're all Hypocrites, and that you'll 〈…〉 in a worse Place than you talk of 〈…〉

Husb.

Do not judge so ha••ly, 〈…〉

Page  81
Wife.

I do not judge at all; what care I where you go?

Husb.

I hope we shall go both to one Place.

Wife.

Don't curse me, I don't desire to go with you any where.

In a Word, my Friend, one Word brought on an|other, till the first Shower encreased to a Flood; the first angry Word grew to a Storm, and my Wife told me in so many Words, I used her at such a Rate she would live no longer with me. I was a little too warm, being provok'd by such Usage, and told her plainly, that unless she resolv'd to use me better, not living with me would be a great Favour to me. She told me she would try me, and away she flung out of the Garden; and that very Evening, to be as good as her Word with me, in spight of all the Arguments I could use with her, she went away to her Brother Sir Richard's, and came no more to live with me for a long time, as you shall hear.

Cit.

She was of a very rash Temper certainly.

Fr.

Ay, or else she had been a very desirable Person.

But we were now parted.

Cit.

But did she not let you know where she was?

Fr.

No, not at all, till by the Necessity of sending for Cloathes, Linnen, and other things that she want|ed, I came to know it.

Cit.

I should have been apt to have let her a|lone.

Fr.

I would have done so, and for some time I did so; but my Case was, that I lov'd her to an ex|tream. However, an Opportunity offer'd, which gave me almost a Necessity of letting her alone some time; for as I was riding out one Day very Melan|choly and Pensive, 〈…〉 account▪ I met Sir Ri|chard, who was going a Hunting▪ he would have had met with him, but I was not dispos'd for Sport, 〈…〉Page  82 and excus'd my self: Well, says he, Brother, where shall I see you after we have done; for I want a little talk with you? and laugh'd: which was as much as to tell me, I knew what he meant.

Where you please, Sir Richard, said I. So he made an Appointment at a Publick House in our Town; and we met accordingly. When we were set, he took me by the Hand very kindly, and told me, He was very glad to see me; and before we entred into any Discourse, said he, BROTHER, don't think that I design to Affront you, or to take any Part against you; I assure you, I am of your Side; and if I have the right of the Story, I think my Sister worse than a mad Woman. But prethee, says he, will you be free with me, and let me into the Story; for she tells it her self contrary to the Practice of most People, the most to her own Dissadvantage of any thing in the World.

SIR, said I, that is not usual I confess. And so our Discourse began.

Sir Rich.

In troth, Brother, I told her but this Morning plainly, that I thought she was read.

Husb.

But I suppose she did not tell you that she thought so her self.

Sir Rich.

No, indeed; she ask'd me first why I should say she was mad: I'll tell you why, SISTER, said I; you must allow, that according to the Cu|stom of all Women, you have made your own Sto|ry tell as well as you can; and then, according to the Custom of Men, said I, smiling, you must allow me to believe, it is not so bad on your Husband's side as your represent it. That's unkind, SAYS SHE, I have done both sides Justice, according to my own Sense of Things: Well, well, said I, but there must be Al|lowances on both Sides for the Passions, and I must take it as before, according to Rule. You may take it how you please, says she, what's that to my Case? Why, yes, said I, it is to the Case THƲs; that as you relate itPage  83your self, there's no Body alive but will blame you en|tirely, and say, you are the most in the Wrong of any Woman in the World. And if it be so by your own Account, what must it be if we know the whole, and had heard what your Husband had to say?

Husb.

Sir, you was too much my Friend, perhaps you will blame my Curiosity, if I should ask what she could return to so plain a Truth.

Sir Rich.

Truly nothing, but that which in|deed she ought to be ashamed of.

Husb.

Indeed, Sir, it is a great Affliction to me, whatever it is to her, to think we should break up our Family in such a manner: And I think, if you knew what a Trifle this Quarrel was about, you would say, we were both mad; she, to go away, and I, to let her.

Sir Rich.

You let her go! How could you hinder her? If a Woman will run away, who can stop her? If she had been mine, she should have gone I assure you; and as she had gone when she pleas'd, she should not come again till I pleased.

Husb.

But I would have yielded to any thing ra|ther than she should have gone away.

Sir Rich.

What do you mean? would you have yielded up your Religion and Conscience, and turn|ed Arheist like your Wife; if you could have laid down all that, why did you begin it? Sure you would not have done that for a Wife; you'd have paid dear enough for her I assure you, and more a great deal than she was worth: If I had half that Religion, and Honesty that you have, Brother, I would not break into it one inch for the best Wife in the World.

Husb.

You appear by that, Sir Richard, to have more Religion and Honesty too, than many that pre|tend to the highest Degree of Sanctity in the World.

Sir Rich.

No, no, you don't know me; I am a Page  84 wicked Dog, a Fellow that has never been taught any thing, and never learn'd any thing, and GOD knows whether ever I shall be better or no.

Husb.

That is only what you say of your self, Sir Richard; I think you have a greater Sense of those Things, and more Knowledge of what Religion is, than many that seem to talk very religiously.

Sir Rich.

No, I am the very same drunken, loose, profane DEVIL my Father was before me, and that my Grandfather was before him; we are a hellish Family, Brother, that's the Truth of it; 'tis Pity a good Man should have the Misfortune to come a|mong us.

Husb.

Pray don't talk so of your self, Sir; you have yet one thing that leaves your Friends great hopes for you.

Sir Rich.

I wish you could tell me what it is then, for I see nothing in me that can make me hope any thing for my self; and that's the reason I never care to think of it.

Husb.

I can tell you something, Sir Richard, that is very particular.

Sir Rich.

But don't flatter me, for I hate smooth|ing and softning; I am a plain Dealer, and you see I use my self very coarsly, but 'tis all true, therefore don't pretend to flatter me, I say.

Husb.

Sir, I flatter no Body; that Plainness you speak of, is the thing I have hope of you from; you have something so sincere in you, that I cannot but he satisfied it will some time or other kindle a Fire in your Soul that will flame up to Heaven, and burn up all the Harvest the Devil hopes for in you; Sin|cerity is a Foundation for all that's religious to build upon.

Sir Rich.

Nay, I 〈…〉 dis|semble; you see I don't make my self better than I 〈…〉 worse; I'll 〈…〉Page  85 and I'll give you an Example, as to my self; I am a loose, swearing, blaspheming Wretch, that's sure; but you never hear me use that common Expression, as I hope to be saved; I can't do it, I can't be such a Hypocrite—for I have no Notion of the Thing, nor any Hopes about it.

Husb.

Don't carry it that length, Sir Richard, I en|treat you; many worse than you have been made happy.

Sir Rich.

Well, I'll be glad to enter into that Dis|course with you some other time; for really, tho' I have no Religion, I love them that have, and love to discourse with them about it: But I am such a profligate Fellow my self, that no Body that has any thing good in them, cares to come into my Com|pany.

Husb.

Indeed, Sir Richard, your loving religious People, is a Token to me, that you will love Religi|on it self some time or other; and I'm perswaded, did those religious People you speak of, hear what you now say to me, they would not shun your Com|pany, as you say they do.

Sir Rich.

I can't bear the Thoughts of religious Things long together, they run me into strange Con|vulsions of Mind; and so I run away to Company, and drink off the Chagrin of those Things; and when I am once Drunk, the next Morning it is all over, and I am well enough.

Husb.

That's a sad Remedy against serious Thoughts. Sir Richard, I hope you may find a better in time.

Sir Rich.

Well, I will have some serious Talk of those Things with you one time or other; I'll make you my Father Confessor: But let us go on now where we left off, about my Sister.

Husb.

With all my 〈◊〉

Sir Rich.

〈◊〉 said that you would have yielded to any thing rather than have parted with your Wife; Page  86 and then I spoke of your yielding up the Point about Religion, which you differ'd about; and that I sup|pos'd you could not yield those Things up upon any Account whatever.

Husb.

No, Sir, I did not mean that; I hope we did not differ so much about that, as to make those things the ground of our Separation; if so, I am a Martyr in a better Cause than I expected.

Sir Rich.

Then I don't understand you, and believe your Wife does not understand you either; for I assure you, that's all the Reason she pretends to give, why she is come away, (viz.) that you are too Re|ligious for her.

Husb.

Indeed I could not have imagin'd that was the Reason of it, much less that she would give that Rea|son for it; you might well say, she told the Story to her own Disadvantage.

Sir Rich.

Indeed that's all the reason she gives; but since you say there is more in it, I wish you would let me into the Story, if it may be convenient; or into as much of it as you think fit.

Husb.

With all my Heart, Sir Richard.

Here he gives Sir Richard a full Account of all that had passed from the coming of the Country Minister to their House, to the Breach about the two Doors in the Gar|den: At which Sir Richard falls a swear|ing, and flies into he terrible Passion at his Sister; calling her Atheist, Fool, Sot, and most abominable Creature; and, in short, all the Names of that kind he could think of.

When he had spent some Admiration in his way, upon the Particulars, we renewed the Discourse, and our Dialogue went on thus. I spoke first and said,

Dear Sir, do not be in a Passion at her, she is a 〈◊〉oung Body.

Sir Rich.

Not in a Passion at her, Brother! who Page  87 can forbear? was ever such unaccountable Folly! Trouble not your self about it, I'll send her Home to you again, with a Vengeance.

Husb.

I wish much rather to have her come Home with Repentance.

Sir Rich.

That is neither in your Power to work, nor in hers to act, till he that gave her too much Wit gives her more Grace. But of all the Creatures that ever I met with, I never saw her equal; why, she is worse than I am.

Husb.

That Sence you have of your own being so bad, Sir Richard, will, one time or other, be a Means to make you better than perhaps you ever think you can be.

Sir Rich.

Why, tho' she is an atheistical untaught Creature her self, and has no Sense of GOD or Devil, she can never like a Husband the worse for be|ing better than her self; why she is worse than Nature can make her, she must be possess'd with the Devil.

Husb.

No, Sir Richard, she is not so bad as that, I hope; she did not separate from me about the Matter of Religion; it must be the other Quarrel we had about the Garden.

Sir Rich.

No, no, it's all about your being religi|ous, she owns it her self; 'tis the only honest Thing she has been guilty of; besides, the other was such a foolish ridiculous Trifle, she was asham'd to pretend to part with her Husband upon it; 'twas all, she says, about your breaking from her one Night to go down to Prayers, when she desired you to stay with her, and let them alone.

Husb.

I think she should much rather be asham'd of that, than have told it!

Sir Rich.

I think so too; but she is of another O|pinion it seems.

Husb.

I am sorry for her, and sorry for the Breach between us; and, as I said before, I would do any Page  88 thing in the World to put an End to it; that is, any thing that I could do with Satisfaction to my Conscience, and a reserve to my known Duty.

Sir Rich.

Pray what did you resolve to do? was you in any Method about it?

Husb.

None at all, I did not so much as know where she was, till she sent one of your Servants and my Lady ....'s Woman to fetch her Linnen and Cloaths.

Sir Rich.

And did she send no Message to you, nor bid them take any Notice of her being at my House?

Husb.

Not the least word, I assure you, any more than if she had not known me.

Sir Rich.

She is in a strange Fury sure; But what did you resolve on before I saw you in the Morning?

Husb.

I resolved to go and see her, and try, if by any Method in the World, I could prevail on her to come Home again.

Sir Rich.

You don't know my Sister, I find; I can assure you, that is not the way to deal with her; she would but have despised all your Submissions; if you will let me manage her, I have known her longer than you, I'll bring her to a better Temper, I'll engage.

Husb.

I wish you could, Sir Richard, any reasona|ble and mild way.

Sir Rich.

If you will but keep away from her, and not follow her, to solicite her Return, I'll engage I bring her to solicite you.

Husb.

I am obliged to go to London, Sir Richard, for a Month, but I am very loth to go before I am re|conciled to her.

Sir Rich.

By all means go, and leave the rest to me.

Thus, my Friend, I have given you a melancholy Account of the Affair of my Family; I am come a|way, none of my Family kno•…〈…〉 come to Lon|don but the Nurse and another Servant; and Sir Ri|chard is to manage my Wife as he thinks fit. How I Page  89 shall find Matters at my Return I know not, but it is a great Affliction to me to be here all this while, and hear nothing from my Wife, any more than if I had no Wife, I mean from her self: I have two Children; 'tis true, they are too young to know any thing of the Matter, but all the House seems aban|don'd and going to ruin.

Cit.

Well, I am perswaded Sir Richard has put you in the right Way.

Fr.

How do you mean?

Cit.

Why not to seem to regard her, or seek after her, but leave her to come to her self gradually; I dare say you will find it all wear off, if you don't follow her; like Children, who fancy themselves not well; do but whine over them, and you really hand them to Bed; and they will at last be as sick as at first they pretended to be; I intreat you be rul'd by Sir Richard, let her alone and she will soon change her Mind.

Fr.

Indeed I have left it all to him; he is her own Brother. But I cant bear to slight her for all this.

Cit.

You gave a strange. Account of his Discourse about Religion and his own Wickedness; I have a great Opinion that Gentleman will, some time or o|ther, be a reform'd Man.

Fr.

Indeed so have I; and depend upon it, if he is, he will be a very bright Christian as well as a very bright Man; he is of an excellent Temper, nicely Honest, unseignedly Sincere, and wants no|thing that Nature can furnish him with towards a Change. I hope GOD will work upon him in Time, for he will be a Miracle of GOD's Grace, that will set all round him at gaze; such a Sinner brought to Repentance, would make Joy in Heaven and Joy on Earth at the same time.

Cit.

I have but one Request to you about him.

Fr.

What's that?

Cit.

Do not fail to talk to him; you know how he has bespoke you, and desires it.

Page  90
Fr.

I do often think of it.

Cit.

But can you not contrive to give him an Op|portunity?

Fr.

There's no Difficulty in it.

Cit.

Then I would do it; how do you know how far you may be made an Instrument to do him good?

Fr.

That is true, and I promise you I will.

Cit.

I have one thing more to ask; and that is, that you will be so kind to write me a Line or two by the Post of your Success in it; for I have a strong Perswasion it will have unexpected Success.

Fr:

Well, I promise you I will not fail. But there is an odd Circumstance in my Affair, which I have not given you an Account of yet, which has happen'd since my coming away; and which indeed I have but an imperfect Account of my self, and area distance; but it makes me very desirous to go Home.

Cit.

Pray let's hear what it is.

Fr.

Why, my Man writes me word that he under|stands there has been a great Quarrel at Sir Richard's, between Sir Richard himself, and his Sister, my Wife.

Cit.

That is about you, to be sure.

Fr.

I suppose so; for he sends me word, that Sir Richard came to my House the very Day that I came away, in hopes to have found me before I was gone; that he would not believe a good while, that I was gone; but that after my Man had convinc'd him of it, he said, he could find in his Heart to •…ike Horse, and see if he could not overtake me: But that my Man telling him I used to ride pretty hard, that it was not probable he should overtake me, he went away, but seemed very uneasy to speak with me.

Cit.

It's a great pity he does not write to you.

Fr.

So it is; but those Gentlemen of Pleasure don't care to take the Pains to write Letters.

Page  91
Cit.

Well, is that all?

Fr.

No indeed, my Man writes me word, that in two or three Days after Sir Richard had been there, he heard that my Wife was gone away from Sir Ri|chard's, and that she was gone away in a Disgust. It seems the Nurse had a Mind to go and see her Mi|stress, and she takes the two Children with her; not doubting but her Mistress would be glad to s•… the Children; and away she goes with them to Sir Ri|chard's: when she came to the House, Sir Richard seeing her, began thus.

Sir Rich.

Well Nurse, what are you come for? what are you turn'd out of Doors as well as your Mistress?

Nurse.

No, an'r please your Worship, I am not turn'd out of Doors, nor my Mistress wasn't turn'd out of Doors neither; I hope no Body has told your Worship such a Story.

Sir Rich.

No, no, I do but jest; but this I'll tell you in earnest, if she was not turn'd out of Doors, she very well deserv'd it, Nurse.

Nurse.

GOD bless your Worship, I hope it will be all over and well again; my Master is gone to London, and if my Mistress would be pleas'd to come Home now; my Master is so good a humour'd Gen|tleman, I am sure before he comes again it would be all forgot.

Sir Rich.

Your Master, Nurse! ay, your Master is too good for her; 'tis pity she han't a worse Hus|band and he a better Wife, then both would have their due.

Nurse.

GOD bless your Worship, perswade my Mistress to come Home; here are two little pretty innocent Babies, what will become of them? It breaks my Heart to think of them, and't please your Worship; Lord bless us! hovv can my Mistress for|get her own Children so?

Page  92
Sir Rich.

I perswade your Mistress; Nurse! your Mistress is a Brute, she is a Devil incarnate, I'll have nothing to do with her.

Nurse.

O dear, and't please your Worship, do not say so; she is your Worship's own Sister.

Sir Rich.

Ay, ay, Nurse, I know it, and she's ne|ver the better for that neither.

Here he fetch'd a deep Sigh, and said, Aside, we are a cursed hellish Brood.
Nurse.

But I have brought the two Children and't please your Worship, it may be when my Mistress sees them again she will be perswaded.

Sir Rich.

Her Children! she values her Children no more than if they were a Couple of Calves from one of her milch Cows; she is without natural Af|fection, Woman, don't you see it? If she had had any Love for her own Children, could she have left them as she has done?

Nurse.

And't please your Worship, I hope she does love them tho' for all that; what have the poor Babes done? The eldest is not two Years old; to be sure, my Mistress loves them dearly, and't please your Worship.

Sir Rich.

Yes to be sure she does; pray, has she sent any Body to see how they did since she came a|way?

Nurse.

Why indeed, NO, and't please your Wor|ship, and we all wonder'd: Bless us all, and't please your Worship, it is a sad thing.

Sir Rich.

I tell you, she neither regards GOD or the Devil; she neither has natural Religion or na|tural Affection; she does not value both her Chil|dren so much as I do that Hound.

Nurse.

Oh! and't please your Worship, don't say so; I'll go and see my Mistress, and your Worship pleases to give me leave.

Nurse offers to go into the House.
Page  93
Sir Rich.

Why, you old Fool, where are you go|ing? your Mistress is not here.

Nurse.

Not here, Sir, for the Lord's sake! and't please your Worship, not here! my Mistress not here! and't please your Worship; where is my Mistress? She was here, I hope your Worship is but in Jest.

Sir Rich.

No indeed, Nurse, I am not in Jest, she is gone, I have ridded my House of her, and never desire to see her within my Doors again, till she has changed her Life.

Nurse.

Where is she gone, and't please your Wor|ship?

Nurse falls a crying, and Sir Richard's Lady hearing of her, sends a Servant to fetch her and the Children in.
Sir Rich.

I know nothing of her.

This Dialogue between Sir Richard and old Nurse, has much more in it to be sure, than I know of yet.

Cit.

No doubt but it has.

Fr.

But my Man writes me too, that the next Day after this happen'd, my Wife came Home; at which they were all surpriz'd; that she went up into the Nursery to the Children, and went into her own Chamber, but could not get into her Closet, or into several other Rooms which I had lock'd up: it's true, I had left the Keys with the Servant that writes; but as she did not ask him for them, and I had not order'd him to tell her of it, so she knew no|thing of it.

Cit.

Well, and did she not stay?

Fr.

No, it seems the Nurse cry'd, and beg'd of her to stay; the poor old Woman fell down of her knees, and begged her to take Pity on her two little Children, and to stay; and told her, she was sure her Master would rejoice to hear of her be|ing come again, and would come Home as soon as ever he should know it. But it would not do; she Page  94 answer'd coldly, ask'd when their Master would be at Home; and they told her, in about a Fortnight; so she went away: But to quiet the Nurse, told her, she would come again in two or three Days, and stay for good and all.

Cit.

It is a very odd Story; and pray what do you intend to do in it?

Fr.

Do? I must go Home as fast as I can, tho' I leave my Business undone, and come again; for I have no Patience to think of my Wife being left to wander I don't know where, now she has quar|rel'd with her Brother.

Cit.

Why, what will you do, will you submit to her?

Fr.

Ay, I'll do any thing to bring her Home; I'll go to her where-ever she is; and if all the Entreaties in the World will move her, I'll never leave her till I get her Home.

Cit.

You are only the best Husband in England.

Fr.

And she will be the best Wife in England, if it pleases GOD to restore her from this unhap|py Condition; if she continues thus, she is ruin|ed Soul and Body, and I cannot bear to let her perish, and not use all possible Endeavours to re|claim her; I cannot believe but her Passion is cool'd and abated before this; perhaps, Sir Richard has been too hot with her, and put her into a fret; I'll take the contrary Course: 'Tis my Duty to bear with her Passions and Mistakes; her Bro|ther is not under the same Obligations; my Affecti|ons lead me to all the tender Methods I can take, he is not under the same Influence; my Concern is for her Soul, and for her Children; he is not touch'd that way yet: In a Word, he is her Brother, but I am her Husband; he is a Relation to her, but I am a Part of her; he is of her Family, but I am her self. As I do Page  95 not reflect on him for want of Success, for I dare say, he is full of Good-Will to us both; so yet I cannot doubt of Success my self; therefore I am resolved to go Home and find her out, and never leave her till I have made her my own again; she shall have a Heart of Stone if she re|fuses me.

They part, and his Friend took Horse the next Day and went Home; what fol|lowed will be told in the next DIA|LOGUE.

The Third DIALOGUE.

WHEN Sir Richard — and his Brother-in-Law parted, neither of them had enter|tained any Notion of what might be, much less of what was the Consequence of the Discourse, which the Knight afterwards had with his Sister; the Gentleman went away for London, as is expres|sed in the former Part; Sir Richard having first made him promise not to send to, or take any Notice of his Wife before he went, but to leave that Mat|ter entirely to him.

In the mean time, his Sister having sent Sir Ri|chard's Lady's Maids to her House for Cloaths and Linnen, was very busy enquiring of them who they had seen? How her two Children did? And every now and then a little Interrogatory would come in, Page  96What, did you not see Mr. —? meaning her Hus|band. The Servant answered nothing at first, but made as if she had been busy about the Things she had brought her, and did not hear; so she began again.

Mistress.

Well, Susan, and did you not see Mr. —?

Still the Maid did not hear; at last she repeats it.
Mist.

I suppose Mr. — was not at home?

The Maid seeing no Remedy but she must an|swer, says:
Maid.

Yes, Madam, I believe he was at Home.

Mist.

Why, did you see him?

Maid.

Yes, Madam.

Mist.

Did he say nothing to you?

Maid.

Yes, Madam, he said something, but I did not mind it much, except what was about our Business.

Mist.

But what did he say Susan?

Maid.

He ask'd what we came about? And you know, Madam, we could not have had the Things without asking him, so we told him what we wanted.

Mist.

Well, and what said he then?

Maid.

He said, yes, yes, by all means, take what|ever she has sent for.

Mist.

What, did he not ask how I did?

Maid.

Nothing like it, Madam.

Mist.

Nor where I was?

Maid.

No, Madam; I suppose he guess'd where you was by our coming.

Mist.

And was that all he said then?

Maid.

No, Madam, he bid us take all we could find, for that he was going a Journey to London, and should not be at Home in a Month or two, and he could not leave the Rooms open.

Mist.

A Journey to London, and for two Months! that's odd; what, and say nothing to me! it's ve|ry odd.

Mist.

Hark ye, Susan, did Mr. — look pleased, or did he seem uneasy?

Page  97
Maid.

He was mighty merry, for he was playing with one of the Children, Madam.

This still made it worse to her.

This Discourse happening just as Sir Richard was come home, he overheard it; O, says he, Now I see I am right, the foolish Creature relents already; she knows not what she has been doing either to GOD or her Husband.

As soon as she was gone, Sir Richard called the Maid into his Room; Hark ye, Susan, said Sir Ri|chard, what made you teize my Sister so about her Husband?

Maid.

Teize her, Sir! indeed I didn't.

Sir Rich.

Why, you may easily see, what she meant; and I easily see what you meant, you were very right Susan.

Maid.

O dear, Sir, I know not what to do or say! 'tis pity a young Lady should punish her self so; it's plain she wishes she had never come away.

Sir Rich.

Then why does she not go home again as she ought, Susan?

Maid.

Sir, it's plain on the other Hand, she wants nothing but to have him creep after her and fetch her, I wish he would.

Sir Rich.

And so you made as if he shewed no Concern about her?

Maid.

Indeed, Sir, I see 'tis the only way to bring her to her self; 'tis great Pity she should use an ho|nest Gentleman so, all the House cries Shame on it.

Sir Rich.

Well, Susan, thou hast done right, and carry it on as far as you can; I have taken care he shall not come after her; I'll see if I can't bring her to her Senses, and make her go home; she does not treat him honourably indeed.

Maid.

Truly, Sir, we all-think so; but we must not speak

Page  98
Sir Rich.

But I'll speak, and make her hear it too.

Upon this Sir Richard takes an Opportunity to talk with his Sister, as if it was upon other Affairs, which occasioned the following Dialogue.

Sir Rich.

Sister, Good Morrow t' ye.

Sist.

Good Morrow Brother, won't you come in and take some Chocolate.

It seems she was in her Chamber, and he went by the Door and saw her there.
Sir Rich.

Is any Body with you?

Sist.

No, no Body but Susan; but my Lady is a coming, and the Chocolate is just ready.

Sir Rich.

Well, I'll come presently.

He went up a few Steps into a Closet, as if he had some Business; tho' his true Design was to have an Opportunity to talk with her, and therefore he returned immediately and went into her Chamber.
Sist.

Susan, fill Sir Richard some Chocolate.

He takes it and drinks.
Sir Rich.

Come, Sister, won't you sit down and bear me Company, I won't drink by my self, that's meer sotting in Chocolate as well as in Wine.

Sist.

I am coming.

She sits down, and Susan retires.
Sir Rich.

Well, Sister, when did you hear from my Brother?

Sist.

I hear from him! I han't heard a Word from him, and care not if I never hear from him more.

Sir Rich.

Don't say so, Sister, I'm sure you don't speak as you mean.

Sist.

Don't I, but I do tho'.

Sir Rich.

Well, but han't he sent to know how you do?

Sist.

No indeed, he don't think it worth his while

Sir Rich.

Well, but did you tell him you were 〈◊〉

Sist.

No, not I.

Page  99
Sir Rich.

Very well; then how should you hear from him, when you did not let him know where you were? that's clever enough.

Sist.

He ne'er troubled his Head to enquire.

Sir Rich.

That is to say, Sister, he did not send the Bellman up the Town and cry you; what would you have had the Man do? I remember you told me you came away from him in a Huff, and never bid him God b' w' ye.

Sist.

Well, what if I did? Is there an end of it? Is there no Concern due to a Wife when she is pro|vok'd to do her self Justice?

Sir Rich.

But, Sister, if I remember right, you told me too, that he used all the Perswasions he could to have you stay at home; and that when he saw you resolute to go, he ask'd you if you would not let him know whither you went? You told him no, you would not; and ask'd what he had to do with that?

Sist.

Well, I did so, What then?

Sir Rich.

And that then he ask'd you very kindly, if you would not let him come and see you? and you said No, no, don't trouble your self to come after me, I desire none of your Company.

Sist.

Well, I did say so; what do you infer from all that? I was in a Passion perhaps, what then?

Sir Rich.

Why either you were in Jest, Sister, or you were in Earnest.

Sist.

Well, whether I was in Jest or Earnest, I see he takes it in Earnest.

Sir Rich.

Why truly Sister, when a Woman goes away from her Husband, most Folks will be apt to think she is in Earnest for 'tis an ugly ill-natur'd Jest.

Sist.

Truly I was in very good Earnest.

Sir Rich.

And he has been an obedient Husband, it seems; for you say he has not come nor sent after you.

Page  100
Sist.

No indeed, not he.

Sir Rich.

Why no, you could not expect it; be|sides, how should he send after you, when you ac|knowledge he does not know where you are.

Sist.

Yes, yes, he knows where I am well enough.

Sir Rich.

How is that! what have you sent him Word?

Sist.

No indeed, not I.

Sir Rich.

Nay, if you had, I know no Harm there would have been in it; only that I should have thought you had acted a wiser Part in that, than I think you did in coming away.

Sist.

But you could not have believ'd such a thing, of one that you call Sister; do you think such Mean|ness of Spirit is in the Blood of your Family?

Sir Rich.

Why truly, Sister, we are a hot passionate Brood, that is true indeed; but I must tell you, for my own Part, my being so violently passionate, is one of the Things that I as much hate my self for, as for any thing I have about me; and I have often thought that one time or other that furious Temper of mine will bring me to ruin; make me commit Murther, or some Mischief or other that will make me miserable all the Days of my Life; and I hearti|ly wish none of my Relations would give way to their Rage, as I have done, and still do, GOD for|give me.

Sist.

Well, I hope you will govern your Temper, for all that, tho' I cannot mine.

Sir Rich.

But, Sister, you must govern your Tem|per too, or else you may ruin your self as well as I.

Sist.

Nay, I have done that already.

Sir Rich.

I hope not, Sister; I would fain have you think a little, and put an end to this Breach with your Husband; certainly you cannot have had reason to carry it so far.

Sist.

What are you on his Side already? I suppose Page  101 he has sent some Body to tell his Tale for him.

Sir Rich.

No, really Sister; I take the Story from no Body, but from your own Mouth, and just as you tell it your self; and sure you would not tell it to your own Disadvantage.

Sist.

I told you nothing but what was true.

Sir Rich.

I confess I doubted it.

Sist.

Why should yo do so, do I use to speak untrue?

Sir Rich.

No, Sister; but really I fancy'd you said more against your self than was your due; for I could not think it was possible you could differ, and part with your Husband upon such an Occasion only, as you said you did; and from such a Husband too as I think he is.

Sist.

Well, you must believe what you please, but I did for all that.

Sir Rich.

Why then you acted about two Degrees worse than a Madwoman.

Sist.

Why so? I am not in a Condition to go to Bedlam, at least I do not see it?

Sir Rich.

Why truly, Sister; if such a Cause should come before us at the Quarter-Sessions; I must own, that as there is no Law to punish bad Wives, and such a Case as yours is was scarce ever heard of be|fore, I should certainly move my Brother Justices to Vote her Lunatick, and commit the Woman to Bedlam.

Sist.

You would be very unjust then.

Sir Rich.

Indeed I think not, Sister; I hope you do not take my Plainness-amiss?

Sist.

No, not I; but I think you are a little Partial.

Sir Rich.

Nay, there you wrong me too; how can I be Partial, when I take the Story as you tell it your self.

Sist.

Because you Censure me, as if I was in all the Fault.

Sir Rich.

That's because I am impartial; nay, 'tis Page  102 a Proof of my being so; for it cannot be supposed I would give my Opinion against my own Sister, if I was not impartial; it is a strong Argument that the Reason and Nature of the Thing is against you, when I am convinc'd of the Fault's being in you, by the very things you say in your own Vindication.

Sist.

But there may be Faults on both Sides, Brother.

Sir Rich.

Let whose will be the Fault, yours is the Folly; for as a Man cannot put away his Wife, but for the capital Crime of Adultery; she must be a great Fool that will put her self away, when she is guilty of no Fault at all.

Sist.

I put my self away! you mistake me, I re|tire from an unreasonable burthensome Humour.

Sir Rich.

We will talk of that afterwards, Sister, if you will; but I would fain convince you, if you will give me Leave, of one Mistake in your Con|duct, which perhaps you are not sensible of.

Sist.

What is that?

Sir Rich.

Why it is this; that as there is no Rule in GOD's Law to direct a Woman, upon what Oc|casions she may part from her Husband, the Law of the Man being supposed to stand for both; so there is a manifest Difference between the Cases; and a Woman cannot part with her Husband, but with a greater Disadvantage to her self, than it is to the Man to put her away.

Sist.

Why so pray?

Sir Rich.

The Case is plain; the Woman's parting from her Husband is easier to do, but liable to more Hazards, when done; I'll explain my self immedi|ately in both: 1. It is easier to do; if a Woman re|solves to part with her Husband, she has nothing to do but to open the Door and go out; he can neither by Force, nor by Law prevent her, nor fetch her home again: But if the Man resolves to put his Wife Page  103 from him, he can do it no way but by a formal Pro|secution; if he bids her be gone. she may answer she won't go; if he forces her out, she may come in again; nay, the Law will force him to take her in, till he has made his turning her out legal.

Sist.

So then, you think we have the Advantage; but you Men have Ways enough to be even with us.

Sir Rich.

For the 2d, the Turn is on our side: As the Difficulty is on the Husband's Part, the Scandal is on the Woman's; for as it is very well known she cannot be forc'd away but for Adultery, so it is presently taken for granted she is guilty, if she is gone.

Sist.

What? tho' she goes by her Choice, not by his Force?

Sir Rich.

Who will know the Particulars, com|par'd to the Number that will know the general; eve|ry Body knows in general that they are parted, but not one in fifty will enquire into, or hear of the Me|rits of the Cause between the Woman and her Hus|band, or ask whether she went away, or he sent her away?

Sist.

It is true, the Disadvantage is of our Side, but what's this to my Case?

Sir Rich.

Truly, Sister, it applies very aptly thus, (viz.) That then a wise Woman should never part from her Husband, but upon the greatest Necessity, and with the most justifiable Reasons in the World.

Sist.

I don't know but you may be in the right in that; but I don't know that it touches my Case; for I do not know that this will be call'd a Parting from my Husband for good and all.

Sir Rich.

It is not the Time will alter the Crime; no, nor will it remove the Scandal, Sister, it is that I am arguing upon.

Sist.

Nay, I don't know for what Time it may be neither, if he carries it thus.

Sir Rich.

Why, how does he carry it? I don't see he minds you; I find he leaves you to your own Course.

Page  104
Sist.

That's true, I am come away, and he troubles not his Head about it, as I see, nor intends to trou|ble himself, so we are not likely to come together a|gain in haste.

Sir Rich.

Trouble himself! No indeed, and as I hear he resolves never to trouble his Head about you again, unless you come home as you ought to do, and as it is your known Duty to do; nor can you blame him, for you acknowledge that you gave him the Occasion; and I must own Sister, that in all such Cases, they who gave the first Provocation, ought to make the first Submission.

Sist.

So you would have me make my Submission, would you?

Sir Rich.

Nay Sister, 'tis nothing to me, I won't take upon me to say what I would have you do.

Sist.

Not I, I assure you, I'll submit to no Body.

Sir Rich.

And I can assure you he'll never submit to you.

Sist.

Are you sure of that?

Sir Rich.

I understand so by something that I have seen or heard; and I must own I cannot blame him, I think I should do just the same.

Sist.

I told you that you were partial; you are so, meerly as a MAN.

Sir Rich.

Well, suppose that; we have the Laws of GOD on our side; you are commanded to submit.

Sist.

I would not have you enter upon that Dis|course, you will claim more for the Men than you you will practise as a kind Husband.

Sir Rich.

I am not talking of what is your Duty as a Wife, for there Sister you must acknowledge you are quite wrong; but I am really concern'd for your own sake, your Interest, your Ease, your Reputati|on; I wish you would think of those Things for they are all going to Wreck.

Sist.

What can I do in any of them? What can a Woman do with a cross Husband?

Page  105
Sir Rich.

If every Woman that had a cross Hus|band, or every Man that had a cross Wife, should come away from them, what think you would be|come of the World? besides, my dear Sister, shall I ask you a plain Question?

Sist.

You know you may use your Freedom.

Sir Rich.

Can you lay your Hand upon your Heart, and say you have a cross Husband?

Sist.

I think him so to be sure.

Sir Rich.

Did you ever try to mend his Wife, and to see if that would not cure him.

Sist.

I never told you I was a good Wife.

Sir Rich.

But I can tell you, that if you are not you ought to be a good Wife.

Sist.

Let him go on his own Way, I am good e|nough for him.

Sir Rich.

Nay, Sister, it is you that go on your own Way, the Man is at home.

Sist.

What do you infer from that?

Sir Rich.

I infer, that he is where he ought to be; and you are where you ought not to be.

Sist.

Dear Brother, be plain with me, are you talking from him, and for him, or is it only an acci|dental Discourse, as I thought it was?

Sir Rich.

Truly Sister, I will be plain; I have seen your Husband, and he has so convinc'd me of your being in the wrong, that I resolv'd for your sake to talk with you, and persuade you to act with more Prudence; you know these are Things quite out of my Way, but I profess I think talking with you, and hearing of your Conduct with your Husband, has done more to make me serious, than all the teaching I had in my Life.

Sist.

I make you serious! you make me smile to hear you talk of being serious, and especially at my making you so.

Sir Rich.

In Troth Sister, your Extream of Atheism, Page  106 is enough to make an Infidel religious; why you act as if you believ'd there was neither God or Devil, Hell or Heaven, and that we were to reckon for no|thing in the next World, that we do in this; and tho' Sister I am a poor wicked, profligate, unthinking Wretch my self, yet I know I am so, and that I ought to be otherwise; BƲT YOƲ are worse than a Heathen in this, that you despise being religious, as a thing quite below you; for GOD sake, Sister, let you and I both think a little what will become of us.

Sist.

Bless me! that ever my eldest Brother, the well-known Sir Richard — should turn Parson! why I never heard such a Sermon in the House in my Life; you need not have told me you had seen my Husband, why if I had heard you talk thus before, I would have sworn you had been talking to my Hus|band, and he had been preaching Repentance to you; come, come, Brother, tell me what he says.

Sir Rich.

He says, Sister, what I could never have believ'd; he tells me you are a Despiser of all Reli|gion.

Sist.

Well, what News is that to you? What have I to do with Religion, or you either?

Sir Rich.

It's true, Sister, I have heard that Wo|men have no Souls; but I never thought you believ'd it till now.

Sist.

I hate him, and all his religious Impertinen|ces; you know those Things never were relish'd in our Family.

Sir Rich.

To our Shame be it spoken Sister.

Sist.

Not at all! I think 'tis much to our Credit, for then we are sure we have no Hypocrites.

Sir Rich.

Sister; upon my Word, your Way of talking has been the most of a Sermon to me that ever I heard in my Life; you really make my very Blood run chill, and my Joints tremble; it's true, I have not been religious, GOD pardon me, but I Page  107 never thought my self the better for it, or to be commended for it; there is a great deal of Difference Sister, between one that practices no religious Part, and one that despises Religion it self; and I doubt that is just the Difference between you and I.

Sist.

I don't trouble my self about Religion, nor do I intend to trouble my self about it.

Sir Rich.

Why then your Husband has not slander|ed you.

Sist.

But he might have held his Tongue, and not endeavour'd to blacken his Wife.

Sir Rich.

Why really Sister, you do him Wrong, he is the backwardest Man alive to speak it of you; but did not you own it to me your self, when you and I talk'd last?

Sist.

What did I own?

Sir Rich.

Why truly you own'd what I could hardly believe, (viz.) That all the Quarrel between you and your Husband, was because he is too religious; that he kept up the Worship of GOD in the House, and prays, and reads the Bible in the Family.

Sist.

Well, and so it was; I had rather behalf hear him sing a Song.

Sir Rich.

I vow Sister, you astonish me! I thought there had been nothing wickeder than I in the World; you need not talk of your Husband exposing you.

Sist.

But I do talk of it for all that.

Sir Rich,

But I'll do him so much Justice, that he conceals your Folly as much as possible; nor would he own the Reason of your leaving him, till I extorted it from him, by telling him that you told me your self that you left him for nothing, but because you could not bear his going to Prayers; tho' indeed Sister, I always thought you had jested.

Sist.

Not I, why should you think I jested? Did you think I would come away from my Husband in Jest?

Page  108
Sir Rich.

Why I thought it was impossible any Woman in Earnest, could leave a Husband upon such an Occasion, much less own it when she had done; and when I mentioned it to your Husband, he would have persuaded me that it was some other thing you had taken ill from him, and that he hoped some time or other you would forget it.

Sist.

Well, and did he preach a long Sermon to you? Come, tell me what he said.

Sir Rich.

I assure you Sister, you have preach'd a Sermon to me, that I believe will stick to me as long as I live.

Sist.

I preach! what have I said to you? I hate Preaching, you know it.

Sir Rich.

Truly Sister, I cannot repeat what you have said; but you have exposed the Folly and Bru|tality of an irreligious Conversation so much by your practising it, that I resolve from this Time to amend my Life, and change my whole Practice, Society, and Conversation: GOD forgive me what is past; and if he will give me Grace to follow my Resolu|tions, I will be quite another Man than ever you knew me.

Sist.

A fine new-fashion'd Cant indeed! by all Means Sir Richard, go on with your Show; but de|pend upon it, we shall all laugh at you most heartily.

Sir Rich.

With all my Heart; and see who will have the worst of it.

Sist.

And this is the Effect of your talking with my Husband, is it?

Sir Rich.

No Sister, tho' your Husband said some Things that touch'd me very close; yet the Altera|tion in me, is not from him, but from you; and I am really allarm'd by your Desperation, like a Man that I have heard of, who was made a true Convert to Religion by seeing the Devil.

Sist.

That's smart, Sir Richard, upon your Sister.

Page  109
Sir Rich.

No, Sister, I am free, but I would not affront you; you'll pardon the Expression; pray don't take it ill, I am heartily concern'd about this Breach with your Husband, and would fain make it up between you, if I could.

Sist.

What would you have me do?

Sir Rich.

Do! go Home like a Woman of Sense, like a Wife, and like a Christian, and do your Duty in your Family, and among your Children; did ever Woman leave her Husband and Children, and Fa|mily, only because the honest Man pray'd to GOD with her, and perhaps for her? For Shame go Home to him.

Sist.

No, no, e'en let him come and fetch me, if he will have me.

Sir Rich.

I can assure you if you stay till he fetches you, it will be long before you get Home.

Sist.

And I'll never go to him if he don't, and per|haps not if he does.

Sir Rich.

But who does the Duty of a Relation then all this while?

Sist.

Why, is there no Duty of his Side?

Sir Rich.

Yes, Sister, there is; but he is not out of his Duty, the Scripture and the Marriage Con|tract obliges him to love his Wife, and provide for his Wife; but I confess I do not find that it obliges him, when she runs-away from him, to run after her, to perswade her to come Home again; especially when he has given no just Reason for her Elopement.

Sist.

And does he think it is not his Duty to come after me?

Sir Rich.

Why, Sister, I will tell you so far what he says; tho' I assure you I am not commission'd from him to tell it you, or meddle with it; he says, you are gone from him, he has not put you from him; that he is at Home in his Family, which is his Place, and his Duty; that he gave you no Provocation to Page  110 go away, and that his Business is not to force you back; that his Doors and his Arms are always open to receive you, if you please to return to your Fa|mily, and to your Habitation; that if not, he sub|mits to it as an Affliction, but that he can do no more, or concern himself no farther in it; and in|deed, Sister, what can he do more? I am amaz'd at you!

Sist.

I believe he will do something more before I go Home to him.

Sir Rich.

He says, he will do any thing in the World that he can do, which is not inconsistent with his Conscience and his Duty, in order to engage your Affections to him; but upon my Word, Sister, if you insist upon his breaking off his religious Govern|ment of his Family, you cannot expect it of him: Why, it would be Persecution, and he ought to die a Martyr, rather than comply with it.

Sist.

And I am his Persecutor, am I?

Sir Rich.

Why truly, Sister, so far you are; for there are many kinds of Persecution, besides that of Fire and Faggor.

Sist.

Well, I have done persecuting him then, I don't meddle with him now, do I?

Sir Rich.

I can't say you have done; while you con|tinue in a separate Condition from him, and that on Account of his Family Orders; is not that pressing him in the most forcible manner that you are able to do, to lay them down? and if he has any Affecti|on to you, and any Desire to have your Company, as no doubt he has, is it not laying a strong Tempta|tion before him to throw off those things to oblige you? I believe you cannot say, but he has been a very tender obliging Husband.

Sist.

Yes, I can't say but he was well enough till these cursed Quarrels about Religion begun; I know no good such things do in Families, but to breed Contention.

Page  111
Sir Rich.

Horrid Creature! how can you talk at that dreadful rate?

Sist.

Horrid, Brother! what's the Matter with you all of a sudden, your are turn'd so sober? This Fit of Religion will be over with you quickly; by and by, when you come among your Hounds and your honest Neighbours. If I were to see you, and Sir Charles ........ and Jack T....... together at the Green-Man, I should hear you damn and swear as fast as ever you did; and I'll warrant you, we shall have you come Home as drunk as a Wheel-barrow to Night, for all your pious Discourse now at Break|fast. Come, come, leave off Canting, Brother, be as sincore as you always have been.

Sir Rich.

Sister, Sister, you are resolv'd to make a Christian of me, by making a Devil of your self. Here I am, your poor wicked horrid Brother! 'tis too true; and among my sporting Companions, I have been the Scandal of my Neighbours; more abomi|nable and more ravingly wicked than any Man in the Country: I acknowledge it, Sister, I am asham'd of it, I abhor my self every time I look back upon it; and, Sister, 'twould be just, if my Maker, whose Name I have blasphem'd, whose Goodness I have a|bus'd, should give me up, even now, after I am con|vinc'd of the Brutality and Wickedness of it, to fall again into the same detestable Crimes: But believe me, Sister, your telling me I shall do so again, a|larms my very Soul; I hope I shall make you a false Prophet in that Part; tho' the Warning you give me, I acknowledge, is very seasonable: But, as I said before, Sister, every Word you say is an Instruction; and tho' I am very sorry the Teacher should be my Si|ster, yet I must own it is an excellent Lesson to me, to see one in the World wickeder than my self.

Sist.

Nay, if you are all turn'd Monks and Hermits, I must do by you, as I have done by my Husband, Page  112 be gone out of the Hearing of it; for I hate such Stuff.

Sir Rich.

As you will for that Sister, I only make one Prayer for you before you go.

Sist.

Don't pray for me, The Prayers of the Wicked are an Abornination, you know.

She laughs at him.
Sir Rich.

That's a dreadful Text, Sister, for me; I confess it's hard, the first Word of Scripture ever I heard from you in my Life should touch me so close.

Sir Richard started at that Scripture, and paus'd here a while, as if he had been struck with a Bullet.
Sist.

Dear, Sir Richard, what's the Matter with you? Will you have any Thing? An't you well?

She saw him turn Pale, and run to him, fearing he was fainting.

He comes to himself again, and goes on.

Sir Rich.

Sister, Sister, you are doing a Work that you know little of.

Sister.

I don't understand you.

Sir Rich.

I know you don't; but if GOD makes you the Instrument of awakening a stupid harden'd Wretch as I have been, and turning me from Darkness to Light, I hope he will not let the Preacher be a Cast|away.

Sist.

I have no Notion of what you talk of, Bro|ther; I don't understand these things, I see you are under a strange Operation of some thing or another. Come, let us talk of something else, I hate to see you disorder'd thus.

Sir Rich.

Well, Sister! I hope you will better un|derstand these Things some time or other: In the mean time, 'tis wonderful to me, that an Instrument of the Devil should be made a Preacher of Repen|tance. But all serves to magnify the Riches and Power of invisible Grace; 'tis all wonderful! all wonderful!

Page  113
Sist.

I find you are in some Raptures, Brother, you talk'd of praying for me just now, did not you? Are you about it now? I wou'd fain know what you mean, what do you pray for me for?

Sir Rich.

I sincerely pray, that where-ever you go, your wicked and blasphemous Discourse, so long as GOD shall permit you to go on thus, may have the same Effect upon others, as it has had upon me; till at last, meeting with some Body wickeder than your self, if that be possible, their desperate Talk may have the same Effect upon your self; and you may be awaken'd, at the Surprize, of finding some Body nearer Hell Gate than you are.

Sist.

What Stuff's all this? I thought we had been taling of somewhat else; pray, what's all this to me and my Husband?

Sir Rich.

It's true, Sister, it is not much to that Case, but it is to me: However, we'll leave that, and talk about you and your Husband, if you will give me room to say any thing that may be of use to you, and may tend to reconcile you to your Duty, and bring you together again; but if you are resolved to be obstinate, what can I do for you?

Sist.

Your whole Discourse runs as if you had no Design of reconciling; for you lay all the Blame on one Side, and he is in no Fault in your Opinion: Is that the way to bring us together?

Sir Rich.

Why, if he is in no Fault, how can I help that? If he is, let me hear it; I have had the whole Story from your self, and I han't heard you charge him with any thing. I confess, when you told me your self, that you broke from him for no other Reason, but that you could not bear the Burthen of his For|malities, as you called it, I did not believe you; but thought that some other thing had happen'd between you, and that you were willing to conceal the true Occasion.

Page  114
Sist.

What should make you believe so?

Sir Rich.

Because, as I said before, Sister, I did not think it possible any Woman in the World could be so mad to call that an Offence, which all the World, even the wickedest Part of it, value People for; much less, that you who always pass'd for a mo|dest Woman, and a Woman of Sense, could act such a wild, distracted Part, as to come away for such a thing as that, from the best Husband in the World.

Sist.

Indeed I have done it, I have had no other reason, and don't pretend to have any other.

Sir Rich.

I am amaz'd then, Sister, at what you mean, by saying, I lay all the Fault on one Side.

Sist.

Why, so you do.

Sir Rich.

Well, Sister, if I do, it is from your own Mouth; but pray tell me any thing you have to say to your Husband, that you can charge on him as a Fault.

Sist.

Why did he let me come away? Why did he not oblige me so much, as to stay with me that Night when I desired him?

Sir Rich.

Sister, if I may take the Story from your own Mouth, you acknowledg'd to me that he broke from you but for a Quarter of an Hour, to go down to pray with his Family, the Servants being call'd together, and staying for him: Now this is the main Point again; He believes it is his Duty, you would have him omit it; his Conscience tells him, he must not o|mit it; his Wife says, he must omit it to oblige her: In this case, I think I must quote some Scripture too, Whether it is meet for a Man to obey GOD rather than his Wife, judge you?

Sist.

He might have oblig'd me for once, it had not been such a Matter.

Sir Rich.

Sister, you and I have made a small matter of Conscience; but with Men of Principles and of Re|ligion it is quite otherwise; and I frankly acknow|ledge to you, they are in the right, and we are dread|fully Page  115 mistaken. I see it plainly now, Sister; very plainly; a Man once touch'd with a Sense of his Duty to his Maker, will, like Daniel, die rather than omit it: But you could not see into the Reason of those things, and therefore took it unkindly of him; another Wife would have embrac'd, and lov'd him for it.

Sist.

I see into the reason of it! No, not I, nor don't desire to trouble my self about it: But this I can see, I can see when a Husband carries it o|bligingly or brutishly.

Sir Rich.

But, Sister; do you really think that the little Unkindness you complain of, had it been real and unjustifiable in him, justifies your parting and se|parating from your Husband? can your answer it to GOD or Man?

Sist.

It justifies it to me and that's enough; I am accountable to no Body.

Sir Rich.

I differ there from you too—You will find you are accountable to some Body: But to let that pass, it cannot justify it to your self, because 'tis a Breach of your Obligation, without an Offence.

Sist.

Is it no Offence?

Sir Rich.

It puts me in mind, Sister, of what I have often observ'd in many Families, tho' I never expected to see an Example of it so near home; that indeed most of the Family Breaches in the World, are begun in the veriest Trifles, the most ridiculous, simple, insignificant Differences imaginable: Don't you remember our Neighbour, Mr. Bar—t; his Father, old Justice Bar—t, parted from his Wife, Mr. Bar—t's Mother, about 20 Year before he dy'd, upon a Quarrel between them upon this foolish Question; Whether she would not lead him about if he should be blind, when he was an old Man? She said, she would not: And, he said, 'twas unkind. She said, 'twas Work for a Servant. And, he said, she Page  116 did not love him; for if she did, she wou'd not trust him to a Servant. And so one Word brought in an|other, the Devil blowing the Coals, till the Fire of Contention flam'd out: He struck her in a Rage: She threw something at him in the same Passion; and he growing furious, Curs'd her; and falling on his Knees, wish'd something very terrible to himself if he liv'd another Day with her; she lifts up her Hands and her Eyes and says, AMEN to it: and so they parted.

Sist.

I think they were in the right of it.

Sir Rich.

Do you so, Sister, I don't think you speak as you mean; do you remember what sad Conse|quences it had upon the Family?

Sist.

I have forgot a great deal of it, I know they were a very unhappy House.

Sir Rich.

I'll put you in mind of it then, Sister; the poor old Lady was a good quiet minded Crea|ture, and repented heartily of her Passion, tho' she was not the Cause of the Quarrel; however, she came to him and acknowledg'd her Fault, and beg'd his Pardon, and told him, she was ready to do it on her Knees: That she would come and live with him whenever he desir'd it, but was afraid to press him to it, because of the Imprecations he had made upon himself. At last she dyed, and made a very penitent Christian End, warning all that should hear of her, to beware of raising Feuds in their Families upon slight Occasions. The old Man had stood it out against GOD and Man till then; but hearing of his Wife's Death, and the Manner of it, went mad, and in one of his Fits, destroyed himself.

Sist.

What's all this to me?

Sir Rich.

I'll tell you what it is to you; 'tis a fair Warning, and indeed an Exhortation to you, not to lay a Foundation of ruining your Family, for such little Quarrels, such unjustifiable Things. I was but Page  117 a little Boy when old Justice Bar—t hang'd him|self, but I remember the People used to say, it was a just Judgment of GOD upon him, for the treating his Wife in such a barbarous manner for such a foolish thing, that had nothing of Provocation in it; and I think yours is really worse. Here you are parted with your Husband, and have left your Family (and in Confusion enough to be sure) and all because he stay'd a Quarter of an Hour away from you, when you desir'd his Company; and this without allowing for the Necessity he was under, in Point of Consci|ence, to deny you that Quarter of an Hour: Without allowing for its being his Duty to go; and which is more, without considering, that it was your Duty to have gone with him.

Sist.

All you say signifies nothing, he might have gone away afterward; 'tis the Unkindness of the Matter which made the Impression; I hate him hear|tily ever since.

Sir Rich.

Any one would laugh at you to hear the first, and hate you heartily to hear the last.

Sist.

I can be even with all the World, for I'll laugh at them that laugh at me, and hate them that hate me. I think you will make a Quarrel of it, Brother, what do you mean? If you are uneasy at my being here, I'll deliver you of the Burden.

Sir Rich.

You turn every thing to something dis|obliging, Sister; I do not say I am uneasy at you, but I acknowledge I am uneasy for you; if you can't make the Distinction, I cannot help that; you know I am a plain Dealer.

Sist.

It's indifferent to me, Brother; you know I need not be troublesome to any Body.

Sir Rich.

No, no, Sister; no Body shall be trou|blesome to me, I will be easy be it how it will: It is true, I was in hopes, by a plain Discourse, to have perswaded you to act a wiser part than this, that I Page  118 see you are going on in. But seeing you are resolv'd to expose your self, I have done; tho' I can't ap|prove of what you do, I shall meddle less with it; and seeing you can't bear to have Truth plainly told you, I shall let you alone.

Sist.

I desire every Body to let me alone.

Sir Rich.

I believe few will be so much your Friend as I have been; others will reproach you for not doing your Duty, not perswade you to do it.

Sist.

Then I'll bear their Reproaches as well as I can.

Sir Rich.

Do, Sister; but remember, you will not be so well able to bear your own Reproaches, when your Conscience, perhaps very late, shall come to tell you what you ought to have done; how you ruin'd your self, your Family, your two innocent Children, and your Husband; and for what a sordid Notion your Passions, assisted by the Devil, carry'd you on to such a dreadful Extremity: I entreat you, Sister, con|sider it, and remember, that tho' I have gone but a little way in my Reflections, I hope they shall encrease; yet 'tis the Anguish of my very Soul, that I have sold my self, as it were, to the Devil, for the most empty unsatisfying Things called Pleasures, that can be imagin'd, and that in themselves cannot bear the Name of Pleasures: That to gratify the Madness of Youth I have given a full Swing to every Appetite, an unrestrain'd Liberty to every Passion, and a Loose to the wicked Gust of an unbridled perverse Inclina|tion: If you were able to know, how loathsome these things look now, when I hope my Judgment is a little at Liberty to discern better, you would see nothing in all the Pleasure of Life, but Madness, Folly, and a making sad Work for Repentance: And let me add, Sister, that 'tis my Opinion, that this is a great part of the unsufferable Torments of Hell, (viz.) that they see with dreadful Self-Reproaches, Page  119 for what sordid Trifles, what empty abhor'd and ri|diculous things, they have forfeited the highest Felicity, and lost themselves, Soul and Body, for e|ver. I am but a mean Teacher, Sister, you have been a good Instructor to me, tho' you have no Sense of it your self; I pray GOD open your Eyes.

The Sister was partly provok'd and partly affect|ed with this surprizing Discourse of her Brother; and falling out into Tears, their Discourse ended, and Sir Richard went away, going soon after to find her Husband, with whom he hop'd to have a long Discourse, relating both to his Sister and to himself.

But he was disappointed; for when he came to her Husband's House, he was just gone away for Lon|don. Sir Richard was so disturb'd at his being gone, that he could hardly be perswaded from riding after him; but the Servant assur'd him it would be impos|sible to overtake him, so he gave it over.

The Servant wrote an Account of it to his Master, as is related in the former Dialogue; and that Circum|stance added to his eager Desire of coming Home, not doubting but something extraordinary had hap|pen'd about his Wife; and it was happy enough that he had these Apprehensions, on account of what fell out afterward, and which shall be related in its Course.

But Sir Richard's Business was of another kind; we have seen what Discourse he had been engag'd in with his Sister; the serious and kind Arguings he made use of to move her to a Sense of her Duty to her Husband, to her Family, and indeed to her self; and especially what Answers she gave him: How profane, even blasphemous; but particularly, tasting of a Mind perfectly destitute of the Knowledge of good Things, and of any Desire to be instructed; contemning GOD, Religion, Duty, the Worship of GOD, or the common Regard to his Commands.

Page  120 Sir Richard was a Man as void of Religion as cou'd well be suppos'd of any Man bred up in a Christian Country: He was a drunken, swearing, ranting Gentleman; a Man of Pleasure; kept his Hounds and Horses, lov'd his Sport and his Bottle, and had his Companions for the Purpose; drank hard, kept great Company; and, in a word, swam down the common Stream of Vice, as a Man that never look'd behind him. As to Religion, he us'd to say, he had as much as a Gentleman of 2000 l. a Year had Oc|casion for; he knew very little of it, and minded it less; nor was there the least Concern about such Things to be seen in the Family.

But otherwise, he was a Man of a clear Head; understood the World and himself perfectly well; was, as is said before, of an excellent Temper, easily reason'd into or out of any thing; very sincere, and without any ill Meaning to his Neighbours; benefi|cent to his Tenants; compassionate to all; and cha|ritable, not from a Principle of Religion, but of meer good Nature.

When first he took Notice of this Breach between his Sister and her Husband, he was extreamly con|cern'd to make it up: But when he come to know the Reason of it, he was extreamly surpriz'd; his Reason dictated, that the Husband was in the right, that GOD was to be worship'd: and he was a|stonish'd, that a Woman should make it a Crime, or a Thing to dislike any Man for: Devolving those Things in his Mind, and being by the natural Conse|quence of the Convictions which were offer'd by his Reason, led to take Part with her Husband; that Consequence came back upon himself, and brought the Conviction closer to his own Case.

Immediately after he came out of his Sister's Chamber therefore, he went into his own Parlour, where musing a while upon what they had been talk|ing Page  121 of; Well, says he, it's plain my Brother is right, 〈…〉 good Man, and my Sister is a Brute to use h•… thus for doing what every Body must own is HIS DƲTY to do. While he revolv'd the Case thus in his Mind, the word DƲTY seem'd to bear a kind of Emphasis in it more than ordinary, and hung upon his Lips. She is a Brute, says he to him|self, for it was his DƲTY; he ought not to omit it to gratify her, for it was his DƲTY; he must have acted against his Conscience if he had done other|wise, for he knew it was his DƲTY. This followed him so much, and the word DƲTY lay upon his Thoughts so much, that he could think of nothing else; and sometime after, taking a Walk in his Gar|den, he began to talk to himself thus.

Let me see, I justify this Man upon the Foot of this Word DƲTY; What is DƲTY? And what Sence are we to take the Word in, as it is used in this Case? Do I understand it my self? Then he revolv'd it in his Thoughts farther, thus:

Duty is a Debt, not of Money to be paid, but of Service to be done.

Duty is a Homage; 'tis due from a Vassal to its Lord; a Subject to its Sovereign; a Creature to its Maker; and indeed from all Creatures to their Maker.

He halted there; and with a kind of a Smile, but with just Reflection, added; Now I shall hook my self in; I need not enquire much about it; I am sure I have done none of my Duty.

I have paid no Homage to him that made me; I am an ungrateful, unthankful Dog to him that has given me Life, Estate, and every thing I have in the World.

I have liv'd as if there was nothing due from me, be|cause I am a Gentleman. Well, says he, I love my Brother —; tho' I do not do my DƲTY, I must acknowledge he does his, and I can't but value him for it; and that Brute my Sister, what can she be made of, thatPage  122she should break with him for that which he does, and which we all ought to blush for not doing; I'll go and talk to her about it again, sure I shall make her change her mad Resolutions.

All this was upon the Discourse already related; and he had by this little turning the Thing in his Thoughts, mightily possess'd himself with the Notion of our Serving and Worshipping GOD, be|ing a Homage due to him, and a Debt most reasona|ble to be paid.

The Power of Natural Religion having gone thus far, he was prepar'd by it to have an aweful Reverence for the serious Part of Religion, and a Love to those that practised it; and we have seen since, that the Pro|faneness and Wickedness of his Sister brought him to a Horror of her Practice; especially that kind of triumphing in Sin, which both she and he too had been always guilty of before; it's true, he was not yet brought to a Sense of the Nature of sinning against GOD, the Offence against Divine Love, the insult|ing Sovereign Mercy, and acting in Rebellion to the Dominion of Grace in the Heart: In a Word, he was not come to the two great Fundamentals of Reli|gion, Faith and Repentance; but we shall soon see him advance.

The wicked and blasphemous Answers his Sister gave to every thing that he offer'd to say in Defence of Religion; fill'd him with Horror; his Soul abo|minated to see Religion, the Name and Worship of GOD made a Jest, and the Honour due to GOD his Maker treated with Contempt; and yet he own|ed himself to be a Creature void of all Religion him|self; it was true, that the pleading for Religion was perfectly casual to him, but his Reason told him he was right: And it was a Shock to his very Under|standing at last to think, that he was then strong pleading for what he did not practise.

Page  123 Wherefore it often retorted upon him, even in their very Discourse, I am telling her of DƲTY, what is her DƲTY, and of her Husband doing his DƲTY: But what is my DƲTY? And why do I not enquire a little about that? This Reflection brought that Ex|pression again from him, mention'd a little before, p. 108. when he told her she had been preach|ing to him, and her Words were as good as a Ser|mon; for, says he, you have exposed the Folly and Bru|tality of an irreligious Conversation so much, by your Way of practising it, that I resolve from this Time to amend my Life, &c. And this he repeated often to himself.

This I may venture to call a full Conviction; and she gave him abundance of other Occasions to en|crease it several Times after the first; for she talk'd so profanely and had such horrid Expressions, that I have not thought it proper to leave them upon Re|cord, or to acquaint the Mouths of young Readers especially, with the very Sound of the Words; it's enough to tell you, that she struck him with a kind of Terror, to hear her blaspheme and insult her Maker; and he was carry'd to that length by it af|terward, as to desire her, as civilly as his Passion would allow him, to leave his House; telling her very plainly, that he could not suffer his Maker to be treated at that rate in his Hearing, or under his Roof.

But the good Knight, for such I may now begin to call him, receiv'd a Wound from her in the begin|ning of his Convictions, that had like to have pro|ved Mortal to his Reformation, and to have driven him back to his former loose Course of Life, merely by Despair.

This was, when she told him, upon his saying he would pray for her, that he might as well let it a|lone; intimating, that his Prayers would not be heard; Page  124 for, says she, The Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomina|tion, &c. See p. 112. This Expression, as it is ob|serv'd there, was a Stab to his Heart, and he stop'd in his Discourse, look'd Pale, and his Sister was fright|ed, thinking he would have fainted. He recovered indeed, and talk'd a great while with her. But the Arrow was shot into his Vitals, and the Poison drunk up his Spirits; he hasten'd the Discourse with his Sister, and went away to have found her Husband, as before; and this was the reason that made him so uneasy, when he found his Brother-in-Law was gone to London.

His Trouble encreas'd upon him some Days, and brought him to a dangerous Crisis; he began dispu|ting against his own Peace from the fatal Text, as he call'd it, which that wicked Instructor, his Sister, had preached from; and he brought it to this dreadful Conclusion:

"I am a WICKED Creature, that's out of Doubt, never was a worse, this wretched Branch of my own unhappy STEM excepted; WICKED be|yond others; And to aggravate his Character to himself, he reckons up its parts thus: I am a com|mon Swearer, a common Drunkard, a Blasphemer of the Name of GOD, a Despiser of all Religion, that have lived in the Omission of all that can be called Duty, and in a general Neglect of Religion all my Days. If I am not included in the word WICKED, then there is no wicked Man in the World.

"The Premises being thus plain, the Consequence is upon me, my Prayer would be an abomination to GOD.

"Why then, says he, I must not pray at all; and if I cannot pray, all my Thoughts about Religion are at a full Stop; I am just where I was—And here he mus'd a while.

"Just where I was, says he, and Where's that? A Page  125 Rebel to GOD, a Villain to a merciful Creator, a Reprobate condemned to be so still; forbid to pray to that GOD for Mercy, against whom I have behav'd so wickedly; unworthy his Mercy, and shut out from asking it.

At this full Stop, at this dreadful Period, this poor Gentleman was come; and having miss'd his Friend, from whom he hop'd to have had some Comfort and Direction, he came back very melancholly and de|jected.

His Disorder was visible to all the House; his Lady thought him not well; his Servants thought him out of Humour; his Sister thought he was angry with her; which, by the way made a downright Quarrel afterward; when Gentlemen came to see him, he excused him|self as indisposed, just spoke to them, and beg'd their Pardon to retire; he went out no where; kept no Company; in a Word, he was given up to Melan|choly and Despair.

It continued thus with him several Days; during which Time he had no Assistance but from his own Thoughts, however he oftentimes argued strongly with himself, that certainly it did not consist with the mer|ciful Nature of GOD to forbid Sinners to repent, and to forbid them when they were Penitent, to pray for Forgiveness. But still as these were but Reasonings within himself, and here was a positive Scripture a|gainst him, it overwhelm'd all his Arguments, and left him always in the utmost Discouragement.

Poor Gentleman, he had had no religious Educati|on to have Recourse to; no Instructions of ancient Parents, which lie as a Fund or Magazine of Directi|ons; and tho' they sleep for many Years, yet often revive to the Consolation and Direction of the re|turning Prodigal; his Parents had been all like him|self, who had bred him up as they had been bred themselves, more to good Manners, than to good Page  126 Principles, more to Letters than to Religion. Nay, so ignorant and so remote had he been led on from any sacred Knowledge, that the Scripture, which is the Treasure of Wisdom and Knowledge to the Ig|norant, the Fountain of Comfort, and the Restorer of Life to the oppress'd Mind, had little Effect here; he had but little of it in his Head, and consequently little of it could occur to him on such a solemn and needful Occasion.

However, as when GOD will speak to the Heart by his Spirit, he never wants a Minister, so it hap|pened here; this Gentleman had some Books, but not many, and fewer still of such Books as were suit|able to his present Purpose: But ruminating upon these Things one Day in his Closet, he found an old, torn, dirty imperfect Book, written by he knew not who, and perhaps scarce ever look'd upon in that Place for many Years, entitled, The Excellency and Ʋsefulness of Reading the Scriptures.

The Author in pursuing his Discourse, tells a Story of a Man who was made to despair even to Rage and almost to Self-destruction, by reading the 15th Verse of Isaiah I. and going no farther, when the very next Verse would have comforted him, and did so it seems afterwards. The Words of the 15th Verse are thus; When you spread forth your Hands, I will hide mine Eyes from you; yea, when you make many Prayers, I will not hear; your Hands are full of Blood. This put the poor Man, says the Story, into such a •…age of Despair, that on a sudden he threw his Bible into the Fire, and run about with his Hands lifted up in the Air, crying out, he was cast off, was damn'd, was a Reprobate, and that GOD would not hear his Prayer if he went about it; and that therefore it was to no Purpose for him to pray at all. The Story was so apposite to Sir Richard's Case, that he stew to the Bible, and read the Verse, with the four Verses before it, which Page  127 are all to the same Purpose, and had almost fallen in|to the same Snare the poor Man did, of whom the Story was told, for he could not with-hold his Pas|sion: But stopping at the Verse, said to himself, Who can blame the poor Man? my Case is the same, just the same; and if this Scripture is to be believ'd, I am undone.

He kept the little old torn Book in his Hand, and tho' he was under an unexpressible Concern, he was willing to know what became of the Man; when the Story goes on thus: A good Minister in the Neighbourhood coming to visit him while he was in this Extremity, ask'd him from what Occasion he had taken up his despairing Thoughts? From reading the Bible, says the Man; I wish I had never seen it. The Bible! says the Minister, that's impossible! Yes, yes, says the Man, 'twas from reading the Bible. It shall never be said, says the Minister, that reading the Word of GOD ever made a Man despair; it has awaken'd and alarm'd many a Sinner, says he, but it always led them by the Hand to Comfort at the same time; and I am here, says he, to vindicate the Word of GOD from that Scandal, and do affirm that there is not a Word of Terror in the Bible, without a Word of Comfort near hand to it. Come Friend, says he, Where did you read? Nay, I know not, says the Man! What were the Words, says the Minister? The Man repeats the Words; Very well, says the Minister, come let me see the Bible. Nay, says the Man, I have not the Bible, it is burnt; I immediately threw it into the Fire, for I could not bear to read any farther. The Minister pulls a Bible out of his Pocket and gives him; Come, says he, let me see what were the Words you are so terrify'd with? Look there, says the poor despairing Creature, and turns him to the five sequent Verses of the 1st of Isaiah, begin|ning at the 10th. The Minister knowing the Place, stands up and gives GOD Thanks for vindicating the Page  128 Honour of the Gospel, in directing this Man to quote a Place so qualify'd to make good what he had affirm'd in Defence of the Gospel of Peace; and pray'd aloud that GOD would open the poor Man's Eyes to see and re|ceive the Comfort from the Promises, as well as to fear and be dismay'd at the Threatnings of the Scrip|ture; when he had said this, Come hither Friend, said he, look you here; Why had you not Patience to read on the three next Verses, stay now and read them for thy Comfort, Ver. 16, 18, 19. Wash ye—Make ye clean, put away the Evil of your Doings from before mine Eyes; cease to do Evil, learn to do well. Come now, let us reason together, saith the LORD; tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be as white as Snow; tho' they be red like Crimson, they shall be like Wool; if ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the Land: Having read the Words to him, he added, Here's Comfort, if you can say you repent of your Sins and reform; Cease to do Evil, and learn to do well; the Promises of GOD are pledg'd to you, that you shall be forgiven; and that tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be whiter than Snow.

The Story goes on thro' many Particulars, but the Sum of it is, that the Man was comforted, the Word of GOD and the Mercy of GOD vindicated, and a clear View given to every penitent Sinner of the Way to Life and Salvation.

Sir Richard read this Story with great Satisfaction, and it kept his Mind in a State of Quiet, tho' not with any great degree of Comfort till his Friend came home from London, of which we shall hear farther in in its time.

But to return to his Sister; after the last Dialogue between Sir Richard and her, she had made some Ex|cursions in the Family, that had not been very o|bliging; particularly she had fallen out with Sir Richard's Lady, which put an end to their Friendship, Page  129 and removed her from the House: The Case was thus:

My Lady — was a quiet, peaceable, good hu|mour'd Person; not over and above serious: but far from a despiser of Religion; and she coming in to her Sister's Chamber, as soon as Sir Richard was gone, found her in Tears, as was said before, when Sir Richard left her; it seems her Crying was the Effect of Rage more than Grief, at what Sir Richard had said to her; and she falls out with the Lady upon the Subject of Sir Richard's ill treating of her; and, among the rest, rally'd his being turn'd so Religious all of a sudden.

My Lady heard her peaceably 'till she began to banter Sir Richard's talking Religiously; when she en|tred into the following Discourse with her.

Lady.

Indeed Sister, I am glad to hear you say Sir Richard talks Religiously; I think it would be happy for us all, if we were more Religious than we are.

Sister,

More Hypocrites you mean; I see nothing else in it all.

La.

I hope not, Sister; methinks you want Charity.

Sist.

I hate this mocking and mimicking; Men talk all that's Wicked abroad, and then come and talk Re|ligion at home.

La.

That indeed is another thing; but if they were once truly Religious, Sister, their Discourse would be the same abroad and at home.

Sist.

I am for nothing of it, abroad or at home, 'tis all a Cheat at best; and then 'tis so unfashionable, nothing of a Gentleman ever meddles with such things.

La.

Indeed Sister you mistake, I have known very good Gentleman be very Religious, and talk very Re|ligiously too; and I think it becomes them very well; and if Sir Richard should do so, I should be very glad.

Sist.

O Madam, Sir Richard fits you to a Tittle, he has had such a fit of Religion to Day, no Mountebank ever was a better Mimick.

Page  130 This she said with a great deal of Banter and Railery.
La.

Upon what Subject pray?

Sist.

O upon this Sister of his, you may be sure; about doing my Duty, and observing my Marriage Contract, talking prophanely, and a hundred such things, I scarce know what, without either Head or Tail, but all upon me.

La.

About your parting from your Husband, I suppose.

Sist.

Yes Madam.

La.

Truly Sister, he had field enough there, for e|very body that I hear speak of it blame you; but I don't Care to meddle.

Sist.

If every body blames me, then I'll blame e|very body; for what have they to do with it?

La.

Why that's true, but they that have a Respect for you, cannot but be troubled for you.

Sist.

Troubled for me, for what?

La.

Why Madam, they say, you parted from your Husband, for no Reason but because he was too Reli|gious for you.

Sist.

And Reason enough, I think; what had he to do to impose his religious doings upon me? He knew I hated every thing about it.

La.

You do not hate Religion I hope, Sister.

Sist.

I hate all things that I do not understand, I han't thought it much worth my while to enquire a|bout Religion; and when I want Help I can send to my Husband to choose it for me.

La.

Dear Sister, I can't abide to he•… you talk so.

Sist.

I shall talk so for all that, if any body enters into such Discourse with me.

La.

Well Sister, then I'll meddle no more with it: But for your own sake, I wish some body would be|friend you so much, as to make up this Broil between you and your Husband, that you might go home a|gain and live as you should do.

Page  131
Sist.

I care not if I never go near him more.

La.

I am very sorry for you, Sister; I think you are murdering your Reputation and ruining your Fa|mily, and I cannot but be griev'd for you.

Sist.

That's no body's Business but my own.

In this Interval comes in Sir Richard again, and as he was chagrin'd before, and now see|ing his Lady wiping her Eyes, he thought his Sister had said something to grieve his Wife; and that mov'd him to be a little warm.
Sir Rich.

My Dear, What is the Matter? What have you been engag'd with this Mad Woman too?

La.

I am sorry to see my Sister so obstinate, and so hard to be perswaded.

Sir Rich.

Ay, and in so shameful a Cause too; that makes me say she is a Mad Woman.

Sist.

That is the kindest thing, I suppose, I am to expect from my Brother.

Sir Rich.

Indeed Sister, 'tis the kindest thing can be said of you; to say any thing else of it, is to say you are possess'd, that you are given up to Sathan.

Sist.

I can expect no other of you, I find you are a Party, you have been with the Religious Brute again I suppose; but it's all one, I'll neither be forced by him at home; nor by you from him abroad; this is driving me Headlong to Heaven.

Sir Rich.

I wish you were not running Headlong somewhere else.

Sist.

Well well, if this be the Treatment I must have in your House Brother, I'll take Sanctuary some|where else, and so good buy to ye.

Sir Rich.

Indeed Sister you have but saved me the labour of desiring tha favour of you, for I desire none of God's Enemies in my House; you had been welcome upon any other Occasion: I wish you Re|pentance, and that you may know your own Interest both as to God and Man.

Page  132 They had not many more Words about it; but taking her Brother at his word, she went away the same Day in Disgust, and not resolving presently whether to go, she stay'd at a Neighbour's House two or three Days; in which Time she went once down to her own House: She knew indeed her Husband was not at Home, but she had a mind to see the Children and talk with her Nurse, who it seems she heard had been at Sir Richard's.

The old Nurse was over-joy'd to see her, and treat|ed her with abundance of God bless you's, Madam, as was the poor Woman's way; and it was believ'd, if her Husband had been at Home, she might have been prevail'd with to stay; but she broke away again, tho' the poor old Nurse fell down of her Knees to her, to entreat her to stay.

Being gone thus in a wild Humour, enrag'd that her Brother had, as it were, turn'd her out of Doors; she passes by a good sober House in the Town, where she might have been welcome, and would have had good Advice, and went to the House of one of her old Companions, about two Miles off; who was in|deed ten times more the Child of Hell than her self.

Here she told her Tale, and had a She-Devil at her Elbow to say YES to all she affirm'd, and AMEN to all she resolved; that prompted her to be worse than ever the Devil, for want of an Agent, perhaps, had an Opportunity to desire her to be; till at last, she made her so wicked, that she was frighted with her own Picture, and was brought to reflect upon her self, and repent, by those very Steps the Devil took to ruin her.

It would be a sad, and far from a diverting Story, to give an Account of all the mad Steps these two Creatures took together, I do not mean as to common Vices; she was too much a Gentlewoman to behave her self scandalously; nor was any thing of that kind Page  133 ever suggested, that I have met with. But her Dis|gust at her Brother, her Aversion to her Husband, and her Contempt of all that was sober and religious, was carried up by the Assistance of this Companion of hers, to such a height, that she despised all Advice, was deaf to the Importunities of her Friends, and e|ven of her Husband as shall be farther related pre|sently.

This Companion of hers took that common, but foolish way, that many think the best Method of o|bliging their Friends, (viz.) of agreeing, and saying Yes, to every thing, Right or Wrong; she had been intimate with this Gentlewoman from her Youth, and bred up just in the same loose untaught manner; as to any thing religious, a perfect Stranger; as to Sense, she was like her self, a Toy, gay and vain, empty of all that was Good; as foolish and as profane as her Heart could wish. Here she was perfectly easy, for no Body was friendly enough to admonish her, or sincere e|nough to advise her; and she liv'd to see, and to acknowledge, how empty and insignificant that Friend|ship is, that is not honest enough to bear, and faith|ful enough to give Reproof.

This She-Friend, among the rest of her Follies, had accustom'd her self to a most abominable Looseness of the Tongue, and gave her self such a Latitude of ill Words, that she scarce spoke ten Words without in|termixing some of them by way of Ornament; a Custom grown up of late to such a height, that it is become the Vice of our Conversation; while at the same Time it is so fashionable too, that such People think it adorns their Speech, and that their Language is not polite or genteel without it.

Among the rest of her foolish Phrases, she had this in particular, Poison it; or if spoken of any Person, Poison him, or Poison her; this was grown so frequent and so familiar to her Tongue, that it became the Page  134 very Catch-word of all her Discourse; nothing came without it, tho' in it self an unmusical, course, and odd Saying, scarce ever used by any before her: if her Coffee or her Tea was too hot, or too cold, 'twas always the same; O Poison it, 'tis nasty Stuff. If she talk'd to her Servants, 'twas Poison them at every word, if she did not like any thing: So that in short, it run through all her Discourse, and yet the foolish Creature had no Thoughts of ill, when she said it; meant nothing, would not have hurt any Body, much less poison'd them; but the Word had gain'd upon her Fancy, she lik'd it for a Word to be toss'd upon her Tongue; she thought it sat well upon her Speech; and in a word, she had let it grow upon her to a Habit, so that it was meerly natural to her. Our unhappy La|dy being now in the Family, they grew intimate to be sure, and in their Conversation she fail'd not to tell this new Confident all her Grievances; first, a|bout her Uncle, the good old Minister, and his cal|ling all the House to Prayers. And you know, Madam, says she, how I hate their Priest-Craft, and the wheed|ling ways that these Parsons take to make themselves the Heads of Peoples Families, and to make us think them all Saints; yet as I expect to be the old Man's Heir, and he has a good Estate, what could I do? You know, Ma|dam, a Body would not differ with an old Fool, and so disoblige him.

NO, Poison him, says she, one would bear any thing on that account.

But then, Madam, says the Lady, he carried it on so long, that my poor Fool of a Husband, pretends to like it; and when the Parson was gone, he pre|tends to be Chaplain himself.

O Poison the old Fellow, says she, what did he stay so long for?

Why, Madam, says the other, he was Lame of the Gout, and we could not be rid of him sooner: Nor Page  135 did that trouble me so much, but to see my Husband turn'd Parson, and whine out the Prayers Morning and Night; that was such a thing, 'twould have pro|vok'd any Body; wou'd not it, Madam?

Indeed, Madam, it would, says she again; Poison me, I should never have born with it.

Truly, Madam, says the Lady, I did not bear with it long, I tried to break him of it a good while; but when I found 'twas to no purpose, I told him my Mind very plainly; and in short, this is the Reason of our Parting.

Poison me, Madam, says the Companion, and a good Reason too.

Wife.

And now, my Brother, wants to have me to go Home again, and beg my Husband's Pardon; and because I won't do that, he falls upon me like a Fury.

Comp.

Who? Sir Richard, Madam? Poison him, no Body minds what he says.

Wife.

Yes, and my Lady too, she has been upon my Back.

Comp.

Ay, Poison her, she is a mighty wise busy Thing too, she knows nothing of the Matter; she only says as Sir Richard bids her.

Wife.

Now, Madam, would you advise me to go back to my Husband, Madam, upon such Terms?

Comp.

Go back, Madam; no, Poison him, you ought never to go near him till he gives you Satisfaction, Madam.

This was a Companion now to her Heart's Con|tent, and in such Conversation you may be sure her separate Condition began to be very easy to her, and she began to have a perfect Aversion to her Husband; nay, so natural was this foolish empty, flattering Con|versation of her new Companion's grown to her, that she began to be infected with her Language; and if any Body talk'd of her Husband, or of her going back Page  136 to her Husband, she would frequently answer, he should be poison'd first.

In the middle of this Extravagance, and as if she was now brought to a right Disposition for affronting the tenderest Husband that ever Woman had, a Mes|senger brought her Word one Morning, that her Hus|band was come to the House to see her, and was be|low Stairs.

The Story of the honest Gentleman's being come from London, his Resolution to find out his Wife, and to use all possible Means to perswade her to return to him, is reserved to another Place; only it is proper to observe, that he came prepar'd with all the Calm|ness and Affection that he was capable of, to invite her Home, and that all things might be forgotten be|tween them: and in a word, to do even more than became him, to win and engage her to him again.

She was surpriz'd very much, when she heard he was below Stairs; and had she not had the evil Spi|rit at her Elbow in her wicked Adviser, she had cer|tainly gone down to him, and Home with him; nay, had she done the first, she could not have resisted the last; he had resolv'd to treat her with so much Af|fection, and such passionate Perswasions, that she must have been a Tyrant to her self, and a very Monster of her Sex, if she had refused him.

But in the very Juncture this Creature comes into her Chamber; O! Madam, says she to her new Com|panion, who do you think is below?

Com.

I can't imagine; but you look surpriz'd, I warrant 'tis Sir Richard. . . . . . if it be, you shall not see him; let me go down to him.

Wife.

No, no, it is not Sir Richard, I assure you.

Com.

Who is it then, I beseech you?

Wife.

No Body but my Husband.

Com.

Your Husband! Poison him, that's impossible, why he's at London, Madam.

Page  137
Wife.

Why, I thought so too; but it seems he is come back, and he has sent for me; what shall I do, Madam? I entreat you advise me.

Com.

Do! Poison him, you shan't see him.

Wife.

I think I had not best see him; what would you advise me to?

Com.

By no means; he wants to have you go Home, he shou'd be poison'd first: No, no, Madam, if you let him have you too cheap, he will make you pay for it too dear. No, Poison him, he should go Home as wise as he came.

Wife.

I am of your Mind, I won't see him; here Betty, go down and tell Mr. . . . . . I can't be spoke with.

She calls in the Servant.
Betty.

Madam, have they told you how long he has been here? he has waited above an Hour already; and if I say you can't be spoke with, he'll stay longer.

Wife.

Well, well, do you do as I bid you, or go and call my own Maid to me.

Betty.

Yes, Madam.

Betty goes and calls her own Maid; here, Su. says she, go to your Mistress, I think she's stark mad; your Master is come a pur|pose to her, and she won't be spoke with; for my part, I can't carry the poor Gentleman such a Message, not I; so your Mistress bids me call you.
Says, Susan, I'll go to her, but I won't carry such a Message to my Master, I'll assure her.
Susan.

Madam, did you want me?

Wife.

Yes, yes; go down and see who that is wants me, and tell them I am indisposed, and can't be spoke with.

Susan.

Indispos'd, Madam, why, 'tis my Master! I wonder Betty should not tell you who it was all this while; he has stay'd this Hour, and more, walking all alone.

Page  138
Wife.

Your Master, you Fool; your Master is at London.

Susan.

Madam, I hope you'll believe I know my Master when I see him; I'm sure I spoke to him.

Wife.

Spoke to him! and what did you say?

Susan.

Why, Madam, he ask'd me how you did, and I told him you were very well; then he ask'd me if you were up; and I told him, up, Sir, yes, a great while ago; and that you were up and dress'd: Then he ask'd me if you were busy, or had any Body with you? and I told him, you were not busy; you were doing nothing but drinking a Dish of Tea: You know, Madam, it was all true; what I could I say else?

Com.

Poison you, for a dull Jade, could not you have run up first, and have ask'd your Mistress what you should have said.

Susan.

I might have done so indeed, Madam; but my Master came in before I was aware; but what could my Mistress have bid me say to such Questions as those?

Com.

Why, you Fool you, Poison you, you might have said, your Mistress was not at Home, cou'd not ye? You know she did not desire to see him.

Susan.

Madam, I'll serve my Mistress as faithfully as any Body; but I can't lye for my Mistress.

Com.

Can't you, Hussy, then Poison me, if I'd give Six Pence a Year for such a Servant.

Susan.

Others will, Madam; nay, some Ladies will give Six Pence a Year the more for a Servant on that very Account, than they will for another.

Com.

They are fit for nothing, that can't speak their Mistress's Mind.

Susan.

Madam, you'll be pleased to remember, that those Servants who will tell a Lye FOR YOƲ, will tell a Lye TO YOƲ.

Com.

'Tis no Matter for that.

Susan.

Well, Madam, 'tis my Misfortune perhaps, Page  139 but I can't do it; and if I am not fit for your Service, I am for the Place I'm in, I hope, and I am very easy; I desire no better a Mistress.

Wife.

Well, what must we do? She has said I am well, I am up, I am dress'd, I am at leisure; what can I say next?

Com.

Say? Poison him, send him word plainly, you have no Business with him, and you won't be spoke with.

Wife.

Well, let it be so then; go Su.

Susan falls a crying.
Com.

What ayles the Fool?

Wife.

Go, Su.

Sue cries, but does not go.
Com.

Can't ye go, ye Fool, and deliver the Message as your Mistress orders you?

Susan.

If I had as little respect for my Mistress as you have, Madam, I could; but I can't see my Mi|stress ruin'd, and be the Messenger to help to bring it to pass.

Com.

You are a saucy Wench, Poison you; if you were my Servant, I'd turn you out of Doors this Mi|nute.

Sus.

I had rather be turn'd out of Doors than deli|ver such a Message to my Master; I wish I had been turn'd out of Doors before I came into your House; I am sure you'll be the Ruin of my Mistress.

Wife.

Hold your Tongue, and go down, and say as I bid you.

Su.

Indeed, Madam, I love your Service, and will do any thing to oblige you; but I beg you would not let me go of such an Errand.

Com.

Come, Madam, Servants will be saucy, I'll go my self, I warrant you I send him packing; he shall trouble you no more here.

She goes down.
Su.

O dear, Madam, how can you use my Master so?

Susan cries.
Wife.

How do I use him?

Page  140
Su.

Why, to let this Devil of a Woman go down to hector and bully him, when he comes so kindly to see you? Did not you tell me, Madam, that you only wanted him to come after you, and you would go Home again?

Wife.

Well, but my Mind is alter'd now; that's none of your Business.

Su.

Such Power has bad Counsel, Madam, where it is listen'd to! can this wicked Woman be sensible of the Mischiefs that will follow this, Madam? Have you not two poor innocent Children at Home, left without a Mother? Han't you disoblig'd Sir Richard and all your Friends already? and will you provoke your Husband without the least Occasion, by setting a mad Creature to insult him? I beseech you, Ma|dam, consider.

Wife.

All this is no Business of yours, Mistress.

Su.

It is true, Madam, 'tis none of my Business; but as I am come from your House with you, the World will suppose I have had some Hand in the Breach, which God knows I abhor; and if I beg my Bread, I won't live with any Mistress upon such Terms. I wish, Madam, you may see your Mistake before you are quite ruin'd; if you please to give me the small Matter that is due to me, I'll withdraw, and I hope you won't take it ill.

Wife.

Well, well, I'll give you your Wages by and by.

During this little Dialogue, the raving Creature, her Companion, goes down Stairs, and enters into the following Discourse with her Friend's Husband.

Wom.

Who wou'd you speak with, Sir?

Husb.

My Wife, Madam.

Wom.

Your Wife, Sir, who is that pray?

Husb.

Mrs. ...... Sir Richard.....'s Sister; I sup|pose she is here.

Wom.

Yes, Sir, she is here, but she is not to be spoken with.

Page  141
Husb.

No, Madam, that's very odd; does she know I am here?

Wom.

I suppose she does.

Husb.

Is she not to be spoken with by any Body, or not by me only?

Wom.

I suppose the latter, Sir.

Husb.

Pray, Madam, let me ask you one Question more; do you deliver her Words or your own?

Wom.

Her Words, I assure you, Sir.

Husb.

Can I speak with Susan, her Maid?

Wom.

I believe not, Sir, I do not know where she is.

Husb.

But, Madam, you can cause her to be call'd.

Wom.

It's true, Sir, but I see no Occasion for it; I can deliver any Message to your Lady.

Husb.

You seem to treat me in a manner very dis|obliging; but do you know, Madam, that I have Au|thority to command my Wife out of your Hands, and that you have no Authority to detain her.

Wom.

I value not your Authority; I know you are a Justice of Peace, but that signifies nothing in this Case.

Husb.

If it were not in respect to my Wife, I should try it, Madam; I have other Power, I assure you, than my own.

Sus. comes by the Door.
Wom.

Sir, my Answer is short; your Wife says in so many Words, she has nothing to say to you, nor will not see you; and I won't have any Body seen here by Force.

Husb.

Susan, Susan, come hither.

Susan.

Yes, Sir.

Husb.

Go to the Door, and bid George and Good|man Page come to me.

They come in.

Here Page, you are a Constable, seize that Woman, and keep her safe, I'll make her Mittimus instantly; I'll see, Madam, whether I can't teach you Manners, whether I do the rest of the Business I come about or no.

The Companion offers to go back and run up Stairs.
Page  142
Constable.

Nay-Madam, you must not go away.

Comp.

What in mine own House too?

Husb.

Yes Madam, better in your own House than any where.

Comp.

I don't value this, nor all the rest you can do.

Husb.

Susan, you can prove your Mistress is in the House, can't you?

Sus.

Yes, Sir, I come this Minute from her, and I am sure my Mistress would have come to you, Sir, at first Word, if that wicked Creature had not hin|dred her.

It seems he had had an Account from some|body how Things went, and how he might expect to be treated; and that a Warrant from my Lord Chief Justice might be wanted: So he furnish'd himself according|ly.
Husb.

Well Susan, I'll deal with her well enough; but in the mean time do you go up to your Mistress, desire her not to be frightned, I am not come to give her any Disturbance; if she would have been pleas'd to let me speak with her, I should have treated her very kindly: But since she is prevail'd upon to be so unkind, I will offer her no Violence, though I have Power to do it, as you see; nor would I have meddled with this Firebrand if she had not treated me rudely.

Susan went up, but before she came her Mistress had heard what had pass'd, and was in a terrible Fright; there was a Pair of Back-Stairs, and a Door at the Stair-head, at which she might have got away: But the Door was lock'd, and the Servants were all so enrag'd at her, that though she enquir'd of them for the Key, no body would give it her: So finding no way to escape, she sat trembling, and expecting every Minute her Husband, or the Constable, should come up and take her away by force.

But he had no Mind to expose her so much, nor to Page  143 disorder her at all, his Design being to use all the Per|swasions and Entreaties he could, if possible to bring her to a kind and willing Complyance; so he went away, and bad Susan tell her, he would come again another Day when her Surprize was over.

Susan deliver'd her Message with all the comforting Expressions to her Mistress that she was able. But she had thrown herself on the Bed, and would not speak a Word. So the Cavalcade ended; her Husband went away, and the Constable kept the Lady's Com|panion in Custody, and carry'd her away with him.

She was now left alone, her Spirits were in a Flame, and she seem'd to talk Wildly and Extravagantly, like one discomposed in the highest Degree. Poor Susan, though she was dismist, would not leave her in that Condition, but sat by her all the Afternoon, and watch'd her all Night; for Susan was afraid she might do her self some Mischief.

But alas, her Head run upon worse things; the Devil had lost his Agent, and was now fain to do his Work himself; and indeed, finding his Advantage, he laid hold of it: Her Passion, the Devil's best han|dle, and by which he takes the fastest hold of us all, was in a violent Ferment; and nothing was so hor|rid but she was capable to entertain a Notion of it, and approve it.

The Object of her highest Aversion now was her Husband; the Affront offer'd her was such, that no|thing could appeale her, nothing be a Satisfaction to her; the Sleep she took in the Night gave no Assist|stance to abate her Fury, but she meditated Revenge with an implacable and an unalterable Resolution.

While she was thus playing with the edg'd Tools of her own Passions, dangerous Weapons they are! the Question presents to her Thoughts what should she do, once or twice, as she own'd afterwards? The Devil prompted her to go home to him, and in the Page  144 Night to set the House a Fire. But she had not Courage fot that. No, said she to her self, using her Companion's wicked WORD; No, Poison him; I won't do that, I may burn the Children too.

The dreadful Word which her profligate Compa|nion had us'd without any Meaning, or at least with|out any Thought of Mischief, continually rung now in her Ears; it only dwelt upon the Tongue before; but the subtil Deceiver handed it into her enflam'd Inclination, and plac'd it in Ambuscade there; it was for some Days working up to a height, the Words follow'd her like a Voice, Poison him, poison him: At first she started at the Suggestion, and seem'd frighted at the Thoughts of such a horrid Thing; but he that set it at Work, ply'd it so close, that she thought she heard no other Sound for some time, but that, Poison him, poison him; and as her wicked Companion had made the ugly unsounding horrid Word familiar to her; so her new Tempter begun by degrees to make the Fact familiar to her also; and first she por'd upon the Practicableness of the Thing, her Head run Night and Day upon the Methods of doing it, and of concealing it; she found all easy e|nough; he that prompted her to do it, presented her with a great variety of practicable Schemes; so that finding no great Difficulty in the Thing, and that it would, as she suppos'd, answer her End, she came to a Point, and in a Word, she took up the horrid Resolution to POISON her Husband.

It was not long after she had resolv'd upon this horrid Fact, but she prepar'd for the Execution:

"And one Morning she calls her Maid Susan, and with a most compleat Face of Hypocrisy tells her, she had consider'd her Circumstances, and found Things were run to such a height, that truly she was loth all the Fault of ruining the Family should lie upon her; and she could find in her Heart, if Page  145 her Husband and she could come to any reasonable Conditions, that she might be satisfyed she should not be ill used after it, she would go and live at home again.

O Madam, says Susan, if God would put it into your Heart, I dare say my Master would do any thing you should desire of him.

And will you go to him, Susan, and tell him I desire to speak with him?

Yes Madam, with all my Heart; I am sure he will come.

Well Susan, to Morrow Morning you shall go.

Susan rejoyces, and was so elevated with the Thoughts of it, that she did nothing but cry for Joy all that Afternoon; but little did the poor Wench i|magine that she was to be the Instrument of the De|vil, to betray an Innocent Gentleman to be murthered.

At this Meeting, and under the colour of this Trea|ty, did this enrag'd Woman wickedly resolve to give her Husband Poison in a Dish of Chocolate, and it seems had furnish'd her self with the Materials for that Purpose.

It is hardly possible for any one that has not been engag'd in such dreadful Work as this, to express, or indeed to conceive of the Horror and Confusion of her Spirits all that Day, and all the Night; neither her Reason, or her Affection, not the Natural Pity of a Mother for her Children, or the Tenderness of her Sex as a Woman, took any Place with her; but she went to Bed, nay and to Sleep, with the hellish Resolution of destroying her Husband; and was so far guilty of intentional Murther, as it is possible for any one to be that had not actually made the At|tempt.

She had not been long asleep but her disturb'd Imagination working still upon the same Subject, she dream'd her self into the very Fact.

Page  146 She dream'd that her Husband came to her, accor|ding to the Message she had sent by Susan; that she entertain'd him with a shew of Tenderness and Kindness; that he kist her, and told her, he was very sorry she would not see him last time he came; that he had resolved to be reconciled to her, and that the Terms should be her own, for he could have no Comfort or Satisfaction without her; that if she was offended; he would ask her Pardon, and would abate all acknowledgment on her Part.

In her very Dream she fancy'd her Conscience re|proach'd her with the reflection upon her Wicked Resolution; and bad her ask her self how she could be so Treacherous to one, that after all she had done, treated her in so obliging a manner.

Yet it seems she got over it all, for though she did not dream of her actually giving him the Poison, and his drinking it; yet, at some distance of Time, for she awaked between, she dream'd she saw her Hus|band and her Two Children lye dead upon the Floor, and that some body ask'd, How it all hap|pened? and a Servant that stood by answer'd, That no body could tell: When on a suddain, she thought she saw a black Cloud, and heard a Voice as loud as Thunder out of it, which said, That wicked Woman, his Wife, has Poison'd him and her own Children, let her be taken, and let her be burn'd.

It is not to be wondred at if she wak'd in a dread|ful Fright; she skreek'd and cry'd in such a manner that frighted all the House; the Servants rise and come to her, and an Ancient Woman in particular, that lay near her Chamber, came in first, and ask'd her, What was the Matter? When they came in she was sitting upright in her Bed, but Trembling and Staring in a dreadful Manner: However, it being some time after her crying out, before they could get out of their Beds to come to her, she was tho|roughly Page  147 awake, and had recover'd her self so far as to know that it was but a Dream, before they ask'd her what was the Matter.

This gave her some immediate Relief, and parti|cularly it brought her to so much presence of Mind as to conceal the Particulars; and when they ask'd her what it was she dream'd? She said, she dream'd her Two Children were murther'd: which was true.

Though she recover'd from her first Surprize, yet she remain'd very ill all the Night, and all the next Day; and particularly was overwhelm'd with Melan|cholly, speaking very little, and receiving no manner of Sustenance: Susan stay'd with her, and endea|vour'd to divert her; but she was capable of re|ceiving no Comfort from her, and often bid her with|draw, and sit in the next Room within Call.

In those Intervals when Susan had left her, she began to reflect upon her self, and would fly out with such Words as these; What a Monster am I? What a length has the Devil gone with me! Murther my Husband! What, my own Flesh and Blood! Nay, and murther my little dear Innocent Children! Horrid Wretch! It's True, I had not intended to murther them: But would it not have been murthering them, to kill their Father? It's true also, I have not murther'd him; but I had ful|ly resolv'd it, my Soul had consented to it, and I am as guilty as if I had done it: Nay, I have been murthering him these three Weeks past, I have murther'd that Peace and Satisfaction which it was my part to preserve and and encrease to him; I have tormented and griev'd his very Soul; I have kill'd all his Joy, all his Comfort that he was to have had in a Wife; I am a Murtherer every way, a vile abominable Monster, and Murtherer.

Then she gave some vent to her Passion by Crying; after which, throwing her self on the Bed, and her Fright and Disorder having kept her waking most part of the Night, she fell asleep, but in so disorder'd Page  148 a Manner, and with so much Confusion upon her Thoughts, that she started every now and then, as if she had been terrify'd with some Apparition.

At length she got up again, and walking about the Room, but still confused with strange Distraction of Thoughts; on a sudden a casual Storm happening abroad, it lightned, and a terrible Clap of Thun|der follow'd; she was so frightned at this, consider|ing the Relation it had to the other part of her Dream, that she swoon'd and fell down on the Floor, with|out speaking a Word.

Susan, who sat in the next Room before, but had come in while she was on the Bed, run and took her up, and lay'd her on the Bed again; but it was long e're they brought her to her self: When she began to come to her self, she asked Susan if she heard the Thunder?

Yes, Madam, says Susan, it was a dreadful Thun|der; and the Lightning was so terrible, Madam, said she, it frighted me out of my Wits.

Mist.

But did you hear nothing but Thunder, Susan?

Sus.

No, Madam; what shou'd I hear?

Mist.

No, did not you hear a Voice?

Sus.

No, Madam, I should have dy'd away, I'm sure, if I had.

Mist.

Well, but I did dye away you see, for I'm sure I heard it.

Sus.

You fright me, Madam; pray what did you hear?

Mist.

A Dreadful Voice, Susan! a Dreadful Voice, Susan!

By this time she was more compos'd, and Susan being inquisitive, she put her off; I don't mean now, Susan, said she, but in my Dream Susan thought she talk'd a little wild with the Fright, and so said no more.

But now the Thunder in her Dream came into her Thoughts; Well, says she, if I had been such a Page  149 horrible monstrous Wretch to have murther'd my Husband, what a Fool had I been also to have thought to conceal it, when a Voice from Heaven should pro|claim it in Thunder and Lightning, to my certain Destruction. She paus'd, and then breaks out again, thus.

"Well, there is certainly some Mighty Power above, something that knows and sees all we Think or Act. I have been a dreadful Creature; for there is cer|tainly a God that knows all Things, and can dis|cover the most secret Designs that we form but in our Thoughts: and I never acknowledg'd him.

And what if he should by such a Voice, discover now that I intended this bloody thing; then I am undone, and should be the very Abhorrence and Loathing of all Mankind.

She went on a while in Private Reflections; at length she breaks out again, And is there a God! said she, How can that be, and I yet alive! Why did not that Clap of Thunder strike me dead! Sure if he is a just God, he could not suffer me to live, I ought to be brought out and burned, as the Voice said of me, for I am a Mur|therer, a Blasphemer, a Despiser of God, an Enemy both to God and Man, a Monster, not a Reasonable Creature.

She liv'd in these Agonies two or three Days, when calling Susan to her one Morning before she was up; Dear Susan, says she, carry me out of this dreadful Place.

Sus.

Carry you out, Madam: Ay, with all my Heart.

Mist.

But whither shall I go?

Sus.

Go, Madam! to your own House, and to your own Family, Madam, where you will be welcome, I am sure, and where my Master longs to have you come.

Mist.

Home Susan! How can I go home! if your Master did me justice he would never let me come within his Doors again.

Page  150
Sus.

Dear Madam, do not afflict your self, and your Family, and more; will you give me leave to let my Master know you intend to come home?

Mist.

Do what you will Susan: But if I sleep ano|ther Night in this wicked Place, I shall be frighted to Death.

Honest Susan sent her Master Word of all that had happen'd, and of all the Discourse, by a very trusty Messenger. But when the Messenger came to his House he was not at home: Susan uneasie, for fear her Mistress's Mind should alter, pack'd up all their things they had, and sending to borrow Sir Richard's Coach, gets her Mistress, who was now wholly in her disposing, and carries her directly home.

It seems Sir Richard and her Husband were gone to deliver the Wretch out of Custody, who they had taken up, she having humbled her self, and promised to use her Endeavour to perswade the other Lady to return home; and it seems she came home to her House just as Susan was helping her Mistress down Stairs. She sent Susan word, she would speak with her Mistress before she went: But Susan bad the Ser|vant tell her, that her Mistress had nothing to say to her. So she came away, brought her Mistress home, carry'd her up Stairs in her Arms, for she was very Ill, and put her to Bed.

When she had done thus, she sent far and near for her Master, but he could not be found a good while, which perplex'd Susan very much: But at last her Master came home, and Sir Richard with him.

Her Master had but just Patience to hear Susan tell part of her Story, and then run up Stairs to his Wife: She was so weak she could hardly raise herself upon the Bed; but she took him in her Arms, ask'd him Pardon in the most passionate Terms, 'till he could bear it no longer; and 'till he oblig'd her to say not a Word more of it. He told her, Sir Richard was be|low. Page  151My Dear, says she, I am not able to speak to him now; but tell him, I am sensible I have used him very Ill; and I will ask him Pardon, and my Lady too.

Sir Richard would fain have seen her; but she de|sired to be excused for that Night, for she was very Ill and desired a little Rest.

She was now brought home to her Family; but as this was not done 'till she was touch'd from Heaven with a Sense of her Sins, so it was evident in her, that the first Effect of real Conviction, is an immediate Return to a Sense of Duty: She had broke over all the Obligations and Bounds of her Conjugal Rela|tion, as a Consequence of her Rebellion against God; and as soon as ever she was struck with a Sense of her Sin against God, it carry'd her immediately back into the Course of her Relative Duty.

We must now leave her for a while, and go back to Sir Richard, who was now as wonderful an In|stance of the Grace of God, as his Sister; and both of them first touch'd with a Sense of their Wicked|ness, by the Deformity and odious Appearance of others worse than themselves; that is to say, he from his Sister, and his Sister from her abominable Com|panion.

Sir Richard, as I observ'd, had been in a very un|comfortable Condition upon the Occasion of his Si|ster's casting out a Text of Scripture in her Discourse, which though she design'd in a Banter, was made a terrible Text to him, (viz.) that the Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination: From whence he fell, first, to examining his own Condition; and with too much Reason, to be sure, concluded himself a wicked abo|minable Person; and from thence he infer'd that he was forbid to pray to God, that his Prayer would but provoke God the more, and be an Abomination.

I have given an Account by what Accident he re|ceiv'd some Comfort. But still he was in great Pain Page  152 of Mind, and most impatient 'till his Brother in Law came home, who, as before, was then gone to London: As soon as he came, they met, and he unbosom'd himself to him, as in the following Dialogue.

Sir Rich.

Dear Brother, I am glad you are come; no Man ever long'd so earnestly for a Friend as I have done for you; I have had no Rest Night or Day for want of you.

Bro.

What's the Matter, Sir Richard? I suppose I guess the Business.

Sir Rich.

I do not think you do.

Bro.

It must be something about my Wife.

Sir Rich.

Not at all; unless it be to tell you, she has done me more good than all the Ministers in En|gland ever did, and is at the same time herself the Wickedest Woman upon Earth.

Bro.

You surprize me with two Extreams; I do not understand you at all.

Sir Rich.

I will explain myself to you presently: You must know, —

Bro.

Dear Sir Richard, before you enter into that, give me leave to interrupt you a little with my own Case; for you may easily see I am come back from London, as it were Express; have left all my Business undone, and could not be easie about my Wife: I had several Letters from my Servants about her wild Conduct, and not a Word from you. I entreat you tell me how my Case stands with her, that I may take some speedy Course about it; for I cannot bear to think of being thus long from her.

Sir Rich.

Indeed Brother, I am sorry I can give you no better an Account of that Part than this (viz.) that she quarrell'd with me, huft my Wife, slighted all I could say or do in order to reconcile Things, and flung away in a Rage from me; and which is worse, she is gone into the Family of an old Companion of hers, that I am sure will make her worse rather than better.

Page  153
Bro.

I have heard all this by Letters, I know that Woman well enough, and have heard much more of her; and having a Hint, that if I went to her House, I should be refus'd the Civility of seeing my Wife, and perhaps ill used too, I have brought my Lord Chief Justice's Warrant to force my way into the House, and to take up that Woman if there be oc|casion.

Sir Rich.

That's very right, and I'm glad of it, for she deserves to be made an Example, on many Accounts. But what will you do with your Wife? When you come to use any Violence with her; I am afraid she will offer you some very provoking thing or other, for she is an outragious Wretch.

Bro.

I resolve to offer her no Violence, but that of Entreaties and earnest Perswasions: If she refuses me, she must be harder-hearted than I can believe she ever was: I'll ask her Pardon, even for those Er|rors which are of her own committing; I'll give up every Dispute, and every Quarrel; I'll beg her on my Knees to come away, to return to her Family, and be reconciled: ALAS! Sir Richard, If she stays there she is ruin'd Body and Soul; her Family is ruin'd, and I am ruin'd; I am resolv'd to get her Home what|ever low Steps I take, or whatever Family-Preroga|tive I give up; I value not those things at all, in Com|parison of the Souls of my Wife, and my Children.

Sir Rich.

I hope you will not give up the main Point; I mean, your Family-Devotion, and your Du|ty to God as a Parent, and as the Head of your Fa|mily?

Bro.

THAT, Sir, is not mine to give; THAT's a Debt, and must be paid; we are oblig'd to it as Creatures, as Rational Creatures, and as Christians; we must reserve THAT as the great Quit-Rent of Nature, to be paid to the Supream Lord of the Man|nor, by all the Tenants; she can't insist upon it; 'tis Page  154 not to be desir'd without Injustice to him that give us all we enjoy, and can give us all we hope for; I perswade my self she will quit that Demand; and ex|cept that, I'll give up every Thing else to her.

Sir Rich.

Well Brother, you deserve a better Wife, I pray GOD give her Repentance, and you the Comfort of her; for you really merit all she can ever be able to do for you.

Bro.

If I can recover her from this cursed House, and get her Home, I am not afraid but she will be a comfortable Wife still; she is in her self a most ex|cellent Person; and if GOD shall ever please to re|claim her, she will be an excellent Christian; she has a most endearing obliging Behaviour, a bright Ge|nius, a vast Extent of Knowledge, a world of Wit, perfectly Mistress of good Breeding, ever way agree|able in Person, and of an untainted Vertue; what room can we have to fear, that GOD shall deny his Grace, where he has been pleased so visibly to pre|pare the Subject for it? For my Part, I have a full Dependance, that she shall be restor'd to me at last.

Sir Rich.

GOD grant you Success, Brother; when do you purpose to go?

Bro.

I would have gone this Afternoon, but seeing we are thus happily met, I'll put it off till Morning, when I suppose I may find them all at home.

Sir Rich.

Who do you take with you Brother? Will you have any of my Servants to help, if need be?

Bro.

I thank you Sir Richard, but I think we are enough, I take two Servants, and your Tenant Page the Constable, perhaps we may want him.

Sir Rich.

Well, I believe you are strong enough; pray let me hear how you speed.

Bro.

You shall not fail of that: But now, Sir, I have interrupted you long enough; pray Sir Richard, be pleas'd to go on now with your own Case, where you left off.

Page  155
Sir Rich.

I think I was telling you I had got a great deal of good by the Preaching of my Sister, and yet that she was at the same Time the wickedest Wo|man on Earth; tho' I think I should have excepted that young Monster, whose House she is now gone to; and I promised to explain my self, which I shall now do.

Here Sir Richard repeats all the several Dis|courses he had with his Sister, and that his Lady had with her, and the Issue of them.
Bro:

Indeed Sir Richard, these are strange Things, and your Sister is gone a great Length; but I see it is all the Effect of the natural Witchcraft, with which our corrupt Inclinations seize upon us in our Youth, when neither GOD's Grace or Parent's Instructions intervene.

Sir Rich.

You are right Brother; it's all want of Education, or rather the Fruit of that hellish Educa|tion we were both of us bless'd with. Alas! Bro|ther, old Sir Richard, my Father, he is in his Grave; he was our Father, and we should cover his Ashes: But this was our Case, he never was the Man that said a Word to us about Religion, or any Thing se|rious in his Life; he perfectly abandon'd us to Nur|ses and Servants, Tutors and Chaplains; who rather gratify'd our Vices, to engage our Affections to them, than instructed or reproved us, when they found us do ill. We had, in a Word, no manner of Educa|tion but that of going to School at first, to do little more than Play and get bad Words.

Bro.

Well, Sir Richard; Grace was promised, and is given to rectify Nature.

Sir Rich.

Ay, come Brother, this is what I want to talk with you about; I have been educated as ill as my Sister, and have gone as great a Length as she can have done; what may I take my Case to be? You have hopes of her, but I have had sad Thoughts about my self.

Page  156
Bro.

Sad and serious Reflections are some of the first Discoveries of GOD's Grace being at Work in the Heart.

Sir Rich.

I wish you would explain your self, what you mean by GOD's Grace, and by its Working in the Heart; I have had something working in my Heart, but I cannot think it to be GOD's Grace.

Bro.

Why so, Sir?

Sir Rich.

Because it was raised there by a wicked Instrument; does the Devil think you work for GOD?

Bro.

GOD can make use of what Instrument he pleases, and can make even the Devil himself in|strumental to his Work; but pray, what mean you by the Devil being an Instrument?

Sir Rich.

Why, I have told you what I mean; how your Sister's artheistical Carriage, and blasphe|mous horrid Expressions made my Blood run chill in my Veins, and my very Heart tremble within me; In seeing her dreadful Condition, my own was re|presented to me, and it made this Reflection in my Thoughts; Lord! what a Wretch am I? this Crea|ture and I am of one and the same Education and Growth in Wickedness, she one way, and I another; it's evident, she is set on Fire of Hell, and I am the same in Kind and in Degree too, only in another manner excited; my Conscience bids me reprove her; but these very Reproofs turn upon me again, and reproach me with most of the same Crimes which I reprove her for.

Bro.

And do you think those Convictions are your own Work, Sir?

Sir Rich.

Nay, when I reprov'd her, and she laugh'd at me, and told me, how odd, how absurd it was out of my Mouth, and what had I to do to talk of Religion, it touch'd my very Soul; which answer'd, as it were within me, That's very true; What have ye to do to tread my Courts, or to take my Name into your Mouths?

Page  157
Bro.

And do you think all these Convictions were your own? Can the Leopard change its Spots, or the Aethiopian his Skin?

Sir Rich.

Why, what can they be then?

Bro.

Depend upon it, and do not slight young Con|victions; it is all the secret Operation of the Spirit, the same we call the Grace of GOD.

Sir Rich.

I wish I was sure of that.

Bro.

I cannot say I will prove it to be the Spirit mathematically, but I'll prove to you that it can be nothing else; Of our selves we can do nothing: Not I, but the Grace of GOD, 1 Cor. 15. 10. When the Di|sciple confess'd the Name of Christ Jesus, what was his Answer; Flesh and Blood has not revealed this unto thee, but my Father,—Mat. 16. 17. GOD reveals himself to our Souls by the powerful Influence of his Spirit; it is the Spirit of GOD that works Convi|ction of Sin, nothing else can do it; believe me, Sir, it is all the free Grace of GOD.

Sir Rich.

You religious People talk so much of the Grace of GOD and the Spirit of GOD, I remem|ber we us'd always to laugh at you for it; and now, tho' I do not laugh at it, yet I do not understand it; pray tell me what you mean by Grace, and by the Spirit; are they all one?

Bro.

No, by no means not all one, and yet joyn'd in the Operation very much.

Sir Rich.

Why, you said just now, these Convicti|ons are the Work of the Spirit, the same that you call the Grace of GOD.

Bro.

It's true, I did so, and yet distinguish.

Sir Rich.

Let me hear how you distinguish them, so as I may reach it.

Bro.

The Divines may make many more Distin|ctions, but I'll only state it, as it relates to your Case: By Grace, I understand the Love and Favour of GOD TO ƲS, with all its Effects and blessed Consequen|ces Page  158 in the Hearts of Men: The original Love of GOD to us, in making us Vessels of Mercy and not of Wrath; in shewing Pity and Compassion to us while we were yet in our Blood, and making us Heirs of Salvation: And then the Love of GOD IN ƲS, working our Souls up even involuntarily and without our own Agency, at least without any that we can account for, to love him, drawing out our Affections, and engaging us to love him. These seem to be distinguish'd by the Grace and the Spirit. Love of GOD to us, must be from his own infinite GRACE; the Love of GOD in us, is the Opera|tion of Grace by the Spirit.

Sir Rich.

I can make little of all this.

Bro.

Sir, this is indeed a Mystery; and a Mystery hid from Ages, but it is revealed to us by the Spirit of GOD: and this I shall prove to you very plainly by the Word of GOD, where the Mystery of the Go|spel is called a Dispensation of Grace; Ephes. 3. 2. If ye have heard of the Dispensation of the Grace of GOD. Ver. 3. How that by Revelation he made known to me the Mystery. Ver. 5. Which in other Ages was not made known to the Sons of Men, as it is now revealed by the Spirit. Here it is evident, the Mystery of GOD's Goodness and Love to a lost World, is call'd the Grace of GOD; the revealing this, is called a Dis|pensation of Grace; and the Revealer the blessed A|gent, is the Spirit of GOD.

Sir Rich.

But what is the Mystery? You read there, that he made known a Mystery, and this Mystery is revealed by the Spirit; pray what Mystery is that?

Bro.

Be pleas'd to read on, Sir, Ver. 5. That the Gentiles should be Fellow-Heirs, and Partakers of the Promise in Jesus Christ. This was the Mystery of the Gospel, and is therefore called the Revelation of Go|spel Grace. The Case was thus: The Promises of GOD were at first all made to the Jews, and they Page  159 understood all the rest of the World to be excluded: But now when by the Coming and Suffering of Jesus Christ, the Vail of the Temple was rent, and the Se|paration taken away, Men were call'd upon every where to repent, and were taught, that they should be all equally made Children by Adoption, as if they had been so by Birth; and if Children, then Heirs. This was the Mystery of the Gospel, and was now laid open, and was revealed by the Spirit of GOD; signifying, that the Gentiles were made Partakers of the Promise in Christ, by the Gospel.

Sir Rich.

And how do you bring this down to my Case?

Bro.

Very clearly thus: That the Convictions of Sin upon your Mind, all the Reflections you make upon your past Life, be they occasion'd by what Con|currence of Causes soever; all the secret Aversions and Abhorrence of past Follies, and every secret De|sire to alter, amend, and change your Course; every degree of Regret, Shame and Self-Reproach, which (as you will find) your Thoughts will be fill'd with on these Occasions, are a Degree of the Dispensation of the Grace of GOD to you; revealed to, or wrought in you by his Spirit.

Sir Rich.

And does this Grace and this Spirit work these Convictions, and these repenting Thoughts, and these Resolutions to reform in our Minds, by an in|voluntary Agency, and without our Concurrence?

Bro.

Dear Sir, let me be very cautious of running you so early, into those dangerous Niceties and Di|stinctions between what we can do, and our being able to do nothing. It is most true, that we can do nothing as we ought to do: But we are commanded to repent, to break off our Sins, to cease to do evil, to learn to do well; these are all Scripture-Expres|sions, and the Bible is full of them. Be it then, that the Spirit works this all in us, before we can do Page  160 any Thing, ot be it that our Duty and Endeavour is accepted, or at least our concurring with his Work; certainly we are bid to work, to give diligent heed; we are called upon to turn to GOD, and to pray; and it is our Duty: Let the Operations of invisible Grace be what they will, and direct how they will, we must be labouring and working, that this Grace of GOD may not be in vain. Nay, this very Grace of GOD prompts us to do thus, as is expresly said, Tit. 2. 11, 12. The Grace of GOD that bringeth Sal|vation, hath appeared unto all Men, teaching us, that denying Ʋngodliness and worldly Lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present World: So that we are not allowed, on Pretence of the Spirit working all in us, to sit still and do nothing; this would be to sin, because Grace abounds.

Sir Rich.

I begin to understand you, and what you say affects my Mind wonderfully; especially when you put me in hopes, that these secret Struggles I feel, are from an Operation of the Spirit of GOD. But is that possible? Will the Spirit of GOD work such things in the Mind of one so harden'd, so abandon'd to all that's wicked, as I have been!

Bro.

He not only will, but often does; nay often chooses to do it; and that for many Reasons, I mean, Reasons that we can account for, besides such as are alone known to himself; such as the glorifying the Power of his Grace, in conquering his Enemies and magnifying the Sovereignty of his Grace in taking and chusing how, who, and where he pleases.

Sir Rich.

But was there ever such a Creature wrought on before as I am, one chosen out from so many, of whom none half so scandalous? It can never be.

Bro.

Not you Sir! why Mary Magdalen! why the Publican! why the crucify'd Malefactor! why many glorious Examples of sovereign Grace! For this reason it is called FREE GRACE; and we find Page  161 the Scripture full of Reasons for this Method, of laying hold of the worst and greatest Sinner; the Whole need not the Physician: It's true, this is meant of those who had Conceit of their being whole, as the Pharisee; but it reaches the Case we are upon: Christ came as the Physician, to heal those who were most dangerously sick; to justify such Publicans as durst not go up to the Temple to pray; to receive such Pro|digals who were yet afar off.

Sir Rich.

None of all the Instances I have read of come up, in my Opinion, to mine; I have run such a horrid Course of all kinds of Wickedness, that I see none of them can come up to it: I will not doubt but as you say, infinite Goodness can forgive more Sins than a finite Being can commit. But when I come to the Question, whether HE WILL, it does not seem rational to me to expect it.

Bro.

Why Sir? If I were sure you were the great|est Sinner that ever was suffer'd to live on the Earth, I should think it would be a Reason, why I should expect the Grace of GOD should single you out, to make you a Miracle of Divine Goodness, that none after you might be capable of being discourag'd, when they had such an Example to support them.

Sir Rich.

If I were sure the Grace and Spirit of GOD were at work in my Heart, I confess the Greatness of my past Wickedness would not so much terrify me; I should seem like a Man fallen among Murderers, and a powerful Troop came in to his Assistance; at whose coming all the Thieves and Villains trembled, and would be unavoidably taken Prisoners, and the Man be deliver'd. But how shall I know it?

Bro.

Try the Spirits; see if the Work be for GOD, if so, 'tis certainly from GOD.

Sir Rich.

You must explain your self, I am as ig|norant in those things as a little Child; and you see Page  162 I expose my Ignorance to you without any Scruple: You must talk to me as if you were instructing a Child; all my Infant-Work is yet to do.

Bro.

My Meaning is this: You have had Convicti|ons upon your Mind for some Time; you have been mov'd to reflect upon your self for the Wicked|ness of your past Life; and to speak of those things you us'd to call Pleasures, with the greatest Con|tempt; and of your Delight in them with the greatest Detestation: I do not doubt you were sincere in it, you had no occasion to be otherways with me.

Sir Rich.

My Sincerity to you, I hope, admits no Question; whether my Heart may not be insincere and deceive me, that I cannot answer for.

Bro.

That's what I'm upon; I say, Try the Spirits, whether do all these Motions tend? Do they carry you on to humble Repentings for Sin past, and holy Resolutions for time to come? If this Work puts you forward to Reformation, to a change of Life, to a Love of the Name and Ways of God, and of the People of God; in a Word, if it apparently directs to Holiness, it is the Work of the Spirit of God, there is no room to doubt it; 'tis a Dispensation of the Grace of God to you, by the Operation of the Spirit: It must be so, there is no other Influence either able, or by the Nature of things enclin'd to work in such a Manner; and you have great Reason to rejoyce in it.

Sir Rich.

Alas! I rejoyce! is it possible for me to hope? and without Hope is there any rejoycing?

Bro.

The lower you are in the Esteem of your Pe|nitent Thoughts, the nearer you are to the Gate of Hope: Remember the Publican, he durst not go forward to the Temple to Pray.

Sir Rich.

There you touch my very Soul again: why that wicked Creature wounded me there so deep that it entirely robb'd me of all my Hope; she was Page  163 a true Instrument of the Devil in that; for as he is in the worst kind of Despair himself, he labours to push every one else into the same Condition; that in their Reflections upon Sin, they may commit the more; for I am very sensible 'tis a great Sin to de|spair, 'tis a Dishonour to the Power and Omnipoten|cy of Divince Mercy.

Bro.

I suppose that was, when she banter'd pro|phanely about your praying to God for her, and told you 'twould signifie nothing.

Sir Rich.

That had been nothing; for what signi|fied the Words of a foolish enraged Creature: But when she repeated that Scripture, The Prayer of the Wicked is an Abomination to the Lord; it was like a Dart struck through the Liver. I knew that was the Word of God, tho' it was spoken out of the Mouth of an Evil Messenger; my Heart sunk within me at the Words; I quitted talking to her as soon as possi|ble, and while I did talk I hardly minded what I said, my Thoughts were so harrass'd; then I came out to seek for you, but you were gone to London, and what to do I knew not.

Bro.

I am very sorry I was gone; but I hope the same Spirit of God, who was working Convictions in your Mind, gave you Comfort.

Sir Rich.

Indeed Brother I receiv'd but small Com|fort; I look'd upon my self in the same Condition as King Saul was, when he said, the Philistines were upon him, and God was departed from him; the Weight of my Convictions lay upon me, and I look'd upon my self as shut out from the Gate; one whom God would not hear, as Saul said; and that in a Word, that I was forbid to pray to him; and it wrought such a Dejection upon my Mind, that I could scarce hold up; my Wife and all my Family took notice of it.

Bro.

It was well no strong Temptation presented Page  164 while you were under those Troubles.

Sir Rich.

I suppose they were really Temptations, for I was often press'd in my Thoughts to give over my Concern about it, to go to the Tavern, or a Vi|siting, or a Hunting, and drive away these melan|cholly Thoughts: But it was all like Musick to a sor|rowful Heart, that serv'd but to make it more heavy; and I had no taste of those things, though they were formerly my greatest Delight: But all that follow'd me during this whole time, was the Words of the Publican, whose Story you mention'd just now, and the Words would often break from me with a kind of involuntary Emotion, Lord be Merciful to me a Sinner.

Bro.

Very well; and was it not the Powerful Grace of God think you, that preserv'd those Aversions in you against your former Delights; that took away your Taste of those Things, and the Gust of your Appetite from your Pleasures; that season'd your Soul with Godly Sorrow, that by the Sadness of the Countenance the Heart might be made better? Dare you say that it was by your own Strength, that those things which were doubtless laid in your way as Snares, proved no Temptation to you?

Sir Rich.

My Strength! How is it possible that I should have the least Strength to any thing that is Good, who have given up my self to all that's wick|ed, through the whole Course of my Life?

Bro.

Very well. Then the Powerful Grace of God must have supplied you: Give him the Honour of his own Work; let him have all the Praise.

Sir Rich.

How can I praise him, that cannot pray to him; that am not admitted to take his Name into my Mouth: Whose Prayer is an Abomination? Why he may strike me dead if I should offer to look up to him. How can I praise him?

Bro.

That's all a Delusion of the Devil; and I must Page  165 say, 'tis one of his most old-fashion'd Temptations. You said, it came out of the Mouth of one of his Agents; did you not? Why should you then suffer it to take any hold of you?

Sir Rich.

It is the Word of God for all that.

Bro.

Yes, so it was the Word of God with which the Devil tempted the Son of God; his second Temp|tation was supported in that manner, For it is written, or, Thus saith the Lord; which is the same Thing: But you must explain one Scripture by another, and take the Word of God in the General Meaning, as well as in the Literal Expression.

Sir Rich.

These are things I understand not. Is not the Thing Plain? Are not the Words Express? If they have any other Signification, let me hear it.

Bro.

It is true, a wicked Man, while resolving to continue in his Sins, his Prayer is an Abomina|tion; the Reason is evident: He mocks God, and the Word is express in that, God will not be mocked; that is, it is an Abomination to him to be mocked, he will revenge it, and do his own Honour Ju|stice.

Sir Rich.

Is this the true meaning of that Place; and how shall I be satisfied that it is so?

Bro.

By farther searching into the Scriptures, and by the general Purpose of God in the Gospel. It is evident, the whole Scope of the Gospel, and of the Dispensation of Grace, which I have mention'd be|fore, is to perswade Sinners to Repent and Turn to God. Innumerable Texts might be quoted to con|vince you of this; but it seems needless: If Sinners are to turn to God, and yet are shut out from God, from praying for his Grace to turn them, and for his Pardon; how shall they turn?

Sir Rich.

That's very true; but shew me some op|posite Case to this, that may overthrow the Force of its Literal Sense.

Page  166
Bro.

I'll shew you several; first, take the Story of Simon the Sorcerer; an eminent Case, and exactly the Opposite to what you are upon; Simon was a WICK|ED Man, that must be allow'd to an Extream, be|yond what can be thought of here; a Sorcerer, a Con|jurer, one that dealt immediately with the Devil, of whom the Apostle testifies afterward, that he was in the Gall of Bitterness, and the Bond of Iniquity, and that his Heart was not right in the Sight of God. If any Man alive was in the Predicament of One whose Prayer is an Abomination, Simon was the Man: Yet observe what Peter, the blessed Preacher of Repen|tance, says to him, Acts 8. 22. Repent therefore of this thy Wickedness, and Pray God, if perhaps the Thought of thine Heart may be forgiven thee. Now Sir, what think you? May Simon the Sorcerer pray to God, and may not you?

Sir Rich.

You have brought a strange Case, I con|fess, and it grows upon my Mind, if I take you right, it is thus, then; That if I am convinc'd of my Sin, regret my past Life, and in a sincere Abhorrence of my past Offences, resolve to reform and become a New Man, I may be assur'd that I am permitted to pray to God; to ask Pardon, Blessing, Assistance, Support, and every thing that I want.

Bro.

You have stated it right, and I am sure, I have the Authority of God's Word to confirm it: I'll give you the same Text which was mention'd in our for|mer Discourse, which you said you found in the Book about reading the Scriptures, 1. Isaiah 15. There are 5 Verses, from 11. to the 16. full of God's Ab|horrence of, and Abominating the Sacrifices, that is, the Prayers of Men who continued in their Sins; the last runs thus, When ye spread forth your Hands I will hide mine Eyes from you; yea, when ye make many Prayers, I will not hear. This is a dreadful Scripture; what can be the Reason of it? the next Words explain it, Page  167Your Hands are full of Blood. This is plain, full of Sin unrepented of, and Sins to come resolved on; to what purpose can such Creatures pray?

But read the next Verse, and there you see the Terms on which GOD is always ready to hear the worst of Sinners; Ver. 16, 17. Wash ye, make you clean, put away the Evil of your Doings from before mine Eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well: Come now, let us reason together. The meaning of this is as clear as the Light; come repenting, resolving to break off from your Sins, and GOD will then accept your Offering: and then follows the gracious Promise; Tho' your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be whiter than Snow, &c.

Sir Rich.

Dear Brother; blessed be GOD for these Scriptures, and GOD's Blessing be upon you for your clear and comforting Exposition. Now I see my Way clear, I see the Gate of Heaven open'd, it must be my own Fault, if I do not fly thither for Help and Comfort; I am sure I am a Penitent; for my Soul abhors the Sins of my past Life; and if he that has wrought this Part in me, will support my Mind in the Pursuit of it, I hope I shall continue to abhor it. And this is what I shall pray for with as earnest a Desire, even as for Pardon it self.

Sir Richard discover'd all the while he was speaking, a strange unusual Satisfaction and Joy in his Discourse; and when he had done, he embrac'd him very affectionately.
Bro.

GOD give you the Comfort of it.

Sir Rich.

But I am a most ignorant Creature in all these things.

Bro.

I would recommend earnestly to you, the Reading of the Scriptures, and searching for the Meaning and Coherence of every Thing, one with another. Study them, as well as read them; and as they are a Treasure of Wisdom and heavenly Know|ledge, Page  168 you will encrease apace in Knowledge and Experience.

Sir Rich.

I have a great deal of work to do, I have a wicked Heart to struggle with and reform, wicked Habits to correct, a wicked Course of Con|versation to change, a wicked Wife to perswade and win over, if possible; a wicked Family to reform and correct: Alas! what Work is here for me to do, Brother?

Bro.

Sir, your Zeal for a holy religious Life, will make all those things easy.

Sir Rich.

But this is the Consequence of late Re|pentance, Brother; how happy are they, and how much less Struggle have they who look into their own Hearts early, and begin this Work betimes; so much earlier is their Work, and so much greater their Re|ward.

Bro.

That's very true, but you are not of the la|test, you are but a young Man, not two and thirty; you may have many Days to live, and may if GOD please, be an Honour to his Ways, and be honour'd by him, to be a great Encouragement to others to look up to him, tho' it should be later than you do it: I wish the eminent Appearance of GOD's Grace in your Case, may be made use of as a Summons to other Gentlemen, to turn their Eyes inward and see into their Follies, and into the wretched Life most of them live at this time.

Sir Rich.

Alas! Brother, you don't know that sort of People; there is a strange kind of Pride among them of late, for I do not think it was so formerly, that makes them think Religion below their Quality.

Bro.

My Wife told me so indeed once, in our Dis|putes, that Gentlemen never meddle with such Things; that it was inconsistent with good Breed|ing; that it was fit for Parsons indeed; and that if I would set up to be Chaplain, and say Prayers in the Page  169 Family, I should put on the Chaplain's Gown too, and take Orders. But I minded none of these things.

Sir Rich.

No, neither will I mind them; but this I tell you, I must be a Recluse, and keep no Com|pany; I must leave off visiting Sir Harry C— and Col. Bra—, I must go no more a Hunting, nor meet the Club at —, I am no Company for these People now; and I am sure they will be none for me.

Bro.

I hope you will not find so much Loss in that as you may imagine.

Sir Rich.

It's no Grievance to me at all, there is nothing in all the Mirth that I have been given up to, but what is now as nauteous to me as ever it was pleasant. The Wit, the Gayety, and the Revelling which they use still, and which was my whole Em|ploy, is to me so disagreeable, and has been so for this Week past, that I cannot bear the Thoughts of it.

Bro.

I hope, Sir, you will find better Entertain|ment in Things of another Nature.

Sir Rich.

I know not what I may attain to, as to the Comfort of a religious Life Brother, that's a very remote Thing to me yet; but I am sure I have Work of another kind before me, I have Business enough to employ me more Years than I can life; to mourn for the Vanity and abhorr'd Practices I have liv'd in for thirty Years past.

Bro.

But that Affliction will have more Joy in it than all the Pleasures of Sin, which are indeed Plea|sures of but a short Continuance. There is a Plea|sure in Repentance, which none can describe but they who have had the Experience of it, and which none can give but he alone, who gives Repentance.

Sir Rich.

I know nothing of that yet, but this I know, I have more secret Joy in my Mind from this Reflection, viz. that a stop is put to that hellish wretched Course of Life I have liv'd for some Years past, than all the Enjoyment of this World ever was Page  170 able to give; and I would not exchange that Joy for all that I can see with my Eyes. Methinks I am like one Shipwreck'd, and that being sunk twice in the Water, is taken by the Hair of the Head by some kind unlook'd-for Hand, just in the Moment as he was sinking the last Time, and brought up into a Boat and set on Shore.

Bro.

Or as a Brand snatch'd out of the Burning.

Sir Rich.

I am like one taken off of a Rack, and laid in a Bed of Roses; I never knew what it was to have the least Enjoyment before, without the Gnawings of that Worm that never dies, without a Fire burning in my Soul, even the same Flame that shall never be quench'd: Do they call it Pleasure! I am astonish'd now to think how I did to call it so my self; for I had nothing but Bitterness and Reflection in it all. How often have I torn my Flesh almost for Rage, at my being so much a Fool to be drunk, and for several other little Follies which those Excesses were often attended with; and yet in all that, there was no Repentance; no Sense of its being a Sin a|gainst GOD; no Thought of its being injurious to my Soul; no regard to its being a Fire, that in the End would burn into the lowest Hell.

Bro.

Blessed be GOD, Sir, you see now with o|ther Eyes, and discern Things as they really are; then you saw with the Eyes of a corrupted Appetite, now you see with the enlightned Opticks of a Peni|tent: Then you were darken'd with the Mist and Vapours of Ignorance: now I hope your Soul is illuminated with the Beams of heavenly Grace, may that Grace encrease, and encrease your Comfort, that you may arrive to that Joy and Peace in believing, which the Scripture speaks so much of.

Sir Rich.

Well Brother, I have Cause to bless GOD for you, and for every Occasion that I have had to converse with you; nay, even for the Conversa|tion Page  171 I have had with my wicked Sister, your Wife. GOD restore her to you a true Convert, shew her the Wickedness of her Heart, and the horrid Spirit she is possess'd with, and give her as much cause to rejoice in you as a Husband, as I have to rejoice in you as a Brother.

Bro.

Do not lay any Part of this happy Turn upon my Agency, it is all the soveraign Grace of GOD, 'tis due to him; there pay your Praises, and rejoice in him evermore.

Sir Rich.

Blessed be the Day you ever came into our wretched Family; it was a bold venture Bro|ther, and I have often wonder'd how you that were a good Man, and had been quite otherwise educa|ted, could think of marrying into such a Brood of Hell-Hounds as we were.

Bro.

Do not call your self and your Sister such Names; I acknowledge it was what I cannot advise any Body to venture upon; I mean, to match with|out any regard to religious Qualifications; and I have had my Affliction too by it, that you know; tho I can|not but hope still it will end well: As for your self, you know I had always other Thoughts of you than you had of your self; and you know, Sir, I told you so too, and Providence has made my Prediction good.

Sir Rich.

I wish we may make it all up to you, and I assure you nothing shall be wanting on my Part.

It pleased GOD this Gentleman did not live many Years; but while he did live, he encreas'd in Wis|dom and Knowledge, and the Fear of GOD; he reform'd his House, brought up his Children in a most excellent and Christian Manner, and made a most exact Regulation in his Family; and he did this with so much Conduct, and behaved to all Men so much like himself, and so far from any thing melan|choly, phlegmatical or sullen, which are the Ex|tremes Page  172 which some in such Cases run into, that he recommended a Christian Life to all round him; his Companions honoured his Reformation, tho they had not the Grace to imitate it: All good Men valued him; and even those that had no Religion them|selves, spoke well of him; he made a happy and a comfortable End; and his eldest Son, who enjoys his Estate, is a sober well enclin'd Gentleman, that pro|mises to be one of whom his Father, if he had liv'd, would have seen no Cause to be asham'd.

Brief Notes on the foregoing three Dialogues.

I Should make no Notes upon these Dialogues, the Book being so crowded that I can very ill spare Room for them, but I am aware that Differences be|tween Men and their Wives are such nice Things to handle, that it will be very difficult to avoid the Censure of some People on one Side or other: The LADIES, if they are enclin'd to find Fault, will per|haps say, I am partial to the Sex, and give them the worst End of the Staff, making them more the Oc|casion of Family-Breaches than their Husbands; and making their Husbands treat them so much more ten|derly and religiously than most Husbands in such provoking Cases do; that it looks as if I was teach|ing Men how to manage their Wives.

The Men perhaps may on the other hand, com|plain, that I have treated them ill; which I shall an|swer in its Place, when I come to speak of passionate Fathers and Husbands; which when the same Ladies read also, they will be less apt to think me partial.

But to speak to every Thing in its Place thro' this whole Part, it will be easy for an impartial Eye to di|scern the Design of the Work; which is this, and no other, (viz.) to let every one have something for their own Caution and Direction.

Page  173 (1.) The wretched Trifles which are sometimes the Occasion of fatal Breaches in Families; how simply, how weakly, and indeed how wickedly such People act when they run little Family Bickerings up by rash and imprudent Degrees, from such unforeseen Be|ginnings, and by such hasty and bitter Words, to real Quarrels.

And (2.) how such Quarrels, however small in their Beginnings, are oftentimes fatal in their Con|sequences to the whole Family.

In the managing these Breaches will be discover'd, how particularly fatal they are to all Family-Religi|on; how destructive to that most essential Part of it, I mean, Family-Worship; and how ruinous in the Example to Children, Servants, and all that are any way acquainted with, or concern'd in the Family: These Things being not only the chief, but indeed the true and only Design of these Dialogues, I can|not but hope that all impartial Readers will keep their Eyes principally upon that Part; and then they will not enquire which Side the Story bears hardest upon, the Man or the Woman. I hope both may see their Duty here, and yet before they come to the End of the Book, I believe the Women will find the History will do Justice to their Sex too, and that it will appear, as I believe, (without Flattery) is true in general, that there are more religious Wives than re|ligious Husbands. I wish and pray, that what is re|lated here may increase the Number of both.

Another Instruction I cannot omit to repeat here, and to press Husbands again to observe it; and this I profess to be the true Reason of bringing the Story of two deficient Wives upon the Stage (viz.) that as it is true, that Husbands and Masters of Families too often make use of Trifles as Occasions to them to omit their Duty, SO they too often throw the Blame of it up|on their Wives. Here now they will be mov'd to Page  174 see, (1.) That in the Case of real Provocation and Opposition, and that of the worst Kinds, even of Wives despising and mocking at it, they are yet by no means justify'd in laying down and omit|ing their Duty. (2.) How much less then should they seek Occasions and Pretences to argue them|selves out of their Duty, and load their Wives with the Blame, when indeed the Occasion is in themselves.

But the most useful and most significant Thing to be learn'd out of this Part of the Work, and which e|qually concerns both Husbands and Wives, is studi|ously to avoid sudden Cavils and Disputes between themselves about Trifles, in which often the Devil blowing the Coals, the Passions take Fire, and it en|creases to a terrible Flame; when perhaps neither Side had at first the least Design or Thought of a Quarrel.

I perswade my self, none are so insensible of the Truth of the Occasion as to say, it does not often so happen: Perhaps in our Story, the Husbands are brought in talking more mildly and patiently than most Husbands do, and as some may think, than most Husbands can do in like Cases of Provocation. BƲT let none be offended at that, for this is so far from a Compliment to the Men, that it is really a Satyr up|on them; letting them see, how they OƲGHT to act in the worst Cases; and giving their Wives too much Occasion to show them the real Difference between what they do and what they should do: And if on the other hand, some Wives here are brought in as ex|ceedingly and more than ordinarily provoking; the Application is still against the Husbands, who too often are less patient, when their Pretence of Provo|cation does nothing near come up to this Copy.

The End of the First Part.
Page  [unnumbered]

THE Family Instructor → .

PART II.

_THERE liv'd in the City of London, a Family circumstanc'd in the follow|ing manner: The Master of the Fami|ly was a substantial trading Man, a|bove the World, as we say, a Man in very flourishing Circumstances, that got Money apace, and had the Prospect of raising a good Estate for his Children, by his Trade; he had a very small Beginning, but what he had was raised from little or nothing, being the Fruit of God's Blessing upon a great deal of Industry, and about 30 Years Application.

He had been marry'd to a very good Wife: But she dy'd too early to have any great share in the E|ducation of her Chilren, the eldest being not above seven years Old when they lost their Mother.

The Man was a sober honest Man, made an Ap|pearance of being very Religious; by his general Conduct had obtain'd a very good Character, and was well respected among his Neighbours: But in his Page  176 Family he could by no means pass for a Man of the best Temper in the World: He was froward and waspish, very positive and hasty, soon put into a Passion, and very unhappily rash, and violent in his Passion; and, as to such Tempers it often happens, he fail'd not oftentimes both to do and say Things in his Passion, which he would be very sorry for when his Temper cool'd: When he came to himself, he was convinc'd, as we shall see in his Story, that he had taken wrong Measures: and that being hurry'd on by the Torrent of his Passions, he had been less a Man, less a Christian, less a Friend, less a Neighbour, less a Parent, than he ought to have been; and in a Word, that almost all his Children were ruin'd, or injur'd, and he robbed of the Comfort of them, by the Mistakes committed in their Education, and by the Heat of his misguided Anger.

Yet the Man was of himself, and when himself, an Excellent Person, extreamly affectionate and ten|der; lov'd his Children, and meant every thing for their Good: But wanting Judgment to direct him|self in the Government of his Family, not choosing out proper Persons to advise with in the doing it, and then being impatient in bearing the Excursions of his Children, who, for want of early Discipline, oon grew ungovernable: These Things all conspir'd to make him very unhappy, and his Children too; and his Unhappiness appeared in nothing more than this, that none of his Children gave him any hopes of their Behaviour; nor indeed could they, unless they forc'd their Way, as it were, over the Belly of their Father's Injunctions, and seem'd disobedient to him in his most Positive, and almost Tyrannical Fa|mily Government.

This Case before me, of the Citizen and his Family, had many Things in it very unhappy both to the Parent and to the Children, which a little early Page  177 Conduct might have prevented in both, viz.

The want of a Mother in the Family, was a Mis|fortune both to the Father and to the Children; tho' as Things were manag'd, the Father supplied that Want as well as in such a Case could be expected, committing his Children to a good, grave, sober, and religious Woman, a near Relation of his Wife's; who was poor, and depended upon him, and who he pla|ced in a kind of Superintendency over his Family, while his Children were very young.

This Gentlewoman was diligent in the Govern|ment of his House, as could be expected; faithful, frugal, and to the best of her Judgment, manag'd eve|ry thing both for his Advantage, and the Advantage of his Family. But as she neither had the Obliga|tion, much less the Affection of a Mother; so nei|ther had she the Temper, the Patience, the Concern, which are natural to the Conduct of a Mother; neither had her Authority an Influence upon the Children equal to that of a Mother; and besides, she was as Passionate as the Father.

However, while they were little, Things went pret|ty well in the Family; she took a Houswifely Care of them as to Food, Cloathing, Physick, and the like: But alas! when we come to talk of the Duty of a Mother, in the more serious Part of Children's Education, such as instilling betimes Religious Prin|ciples; forming early Ideas of the Nature of God, and of our Homage and Duty to him; the Power of Perswasion, to prevail calmly on the Minds of Children by Argument, suitable to their Capacities, and suited to their Temper; watching over them with an Affectionate Care, lest they receiv'd Evil Impressions from the Company and Example of o|thers; warning them, reproving them, restraining them, gently drawing them off from the Evil, and engaging them by all the Arts, and honest Sub|tilties Page  178 of an Affectionate Mother, to what was their Duty; these, in which consists very much of the Advantages of Education, were all wholly wanting.

I will not say it was wanting from the Negligence of the Person, so much as from a kind of Natural Impossibility: Perhaps these things cannot be found in any thing but a Parent, as being built upon the Affections and Tenderness of a Mother only; and capable of being form'd upon no other Foundation than that of Nature, and natural Duty.

On the contrary to this, the Children were brought up in a general Way, without much Judgment, and with no great Assistance from Affection. The Fa|ther, a Man of Business, left it wholly to his Go|verness, and found himself little concern'd, but up|on any of her Complaints, to correct them; which he did in a Manner that seem'd rather to be the Ef|fect of his Passion, than of a meek and calm Affecti|on for their Good; which is the main, and perhaps the only just End of Correction.

This intemperate Conduct of the Father, had a double Effect upon the Children: (1.) that it caused them to hate the Government, and even the Person of their House Tyrant (such they call'd her when they grow up.) who they look'd upon as the malicious Cause of their Father's Anger, which often appear'd to be ag|gravated by her Manner of representing Things to him; when a candid and just Information, perhaps, would have had a different Effect. (2.) It made their Father terrible to them, by which they stood in a kind of Awe of him, far different from what was Filial, and which consists with the Duty and Affecti|on of Children; but help'd to estrange them rather than engage them: And they grew up by these de|grees to shun their Father as a furious dreadful Go|vernour, and not at all either to desire or delight in him; which is the only effectual Method to enforce Page  179 the Commands and Instructions of a Father upon his Children.

As this estrang'd the Children from their Father, so in increas'd his Severity to them; and in a Word, there was so little Calmness on one side, and so little Instruction on the other, that in a manner it wore out what we call Affection, on both sides; especially that endearing Part which alone unites the Souls of Pa|rents and Children, and which so much assists in the Instructing of Children, as to give a far greater Force to the Words of a dear and tender Parent, to a loving, dutiful and affectionate Child, than can be possible in the Blows and Stripes of a Father govern|ing by his Authority purely; for as Reproof enters far|ther into a wise Man, than an Hundred Stripes into as Fool; so doubtless the Perswasions, the Arguments, the Obligation of a Father to a Child, when once that Child is convinc'd that his Father loves him, acts for his Advantage, and aims wisely for his Good on|ly, must go a great way farther with an Ingenious Temper, than meer Blows with Passion and Heat of Anger can ever do.

The Father too late found his Mistake, and that his Passion in Correcting his Children had quite ruin'd all that which was to be call'd Instruction; that they were rather terrify'd and frighted at his Fury, than influenced by his Perswasion: That this way of treating them was so far from engaging their Affecti|ons to him, or making them love and delight in him, that it made them shun and avoid him; that his An|ger being so much their Terror, it made his Compa|ny their Aversion, and they were always mute when he came into the Room to them.

By this he lost all the Power of Instruction, his Ar|guments made no Impression upon their Reason; his Perswasions were of, no Force to byass their Inclina|tions; nay, it rather obstructed their Compliance, Page  180 and created an Aversion to the Precepts of their Fa|ther, from the dislilke they had to his passionate U|sage of them: As he had made his Passion the Me|dium of his Government, so their Fear was the Me|dium of their Obedience; and this was so far from winning upon the Judgment of his Children, that it rather stupifyed their Understandings, and made them incapable of getting Good by the Instructions of their Parents.

It happen'd one time, that a good grave Christian, a Neighbour of this Man's, coming by his House, heard a terrible Noise of Blows, and the Cries of a Boy mingled with the Voice of a Man, threatning, calling Names, and saying on Blows in an unusual Manner; and guessing what it was, for he knew the Disposition of the Person, he knocks hard at the Door.

Knocking at the Door gave the poor Boy some Re|lief, for the Father leaves off beating his Son, and comes with a little Cane in his Hand to open the Door, but so out of Breath that he could scarce speak. The good Neighbour made the Discourse of some o|ther Business serve for the Reason of his Knocking at the Door, and did not seem to purpose speaking of the Case in Hand: But after other Discourse acci|dental, the Father presented him an Opportunity; for when he began to speak of other Business, he be|gan to talk of his wicked Son, as he call'd him, and of his own Heat, thus:

Fa.

Sit down Neighbour, says the Father, for I am so out of Breath with this young Villain, that I can hardly talk to you;—let me blow a little: And thus the Dialogue came in.

Neigh.

I think you are out of Breath indeed; What have you been Fighting?

Fa.

Yes, I have been Fighting, as you may call it, a young Rogue! I think I have dress'd him! he has not been Cudgell'd so this Fortnight.

Page  181 The Father holds his Sides, and puffs and blows, and hardly recovers his Breath.
Neigh.

O but you have beat the Child too much.

Fa.

Too much! Hang him! a Young Villain! I han't given him half enough.

Neigh.

But han't you done him some Mischief?

The Boy is crying all this while most dismally.
Fa.

Mischief! I'll Mischief him! I'll give him twice as much before I have done with him.

Still puffing, and out of Breath.
Neigh.

Is he your own Child?

Fa.

My own! yes, yes, he is my own, the more is my Sorrow; he may come to the Gallows for all that.

Neigh.

O, then it is well enough if he be your own.

Fa.

Why is it well enough?

Neigh.

Because then I take all you say to be in Jest.

Fa.

Why so?

Neigh.

Why you would not talk thus, as hang him, and I'll mischief him, and such as that, in Earnest; seeing he is your own Child.

Fa.

No, no, I would not hang him, I would keep him from being hang'd.

Neigh.

Then you should not beat him in such a Manner as you do.

Fa.

Why in such a Manner?

Neigh.

Why you make your self dreadful to the Child, and that's the way to drive him to Extremi|ties; and that again is the Road to his Destruction.

Fa.

Ay, ay, let him come to Extremities, I'll venture that.

Neigh.

You are not qualify'd to correct a Child in this Temper.

Fa.

Why so?

Neigh.

You are in a great Passion.

Fa.

A Passion! this Rogue would put any Man in|to a Passion! why he has been gone this Hour of an Errand, but to carry a Letter to a Neighbour, two Page  182 or three Doors off here, at the upper End of the Street; and here he pretends to me Mr. — was not at home, and that he went to him to a Tavern I know not where, almost as far as the Bridge; but I am as sure 'tis a Lye, as if I had been with him.

Boy.

I am sure 'tis not a Lye, for I did go to him there.

Fa.

Sirrah, do ye prate! I'll be with you again presently.

He holds up his Cane again at the Boy.
Neigh.

Well, come Neighbour, lay aside your Pas|sion for the Present, and let us go take a Pint of Wine somewhere, for I have a Mind to talk a little with you.

The Neighbour was willing to put a Casual Stop to his Passion, and to Discourse a little with him about it.
Fa.

Well, I'll go with you; but I'll give you your Hire before I sleep yet Sirrah, I will so.

Turning to the Boy, and shaking his Cane at him again.

All this while his Family Governess was standing at the Stair-head, and finding he had left off, cries out, Why don't you pay him? Why don't you pay him? You han't given him half enough: He'll ne're be good for any thing if you don't pay him soundly: And such-like Stuff, to help enflame him.

However, the Father being a little cool'd, did not Strike the Boy any more at that time, but went out with his Neighbour; and when they were together by themselves, after some talk of Business for a Time, the good Neighbour renews the Dialogue about his Correcting his Son, asking him Pardon for meddling; says he, I do not care to be officious, but if you will give me Leave, and not take it ill, I would gladly speak to you a little about the Quarrel between you and your little Son.

Page  183
Fa.

Says the Father, No, no, I won't take it ill, my Passion is over now, you are very welcome to say your Mind about him; he is a wicked young Rogue.

Neigh.

Why I must say then, if you can bear so much Freedom, that I think you are greatly to blame.

Fa.

To blame! what to correct a young lying Rogue? why, as I said just now, he will come to the Gallows if I do not correct him; besides, it is my Duty.

Neigh.

I know that Correction rightly manag'd, is both your Duty, and the kindest Thing that you can do to your Child; you could neither act the Parent or the Christian, if you did not correct him. But I think you are mistaken, and err exceedingly, both in the Manner and in the Measure; and I doubt, are wrong too in the Cause.

Fa.

You must explain your self: What you mean as to the Manner, I know not; and as to the Mea|sure, how can you judge of it, unless you knew the Offence more exactly?

Neigh.

Well, but first let me begin with the Man|ner; I do undertake to say, you sin more in the man|ner of Correction, than your Son can have sinn'd a|gainst you, in the Offence you speak of.

Fa.

How can I sin in correcting my Child, is it not my Duty? Am I not commanded to do it, and not to let my Soul spare for his Crying?

Neigh.

It is true, you are so commanded, and if you corrected him purely in Obedience to the Com|mand of God, and for the Amendment and Reform|ing, or Reclaiming the Child, and from no other Motives, you were right in the Manner.

Fa.

Well, and so I do, I think; what other Mo|tives can I have?

Neigh.

But then, dear Sir, what Reason for all this Heat? And whence comes this Passion? The Duty of Correcting a Child knows no Passion: You quite Page  184 sink the Father and the Christian, by turning a Fury and a Mad-man.

Fa.

Not at all, I think you are mistaken; how can I beat the Boy, if I am not angry?

Neigh.

Before I answer that, give me leave to tell you, that I distinguish between Anger and Rage; there is Displeasure and there is Passion: I may be displeas'd with my Son when he commits an Offence; for no good Man but is displeas'd at every Thing that is sinful; but when that Displeasure rises up to Passion, 'tis quite another thing; Passion is but a kind of short Madness, and has no relation to the Duty of correcting our Children; 'tis a Frenzy.

Anger is Madness, and as strong
In Force, tho not in Course so long.
Fa.

And do you think I can beat a Child, and not be in a Passion?

Neigh.

I know not what you can do, but I know what you ought to do.

Fa.

Well, pray tell me your Way.

Neigh.

Why, Sir, the End of Correction is to a|mend the Child, not giving vent to a Provocation; if you correct your Child or your Servant otherwise, you only gratify your Passion; you can't be said to correct.

Fa.

Pray, what do you call Correction then?

Neigh.

I am glad you put that Question, for I think you do not know in the least what it is. Correcti|on is showing the Child our Displeasure at his Of|fence: And this is done, First, By Reproof. Second|ly, Instruction. Thirdly, Punishment. For I take them to be all but Part of Correction. The Reproof is perform'd generally in Words of Displeasure, in which we are particularly to take care to be angry, and sin not: That is to say, show your Displeasure at the Crime, be angry; but let not that Displeasure cun you out into a Passion, into Indecency and Dis|order, Page  185 into violent and furious Words, which are sinful; be angry, but sin not.

Fa.

You make strange Distinctions, I do not see the Necessity of them.

Neigh.

After the Reproof, Instruction is the next Duty of a Parent; which is no more or less than an Exhortation, which the Parent should always give the Child to reform.

Fa.

And do you think I can stand and make a long Story to him, to instruct and exhort, as you call it, when I am to correct him? Why, first of all, he is such a harden'd young Rogue, he would laugh at it all; he would not mind a Word of it, no, nor re|member a Word of it half an Hour after, but go a|way and mock at it, and do the same Thing again, till he forces me to make him remember, by his feel|ing the Smart of it.

Neigh.

Have you try'd it? do you speak of your own Knowledge or by Supposition?

Fa.

I know the Temper of him so well that I am sure of it, nothing but Blows will do with him; I tell you, you don't know him.

Neigh.

But suppose that were true now, yet do you think you do well to correct, before you have in|structed your Child?

Fa.

I tell you, Instruction to him is speaking to the Air, 'tis Water spilt upon the Ground; he must be cudgel'd, he must be broke like a Horse; and I'll break him, or I'll break the Heart of him.

Neigh.

Nay, I see your Passion is so much con|cern'd in your managing your Child, that you begin to be in a Passion with but speaking of it.

Fa.

Why, you talk so much out of the way as to him, that it puts me into some Heat again; but come excuse me, I'll lay it aside, I am not in a Pas|sion with you; I hope you don't take it so.

Neigh.

I believe I do not talk out of the way of Page  686 your Management, but I am sure I do not talk out of the way of your Duty; I cannot be mistaken in that, I doubt not to convince you of it.

Fa.

You must take the Temper of the Boy with the Duty of the Father, and the Last may alter ac|cording to the First.

Neigh.

I find you talk of your Boy, as if he had no Capacity of receiving Instruction; that he has no Sense but that of Feeling; or Passion, but of Fear; and so you expect to reform him as you break a Horse. Now I must tell you your own Allusion, be|sides its being unnatural and unchristian, as to your Child, is against you too, even as to a Horse; for you ought not beat a Horse in a Passion any more than a Child; but with Management and Art, that he may be taught to know at the same Time what 'tis for, and how he may avoid it: And the ill timing of Blows by the Heat of Passion, even to a Horse, makes him worse, not better, and has cost many a Man his Life. For Example: A Horse stumbles per|haps on plain Ground, the foolish Rider flies into a Passion; a Dog! a Toad! says he, What stumble upon smooth Ground! and then lays on upon the Horse. The next time the Horse stumbles, he runs away for fear of more Blows, and perhaps falls and throws his Rider, and it may be breaks his Neck. Pray who is to blame, the Man or the Horse? And this Usage teaches a Horse to do it; so that some Horses when they happen to stumble, they'll run forward let the Ground be proper or improper for it; and I tell you, many a Man has had his Bones broke by that very thing; I appeal to your own Knowledge.

Fa.

That's very true, I confess; I have observ'd it in a Horse, but never with such a Reflection as you make of it; but I own, it requires Judgment and Skill in breaking a Horse, and to dispose the Blows so as to bring the Creature to our Hand.

Page  187
Neigh.

And much more surely in the Case of a Child than of a Horse; Blows are to instruct, and calm Words with them help that Instruction, and sometimes abate, if not totally prevent the Blows.

Fa.

Alas! Neighbour, I can't talk to them: If I should stand over them and preach to them as you propose, I should forget all my Anger; the Passion would be over, and I could not strike them one Blow.

Neigh.

This is still a Demonstration that your bear|ing your Boy has nothing at all of Correction in it, but a meer Excursion of your own Passion.

Fa.

I understand no other Correction.

Neigh.

Why then you understand nothing at all of the Duty of correcting a Child; Blows have no Voice that a Child can understand, without having them explain'd: Whenever you correct your Child, you should first explain to him the Nature of the Offence, lay before him his Sin against GOD, in breaking in upon his Duty to his Parents. The Sin of the particu|lar Crime you have found him commiting, suppose of Lying, or Stealing, or whatever it be; you should then with an affectionate Tenderness, tell him the Necessity you are in to correct him, to save his Soul from Death; how loth you are to do it; how sorry to have such an Occasion; how foolish and unkind to himself it is to oblige his Father to do this, so much against his Will. These Discourses will sink deeper in his Mind than all your Stripes, and to an ingenuous Spirit it will be worse than Correction, and your Blows may be the fewer. For, as before, Reproof enters farther into a wise Man, than an hundred Stripes into a Fool; and it will be the same in a wise Child. Dr. Busby, the famous School-master of Westminster School, us'd always while he was correcting the Boy for a Fault, to say this Sentence to them, Castego te, non quod odium habeo sed amem, I chastise thee, not that I hate thee, but because I love thee.

Page  188
Fa.

This is fine Philosophy, but you had as good say nothing; it is impossible for me to talk all that to a Boy, and then correct him.

Neigh.

Then you will never be able to discharge that most necessary Duty of a Parent, to give whole|some Correction; for Passion destroys the very Na|ture of Correction.

Fa.

Why then I shall not indeed; for I tell you, if I talk to the Boy before I strike him, my Passion will be all over.

Neigh.

And so it ought to be, before you begin to correct, and yet you ought to correct him too; but if your Passion is not over before you correct, I tell you, you destroy the End of Correction; Blows are to be given for Instruction; if you give your Child Correction without Reproof and Perswasion, you do like a careless Physician, that sends you Physick, but gives no Direction when, or how to take it.

Fa.

But then I must talk to him afterwards; for I tell you, it is impossible for me to talk to him when I am in a Passion, or to correct him when I am out of it.

Neigh.

You may as well say, it is impossible for you to do the Duty of a Father; it is your Duty, and it must be done; and never talk of its being impos|possible; there is no such thing in Religion as an impossible Duty.

Fa.

I do not so much argue against the Thing; I think you are in the right, that it would be best, and that it is the properest way; but I say again, it is impossible for me to do it.

Neigh.

What makes it impossible to you?

Fa.

Why, my Temper is hasty when provok'd, and tender when it is over; and both to an Extreme.

Neigh.

Then that Temper is your Infirmity, and if not struggl'd with and testrain'd, is your Sin, and must be repented of, and pray'd against; perhaps if Page  189 you did so, you should find, that He to whom no|thing is impossible, might teach you, that this would not be impossible to you.

Fa.

But it is an Infirmity perhaps of my very Con|stitution; and what, can I help it?

Neigh.

If that be true, you must then correct your Constitution, before you are fit to correct a Child.

Fa.

How can I alter my natural Temper?

Neigh.

If your natural Temper leads you to do unnatural Things, you may and you must oppose the Crime; you must endeavour to restrain and govern your Passions, it is your unquestion'd Duty; for else all the Wickedness we can commit in the World, may have the natural Temper and Constitution of the Man to plead in its Excuse. The Murderer will ex|cuse himself by his being of a passionate Temper, just as you do: The Drunkard will plead the Heat of his Constitution that makes him continually thirsty: The Thief, an avaritious Temper: The debauch|ed Rake, the Acrimony of his Blood, and the like; no doubt, Nature is vitiated and tainted with several Infirmities, whether originally, and by Descent from the first Man, is not our present Subject, but so it is; there are powerful Inclinations to do Evil in e|very one, which we can give very little account of; and where these are not govern'd by the Power of our Reason or Sense of Religion, they become our Governors, and push us upon unavoidable Folly: So far these natural Inclinations are sinful, and we must oppose, restrain, watch against, and struggle with them; and the Omission of that Opposition is a great Sin.

Fa.

But what is this to my correcting my Son?

Neigh.

I shall bring it home directly to you: If any of these predominate Inclinations govern you; pray how can you, under their evil Influence, pre|tend Page  190 to be a good Governour of your Children? Is it possible, that which is Evil in it self, can direct you to that which is Good? Can you gather Grapes of these Thorns? or Figs of these Thistles? Can these corrupt Trees bring forth good Fruit? Can you under the Influence of a demented Rage, give a Child a due, a paternal, a conscientious Correction? Is it a Temper fit to go about that Work in! Can you think to bring your Child to himself, when you are not master of your own self? Can you reason with the Youth when you are out of your Reason your self? Passion divests the Soul of the use of its Reason for the Time: And is a Man that cannot act his own Reason, a proper Person to reduce a rebel|lious Child to Reason! Nature forbids it, as well as Religion; it cannot be, neither is it to be thought of with Patience.

Fa.

But I am not so out of my self in my Passion, as you may imagine.

Neigh.

I'll suppose you ARE NOT, first for Argu|ment sake, and then prove YOƲ ARE afterwards for your Conviction. (1.) Suppose you are not; that is, you are not SO MƲCH out of your self as I have mention'd; if that be so, it is because you are not in so great a Passion, or so much mov'd as those that are so. But as every such Passion is a Degree of that Mad|ness, you are more or less unfit to correct your Children while it lasts, as that Passion is more or less Hot; but still absolutely unfit, while one Grain of Passion remains: While one Spark of that Fire is unquench'd; you ought by no means so much as speak to, much less strike your Child.

Fa.

What, must I neglect correcting him then when he is faulty?

Neigh.

No, no, by no Means.

Fa.

What then? your Rules are very obscure; I must correct him, and I must not correct him, perhaps Page  191 I am in a Passion, his Wickedness has provok'd me; I am justly angry with him; nor is it in the Power of Flesh and Blood to avoid being angry at such ob|stinate, rebellious, insolent Carriage: it is my Duty to resent it, and it is my Duty to correct him; and you say, I must not correct him, because I am angry; tho it is my Duty to be angry too at such Crimes; this does not hang together at all.

Neigh.

You crowd it too fast together; distinguish fairly, and you will see your Duty clearly: you are allow'd to abhor the Crime which your Son may have committed: A just detestation of Sin is no part of your Passion; that is, as before, to be angry and sin not. But you must distinguish between abhor|ing the Sin, and being in a Rage at the Child; all your Anger against your Child, that is not founded upon a paternal Pity, and a Zeal for his Amendment, is sinful: 'tis a Degree of Rage and Madness; and so far as you suffer that Rage to influence you in his Correction, so far you Sin: Pity, not Passion, should influence you in the Conduct of your Child; and a sincere Zeal for his Soul's Good, should be the only Motive of Correction; all the Warmth that is not founded upon this Principle is sinful, and is a meer Gratification of your own Rage, nor does it deserve the Name of Correction; 'tis a Quarrel with your Child, not a paternal Action; 'tis a tyrannical Usur|pation, not a Patriarchal or Paternal Exercise of le|gal Authority, and without doubt 'tis a great Sin.

Fa.

Well then, I must not meddle with him in my Passion, must I?

Neigh.

No, not touch him.

Fa.

And I am sure I can't when I am out of my Passion; so the Boy must be ruin'd.

Neigh.

NO, the Boy must not be ruin'd neither; and let-such Parents remember, that if they neglect the due Government of their Families, there is a Page  192 Hand that can remove them from the Seat of that Government, and provide better and more faithful Overseers in their Room, that the Children may be taken Care of; and I question not, but many Fathers are removed from their Families, either by Death or Disaster, by the Direction of Providence, that the Children may fall into better Hands.

Fa.

I do confess I see some Weight in the Directi|on, but no Capacity of taking the Counsel; what must I do when I am provoked beyond the Power of all the Patience I am trusted with?

Neigh.

Do! why forbear 'till your Passion is over; retire your self from the Provocation, or lift up your Heart to GOD, to grant you Power to restrain your own Passions, that you may not do an unseemly improper thing in your Rage; and when you are per|fectly calm, when your Blood flows coolly, and your Pulse beats true; then take your Son to task, reason with him, argue with him, perswade, ex|hort, threaten, and punish as your cool Thoughts find proper, and not the last otherwise than as Ne|cessity and Duty oblige.

Fa.

I acknowledge you are right, but who can practice this Rule? No Flesh and Blood can pretend to it.

Neigh.

Whoever it pleases GOD to influence with a Sense of its being a Duty, will practice it; and I need not put you in mind that every Christian ought to study his Duty, and conscientiously endeavour to perform it: Nor need I tell you that we ought to pray daily for the Direction of the Spirit of GOD to teach us our Duty, and his Assistance to enable us to do it: In such a Method you cannot doubt but you shall be assisted; nay, you may venture to say, you will practice it, GOD assisting, according to that Text, Teach me thy Way, O Lord, I will walk in thy Truth, Psalm 119.

Page  193
Fa.

But do you not carry it too far? Sure I may be a little angry, a little in a Passion, and not be so unfit to correct as I should be, if it came on to what you call Rage and ungovern'd Fury: Sure I may talk to the Boy, and correct him too without Sin, tho I am a little moved.

Neigh.

I affirm the contrary, it is against the Na|ture of the Thing: Correction I tell you, is an Act of Love, Pity, Duty, Zeal; Duty to GOD, Duty as a Parent, as a Christian; Love to the Child, to his Soul, to his Body; 'tis the greatest Instance of Paternal Affection, 'tis the highest Token of a sin|cere Concern for his Prosperity here, and his Salva|tion hereafter: 'tis an Instance of Zeal for the Ho|nour of GOD and of Religion; for the Preservation of Vertue and Humanity; what Concern can the Passions of a Man have in these Things? We know, says the Scripture, that the Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteousness of GOD. The Rage and Fury with which Men correct Slaves, is acted upon another Principle; it aims at breaking the Spirit, subduing the Will, and obtaining an absolute entire Subjection in the poor Bond's Man, to the tyrannical Authority of his Patron: There is neither Concern for Soul or Body expected in the Master; no Love to his Slave's Person or Concern for his Future State; nothing is in View but to have his Work done, and his Com|mands be without reserve obey'd: To treat a Child with Passion and Rage, is the same Thing as other Men treat Slaves; But the Nature of Correction, as it respects a Father to a Child, or a Christian Master to a Servant, is quite different; Passion can bear no share in it. Nor ought you to touch the Child while one Spark of the Flame is left unextinguish'd.

Fa.

What Rule have you for this strict Injunction? I see nothing of it in the Scripture.

Neigh.

I readily acknowledge that the Scripture Page  194 seems to be more silent in this Case than in any o|ther of like Consequence; and yet the Scripture is not altogether empty of Directions: But it is true, that Children are so apt to lay hold of every Thing that they can but suppose abates their Observance of the Subjection they are commanded to be in to their Parents, that the Wisdom of the Apostles was not a little seen, in touching more lightly than ordinary the Danger of Parents Mistakes, in the Manner of their exercising their Authority. But, as I said, the Nature of the Thing directs it so evidently, that there seems to be no Occasion of inculcating it so expresly; the natural Affection to, and the Concern and Care of all Fathers for the Welfare of their Children, makes it rational, that Correction must consist with those Tendernesses; and what Share have our Passi|ons in those Paternal Principles? How consists toge|ther the Rage of the Man as a Man, with the Bowels of a Father, as a Father?

Fa.

Well, but a little Anger may be so natural that it cannot be avoided.

Neigh.

I cannot abate a Tittle: No Anger! no, not the least in Correction; the Nature of the Office of a Father is inconsistent with it: It may be Correcti|on indeed, but it is not Paternal; a Father's Cor|rection must be all in Love, meer Kindness and Ten|derness; if one Spark of Anger be in your Breast, touch not your Child, at your Peril be it: For the Principles are directly contrary, and will clash; and in a Word, cannot be consistent one with another. Besides, by being calm and cool in your Correction, you leave room for the Pleading of your Children; perhaps, sometimes for a just Vindication, which in your Passion you will not allow: Perhaps sometimes you may see less Reason for Correction than at first you imagin'd, and that the Blows might be spar'd; for Parents, like the great Parent of the World Page  195 should not willingly correct; should be always glad to find, that the Child did not deserve what he thought at first he did: Correction is an Act of Necessity, not of Satisfaction; and by a wise and tender Pa|rent, is done with Reluctance, not with Delight.

Fa.

But you forgot what I said, I say you do not allow for unavoidable Anger; there may be some Passions rise either by the Grossness of the Offence, the frequent Repetition of it, or many other Circum|stances which may force Anger; so that a Man can|not help it.

Neigh.

It is true, a Man may be so provok'd, that he cannot help being angry; but he can help corre|cting his Child, while that Anger is upon him; he may defer the Execution, when he cannot defer the Sentence. Nor can I say, but even that Anger which cannot be help'd or suppress'd is an Evil, be the Cause ever so provoking: But to go about to cor|rect the Child while the Fit of Anger is not off, is making that smaller Evil a very great one. I once saw a Father act in a Manner which I would recom|mend as an Example to all Christian Parents: He was provok'd exceedingly by an insolent and obsti|nate Child in a trifling Matter, but to such a height, as to give his Father very saucy and undutiful Lan|guage. The Father, with a Smile of Compassion up|on his Folly, return'd thus: SON, if I was not very angry with you, I would teach you better Manners this Minute; but I'll give my self Time till to morrow. Be|fore to morrow, the Son relented, humbled him|self, and prevented the Correction he would cer|tainly have had.

Fa.

I cannot say, that what you propose is possible to human Nature.

Neigh.

There is no question to be made of the Possibility, if Men would set seriously to work to govern their Passions, reduce themselves to Temper, Page  196 and not be too hasty to act even where they may think they have just Occasion. Simeon and Levi had unquestionably a very just Occasion to be angry, and they give the greatness of the Provocation as an Ex|cuse for their unbounded Rage, Should he deal with our Sister as with an Harlot! Yet good Jacob, who knew that all Excursions of human Passions tended to Sin, pass'd Sentence upon it as an abominable Fact; Cursed be their Anger, for it was fierce, and their Wrath for it was cruel. And to this he added a terrible Sen|tence, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

Fa.

I have heard much of Mens governing their Passions, but I see little of it in Practice; for my own Part, I confess I have not the Government of my self when I am in a Passion, any more than a drunken Man has in his Wine; but I never am in a Passion but it is a trouble to me afterwards on many Accounts; particularly, I am fain to break all the hasty Vows and rash Resolutions I make in my Pas|sion, because if I did not, I should ruin my self and all my Family sometimes, and that has often troubled me very much; but as to this of not correcting my Children in a Passion, I never consider'd it at all be|fore, but I begin to believe I have been in the Wrong very much; and I think verily it is one Rea|son why my Children are not one Jot the better for all the Blows I give them; and yet what with one or other of them, I think my Hand or my Tongue is seldom unemploy'd about them.

Neigh.

As to governing the Passions, it is a thing would take up a long Conference by it self, and I shall be glad to talk of it with you at any Time; and particularly, I could tell you a melancholly Story of a Friend of mine and an Acquaintance of yours, who is justly at this Time, in a dreadful Extremity, between the Wicked making of passionate Vows and Page  197 Wishes, and the Necessity he is in of breaking them again, or destroying himself and his Family; all which lie very heavy upon him.

Fa.

I know who you mean I suppose, and I know the Case too, it is Mr. — the —r, about the Marriage of his Children; he told me the Case him|self: but I am too guilty my self of those rash Things, to be able to give him any advice, I rather want Ad|vice in like Cases.

Neigh.

I cannot say that I am fit to advise him, but I am sure he is not capable to advise himself; and he has desir'd a Meeting with me and a Friend or two of his, to talk about it.

Fa.

I would be glad to be there, if I thought it was proper; I may perhaps stand in need of your Admonition as well as he.

Neigh.

It is not for me to introduce you; but if he brings you with him, it is well enough.

Fa.

I doubt not but I'll have his leave to come.

Neigh.

But to return to the Case in hand; I de|sire to go back where we were just now: You said, that you thought you were not so our of your self in your Passions as I might imagine; and I have been arguing since that, upon a Supposition, that it was so; and that you were master of your self more than perhaps I imagin'd, and than perhaps is true; and yet I have prov'd to you, that even then, suppose you were in a Passion at all, you ought not at all to correct your Child till that Passion was entirely cool'd and gone. But now you must give me leave to tell you, that I believe you were really in a most violent Passion, and under the Impression of so much Rage, that you scarce car'd or consider'd what you did, or what became of the Child.

Fa.

No, no, you mistake me quite, I had not beat|en him so violently; did not you hear my Kinswo|man that keeps my House, call to me, and tell me, that I had not beaten him enough?

Page  198
Neigh.

Yes, I did hear a Voice of one just doing the Devil's Work for him, viz. throwing Oyl instead of Water upon the Fire; any one might have known it was not the Mother of the Child, nor the Wife of the Husband, and I must say, hardly a Christian; I have scarce ever heard the like.

Fa.

It is true, she is not their Mother, but she loves the Children very well.

Neigh.

Ay, perhaps very well for a Stranger.

Fa.

Nay she is no Stranger, she is nearly related to them.

Neigh.

It's no matter for that, she has no Principle from Nature to dictate to her the Affection of a Mo|ther, or a Wife; had she been the Mother, compas|sion to the Child would have mov'd her; had she been a Wise, compassion to you would have mov'd her.

Fa.

She is a good Christian.

Neigh.

If you had not said so, I should have believ'd quite otherwise of her.

Fa.

Indeed I hope so, and I am sure she wishes the Children very well.

Neigh.

Then she must be a Fool, for to be sure she knows nothing what belongs to Education, much less to Correction; for as every Father has need to be very careful not to mix his own Passion and Folly with his Duty in Correction; so every By-stander in the Family, that has either Affection to the Duty, or to the Party, will be acting the Part of a Mediator rather than an Inflamer; and they that prompt the Passions of the Parent are Incendiaries in the Family, not Friends to the Family.

Fa.

She is rather a Good Woman than a Wise Woman.

Neigh.

But can you say it was a right part for her to act, as a Relation to the Child, or as a Relation to you; and did it please you to hear what she said?

Fa.

I must own, I thought she might as well have Page  199 held her Tongue; I am apt enough to overdo the Work, she needed not to prompt me.

Neigh.

Indeed I perceived you did not give the Boy one Blow the more for her.

Fa.

But I have given them all many a Blow by her procurement, when I have had Reason little enough, and when it has griev'd me afterwards very much.

Neigh.

She is of a mighty Healing Spirit I find; she vends her own Resentments too, and only lays the Drudgery of her Passions upon you; Is that her be|ing a Mediator?

Fa.

That's an Office very few understand, nor is it to be expected from House-Keepers.

Neigh.

And that makes the Duty of a Father the more difficult, where he is left destitute of the assist|ance of a Mother to his Children; and for that Rea|son Fathers ought to be very cautious of setting Go|vernesses over their Children, and much more cau|tious of what Authority they put into their Hands: It's a dangerous thing to trust the Correction of Chil|dren to those who want the Bonds of Nature to tye their Hands, however otherwise intrusted in the Fa|mily: Children shall be often abused, but seldom cor|rected by such: Nor will the Children ever fail, as they grow up, to remember the usage of that kind as Injuries, not as Acts of Faithfulness to their Trust. But that by the by. What I am now upon, in the Duty of such Family Tyrants, for they are generally such, in tempering and cooling the Passions of Parents; a true Father is always glad of a Mediator, to abate and take off the edge of his Passion.

Fa.

That's true, and indeed I want that help as much as any Man living; but my House-keeper, tho' otherwise well enough, has not much of the tender Part, she seldom takes a Blow off from a Child, but rather calls for laying more on, as you heard her.

Neigh.

Then, as before, she is a Firebrand in your Page  200 Family, and wants either to be taught the Duty of her Place, or to be dismiss'd from it: Her Duty would be, when the Child has committed a Fault, to repre|sent it as favourably and as affectionately to you as possible; to perswade you first of all not to resent it too much; and if there was a necessity of Correcti|on, she should stand by in cool Blood and prevail with you to hold your Hand, when perhaps you might not so well govern your Warmth; and sometimes you should permit her to rescue the Child from you, and you would thank GOD and her too for it after|wards.

Fa.

That is in short, you would have her be a Mo|ther, which she is not, nor can be.

Neigh.

Well, though she cannot have the natural Tyes, yet Prudence would teach her thus much; that by this she would gain deep Root in the Affecti|ons of the Children, and that Affection would give her Words a double influence over them; and this she ought to improve for their Good, for when she has ei|ther conceal'd part of their Guilt, or sav'd them from part of their Punishment, she has room to perswade and argue with them to amend, and to deserve no more what she deliver'd them from before; and thus she may win upon their Dispositions, and obtain an Au|thority over them that you are not able to give her, I mean, an influence on their Affections; by which she would have a vast advantage to do them Good.

Fa.

Ay, but you do not know my Children; they all hate her.

Neigh.

And why is that? but because she has not practis'd this Method with them. I know nothing of your Family Affairs, but the nature of the thing di|ctates it. Go home, and ask any of your Children the Question, Why do not you love your Cousin—I dare undertake, if the Children dare be so free with you, they would answer, Because Sir, we know she Page  201 sets you against us; she always magnifies every trifling things to you, and makes you angry with us when she need not, and when with a good Word we might mend it without a Complaint; and when we have done a Fault, and you are justly angry, she always makes you more angry than you would be. Tell me now honestly, if you don't think this would be the Case?

Fa.

I confess, you have hit very exactly the thing, and I have often said to her, when I have been too furious in beating my Boys, COƲSIN, Why would you let me beat him so much? Why did'nt you come' and take him away? And she would always say, I take him away! not I truly, I think you don't Correct him e|nough; the Boy will be good for nothing, and the like; and it has made me answer, if you were a Mother you would be of another Mind. But I confess, my Boys are surely refractory Creatures, and it alters the Case very much.

Neigh.

But if you, or she either, had begun with them when they were very Young, and had joyn'd together, the one to have acted like a Christian Fa|ther, and the other to have taken the Mother's Part so much upon her, as I hinted just now; your Chil|dren would have been quite another sort of Creatures, and you would have had little or none of this Work to do now; they would have lov'd you as well as fear'd you, and they would have had, not a Value for her only, but for what she had said too; whereas now all she can say to them, by way of Instruction, will stand for nothing with them: For where they hate the Person, they will very rarely take the Advice.

Fa.

Nay, that's the Truth of it, there is not one of them loves her; and now they begin to grow up, they don't fail to let her know it.

Neigh.

Nay, it's a wonder if they love you any more than they do her; for where the Passions of a Page  202 Father run your length, they rather whip their Chil|dren's Affections away than encrease them; and when your Children once cease to love you, what good do you think your Instructions will do them? They will only get from under your Government as soon as they can, and then you will have the Charge of them in|deed, but very little of the Delight that you would have had in or from them; for you are but now lay|ing in a store of Unkindness between you and them, and robbing them of the blessing of a Father, and your self of the comfort of your Children; whereas Correction given in a Fatherly and Christian manner will make your Children love you the more, and the Impression of it leave not only an immediate Influ|ence upon their Manners and Morals, but the more they grow up to years of Understanding, the more they will be sensible of the Justice and Kindness of their Father in their former Discipline, and will love and value them the more for it; the Scripture is plain in this, We have had Fathers of the Flesh who corrected us, and we gave them Reverence; that is, we gave them Reverence for that very Correction.

Fa.

You are very right in this part indeed, for I see very little Affection in my Children to me, espe|cially my Sons; but they shun and run away from me, and care not to converse with me now they be|gin to grow up, and I think verily it is from my be|ing so furious to them all along; I see my mistake, but 'tis too late now to help it.

Neigh.

Why you should strive to alter your Con|duct still, and especially with those who are still young.

Fa.

Nay, I do not know how to be familiar with them my self; I have been so used to beat and whip them, and to give them hard Words, that I hardly know how to give them any other Usage now they grow bigger.

Page  203
Neigh.

I confess there is a danger in the Familiari|ty with Children too; it requires a great deal of Prudence to treat our Children with a decent Fami|liarity, and yet preserve the Majesty and Authority of a Parent; and much of the Prudence of this Part lies on the Children's part in not assuming an indecent equallity; and therefore though I do not wholly a|gree to the Proverb, that Father and Son are good Friends, but bad Company; yet in many Cases, and e|specially where the Children want Manners and the Father wants Gravity, it will be true: A Levity of Behaviour in a Father, dishonours the Parent in the Eye of his Children, and will soon bring him into Con|tempt with them; and a forwardness to an Equality in a Son, disgusts the Father, and is not at all grate|ful to a Man of any Sense; but there is a modest Medium which will, if it can be hit right, make the Father the most agreeable Company to his Children in the World.

Fa.

But this is as difficult a Part, as any Father has to act in his whole Paternal Office.

Neigh.

It is so, but the Foundation of it is all laid in the early Conduct of the Parents to their Chil|dren; and this brings me back to the Article of Cor|rection, in which I have one thing more to say, which perhaps more nearly concerns you than all that I have said yet.

Fa.

Pray what is it? You a little surprize me.

Neigh.

Why as we ought not to mix our Passions with the Resentment in the Offences of our Chil|dren, nor correct them in gratification of our Anger; so we ought to be very careful that we do not do them Injustice in correcting them, and inflict a Punishment without a Crime.

Fa.

What do you mean by Injustice?

Neigh.

Why I mean, we ought to give them a fair hearing, and with a calm Examination patiently in|quire Page  204 first into the Fact, and be very sure that they are guilty of the thing for which we are angry; o|therwise it must kindle in the Mind of the Child an inexpressible Contempt of their Father's Justice, and consequently leave hereafter a deep impression of Anger and Resentment in their Children.

Fa.

Well, but what does this relate to me? I am sure I have just cause enough to correct mine, for he is one of the refractorest young Creatures that ever a Father had to do with.

Neigh.

If you will not take it ill, I will convince you that it relates to you.

Fa.

I will take nothing ill; pray speak freely.

Neigh.

First of all answer me this Question, Did you correct your Son for the Fault you mention'd, viz. his staying of the Errand you sent him, or did you clear an old score with him?

Fa.

No, no, I am not so patient neither; I never run in Debt to my Sons I assure you, I always make punctual Payment.

Neigh.

And perhaps sometimes make your Payment when there is no Debt.

Fa.

They take pretty good care of that, they make a constant Claim.

Neigh.

Well, but NOW you say, you had but one particular thing that you punish'd him for; pray let me hear what it was over again, for I doubt I have you fast in a Noose.

Fa.

I corrected him for staying on that Errand, and for nothing else; and considering how often he had been corrected for the same Fault, I think he deserv'd it very well.

Neigh.

But had you first calmly enquir'd into the Fact? Are you sure he was Guilty?

Fa.

Ay, ay, Guilty, I am sure he was Guilty; he had been gone above an Hour, and the distance was next to nothing.

Page  205
Neigh.

Well, but had he nothing to say for himself?

Fa.

Yes, Yes, he never wants something to say; he made a formal story of his going to the Hoop Tavern by London-Bridge, to find him, and of staying there I know not how long for an Answer; but I knew his Rogues Tricks, I knew 'twas all a Lye, he has been at play all the while, to be sure.

Neigh.

And so you corrected him at a venture.

Fa.

Ay, and no great venture neither, for I did not believe a word he said.

Neigh.

But suppose now the Boy was Innocent, and really had been so far, and had staid there so long, what then? would not you think you had done him wrong?

Fa.

Why truly yes, I should own I had been wrong, but he is such an old Offender, that if it had been so, it had only been an advance of Payment, and he would soon have ballanc'd Accounts with me; if he did not deserve it to day, he would be sure to deserve it to morrow.

Neigh.

Well, but we are not now in jest, I am arguing seriously, that the Injury is to our selves to fall upon our Children unjustly; observing how it lessens us in their Affection, weakens our Autho|rity, ennervates just Correction it self, and plants an early Contempt of the Parents in the Minds of the Children.

Fa.

I know you are serious, and I do not set light by what you are saying, I assure you; only I know I am out danger of having that part charg'd upon me.

Neigh.

Perhaps not so much out of danger as you think you are.

Fa.

I am very easie about it.

Neigh.

Well, but do you acknowledge this, or do you not, that a Parent who corrects his Child without due examination into the Fact, and fair calm hearing of his Defence, if the Child should be really Inno|cent, Page  206 is himself guilty of a great Sin?

Fa.

Yes, I will readily acknowledge that; for without doubt there is Justice due to our Children as well as to any other; and Solomon says, He that judges a matter before he hears it, 'tis folly and shame un|to him.

Neigh.

Why then in the words of Nathan the Pro|phet to King David, THOƲ ART THE MAN; for I am providentially a Witness at this time for the poor Child, though I knew nothing of this part, that he is wholly Innocent.

Fa.

You surprize me; it is Impossible!

Neigh.

You shall see that immediately; you say, you sent him to Mr. — at the upper end of the Street.

Fa.

Yes, and he said he was at the Hoop Tavern by London-bridge, and that he went to him thither, which I took for a sham.

Neigh.

Well, and did he not bring you a Letter from Mr. —

Fa.

Yes indeed, he did bring me a Letter.

Neigh.

And why then did you question his having seen the Person?

Fa.

I did not question that, you may be sure, in|deed I could not because I saw his Hand; but his going after him to London-Bridge, that I know was a sham, because Mr. — was at home but a few Mi|nutes before.

Neigh.

All rash still, unjustly rash and fierce, for Mr. — was at the Hoop Tavern by London-Bridge, and I was there with him upon a special Affair, and I saw your little Boy come in with a Note to him; nor was the Hour's time, which you say the Child stay'd, any fault, for I think verily Mr. — made him stay near half an Hour for his writing the Answer.

Fa.

Is this possible! Then indeed I have been too rash with my Boy.

Page  207
Neigh.

And have done him a great deal of wrong I assure you.

Fa.

Indeed I did not give the Boy time to answer me, for I was in a Passion at his staying.

Neigh.

You see then that Passion is the Foundation of Injustice, even to our own Children.

Fa.

Well, it shall be a Warning to me.

Neigh.

I hope you are convinc'd then, that Passion is of no use in Correction of Children.

Fa.

I am indeed, neither is it of any use in any part of our Family-Conduct as I see; for I assure you, my foolish hasty passionate Temper has run me into such rash things relating to my Children, and to my Family, that I have cause to repent of them as long as I live.

Neigh.

I doubt not but a passionate Man must do so; and though I know not the Particulars, yet I can easily judge it is so, for I must tell you, a Man very seldom does any thing at all in a Passion but he finds reason to repent of it afterwards; for as the Passion it self is wicked, and must be repented of, so the Production of it is all the same; the Fruit can never be good if the Tree be evil.

Fa.

I have mention'd one mischievous Effect it has had upon me, viz. that when I am heated, or mov'd, I am apt to make rash Vows and Resolutions, such as if I durst keep them would ruin my Family; and then my breaking them is a continual breach of Peace to me.

Neigh.

I know it is usual for Passionate Men to do all manner of rash Actions; the World is full of dreadful Examples, of which I could tell you some if I had time.

Fa.

Pray spare a little time for what I desire of you as to this. I wish you could counsel me as effectu|ally in that Case, as you have done in this; for I think what you have said in this Case is so clear, and so convincing, that if it pleases God to keep me, and Page  208 to help me to keep my Resolution, I will never strike a Child again, let the Provocation be as great as it will, 'till my Passion is quite gone, and 'till I have en|quir'd fully into the Fault and fairly heard what De|fence he can make; and even then will, as you hint, talk as calmly and moving to him as I am able in or|der to reform him.

Neigh.

I am glad to hear what you say, and I thank GOD for the occasion of a Discourse that has been so ef|fectual: But pray take one thing with you, you must not always after this calming Discourse, omit the Correction of your Children, especially where the Crime requires it; only take care never to give your Passion any share in it, or room in your Mind when you do it.

Fa.

I'll endeavour that too, but I scarce know how to promise for my self; I am sure I shall shed as ma|ny Tears as the Child.

Neigh.

So you will, and it's the mark of a serious Correction when the Parent is afflicted as much as the Child is corrected; that's a true Paternal Spirit; and I must tell you, there's a great many teaching Circumstances in a serious Father's correcting a Child: When he is calling the Child to an account for his Offences, how naturally does it occur, that if God should thus enter into judgment with us all, what would be our Portion! when he concludes that the Child deserves Correction, it immediately occurs again, if GOD should deal with us as we deserve, how should we stand before him! When he corrects, he remembers how GOD's Correction is less than our Iniquity deserves, that there is no proportion be|tween the Crime and the Punishment! When the Child stretches out its Hand for Mercy and Pardon, how just an Emblem is it of our Penitent Applicati|on to GOD for Forgiveness of our Sins? I know nothing in the World so fruitful of profitable Medi|tations, Page  209 as the Authority of a Father in Correcting, and the Compassion of a Father in Forbearing his Child. The Reluctance of the Mind with which we correct our Children, the Joy we have to find them Innocent when we fear them Guilty; alas, when Pas|sion intervenes, all this is lost; the end is destroy'd, the Child suffers, the Father sins, and the Benefit of Correction is lost entirely.

Fa.

I have heard you with a pleasing attention, I believe it is all so; I acknowledge I have never used to act that wise Part, my Passions have always rob'd me of the comfortable Reflection you mention; but I resolve to act quite another Part I assure you.

Neigh.

GOD continue your Resolution, and forti|fy your Soul against the violent attacks of your own Passions, for they are all fatal Enemies to your Peace.

Fa.

But what say you to these rash Vows, and hair-brain'd Protestations, which in my Passion I have often made, and which it is impossible for me to keep?

Neigh.

I cannot pretend to advise in that Case 'till I hear the Particulars, and perhaps it may not be convenient.

Fa.

Yes, yes, I am too much asham'd of having offended, to be asham'd to acknowledge it.

Neigh.

That is a certain Token of a true Penitent.

Fa.

My great Folly is, that when I am in such a Passion I make rash, wicked, and intolerable Promi|ses and Vows, which I dare not keep, and yet dare not break; if I keep them I ruin my Family, if I break them I ruin my Soul: What wretched Con|dition does Passion run a Man into when not guarded with Grace?

Neigh.

That is a very terrible Extream of Passion indeed.

Fa.

Why, it's not many Weeks ago that in a vio|lent Passion with one of my Sons, for a Fault indeed bad enough, but too trifling for such a Resolution, I Page  210 turn'd him out of Doors, and vow'd I would never have any thing more to do with him, and he should never come into my Doors again.

Neigh.

Well, and did you keep it? Pray, what is become of the Boy?

Fa.

Poor Child! he sat crying upon a Stone just without the Door a good while, and by and by it rain'd; and there he sat till he was thorough wet, and till I cry'd as fast within Doors as he did with|out Doors; and I had no more Power to keep my Vow, than I had Power to refrain making it; so one wicked Thing follows another, and both gives us Occasion for Repentance; and these Things break the Peace of my very Soul.

Neigh.

I'll tell you a short Story, like yours; I knew a good Man, but subject to like Passions with you, that upon some unkind provoking Words of his Wife, went out of his House, and wish'd it might fall on his Head if ever he came into it again. He had a Family of Children, to whom he was a render Father; neither was he an unkind Husband to his Wife, and she was a very loving affectionate Wife to him; but a sudden Breach happen'd: Nor was the thing about which it happen'd of any great Value or Consequence proportion'd to so much Heat; but Words on one hand begat Words on the other, and both passionate at that Time; in short, the Man went away, and kept away two Days, and so long his Dis|gust kept his Passion up. But when the Heat cool'd, and the Man consider'd what dreadful Con|sequences to his Family must necessarily attend the keeping such a Vow, he immediately came to this conclusion; I have sinn'd greatly in making this rash Vow, but I must continue to sin as long as I live, if I keep it; I'll cast my self upon GOD's Mercy and ask Pardon for my Sin, and venture the Conse|quence; for it is my unquestion'd Duty, not to cast off my Wife and Children.

Page  211 In this Frame the good Man went comfortably, tho' penitently home to his Wife, who received him with the same Temper as he came in: I think I need say no more to your Case than tell you this Story, only add one Thing for your Observation; the good Man I speak of was too sincere in his Re|flections, ever to make any more such rash Wishes: I hope you understand the Application of the Story, as well as the Parallel of it.

Fa.

It is a dreadful Mischief to Men and to Fa|milies, when Men mov'd by the Violence of their Pas|sions make such Vows, as are scarce lawful for them to break, and yet is by no means lawful for them to keep; by which means they bring themselves to this unhappy Crisis, that they must sin very greatly whether they keep or break their Vows, and have only the wretched Choice to make, which of two wicked Things they must do.

Neigh.

This is exactly the Case of one that you know very well; and his Example may seem to give us all a Caution, not to act passionately, and particu|larly in our Families, not to be Tyrants over our Children instead of Parents, and meer Magistrates in our Families instead of just Governours.

Fa,

Who is that pray?

Neigh.

It is Mr. —, one of your Neighbours.

Fa.

Why, his Children have acted barbarously by him.

Neigh.

Ay, that's true, but where did it begin? Such Education will always produce such Children; and I assure you, that even in some of those Chil|dren who have acted ill, he is the most to blame of any Man in the World; and what between his Pas|sion one way, and his Positiveness another, he went a great way to ruin the only Children he had, that there was any Reason to think wou'd be good for any thing.

Page  212
Fa.

Pray let us discourse a little of his Case; I know 'tis a long one, but it is a remarkable Case; and I am not so much enquiring into the Particulars as it is another Man's Concern; for I never meddle with any Man's Business but my own. But I think in talking together of that weak Man's Conduct, I may see something that may be instructing to me about my own.

Neigh.

I find I am call'd away, but if you will stay a few Minutes I'll come again presently, and tell you all that tragical Story; perhaps it may be of Service to you.

Here a Servant came to speak with him on some particular Business, which obliged him to go away for a while; so their Dialogue ended for that Time, but he soon return'd again.
The End of the First Dialogue.

The Second DIALOGUE.

UPON the return of this good Neighbour, the passionate Father told him, he had se|riously consider'd their Discourse; that he thank'd GOD for the providential Occa|sion which had brought him by his Door at the Jun|cture, when he was acting a Part which he had so many ways Reason to be asham'd of; and that he promised himself a great Advantage from his good Advice. But, says he, pray go on, and let me have Page  213 the History of Mr. —, I have already heard much of him, and have foolishly blam'd his Violence, when I never had any Reflections upon my own.

Neigh.

Ay, Sir, that's frequent, the Observation of other Mens Errors do not always make us re|flect upon our own.

Fa.

Methinks it should tho'; for how can we blame a thing in other People, and yet approve of it in our selves?

Neigh.

Because we do not see our own Actions in the same Light as we do other Mens.

Fa.

Indeed I have look'd on this Man's Conduct with the utmost Detestation; I used to say, that he perfectly call'd Evil Good and Good Evil; and now I think I have done so my self more than he.

Neigh.

No doubt but you have been both to blame.

Fa.

I know not now which way to take my View, I begin to think better of his Conduct and worse of my own.

Neigh.

You may have reason to have meaner Thoughts of your own Conduct than you did be|fore, but I cannot see how you can think better of his.

Fa.

I think my Behaviour has been much the worse of the two.

Neigh.

Truly his Conduct was the most extrava|gant with his Children that ever I heard of; nay, I must say, that I never met with any thing like it; and all by this very Mistake we have been talking of.

Fa.

What, about his Passion? I know he is a passio|nate, fiery, rash Man as well as I.

Neigh.

The worst, I say, that ever I met with.

Fa.

And yet I hope he is a good Man too.

Neigh.

GOD knows how he does to reconcile his Temper to his Principles; such Passions will cost him many a sad Thought hereafter, if ever he comes to be made sensible of the most abominable Sinfulness of them.

Page  214
Fa.

Besides, he has ruin'd some of his Children you say.

Neigh.

Some of them! did I say, nay, he went a sad length in the Ruin of them all; why, he was for three or four Year in such a Rage with three of them, that he was not in speaking Terms with them, or they with him all that while.

Fa.

What, not they with him?

Neigh.

No, they had been so cruelly treated, they said, that it destroy'd all Affection in them from their Childhood; and afterward, it the easier destroy'd Re|spect, that we may be sure of.

Fa.

But then they were out of their Duty too; I hope you allow that?

Neigh.

Yes, yes, they were out of their Duty to be sure; but where begins it all? And what Comfort is it to a Parent, that his Children do not do their Duty? that's an Addition to the Affliction, not a les|sening of it, if he is a Christian.

Fa.

Passion is indeed a Destroyer of Duty on both Sides; he had not done the Duty of a Father to them when they were little; and they did not do the Duty of Children when they grew up.

Neigh.

It's very true, there's no Duty regarded on either Side; they were all Three from him, as I said before, for some time; and that which is the Sting of all is, that their not doing their Duty to him, is the Consequence of his first not doing his Duty to them; and so he may see his Sin in the Punishment.

Fa.

Nay, his Sin to them laid a Foundation of Sin in them too; that's another sad Consideration.

Neigh.

Ay, and his Unkindness occasion'd their Unnaturalness; he turn'd them out of Doors, and they staid out of his Doors; and so they neither liv'd with him, or he with them; which was a me|lancholly thing among Father and Children.

Fa.

Nay, it might be they were happier so than if Page  215 they were to have lived together.

Neigh.

No doubt; but it alienated the Minds of his Family, as I told you; he made himself a Terror to them first; and how could they take delight in their Father, when he was perfectly made frightful to them?

Fa.

I am of your Mind in that; if they were first made to be so afraid of him, they could scarce ever love him; I find it so already in my own Family: Fear is a Species of Hatred, and will rise up to it by degrees; my Children are a coming up to it as fast as they can; and 'tis all my Fault originally, tho' it will be their Fault too at last.

Neigh.

You have this Mercy, that they are young|er than his, and perhaps you may bring them off by a prudent Management of your Counsel and Re|proof for the future.

Fa.

GOD knows whether this may not be too late; evil Impressions take Root earlier and easier than good; and I have a much harder Task to do now than it would have been, had I taken such a Course as you have been speaking of from the Be|ginning.

Neigh.

That may be true; but you must now ap|ply to it with the more seriousness, and it may please GOD to give his Blessing to it still; 'tis never too late.

Fa.

Well Neighbour, pray go on with your Story of Mr. —; for I know something of that unhap|py Man's Conduct too, and I think I begin to see him set before me as a Warning for my own Man|nagement, tho' he brought it all back again after|wards, if my Account of it be right.

Neigh.

Well, you shall hear that Part too in its place; but I shall begin with the Story of one of his Sons first; the Case was this: The young Man had committed a Fault, that indeed he had; the Story of which will come in of course.

Page  216
Fa.

Which of his Sons was it, for he has several; and I hear, he is out with them all?

Neigh.

It was his youngest Son, who he bred up in his own Business.

Fa.

What could it be? Had he robb'd him?

Neigh.

No, no, I do not hear that he charg'd him with wronging him; but it was some Errand or Mes|sage which his Father order'd him to do, and the Lad had done it wrong; and he flew in a dreadful Passion upon him, beat him severely, and in a too violent manner to be describ'd.

Fa.

All Rage, all Rage, Neighbour; I suppose, just as you found me a doing.

Neigh.

Ay, but the Circumstance makes it more pernicious even than yours, because his Son was then almost a Man; and the Passions of Youth we all know are warm at that Time, and apt to precipitate them into foolish and rash Things; and so it was here.

Fa.

As they are our own Children, we may expect they partake a little of our own Tempers; and I can see now, my Friend, since your Reasonings have cool'd me, a great many Allowances which we ought to make to our Children, and for want of which we often hurt our own Peace, and ruin our Children effectually.

Neigh.

Why so it was here; after Mr. — had beaten his Son so violently that he put the young Man into almost as great a Fury as himself, he bad him go to the Place again, which he had sent him to before, and do the Business right, which it seems he had done wrong; the Youth, whose ill Part was not begun till then, sat still sobbing in his Breast; for he was in too much Rage to cry, and did not stir. Upon which his Father bidding him again GO, he answer'd, he would not. The Father again provok'd at that, was taking up something to strike him again; Page  217 when his Son flying up on a sudden to go to the Door to run down Stairs, his Father step'd between and stop'd him: Upon which, being in the utmost Terror, he turns about, and in mere Desparation, runs to the Window, and jumps clear out a full Story high into the Street.

Fa.

These are dreadful Examples of Passion in|deed, both in Father and Child; but the Youth was certainly in the Fault.

Neigh.

I am not excusing the Children, when I am admonishing the Parent: I desire you will take that with you in all I say; GOD forbid I should say any thing to encourage the Disobedience of Children; I hope you did not see any thing of it in what I said to you in your own Case.

Fa.

No, no, I do not charge you with it; Pray go on with your Story; What came of the poor Child?

Neigh.

Why, it seems he got no capital Mischief by the Fall or Leap out of the Window; that is, he broke no Bone, tho' he hurt himself very much o|therwise; but getting up as well as he could, he went away to a Relation's House in the City; who seeing him in that Condition, and hearing his Story, took him in, and took care of him.

Fa.

And what said the Father to it?

Neigh.

Why you might expect, as you are a Father, it might be some Surprize to him; but quite other|wise, which is very strange; his Passion was so great, that he had no room to entertain any Apprehensions of what harm might have befallen his Child; but seem'd rather vex'd that he had escap'd him, than troubl'd at his Desparation.

Fa.

This is a terrible Instance indeed of the Ex|cess of Passion; but how long did it hold? I sup|pose when his Anger was over, it griev'd him in proportion.

Neigh.

There now, is the difference of Tem|per, Page  218 between some Fathers and others; his Rage was so great, that I know not whether it abated at all, or ever will abate; it was remov'd indeed from one Object to another, as you shall hear at last; but I think it may be said to continue to be Rage even to some Years after: But to return to the Story. The Youth did not come home that Night you may be sure, which very much disappointed him; nor did he let his Father know where he was for several Days; for indeed he was so bruised with his Fall or Leap, that he could not go abroad, and he was so afraid his Fa|ther should come to him, that he was ready to swoon away at the very thoughts of it.

Fa.

Well, but after some time, I suppose it must abate a little?

Neigh.

You shall hear: There was a Relation of the Child's, (viz.) his Mother's Brother, who hearing of the Quarrel and the unhappy Circumstances of it also, concern'd himself to make up the Breach, and to get the Father to be easy, and the young Man home again to his Business.

Fa.

That was the Part of a true Friend, and like a religious Relation.

Nei.

But the Success did not answer at all; for when he came to the Father, and did but name him, he flew out in a Passion, and even abused his Brother-in-Law for coming to him; falls a calling his Son all the Names a Man in a Rage could be suppos'd to do; tells him, he had nothing to do but to keep out of his way, where-ever he happen'd to see him; that he had made a Vow that he should never come within his Doors again: so that, in a word, there was no room for Intercession of any kind.

Fa.

This was furious indeed.

Neigh.

His Brother-in-Law ask'd him what the Child must do then? and expostulated with him upon the Distress of the young Man; argued his own Duty as Page  219 a Parent; the Degree of his Son's Offence, the sin|fulness of his Passion; and said all that could be said in the Case, as a Relation and as a Christian, but to no purpose.

Fa.

It may be, he had some other great Crimes, or some unusual disobliging Things to charge him with, which had serv'd to exasperate him.

Neigh.

No; I do not find that he had.

Fa.

It's true, his refusing to go again of the Er|rand, and telling his Father he would not, was pro|voking.

Neigh.

That's true; but where now is the Affecti|on of a Parent? where the Aim at the Child's Good, Soul and Body in all this? This is not Correction, 'tis meer Enmity, 'tis Wrath and Revenge; and this is the Reason why I told you this Story.

Fa.

Well, but what is become of the young Man, pray?

Neigh.

Why, when his Uncle had been with his Father, he came back to him; he did not tell him presently how positively his Father had refused to receive him; but began to perswade him to go home, and submit to his Father, as it was his Duty to do.

Fa.

Well, what said the Youth?

Neigh.

With Tears in his Eyes, he beg'd of his Ʋn|cle that he might never go home to his Father any more, whatever Mischief befel him; he said, he would submit to his Father, respect him, ask his Pardon, or any thing that could be reasonably de|sir'd; but that as his Father had no command of himself, no government of his Passions, he did not think he was qualify'd for the Government of his Children, and he would submit to any Hardship in the World, but going home to his Father; but that he would never do what ever befel him.

Fa.

I confess, this is a sad Proof of the Conse|quence Page  220 of Father's letting loose their Passions in the government of their Families; but yet the Youth was wrong also.

Neigh.

Well, I am now upon the History, not the Comment, let me go on. When his Uncle found the Tempers on both sides were so entirely averse to one another, he mov'd no farther in it; but began to con|sider what was to be done to prevent the Ruin of the young Man, which it seems the Parent had no Con|cern about.

Fa.

So that the Uncle was more a Father to him than his real Father.

Neigh.

That is true indeed, and has put him out again to the same Trade; which his Father knew, but took no more Notice of it or him, than if he was not his Child, or any way related to him.

Fa.

And was the young Man no other ways wicked?

Neigh.

No indeed; he is now a sober, vertuous, and I hope, a religious young Man.

Fa.

Well, and what will become of him when he is out of his Time?

Neigh.

Nay, that is the Thing we are now upon; did you not say you heard it was all made up again? That belongs to the other part of this Story.

Fa.

Well go on, I know not what the other Part may be; but this Part is all fierce, cruel, and un|natural.

Neigh.

Did I not say, that all Passion mingled with Correction, is unnatural?

Fa.

And would my violent Passion, think you, have run me up to such a dreadful Extream as this, if it had gone on?

Neigh.

I hope not.

Fa.

But I see plainly it might; for as my Chil|dren were growing up, so was my violent Measures with them growing up also; and as I should have made them fear (that is, hate) me, for I take it toPage  221be the same; so when they had provok'd me in this manner, I might have ripen'd up to the same Rage.

Neigh

I hope the Influence of soveraign Grace will restrain you from such Extreams; was not this Man's Family, and himself too, miserable by these Things! There were two other of his Children almost in the same Condition with him upon different Accounts.

Fa.

What Account pray?

Neigh.

Why, his eldest Daughter, a young Wo|man of a very good Character, a modest, sober, re|ligious young Lady, had disoblig'd him to the last Degree, much about the same time, because she would not marry a Fellow no way suitable to her, either for Person or Manners; but one, who because he was rich, the Father imposed upon her; she us'd all the Arguments, all the Perswasions and Entrea|ties she could to her Father, to excuse her from it; she told him, she could not love him, nay he was odious to her; she could not endure him; she re|presented, that it would be a Sin in her, and an In|jury to the Man to marry him, seeing she could not love him, or discharge her Duty as a Wife to him, in that Affection and Kindness that ought to be be|tween such Relations; all was one: She employ'd Friends to speak to her Father and perswade him, but all to no purpose; till at last he came upon her with Violence one Morning, and told her, he had sent for Mr. —, meaning the Person he would have her to marry; and he was resolv'd to see them mar|ry'd that Day.

Fa.

Why, the Man's a Lunatick; sure you can't call this a reasonable Man?

Neigh.

Well, his Daughter manag'd him better however than his Sons could do; for when she saw her Father warm, and reflected how rash he was in his Passions, she made little answer, but in general, That she hoped he would not force her to marry a|gainst Page  222 her Consent; that she had given him an account already that she could not marry that Person, and hoped he would not take it ill from her that she could not do it. He minded little what she said, but about Eleven a Clock brings the Person up to her, and leaves them together. The Man address'd himself handsomely enough to her: But she, resolving to take the occasion to extricate herself, told him,

'That she desir'd to be very plain with him, and hop'd he would not take it ill, seeing there was a necessity for it: That she had some Reasons why she could not comply with his Desire; that she hop'd he would not desire to marry her against her Will: That it was not any design to affront him that she used this freedom with him; and that if her Father would have been pleased to do it for her, she would gladly have been excused, but she had no other remedy; and if he had any real Respect for her, she beg'd he would not urge her Father about it any more; for as it was her settled Resolution never to have him his pressing her Father to it was to no purpose as to the thing it self, and would only make a breach between her Father and her, which could be no Service to him; and with this she related to him all that had pass'd between her Father and her.

The Gentleman told her, he was was surpriz'd to hear her talk so, seeing her Father had assur'd him of another kind of Entertainment; But since it was so, and she was not to be prevail'd upon by Perswa|sion to alter her Mind, he assur'd her, he was far from desiring any violent Methods should be used with her, and that he would be as careful not to exasperate her Father against her, as possible, and thus took his leave: He saw her Father as he went out, but said little to him, only putting off his Hat as be pass'd by, the Father being talking with somebody else.

It pass'd on for above an Hour without any Notice, Page  223 the Father, it seems, expecting the return of the Person; but when he saw he came not, he came up to his Daughter and enquir'd the meaning of it; she made no scruple to tell her Father, That as she had told him before, that she could upon no Terms think of that Gentleman for a Husband, she thought she was oblig'd to tell him so plainly too; for that she could not think of keeping a Man Company, after she resolv'd not to have him.

Her Father interrupted her at that Word, but rather rav'd than talk'd to her, flying into such a Passion as hardly to forbear his Hands from her; said all the un|kind rude Things to her he could think of; made so|lemn Imprecations that he would never give her a Groat, that he would never own her for his Daugh|ter; and, in a Word, bad her go out of his House.

The young Woman you may be sure was under great Affliction at this Treatment, but there was no remedy; it's true, she did not go out of his House, but he neither Eat or Drank with her, would not suffer her to come into the Room where he was, gave her neither Necessaries, Cloaths, or Money to buy them: Several Gentlemen made Proposals to him to marry her, and some very handsome Offers; but he would neither entertain them, or make any of|fer in her behalf: If any Relation spoke to him of her, and offer'd to perswade him, he answer'd, she had disoblig'd him, and he would have nothing to say to her.

Fa.

Sure this cannot be Mr. — why it is not like a Man, 'tis all a kind of Barbarism that I never heard the like of: It's a sign the Mother of these poor Children is dead.

Neigh.

Truly when she was alive it was not much better, for the Man was so entirely given up to the impetuosity of his Passions, that there was no per|swading him; but if once he was angred thoroughly, Page  224 he was scarce ever reconcil'd, or prevail'd upon to be easy again.

Fa.

You have drawn a Picture of a passionate Man for me to take Warning by; no Painter could have describ'd it so to the Life.

Neigh.

Pray take the Aggravation with it (viz.) that 'tis all a Representation of a passionate Father; for I keep to my Text, (viz.) that there is no room, nor can be any reason for Passion in a Father to his Chil|dren. The highest Resentment in a Father should end in Pity, in Compassion for the Soul, Concern for the Welfare of the Child; no Correction is truly Paternal that is built upon any other Foundation.

Fa.

I understand you; but as the Disciples said to our Saviour, Who then can be saved; so I say to you, Who then knows how to be a Father?

Neigh.

I hope you do now especially; for I believe you are so convinc'd of the Deformity of these un|christian Practices; their inconsistency with Nature, Reason or Religion, that you must look on them with Contempt.

Fa.

Indeed I look upon my own Passions with Con|tempt too; for I think I have been as much to blame as Mr. —, and my Fury and Rage with my little Boy was as brutish and inhumane, and altogether as un|christian as his too, with this Aggravation; that it began earlier, and might perhaps have been much worse by that Time my Children came to the Age of his.

Neigh.

No, I cannot say your Passions were equal to his in degree, because his seem to be implanted, riveted in his Nature, and never to be alter'd.

Fa.

But perhaps mine return'd oftner; and who knows where they might end?

Neigh.

The more you are alarm'd at the Danger of them, the better you are secured against it; and methinks I rejoice to see you so much affected with this unhappy Gentleman's Mannagement: there was Page  225 no doubt but he would ruin his whole Family first or last, if he went on; for there is another Part of his Story still behind.

Fa.

What of his passionate Part?

Neigh.

Yes, yes, all passionate; and this was with his eldest Son, with whom he had a worse Broil in its kind, than any of the other.

Fa.

Truly that can hardly be.

Neigh.

Yes, it run up to more Sin in the Son, and to a more fatal Unkindness in both, tho in the End it help'd to bring both to some sight of their Folly.

Fa.

Pray go on with it.

Neigh.

Why, his eldest Son was a young Man of very promising Parts, and an extraordinary Charact|er: As for the rest of his Sons, for he has two more, who were then in his Favour; they were really worthless in their Qualifications, and the World ex|pected little from them, and indeed found little: As their Father was their Terror, when young, he was their Aversion when they were grown up; there was between them, neither Affection, Reverence, Du|ty or Society; they fear'd, and therefore hated him; they shew'd evidently that they had a Contempt of his Conduct, only an Apprehension of his Resentment in point of Interest; and all this was the Effect of a furious, absolute, rash, passionate Conduct in his Fa|mily; the farther Effect of it you shall see after|wards.

Fa.

Well; but I long to hear the Story of the eldest Son first.

Neigh.

Truly the Case of the Eldest is severe e|nough; for tho the young Man is in the Wrong ex|ceedingly, yet it is so visible a Judgment upon his Fa|ther, that, as I said, he may really read his Sin in his Punishment: The young Man was bred in a gentlemanly Manner by him, only with this Diffe|rence, that he was always so absolute a Tyrant in his Page  226 Family, and made himself so terrible by his Passions, among his Children, that it could scarce be expected he should ever have any Comfort in any of them; for he never taught them any Obedience but that of Slaves, I mean the Obedience of Fear; and this made them naturally Disrepectful to their Father, when they came to be remov'd out of the Reach of that Fear; and tho this could not be, without manifest Breach of Duty in the Children, yet the Father had great Cause to reflect upon himself, and to reverence the Justice of that Providence which made his own unlawful Passions, as a Father, be the real Cause of the sinful Disobedience of his Children.

Fa.

But pray let me hear the particular Case, be|cause I have heard the Father wonderfully blam'd on his Account?

Neigh.

I own the Father is to be blam'd, but the Son also is inexcusable; and I am the warmer upon that Head, because I know the Example is dange|rous in its Nature; and if the Crime is not truly represented with the Fact, Children are but too apt to set the last up for an Example, without enquiring into the first. It is a certain Rule, and all sober re|ligious Children will adhere to and acknowledge it, that tho the Parent may fail of his Duty to his Child, yet that by no means dispenses with the Duty of a Child, because the Child's Obedience is not found|ed upon the Father's Conduct, but upon the Laws of Nature. A Son can never argue that the breach of Duty in his Father is a Supersedeas to his Obliga|tion: Obedience of Children to Parents is a natu|ral Law; 'tis a first Principle, neither Humanity or Christianity can subsist without it; nor can any Defect in the Conduct of the Father discharge that Duty; for this Reason I think this Person's Son inexcusably to blame, whatever his Father's Conduct was; and, at the same Time, that we must condemn the Father's Page  227 ungovern'd Passion, every good Man must detest the Treatment of him by his Son.

Fa.

Then perhaps you have had a different Ac|count of it from what I heard.

Neigh.

I am sure my Account is right, because I have heard both Sides. The young Man had a de|sire to Marry a certain Lady, whom he had lov'd for some Years. The Father absolutely refused to give his Consent, and charges him upon his Duty not to do it. The young Man tells him he will obey him, since he is so absolute, tho he thinks it very hard, and suspecting his Father design'd another for him, who he did not like; he adds to his Father, that if he will not let him have her he design'd to have, he is re|solv'd he never will have any Body else, and that he will not Marry at all.

This enraged the Father to that degree, that he flew out into a violent Passion at his Son; told him he would renounce his Relation to him, that he would have nothing to do with as long as he liv'd; that he would not own him to be his Son, and that, if he beg'd his Bread, he should not come to him for Relief; for if he did, he would charge a Con|stable with him, and send him to the House of Cor|rection; and bid him go out of his House.

The Son, as he said, afterwards, for he repented of this Rashness of his Temper, inheriting a Share of the same Passion from his Father, was so provoked too, that, according to his Father's Command, he remov'd the next Day in a formal Manner from his Father's House with all his Books, for he was a Scholar, and whatever he call'd his own. His Father, continu|ing in his Passion, search'd his Boxes or Trunks, as if he had been a Thief; told him he did well to remove voluntarily, that he might not be o|blig'd to kick him out of Doors; that he would entertain no such Rebel in his Family, tho every Page  228 Child he had was to turn out in the same manner; and added some such violent and opprobious Words to him, that at last the young Man grew as outra|gious as his Father, and gave him very rude and indecent Language too.

Fa.

This was a sad height for Things to be brought to between a Father and a Child.

Neigh.

It was so, and both gave Cause to be asham'd of it, and above all of the Occasion.

Fa.

Well, but pray go on with what the Son said to him.

Neigh.

It was the Afternoon, and the Son's Passi|on was a little abated, tho the Father's was not: He had sent away all his Things, and was just going ci|villy to have bid his Father farewel; when the Fa|ther, continuing his Passion, said something to him very dishonourable of his Mother, and this raised his Passion again; whereupon he told him,

'He had liv'd under his Tyranny, for Government he could not call it, 22 Years, and had never willingly done any thing to disoblige him; That he had always been treated as his Brothers and Sisters were, in a manner that was a Shame to him to mention; but that now he was used so (especially in this Case of his Mother, who was in her Grave, and could not vindicate her self) as he could bear it no longer, so was o|blig'd to tell him, That it was a Deliverance to him to escape from his Inhumanity, and that he deserv'd not the Name of a Father, but rather of a wild Creature, that no one should be subject to: That what was his Mother's Jointure he expected in its Time, but would not acknowledge it to him, be|cause he had defam'd his Mother, whose Shoes he was not worthy to carry after her: That as for his Estate, he relinquish'd it freely, for he believ'd a Curse attended it, and he desir'd none of it should mingle with his own: That from thence forward Page  229 he disown'd him for a Father, and took upon him to tell him, that in a few Years he would not have a Child left but what would abhor him, and be asham'd of him: That he had given him no just Cause to treat him as he had done now, so he would put it out of his Power to do it again: That for his Family, he wish'd for his own sake he might repent of ruining his youngest Son, abusing his eldest, and murthering his Daughter, for the young Woman was by that Time in a deep Consumption, having just as it were broken her Heart with grief for her Father's Ʋsage of her; and he did not doubt but in a little Time he would have the Ruin of more of his Children to answer for.

The Father was terribly astonish'd at his Son's Words, and saying not one Word to him, his Son left him, and went entirely away from him?

Fa.

This is the dreadfullest Story that ever I heard in my Life: Is it possible that any Behaviour of a Father can justify such Carriage in a Son?

Neigh.

No, no, I am not upon justifying it, but relating it; and I tell you that the Son, who prov'd afterwards a very sober, pious and religious Per|son, acknowledg'd the Crime of it, and wrote his Father a Letter, to beg his Pardon for it; not but that he insisted even in his Letter, upon the Cruelty and Inhumanity of his Father's Con|duct; but own'd, he ought to have born with the Provocation, by the Ties of his Duty; that he ought not to have suffer'd his Passion to have carry'd him into any indecent or undutiful Language; and there|fore thought himself obliged to ask him forgiveness for that Part. And the Use I make of it, and the Reason why I tell you the Story is this; that with|out doubt it was a terrible Judgment upon the passio|nate government of a Father, and he found it so af|terward: and it may teach Parents what wicked Things they may have reason to fear from their Chil|dren, Page  230 if they take Measures with them in their Edu|cation, which so necessarily brings their Children to hate and despise them.

Fa.

It is true, and I desire to bring it all home to my self; and if I have not gone too far already, I will, with GOD's Assistance, banish Passion out of all my Family-Government; for I have Children will do just so, if I go on, I am sure.

Neigh.

It is partly upon this Account I tell you this Story; for 'tis a sad Case, when our Children are led to break in upon their Duty to us, by our first being wanting in our Duty to them.

Fa.

But harkye, as I told you before, I have heard, that my Neighbour Mr. — has seen a great deal of this Folly in these Things, and has alter'd his Conduct and his Family too, since all this happen'd. Now if you know the bright side of his Story as well as the dark Side, pray let me know it too; for there is certainly as much Profit in the Relation of the Repentance, as there can be in the Story of the Offence; and it would be something unjust to leave his Family History in the Form of a Tragedy, when it has pleased GOD to restore them, and heal the dis|mal Breaches these furious Passions have made, some of them at least.

Neigh.

Truly I am of your Opinion in that, nor do I love to relate a Story with a dark Side only; it is a more blessed Work to tell of the Mercies of GOD to Families and Persons, than of their Breaches and Crimes; I think Milton's Paradise Regain'd a pleasanter Work, tho' it may not have so much va|riety in it, than his Paradise Lost, at least there is a greater Beauty in the Subject.

Fa.

In that you go against the common Opinion.

Neigh.

Mr. Milton himself was of my Opinion.

Fa.

I have heard so.

Neigh.

Do you know the Reason he gave, why the Page  231 World lik'd the first Part better than the last? He said the Reason was, because they had a Sense of the Loss; but no Taste of the Recovery. But this is by the way.

Fa.

Well, 'tis very well to our purpose; for I as|sure you, tho the dismal part of Mr. —'s Case has been very suitable to me, who was running on blind|ly in the very same Measures with my Family; yet the merciful Providences which afterwards occurr'd in his Family, and which, as I hear, has given a Turn to his Management, as well as to the Children's Duty, will be both pleasant and profitable too.

Neigh.

Truly I cannot say but there is something Tragical even in the brightest Part of his Family; for his unhappy Conduct first or last, made every Child he had embroil themselves with him: in some, he was not in the Right, and in others, they were more in the Wrong.

Fa.

Well, but pray enter into the Particulars, if you can.

Neigh.

You may remember I told you he had two Sons more; and I added, that they were in them|selves worthless Creatures, and so you will soon find they were, at least one of them: You must note, the Father being thus disgusted at the Three I have told you of, began to carry it with more familiarity and easiness to the rest, and seem'd to court them as much as he had oppress'd the other.

Fa.

I have often seen it so, where Partiality in Af|fection guides the Parents; and almost as often seen, that those Children return it ill.

Neigh.

So indeed it was here; the Eldest of the two, who was at Man's Estate, discover'd evidently the utmost Contempt of his Father upon all Occasi|ons; and on the other hand, the Father, after the Quar|rel with his other Children, turned so foolishly fond and wrapt up in this Son, that it was as scandalous an Page  232 Extream on the other, and was a Judgment on him no doubt; he would bear every thing from him, imagine every thing he did was well, and hear no|thing against him; and in a word, fell in so with this Son, that it came up to Dotage.

Fa.

That's an Absurdity on the other hand, which I hope I shall never come to be Fool enough for.

Neigh.

Had this Son known how to have manag'd his Interest politically, he might have ruin'd all the rest of the Family; for the Father gave up himself and his Affairs, in a manner, into his Hand, trusted him with all he had; and had he died under that Possession, for I think it was little better, would, I believe, have given him the best Part of it all, with|out regard to the Distress of his other Children.

Fa.

But I hope this violent Humour did not last,

Neigh.

It was happy for the Family, that this Son prov'd otherwise than his Father expected, or they had been all undone: In a word, he prov'd the un|gratefullest Wretch to his Father that ever could be imagin'd.

Fa.

Nay, be his Father's Conduct what it would to the rest, he was it seems a kind Father to him.

Neigh.

He regarded none of it; he impiously own'd, that he lost all respect for his Father when he was a Boy; that his Father had us'd him so like a Dog when he was young, that he could never love him, or have any Affection for him as long as he liv'd; nay, he was come to such a height, that he would tell his Father so to his Face, and give him the most opprobrious Language, and make the most scandalous Reflections upon him in his hearing, even to the making a Jest and Reproach of his own Father, and in his Family too. And yet such a tame Creature was this furious Father become in the Case of this Wretch that thus insulted him, that he would bear it all; and that with a meanness, as far below the Page  233 Authority and Dignity of a Parent, as his Passions before had been above the Calmness and Temper of a Christian.

Fa.

This must be a Judgment upon him indeed; sure never Man run into two such contrary Ex|treams: why, it was no more his Duty to bear such Treatment, than it was his Duty to correct with such Violence.

Neigh.

I grant you that readily: Every Parent ought to preserve the Dignity and Authority of his Station; otherwise, neither his Instructions or Com|mands receive the just Force, or make the due Im|pression which they ought to do.

Fa.

Why, to bear such Insults as those you speak of, destroys all subordination, which is the most es|sential Part of Government; and his House could no more be called a Family, but a Bedlam; besides; 'tis a horrible thing in its Nature.

Neigh.

You are very right, and I tell it you as such.

Fa.

Mine was an Extream, but this is an Extream of a different Nature; pray how will you direct any Man to bear such Treatment, and how shall a Fa|ther do to govern his Passion in such a Case?

Neigh.

Why, tho that be a Digression, I shall speak to it before I go any farther, by telling a short Story of another Acquaintance of mine, who has two Sons at this Time of very different Age; but both in their Degree, guilty of the same Crime.

Fa.

And perhaps the Younger, spoil'd by the Ex|ample of the Elder, as I have known to be the Case oftentimes in the Compass of my Acquaintance.

Neigh.

My Friend was a good Man, but in the Conduct of his Family, fell into the contrary Ex|tream to what we have been talking of; for being an indulgent fond Father, he, like good old E L I, let his Sons run on, at least uncorrected, if not unre|prov'd; Page  234 till some of them not knowing how to ma|nage themselves under so much Lenity, took the Li|berty from it to grow upon their Father, and use him very scurvily upon many Occasions.

Fa.

The old way, I suppose, of riding upon the soft Disposition, and abusing the Goodness of their Father; which should rather have mov'd them, and engag'd them to a return of Duty and Affection.

Neigh.

It's very true; they began to treat their Father with the greatest Slight and Contempt, even to laugh at him when he directed any thing this way or that; and tell him, it was better so or so, and they would do it their own way.

Fa.

They saw their Father a Fool, I suppose, or they would never have gone that Length with him.

Neigh.

Their Father was no Fool I assure you; nor was it either Ignorance of his Duty, or want of Spirit to make himself be obey'd; but his Affection to his Children was his Snare; he had made himself their Play-fellow and their Companion, and could nor, bear the thoughts of differing with them, but chose rather to bear their want of Respect to him, till indeed it came up to Indecency.

Fa.

You had as good have said, he bore with it so long till it was too late to cure it, and they grew past his Government.

Neigh.

A Child is seldom grown so old in his Fa|ther's Life-time, but a Father may find some way or other to resent his Disrespect; and so it was here. The youngest of these two Sons had committed a Fault which was in its Nature provoking, but was made ten times worse, by giving saucy and unduti|ful Language to his Father when he came to en|quire into it: He was but a Youth, and one that ought to have been under Family Government; but he had, it seems, a Haunt among some ill Company, which his Father had with great Tenderness, per|swaded Page  235 him against; Now he had nor only been with them, but had stay'd out two Nights together.

Fa.

It was high time indeed for his Father to con|cern himself, if it was gone that Length.

Neigh.

When he came home, his Father, like old Eli, began calmly with a nay, my Son, but it is no good Report that I hear; I mean, he talk'd kindly and tenderly to the Boy: But he soon found reason to alter his Tone and his Conduct too; not with the young One only, but with his Eldest also, who put himself into the Broil of his own accord.

Fa.

It's often so, that when our eldest Children grow past government, they drag up the rest after them, who think they may insult their Parents by the Authority of the Example; and that what a Pa|rent bears from one, he must bear from all.

Neigh.

Well, I shall therefore shew you here the Patern of a Father; who tho he had erred in the first Part of his Conduct, I mean, in treating his Chil|dren too tenderly; yet when he found them abuse that Tenderness, and break the Bounds of their Duty, knew how to resent it as he ought in the Eldest, and to correct it as he ought in the Other.

Fa.

Such Examples are as necessary as the other; for hitherto, most of your Discourse has run pretty much upon the Mistakes of us that are Parents.

Neigh.

I reprov'd those Mistakes first which came first before me; but I shall give every Side their just Measure, as far as my Judgment guides. I hope I have said nothing to give Children any Encourage|ment to insult their Parents; if you think I have, the following Story will make you full amends.

Fa.

Well, pray return to the Story.

Neigh.

After he had talk'd kindly to his Son a while, and represented to him the Evil Consequence of such Courses; he ask'd him, where he had been? The Boy would give no Answer a good while to him: Page  236 His Father told him, he would know where he had been; that he could not answer to his Conscience, the passing it over; no, nor to him too, who might here|after blame him for not strictly enquiring into such Things as those. A great while the Boy was mute, and would not answer; till at length his Father, not in a Passion, but raising his Voice into a higher Tone; Tell me, says he, where you have spent your Time, for I am resolv'd I will know. The Boy hearing him speak angrily, instead of being moved by it to give an Ac|count of himself, as was as his Duty; insolently an|swer'd his Father, that he would give an Account to no body.

Fa.

That was enough to provoke him indeed.

Neigh.

No, no, he was not provoked; he acted just as I perswaded you to act with your Child, and as I would have all Parents act with rebellious Chil|dren. Say you so, William, says his Father, is that the Return you make me for all the Kindness I have treat|ed you with? Is that your Duty to your Father? I shall give you some time to consider of it Child; only remem|ber, I will have an Account of it; that you may depend upon, or else you and I shall quarrel, and that after a manner as we have not quarrel'd a great many Years.

Fa.

This is just what you directed me to, and I'll do it if I can; for I allow you, 'tis an extrrordinary Method. But I pray GOD I may never have the Tryal.

Neigh.

Well, he had a greater Tryal for his Pa|tience yet; he left his Son, and went away into a Closet on the other side of the House. But the Door being open, and the young Gentleman making no Secret of their Discourse, he heard his eldest Son talking to the young one in a most insolent Manner, encouraging him not to comply with his Father's Demand; and this in such Language as I care not to repeat. This mov'd him exceedingly, both as it was Page  237 ungrateful, and as it was undutiful; and in particu|lar, it had this effect upon his Resolutions, (viz.) that he now found by Experience, that he must lay by the Fondness and pleasant Part of being a Father, and take upon him the Authority and Justice of a Parent; and tho, as he told me, he had great Relu|ctance in the Beginning, yet he saw the Necessity of it, and therefore went about it with a Resolution that was not to be master'd, neither by opposition or compliance. He took a small Cane in his Hand, with which, if he found there was Occasion, he in|tended to correct his younger Son; but resolv'd to begin with his eldest: So he comes gravely into the Room; Very well, says he to his eldest Son, I find you have been giving your Brother very good Counsel; I am oblig'd to you for talking loud enough to be heard, I could not else have known whose Door to place the Ruin of the Child at. The Son, far from excusing himself, be|gan to talk saucily to him: Look you, says he, I will have no dialoguing with you, especially in a Case so notorious as this; answer me only to the Questions I ask: How can you have the Face to encourage your Brother in his Rebellion against your Father, and in refusing to give me the just Satisfaction I ought to have, of knowing where, and how, and with whom he spends his Time? Says the Son impudently, I don't encourage him in any thing, not I. The Father, by way of Question returns; Did not I hear you? I don't care if you did, says the Son. Very well, says his Fa|ther, all Evils are to be best cured in their Begin|nings and Causes; and seeing his Rebellion receives its Encouragement from you, and you are his In|structor, I must begin with you; for I am oblig'd, in Duty to GOD and my Family, to root this wickedness out of my House. What you please, says the Son.

Fa.

This was a dreadful Dialogue indeed; but Page  236〈1 page duplicate〉Page  237〈1 page duplicate〉Page  238 had the Father Patience with him, could he keep his Hands off of him all this while?

Neigh.

Yes, yes, very easily; he never broke his Temper with him at all.

Fa.

Well, and what do you think of me? Do you think I could do thus after all the Convictions I have had, and all the Acknowledgements I have made to you that it is my Duty?

Neigh.

I don't know that indeed; but I hope you could.

Fa.

The Lord grant I may never be try'd! It is impossible.

Neigh.

No, no, it is not impossible; he that you pray to not to be try'd, can, if he thinks fit to try you, give you Moderation and Temper for more than this.

Fa.

Well, pray go on.

Neigh.

His Father went then on to talk to him of all the Tenderness and Kindness he had shewn him; how he had treated him with so much Gentleness, and with so much Softness, as he thought might have engaged his Affection as well as Duty; that this was such a Return as he never could have expected from him, and which for many Reasons was unsufferable; and that if an immediate End was not put to it, he must pretend no more to be Master of his own House, or a Father to his Children: His Son, instead of fal|ling under the Reproof, began to insist, that 'twas an unreasonable. Thing to force the Boy to tell where he was, and if he was the Boy he would not, and some other very undutiful Expressions. His Father took him up short, and told him, Tho it was rude enough to tell him what he would do if it was his own Case, yet as it happen'd now, it was not his own Case; that he could not pretend he had any Business to in|terpose between his Brother and his Father, much less to prompt his Brother in his Disobedience, which he deserv'd Correction for; and therefore he expect|ed Page  239 he should go immediately to his Brother, and tell him, that he was in the wrong to advise him to stand out against his Father, and to advise him to give an Account of his Ramble, or else, says his Father, you may assure him I shall correct him severely for it, and that presently.

Fa.

Well, I hope he could not refuse this, when he was so plainly detected.

Neigh.

Quite the contrary: He told his Father he would not trouble himself about it.

Fa.

Well, that mov'd him, I hope, a little; was he not in a Passion then neither?

Neigh.

No, not yet; well Child, says his Father, come, you are warm now, you are vex'd it may be, that I overhead you, but it cannot be help'd; how|ever, consider of it, you must needs be convinc'd you are in the Wrong, and that it is but just you should say thus to your Brother, that you may not prompt him in his Folly, and force me to correct him into the Bargain; pray think of it, I'll give you till to morrow Morning. The foolish Youth still refracto|ry answer'd, He would neither do it now, or to Mor|row, nor never, as long as he liv'd. Don't say so, Child, says his Father with the same Mildness; I tell you, think of it till to Morrow, you will be wiser when you have consider'd of it; for you know it is reasonable; and to let you know I am in earnest. I tell you positively, that I will have it done, that you may depend upon.

Fa.

Well, these are the Men that are fit to be Fa|thers; I am sure I am none of that sort.

Neigh.

The next Morning his Father calls him to him, and speaking still calmly: Well, Son, says he, I hope you have consider'd of what I told you, and spoke to your Brother, as I desired. No, he said, he had not. Well, then, pray go and do it, says his

Page  240
Father.

No, he said, he would not, not he; he would not trouble his Head with it: Upon this his Father raising his Voice a little, to let him to see he was resolv'd, told him, He thought he would never have treated him thus; and that as he had always used him with Di|stinction and Affection, he never expected such a Re|turn as this from him; that tho it was very provo|king, yet that he was loth to come to extremity with him; and therefore, once more, desir'd him to go to his Brother, and to let him know his Duty; letting him know at the same Time, that he was re|solv'd to have it done, and used these Perswasions that he might not be forc'd to use rougher Measures with him. It was all in vain; his Son not only re|fused, but gave him very surly, unmannerly and un|dutiful Answers, and in spight of all the calmest Per|swasions of his Father, told him flatly he would not. Well, says his Father, it is absolutely necessary that the Government and Authority of a Father be main|tain'd in my Family, or otherwise 'tis no Family, but a lawless Company; and if any one will not be un|der my Laws, they must not stay within my Domini|on; I'll make but few Words with you, for you are not a Child, either do as I command, or remove out of my House. The Son answer'd foolishly and rashly, as well as abominably and wickedly, with all his Heart. The Father kept his Temper still, but goes up close to him, and takes him by the Hand, Well Son, says he, you have made a sad Choice, but 'tis your own; so he leads him by the Hand to the Door; Once more, says his Father, 'tis in your Power either to do your Duty, which I am sure is just in me to expect, and just in you to perform, or not do it; either go this way, or that way; for I'll have no Rebels in my House.

Fa.

Well, now he began to act the Father. This Part I could have done; but I dare not answer for all those cold-blood Things that went before.

Page  241
Neigh.

But they are the Ornament of the Thing, and make the Father's Conduct a most excellent Pattern.

Fa.

Well, pray what Course took the stubborn Wretch his Son? The worst, I warrant you.

Neigh.

Yes, rash like a Youth; he chose the Ruin rather than the Duty, and boldly went out of his Father's Doors, and his Father himself shut the Door after him.

Fa.

Well, what came of the young One?

Neigh.

When he had thus dealt with his Eldest, he stay'd some Time, that the might not be in any Passi|on; and then coming to his younger Son, he told him, he should not now ask him whether he would comply with his Demand or no, having heard what he had said to his elder * Brother; that he did not come now to make Terms with him, but to correct him for his scandalous Behaviour, staying two Nights out of his House, and refusing to give him an Account of himself; and that he would talk with him about where he had been afterwards: He told him, that he had too much Affection for him to suffer a Thing that would be so certain to ruin both Soul and Body; and that if ever he liv'd to be a Man, he would bless GOD, and the Memory of his Father, for having in the strictest manner imaginable restrained his Fol|lies, and corrected him for them.

Fa.

I acknowledge this was all as it should be, and Page  242 as I should do; and I resolve to try, if it be possible, to imitate him; but, I fear, it is not in my Nature; my Passions are not so much in my own Government, and, I fear, never will.

Neigh.

Well, as long as you are convinc'd this is your Duty, and that this is the best Way, I leave the rest to your Conscience.

Fa.

But pray go on.

Neigh.

The Father had this Comfort in having done his Duty, that he saw his youngest Son perfect|ly reclaim'd by it, and he never stood in need of any more Correction; and his Eldest, when he saw, his Father in earnest, and that he was not to be con|quer'd, made use of the Intercession of some of their Relations to be let in again, and reconcil'd to his Fa|ther, who, a mild, quiet, good humour'd Man, soon forgave him; but never till he comply'd, and went to his Brother openly, and acknowledg'd he had given him bad Counsel.

Fa.

This Story is fruitful of many good Things; but I see nothing that I admire so much as how the Softness of the Father's Disposition, the Calmness of his Temper, his Patience and Moderation could all consist so with his Steadiness to his Resolution, as well in the Case of correcting the youngest, as not to abate an Inch to the eldest of what he had so justly made his Duty; I fear I should have given it all up.

Neigh.

This proves that our Affection to our Chil|dren, and the Expressions of it in all the Softness and Tenderness, that attends the mildest Temper, is yet very consistent with, and no obstruction to the Duty of a strict Restraint of their Follies, and a due correct|ing them when their Obstinacy makes it necessary.

Fa.

I wonder how he could do it all, and keep his Temper; that would be my Difficulty.

Neigh.

Religion did all that; his Affection to his Children kept him calm, and yet his Zeal for GOD, Page  243 and his Duty, made him steady to his Resolution: In a word, he durst not go from it, he durst not abate a Tittle; to have yielded had been to fortify and harden the Rebellion of his Children, as well against GOD as their Father, and thereby to ruin his Fa|mily, and ruin the Souls of his Children.

Fa.

Well, that is true, and nothing but Religion can do it; without it, every Father will have too much Affection, or too little; too much Passion or too little; it can never be.

Neigh.

You see this good Man did it, and now he has as quiet well-order'd a Family as any Man can desire; whereas our other Friend Mr. —'s Family has been a meer Bedlam instead of a regular well-govern'd House.

Fa.

Well, if this Story be at an End, pray go on where you left off.

Neigh.

I left off at telling you the Story of Mr. — and how he that was so passionate, so furious, and un|govern'd in the Case of his best Children, that he even became intollerable to the most dutiful, was now become so tame, so gall-less a Creature, to an ungrate|ful, unthankful Wretch, who despis'd him, that he could take nothing amiss from him, and saw nothing amiss in him.

Fa.

That introduc'd this Pattern of a most excel|lent Father, of which you spoke last, which was in|deed just the Reverse of Mr. —, ay, and of me too, and of all furious, passionate Fathers.

Neigh.

It would offend the Ears of good Men, if I should repeat the common Discourses of this young Fellow, either of, or to his Father; the Servants in the House, Workmen in the Street, Neighbours in the Town cry'd Shame of it; but the Father him|self, blinded by the violence of his Affection, saw none of it; what he did meet with, that shock'd him at any Time, he would turn off with a Jest, and say, Well,Page  244he will have more Wit hereafter, and the like.

Fa.

It was meet indeed such a Father should make a Jest of himself, who could suffer himself to be made a Jest by his Children.

Neigh.

Such is the stupifying Power of a blinded Affection; and yet even this Dotage began in a kind of a Passion, as if he had pitch'd upon this Son to re|venge himself of the rest. who he pretended had dis|oblig'd him.

Fa.

It is often so, when Mens Passions hurry them on so violently, either one way or other.

Neigh.

In conjunction with this Rebel, his other Son (and the last we have to speak of) became a meer Rake, a common Scandal in his Morals, and extravagant to the last Degree. The two Sons held together, and be|came Companions as well in their Vices as in their Behaviour to their Father; and to such a degree of Stupidity did they bring him, that, in a word, they dipp'd deep into his Cash to support their Ex|travagancies: The youngest had the keeping of his trading Cash; and it happen'd one Day, that his Fa|ther looking over his Cash-Book, to see if there was Money enough to answer some Payment he had to make, found the Cash-Book not ballanc'd, or made up, and call'd his younger Son to make it up. His Son put him off for that Time. In a Day or two more he tells his Son he wants such a Sum of Mo|ney; his Son tells him he has not so much in Bank. No, says his Father, how much have you? He an|swer'd him surlily, he did not know. Well, says his Father, go make it up and let me know. He shuffl'd it off a good while, till his Father began to be out of Humour; for he could be angry with him, tho he could not with the eldest: However, to be short, the Case was, that the eldest had confederated with the other so far as to get about 600 l. of his Fa|ther's Money away, and when it could be conceal'd no longer, he runs away from him.

Page  245
Fa.

What, the Darling run away?

Neigh.

Yes, it was he run away; the Youngest, tho he was wicked enough, yet had not robb'd his Father or embezzled his Money, and he was left at home to bear the Brunt. But were it possible to de|scribe the Extravagance of the Father, when he came to know how he was serv'd, it might have its Uses too, but Words cannot do it. It was to no purpose to perswade him that it was that Son that had wrong'd him; he would have it be all the Trick and Manage|ment of the other Son, and was in the greatest Pas|sion with him imaginable.

But then his innocent Son, as he would have him thought, was run away, and that admitted no Ex|cuse; then he would fly out again, and be in a ra|ving Condition, like one distracted.

Fa.

Six hundred Pound! say you, that was a ter|rible Blow.

Neigh.

It was not such a Blow as to wound his Credit, or hurt him in his Business, his Foundation did not feel it; for he is an old Trader, and is in very good Circumstances; but the greatest Shock was this of his Child, as he called him.

Fa.

His Rage would abate in some Time, as to that.

Neigh.

Truly it carry'd him so far, that it impair'd his Health; and when the first Hurry of it did wear off a little, then it made an Impression upon his Mind, sunk his Spirits, and he began to be melan|cholly. In his Family, he carry'd it so morose, so cynical and reserv'd, that no body could speak to him; he had but one Son left, as is said, and who as I told you, was a worthless Wretch at that Time; but however, his Father treated him with so much severity upon this Occasion, that he was not able to bear it. As for the poor Daughter, she had not been turn'd out of Doors, as you may remem|ber Page  246 I said; but she liv'd such a disconsolate Life at home, that she was almost dead with the Grief of it, having been for some time in a deep Consumpti|on, occasion'd by the Trouble at her Father's Un|kindness. His Son tired, as I said, with living so ill with his Father, resolv'd to be gone any where out of the reach of it; and taking his Father one Morning, when he thought he might be spoke to, he told him he had a Mind to go to the East-Indies, naming a Captain of his Father's Acquaintance, and desired he would give him leave to go with him. His Fa|ther told him, very short, Ay, if he would, and from thence to the West-Indies; for he cared not if he never saw him more: and added some dreadful rash Words farther, that I do not care to repeat.

Fa.

That was a most unnatural Answer.

Neigh.

'Twas such an Answer as was suitable to the Temper he was then in.

Fa.

Why then he was in no Temper at all.

Neigh.

That's true; he was in a constant Rage, his Passions, like the Sea, had been disturb'd by a vio|lent Storm, and the Waves continu'd their Motion by the meer Influence of their own Weight, tho the Cause was at an end.

Fa.

Indeed I think the Passions of a Man are very aptly compar'd to the Sea in a Storm; for they do not presently abate, tho the Storm ceases.

Neigh.

Such Passions as these, are of a stronger and more violent Nature than others, because they sink deeper in the Mind, and should be therefore shun'd with the greater Care, as they are capable of worse Events than other Disturbances of the Mind.

Fa.

Well, what said the Son? I suppose by the Character you gave of him before, he flew away from him, and went abroad, without troubling his Head with his Father; and it may be, abus'd him into the Bargain.

Page  247
Neigh.

No, I assure you, quite the contrary.

The Answer was so surprizing to the young Man, that as rakish as he was thought to be, and as little re|spect as he had for his Father, he spoke not one Word; but sat down, trembled, and was so struck with the Horror of it, that he had much Difficulty to keep himself from fainting away.

Fa.

What said his Father then?

Neigh.

He had turn'd away from him, about some B•…ness, as soon as he had given him that Answer, and troubled his Head no more about him: But a Maid-Servant in the House seeing him look Ill, run to him, and ask'd him what was the Matter, and if he would have any Thing? He was not able to speak to her a good while; but after some time, get|ting Vent to the Oppression of his Spirits, he said, Call my Sister. When his Sister came, she immedi|ately guess'd there had been some Quarrel between her Father and him; and at first, she imagin'd her Father had struck him in his Passion, and perhaps done him some Mischief; so charging the Maid not to stir from him, she ran and ferch'd something for him to take, and sat by him till he was a little bet|ter. When he had recover'd a little, he fetch'd a deep Sigh; dear Sister, said he, what a dreadful Crea|ture have we for a Father! What has GOD's Pro|vidence determin'd to do with us all, or to bring us to, that we shou'd be brought into the World, under the Government of such a Tyrant?

Sister.

Nay, Brother, do not call my Father a Ty|rant; whoever has reason to complain, he has always carry'd it well to my Brother and you.

Bro.

Carry'd it well! Do you call this carrying well?

Sist.

Why, what is the Matter, Brother, has my Father struck you?

Bro.

Struck me! he has stabb'd me.

Page  248
Sister.

You fright me, Brother; what do you mean? Where has he hurt you? Shall I send for a Surgeon?

Bro.

No, no, don't be frighted; he has not struck me with his Hands, but he has stabb'd me to the Heart with his cruel and unnatural Tongue; you know there are Words that are like the Piercing of a Sword.

Sist.

We have had too much such woundings in our Family; the Lord forgive them that are guilty: it is evident, I have had my Death's Wound that way some Years ago.

Bro.

I was never affected with it till now, I ne|ver valued my Father enough to value his Blessing; and never troubled my Thoughts about his Curse before.

Sister.

Why, did he curse you Brother? sure that can never be: What had you done to provoke him? What did you say to him?

Bro.

I'll tell it you Word for Word, and his An|swer.

He repeats what pass'd between him and his Father.
Sist.

Dear, Brother, I place it all to the Account of his great Disorder about my Brother's going a|way, and he thinks you had a hand in it; you know he doats upon my Brother, even to distraction; you must bear with him till that is a little over.

Bro.

He may doat upon my Brother if he will, I can assure him, my Brother does not doat upon him; and if I should give him a Letter which my Brother has sent me to deliver to him, he would never doat on him more; it is the most abusive Thing sure that ever Son wrote to a Father.

Sist.

What is my Brother mad? Why, I heard that my Father had written a kind Letter to him, to de|sire him to come home again, and that he would for|give what was pass'd, and receive him kindly.

Page  249
Bro.

It is true; and he has return'd the most inso|lent, railing, abominable Answer that ever you heard of; but I have kept it, and have not deliver'd it, for his own sake: because, methinks, I would not have him bar the Door for ever against himself; it may be, he may want his Father again, as ill as he loves him.

Sist.

And have you sent him Word, that you have done so?

Bro.

Yes; and he has sent me such an abusive, scandalous Letter back again, because I have not de|liver'd it, as you never saw the like; and swears he will send his Letter to my Father by another Hand, that shall be more faithful to him.

Sist.

That shall be more unhappily faithful to his Folly and Passion, he means; for without doubt, you have been kind and faithful too, to his Interest, if he knew what it was.

Bro.

This, Sister, and my Father's Treatment of me, has given me a sad Heart for some Time; I know I have been out of Government, and run into a great many foolish and wicked Courses: the Truth is, my Father's Passions made such a terrible Work among us always, that I hated the House; and, like a Fool, to make my self easy, run out of one Mischief into another, and my Brother led me by the Hand into the worst Courses; and thus I have ruin'd my self, both Soul and Body.

Sister.

Dear Brother, I hope you are not ruin'd, they run far that never look back; I hope it is not too late to recover your self, GOD can restore you whenever he pleases; you are but young yet, and may have Time spar'd you to repent; I am glad, whatever the Occasion is, that you had any serious Reflections about it.

Bro.

Truly Sister, I have had many sad Thoughts about it; but what can I do in such a Cloud and Page  250 Storm of ill Usage? I wanted to be both out of this, and out of the Way of that wicked Company that had been a Temptation to me: and this was it made me propose to my Father a Voyage to the Indies, in hopes, if ever I did come back again, to have been entirely free from both.

Sist.

I hope you may have a Deliverance at a less Expence.

Bro.

Indeed my Father has effectually stop'd my Voyage; for he first told me I might go, and then curs'd me if I went.

Sist.

You have then the more reason to believe Providence has determin'd better Things for you; have Patience Brother, wait the Issues of the divine Government of Things; there are invisible Hands in all these Matters, and in GOD's Time Deliverance will come perhaps in the way that you may not look for it; I have but one Thing to beg of you.

Bro.

What's that Sister?

Sist.

Keep your Resolution, to abandon what you say has been your Temptation; you will be much the better able to support this, that is your Affliction.

Bro.

I resolve, GOD willing, to live quite ano|ther Life; my Father has taught me more by his un|govern'd Passion, and ill-guided Affection, than ever he taught me by Instruction in his Life.

Sist.

Dear Brother, my Father's Weakness should be our Affliction; I am sure it is mine, and may be instructing many ways to us: GOD has many ways to teach and bring us to a Sense of our Duty that we do not think of; natural Affection bids us Pity and Pray for our Father, and yet Duty and the Laws of GOD, bid us learn to avoid the Follies he may be guilty of.

Bro.

Indeed Sister, I never lov'd my Father before; I must own, I hated and despised him always till now; I thought his furious Passions were brutish and unnatural; his Treatment of us who were his own Page  251 Children, unreasonable and unjust; that he did not use us like Christians, much less like Chil|dren; and that I was under no Obligations of Duty and Respect to him, for that very reason. But now I come to see this unnatural Carriage of my Brother, I see likewise my own Follies and Madness in other Things; I see it in that too, that I should think, because my Father is but a Man and subject to violent Passions, and perhaps such as I may think Unjust, that therefore I must be a Beast, and with|draw my Affection from him that gave me Being; That because my Father is not a Saint, therefore I must be a Devil: My Notion of these Things there|fore, Sister, are quite chang'd; I pity my Father's Infirmities, I am sorry for his Provocations, and love him in a different Manner now from what I under|stood before. On the other hand, I think my Bro|ther's Conduct the most to be abhor'd of all that I ever met with; and I doubt not, but he will repent it, with a sad Heart.

Sist.

I wish it may not be too late; for I must own to you Brother, such Carriage to our Parents is a Sin that I think is oftner punish'd in this World than any other, and is oftner confess'd at the Gallows than any where else.

Bro.

That is true Sister, and that very thing has not fail'd to lie upon my Thoughts I assure you.

Sist.

Indeed Brother, I did not speak with any Thoughts to you; my Brother has gone a length that you never went, and it's evident I cannot reach your Case; for GOD be prais'd, you are confessing it early; and early Repentance is a peculiar Blessing.

Bro.

Dear Sister, there goes a great deal more than most People think of to a true and sincere Repen|tance; and one thing is, to make Acknowledgment to the Persons injur'd; I would, with all my Heart, ac|knowledge all my undutiful, disrespectful Carriage to my Father; but he is of such a Temper, that he Page  252 is not capable to receive such an Acknowledgment; if I should ask him Pardon, he would but Jest at it, and scorn me, and perhaps refuse it, and curse me; I am in such a strait I know not what to do.

Sist.

Why, you say you gave my Father no Pro|vocation now.

Bro.

No, no, I do not mean this; I have nothing to ask Pardon for in this, for I gave not the least Cause of Offence, much less did I give any Cause for such bitter Words: But I speak of all the formen Part of our Conduct, when my Brother used to in|sult him, and I too; I am sensible it was the wicked|est Thing I could be able to do, let my Father's Con|duct be what it will; and I remember that terrible Scripture with many a terrible Reproach upon my self, Cursed be he that setteth light by his Father and Mother: This is what I would ask him Pardon for; but there is no doing it.

Sist.

Well Brother, blessed be GOD he will for|give upon Terms on which Men refuse to forgive: Ask GOD Pardon, and wait the Issue of his Provi|vidence, he can turn my Father's Heart, and no doubt will open a Door for you to show the Return of your Duty to him, and bring my Father to be sen|sible of and accept it.

Bro.

But Sister, what shall we do about this rash, foolish Creature my Brother? I would fain prevent methinks, his Letter coming to my Father's Hands, as well for his own sake, for I am sure my Father will never forgive him; as for my Father's sake, be|cause it must needs grieve and exasperate him to the last Degree; for I know how he loves him.

Sist.

I do not see that's possible; for if any Letter be left for him, no body dares open it, and there is no knowing it from another: Besides Brother, why should you desire it, you know my Father's present Disgust at you is, that he thinks you have been the Page  253 Occasion of my Brother's going away; and it's plain, he had rather you had gone than my Brother a great deal.

Bro.

Truly as it happen'd I did not embezzle his Money as t'other did; what I extravagantly spent, my Brother supply'd me with; had I robb'd him as he has done, I had never had room to have look'd towards home again.

Sist.

No indeed—

Here a Maid comes in and interrupts them, and begs the young Woman to go down Stairs to her Father; for he had received a Letter from some body, that had put him into the violentest Rage, she was frighted.
Bro.

It is as I fear'd, Sister, 'tis a Letter from my Brother.

Sist.

I dare not go near him, he won't see me.

Bro.

Nor I dare not go near him, he will fly in my Face.

Maid.

I don't know what to do, I never see any Man in such a Passion in my Life, he tears his Hair off his Head; I must call for some help in the Street.

Bro.

Did you see the Letter Mary?

Maid.

Yes, Sir, I saw it, but I had no time to read far in it; but it begins with calling him all the Names that can be reckon'd up; calls him Fury, Mad-man, unnatural Brute, unworthy the Name of Father, Tyrant, Villain, and I know not what; sure it can never be from Mr. —.

Sist.

I am afraid it is indeed.

Bro.

Yes, yes, I know it is from him, for 'tis the very Language of that Letter he sent to me to de|liver for him, I thank him.

Maid.

O dear Sir, but you wou'd not deliver it, I hope.

Bro.

No indeed Mary, I had more Respect for my Brother as well as for my Father; I would fain have prevented it quite, if I could.

Page  254
Maid.

GOD will bless you for it, I hope; sure, tho my Master is a passionate Man, none of his Children should use him so.

Bro.

So! Mary; no, let my Father be as passionate as he will, his Children should not fail in the least part of their Duty; sure the Duty of Children is not a conditional Debt, and only to be paid if the Father does his Duty: If my Father omits his Duty, he sins against GOD; but if we don't do our Duty, we sin against GOD too; his Omission does not discharge us.

Maid.

I am glad to hear you talk so, Sir; I wish my Master heard you too.

Bro.

Ay Mary, I wish so too; but my Father is too much prejudic'd against me to hear me, or to be|lieve me, if he did hear me.

Maid.

I am call'd Sir, I must run.

Some of the Servants call Mary to their Ma|ster.
Sist.

Bring us word Mary, how my Father does immediately.

Their Father had it seems received this insolent Letter, which being from that only One of all his Children that he had shewn an extraordinary Affecti|on to, put him out of all Patience; and as is descri|bed, he threw down the Letter, and flew into all the usual Extravagancies of ungovern'd Passion; in a word, it overcame him to that Degree, that it master'd all his Reason; and in a manner, put him besides himself: No body could come near him; that is, so as to say any thing to him to pacisy him: sometimes he wept; sometimes he rag'd, sometimes he call'd himself a thousand Fools and Sots for his kind Usage of his Son; other times would not believe it was his doing, but some body had counterfeited his Hand.

Between Grief and Anger he made himself so ill, and was so out of Order, that a good, sober, grave Page  255 Woman, who was kept in the House to look after his Family, perswaded him to go to Bed, which at last he did. The careful good Creature was so concern'd for him, that she would not let any body else go to Bed that Night; and sometimes her self, and some|times Mary sat up in the Room with him.

When he had slept a while, tho but a disturb'd uneasy Sleep, he wak'd, and hearing some Body up, he call'd: The ancient Woman came to him, and ask'd how he did; he told her, he was a little bet|ter; and finding his Spirits a little more compos'd, she began to talk seriously to him; first, of the Oc|casion that was given him, which tho it was inju|rious and provoking, yet that he had no reason to fly into such Excesses; that he ought to despise, and treat his Son as he was, a Rebel and a Thief: That it is true, he had shown great Kindness to his Son; and that it grieved him, as he was disappointed in his Af|fection which he had placed in him, above the rest of his Children; he turn'd pretty short upon her in that, which shew'd, that it was there his Oppression lay.

Fa.

So I did, said he, I lov'd him above them all put together: And when they had all carry'd it dis|obliging to me, my Comfort was, that I had this Son to please my self with still; and I thought my self as happy in him, as if I had all the rest about me.

Wom.

I know you did, and there was your Sin: And now it pleases GOD to be opening your Eyes, and making that which you plac'd a false Delight in, be your real Affliction, that you may see you are not a pro|per Judge of the Object; and perhaps, to lead you back to take Comfort in those you have taken no Comfort in.

Fa.

Alas! I have none to take Comfort in now.

Wom.

O do not say so Sir, you have sober and vertuous Children that you may take Comfort in if you please.

Page  256
Fa.

Have they not all been undutiful and unkind to the last Degree?

Wom.

I am perswaded there is none of them that have been so, but would be glad to ask your Pardon, and show you that they are very sorry for it.

Fa.

I see no sign of such a Thing among them.

Wom.

Be pleased to consider Sir, there has been failing on every Hand; you have been Passionate and your Children are Rash: but I dare say there's not a Child you have, but detests and abhors the Treatment you have receiv'd now, and would be very willing to let you know it.

Fa.

How can that be? Do any of them show the least Concern for me upon this Occasion?

Wom.

You see Sir, how your Passion robs you of the Comfort of your Family; do they not all show the greatest Concern imaginable? There's your Son and Daughter in the House, have been up all Night in the greatest Concern and Affliction imaginable for you; and if I am not misinform'd, your Son us'd all the Endeavours possible to have prevented this Let|ter coming to your Hand, and to have perswaded his Brother against it; but in vain.

Fa.

I wish I were sure of that.

Wom.

You may be sure of that and a great deal more, if you please to call Mary and examine her; she is but in the next Room.

Fa.

Say you so, can Mary tell me? she is a good religious Body, I dare say she would not impose up|on me, call her in.

Mary comes in.
Wom.

Mary, pray give your Master an Account of the Discourse you had with Mr. James last Night, and with your young Mistress.

Fa.

Mary, prithee be plain with me, I dare confide in what you say; you know James has been Confe|derate with this Rebel, and has been a wicked pro|fligate Creature as well as he.

Page  257
Sus.

Yes, Sir; but I assure you it is quite other|wise now, and I hope and believe he is not only quite alter'd, but a true Penitent.

Fa.

How dost mean alter'd, Mary?

Sus.

Why, Sir, he is reform'd; he has left all his wild Haunts and Company, and in particular I find he is extremely afflicted for his Behaviour to you, and for the Rudeness his Brother shows you, and endea|vour'd to prevent it; for he had this Letter sent to him to deliver before, and refused it, and used his utmost to perswade his Brother not to send it.

Fa.

Art thou certain of this, Mary? Prithee tell me all the Particulars?

Sus.

Yes, Sir, as well as I can.

Mary repeats the Discourse between her and her Master's Son, mentioned above.
Fa.

Who was by when this Discourse happen'd?

Sus.

Your Daughter, Sir; if you please to enquire of her, she will give you a larger Account a great deal; for they were talking of it before I came to them.

Mary withdraws.

The good Man was touch'd with this Discourse, and it brought Tears into his Eyes; and the good Woman taking this Opportunity, mov'd him to talk with his Daughter; laid before him how hard a Thing it was to carry it so severely so long together, to a Child that never offended him; and arguing calmly with him the Case of his Daughter, prevail'd upon him, to have her come up to him: When she came to his Bed-side, he took her in his Arms and kiss'd her, but could very hardly speak to her, and she much less to him for some Time; however, at length he told her he desir'd she would be faithful in one Thing to him. His Daughter told him, she would be faith|ful to him in every Thing that ever she was entrust|ed with; that nothing had ever gone so near her Heart as having offended him; and that she wanted Page  258 an Opportunity to ask Pardon in the humblest Man|ner possible, for having displeased him without so much as considering what Reasons or Necessity she might have for doing it. He found that she could hardly speak for Tears, and therefore very kindly told her, he forgave her; and, my Dear, says he, you and I will be better Friends than ever, if you will give me a true and impartial Account of what Discourse your Brother James and you had Yesterday, what you know of him, with respect to the Differences be|tween him and I, and how far he has any Hand in this brutish Part your Brother — has acted.

Dau.

I will, Sir, with all my Heart, and shall be the more glad to do it, because I know it will be so much for his Interest and for your Satisfaction, that you should know how Things stand with my Brother.

Fa.

Stand with him, Child! I know how they stand with him; he has been not only an ungrateful Rebel to me, but has run out into all manner of Wickedness.

Dau.

You may hear him say all that, Sir, of him|self, and a great deal more, when you please.

Fa.

What! does he boast of his Wickedness then?

Dau.

No, indeed, Sir, very far from it; he con|demns himself, and acknowledges his Sin with an unfeign'd Repentance, I verily believe.

Fa.

He has treated me very barbarously, I am sure.

Dau.

It is one of his Afflictions, that he cannot come to acknowledge his Offences to you, and ask you Forgiveness; and I am perswaded, if you would give him leave, you would see no Cause to doubt his Sincerity.

Fa.

What will he acknowledge? Will he acknow|ledge his Confederacy with his wicked Brother to rob and insult me, as you see is done?

Dau.

He will rather convince you, Sir, that he al|ways abhorr'd and detested both; and I know so much, as to this abominable Letter, that he did his utmost to prevent it.

Page  259 Here she gives her Father an Account of the Discourse she had with her Brother, except only those Passages which mention'd the Pas|sion of his Father, and cursing him.
Fa.

And is all this true, my Dear?

Dau.

Indeed, Sir, it is all true, and a great deal more; I would not deceive you, Sir; it's a Thing of such Consequence, that it must be doubly wicked to give you a wrong Account; I assure you, Sir, this is his real Case.

Fa.

Then, indeed, I am sorry I said some rash Words to him when he ask'd me leave to go beyond Sea: I shall rejoice in his Repentance; he may make up all to me this Way, if he pleases, and I may still have a Son to have some Comfort in.

Wom.

Here the good Woman, that watch'd for all Opportunities to heal if possible these Breaches in the Family, put her Word in; I hope, Sir, said she, you have other Sons to have Comfort in too.

Fa.

And where is your Brother, my Dear?

Dau.

He is in his Chamber, Sir; but has been so concern'd at this wicked Business, and the Disorder it has put you into, that we have had much ado to keep Life in him, and just now we perswaded him to lye down.

Fa.

Well, do not wake him.

Dau.

No, Sir, he is not asleep, he cannot sleep, nor hardly draw his Breath, he is so choak'd with Vapours, upon this Business; I believe, if he could have come at his Brother, he would have been in danger of doing him some Mischief, he is so provok'd.

Fa.

Well, my Dear, I am satisfy'd; go and tell him I rejoice in the Change that GOD has wrought in his Heart; and that I am Friends with him, and that I forgive him all he has done against me, with|out giving him the Difficulty of a Submission.

Dau.

I'll carry that Message with great Satisfaction.

She runs out to her Brother.

Page  260 The good old Woman took this Opportunity of the good Disposition he was in, to represent to him how much happier both he and his whole Family would be, in this Christian dutiful engaging Treatment of one another, than in continual Breaches and Discontents; and particularly press'd him to consider how sinful, as well as how mischievous to his Family, his own violent Passions had been, and in particular how far they had conbributed to the Disasters of his Fa|mily, and the Disorders of his Children, tho their Disobedience was to be laid at their own Door also. He bore it with much more Temper than she expected; and told her, with great Earnestness, he was very sensible, that his ungovern'd Passion in the Conduct of his Children, especially when they were young, had laid the Foundation of all the rest; that it had destroy'd the Affection of his Children, and brought them from a filial Fear of displeasing him, to a Slave-like Terror at his being displeased, which were two very great Extreams.

Why, truly, Sir, says the pious Woman, if I may be so free, and none of your Children being present to hear me, I fear it has; and 'tis a hard Matter for Children to think that their Passions should have no room in their Conduct, as well as their Parents. And that, as your Son James said very religiously, a Father's omitting his Duty gives no Allowance to the Son to fail in his Respect: 'Tis true, says she, Children ought not to fail in their Duty, on pretence of the Miscarriages of their Parents; but it is true also, that few Children have so much Regard to their Parents, or Sense of their Duty, as to consider it; and there|fore, adds the good Woman, Parents should be very careful that they do not, by their Passions, put Ex|cuses into the Mouths of their Children, and Argu|ments to reason them out of their Duty.

Page  261Says the Father, I am convinc'd that I laid an early Foundation, in the Education of my Children, to have had them all Rebels, both to GOD and their Father, and now you see how they fly in my Face for it.

Here the good Woman took an Opportunity to speak to him of his two other Sons; but there being no room for running back too far at that Time, she let it alone for the present, but never gave it over, with the Assistance of their penitent Son, till the Fa|ther was reconcil'd to them all; nor did it take up much Time, for she follow'd her Discourse, not only with religious Arguments, but with earnest Perswa|sions, till she brought him to be very willing to re|ceive them; and she used the same Earnestness to perswade the Children, and to convince them that it was their Duty to submit to their Father, tho they were in the right. Thus she happily brought about a perfect Reconciliation, and they are now a very comfortable, pleasant Family; and I hear since, that even that wicked Creature, that used his Father so ill, has sent over very penitent Letters from Jamaica, where it seems he went, expressing his Sense of his In|gratitude to, and horrid Treatment of his Father, and begging him to forgive him.

First Fa.

I have heard your long Story with so much Attention and Pleasure, that it has been very far from being tedious to me; for it has in it not only a full Reproof to my foolish Conduct in my Family, but a plain Conviction of the Duty of Children to their Parents, and the indispensable Obligation they are under to Obedience and Reverence, let their Father's Infirmities, Miscarriages and Mismanage|ments, be what they will.

Neigh.

This was the End of my telling you this Story, that after having endeavour'd thereby to move Parents not to expose the paternal Authority to Con|tempt, Page  262 and not to lay before Children the Tempta|tion of contemning their Parents; it might also help to convince Children, that, let the Infirmities and ill Management of their Parents be what they will, they can never be discharg'd of their Duty to them; their Reverence and Respect to their Parents can|not abate, without a horrible Breach upon their Mo|rals and their Consciences, and without abandoning Humanity and also Religion.

Fa.

I cannot but observe also, the excellent Con|duct of that good House-keeper, her Faithfulness to his Interest, her religious Zeal for healing the Breaches of his Family, and her Kindness and Con|cern to bring about a Reconciliation between the Children and their Father.

Neigh.

Yes, I took Notice a little how different a Carriage that was from one you know of.

Fa.

Mine! I understand you; mine is a Firebrand rather than a Peace-maker; my House-keeper is as Passionate as I am, and is forwarder to throw Oil than Water into the Flame, when it is kindled: In a Word, such a Woman as yours was, is a Treasure to a Family, and acts the Tenderness of the Mother, without the Relation.

Neigh.

Faithful Servants are a Blessing to a House, and in such Cases as these, where any of the Heads of the Families are gone, much of the Felicity of a Family depends upon them.

Fa.

It is very true; but where are such to be had?

Neigh.

There are some such in the World, tho very few, and if it were not too long, I could give you such a Relation of a faithful religious Maid-Servant, in a Family where there was no Sense of Religion, no Fear or Knowledge of GOD, as you have scarce ever heard the like.

Fa.

Well, and was she not a Blessing to the whole Family?

Page  263
Neigh.

Yes, indeed, and that in such a Manner as few Servants ever were; but I must confess, I believe, if all Servants in such Places did their Duty like her, it would spread Religion thro' the World in a secret and imperceptible Manner, for ought I know, equal to all other Means that GOD has appointed for it.

Fa.

You surprize me! How can that be?

Neigh.

Because Servants, that tend Children in their first steping into Knowledge, have infinitely more Advantage than other Teachers to form Idea's in the Minds of the Children of the greatest and best Things, (viz.) Of GOD, Nature, the World, their Duty, and what they ought to do, or not to do; a Word then is more than a Sermon afterwards; The plain little Hints of Things given so early, are like small Plants or Seeds deposited in Nature's best Soil, which grow insensibly up to maturity, and, I believe I may say, are never entirely rooted out of the Mind.

Fa.

You speak of a Thing that is the proper Duty of Parents.

Neigh.

That's true; but as I speak of a Thing which few Parents do, the Field for pious and religi|ous Servants to act in, is exceeding large.

Fa.

Besides, such Servants often come into Fami|lies, where the Parents, or at least one of them, are dead.

Neigh.

And to others, where the Parents are Ig|norant, and know nothing of it themselves; either that it is their Duty, or how to perform it.

Fa.

Ay, or perhaps if they know both, they are Negligent in the Performance, which I am oblig'd to confess has been my Part.

Neigh.

In all these there is room for such a Ser|vant to act; nay, even where the Parents do best, and are most careful, still such a Servant is a great Assist|ant to bring the Children to subject their Minds to Instruction, and to listen to the pious Teachings of their religious Parents.

Page  264
Fa.

Pray let me hear the Story of this Maid-Servant.

Neigh.

At our next meeting, I'll tell it you all; but 'tis impossible now, we have not Time for it.

Fa.

Then I'll meet you to Morrow again on Purpose.

Neigh.

With all my Heart.

Here they part, and the next Evening met again; when he gives him the long Account which takes up the three following Dialogues.
The End of the Second Dialogue.

The Third DIALOGUE.

THE Gentlelman having in the foregoing Dia|logue, promis'd to give his Friend, at their next Meeting, the Story of a faithful religi|ous Maid-Servant, the Father was very im|patient to hear it; and accordingly being met, as by their Appointment, the next Night his Friend began the following Relation, embellish'd with a great many useful Digressions, all fit to be apply'd the same Way.

There was a Family, says he, in the Out Part of the City, of whom it may be said, they were as odly circumstanc'd for the Production of any thing proper to this Work, as any Family could be imagin'd to be.

They were of middling Circumstances as to Wealth, not considerably Rich, and yet far from Poor: The Father was of an Employment in one of the publick Offices belonging to Sea-Affairs, which, in the Na|ture Page  265 of his Business, brought abundance of Compa|ny continually to his House, and that too, Company of the worst Sort, as to Sobriety and Modesty, as well in Words and Gestures as ordinary Behaviour: This had a very unhappy Effect upon the Behaviour of his Children, made his Daughters bold and for|ward, and his Sons wicked; and even familiar with Vice, as such sort of People must be.

The Family was as void of Religion, as it is possi|ble to suppose a Family can be in a Country where any thing of Religion is nationally profest. Their Con|versation was so far from being religious, that it was scarce Sober; perfectly Prophane and Loose; nothing of the Practise of Religion, no, not so much as the Show of it; for either Father or Mother were hard|ly ever known to go to Church, from one End of the Year to t'other.

The Sabbath-Day was generally among them a Day of Company and Diversion, and they seldom din'd alone; after Dinner the Time was generally spent in drinking by the Father, and either in sleep or walking in the Fields by the Mother and Daugh|ters: Now and then, by accident, or as Company came in and proposed it, the Children might perhaps go to Church, but very seldom.

Their Discourse, as the Conversation of such Fa|milies generally is, was a meer Complication of Le|vity and Vanity, to say no worse; a Collection of ill Language, Oaths, taking the Name of GOD in vain, and all kinds of loose, leud, and wicked Talk.

They had a House full of Children, having no less than four Daughters and five Sons, and they were most of them grown up to be near Men and Women, except one Son and one Daughter; the Son was a|bout three or four Years old, and the Daughter six; and it can hardly be doubted but the Children were all of them following after their Father and Mother, Page  266 as fast as it could be imagin'd Children should, who had no other kind of Education than the wicked Ex|ample of their Parents.

The little Son was just entring upon the Stage of Life; could talk, and run about and play with Neigh|bours Children, which came to the House. His Mo|ther caus'd him at first to be carry'd to School Morn|ing and Afternoon, rather to be out of the Way, than that they suppos'd he could learn much so young.

It was a little sensible Child for its Age, and ma|ny little remarkable Discoveries of its being more than ordinarily so, were every Day made by its Acti|ons and Discourses; which the Mother, tho a Wo|man perfectly void of all Capacity of making just Observations from that Parents, yet, as Parents often|times tire us with telling long Stories of the For|wardness of their Children, when there's little or nothing extraordinary in them; so it was here; his Mother, who was mighty fond of this Boy, was con|tinually telling People one simple Story or another of the extraordinary Wit, cunning Questions, and apt Answers of this Child; tho perhaps, at that Time, little more than what was common. It was one Day, when, upon some particular Occasion, they had an Entertainment of some Friends in the House, that after Dinner the Mother was making her self merry with this little Boy's Prattle, and asking him a great many little Questions, to divert her self and the Company; and the Boy as inquisitive as she, ask'd many little Questions too, not much to the Purpose, but sufficient to set the Mother, and those about it, a laughing, which was all the Mother wanted.

There was a plain, rough, honest and sober Man among the Company, a Captain of a Ship; and he not seeing so much Jest in the Matter as the Woman made of it, the Mother was a little tart upon him, and told him, she suppos'd he was none of the fond Page  267 Fathers: Yes, he was, he said; but he did not see the Jest was worth so much Laugh. Just at that Moment the Child said something, or ask'd the Mother some Question or other, that pleas'd the Company mightily. Why, Captain, says she, was not that a strange Que|stion for a Child of three Years old? Madam, says the Captain, that is not all my Objection; but, if I may be plain with you, methinks the Child asks wiser Questions than its Mother, pray why don't you ask him fitter Questions? O dear! says the Mother, I suppose you would have me ask him, who made him: He will learn his Catechise when he comes to Church. Says the Captain blantly, If he don't learn it at Church till his Mother carries him thither, it may be late enough. It's no great matter, says she (with an Air of Prophaneness) whether ever he goes there or no; there's no great loss in it. Like Mother, like Son, says the Captain, jesting, but yet a little rough, he's in a fair Way to be a hopeful Man with such Educa|ting. He may serve, says she, for a Sea Captain; he may soon have Religion enough for a Tarpaulin. Yes, Madam, replies the Captain; I suppose you'll teach him to swear by the Compass. The Boy look'd ear|nestly upon the Captain, while he was speaking, and without any Hesitation, says very gravely to him, I won't swear. The Captain was affected with what the Child said, and particularly with the Manner of his speaking of it; for on a suddain the Child turn'd from his Mirth, and look'd as serious and surly as could be; and the Captain asking him, What do you say, my Dear; he answer'd again as gravely, I won't swear; and look'd as if he was near crying; but the Mother carry'd it all off with Rallery and Jest at the Captain. Now Madam, says the Captain, there's more in that one Word the Child said, and his Way of speaking it, than in all that you have laught so much at. How foolish it is to talk so to Children! says hisPage  268Mother, why you'll make the Child cry, Captain; what do you mean? I shan't make the Child cry, says he, but the Child almost makes me cry; it's pity that Child should not be taught; it grieves me for him: She banter'd him still, O you are so religious says she, now you are on Shore, I warrant, when you are at Sea, you can thunder like a North Wind; what would you have me teach him at this Age? I'll venture a Wager, says the Captain, if you ask him who made him, he does not know. Come, says she, you shall see I'll try him, My Dear, says the brutish Wretch to the Child, (pointing to a little Kitten that he had been playing with) Who made that Cat? The Boy had taken in some little Idea's suitable to him|self, from what the Captain had said, and had been very attentive to him; and when his Mother ask'd him that Question, stair'd at her as if he had been frighted: What ails the Child, says the Mother? Nay, what ails his Mother, says the Captain? I never heard any thing so abominable in my Life; upon this, the Child fell a crying. The Mother, far from being touch'd with any reflex Thought upon what she had said, fell to work to quiet the Child; but still ban|tering the Captain with the ridiculous Stuff, as she call'd it, of talking so to Children, and asking them such Questions as they understood nothing of: Well, well, says he, you have ask'd him a wiser Question than any of them, and I think the Child has answer'd you as well. Nay, says she, he has not answer'd me at all. Not answer'd you! says the Captain, I think he has effectually answer'd. Why, says she, he did nothing but cry. Well, and what do you think he cry'd for, says the Captain? Nay, what do I know? says the Mother; you made him cry, I think: No, no, Madam, says the Captain, he cry'd to hear his Mother talk so prophanely. Was that it, says she, think you? You shall see, I'll ask him again and he Page  269 won't cry, and that will prove you are mistaken. If you ask him such a vile Question again, says the Cap|tain very warmly, I am satisfy'd he will cry again, or GOD will put some Words in the Infant's Mouth to answer you; for out of the Mouths of such as these he has ordain'd Praise. Nay, says she, not at all touch'd still, if you come to prophesy, Captain, we have an opportunity to know whether you are a false Prophet or a true. I don't Prophesy, says he, but I hope he will. I'll try your Gift, says she, and impudently ask'd the Child again, who made that Cat? The Boy did not cry, but said nothing. The Captain look'd steadily on the Child, and the Child look'd steadily on its Mother. Now, Captain, says she, where's your Gift of Prophesy? You see he don't cry, nor he don't speak; why don't you answer me JACKY? says the Mother. Let him alone, says the Captain, he is big with it, he will bring out something presently: The Child hesitated two or three Times, and then look|ing up in his Mother's Face, says he, very gravely, Who made you, Mother? The Captain pulling off his Hat,

'Blessed be GOD, says he aloud, that has not left himself without a Witness against his Enemies, even in the Mouths that are not yet open'd.

This Discourse, as it may be well suppos'd, put all the rest of the Company to a little stand, and the Mirth ceas'd with every Body but the Mother: But she having not the least Impression made upon her, turn'd it all into Jest and Banter; and so the Con|versation chang'd for a while, and the Captain enter|tain'd himself with the rest of the Company. It hap|pen'd, he fell into Talk with a Gentlewoman, who was a Relation to the Family, who he found was much soberer than the rest of the Company, and very religious; and they had not been long in Discourse, but the Gentlewoman took Notice of his Battle with the Mother of the Child, and told him, she thought Page  270 what he said was very just, and she wondred that her Cou|sin was not startled at what the Child had answer'd; for, says she, it was very surprizing. Alas! Madam, says the Captain, she is pass'd all that, and it is impos|sible she should be mov'd by any thing, till he that made the Child speak, speaks to her: But, says he, there is certainly something extraordinary in that Child; and if it had pleased GOD it had been born in a religious Family, I dare say it would have been a very religious good Child. Well Sir, says she, but I hope you do not confine the Grace of GOD; there may be a Principle founded in the Heart of the Child, I hope, by invisible Grace, without the Agency of Parents one way or other. That's true, says the Captain, shaking his Head, but how shall it work! a|gainst Education, against Example, without Instru|ction, without Reproof, without Encouragement. O, Sir, says she, I do not say but the outward Helps are all wanting here: but we must not confine the Work of the Spirit of GOD to Means only; that would be, to own Religion to be only the Profession of our Education, whereas that Wind bloweth where it listeth. The Captain was greatly surpriz'd to find a Person of such Judgment in religious Things in such Company, where indeed he did not expect it; and was very desirous to enter into farther Discourse with her, about the Child and its Mother: And be|ing retired to a Corner of the Room, he entred into a very close Discourse with her about it: He told her, that he was greatly mov'd at what the Child had said; That he knew little of its Mother, having only come into the Family as his Business called him there. But you, Madam, says he, that I perceive are related to the Family, for they call you Cousin; and as I find, have a Sense of Religion upon your Mind; methinks you cannot be without some Concern for this poor Lamb, which is to be brought up on the Page  271 very Borders of Hell, as I may call it. Indeed, Sir, says she, I have had many a sad Thought about him. The Child has something extraordinary in him, and that more than you have had Opportunity to ob|serve.

Capt.

Nay, Madam, I speak but just from what has happen'd now; for tho you see I have been very plain with its Mother, I never had so much Discourse with her before.

Cousin.

I think she gave you a great deal of Reason to be plain with her.

Capt.

Nay I flatter no body, not I; especially, where Things of such a Nature happen to be dis|cours'd of; I think there is no room for it then.

Cous.

She is a horrid Creature for such Things, she despises all Religion, and every Thing belonging to it.

Capt.

And pray how are the rest of the Children?

Cous.

All alike; how should they be any other|wise? You know what the Father is, I suppose; and you have had a Specimen of the Mother; and by them you may take the Character of all the Family, except this little Baby, which hardly knows its Right Hand from its Left; and indeed how should they be otherwise?

Capt.

Nay, Madam, you hinted just now how it might be otherwise.

Cous.

That's true, the especial Grace of GOD may make a Difference, but it is not often so; and I am sure there is nothing of it appears here.

Capt.

But you except this Child, Madam; I think verily there is something more than common in that Child.

Cous.

You would say so indeed, if you had heard some Passages that I have heard in the Family; there is scarce a Day passes but they meet with some seasonable, some strange, and some surprizing Reproof from that Child.

Page  272
Capt.

And does it make no Impression upon them?

Cous.

Not at all; there is not sure such a Family of Atheists, and Heathens, and Drunkards in the Na|tion.

Capt.

What do they take no Notice of it at all?

Cous.

Yes, they make a Jest of him, tell him he shall be a Parson, and call him the Doctor; nay, his Mother in a meer Frolick, had a little Gown and Cassock made for him on purpose the other Day, and dress'd the poor Child up in it; you never saw a little Creature look so pretty and so grave in your Life; if I speak but a Word to her, you shall see her dress him up in it presently.

Capt.

Pray do, for I think he may serve for a Preacher to all the Family.

Cous.

With all my Heart, for I think so too; and particularly, one Time I was here about half a Year ago, there was a Passage, which if you please, I'll relate to you.

She calls out to her Cousin, Hark ye, Cousin, says she, pray will you dress up the Doctor in his Habit; and she says, Ay, ay, she will.
Capt.

I shall be very glad to hear it.

Cous.

It was enough to have mov'd a Stone; I think any Thing in the World but his Mother would have been surpriz'd at it.

Capt.

She may have Time enough still to reflect on these Things.

Cous.

We were all sitting by the Fire, and very merry; the Child was at Play at his Mother's Knee, and my Cousin was taken suddenly Ill with the Cho|lick in her Stomach; so I took the Child away, and he stood by me a while: her Distemper was not very violent at first, tho afterwards it encreased: but every now and then the Cholick surpriz'd her with sharp, shooting, sudden Pains, like a Stich in the Side; and whenever it did so, she would, as is the Page  273 profane way of such People, cry out, O GOD! The Child stood, as I said, at my Knee very mute, seeing his Mother not well, and continu'd so a good while; and the Mother continuing ill, frequently re|peated the Expression as above. At last the Child goes of its own Accord from me to its Mother's Knee, and stands still looking steadily up in its Mo|ther's Face: Says the Mother, what's the Matter Jacky? what do you look up at me so for? are not you sorry your Mamma is not well? The Child made her no Answer at all. She ask'd him again, and again, three or four Times, but 'twas all one, he would not speak a Word. She would have been angry with him for not answering, but the Cholick interrupted her, and a Stitch or Pain shooting in her Side as before, she clap'd her Hand to her Side, and cries out again O GOD. The Child, as if it had waited for the Occasion, look'd up gravely in her Face again, and says Mamma, Who is O GOD, Mamma?

Capt.

O dear! O dear! what could the profane Creature say to him?

Cous.

It was such a surprize to me that I never met with the like, but 'twas nothing at all to her.

Capt.

Was none of the Family by but you?

Cous.

Yes, two of the Daughters were there, and one of them was struck a little and look'd up at me, but said nothing; her Mother's Illness prevented it at that Time.

Capt.

Well, but what said the Mother to him?

Cous.

She said nothing just then, she was so ill; but you know Children are not easily silenc'd, they will have their Questions answer'd, and so the Boy ask'd her again and again: She put him by, and bid him be quiet, for she was not well; but it wou'd|not do, he wou'd know who it was: She put him off again, and told him 'twas No Body.

Page  274
Capt.

That was true enough, tho not in the Sense of the Question.

Cous.

However, it would not do with the Boy; he reiz'd his Mother for an Answer, and I saw she was a little perplex'd with it; so I took the Child away, and set him in my Lap, and to divert him, I ask'd him, who he thought it was? The Boy answer'd me, it was the Doctor. And why the Doctor, Jack, said I: Because his Mother, he said, call'd him to come and cure her. I ask'd him, how he knew that? he said, because she call'd for him when something hurt her.

Capt.

But I suppose you took the Occasion to tell him who GOD was?

Cous.

Truly, there was no Room for it, without telling him, that his Mother was a wicked, wretched Creature, and used the Word prophanely; or else let|ting him think there was no Harm in it; and I was in some Strait what to do; but I let him alone a while, and turn'd my Discourse to the Daughter, who, I ob|serv'd took Notice of what he had said: Says I to her, we see what need we have to be cautious what we say before Children, tho they are never so little.

Capt.

But it's like she took as little Notice of it as the rest.

Cous.

I can't say but it seem'd to make more Impres|sion upon her than upon any of the rest, at that Time; but it went off again: For if such Things would have any Effect upon them, they meet with them every Day from this little Creature: What it is in the Child, or whence it comes, I cannot pretend to say; for I know the Family is so perfectly Grace|less, and void even of the least Show of Religion, that I am confident the Child never had a Word of good spoke to it, or a Word of who made him, said in its hearing (till within these two Months), since it was able to speak.

Capt.

It is an eminent Instance of that distinguish|ing Page  275 Grace, of which you were speaking, Madam, who singles out the Object of Mercy where-ever he pleases; and it is a Testimony to the Divine Origi|nal of Religion, that it is not the Effect of Priest|craft, or of the Prejudices of Education; clamour'd into our Heads by Nurses, and whipt into us by School-mistresses, Mothers and Pedagogues while we are little, and then whin'd into us by the Parsons, as we grow up: That it is not owing to the Mechanism of the Spirit, working by the Artifice of Words up|on the Senses and Passions; but that a religious Awe of GOD, a religious Abhorrence of Evil, and a re|ligious Rectitude of the Desires and Affections may be, and oftentimes is, wrought in the Mind, not only where no Example, Instruction, or other Pre|possession intervenes to attach the Mind; but even in opposition of the evil Examples of Parents and In|structors.

Cous.

Sir, if I was able to tell you one half of the strange and unaccountable Things, which happen e|very Day in the Family, from the surprizing Tongue of this little Creature, you would make a much bet|ter use of it than I can do; and yet 'tis but a little while ago, that, to my Knowledge, it had never known who made him, or what it was to say bad Words, or indeed that any thing was wicked, and should not be done; and even then it had none of it from any of its Family, or Relations.

Capt.

Who was so kind to the Child, to do so much for it?

Cous.

Truly a poor Maid-Servant, that they provi|dentially, no doubt, took into the House to tend it; and that dresses, undresses it, and lyes with it; you saw her there just now; she is a good sober Wench, and a very good Christian; she has done it all.

Capt.

She has but a sorry Chance of it, to be plac'd in such a Family.

Page  276
Cous.

I verily think Providence cast her Lot here, for the Sake of this Child; for she is better than Fa|ther or Mother to it, nay, indeed, than all its Rela|tions; but all the House hates her for it.

Capt.

What does she do to the Child?

Cous.

She teaches it to read; she is always a talk|ing gravely to it; she has told it a great many religi|ous Things, such as the little Creatures Thoughts are capable of working upon; and particularly, that it is a wicked, dreadful Thing to swear, and take GOD's, Name in vain; from which, as you may observe, when you spoke just now of his learning to Swear, the Child was affronted; Did not you see how surly he was, and how angrily he spoke to you, and said, I won't Swear?

Capt.

Yes, I did, and it was very pleasant to me, to take Notice of it.

Cous.

We had a very pleasant Passage with him a|bout that, the other Day: This honest Maid had been talking to him, it seems, about speaking bad Words, and how wicked they were that took GOD's Name in vain, and mingled their Discourse with Swearing and Cursing: The Boy too had ask'd abundance of pretty little innocent Questions of her, and she was still, busy with him, talking to him of these. Things all the while she was dressing him; when there came in two or three Gentlemen, I think they were Lieutenants of a Man of War, or such sort of People, to dine with her Master; and walking to and again in the Room where she was, they diverted themselves with talk|ing to the little Boy, and to the Maid; but mingled their Words so continually with horrid Oaths, Cur|sing, and Damning, that the poor. Wench had no Pa|tience with them; however, to keep her Distance, and reprove them with good Manners, she set the Child to work to talk to them.

Capt.

She's no Fool, I'll warrant her.

Page  277
Cous.

No, indeed; but she is a very good, sober Wench too, which is worth all the rest.

Capt.

Well, and pray how did she order it?

Cous.

She did it prettily enough, and so as not to offend them neither: They ask'd the Child some Question or other, but swore so terribly, even while they were speaking to the Child, that the Boy hardly knew what to make of it. The good Girl took the Opportunity, and said, but very modestly, O! Gen|tlemen, you Swear so, you fright the Child. Hang him, a young Dog, says one of them, fright him! he hears his Father and Mother swear as fast as we do every Day; so he turns to the Boy again, Come Jack, says he, why don't you answer me? Says the Maid, speak|ing to the Child, Tell 'em you will, my Dear, if they won't Swear; and they fall a swearing the worse for that: Says the Maid to the Child again, Ask 'em where they have been, my Dear; so the Boy ask'd 'em where they had been? Where have we been, says one of them, we have been all very honestly at Church; it seems it was Sabbath-Day. Says the Wench, Ask 'em, my Dear, if they went to Chuch to learn to swear? The Boy ask'd them exactly as the Maid bid him. Yes, Sir, says one of them, perhaps we did, and what's that to your little Rogueship? and so jested and laught and talk'd to the Boy, till other Company co|ming in, took them off.

Capt.

The Maid manag'd 'em very handsomely.

Cous.

But this is not the Passage I am telling you the Story for; in the Afternoon some Body either ask'd the Boy to go to Church, or talk'd of carrying the Boy to Church, and he overheard them; but the Boy falls a crying most vehemently, and it was a long Time e're they could get it out of him why he cry'd; at last the Maid quieting him by degrees, and asking him what ail'd him, he said, He would not go to Church! His Mother coming to him, and hear|ing Page  278 him say that, No, no, you shan't go to Church my Dear, says she; what would they carry the Child to Church for, says she? He was never there since he was christen'd, and I know no Business he has there again till he is to be bury'd.

Capt.

She is one of the horrid'st Creatures that ever I heard of.

Cous.

Or that ever was in the World, to be sure.

Capt.

Well, but what was the Reason he would not go to Church?

Cous.

Why, no Body ask'd him a good while about that, till after he was quiet and merry again; and then jesting with him, his Mother call'd him and ask'd him what was the Reason he would not go to Church? He grew serious and grave upon her Question, and would not speak a great while; at last he told her, he would not learn to Swear. They were all surpriz'd at the Boy's Answer, and could not imagine what it meant: Why, Sirrah, says his Mother, do Folks learn to swear at Church? Yes, he said, they did; and he would not go to Church; the Maid presently recollected the Passage, and told the Story. They did but jest; my Dear, says the Mother, they don't learn to swear at Church; but all would not do, the Boy did not see the Jest, he took them at their Words; and his Mo|ther was very indifferent as to perswading him, and so it pass'd on.

Capt.

But I suppose the Maid instructed him bet|ter after?

Cous.

Yes, she did; but to this Day, if those Gen|tlemen come to the House, he won't come into the Room where they are; and if his Mother, or any of his Sisters take GOD's Name in vain, if the Boy be never so merry, he will turn grave and surly, and shew his Disgust; and if they do it again, as some|times the wicked Creatures will do it on purpose to angry him; if it is his Mother, he will cry; if it be Page  279 his Sisters, he will fly at them, and tear their Laces and Headcloths, and any thing he can come at; and if it be any of his Brothers, he will spit at them.

Capt.

These Things are only diverting to them; I perceive; but, I assure you, they are very instructing to me; what great pity it is that some well-enclin'd capable Person does not get this Child out of the wretched Family? It would be a great Act of Cha|rity; for doubtless Charity to the Soul, is the highest Degree of Charity in the World.

Cous.

There's no doing it; who can take a Child from its own Father and Mother? They are not Poor, and so they do not want to have it kept; if they were, I would have took it away long ago.

Capt.

It's great pity such a Child should be ruin'd.

Cous.

Never fear it, Sir; I am perswaded the Work in the Child's Heart is from GOD, and he will carry it on; such as he takes up never want a Father; he that sent this poor honest Servant hither, will always find Tutors for One that he will have taught: Who ever lives to see that Child a Man; will I dare say see him such a Man as never was seen in such a Family.

Capt.

Can't you contrive that I may speak with that Maid?

Cous.

Yes, Sir, I believe I could; but may I ask you what you would speak with her about? I hope you will not mention the Discourse we have had.

Capt.

No, indeed; but I would hire her.

Cous.

Hire her, Sir! I hope you would not do any Thing so unjust, as to draw her away from her Mi|stress; you know we are not to covet our Neigh|bour's Servant in particular; besides, I would not do the poor Child such a Prejudice on any Account whatever: Alas! Sir, what have we been talking of, if this Servant was sent of GOD to do good to this Child, will you take her away?

Page  280
Capt.

No, Madam, by no means, you do not un|derstand me right; her Mistress shall have her still for her ordinary Business; I'd hire her for GOD.

Cous.

I understand you; I'll call her as soon as she comes into the Room.

Capt.

There she comes.

Cous.

I'll call her; Margy, Margy.

The Maid pass'd by with the Child in her Arms to go to her Mistress, and she calls her.
Marg.

Madam.

Cous.

Come hither, Margy.

Marg.

I'll but carry little Master to his Mother, and I'll wait on you, Madam.

Margy returns.
Cous.

This Gentleman wants to speak with you, Margy.

Capt.

Margaret, are you hir'd to look after that little Boy?

Marg.

Yes, Sir.

Capt.

And do you do it as it shou'd be done?

Marg.

I do it as well as I can, Sir; but my Mi|stress makes me do a deal of other Work, which makes me I cannot tend him so well as I would.

Capt.

But do you look after him Soul and Body, Margaret?

Marg.

I am not his Mother, Sir; my Business is to dress him and undress him, and to tend him Night and Day.

Capt.

Then you was not hir'd to look after him, Soul and Body?

Marg.

No, indeed Sir, I am ill qualify'd for that Part.

Capt.

But who does take care of his Soul then? what, no Body! that's a sad Thing, Margaret.

Marg.

Truly Sir, that Work is sorrily done in this Family; I am sorry for it, but Madam there knows how 'tis; I never heard a Word of GOD in the Fa|mily in my Life.

Page  281
Capt.

I know it very well, Child, and therefore I have a mind to hire you to a new Master.

Marg.

Sir I am in Place here, and, except what I was saying, I have no Fault to find with my Business, Sir, and I cannot fairly leave my Mistress's Service.

Capt.

Why, look you, Margaret; I'll hire you to a very good Master.

Marg.

I thank you, Sir, I don't question that; but I am loath to leave my little Master too; 'tis a sweet Baby, and I love it very dearly.

Capt.

Well, Margaret, you shall not leave your Child, nor your Mistress neither, and yet you shall do all the Work I'll hire you for too.

Marg.

I do not understand how that can be, Sir; if you please to explain it.

Capt.

Here, Margaret, I give you Earnest, I hire you for GOD; and your Business for this Money shall be, that you shall take care, in his Name, of the Soul of this Child, as far as lies in your Power, Margaret.

He puts two pieces of Gold in her Hand.
Marg.

You terrify me, Sir; alas, I am not fit to take such a Charge upon me.

Capt.

I say only as far as lies in your Power, Marga|ret; don't be afraid to do your Endeavour.

Marg.

That's my Duty, Sir, and I hope I shall do what I can; but I am but a poor ignorant Servant-Maid, what can I do?

Capt.

I'll tell you what you shall do, Margaret; you see the poor Lamb has neither Teaching nor Exam|ple; it knows nothing of GOD, or of it self, or of what is Good, or what Evil; what to do, and what not to do; and yet you see, Margaret, that the little Creature has something extraordinary in it self, even without teaching.

Marg.

To be sure, Sir, there never was such a Child in the World.

Capt.

Well, Margaret, I know it is so; and I be|lieve Page  282 it is from the Hand of GOD upon him; and that Providence has determin'd some thing extraor|dinary about him; and tho I am a perfect Stranger to them all, yet I cannot but be concern'd, that out|ward Helps may not be wanting; I have heard what you have done already, and I do this to encourage you to go on.

Marg.

I have done as much as I could do, if he were my own, Sir; but he will learn any thing faster than I can teach him.

Capt.

Well, Margaret, do you but go on within your own Reach; teach him to know and reverence GOD that made him; teach him to hate Evil, and to avoid the little first Sins of Children; teach him all that your Reason and Sense of Duty shall direct you.

Marg.

I'll do my Endeavour, Sir; and I think it is every Servant's Duty to do what you say.

Capt.

I know you will make Conscience of doing it, Margaret; and remember GOD will require the Soul of this Child at your Hand: I have hir'd you for GOD you see, and you have taken his Wages; look you do your Duty.

Margaret trembles and looks pale, and the Tears run out of her Eyes.
Marg.

Sir, I beg of you take your Money again, I am dreadfully frighted.

Capt.

No, no, Margaret, do not be frighted; you have a Master now that will enable you to do all that he expects from you: I told you I would hire you to a good Master, and if you do but your Endeavour, Margaret, he will both bless your Desires, and suc|ceed your Endeavours, and therefore don't be dis|couraged, Margaret; if ever this Child lives to be a Man, he will both Honour and Reward you for it.

Marg.

I will do what I can, Sir; but pray do not expect great Things of me; for as soon as this poor Page  283 Lamb comes to be a little bigger, he will fall into such dreadful Hands, Sir, and have his Ears so con|tinually crouded with abominable Words, and have such sad Examples before him, that it is impossible, Sir, but he must be ruin'd.

Cous.

No, Margaret, don't say 'tis impossible, that Child cannot be ruin'd.

Marg.

Truly, Madam, it is next to impossible; a Child brought up in such a Family, seems to be brought up for the Devil; for my Part, it grieves me so for the poor innocent Lamb, that I think veri|ly I shall break my Heart for him.

Capt.

NO, Margaret, you shall not break your Heart about him; but it shall be the Comfort of your Heart hereafter, that you were sent into this Family for a Blessing to this Child; and this Child shall, with your help, be a Reproof to the whole Family.

Marg.

I have often thought, Sir, if it had been lawful, I would have run away with him; tho I had begg'd with him at my Back, or work'd for him as long as I had liv'd, so I might but have carry'd him out of this dreadful House, where he is sure to be ruin'd Soul and Body.

Capt.

No, Margaret, you shall have no need to do that; do you but do your Part, and instruct him pri|vately and early, I tell you the Wickedness of the Family shall have no power over him; he shall ra|ther be an Instrument to reclaim them.

Marg.

I wish it were in your Power, Sir, to pre|vent it, I perceive you have Good-will enough for it; but you discourage me a little, Sir, in being so positive.

Capt.

Why does that discourage thee, Margaret; I think it should be quite the contrary?

Marg.

Because, Sir, I think you cannot be sure of the Thing, tho you affirm it so positively: I hope you will pardon me, Sir, we may be too rash in speak|ing, Page  284 tho we mean well, where there is no immediat Knowledge of the Thing.

Capt.

Well, Margaret, you say true, and I acknow|ledge I am no Prophet; but it is true, I am very warm for this Child: I think GOD has discover'd visibly that he has some extraordinary Work in store for him, and I believe it; let us not dispute the rest, do you do your Duty, Margaret, and lay up these Things in your Heart: I am a going a long Voyage, and if I live to return, I will enquire of you, and expect from you, what Observations you shall have made upon this quarter of an Hour's Discourse.

Marg.

I will give you the best Account I can, Sir.

Cous.

Pray go and fetch little Jacky to me.

Margaret goes away to fetch the Child, and brings him dress'd up in a little Gown and Cassock, a Band, Scarf, a Circingle, and every way dress'd in the complete Habit of a Clergy-man.
Marg:

Here, Sir, is my little Master; I think they don't call him Doctor for Nothing.

Capt.

What does his Mother mean by this Jest? Does she intend the Child for a Clergy-man?

Cous.

I dare say she would as soon breed him up to be a Chimney-Sweeper; she has an Aversion to the Em|ployment, and abuses all the Ministers of every Sort, as if they were the Scum of the Earth.

Capt.

It is no wonder, that they that have no Taste of Gospel-Truths should have no Respect for Gospel-Ministers: They that scorn the Message, will hate the Messengers.

Marg.

I'm sorry to see my Mistress is such an Enemy to all that is good; I believe she has made this Ha|bit for my little Master in derision; but I'm perswa|ded he will be a Minister some time or other.

Capt.

Why do you think so, Margaret?

Marg.

Why, Sir, I am but a silly Creature; but Page  285 I'll tell you a Passage of my observation, and the Oc|casion of it: I have taught my little Master to know his Letters, and spell a little, as well as I could out of my own Bible; for they have given him neither Horn-book or Primmer; and one Day, when they had dress'd him up in this new Habit, and made as much Game with him as they thought fit, they sent him up to me to undress him: I happen'd to have a little Time, and I said to him, Come, my Dear, will you say your Book now? Yes, Margy, says he, so he calls me: So I took down the Book, and went to look the Place where I us'd to teach him; but the Book open|ing accidentally at another Place, the Child claps both his Hands upon the Leaves, as if he had been at play, and began to look upon the Book: No, my Dear, says I, that is not the Place; let me look your Lesson. No, says he, I will learn my Book here. I would have turn'd it over again, but he would not stir away his Hands: Here, Margy, here, says he. What just here, my Dear, said I. Yes, says he, just here, just here; and puts his Finger to a Line, as if he had known it: I was a little surpriz'd, because I know he could not read a Word, nor know any thing of what was before him; but it came into my Thought that I would see what it was the Child pointed so at; for I see him so positive, that I say it a little surpriz'd me; but I was more surpriz'd, when I found the Words were in the 1 Cor. 9. 16. Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel: Well, thought I to my self, this Child will certainly be a Minister.

Capt.

'Tis a very remarkable Thing indeed, Mar|garet; nay, I think 'tis something wonderful.

Cous.

Indeed this I never heard before.

Marg.

I never mention'd it to any one before, Madam, for I laid it up in my Thoughts, as I have done many other Things.

Cous.

'Tis a wonderful Passage indeed.

Page  286
Marg.

Truly, Madam, I think every thing this Child does is wonderful.

Capt.

Well, Margaret, lay up this in your Heart too, till you see the Event, as I desire you would what I said to you before; and take care to do your Part with him till I come again.

Cous.

She will have every Day new Things to lay up in her Heart, as well as these; for the Child is every Hour saying something or other extraordinary.

Capt.

Well, Madam, there is another Thing is yet more wonderful to me than all this, and that is, that such remarkable Passages as these, in a Child so young, does not work some great Alteration in the Family: Why, such a Child is enough to make a whole Family serious, if they were the prophanest Wretches in Nature before.

Cous.

Really, Sir, it is so; but it has a quite con|trary Effect here; the Mother of this Child is so ef|fectually harden'd against all manner of Conviction, that nothing affects her; and while it is so, how should it touch any of the rest of the Family?

Capt.

Certainly it will first or last.

Cous.

I see no Signal of it; she ridicules it all, and they by her Example; and if at any Time some of them are a little concern'd, it wears off again, as I told you of one of the Sisters; and the Mother laughs them our of every thing that is serious.

Capt.

'Tis a sad Thing; but I cannot but think it will be otherwise at last; if this Boy proves such a Preacher of Righteousness to them, as he seems to be, it will certainly have some Effect upon some of them, one Time or other, tho it may not just now: Pray what says the Father to it?

Cous.

Why really, Sir, the Father is Master of more Sense, and more Modesty than the Mother, or than any of the Children; and he is not so harden'd as they are to banter and make a Jest of Religion.

Page  287
Capt.

I think so of him, and that made me ask what he says to it.

Cous.

But then, Sir, you know his Infirmity, that he is almost always in drink.

Capt.

Why, he is oblig'd to keep Company with these great Men, there's Admiral — and Captain —, and the Commissioners of the —, and he cannot get away from them.

Cous.

No, indeed, his Servants are generlly fain to fetch him away Head and Heels, as if he was dead.

Capt.

He can have no room for serious Things, in such a constant Course of a wicked Life, if he were never so well inclin'd.

Cous.

Truly the Man has a Sense of Religion up|on his Mind at other Times, and he hates mortally to hear his Wife talk so prophanely as she ordinarily does, and will often reprove her for it.

Capt.

And how does she take it?

Cous.

Take it! truly she does not take it at all; she rallies him with his Drunkenness, and his Fits of Repentance between it; and then talks the more prophanely for his Admonition.

Capt.

Why that is the just Consequence of a Man reproving Sin, that is not reform'd himself.

Cous.

So she tells him; and asks him how long his Fit of Repentance will last.

Capt.

Then I fancy he is apt to talk penitently when it is over.

Cons.

Exceedingly indeed; he will call himself all the drunken Sots, and wicked, cursed Wretches that he can think of, the next Morning after he has been drunk, and repent, and cry, and beg GOD to for|give him; it is hardly to be describ'd how he re|proves himself.

Capt.

And makes a thousand Promises that he will never be drunk again.

Cous.

Ay, ay, and solemn Vows and Resolutions; and I dare say intends to keep them too.

Page  288
Capt.

But does not keep them it may be above two or three Days.

Cous.

Two or three Days! alas, not through the same Day they were made in, oftentimes; if that wretched Company comes to him, or sends for him, he will be as bad the same Night.

Capt.

Why does he not avoid them?

Cous.

He often says he will, but he has no Power to refrain.

Capt.

And he is loath to disoblige them; for they are People he gets well by, another way.

Cous.

Ay, that's true; but there is a secret strong Inclination within too, which bids him go, and not only so, but bids him drink when he is there; and this I look upon to be the worst Part of the Tempta|tion, and the hardest for him ever to get over.

Capt.

Well, but you say he does not do as his Wife does, at worst; he does not contemn GOD and Re|ligion, as she does.

Cous.

No, indeed; on the contrary, drunk or so|ber he abhors it in her, and can't abide to hear her talk so.

Capt.

And how does he carry it to this Child?

Cous.

O he loves it most passionately, and loves it for these very Things that we are talking of; and often tells the Mother GOD has taken that Child from her; that she is left to breed up all the rest for the Devil, but that this Child will live to reprove her, and will be able to teach them all; and 'tis he keeps the Maid Margaret in the House, the Mother wou'd have turn'd her away else long ago, for she hates the Maid because she teaches the Child good Things.

Capt.

I warrant the Father will be some Time or other reform'd, perhaps by this very Child.

Cous.

I wish he may with all my Heart.

The End of the Third Dialogue.
Page  289

The Fourth DIALOGUE.

THIS Discourse ended here; Margaret went up Stairs with the Child, the Cap|tain went away, and the Gentlewoman, who it seems lay in the House that Night, went to the rest of the Company; but Margaret, as she was bid to do, laid up these Things in her Heart, and apply'd her self with more Diligence than ever, to instruct and teach the Child; and particularly, she brought him to be able to read very prettily, before any Body in the House knew that he could tell the Letters when he saw them; for tho, as I said, he was carry'd to School to an old Woman in the Neigh|bourhood, it was more to be out of the Way, when they had any thing else for his Maid to do, than for any thing they thought he should learn; and besides, it was chiefly before Margaret came, that they sent him to School, and he very seldom went afterward.

As she taught him to read, so she taught him to know Things proper for a Child so young to know; she fill'd his young Thoughts with an Awe and Re|verence of GOD; a love of every thing that was Good and Religious; she taught him several little Prayers for Night and Morning, and possest him with just Notions of it being his Duty to pray to GOD to bless him, and keep him; and that it was a wicked Thing to lye down to sleep without kneeling down, and praying to GOD to keep him while he was asleep; or to be dress'd in the Morning, without praying to GOD to bless him in the Day.

She had before taught him to believe, that it was Page  290 a very wicked Thing to mention the Name of GOD upon common Occasions; and that, when the Chil|dren that play'd with him did so, they were wicked Children; and abundance of such Things as these, suitable to the Capacity of the Child, and of his Years; and she always observ'd, and it was an En|couragement to her, that the Child was so exceed|ingly pleased, and eager for her little Discourses and Instructions to it, that it would leave its Play at any time to go up Stairs with Margy; and at other Times would hale and pull her from his Mother, or any Body else, crying Margy, Margy, up Stairs, up Stairs; so that Margaret never wanted Opportunity, and yet no Body in the House perceiv'd it; for when ever the Child call'd Margy to go up Stairs, no Body would hinder her, supposing he wanted her on other Occasions.

While she was talking to him one Day, of the wicked Children using bad Words, and taking GOD's Name in vain at their Play: The Child stop'd her; but Margy, says he, it is not a wicked Thing to call for O GOD when One an't well, or any thing hurts, is it not, Margy? Yes, my Dear, says Margaret, we must never call upon GOD but with Reverence, to help, and bless, and assist us, as you do in your Prayers, my Dear. Why, Margy, says the Child, won't O GOD come and help them when they cry out so, and they ben't well? No, my Dear, says she, if he should, it would fright them dreadfully, not help them; and so she went on to explain to him, as well as she could get him to understand it, the Wickedness of that unhappy Custom, which many People have of cry|ing out O GOD! in their Pain, or upon any Suprize; and the Difference between that Way of using the Name of GOD, and an awful solemn using it in his Prayers; but she could not make the Child a great while leave off joyning the Word GOD with the Page  291 great O as one Word, and as a Substantive: So she let him alone in that, as a Thing of no Conse|quence.

But one Day, as he was list'ning very attentively to her, and she talking of its being a wicked Thing for People to cry out O GOD! when they were in Pain, except it was in a solemn way: He says to her, But Margy, was it a wicked Thing when my Mamma call'd for O GOD? The Maid was at a little Surprize, for she was loath to give the Child an Idea of his Parent's doing wicked Thinys; so at first she said nothing: but he was never to be left unanswer'd in any Question he ask'd, for he would not leave it; he ask'd her again and again, and then teiz'd her with, was it Margy? Was it? Was it? and would not be put by. At last, the Maid was forc'd to say, Yes it was indeed. At which the Child fell a crying.

It was some Time after this, that his Mother had another Fit of the Cholick, as it seems she frequent|ly had, and was in great Pain; and the Gentlewo|man their Cousin, who we have mention'd before, was sent for, as she usually was on those Occasions, to be assisting to her: And still when the Pains of the Cholick affected her Nerves, and made her start, or grip'd her Stomach, as 'tis known is the Case in that violent Distemper, she, according to her profane Usage, still cried out O GOD! And once in particular, having more Pain than ordinary, she re|peated it four times together, without any other Words, as fast as her Tongue could speak it: The Child was in the Chamber, but was at play at a Window on the other side of the Room, a good way from her. When he first heard his Mother cry out O God, he stop'd his Play, and turning about, stood stock still, looking very gravely at his Mother; But when he heard her repeat the Words four times Page  292 together in a kind of a Passion, as above, he ran to the Bed side to her; MAMMA! said he; what d'ye say? says his Mother, Don't call O GOD Mamma, says the Child; why, says his Mother, what's the Matter? Why, he won't come Mamma, says the Child: Won't he Sirrah, says his Mother, how do you know he won't? The Boy stood still a good while, hammering his Thoughts to bring out what he had in his Mind; at last, says he, If O GOD should come, Mamma, you would be afraid. Well, and would not you he afraid too? says his Mother: Yes, Mamma, says the Child: And mus'd a while, and then brings it out, A-but I don't call him Mamma: The Mother, had she had a Heart less obstinate and insensible than an Idiot, would have been mov'd with it; but she put it off and spoke angrily to the Child, to be rid of him: However, he was not to be put off, neither with good Words or bad; but after a little Stop, he falls to it again. Mamma, says he, don't call O GOD, no more, Mamma. Well, well, says his Mother, be quiet. Won't you then, Mamma, says the Boy? She would not promise a great while; but the Boy pull'd her, and teiz'd her with, Won't you, Mamma, Won't you, Mamma? At last, to be rid of him, she said, Well, I won't then. No more, Mamma? says the Boy. Well, no more then, says his Mother. Never no more, Mamma? says the Boy: The Boy's mad, I think, says his Mother; take him away a little some body; where's his Maid? Well, the Boy would not be taken away till she had said, Never no more; and then he went away quietly.

As soon as the Boy was gone, the good Gentlewo|man, who was by, burst out into Tears, she could hold no longer. Cousin, says she, are you not at all concern'd at what this little Child has said to you. No not I, says she, what should I be concern'd at it for? I don't mind such Prattle; what signifies what Chil|dren Page  293 say at three or four Year old? Why, Cousin, says she, do you think this Child could say all this to you of meer Prattle and from meer Nature? Do you think there's nothing else in it? What else can there be in it, says the Mother? What strange thing would you make of it? INDEED COƲSIN, says she, I should think it was a Reproof sent from Heaven to me. And certainly this little Creature could not say all this of it self: says the Mother, I know Margy is always talking her litt'e idle Stories to the Child; but if I thought she had the Impudence to teach him to talk thus to me, I'd take care to rid the House of her. You mistake me quite, replies her Cousin, I don't think 'tis from Margy, but from him that made Margy. And I'll tell you, Cousin, if you do not look upon it to be so too, I think you will be much in the Wrong. I don't trouble my Head about it, not I, says the Mother.

While they were talking of this, in comes the Child's Father; and after asking his Wife how she did, and speaking to his Cousin a little, he ask'd, Where's my Boy? And this introduc'd a short Dis|course among them all, about what had happen'd: Says his Wife,

Your Boy! Your Master you mean; he is but just gone.

Fa.

What d'ye mean by my Master, says he, jesting? I have no Master, as I know of, but my Wife.

Mother.

Nay, if he ben't your Master, it seems he is to be mine. Truly, your Son has been Chatechi|zing me this Morning at a strange Rate.

Cous.

Ay indeed! it is at a strange rate I must ac|knowledge; I believe none ever-heard the like.

Mo.

Nay, here's my Cousin — all in Tears a|bout it.

Cous.

And I am perswaded his Father wou'd have had Tears in his Eyes too, if he had heard it.

Fa.

Well, but may not I hear it at second hand?

Page  294
Moth.

Cousin, pray tell Mr. — the Particulars, for I cannot talk so much, I an't well, you see.

Cous.

Why, to tell it all, I should tell him what hap|pen'd once before, you know, when you were last ill.

Fa.

Come do then, for I long to hear it.

Cous.

Why, you must know when my Cousin was last ill, and the Cholick made her cry out; she se|veral times, as the Pain encreas'd, cry'd O God, as it is her way to do pretty often.

Fa.

Yes, yes, it is her way I know, and abundance of other People's; but I confess it's what I always have thought very ill of.

Moth.

Good lack! how wonderful religious you are of a sudden.

Fa.

I did not tell you I was so religious neither, and yet there was always something that shock'd me in that very Particular; that People should take GOD's Name so often in their Mouths, just when they are under his Hand, and when there's more need to pray to GOD, than to provoke him.

Moth.

Well, well, come don't preach, one Parson in a House is enough of all Conscience.

Fa.

Well, go on with your Story, Cousin.

Cous.

Upon this Occasion the Boy, who was stand|ing at my Knee—

Here she tells him how the Child ran to his Mother, and ask'd, who is O GOD, Mamma? and all the Particulars as before.
Fa.

And was it not surprising, Cousin?

Cous.

To me it was, I confess.

Fa.

Nay, I don't ask if it was so to my Wife, no|thing of that Nature can reach her; if she has any Conscience, 'tis lock'd up in a Prison with seven Bolts of Brass upon it, that it can neither hear, feel, nor speak, and I am afraid never will till the last Minute or two.

Moth.

And what are you the better for all your Page  295 Qualms of Conscience? You are always as bad a|gain, or worse the next Day: Here he will come Cousin, and sit down and wring his Hands, and cry out, What a Wretch he is, and the Lord have Mercy upon him, he shall go to Hell; and then he'll say his Prayers like any Sea Captain upon a Lee Shore; and the next Day one Bottle drowns all his Repentance, he gets drunk again with Admiral — or Captain — his old Companions, and then the Devil is sure of him for a Week or Fortnight at least; when that hurry is over he repents again, as the Fit takes him, and he will be as religious for two or three Days as can be; and this is his Course of Life as constantly as the Tide ebbs and flows.

Fa.

Well, well, Cousin, do not heed her, there's too much Truth in it, GOD forgive me, I don't ju|stify my self.

Moth.

Dear Cousin, talk no more of these Things, for it will certainly put him into one of his peniten|tial Fits again.

Cous.

Why, if it should, I hope it will be no harm, perhaps one Time or other, he may repent for good and all; it's never too late.

Moth.

Well, then let us stay till it comes, that we may have but one Trouble of it all together.

Fa.

Cousin, my Wife is one of them that would convert an Atheist.

Moth.

I convert an Atheist! how must I convert them?

Fa.

By letting them see themselves out-done so much in Wickedness, that they should be frighted at their own Picture.

Cous.

Come Cousin, do not run upon one another so, I hope the worst of us shall repent at last: Will you let me go on with my Story?

Fa.

Ay, pray do, pray do.

Cous.

Why just now we have had the Second Part of this little Preacher's Sermon.

Page  296
Moth.

A Sermon d'ye call it?

Cous.

I'm sure 'tis a Sermon to me, it has preach'd Tears into my Eyes.

Here she relates the Story of the Boy and his Mother, as just told above.
Fa.

It is a Sermon indeed! and would have brought Tears into any one Eyes I think, except my Wife.

Moth.

Why truly your Wife thinks she has more Wit than to lay so much Stress upon such Things as these, which have no more in them than the com|mon Prattle of Children.

Fa.

Well, however, it seems he made you promise.

Moth.

Yes, yes, I have promised.

Fa.

Then I would advise you to keep it, for I think verily that Promise is not made to the Child, but to GOD himself, break it at your Peril; 'tis cer|tain, the Child could not do it of himself.

Mo.

No, no, I know whose doing 'tis, I shall take care of Mrs. Margaret; one Teacher's enough in a House.

Fa.

For my part, I am very well content to be taught by any Body, for I know I want it.

Cous.

Nay, if this Child be a Teacher, he must be a Teacher sent from Heaven.

Fa.

Cousin, we may make any Thing teach us, if we are but willing to learn.

Moth.

Well, if I ever do learn, it shan't be at se|cond Hand, from my Maids, nor my Children.

Fa.

I think you are very angry without any Cause: Prithee call the Maid down.

Cous.

I'll call her.

Marget was called, and came down presently.
Fa.

Margy, what's this you have been doing to this Boy.

Marg.

Doing to him? Nothing, Sir, but taking all the Care I can of him, as my Business is to do; I hope nothing is amiss with the Child, Sir.

Fa.

No, no, amiss Margy, that is not the Case; but have you dictated nothing to him that he should come and say to his Mother here?

Page  297
Marg.

No, never in my Life.

Fa.

Have you taught him nothing to say by Rote, and bid him say it to his Mother?

Marg.

I hope I have more Manners Sir; if you please to let me know what it is, I'll give a par|ticular Answer to it if I can.

Fa.

Prithee Margy, tell me faithfully; have you taught him any Thing at all?

Marg.

I know Sir, 'tis common for Nursery Maids to teach the Children they look after, Songs and little simple Sayings; but I thought it was as well to teach him something that was good, and so I taught him, Sir, to say the Lord's Prayer, and two little Prayers out of a good Book which I have above, and which I'll fetch you if you please; and the Ten Command|ments, and the Apostles Creed, and this is all I have taught him; I hope, Sir, you won't be angry with me for that?

Fa.

No indeed Margy, they ought not to have the Name of Fathers or Mothers that are Angry with you for that, if you taught him nothing else.

Marg.

Indeed, Sir I have taught him nothing else, but that and such as that is. And besides, he is such a Child|as I never met with: If I would have taught him foo|lish Things, as Children are generally taught, he would have Spit at me, and would not have learn'd them.

Fa.

And is all this true, Margy? Is this all you have taught him?

Marg.

Sir, I' endeavour'd to teach him to read; for when I came he did not know his Letters.

Moth.

No, nor does not yet; you have taught him to read most nicely.

Marg.

Madam, I had no Order to teach him at all, and so if I had not, I had not offended; but if my Master pleases to have me bring the Child down, it will soon be seen whether I have taught him to read or no.

Page  298
Fa.

Ay, ay, Margy, fetch him down?

Margy brings him down, and he runs to his Father.
Cous.

Where's his Book?

Marg.

Indeed, Madam, he has no Book.

Cous.

What has he tore it?

Marg.

He never had any since I came.

Cous.

What have you taught him out of?

Marg.

I taught him out of my own Bible; but if you give him any Book, he will tell his Letters.

Cous.

Come here's a Bible.

The Boy reads very distinctly the first place they offer him.
Moth.

He says it by Rote, she has shown him a Verse that he knows.

Marg.

Nay, Madam, let him be show'd any Place in the Bible.

Margy shuts the Book.
Fa.

Give me the Book; come hither Jack, I'll poze him I warrant you.

Marg.

It is very easy to see whether the Child can read or no.

The Father opens the Book and bids him read, and he reads two whole Verses. The Father opens another Place, and he does the same. At which the Father surpriz'd, throws by the Book in a Passion, and with an Oath, rising up says—
Fa.

—The Boy reads as well as I can; go Margy, I have no more to say, but that you have done very well.

Margy goes up Stairs again.
Moth.

I told you, Cousin, how long his Fit of Re|pentance would last; you see he swears again already:

Fa,

Why, you put me in a Passion, to see you fall upon a poor Girl that has done more than her Duty, for the Child, and has only made up to him the want of what his Father and Mother ought to have done.

Cous.

Don't swear again, Cousin, if you do, Jack will reprove you.

Page  299
Fa.

GOD forgive me, I don't desire ever to swear, I know I ought not to do it; but it is so natural to me by Custom, that I scarce know when I do it, and when not; especially if I am but a little mov'd with any Thing: and what can be more surprizing and provoking than this?

Cous.

Jack is a little out of Humour already I see; he begins to look grave at his Father.

Moth.

Ay, ay, he'll have it by and by, as well as I.

Fa.

Well, if I have I deserve it.

Moth.

Ay, you are one of those Penitents that confess every thing and reform nothing?

Fa.

And you neither confess nor reform.

Moth.

And which is the best of the two, Cousin?

Cous.

Truly both are bad enough—I scarce know what to say to either of you, only this; you had much better both mend, than find Fault with one another.

Moth.

I believe we shall both mend together.

All this while, tho the Father of the Child seem'd a little affected just at the Time, while any thing was fresh upon his Mind, yet the Mother said true enough in that; he was one that confess'd all and reform'd none. He was always crying out upon himself, what a wicked Wretch he was, and how wicked a Family he had, and how all his Children were bred up for the Devil; and every now and then he would cry, The Lord have Mercy upon him, and GOD forgive him. But still he continued a poor drunken, swearing Creature, that was never the better for all his Re|pentance; and the Family went on just as they were before.

The little Boy, chosen by Providence from the Bowels of such a wicked Race, and singl'd out as a Mark of divine special free Love, went on as before, and grew in favour both with GOD and Man; Wonderful Marks of early Piety appear'd in him, as Page  300 soon as his Years would admit: The Father, tho' he had little or nothing in him of GOD, yet had been so well pleased with what he found the Maid had done for the Child, that he resolv'd she should not be remov'd from him; and the Mother hating the Wench for her religious Care of the Child, re|solv'd to turn her away. This Strife between the Father and Mother remov'd the Blessing of the Child from them both, for a Time; and that, which had GOD's Grace concur'd, would have been a Means to awaken and restore them all, was made a Blessing to another Family; for the Mother was so provok'd at the Reproof these Things had been to her, and that her Husband would not consent to her putting away the Maid, that she began to hate the Child as well as the Wench; and the Father perceiving it, he re|solv'd to send the Child, and the Maid with it, into the Country. The Mother, it seems, being glad to be rid of them both, was very willing they should go; so they were sent to a Brother of the Father's at Greenwich, where the poor Maid did not change at all for the Better as to Religion; for the Family was not one Jot more religious than the other, only, of the two, they were a little modester and better na|tur'd People.

The Boy growing a little bigger, now began to run about, and play with such other Children as were suitable to him in Years; but was so nice in his Company, that if any of the Children he was with, used bad Words, he wou'd not keep them Company, nor play with them any more. There happen'd to come a Lady to visit at the House, who brought a little pretty Boy with her; and the two Children were playing together a while, when, on a suddain, the Child came away from the other, and would not play with him any longer, for any Perswasions they could use: The Lady wanted to know the Reason. Page  301Says the Child, He is a wicked Boy, he says bad Words: The Lady wanted to know what Words they were the Child had spoken; the Boy would not answer; they press'd him earnestly, but he would not speak: After long perswading, he told them, He was afraid to say the Words; nor could they make him say the Words over again; for he told them, he must never speak those Words, but when he said his Prayers.

Abundance of such Instances he gave of his early Sense of Religion, while he stay'd at this Place, in|somuch that he reform'd two Girls in the Family where he was, and their Example reform'd their Mother; but their Stories are too long for this Work, even the very little Boys, that play'd with him, were the better for him; and the Children would go Home again and tell their Parents what a little Boy they play'd with; that if any Boy used wicked Words, said O LORD, or O GOD, or any naughty Word, he would beat them, and put them out of his Company. This brought the Childrens Mothers from all Parts of the Town to see this wonderful Child, and he became so well known round the Country, that ma|ny came from other Towns to see and talk with him, to satisfy their Curiosity: All this while the Maid continu'd to take a great deal of Care of him; she taught him his Catechise diligently, and the first Principles of Religion; and the Minister took a deal of pleasure in talking with him, and instructing him, in short he was so inquisitive in religious Matters, so serious and so agreeably improving, that any one that had a Sense of Religion must needs be delighted with him. He began now to be a great Boy, and it was time for him to go to School; so, after about three Years tending him, honest Margy was dis|miss'd, and the Boy was taken Home to his Father and Mother again.

Page  302 By what has been said, Notice may be taken how signally the Providence of GOD provided Instructi|on, and Opportunity for religious Knowledge in the Infancy of this Child; so that, tho it was brought forth in a Family where there was no Advantages of Education to be had, yet the Child gain'd a stock of Knowledge above his Years, which added to his ori|ginal Inclination, and steady Pursuit of early Piety, made him an extraordinary Child every way, and this is indeed the Reason of my telling this Part of the Child's Story, (viz.) To record the signal Dispo|sitions of that Providence, which, as in its original Decrees, it singles out Objects of Mercy from Fami|lies, where no Fear of GOD is; so it does not how|ever illuminate the Minds of those so singl'd out by meer Inspiration and miraculous Revelation; but furnishes the ordinary Means of Instruction, letting us know that Education and instructing of Children in the Knowledge of GOD, and the most early Re|verence of Religion, is not the Duty of Parents on|ly, but is the ordinary Means which GOD has ap|pointed for the reaching the Hearts of those Chil|dren, who are singl'd out by him for his own Service. But to return to the Story:

The Father of this Child having now gotten his Son home again, put him to School to learn Latin at a Grammar School in the Neighbourhood; and as he was acquainted much among Sea-faring Men, a Captain of a Ship, that came home from Berbadoes, brought him home a little Negro Boy about 14 Year old: The Boy, it seems, was born in that Island, and yet he spoke but imperfect English, however, as he was of a suitable Age for such Work, he appointed him to wait upon his little Son.

The Child, however acceptable abroad, as I have observ'd, yet was so far from winning upon his own Family, by his religious and sober Carriage, that his Page  303 Mother had slighted him for some Years; and his Brothers and Sisters did the same by her Example; his Father only most affectionately lov'd him; and tho his Son's religious Life had no saving Influence upon him, at least not for a great while, yet it had a great effect upon his Morals; for it abated in his Fa|ther the use of Swearing, and ill Words, meerly be|cause he could not think of being reprov'd by his own Son; indeed it partly civilliz'd the whole Family, for he would never fail to reprove them all, and that very roughly too in his Way; only it had this Diffe|rence in its Effect, that as his Brothers and Sisters ha|ted him for it, so his Father lov'd him for it most passionately.

The young Negro being now to be his Comrade; the first Day or two after he had him, truly he turn'd him away, and would have nothing to do with him: His Father coming to hear it; I warrant you, says his Father, this young black Rogue has had some ugly Words in his Mouth, either he has sworn, or taken GOD's Name in vain, or some such Thing, and if he has, Jack will ne'er endure him again; so he caus'd the Child to be ask'd, and he told his Father he had said such dreadful Words as he never heard in his Life; it seems he had used the common Phrase of the Island where he was born, Dam him, or such like: Upon this, the Father call'd the Boy to him, and told him how the Case was, that Toby (so the Negro was call'd) was not a Christian, and did not know GOD, and therefore did not know it was a Sin; but that he should be soundly whipp'd for it, and then he would do it no more.

His Son seem'd very well satisfy'd with that Ac|count; but said, No, if he did not know it was a Sin, he should not be whipp'd for it the first Time; but that he should be told then what GOD was, and that it was a Sin to use such Words, and then if he Page  304 broke the Law that was set him, he made his Father promise him that he would have him be whipp'd foundly: Upon this, and his Father promising, he he took the Negro to him again.

But to see how he used this Boy! how he examin'd him! instructed him! talk'd to him! could it be all set down, it would be very instructing; but it is im|possible: however, one of their Discourses being something publick, may be useful for its particular variety.

Toby, says the Boy to him, you say you no know GOD; where were you born?

Toby.

Me be born at Berbadoes.

Boy.

Who lives there, Toby?

Toby.

There lives white Mans, white Womans, Ne|gro Mans, Negro Womans, just so as live here.

Boy.

What, and not know GOD!

Toby.

Yes, the white Mans say GOD Prayers; no much know GOD.

Boy.

And what do the black Mans do?

Toby.

They much Work much Work; no say GOD Prayers, not at all.

Boy.

What Work do they do, Toby?

Toby.

Makee the Sugar, makee the Ginger; much great Work, weary Work, all Day, all Night.

Boy.

What do they Work on Sabbath-Days too?

Toby.

No; they sing, they dance, they sleep the Sunday.

Boy.

What do the white Men do then?

Toby.

They feast, they dine, they see Folks House.

Go a Visiting, he means.
Boy.

What, don't they go to Church?

Toby.

Little few go to Church, very little few.

Boy.

Why, do not the black Men go to Church too?

Toby.

Black Mans be Servant, white Mans be Master.

Boy.

Well; but don't they make their Servants go to Church, Toby?

Page  305
Toby.

No, no; Negro no must go to Church, white Mans no let them go.

Boy.

Why, do they not teach their Servants to know GOD?

Toby.

No indeed; Negro no must know white Mans GOD.

Boy.

Would the Negro Mans know GOD if their white Masters would let them?

Toby.

Yes, yes.

Boy.

Why, will they not let them?

Toby.

When Negro Mans know GOD, he go take the Name, and be free Mans.

Be baptiz'd.
Boy.

So they won't let them know GOD, because they shall not be free Mans; is that the Reason, Toby?

Toby.

Yes, that the Reason truly.

Boy.

Then they are very wicked Men there, Toby, very cruel Men.

Toby.

Yes, very cruel, they beat the Negro Mans very much cruel, for go to Church.

Boy.

Beat them for going to Church, Toby!

Toby.

Yes, indeed.

Boy.

So they keep them from knowing GOD, ra|ther than teaching them to know GOD, for fear of losing them from their Work.

Toby.

Yes, indeed.

Here the Boy stop'd his Discourse, and sitting still, the Tears run down his Face, and he wept a good while; no Body taking Notice of it, till the Negro Boy seeing it, but not understanding the Meaning of it, runs into another Room, and tells some of the House, his little Master was very sick: It happen'd that the Gentlewoman, formerly mention'd, their Cousin, was in the House at that Time, and she run in to see what ail'd him; she found him crying vehe|mently, but not sick; she urg'd him a great while to tell her what ail'd him, but she could not prevail Page  306 with him: After some Time his Father came in, and he press'd him, but to no Purpose; but both saw the Child was in a great Agony; says the Gentlewoman to his Father, I'll engage this Disorder is upon some Discourse between him and Toby, let the Boy be ex|amin'd; so the Father call'd in Toby and talk'd to him.

Fa.

Toby, what have you done to your little Go|vernour there? What have you done to my Son?

Toby.

I do no-ting, I say no-ting.

Fa.

What did he say to you then?

Toby.

He make Question to me; ask me much Things.

Fa.

What Questions? What did he ask you?

Toby.

He ask me where I am born, what I do, where I know GOD.

Cousin.

I told you 'twas something of that kind.

Fa.

Well, and what said you to him?

Toby.

Me tell him where I am born, at Berhadoes; what Work Negro Mans do.

Fa.

Well, and what said you about knowing GOD? Poor Toby, thou know'st little of that, I suppose.

Toby.

No, I say me no know GOD.

Fa.

Well, go on.

Toby.

He ask me why me no know GOD.

Fa.

Well, and what did you say to him then?

Toby.

Me say white Mans no let Negro Mans go to Church at Berbadoes; no teach them know GOD.

Fa.

That's too true indeed; for they are rather afraid they should be Christians, and get their Liber|ty, than they are afraid they should be Infidels, and go to the Devil.

Cous.

I dare say that made the Child cry.

Fa.

Tell me, Jacky, was it that made you cry?

Boy.

No; but I ask'd why I was not born there too, and kept without knowing GOD as well as poor Toby.

Fa.

Ask'd, who did you ask?

Page  307
Boy.

I wonder'd; I ask'd my self; I was amaz'd, and then I cry'd.

Cous.

Why then, Child, you cry'd for Joy and not for Grief; did you not think how good GOD had been to you that you were not born like poor Toby, where you should not be taught the Knowledge of GOD, and of your Duty, nor suffer'd to know GOD; was it not that made you cry, my Dear?

Boy.

Yes, it was.

Fa.

Truly Child I have more Reason to cry, that have been your Father so many Years, and never taught you so much as to know who made you.

Boy.

But Margy did Father, and that's all one.

Fa.

Ay, Child, all one to you; but, GOD forgive me, 'tis not all one to me.

The Father could not hold from Tears, and therefore went away.
Cous.

Margy was a good Maid to you, and taught you a great deal; don't you love her for it? and did not you thank her for it?

Boy.

Yes, I love her dearly; but I did not thank her for it, she would not let me.

Cous.

No, how so?

Boy.

She said I must thank GOD, when I said my Prayers, that I had been taught any thing, and pray to him to encrease my Knowledge.

Cous.

And do you do so, my Dear.

Boy.

Yes, I do every Day.

Cous.

Well, and now you see the Cause you have to do so Child; for if you had not been taught by that poor Maid-Servant, you might have been as ig|norant as this poor black Boy.

Here the Child stopt a while again, and the Tears run down his Cheeks again: What's the Matter Child, says his Cousin, why do'st cry again? The Child fetches a deep Sigh, O, says he, what if I had been a black Boy, then Margy could have taught me nothing?

Page  308
Cous.

Why so Child? Might not Margy have taught you then as well as now?

Boy.

No, says he, the Negro Mans do not know GOD.

Cous.

That's because thay are not taught, my Dear.

Here he stopt again a little, and then asks his Cousin this Question very affectionately, and his Eyes full of Tears.
Boy.

Why, has Toby any Soul?

Cous.

A Soul Child! why do'st ask if he has a Soul?

Boy.

And have the Negro Mans in Berbadoes any Souls?

Cous.

Yes Child, certainly; why do'st ask such a Question?

Boy.

Because the white Men there won't teach them to know GOD.

Cous.

That is a most abominable Thing, Child, that is true.

Boy.

But shall not Toby learn to know GOD then?

Cous.

Would you have him taughr, my Dear?

Boy.

Yes, Margy shall teach him.

Cous.

No, you shall teach him your self, Child.

Boy.

I can't teach him.

Cous.

Yes, you can, my Dear, better than any Body in this House.

This she says softly to her self, and the Child being call'd away, that Discourse ended.

The Child was still unanswer'd in his grand Que|stion, Whether Toby the black Boy, should not be taught to knew GOD? Two or three times he spoke of it in the House, but his Mother and his Sister's laugh'd at him, and once his Mother was very angry with him; You Fool you, says she, you'll put into the Boy's Head to be baptiz'd, and then he'll run away from you.Page  309 The Boy mused upon that a little while; at last, says he to his Mother, very gravely, Must Toby know no GOD for fear he should run away? then Toby must go to Hell Mother, rather than run away. The pro|fane Mother, vex'd to be put so hard to it by a lit|tle Boy: hold your Tongue you prating Fool, says she, what's that to you where he goes? The Boy was bauk'd a little with his Mother's fiery way of speaking; but he did not give it over yet: but as it was his way to stop a little before he spoke, and then to bring out his Words very demurely; so after a little stop, says he to his Mother, No Body should go to Hell, if I could help it. Well, well, says she, but it may be, you can't help it, and what then? Why, says be, but you may help it Mother may be; wou'd you let poor Toby go to Hell Mother?

Moth.

I help it Boy, how can I help it?

Boy.

If he learns to know GOD, he won't go to Hell.

Moth.

Who told you that? What was it your preaching Maid Margy?

Boy.

She show'd it me in my Bible Mother, here it is, John xvii. 3. And this is Life Eternal, that they might know thee the only true GOD, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

He holds out the Bible to his Mother.
Moth.

Prithee don't come Preaching to me with your Bible in your Hand, like a Parson; I'll fetch your Gown and Cassock to you; and then we'll all hear you Preach.

Boy.

Why Mother, this Book is the Word of GOD; won't you let me read the Word of GOD?

Moth.

That's some of Margy's Cant again; she told you so, I suppose.

Boy.

Yes, Mother, so she did; did not you bid her, Mother? She told me it was the Word of GOD, and that it would teach me to know GOD; and Page  310 that to know GOD and Jesus Christ was Life Eternal; I thought you bid her teach me Mother?

Moth.

I bid her? you Fool, no not I, I assure you.

Boy.

Did not she do well, Mother, to teach me the Word of GOD?

Moth.

Yes, yes, mighty well:

Just at this Discourse the Father was coming into the Room; but hearing his Wife talking with the Boy, he stop'd a little to hear their Discourse; but could bear it no longer, and comes in.
Fa.

Go Jack there's Toby wants you, it's time to go to School.

The Boy goes out, and the Father goes on with his Wife.
Moth.

Why, 'tis not School time for the Boy; what makes you hurry him to School.

Fa.

If it is not time for him to go to School, it is high time to put an End to your Discourse with the Child, and therefore I sent him away; why, you are enough to ruin the Child, I never heard any thing like you.

Moth.

Why, what's the Matter now? what are your Fits return'd?

Fa.

The Matter! why tho I am a wicked Crea|ture my self, yet sure I would not desire to have my Child be like me; did ever any Body bauk and Brow-beat a poor Child so, in his most affectionate Concern for the Soul of a poor Heathen, a Savage that knows neither GOD nor Devil?

Moth.

Why, he'll cant to the Boy about Religion and his wild Notions, till he'll get a smattering of Things; and then he'll run away to the Parson and be baptiz'd, and so you lose the Boy.

Fa.

Well, and can you answer what the Child said to you? Must the Boy be sent to the Devil, for fear ofPage  311running away? For my part, let him run away when he will, if he can be brought to be a true Christian, I shall be glad to carry him to be baptiz'd my self.

Moth.

I tell you, your religious Flashes comes so by Fits, that they are enough to give any one a Sur|feit of such Things: What need you care where any Body goes, you know well enough where you are a going?

Fa.

I said, you were wicked enough to convert an Atheist.

Moth.

Why, I han't converted you yet.

Fa.

I don't know whether you have or no; to be sure you act by the poor Child as I could not do by a Stranger for all the World: you make me tremble to hear you.

Moth.

O dear! you Tremble! 'tis because you han't your two Bottles in your Belly then; Drunk|ards always shake till they have their Dose.

Fa.

Why, you hate the Boy, tho he be your own Flesh and Blood, because he minds good Things; you make that which I believe is the Work of GOD in him, your Jest, and would Banter the Boy out of all Religion if you could; was ever any Thing so unnaturally wicked?

Moth.

I don't hate the Boy, but I hate your hy|pocrirical talking thus of religious Things; such as the Work of GOD, teaching the Boy to know GOD, and such Stuff; when I know you have no more Religion your self than your grey Turkey Cock.

Fa.

Well, but I wish I had more; and in the mean time I rejoice to see my poor Child embracing good Things, and would be far from discouraging him as you do. I wonder how you could bear to oppose the Child, when he told you, that he would have no Body go to Hell, if he could help it? Why you would have your own Child go to Hell? Was ever any Thing so horrid?

Page  312
Moth.

What does the young Priest come preaching to me for?

Fa.

I wonder you did not sink down under the Re|proach of it, when he held out the Bible to you, and told you it was the Word of GOD.

Moth.

I sink down! what do you mean by that?

Fa.

Why, to think that you should be an open Des|piser of GOD, and of his Word, and that to your own Child.

Moth.

Prithee, go and reform your self, I tell you, before you set up to preach to me.

Fa.

Well, and so I will, if GOD please to give me Grace to do it; for sure this is a dreadful Life that we live, such a Family was never in the World, I think verily.

Every Discourse between these two ended in such Broils as these; he was always left touch'd with a Sense of good Things, and Convictions of his own wicked Life; she always was hard, insolent in her Wickedness, and despising good Things to such a de|gree, that, as is said, she hated the poor honest Wench mortally, for instructing her Child; and cou'd not endure the Child it self, because of the lit|tle innocent Reproofs he always gave her, and others about her; and now the Boy began to grow up, and be able to argue and talk of good Things, it set her perfectly raging against him.

However, partly by the wonderful Effect of GOD's Grace in the Child, and partly by the horrid Dis|course of his Wife, the Child's Father was brought to a full Stop in his course of Sin from this very Day; and first, being under strong Convictions, on the looking seriously into himself, he effectually re|form'd his Life, and from a common Swearer and Drunkard, became a grave, sober, and perfectly al|ter'd Man, as to that Part I mean; he left off his Company entirely, and drank neither Wine or strong Page  313 Drink, or at least so little, as not to be in the least danger of Intemperance; and to swearing, his Con|versation was so serious, that not an ill Word was ever after heard to come out of his Mouth: On the con|trary, he was reserv'd, serious, retir'd much alone, and grew a little melancholly; his Wife, after her usual manner, banter'd it, and treated him with all possible Scorn and Contempt, especially at first; she told him it would soon be over with him, and the next Time such a Captain came, it would be all at an end, naming a Gentleman who us'd to come to the House, and who drank excessive hard. However, her Husband convinc'd her that she was in the wrong; for that Gentleman came, and three or four more with him, and all hard Drinkers, like himself; and her Hus|band, who was oblig'd to be with them and entertain them, did so; he gave them what Wine they would have, made them a great Bowl of Punch, and they were merry after their own wont; but as to himself, he told them in so many Words, he had resolv'd to leave off drinking, and he must be excus'd, he would not drink as he had done; so he sat with them, drank now and then a Glass, but no Perswasion could pre|vail with him, tho they used both smooth Words, and rough Words with him, to drink as he us'd to do.

When his Wife was told this, she made still a mock of it, told him, he would not live long then she was sure; that if such a wonderful Alteration was come to him, he would die very quickly; and, says she, if you go on, I'll certainly go and bespeak a Coffin for you. Well, says he, I have the more need to reform, if my End be so near; however, be it near or far off, if it please GOD to assist me, I'll keep where I am, I'll never Drink any more, otherwise than I did last Night.

Wife.

You'll never Drink! you had as good say, you'll never Sleep; you can no more forbear one than the other.

Page  314
Husb.

I will try however; why should I not for|bear?

Wife.

Nature will call for it; your Body is us'd to it; your Constitution requires it, and you must drink or die; do you think such a suddain Alteration in your Way of living can be suffer'd? Ask any Physiti|an? they will tell you 'tis dangerous to alter hastily your Way of living, tho it be bad; you must do it by degrees, if you will do it, and not all at once, like a mad Man.

Husb.

You argue the Devil's Cause, as if you were of Council for the Defendant; I own all you say, in your way of speaking; but as our little Jacky said of black Toby, must the Boy be sent to Hell for fear of his running away! Must I ruin my Soul for fear of my Health! No, no, this is my necessary Sin, but it is more necessary to repent of it: I'll do my Duty, and trust GOD with my Health.

Wife.

Well, well, in this Fit of Religion you will do any thing; but then I tell you your Inclination to Liquor, your Gust to the Claret is too strong; they will prevail over all these pious Resolutions, I war|rant you.

Husb.

The stronger they are, the more necessity of mortifying them, and getting the absolute Mastery over my Appetite: I'll set an Example to those that cry they can't forbear it; and let all Drunkards know by me, that they are Sots because they will be so; that 'tis an easier Thing than some imagine to avoid Drink, if they please but to set heartily to work with it.

Wife.

Well then, for your Company; see how you will manage, next Time Admiral — dines here; and when the Commissioners adjourn hither; I'm sure they never were here, but you were carry'd drunk to Bed, as dead as a Corpse.

Husb.

That's a sad Truth; but you shall see I'll stand it out against them all.

Page  315
Wife.

Why then you are an undone Man, and your Family is ruin'd and undone; too for you will disoblige them all, and lose your Business; you are a going to make a fine Piece of Work on't, with your Reformation, an't you?

Husb.

If my Reformation were a Jest, as you sup|pose it to be, what you say would be of some Mo|ment; but it is not a Jest: I tell you it must be done, or I am undone for ever; and if there be no middle in this dreadful Choice, whether I must ruin my Business, or ruin my Soul, I hope I shall be taught which to choose.

Wife.

Nay, I don't care which you ruin, not I, I shall shift as well as the rest of 'em; you may e'en go on your own Way, and see where it will end.

Husb.

I know where it will end, if I don't; and I'll trust GOD with all the rest.

The Husband had now brought his Reformation to a blessed and comfortable length; and as to the Gentlemen, which she told him would be disoblig'd, they used him very kindly: When they saw he was resolute in it, they left off importuning him to drink; and knowing that he did it on Principles of Religi|on and Reformation, they respected him openly, the more for it, and rather abated in drinking themselves, by his Example, than prompted him to drink beyond what he was willing to take; so that he found his Work very easy, after he had once set resolutely a|bout it.

But the Alteration of his Way of living had a little of the other Effect, which his Wife spoke of, upon him; for, first, he found a strong Inclination in him to drink, and, as he call'd it, he had an irresistible Gust in his Appetite, pressing him, like violent Hun|ger, to strong Liquor of every kind; and this he had a great deal of Difficulty to struggle with: It pleas'd GOD however, to fortify his Resolution in this Page  316 Case, by an accidental Word from the Scriptures: He was very pensive and melancholly one Day, upon the violent Motion which he felt in his Stomach to drink; he felt his Appetite craving and eager, and his Stomach out of order: He had taken a Glass of Wine or two, and he found himself better after it; but for want of Quantity, the Desire return'd as fu|rious as ever, and he was scarce able to resist it: He consider'd, if he comply'd again, he was undone, and should return to all his former Excesses; and if he did not gratify his Stomach, he was intollerably sick, and what to do, he knew not: In this Interval, his little Son came into the Room, being just come from School, and had a Book in his Hand; he calls to him, and asks him what Book he had in his Hand: His Son told him, It was the Bible: Come hither then, says he, and sit down and read a Chapter to me. The Boy asks him where he should read. Any where, says his Father, where GOD shall direct thee. The Boy sits down, and providentially pitches upon the viiith Chapter of the Romans, and reads it to his Father; when he came to the 13th Verse, his Father bad him read that Verse again, which he did, If ye live after the Flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the Deeds of the Body, ye shall live. He bid him stop there, and read no more; my Work is plain, says he, I must mortify these Deeds of the Body, if I expect to live.

With these Resolutions he gain'd some Ground of his Appetite; but it threw him into an aguish Indis|position, and he grew much out of order; however, he resolv'd upon this, that Life or Death was before him, and that not only Death in the ordinary Con|struction of that Word, but eternal Death, Soul, and Body; and he resolv'd to keep his Ground, whate|ver was the Consequence; and to assist his Health, he remov'd into the Country.

Page  317 He took Lodgings 〈…〉 remote Village, out of the Way of Company, and carry'd no Liquors with him, as he was always used to do; and as for his Society, he took his little Son, and the Negro Boy Toby, with him, and no Body else.

The little Boy was mighty busy with Toby, talking to him continually upon Points of Natural Religion, telling him he had a Soul, that there was a GOD, Heaven and Hell; but cou'd not make the Boy receive any Notion of these Things for his Life: So taking his Father one Morning, when he found him in a good Humour to talk, he began with the same Question that he had formerly ask'd his Cousin.

Boy.

Dear Father, says he, has our Toby a Soul?

Fa.

Yes Child, a Soul! what makes thee ask that simple Question?

Boy.

Why, has all the black Folks got Souls too?

Fa.

Yes certainly, Child; for they and we came all from one Original, old Adam was the common Father of all living, and your Bible says, when GOD breathed into him the Breath of Life, Man became a living Soul.

Boy.

But how came they to be black, Father? was Adam a Blackamore?

Fa.

Some say it was the Effect of the Curse upon Cham, the second Son of Noah; but we have Natural Reasons for it Child, such as the violent Heat of the Climate which they come from in Africa, and the length of Time the Race have dwelt there; also their Way of living, their Diet, and the like; so that if a white Man and Woman was to go thither, and live by themselves, without mingling with the rest of the Natives, yet in Time their Posterity wou'd be black, like them.

Boy.

And are their Souls black too, Father?

Fa.

Truly Child their Souls are dark, they are darken'd thro' Ignorance of the true GOD, and for Page  318 want of the saving Light of •…e Gospel; but else the Soul cannot be said to be of any colour.

Boy.

How do we know they have Souls, Father?

Fa.

Because they exercise all the Faculties of the Soul, Child, as we do; it appears that they have Un|derstanding, Memory, the power of Reasoning; know|ing Things absent and future, and can act and operate upon immaterial Objects.

Boy.

I don't understand all that, Father; Can they know GOD? Can they repent of their Sins? And can they go to Heaven?

Fa.

Yes, yes, they are capable of all we are capa|ble of, both here and hereafter.

Boy.

And will they go to Hell too, Father, as we must, if they are wicked?

Fa.

Yes, my Dear, if they either do not know GOD, or do not obey GOD, they will go to Hell as well as other wicked People.

Boy.

And must Toby go to Hell, Father, if he does not know GOD?

Fa.

Yes, Child, why not Toby as well as others? The Wicked shall be turn'd into Hell, and all the Nations that forget GOD, or know not GOD.

Boy.

But then, may we not keep poor Toby from going to Hell, Father, if he is taught to know GOD?

Fa.

You may be the Means or Instrument in GOD's Hand to save him, Child.

Boy.

Why Toby says he can't learn; he told me just now, me can no know GOD.

Fa.

Yes, yes, if he was taught he wou'd learn that as well as other Things, tho he is a Negro; they are as capable as any of us.

Boy.

But will GOD let them be taught, Father, for Margy told me, that GOD denies the Knowledge of himself to some; and that GOD must teach us himself, or we cannot know him.

Fa.

How did she prove that Child?

Page  319
Boy.

She show'd it me in my Bible, that Christ came to give the Knowledge of Salvation, Luke i. 27. and that in him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge.

Fa.

Well Child; but that does not prove that he denies the Knowledge of himself to any; and there|fore 'tis our Duty to give Instruction to every one; how shou'd you have known GOD, if Margy had not taught you?

Boy.

My Mother would have got some Body else to do it Father.

Fa.

Well, but Margy or some Body else, Child; if you had not been taught, you had been as ignorant as poor Toby is.

He was loth to tell the poor Child, that neither his Father or Mother took any care about it; and that neither of them knew or concern'd themselves about the Knowledge of GOD, any more than the poor black Boy Toby did.
Boy.

Wou'd not GOD have taught me himself, Fa|ther?

Fa.

He always makes use of Means Child, and then teaches himself also; and so it must be with this poor Boy, when he is taught; if GOD does not bless Instruction to him, it will be all to no purpose.

The Boy laid up these Things in his Heart, and resolv'd he wou'd talk with Toby again about it; and while he was studying what to do for the poor black Boy, it came into his Head, that it may be Toby cou'd not read, and he wou'd teach him to read; for then he might read the Bible, and that being GOD's Word, it may be GOD wou'd reach him afterward himself: While he was thinking of this, Toby comes to him, and tells him he wants to speak to him.

Toby.

Me much want speak to you.

Boy.

What's the Matter, Toby?

Page  320
Toby.

The white Mans here, and white Womans, and white Boys, and white Maids, all go to the Church Yesterday, no Body no bid me go to the Church; why no bid me go to the Church?

Boy.

Why, wou'd you go to Church Toby, if they had bid you?

Toby.

What they go for to Church?

Boy:

To serve GOD Toby.

Toby.

Why me no serve GOD too? me go serve GOD too.

Boy.

No Body will hinder you, Toby, you shall go along with my Father; but you do not know what serving GOD means; did not you tell me you can|not know GOD? How shall you serve GOD, if you don't know him?

Toby.

They say much good Thing at the Church; that teachè me know GOD.

Boy.

No, that won't teach you.

Toby.

You teachè me then.

Boy.

I am but a little Boy, Toby, I cannot teach you.

Toby.

Yes, you teachè me well; GOD make you teachè me.

Boy.

Do you know that GOD made you Toby? Did no Body tell you in Berbadoes who made you?

Toby.

Yes, GOD make me; GOD make me black Boy, GOD make you white Boy; GOD make ev'ry Body, every Thing.

Boy.

As GOD has made us, Toby, he can kill us; do you know that too?

Toby.

Yes, he can kill us, can kill any thing again.

Boy.

Then we must not make GOD angry.

Toby.

No, we must do every thing GOD bid us do; do nothing that GOD no bid us do.

Boy.

We must fear GOD, and keep his Com|mandments.

Toby.

Keep his Commandments! what that?

Boy.

I will teach you the Commandments, Toby; cannot you read?

Page  321 He says over the Ten Commandments to him.
Toby.

No, me no read, me no read, that be sad Thing.

Toby shakes his Head, and Tears stood in his Eyes.
Boy.

Shall I teach you to read, Toby?

Toby.

Yes, yes, teachè me to read, pray teachè me.

Now the poor Boy cries for joy that he shall read.
Boy.

You must learn to say your Prayers too, Toby.

Toby.

Prayers! say Prayers! How that?

Boy.

Pray to GOD.

Toby.

Where is he?

Boy.

Up there in Heaven.

Toby.

How GOD hear up there? I no speak much loud.

Boy.

GOD is there, and is here, and hears all we say.

Toby.

GOD here! me no see him!

Boy.

But he sees us, Toby; and hears all we say, knows all we think, sees all we do; when we say our Prayers, we are sure he hears what we say.

Toby.

That very much strange; what, GOD be here? me no see him!

Boy.

He is every-where.

Toby.

Did he make every where, as well as every Thing?

Boy.

Yes, Toby, he made all Things.

Toby.

Well then, if he make every where, he see, he hear every where; then he hear me when I speak, what must I say?

Boy.

I'll show you, Toby.

He says over the Lord's Prayer to him.
Toby.

Must I say so?

Boy.

O yes, and you must kneel down.

Toby.

Must I say nothing else?

Boy.

Yes, you may pray for what ever you want:

Toby.

May I say, Our Father! make me know GOD? Me want to much know GOD.

Page  322
Boy.

Yes, you may, to be sure.

Toby.

And me kneel down too?

Boy.

Yes.—

The poor Child falls down on his Knees, with the Tears running down his Face, and with his Voice rais'd as loud as ever he could speak, as if he thought to be heard up to Heaven, and cry'd, O our Father, make me know GOD, me poor black Boy: And when he had done, he cry'd, and beat his Face and Head with his Hands, like a little distracted Creature. The poor Child, his little Teacher, was frighted, and so af|fected with it too, that he cry'd as fast as Toby; but after a little while, the Boy spoke to him.
Boy.

But what do you cry and strike your self for, Toby?

Toby.

Me much afraid.

Boy.

What are you afraid of?

Toby.

We much afraid GOD no hear me, poor black Boy.

Boy.

He will hear you, Toby; for he has bid you pray.

Toby.

When he bid me? You bid me; GOD no bid me; when he bid me?

Boy.

We have a Book, which is GOD's Book; all that is said in that Book, GOD says.

Toby.

Where that Book? What! GOD speak in the Book?

Boy.

Yes, it is the Word of GOD.

Toby.

Me tell you, GOD no hear me, me can no read his Book, he no speak to me; How GOD speak to me? me can no read.

He cries and beats himself again.
Boy.

You shall learn to read; and till you can read, I will read it to you, Toby.

Page  323
Toby.

Read to me that, what you said, that GOD bid me pray, me poor black Boy!

Boy.

Harken then Toby, Jer. xvi. 19. The Gentiles shall come unto me from the Ends of the Earth. You black Mans are Gentiles, and you came from the Ends of the Earth. 2 Pet. iii. 9. The Lord is not slack, &c. not willing that any should Perish; but that ALL should come to Repentance, Matt. xi. 28. Come all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: We are all bid to come, and you poor black Boy, as well as me white Boy, all may come; and we are bid here, Matt. vi. 5. Pray to your Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall Reward thee openly.

Toby.

All this GOD say! all say to me! no sure; no to me black Boy!

The poor Boy cries again.
Boy.

Do not cry, Toby.

Toby.

Why, no cry; me must cry, GOD bid me cry; GOD hear me, poor black Boy! that make me cry much; why, GOD hear me? me very much wicked Boy.

The poor Boy was touch'd with a Sense of the Goodness of GOD, in hearing him, and bidding him come.
Boy.

You must repent of your Wickedness, Toby, and you see GOD will forgive and forget.

Toby.

Repent! what is repent?

Boy.

You must be sorry for your wicked doing, and pray to GOD to forgive you.

Toby.

And will GOD forgive wicked Boys?

Boy.

Yes, if you are sorry for your Wickedness.

Toby.

Me very sorry; me never do wicked again, me very sad sorry.

The Work of GOD upon the Heart of this poor Savage was strong, and its Progression wonderful; his Repentance appear'd to be founded in the Sense Page  324 of GOD's Mercy, the best Motive to the best Re|pentance; and of all that he understood of GOD's Mercy, this affected him most, that he would hear and forgive such a poor black wicked Creature, such a despicable lost Wretch as he. This brought Tears in his Eyes, melted his Heart; and tho he was as ig|norant as meer Nature can be suppos'd to be, yet his Conviction led him the right Way, to the right End of Convictions, (viz.) to Admiration and Astonish|ment at the Goodness of GOD, and then to Con|trition and true Repentance for his Sin.

But his poor pious Teacher was as full as his Heart could hold with it; he was affected to an extream not to be express'd, but was at a sad Loss how to di|rect any farther: He wept and cry'd over poor Toby every Day; but he was too young; he did know what to say to him; and the poor Negro ask'd him a thousand Questions every Day, that he knew not how to answer: GOD had been pleas'd to touch this poor Creature's Heart, and make him a sincere Convert, and this poor Child was all the Instructor he had, and he could go but a little Way with him: They were always together, and Toby made the Child say his Prayers over to him, and teach him; and he learnt Toby the Lord's Prayer, and the two little Prayers which Margy taught him; and still the black Boy, who was older than the other, was so inquisitive in|to good Things, that the white Boy could not fully answer him; for, poor Child, he had had no Instru|ctor himself, but the honest religious Maid, except the Minister at Greenwich, and he was not acquaint|ed long with him, so that he was at a great Loss.

But Providence, which never leaves such Work as this unfinish'd, soon assisted them both; for his Father not liking the Accommodations they had there, very well, took a new Lodging; and it happen'd that they found in the House a Lodger, an antient good Lady, as Page  325 eminent for her great Knowledge in Religion, as her exact religious and holy Life and Conversation.

It was impossible that such a Boy as this could be long in the House, and not be discover'd to this good Woman; she observ'd very often that Toby and his little Master were with their Heads close together, both of them looking over one and the same Book; so she begins with him one Day thus:

Lady.

Well, young Gentleman, I see you and your black Foot-Boy are mighty bookish, I hope 'tis a good Book you are a reading so diligently?

Boy.

Yes, Madam, it is the Bible.

Lady.

I am glad to hear that; why does he love to read the Bible?

Boy.

Yes, he loves it, but he can't read; I am showing him to read; he would fain learn.

Lady.

That's very well indeed, my Dear; that's a good Work, GOD will bless you for it; teach him the Bible, it will make you wise to Salvation; and then turning to the Negro Boy, Well Toby, says she, (I think they call ye) can you read?

Toby.

He teache me, he make me read, he make me know.

Lady.

That's well; if he makes you read and know too, he will be a good Teacher indeed.

Toby.

He very much teachee me; he very good teach.

Boy.

I can't teach him, I know but little my self.

Lady.

My Dear, you may know enough to teach him perhaps; it may be he never knew any thing of GOD or Religion in his Life.

Toby.

No, me know no-ting; me no know Book Bible; me poor much wicked Boy.

La.

Come hither my Child, tell me what you taught him? Have you told him any thing of GOD?

Boy.

Yes, Madam, as well as I could.

Here the Child tells her how Toby enquir'd Page  326 Things of him, and that be could not answer, him; that he told him how he must pray, and how he did pray, all as it is set down above.
Lady.

GOD's Blessing be upon thee, my Dear, for thy sincere Love to this poor Creature's Soul; why, thou hast acted the Part of a Parent to him, be|fore thou art able to know what the Duty of a Parent means.

She is wonderfully affected with the Account the little Boy gave her; and as she is talking, the Boy's Father comes in, and they begin to talk; but first, seeing her talking in his little Boy, he was glad of it, and offer'd to retire.
Fa.

I ask your pardon, Madam, I won't interrupt you; I desire my Son should be always in such Com|pany.

Lady.

Your Son is fit for better Company than mine, I assure you.

Fa.

Poor Child, he wants the help of Instruction.

Lady.

Don't say so, Sir; the Pains you have taken in his Instruction is seen in his Improvement; why, he is fit to teach others rather than wanting to be taught.

Fa.

Poor Child, he teach others! it may be he may teach Toby there to read, I suppose that's all.

While the Father and the Lady are talking thus, the Boys go away.
Lady.

He has taught him more than to read, I assure you.

Fa.

Madam, now the Boy is gone, I may be free to say to you, what I was not able to mention before: This poor Child has had the Disaster to be brought forth in a Family, where no Fear or Knowledge of GOD has been taught or entertain'd; he has had a Father and Mother who have been given up to com|mit Page  327 Iniquity with Greediness; we have neither known GOD our selves, or taught our Children to know him; we have been abandon'd to all manner of Wickedness, and our Children are so also, by our wicked Example: In short, Madam, the Fear of GOD has not been in our House, and our Children are all ruin'd by us, who should have been their In|structors.

Lady.

Sir! what are you saying! Is not this your own Son then?

Fa.

Yes, yes, Madam, he is my Son, to my Shame and Reproach I speak it; he never had one Word of GOD, or of any thing that is good said to him, by me or his Mother in his Life, except what I have said to him since he came hither.

Lady.

He has been taught by some Body else then, for he is the knowingest little Creature that ever I met with.

Fa.

He is taught from GOD, Madam; 'tis all other Means, and other Persons, none of it from us, or any of us; for—

Here he tells her ingenuously the History of his own Life, and his Family; and also of his little Boy and his Maid Margy.
Lady.

Why, Sir, by what I see, if this sad Story be the true Account of your Family, this Child has been your Instructor, rather than you his.

Fa.

Indeed, that is very true.

Lady.

Well, you have the more Reason to think 'tis the Work of GOD, for your good; for sure he is a wonderful Child.

Fa.

I have not told you, Madam, nor can I tell you a hundredth Part of what has been observ'd in this Child, even when he was very little: However, if it be agreeable to you, Madam, I will tell you some Passa|ges which I have seen, or heard about him, in the Family.

Page  328
Lady.

With all my Heart; I love to observe the early Touches of GOD's Grace in the Hearts of Children; but pray before you begin, what is be|come of that honest Servant, that Margy as you call her?

Fa.

Indeed I do not well know where she lives; but she is marry'd to a Captain of a Ship, who lov'd her for her Usage of this Child, and she lives very handsomely.

Note, At about four Years end, the Captain, mention'd before, return'd from a long tra|ding Voyage in the East-Indies, and very rich; and the first Thing he did, he enquir'd out Margy, and examin'd her and the Gen|tlewoman the Cousin (spoken of above) about what she had done with the Child, and how she had discharg'd her self of the Work he hired her for: And having a faithful Account of her extraordinary Conduct, and how she had brought the Child up, he mar|ry'd her, as he said, that she might bring up his own as well, for he had four small Chil|dren, his Wife dying while he was Abroad; and Margy made as religious a Wife as she had done a Servant, and liv'd like a Lady, as we shall hear by and by.

Lady.

I am glad to hear it, she deserv'd it very well, and I should not question but a Blessing from GOD would attend such a Servant; for Godliness has the Promise of this Life, as well as of that which is to come.

Fa.

I owe her many a good Wish now; but I was but little sensible of my Obligation to her then.

Lady.

It seems you were more sensible than the rest of your Family, because you would not suffer that faithful Servant to be remov'd from him.

Fa.

Why, that is true; but that amounted to no more than this, that I was willing the Boy should Page  329 have a little common teaching, such as to read, to say his Prayers, and answer Questions; but I saw no|thing of the Work of GOD in the Heart of the Child; how should I Madam?

Lady.

Nay, Sir, how should you not? It was im|possible those Things you observ'd could be from any Original, but the Power of invisible Grace.

Fa.

And how should I see any thing of that, who entertain'd no Notion of any thing Religious; but was given up to Vice and all manner of Wickedness, I and all that were about me?

Lady.

You are answer'd by the Account you give of your self; you see the Light of GOD's Grace shone so bright in the Child, that it reach'd into your very Soul at last, in spight of all the obstinacy of Ignorance and Folly.

Fa.

It did so; I saw it at last clearly.

Lady.

And it will ever do so; 'tis a Light from Heaven which cannot be withstood, and this made me say, How should you not see it?

Fa.

Madam, we withstood all manner of Light; and tho I have by the singular Goodness of GOD been convinc'd; and have, I hope, felt the Impression, yet all my Family are lost and gone; nothing can reach them, at least nothing does; my Children, my Wife, my grown-up Children especially; they are past all Recovery, and this wounds my very Soul; for I have led them by the Hand into it all, I have given them the most horrible Example of all Loose|ness, Irreligion, Drunkenness, and Prophaneness, and what is my Repentance to them?

Lady.

It is at least a good Example.

Fa.

Alas, Madam! 'tis too late now, they have learnt to sin by my Example when they were young; but they won't learn to repent by my Example, that must come another way, it is the Gift of GOD only.

Page  330
Lady.

It is true; 'tis a sad Thing for Parents to lead their Children into Wickedness, at the very Time when they should lay Foundations of Piety and Vertue in their Minds; but tho this is one of the great Things no doubt you now repent of, yet you may have the Comfort still, to see the Grace of GOD recover them, and it is not too late for you to use some Means for their Reformation.

Fa.

Alas Madam,. I can do nothing now but pray for them, and mourn for them, and, as I may say, break my Heart for them, and that I do I am sure.

Lady.

Yes, you may take Occasion to let them see the Mistake you have committed; the Affliction it is now to you; and exhort them to Amendment, and to a Change of Life.

Fa.

O! it's too late now, Madam! they will but make a Mock of it, and of me too.

Lady.

But you may then use your Authority, and set vigorously about the Reformation of your Family; no doubt it is what you ought to do, and what they must submit to.

Fa.

Madam, I know this is my Duty; but I am circumstanc'd something like Lot, a Preacher of Righteousness in the midst of Sodom: My Family are out of the Reach of Instruction, and past the Awe of Government; in particular, their Mother is a dread|ful Example of one given over to a reprobate Mind; and none was ever treated with so much Contempt as I have been, on account of the Reformation I have begun on my self.

Here he relates to her the Story of the Child and his Mother, and of himself, as related before.
Lady.

That is their Sin, Sir; but you are not there|by discharg'd from your Duty.

Fa.

It is true, I am not; but when I speak to them, as the blessed Apostle did to Foelix, the Governour, ofPage  331Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment to come; they are so far from trembling, as that more religious Heathen did; that they look on me as the Disciples did on Mary Magdalen, when she told them the Sto|ry of her Vision at the Sepulchre; they think me di|stracted, and my Words seem to them as idle Tales. I tell you a little of their Behaviour, Madam, but you will the better judge of the rest.

Lady.

This is a sad Case; but however, you must not give over to perswade your Wife, and pray for her, and to influence your Children as much as you can.

Fa.

You see, Madam, how low I am reduc'd by my own Infirmities; and that, with the Affliction of the sad Circumstances of my Family, has brought me to so weak a Condition, that I do not expect I shall recover it; and it grieves me again to think what Con|dition I shall leave this poor Child in, to be brought up among such a Crew as his Brothers are: indeed I came hither chiefly to bring him out from among them, tho I made the Recovery of my Health pass for the Reason of it.

Lady.

You may recover, Sir, yet, and I hope you will; but if you, shou'd not, I hope you will take some Concern upon you for your younger Children at least.

Fa.

I resolv'd, if GOD spare my Life, to make a new Family of them; but I foresee sad Consequen|ces from it.

Lady.

What Consequences? What can you foresee? What can be worse than neglecting it?

Fa.

Why, I foresee my Wife will break up the whole House; my Sons will insult me, and my eld|est Daughters will side entirely with their Mother.

Lady.

But as nothing can excuse your doing what you know is your Duty; so you do not know but GOD may touch their Hearts, at least leave it to the Disposal of his Providence.

Page  332
Fa.

I resolve indeed to do so, if I live; but I see no rational Prospect of it, and therefore my Care is for this poor Child.

Lady.

What are you afraid of about him?

Fa.

Lest he should be ruin'd by ill Example, and want of Instruction.

Lady.

I am perswaded you need not be afraid for him; GOD that singled him out in such a Fami|ly, from his Infancy, and that gave him a Spirit and Courage to withstand, and reprove the Prophaneness even of his own Mother, will secure him from the power of any Temptation; he will be rather a means to do good to them, than they to do hurt to him.

Fa.

I know GOD can effectually protect him; but whether or no, is it my Duty to leave him under the Government of those who have no Government of themselves?

Lady.

Sir, be pleased to make such Provision for him, that they may not wrong him of what you leave for his Subsistance; and for the rest, I do not see how you can reasonably take him out of the Hands of his Mother.

Fa.

Alas! his Mother! she is the worst Enemy the Child can have; she hates him already, for those little Turns and Reproofs he has given her, which I told you of; and in short, because he will not be as wicked as the rest of them.

Lady.

But GOD may turn her Heart; and then she will hate her self and love the Child; and still she is his Mother; I would leave him to her, and trust his Soul in the Hands of GOD.

Fa.

I shall have no Peace to do so, because I know the Tenderness of the Child's Temper; they, like the Men of Sodom to Lot, will vex his righteous Soul from Day to Day; they will be an early Af|fliction to him, if they are not a Temptation to him.

Lady.

Well, I'll tell you, Sir, there is a middle Page  333 way; leave, as I said, what you will give him, out of their reach, that they may not wrong him; and empower some particular Friend to take Care of him so far, that if the Child is ill used and desires to be remov'd, that Friend may take care of him; but let it be a religious conscientious Person, or none at all.

Fa.

But where is there such a Friend to be found?

Lady.

Who can be fitter than his Maid Margy, see|ing she lives so well, and is marry'd to one who you say is so honest and religious a Man.

Fa.

That very Proposal revives my Heart; and I thank GOD that put it into your Thoughts to move it to me; I'll certainly do so.

The Father liv'd not above half a Year after this; but made a very Christian and religious End; being a most sincerely humbled Penitent for his past Life; frequently blessing GOD for the first Alarms he received in his wicked Courses, by the Reproof of that little Child. But neither his reformed Life, or his religious Death, had any immediate Influence upon his Wife, or any of the rest of his Children; nay when his Will was open'd and read, she was rather enraged than affected with a Clause in it, which took the disposal of his youngest Son John out of her Hands, and left him to be disposed by Margy — that was the Captain's Wife, formerly the Child's Maid, and by the Lady Barbara —, that was the Lodg|er, with whom he had the Discourse above, about the disposing of the Child: And it was thus express'd in his Will, I do hereby empower them to enquire into the Treatment my said Child meets with under his own Relations, and to remove him if he is willing to be removed, and that they see Cause; according to a written Paper of Directions, sign'd and seal'd by my own Hand and Seal, declaring what shall be esteem'd a sufficient Cause for such a removing my Child; which Pa|perPage  334I have left in the Hands of the said Mrs. Marga|ret — and the Lady Barbara —. The Mother was exceedingly uneasy at this Clause about the Child; and it rather encreas'd than abated the Aversion she had before conceiv'd to him: And this made her per|haps the willinger to leave the Boy in the Country, where it seems his Father had got a School for him, and had left him and the black Boy a little before he dy'd, recommending him earnestly to the pious La|dy, who was the Lodger in the House, and who promised to take as much care of him as if he was her own.

And indeed there was no need to recommend him to her; for the Child recommended himself to her, by the Sweetness of his Disposition, the Sobriety of his Carriage, and his continual hanging about her to ask religious Questions, and talk of serious Things with her; which, as it was exceeding delightful to her, so it was all his Diversion; for when other Boys were at Play, this was his Recreation, and he drunk in Knowledge like Water; for his Search after In|struction was so earnest, that nothing was lost up|on him.

It pleased GOD so to order Things for the early furnishing Instruction to this Child, that (1.) this Lady, who was a Person of very good Quality was without any Family but two Servants, and so was perfectly at Leisure to give, as it were, her whole Time to the Advantage of his Education. (2.) That she was a Lady of vast Knowledge and Capacity, join'd with admirable Experience, and a most excellent Christian. And (3.) that she took so much delight in the Child, and in his Instruction, that it was an unspeakable Affliction to her, when he was taken away from the School by his Mother; which was not, however, till somewhat more than two Years.

Page  335 In this Time he had acquir'd a Knowledge, and Experience in religious Matters above his Years; and as he received Instruction himself from this pious Lady, so he brought up under him his Negro Boy, in the Knowledge of Religion, and the Practice of it too. Nor did the good Lady spare any Pains, or think it below her to instruct the poor Negro; and her favourite Boy would often desire her to do it, when any thing the Negro ask'd was too hard for him; by which she was a Means at least, to make the poor Savage Creature an Example of GOD's wonderful Grace, in revealing himself to his Soul, and bringing him from Darkness to Light. Among the many Discourses which happen'd between her and the Child, I think one more than ordinarily worth recording, which happen'd soon after the Child was come back from the Burial of his Father.

She had been up in her Chamber something longer than her usual Time; and as she came down Stairs, she saw her little Scholar sitting alone in one of the Parlours, looking very Melancholy; and as she thought, he either was, or had been crying; she pre|sently imagin'd, as was most natural to his Case, that the Child was thinking of his Father, and perhaps cast down to be left alone among Strangers, and no Father to have recourse to as usual; so she thought she would speak chearfully to him. My Jacky, says she (so she had call'd him for some time) what's the Matter my Dear? Come, you must not be cast down Child, what have you been crying for?

The Boy made her no Answer, but cry'd again; for he was not crying when she call'd to him, tho he had been crying some time before.

Lady.

Come, my Dear; you must not grieve your self, you will make your self Sick: Did not you and I talk the other Day before your Father dy'd, of the great Duty of Resignation to the Will of GOD; do you remember it?

Page  336
Boy.

Yes Madam.

Lady.

Well, my Dear, then practise it now. You must not only resign your Father, but your self; for you know, my Dear, you must die too, as well as your Father.

Boy.

Yes, Madam.

Lady.

Well, and how do you think any one can die with Comfort? There is no Temper in the World fit to die in, or that we can die comforta|bly in, but that of Resignation and Adherence; and they are in one respect both the same.

Boy.

I don't cry for my Father, I believe he is gone to Heaven; he told me he should go to Heaven, and bid me not cry for him.

Lady.

What doest cry for then Child?

Boy.

I cry for my Mother.

Lady.

Why doest cry for thy Mother, my Dear?

Boy.

Do Folks go to Heaven, that do as my dear Mother does?

Lady.

Why, my Dear, what does she do?

Boy.

O! she says such Words, it frights me.

Lady.

My Dear, if your Mother says bad Words, you must not learn them, or think they are not bad Words because it is your Mother.

Boy.

But sure if it was so wicked a Thing to say such Words, my Mother would not do it.

Lady.

It may be she might, my Dear, in a Passion.

Boy.

What, my Dear Mother!

Lady.

It may be she was in a Passion Child, when she did so; Folks say Words sometimes when they are provok'd, which they would not say at another time.

Boy.

O then, it is not a wicked thing to say bad Words, if they are in a Passion, is it?

The Boy look'd a little chearful at that, as if he had gotten an Excuse for his Mother.
Lady.

Nay, Child, do not mistake me, I do not say Page  337 so neither; Passion may be the Cause, but it is far from being an Excuse; 'tis rather making two Sins of one.

Boy.

You said, it may be she might be in a Pas|sion.

Lady.

I said so Child, because many People in a Passion, or when they are provoked, will say Words, and do Things which they do not approve, and are sorry for after.

Boy.

But why do they do so, if it be not that it is less a Sin than at another Time?

Lady.

Child, they do it because Passion transports them to do they know not what.

Boy.

Why then the Passion makes it a greater Sin, not a less, don't it?

Lady.

Yes it does so: But what doest thou cry for again, was thy Mother in a Passion?

The Boy cries again.
Boy.

My Mother is always in a Passion then, for she always uses those sad words.

Lady.

Well, but may be she is sorry for it after|wards, my Dear, and repents.

Boy.

No, no, my Mother does not repent.

Lady.

How do you know that Child?

Boy.

Because she does it again every Day; and I remember Margy told me a great while ago, that to repent of my Sins, was to be sorry for them, and for|sake them; and that if I did not forsake them, I might be sure I had not repented.

Lady.

And do you remember that so long ago?

Boy.

Yes, and I shall never forget it as long as I live; for I have always Sins to repent of; and they always put me in mind of poor Margy?

Lady.

Poor Margy was a good Maid to thee, she was better to thee than ten Mothers; don't you love her for it?

Boy.

Yes dearly. But I love my Mother too. I wish—

Page  338
Lady.

What do'st wish, Child?

Boy.

I wish my Mother would not say them sad words.

Lady.

You must pray for your Mother, my Dear, that GOD would touch her Heart.

Boy.

So I do every Day, but I did more than that.

Lady.

What could you do more, Child?

Boy.

I told my Mother that it was not good to use such Words; and that I was afraid GOD would be angry with her for it.

Lady.

And what did she say to thee?

Boy.

She laugh'd at me, as she used to do; and asked me, if I had not left off Preaching yet, and told me, she would make me another Gown and Cas|sock.

Lady.

And what said you, my Dear?

Boy.

I cry'd; and said, what I should not have said, because she was my Mother, for I know I should Honour my Mother; I told her, I had heard my Fa|ther say, that she would make GOD angry with her, and all of us for her sake; for she broke GOD's Commands her self, and taught us all to do so too.

Lady.

And what said she to that?

Boy.

She flew in a Passion at my Father, tho he is dead, and she bear me too.

Lady.

Poor Child, did she beat thee too; that was hard.

Boy.

I had not car'd for that so much, if she had not said the same dreadful Words over again all the while she was beating me.

Lady.

Well, but why do these Things trouble thee? Thy Mother has most reason to be troubled, for them, Child.

Boy.

But can I not be troubled to think, that my, dear Mother won't go to Heaven?

Lady.

But Child, you do not know but your Mo|ther Page  339 may live to repent; you must pray to GOD to give your Mother Repentance.

Boy.

I told my Mother I would, and I do every Day.

Lady.

Did you tell your Mother so when she was beating you?

Boy.

No, it was another Time, and then I think I did what I should not do too; for I made my Mother cry.

Lady.

It may be, my Dear, you said something that touch'd her; how do you know, but you may be made an Instrument in GOD's Hand, to do good to your Mother: but pray, what did you say?

Boy.

Why, my Mother was in a good Humour, and talking pretty chearfully with me and my two Sisters, and on a sudden she fell a taking GOD's Name in her Mouth at a sad rate; at which I cry'd.

Lady.

Why did you cry, Child?

Boy.

I remembred that Scripture, which made my Father cry many times, on account of my Brothers, Psal. 119. 136. Rivers of Tears run down mine Eyes, be|cause they keep not thy Law. And my Father told me, we should mourn for the Sins of others, because of GOD's being dishonour'd by them; but I cry'd, be|cause it was my dear Mother that dishonour'd GOD, and broke his Law.

Lady.

And what did your Mother say to you; was she angry again?

Boy.

No, not at first; she ask'd me what I cry'd for, but I would not tell her; at last she began to be angry that I would not speak: I told her, she was angry because I w•… not tell her, and she would be angry if I did; so she promised she would not be angry if I would tell he•… let it be what it would.

Lady.

〈◊〉, and wh•…〈◊〉 you say then?

Boy.

〈…〉 of my Pocket, and read the 〈…〉 Comm•…ment to her, and said to Page  340 her, Dear Mother, don't break GOD's Commands, and went to kiss her; for my Heart was ready to break for her: But she thrust me away, and bid me be quiet. I told her, I should break my Heart for her; and yet she was angry with me. No, she said she was not angry, but bid me not trouble my self for her, it was none of my Business to teach my Mo|ther. I said; I did not go to teach her, she knew all this better than I, but that it was a dreadful thing she should do so, and know it to be wicked too at the same time. Well, says my Mother, but what's that to you, Sirrah? do you mind your own self, you have nothing to do with me; I tell you it's none of your Bu|siness to teach your Mother. No, Mother, said I, but I may cry for you I hope, and I am sure I shall do that as long as I live; what will you cry for, says she? So I shew'd my Mother this Verse in the Psalm, and said, if I might cry for other People's Sins, sure I must for my Mother's; for I was sure that no Body could go to Heaven that did so: And when I said that, both my Sisters cry'd too. At last my Mother said, Get you gone, SIRRAH; this Boy will make me cry too, I think: So I was put out of the Room. And the next Day, the Maid ask'd me what I had done to my Mother? Why, says I, what have I done to her? Nay, I don't know, said the Maid, but you anger'd her so, she has been crying and sighing all Night al|most, and will let no Body speak to her; and I can assure you, that you will be sent away to School for it to morrow; for your Sister Judith says, you are not fit to be suffer'd in the House. And so I found it Madam, for I was sent hither again the next Day, and they would not let me see my Mother, but told me, she was not well.

Lady.

Dear Child, pray still for your Mother, but shed no more Tears ab•…•…er, I da•… say, GOD will cause thee to be the •…eans of b•…nging her back, Page  341 and of reforming perhaps not her only, but the whole House.

She takes him in her Arms and kisses him.
Boy.

They think they have punish'd me, but I am glad I am come away.

Lady.

Why so?

Boy.

O! it is the dreadfulest Thing to me to hear such Words, such Oaths, such horrible Cursing and Swearing as there is among them, I am not able to bear it, if I were a Man I would not bear it.

Lady.

Why, you little Creature, what would you do?

Boy.

Why, I would make my Brothers leave it off, or I would beat them.

Lady.

No, you must not beat your Brothers.

Boy.

Why, my eldest Brother beat my next Bro|ther once for saying something against his Father, and every Body said he did very well; now is not GOD my heavenly Father, shall I suffer them to affront and abuse him, and take no Notice of it? I am sure I should beat them if I could.

Lady.

Why, by the same Rule it seems you must beat your Sisters, and beat your Mother too.

Boy.

No, I may not do that, I am commanded to honour my Mother; as for my Sisters, I would find Ways to weary them out of it, but I must not beat them because they are Girls; but I might beat the t'other sure.

Lady.

Well, but my Child praying for them is much better; you are not call'd to fight with every Body that prophanes the 〈◊〉 GOD; he will take his own Time to 〈…〉 the Honour of his Name, and avenge 〈…〉 of his Commands; that is not your D•…〈…〉 said, Vengeance is mine, and I will rep•…〈…〉

Boy.

〈…〉 no more; but 'tis a sad Thing 〈…〉 continually, and not be able to 〈…〉

Page  342
Lady.

Well Child, you are out of it now, do not be concern'd about it.

Boy.

O but, should I have said to my Mother, that no Body goes to Heaven that did so?

Lady.

I see no harm in it Child, so as you did not speak in an undutiful manner to your Mother: You say you spoke it with Tears, and would have kiss'd her, but she put you away; I should have thought she should rather have took you in her Arms, and have kiss'd you a hundred Times for it, I am sure I should.

This she said softly to her self.
Boy.

Yes, I did indeed; but pray do Folks go to Heaven, Madam, that say such wicked Words?

Lady.

No, indeed Child, unless they repent; but I hope your Mother will repent of it; 'tis no bad Sign, I assure you, that she was so much concern'd at what you said to her.

Boy.

I am afraid she won't repent; my Father said she would never repent till she came to die, and what if she should die before she repent, she won't go to Heaven then?

The Boy shows a great Concern for his Mo|ther, and here was ready to cry again.
Lady.

Child, you have no Remedy but to pray for your Mother, that GOD would be pleas'd to give her Repentance before it be too late.

Boy.

I do; but I can never pray for my Mother but my Heart trembles, for fear GOD will not hear me.

Lady.

Why so, Child?

Boy.

Because, I believe, 〈…〉 never prays to GOD for her self, and will 〈…〉 me for her, and give her that which she 〈…〉 her self?

Lady.

GOD may 〈…〉 Sense of her Sin; and if once 〈…〉 soon pray for her self; but the 〈…〉 GOD Page  343 often moves the Heart before it looks up; he is found of them that seek him not.

Boy.

I had a sad Dream about my dear Mother last Night.

Lady.

What did'st thou dream of her, Child? Do not terrify thy self with such Things.

Boy.

I dream't my Mother was very sick, and sent a Coach for me hither, to come and see her before she dy'd; then I thought I was carry'd up in a Coach, and when I came home, my Mother was so bad that she could not speak; but a little after I was in the Room, she took me by the Hand and kiss'd me, and said, O Child! I would repent now, but 'tis too late, and then she dy'd.

Lady.

And this was it you had been crying about, was it?

Boy.

Yes, I had been crying about her, but not for the Dream, for I saw it was but a Dream; but the Thoughts that my dear Mother should not go to Heaven, has almost broke my Heart before that Dream, and I cry'd about that a great while, and it makes my Heart tremble every Time I think of it.

While the Child was saying this, just as he had dream'd, came a Coach, with one of their Servants in it, to fetch him to Town, and brought him word, that his Mother was very sick at the Point of Death, and he must go to London, that she might see him be|fore she dy'd: The Lady saw the Child was surpriz'd, and much the more because of his Dream, and so in|deed she was her self a little, to see Things concur so exactly one with another; however, she conceal'd it from him, and did •…at she could to encourage him, so she said, Come Child, do not be surpriz'd, tho' this Part of your Dream may be true, I hope the other won't; he 〈…〉 but as soon as he was dress'd, went away the Messenger.

When he came, to London, he found his Mother Page  344 on her Death-bed indeed, and very near her End; but such a Penitent as the like had not been known by any that converst with her; and upon enquiry, it appear'd that she had been struck with a Sense of her Condition for some Time before she was taken sick, and that it began immediately upon that affectionate Discourse the Child had with her, mention'd before, when he went to kiss her, and said, Dear Mother, don't break GOD's Commands, and particularly when he told her, that he was sure no Body could go to Heaven that did so.

She had lain some Time under the Horror of her first Convictions, and in a sad despairing Condition, which began the same Evening the Boy had spoke to her; and this it seems was the Reason of the Boy's being sent away, which was not done by his Mother's Order, but by his eldest Sister, who was no more sensible of the Nature of the Thing, than one given over, and therefore hated the Child for having griev'd and vex'd his Mother with his impertinent and saucy Discourse, as she call'd it, and therefore took upon her to send the Child away, which her Mother was very much displeas'd at when she knew it.

As soon as the Child came back, and was carry'd up into his Mother's Chamber, she reviv'd a little at the Sight of him; Come hither, thou blessed MES|SENGER of GOD, says she; and taking him in her Arms, she kiss'd him, but could not speak for a great while, her Heart was so full; after some Time, holding the Child fast in her Arms, Thou wert the first, my Dear said she, that ever gave me a seasonable Ad|monition of my detestable Ways; 〈◊〉 I call to mind all the little Reproofs I had from thee in 〈◊〉 Infancy, when thou could'st hardly speak plain.

The Child could say nothing in answer to his Mother, but hang about her, and cry 〈…〉; she went on to repeat to him all the little Say•… that Page  345 he had used in reproving her, for taking GOD's Name in vain, and how affectionately he had said to her, that his Heart was almost broke for her; and, my Dear, says she, I have had many Nights and Days of Sorrow since that, for those Sins for which you were made my seasonable Reprover; but GOD has turn'd my Sorrow into Comfort, and I have hope that my Repentance has been sincere, and is accepted.

The Child was so full of the Affliction of seeing his Mother so ill, that he could scarce speak; but when he heard her speak of her Repentance, he pull'd out his little Bible: Come, my Dear, says his Mother, what has GOD directed thee to look for there, I shall take every Thing that comes from thee to be by the special Instance of the Divine Spirit. The Child said nothing still, but look'd out the xxviii. Prov. 13. Whose Confess, shall find Mercy; and Psalm cxxx. 4. With thee there is Forgiveness. As soon as his Mother heard the Verses, especially the last, she lifted up her Hands and Eyes, and gave publick Thanks for the wonderful Circumstance that atten|ded the Child's looking out that particular Text;

'Blessed be GOD, said she, that has guided thy Hand to that Scripture; NOW I am satisfy'd it was of GOD, that this Scripture was cast in up|on my Thoughts, when my Soul was over-whelm'd with the terrible View of my past Life, and the Greatness of my Sins: I knew not where to find it, for I was perfectly unacquainted with the Scrip|ture, otherwise than as every Body has one Ti•… or other heard it read; but when the dreadful Ap+pearance of my horrid Life stood like a large Draft before my Eyes, this Word was darted into my Soul, as if it had been spoken with a Voice, There is Forgiveness with him, and it brought with it an unaccountable, but irresistable Comfort; for from that Time to this very Moment, whenever my Page  346 Thoughts suggested Terror to me, whenever Sin ap|pear'd black and horrible to my Soul, whenever Death and launching into an eternal State show'd it self before me, this sounded in my Ears so loud, that nothing else could silence it, There is Forgiveness with him! Then my Soul melted into Tears, Tears of repenting Shame for the Vileness of my Life, and my abominable Crimes against a GOD, whose Nature and Property is ever to have mercy, and to for|give: Tears of Sorrow and Regret, for having, in so horrid a manner, offended the Father of Mercy; and Tears of Affection, and flaming Love, drawn from the surprizing Thought; that GOD should have still Forgiveness with him, for One that had so long stood out against his Patience and forbearing Goodness; that it should be possible, that GOD had not yet been provok'd by such a Sinner as I had been, to reject me for ever; but that there should yet be Forgiveness with him, even for me! And now I know, and am more and more comforted by it, that the Application of that Scripture to my Thoughts, was from the Spirit of GOD, who is the Comforter of distrest Souls, the Applier of his Word, and the Guide of our Thoughts; since this dear little Mi|nister of GOD, for such he is to me, has been guided to read to me the same comfortable Words.

She went on to say a great many more most af|fectionate tender Things, which mov'd all that were in the Room, in a Manner scarce possible to be ex|press'd, still blessing GOD for this Chiid, and for the particular Providence of GOD in singling him out so, among such a vile Crew, as she call'd them, as her Family was: One Day in particular, when a neighbouring Minister, who frequently visited, pray'd with, and comforted her, was discoursing with her, she gave a vent to her Thought on that Subject.

What a wonderful Thing, said she, was it that GOD Page  347 should single out a little Infant, even before it could speak plain, and, to be sure, long before it could have any Knowledge of what it said, to speak such Things, as, in spight of the most obstinate harden'd Wicked|ness, should touch the Soul of every one that heard him.

Here she gives the Minister an Account of most of the remarkable Passages, which have been mention'd before of the Child, especial|ly relating to his reproving her self for ill Words, and of the Influence it had on his Father.
Minister.

The End and Design of GOD's Good|ness is visible in this Child; he has been appointed to be a Minister of GOD indeed, as you call'd him, to the Family, a Preacher of Righteousness, and as GOD has given him a visible Mission to you, so he has seal'd his Ministry with Success.

Moth.

I hope so.

Min.

He has been a visible Instrument in the Con|version both of his Father and Mother, and I hope he will be so of the whole Family.

Moth.

I pray GOD he may, for they are a sad wretched Family yet; and considering what their Fa|ther and Mother have been, it is no wonder; for we have been the Ruin of them all.

Here she burst out in a terrible Passion, ex|claiming on the dreadful Example she had been to her Children, and how they had Rea|son to reproach her to their last Hour.
Min.

Do not afflict your self with that more than in general, as among the rest of those Sins, which, blessed be GOD, you have the comfortable Hope of being forgiven.

Moth.

O my poor wretched Family may be lost by my Neglect; and tho GOD may forgive me, they are not sure of having a share in the same Page  348 Grace; I cannot assist them to repent, but I have dreadfully assisted them to sin.

Min.

But they have the same little Instructor for an Instrument, the same Spirit of GOD to set home Instruction, and the same Father of Mercies, with whom there is Forgiveness, to accept their Repentance; leave them to him.

Moth.

I desire to do so; but O! that all Parents might know from me what the Affliction is, what the Reproaches of the Conscience are, what mo|ving of the very Bowels it is to a Mother to think, when it is too late to retrieve it, that she has been an Instrument, in the Hands of the Devil, to ruin her own dear Children by her dreadful Example; whose Souls, on the contrary, ought to have been her Care and Concern: Pray recommend it from me to all Parents to think of their Childrens Souls, and at least not to help them on in Wickedness.

Min.

It is true, it is a Reflection that is in it self very afflicting, and I will improve it, Madam, as upon all Occasions you desire, to admonish Parents to con|cern themselves earnestly for the Good of their Chil|dren, both by early Instruction and Example; but our present Business is to look beyond all your own Failings, to the free Grace of GOD in forgiving, and to adore the Wonders of his Goodness, in bring|ing you back from a Course of presumptuous sinning, to a sincere Repentance.

Moth.

'Tis true, that is my Work; but I cannot but mourn over the lost Condition of my poor Chil|dren.

Min.

But forget not to rejoice over this one great Instance of free Grace among them, I mean this hap|py little Son of yours.

Moth.

Indeed I cannot forget him, nor the strange Work of GOD in him, which, considering the Fa|mily he has been born in, I think is next to miracu|lous.

Page  349
Min.

It is indeed a Token of the invincible Ope|ration of the Grace and Spirit of GOD.

Moth.

But that GOD should inspire a little Crea|ture so young! and fortify his Mind, to resist all the wicked Examples, all the early Introductions to Sin, that he met with even in his own Parents, and to choose the Good and refuse the Evil, even before he knew the one from the other!

Min.

There are some whom he is pleas'd to sancti|fy from the Womb, and those he will keep from Sin, as a Testimony of the Dominion of invincible Grace.

Moth.

But that such a Creature should be born of such Parents! singled out from a Family of GOD's Enemies, taken out of a Race of Blasphemers and Haters of GOD, and of every Thing that is good!

Min.

This should teach us in general to reverence the Sovereignty of Grace, who chooses out the Ob|jects of his Mercy, according to the good Pleasure of his own Will; and to rejoice in his Goodness, that we are honour'd with having any of the Heirs of Sal|vation in our Houses; but you in particular have rea|son to give Thanks to GOD, who has not only of his infinite Mercy made one of your Children the Subject of so blessed a Work, but has made this Work a Blessing to you, and has made the early San|ctification of your Children, a Means to open your Eyes, who were his Parents, and to bring to the Knowledge and Faith of your Redeemer.

Moth.

It is true, he has been made a Means for the restoring both his Father and Mother, and I pray GOD he may be instrumental to the awakening his Brothers and Sisters, and supply by his seasonable Reprehension and excellent Example, the want of Christian Care in their Education.

Min.

I dare say the Child will do more than can be expected from his Years, to do them good, if they will but accept of it.

Page  350
Moth.

Alas, they will only hate him for it; they do already.

Min.

Have you any thing to direct in the ma|naging of this Child Madam, if you should not live? Have you provided what Hands he shall fall into?

Moth.

His Father has done it already.

Min.

Methinks Madam, you should recommend to him the being bred up to the Office of a Minister; he that has so visibly had the heavenly Call, should not want the human Introductions.

Moth.

There's no need for me to direct it, he will never be any thing else, as you will perceive by what I am going to tell you.

She repeats to him the Story of the Child's pointing out that Verse, where he would learn his Lesson, mention'd before.
Min.

If ever any Child had a Call from Heaven to be a Preacher of GOD's Word, I believe this Child has; however, as the outward Preparations are ne|cessary; such as the Knowledge of Letters, the pious Instructions of religious Masters, Rules of moral Vertue, and at last, a sufficient Authority for the Exercise of the Office, it would be very much the Child's Advantage that you should leave some Body intrusted with your Mind about it.

Moth.

He has been the Care of Providence hither|to, and I am satisfy'd he will not be forsaken still. He will be guided by Heaven. I leave him to the Conduct of the same Hand that took him so early into his peculiar Direction; but my Concern, and that which lies heaviest at my Heart, is the rest of my poor Children, who so long ago have been aban|don'd both by Father and Mother.

Min.

You must resign them also to the Will of GOD; but you may yet give them Caution, and warn and charge them to break off their Course of sinning, by the Example both of their Father and Page  351 Mother; you do not know, but as your evil Exam|ple living has done them Hurt, so your dying Exam|ple may do them some Good.

Moth.

I have talk'd to them all as long as I had Strength, but I see evidently 'tis too late, they take little Notice of it; at least, they do not seem at all affected with it.

Min.

You can do no more now but pray for them.

Moth.

Yes, Sir, one Thing more I may do, I may beg you to acquaint them how heavy it has lain up|on my Heart, and what a Grief it is to me now, that I have been wanting in my Duty to them; and as you have an Opportunity, seriously warn them from me, to set about a new Life, and to think in time of that great Work of Repentance.

Min.

I will not fail to do my utmost with them.

A few Days after this Discourse the Mother dy'd, and made a very happy and comfortable End; and the poor Child was left in an unhappy ill-guided Fa|mily, where he was capable of doing no Good, or of receiving any. After some Time the Family se|parated, and this Child with one of his Sisters were, at their own Request, sent down to the House where he was before, and where he had so happily fallen into the Hands of that good Lady, who acted the Part of a Mother, and indeed more than a Mother with him before.

Here he was a Means of not only reforming, but effectually turning his Sister to be the most serious and religious young Woman imaginable; and this he did by a continual following her with Reproofs, re|ligious Discourses, and constant Persuasions to pray to GOD, and to read the Scripture, and to leave off all loose Words, as scandalous and unbecoming. And here he, with the Assistance of the Teachings and Instructions of the good Lady, brought the poor Ne|gro Boy Toby, who it seems his Father had given to Page  352 him to be his own, to be an extraordinary Christian; and so knowing in religious Principles, Doctrines, and Rules of Practice, that he was the Wonder of all that convers'd with him; all which he constantly acknowledged to be owing, under GOD, to the In|struction and affectionate Care of his little Governour, for so he always call'd him; I mean, the Child that was then become his Master.

It was farther observable of this Negro Boy, that after he had been by the Exhortations and unwearied Pains of that good Lady, fully instructed in the Knowledge of Religion, she caused him at his own Desire, and with the Consent of his little Governour, to be solemnly baptiz'd: Upon which Occasion, he made such a Confession of his Faith in Christ, and of the Reasons why he desir'd to be baptiz'd, as gave great Satisfaction to the Minister who baptized him, and to all that heard it. But altho his being baptiz'd and becoming a real Christian, gave him a Title to his Liberty, so as that he was no more a Slave to serve without Wages; yet he would never accept of that Advantage, nor by any Means leave his Master, or become a Servant for Wages, till his Master was grown up and voluntarily gave him his Dismiss.

After the Child had been some Time longer in this Place, the Captain, of whom mention was made in the beginning of this Story, and who had marry'd his Maid Margy, having Notice of the Death of his Mother, come to see him. It seems the good Lady who had taken so much the voluntary Charge of him, for it was no otherwise, had found Means to let the Captain know how his Father had, at his Death, re|commended his Son to his Care, together with his Wife; and it seems the Lady being now to remove, and the Child growing to be pretty big, she thought the guiding of him a little beyond her Ma|nagement, at least singly, and so she desir'd the Cap|tain Page  353 to come and consult about his farther Educa|tion.

The Fifth DIALOGUE.

BEfore I come to speak of the Measures taken by the Captain, which will finish the Story of the Boy, and does not go much farther, it will be very entertaining to go back a little to the Story of his Maid Margy, who it pleased GOD to make the first Instructor of this Child, as has been observ'd already: How the Captain, after his rough manner, bespoke her constant Appli|cation to the teaching and instructing this Child, and gave her Money to encourage her; which he call'd Hiring her for GOD.

The honest Wench needed none of those warm Engagements, her Affection to the Child was such as led her many times to shed Tears over him, on ac|count of the sad Condition she saw him exposed to, and how miserable an Education he was like to have; and as she told the Captain when he gave her that Money, she thought it would break her Heart to think what Example, what guiding, and what dread|ful Temptations the poor Child would be exposed to as it grew up, so she was the most anxious Creature in the World, when she had the Teaching of him, lest she should not be able to prevent the evil Im|pressions such Things might make upon him, after she should be oblig'd to leave him.

Page  354 But as he grew up he deliver'd her from those Fears, and she had the Satisfaction to have a faithful Account from the Child's Father while he lived, not only that he had been preserv'd himself, but how he had been a Means to do Good to others; and par|ticularly, how he had a great Hand in the convin|cing him (the Father) of the desperate Wicked|ness of his Life, and of bringing him to a serious and sincere Repentance.

Providence some time after this, carry'd this Maid into the Country, by the Accident of a Family she serv'd in for some Years; so that she was not at that Time acquainted with what occur'd in this Family; and particularly, did not hear of the Enquiry made after her on the following Occasion.

The Captain had been at Sea, as was said, and going a trading Voyage to the East-Indies, had been kept out no less than four Years; but to make amends for the Length of Time he was out, he came home exceeding rich; he was so far from being unmind|ful of the little Boy, who he had in so affectionate a manner recommended to this Maid Margy, that during his being abroad, he wrote twice to his Wife to enquire after the Child, and to know in particular, if Margy did her Duty to him; and if she did, to give her a Sum of Money which he order'd for that purpose. The first time the Captain's Wife found Margy with the Child in her Care, and gave her the Money; but the second time Margy being re|mov'd from the Child, and gone as I have said, into the Country to another Service, the Captain's Wife could not find her, which very much troubl'd her; for hearing she was gone from the Child, she had re|solv'd to hire her into her own House, to look after her own Children.

This was Margy's Loss and the Captain's Wife's also. At first it was Margy's Loss, because she had Page  355 not the Money which was intended for her, and it was the Family's Loss because they miss'd of so good and so faithful a Servant in the House among the Children, which were then very young; but the Loss was fully repair'd at last.

After some time the Captain came Home, and brought a vast Wealth with him, God had been pleas'd to give him great Success abroad, and he came home resolv'd to go no more to Sea. But he had, with all his Success, the bad News to receive at his coming Home, that his Wife was dead; which was a great Affliction to him, she being both a very good Wife to him, and a very tender, careful, conscientious Mo|ther to his Children.

He had not long consider'd the Circumstances of his Family and Children, and the Want they stood in of a careful, faithful Hand to guide and bring them up, but he bethought himself of honest Margy.

He enquir'd, and soon found she was gone some time from the Child she had the Charge of, and this made him desirous to find her out; but he could by no means hear whither she was gone. However, that he might have some account of her Conduct, and how she had discharg'd her self of the Trust he committed to her, he apply'd himself to the Gentle|woman who was present when he engag'd her, and gave her the Money to take Charge of the Child; whom in the former Dialogue we call'd the Cousin.

He had from her the whole History of the Family, and particularly, of Margy's Behaviour, and how careful she had been of the Child, and with what good Success her Care had been bless'd, as has been said. He also learn'd from her, that the second Sum of Money which he had sent her, had not been paid her, because neither his Wife nor she her self, could by any Means hear whither the Maid was gone.

It troubled the Captain exceedingly that he could Page  356 not hear of her, because upon the Loss of his Wife, he had alter'd his Resolution of not going to Sea any more; but was greatly concern'd who to leave the Government of his Children to in his Absence; and being not only a tender Father, as to their being pro|vided for, but a most religious Father, as to their be|ing well instructed, he would have given any thing in the World to have left his Children in the Conduct of such a Servant as Margy.

It happen'd in this Juncture, that the Captain go|ing by Water in a Wherry from his Ship, which lay about Deptford; the Boat accidentally run foul of ano|ther Boat, in which there was a Maid and a Child. The Maid appear'd very much frighted at the Boat's falling foul of another; and the Captain said to her, Sweet-heart do not be afraid, there is no Danger. She made no Answer, being still in some Disorder, and particularly afraid for the Child that was with her; yet he observ'd afterwards that she bow'd two or three times to him very respectfully.

The Boats being clear, the Captain's Boat, which was Oars, and consequently had two Watermen, went before the Maid's Boat, which was but a Scul|ler; and as he passed by, looking at the Wench, he thought he knew her Face, but did not call to mind who she was; however, he had not gone far, but he recollected his Memory, and it came into his thoughts that it was Margy: Upon which he stop'd the Boat, and spoke to her, and soon found that it was Margy indeed.

He ask'd her where she liv'd; and she told him in the Country, not far from Warwick. He ask'd her, if she had that Child in keeping? she said, Yes, and two more: That her Master, who was a Baronet, and his Lady, were both at Greenwich; and she was sent up to their Lodging in London with that Child, because it was not well. He enquir'd where her Ma|ster's Page  357 Lodging was; and told her, he must needs speak with her; and that if she could be spar'd to come to his House the next Day, he desir'd she would, and bring the Gentlewoman with her last spoken of, who was with her when he first spoke to her. She told him, she believ'd she could not be spar'd so soon; but that the first Day she could get any Time she would wait on him. And as he was going away she told him, she humbly thank'd him for his having been so mindful of her, as to send her a Sum of Money, which she was in no Means able to deserve. He told her, part of his Business was to enquire what she had done to deserve it; and that tho he did not que|stion but she had done her Part, yet he wanted the Satisfaction of knowing what Success she had: Then he ask'd her, how much she had receiv'd; she told him, five Guineas. Well Margy, said he, but you were to blame not to leave word whither you were gone; for I sent you Ten more, but my Wife could by no Means find you out; however, says he, it shall not be your Loss.

He row'd away again, but could not be satisfy'd to leave her till he had talk'd with her effectually; so he row'd back a second time, and ask'd her, if she could not as well be spar'd now as at another time for half an Hour's Discourse, or thereabouts; and that being near the Place where the Gentlewoman liv'd, if she would land and go thither, he would come to her to the House; she readily agreed to it, and he came accordingly: Where the following Dialogue may give some Account of their Discourse.

Well Margy, says the Captain, you know who I hir'd you for; what Account can you give of your Service?

Marg.

Truly, Sir, I acknowledge I have but ill deserv'd my Wages.

Capt.

How so Margy, I hope your little Charge did not prove unteachable.

Page  358
Marg.

No indeed, Sir, on the contrary, he soon learn'd more than I was able to teach him.

Capt.

I did not Hire you to do more for him than you could, but as much as you could.

Marg.

He was able to teach me and all the Fa|mily before he was 11 Year old.

Capt.

I expected he would be such a Child as ne|ver was before; and that was the Reason I concern|ed my self for him; but pray tell me Margy, give me an Account of him.

Marg.

Sir, he has taught Religion and good Prin|ciples to old and young; he has reform'd I know not how many Children that have been only his Play|mates; he has instructed old and young; People have come far and near to enquire about him: and he has converted his Father, confounded his Mo|ther, and much reform'd two of his Sisters; and yet he is not now 12 Year old: And they are not with|out good Reason to believe that his Mother, who is surely one of the most harden'd and obstinate Crea|tures under the Sun, is at a little stand, and check'd in her usual Course of Profaneness by him.

Here she told him the Story of the Child's Father's Change, and of his Debate with his Mother, upon the Subject mention'd.
Capt

Well, and why then Margy do you say you have ill deserv'd your Wages?

Marg.

Alas Sir! what is all this to my part? I have no Pretence to any Share in it; he is taught from Heaven, and would have been all that he is now, if he had never seen my Face.

Capt.

I do not know that Margy; GOD works by Means; you were his first Instructor.

Marg.

I could teach him but little, Sir; he is taught of GOD.

Capt.

GOD has been pleas'd to bless your teaching Margy; you should rejoice in it, not disown it; you Page  359 taught him his first Knowledge of GOD, and you taught him first to read the Word of GOD.

Marg.

If I had not, GOD would have found In|struments; he never wants Servants where he has Work to do.

Capt.

Well, but he appointed you to the Work; Are you asham'd of your Master that employ'd you?

Marg.

No, Sir, the Lord forbid; I am glad I was instrumental to do any good to my little dear Master; sure there was never such a Child upon Earth.

Capt.

Well Margy, I told you I would hire you to a good Master, and I intended to have paid you your Wages better, but you could not be found.

Marg.

I have been very well paid, Sir, and parti|cularly by you, of whom I deserv'd nothing; for I had my Wages very well paid besides.

Capt.

Well Margy, it's no matter for that, I pro|mis'd you Wages for GOD too, as I hired you for the Work of GOD; and I sent it you too, but my Wife could not find you; but you shall not lose it; here, bear Witness that I have paid you your Wages, and the Lord reward your Labour of Love to that poor ORPHAN, for such he was; I say, the Lord give you his Blessing, and reward you for it, both here and for ever.

He gives her Ten Guineas, and blesses her heartily.
Marg.

Sir, I neither expected this, nor can I say I have deserved any Part of it.

Capt.

I think you have fully deserv'd it, Margy; and may the eternal Judge at the Great Day, say to you, That forasmuch as you did this to that little One, you did it unto him, and reward you openly.

She bow'd in token of her Thanks to him; but could not speak, her Heart was so overcome with what he had said to her.

Capt.

But Margy, I would hire you again in ear|nest, if you are willing.

Page  360
Marg.

For who, Sir? I have no more little Masters like that to instruct.

Capt.

But I have, Margy; I have two little Sons, and two little Daughters, and they want their Mo|ther.

Marg.

How so, Sir! I believe your Lady wants no Assistant to that Work.

Capt.

My Wife, Margy, did not want Help that way; but I want my Wife, Margy; GOD has de|priv'd me of the Comfort, and my Children of the Blessing of the best Wife, and the best Mother in the World.

Marg.

I am very sorry to hear it, Sir; but, I doubt not, your Lady has laid such a Foundation, Sir, as I can add nothing to.

Capt.

Such a Foundation, Margy, as you may build well upon.

Marg.

I am sorry, Sir, I am so engag'd, that I can|not offer you my Service, to whom I am under such Obligation.

Capt.

How are you engag'd, Margy?

Marg.

Only, Sir, that I am in Place, where I have no Objection, either to my Wages or Usage, and cannot therefore honestly come away without a good Reason.

Capt.

I would not covet my Neighbour's Servant, any more than his Money; but if you can leave your Service, I shall give you good Encouragement, Margy.

Marg.

My Lady is the most obliging Mistress that ever Servant liv'd with; and I did promise her I would not leave her, unless she put me away.

Capt.

But you did not bind your self to her I hope; I shall give you good Encouragement, Margy.

Marg.

Indeed Sir, I cannot leave my Lady honour|ably, nor indeed with a good Conscience; for I know she depends upon me for the Care of three Children, as much as for the dressing and undressing them.

Page  361
Capt.

You are very nice in that Case, Margy.

Marg.

Sir, if I could be honestly discharg'd from my Lady, I would rather serve in your Family than in any Family in England; but to come away disho|nestly, GOD will never prosper me if I should do so.

Gent.

Sir, I find Margy makes Conscience of lea|ving her Mistress, who gives her no Cause to dis|like her Service; and I desire, in Margy's Favour, that you will not press her in any Case, where she thinks it not just.

Capt.

Well, Margy, I won't press you any farther; but this I desire you to promise me, that you will come to me when you are free from your Mistress.

Marg.

That I promise, Sir, readily, and before any Master in England.

Here Margy takes her leave, and goes away; and the Captain stays talking with the Gen|tlewoman, the Cousin formerly mention'd.
Capt.

This Margy is the nicest Girl, upon such Things as these, as ever I met with.

Cousin.

Why, truly Sir, I cannot but say she is very strait in that Point, and yet, strictly speaking, she is but just.

Capt.

Well, I must have her to tend my Children, whatever it cost me.

Cous.

I would not desire you to push it; for if she really scruples it in point of Conscience, you won't bring her to it, if you would give her all you have in the World.

Capt.

Say you so; why that makes me still more positive to have her, if it be possible; and I have one Way left, which I believe will not fail.

Cous.

What Way is that pray? I know none unless you would make a Wife of her; and, I hope, you do not think of that, for your Family's sake.

Capt.

Why, if I should, I think she deserves the Respect and Affection of any thing that loves and va|lues Page  362 a Principle not to be imitated in the World.

Cous.

Nay, Sir, if you will do so, I doubt not but her Lady will consent to dismiss her; and, I con|fess, I have been afraid you have that in your Thoughts.

Capt.

I do not say I have it in my Thoughts; but if I should, I should do it purely for my Children: She that has been such a voluntary Mother to that Child, from a meer Principle of Conscience, cannot fail to be a Mother to my Children, if I should add such an Obligation as that of making her my Wife; besides, she is to be valu'd for her exact Ho|nesty.

Cous.

Nay, Captain, she wants nothing to make her a compleat Wife, but Money; for, I assure you, she came of a very good Family, and has been very well bred, tho her Parents are low; and yet I can|not advise to it, for many Reasons.

Capt.

I know not what your Reasons are; you say she wants nothing but Money, and I want every thing but Money; and she is then the best Wife for me, and I am the best Husband for her; but these Things are remote, and may never happen; in the mean Time, I am sure my Children want such a Mother, tho I do not want such a Wife.

Cous.

There are abundance of Changes and Unea|sinesses always attend such unequal Marriages; I would never advise any good Man to expose himself to the hazard of the Change of his Opinion.

Capt.

You bring me involuntarily into such a Dis|course; I tell you plainly I have no such View.

Cous.

But I am afraid for you, and was from the Beginning, and that made me mention it.

Capt.

If ever I should think of such a Thing, I shall do it from a Principle that is not apt to change; I can have Wives enough with good Fortunes, my own Circumstances make it rational to expect I Page  363 could; but then I rush like a Horse into the Battle, and venture upon I know not what; I know Margy has a Principle of Virtue and of Religion, and is Mistress of the best Family-Conduct that ever I met with, and this is what I want in a Wife more than Money.

Cous.

But why may not a Woman be found as well qualify'd with a Fortune as without; I cannot see the Reason of that.

Capt.

That's true, it is possible; but where is the Person, and how great is the Hazard? Here I know, is the Woman that is so qualify'd; and if she be not rich, if I can make her rich, is it not the same thing?

Cous.

You lay a great Stress upon the Wife's Part, as if your whole Happiness depended upon her.

Capt.

Indeed I think it does so, but especially mine, who have four Children to be taken care of Soul and Body; if I have a Wife that neglects my Children, I am undone, I shall abhor the Sight of her.

Cous.

Nay, I confess Margy seems to be qualify'd for that Work; she will love your Children, I dare say.

Capt.

I know this of Margy, that if she should not take care of them from a Principle of Affection, she will from a Principle of Conscience; I do not expect she should have the Affection of a Mother, but I dare say she will do the Duty of a Mother.

Cous.

GOD forbid I should injure Margy so much as to go about to lessen your Value for her, either as a Wife, or as a Servant; I verily think she will de|serve as well as any One in her Circumstances: But I am for your own Sake, and your Family's Sake, moving you against such a kind of Marriage in gene|ral, as unequal and apt to be unhappy.

Capt.

Well, Madam, that is not my present Busi|ness; my Desire at present is to get her to take the Page  364 Charge of my Family upon her, while I am abroad; and I beg two Things of you.

Cous.

Any thing, Sir, but to make a Proposal of Marriage for you.

Capt.

I don't offer it now, nor do I think of it, if she will but come and take Care of my Children; I am a going abroad.

Cous.

I see plainly you will have her afterward, and of the two, you had better take her before; for a Widower marrying his own Maid, is not a Thing the clearest from Reflection of any in the World.

Capt.

I assure you I have no Thought of it now, nor, if ever I should, I shall not till I have been a|nother Voyage, which, I tell you, I am now resolv'd upon, and who knows what may fall out in that Time?

Cous.

Why, I heard you say you had resolv'd to leave off the Sea.

Capt.

I had resolv'd so indeed, while my Wife was alive; but I have lost the Delight of my Eyes, and since that I have chang'd my Mind, and resolve to go to the Indies again, and this makes me so willing to have this Maid to manage my Children.

Cous.

I will do my utmost to answer your End that Way, provided there is nothing of the other in it.

Capt.

I assure you there is not; I do not purpose so much as to mention it to her.

Cous.

What then would you have me do?

Capt.

I desire you would talk to Margy again, and get her if you can; and if she will not come without it, go to her Lady, and see if you can obtain her Consent to it; perhaps when she knows the Circum|stances, she will part with her.

Cous.

I won't say one Word of the rest.

Capt.

I am content, and indeed desire you would not; for it's what may never happen.

Page  365 The Gentlewoman accordingly went the next Morning to Margy, where her Lady being not come up from Greenwich, she had full Leisure to discourse with her, and between them began the following Dialogue.

Cous.

Margy, I fancy you wonder a little what has brought me to see you this Morning.

Marg.

So I do Madam, I hope you have no bad News; pray is my old little Governour well? have you heard from him?

Cous.

No, Margy, I have no bad News; I have not heard lately; I believe he is well, he is in the Country; but I came to talk with you about Yester|day's Business, and your refusing to serve Capt. —; you know Margy he has been very civil to you, without the least Obligation, and if I am not misin|form'd, he made you a very fine Compliment Yester|day, upon the old Account of your Service to my little Cousin, your Governour, as you call him.

Marg.

Indeed, Madam, that is very true; he gave me a Sum I was asham'd to receive, and what to do I know not; I would as willingly come into his Fa|mily, as into any Family I know in the World, be|cause I know he is a very religious good Man, and has four poor Motherless Children, prettily brought up hitherto; for his Wife was an extraordinary Mother, and the Children are quite out of all Management now, and may be ruin'd: But what can I do, Ma|dam, to come away from my Lady without any just Cause, and a Lady that not only uses me well, but depends upon me for the Managing her Family, and especially of her Children? I think 'tis the most un|just Part a Servant can do.

Cous.

I do not know what to say to that, Margy; but it must be done if it be possible; the Captain has so much Dependance upon it, that he will never think his Children taken due Care of, unless they are Page  366 in your Hands: I believe you may have any Wages you will ask of him; nay, I have Power to offer you, that whatever Wages you have here, he will double it, therefore do not be in a strait about it.

Marg.

If I was free, Madam, I should be in no strait; for I should undertake it as soon as you had spoken of it; and as I am not free, Madam, I am in no strait neither, for I cannot do it with a safe Con|science, and no Body should be in a strait to refuse every thing on that Account.

Cous.

Well, but Margy, what if I should get your Lady's Consent?

Marg.

That's quite another Case, Madam; if my Lady is willing, I ought in justice to serve the Cap|tain's Family before any other; for I have many Obli|gations on me which you know of, both from him and his Wife too, when she was living.

Cous.

Well Margy, I know you have; but the Captain does not insist upon that, you know he gave you that Money on another Account; he gave it first to engage you to do your Part conscienciously with my little Kinsman, and after, as a Reward for your faithful discharge of your Duty; I wish all faithful Servants had the like Encouragement.

Marg.

I did nothing but what was my Duty, and what that dear little Creature would have forc'd any one almost to do.

Cous.

Well, it is an Encouragement however to all Servants to be honest and careful, and to discharge their Duty well; you see GOD will find Ways to have them rewarded even in this World, and if they who are concern'd will not do it, Strangers shall; the Captain had no more Concern in that Child, or in that Family, than you had, before you were their Servant, only did it in a Principle of generous Cha|rity to the Soul of the poor Child, who he saw a|bandon'd by its own Parents.

Page  367
Marg.

I know it, Madam, it was all Charity in him; but I look farther, I think it was all from a higher Hand, both to the Child and to me: I am perswaded that Child has been the peculiar Care of Heaven from its Infancy; and as to me, I bless GOD I ever had the Charge of him; not that I have done the Child so much good as another might have done it; but I am sure the Child has been a Means to do me a great deal of good, it had something of the highest Principles of Christianity in it from the very Cradle.

Cous.

Now Margy, it is from the same Principle of Christian Affection to the Soul of his own Children, besides his fatherly Concern for them, that the Cap|tain desires you to come and take Care of them; their Mother is gone, and he talks of going to Sea again, tho if his Wife had liv'd, he did not intend it; and he cannot go away with any Peace, if his Children are not left in some Hand that he can be easy with.

Marg.

It is a great Charge, Madam, for me to take upon me; if there was but one, I could do it pretty well, and should do my Endeavour; but four Chil|dren, and all of them small Ones, is a Burthen too heavy for me.

Cous.

He will let you have what Help you can de|sire, Margy; you shall have no less than two Servants under you; he only wants you to have the Govern|ment of them.

Marg.

Well, Madam, I can say no more than this, if my Lady, that I am now with, dismisses me, I shall be willing to do what I can.

The Cousin was faithful to her Word, and took not the least Notice of her Discourse with the Cap|tain; neither would she say any more to her at that Time, resolving to talk with her Mistress, and knowing where the Lady was at Greenwich, she immediately takes Boat and goes down to her, and tells her the Page  368 whole Story of Margy and the Captain, as it related to the Child she had tended before, and the Captain's Desire now to have her for the Conduct of his own Children; and, Madam, says she, I come from the Captain to beg your Ladyship's Consent to part with her.

Lady.

Indeed, Madam, you come of the most un|welcome Message in the World; the Captain is in the right to desire her, and signifies to me that he is a true Father to his Children; but I should be as ill a Mother to mine if I should part with her, for sure there never was such a Servant in any One's House, and therefore, Madam, if you have any Sense of Ju|stice, do not attempt to rob me of a Servant that I take to be as Jacob was to the House of Laban, (viz.) a Blessing to my Family.

Cous.

Madam, you put me to the greatest strait in the World, I scarce know how to act in such an Af|fair; but the Captain has laid great Obligations up|on Margy, and she ought a little to consider them.

Lady.

Nay, Madam, I hope you will not tamper with her, to entice her away.

Cous.

No, Madam, neither is she to be tamper'd with; if she were to have ten Times the Wages you give her, she will never come from you without your Leave.

Lady.

But then I find you have mov'd it to her.

Cous.

Not in any unfair way, Madam, I assure you, as you shall know afterwards.

Lady.

But did she desire you to ask my Consent?

Cous.

No indeed Madam, I must do her that Justice; she is so strait-lac'd in that Point, that she would not give her Consent that I should come to ask you: She says you have been very good to her, and she has no|thing to complain of; and tho she owns her Obliga|tion to the Captain and his Family, and tho he of|fered to double her Wages, she says she cannot in Page  369 Conscience quit your Family, where she thinks you have some little Dependance on her Service among your Children; nothing can bring her to it but your Consent.

Lady.

Why then your Business is at an end; for the Captain may be satisfied, that the very same Reason which makes him desire to have her, makes me desire to keep her; and you may be assured you will never have my Consent, no hardly, if he would marry her.

Cous.

Really, Madam, I foresaw it before I came, and so did the Captain; and if I had not had some|thing to say which I did believe you could not resist, I had not given you this Trouble. It was evident, the Maid would not stir without your Dismiss; and we knew no Lady that had any Affection for her Children, and Sense of the Manner with which this Maid behaves her self among Children, would part with her; and therefore I must own it is my Opi|nion, tho I am not empower'd to tell you so positive|ly, that rather than his Children shall want such a Teacher, he will, one Time or other, make her their Mother.

Here she tells the Lady all the Discourse be|tween the Captain and the Maid, and be|tween the Captain and her self, after the Maid was gone.
Lady.

Then my poor Children are ruin'd.

The Lady weeps.
Cous.

O Madam, do not say so, your Children, blessed be GOD, have their Mother; while your La|dyship lives they will never want an Instructor. The Captain's Children are left to the wide World, with|our a Mother, and if he goes abroad, withour a Fa|ther too.

Lady.

I tell you, this Maid has been Father, Mo|ther, Nurse, School-mistress, every Thing to my Children; she is a Pattern to all the Servants in the Page  370 Nation; she has a Rule with her, that I fear Maid-Servants that tend Children know little of.

Cous.

I know not what her Rules are, but I know what her Practice was when she tended my little Cousin.

Here she relates to her the Conduct of the Maid with the little Child her Cousin.
Lady.

One of her Rules is, that when a Maid-Servant takes upon her to tend little Children, it is her Duty to instruct and teach them, as well as tend and wait upon them. I wish all Maid-Servants ob|served the same Method.

Cous.

Indeed Madam, I believe few Maid-Ser|vants mind that part much.

Lady.

On the contrary, they teach Children little simple Songs, bad Words, ill Habits and Customs; but this Wench is such a conscientious Creature, she makes Children Christians even before they know what a Christian is; she teaches them the Fear and Knowledge of GOD, even before she is able to make them read.

Cous.

She has also a most affectionate way with her, to bring Children to love what they learn, and they come out of her Hands strangely alter'd.

Lady.

Alter'd Madam! my Children are quite ano|ther sort of Creatures since she has had them; she infuses Things insensibly into them; they learn Man|ners, Duty and Religion, all together, of her. I have a little Child here, my Daughter, that is but five Year old, and I am sure when it came to her it had learn'd nothing but little foolish Answers to common Questions, which it understood nothing of when it spoke, and a great many little simple Songs which were scarce fit for Children to repeat; but now we hear nothing at all of-them.

Cous.

No Madam, I believe Margy would soon persuade the Child off of that.

Page  371
Lady.

I know not what she has done, but I assure you the little Creature fetch'd Tears out of my Eyes one Night since we came hither, to see how it acted when it wanted Margy; for you know, she stays at London sometimes while we are here. I'll tell you a short Story of her.

I made the Child lie with me one Night, Margy being away, and I put her to Bed my self, not caring to trust any other Servant; when I had almost un|dress'd her, she pull'd me, and pull'd me two or three Times, and I could not imagine what the Child meant: At last she look'd up in my Face very steadi|ly, but said nothing; and still I did not understand the Child. When she could find no way to make me know what she meant without speaking, she says two or three times over, Down Mamma, down Mamma: Down My Dear, said I, what must I sit down for? She pulls me again; Down Mamma, says she: so I sat down upon a little Stool; No, down here Mamma, says the Child, looking on one side of the Stool. So stupid a Fool was I all this while that I could not yet imagine what the Child meant! So it said again, Down here Mamma, and points to the Floor; not dreaming yet what she meant, I laugh'd at her; What, must I sit upon the Floor? ye simple little Rogue you, said I; no, no, I'll sit here. With that the Child looking mighty grave, and a little tending to|wards crying, says to me, Down so Mamma, and claps down upon its Knees. This a little startled me: O my Dear, said I, I did not understand thee: Come then, kneel down and say your Prayers. It would not do yet, this was not what the Child meant. No Mamma, says the Child, you kneel down, say Prayers.

Cous.

It was very pretty indeed.

Lady.

Pretty, Madam! 'twas such a Reproach 〈◊〉 me, my very Blood and Bowels turn'd within me, and I knew not what to say or do; it was a long Page  372 while before I could speak to the Child, and it began to pull me again. At last I said, why? my Dear, why must I say Prayers? Because Margy is gone Mam|ma, says the Child. Why, my Dear, says I, does Margy kneel down so always and say Prayers when you go to Bed? Yes Mamma, says the Child, and me too. I said nothing awhile; for indeed my Heart was full: But after a little more stop, says the Child, Mamma, May we go to Bed without say Prayers? No, no, my Dear, says I; tho GOD knows, my Heart reproaches me, that I had done it many a Time. The Child continu'd to teize me again; Do then Mamma, says she, and pulls me by the Apron. Then Tears burst out of my Eyes in spight of my Resi|stance, and I took the poor little Creature in my Arms, and kneel'd down with it, and pray'd to GOD to bless it as well as I could; for I was hardly able to speak a Word.

Cous.

It was very moving indeed.

Lady.

But it did not end here. When I had set the Child down and was step'd a little way from it, to tell you the Truth, to give vent a little to my Passions, I turn'd about after some time, to see what the Child was doing, because I did not hear it; and the dear little Creature was gone to the Foot of the Bed, and kneel'd down, and praying softly by it self. Judge you, Madam, what a Sight this was to a Mother that really had never had any hand in the happy In|struction that had brought it to this. After some time I ask'd her, if Margy taught her to do so? and she said, Yes. Then I ask'd her, how often? and she said, every Night and every Morning. And this is the Maid you are come to take away from me.

Cous.

Well Madam, but as she has carry'd your Children on so well and so far; for this, I suppose, is your youngest, you can the better spare her; she has taught them very happily I find hitherto.

Page  373
Lady.

Taught them! indeed she has taught them, and taught me too; she is a Pattern to all Servants, ay, and Mistresses too, for the Conduct of Children.

Cous.

Well, Madam, and can you blame the Cap|tain for desiring to have such a Teacher for his Chil|dren?

Lady.

No indeed, nor for taking such a one to be his Wife neither; since I understand he is vastly rich, and needs not value the marrying a Wife with|out Money.

Cous.

Indeed tho I am very much Margy's Friend, yet I have argued against her; for such unequal Matches are not always the most happy.

Lady.

I have nothing to do with that; but I assure you, Margy is so well bred, so modest, and of so ex|cellent a Temper, that she will not ill become her Condition if she was to rise much higher.

Cous.

Well Madam, Margy has not deserv'd so well of you in vain.

Lady.

I do but do her Justice I assure you, and tho I ought not to repine at what is so much for her good, yet I cannot but own to you, the Loss is a particular Affliction to me.

Here the Discourse broke off, and the Gent•… man comes away, and comes directly to Marg•…〈◊〉 begins a new Discourse with her. Well Margy,ays she, you have the best Mistress that ever Servant liv'd with, and you are as much in her Favour; but I have got her Consent.

Marg.

Is it possible? Is my Mistress so free to part with me then?

Lady.

No indeed Margy, she is far from being wil|ling; but she sees it is for your Good, and she con|sents upon that Account, and no other, I assure you.

Marg.

That is still laying the highest Obligation upon me to stay with her.

Page  374 To cut short this Part of the Story, the End of which is to instruct Servants in what is their Duty, when little Children come into their Hands, that they are to do more than Dress and Undress them: and to encourage them to it, I say this was the End of this Part. But to cut it short; when Margy had heard by her Lady, that there had been some Dis|course of the Captain making her his Wife, she was more averse to going away than before, resolving not to be a Servant in his Family upon any Terms whatsoever: So the Discourse of those Things broke off, and it was not till two Year after, that the Cap|tain returning again from Sea, found her out and marry'd her. Indeed she was his Wife when the Youth (for he was then 14 Year old,) who she had first brought up, being Fatherless and Motherless, as is noted above, was, by the Course of his Father's Will, left to the Care of the Captain; and he know|ing how grateful it would be to his Wife, as well as from a sincere Affection to the Child, took him Home, and made him like one of his own.

Here he was used with such an Affection, such Tenderness, and such Care, that he was far from ha|ving any Loss either of Father or Mother; and after 〈◊〉 had been furnished with all the needful Parts of Learning to fit him for the Work, became a Minister; and prov'd an extraordinary Man, as well for Piety and Principle, as Capacity; and the Captain, to make him finally and effectually his own, marry'd him to his eldest Daughter, with whom he received a very comfortable Fortune of 8000 l. Thus Providence fi|nish'd the Work which was in so eminent a Manner begun in this Child, singling him out from his Infancy, to be an Honour and Encouragement to the Professi|on of Religion, and qualifying him even in his Infan|cy to be an Instructor of others; so that he might be said to be a Minister of the Gospel from his Cradle.

Page  375 The Citizen had listend with great Attention to this Story; and when it was finished, he says to his pious Neighbour, who told it, this is a Story full of admirable Examples, as well among the whole Fami|ly as in the Servant: Indeed, continued he, I have wanted such a Servant in my Family; had my House|keeper been a Margy, my Children had had no such visible Appearances of Vice in their most early Days; it was for want of early Instruction that they have put me to the trouble of violent Correction; if they had had such a soft Teacher at first, I had, I believe, never been such a passionate furious Corrector.

Neigh.

Without doubt such Servants are a Blessing to a Family, where-ever they are found.

Fa.

But when I reflect upon my Conduct with my Children, and my wretched want of Temper in the Management of them, my Fury in Correction, and dreadful Neglect of Instruction, I think, if their Mother had liv'd to teach them her self, or even if I had a Margy to educate them, I should have spoil'd it all, and have made a Bedlam of my House in spight of it all: You can bring no Instance in all your Ex|perience, that can shew me the Absurdity of my Conduct; I am like them that never learn the 〈◊〉 of their Conduct, but by the Consequences.

Neigh.

That's an Experience that brings Reflectio•… with it, but is generally too late to give Instruction.

Fa.

Mens Eyes are shut to their own Infirmities, and open to every other Bodies Failings. The same Possession which incapacitates them to consult their Reason, blinds their Eyes, that they cannot see their own Temper.

Neigh.

Therefore the best Way to convince a pas|sionate Man of his Folly, is to let him see his own Picture drawn to the Life in another Man's Practice.

Fa.

I know not whether you can find out a Paral|lel to represent me to my self or no; there are few so bad as I have been.

Page  376
Neigh.

Yes, I can give you a Story of a Man, who I knew, that went far beyond you, and with this Addition too, that he made his whole Family miser|able by it: His Passion destroy'd every thing that could be call'd Comfort or Happiness in his Family, and in himself too.

Fa.

Perhaps he had great Provocations.

Neigh.

The least of any Man living; he had an excellent Wife, dutiful and well-accomplish'd Chil|dren, easy Circumstances, every thing but his own Passions conspired to make him happy; and those Passions made his Life miserable, and all those that belong'd to him liv'd very uncomfortably with him.

Fa.

He was then a Man of no Morals or Religion.

Neigh.

Yes, he was a Man both of Morals and Re|ligion, and a mighty pleasant good humour'd Man, except only his want of Temper.

Fa.

Easily provok'd, I suppose.

Neigh.

Ay, ay; all Tinder! fir'd with but one Spark, and very hard to put out.

Fa.

How did his Wife do to bear it?

Neigh.

She was a Woman of that admirable Pru|dence, that she never added Fewel to the Fire of his Passions; but study'd, by all possible Methods, to pre|•… the Flame breaking out, and to allay and pre|•… the Fury of it when it was rais'd.

Fa.

That was doing her Duty to a Perfection in|deed; but who alive is able to act that Part?

Neigh.

You shall judge of this when you have heard out the Story.

Fa.

Go on then, for I am impatient to hear it.

Neigh.

They had several Children, and generally they were sober well-inclin'd Children; but their Father's passionate Temper was a sad Example to them. Among a great many Instances of the passio|nate Temper of this Man, this was one, That if he met with any extraordinary Disappointment in his Page  377 Affairs abroad; if any Loss happen'd; if any Mistake was committed in his Business, nay, even tho' it was done by himself; in a Word, what-ever disordered him Abroad, the Distemper of his Passions was sure to vent it self upon his Family at Home; and whether it was his Wife, his Children, or his Servants, who|ever came first in his way, he was sure to quarrel with them.

Nor was this all; but so violent was the Flame of his Passions, when any thing had thus prepar'd the Way for them, that he was not at all under his own Government, but his Anger was all Rage, and his Blows, whether upon his Children or Servants, often|times prov'd dangerous to them, as you shall hear presently.

And yet after his Passion was over, which was not long neither, no Man was more concern'd for it than he; insomuch, that if he had beaten any of his Ser|vants, he would be very anxious, lest he had done them any Mischief; and he had reason to be so in|deed; for he had once strook a young Man that was his Apprentice an unhappy Blow, which did him a very great Injury, and which the Parents of the Youth prosecuted him at Law for, and it cost him a great deal of Money to make it up, I think it was above 200•… he paid on that Account.

Fa.

His Wife had a sad Time of it with him sure; how did he carry it to her, pray?

Neigh.

It is easy to guess what a Post a prudent, tender, sober Woman must have, to be Wife to such a Man, and what Terror must be upon her Thoughts when she saw him at any time in these Passions, lest in a Rage he should do Mischief to some of her Children, or perhaps to himself; for his Passions would run him up sometimes to that Extravagance, that if the Object of his Anger was out of his Reach, he would vent his Passions upon himself, and tear his very Flesh for Anger.

Page  378
Fa.

Why, he was a Fury, a meer Madman!

Neigh.

It would have moved any one to pity, that had observ'd him in any of these Fits of Anger, to see how he was perfectly Delirious, how he would stamp upon the Ground, strike himself on the Face, tear his Cloths; he had no Hair on his Head, or he would certainly have shewn his Violence on that very of|ten; but he has many times thrown his Perriwig and Hat into the Fire: And one Time one of his Sons having wickedly taken up some Money abroad with|out his Order, he was so enraged at it, that not ha|ving his Son at hand to shew his Anger upon, he snatch'd up a Knife and stabb'd it into his own Belly, and it was not without Difficulty that his Life was saved.

Fa.

Such a Man should have been tied up in a dark Room; he should have been put under Cure to those that keep Lunaticks.

Neigh.

No, he was not Lunatick; his Senses were perfect and entire, except as above.

Fa.

Well; but as to his Wife.

Neigh.

As I said, it is easy to guess what a Condi|tion his poor Wife, and indeed all his Family were in upon these Occasions; what Terror it was to them, and how they scarce knew who to be frighted most for, whether he that was angry, or those that he was angry with.

His Wife, in the first Part of their living together, bore great part of the Weight, and many a terrible Storm she went thorough with him; which tho' it was very grievous to her, yet she had not that Con|cern upon her, as she had after she had Children; for, as I have heard her often say, she had not for 20 Years one quiet Day, for fear, that in some of his Passions, he should ruin one or other of his Chil|dren, and perhaps by some unhappy Blow kill one of them, which would have finished the Ruin of her Husband and Family.

Page  379 In this Distress she had need of all her Prudence, tho' she was Mistress of a great deal; and indeed Providence had bless'd her with a great deal of Temper, Courage and Wisdom to know how to act in these Excesses of her Husband's Passions, and how to skreen her Children from the evil Consequences of it.

While they were young, the Weight of their Edu|cation lay wholly upon her; for tho' he was a Man of good Sense, when he was himself, yet he was so often out of the Government of himself, by the In|firmities of his Temper, that it was not to be ex|pected he could do much in the Instruction of his Children, for whom he did so little by Example.

On the other Hand, all Family-Religion was per|fectly destroy'd; for tho' at first the Man began well enough, and having been religiously educated, ap|pear'd in his Family like one resolv'd to have a well|order'd House, yet as our Passions like a strong Di|stemper always encrease with our Years, so the Occa|sions perhaps returning oftner, as his Family and Business encreased, and especially by his giving way to them, they gained more upon him, as he grew older: His Fits of Rage returned oftner, dwelt longer upon him, made him more and more subject to be provoked, and longer a cooling, when heated; till in short it became a meer Disease in his Blood, a Dis|order of his Constitution, and not only could not be cur'd, but render'd his Temper almost unconver|sable.

Among other Effects of this Possession, for it pro|mis'd little less, one was this, (viz.) That it destroy'd the very Face of Order and Religion in the Family.

Fa.

Why, you are describing a mad Man, a meer Lunatick; you do well to say he is possess'd.

Neigh.

Well, call it what you will, I must describe it as it is. The Man was not a Lunatick; but I Page  380 think I may say his Passions had a full possession of him.

Fa.

Nay, then the Devil may be said to have pos|session of him.

Neigh.

Not in the common Acceptation of the Word, tho' in effect there may be no great Diffe|rence.

Fa.

A Man whose Passions have a full Dominion over him, and who is given up to the Power of his own Rage; what is he less than possess'd with the Devil?

Neigh.

Well, we won't dispute that now; there is some difference, but not much, I confess.

Fa.

Well, go on then; you say it destroy'd all Family-Religion among them, as well it might in|deed.

Neigh.

'Tis true, it could not be otherwise, he was seldom in a Temper for Family-Worship; and besides, when he was out of Humour, he did so many extrava|gant Things, so inconsistent with a Man of Religion, and so unsuitable to the Practice of one who profess'd better; that when he was himself again, the Regret at what was pass'd made him even asham'd to appear to call his Family together to worship God; and this return'd so often, that at last it drove Family-Prayer quite out of the House, except what was done in private by his religious afflicted Wife.

Fa.

What did his Wife do in that Case?

Neigh.

You shall hear more of her by and by; she had a hard Task you may be sure, first, to endea|vour to allay his Heats, and bring him to Temper, in which her Success was but very little: And next, as to her Children; for as in the first part of her Time she had it upon her to direct them how to behave themselves to their Father on those Occasions; so as the Children grew up, she had it still heavier upon her, to oblige them to bear the Excursion of their Father's Temper, and not return upon him in undutiful Page  381 Speeches or Behaviour, which would certainly have had fatal Effects either upon him, or upon them, and perhaps upon both him and them; besides, a conti|nual dread upon her Mind, as I have said, lest some Mischief should happen on these sad Occasions.

It happen'd once, upon some trivial Offence, some|what like this of your Son, that he was in a violent Passion with one of his Sons, then but a Boy, and was just going to strike him with a great Bar, which he had snatch'd up in his hast, and which, had he struck him with it, must have kill'd him, or at best very much have bruised him. The Boy was so ter|rified, that he cried Murther in a frightful manner; and the Father was so surpriz'd at the Child's cry|ing Murther, that in a moment all his Passion left him. The Bar fell out of his Hand, and he fell in|to a violent Trembling, as if he had been in the cold Fit of an Ague. His Wife, who was not far off, hearing the Child cry Murther, came running into the Room terribly frighted, you may be sure, not doubting but he had done the Child some Mis|chief; but she soon found her Husband more the Object of her Concern than the Child; for he stood in that Posture, like one amaz'd, stupid, and speech|less for a good while. She run immediately to ferch something to give him, and with much difficulty she got him to take what she brought him, and to sit down.

It was more than an Hour before he came to him|self enough to speak, and when he did so, the first Question he ask'd was, Is the Child alive? His Wife who knew from the Boy himself, that his Father had not struck him, answer'd with some surprize at the Question, Alive, my Dear! yes; why do you ask such a Question? Why, said he, han't I killed him with that Blow? NO, my Dear, says she, the Lord be praised, you have not killed him. Where is he, says his Fa|ther? Page  382 He is in the next Room, says his Wife. Let me see him, says he. His Wife was sorry then that she had said he was in the next Room, and was dreadfully frighted when he ask'd to see him; and so was the Child too, lest his Passion should return: But there was no Reason for their Apprehensions, for when the Child came in, his Father was in as great an Agony as he was in before; he took the Boy in his Arms, and kiss'd him a thousand Times, with all the transport of a violent Affection, the Tears running down his Face all the while; but was not able to speak a Word to him.

Fa.

You have brought me the Picture of a passio|nate Man indeed; I think nothing can come up to this; I hope you will allow this Man to go beyond me in his Rage?

Neigh.

I told you I would give you an Opportuni|ty to hate your own Excess, by shewing you one worse than your self, and that at least you might see the dangerous Consequence of ungovern'd Passion, especially in Masters of Families.

Fa.

But what made him ask if he had not kill'd his Child, when you say he had not struck him?

Neigh.

Why, the Case was this, lifting up the Bar to strike the Boy, it struck against a Door, that stood open just behind him; and his Surprise at the Boy's crying Murther, together with the Blow against the Door, so stupify'd him, that he perfectly forgot what had pass'd, and thought he had knock'd the Child down.

Fa.

Another Proof still of the demented State a Man is in under the Influence of his own violent Passion; I take you right, it touches me very sensibly.

Neigh.

I hope you do not take ill the Application of it to your own Case.

Fa.

No, no; it is not you that apply it, the Appli|cation is natural; the Knowledge I have of my Page  383wn Folly and Weakness, forces the Application up|on me.

Neigh.

That's the true Way that we should apply ll practical Instruction.

Fa.

Well, how ended the Fray?

Neigh.

He recover'd after some Time; but re|maining very much out of order, his Wife perswad|ed him to go to Bed, which he did, and remain'd in|dispos'd two or three Days.

Fa.

And how was he afterward? Had it any good Effect upon him towards the future Government of himself?

Neigh.

His Wife took that Opportunity gravely, but with great Caution, and in the tenderest, calmest manner in the World, to perswade him to guard a|gainst his Passions, and particularly by mentioning frequently to him the good Providence that prevent|ed his killing his own Child.

Fa.

Well, she acted a very Christian Part; but what Effect had it upon him?

Neigh.

A good present Effect; it melted him into Tears, and even into a Passion at himself, for being such a Slave to his furious Temper; and he made a great many Vows and Promises to bridle his Anger for the future.

Fa.

But did he keep those Vows and Promises?

Neigh.

Truly, but a very little while! Vows and Promises are a weak Guard, where Divine Assistance does not join its Power. It was not a Month after, when, upon a very little Provocation, he fell upon another of his Sons, and was so blinded with his Passion, that his Wife, running in to save the Child, got a great Blow on her Shoulder and Breast, which bruis'd her very much, and laid her up for two Months after, and it was greatly fear'd she would have had a Cancer in her Breast.

Fa.

Well, was the Wife in no Passion at all this?

Page  384
Neigh.

No, never; as she acted with Tenderness for her Children, so she acted with the greatest Calmness towards him that can be imagin'd, never replying to him, or arguing and blaming him while the Passion was warm upon him; but reserving her self to a Time proper for such Work, and then she endeavour'd to reason with him, and perswade him, and by that prudent Method, tho' she could not pre|vail to root out so poisonous a Weed, which was planted in his very Nature, yet she allay'd many a Heat, quench'd many a Flame, prevented many an Irruption by her Prudence, which might otherwise have overwhelm'd him and his Family.

Fa.

But what came of the Family? You say all Family-Religion was destroy'd.

Neigh.

Truly all his Part of it dy'd, you may be sure; What Instruction can any Parent give, that gives no Example? What Weight in any Reproof, when his own Practice would destroy the Authori|ty of it, and take away the very Reason of that Reproof?

Fa.

A Father indeed can ill reprove a Child, when the Child sees him every Day practising worse Things than those which he reproves for.

Neigh.

Besides, he was never in Temper to re|prove; how could he argue, perswade, convince, entreat, and then by gentle Degrees enforce his Per|swasions by Commands; threaten without Anger, and—

Here he made a little Stop.
Fa.

I understand you tho' you stop; and—and what? And correct without Passion, that's what you would say.

Neigh.

Why indeed so it is; and what must a Man do to correct a Child, who when he does it, must be in a Passion; and when he is in a Passion does not know whether he has kill'd his Child or no?

Page  385
Fa.

Nay, does not know whether he struck the Door behind him, or his Son before him; the Ca•… is lively enough to the Purpose.

Neigh.

It is very true, such a Man can never be 〈◊〉 to correct a Child.

Fa.

No, nor any Man in such a Passion; I gra•… all you say.

Neigh.

It could not be, and therefore you cannot wonder, I say, that as in this Violence of his Temper, Passion had the full mastery of his Reason; so it de|stroy'd all his Sense of Duty, or at least utterly unfit|ted him for the Performance of it.

Fa.

The Consequence is natural, but is very sad to consider of; for without doubt it is so in propor|tion in all Families, and I am sure it has been so with me.

Neigh.

It must be so in the Nature of the Thing; a Man in a Rage, heated with the Fumes of his own distemper'd Blood, discomposed by the Fury of his Passion, what is he better than a Man drunk with Wine, and out of himself by the Frenzy of the Liquor? Can such a Man pray to GOD?

Fa.

You make me tremble at the Reflection, it is so very natural, and is so much my own Case; why, it has driven me from my Duty, and kept off my Performance for Weeks together; besides the Shame, the Difficulty, the Reluctance of coming to it again when the whole Family has known the Reason of its being omitted.

Neigh.

Such Things tend naturally to destroy the Sense of Duty, and must in the nature of the Thing destroy the Performance.

Fa.

But pray, how did the good Woman bear this? And how did she act?

Neigh.

It was a great Affliction to her, that you may be sure of, and she had a hard Task of it; how|ever she consulted her own Duty, and as she endea|vour'd Page  386 to perswade her Husband upon all Occasions, •…ere she found room for it; when she found there 〈◊〉 no hope to prevail, she kept up the settled wor|•…pping of GOD in here own Chamber or Closet, where she retir'd with her Children and Maid-Ser|vants; and did her Duty with them as well as she could, and as Opportunity allow'd.

Fa.

And would her Husband bear her Perswasions?

Neigh.

Truly very indifferently; I could give you some of their Discourses together on this Head; but as they always ended with Unkindness, I forbear; only telling you, that her Prudence directed her so far, to avoid raising his Passions, that whenever she saw him begin to fly out, she would forbear the Discourse, and give him Time to cool again, and so take another Opportunity with him.

Fa.

That was very engaging, as well as a very wise, prudent Part; Was he not very sensible of it?

Neigh.

I cannot say he was always; for his Tem|per grew so froward and peevish at last, that he was very impatient of the calmest Reprehension, and sometimes would give her very unmanly as well as unmannerly Returns for it.

Fa.

That was barbarous; how could she bear that?

Neigh.

It often threw her into Tears, and was very afflicting to her to be sure; but never broke in up|on her Temper; neither did she return any thing like it, but, on the contrary, treated him with such Tenderness, such obliging, and such an endearing Carriage, on all Occasions, as made her be admir'd by all that knew her.

Fa.

Those that approv'd her Conduct so much, must needs greatly reproach his.

Neigh.

You may be sure of that; it not only ex|posed him very much, but it made him be abhorr'd, even by those that had no Sense of Religion upon their Minds.

Page  387
Fa.

Nay, Religion rather gain'd than lost by them, take them together; for if he was a Reproach to Christians, she was a double Honour to them; if he caused the Ways of God to be evil spoken of, she adorn'd the Doctrine of God our Saviour.

Neigh.

She was One that gave a full Testimony to that Truth in the Scripture, that the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering, &c.

Fa.

I must needs say, she had great Command of her Temper.

Neigh.

She acted her Reason to the highest ex|tream, and Religion to an extraordinary degree; it was not that she was not Flesh and Blood, or that she had no Passions to take fire; for she was of a warm Temper too, in its Place.

Fa.

How then was it possible she could bear so much?

Neigh.

She did it by the Method which you and I, and every Christian should do, and ought to do; but by a Method, which if we may guess from the View we have round us, of all the passionate foolish Things done in the World, we may say, that very few pra|ctise; I mean, she fully studied her Duty, and applied her self to perform it.

Fa.

You do well to add the last; there are Ten know their Duty to One that perform it; I acknow|ledge my self to be One of the first.

Neigh.

She knew her Husband's Temper; that he had given a Loose to it, and that it had entirely got|ten the Mastery of him; she considered, if she should take the same liberty, they must be all ruin'd; and she told me one Day a Passage which I cannot but repeat to you: she had been often so provoked, that she was at the point of giving it up, and of flying out with the like Violence at him; and at that Time she was so in an extraordinary, and as she thought, an unsufferable manner: She knew that she was no Page  388 way the occasion of his ill Conduct; that he ought not to use her as he did at that Time, and that she thought she was not obliged to bear it: But in the Juncture, that she was thus going to begin with him, and give vent to her Passion, that Scripture came into her Thoughts, Prov. 14. 1. A wise Woman buildeth her House, but a foolish Woman pulleth it down with her Hands. Immediately her Passions cool'd, she re|cover'd her Temper, and all he could say or do to her, was was not able to provoke her, or to put her into the least Disorder.

Fa.

She was an excellent Woman, and an excel|lent Christian.

Neigh.

Indeed she was so.

Fa.

Such a Christian as I fear I shall never be.

Neigh.

I hope you do not resolve never to be so.

Fa.

But I despair of it.

Neigh.

If you would pray for it, you would hope for it.

Fa.

But what came of this Human Fury you speak of, and of his Family? What End did it all come to?

Neigh.

Truly it came to a melancholy End many ways, and yet it was a better End by far than might reasonably have been expected, his wretched passio|nate Temper consider'd; but it was all owing to the Prudence and Conduct of his Wife; and she really builded her House, when he, that should have been the Stay of it, pull'd it down with his Hands. It was by her early Conduct, that her Children were in|structed and preserved in their Duty to God; and as well kept from a Contempt of their Father on one Hand, as from an imitating him, in his ungovern'd Conduct, on the other.

Fa.

You give her the greatest of Characters, for that Part was so difficult to act in, so nice an Article to manage, and of such Consequence in the Family Page  389 also, that I should almost think it beyond the Power of Human Prudence.

Neigh.

I'll give you some short Instances of it in this Family, which perhaps may serve as well to ho|nour the Conduct of the Wife, as to leave an Ex|ample to all Masters of Families not to give way to the Violence of their own ungovern'd Follies. Her Husband, by the Violence of his Temper, embroil'd himself several Times, and on several Occasions, in very unhappy Quarrels; I do not mean such as were to be decided by Hand, or that requir'd him to use his Sword, as a Gentleman; for being a Citizen, he wore no Sword, nor had he much occasion to deal with those that did.

Fa.

No, no; I do not understand you so; if he had shown his passionate Temper among Gentlemen, as you say he did to Others, he might have found a short Way out of the World, and put his Family soon out of their Pain.

Neigh.

But he shew'd it so among other People, that he brought innumerable Law-Suits upon his Hands, and must have been ruin'd, if his Wife's Prudence had not put a stop to it.

Fa.

How could she do that?

Neigh.

Why, she got Friends to go and make up Breaches, and repair Damages, where it was possible to make them up; and that she did so often, till she was tir'd with it; and finding no End of the Mis|chief, there being no hopes to put an end to the Cause, she persuaded him first to take his eldest Son into his Business, and after some time, his second Son, and then to leave it quite off to them, and retire.

Fa.

It was a wonder how she brought him to it.

Neigh.

Truly, not without many a rude scuffle with his Temper, and indeed with her Sons too; for the Father, tho' he was not insensible of his own passio|nate Page  390 Temper, yet was often uneasy, at being out of Business, and seeing his two Sons carry on the Trade, while he seem'd to be set by as an Invalid.

Fa.

Why, truly, it did look somewhat hard; how|ever, as it was done deliberately, and with a mature Acknowledgement that he was unfit to converse with the World, by reason of his want of Govern|ment of himself, and that it was finish'd and done some Time, it could not be reasonable to turn the young Men out of Business again, tho' it was at the De|mand of their Father.

Neigh.

However, his Violence, and their Unwilling|ness to disoblige or obstruct their Father, made all Things easy that way. It happen'd one Day, that he had been at London with his Sons, and in their Ware|house, for he had taken a House at some distance from the Town; but when he went to Town, used to go and sit in his Sons Compting-House, to do any Business of his own, or divert himself with them: Here he saw their Business went on flourishing and successful, af|ter another Rate than ever it did under his Manage|ment; and a strange Uneasiness possest his Mind at the Sight; instead of rejoycing that his Sons minded their Business, agreed, and went Hand in Hand, that they Throve well, and that Business flowed in upon them; I say, instead of rejoycing at this Pro|sperity of his Family, which a true Father of his Children would have esteem'd his own, a Spirit of Envy and Discontent seized him, and he went away chagrine and melancholy.

When he came Home, his Wife perceiv'd a Cloud of Discontent sat upon his Countenance; and tho' she was full of Apprehension that he was under some violent Disturbance, yet being willing to abate it as much as possible, she went chearfully to him, and smiling, ask'd him how he did; he gave her little or no Answer at first, but after some other little En|quiries, Page  391 he flew out upon her with the greatest Fury imaginable, told her, it was she that had supplanted him in his Business, made him an Invalid to his Fa|mily, and a Pensioner to his Children; that her Sons were engrossing the Wealth of the Family, and ta|king that Encrease which was his Right; and that she had confederated with them to draw him into a Snare, but added, that he would break all the Con|trivances that were made use of to abuse him.

She could easily have answer'd every Objection, and with great Disadvantage to him; but she saw he was out of Temper, and she had too much Wis|dom to throw Oil into the Fire; but she answer'd calmly, that as far as she had any Hand in it, she could not but see that it was for his Advantage, and the good of his Family, that she had acted; but that she would, with the same Zeal, join with him to break any Contrivance that was for his hurt.

Why, says he, do you talk so? Is it not to my hurt to see my Sons set above me, and, as it were, possessing my Inheritance before it falls to them? Could they not have staid till my Head was laid?

Wife.

My Dear, says she, you were satisfied of the Reasons of it before you did it.

Husb.

What Reasons do you talk of?

Wife.

Reasons, my Dear, that I had rather you would not oblige me to repeat.

Husb.

No Reasons, but what would as well have serv'd to have sent me to a Mad-house. I have car|ried on my Trade these 24 Years with Success; what occasion had I to throw it away at last?

Wife.

Do not let us enter into a Debate about the Occasion.

Husb.

Yes, yes, I will enter into the Occasion; I see nothing in it but a Plot between you and your Sons, to get your Husband more into your Dispose.

Wife.

You are dispos'd to be angry, my Dear; I Page  392 am far from desiring to have you at any Body's Dis|pose but your own.

Husb.

And I will take Care to be at no Body's Dispose but my own; I assure you I'll unravel all your Contrivances, and * make you all Examples for trampling upon, and taking Advantages of the Infir|mities of a Husband and a Father.

However, she kept on her Discourse with Calm|ness and Temper: says she,

Wife.

My Dear, do not fly upon your Family so, and threaten us all, you can do us no Mischief, but will wound your self; have a little Patience, and hear calmly what we have to offer, you may be assu|red we have none of us injur'd you.

Husb.

What! have you not injur'd me?

Here he rises up in a great Rage, and stamp'd upon the Ground, walking hastily, talking loud, and looking furious, in a Word, shew|ing all the Tokens of a most enraged Temper.
Wife.

Do not suffer your self to fly out, my Dear; consider calmly, and you may be convinc'd I have not injur'd you.

Husb.

Have you not injur'd me! Am I not turn'd out of my Business, like a Lunatic that's begg'd out of his Estate.

Wife.

No, no, my Dear, you are not us'd any thing like that.

Husb.

What, am I not plac'd here like an Idiot under Guardians? Am I not a meer Pupil to my two Sons; and is not the Management of the whole Trade put wholly into their Hands, and I fed from Hand to Mouth with a Pension; is not this abusing Page  393 me? But I'll put an End to it all immediately; I'll take the Staff into my own Hands again, I assure you, and I'll use you all as you deserve:

Wife.

I pray God you may, my Dear; but I see you are hot and in a Passion, I'll withdraw and speak these Things another time.

Husb.

No, no, I desire you will sit still; I am as fit to talk of them now as at another time, *pray sit still, and if you have any thing to say to it, speak it now.

Wife.

I had rather you would excuse me, my Dear; pray let us talk of it another time.

Husb.

No, no, just now, no Delays, I'll go to work with it just now; if you have any thing to say for your Conduct, or against what I intend to do, let me hear it.

Wife.

I do not know what you intend to do, how should I have any thing to say to it?

Husb.

I tell you, don't I; I tell you I will unravel all you have done.

Wife.

Well, my Dear, if you will do so, what can I say to it? You have often done Things in the heat of your Passion, which you have been sorry for; I wish you may do nothing of the like kind now, that is all I can say, if you are resolv'd.

Husb.

Nay, I know you cannot say any thing for what you have done, and that is the Reason why you can say nothing against what I am to do.

Wife.

I desire to oppose you in nothing that is for your Advantage; whether this may be so I know not, because I know not what it is you intend.

Husb.

I'll tell you what I intend, I'll go immedi|ately to the Warehouse and send your two Sons Home, and take my own Business into my Hands Page  394 again, and for once more I'll be my own Master, and not an Underling, and as I told you, a Pensioner to my Children.

Wife

My Dear, I have but one Thing to say to you before you do it; I wish you cou'd bear to hear it.

Husb.

Yes, yes, I'll bear to hear your Advice, tho' I may not take it; for I suppose it will be of as much Consequence as other Things; let's hear it, whether I mind it or no.

Wife.

Why, my Dear, that you may do nothing to repent of, my Advice and Request is, Bow your Knee to God first, and tho' it be but two Minutes, ask seriously for his Direction and Blessing upon what you are going to do, and then, whatever you do after that, I will readily acquiesce in.

Husb.

Well, well, it's nothing to you whether I do or no.

She was in a great Concern all this while, lest his Passion might break out to do any in|temperate violent Thing, and would fain have got away from him, but could not.
Wife.

Yes, it is much to me on your own Account.

Husb.

You are provided for, what is it to you?

Wife.

I have some Concern sure in your Welfare; you cannot be Miserable without me, and I am sure, my Dear, I mourn over your Mistakes, and would prevent them, if it were in my Power.

Husb.

Mourn over your own ill Usage of me.

Wife.

My Dear, if I had ever us'd you ill, I should do so; but you will see, when your Passion is over, I have not used you ill, or done any thing that ought to displease or dissatisfy you, even in that Thing that now most disturbs you.

Husb.

Not us'd me ill! am I not turn'd out of my Business, as a Man not fit to carry it on, as a Mad|man that must not be trusted with a Knife, or any ne|cessary Page  395 Thing that he is capable of doing harm with

Wife.

I could convince you, my Dear, another Time; but you are angry now, and I care not to enter into Words that may encrease it.

Husb.

No, no, I can never be convinc'd; but I'll convince you all that I am not so easily to be imposed upon, as you may believe; I'll undo all that has been done, and that immediately, before I sleep.

Wife.

My Dear, I entreat you, tho' you do all you say you will do, yet do not do it in a Passion, even tho' you were doing well, yet doing it in such a Temper, 'tis twenty to one but you do something amiss.

Husb.

I tell you I won't be bought and sold among you; I have been betray'd and teacherously used, and my Sons have got up in my Saddle, are getting Estates in my Business, and in a few Years will be able to say they can live without me.

Wife.

Well, my Dear, can you repine at the Pro|sperity of your own Children?

Husb.

They should have came to it in their own Time: What! is the Prosperity of the Children to be raised upon the Ruin of the Father!

Wife:

My Dear, are you ruin'd, are you beneath them? Have you not 400 l. a Year of your own, and do you not receive 200 l. a Year from them, as a Consideration for the Stock you have given over to them?

Husb.

That's all nothing; I'll have no Sons be Masters of my Business, while I sit still, and am look'd upon as one incapable; I'll reduce them to their first Beginning.

Wife.

My Dear, do nothing unadvisedly; do not ruin your Children without Cause; have they of|fended you?

Husb.

Yes, 'tis an Offence to me to see my self set aside, and my Sons made the Heads of my Family and Business.

Page  396
Wife.

My Dear, consider your Sons are Men grown, and past being treated as Children.

Husb.

They are not past being taught to know themselves, they want to be instructed that Way; I'll make you all know your selves before I have done.

He goes out of the Room in a great Rage.

Now it is to be observ'd here, that the Wife had acted with such Prudence, in the transferring the Trade and Stock to her Sons, as above, that she had reserv'd the whole Stock, with all the Improvements to be their Father's, and to be given up to him when|ever he demanded it; and tho' all went in their Names, yet they were obliged by Writing to sur|render it all into their Father's Hand, and only to be allow'd such Expences, and Charges, and Allowan|ces, as had been settled between them, not letting the Father know one Word of it: But he having convey'd and made over every thing to them, she, without telling him of it, took a Declaration of Trust back again from her Sons, expressing the Rea|sons of the Trust also. And as she had done this, because she knew his changeable Disposition and fie|ry Temper, so she was not so much concern'd at the Consequence of his present Passion, because she knew her Sons would behave as became them, when their Father came to them, whatever want of Tem|per he might show to them; however, she immedi|ately sent them Word of what had pass'd, and what they might expect, that they might not be surpriz'd.

It was but a few Minutes afterwards, but he came himself, and entering the Warehouse, he found his Sons both there, but very busy with Customers, so he went into the Compting-house, and sat still a while; but his Passion was too hot to be kept within Bounds, and his eldest Son, who saw by his Countenance that his Father was very much disturbed, made all the Dispatch possible to get clear of the People he Page  397 was engag'd with, lest his Father should call, and should break out into a Passion that might expose him.

It was not long before his Father, who could hold no longer, calls him, and he comes immediately. The Dialogue was very short, but very warm on one Side; and had not all possible Occasion been taken a|way, by the Conduct of both his Sons, the Temper he was in at that Time would have made an Uproar even in the Street. He began with the eldest Son as soon as he came but to the Door of the Compt|ing-house thus:

Fa.

Call your Brother, I must speak with you both.

Eld. Son.

Sir, he is busy with a Customer, but he will have done presently.

Fa.

I must speak with him, let him be busy with who he will.

E. Son.

Then I will call him, Sir.

He calls him, and sends a Servant to tend the Customer, upon which the youngest Son comes also, and their Father begins with them both thus, speaking in an angry Tone, and a great deal of apparent Passion in his Looks.
Fa.

You go on here (Sons) very boldly, and push the Trade forward with a great deal of Authority; pray what is it you intend to do with me?

E. Son.

Sir, we go on by no Authority but yours, and we hope you are not displeased that we apply our selves to the Business with as much Diligence as we can.

Fa.

That is no Answer to my Question.

E. Son.

It is very difficult, Sir, to answer that Question, but by asking another, Sir; that is, what you would please to have us do?

Fa.

My Question is plain; you have put a Juggle here upon your Father (you and your Mother in Confederacy) and set your selves at the Head of my Business, I would be glad to know how long you think I must bear it?

Page  398
E. Son.

Not a Moment, Sir, longer than you please; your resigning the Business to us, and putting us into it, was your own Proposal to us; it was your Gift to us, and we were put in by your self; my Mother had no Hand in it that we know of, but what you gave her Power to have.

Fa.

Well then, if my Authority put you in, by the same Authority I must put you out again; every Power that can give Life can take it away; my Right to the last is derived from my Right to the first.

E. Son.

Whatever Right we may have by your Gift, we will make no use of it without your Good|will, and therefore, Sir, if it be your Pleasure to sup|pose you have set us up too soon, we will return all back into your Hands when-ever you demand it.

Fa.

Then I demand it just now.

E. Son.

If my Brother is of my Mind, you shall be obey'd this Minute, Sir.

Young. Son.

With all my Heart; for I will be no|thing but what my Father desires me to be; we had all by your Gift, Sir, and if you think it too soon, Sir, I am very willing to wait till you think it more sea|sonable; I hope my Father will let us be his Servants as we were before.

Fa.

I shall consider of that.

Neigh.

Well, what think you now? Have I given you the Picture of a passionate Father to your Pur|pose, or no?

Fa.

Yes; but you have blest him with better Children than ever mine would be.

Neigh.

You do not know what yours might have been, if they had had such a Mother to have ma|nag'd them in their Infancy.

Fa.

Well, but pray go on with the Story; what could he say to his Sons, who answer'd him, as I suppose, so contrary to his Expectation?

Page  399
Neigh.

He was not touch'd with it at all at first; but taking his Sons, as it were, at their Words, he im|mediately took Possession of the Books and Cash, and the Sons, with the greatest Calmness and apparent Satisfaction, threw off their Hats, and put them|selves into the Posture of Servants: His greatest Dissatisfaction was, that he could not have the least Occasion to be angry.

After he had chaft his Mind as much, and indeed more than the Case would bear, and had thus em|barrass'd himself into the Hurry of the World again; so that he saw himself, in a few Moments, a Man remov'd from a pleasant agreeable Retreat, fully en|gag'd again in a vast Crowd of Incumbrances; the Prospect began to appear less agreeable to him than he thought it before, and full of Discontent he comes away, having been perfectly disappointed of the Quar|rel which he expected to have with his two Sons.

When he came Home again, he thinks to gratify the Fury of his Temper upon his Wife; his Spirits were in agitation, and Nature requir'd to give them a Vent somewhere; the submissive respectful Con|duct of his Sons had effectually disappointed him there, and even for want of an Object, he resolves to fall upon his Wife; accordingly, as soon as he comes Home, he begins with her, very hot and angry still.

Husb.

Well, I have blown you all up, I have broke all your Measures.

Wife.

My Dear, it's unkind to speak of Measures of mine; if you have done no Injury to your self, you can have done none to me, I have no Interest but yours, nor any Measures but what you have been all along acquainted with, unless it has been to pre|vent your hurting your self.

Husb.

Have you not had private Projects to erect your Sons on the Ruin of their Father?

Page  400
Wife.

No indeed, my Dear, nor had ever any such Thought; Can I be capable of such a Thing? Can a Husband be ruin'd without his Wife?

Husb.

Whatever you have been capable of, thank God, I am capable of disappointing you.

Wife.

You will speak kindlier when your Passion is over; your Charge is very heavy, and it is a sad Case, where the Judge has not Temper or Patience to hear the Person accused.

Husb.

I your Judge! I am none of your Judge; there's one above will judge you all.

Wife.

If you condemn me, you make your self my Judge, and I ought to be calmly heard.

Husb.

Well, what have you to say if I should hear you calmly?

Wife.

I desire you will take Time till to Morrow Morning; you are too warm for it to Day.

Husb.

Oh! you want to talk with your Counsellors, I have dispossess'd them of their Authority, and I'll take care to keep them from caballing with you again.

Wife.

If we had caball'd against you, as we did for you, you could not have dispossess'd them; you treat me as your Enemy, my Dear, but you will find I have been your Friend, and a faithful Friend too, even in this very Thing.

Husb.

I value neither your Friendship or your En|mity; I am Master of my Family again once more, and I'll be so as long as I live.

Wife.

I wish, my Dear, you were Master of your self as much as we all desire you should be Master of every thing in your Family.

Husb.

That is to my self, and the Hurt is my own if I am not.

Wife.

My Dear, you can do nothing to hurt your self, but we are all hurt by it too; we have but one Bottom; we cannot swim if you sink.

Page  401
Husb.

But you have made an Attempt to swim and let me sink, if I had not disappointed you all.

Wife.

My Dear, your Words are very bitter, I know not what you have done; I am sure I have done nothing to your Prejudice, and you cannot have disappointed me in any thing, unless it be in hurt|ing your self and your Family.

Husb.

Yes, I have disappointed you; I have turn'd out your two Partners, and made my two Masters my two Servants again, as they ought to be.

Wife.

Well, my Dear, I hope they submitted duti|fully and respectfully to you in it all, howsoever you have acted by them.

Husb.

Yes, yes; they gave it up with Readiness enough, that's true.

Wife.

Why then, my Dear, they have shewn them|selves very full of Duty and Regard to their Father, you must own that; for you know you could not have obliged them to it.

Husb.

I am the less obliged to you however, who took Care to put it so much out of my Power, that if they had been less dutiful than they are, I might have been used bad enough.

Wife.

Do not strive, my Dear, to load me with Re|proaches, I have Affliction enough.

Husb.

What are your great Afflictions? I know none you have, but this, that I have taken the Power out of your Hands to govern your Husband.

Wife.

Can I have a greater Affliction than to have one that should protect me from the Injuries and Op|pression of all the World, injure and oppress me himself?

Husb.

How do I injure you or oppress you?

Wife.

You injure me in charging me wrongfully, and you oppress me in falling upon me in such a Passion that I cannot have room to speak or be heard: Page  [unnumbered]Husb. I charge you wrongfully! Is it not apparent 〈…〉 juggled with your two Sons to get me to put all my Trade into their Hands, and set my self by to be laught at for a Fool?

Wife.

No, it's evident I did not, because you say that you have turn'd them out; if I had gi|ven the Power entirely into their Hands, as you knew I might then have done, and as for ought you knew I did, you could not have turn'd them out, I assure you.

Husb.

Yes, yes, you see I have turn'd them out, notwithstanding all the Power they had.

Wife.

You will acknowledge all that to your Wife, my Dear, when you come to think calmly, and know a little more of it; but I'll take another Opportu|nity to convince you of it, perhaps in a little Time you will repent your present Proceedings.

Husb.

Never, while you live; what a Husband re|pent his being Master! No, no, I'll have no more Family-Directors; no more Sons set up to be my Masters, I'll assure you.

Wife.

You are dispos'd to be angry, my Dear, I'll come again when your Passion is over.

She goes out of the Room.
Husb.

Ay, ay, fare you well; I shall be of the same Mind to Morrow I promise you.

Fa.

Well, of all the rude, ill-natur'd, and fiery Creatures that ever I heard of, this is the foremost; pray what came of it?

Neigh.

Came of it! why, the next Morning, after a little calmer Discourse, she fetch'd him in a Wri|ting sign'd by both his Sons, whereby, tho' they had the Management of the Trade in Appearance, yet 〈◊〉 had voluntarily bound themselves by an Ac|knowledgement of Trust, and a Declaration of U|•… to account for all the Profits of the whole Trade to their Father, Expences and incident Charges be|ing Page  [unnumbered] allowed, and to quit it all again whenever he demanded it.

Fa.

What could he say to it?

Neigh.

She withdrew, and left him to read it over; and when she came in again, she found him all in Tears, and in a violent Passion at himself for having ill treated her; he took her in his Arms and told her, she had been a faithful Steward to him and all the Family, adding all the kind things that could be express'd, and reproaching himself for his Passions, in a Manner that she could no more bear than she could the other.

Fa.

Passion guides us all into Extreames; but how did she go on?

Neigh.

He came to Terms with his Sons, and made them Partners with him; but alas, his fiery Dispositi|on, which grew worse every Day, brought him in|to a dreadful Disaster; for being in a Passion at some People he employ'd, that did not do his Busi|ness as he would have it done, and a Porter or some such sort of Fellow giving him saucy Lan|guage, he struck the poor Man an unhappy blow, that it was thought by all that stood by had killed him, and which put this poor passionate Creature afterwards into an inexpressible Confusion.

Fa.

But you say the Man was not killed.

Neigh.

No, he did not die; but he was crippled by it as long as he liv'd.

Fa.

And what said he for it?

Neigh.

Alas! he was the greatest Penitent for it, that ever you heard of, and continu'd so as long as he liv'd; but what was that to the poor Man?

Fa.

As you say, he could never restore the poor Man, but he might make him some Amends.

Neigh.

Yes, yes, he provided for him and for his Family too; but tho' that was a great weight upon his own Family, yet it was no Satisfaction to thePage  [unnumbered]complaint of his own Conscience; the Crime call'd for Repentance, whatever Amends he had made the poor man.

Fa.

Ay, ay, passion always makes work for Re|pentance.

Neigh.

It does so, and this Man found it so; for he never enjoyed himself an Hour afterwards; he quite threw off his business, retired from the Town, and, in a word, went mourning for that one Action as long as he lived.

Fa.

And did he govern himself better afterwards?

Neigh.

He kept himself from the Occasions of An|ger struggled with it whenever any thing mov'd him; but in short, the Seeds were sown in his very Con|stitution, and he never effectually conquer'd them to his last breath.

Fa.

Passion is a dreadful Master where it once has the government of the Temper.

Neigh.

It is true; but of all the kinds, I think, Fa|mily Passions are the worst; they generally are in their beginnings more extravagant, rise to the great|est Height, are acted with the greatest Violence, and attended with the worst Consequences; as I could shew you by many sad Examples within the Com|pass of my own knowledge, but the Stories are too long to relate now.

Fa.

It is enough; these you have told are so af|fecting to me, and so nearly touch my own Case, that I am fully satisfied, if I do not in particular master my passionate furious Temper, and take quite new measures with my self, my Family will be ut|terly ruined, and my self eternally undone.

FINIS.
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