Historical Children's Literature Collection

Worlds displayed: for the benefit of young people [unknown] 1819

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* I know that it shall be well -with them that fear God.
Eccles. viii. 12.
Wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him,
Isa. iii. 11.
 THE design of this little book is to impress the
minds of young people with the importance of time
and eternity* and to exhibit the close connexion
that there is betwixt them.
Narrative appears a pleasing and engaging way
of communicating divine truth to young persons.
Some may judge it* when fictitious, to be an improper instrument for cutting down the corruption
of men ; but as God has so frequently used the same
method* his example may be safely followed. The
Old Testament contains many parables* and much
of our Lord's instruction* during his ministry on
earthy was communicated in this form. The Pilgrim's Progress* Hervey's Dialogues* and many of
the tracts published for the Cheap Repository* are
of a similar kind* are generally and justly approved* and have done much good.
Some of the passages may appear rather too terrific ; but as the attack is designed against obdurate and strongly fortified hearts* which is the true
and scriptural description of every unrenewed soul*
the shot does not appear too sharp* nor the artillery
too heavy. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is perhaps more so than any of the following
That the Lord's blessing may accompany this
small effort to be useful to my fellow-sinners* is my
sincere prayer,
ONE evening in May last, Apollos and I took a
long walk through the fields. The sun had nearly
finished his course—-the whole creation around us
seemed silent as death, not a breath of wind was
heard,—every thing combined solemnly to please
the imagination, and to produce thought. We talked awhile upon the wisdom and power of that God
who gave being to all the beauties which surrounded us; then upon the superior excellency of that
heavenly glory we soon hoped to see. By this conversation, I found my desire to depart to the happy regions of immortality greatly increased.
After our return home, I was not long asleep,
till the scene we had talked over came fresh into
my mind, and, to my delight and astonishment, a
heavenly messenger addressed me thus: "I am
acquainted with your desire to visit the mansions
of the blessed, and am commissioned to carry you
there, to exhibit to you some of the glories of that
state, and afterwards to conduct you back to your
present condition, till my Lord's time be fully
come to fix you for ever in his everlasting kingdom.
Happy tidings! I exclaimed, being overpowered
with transport at the thought of beholding Jesus on
his throne, at the head of his redeemed.
We mounted in the air with a quickness I can
only compare to lightning. After passing innumerable suns and worlds, I inquired if we were near
 ■*£-'■ "—-
(    4    )
heaven ? The angel replied with a smile, We are
only in the frontiers of the Mediator's kingdom. I
asked what kind of beings inhabited these vast bodies, scattered through the immensity of space ?
My commission, said he, is to convey and guard
you to the metropolis of my Lord's empire, I cannot go beyond it: but, for your comfort, let me
tell you, that when you finish your course below,
and enter on your glorified life, nothing shall be
hid from you; then " you shall know even as you
are known."
We had scarcely ended this conversation, when
I was desired to look directly above my head; I
did so, and to my inexpressible surprise, I saw a
brightness to which the sun bears no resemblance.
Pointing to it with his finger, the angel said, That
is heaven ! In a moment I was surrounded with
hundreds of those whom I had known upon earth,
all welcoming me to their blissful, peaceful realms,
Perceiving me astonished at the grandeur of their
appearance, they desired me to suspend my wonder, till they brought me into the presence of Jesus. Upon this they unanimously exclaimed, " To
him, to him be all the glory!" We flew past millions of seraphs, and millions of the spirits of justified men made perfect, till we came to Jesus, the
Judge of all, of whom indeed I dare not now speak,
for no tongue can utter his praise, or declare his
Turning my eyes in every direction, I exclaimed, No wonder that this should be called « an ex*
ceeding great and eternal weight of glory !"
While I stood wondering at the Saviour, and extolling his mercy and grace to me, in redeeming
(    5    )
me from misery, and promising soon to put me in
full possession of all the glory of his kingdom, I
was surprised with the noise of shouts of joy from
every quarter. I asked my guide the reason of
this new appearance. He replied, See a legion of
angels advancing to the throne, with the soul of
one of your countrymen ! this is his entrance to our
society. Every accession to our number gives rise
to a new song of praise to the Lamb of God. I understood that the happy person who approached,
amidst the procession of thousands of the ransomed
and angelic tribes, was a young man called Peter
Patience, who had died of a putrid fever a few minutes before. When the charming solemnities of
the first interview with Jesus were over, I made
up to him, and desired we should have a walk together, along the streets of the New Jerusalem.
With all my heart, said he. But for some time I
found it impossible for us to have any conversation,
he was so transported with his new condition.
Holding up both his hands, he exclaimed, Am I in
heaven ! once a vile wretch ! Is it possible that I
am eternally stationed in this glorious realm ! Bless
the Lord, O my soul, hosannah in the highest!-—*
Turning about to the Lord Jesus, he cast his crown
of glory at his feet, crying out with a voice like
thunder, " Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, to receive
honour, thanksgiving, and praise, for ever and
ever!" Upon this we walked a little farther, when
he cried out, " O ! O ! I cannot forget my dear Saviour, t can think of nothing else. Were there the
smallest danger of my ever falling from all this felicity, it would mar my joy ; but that is impossible.
I a-m now to be for ever, yes, for ewr with the Lord
a £
 (6   )
Bless the Lord, O my soul, hosannah in the highest."
As I was uncertain how long my visit to this
happy place was to continue, I was anxious he
would proceed to relate the way the Lord had led
him through the wilderness. I therefore requested
this favour, as soon as he found himself capable for
the task. O ! said he, I rejoice to give you this information ; and when you return to the world, you
are welcome to publish it from the house top, that
perishing men may come to the Saviour, and obtain everlasting life.
I was born in the west of Scotland ; my father
was a gentleman of landed property, consequently
I was educated to shine in what the world calls
high life. I do not recollect of getting one good
advice during the first twelve years of my life, except once that a poor cottager bid me be a good
boy, and to say my prayers evening and morning.
I thought I was a very good boy; and as for prayers, I neither knew whom to pray to, or what I was
to pray for; so I soon forgot the poor man's advice.
Our family used to go pretty often to the parish
church; and after I passed my twelfth year, they
took me along with them. But as no notice was
taken of what the preacher had said, by any of our
family, it never struck me that I ought to attend
to his discourse. Thus I was no wiser by my attendance upon church; although the minister was
a good man, as I afterwards knew. My father died
when I was about twenty years of age, but left his
'affairs'in great disorder, by having entered into
(    7    )
various speculations to increase his fortune. This
sunk my spirits, and rendered me very unhappy.
Our surgeon being consulted about my health, advised that I should take a trip to the south, to recover my health and spirits. This counsel was of
God, though I then knew it not.
After residing some months at Bath, I set out
for Bristol, to visit a relation there, whom I had
never seen. On the way I was seized with sickness, and found myself unable to proceed on the
journey. The coach stopped at a small inn upon
the road, and there I went to bed immediately. I
was hardly in bed, when a squire Sympathy, who
had observed my distress when alighting from the
carriage, sent his respects, and offered to visit me,
if agreeable. As I had n^ friend with me, I readily embraced his offer; upon which he came up
stairs, and, taking his seat at my bed-side, inquired
kindly into my distress. I was greatly surprised
at his sympathy and attention. Not a day passed
but he paid me two or three visits, and sometimes
brought his lady along with him.
One day, when talking of my distress, he observed, that sin was the cause of all our sufferings
here;—that these sufferings were only the beginning of sorrows to the wicked ;—that an eternity
of wo awaited the unrighteous. All this was as
new to me as to the infant of a day old. Sir,
said I, pray how do you come to know these things?
From the Scriptures, was his answer. Finding
that I was completely ignorant of all divine truth,
he gave me a very full account of the fall of man;
of the misery into which he is brought by it; and
then preached Jesus Christ to me as a perishing
 ( 8 )
sinner. Like Felix, I trembled as he talked. I
confessed that I had lived without God and without
hope in the world, and that these were strange
things to me. I begged he would pray to God for
pardon and grace to my poor soul. He did so,
kneeling down by my bed-side. When done, I
embraced him in the most affectionate manner. I
told him I considered him a friend indeed, and
that I hoped my sickness was the happiest event
of my life; that he was a messenger of God to my
soul; that now I saw, and believed there was a
reality in religion ; that I needed a Saviour ; that
Jesus was just such an one as I stood in need of.
Upon hearing me talk in this manner, he praised
Jesus with the most sincere devotion, and invited
me to remove to his house, which was hard by, as
soon as I should find myself able to endure the fatigue. In three or four days after, I got strength
to comply with his invitation. I found it as the
house of God, and the gate of heaven. Their whole
conversation was about Jesus, his glory, grace,
cross, kingdom, &c.
So soon as I was able, I wrote a long letter to
my mother, informing her of the wonderful knowledge that had been communicated to me about our
state as perishing sinners, and the amazing love of
God in sending his Son to deliver us from this misery. I told her that our whole family had been
living as beasts, minding only earthly things; that
none of us ever thought upon God, heaven, hell,
our souls, or in short any thing important; that
mere trifles had engrossed our whole attention,—
such as eating, drinking, diversion, &c. that though
these in moderation were necessary, none of them
were the ends of our creation. I wrote to her
pointedly of the glory and of the happiness of
Christians. I also informed her, that I had not
observed so much real, exalted, and manly happiness, during my whole life in my father's'house, as
I had witnessed during the eight days I had associated with the family under whose roof I then was.
Instead of answering this letter, and congratulating rne upon my recovery, my mother wrote to
our friend at Bristol, requesting him instantly to
visit her son Peter, and to have him put into a place
of safety, as from his letter he had all the appearance of being deranged.
Upon receiving her letter, Mr. B. came to the
house where I resided, and I cannot express how
surprised he was, to find me sitting cheerfully conversing with my friend Sympathy, for he expected
to see me in a straight jacket. After a little general conversation, I took him to my room. He told
me my mother had written under very strong apprehensions as to the wretchedness of my condition, in consequence of a letter she had received
from me, and had desired him to visit me, and inquire into my circumstances. I told him his story
surprised me, for I never had discerned truth till
now ; and it was only about our everlasting salvation that I had written to my dear mother. I did
it freely, because I loved her, and wished her to
know Jesus, and obtain heaven as well as myself.
Upon this, Mr. B. shrugged up his shoulders, and
expressed his regret to find a gentleman imbibing
notions calculated only to amuse the rabble.
^ Where will you find men of genius and learning,"
added he, " attending to such matters ?   If you
 C  10  )
persist in these opinions, you will be banished from
polite society, and be forced to associate only with
the low and the vulgar." Here I stopped him, and
taking up the Bible, which lay upon the table, said,
" Mr. B. this book is the word of God; it contains
a revelation from God to man. If so, is it not the
duty of every man to read it with attention, to
believe its doctrines, and obey its precepts ? If this
conduct deprive me of the character of a gentleman,
I shall not regret the loss. Because a man possesses a few hundred pounds in the year, is he
therefore to be deaf to the calls, and invitations,
and commandments of his God? Is he therefore to
disregard the salvation of his soul? Believe me,
Mr.B. it deeply concerns you,as well as me, to hear
what God testifies in his word ; time is short, eternity is at hand, and then we must give an account
to God how we have lived. Pray, Mr. B. did you
ever read the Bible ?" " Not I," said he, " since I
was a boy !" "I beg then, sir, you would read it
now. Should it have such an effect upon you, as
it has had upon me, you will confess you never
knew happiness till you read that blessed book."
My friend made no reply, but looked quite pensive
and pale. We then went and joined Mr. Sympathy,—conversed about the Gospel,-—4iad prayers
and supper, after which we separated.
Next morning, Mr. B. came to me very early;
his first salutation was highly gratifying. " Certainly," said he, " there is a reality in religion to
which I am an entire stranger; I hope I shall never
again talk reproachfully of pious people. He and
I set off in the forenoon for Bristol, where I remained a fortnight; during which period, the most
( 11 )
of our discourse turned upon religious topics. Before I left the house, he established the worship of
God, evening and morning, with his family. I expect to see him in heaven very soon.
In his letter to my mother, he exhorted her to
hail her son with all joy;—that formerly " he was
lost* but now is found ;"*—th&t God had visited and
redeemed his soul;—that she would find a more
obedient, loving son than ever before, &c. This
letter stunned my mother; while reading it, she
frequently exclaimed, I wonder what this will
turn to!
Being now restored to health, I set off on my return home. Upon reaching my mother's house,
our whole family came running out to see what
kind of a mortal I had become. When they observed my cheerfulness and affection to them, they
began to form a favourable opinion of me.
After a week or two had passed very agreeably,
I considered what means I should use for instructing my brothers and sisters in the knowledge of
Jesus Christ. I took them separately into my room,
and addressed them upon the concerns of their
souls. Some of them were greatly affected, and a
visible alteration soon took place upon their conduct; but my poor mother, and two of her sisters
who staid with us, vehemently opposed every thing
like religion. They prohibited the youngest from
ever being in my company, except at meals, and
ordered every pious book to be put out of the house,
except my library, which I kept locked in a closet.
Many a tear I shed, and many a prayer I put up
to God for them.
During all this commotion excited by the gospel,
I was seized with a fever.   I had just time and
 C  12  j
strength, before I became insensible, to set death
and life in a Scriptural point of view before my
mother, my brothers and sisters :•—-insisted on the
necessity of being " born again before we could enter the kingdom of God;" declared to them the
happiness I had experienced during the short time
I had walked in the path of life:—confessed my
faith in the Son of God and my hope of seeing his
glory, and being for ever with him in his kingdom.
I saw they were all drowned in tears ; but I fell
asleep, and recollect nothing more that happened
till I was brought into this paradise of God.
I thanked Mr. Patience for the history of himself which he had related, and away we walked
along the streets of the heavenly city, admiring
the splendours of that place, astonished at the glory of its inhabitants and extolling its eternal
Prince. At this time a venerable saint came up
to us and told me his name was Bede. He said,
when I was in the world, [ wrote concerning one
of my brethren that he was a good man ; but I
added, poor man ! he does not keep Easter in our
way. This was bigotry, and I beg you to publish
my recantation of that sentiment.
In a little, Mr. Patience pointed to two glorious
saints, walking arm in arm ; now, said he, when
these two were preachers of Christ in your world,
the one wrote a warning against the other, but you
see how well they agree now ! there is no division
here, we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Walking along the streets of the New Jerusalem, a spacious mansion on the south side of the
city   particularly   attracted   my attention.    For
(    13    )
whom, said I to my conductor, is this noble edifice
eternally prepared ? It is the everlasting habitation of a young lady, who is soon to leave your
world. She has endured much persecution for the
sake of Jesus, and many, by seeing her good works,
have glorified her heavenly Father, by submitting
to his righteousness, and walking in all his commandments blameless.
When returning from our excursion, we stepped into the young lady's mansion, and found every
hall resounding with angelic mirth, on the safe arrival of her for whom the house was prepared. On
\ the lintel of the door the following inscription was
elegantly engraven in Hebrew characters : This is
she who came out of great tribulation* having wash*
ed her robes* and made them white in the blood of
the Lamb. A little above, these words were indented in letters of gold : hallelujah ! halle-
In a little we were introduced to the newly glorified inhabitant, whose countenance bespoke perfection of happiness. She was fired with love to
her blessed Redeemer; from her lips flowed praises
to his glorious name.
After some conversation about what we saw and
v heard, I begged her to give me an account of her
life while in the world, and how she escaped the
pollutions thereof, remarked that I was soon to revisit the world she had left; and, to promote the
glory of sovereign grace, I intended to publish the
biography of the heavenly saints which I should
collect during my stay among them.
With great frankness she proceeded to detail
her history.
 (    14    )
I was born in the city of Amsterdam, in Holland. My father was a rich burgo-master in that
city.—He was a good man, and a member of the
Reformed Church. In early life, I was instructed
in the doctrines and duties of the Scriptures. Every day my father spent an hour or more in hearing me read the Bible, and endeavouring to make
me understand it. I liked this task very well for
some time, but after my curiosity was satisfied, my
heart began to rebel against the truths he taught
me. I tried exery method to escape the hour appropriated for reading. Sometimes I pretended to
be sick, sometimes I complained that my eyes were
weak, at other times I remained at play out of his
sight till the time was gone. Thus did I endeavour to accomplish the ruin of my own soul, by refusing to be acquainted with God. In a short time
my father discovered my antipathy against his
counsel, and obliged me to meet him regularly
every day, for reading and considering the Scripture. Often, with tears in his eyes, did he beseech
me to believe in Jesus, and obey his will. He used
frequently to retire with me to his closet, and
earnestly pray to Jesus to save my poor soul. I
often wept when he would say, " O Jesus make my
dear child Fanny a member of thy happy family ;
I love her dearly, but I cannot change her heart.
Do thou, 0 God, in mercy to her and to me, give
her a new heart, that she"may believe in thy Son,
and do thy will."
God tried the faith and patience of my affectionate father; for f was turned twenty before I began to think seriously about my soul's salvation.
(    15    )
One evening I ate something at supper which
kept me awake during the night. The history of
my whole life came under my review. The continued concern of my father for my eternal happiness filled me witfi amazement; the grief I had
given him by my stubborn hardness, pierced me
to the heart, I called myself an ungrateful wretch
—I resolved to read every book he directed me to,
and to embrace every opportunity of conversing
with him of divine things. About seven in the
morning, I heard my father come out of his room.
I called for him to come to me, and told him what
had passed in my mind during the night. I asked
his forgiveness for my past conduct towards him,
and begged him to continue his kind endeavours to
instruct me. I noticed tears of affectionate concern trickling down his cheeks. He expatiated on
the danger of neglecting salvation, and pointed out
the reason I had to praise God that he had not cut
me off in the days of my wilful ignorance and impenitence. He told me what an evil and bitter
thing sin was; what a precious Saviour God had
provided for us.—He commended the amazing love
and grace of the Saviour, and exhorted me to believe God's testimony concerning him, to pray to
him, &c.
On this my father retired, and no doubt entered
into his closet to pray to his God, that my present
impressions might have a happy issue.
I now became very thoughtful; the consequences of death occupied my whole attention. What
shall I do to be saved ? was the genuine language
of my soul. When 1 saw some of my companions
hurrying to plays, balls, &c. it cut me to the heart.
 (    16   )
I lamented their ignorance, folly and danger. This
night, said I, it is possible their souls may be required of them. Poor things ; they have no father
so kind and faithful to them, as to tell them of
wrath to come, and the way to escape it.
I had often heard the Bible called the best book
in the world. I never knew it to be so till now. I
found it exactly the book my situation required. I
ran to read it, as a hungry man to his meal. It now
became the food of my soul. I was filled with rapturous pleasure, when I read the love of the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. I was convinced by the
word of God, that I could perform no works to entitle me to heaven. Indeed I discovered such wickedness in my heart, that my very best works were
defective and defiled. This led*me to see the necessity of the sufferings for sin endured by Jesus
Christ. I was convinced he had made an atonement for sin ; and that this was my conviction or
belief, I was conscious, and hence depended on the
perfect obedience unto death of Jesus Christ, as
the alone foundation of my hope before God.
I now began to assist my father in instructing
my brothers and sisters. I accompanied him when
he visited the sick and the poor—when he went to
the house of God—when he called upon pious
friends, &c.
One day I called upon three young ladies, who
had been my companions in the days of my folly.-—
I found them sitting in a room by themselves.—
They had just been conversing about the change
which had taken place upon me, and regretting that
my days of pleasure were gone. One of them was
so honest as to tell me this : they advised me to
give up religion,because it would make memelan-
( 17 )
choly and sad, and cause all the gay people to
shun me.
I inquired what they judged religion to be?
They paused for some time—looked at each other
—gave a smile, and replied, they did not know!
Then said I, I'll tell you : It is to love and serve
our God and Creator. It there any thing in that
to make people melancholy ? Be so good as to answer my question. Is loving and serving God calculated to make a person melancholy ? They answered ; no. Well, religion also consists in believing that God forgiveth all our sins for the sake
of this Son Jesus. Is that likely to make us melancholy ? No, we don't think it is. Is the hope
that God is our friend, and that we are his, calculated to make us unhappy ? No, surely not. You
know that it is very natural to be afraid of death;
it is a part of religion to be delivered from that
fear: is that likely to make us gloomy ? No, it is
not. God promises to his friends, that he will be
with them in affliction, and in troublous times, to
support and comfort them, and to make their trials
do them good : it is a part of real religion to believe these promises. Is this likely to make people melancholy ? Now they all gazed at each other.
One, more talkative than the rest, said, sister, did
you ever think before what religion was ? I am
certain I never did. I do not imagine that these
principles can make people unhappy. I wonder
what our friends and acquaintance mean by always saying such terrible things against religion.
If what Fanny says be true, I think no body can
be happy till they are religious ; what think you ?
Indeed, said one, I am of the same opinion ; and
b 2
 (    18    )
so am I, said the other. After this candid declaration, I seized the opportunity to warn them
against taking up false reports against any set of
people, without previously examining into their
truth, and earnestly entreated them to attend to
the momentous concerns of their souls, and to consider the awful danger of living in the world without seeking and serving God. I protested before
them, that I never had a happy day till I knew Jesus Christ, and that I never was contented till then.
I praised God for his wondrous love in sending
such a Saviour as Jesus; in bringing me to read of
him, think of him, and believe in him. Though the
last trumpet should at this moment sound, (said I)
I would not tremble ! Though the an^el should
swear by him that liveth and abideth for ever, that
time with men upon earth should not be a minute
longer, yet would I rejoice in the Lord, I would be
glad in thee, in thee ! the God of my salvation.—
They wept bitterly at these solemn words, and
went out of the room, seriously thinking on what
had passed. One of them afterwards turned out a
pious girl, and is just now very near the throne of
the Lamb. See ! yonder she is, casting her glittering crown at his blessed feet. Bless the Lord, O
my soul! hosannah in the highest.
To turn to my own history. I became a lover
of retirement. Formerly, when left at home, I
was perfectly miserable; I looked out at every
window to catch some giddy acquaintance, to call
them in, to tattle about nonsense. But now I blessed God for every quiet hour. O how many pleasant ones I spent in perusing the history of the
precious Lamb of God, who came to take away l\m
(    19   )
sins of the world ! When I read of his last sufferings, I was astonished ; I wept with love ; and affectionately thanked him for his marvellous grace
and goodness. O how delightfully I fed on the
fourteenth and following chapters of John ! These
appeared to me as opening the window of heaven,
and exposing to public view, the mysteries of God.
Though my father was truly pious, yet most of
our relations were worldly people. These often
sneered at my religion, and upbraided me as precise, and peevish; and I know not what all. I
must not omit telling you, that one of my keenest
persecutors, being afterwards converted by the
amazing grace of Jesus, declared to me, that at the
very time she was speaking all manner of. evil
falsely against me, she secretly wished she was
like me; that her persecution did not arise from a
persuasion I was wrong, but from a hatred to any
thing like holiness, and because she felt herself reproved by my conduct. And let me tell you a secret I have learned since I came to heaven, that
the most of the persecutors of God's people upon
earth, either fear the saints are in the right, or absolutely believe it. There are also many people
who run to plays, balls, company, &c. merely to
kill reflection, to ward off the thought of a judgment
to come. A guilty conscience is the disease of
thousands ; and instead of running to the Saviour
for relief from it, they rush into the follies of life.
There are also many people whose custom it is,
when pressed with the cares of a family, or their
business, to have recourse to intoxication, in order
to drown care.—Poor creatures ! they know not
what a sovereign remedy Jesus is against all these
 (  £0  )
The Lord enabled me with calmness and patience to endure the persecutions which I met with,
and in process of time, my relations gave up the
contest; indeed they would have been quite surprised if I had deviated from my customary life,
and would have chid me as severely for it, as for
the contrary conduct before. The world are quick-
sighted ; they soon notice when a child of God acts
out of character, and then they have neither mercy nor charity for him. One would be apt to imagine that these people do not think that they are
under any law to God, that the law is only made
for Christians. They make flaming apologies for
the immoralities of bad men, but none of the smallest blemishes of good men. This conduct proves
what master they serve; to what class they belong.
But not to detain you longer with my history, I
came through many trials, and experienced many
pleasant hours of communion with my God and
Saviour, whose ways are ways of pleasantness, and
who makes the paths  which lead to his kingdom
f>eace to those  who  walk in them.    My Lord at
ast sent his messenger to remove  me from your
wilderness world.    My sickness was not severe,
neither was it of long continuance
So gentle was
the last stroke, that I scarce knew I was dying.
My mind was fixed upon our Saviour's words, " Be
thou faithful unto death, and 1 will give thee the
crown of life!" In a moment I heard the hosan-
nahs of heaven, and saw the tribes of God going
thither in throngs from our earth. I came with
exceeding joy in myself to this wondrous world,
and with mirth on every side. 0 what fools are
those who lose ail this glory for the sake of enjoy-
V     .   .       -
r... zz "'."r:':_:. ._r.7:^_ "_:__,„
(    21    )
ing the toys of time for a few hours ! When you
return to the residence of unglorified men and women, beseech them on the knees of importunity to
consider their ways, and turn to the Lord, that
they may live here for ever. Tell the disputers of
your world, that there is a God, a just God, and a
Saviour; that this God is love ; that his dominions
extendeth over all. Tell Christians who are wrangling about forms, who are trembling for their own
arks, and talking to the prejudice of each others
tell those who are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, or pushing after the advancement of their own characters to obtain praise of
men; I say, tell such to consider the glory, and
grace, and knowledge of Jesus with deeper attention, and then their souls will be chiefly vexed for
the abominations of wicked men, and disposed to
rejoice at the sight of real religion wherever it appears. Tell the ungodly, that the kingdom of Jesus is fast filling up ; that shortly he will present
it to his Father a perfect kingdom ; then the door
of mercy will be for ever shut and the opposers of
the King plunged into the abyss of wo. Tell all
men to repent; that now is the accepted time, that
now is the day of salvation.
On this, she flew to the feet of Jesus, ascribing
all her salvation, from first to last, to his dear love
and grace.—She triumphed that she had now an
eternal opportunity to praise him. She declared
she would not be a day out of his presence for ten
thousand thousand worlds ! She appeared almost
at a loss how to express her ecstatic triumph.
As for me, I was mightily affected with this glorious scene.    I saw nothing to hurt, or disturb, or
(    22    )
destroy, or interrupt peace, in all this holy mountain. I saw no suffering, no sorrow, no sighing !
All was perfect love, peace, joy, and praise.
Reader, do you desire to go there when you die ?
Yes, I am sure you do. Balaam did so, but he
loved the mammon of this world. He wished to
gratify his lust here, and to live happy hereafter,
which is quite incompatible with the government
of God. Holiness is the only way to happiness;
without it none shall see the Lord in heaven,
While I stood silently admiring the harmony,
love, happiness, and perfect peace which universally pervaded the heavenly country^ I was struck
with shouts of triumph which commenced in the
vicinity of our Lord's presence, and which spread
like lightning over his immense empire. Inquiring
into the cause, I was informed that ten careless
sinners in Bohemia had been a few minutes before
converted to the faith of Christ. Are you surprised at their rejoicing so heartily at this ? said
the angel ; do not you read in the Scriptures, that
there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repent-
eth ? YVe are deeply interested in the displays of
divine mercy to men upon earth ; we rejoice in the
glory that redounds to our dear Lord ; and in the
boundless, endless felicity to which the poor sinner
is thereby exalted, the prodigious misery he has
thereby escaped and a thousand other things combined with that event. Truly you terrestrial saints
see these things but darkly as through a glass, or
you would feel more deeply interested in the salvation of poor perishing mortals.
While the angel thus addressed me, he stopped,
(    23    )
and pointed out to me one who w&s walking past.
That happy man, said he, was many years in prison for his steadfast adherence to the doctrine of
Christ. Many a time, when his faith in God was
nigh failing, was I sent to support him in his doleful dungeon. He continued to witness a good confession, till a commission was given by the Lord
to release him from the dominions of mortality.
Remember that our Lord afflicts none of his family without a good reason for it. The patience
which that man was enabled to exhibit, so struck
several of his persecutors, that they set a searching into the source of his principles, viz. the Scriptures of truth, and were so convinced by their divine evidence, that they believed in Jesus with all
their hearts. To accomplish this glorious end was
our Lord's reason for allowing him to suffer such
affliction. Upon this I justified God, and said " All
is well !" The angel proceeded, If you knew why
God allowrs distress of mind, want of health, worldly losses, crosses, &c. to come upon his people on
earth, you would pronounce a similar verdict on
every part of the conduct of Providence.
After this I stepped a little aside to converse
with a person who was loudly praising him that
sat upon the throne, I begged him to inform me of
ins history ; upon which he gave the following account of him.
I was born in Judea, a few furlongs from Jerusalem, about a year before our Lord's appearance
upon earth. I "was brought up by my parents a
Pharisee.    The wickedness of my "heart prompted
 (   24   )
me greatly to prefer, and to be much more zealous
in defending the traditions, or rather the inventions
of the elders, than the revelation of God in Moses
and the Prophets. I found these were more consonant to my corruption than the holy and righteous
laws of the Lord.
Being once prevailed upon to hear a sermon by
John the Baptist, I was a little affected with what
he advanced, but quite offended with the coarseness of his attire, and the strictness of his tenets.
I had no idea that he was sent of God,,or that he
was the harbinger of the Messiah.
Some time after this, I heard much about the
preaching and miracles of our Saviour; but all that
we Pharisees did, was to dispute about them, and
generally to slight them. The resurrection of Lazarus caused a great outcry against Christ, instigated by the members of the Sanhedrim; and though
1 joined in the general outcry, I had my fears lest
this should be some great prophet, whose character
we were traducing. Though Jesus passed our house
when on his last journey to Jerusalem, I did not so
much as go to the door to see him.
We were greatly alarmed on the day Jesus was
crucified, by the uncommon darkness which happened, and more so by a person calling at our house
and declaring that he saw several rocks of mount
Zion rent in a most astonishing manner ; also that
the veil of the temple, which separated between
the holy place and the most holy, was torn from
top to bottom without human hands. Three days
after, we were told that Jesus, in spite of every
precaution taken by the chief priests, had burst the
tomb, and got out of their hands; likewise, that
(    25    )
some who had lain long in the grave had corhe forth,
and called upon several citizens of Jerusalem. All
these things struck me exceedingly. The claims of
Christ to the character of the Jewish Messiah, appeared a matter of impiense magnitude, and deserving the most attentive consideration. But the
prejudice and enmity at that time prevalent against
Jesus, prevented me from mentioning my inward
reasonings to my dearest and nearest relations.
However, I learned that some of the foHowers of
the Messiah were preaching on Pentecost day. I
instantly ran to the place where they were addressing an immense concourse. Peter was speaking
with a fervour which demonstrated his own conviction of the truth of what he said.
I trembled when he boldly asserted the divinity
of his Master, and when he charged our nation with
murdering the Prince of Life. I cried cut with
thousands more, men and brethren, what shall we
do to be saved ? But O how we rejoiced, when he
commanded us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
assuring us, if we did so, that all our sins should
be forgiven ; that God would even accept us, murderers of his dear Son, as righteous in his sight:
that, by the death of Christ, he opened a way
whereby he would eternally appear just, even when
he justified the ungodly. 1 believed that Jesus was
the Son of God,—that his death was the appointed
atonement for sin,—and that the Old Testament
sacrifices all prefigured his one offering.
I ran home to my relations, and preached unto
them the glory of Jesus. I besought them to compare the character of Jesus with Old Testament
predictions, and they would look no longer for their
 (  26 )
expected deliverer,—that Jesus was the very person,—that we had most shamefully joined in the
hue and cry that was raised against him, which
hindered us from maturely examining the matter.
Our whole family, with many of our neighbours,
sat up till midnight talking about these strange
things which had happened, and I assure you they
made a solemn impression on all our minds. Some
regretted that they had ever uttered a word against
the Messiah, others that they had basely neglected
to hear him. In short, all who were present were
under deep impressions of the magnitude of these
matters. We wrought none, and scarce ate any
next day. Some were alarmed lest God should inflict some dreadful judgment upon Jerusalem for
the atrocious crime of crucifying the Lord of glory.
I told them, that by believing in Jesus they became
the friends of God, and when inflicting his judgments, he knew well how to distinguish between
friends and foes. They believed in Christ, and had
peace with God. We all committed ourselves to
the care, guidance and protection of God, and then
sung the 18th verse of Psalm lxviii.
Thou hast ascended on high* thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men ;
yea* for the rebellious also* that the Lord might
dwell among men.
Believing in Jesus, we rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory. We now ate our meals with
a merry heart. One day after dinner, my father
cried out, hail! O happy redeemed sinners! sing
with triumph the twenty-third Psalm.—Jesus will
take care of us all our days upon earth, and at the
(   .27    )
best time he will take us to his eternal embraces.
With astonishing animation we sung the Psalm,
and then wept with joy on each other's necks. We
extolled the Saviour wherever we went. We slept
rather because it was a duty, for the refreshment
of the body, than from any inclination to go to bed.
In a word, we experienced a heaven upon earth.
The Apostles continued to work miracles almost
every day, to confirm the truth of our Lord's resurrection ; to these they referred as divine attestations to the truth of their sermons. They publicly
declared, that the miracles they wrought were not
performed by any power which they exerted, but
by the power of Jesus whom they preached ; that
Jesus, being God, was (although invisible) as really
present upon earth as ever. Some of their hearers
told them to ascend to heaven and bring him down
again, and then they would believe. Peter said,
Did you ever see the wind ? No, said they, but we
daily see its effects, by its shaking the trees, corn,
&c. Well, said Peter, though the person of Christ
be invisible to you, (for the heavens must retain his
human nature till the time of the restitution of all
things) yet his presence and power are seen by the
miracles he works. Pointing to the converts, These,
said he, are witnesses to the presence and power
of Christ; once they were his obdurate enemies,
now they are his dear friends ! By what means was
this effected ? Come, said he, brethren, tell who
converted you ? They replied, It is by the grace of
Jesus we are what we are! Christ alone made us
Christians. Not unto us, not unto man, but unto
the blessed Jesus, be all the glory!
The priests were soon alarmed by the vast ac-
 (    28    )
cession of converts to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
They expected to meet with no more trouble from
that quarter, after they had accomplished the murder of the Messiah, and were the more irritated a-
gainst the Apostles on this account. They therefore got them apprehended and cast into prison.
This made us cry mightily to God for their release.
God heard our prayers, and sent an angel, who liberated them before the morning. The great men
were now completely nonplussed, seeing no prison
could securely keep the servants of Jesus. To put
the best face upon it they could, they politely sent
for the Apostles, and commanded them to speak no
more of Jesus Christ, but go home and attend to
their secular employments. However, they told the
priests that God had commanded them to act otherwise ; and whether it was duty to obey the Creator
or the creature, they left them to judge.
One Stephen, a deacon of the church at Jerusa- A
lem, becoming a bold preacher of Jesus, was therefore marked out for persecution. Accordingly he
was apprehended and brought before the Jewish inquisition. He made a long speech, and for a while
they listened to him with great attentiop and apparent moderation ; but the moment he charged
them with that sin which seemed to be teazing their
consciences, viz. the death of his Lord and Master,
it occasioned an amazing uproar, for they could not
endure to hear of that subject. Their fury was
such against this holy man of God, that they gnashed their very teeth at him, and even threatened to
devour him/ I happened to be present at Stephen's
trial, and I shall never forget his behaviour on that
occasion, while in the midst of men who were
(   29   )
thirsting for his blood. With a lustre on his countenance, he calmly looked up towards heaven, and
declared that he saw Jesus standing at the right
hand of God, which showed how highly God approved of his life and death for sin. On this, almost the whole assembly ran upon him, and dragged him, some by the hair, others by the heels, out
of the city, and there they stoned him. But such
was his meekness, that, like his great Master, he
died praying for his murderers. His prayer was
heard for one of them. -This was a young lad of the
name of Saul, who was so keenly set upon the mur-.
^ der of Stephen, that he watched the clothes of those
who were stoning him. He afterwards, as is well
known upon earth, became a most indefatigable
preacher of that gospel, which he at this time laboured to destroy. Grace has long and strong
arms ! I shall never forget what happiness I felt on
\> hearing of the conversion of this Saul, the persecutor. A clerk belonging to the High Priest, who was
a moderate minded young man, called on me one
morning, inquiring if I had any friends at Damascus who were Christians.—I hesitated to tell him,
lest he would inform against them. If you have,
said he, warn them to take care of Saul, for he has
got a commission to imprison and kill all he can
lay hands on of that description. He set off about
a couple of hours ago, direct for Damascus. I instantly wrote to my cousin, who resided there, to
give the above information to all that feared the
Lord around him. In a few days I received an answer, informing me that the Saviour had appeared
to Saul upon the road, and after reproving him for
his sin, had graciously opened his understanding*
c 2
 (    30    )
and revealed his glory unto him. So sudden and
powerful was the effect of this visit from our Lord,
that, immediately on his arrival at Damascus, this
wolf lay down at the feet of our Lord's lamb,* An-
nanias, and patiently heard him preach Christ.
I ran and read this to several of the Apostles,
but they suspected it was a forgery, designed to entrap them. They were so convinced of this, that
they trembled, three years after this, when they
heard that Saul had arrived at Jerusalem. However, Barnabas, who was bolder at that time, took
Saul, and introduced him as a brother to the Apostles. Saul had been such a chief promoter of the
late persecutions, that immediately after his conversion, the churches had rest throughout ail Judea,
Galilee, and Samaria.
As I have spoken of Saul, who was afterwards
called Paul, allow me to give you the remaining
history of this extraordinary man.
Paul and Barnabas, who were much alike in
temper, zeal, views, &c, contracted a peculiar affection for each other; for Barnabas was a good
man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, who, after labouring for some time at Antioch, went to
Tarsus in quest of Paul. When he found him, he
represented to him the state of Antioch the capital of Syria; how much his labours were needed
in that city ; that if an awakening took place there
by the power of God attending their preaching, it
was likely to spread over all Syria. Paul, full of
zeal, needed few arguments. He consented, left
* Fsaiah lxv. 25.
(   31    )
his native city, and they arrived in safety at Antioch, where they laboured comfortably and successfully for upwards of a year. He insisted so much
upon Christ crucified in his sermons, that his hearers were the first believers in the world who were
called Christians; and a glorious name it is, though
much abused. What would Paul have said, had he
heard a man call himself a Christian who did not
bow a knee to God twice in a year, or another who
swore or profaned the Lord's day, or merely because he was born in a certain country ? He surely would have been greatly shocked.
During the ministry of Paul and Barnabas at
Antioch, a deputation came from the church of Jerusalem to the church at Antioch, upon which they
were speedily assembled. Agabus, the chief speaker, rose up, and told the design of their journey in
the following manner.
Holy brethren in Christ, partakers of the heavenly calling, God has made known to the saints
at Jerusalem that there is to be an uncommon scarcity of provisions over the whole Roman empire.
His reason for giving us early intimation of this,
is not to torment us before the time, but that, like
Joseph of old, we may provide against it. The
members of the church at Jerusalem are in poor
circumstances, arising from the many persecutions
which have been raised against them. Many of
them have had their goods confiscated, others their
furniture burned at their doors by a malevolent
mob. Many of them are so hated for their pro-
fession of Christianity, that no manufacturer will
give them a week's work. Others who are shopkeepers, cannot sell one article, except to their own
 (    32    )
brethren ; and several young people have been banished from their fathers'houses, for confessing that
Jesus was the Christ. These combined afflictions
have reduced them to great straits; nevertheless
they rejoice in them, and endure as seeing him
who is invisible. Here I must stop and tell you an
interesting story.
One day a mob came to burn the house of my
brother-in-law for being reported a Christian.
When some were dragging out the beds, chairs,
&c. to the door, and others setting fire to them, his
wife was so filled with joy, that Jesus should count
her and her family worthy to suffer for his name's
sake, that she broke out in songs of praise in the
very middle of the mob, and thanked the Lord that
she had a better and a more enduring portion than
those things which the men were destroying; that
her inheritance, on which she chiefly set her heart,
was in heaven, where neither moth nor rust could
corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. This
conduct so struck her persecutors, that they sneaked away one by one, till the whole went oft'. A
few days afterwards, five of the mob came to the
church, confessed their sins, and professed their
faith in Jesus Christ, declaring that the exemplary
conduct of this Christian woman was the occasion
of their conversion. Praise the Lord, O our souls !
Hosannah in the highest!
To proceed to our commission. We are come to
solicit your pecuniary aid, so far as God has prospered you in your worldly matters, and given you
peace to enjoy and keep it. We need use no arguments to incite you to perform this Christian duty ; you love Christ, and will keep his command-
(    33    )        '
ments. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall not
only receive sympathy and mercy from man when
they need it, but God shall follow them with his
loving kindness and tender mercy.
A handsome sum was immediately collected by
the church at Antioch, and sent to Jerusalem by
Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas having delivered the charity to the church at Jerusalem, re-
turned to their charge at Antioch ; but they were
not long there, till the Holy Ghost desired the
other teachers of the church to set these two apart
for more general labours, to preach Jesus in distant
countries. None opposed the will of God, but instantly and unanimously set them apart to this
work, by tasting, prayer, and laying on of hands.
After preaching in several countries and islands,
they came to another Antioch, the chief city of
Pisidia, where they faithfully preached Jesus to
their Jewish brethren in the synagogue. After
quietly hearing their testimony, the Jews withdrew
from the synagogue : but some Gentiles who hap*
pened to be present, requested Paul to repeat the
same truths to them the next Sabbath. During the
week every body talked of what had passed upon
Sabbath, and so much was the curiosity of the citizens excited, that almost the whole inhabitants of
Antioch turned out next Sabbath to hear the Apostle preach. When he saw such an immense multitude, his holy soul was fired with zeal for their
eternal salvation ; the doctrines of the Saviour
poured from his lips, till his strength was almost
exhausted, and great success seemed to attend this,
and some other sermons which he preached. But
the enmity of the Jews was thereby excited; ac-
 (    54    )
cordingly they laid plans to blacken the character
of the Apostles, and to hold them up as the scum
of the earth. They first went slyly to some old
ladies, who were generally allowed to be very religious ; to these they related a number of odd stories against Paul and Barnabas ; the ladies believed them all, They ran through the city and
raised an astonishing hue and cry against the servants of God.—A mob was thereby collected, who,
with stones and bludgeons, drove them not only
from the city, but from all that country. The servants of God expressed their disapprobation of
their conduct, by shaking the dust from their feet,
against them. Even this simple act might have its
effect upon the minds of some who saw it done.
When this generation appeared before the judgment of Jesus, would they approve of their own
conduct upon this occasion ? 1 believe not. It was
the day of their merciful visitation ; but they despised and rejected the counsel of God against themselves.
I shall relate no more of Paul's history at present.    Adieu, for the Master calleth me.
My conductor did not interrupt our conversation,
but the instant it was ended he observed that the
period allotted for my visit to the heavenly state
was now expired, and he had orders to carry me to
the eternal prison of the wicked, that I might be
better able to form an estimate of heavenly bliss,
and to warn sinners in the lower world to escape
from the wrath to come.
We now left the holy city, amidst the hosannahs
of millions.    Heaven was engraven on my mind,
(    35    )
its glory was present to my view. Said I to my
conductor, I see death to me will be unspeakable
gain. Truly it will be better than life I long to
depart and be with Christ. I can never now set
my heart upon long life, or riches or honour in the
world, all is eclipsed by the glory of Christ. While
I was thus speaking we entered the gloomy gate
which led to the mansions of the miserable. We
took a general view of this extensive empire, and
noticed misery in all its degrees, proportioned by
infinite wisdom and power to the guilt contracted
in the world. Those who had few opportunities of
obtaining the knowledge of God and his Son Jesus
Christ, were beaten comparatively with few stripes,
but those who had lived in countries blessed with
the Scriptures of truth, were beaten with many.
The vials of the unmixed wrath of God, were perpetually pouring out upon them. Many were constantly exclaiming, O that I had never seen the
word of God ! O that I had never heard of Jesus
Christ! O that I had never been advised and entreated to believe in Him ! 0 that I had never been
born! O that I had died that day! Tell my brethren who are still alive not to come into this place
of torment, for they will add to my misery, by upbraiding me, for shewing them such bad example
and giving them so wicked counsel.
But I shall proceed to detail some particular
scenes which I saw in my dream, during my visit
to this dismal prison.
During the former part of my stay, every individual seemed only to attend to his own agony with-
 (    36    )
out appearing to notice his nearest companions in
wo ; but in a moment, as if by invisible instinct,
a general insurrection of millions took place, all
manifesting their enmity to each other. This continued for a considerable space, till their fury seemed gradually to subside ; after this a gloomy stillness succeeded. Inquiring into the reason of this
uproar, 1 understood it was a kind of periodical
frenzy, excited by despair, which seized their
minds, and roused, in the highest degree, their enmity against each other; that they thus fought, not
until their enmity ceased, but till their strength to
vent it abated.
When silence Was restored, I made up to a man
loaded with chains. I inquired into his history,
and he gave me the following detail.
I have been here ever since the old world was
destroyed by water. My parents were, like the
rest of that world, desperately wicked.—They gave
me no good counsel when young, and their example was as bad as bad could be. I imitated all their
iniquitous conduct as soon as I could speak. However, I cannot say I perished without being forewarned : for I lived within a mile of Noah's town,
and had often an opportunity of hearing him preach;
but the instant he had finished his sermon, I joined the rest of my brethren in mocking and stoning
him away from our fields. I shall never forget the
first time he declared publicly, and with vast concern, the approaching destruction of the world by
water; the moment he broached it, there was a
universal burst of laughter.    He certainly would
(    37    )
have been put to death instantly, had we not been
persuaded he was out of his reason. In all our companies the first toast that was given, was, Noah's
flood; and Noah himself was the song of the drunkard. When he began to build his ark, you can
scarcely conceive the sport it afforded in the whole
country .—Numbers, out of curiosity, went to see,
it; and after viewing the fabric, they generally
held up their hands, exclaiming, what folly and
madness ! Often did Noah exhort the spectators to
repent and turn unto the Lord, and besought them
with tears to consider their ways, lest destruction
should seize them in a day, when they looked not
for it; but they listened to him just as you would
to a madman. ' He hired me to assist him in building his ark. The workmen, after receiving their'
week's wages, generally retired to an ian in the
neighbourhood, and there we continued for hours
together in one roar of laughter about our week's
work, just as if we had been employed in making
wheels to the sun.
In this kind of way I spent my life, till one day
that many of our townsfolk and I were at a wedding, some miles off. After spending the day in
great merriment, on our way home we were overtaken with the most tremendous storm, man ever
witnessed ; the rain descended in torrents, and the
wind blew a perfect hurricane. The road soon became almost impassable, and our hearts began to
fail us. A young woman whom I led by the hand
whispered into my ear, do you think this is Noah's
flood ? I answered, I cannot say, but it looks very
like it. Before we got home we were almost walking to the knees in water; but as our town stood
 (    38    )
upon a rising ground, our houses were tolerably
dry, and as we were extremely fatigued we went
to bed, and soon fell fast asleep; but early in the
morning we were awakened by the waters having
risen so as to make the bed-clothes swim. Without speaking a word, all of us hastened to the roof
of the house;' but how dreadful was our horror,
when we saw that the whole country was one sheet
of water ! Beds, stools, tents and dead carcasses
were every minute sailing past. An old man from
a neighbouring house, called over to us not to be
afraid; that he had seen a scene something like
this about 500 years ago, and it subsided when it
came within a foot of the top of his door. This
intelligence raised a gleam of hope in all our minds^
I then went down into the house, and brought up
some victuals which we parted to each other, and
ate in silence, waiting the termination of the sad
catastrophe. We spent several days and nights
in the most dreadful suspense ; we beheld with
horror the water rising higher and higher; all the
provisions we could possibly collect were consumed, and destruction appeared inevitable. At length
we perceived a huge body moving towards us ;
upon its nearer approach we saw that it was Noah's
ark, which contained him and family. As it passed about a quarter of a mile from us, our cries for
assistance could not be heard, nor was the smallest notice taken of us, by any in the ark. Now we
remembered the entreaties of Noah ; when too late,
we condemned ourselves that we had been deaf to
his counsel. Houses around us began to tumble,
and all the inhabitants were carried along by the
impetuous current.    At last ours went to pieces,
(    39    )
>and down we plunged into the deep.    In a ffew
minutes I was suffocated, and my soul carried to
this dismal world: and here I have been ever since!
This man repented not at the preaching of Noah,
and his soul was lost for ever ! but a greater than
Noah preaches to us.   If these men who refused to
hear Noah, died without mercy, how much sorer
punishment shall we deserve, if we despise the
miracles and ministry of Jesus Christ.    Reader,
flee to the Redeemer, as the man-slayer did to the
city of refuge ; call upon him while he is near ;
this is your day of grace; part of it is past since
you began to read this mournful story. Remember
your Creator in the days of your youth.    If you
die not soon, the days are coming, when  your
strength shall be so exhausted, that the grasshopper
alighting upon your shoulders shall feel as a burden ; but if you become a tree of righteousness,
yielding fruit unto God, you  shall  continue to
flourish and bring forth fruit for ever.
Retire to your closets at least evening and morning. There read and meditate on the scriptures.
Pour out your hearts to God in prayer; think upon
your needs; look to Jasus to supply them; love,
honour, obey your parents. Cease to do evil, learn
to do well. Flee youthful lusts which war against
the soul, by beholding the Lamb of God, who took
tway, by his obedience unto death, the sins of the
world. Do justly, delight in contemplating God's
mercy to sinners, in showing mercy to others, and
walk humbly with our God.
After musing for some time upon my last interview, I was hailed by one at a distance to come
md speak with him.  Accordingly I went. As you
 (    40    )
have come, said he, to take a survey of our pit, I
will take you to an old prisoner, who can relate
his story very fluently.
After taking me to his cell, he desired me to
walk in and make the most of him. My conductor
desired him to relate his history, which he, without any hesitation, proceeded to give. The following is an abridged detail of it in his own words, as
nearly as I can recollect.
I lived in Judea during the whole period when
the Son of God was on earth. I knew him from
his earliest years, and heard him frequently preach.
His reproaching us for our manner of life, so displeased and irritated me, that I combined with
others to defame him wherever I went. I witnessed many of his miracles; but my enmity was so
strong against him, that I attributed all his power
to a connection he had with the prince of darkness. I was one of the five thousand whom he fed
with the five barley loaves, and two small fishes.
When I saw this miracle performed, I own I was
very well pleased, and professed myself a friend
and follower of Jesus. But why ? Why thought
I, if this man can feed us by a power which he
possesses, I shall no more need to work. Accordingly I, with many others, followed him over the
lake Gennesareth, merely for bodily sustenance ;
but he knew our motives, and gave us so severe a
reprimand, that my indignation was increased tenfold. I laboured to propagate all the stories I could
invent against Jesus. I was one of his accusers
before Pilate, and witnessed his crucifixion. After
(   41    )
his resurrection I heard the Apostles proclaiming
pardon through his death to the chief of sinners.-—
Though many of my companions were converted
by their preaching, it had no effect upon me at all;
they gave up my company, but I used continually
to ridicule them for their folly wherever I met
them.    But a period was soon put to all my wickedness : while walking one day along the street in
Jerusalem, a stone fell from a house and struck me
upon the head, which stupified me in a moment.—
I know not how long I may have breathed afterwards; but on a sudden I found myself imprisoned in this awful jail.    I have none to comfort me,
/|j    \       not even a cup of cold water to cool my tongue]
When I begin to complain, my associates in misery
burst forth with imprecations, declaring that my
words and example in the world were the chief
cause of their destruction.
Upon this I left Haman and held a conversation
with a young lady but lately committed to this
prison. She was daughter to a gentleman of fashion
still in the world.    Her tale is indeed affecting,
though far from beVng extraordinary, I shall state
her own  account of it, and nearly in her own
words.    After conversing for ten  minutes upon
different topics, she proceeded to say:
I was born to a considerable  fortune in the
world, and the whole attention of my parents was
directed to fit me for shining in the gay circles of
life.    Thousands of times they chid me for not
sitting erect, for not walking gracefully, for not
d 2
 .    (    4£    )   s
talking correctly. Music, dancing, drawing, and
other polite accomplishments, engrossed almost
every waking hour till I was turned fifteen years
of age. During all this bustling period, I received
very little information about God, heaven, or hell,
I have sometimes seen whole companies at our
house highly diverted at stories about some people
called Religionists, Seceders, Methodists, &c. but
they never condescended upon any particulars respecting their tenets, so I had no opportunity at
that time of knowing them.
When about sixteen years of age I began to
know that I had a genteel person, with a fine
countenance, and I assure you I valued myself not
a little upon these poor perishing qualifications.
The most of my time was now taken up with dressing and undressing—two or three hours were daily
consumed peeping into the mirror, adjusting my
bonnet, gown, hair, &c. I had no more concern
about my soul than the child unborn. However,
my maid made me very serious one day. I saw
frequently she had a desire to talk of something
which she feared I would not much relish, but that
day she plucked up courage, and told me very
gravely, Miss Sophia I fear your mind is wholly
engrossed with the follies of life, that you seldom
attend to the eternal salvation of your immortal
soul. It is your interest, as well as your duty, to
consider what shall become of you when you die.
Remember that God made us, that He daily preserves us, and provides for us all the good things
we enjoy ; that he observes our conduct with a
Watchful and penetrating eye, and will at last
bring Us unto judgment to answer for our sins.
(    43    )
Remember he has put his blessed word into our
hands to make us wise and happy in time and
eternity. Here she stopped,for she was terrified lest
I would take offence at her freedom. These few
faithful hints from my maid made me tremble.
Away I rah to the drawing room, where my father
was laughing over a novel he was reading to my
mother. I had scarce got to the middle of the
room, when I cried out weeping, O father, I fear I
am a great sinner, and that it is dangerous to live
as I am doing. Magdalen has given me some very
serious advices about reading the scriptures, tell
me what you think I should do. Without answering me a word, he rung the bell with all his might,
and ordered up Magdalen. The moment she entered the room, he said, Dame, if you ever open
your mouth to Sophia, or any of my children, about
these enthusiastic cants, that instant you must begone from my house; now mind what I say, Magdalen gave a courtesy, and walked out with her
eyes fixed on the ground. He then took me aside,
and told me not to believe such idle nonsense, that
they were only the ravings of a set of madmen,
who try to turn the world upside down with their
stupid jargon. He then held up to ridicule some
pious men, and in a short time laughed me out of
ail my fears.
Notwithstanding the fright which my father gave
Magdalen, she was always, as if accidentally, leaving little religious tracts in my bed-room. Sometimes I burned them, and sometimes took no notice
of them; at other times, out of mere curiosity, I
would take a stolen peep. Two lines of one of
them one day went to my heart like a dagger; it
 (    44    )
was to this effect: Behold he cometh with clouds,
and every eye shall see him!•—I could not forget
these words ; in short they seemed as if nailed to
my mind. My parents perceiving me pensive and
melancholy, often urged me to assign the reason ;
but I would not. However, they hurried me from
play to play, from ball to ball, and from company
to company, till they accomplished their horrid
purpose ; I mean, till they removed effectually
every serious impression from my mind ; for this
concern never returned. My parents, Sir, have
been the murderers of my poor soul; and if ever
I meet them in these abodes of the miserable, I
shall reproach them through eternity, for their
cruelty to me. Had they let me alone, I might
probably have found the way of life; but now these
happy gates are for ever shut against me! I am
forced to hear the indignation of the Lord for sinning against him, and not following out his calls
to me in the world !
But to return to my narrative.—When I reached my twenty-second year, a young gentleman of
fortune paid his addresses to me. He and his
friends flattered me beyond measure. Every word
I spoke, commanded silence, was attended to and
admired. If I happened to utter one witty expression, though borrowed from a novel I had read
the preceding evening, it was extolled to the very
skies, and repeated with eclat in companies for a
month after. By this abominable flattery I was
completely ruined; I thought the wisdom of Solon,
or the eloquence of Cicero, contemptible when
compared to mine, so completely did 1 fall before
(   45   )
Before the nuptials were to be celebrated, my
father carried me up to London to kill the intervening time, every hour of which appeared an age.
He led me through the throngs of nobility and gentry which crowd the metropolis, and my approaching marriage was the tea and card table talk over
the whole city.
After many a fatiguing rout, we took our journey home; on the third day I caught a severe cold,
and had only arrived a few days at my native city
when I fevered. I saw that my relations were
alarmed, but they endeavoured to appear cheerful,
and tried every expedient to keep up my spirits.
They prohibited all my visiters from giving the
most distant hint of my approaching dissolution. I
thought much upon the conversations I had had
with our old servant Magdalen, and was extremely anxious my father would send for her, as she
then lived very near us; but he was enraged at the
mention of her name.—However, he sent for a
preacher much admired among the fashionable people. When Tie came, I told him I was dying, and
was very apprehensive the consequences would be
dreadful, for I had lived a most thoughtless life. I
said if the Bible be a true book I am ruined for
ever. He replied that he was persuaded I had
lived a very harmless inoffensive life, and God
being a merciful God would certainly take me to
heaven. But, Sir, said I, God has given us many
commandments, most of which I have neglected,
how can I then be inoffensive ? O said he do not
allow these kind of notions to enter your mind,
you have done ill to nobody, I wish I was as fit
for dying as you are.   Upon this my father en-
 ( ^ )
fcered the PQom, and began to tell him what a fine
obedient daughter I had been, and how little I had
to answer for in comparison to many. The preacher shook hands with me, desired me to keep up my
spirits, and assured me there was no occasion of
alarm respecting eternity. This served, in a great
measure, to remove my fears. Every waking moment afterwards, when I could bear it, my friends
had some gay acquaintance at my bed-side, to a-
muse me with conversation. Thus time moved on
till my strength was wholly exhausted; and one
evening while they were administering some medicine, I became extremely ill, and in a few minutes
expired, amidst the screams of my surrounding
friends. The next moment I found myself shut up
in this prison of wo; and you see me surrounded
with thieves, murderers and blasphemers, with
whom I must be an associate in misery through eternity. O who can dwell with everlasting burnings!
Reader! are you sorry for Sophia ? Remember,
that if you live thoughtless and careless, you shall
soon be plunged into the same misery. If you are
living without prayer, it is in vain to hope for mercy from God. If you do not love and serve Jesus
Christ, you are under the same condemnation with
Sophia, only the sentence is not executed against
you. This is your day of grace. God beseeches
you to be reconciled to him, to behold his Son who
was crucified for sin, to depend upon his death as
the only foundation of hope. To-day if you hear
God's voice, if you attend to his calls and invitations, you will instantly cease to do evil and learn
to do well.   No doubt your companions will think
(    47    )
it strange, for a while, that you do not keep pace
with them in their follies and fashions; but what
signifies their mockery, if you are saved from the
wrath to come. God does not desire you to live as
your neighbours would have you, but to live godly
and to walk humbly with him, and he will make
you happier than ever you have been. You will
soon find out better companions, and more rational
amusements. Associate with them who fear God*
Read the Scriptures every day. Remember to sanctify the Sabbath. Attend the ministry of none but
those who preach the Gospel, who speak much about
a crucified Jesus. Read Omicron's Letters, by Mr.
Newton, of London, and also his Cardiphonia. The
Reign of Grace, by Mr. Booth, is also an admirable
book. Witherspoon upon Regeneration, and Doddridge's Sermons to Young People, are also good
books. But read the Scriptures more than any
other books.
I was born in the city of Edinburgh, during the
days of John Knox* My father possessed considerable property, from whom I had the most liberal education which the city could afford. When
at the Grammar School, I daily heard the high encomiums passed upon the heathen gods, and on the
virtue and magnanimity of heathen warriors. These
heathenish harangues deprived me of the tincture
of religion I had imbibed from my catechism and
Bible at the reading school. I was also taught to
believe that all my success and happiness in afterlife hinged on being a good or bad linguist. Receiving these sentiments, I considered the obtain*
 (    48    )
ing a knowledge of the dead languages as the one
thing needful.    In short, I was so absorbed in this
persuasion, that I minded  nothing  else.    From
morning to night I was so taken up preparing for
shining in the then present world, that the infinitely
more important concerns of my soul were completely overlooked.   Indeed it never once occurred
to me that there was a world to come, or that men
were made for any nobler purpose than what could
take place in the boundaries of time.    How dreadful was it that nobody cared for my poor soul, that
nobody recommended to me the writings of jeho-
vah !   I perhaps would not have taken it kind at
the time, but they ought, notwithstanding, to have
persisted in urging me on to consider those things
which pertained to my eternal peace.    Many good
men visited my father's house; but knowing that he
was a wicked man, they thought it bad breeding to
commend the Saviourin his company; this was
abominable cowardice, a shameful compliance with
the world, a want of zeal for God.
After finishing my course &t the high school, I
went to college, in pursuit of what was called mental accomplishments. By dint of application I soon
became a proficient in the various branches of polite literature. 1 became so acute a reasoner, so
ingeniously sophistical, that I generally turned
the scale in every debate in which I engaged.
My companions admired my abilities, and courted
my company, I ridiculed the righteous, and condemned them as fanatics upon every occasion.
I pleaded for the dignity of human nature, and
many an eulogium I passed upon the noble powers of man.    I called sin, human frailty.    I call-
(   49   )
ed holiness, human folly, the despicable imagination of a distempered brain. Thus I went on,
as ignorant as a Hottentot about divine things. I
expected to make a figure in the world, to arrive
at the pinnacle of human glory, and do something
to hand down my name to succeeding ages. But
behold, in the prime of life, I was seized with a
consumption ! I was soon given over by my physicians, and death stared me in the face in all his
ghastly horrors.—-I called for cards, novels, music,
&c. if possible to banish thought. I tried to be
cheerful, that my friends might talk of my fortitude,
but I assure you I had a quivering heart. My
greatest enemies were those who called themselves
my dearest friends; they attempted to divert my
attention from my approaching doom by every
satanic stratagem. They removed from my chamber a Bible which had remained for years unmolested on my shelf; all divinity books suffered the
same banishment. But their greatest cruelty appeared only two days previous to my departure,
when a poor womanln the country who had nursed
me, hearing of my great distress, called to inquire
for me: and being admitted to my bed-side, she
began, in the mildest manner, to talk of the lost
and perishing condition of man : but, when just
beginning to mutter something about the Saviour,
my sister pushed her out of my chamber, ordering
her, upon her peril, never to enter the door again.
I complained of this usage, and petitioned for her
re-admission, but this was denied. I was too feeble to dispute, and was obliged to submit.
I was quite ignorant of what awaited me, but I
feared dissolution.    I would have given ten thou-
 (    50    )
sand worlds for a few years addition to my days;
however, my heart-strings broke, and my soul flew
to the abodes of misery. I have now more than
£00 years suffered inconceivable misery ; but after
the general judgment I know that my punishment
will be greatly augmented. I am beyond all hopes
of recovery, an unmeasurable eternity of wo is
before me. I see now (when too late) that there
is a reality in religion; that the truly pious are the
only wise men in the world ; I feel, to my sad experience, the truth of those threatenings contained
in the scriptures, at which I once used to smile;
but I find " God now laughs at the calamity which
hath come upon me* and mocks me when my fears
have come as a desolation" I have no hand to turn
to. I know my nurse has reached the realms of
eternal felicity. The good advices she sometimes
gave me are as fresh upon my memory as the moment she gave them, and every recollection of them.
is as the thrusting a dagger to my heart.
Francis was born in the village of Vanity, in
the parish of Hirelingpriest. His father was a
collier, addicted to drinking to excess almost from
a child, and he, poor man ! thought it fine sport to
give his son liquor till he was scarce able to stand,
when he was only six years of age. This rivetted
in him a habit which stuck to him till his death.
The mother of Francis was daughter to a coal-
driver who lived in a little wicked town which some
time ago got the name of Profanity ; and well it
deserved that name. There was hardly a person
in it who did not either drink immoderately, or
/    s
( n )
swear roundly; even the children in the street used
to swear, steal and tell lies. On the Lord's day
there was scarce half a dozen of people who went
to any place of worship. Some said they had not
a cap; others pretended that their gown was not
good enough ; others that they toiled so hard
through the week, they must have a day of rest;
and some had the effrontery to say, they must stay
at home and cook the dinner. In this way almost
the whole town absented themselves from hearing
the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ: indeed Sabbath was the wickedest day in the week
in that place. Had you taken a walk about the
town in time of sermon, you would have seen some
drinking in the alehouse, others loitering in their
beds, some lolling behind hedges and trees in the
fields, idly squandering away their precious moments, forgetting that now is the accepted time,
that now is the day of salvation.
From this town came the mother of poor Francis,
and she was not a whit better than her neighbours.
Of course Francis got no education from his parents, nor did any other care for his soul. Every
thing he could carry away from his neighbours unobserved, he seized and brought home. He saw
this conduct pleased his parents, though they had
cunning enough to say nothing. By this he was
much encouraged in his wickedness. Sometimes
he was caught in the very act of stealing, and received many a severe drubbing. But this did not
prevent him from persisting in his crimes.
One day a boy asked him if he would go along
with him to a Sunday school in the village of Sobriety; which was only half-a-mile from Vanity,
 where he would hear fine things about the love of
God to sinners, about heaven, about the evil of
swearing, stealing, &c. Francis, instead of thanking
the boy for his good advice, first laughed heartily
at him, and then tumbled him into the ditch. This
good boy's name was Timothy Truth. At this
very instant the proprietor of the village came up,
(who was a good man,) and inquired into the reason of the scuffle. The moment he understood
what had happened, he put his hand into his pocket,
and gave young Timothy five shillings to purchase
a Bible and other good books ; but turning about
to Francis, he said, As for you, sirrah, you deserve
to be banished the country; go home and learn to
read and work, lest you bring yourself by your
wickedness to an untimely end ; good would it be
for you to follow the example of Timothy, but your
parents, sirrah, are more to blame than yourself.
When sixteen or seventeen years of age, Francis became a postilion, for he could not settle to
any stationary trade, having a strong propensity
to roam about from place to place. All the money
he earned was instantly squandered away in bad
company. However, these days of sin and folly
were soon finished, for when driving his chaise
furiously down a steep hill, his horses took fright,
and run over a precipice on the side of the high
way, and poor Francis was killed on the spot.
Thus was he hurried away to the judgment-seat
of Jesus, without a moment's warning, or the smallest preparation for that awful event.
I now awoke from my sleep, and behold it was
a dream!
the END.


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