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“THE LATTER DAY S.”
In introducing “ The Latter Times” to the attention of the public, it may, perhaps, be as well to say something of the motives which induced the author to undertake a work of so peculiar a nature.
Being two summers ago in the library of a friend, the author was surprised to see the table covered with a variety of new publications, all referring to the signs of the times, and showing how various passages of prophecy are fulfilled in the present state of society. That many of these small volumes displayed much learning, piety, and beauty of composition, was generally allowed; but the inquiry being made, who will read them? it was almost unanimously agreed, by a large circle then present, that they would be perused only by persons already impressed with the importance of the subjects on which they treated; and that they were not calculated to attract any description of readers not already interested in that which ought to be equally interesting to all, --namely, those awful symptoms of the dissolution of society ; those “ wars and rumours of wars ;” and other appalling tokens which are continually occurring in these days, to admonish us to look to the end, and be prepared for that which may arrive.
It was then suggested that if some of the leading prophecies which had been brought forward in these graver treatises could be arranged in a more popular and attractive form, there might perhaps be a hope, under the divine blessing, of drawing the attention of some persons who would not easily be tempted to forego amusement for edification; and the author being requested by the whole assembled party to direct the requisite attention to the subject, she lost no time in preparing the present volume; wherein, under an alle. gory sanctioned by Scripture, she has endeavoured to show that it behooves the members of the visible church to consider whether they are prepared for that hour in which the Master of the family will return “as a thief in the night.
THE LATTER DAYS.
ALTHOUGH I at one time supposed that it never could be possible for me to put pen to paper with the view of writing my own history, or of making myself the hero of a narrative-yet the circumstance of having found myself engaged in adventures, the recapitulation of which may be the means of conveying deep instruction to the present generation, viz. to those living in the latter times, has induced me to emerge from the obscurity in which my little worth and mean parentage seemed to have involved me.
My name is NICODEMUS; I am of an ordinary family, and my birthplace was in a far country; my age is now about twenty-five; and all the events which I mean to enlarge upon took place when I was in my twenty-fourth year. .
I earned my living in my own country until the period spoken of above, under several masters, but not in subordinate situations, having received the best education which the place could afford, and being ready as a writer, and well acquainted with ancient tongues. Nevertheless, finding my services unprofitable, and not clearly seeing how in the long run I should be bettered by them, for my wages were such only as provided for my present wants-perishing as it were in the use of them,* I began to be uneasy, and to cast about, as it were, for a master who would take care of me in case of the failure of health, or any other accident; and not seeing anywhere in all that country a master of this description, I remained a while in an uneasy, unsettled state, in consequence of which I found my affairs falling from bad to worse from day to day.
It was just about this time, while feeling myself as it were without friend or means of support, that I received
* “Which all of them are to perish with the using.” Col ii. 22. VOL. II.-N
a letter from an uncle whom I had never seen, inasmuch as he had left his own family years before, having been called to the service of a Master, of whom our people spoke lightly—and therefore we had been in the habit of considering this our relation, in the light of a branch cut from a tree, and as it were thrown to the burning. I was therefore not a little surprised when the letter, sent by a careful messenger, was put into my hands, together with that which was to defray the expense of my journey.*
Now the terms in which this letter was couched were those of exceeding kindness, so that while I read it, my heart warmed to the writer, and I instantly resolved to do that which he so earnestly recommended; for this letter was to invite, nay, to entreat, to supplicate me, as I valued my future happiness, to leave all that I had behind me, and to come forthwith to take part with him. The words of the letter were to this effect:
“My Master is the best of masters, his service is easy beyond that of all other masters, and his wages, with one privilege and another, are past all count, and beyond all calculation :--but lest you should be anxious concerning your reception, my nephew, I give you my word that, as long as I have lived in his blessed service, and that has been through his goodness and through no merit of my own) from my youth up, until now, I have never seen any one who was brought to seek his service, whom he in anywise cast out.”
Such was my uncle's letter; and I being like the prodigal son in the Scriptures, feeding with the swine, and knowing not where to lay my head, it was not for me to decline such an offer as this; therefore, having made what inquiry I could respecting the way, and being little encumbered with worldly goods, I set out upon my journey.
I do not intend to trouble my reader with the history of my travels, but shall begin to tell my adventures with some particularity only just where I came in sight of the lands which belonged more especially to my uncle's Master, whom henceforward I shall designate by the title
* “ Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provisions for the way, and thus did he unto them.” Gen. xlii. 25.
t “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out." John vi. 37.