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with us for a period according to his pleasure. This I say is the present question, and from this, my brother, we will not depart."
“Well then to the point,” said the doctor; “what may you have to allege ?"
" Where,” said my uncle, as he turned over the leaves of the volume which lay before him, viz. the volume which contains the written communications of the Master; "where, my good sir, do you say that our Master now is ?”
“At court,” replied the doctor.
“Ay," returned my uncle," in the seat of government. Well, listen then, and hear what this volume says, in speaking of a future time: it says, a messenger shall come from the seat of government, having the power of casting into the dungeon ; and he shall lay hold of our Master's enemy, and bind him for many days, and shut him up, and seal him with a seal, that he shall deceive the people no more ; and after that he shall have his liberty for a short time; and then the royal seats shall be set in our judgment-halls, and those who love the Master, and do not wear the livery of the enemy, shall live and rule with him for many days."*
"All this,” replied the doctor, “is figurative; and its signification is totally different from the interpretation you choose to put upon it.”
“What other interpretation could you possibly put on words so plain ?" asked my uncle.
The doctor shuffled in his seat, and then said, “ Can
*“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set his seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled : and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Rev. xx. 1-6.
you believe that the Master would lower himself and descend so far from his dignity, accustomed as he is to a royal seat, to come among such as we are? It is an absurdity, Mr. Secretary, which I never will admit.”
“ But the letter, the words of the letter ?" returned my uncle; “what do you make of them, doctor ?"
“Why," replied the doctor, “is it not all as one and the same thing, whether we go to him, or he comes to us! and is not one and another from time to time called into his presence, and to be with him where he is? What matters it, whether his faithful servants are with him here, or with him where he now may be?”
“Little," returned my uncle, “I conceive, as it regards our present views, and plans, and prospects; therefore, as long as words have a fixed and certain meaning, I will not allow that, if he who never speaks a falsehood says he will come to us,*-it can be possibly understood to mean that he will call us to himself, that is, speaking of us collectively as men living in a place specified, and not as individuals. Moreover, he elsewhere says, that when he comes he will bring those of us with him who are already gone to him. What do you make of this, especially when he farther states, that such of us as shall be still here when he comes shall go forth to meet him; that is, speaking of us as of a household, and not as of individuals ?"
“But what,” said the doctor," is all this turmoil about? Whether we are to go to him, or he to come to us, I say how can it affect our present views and purposes ? Has he not promised that if we are found faithful, we shall be with him? Why then need we be so anxious to know where we are to meet and be blessed in his presence ?"
*" And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to e
execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'” Jude 14, 15.
+" For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess. iv, 16-18.
“See you not,” replied my uncle," where it affects our views and our plans, and that so decidedly and so completely as to change the object almost of every action of our lives? We both agree in one point, that there is a promise that there shall be a time in which the confusion and disorder which now reign in this our Master's domain, shall be thoroughly set right-a time in which all our little ones shall be instructed in what is right,* in which our garden shall bring forth fruit in abundance, and our rocks shall drop with honey ;t in short, a period of universal prosperity, in which all our evil rulers shall be driven from the land. I Now in this we both agree; but you say that this blessed state will be brought about by your instrumentality, and that of your faithful fellowservants, under the direction of the interpreter.' Whereas I say that what we can do will never bring this desirable state of things to pass, and that this never will, and never can be effected but by the Master himself, when he comes to take the rule into his own hand.”
“Well," returned the other," and this is much what I have heard before.”.
“And is unsavoury to many," returned my uncle, “ because it reduces us all, as it were, to some standard, counting our boasted efforts and exertions to be as nought, as to the production of the great general reformation of which we speak (for the eneniy rules and will rule till the Master comes), although they may be ren. dered of some use for the guidance and persuasion of individuals among our fellow-servants, and for the consolation and strengthening of others: but remember, doctor, that I say individually, and as it were secretly; for our Master's party here have little to do at the public tables, and at the chief seats in our halls."
“Well,”-returned the doctor, turning to me, as it were
*“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." Isaiah liv, 13.
t" He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat : and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee." Psalm Ixxxi. 16.
I“ And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beasts of the land devour them: but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.” Ezek. xxxiv. 28.
Ø“And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd." Ezek. xxxiv. 23.
to shake off the irritation of his feelings, which he felt no doubt to be great impediments in his way towards performing the wishes of the housekeeper, inasmuch as he was not come to call out my uncle to a declaration of his sentiments, but rather to gain me over in :such sort, that I might be less liable to be influenced by them, "but I am thinking, young sir, that I am not acting the part which civility should dictate, when I came expressly to pay my respects to the nephew, to be tilting and jousting with your venerable relation, but you must know and believe, that after all, your good uncle and I are the best of friends : we have known each other many years, we have served one good Master, I trust, from our youth up; and though we always renew our combats when we meet, yet as the points on which we argue are minor matters comparatively, our arguments have no tendency to weaken friendship.”
My uncle was going to speak in this place, but the doctor, raising his tone, though not angrily, said, “Come, come, no more of this to day, my old friend, let us rather seek the points in which we agree, than argue about those in which we disagree.” My uncle bowed, as if he would have said, be it so; and then the doctor went on to speak of things and occurrences of smaller moment, and such as I hardly conceived to be worthy of his serious attention; but so it will ever be when two persons meet who are conscious that their opinions on important points are dissimilar; they are naturally driven to trifle in discourse, and because they fear the rock in the centre of the lake, to keep beating up and down in the shallows near the bank. So after a while the chaplain took his leave, and we being left to ourselves, my uncle said, “I would willingly, my nephew, for a week or two to come, that you should keep yourself as quiet as possible in this family, associating only with me, and endeavouring to acquire information respecting our Master's affairs; you will probably be called out to more active duties by-and-by,” he added, " and the time will be little enough for strengthening and establishing you in the proper performance of these duties."
I had nothing to urge against this decision, yet I would rather have been busy and about, than be always at my uncle's side, for the ways of young and old are different, and I wanted to get acquainted with my fellow-servants, and to see the housekeeper and her daughters, of whom
I frequently heard much from the young man whom I have mentioned several times before
This young man had been brought up under Madame le Monde, and had at one time been an especial favourite of hers, but having of late taken a disgust to her service through the suggestions of the interpreter, he seemed almost ready to come over to the other side. My uncle had great hopes of him, notwithstanding he yet wavered, but being assured that the chains in which his mistress held him would speedily be broken for him; he called him Theophilus, as a sort of token that he felt assured he was an object of the Master's love. It was from this young man, however, that I heard most of the gossip of the family, and was most strongly led to desire to see more of what was passing without. My mind being in that sort of perverted state, that his very dispraise of the housekeeper and of her daughters awakened my curiosity. I had a mind, too, to see the library, and to get acquainted with the librarian, who was accounted an uncommonly learned man in the house ; also to see some of the state apartments and pictures, for there are many of these also ; but my uncle kept me close by his side, and put me off whenever I wanted to break bounds, but he did it so gently, that I could not find it in my heart to rebel against him. In the mean time I was kept close to my work, that is, to make fresh copies of the Master's letters, wherein I found many things which excited my wonder, and opened my mind, confirming all that my uncle had said to me respecting the character of the · Master, and his right to the possession of the estate whereon we dwelt; also his reasons for his leaving the house for a while in other hands; neither did I fail to see proof convincing of the return of the Lord, to take the charge of all things, and never again to separate himself from his faithful servants, whose redemption he had purchased, before either they or their parents had known their right-hand from their left.
And thus passed several weeks; I thought them long, ungrateful and thankless wretch that I was; yet what would I many times since have given for some of those opportunities, then so lightly thought of, of conversing with my uncle, who was altogether the person best instructed in the Master's will, of any one I ever met with? But it too often happens that graceless children thus despise the blessing and consolation of a wise