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vantages of any kind; if you would be thankful to Him for them, and likewise for whatever has happened and happens to you, whether good, whether apparently bad; if you would have no other pride than that of being a creature of the Great God, and glory in nothing else; if you would bear constantly in mind that your fellowcreatures have been in old times as much favoured as you, like you His images; if always remembering that they belong to Him, though they would at times forget that you do, you would show a righteous reverence for Him, by treating them with the regard, the respect that are due to whatever came from Him, and is His; from charity and from a consciousness of your own frailty covering their faults (Gen. 9. 23), trembling to judge and to condemn what may have been done by God, and meant unto good (45. 8.-50. 20); if you would admit the possibility that you have existed formerly, that you have sinned and done evil in His sight; if you would repent for it, and pray Him to have mercy upon you, according to His loving kindness, to parge your soul and to wash her, to create in you a clean heart, to renew a right spirit within you, and to restore unto you the joy of His salvation (Ps. 51); if you would have no objection to concede that your transgressions in a previous life may be the cause of the contradictions you meet with in this, and that God sends them to you for the purification and amendment of your soul, of the inward man, who, having lost his primitive innocence, is now in each of us in a corrupt and degenerate state; if confessing that they must be just, you would submit to them without murmur, living in hopes of better times; if you should think that, were you to
obey His commandments (Job, 36. 9, 10, 11), it is likely that the bitterness of those crosses would be alleviated, and that perhaps you would be altogether relieved from them, as being no longer necessary to you ; if it should appear to you of the greatest importance to atone yourself for your sins, by dying unto sin, in imitation of Christ's way; working, as it were, your own salvation and redemption with the Word and help of God (Philip. 2. 12, 13), making of yourself, by the atonement that is the practice of the Lamb's doctrine, an acceptable offering; if thoroughly convinced that there is in the Will of God all that is wise, all that is just, merciful, and good for you, you would be perfectly resigned to it, and trusting to the Benevolent Providence, you would say from the bottom of your heart, Thy Will be done, and not mine!..... if, from being certain that it cannot be proved by any authentic historical documents that the wonderful circumstances mentioned in the Bible have happened on this globe, and from the impossibility of reconciling with it the pretended traditions of dark and superstitious ages, you should believe that it is possible that it be, as I have said above, a prophecy; (which seems to be fully borne out by the certainty that it has been inspired, likewise by Christ's words that it is written of him in Moses, in the Psalms, and in the Prophets; and also by Matt. 24, Mark, 13, and Luke, 21, on which chapters it might be, I repeat it again, proper to meditate without prejudice); if you would admit, from some peculiarities of the times we live in, that we may be near the fulfilment of the beginning of it, near the witnessing of the coming among us of the Man after God's own heart, and of His Spiritual Mate; if you would take for granted that, having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would be able to teach us both, to allure us to the good, and to guard us against the evil, with the wise method of the Sacred Scriptures, which would be, no doubt, very different from the vain and uncertain way of our common preceptors, and would be fit to withdraw us from the ignorance in which it is daily manifest that we are, concerning that great philosophical science; if you
should feel that it would be desirable for you that your soul should be freed from the prejudices of this chaos or preparatory world, which by their falsehoods would surely be in opposition to the instructions of the first regenerate Man, and strong obstacles to your being guided easily by him through all the degrees and the whole process of the regeneration that is revealed in the Holy Writ; if you would then work at the purification of your soul, and succeeding in it as far as the implored Grace of God will allow in your present condition, you should find yourself in consequence much happier than you were before, more pious, more humble in the opinion of yourself, more comfortable in your mind from its being relieved from many errors, more easy about whatever may happen in these eventful and threa. tening times, more trusting to the Will of the Good God, the God of love, the Father of all, more in the disposition of heart and in the way that can lead you to the truth, and to belief in the Redeemer, the Divinelyanointed Spirit, image of the invisible God; may it be given to me to rejoice most sincerely with you at the fortunate change that will have taken place in your mental state ; to unite with you in solemn thanks to the Most High who will have made you experience His Mercy; and to pray Him with you that you may
improve so much in your amendment, that when He will send the Man and the Woman whom He has chosen to do us good, to enlighten us, to show us a gentle way of reconciliation unto Him by learning, receiving, and keeping His commandments, you may be quite ready to bow to them, as to your superiors, as to the first parents of your soul in the truth and in a correct knowledge of the Word of God; ready to respect them, to listen to them, and to accept the milk of their instructions and consolations; exulting at your being favoured with so highly-gifted masters; and giving up cheerfully, as doubtful, whatever you might have learned before, whether from your own studies and meditations; whether from communications of any person of this world, all such being fallible ! I firmly believe from the Sacred History that the Eternal Almighty, the Supreme Being, will put, in our new Preceptors, of His Holy Spirit, of Himself, the same as in the Son of Man, that they may fulfil their religious mission, I scruple not to tell thee, as thy friend, prepare thy soul to meet her God .... thy God.. O Theophila!
The Almighty bless you, and pity
An Exile INTO IGNORANCE!
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
P.S. Since the time that I began writing the argument, which I have submitted to your examination, against the way that the Bible is generally understood, I have met with “ Bossuet's Discourse on the Universal “ History," in which I have remarked the following passage :
“ L'Egypte d'où il faut sortir, le désert où il faut “ passer, la Babylone dont il faut rompre les prisons, “ pour entrer ou pour retourner dans notre patrie, c'est “ le monde avec ses plaisirs et ses vanités : c'est là que “ nous sommes vraiment captifs et errants, séduits par “ le péché et ses convoitises; il nous faut secouer ce “ joug pour trouver dans Jerusalem, et dans la Cité de « notre Dieu, la liberté véritable, et un Sanctuaire non “ fait de la main d'homme, où la Gloire du Dieu d'Israel “ nous apparoisse."
“ The Egypt it is needful to come out of, the wilder“ness which must be gone through, the Babylon the “ prisons of which it is indispensable to break open, “ to enter or to return into our country, it is the world “ with its pleasures and vanities: it is therein that “ we are indeed captive and wandering, seduced by “ sin and its irregular desires; we must shake off that
yoke to find in Jerusalem, and in the City of our “ God, the true freedom, and a Sanctuary not made “ by any man's hand, wherein the Glory of the God of “ Israel appear to us."
From that article it seems to me that the celebrated Bishop of Meaux had penetrated into the spirit of the Holy Scriptures, much deeper than most of the members of the Church he belonged to, and that he had of them, particularly of the world they speak of, very superior