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time, that every one may have something to con ceal, as well as ourselves: And that we are only marking the distances, and taking the measures of self-defence from each other, in the very instances we complain of. This is so true, that there is scarce any character so rare, as a man of a real open and generous integrity,who carries his heart in his hand,-who says the thing he thinks, and does the thing he pretends. Tho' no one can dislike the character,-yet, Discretion generally shakes her head-and the world soon lets him into the reason.
" that I had in the wilderness a lodging of w07faring men! that I might leave such a people, and go from them." Where is the man, of a nice sense of truth and strong feelings, from whom the duplicity of the world has not, at one time or other, wrung the same wish? and where lies the wilderness to which some one has not fled, from the same melancholy impulse?
Thus much for those who give occasion to be thought ill of;-let us say a word or two unto those who take it.
But to avoid all common-place cant as much as I can on this head,-I will forbear to say, because I do not think it-that it is a breach of Christian charity, to think or speak evil of our neighbor, &c.
We cannot avoid it, cur opinions must follow the evidence; and we are perpetually in such engagements and situations, that it is our duty to speak what our opinions are :-But God forbid, that this ever should be done, but from its best motive-the sense of what is due to virtue, governed by discretion and the utmost fellow-feeling. Were we to go on otherwise, beginning with the great broad cloak of hypocrisy, and so down thro' all its trimmings and facings-tearing away, without mercy, all that looked seemly, we should leave but a tattered world of it.
But I confine what I have to say, to a character less equivocal, and which takes up too much room in the world: It is that of those, who, from a general distrust of all that looks disinterested, finding nothing to blame in an action, and, perhaps, much to admire in it,....immediately fall foul upon its motives ....Does Job serve God for nought ?..... What a vile insinuation !....Besides, the question was not, whether Job was a rich man or a poor man?....but whether he was a man of integrity or no?....and the appearances were strong on his side Indeed it might have been otherwise; it was possible Job might be insincere, and the devil took advantage of the die for it.
It is a bad picture, and done by a terrible master, and yet we are always copying it. Does a man, from a real conviction of heart, forsake his vices?-the position is not to be allowed,-no; his vices have forsaken him.
Does a pure virgin fear GoD, and say. her prayers ?....she is in her climacteric.
Does humanity clothe and educate the unknown orphan-Poverty ! thou hast no genealogies-See! is he not the father of the child? Thus do we rob heroes of the best part of their glory....their virtue. Take away the motive of the act, you take away all that is worth having in it; ...wrest it to ungenerous ends, you load the virtuous man who did it, with infamy....Undo it all........ I beseech you: Give him back his honor,....restore the jewel you have taken from him,....replace him in the eye of the world.....It is too late.
It is painful to utter the reproaches which should come in here. I will trust them with yourselves: In coming from that quarter, they will more naturally produce such fruits as will not set your teeth on edge-for they will be the fruits of love and good-will, to the praise of Goog and the happiness of the world, which. I wish..
The Levite and his Concubine.
JUDGES XIX. I, 2, 3.
And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took unto him a concubine.
CONCUBINE !....but the text accounts
AON M those day's there was no king
in Israel,....and the Levite you will say, like every other man in it, did what seemed right in his own eyes, and so, you may add, did his concubine too... for she played the whore against him and went away.
....... Then shame and grief go with her, and wherever she seeks a shelter, may the hand of justice shut the door against her..
Not so: For she went unto her father's house in Bethlem-judah, and was with him four whole months. Blessed interval for meditation upon the fickleness and vanity of this world, and its pleasures I see the holy man upon his knees,....with hands compressed to his bosom, and, with uplifted eyes, thanking heaven, that the object which had so long shared his affections, was fled
The text gives a different picture of his situation,....for he arose and went after to speak friendly to her, and to bring her back again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses; and she brought kim into her father's house; and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
....A most sentimental group! you will say: And so it is, my good commentator, the world talks of every thing; Give but the outlines of a story,........ let spleen or prudery snatch the pencil, and they will finish it with so many hard strokes, and with
so dirty a coloring, that candor and courtesy will sit in torture as they look at it. Gentle and vir
tuous spirits! ye who know not what it is to be rigid interpreters, but of your own failings,....to you I address myself the unhired advocates for the conduct of the misguided.....Whence is it, that the world is not more jealous of your office? How often must ye repeat it, "That such a one's doing so or so,"....is not sufficient evidence, by itself, to overthrow the accused?....that our actions stand surrounded with a thousand circumstances which do not present themselves at first sight ;....that the first springs and motives which impelled the unfortunate, lie deeper still.... And that of the millions which every hour are arraigned, thousands of them may have erred merely from the head ; and been actually outwitted into evil; and, even when from the heart,....that the difficulties and temptations under which she acted,....the force of the passions, the suitableness of the object, and the many struggles of virtue before she fell, may be so many appeals from justice to the judgmentseat of pity.
Here then let us stop a moment,....and give the story of the Levite and his concubine a second hearing. Like all others, much of it depends upon the telling; and as the scripture has left us no kind of comment upon it, it is a story on which the heart cannot be at a loss for what to say, or the imagination for what to suppose—the danger is, humanity may say too much.
And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, took unto himself a concu
O Abraham, thou father of the faithful! if this was wrong....why didst thou set so ensnaring an example before the eyes of thy descendants? and, why did the God of Abraham, the Gop Of
Isaac and Jacob, bless so often the seed of such intercourses, and promise to multiply and make princes come out of them?
GOD can dispense with his own laws; and, accordingly, we find the holiest of the patriarchs, and others in scripture whose hearts cleaved most unto God, accommodating themselves as well as they could to the dispensation: That Abraham had Hagar; that Jacob, besides his two wives, Rachel and Leah, took also unto him Zilbah and Bilhah, from whom many of the tribes descended; that David had seven wives and ten concubines „........Rehoboam sixty; and that, in whatever cases it became reproachable, it seemed not so much the thing itself, as the abuse of it, which made it so. This was remarkable in that of Solomon, whose excess became an insult upon the privileges of mankind; for, by the same plan of luxury, which made it necessary to have forty thousand stalls of horses,....he had unfortunately miscalculated his other wants, and so had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines.
Wise....deluded man! was it not that thou madest some amends for thy bad practice, by thy good preaching, what had become of thee! Three hundred.....but let us turn aside, I beseech thee from so bad a stumbling-block.
The Levite had but one. The Hebrew word imports a woman a concubine, or a wife a concubine, to distinguish her from the more infamous species, who came under the roofs of the licentious without principle. Our annotators tell us, that, in Jewish economics, these differed little from the wife, except in some outward ceremonies and stipulations, but agreed with her in all the true essences of marriage, and gave themselves up to the husband, (for so he is called), with faith plighted, with sentiments and with affection.
Such an one the Levite wanted to share his so