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these sort of things was not expected from men
in active life.

Worthy, I should think, Mr. Bragwell, that
those who are meet exposed to temptations stand
most in need of prayer ; now there are few, me-
thinks, who are more exposed to temptation
than men in business; for those must be in
most danger, at least from the world, who have ^
most to do with it And if this be true, ought
we not to prepare ourselves in the closet for the
trials of the market, the field, and the shop? It
is but putting on our armour before we go out
to battle.

Bragwell, For my part, I think example is
the whole of religion, and if the master of a
family is orderly, and regular, and goes to
church, he does every thing which can be re-
quired of him, and no one has a right to call
him to an account for any thing more.

Worthy. Give me leave to say, Mr. Bragwell,
that highly as I rate a good example, still I
must set a good principle above it I know I
must keep good order indeed, for the sake of
others ; but I must keep a good conscience for
my own sake. To God I owe secret piety, I
must therefore pray to him in private. — ^To my
family I owe a Christian example, and for that,
among other reasons, I must not fail to go to

BragweU. You are talking, Mr. Worthy, as
if I were an cn«*my to religion. Sir, I am no

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Wftthen. Sir, I &m a Christ iao ; I beloogf to the
church; I go to church : I alwajs drink pros-
peritj to the church. You yourself, as strict
la joa are, in never missing it twice a day, are
not a warmer friend to the church than I am.

Worthy, That is to say, you know its inesti-
mahle ▼aiue as a political institution ; but you
do not seem to know that a man may be very
irreliffioos under the best religious institutions;
and that even the most excellent only furnishes
the mean$ of beinsr religious, and is no more re-
ligion itself than brick and mortar are prayers
and thanksgivings. I shall never think, how-
ever high their profession, and even however re-
gular their attendance, that those men truly re-
spect the church, who bring home little of that
reIi|rion which is taught in it into their own fa-
milies or their own hearts ; or, who make the
whole of Christianity to consist in a mere for-
mal attendance there. Excuse me Mr. Brag-

BragweH Mr. Worthy, I am persnaded that
religion is quite a proper thing for the poor ;
and I don't think that the multitude can ever
be kept in order without it ; and I am a sort of
a politician you know. V^e'must have bits, and
bridles, and restraints for the vulgar.

Worthy, Your opinion is very just, as far as
it goes ; but it does not go far enough, since, it
does not go to the root of the evil ; for while you
value yourself on the soundness of this principle
as a politician, I wish you also to see the reason
of it as a Christian ; depend upon it, if religion
be good for the community at large, it is equally
9ood for every family ; and what is right for a
nmily is equally right for each individual in it.
You have therefore yourself brought the most
unanswerable argument why you ought to be
religious yourself, by askinjBf how we shall keep
others in order without religion. For, believe
me, Mr. Bragwcll, there is no particular clause
to except you in the GospeL There are no ex-
ceptions there in favour of any one class of men.
The same restraints which are necessary for
the people at large, are equally necessary for
men of every order, hi^b and low, rich and poor,
bond and free« learned and ignorant If Jesus
Christ died for no one particular rank, class, or
community, then there is no one rank, class, or
oommunit^, exempt from the obedience to his
laws enjoined by the Gospel. May I ask yon,
Hr. Bragwell, what is your reason for going to

Bragwell. Sir, I am shocked at your question.
How can I avoid doing a thing so customary
and so creditable 7 Not go to church, indeed !
What do you take me for, Mr, Worthy 7 I am
afraid you suspect me to be a papist, or a hea-
then, or of some religion or other that is not

Worthy. If a foreigner were to hear how vio-
lently one ?t;t of Clirfstians in this country oflen
speak against anoUier, how earnest would he
fuppoea us aU to be in religious matters : and
how astonished to discover that manv a man
has perhaps litUe other proof to give of the sin-
cerity of his own religion, except the violence
with which lie hates the religion of another
party. It is not irreligion which such men hate;
out the relieion of the man, or the party, whom
Voul. K

we are set against : now hatred is certainly vm
part of the religion of the Gospel. Well, yoo
have told me why you go to church ; now pray
tell me, why do you confess there on your bend-
ed knees, every Sunday, that * you have erred
and straved fh>m God's ways 7' — * that there is
no health in you 7 — *■ that you have done what
you ou^ht not to do 7 — and that you are a mise-
rable sinner 7'

Bragwell, Because it is in the Common
Prayer Book, to be sure ; a book which I have
heard you yourself say was written by wise and
good men ; the glory of Christianity, the piUars
of the protestant church.

Worthy. But have you no other reason 7

Bragwell. No, I can't say I have.

Worthy, When you repeat that excellent form
of confession, do you really feel that you are a
miserable sinner 9

BragwelL No, I can't say I do. But that is
no obiection to my repeating it : because it may
suit the cause of many who are so. I suppose
the good doctors who drew it up, intended that
part for wicked people only, such as drunkards,
and thieves, and murderers ; for I imagine they
could not well contrive to make the same prayer
quite suit an honest man and a rogue ; and so I
suppose they thought it better to make a good
man repeat a prayer which suited a rogue, than
to make a rogue repeat a prayer which suited a
good man ; and you know it is so customary &r'
every body to repeat the general confession, that
it can't hurt the credit of the most respectable
persons, though every respectable person must
know they have no particular concern in it ; as
they are not sinners.

Worthy, Depend upon it, Mr. Bragwell, those
good doctors you speak of, were not quite of
your opinion ; they really thought that what you
call honest men were grievous sinners in a cer-
tarn sense, and that the best of us stand in need
of making that humble confession. Mr. Brag,
well do you believe in the fall of Adam 7

Bragwell, To be sure I do, and a sad thing
for Adam it was ; why, it is in the Bible, is it
not 7 It is one of the prettiest chapters in Gene*
sis. Don't you believe Mr. Worthy 7

Worthy, Yes, truly I do. But I don't believe
it mer€ly because I read it in Grenesis ; though
I know, indeed, that I am bound to believe
every part of the word of God. But I have still
an additional reason for believing in the fall of
the first man.

Bragwell. Have you, indeed 7 Now, I can't
guess what that can be.

Worthy. Why, my own observation of what
is within myself teaches roe to believe it It is
not only the third chapter of Genesis which con-
vinees me of the truth of the fall, but also the
sinful inclinations which I find in my own heart
corresponding with it This is one of those
leading truths of Christianity of which I oon
never doubt a moment : first because it is abun-
dantly expressed or implied in Scripture; and
next, because the oonsciouFness of the evil na-
ture, I carry about with me confirms the doc-
trine beyond all doubt Besides, is it not said
in Scripture, that by one man sin entered into
the world, and that * all we, like loet sheep, have
gone astray ;' — * that by one man's disobedience

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inany wer^ made sinners;* — and so a^in in
twenty more places that I could tell yoa of.

BragweU, Well ; I never thought of (his. But
Is not this a very melancholy sort of doctrine,
Mr. Worthy?

Worthy. It is melancholy, indeed, if we stop
here. But while we are deploring this sad
truth, let us take comfort from another, that * as
in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made

BragwtU. Yes ; I remember I thought those
very fine words, when I heard them said over
my poor father's grave. But as it was in the
burial of the dead, I did not think of taking it
to myself; for I was then young and hearty, and
in little danger of dying, and I have been so busy
ever since, that I have hardly had time to think
of it

Worthy, And yet the service pronounced at
the burial of all who die, is a solemn admonition
to all who live. It is there said, as indeed the
Scripture says also, * I am the resurrection and
the life ; whosoever believeth in me shall never
die, but I will raise him up at the last day.*
Now do you think you believe in Christy Mr.
Bragwell 7

BragwelL To be sure I do; why you are al-
ways fancying me an atheist.

Worthy, In order to believe in Christ, we
must believe first in our own guilt and our own
unworthiness ; and when we do this we shall see
the use of a Saviour, and not till then.

Bragwell. Why, all this is a new way of talk-
ing. I can't say I ever meddled with such sub-
jects before in my life. But now, what do you
advise a man to do upon your plan of religion ?

Worthy. Why all this leads me back to the
ground from which we set out, I mean the duty
of prayer ; for if we believe that we have an
evil nature within us, and that we stand in need
of God's grace to help us, and a Saviour to re-
deem us, we shall be led of course to pray for
what we so much need ; and without this con-
viction we shall not be led to pray.

Bragxcell. Well, but don't you think, Mr.
Worthy, that you good folks who make so much
of prayer, have lower notions than we have of
the wisdom o^ the Almighty? You think h3
wants to bo informed of the thing you tell him ;
whereas, I take it for granted mat he < knows
them already, and that, bein? so good as he is,
he will give me every thing ne sees fit to give
me, without my asking it

Worthy. God, indeed, who knows all things,
knows wnat we want before we ask him ; but
still has he not said that, * with prayer and sup-
plication we must make known our requests un-
to him ?' Prayer is the way in which God hath
said that his favour must be sought It is the
channel through which he has declared it his
sovereign will and pleasure that his blessings
should be conveyed to us. What ascends up m
prayer descends to us again in blessings. It is
like the r&in which just now foil, and which
had been drawn up from the ground in vapours
to the cloudu before it descended from them to
the earth in that refreshing shower. Besides
prayer ban a good effect on our minds ; it tends
to excite a right disposition towards God in us,
and to keep up a constant sense of our dex>end-

ence. But above all, it is the jvay to get tbt
good things we want * Ask,' says the Scrip-
ture, * and ye shall receive.'

BragiveU. Now, Chat is the very thing which
I was going to deny : for the truth is, men do
not always get what they ask ; I believe if I
could get a good crop for asking it, I would pray
oftener than I do.

Worthy. Sometimes, Mr. Bragwell, men ' ask
and receive not, because they ask amiss ;* —
* they ask that they may consume it on their
lusts.* — They ask worldly blessings, perhaps,
when they should ask spiritual ones. Now, the
latter, which are the good things I spoke of^ are
always granted to Uiose who pray to God for
them, though the former arc not I have ob-
served in the case of some worldly things I
have sought for, that the ^ant of my prayer
would have caused the misery of my life ; so
that God equally consults our good in what be
withholds, and in what he bestows.

Bragwell. And yot you continue to pray on
I suppose?

Worthy. Certainly ; but then I ^ry to mend
as to the object of my prayers. I pray for
God's blessing and favour, which is better than

BragweU, You seem very earnest on this sub-

Worthy. To cut the matter short ; I ask then,
whether praver is not positively commanded in
the Gospel. When this is the case, we can never
dispute about the necessity or the duty of a
*hing, as we may when there is no such com-
mand. Here, however, let me just add also, that
a man's prayers may be turned into no small
use in the way of discovering to him whatever
is amiss in his life.

Bragwell. How so, Mr. Worthy ?

Worthy. Why, suppose now, you were to try
yourself by turning into the shape of a prayei
every practice in which you allow yourself, rot
instance, let the prayer in the morning be a
sort of preparation for the deeds of the day, and
the prayer at night a sort of retrospection of
those deeds. You, Mr. Bragwell, I suspect, are
a little inclined to covetousness ; excuse me, sir.
Now, suppose afler you have been during a
whole day a little too eager to get rich ; suppose,
I say, you wer9to try now it would sound to
beg of Gk)d at night on Jour knees, to give you
still more money, though you have already so
much that you know not what to do with it
Suppose ypu were to pray in the morning, * O
Lord, give me more riches, though those f have
are a snare and a temptation to me ;' and ask
him in the same solemn manner to bless all tin
grasping means you intend to make use of in
Uie day, to add to your snbst&nce ?

Bragwell, Mr. Worthy, I have no patience
with you for thinking I could be so wicked.

Worthy, Yet to make such a covetous prayer
as this is hardly more wicked, or more absurd,
than to lead the life of the covetous, by sinning
up to the spirit of that very prayer which you
would not have the courage to put into words.
Still fUrther observe how it would sound to con-
fess your sins, und pray against them all, ex-
cept one favourite sin. * Lord, do thoa enable
me to forsake all my sins, except the love of

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oej ;* — ^ in this one thing pardon thy ser-
Tmnt*— -Or, ^ Do thou enable me to forgive all
who hare injured, me, except old Giles.* This
^ou will object against, as a wicked prayer ; but
if*wicked in prayer, it must be wicked m prac-
tice. It is even more shocking to make it the
language of the heart, or of the life, than of the
Up*. And yet, because von have been used to
•ee people act thus, and nave not been used to
hear them pray thus, yon are shocked at the
one, and not shocked at the other.

BragwtlL Shocked, indeed! Why, at this
rate, you would teach one to hate one*8 self.

Wer%. Hear me out, Mr. Bragwell ; you
tamed your good nephew, Tom Broad, out of
doors, ^ou know ; yon owned to me it was an
act of injustice. Now, suppose on the morning
of your Qoms so you had begged of God, in a
solemn actor prayer, to prosper the deed of cru-
elty and oppression, which you intended to com-
mit that day. I see you are shocked at the
thought of such a prayer. Well, then, would
soC hearty prayer have kept you from commiu
ting that wicked action ? In short, what a life
must that be, no act of which you dare beg God
to prosper and bless 7 If once you can bring
yourself to believe that it is your bounden duty
to pray for God's blessing on your day's work,
you will oertainly grow careful about passing
■Qch a day as you may safely ask his blessing
open. ^ The remark may be carried to sports,
iiverMoiia, company. A man, who once takes
up the serious use of prayer, will soon find him-
felf obliged to abstain from such diversions, oc-
cnpations, and societies, as he cannot reasons-
My desire that God will bless to him ; and thus
be will see himself compelled to leave off either
tiie practice or the' prayer. Now, Mr. Bragwell,
I neiBd not ask yon which of the two he that is a
real Christian will give up, sinning or praying.
Mr. Bragwell began to feel that he had not
the best of the argument, and was afVaid he was
making no great figure in the eyes of his friend.
LuckiljT, however, ne was relieved from the dif-
ficulty into which the necessity of making some
answer must have brought him, by finding they
were come to the end of their little journey : and
be never beheld the Bunch of Grapes, which
decorated the sign of the Golden Lion, with
more real satisfaction.

I refer my readers fer the transactions at the
Golden Lion, and fer the sad adventures which
afterwards befel Mr. Bragwell's femily, to the
fifth part of the History of the Two Wealthy



Bfi. BaAOWKix and Mr. Worthy alighted at
the Golden Lion. It was market-day : the inn,
the yard, the town was all alive.^ — Bragwell was
quite in his element Mone^, company, and
good cheer always set his spirits afloat. He felt
himself tho principal man in the scene. He had
three great objects in view ; the sale of bis land;
the letting Mr. Worthy see how much he was
looked up to by so many substantial people, and

the showing these people what a wise man his
most intimate friend, Mr. Worthy was. It was
his way to try to borrow a little credit from every
person, and every thing he was connected with,
and by that credit to advance his interest and
increase his wealth.

The fermers met in a large room ; and while
they were transacting their various concerns,
those whose pursuits were the same, naturally
herded together. The tanners were drawn to
one comer, by the common interest which they
took in bark and hides. A useful debate was
carrying on at another little table, whether the
practice of Mowing wheat or oT planting it were
most profitable. Another set were disputing
whether horses or oxen were best for ploughs.
Those who were concerned in canals, sought
the company of other canallers ; while some,
who were interested in the new bill for inoio-
sores, wisely looked out for such as knew most
about waste lands. .

Mr. Worthy was pleased with all these sub-
jects, and picked up something useful on each.
It was a saying of his, that most men under-
stood some one thing, and that he who was
wise would try to learn from every man some-
thing on the subject he best knew; but Mr.
Worthy made a further use of the whole. What
a pity IS it, said he, that Chriitians are not so
desirous to turn their time to good account as
men of business are ! When shall we see reli.
gious persons as anxious to derive profit from
the experience of others as these fermers? When
shall we see them as eager to turn their time to
good account? While f approve these men for
not being slothful in buMinea$^ let me improve
the hint, by being n\MO fervent in epirit

Showing how much w^eer the children qf thi*
generation are than the children of Light.
When the hurry was a little over, Mr. Brag
well took a tum on the bowling-green. Mr.
Worthy followed him, to ask why the sale of the
estate was not brought ferward. Let the auc-
tioneer proceed to business, said he ; the com-
pany will be glad to get home by daylight. I
speak mostly with a view to others ; fer I do not
think of being a purchaser myself. I know it,
said BragwelC or I would not be such a fool as
to let the cat out of the bag. But is it really
possible (proceeded he, with a smile of contempt)
that you should think I will sell my estate
before dinner ? Mr. Worthy, you are a clever
man at books, and such things ; and perhaps
can make oat an account od paper in a hand-
somer manner than I can. But I never found
much was to be got by fine writing. As to
figures, I can carrv enough of them in my head
to add, divide, and multiply more money than
your learning will ever give you the fingering
of. You may beat me at a book, but you are a
very child at a bargain. Sell my land before
dinner indeed !

Mr. Worthy was pualed to guess how a man
was to show more wisdom by selling a piece of
ground at one hour than another, ana desired
an explanation. Bragwell felt rather more con-
tempt fer his understanding than he had ever
done before. Look'ee, Mr. Worthy, said he, 1
do not think that knowledge is of any use to a

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man, unless he has sense enough to turn it to
account Men are my books, Mr. Worthy ; and
it is by reading, spelling, and putting them to-
gether to good purpose, that I have got up in
the world. I shall give you a proof of this to-
day. These farmers are most of them com6 to
the Lion with a view of purchasing this bit of
land of mine, if they should like the bargain.
Now, as you know a thing can*t be any great
bargain both to the buyer and the seller too, to
them and to me, it becomes me as a man of
sense, who has the good of his family at heart,
to secure the bargain to myself. I would not
cheat any man, sir, but I think it fair enough to
turn his weakness to my own advantage ; were
is no law against that, you know ; and this is
the use of one man's having more sense than
another. So, whenever I have a piece of land to
sell, I always give a handsome dinner, with
plenty of punch and strong beer. We fill up
the morning with other busmess ; and I care-
fully keep back my talk about the purchase till
we have dined. At dinner we have, of course,
a slice of politics. This puts most of us into a
passion, and you know anger is thirsty. Besides,
* Church and King* naturally brings on a good
many other toasts. Now, as I am master ot the
feast, you know it would be shabby in me to
save my liquor ; so I push about the glass one
way, and the tankard the other, till all my com-
pany are as merry as kings. Every man is de-
Ughted to see what a fine hearty feUow he has
to deal with, and Mr. Bragwell receives a thou-
sand compliments. By tbis time they have
gained as much in good humour as they have
K>st in sober judgment, and this is the proper
moment for setting the auctioneer to work, and
this I commonly do to such good purpose, that
I go home with my purse a score or two pounds
heavier than if they had not been warmed by
their dinner. In the morning men are cool and
suspicious, and have all their wits about them ;
but a cheerful glass cures all distrust And,
what is lucky, I add to my credit as well as my
pocket, and got more praise for my dinner than
blame for my bargain.

Mr. Worthy was struck with the absurd va-
nity which could tempt a man to own himself
l^mlty of an un&ir action for the sake of show-
mg his wisdom. He was beginning to express
his disapprobation, when they were told dinner
was on table. They went in, and were soon
seated. All was mirth and good cheer. Every
body agreed that no one gave such hearty din-
ners as Mr. BragweM. Nothing was pitiful
where he was master of the feast Bragwell,
who looked with pleasure on the ezcdlent din-
ner before him, and enjoyed the good account
to which he should turn it, hoard their praises
with delight, and cast an eye on Worthy, as
much as to say who is the wise man now.
Having a mind, for his own credit, to make bis
friend talk, he turned to him, saying, Mr. Wor-
thy, I believe no people in the world enjoy life
more than men of our class. We have money
and power, we live on the fat of the land, and
have as good a right to gentility as the best

As to gentility, Mr. Bragwell, repUed Wor-
thy, I am not sure that this is among the wisest
(v^our pretensions. But I will say, that our*B is

a creditable and respectable business. In io-
cient times, farming was the employment of
princes and patriarchs; and, now-a-days, an
honest, humane, sensible, English yeoman, I
will be bold to say, is not only a very usefbl,
but an honourable character. But then, he must
not merely think of enjoying life as you call it
but he must think of living up to the great ends
for which he was sent into the world. A wealtbv
farmer not only has it in his power to live well,
but to do much good. He is not only the father
of his own fami^, but his workmen, bis depen^
dants, and the poor at large, especially in these
hard times. He has it in his power to raise into
credit all the parish offices which have fUlen
into disrepute by getting into bad hands ; and
he can convert, what have been falsely thought
moan offices, into -very important ones, by his
just and Christian like manner of filling tbem
An upright juryman, a conscientious constable,
a humane overseer, an independent elector, aa
active superintendent of a work-house, a just
arbitrator in public disputes, a kind counsellor
in private troubles ; such an <me, I say, fills up
a station in society no less necessary, and, as
far as it reaches, scarcely less important than
that of a magistrate, a sheriff of a county, or

Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 30 of 135)