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of Christianity, and belief of infidel principles. The tracts, however, unknown to him, found their way into his house. They were received and read by his wife with great pleasure. She had little opportunity of religious improvement; and every obstacle and discouragement was thrown in her way by such a husband. The tracts, however, were short, and could be easily concealed and read by stealth.
One day, while engaged in reading one of them, her husband came anexpectedly into the room, and observing what engaged her atten. tion, with anger inquired why she read those pedlar's books, asking her at the same time if there were not good books enough in the house, without reading that trash. Unwilling to irritate him, or to contend with him on the subject of religion, she quietly closed her tract, and laid it aside for the present. But she could not so give up what she had found interesting and instructive. She accordingly waited for a more favourable opportunity, and then took up her tracts again. It so happened, a second time, that while she was busily engaged in reading, her husband made his appearance. The discovery of her disregard of his injunction, and pertinacious adheTence to this offensive employment, excited his severest displeasure. The books were calculated to make his wife religious, and to introduce religion into his family ; and this was what he could not bear. Unhappy man ! he was without God, and without hope himself, and he would fain have kept all about him in the same dark and wretched state of mind. His irritation at this second offence of his wife became extreme ; he scolded, ridiculed, and threatened her ; declaring that though he had always abhorred the idea of using violence, yet if she persisted in reading such books, and he should discover it, a good horse-whipping should be her punishment. Such is the benevolence, and such the tolerance of infidels. She endeavoured what little she could to pacify the enraged husband, but without any timid renunciation of her convictions. The tracts had brought truth home to her conscience, and peace to her heart ; and she was not to be driven from her God and Saviour by human violence. However, for the present the matter ended ; she put aside the offensive book, and kept her resolution and her principles to herself.
There was one only child of this family, a daughter, of about the age of fourteen ; she happened to be at boarding-school while these events were transpiring at home. On her return at the holidays, the affectionate concern of the mother for her child made her anxious to impart to her the same benefits which she had herself derived from the tracts. No fear of the consequences that might result to herself could deter her from a duty which she felt so obligatory. The truths she had learned from the tracts appeared of infinite moment, and she must impart them to her child, whose mind seemed now prepared by education and a proper age to receive them. She therefore took an early opportunity of putting the books into her daughter's hand, and of engaging her to read them.
One day, while thus employed, and while thinking themselves secure from interruption, the father suddenly burst into the apartment. His indignation may readily be imagined. Possibly suspicion had been working in his mind, and he might have determined to watch his opportunity, and to take them at unawares. He had now made the discovery, which excited his bitterest displeasure. “What?” said he to his affrighted partner, "are you not contented with reading that rubbish yourself, but must put it into your daughter's hands too ?”
He then threatened his daughter with some terrible punishment if she ever dared to read these tracts again. The child, with much simplicity and affection, endeavoured to calm the irritation of the father, and to coax him into a better humour. There was a natural power in the entreaties of the child, which disarmed his resentment ; the daughter perceived the advantage she had gained, and asked his permission to read something to him, that he might judge of her improvement in reading since she had been at school. He consented, and the child took up one of the tracts, which had interested herself, and began to read. The father listened with attention ; the sentiments of the tract touched his conscience, a gush of mingled feelings rushed to his heart; in spite of his infidelity, truth and nature prevailed, and a tear stole to his eye, which he could not conceal ; his opposition was conquered ; and though he said nothing, yet he left the room soon after, thoughtful and melancholy.
He had nothing now to say against the tracts. He could not, however, rest after what he had heard. The very next day he came to his daughter, and requested her to read to him again from the pedlar's books, as he called them. To this his child readily consented ; again and again he renewed his requests, till he had heard the whole of their contents.
The numerous references made by the tracts to the sacred Scriptures, directed his attention to the book which, though he had despised and rejected, he had never examined. He began to make it his study, but disclosed little of the state of his mind. It was obvious, however, that his opinions and feelings had undergone a material change ; he was quite a different man, and no longer interfered with the religious pursuits of his wife and daughter.
But a short time elapsed before he was seized with a paralytic
stroke ; it was not fatal, and he began to recover. A Divine power had, however, now smitten his heart with a sense of a worse disorder than that which had seized upon his frame. Sin lay heavy upon his conscience, and he expressed much concern about his condition. He was filled with grief at the review of his past conduct, and expressed his fear that he could not obtain forgiveness. He had not only neglected and resisted religion himself ; he had opposed it in others with all his might. He was, however, so softened, so changed, that he now condescended to ask the injured woman, whom he had despised and persecuted for her piety, to pray with him. This was indeed a victory,—a sight which angels might rejoice in, and which overwhelmed with gratitude the heart of his partner. She had beheld with agony the approach of this alarming disorder, but how was the severity of the stroke mitigated in the spiritual blessings which already appeared to be in it!
From this time the afflicted man began to converse freely upon the state of his soul and the truths of religion. His mind became daily more softened and purified. He accepted with gladness and gratitude the instructions his partner was able to impart, and became gradually a partaker both of the illumination and of the consolation of the gospel. The hope of glory shone upon his heart, and all the illusions of infidelity vanished like clouds of smoke and vapour before the ascending sun. How merciful was this manifestation of the truth to his mind. Had not the tracts been introduced to his house, in all probability he would have sunk under this affliction without hope and without God.
Scarcely had he recovered from the shock of this first attack, and began to taste the sweet blessings of true religion, when he was visited by a second stroke, which was very soon followed by a third,and that a fatal one.
His latter end, however, was joy and peace in believing. He was enabled to trust in the Saviour, whom formerly he had despised, and to rejoice in hope of that glory he had contemned. During his illness he was visited by many of his old acquaintances, to whom he spoke freely of the change which had taken place in himself, and faithfully and affectionately recommended an immediate attention to the concerns of their souls. At length the period of his dismissal arrived ; his faith triumphed over mortality, and he received an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The wife and daughter, who were the happy instruments of effecting so great and glorious a change, would indeed have been glad had it pleased God to continue him here as the helper of their faith
and joy ; but they submit. Mercy, infinite mercy, was mingled with judgment. They still live, and are walking under the influence of those principles they so happily embraced, and in the hope of meeting again, and in a better state, that dear relative whom they were tho instruments of preparing for that bliss into which he has entered before them.--Pastor's Sketch-Book.
Enquiries and Correspondence.
ANSWER TO ENQUIRY, at p. 139.
6. Laws of Manou It is very much the habit of periodical writers to deal largely in loose and general assertions, and widely sweeping conclusions—and more especially so, when the subject, under discussion, is one respecting which the most learned and careful scholars speak with diffidence and doubt.
It would appear probable, that the writer, “in the periodical of very large circulation," is one of this superficial stamp.
From the nature of the case, internal evidence must alone decide the age of the “Institutes" in question. There is no extrinsic written evidence in existence, and tradition is not pertinent further than as establishing their extreme antiquity.
We may conjecture with tolerable certainty, that the Institutes were embodied in their present written form prior to the period when the Greeks became acquainted with India, viz.: the end of the fourth century before Christ, the date of Alexander's invasion of India. Strabo, Arrian, Philostratus, Porphyry and others, are said to mention the burning of widows as a well known custom—a practice not even hinted at in the Institutes ; and hence we may infer, that they are antecedent to that period. We also perceive, that the manners and civilization of the country were then in very nearly the same condition as that in which we find them at the present day, and this leads us to the conclusion, that the Institutes must have been composed after India had reached her present social position. Sir William Jones, whose acquaintance with Hindoo history has ever remained unrivalled, and whose authority few would be bold
enough to impugn, after a laborious investigation, on which he brought the whole amount of his reasoning to bear, gives it as his opinion, that the date of the Institutes is about the 12th century before Christ—which would make them contemporary with Samuel, and about four centuries after the time of Moses.
The investigations of Bopp, Grimm, and other recent German critics, have not, I believe, materially affected this result. Of course it is impossible to prove that the Mânavadharmasastra, as it is called, dates subsequent to the Mosaic code; but the probabilities, in the opinion of all those most competent to decide, are, that it does so. At all events, the.“ periodical of very large circulation,” is not justified in the wholesale conclusion at which it has arrived.
We feel greatly obliged to our valued correspondent for this reply, which, however, we do not consider as by any means conclusive. Beyond the fact, that Arrian and other writers mention the cremation of Hindoo widows, whilst the Institutes are silent on a subject so relevant to their design, we have nothing but opinion and conjecture. Allowing that the Mânavadharmasâstra is older than the earliest of our Greek travellers or historians all of whom wrote after the commencement of the Christian era
-it by no means follows that it dates from the time of Samuel. See our volume for 1847, p. 156.
With regard to the uncertain criteria of internal evidence generally, we need say little. Our best critics have been so often deceived in these matters, that to pronounce decidedly upon such kind of proof is worse than foolish.
Two amusing instances of such mistakes we subjoin, from Stuart's, “Historical and Critical Defence of the Old Testament Canon."
“Of Sir Walter Scott's talents and discrimination, nothing needs to be said. Especially was he au fait in all matters pertaining to Scotch Ballads and Border Stories. Mr. J. H. Dixon, a literary antiquarian, has recently published some remains of R. Surtees, a poet of no mean rank, and among the rest, a morsel of five pages entitled “The Raid of Featherstonehaugh;' a mere jeu d'esprit of the poet, in which he aimed to imitate the