« السابقةمتابعة »
ed; but the inquiry being made, who will read them? it was almost unanimously agreed by a large circle then present, that they would be perused only by persons already impressed with the importance of the subjects on which they treated; and that they were not calculated to attract any description of reader not already interested in that which ought to be equally interesting to all, namely, those awful symptoms of the dissolution of society; those wars and rumours of wars, and other appalling tokens which are continually occurring in these days, to admonish us to look to the end, and be prepared for that which may arrive.
It was then suggested that if some of the leading prophecies which had been brought forward in these graver treatises could be arranged in a more popular and attractive form; there might perhaps be a hope, under the divine blessing, of drawing the attention of some persons who would not easily be tempted to forego amusement for edification; and the Author being requested by the whole assembled party, to direct
the requisite attention to the subject; she lost no time in preparing the present volume, wherein, under an allegory sanctioned by Scripture, she has endeavoured to show that it behoves the members of the visible church to consider whether they are prepared for that hour, in which the master of the family will return as a thief in the night."
THE LATTER DAYS.
ALTHOUGH I at one time supposed that it never could have been possible for me to have put pen to paper with the view of writing my own history, or of making myself the hero of a narrative—yet the circumstance of having found myself engaged in adventures, the recapitulation of which may be the means of conveying deep instruction to the present generation, viz. to those living in the latter times, has induced me to emerge from the obscurity in which my little worth and mean parentage seemed to have involved me.
My name is NICODEMUS; I am of an ordinary family, and my birth place was in a far country; my age is now about twenty-five; and all the events which I mean to enlarge upon took place when I was in my twenty-fourth year.
I earned my living in my own country until the period spoken of above, under several masters, but not in subordinate situations, having received the best education which the place could afford, and being ready as a writer, and well acquainted with ancient tongues. Nevertheless, finding my services unprofitable, and not clearly seeing how in the long run I should be bettered by them, for my wages were such only as provided for my present wants-perishing as it were in the use of them, I began to be uneasy, and to cast about as it were, for a master who would take care of me in case of the failure of health, or any other accident; and not seeing any where in all that country, a master of this description, I remained a while in an uneasy, unsettled state, in consequence of which I found my affairs falling from bad to worse from day to day.
It was just about this time, whilst feeling myself as it were without friend or means of support, that I received a letter from an uncle whom I had never seen, inasmuch as he had left his own family years before, having been called to the service of a master, of whom our people spoke lightly-and therefore we had been in the habit of considering this our relation, in the light of a branch cut from a tree, and as it were thrown to the burning. I was therefore not a little
1 "Which all of them are to perish with the using." Col. ii. 22.