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surprised when the letter, sent by a careful messenger, was put into my hands, together with that which was to defray the expense of my journey.1
Now the terms under which this letter was couched, were those of exceeding kindness, so that whilst I read it, my heart warmed to the writer, and I instantly resolved to do that which he so earnestly recommended; for this letter was to invite, nay, to intreat, to supplicate me, as I valued my future happiness, to leave all that I had behind me, and to come forthwith to take part with him. The words of the letter were to this effect:
'My master is the best of masters, his service is easy beyond that of all other masters, and his wages, with one privilege and another, are past all count, and beyond all calculation:-but lest you should be anxious concerning your reception, my nephew, I give you my word that, as long as I have lived in his blessed service, and that has been (through his goodness and through no merit of my own) from my youth up, until now, I have never seen any one who was brought to seek his service, whom he in any wise cast out.' '
"Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way, and thus did he unto them." Gen.
2 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." John vi. 37.
Such was my uncle's letter; and I being like the prodigal son in the Scriptures, feeding with the swine, and knowing not where to lay my head, it was not for me to decline such an offer as this; therefore, having made what inquiry I could respecting the way, and being little encumbered with worldly goods, I set out upon my journey.
I do not intend to trouble my reader with the history of my travels, but shall begin to tell my adventures with some particularity only just where I came in sight of the lands which belonged more especially to my uncle's master, whom henceforward I shall designate by the title of the Lord,-or my Lord,-or our Lord; for although there were other great men and people in authority dwelling in those parts, there were none, as I afterwards found, worthy to be called Lord or Master, but the one into whose service I had been invited to enter; for though the call to me had been through the medium of my uncle, he was, as I afterwards learnt, but the instrument in the hand of the Master with whom the invitation had originated, and to whom in fact I owed my promotion. Hence therefore, although I was indebted to my uncle for the readiness with which he had obeyed his Master's orders in sending for me, yet as my worthy kinsman took great pains to prove to me, I was not by any means to consider
him as my benefactor or patron; seeing that the servants of the Master are, at the best, but as the moon shining with a borrowed light, and liable to variations and total eclipses, whilst the Master is as the sun shining in his strength, and shedding his glory through all creation. But although I have said that it is not my intention to give much account of my journey, yet I must not forget to say that I made it my business as I went along, to inquire what might be known respecting the Lord, in the countries through which I passed; I could however hear little of what I wanted to know. Many told me that they had never so much as heard of his name; others told me again, that they had indeed heard of him, but that he was much like others, an honourable man indeed, but not more than another, although in my uncle's letter he was described as one of a thousand;" "2 and another sort laughed in my face, saying, that there never was such a person as I described; but as these last seemed to speak without understanding, I paid little regard to them,3 and so went on. At length I came, still following my uncle's direction, who had in his letter given me
1 "Call no man your Father upon earth, for one is your Father which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters, for one is your Master, even Christ."-Matt. xxiii. 9, 10.
2 "My beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand."-Cant. v. 10.
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."--Psalm
such marks for my road as I could not mistake,' to the borders of my lord's territory, or rather to. the borders of that portion thereof, which he had set apart for his own peculiar pleasure and service: 2 and truly, when I first obtained the prospect thereof, I could almost have felt that I was like Moses viewing the land of Canaan from the top of Pisgah, so fair and ravishing was the sight; for there was nothing to be seen to the right and left, and as far away as the eye could reach, but mountains and hills rising one above another, until those which were most remote, and which lay in the quarter of the east, were so high as to be covered with eternal snow, some of the sparkling summits of which were seen above the clouds, and seemed as if unattainable by the foot of man; but the nearer hills being lower, were covered with fine trees, and were running down with brooks and fountains of waters. It was indeed a land of brooks gushing forth in the vallies; and there were rivers wandering among the meadows, and large pastures abounding with flocks and herds,' and fragrant brakes, and copses
1 "The wayfaring men though fools shall not err therein."Isaiah xxxv. 8.
2 "My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill."— Isaiah v. 1.
3" As the mountains are round about Jerusalem"-Psalm CXXV. 2.
4 "A land of brooks."-Deut. viii. 7.
"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." Psalm 1. 10.
filled with multitudes of birds, whose thrilling notes of joy filled the ear, and orchards of fruit trees, and fields rich with all manner of grain; and all these things burst upon my sight, as I might say at once, as I emerged from a narrow strait, or pass of the road. Surely, I cried, I am come to a fair land, and fallen into a goodly heritage; and if in the countries which are very far off, they deny the existence of the lord of this land, or mock at his name, there will be none here but such as will be ready to speak well of him, seeing how plenty is spread through all his domains, and how every man might dwell here under his own vine, and his own fig-tree, and enjoy a peace which the servants of other masters can but ill conceive. So I hastened onward, and in measure as I proceeded, other objects opened to my view. I saw many pretty cottages and little dwellings perched here and there on the sides of the hills, alone and single, or in groups and clusters, and soon afterwards the towers of the castle or principal seat opened unto me, being, as I saw on a nearer approach, an edifice composed of strong timbers curiously wrought and fashioned, having many windows and various galleries of lattice 2 work, the foundations being of
1 "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." Cant. ii. 12.
2"He looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattices." Cant. ii. 9.