Chapter 11


Joseph no sooner came perfectly to himself than, perceiving his mistress gone, he bewailed her loss with groans which would have pierced any heart but those which are possessed by some people, and are made of a certain composition not unlike flint in its hardness and other properties; for you may strike fire from them, which will dart through the eyes, but they can never distil one drop of water the same way. His own, poor youth! was of a softer composition; and at those words, “O my dear Fanny! O my love! shall I never, never see thee more?” his eyes overflowed with tears, which would have become any but a hero. In a word, his despair was more easy to be conceived than related.

Mr. Adams, after many groans, sitting with his back to Joseph, began thus in a sorrowful tone: “You cannot imagine, my good child, that I entirely blame these first agonies of your grief; for, when misfortunes attack us by surprise, it must require infinitely more learning than you are master of to resist them; but it is the business of a man and a Christian to summon Reason as quickly as he can to his aid; and she will presently teach him patience and submission. Be comforted, therefore, child; I say be comforted. It is true, you have lost the prettiest, kindest, loveliest, sweetest young woman, one with whom you might have expected to have lived in happiness, virtue, and innocence; by whom you might have promised yourself many little darlings, who would have been the delight of your youth and the comfort of your age. You have not only lost her, but have reason to fear the utmost violence which lust and power can inflict upon her. Now, indeed, you may easily raise ideas of horror, which might drive you to despair.”—“O I shall run mad!” cries Joseph. “O that I could but command my hands to tear my eyes out and my flesh off!”—“If you would use them to such purposes, I am glad you can’t,” answered Adams. “I have stated your misfortune as strong as I possibly can; but, on the other side, you are to consider you are a Christian, that no accident happens to us without the Divine permission, and that it is the duty of a man, and a Christian, to submit. We did not make ourselves; but the same power which made us rules over us, and we are absolutely at his disposal; he may do with us what he pleases, nor have we any right to complain. A second reason against our complaint is our ignorance; for, as we know not future events, so neither can we tell to what purpose any accident tends; and that which at first threatens us with evil may in the end produce our good. I should indeed have said our ignorance is twofold (but I have not at present time to divide properly), for, as we know not to what purpose any event is ultimately directed, so neither can we affirm from what cause it originally sprung. You are a man, and consequently a sinner; and this may be a punishment to you for your sins: indeed in this sense it may be esteemed as a good, yea, as the greatest good, which satisfies the anger of Heaven, and averts that wrath which cannot continue without our destruction. Thirdly, our impotency of relieving ourselves demonstrates the folly and absurdity of our complaints: for whom do we resist, or against whom do we complain, but a power from whose shafts no armour can guard us, no speed can fly?—a power which leaves us no hope but in submission.” “O sir!” cried Joseph, “all this is very true, and very fine, and I could hear you all day if I was not so grieved at heart as now I am.”—“Would you take physic,” says Adams, “when you are well, and refuse it when you are sick? Is not comfort to be administered to the afflicted, and not to those who rejoice or those who are at ease?” “O! you have not spoken one word of comfort to me yet?” returned Joseph. “No!” cried Adams; “what am I then doing? what can I say to comfort you?” “O tell me,” cried Joseph, “that Fanny will escape back to my arms, that they shall again enclose that lovely creature, with all her sweetness, all her untainted innocence about her!” “Why, perhaps you may,” cries Adams, “but I can’t promise you what’s to come. You must, with perfect resignation, wait the event: if she be restored to you again, it is your duty to be thankful, and so it is if she be not. Joseph, if you are wise and truly know your own interest, you will peaceably and quietly submit to all the dispensations of Providence, being thoroughly assured that all the misfortunes, how great soever, which happen to the righteous, happen to them for their own good. Nay, it is not your interest only, but your duty, to abstain from immoderate grief; which if you indulge, you are not worthy the name of a Christian.” He spoke these last words with an accent a little severer than usual; upon which Joseph begged him not to be angry, saying, he mistook him if he thought he denied it was his duty, for he had known that long ago. “What signifies knowing your duty, if you do not perform it?” answered Adams. “Your knowledge increases your guilt. O Joseph! I never thought you had this stubbornness in your mind.” Joseph replied, “He fancied he misunderstood

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