learned bench concurring to find her guilty, how did she curse herself, poor Barnwell, us, her judges, all mankind! But what could that avail? she was condemned, and is this day to suffer with him. 30
THOR. The time draws on; I am going to visit Barnwell, as you are Millwood.
LUCY. We have not wronged her, yet I dread this interview. She's proud, impatient, wrathful, and unforgiving. To be the branded instruments of 35 vengeance, to suffer in her shame and sympathise with her in all she suffers, is the tribute we must pay for our former ill-spent lives and long confederacy with her in wickedness.
THOR. Happy for you it ended when it did! 40 What you have done against Millwood, I know proceeded from a just abhorrence of her crimes, free from interest, malice, or revenge. Proselytes to virtue should be encouraged. Pursue your purposed reformation, and know me hereafter for your 45 friend.
LUCY. This is a blessing as unhoped for as unmerited; but heaven, that snatched us from impending ruin, sure intends you as its instrument to secure us from apostasy. 50
THOR. With gratitude to impute your deliverance to heaven, is just. Many, less virtuously disposed than Barnwell was, have never fallen in the manner he has done; may not such owe their safety rather to Providence than to themselves? With pity and 55 compassion let us judge him! Great were his faults, but strong was the temptation. Let his ruin learn1 us diffidence, humanity, and circumspection; for we, who wonder at his fate -- perhaps, had we like him been tried, like him we had fallen too. Exeunt. 60
A dungeon. A table and lamp.
BARNWELL, reading. Enter THOROWGOOD at a distance.
THOR. There see the bitter fruits of passion's detested reign and sensual appetite indulged -- severe reflections, penitence, and tears.
BARN. My honored, injured master, whose goodness has covered me a thousand times with 5 shame, forgive this last unwilling disrespect! indeed, I saw you not.
THOR. 'Tis well; I hope you were better employed in viewing of yourself. Your journey's long, your time for preparation almost spent. I sent a rev 10 erend divine to teach you to improve it, and should be glad to hear of his success.
BARN. The word of truth, which he recommended for my constant companion in this my sad retirement, has at length removed the doubts I 15labored under. From thence I've learned the infinite extent of heavenly mercy; that my offences, though great, are not unpardonable; and that 'tis not my interest only, but my duty, to believe and to rejoice in that hope: so shall heaven receive the glory, 20 and future penitents the profit of my example.
BARN. 'Tis wonderful that words should charm despair, speak peace and pardon to a murderer's conscience; but truth and mercy flow in every 25 sentence, attended with force and energy divine. How shall I describe my present state of mind? I hope in doubt, and trembling I rejoice; I feel my grief increase, even as my fears give way. Joy and gratitude now supply more tears than the horror 30 and anguish of despair before.
THOR. These are the genuine signs of true repentance, the only preparatory,2 the certain way to everlasting peace. -- Oh, the joy it gives to see a soul formed and prepared for heaven! For this the 35 faithful minister devotes himself to meditation, abstinence, and prayer, shunning the vain delights of sensual joys, and daily dies that others may live forever. For this he turns the sacred volumes o'er, and spends his life in painful search of truth. 40 The love of riches and the lust of power, he looks upon with just contempt and detestation, who only counts for wealth the souls he wins, and whose highest ambition is to serve mankind. If the reward of all his pains be to preserve one soul from wander 45 ing, or turn one from the error of his ways, how does he then rejoice, and own his little labors overpaid!
BARN. What do I owe for all your generous kindness? But though I cannot, heaven can and will reward you. 50
THOR. To see thee thus is joy too great for words. Farewell! heaven strengthen thee! Farewell!
BARN. O sir, there's something I would say if my sad, swelling heart would give me leave. 55
THOR. Give it vent a while and try.
BARN. I had a friend -- 'tis true I am unworthy, yet methinks your generous example might persuade -- could I not see him once before I go from whence there's no return? 60
THOR. He's coming, and as much thy friend as ever. (Aside.) But I'll not anticipate his sorrow; too soon he'll see the sad effect of his contagious ruin. This torrent of domestic misery bears too hard upon me; I must retire to indulge a weakness I find 65____________________