NOTE.—The original letters of the widow, in French, are deposited in the archives of the American Tract Society.
FROM THE ROMISH CHURCH
TO THE PROTESTANT FAITH.
IN A LETTER TO HIS CHILDREN.
* * * * *
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.
[Footnote 4: This Narrative was originally entitled, “A letter to my children, on the subject of my conversion from the Romish church, in which I was born, to the Protestant, in which I hope to die. By Peter Bayssiere, Montaigut, Department Tarn and Garonne.” (France.) “As much of the interest of this Narrative,” says the preface to the London edition, “depends upon its authenticity, the reader is referred to the subjoined extract of a letter from the Rev. Francis Cunningham, Rector of Pakefield, dated May 20, 1829, which will probably remove any doubts on the subject.
“......The autograph of Bayssiere’s letter I saw when I was in the South of France, in the year 1826. It had just then been received by M. Audebez, the minister of Nerac; who, as appears by the Tract, was well acquainted both with Bayssiere and his circumstances. Confident of the genuineness of the account, I am very glad it has been published in French, and translated into English. It cannot but be interesting and profitable to all lovers of the truth.”
MY DEAR CHILDREN—I purpose to give you, in this letter, an account of my conversion to the true Christian religion—that religion which was established by our Lord and his apostles, professed by their followers during the first two centuries of the church, and which is now followed by the protestant or reformed Christians. I am conscious that neither my abilities nor my education qualify me for this task. A mere mechanic, and possessing but few advantages of education, I find it very difficult to express, as I could wish, the thoughts and feelings which crowd upon my mind. But how great and numerous so ever may be the difficulties which I must encounter in such an undertaking, I am impelled to it by the tender affection I bear you, and by the earnest desire and hope of being useful to you. May God be my helper; may he not suffer me to be deterred by any obstacle; and may he grant me the blessing of accomplishing that which I consider as a sacred duty.
It is my imperative duty to make you acquainted with the real motives which have produced the most important, solemn, and decisive step in my life.
It is my duty to give glory to God for the unspeakable mercy which he has deigned to show me, in calling me from darkness into his marvellous light; in opening to me the treasures of his infinite compassion, and in giving me the hope of salvation by faith in his Son, who only “has the words of eternal life,” being alone “the way, the truth, and the life.”