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were not brought into that exercise which made the possession of religion lovely and desirable to others.

“Desirable and lovely! no, by no means, my dear girl, and I shall take good care how I go to one of those said social parties again. Let me know where I am !-let me find cheerful faces, a warm reception, and a free, open manner ! But, dear me, what's the intention of it all; no doubt they were all good religious people, but they will make few disciples, I am persuaded ; for who would have courage to confess his unrighteous deeds to so solemn an assembly? and who that has any love for the comforts and innocent enjoyments of life, would make up his mind to adopt those monastic rigidities of deportment and manners? How is it that Harding shows none of those human infirmities, as you call them ? he is pleasant enough, and will talk with a man on any rational subject without fear of endangering his soul; and yet he is what every one calls a pious man, and I am sure one who does honour to his profession ; for a more unaffectedly sincere, upright, liberal-minded man does not exist. He would not have commended your proceedings this evening. But there's his wife, as sincere and as amiable a

woman as any that breathes, full of kindness and good feeling, how can she be hampered with such heart-chilling austerities? But I see you are tired, Mary, and no doubt my criticisms on your party are not very agreeable, so good night,

my dear."

Saying this, her uncle withdrew, leaving his niece, as he conjectured, by no means satisfied with his remarks. She felt that there was much of truth in them, and regretted that it should be so; at the same time she was grieved that he could not be made to understand that there was a distinction between a wilful intention of giving unnecessary offence, and the error of falling into a constrained cold manner, together with a needless scrupulosity on indifferent points. She had lamented this error in many instances, and had had occasion to observe its very prejudicial effects in numerous cases. She had seen characters, seemingly desirous of religious knowledge, and interested in the subject, although not sufficiently awakened to bear with these obstacles, turned away from their inquiries by their dread of such discipline. Her own judgment naturally led her to ask what end was answered by it; and why many of the most sincere Christians considered it necessary to lay upon themselves restraints which neither the Scriptures nor common sense appeared to require. She was inclined to look up to other religious characters as wiser in the ways of God, and more experienced than herself, and therefore hesitated in censuring their failings, even to her own mind. Besides, she had a secret fear, from the low estimation in which she held herself, that they might possibly be better judges, than she, of what was or was not essential. This subject had given her much uneasiness, and she resolved to introduce it, the first opportunity she could find of ascertaining the opinions of sensible and experienced persons.

Meanwhile she employed some time, before retiring to rest, in asking counsel of God; beseeching Him, in all simplicity of spirit, to teach her what was according to His will, and so to enlighten her judgment, that she might not be harassed by contrary opinions, according to the notions of men.




1 Pet. iii. 8.

“ How did you like your evening? " asked Mr. Harding, who had been absent the day before.

Mr. Conroy smiled, and broke his dry toast. Mr. Harding repeated the question to Mary, who was entering the breakfast room. Mary also smiled, and hesitated in her answer. “ Kate," he said, addressing his wife, “ I'm afraid our excellent friends at the rectory have not made as favourable an impression on their guests as you expected.”

“Mrs. Mires, you know, my dear Harding, is rather a shy nervous woman, and there were some strangers from the depot, which perhaps might have caused a little less freedom of manner ; but I always find great pleasure in their conversation."

“Yes, my love, I know you do; but that's no reason why every one else should do the same. However, let us hear why strangers should occasion reserve and caution of manner.”

“ Not exactly reserve and caution ; but you must be aware that until one knows something of the character and opinions of others, it is not easy to appear quite social at first. None of us are much acquainted with the Percys, for instance, and it is difficult to introduce general conversation; besides, one hardly can tell whether they would like the subjects which are usually brought forward among us.'

“But why, my love, should any one doubt on this head; we heard they were interested in religious conversation, and I think charity obliges us in 'hoping all things, to act, as far as we can, upon this principle. According to my views we should receive every one who shows the slightest inclination for right knowledge as a brother or sister, as one of ourselves ; for I can't help thinking that the very desire for good is an evidence that the Lord's teaching Spirit is there. I cannot at all fall into the views of those Christians, who look upon every unknown creature as in some probability a 'vessel

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