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for an opportunity of stating them to her. She said, that she had had a very long discussion with Mr. Forbes that morning, and although he had argued against the opinions she wished to adopt, she was thankful that she had not been shaken by his arguments.
Mary asked some questions about the conversation; her friend replied, that when he called, she happened to be employed in searching the scriptures for texts which treated of the perseverance of the people of God; and, on applying to him for assistance, he gave her to understand that the doctrine was an unsafe one, and liable to lead to much evil. This surprised her; as she had already found many passages which seemed to establish it; and she ventured to point them out to him, and to ask in what way they tended to evil. He answered, that although no one would distinctly deny that the point was tenable from Scripture, yet he considered it an unsafe doctrine to be unguardedly held. He thought no individual was justified in deeming himself secure from eventually falling away from grace; and said he should consider any one who held such a notion extremely presumptuous. Cora added, “ He went so far as to say, that he should almost hesitate about associating much with any one who thought in this way; and when I said that I was examining the Bible expressly for the purpose of establishing my belief in that and other points of a similar nature, he positively looked at me with astonishment; he was too civil to express his thoughts, but I dare say he considers me very wrong-headed. He was at great pains to shake my confidence, and I believe might have succeeded in some degree, had I not found Scripture on my side, and felt so much more happy and at ease in my mind, since I began to see differently. He would scarcely believe me when I assured him that I hoped soon to be enabled to hold those opinions without any doubt. He said he hoped I would forgive him if he made one observation, which was, that he had often made the remark, that those who took up these high doctrines were generally females. I could not help smiling at the idea; but' fortunately it occurred to me to bring forward that striking passage in the first of Corinthians, 'God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.' I believe he seemed a little ashamed of his remark, for he coloured and made me no reply. However I would not let the subject drop, but next mentioned to him another text equally forcible, that in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female,' but all are one in Him; and I said that God was no respecter of persons, but would, I trusted, lead all who sought his direction into the sure and right path. To this he assented, adding, that it was necessary in seeking guidance, not only to exercise our own judgments, but to attend to the opinions of those who had made the subject their peculiar study. I told him that I wished to make the Scriptures my chief study, but that I had been recommended Luther's work on the Galatians, and I found it very useful and instructive. He of course made no objection to the great Reformer, but he cautioned me most strongly against error in opinion, and asked from whence I had imbibed what he called my peculiar notions. I did not think it necessary to tell him, but I said that the subject had engaged my attention very much for some time, and that I was diligently searching the Scriptures for confirmation of what I had heard. He answered that no doubt I might find several passages favouring my peculiar views, but that it was necessary, in order to form a just opinion, to take the context and then decide. I said I wished to do so, and for this purpose had carefully gone through the gospel of St. John, the Acts, and Paul's first five Epistles, the result of which was, that I was in each succeeding chapter more and more convinced that the doctrines revealed in them were such as I trusted God was enabling me to to receive, and such as appeared to me calculated in every respect to lead the Christian to holiness and to eternal peace. He heard me very patiently, I must confess, and I do not know whether I was most surprised at my own courage in speaking as I did, or at his forbearance in listening to me; for it certainly must seem rather out of place for a young woman to give an opinion in opposition to one who makes it his business to study the subject."
Mary was much interested in the conversation, and quite pleased to find that her friend, with all her natural timidity, had maintained her own opinions so firmly.
“ But now,” said Cora, taking up her paper, “ let me tell you my own private difficulties :I have, as I told Mr. Forbes, carefully read St. John's gospel, the Acts, and several of St. Paul's epistles, besides much of the Old Testament, for since I saw how blindly I had been going on, the whole word of God seems to me full of nothing but promises of peace and joy to believers, and I never can read enough of it. Yet I am ashamed to say that many of my former doubts and fears return to perplex me. I was quite miserable the other day with the idea, that perhaps I never was a child of God, and had no right to all those promises, which at other times appear to me so full of consolation. I want you to tell me how I am to get rid of these wretched fears when they haunt me."
Mary asked if she felt any of them at present, and was answered in the negative.
“ How do you know that you are in a more safe state now than you were the other day?
“I do not know that I have any reason for my present confidence, but I certainly feel very happy and full of hope, although I cannot assign any positive cause.”
Mary pointed out to her the uncertain nature of her confidence, explaining that it was evident she trusted to certain feelings, which were liable to fluctuate ; whereas if she could lay hold of scripture, and rely simply and solely on its assurances, she would have a safe ground of confidence, and a strong foundation of hope, which would stand against the attacks of Satan and unbelief. 66
That is precisely what I need,” said her