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thing interesting in the course of conversation, but perhaps, being almost strangers, they may be more reserved with us at first.”

Mr. Conroy smiled with his own peculiar look; it was not one of contempt or of satisfaction; but an expression which might be read for incredulity or satire, as his character was understood. Mrs. Percy seemed to catch his meaning, for she laughed and begged him to try another evening. He half assented, and they parted.






AFTER dinner, Mr. Conroy, much to Mary's annoyance, began the story of the bookseller and his bargain; he commenced by asking Mrs. Harding if he was not a particularly conscientious man. Mrs. Harding had no suspicion from his manner, and commended him in the highest terms for his piety and consistent conduct. “Ah! is that the case ? a zealous, active, humble-minded, consistent Christian !” repeated Mr.Conroy, using her words, and laying emphasis on the last mentioned epithet—“ a consistent Christian ! Hem !” (he muttered to himself) upon my word! then Christianity is a

most inconsistent profession." Mrs. Harding looked to Mary for an explanation, who gave it with as much charity as her regard for truth would allow. Mrs. Harding seemed quite distressed, she felt as a sincere Christian should, more for the dishonour done to God's cause than for the individual himself she lamented, in strong terms, the bad impression which such a specimen of human frailty in a professor of religion, was likely to make on Mr. Conroy.

“Oh! my dear Madam,” he replied, “ spare yourself that annoyance, this is neither the first nor the fifty-first time that I have had occasion to observe that the world, and the things of the world, are not altogether so despicable in the eyes of the good people as they would have you believe."

But, Mr. Conroy, I hope you will have the candour to allow, that, although some few do bring scandal on their profession, there are others who do honour to it.

Why! yes, that perhaps I shall not pretend to deny, especially as I have seen an instance of it this morning, but I am nevertheless far more sceptical touching your very excellent people than you will like: I'm for none of your exaltation of human beings. I know there are few can stand it. Set up a creature above his


fellows, and put temptation in his way, and see how long he will stand.”

Mrs. Harding interrupted him by observing, " that in admiring and wishing to imitate the virtues and graces of very advanced Christians, she by no means meant to imply that she fancied they were sustained by their own unassisted strength: she knew that this was not the case; they were strengthened and aided by almighty grace.

“ Then why, my dear madam, are we to set them up as graven images to admire and reverence! No, let us carry things to their source ; let us adore and revere that Spirit which is acknowledged to be imparted to direct man's steps, and preserve him from evil : but don't let us fall into the inconsistency of erecting a monument to the beggar, when we can raise one to the Sovereign.”

Mrs. Harding entered perfectly into this sentiment, yet she still felt that some consideration was due to the characters of those individuals, who, assisted by grace, had long acted with consistency and honor to the cause of religion. She added, “I could not, for example, feel the same esteem for any one who by unguarded conduct brought discredit on his profession.”

“I think, my dear,” said Mr. Harding, “that all our friend means to object to, is the habit too prevalent among religious persons, of paying a kind of homage to human merit, when they meet with it in some high professor, who, although secretly sacrificing to spiritual pride, ostentation, or a decent and respectable kind of avarice, is yet held up by them for his external sanctity and good works, done to be seen of men,' as a being less sinful and more inherently holy than his fellow Christians, and as having achieved this distinction, in part at least, by his own exertions. It is very remarkable that every one of the distinguished saints in scripture has a blot in his history. Witness Abraham

the friend of God, the father of the faithful,' guilty of falsehood through fear and unbelief; witness Moses, the meekest man,' guilty of intemperate anger; witness David, the man after God's own heart,' guilty of adultery and murder; and Solomon, the wisest of men,' given over to the most foolish and degrading lusts. And so we might go through the list . of God's servants of old. But why were these things recorded ? To lead us to think lightly of sin ? God forbid. Not even the Infidel, if a candid one, can imagine this; for every offence recorded in scripture is followed by its appro

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