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them at a time when my mind was in a state to enjoy and profit by them. I could never see it a duty to sit up late and drag my mind as a slave to his work. I should perhaps open my Bible, find a verse that I liked, fall on my knees before God, thank and praise him for my day's enjoyment, for the rich provision laid up in Christ for His people, lament my sins and failures, and rise quite satisfied that He was reconciled to me in Christ Jesus, and would, if it were His will, raise me the next morning in vigor and energy and gratitude, to seek His face, and ask His guidance. This is all I should do. Oh! I should fear God and think Him a hard master, if I felt about it as you do.”
“Well, my dear, we'll talk more of this tomorrow, for my conscience still binds me to my portion of reading for to-night, and I find that one infringement of duty quickly brings another, till you lose all sense of duty entirely.”
Mary smiled, and withdrew to her own room. Mrs. Harding's views on this subject occupied her thoughts for some time, till on looking at her watch she found that more time had elapsed in this employment than was necessary to carry Mrs. Harding through her reading. She had been seriously thinking how far she was justified in considering Mrs. Harding's opinions to be erroneous. She weighed, against her own judgment, Mrs. Harding's unvarying desire to be found in the path of duty ;-against her own consciousness of unworthiness and liability to err, Mrs. Harding's apparent humility and zeal in God's service ;-against her hourly failures in every duty and in every exercise of religion, Mrs. Harding's apparently uniform, consistent, upright, steady conformity to all she considered as the will of God;—and in contrasting only those points which are open to the eye of man in examining the conduct of another, she lost sight of the possibility that He who searcheth the heart might find in each the same tendency to evil, the same natural enmity to good. Mary only saw that her friend appeared less under the dominion of sin, less influenced by temptation : and conscious that, with every desire to seek first the kingdom of heaven,' she continually detected herself seeking other things, she became oppressed and dejected.
It was now her turn to sit up and try the strength of her own illustration ; the beggar was now empty and hungry indeed, needing some food to recruit his exhausted strength. She knew there was in her Father's house enough and to spare, and calling to her aid that faith, which had appeared in the early part of the day to raise her above the world, herself, and her corruptions, she cast herself before the throne of grace as a helpless, needy mendicant, craving the bread of life, which alone could nourish the soul. She pleaded nothing in herself which could embolden her to offer up a petition; she owned that she was sinful, and vile, and helpless, incapable of thinking a good thought, unable to put a right feeling into practice; she knew that her repentance, her tears, her prayers, were all stained by sin and could not procure her acceptance before a God of infinite holiness; she knew that the utmost efforts of self-denial, the greatest sacrifices, the deepest self-abasement would profit her nothing. But the blood of Christ was there to speak atonement for the sins of all His people! She knew this to be efficacious ! she felt that it was sufficient to cleanse from all sin. Pleading it as her ground of acceptance, she poured out her heart to God that he would show her more fully Christ's perfect and justifying righteousness; she prayed that a constant sense of unworthiness might be impressed, that laying low at the foot of the cross, she might be raised above self by a view of His love, His condescension, His superabounding mercy to fallen man. She besought God that he would never suffer her to find any satisfaction from her own duties, never the smallest comfort from any of her own performances. She asked for power to turn away from every thing in self, that she might see nothing, rest in nothing, value nothing, but the meritorious blood and righteousness of Christ. She earnestly entreated that her thoughts and affections might be more led out of self and the world, to that Saviour who had ransomed her soul. She pleaded the many promises wherein Jehovah pledges himself to dwell with his people. She repeated again and again our Lord's gracious petition to the Father, “ that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them and thou in me.” She urged the fulfilment of these words, for her soul thirsted for nearer access to the fountain of life, and her spirit longed “ to be made perfect in love.”
"I HAVE SEEN AN END OF ALL PERFECTION.'
Psalm cxix. 96.
Mr. Conroy and Mary were shortly after invited to accompany Mrs. Harding to Mrs. Darling's, a widow lady; who resided in the neighbourhood and was considered a great acquisition to the place, from her wealth and the support she gave to every description of religious institution. The Rector and his lady were expected, but Mrs. Mires was not very well and they declined going. There were a number of persons assembled, besides three or four clergymen, and it was understood that the Rev. Mr: Clayford, from -shire, would be present; accordingly, about an hour after the others had met, he arrived and was welcomed with smiles by almost all present. Mrs. Dar-ling introduced him to Colonel and Mrs. Percy and to Mary, who was sitting beside them; her uncle occupying the chair on the other side.