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of her own former words, but to no purpose ;
for Mrs. Harding, unable to take her eyes off self, and rest them on the atoning blood, continued in her own perplexing opinions and unprofitable anxieties. Mary felt for her, and wished it were possible to do more, but, assured that faith was the gift of God, she could only plead with Him for her friend's peace, and bless His name that she had herself been so graciously delivered from legal fears into the glorious liberty of a child of God.' Her eyes wandered over the beautiful scene through which they were passing, and her mind entered into the repose that was stealing on every thing around her. She was in full possession of peace, of that heavenly peace which passeth all understanding; she knew that while her mind rested on her Saviour the promise would be fulfilled, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.' She lifted her heart towards heaven, and earnestly implored that she might be kept faithful, and not suffered to seek any shelter but that which was founded on a rock. Assured that He who had given His own Son would also with Him freely give her all things ;' her heart was satisfied, and happiness, pure unmingled happiness, reigned within.
ARE YE SO FOOLISH ? HAVING BEGUN IN THE SPIRIT, ARE YE NOW MADE PERFECT BY THE FLESH?'-Gal. iii. 3.
FROM ME IS THY FRUIT FOUND.'-Hos. xiv. 8,
Mrs. HARDING's sister had been some years a widow, and bad settled in a very remote and retired part of the country, in a cottage beautifully situated on the side of a rich valley, over. looking part of the river which our travellers had passed. She was already looking out for them, and expressed much pleasure on their arrival. Strangers she rather avoided, but Mary was not a new acquaintance; and although she was less interesting to the latter than Mrs. Harding, Mary esteemed her character and understood her worth.
The time past agreeably under her roof, for she spent much of the day shut up in her own room,
, and allowed others to do as they liked. Mary usually wandered about through the surrounding scenery, looking in upon the cottagers as she past their dwellings, and endeavouring to lead the conversation to something profitable. At other times she explored the less frequented paths, and with her book and her own reflections, the days glided quickly and happily on.
Mrs. Harding was not fond of long walks, but she occupied herself with assisting in her sister's charitable institutions, examining the classes at her school, and visiting the poor. The immediate neighbourhood was very barren of residents who did any thing for their religious improvement, but there was a little town within about seven miles, which contained a rather large body of individuals interested in the cause. The two churches of this town were filled by men whose lives were devoted to usefulness, and several families had, in consequence of their attachment to them, taken houses in the place. About once a month meetings were held at the residences of the various families in rotation, and all such as favoured the cause of religion in the vicinity were expected to attend. Mary had, previously to this visit, accompanied her friend to one or two of these evening parties, but had not found them so free from ceremony and stiffness as she had expected, and might be excused for expressing a preference for remaining at home when now asked to go, but she saw that her refusal was received with so little satisfaction, that she thought it right to recal her intention.
Mrs. Harding's sister was a person who saw but one side of a question, usually the most plain and obvious, and having taken her view, could never be brought to understand that another might see the same object through a different medium. She had always a right and a wrong side, each distinctly marked out, and whatever deviated in the slightest degree from the former, was immediately pronounced by her decidedly wrong. She looked very much annoyed at Mary's reluctance, and as they drove along, swung her foot from side to side, her usual symptom of uneasiness. Mary perceived it, and guessed the cause, but took no notice. Mrs. Harding was leaning back in the carriage, apparently buried in thought. Mary looked around upon the scenery which in every direction was truly beautiful. She felt its beauty, and continued gazing, in deep admiration. Still the foot was swung. I am doing wrong, thought Mary, to indulge my own gratification, while another is feeling annoyance at a cause which by a little trouble I might remove. She wished
for a sincerely tender heart, a heart alive to the very weaknesses of human nature, and ready to sympathize in its infirmities, and, looking smilingly towards the widow, hoped they should enjoy their evening, and hear something that would please or profit.
“I don't understand,” said the other, “why you should have objected, in the first instance, to going with us. I cannot make out what reason you could have for wishing to stay at home alone, in preference to meeting a select number of people, assembled together for the sole purpose of mutual profit and edification.”
Mary replied that she had been at several of these meetings before, and if she must express her private opinion, she had not often found them answer her expectations; but the case might be otherwise to-night.
The lady argued that if such meetings were held for the sole purpose of benefit, she could not understand how any one professing godliness could justify the absenting himself without any reasonable ground. “I think,” she continued, “that a Christian should always cast in his lot among God's people, and, wherever they are met for purposes of benefit, there should every professor be.”
Mary tried to explain that if they were truly