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stranger. On her entrance, her father advanced to meet her, and said, “Marion, I have sent for
you to introduce you to Mr. Gerard ; and perhaps it is better that you should know at once that you are to look on him as your future husband.”
Overwhelmed at this sudden announcement, Marion felt as though she would have fainted. At her request, she was permitted to withdraw ;-and how eagerly did she hasten to her little sanctuary !
She knew where to seek for guidance; and, as she knelt, she prayed that she might be strengthened to suffer death rather than suffer herself to be entangled in the meshes of that dark system from which her mind had escaped, by becoming wedded to one who was the slave of Rome, and to whom God's holy word was an unknown and a forbidden book.
She well knew that this proposal was made in order to fasten the fetters of Popery more firmly upon her, and she resolved that all such attempts should be frustrated by steady resistance. Prayer and the reading of the Word calmed and strengthened her. She was prepared to suffer rather than to sin ; and the hand that had guided and sustained her hitherto, would not, she felt assured, desert her now in the hour of trial. It was nearer than she thought.
She was again summoned to her father's presence, and now found him with the priest only.
“ Marion,” he said, “I have sent for you to inquire your answer to the proposal that has been made to you. Are you ready to accept Mr. Gerard as your husband on a very early
“ My dear father,” Marion answered, timidly, “this is a very serious matter. Surely I shall be allowed time to think over it.'
“There can be no objection to your thinking of it,” he said, “but you must make up your mind at once, either to engage to marry Mr. Gerard on this day week or to leave my house."
Undeterred by the presence of the priest, and by the sternness of her father's manner, Marion opened her whole heart to him. She related the whole history of her trials, and showed how peace and joy had reached her only through the light of gospel truth. She reminded him of how it had always been the delight of her life to please him, and begged he would exact any other sacrifice than this. She could not sin against God by becoming united to one whose religion, she had now learnt, was widely different from the teaching of his word. She could not marry a Roman Catholic."
But our story has already passed its limits, and we must draw it to a conclusion. That week was the last which
Marion spent beneath her father's roof. A fiery furnace was prepared to try the faith of the young disciple; but there was One by her side who bore her through it, and it served but to free her from her bonds.
She sought refuge in the house of her friend, Dr. Manstield, in whose family she remained, as governess, for six months. But another and happier sphere was opened for her. missionary clergyman became acquainted with her. They formed an attachment, founded on the most christian friendship; and if Marion be still living, she is now gladly devoting herself, as a missionary's wife, to spreading the good news of salvation.
And now, of all my readers, Protestant and Roman Catholic, I would ask one question : “Is your religion the religion of the Bible ?” Have you closed with its offers of salvation, and are you cleaving in faith to Him who has said, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me,” John xiv. 6. ? Are you striving in all things to follow his example, knowing that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord "?
If not, whatever your religion may be in name, be assured it is not the religion which the Bible teaches. If
desire that religion should be yours, search that book. Do not content yourself with the teaching and opinion of others, but apply your own mind to its study, knowing that you will have to answer at the last day for the use you have made of it.
Read and pray, and the time will come when that book will be to you as it was to David, and to all God’s believing children, " more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey comb."
The Scriptures contain divine life. “ The words that I speak unto you,” says our Lord, “they are spirit and they are life,” John vi. 63.
Let not God's warnings pass unheeded; for what does he say of those who neglect his word ? Luke ix. 26. Be won by his promises of blessing, which are many and abundant. Psa. i. 1-3. “ Search the scriptures.” 6 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom," and you will then walk in the path which • shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W.INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London
DURING the days of agitation which followed the revolution of February, 1848, at Paris, large crowds assembled every evening on different parts of the Boulevards, sometimes tumul. tuous and disorderly, sometimes in dense masses, in the midst of which divers orators were discoursing upon many different subjects.
Questions on politics, the state of society, and religion, were brought forward, and freely discussed; sometimes well, sometimes ill, according as the speaker was either a friend of truth, or a defender of error.
Inquisitive by nature, and desirous of observing more closely this excited people,--anxious also to scatter amongst them a few salutary truths, -I mingled each night with the crowd, often listening, sometimes speaking, and always deeply interested.
One evening, about half-past eight o'clock, a numerous group
had formed not far from where I was ; and I imagined, from the eagerness of the listeners, as well as from their deep silence, that some one of more than usual ability was addressing them, or that the subject discussed was of universal interest.
“ Let me get amongst them,” thought I; and by stooping and pushing I succeeded in introducing myself into the midst of the crowd. To my great surprise, the question under consideration was this :-“ Is man naturally good, or, is he by nature evil ?”
Two men were arguing on this subject. The one, tolerably eloquent and seemingly sure of his ground, was a young man, well dressed, trying, but somewhat unsuccessfully, to render himself popular. The other was a working man, young, uneducated, but earnest, slow of speech, and rendered timid by the manner and fine words of his antagonist.
“ But,” the workman was saying, " if you deny that man is ruined, wicked, you overturn all religion.
“Well,” replied the other, “and what of that ? Religion is mistaken, that is all. When I see people great, generous, magnanimous, as I have seen them, I will never consent to lower them, and degrade them in their own eyes, by telling them that they are naturally wicked.”
It was now my turn to speak. “ The workman is right,” said I aloud; “man is not good.” Every one turned towards me.
“Ah, ah,” said the orator, with an air of self-importance, “doubtless this gentleman is very religious, that is why-"
“To show that you are mistaken," I replied, “it is not necessary to be very religious, as you say; to make use of one's eyes, and to tell what one sees, is all that is needed." “ But,” said the other, “I open my eyes,
very without seeing as you do." He tried to joke, but it was evident that the seriousness of my remark had annoyed him. I resumed, “ You are, perhaps, blind, and what is worse, unconscious of it. If you will listen to me, I will show to all around me, as clear as daylight, what you have not yet perceived.” “Go on! go on!” cried fifty voices.
There was dead silence, and I was pushed into the middle of the crowd.
My friends," I began, “my discourse need not be a long one if you will reflect a little; if you will look, as we were saying just now,
mind. Whence comes it, that as far as we can go back in history we find, even down to the present time, nothing but continual wars and quarrels between nations, peoples, and individuals ; so much so, that no sooner were there two brothers, than the one became the mur. derer of the other ? Does this prove that man is good ?
“Whence comes it, that for many generations, and even at this day, one half of the human race is enslaved, treated as cattle, sold, and kept in the grossest ignorance, degradation, and brutishness, by the other half ? Does this prove the goodness of man ?
“ Whence comes it, that from the very commencement of social intercourse, the rich, or the strong, or the clever, have tried to subdue the rest, and have always found some amongst them to approve and flatter ? Does this prove that man is good ?
“ Whence comes it, that the inhabitants of the same country, the citizens of the same town, the members of the same family, opposed to each other in interests and in ambition, despise, injure, and even kill one another, if they have the opportunity ? Does this proceed from the goodness of man ?
“Whence comes it, that in all ages, in all countries, in the north, in the south, in the east, in the west, under every possible form of government, there are laws to punish evil doers, soldiers to make war, police and constables to arrest the guilty, judges to condemn them, prisons and hulks in which to confine them, and often even hangmen to execute them ? Does all this prove that man is good ?
“Imagine for a moment what the world would be, if suddenly we were to act as if man were good : no more soldiers to defend