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ples which a false education imposes upon the understanding. Alice had been taken seriously to task by her sincere but mistaken old father, shortly previous to her leaving home, because she had commended the goodness of a certain lady of her acquaintance. - You must always bear it in mind, my dear,” said old Mr. Sher. wood, “ that persons who are out of the church are in a state of nature—which is a state of unmixed depravity-however good, therefore, they may seem to be, they are in fact vile and abominable: they cannot think a good thought, nor do a good act—and their deeds which seem to be good are but deceitful workings,' and are more detestable in the divine sight, as being the offspring of hypocrisy, than are even those that we would pronounce evil. Beware, then, of looking to the unregenerate for any thing truly virtuous ; you will be deceived with specious appearances, but will never find what you seek; “for who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Not one;'—the virtues of the unconverted will be but as millstones around their necks to sink them the deeper under the waves of divine wrath." 6 But my dear father,” enquired Alice,"is it not possible for a person to be pure and upright, and as such, acceptable to our Creator, even though without religion in our sense of the term ?” " In our sense of the term !” somewhat impatiently retorted Mr. Sherwood ; " I tell you, Alice, that there is no other true sense of the term, but that which you are pleased to characterize as ours ; and if a person be without religion
then is he without it in any sense_his heart is rank in rebellion against Jehovah, and he would, were it possible, tear him from his throne. Talk not to me, then, of the goodness of unregenerated man; “there is no soundness in him, but from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, he is nothing but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.'"
Such are the dark principles of theology in which our heroine was educated-principles which, had they taken root in her mind, would have driven thence all its native benevolence, and with their sombre shadows must have darkened her vision to all that is fair and beautiful in life : happily for her they found not a congenial soil in her nature; and, consequently, although they perplexed her understanding, they failed of corrupting, in any great degree, that pure fountain whence principally the streams which sadden or gladden existence have their source—the heart,
in this sense,
One of the most beautiful features of christianity-not, alas! as it commonly exists in the practice of its professed disciples, but as taught by its author—is the spirit of kindness and forbearance it enjoins toward those who differ from us in faith and principles. • If ye salute your brethren only,” saith Christ, “ what do ye more than others ? for even the publicans do the same.” And the moral of that affecting story of the man who fell among thieves, manifestly is, that all are to be considered as our neighbors who stand in need of our services, that good Samaritan-like we must not stop to enquire whether the claimants upon our sympathies be Jew or Gentile, but must do good to all, without distinction of nation or sect.
Alice Sherwood had not been accustomed to exhibitions of this spirit, although her whole life had been spent in the bosom of religious society; for even the christian charities of the present age are but too much confined within party limits, and are exceedingly selfish and calculating. She had been wont to hear denounced as heretics, all who withheld assent to the dogmas of her faith, how. ever distinguished they might be for uprightness and amiability of character. One of her first impressions, therefore, relative to the people amongst whom she is now sojourning, was, that as they were perfectly tolerant toward persons of all religious opinions, it was not possible that they possessed any religious opinions of their own. But see-she is at this moment engaged in writing to her parents—we can take the liberty of peeping over her shoulders, and of thus satisfying to the full our curiosity as to all these matters. With motives so laudable, it will be no trespass against politeness, I trust.
Having described to you the situation of my school, I proceed, my dear parents, to acquaint you with other circumstances connected with my condition here. And first, I am almost wholly deprived of access to the outward means of grace. There is no church of our persuasion short of a distance of four miles from my residence, and even it is on the other shore of the river, in a delightful village called THE POINT. of ferriage thither and back is incurred each time I attend it, and there is about a mile of the way called THE NARROWS, which is
often unsafe: it lies between abrupt ledges of rock and the water's edge, and the road is scarcely of sufficient width to admit the passage of a vehicle. I seldom think of surmounting these difficulties to attend worship there. As to the people here, they are nearly all of one religion, and that a new kind to me. In moral and social respects, however, they are all thai I could wish them to be. I have found very intimate companions in two young ladies—they are both very thorough subjects of this new faith, and very zealous in its propagation. I must do them the justice to say, that in my opinion, no good cause could fail of gaining by their advocacy. The one is about my own height and age, and is a very imper80nation of mildness and sweetness of disposition. An angel sent from heaven to soothe a wounded spirit, might borrow her voice and accents with advantage. The other is somewhat her superior in years, and likewise in those accomplishments which are the result of cultivation. She seems also to surpass her companion in religious zeal, from the fact that her natural temperament is more ardent: her peculiar views in theology are with her a favorite topic of conversation, and her language is often marked with much felicity of expression.
“I supposed, till I had been several weeks with this people, that they had discarded religion in every form; for I had witnessed amongst them no acts of devotion, nor did their external appearance or bearing indicate piety, according to my ideas of it.
“On one fine evening, after school, I was enjoying a ramble on the mountain which forms the eastern boundary of this beautiful • vale—I had reached a point in the obscure path I was pursuing where it emerges from a thicket of sumachs, when I was startled at finding myself very close to an aged man, who was seated on the ground, apparently so occupied with his own thoughts as to be unconscious of my approach : I soon, however, regained selfpossession, when I had scanned his venerable appearance, and catching his eye at length, had read its intellectual and benign expression; besides, I had seen him before, and knew him to be a highly respectable old gentleman, and looked up to by the settlers as a kind of patriarchal head. He greeted me with much courtesy, and motioned me to take a seat on a moss-covered fragment of rock opposite to him, which, as I was short of breath from toiling up the rugged acclivity, I was sufficiently inclined to do.
"• I have been indulging, for perhaps the last time on earth,' said the old Squire, (for by such familiar cognomen is he known in these parts,) in an evening survey of the wonderfully varied works of our Creator: the scriptures are certainly correct in affirming, 'he hath made every thing beautiful in his time, nor beautiful only, for they speak forth to the distrusting heart of man the most intelligible assurances of his Maker's infinite loving-kindness. With all their grandeur and glory, they nevertheless but faintly shadow forth his wisdom and benevolence. The poet's deduction is just:
• Thus wondrous fair, thyself how wondrous then ?
In these thy lower works.' 66. When I was a child,' says Paul, I thought as a child. I remernber that when a lad I used to think the whole world was comprised between these parallel ridges. How great was my surprise when I first ascended to where we now are sitting, and beheld range behind range in apparently interminable continuity. I used to set bounds to the goodness of God from the same prin. ciple. My religious education had prescribed for me bat a narrow range of intellectual vision. I supposed that the sun of his mercy arose and set within that contracted horizon—but, · when I became a man I put away childish things,' and for many years have calmly rested in the persuasion, that the divine benevolence is as immeasurable as space, and as all-embracing; which blessed trust has been the light of my spirit in my darker hours, and continues to be so still as the day-star of my life is setting.'
“I expressed my surprise at his utterance of these pious sentiments, .in as much,' said I,.. as I have concluded with confidence that there is no religion amongst you—you certainly never pray, and • Pardon me,' interrupted he, how came you by the certain knowledge that we never pray?' •I infer it,' was my answer, “from the fact that I never either saw or heard you so engaged.' •Not the most logical inference in the world, my fair friend,' he rejoined, since many things are constantly transpiring
which you neither see nor hear. Moreover, the religion of Christ courts not the eye nor the ear of man—it is modest, and is content with being visible in its effects. To see or hear as pray, therefore, would be to detect us in a flagrant violation of the
gospel command : When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, then pray to thy Father which is in secret,' etc. Have you, young lady, been so accustomed to an infraction of this express precept, that its very observance on our part is deemed evidence that we are irreligious ?'
“My dear parents, what could I reply to this? I felt it, indeed, to be a thrust that there was no possibility of parrying. So, abandoning this ground, I attempted to sustain my impeachment upon another.
• How is it, sir,' I inquired, that I observe among you none of those anxieties that are usual to pious persons ? Your people exhibit no solemn feelings with regard to death and eternity—they have no concern about the preparation requisite to stand in the awful presence of their Maker. Does not this evince their destitution of piety ?'
"I wish you could have witnessed the surprise which these inquiries elicited. He surveyed me in silence for a time, but with a most placid expression of countenance. • Can it then be possible!' he at length exclaimed, that a freedom from distrusts in the goodness of heaven exposes to the charge of being without religion ?-for rest assured, young lady, that the anxieties and awful feelings, of which you speak, can be no otherwise rationally interpreted, than as evincing a want of confidence in God. Let me put the case to your own private experience. You are at present far from the home of your parents—suppose that the time for your return were at hand, would your mind be affected with anxieties, lest, for want of certain preparations, they might spurn you from their presence ? or would you indulge in anticipations of delight, that the moment was near that would find you enfolded in their arms, and your heart cheered with their benedictions ?' I should, certainly,' said I,. be affected in the latter way, but • Pardon me once more,' he replied, that but comprises the irhole dilficulty. Your trust in your Father in heaven is not equal to that in your parents on earth. That is the sum of the matter-your religious education is to blame for this ; you have been accustomed to a class of religionists whose confidence in heaven's love is as weak as your own.
however, have found a different people; we trust that the Being who made us, is able, and as willing as able, to take care of us ; he clothes the lilv—he feeds the sparrow_and why should we not be equally