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extremely little concern; for what concern can the understanding of a young lady of eighteen have with the mysteries of the trinity, which represents Jehovah as being both the father and the son of himself!—native depravity—the demands of the divine law against us to an infinite amount, on the ground of a debt alleged to have been contracted by our progenitors, some thousands of years before we were born !—the satisfaction of this claim by the murder of an innocent victim—the transfer of our guilt, both original and actual, upon the head of the unoffending Son of Godmand the imputation of his righteousness to creatures who have no righteousness of their own?
These are subtleties for the brain of the metaphysical divine, but are not at all suited to the unsophisticated mind, and guileless heart, of a young lady of eighteen.
It will be understood, then, that in describing our heroine as a Calvinist of the modern school, I mean, simply, that she adheres
I to that party from educational and family prepassessions. The dogmas of this, as distinguished from those of the old school, are, that God has provided in the gospel ample means to save those whom from all eternity he unchangeably determined to damn!—that Christ shed his blood for the same class, with the certainty before him, that they could never be availed by it !-that all may be saved if they will, notwithstanding that none can will to be saved but sueh as God has foreordained to that end, and they can do no otherwise than will it !—and that the chief aggravation of the miseries of the damned, will arise from their having rejected a gospel that was never meant for them, and which it was utterly out of their power to accept ! with other matters equally sane and salutary.
Alice, nevertheless, is a good and pious girl-for there are good and pious persons of every religious persuasion—either because their natural dispositions are so good as to defy the corrupting influence of a bad faith, or because they do not entertain that faith with so firm a persuasion of mind as to allow it its full weight of evil influence. However, so stands the fact, be the philosophy of it what it may; and it is certainly better of the two to be theoretically wrong, and practically right, than the contrary : for if the heart be wrong, the head will easily be induced to stray with it; whereas, if the former be right, the latter may easily be redeemed from its errors. And yet it must be confessed that many a young and innocent heart receives its earliest taint from the principles 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. Sherwood, “ 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." 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 in this sense, 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,
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, howo 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. The expense of ferriage thither and back is incarred 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 that 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 impersonation 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 valeI 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 but 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 cerlain 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 around you 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 us pray, therefore, would be to detect us in a flagrant violation of the