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her conduct, she took an opportunity at one of these times to conceal herself behind a yew-hedge near the place, through a small interstice of which she could perceive that her mind was greatly agitated. After walking backward and forward for some time, at last she stopped and cried out, lifting up her hands to heaven, O thou great Unknown, illuminate, I beseech thee, the darkness of a worm, if I
am not beneath thy notice. Mrs. Worthington stole softly from the place, having now no doubt what was her niece's disorder. After much deliberation, she determined not to mention it to Mr. Barnwell, with whose character she was perfectly. acquainted ; nor did she think it prudent to say much at present to her niece.
She had before proposed to Mr. Barnwell, that his daughter should spend the summer at her house, to which he had consented ; and being now desirous to depart, that she might have an opportunity of probing her niece's wound, they set off in a few days for Islington.
On the road, Mrs. Worthington every now and then attempted to converse upon some religious subject ; but Miss Barnwell declined talking as much as possible. Once indeed she said, And don't you think, Madam, that the penmen of the Scriptures were as liable to err as we are? No, my child, replied Mrs. Worthington; they were influenced by the Spirit of the God of Truth, to speak those things only which are true. Madam, said she, how do you know that? You must confess, my dear aunt, I have asked you a question that you can by no means answer. What you have said may be your opinion, and I doubt not but it is ; but another person may be of a contrary opinion, and who can tell which of the two opinions is right?
I have no cause to wonder, Miranda, said her aunt, at the disorder of your mind, since you manifest yourself to be an unbeliever. Alas, I fear you are among the numher of those, whose minds, like a troubled sea, cast up mire and dirt; and concerning whom God hath declared,
that there is no peace to them. You seem to suppose, that the infidel has as good ground to believe Divine Revelation to be false, as I have to believe it to be true. Indeed you are sadly mistaken. I have as strong evidence of the truth of Revelation, as I have that I am now in your company ; for though the evidence be not of the same kind, yet it is equally convincing. The Scriptures, to them who have an eye to see, and a taste to relish their excellency, carry conviction of their divine origin in almost every line. Like their Almighty Author, they need no testimony from man. I beg, therefore, if you have any objections to the truth of God's word, that you will let me hear them.
Indeed, Madam, replied the young lady, I scarcely know what I doubt, or what I believe. Of tbis only I am certain, that I am unhappy ; and your proving to me the truth of Revelation, if you could do it, would only plunge me deeper into misery, or, if i may quote Scripture, tor. ment me before the time. But I had rather say nothing about these things, the very mentioning of which heiglit. ens my distress.
Mrs. Worthington perceived the case of her niece to be much more deplorable than she had at first imagined. She said no more, however, at this time, since she rightly judged that it would be in vain to make use of any arguments, taken out of the Scriptures, to a person who did not believe those divine writings. The good woman wept, and offered up many ejaculatory prayers to God; for though she herself had no power to open the blind eyes, and to unstop the deaf ears, she well knew that with Him nothing is impossible.
Miss Barnwell had several friends and acquaintances in London, who came to visit her at her aunt's. They took her with them to all the public places, and did every thing in their power to make her stay agreeable. But the fear of a hereafter was gall and wormwood in these cups of pleasure. Whatever infidels may boast of, they have not half the assurance of the falsity of Revelation to which
they pretend; they labour indeed to disbelieve its authen. ticity, yet are distressed with ten thousand fears lest, after all, it should be true. This was exactly the case of this young lady. She would have been thankful to beg her. bread from door to door her whole lifetime, could she have had the consolation of being certain that there was no God-no Christ-no hereafter. Her aunt took every opportunity to lay before her the various evidences of the truth of the Christian religion, but without effect; since it is with great difficulty we are brought to believe that to be true, which we wish to be false. Besides, she had already made so many unsuccessful attempts to be a Chris. tian, that she looked upon it as a fruitless undertaking ; for what the Holy Spirit has declared, will ever be found true upon trial, that when the Ethiopian can change his skin, and the leopard his spots, then they also who have been accustomed to do evil, may learn to do good. This lady did not yet understand, that the tree must be first! made good before it can produce good fruit. The true state of her case was this. Like many others, she had endeavoured to establish her own righteousness ; which while she was doing, God graciously laid the reins on her neck, and left her in some measure to herself, that she might perceive her natural deprayity, and her inability to keep his law.
Several weeks elapsed without any alteration in her for the better. At length one night, after she had retired to her chamber, she took out of her pocket a volume of plays, as she thought, to pass away the time before she went to bed, as she was not disposed for sleep; but having laid down her book in the kitchen, she had, through mistake, taken up a volume of sermons of the same size, which belonged to one of the maids. Curiosity led her to look at the titles of the sermons, and at the texts from which they were preached; and her attention was attracted by one from these words : (Rom. jii. 20.) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight ; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. She chose to read this
sermon, because she could not conceive how a person could be justified any otherwise than by obeying God's righteous law. The author began by showing, that justi. fication is a law-term, and is applied to those, who, being tried by the laws of their country, are found innocent of the crimes laid to their charge ; and that in this sense no sin. ner can be justified at God's righteous bar, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. His second observation was, that all those whom God justifies, or proclaims righteous, must necessarily be sinners and ungodly persons, because the law condemns all the posterity of Adam, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. He proceeded to show, that the whole scope of Divine Revelation is, that God has sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and both condemned and punished sin in his flesh, that every sinner, whose understanding the Holy Spirit has opened to believe cordially this report, may be justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law, which, as the apostle observes in the text, can do nothing more than discover to us our transgressions.
This was a time never to be forgotten. This young lady now beheld such a glory in the whole plan of salvation by Jesus Christ, that she could have truly said with the apostle Peter, I believe and am sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God; or with Nathaniel, Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. The evi. dence of the truth of Christianity, like an overflowing de luge, bore away every doubt. Before, she had seen no form nor comeliness in Christ that she should desire him; and the glorious gospel of his grace and mercy to guilty sinners, had been a sealed book to her. In her former attempts to please God, the blood of Christ had made no part of her religion; or at most had been considered only as an auxiliary. But now, the language of her soul was like that of Paul, Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: and her utmost wish, like that of the apostle, was to be found in him, not having her own righteousness. It is impossible to describe her joy, for it was unspeakable. She appeared to herself as one snatched from the gates of hell, and set at the gates of heaven : and had not this exuberant transport vented itself in foods of tears, it would probably have dissolved her frame. She had such magnificent views of the fulness and freeness of redemption, that if the sins of the whole human race had centered in her own person, she would have considered the blood of Christ as a sufficient atonement for them all. Prayer and praise became her constant employ, whether she was at home or abroad, asleep or awake.
Mrs. Worthington soon perceived the great change which had taken place in the mind of her niece ; for such things will soon manifest themselves, even though we should do all in our power to keep them secret. "The good lady exceedingly rejoiced, and did not forget to return thanks to God for the answer he had given to her prayers. She gave her many excellent instructions, and found her employment in reading some of the best authors on divine subjects. She also took her to hear several gospel preachers of different denominations, opportunities of this kind offering themselves almost every day in the week ; so that she lost in a little time all the bigotry in which she had been educated. She closely applied herself to study the grounds of the Reformation from Popery, as well as the reasons for dissenting from the Church of England, with which reasons she was fully satisfied. Notwithstanding she knew how much her father, abhorred all those who left the church, and turned Presbyterians, by which common name of reproach he called all Dissenters, yet she determined to have one thing only in view, namely, to follow the dictates of her conscience so far as it was enlightened by Divine Revelation, and to leave the event with God; for like the apostle Paul, she did not count her life dear unto herself, so that she might finish her course with joy. She did not conceive that any evil could be equal to a state of unbelief and alienation from God, hay.