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adopted the gentleman's you mention, I should be still more puzzled to maintain it. Religion does, indeed, breathe peace and consolation, to all who do not turn away their ear from her heavenly voice; but to the rebellious and impenitent, she declares, that there remaineth nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment; that indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, shall be on every soul of man that doeth evil. And magistrates, though it is their painful task, to be a terror to evil works, and to those who perform them; yet to the good they are not so. It is their privilege to command and protect the peaceable, industrious, and deserving. Do that which is good, and shalt thou then have praise of the same.' So far, therefore, religion and the laws go hand in hand. Nevertheless, I should most gladly relinquish this employment, if I could think of any one to take my place, for I find abundant engagements in my spiritual connection with my flock; and nothing but an imperious sense of duty, could extort from me the sacrifice of time and feeling which is often required. At present, however, I believe that the interests of humanity, morality, and religion, would sufferin our little village, by my resignation; and, therefore, my Eliza, I feel bound to persevere, till the path of retreat opens plainly before me."
“O I dare say you have the best reason for undertaking the task. But who has been committed this morning ?"
“A poor unhappy woman, who has been going from house to house, with a fictitious tale of sorrow, the falsehood of which, has not only been discovered, but sundry articles, proved to be stolen, have been found in her possession. She had received relief from several persons in the village, and from you, Jane, about two hours since.”
What, that wretched looking creature, who came here after breakfast? She told me a pitiful tale about sick and famishing children; but I merely gave her some food to take to them, and promised to call in the course of a few hours, to see what relief would be most serviceable. I engaged, also, to inform you of the circumstance; and said I was sure you would be pleased to relieve their bodily wants, and still more so, if you could be useful to their souls."
“The fear of a few such visits, disposed her, I fancy, to, hasten her departure. But the person with whom she lodged, having been left unpaid, followed and detained her; and her bundle turning open in the scuffle, some of its contents were recognized, as belonging to the house she had just quitted ; and others, which have since been claimed, excited suspicion.”
“How provoking it is,” observeu. Eliza, “to be imposed upon. I have heard papa say, that people seldom do much good by relieving beggars. Provision is made for their wants, he says, by law: and the parochial officers are, from habit, much more skilful in detecting imposture."
“I think with your papa, my love,” rejoined Mr. Robinson, (for that was the name of the vicar)—that much harm is done, by the indiscriminate relief of beggars. Taken as a class of people, the greater part are undeserving, idle, and deceitful; and in proportion as they meet with success, they will feel encouraged to continue these vices. I have always more pleasure in ministering to the wants of the quiet sufferer, whom I have sought out, than in attending to the clamorous importunity of those who call on all around to pity their distresses. Neveptheless, we may meet with some among them, whom it is a privilege to serve; and with many who are real objects of compassion; and in the latter case, I should not readily withhold such needful help as I felt able to bestow, merely because the sufferer was unworthy. This is not the way, in which our heavenly Benefactor deals with us : 'He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good; and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Besides, by sympathizing with those sorrows, which alone they deem important, we may perhaps gain favor.. able access of a spiritual nature, and feeling that we have disinterestedly befriended their bodies, they may give us credit for a desire to befriend their souls too. Thus, many a one, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit on his endeavours, has been made the happy instrument of conferring both present and never-ending benefits."
“But still, this morning, Jane's liberality was entirely thrown away."
“Not entirely : the nature of our actions, in a great mea.. sure depends upon our motives ; and he, who from a right motive, giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord. Had Jane.
allowed her feelings to be worked upon, so as to relieve this wretched woman largely, without further enquiry, I should have thought her conduct, as the steward of her Heavenly Master, blameable, because she would have given to one, what might have been better bestowed on another. But in the present instance, I think she acted wisely, not lavishing assistance without examination; and at the same time taking care that actual suffering should not be prolonged by her caution. I really believe," continued the old gentleman, “that the credulity which listens to every impostor, and the indifference which disregards the miseries of others, frequently arise from the very same cause ; and that is indolence. We . dare say the poor creatures are distressed enough,' and relieve them; or
there is no truth in it,' and refuse them; thus keeping our own minds easy either way, and saving ourselves all further trouble. But this is not the charity that is either useful to our fellow-creatures, or pleasing to our God. Personal exertion is necessary before we can tell how we may best distribute our aid ; and by personal exertion alone, can we gain opportunity to speak a word in season, which may be blest by God, to the awakening of the careless sinner, or the consolation of his sorrowing children. But the clock reminds He that I have promised to superintend some alterations that are going on in the church : so I must say good bye for the present."
Eliza enquired of him if he were sufficiently rested; and Jane, after waiting lis reply with a look of tender anxiety, drew his hand under her arm, saying,
“Well, if you must go, grandpapa, I think you will require an arm to lean upon."
The old gentleman accepted the offer, nor could the support of his lovely child yield to him more pleasure, than did the pressure of that aged hand, to her young and affectionate heart.
A gate from the garden, opened into the shady, solemn walks of the village burial ground; and Jane, having seen her parent to the church, quickly returned to her former employment. She was scarcely seated, however, when she saw a young Jady walking across the lasvn; and the servant announced Miss Underwood,
“My friend Maria," said Jane to Eliza, with an animated smile. « O no," she added, as their visitor approached ; “ it is her sister."
“Good morning," said Miss Underwood. “Maria requested me to leave this note with you, and I could not
pass on without asking how
all are." “No, it would have been very naughty if you lrad. We are all well, thank you, and just in the humour for a little chat ; so pray sit down. My cousin I am sure will enjoy your company. You never spent a fortnight of such retirement before, did you Eliza ?"
“O you are so kind to me, that I cannot be dull: but I am always pleased to see any
friends." “I should enjoy staying a little while with you, in this pleasant seat, but just now I am quite in haste. I am going to enquire for a travelling woman, who applied to mamma this morning. We were both out, and mamma is not able to walk so far, but she promised that one of us should call, as soon as we returned home.”
“Then we can spare you the trouble," observed Eliza, smiling; for she has just been sent to prison, as an impostor and a thief."
" There has been a woman comunitted this morning," said Jane, “and there would scarcely be more than one person of that description, at the same time, in our little village. Did she give you her name?
“ Jones.” « Jones ! But the name grandpapa mentioned, was Smith.”
Eliza smiled.--" You live in happy ignorance of the wiles, by which Jones, alias Smith, alias Marten, &c. endeavour to escape detectinn.
In London we should find no great difficulty in believing, that the Jones at Mrs. Underwood's gate, was the Smith who was sent to prison; for my part, I do not see a shadow of doubt on the subject."
“What tale did she tell at your house ?" enquired Jane.
“ That she was journeying to her husband, a sailor lately landed, who had met with a serious accident; that she had taken her infant, about two years old, with her; the child was
ill when they set out, but she thought it only a cold; it had however, become every day worse and she began to fear that the life of her babe was in danger. What she requested was some wine, but mamma felt afraid it might be improper ; and knowing we should soon be in, promised to send us. I have the wine now in my bag, to leave if it be suitable.”
“ The very same tale," exclaimed Eliza, “ with a few. vari. ations. She told you, you know, Jane, about her sick child; and the life of her husband depending upon seeing her, was the very plan that grandpapa said she made use of, to prevail with them not to commit her."
“I do not remember grandpapa's saying so, dear,” observed Jane.
“ No, you were on the high-road to the sideboard for some refreshment, when he told me that.”'
“Well then, I suppose I may take my wine home again, was the conclusion Miss Underwood came to ;- but as no one there is dying for it, I may enjoy your company a little while first."
The young ladies spent an hour very pleasantly together, and when their guest had departed, the veil, some new music, dressing, and dinner, had so occcupied the time, that when the clock struck five, their thoughts had scarcely recurred to the impostor.
At that hour, however, the gate-bell rang, and Jane's presence was requested in the kitchen. When she returned, she looked so agitated, as quite to alarm her venerable parent.-• My Jane, what is the matter ?” he exclaimed. He tenderly took her hand, and led her to the sofa.
Jane burst into tears, and Eliza, with real concern, offered her a smelling bottle, poured out some wine, and had recourse to all the expedients which she had been accustomed to see used for the removal of hysterics. Jane, however, was not of an hysterical nature : her tears did not flow from passionate excitement, which as soon as they are dried, is over ; but from real grief. As soon as she had recovered herself, she said, turning to her cousin,
“I am afraid, dear Eliza, we have been the cause almost of an infant's death. The woman who applied to Mrs. Underwood was not the same that grandpapa mentioned.”