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feared in danger of a gaol. The father's heart was half melted at this account, and his affection was for a time awakened. But Mrs. Bragwell opposed his sending her any assistance. She always made it a point of duty never to forgive; “ for she said it only encouraged those who had done wrong once to do worse next time. For her part she had never yet been guilty of so mear and pitiful a weakness as to forgive any one for to pardon an injury always fhewed either want of spirit to feel it, or want of power to resent it. She was resolved she would neve squander the money for which she had worker early and late, on a baggage who had throw herself away on a beggar, while she had a daugh ter single who might raise her family by a grea match.” I am sorry to say that Mrs. Bragwell anger was not owing to the undutifulness of th daughter, or the worthlessness of the husband poverty was in her eyes the grand crime. Th doctrine of forgiveness, as a religious principle made no more a part of Mr. Bragwell's syster than of his wife's, but in natural feeling, part cularly for this ofřending daughter, he much e ceeded her.
In a few months, the youngest Miss Bragwe desired leave to return home from Mr. Wo thy's. She had, indeed, only consented to thither as a loss evil of the two, than staying i her father's house after her fifter's elopemen But the fobriety and simplicity of Mr. Worthy family were irksome to her. Habits of vani and idleness were become so rooted in her mind, that any degree of restraint was a burthen; and though she was outwardly civil, it was easy to fee that she longed to get away. She resolved, however, to profit by her fifter's faults; and made her parents easy by assuring them she never would throw herself away on a man who was worth nothing. Encouraged by these promises, which were all that her parents thought they could in reason expect, her father allowed her to come home.
Mr. Worthy, who accompanied her found Mr. Bragwell gloomy and dejected. As his house was no longer a scene of vanity and festivity, Mr. Bragwell tried to make himself and his friend believe that he was grown religious ; whereas he was only become discontented. As he had always fancied that piety was a melancholy gloomy thing, and as he felt his own mind really gloomy, he was willing to think that he was growing pious, he had indeed, gone more constantly to church, and had taken less pleasure in feasting, and cards, and now and then read a chapter in the bible; but all this was because his spirits were low, and not because his heart was changed. The outward actions were more regular, but the inward man was the same. The forms of religion were resorted to as a painful duty; but this only added to his misery, while he was utterly ignorant of its spirit and its power. He still, however, reserved religion as a loathsome medicine, to which he feared he must
have recourse at last, and of which he even now conlidered every abstinence from pleasure, oreve ry exercise of piety as a bitter dofe. His health also was impaired, so that his friend found him in a pitiable state, neither able to receive pleafure from the world, which he so dearly loved, nor from religion which he so greatly feared. He expected to have been much commended by Worthy for the change in his way of life; but Worthy, who law that the alteration was only owing to the loss of animal fpirits, and to the casual absence of temptation, was cautious of flattering him too much. “I thought, Mr. Worthy,” said he, “ to have received more comfort from you. I was told too, that religi. on was full of comfort, but I do not much find it.”. You were told the truth, replied Worthy, Rcligion is full of comfort. but you must first be brought into a state fit to receive it before it can become fo; you must be brought to a deep and humbling sense of sin. To give you com- : fort while you are puffed up with high thoughts of yourself, would be to give you a strong cor. dial in a high fever. Religion keeps back her cordials till the patient is lowered and emptied; emptied of self, Mr. Bragwell. If you had a wound, it must be examined and cleansed, aye, and probed too, before it would be safe to put on a healing plailler. Curing it to the outward eye, while it was corrupt at bottom, would only bring on a mortification, and you would be a dead man while you trusted that the plaister was
curing you. You must be, indeed, a Christian, before you can be entitled to the comforts of Christanity.--I am a Christian, faid Bragwell, many of my friends are Christians, but I do not see it has done us much good.-Christianity itself answered Worthy, cannot make us good unless it be applied to our hearts. Christian privileges will not make us Christians unless we make use of them. On that shelf I fee stands your medicine.
The doctor orders you to take it. “ Have you taken it?” Yes, replied Bragwell. Are you the better for it ? faid Wor, thy -I think I am, he replied.-But, added Worthy, are you the better because the doctor has ordered it merely, or because you have also taken it ?-What a foolish question, cried Bragwell. Why, to be sure, the doctor might be the best doctor, and his physic the best phyfic in the world; but if it stood forever on the shelf, I could not expect to be cured by it. . My doctor is not a mountebank. He does not pretend to cure by a charm. The physic is good, and as it suits my case, though it is bitter, I take it. --You have now, said Worthy, explained undesignedly the reason why Religion does so little good in the world. It is not a mountebank; it does not work by a charm; but offers to cure your worst corruptions by wholesome, though sometimes bitter preferiptions. But you will not take them ; you will not apply to God with the same earnest desire to be healed with which you apply to your doctor;
you will not confess your fins to the one as honestly as you tell your symptoms to the other, nor read your Bible with the same faith and fubmission with which
take your medicine. Io reading it, however, you must take care not to apply to yourself the comforts which are not suited to your case. You must, by the grace of God, be brought into a condition to be entitled to the promises, before you can expect the comfort of them. Conviction is not converfion; that wordly discontent which is the effect of worldly disappointment, is not that godly forrow which worketh repentence. Besides, while you have been pursuing all the gratifications of ihe world, do not complain that you have not all the comforts of Religion too. Could you live in the full enjoyment of both, the bible would not be true.
Bragwell now seemed resolved to set about the matter in earnest, but he resolved in his own strength; and, unluckily, the very day Mr. Worthy took leave, there happened to be a grand ball at the next town, on account of the asfizes. An assize-ball is a scene to which gentlemen and ladies periodically resort to celebrate the crimes and calamities of their fellowcreatures by dancing and music, and to divert themselves with feasting and drinking, while un: happy wretches are receiving sentence of death.
To this Ball Miss Bragwell went, dressed out with a double portion of finery, pouring out on her own head the whole band box of feathers