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to heaven, were ultimately determined by my parents to be expedient for the temporal welfare of their child. I do not remember that while these things were passing, I thought upon the first-learned, first-believed, maxim of my childhood, to mark how the one thing was perpetually yielded to the many, and the only needful gave way to the much expedient. It would have been well for me, perhaps, if I had: the discrepancy would have been less influential than the insidious intermingling of motives, whose opposition to each other passed undetected in the seeming amity of their combination.
To leave smaller things, the moment came when it must be decided where I should finish
education. Inclination, and my interest, as I supposed, had now changed sides: I did not wish to be sent from my indulgent home: and, with perceptions thus sharpened, did not fail to detect the fallacy of all arguments that bore that away. I heard the dangers of school depicted in colours exaggerated by maternal fear, and its advantages weighed against them by the more accurate calculations of paternal solicitude. I could appreciate neither, but this was easy to be gathered; the dangers were to my moral and spiritual welfare; the advantages were purely temporal, affecting my preparation and accomplishment for the future task of life. I remembered now the lessons of infancy, and took courage in the safe issue of a contest so depending; when, to my surprise, it was determined, that, all things considered, I must go to school. But then what school? This seemed a deeper matter still. Pious, devoted, and conscientious women, keep schools :—the child committed to them they receive as from the hand of God: the responsibility to the
confiding parents for intellectual cultivation, however deeply felt and duly answered, is less considered than the responsibility to God to nurture them for him. My mother wished, my father would have liked to send me there. But there were other considerations. There were schools of higher name, and name is something; I might connect myself with genteeler girls, and connexion is something; my manners, person, and accomplishments, would be more attended to, and these are much. I had my way in life, and had better see something of it beforehand; by living in one sphere, and among one sort of people, I should get contracted notions : after all, they could not secure for me the influence of divine grace; and by seeing both, I should be better able to choose between religion and the world. The many things again outweighed the one; and I was committed, with prayers, tears, and warnings, to the chances of a large but very excellent school.
From this time, I have to speak only of my own character. The pious influence of my parents was withdrawn for a season: their first lesson remained, but I had learned another. The phrases of my nursery books, the texts of my themes, were still imprinted on my memory; but I had accumulated others also. I had phrases in store about injudicious zeal, party-spirit, narrow-minded preciseness. I had even some texts of Scripture, importing that to the pure all things are pure, that for the promoting of good, I must become all things to all men, and on no consideration must allow my good to be evil spoken of. The counsels of my parents when I left them enforced my life's first lesson : their conduct commended to me its second ; I took both with me to the school. Before I left it, my careful father died, and
my mother was re-married. A greater degree of independence arose to me out of this circumstance, and I became thenceforth responsible for myself.
My first surprise at school was my own popularity. The teachers declared my pious disposition, my attention to religious duties, and love of my Bible, to be an example to the whole house; my very presence in it was a blessing. The girls declared they never saw a religious person so liberal as Miss Sm; though she was a methodist, she was always agreeable and full of fun; and howbeit rather particular in some things, never thought others wrong: if all religious people were like her, the world would be very soon converted. To complete my felicity, the governess wrote home to my confiding parents, that my pious regularity was only surpassed by the soundness of my judgment, and the conciliating sweetness of my disposition. No demagogue of a faction, suddenly feeling upon his brow the pressure of a crown he never dreamed of a pretension to, set about to preserve it with more determined assiduity, than my new-found reputation for judicious piety. It became my motto, my key-note, my by-word. I wrote it upon my heart, and bound it upon my bosom. How I earned and how I kept it, may I tell? My intentions might have been called good, insomuch as I certainly intended to convert the whole house-and I fully expected it, moreover. “ Religion,” I said to myself, “ is altogether lovely, and, if justly presented, must attract admiration; the approbation shown for mine is a proof of it. It is a pity religious people do not try to recommend it by being more agreeable. If they would but be more conciliating, and not make themselves particular in trifles, there would not be half the opposition there is. Nobody takes offence at my religion; on the contrary, they respect me for it, be
cause I do not offend their prejudices by injudicious opposition. And then what opportunity I have of influencing them, and leading them to a knowledge of the truth ! Certainly, pious people are very injudicious. Our Saviour mixed hiinself with all sorts of people, consulted their feelings, and adapted his discourse to their habits and prejudices with kindness and forbearance: so did the Apostles also—it is a pity we are not more like them.” After this manner, were my reflections at this
period. It is remarkable it never once occurred to me that Jesus and his Apostles did not succeed in gaining the suffrages of the world. I did. Every body wished they were as good as I; every body confessed their errors and doubts to me: every body borrowed my books, and asked my opinion, and courted my approbation. What I said to them, it is impossible now to remember: a few particulars only I can recall. When piety was spoken of as eccentric, gloomy, unamiable, I smiled unwillingly, and then turned grave, and sighed, and confessed it was, to be sure, a pity, that good people were so injudicious. I disliked extremes as much as they did : religion was not meant to make people gloomy and particular—I did not recommend such examples. But then all pious people were not so: and the conversation ended in my companions wishing all were like me—of course I wished so too. When we spoke of the amusements and practices of the world, I had, to be sure, my opinions : but then I did not condemn all who differed from me; much allowance must be made for those who were differently brought up; and, after all, it was a pity too much importance was attached to outward things, when God looks only at the heart. And this talk ended with every body wishing their conduct as good as mine, and taking VOL. II.
comfort in the assurance that at least their hearts were right. If, on the other hand, we spoke of doctrines-for young as we were, there was no lack of controversy—I was obliged to soften the triumph better instruction secured to me, by admitting that truly it did not so much signify what one believed: I was not so uncharitable as to suppose every creed wrong
my own: if only our conduct honoured our profession, it did not, perhaps, signify : and then they wished they could argue as well as I did ; but since they acted up to their belief, it was all the same in the sight of God.
All this time, be it known, I did not believe a word of what I said. I thought I was the only religious person in the house, and that all the rest were wrong; and when at home in the vacations, I deeply bewailed the darkness and irreligion of my companions. But this I did to recommend myself; for religion's sake, of course; assured that all must love the representation of the religion of Christ, if copied from his example without the extravagance men have mixed with it. It never occurred to me that they had not loved the original. They loved me. Nor was my conduct less judicious than my speech. I misspent my Sabbaths, that I might not seem bigoted to forms ; joined in every unholy jest, that I might not seem austere ; gave into their habits, that I might not seem particular; and concealed my religious exercises, that I might not seem ostentatious. Eventually, I found out it was very easy to be religious in heart, without being particular; and when, at the end of three years, I was about to return home, I heard my governess tell somebody I was amazingly improved; the peculiarities of my early education had worn off from mixing with other girls; and she thought I might now make some figure in