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tradicted by numerous other parts of Scripture. The Bible tells us that Christ is the Rock,' the 'chief corner stone,' and the only foundation.'...
"Beware, mademoiselle," exclaimed the religieuse, hastily interrupting her," that you do not give the Holy Scriptures an erroneous sense. But pray, do tell me, on what is your religion founded ?"
"On the Bible, madam; I am not only a Protestant by education and habit, but I am one from principle and conviction. Were I not perfectly satisfied that my religion is the most agreeable to Scripture, I should immediately renounce it."
"But your parents, probably, would feel highly displeased, were you to take such a step."
"Admitting that such were the case, I do not think that even parental influence ought to prevail in a case of conscience. I trust I am too deeply sensible of the importance of eternal things, to risk my soul on mere earthly considerations; and I again repeat that were I not perfectly convinced, perfectly satisfied, from the sure testimony of scripture, of the excellency of the Protestant faith; had I but the smallest doubt on the subject, I would give myself no rest, till I had discovered a better way; and when I had found it, I hope no human influence would prevent my following it."
"But have you taken pains to be rightly informed on the sub. ject? Have you well examined the grounds of difference between us? Have you consulted able theologians, or other persons capable of giving you every necessary information ?"
"I have read and reflected much, but have applied to no theologians; and, were it possible for me to consult all the learned men in the world, what would it avail me in this case? Their opinions would be, after all, but the opinions of men, and I should not dare to venture my eternal interests on so sandy a foundation."
"But you are not to expect that God will work a miracle, to convince you, without the aid of human agency."
แ True, madam; God does not generally work without means but he has given us a revelation of his will, which is sufficiently clear and explicit. It becomes us to bend in humble obedience to that divine will; to search the Scriptures,' and pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that we may discover the right way; to try our opinions, as well as our conduct, by the test of God's holy Word; and to abide entirely by its decision."
"You see, my dear Marie Thérèse," said Madame Dorville, rising, "that my young friend knows more on the subject of religion than you do."
This was uttered in a half ironical tone; but the nun replied, with great apparent humility,
"That is very possible, for my knowledge is extremely limited;
but religion does not consist in knowledge alone; it is faith that saves us."
"We are, indeed, 'saved by grace through faith," observed Emily, with peculiar emphasis; "but, my dear madam, can faith have a better foundation than the revealed will of God? I have prayed, and do earnestly pray, that he would enable me to understand that will aright: why, then, should I seek for human information, on a subject respecting which I am already satisfied, from the unerring testimony of him who cannot lie ?""
The nun now gave up the contest, with an expressive look of compassion, and the visitors prepared to depart. As they left the religieuse, Emily said to her,
My dear madam, since you do not believe me to be in the right way, I hope you will pray for me, that God may teach me the true knowledge of his will; and though we are separated here by the differences of religious worship, it is my earnest wish that we may meet in the same heaven."
The nun responded a fervent amen to the wish, though with a look of melancholy doubt, and promised to remember Emily in her prayers.
Caroline had been particularly attentive to the conversation at the hospital, though she had preserved an almost unbroken silence. Madame Dorville, after an interval of deep thoughtfulness, during their way home, at length resumed the conversation. 1 "If your religion is the true one, Miss Mortimer, allow me to ask you, how it is that so much indifference exists among you Protestants, respecting the eternal welfare of those you believe to
in error? There can be but one true faith; and as we conceive ours to be that faith, we are most anxious to bring others over to our way of thinking. Every true Catholic will seize any opportunity that may present itself, for promoting the conversion and eternal welfare of those who, he knows, must perish if they remain in error; but, though I have met with a great number of Protestants, and many, too, who were considered very religious, I have never seen one who would make the least attempt to convert those whose religion he condemned, Does not this apathetic indifference argue, either a total want of sincerity in their profession, or very little confidence in the goodness of their cause."
Emily felt that this keen reproof was but too well deserved, and blushed for the inconsistency of professed Christians. "You must remember, madam," observed she, "that the Protestants you have conversed with were living in a Roman Catholic country, and may have been deterred, by that circumstance, from attacking the religion of its inhabitants. But, as all who profess to be Christians are not really such, we cannot be surprised that those who care little for their own souls, should feel indifferent about the salvation of others."
They were now near Madame d'Elfort's residence, and their conductress proposed paying a short visit to the Grey sisters, be fore they re-entered the house.
"Have you ever seen these excellent and devoted women?" inquired she, turning to Caroline. "Your cousin, I know, has paid them a visit, but perhaps you would not dislike doing the
The thoughtful countenance of Caroline assumed an ashy paleness; she complained of a severe headache, and, declining the proposed visit, they returned to Madame d'Elfort's,
Madame Dorville remained to supper, and, having led the conversation to the subject of the hospital, related some particulars of their evening's excursion. Madame d'Elfort inquired, what her pupils thought of the nuns of St. Thomas. Emily and Caroline spoke with admiration of their devotedness, upon which their governess exclaimed,
"Yes, they do indeed deserve heaven!"
Emily felt shocked, at having given occasion for so revolting an observation. Had she dared to answer, she would immediately have refuted the error it contained, with the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah, "All our righteousnesses are as lthy rags," or the Saviour's injunction to his disciples, "When ye shall have done all things that are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants." But it was not permitted her to do this, and she was compelled to keep silence, till an opportunity offered for changing the conversation.
OLAIRE DE LIANCOURT.
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord? Who hath required this at your hand?-ISAIAH i. 11, 12,
PREPARATIONS were now making throughout the town, for what is called the first communion. The children of Roman Catholic parents are introduced to auricular confession at the age of seven, and at ten they are admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper On this occasion there is always a family feast, and the young communicant is quite the hero or heroine of the day. On Emily's ex
pressing some surprise to Madame d'Arblay, that they should be admitted to the most solemn ordinance of religion, before they could well comprehend anything of its nature, that lady observed, that their youth formed their best qualification, "as their hearts were still pure, and unpolluted by an intercourse with the world." "Oh!" thought Emily, "how contrary to the declarations of scripture, that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.'
Rose de Liancourt was deeply engaged in preparing her younger sister for the occasion. Little Claire, who was particularly attached to Emily, had been, for the last four months, forbidden by her confessor and governess to hold any unnecessary intercourse with her, lest the society and caresses of a heretic should corrupt her mind, and unfit her for that important act, on which depended her future character. She was continually told, that "if her first communion was not perfectly good, it would have a most baneful influence on her future life;" and she, therefore, habitually shunned her former friend, though her affectionate disposition often frustrated every precaution.
The intended communicants, after having gone through a long course of catechetical instruction, were, during the last week, exempted from every secular duty, and incessantly employed in preparatory exercises. They went to church for a considerable time every day, and were studiously secluded from all intercourse with the Protestants. Their dress was an object of the greatest importance, they paraded the streets in the most elegant attire, and their youthful minds were entirely absorbed by the gratification of vanity, and the observances of superstition. Those children in the school whose parents lived at no great distance, were dressed for church every day by the hand of maternal pride; and Rose, whose mother was unable thus to manifest her affection, descended regularly from the school-room, to attend on the youthful Claire.
Three days before the intended ceremony, the children went in procession to renew their baptismal vow. On this occasion, Rose was prevented from performing her usual office, for she was suddenly called home, in consequence of some domestic occurrences of a painful nature. The distance was not great, but the length of her stay seemed uncertain; she, therefore, requested of Madame d'Elfort, that her little sister might be dressed by Miss Mortimer, during her absence. The governess seemed reluctant to grant this permission; but, knowing the affection that subsisted between these two young persons, and being unwilling to grieve the already oppressed heart of Rose, she consented, on condition that Mademoiselle Saint-André, the junior teacher, should alone superintend the religious duties of Claire.
Emily was writing to Mrs. Somerville, when Rose suddenly entered her room. Her step was hurried, and her face swollen with weeping. "I have come to entreat a favor," said she, grasping Emily's hand; and without waiting for an answer, she continued, in an agitated voice, "My father has sent for me, and I am compelled to leave Claire on the eve of her first communion. I know that her religious duties will be attended to, but oh she will want a sister's hand to dress her, a sister's care to ensure her comfort. Will you, my dear, dear friend, supply that sister's place? To your tenderness alone can İ confide my sweet Claire."
"Dearest Rose !" said Emily, with surprise, "how can I undertake such a charge? Madame d'Elfort will not entrust her to a Protestant, more especially at this moment........
"Madame d'Elfort has consented. Oh! say that you do not reYou cannot, you will not, dearest Emily! and I shall now go without anxiety, for I know you enough, to be perfectly certain that you will not interfere with her religion.”
"But how long will you be absent, Rose?"
"I know not, my beloved friend; perhaps I may never return Trials and sorrows are fast gathering around me. Pray for your poor Rose! Farewell, I must be gone."
At that moment a loud voice from below rudely calling Mademoiselle de Liancourt, made her start with affright; and hastily disengaging herself from Emily's embrace, she hurried down stairs. Emily looked through the window and saw her enter a carriage, with a coarse-looking woman, whose dress seemed to denote her a kind of upper servant.
In the afternoon, Mademoiselle Saint-André entered Emily's room, leading little Claire by the hand.
"I have brought you Mademoiselle Claire," said she, with a look of mingled scorn and displeasure, "in order that you may dress her for church. Her sister wished it, and Madame d'EIfort has consented; but you are not to speak a word to her on the subject of religion."
"I shall obey the commands of Madame d'Elfort, and the wishes of my friend," replied Emily calmly, but with dignity.
The teacher tossed her head, in a manner peculiar to herself, when she chose to express her displeasure, and left the apartment. This young lady had, from the first, manifested a jealous dislike of Emily, and the preference now shown to the latter by Rose had so piqued her self-importance, that it was not surprising she should display a little ill-nature on the occasion.
Emily being now left alone with her young charge, began to perform her office of waiting-maid, by attiring her in the fine muslin dress, and rich cap, prepared for the occasion. Claire talked of her sister, as if she anticipated her speedy return, ex