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merely to bring the question of duty again and again before your mind, with a decision that you will not fulfil it? If it is, read, and consider attentively the narrative to which the remainder of this chapter is devoted. It has never before been published. I providentially met with it in a manuscript, while writing these chapters: and it teaches so forcibly the lesson which ought now to be impressed upon my readers, that I requested of the Clergyman who wrote it permission to insert it here. The circumstances are of recent occurrence; and the reader may rely upon the strict truth and faithfulness of the description. How forcibly does it delineate the awful consequences of being only almost persuaded to be a Christian!


Shortly after my settlement in the Ministry, I observed in the congregation a young lady whose blooming countenance and cheerful air shewed perfect health and high elation of spirits. Her appearance satisfied me at once that she was amiable and thoughtless. There was no one of my charge whose prospects for long life were more promising than her own; and perhaps no one who looked forward to the future with more pleasing hopes of enjoyment. To her eye the world seemed bright. She often said, she wished to enjoy more of it before she became a Christian.

Louisa (for by that name I shall call her) manifested no particular hostility to religion; but wished to live a gay and merry life till just before her death; and, then, to become pious, and die happy. She was constant in her attendance at church; and while others seemed moved by the exhibition of the Saviour's love, she seemed entirely unaffected. Upon whatever subject I preached, her countenance retained the same marks of indifference and unconcern. The same easy smile played upon her features,

whether sin, or death, or heaven or hell, was the theme of discourse. One evening I invited a few of the young ladies of my society to meet at my house. She came, with her companions. I had sought the interview with them, that I might more directly urge upon them the importance of religion. All in the room were affected; and she, though evidently moved, endeavoured to conceal her feelings.

The interest in this great subject, manifested by those present, was such, that I informed them I would meet, in a week from that time, any who wished for personal conversation. The appointed evening arrived; and I was delighted in seeing, with two or three others, Louisa enter house.


I conversed with each one individually. They generally, with much frankness, expressed their state of feeling. Most of them manifested much solicitude respecting their eternal interests. Louisa appeared different from all the rest. She was anxious, and unable to conceal her anxiety; and yet ashamed to have it known. She had come to converse with me upon the subject of religion, and yet was making an evident effort to appear indifferent. I had long felt interested in Louisa, and was glad of this opportunity to converse with her.

"Louisa," said I, "I am happy to see you here this evening; and particularly so, knowing that you have come interested in religion."

She made no reply.

"Have you long been thinking upon this subject, Louisa?"

"I always thought the subject important, sir; but have not attended to it as, I suppose, I ought."


66 Do


now feel the subject to be more important than did previously?"

"I don't know sir: I think I want to be a Christian."


'Do you feel that you are a sinner, Louisa?

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"I know that I am a sinner-for the Bible says so; but I suppose that I do not feel it enough."

"Can you expect that God will receive you into His favour, while you are in such a state of mind as that? He has made you; and He is now taking care of you, giving you every blessing and every enjoyment you have; and yet you have lived many years without any gratitude to him, and continually breaking his commandments; and now do not feel that you are a sinner! What should you think of a child, whose kind and affectionate parents had done every thing in their power to make happy, and who should yet not feel that she had done any thing wrong, though she had been every day disobeying her parents, and had never expressed any gratitude for their kindness? You, Louisa, would abhor such a child! And yet this is the way you have been treating your Heavenly Father And He has heard you say, this evening, that you do not feel you have done wrong; and He sees your heart, and knows how unfeeling it is. Now, Louisa, you must be lost, unless you repent of your sins, and ask humbly and earnestly for forgiveness.-And why will you not? You know that Christ has died to atone for your sins. God will forgive you, for His Son's sake, if you come to him. To this, Louisa made no reply. She did not seem displeased, neither did her feelings appear subdued.

After addressing a few general remarks to my young friends, we kneeled in prayer, and the interview closed. Another meeting was appointed, on the same evening of the succeeding week. Louisa again made her appearance, with the same young ladies, and a few others who were not present the first evening. She appeared much more deeply impressed. Her coldness and reserve had given place to a frank expression of interest and exhibition of feeling.


Well, Louisa," said I, as in turn I commenced conversation with her, "I was almost afraid that I should not see you here this evening."

"I feel, sir," said she, " that it is time for me to attend to my immortal soul. I have neglected it too long." “Do you feel that you are a sinner, Louisa?

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"Do you think, Louisa, you have any claim upon God to forgive you?"

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No, sir. It would be just in God to leave me to perish. I think that I want to repent; but I cannot. I want to love God, but I do not know how I can."

66 Do you remember, Louisa, that Christ has said, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple?""



Yes, sir."

Well, Louisa, now count the cost. Are you ready to give up all for Christ? Are you ready to turn from your gay companions, and lay aside your frivolous pleasures, and acknowledge the Saviour publicly; and be derided, as perhaps you will be, by your former friends; and live a life of prayer and of effort to do good?"

She hesitated for a moment; and then replied: "I am afraid not."


Well, Louisa, the terms of acceptance with God are plain, and there is no altering them. You cannot serve God and Mammon. If you would be a Christian, you must renounce all sin; and, with a broken heart, surrender yourself entirely to the Saviour."

The evening's interview closed as before, and a similar appointment was made for the next week. Some of the young ladies present, I had reason to believe, had accepted the terms of salvation. The next week, about the same number were present; but Louisa was not with them. A slight cold had detained her. But the week after she

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again appeared. To my great disappointment, I found her interest fast diminishing. Though not exhibiting that cold reserve which she at first manifested, she seemed far less anxious than at our last interview: the Spirit was grieved" away. This was the last time she called to see me; but, alas! I was soon called to see her, under circumstances which at that time were but little anticipated. These social meetings continued for some time; and many of Louisa's associates, I have cause to hope, became the disciples of Jesus.

Two or three months passed away; and my various duties so far engrossed my mind, that my particular interest in Louisa's spiritual welfare had given place to other solicitudes; when, one day, as I was riding out making parochial visits, one of my parishioners informed me that she was quite unwell, and desired to see me. In a few moments I was in her sick-chamber. She had taken a violent cold, and it had settled into a fever. She was lying in her bed, her cheek glowing with the feverish hue, and her lips parched with thirst. She seemed agitated when I entered the room; and the moment I stood by her bedside and inquired how she did, she covered her face with both hands, and burst into a flood of tears.

Her sister, who was by her bedside, immediately turned to me, and said, "Sir, she is in great distress of mind. Mental anxiety has kept her awake nearly all night. She has wanted very much to see you, that you might converse with her."

I was fearful that the agitation of her feelings might seriously injure her health, and did all in my power to soothe and pacify.

“But, sir,” said Louisa, “I am sick, and may die. I know that I am not a Christian; and, oh! if I die in this state of mind, what will become of me? what will become of me?" and again she burst into tears.


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