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untruths on being thus solemnly questioned by the minister? or if it be asked, how 1 could presume to confess what I never had felt, making a false avowal in the sight of God? I answer, that, if I deceived the minister, I was also myself deceived. I had learned the language of religion, and could run off fine periods on every subject connected with it, though an utter stranger to all truly pious feelings: I did not know what conviction of sin was, though I knew the manner in which religious persons were accustomed to talk of it: I had not even felt the need of a Saviour, though I fancied that I loved and depended upon Christ. In short, I was acting a part, and I did it so well as to lose myself in the character I assumed. And such is the extreme deceitfulness of the human heart, that I fear many fair professors are now living in a state of the same self-deception as that which I then practised with so much effect.
"Soon after I had become a communicant, several circumstances appeared in our society of a very awakening and alarming nature. Among these was the sudden and very disgraceful fall of a person whom I had always been in the habit of considering as an advanced Christian. There were many circumstances in the case which I might have taken to myself, and which I ought to have looked upon as an awful and appropriate warning: but such was the self-confidence in which I then lived, that instead of humbling myself on this occasion, I rather felt inclined to say with the Pharisee, / thank thee, O God, that I am not as others.
"I have, since it has pleased God to open my eyes, endeavoured to form an accurate idea of the state of my mind and feelings, while engaged in this system of deception. But I find it impossible distinctly to recollect any other impression except that of the most perfect self-approbation, which knew no interval of sound awakenings. And here let me pause once again, to warn the directors of youth concerning the danger, the extreme danger, of marring the work of Christian instruction, by administering cordials to a mind as yet unhumbled by sin, and teaching them to build upon real or supposed gifts, where the evidences of grace are entirely wanting. But to continue my story.
"While proceeding thus triumphantly in the way of death, at the very time when I believed myself to be far advanced in the way of salvation, I was surprised one Sunday at our place of worship, by seeing a young minister of a remarkably fine appearance ascend the pulpit. There was something in his countenance which struck me as being perfectly familiar to me; but he had almost finished his discourse before I recognised Theo-philus. I shall say no more of the manner and doctrine of this young man, than that both appeared to me such as might be expected from one who was divinely taught. The subject of his discourse was the conversion of the heathen, and the duty of those who are already blessed with divine light, to exert themselves in bringing the nations who sit in darkness to the knowledge of this light. On mixing with the crowd in coming out of the chapel, I heard the name of the preacher mentioned, with this additional information respecting him—that he had only lately been appointed to the ministry, and was going abroad as a missionary in a very few weeks. This last information touched me more than I can describe; and I hastened home to yield in secret to feelings for which I could scarcely account.
"I saw no more of Theophilus till the next day, when he unexpectedly called upon me, and in a manner the most tender and affectionate addressed me as an old and dear friend, of whom he had ever retained the fondest recollection.
"Theophilus remained in Leeds some weeks, during which time, as we often met, our early attachment had not only recovered its former warmth, but acquired so much strength that I was by no means surprised at what passed when this amiable young man came to take his final leave of me previous to his going abroad. I do not however pretend to give the whole of this discourse as it actually took place; suffice it to say, that after having spoken with pleasure of the account he had heard of me from our minister, Mr. Barret, and other Christian friends, he expressed a hope, though now going abroad, where he was likely to remain absent for some years, that he might see me again, and that our friendship formed in childhood might at some future time be renewed and matured. And this he spoke with so much feeling and emphasis, that it would have been impossible for me to have interpreted it in any other way than I had afterwards reason to believe it was intended.
"Theophilus further informed me, that ever since the death of his tender mother he had felt a strong inclination to devote his life to the service of the heathen. Nevertheless, that he hoped to return to England for a short time, after having formed his establishment abroad.
"Theophilus left Leeds that very evening: but before he departed he gave me a beautiful Bible, together with a small volume of hymns selected by himself and written with his own hand. After his departure, it appeared to me that I should never cease to love Theophilus, and herein I was not mistaken; but I was deceived in supposing that there was no sacrifice which I could not make for his sake.
"For four months after hearing of his actual embarkation, things went on with me in their usual course; but at the end of that period I was deprived of my tender and indulgent mother by a sudden death. In consequence of this event, our household was broken up, Mrs. Hannah Wingfield removed, and I was consigned to the care of my uncle in Staffordshire, my grandfather and grandmother being dead. I shall not trouble my reader with a description of my feelings during these changes in my situation; indeed I should be somewhat at a loss to describe them, not perfectly comprehending them myself; on which account I proceed to the precise moment when dressed in deep but simple mourning I was set down at the door of my uncle's house, in .
"During the interval of my absence from Staffordshire, which had been more than ten years, my grandfather, as before intimated, had died; on which occasion my uncle obtained such an accumulation of property, that he had given up his shop, hired a handsome house, set up his carriage, and now made the first figure in the little town where he had once acted the subordinate part of a retail dealer in linen drapery. Of this change in the appearance and habits of the family I was not aware; I was therefore surprised when a very smart footman opened the door and led me through a handsome hall, illuminated by a superb lamp, into an elegant apartment, where my aunt and uncle, and five cousins, were at tea. I have reason to think that neither my cousins nor myself could at that time exhibit an example of elegant manners; but there-was this difference between me and them—that 1 was plain in my appearance, and, with respect to external things at least, of no pretensions; while my cousins were pretenders to fashion, as well as to that most tasteless and disgusting style of manners which for some years past has obtained the name of dashing; by which term is generally understood all that is ungracious, ungenteel, and repulsive. In the mean time, the family were extremely illiterate, having scarcely obtained that degree of knowledge which could enable them to speak with any tolerable grammatical accuracy. The same error was strikingly manifest in the worldly education of my cousins, which had taken place in my religious noviciate; that is, as I had been taught to talk religion without possessing the piety of a true Christian, so they had been led to affect the manners and feelings of the fine lady, without making such acquirements as are necessary to the character. But enough of this.
"On my entering the parlour, the family group which presented itself to my eye was arranged in the following order—my aunt, a respectable, comely, well-dressed old lady, was sitting at the tea-table, and seemed to be wholly absorbed in its various duties; two of my female cousins, whom I shall have the pleasure of introducing to you by the names of Miss Dolly and Miss Esther, were lounging with affected ease on a sofa, their brother Frank being seated between them; my uncle, who, as well as his wife, was a pleasing and respectable looking person, sat in an arm-chair by the fire; before which stood my cousin Geoffry, holding forth and arguing with his father in a manner so loud and dictatorial, that I even heard his voice before the door was opened; while in the centre of the room stood my cousin Bessy, who was about my own age, playing with cup-and-ball, with all the glee of a child ten years old, paying no attention whatever to the various humours of those about her, but calling on each by turns to admire her dexterity, and holding up the plaything with a broad smile, which displayed all her teeth and almost amounted to a grin, whenever by good luck she chanced to catch the ball upon the spike. The door having been quietly opened, 1 advanced some steps into the room, and had even stood looking round me for a few seconds, before I was observed. The footman then anouncing my name, the whole family at once came running to meet me, kissing me by turns, and then retreating to examine me from head to foot; while the old people alone recollected to welcome me to their house, my uncle very kindly saying, that he hoped I should be happy under his roof.
"After the first salutations were past, my aunt called us to the tea-table, where I sat down, oppressed by the novelty of my situation; by a painful sense of the losses I had recently sustained; and, above all, by the unceremonious gaze of all my cousins, who seemed anxious to scan every feature, and to criticise every motion.
"After a pause, which was filled by tea-table preparations, my cousin Frank exclaimed,'1 cannot, for the life of me, think who Jenetta is like.'
"' Like!' said my uncle, 'who can tell what she is like, in that Methodist bonnet 1 Do, child, pull it off. I vow it makes you look like your grandmother.'
"A burst of laughter ensued upon this from my female cousins; and Bessy, jumping up in a romping style, lifted my bonnet from my head, with a motion resembling what one would use in taking off the lid of a boiling saucepan, and then very dexterously threw it over the table upon the couch.
"' Well done, girl!' said the father; 'thus away with these Methodist topknots.'
"' Well done, Bessy!' said Frank: 'but if you would send the cap after the bonnet, your work would be more complete.'
"Bessy immediately arose again, and would have torn my cap from my head and made it follow the bonnet, if I had not held it on with both my hands.
'"Come, come, child,' said my aunt, addressing her youngest daughter,'let the girl alone; she does very well.'
'"Very well?' said Kitty, 'very well in that horrid cap?'