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manner. I think now that he understood my character, and tried another way. He, and papa, and mamma, conversed on a chosen portion of scripture at breakfast time, and I found myself interested before I was aware—the passages were so suited to my case. I remember, too, one day, on going to fetch something from Mr. Taylor's bedroom, being much struck by seeing his Bible open on the table; it looked so well-used and so marked, I felt convinced of the reality of his love to the Saviour, and I almost wished to be like him.
• A few days after this, he was poorly, and could not go to our evening service ; mamma left me at home to take care of him. Dear Edith, I wish you had been with me. I had been unhappy all day, longing to tell my sorrow and get relief, and yet afraid of involving myself in a necessity to be decided. I knew this must come some day, but I wished to put it off as long as I could. At first I felt very uncomfortable, but Mr. Taylor had such a pleasant way of talking that I soon forgot my fears, and insensibly he led me on from one subject to another, until at last I had told him all, even the worst.'
. And what did he say?' asked Edith, eagerly.
• Why, he looked so grieved; and then he said, “ Margaret, I am disappointed. You do not even wish to love the Saviour who loves you ; I did not think you could be so ungrateful.” His words made me miserable, but I was not able to reply. That night we were interrupted, and the morrow he was to leave us. I longed to recall what I had said ; I wished now for any tie which would oblige me to seek salvation, and my Heavenly Father saw my need, and sent me help. The next day I was going to grandmamma's on a long-promised visit. It was only a little out of Mr. Taylor's road, and he offered to take me. I knew that he would speak to me, but this time I did not dread it. I resolved to tell him the truth. We set off, and he began talking on other subjects. I was afraid the time would be all gone, and at last I said, “ Mr. Taylor, it was not true what I told you last night. I do care about religion."
•“ I thought so, dear child,” he replied; “ and yet you were not wrong when you said that you did not wish to be a Christian. There are two minds within you, one fighting against the other ; is not that it ?"
• I felt that it was, and that the no mind was the strongest.'
• “Now, I wish,” he continued, “ to see the right mind get the victory; but as I am going away, you must make me one promise—you must tell me that you will not rest until you have yielded your heart to Christ.”
• I felt afraid. All the old feelings rose up to prevent me, and for a long time I was silent; but he would not leave me without an answer, and at length I said, “I will try." They were the last words he repeated to me when I bade him good-bye; and it was those three words, by God's blessing, which brought me at last to the Saviour.
'For three months there was a struggle in my heart. I did not like to give up my will to Christ's. It was not pleasant to submit; but I had promised, and I must try. At last I did try, almost against myself. I was tired of going on so, and resolved to enter in. That
Sunday papa's text was, “Is it well with thee?” I heard only those words, and the words of Jesus, "Strive to enter in.” God's Holy Spirit came to my help. He showed me the love of Christ-subdued
The fighting was over, and I yielded to the Saviour. Dear Edith, I cannot describe to you the peace and joy that followed, it was like the blessed calm which comes after a stormy season. I do love the dear friend who made me promise that I would try.'
Edith had rested her head on her cousin's knee, as she sat on the low stool. She did not wish her to see all that she was feeling. Margaret's story was so like her own; but then she was far behind. The struggle was not yet over. Edith did not know the happiness of pardon and reconciliation.
The dinner-bell called them down, and soon they were on their way to the evening meeting. It was deeply interesting. Many excellent men spoke and told of their joys and sorrows; of the ignorance and superstition of the people, and of their willingness to listen to the word of life.
The next morning there was a family consultation at Mr. Thompson's, , what should be done to keep the missionaries in their work. They had been told how much schools were wanted, to prevent the children from being taught by Roman Catholic priests or nuns, and Margaret, Edith, and Ellen formed themselves into a little society, to collect Christmas offerings for this purpose. Little Ronald understood it, and brought his penny for the children, and Annie produced a bright sixpence, which she had treasured up for a long while, because she thought new money must be the best to give. The first contributions being made, and papa and mamma chosen presidents, the servants came in for family worship. Mr. Thompson read from the Gospel of Luke, and Edith heard again the Saviour's words, 'Strive to enter in. Her anxiety was increased. Margaret's history, and the relations of the past evening, could not be forgotten. 'Have I not tried ? and what more can I do?' It was in her heart to say, 'I cannot be religious, so I will give it up;' but Edith's was not a nature that could long resist a loving influence; these angry feelings soon gave place to kinder and better thoughts, and she hastened to her room, that she might find relief in tears. Were they tears of penitence? Was Edith now . striving to enter in?' No, not yet. She was vexed at the discovery of so much evil in her heart, and it was a humbling and painful lesson.
Mrs. Thompson had silently been watching her beloved child; she thought she knew what was passing in her mind, and presently she went to seek her. "Edith, my loved one, what is the matter? Why are you in tears ? Tell me, dearest, and let your mother share in your sorrow.' It was a voice of love Edith had never resisted, and she did not now.
Her tale of grief was soon told, and her mother wept with her. “Dear mamma, what must I do; how can I be religious ?' Again the same answer came
My precious child, you must “ strive to enter in." *Ah, that is just the impossibility,' said Edith, hopelessly. I have tried, and it has been of no use.'
Does my Edith consider the meaning of that word strive. It should be translated agonize. And now, dear, can you truly say that you
have agonized for your salvation?' Edith felt her difficulty increased by this explanation; her heart was not made willing, and she knew that she could not agonize to enter in, until she was ready to give up all other things ; she was silent. Mrs. Thompson understood the conflict of feeling; she felt that she had said enough, but she did not leave her child until she had joined in prayer, that she might be made willing, and committed her to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. That night Edith wrote with a trembling hand, in her pocket-book, “I do resolve to strive to enter in at the strait gate. Oh, Lord Jesus, wilt thou show me the way ?—EDITH.'
Mr. and Mrs. Thompson did not keep much company; they sought rather to make home the happiest place to their children, and they endeavoured to select those friends for them who were trained to the same quiet pursuits and enjoyments; they knew that if they allowed their children to taste the pleasures of the world, they would be only heaping up hindrances in the way of their decision for Christ; still it was sometimes difficult to draw the line, and having inculcated right principles, they wished them now to decide for themselves, aided by their judgment. Edith's determination was soon put to the test. I have said that it was the season for friendly meetings, and invitations came for the cousins to join these evening parties. It was on one of these occasions that Ellen was sent to call her sister and cousin to her mamma in the drawing-room. I know what mamma wants us for,' said Ellen, There are two invitations come for us to go out. One is from the Misses Shephard, and the other from Mrs. Evans. Only think of Mrs. Evans asking us ; but of course we cannot go. It is sure to be a gay dancing party, and papa and mamma would not approve of it, even if we saw no harm.' And do you see any harm, Ellen?' said Margaret. "Why just a very little,' replied Ellen, laughing. ‘At least, if I went once, I am afraid I should want to go again; but let us hear what mamma has to say;' and they hastened to Mrs. Thompson.
My dear children, here are two invitations for you. What answer shall we send?' The decision was referred to Edith, but she was silent and irresolute. Her thoughts were with the villagers of whom they had been told at the meeting, who had given up these pleasures, to save their souls; then she remembered her written resolution, and she could not say, 'We will go;' but yet she was not quite satisfied to refuse. Religion did not forbid the pleasure of meeting together, though it did not seem right to spend the time in dancing, and if they declined, what would their friends think of them? In her difficulty, she applied to her mother.
• Mamma, you would not like us to go to Mrs. Evans's, would you ?' • What do you wish yourself, dear, and what does Nellie wish?"
Why, mamma,' said Ellen, ' I like dancing, and I do not quite see that it is wrong.'
Dancing is not wrong in itself,' replied her mother, but it leads to what is evil, and that is why Christians avoid it.'
you think that you can come home from a dance late at night, and enjoy reading your Bible and prayer?'
“No, mamma,' said Edith, earnestly. She was satisfied now that Mrs. Evans's invitation must be refused, and Ellen and Margaret agreed with her.
But the Misses Shephard are great favourites of yours, mamma,' said Ellen. “You do not object to our visiting them?
• On the contrary, I shall be quite pleased for you to go, dear, and I think Margaret will enjoy an evening in their society. Edith, however, lingered by her mother's side. She felt that just now no parties would be desirable, and she wished to say that she would rather
• Is it not quite right, dear?" said her mamma, observing her perplexed look.
• Not quite, mamma. Nelly and Margery can go, but may I remain at home
Yes, my love, if you wish it.'
Edith kissed her mother, and left her with a lightened heart. She had gained one victory over herself, and she felt strengthened for further trial.
Perhaps my young readers will be ready to ask, Is it necessary to make this sacrifice? I do not say it always is, but I think we must be willing to give up any pleasure, however dear, if it is likely to divert our thoughts from the great object of seeking our salvation. Edith felt this, and she was right in acting as she did.
Several days passed by, and Edith's mind alternated between hope and fear, whilst Margaret anxiously watched and longed to help her cousin; but she could only commit her to the tender care of the Saviour, who had guided her feet into the way of peace. Ellen's observant eye had detected her sister's anxiety. She guessed the reason, and longed to see her happy again, though she was at a loss how to help her. One evening, when they were alone, and Edith seemed more than usually sad, she put her arm caressingly round her sister, saying, 'Edy, dear, do not look so miserable, I thought we should have such happy holidays, but ever since Margaret came you have been so grave. I am sure I hope, dear sister, you will not be religious, if it makes you so unhappy.'
Nay, do not say so, Ellen. It is because I am not religious that I am sad. You know if we want anything very much, and cannot get it, it is very disappointing, and that is just what I feel.'
• But why do you not get it and be happy, Edith? If I really wanted it, I think I would soon obtain it.'
• Would you, Ellen ? then I wish you would help me.' She felt that she needed her sister's spirit of determination.
• Tell me exactly what you wish, dear, and then let us try together, for I know I ought to seek my salvation as well as you.'
· I want to be at peace with God,' was Edith's reply; "but there is some feeling in my heart I cannot get over ; I believe it is pride.'
“Oh, no!' interrupted Ellen, “you are not proud, dear;' but Edith
felt it was true. This little conversation had helped her to see the hindrance. Ellen was perplexed, but she knew that they could pray; and they knelt together, and asked help from Him whose help is never sought in vain.
Ellen's love to her sister would not let her remain uninterested: she felt that if Edith was striving she must do the same. The way did not seem so difficult to her. She did not quite understand it, but she was sure that if it was only explained she would soon find it out. The next day was the Sabbath, and as Ellen knew her father spent part of the afternoon in the library, she resolved to go in search of him and ask his advice. She opened the door, and received an immediate invitation.
• Come in, my sweet Sunflower; what makes you so serious to-day? are you come for a little chat?'
• Yes, dear papa, Edith is unhappy, and I want to help her, but I don't exactly know how, so I thought perhaps you would tell me.'
• What is the matter with Edith
• She wishes to be at peace with God, and I thought if we could seek it together it would be easier for both of us.'
Mr. Thompson's eyes filled with tears, and he fondly kissed his child. He saw that her motive was love to her sister, but he wisely judged that in this way the blessed Saviour might intend to lead her to a higher and holier love. He gladly pointed her to Jesus, showing her how he is our peace; explaining to her that the Saviour required the submission of the will, and the loving obedience of the heart, if we would come to him. And then gently seeking, by the persuasiveness of the gospel, to attract her to him, he ended by asking—And is my dear child willing to make this surrender ? Does she feel her need of such a Saviour?'
Ellen had listened earnestly to all her father had said, and her heart had been touched by his words; but she was too truthful to say at once that she would be a child of God. •Papa, I think I am a beginner, and I wish to go on,' was her simple answer. We must not forget that Ellen's early religious training had gradually prepared her for this change. Until now light seemed suddenly to break in upon her mind. She saw, and resolved to obey. We know how the little bud is slow and tedious in its first unfoldings, and at last how it surprises us all by quickly throwing off its sheath and opening into a lovely flower: and so it is with the spiritual life ; for a long time it is hidden, perhaps, and then as suddenly appears when we least expected it. Ellen's was a character that could not wait, and would not easily be daunted. No sooner did she set her heart to seek the Lord, than she was ready to say, 'I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.' She heard the Saviour's voice, and delayed not to obey his call with child-like confidence.
Edith and Margaret were together when Ellen joined them. “Where have you been, Nellie?' they both inquired; we have been looking for you quite in vain.'
Have you ? ' replied Ellen; *I have been in the library with dear