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happiness from any different source. When she found that I could not draw from this, she was troubled, for she thought there was none other. She did not question my sincerity, but lamented my blindness in not seizing what, from her own experience, she knew to be the only secret of happiness. Wiser persons than she have made the same mistake, of trying all others by their own experience; while, in fact, men's experiences differ as much as their faces.

I shall never forget the kind and tender interest she expressed toward me, to the last day of my residence in the village. She was in all my solicitudes a faithful friend. To her I could unbosom myself without restraint, and find relief from her sympathy. Our hearts could feel and pray together, however we might vary in our creeds. And to the last of her life, while her friends and my friends were zealously accusing each other of corrupting the whole gospel, she ceased not to feel that there might be Christians who were not Calvinists; and I, for her sake, have always been able to see the spirit of the gospel reigning, even among those whose speculations were most hostile to its truths. Indeed, who that has ever formed an intimate acquaintance beyond the narrow pale of his own sect, does not feel the wicked meanness of that bigotry, which confines piety and salvation to those who agree with one's self?

"I still hope," said Mrs. Hilson, the evening before I returned to my father's house- "I still hope and trust that you will see reason to think differently."

"I pray that I may," said I, "if I am wrong. I have no wish but to learn and follow the truth; and I say, sincerely, that I think I could, in a moment, embrace any opinion which could be proved to be of divine authority. You have yourself seen how anxious I have felt, and how diligently I have sought."

"Certainly, certainly," she replied; "you have done your duty well, and I think God will not leave so sincere a soul in darkness. It is this that makes me sure you will, by and by, be brought right. We must wait his good time.”

"But why," said Mr. Hilson, who was a blunt, good-natured man, "why, Betsey, should you wish Master Anderson to change? I am sure there is not a cleverer, honester man, nor a better master, to be found. And as for his religion, he's as serious and prayerful, and studies his Bible as hard as any of them, though, to be sure, he is not for making such a noise about it. Now, to my mind, this is the right way; and I am sure that if any body could make me a Christian, it would be just this Mr. Anderson; and his quiet sort of religion, now, would do more to work upon the minds of one half the people here, than all the stir that's been made this winter. Why, there's a great many been driven away from all kinds of religion, by the confusion we've had about it. I believe I should have been, myself, if it had not been for the master. And there's many a one that will never get over his disgust, but is made, I warrant it, profane for life."

"You astonish me," said I, for this was entirely new to me; "it is not conceivable that men should be so unreasonable. What, fly off to irreligion, because their neighbors are so engaged in religion? They must be very ill-disposed persons."

"No,” replied he, "not so ill-disposed neither. Some very conscientious men have been affected in this way; and if I was to speak my mind, I should say that this stir has cooled as many friends to religion as it has made."

Husband, husband," cried Mrs. Hilson, "how can you say so? I am truly ashamed of you."

"Look here, my dear," said he; "who is likely to know most of it — you, who see only one side, or I, who see both

sides? Now, I know all that's going on, and all that's said, every where in the village; while you only know what passes at meeting and among go-to-meeting folks. And I can tell you, beyond all doubt, that the devil has gained some disciples as well as Christ. I'll tell you a few things. I've heard more swearing, and seen more drinking and ill-temper, amongst the men, because of this thing, than I ever knew in the village before, in my life; and from some very reputable folks to. There's the Joneses and the Malcolms have not been calm this two months; and there's no doubt their wives would do more for religion by staying at home, and making their houses happy with it, than by running away, and causing their husbands and children to hate it. Then, besides those that are hurt in this way, you know there are some of the converts that are said to be none the better since their zeal has cooled. You know how **, and ***, and **** turned out; and there are more too."

"You ought not to triumph over this," said I.

"And I do not," said he; "but there are them that do; and it has afforded more joy and jests to infidels and blasphemers than I can tell you of. Now, does not this do harm to real religion? and would not it all have been prevented, by permitting matters to go on quietly and soberly, as in times past? For, take five years together, there would have been as many Christians made in the usual way, as by all this extraordinary movement; while, at the same time, none of this extraordinary evil would have been done. This is not all. It is incredible what sin has been committed in the way of slander and lying, and that by very pious people too. I'll tell you what reports have been spread about you, Master Anderson, just by way of specimen. First, it got about that you were under deep concern of mind, and had written home to your father, who told you not to be troubled, for

the people were mad, and religion would spoil you for a schoolmaster; that you became afterward more earnest, and when you could get no comfort from your father's principles, he sent you to Mr. Reynolds, and you found peace; that then, your father too became anxious, and came to see Mr. Reynolds, and confessed to him that he had never felt religion, and was more than half an infidel; and that he was converted and went home, and got up a revival in his own parish. All this, and much more, was made up out of the whole cloth, and circulated, as so much gospel, by those who knew it was all false. And when it was discovered that your mind was settled another way, then it was said, and is believed to this day, that you have got another Bible, different from ours; and that, a good part of the time you pretended to be studying the Scriptures, you were playing cards in your room with R- and E- For a whole day, it was believed that you had told the children it was all nonsense to pray in the school, and you should do it no longer. I could tell you a great deal more of the same sort; and so you must not wonder that some folks think there is no religion in what bears so much bad fruit."

Mrs. Hilson appeared as much disconcerted at this disclosure as I was amazed. She said, however, that it was fair

to look on both sides, and count the wheat in the field, as well as the tares. "True," said her husband; "but will every body do that? Most persons will not do it; and, consequently, most persons will be injured.”

"But you and I must do it," said I. "Religion is a solemn reality, whatever imperfections there may be in its friends; and surely you will not, on account of those imperfections, refuse to strive for your own salvation."

Mr. Hilson has since told me that this sentiment struck him more forcibly than any preaching he had ever heard. I

am happy to add, that he became, in after life, one of the most enlightened and sincere Christians I have ever known.

I parted from my friends the next morning, amidst the most affectionate wishes. Deacon Lumbard came to give me his parting blessing, and to say that he did not doubt he should yet see me all which he could wish, for he loved me too well to think otherwise. As I passed the minister's door, I stopped to bid him farewell. He shook me by the hand, saying he loved me none the less for my honesty, and doubted not God had a blessing for me. The kindness of these two good men was a cordial to my spirits. I left them, better and happier for having known them; rejoicing that there was a better world, where imperfection would be done away, and where the holy light of unveiled truth would dissipate the little cloud that now hovered between us.


My college life, on which I now entered, was like that of many other young men. I applied myself zealously to the duties required of me, and became ambitious of distinction. My thirst for knowledge increased, and, with it, my desire of eminence. I allowed myself little time for sleep or recreation. I denied myself even food, that I might sit at my books without the necessity of exercise to help digestion. I know not how it was, but, gradually and insidiously, literary distinction became my ruling passion. My Bible was consulted less frequently, my seasons of devotion were hurried over, and even the worship of the Sabbath came, at last, to be attended by me with little interest or feeling.

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