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him more constantly; for I discovered him to be a man of uncommonly good understanding, and of a truly Christian spirit.
Spitef. And thus, Sir, you have told us how you have been seduced from your regular attendance at your parish church by one of these artful modern reformers. Hang them all! They will be the ruin of our nation.
Madam Toog. Ladies and gentlemen, is your tea sweet enough?
Consid. Quite so, I thank you, ma'am; but I think a few lumps more of sugar in Mr. Spiteful's tea would not be amiss, for there seems to be somewhat very bitter upon his palate that wants sweetening.
Madam Toog. Why, Mr. Spiteful, at times, has complained that sugar is apt to tun sour on his stomach.
Consid. To be sour as well as bitter at the same time must be a terrible calamity. Would it be amiss, Mr. Spiteful, if you were to come with us next Sunday to Brookfield church for some of Mr. Love. good's elixir? he has an excellent recipe to cure sour stomachs and bitter palates. I have known many people that have been diseased in the same way, who were afterwards cured by attending at Brookfield church. Pray, Sir, do any of the doctors in your way perform such cures?
Spitef. Upon my word, Sir, I shan't put up with all this banter. I beg you would be less free with your skits and jokes. What is it to you what cures we perform?
Wiseh. Really, Mr. Spiteful, in my opinion, Mr. Considerate has quite as much reason to be displeased with you for your disrespectful speeches against his friend Mr. Lovegood, as you have to be displeased with him for a few innocent humorous turns. I believe, Mr. Lovegood, in his way, máy be a very good man; notwithstanding his notions in religion are so widely different from ours. We should be better able to carry our point, if you could deliver your sentiments with less heat and more deliberation.
Spitef. How can I help it? What, is no allowance to be made for a man's disposition ?
Consid. I thought you said a little time ago, we may do what we will, notwithstanding our dispositions or inclinations. Pray; "Sir, which side of the question do you mean to take after all—that men may will
, if they will, contrary to their dispositions and inclinations; or, that as we are disposed and inclined, so we will and act?
Spitef. Really, Sir, I wish you would drop these abstruse metaphysical discussions. I came here for a little innocent chat, and not to enter into a debate upon such a curious subject as this.
· Consid. With all my heart, Sir; but then it is to be hoped we are not all to be called fools and madmen, because we suppose it necessary for a man to have the grace of God in his heart, so that our evil dispositions may be rooted out, and that we may feel ourselves inclined or made willing to obey. I don't think we pray like enthusiasts when we pray to the Lord after each comrand, in our church service, that he would " incline our hearts to keep his law."
Miss Poliy. Well, I declare I don't think I should have come here this evening if I thought I was to hear nothing but this talk about religion. I was in hopes we were to have had a little harmless chat and
game of cards.
Spitef. I dare say Mr. Considerate has lately got so sanctified that he would not touch a card for all the world.
Consid. Why, truly, Sir, I cannot find what good we get by such sort of amusements, that are only calculatcd to tempt us to kill time, when we are direcied to redeem it; and how far we can or cannot have “our conversation always for the use of edifyrig, that it may adıminister grace to the hearers,” while we are so engaged, I suppose is easy to be dcícmined.
Spitef. What, then, are we to be always saying our prayers, and are we to have ro innocent recreatioris?
Consid. Yes, Sir, you know I am fond of a garden, and I have this day been recreating myself by pruning and training a peach tree; and I felt it all the time entirely an innocent recreation : but I always found these games of hazard and chance were unhappily calculated to excite a spirit of emulation and gambling, which have a tendency to promote the worst of tempers; and though some may play with as much comparative innocency as I felt in pruning a fruit tree, yet there is a certain bewitchery belonging to this sort of games, which renders them at all times very dangerous in themselves, and very destructive in ihcir consequences.
Madam Toog. Oh, Mr. Considerate, this is going too far. I really cannot sce that we need be quite so strict, I love an innocent game at cards as well as any body; but then I always give my winnings to the poor; but I am very sorry I must not be one of the party to-night, as it happens to be the week before sacrament, and then I never torch
Thank the Almighty, I never neglect my duty.
Miss Prateap. Well, well, I dare say, ma'am, you don't think it necessary that we young folks should wear cid heads on our shoulders. I am foi being neither saint nor sinner. You know, ma'am.
my mother was a clergyman's daughter, and if the clergy cannot tell what is right, I don't know who should, and she never brought us up with such strict notions of religion. I see no harm in a game of cards, and a little chearful chit-chat; God-amighty never gave us our tongues for nothing.
Madam Toog. Yes, Miss, I am quite of your way of thinking; but then while we are using our tongues in a way of harmless chat, we should not neglect, upon proper occasions, to use them for the purposes of our religion, in doing our duty, and saying our prayers; and I hope, my dear, you'll take your god-mother's advice till after you are confirmed; and properly prepare yourself for that before the bishop comes round next time.
Miss Polly. I hope it will not be necessary to submit to all this trouble for the salvation of my soul till I am a deal older.
Madam Toog. O no, Miss; we must make some allowance for youth: when I was a lass, I confess I did not think it necessary to take toreligion so strictly as I have done of late. I know that it requires a deal of resolution to submit to “ the trials, and troubles, and discipline of a virtuous life.” *
Consid. Why my wife and daughter have for above these four years trudged away to Mr. Lovegood's almost all weathers, and it is a long walk there and back again, and when I used to tell her the trouble she took, till I found it was a pleasure to go with her myself, her answer was, his“ yoke is easy, and his burden light,” and that “ his ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are parts of peace.”
* This expression, in its original form, is to be found in the writings of Dr. Priestley ; so that all the absurdities deducible from it are not to be charged on the Old Lady, but on the Doctor, the oracle of the rational Dissenters of the day.
Madam Toog. O, Sir, but I love to inortify my. self in my religion. Consid. Well
, I am sure my wife does not mortify herself in her religion ; for she is always as happy as she well can be, whenever she has a journey to Brookfield.--Pray, Madam, do you mortify your. self when you are honest, just, or sober, or when you tell the truth?
Madam Toog. O, no, Sir, I hope I know my duty better than all that.
Consid. Why then, Madam, how is it that you mortify yourself when you serve God ?
Spitef. Don't answer him, Ma'am, I perceive he is upon the catch. If I had a wife and daughter who ran about at this rate, neglecting their duty at home, I would sooner break their legs than suffer it.
Consid. Why, Sir, my wife never neglected her duty at home: a good wife she was before she went to Brookfield church, and a better ever since.:
Miss Polly. Well, well, I see we shall have no cards if we are to talk about religion after this fashion. If you, Mrs. Toogood, and Mr. Considerate, don't like to play, I can't see why the rest of us mayn't sit down to a game at whist, for we have all done tea.
Madam Toog. Becky Prateapace, my dear, will you ring the bell, that Nelly may take away the tea things, and bring the cards.
Miss Prateap. That I will, Madam, with all my heart, and I'll have Mr. Wisehead for my partner, and you shall play with Mr. Spiteful, Miss Polly.
Miss Polly. I don't care who I play with, provided I may but have a game at cards.
[The cards, are consequently introduced, the marties settle to the work, while the old lady and