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been used to wear when Mrs. Betty has seen her dining at the great house; and time and forrow had much altered her countenance. But when Mrs. Simpson kindly ad. dressed her as an old acquaintance, the screamed with furprise-" What! you, madam?” cried she; “ you in an alms-house, living on charity; you, who used to be so charitable yourself, that you never suffered any distress in the parish which you could prevent?”_" That may be one reason, Betty,” replied Mrs. Simpson, “ why Providence has provided this refuge for my old age. And my heart overflows with gratitude when I look back on his goodness.”-“ No such great goodness, methinks,” said Betty; " why, you were born and bred a lady, and are now reduced to live in an almıs-house."“ Betty, I was born and bred a finner, undeserving of the inercies I have received.”_"No such great mercies," said Betty. « Why, I heard you had been turned out of doors; that your husband had broke; and that you had been in danger of starving, though I did not know what was become of you.”_" It is all true, Betty, glory be to God! it is all true.”
“Well," said Betty, " you are an odd sort of a gen. tlewoman. If from a prosperous condition I had been made a bankrupt, a widow, and a beggar, I should have thought it no luch mighty matter to be thankful for; but there is no accounting for taste. The neighbours used to say, that all your troubles inust needs be a judg. ment upon you; but I, who knew how good you were, thought it very hard you should suffer fo much; but now I see you reduced to an alms-house, I beg your pare dvi, madam, but I am afraid the neighbours were in the ziglit, and that so many misfortunes could never have Lippened to you without you had committed a great many fins to deserve them; for I always thought that God is so just that he punishes us for all our bad actions, and rewards us for all our good ones."-" So he does, Betty; but he does it in his own way, and at his own time, and not according to our notions of good and çvil; for his ways are not as our ways. God, indeed,
though see you out I am air
punishes the bad and rewards the good; but he does not do it fully and finally in this world. Indeed he does not fet such a value on outward things as to make riches, and rank, and beauty, and health, the rewards of piety; that would be acting like weak and erring men, and not like a juft and holy God. Our belief in a future state of rewards and punishments is not always so strong as it ought to be, even now; but how totally would our faith fail, if we regularly saw every thing made even in this world. We shall lose nothing by having pay-day put off. The longest voyages make the best returns. So far am I from thinking that God is less just, and future happiness less certain, because I see the wicked sometimes prosper, and the rigliteous suffer in this world, that I am rather led to believe that God is more juft, and heaven more certain: for, in the first place, God will not put off his favourite children with lo poor a lot as the good things of this world; and next, seeing that the best men here below do not often attain to the best things; why it only serves to strengthen my belief that they are not the best things in His eye; and He has most afluredly reserved for those that love Him such good things as eye hath not seen nor ear heard.' God, by keeping man in Paradise while he was innocent, and turning him into this world as soon as he had finned, gave a plain proof that he never intended this world, even in its happiest state, as a place of reward. My father gave me good principles and useful knowledge; and while he taught me by a habit of constant employment, to be, if I may so say, independent on the world, yet he led me to a constant sense of dependance on God.”_"I de not see, however," interrupted Mrs. Betty, “that your religion has been of any use to you. It has been so far from preserving you from trouble, that I think you have had more than the ufual share.”
“ No," said Mrs. Simpson; “ nor did Christianity ever pretend to exempt its followers from trouble; this is no part of the promise. Nay, the contrary is rather ftipulated; in the world ye thall have tribulation. But
if it has not taught me to escape forrow, I humbly hope it has taught me how to bear it. If it has not taught me not to feel, it has taught me not to murmur.-I will tell you a little of my story. As my father could fave little or nothing for me, he was very desirous of see, ing me married to a young gentleman in the neighbourhood, who expressed a regard for me. But while he was anxiously engaged in bringing this about, my good father died.”
“ How very unlucky!” interrupted Betty.
“ No, Betiy,” replied Mrs. Simpson, “it was very providential; this man, though he maintained a decent character, had a good fortune, and lived soberly, yet he would not have made me happy.”—“ Why, what could you want more of a man?" said Betty.-" Religion," returned Mrs. Simpson. “ As my father made a creditable appearance, and was very charitable, and as I was an only child, this gentleman concluded that he could give me a considerable fortune; for he did not know that all the poor in his parish are the children of every pious clergyman. Finding I had little or nothing left me, he withdrew his attentions.”_" What a sad thing !" cried. Betty " No, it was all for the best; Providence overTuled his covetousness to my good. I could not have been happy with a man whose soul was set on the perilhable things of this world; nor did I esteem him, though I laboured to submit my own inclinations to those of my kind father. The very circumstance of being left pennyless produced the direct contrary effect on Mr. Simpson: he was a sensible young man, engaged in a prosperous business: we had long highly valued each other; but while my father lived, he thought me above his hopes. We were inarried; I found him an amiable, industrious, good-tempered man; he respected religion and religious people; but, with excellent dispositions, I had the grief to find him less pious than I had hoped. He was ainbitious, and a little too much immersed in worldly (chemcs; and though I know it was all done for my fake, yet that did not blind me so far as to inake me think i
right. He attached himself so eagerly to business, that he thought every hour lost in which he was not doing fomething that would tend to raise me to what he called my proper rank. The more prosperous he grew, the less religious he became; and I began to find that one might be unhappy with a husband one tenderly loved. One day as he was standing on some steps to reach down a parcel of goods he fell from the top and broke his legin two places.”
“ What a dreadful misfortune!” said Mrs. Betty. • What a signal blessing!” said Mrs. Simpson. “ Here I am sure I had reason to say all was for the beft; from that very hour in which my outward troubles began, I date the beginning of my happiness. Severe suffering, a near prospect of death, absence from the world, silence, reflection, and above all, the divine blessing on the prayers and scriptures I read to him, were the means used by our merciful Father to turn my husband's heart. During this confinement he was awakened to a deep sense of his own sinfulness, of the vanity of all this world has to bestow, and of his great need of a Saviour. It was many months before he could leave his bed. During this time his business was neglected. His principal clerk took advantage of his absence to receive large sums of money in his name, and absconded. On hearing of this great loss, our creditors came faster upon us than we could answer their demands; they grew more impatient as we were less able to satisfy them; one misfortune followed another, till at length Mr. Simpson became a bankrupt."
“ What an evil!” exclaimed Mrs. Betty. “ Yet it led in the end to much good," resuined Mrs. Simpson. “We were forced to leave the town in which we had lived with so much credit and comfort, and to betake ourselves to a mean lodging in a neighbouring village, till my husband's strength should be recruited, and till we could have time to look about us and see what was to be done.
The first night we got to this poor dwelling my husband felt very sorrowful, not for his own sake, but that he had brought so much poverty on me, whom he had so dearly loved: 1, on the contrary, was unusually cheerful;
e both i and thonerous,
for the blessed change in his mind had more than recoña ciled me to the sad change in his circuinstances. I was contented to live with him in a poor cottage for a few years on earth, if it might contribute to our spending a bleffed eternity together in heaven. I said to him, “Instead of lamenting that we are now reduced to want all the comforts of life, I have sometimes been almost alhamed to live in the full enjoyment of them, when I have reflected that my Saviour not only chose to deny himself all these enjoyments, but even to live a life of hardship for my sake; not one of his numerous miracles tended to his own comfort; and though we read at different times that he both hungered and thirsted, yet it was not for his own gratification that he once changed water into wine; and I have often been struck with the near position of that chapter in which this miracle is recorded, to that in which he thirited for a draught of water at the well in Samaria. * It was for others, not himself, that even the humble sustenance of barley bread was multiplied. See here, we have a bed left us; I had, indeed, nothing but straw to stuff it with, but the Saviour of the world - had not where to lay his head.' My husband smiled through his tears, and we sat down to supper. It confifted of a roll and a bit of cheese which I had brought with me, and we ate it thankfully. Seeing Mr. Simpson beginning to relapse into diftrust, the following conversation, as nearly as I can remember, took place between us. He began by remarking, that it was a mysterious Providence that he had been less profperous since he had been less attached to the world, and that his endeavours had not been followed by that success which usually attends industry.- I took the liberty to reply: Your heavenly Father sees on which side your danger lies, and is mercifully bringing you, by these dilappointments, to trust less in the world and more in him. self. My dear Mr. Simpson, added 1, we trust every body but God. As children, we obey our parents im
* See John, chap. ii. and John, chap. iv.