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Sam. A place and state most woful, because it is the dwelling-place of sin, the devil, and death.
Prud. Why wouldst thou go to heaven?
Sam. That I may fee God, and serve him without weariness; that I may see Christ, and love him everlastingly; that I may have that fulness of the Holy Spirit in me which I can by no means enjoy here.
Prud. A very good boy also, and one who has learned well.
Then she addressed herself to the eldest, whose name was Matthew; and she said to him, Come, Matthew, shall I also catechise you?
Matt. With a very good will.
Prud. I ask then, if there was ever any thing that had a being antecedent to or before God?
Matt. No, for God is eternal; nor is there any thing, excepting himself, thạt had a being until the beginning of the first day. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.
Prud. What do you think of the Bible ?
Prud. Is there nothing written therein but what you understand
Matt. Yes, a great deal,
Prud. What do you do when you meet with places therein which
do not understand ? Matt. I think God is wiser than I. Therefore I
pray that he will let me know all therein as far as he knows it will be for my good,
Prud. How do you believe as touching the resurrection of the dead?
Matt. I believe that the fame body which was buried shall rise : the fame in nature, though not in corruption. And I believe this upon a double account: First, Because God hath promised it. Secondly, Because he is able to perform it.
Then said Prudence to the boys, You must still hearken to your mother, for she can learn you more, You must also give ear diligently to what good talk you shall hear from others, who for your fakes do speak good things. Observe also, with carefulness, what the heavens and the earth do teach you ; but especially, be much in the mediation of that book which was the cause of
father's becoming a pilgrim. For my part, my children, I will teach you what I can, while you are here, and shall be glad if you will ask me questions which tend to godly edifying
Now by the time that these pilgrims had been at this place a week, Mercy had a visiter who pretended some good will unto her; his name was Mr. Brisk, a man of some breeding, who pretended to religion, but who stuck very close to the world. He came once or twice, or more, unto Mercy, and offered love to her; for Mercy was of a fair countenance, and therefore the more alluring. It was also her mind to be always bufying of herself in doing something; when she had nothing to do for herself, she would be making hose or garments for others, and would bestow them upon those who had need of them. Mr. Brisk, not knowing where or how she disposed of what she made, seemed to be greatly taken with her, for he found her never idle. I will warrant her a good housewife, quoth he to himself.
Mercy revealed this business to the maidens who were of the house, and enquired of them concerning him, for they knew him better than she. They told her, That he was a very busy young man, and one who pretended to religion; but, as they feared, was a stranger to the power of that which is good.
Nay then, said Mercy, I will look no more upon him b; for I purpose never to have a clog to my foul. · Prudence then replied, That there needed no great matter of discouragement to be given him ; for, continuing to do for the poor as she had begun, would quickly cool his courage.
• Herein she follows the Apostle's rule, not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. How can two walk together, except they be agreed ? Remember the reflection cast on David by his wife Michal, Saul's daughter; when she saw the king leaping and dancing before the Lord, the despised him in her heart; and, when he returned home, she insulted him to his face. For a believer to marry an unbeliever is to pierce himself through with many forrows.
The next time he comes, he finds her at her old work, making things for the poor. Then said he, What always at it? Yes, said she, either for myself or for others. What canst thou earn a day? quoth he. I do these things said she, That I may be rich in good works, laying a good foundation against the time to come, that I may lay hold of eternal life, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. Why, prithee, what dost thou do with them? said he. Clothe the naked, said she. With that his countenance fell; and he forbore to come to her again. When he was asked the reason of his not coming, he faid, That Mercy was a pretty lafs, but troubled with ill conditions.
When he had left her, Prudencé faid, Did I not tell thee that Mr. Brisk would soon forsake thee? yea, he will raise an ill report of thee: for, notwithstanding his pretence to religion, and his seeming love to Mercy, yet Mercy and he are of tempers fo different, that I believe they will never come together c.
Mercy. I might have had husbands before now, though I spoke not of it to any; but they were such as did not like my conditions ; though never did any of them find fault with my person. So they and I could not agree. Prud. Mercy in our days is little set by, any fur
• Many pretend to love mercy; and, if you was to judge of them by what they fay of themselves, they must be the mast kind and affectionate creatures living ; yet, put them to the teft, and you will find, that though they commended the name of mercy, they were strangers to the grace itfelf.
ther than its name: the practice, which is set forth by the conditions, is such as but few can abide.
Mercy. Well, said Mercy, if no body will have me, I will die a maid; or, my conditions shall be to me as a husband; for I cannot change my nature: and to have one who will cross me in this, is what I purpose never to admit of as long as I live. I had a sister, named Bountiful, married to one of these churls; but he and she could never agree, because my lifter was resolved to do as she had begun, that is, to shew kindness to the poor, therefore her husband first cried her down at the cross, and then turned her out of doors.
Prud. Yet he was a professor, I warrant youd.
Mercy. Yes, such a one as he was, and such as the world is now full of: but I am for none of them all.
Now Matthew, the eldest son of Christiana, fell sick, and his sickness was fore upon him, for he was much pained in his bowels, so that he was, at times, pulled as it were both ends together. There dwelt also, not far from thence, one Mr. Skill, an ancient
d Of all people in the world, take care of professors: many make a profeffion from the baseft motives; but, though some pretend to that which they have not got, shall we conclude from thence that all are the same? Because Judas was a traitor, mult the other apoftles be the fame? Though the conduct of profeflors may not be as becomes the gospel, nevertheless the foundation standeth sure.