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irremediable; its consequences are eternal. Ah, my friend, just only devote a few hours of your present seclusion from society, to the considera tion of the world of import there is in that little word ' if. If Christianity be true; if there be a future state; if there be a Supreme Being, who will hereafter reward every man according to his deeds, what will become of those who reject divine revelation; or, in the more emphatic language of the Scripture, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? But, I fear," said Mr. Lovegood, in conclusion, “I only weary you."

Oh, no; certainly not,” replied Joseph. “ The subject, whatever view may be taken of it, is, unquestionably, worthy of the gravest consideration."

“I shall be exceedingly happy,” remarked Mr. Lovegood, “if anything I have said may have the effect of leading you to reconsider your views on matters of such unspeakable import

I shall call on you again in a few days,

ance.

when I hope to find you continuing to improve in health and strength. In the meantime I shall wish you good night.”

“Good night, and I am exceedingly obliged to you for your visit,” said Joseph, extending his hand to Mr. Lovegood, who, after having cordially shaken it, quitted the room.

CHAPTER XVII.

Is restored to health-Effect of the conversation with Mr.

Lovegood described in the last chapter-Visits Hastings.

In

Joseph continued to recover gradually from his severe and protracted illness; and, in four weeks from the time of Mr. Lovegood's visit recorded in the preceding chapter, his health was so far restored that he was able to quit his room. a fortnight more he felt himself sufficiently recovered to resume his professional avocations as a reporter and a literary man.

For some days after the conversation which he had had with Mr. Lovegood, on the importance and truth of the Christian system, Joseph felt a decided conviction that the arguments of his friend in favour of the being of a God and the existence of a future state of rewards and punishments, were unanswerable. The result was, that his mind suddenly acquired a peculiarly solemn tone, and he resolved on regulating his after life by the light which had so recently beamed on his mind. As yet, however, he had not learned the necessity of aid from on high to carry out any virtuous resolutions he might form. He made his resolves on this point in the same way as he would have done, had he simply intended to visit St. Paul's, or any place of public amusement. The result was the same as in every other similar case, it only proved the futility and folly, as well as sinfulness, of religious resolutions formed in one's own strength. No sooner was Joseph once more in a condition to mingle in society, and to resume his usual avocations, than he returned to his former libertine course of

conduct.

But though, practically, no good result followed from the conversation he had had with Mr. Lovegood on the truth of revealed religion, the force of the arguments employed by the latter still remained undiminished on his mind. In this there is nothing surprising to those who have studied the philosophy of human nature, either as unfolded in Scripture or as seen in the ordinary intercourse of life. Every hour's observation brings before the mind the most striking illustrations of the truth, that it is possible for the judgment to be fully convinced on matters of religion, while the heart remains wholly unaffected. One cannot be an attentive observer of the characters of those with whom he daily meets in society, without being struck with the vast number of persons who are not only convinced in their judgments of the truth of Christianity, but who will zealously, and sometimes even ably, vindicate its claims to the character of a divine revelation, and yet whose whole conduct proves to demonstration that they have never felt in their hearts the power of those principles which have challenged the assent of their minds. Christendom abounds,

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