AMY SEWARD'S TEMPTATION.
"Come Amy," exclaimed Hattie Summers, a merry girl of seventeen, as she entered her cousin's room one pleasant afternoon, "come, pa has promised to take me to the Museum to see 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' played, and I wish you to accompany us, quick! Put on your bonnet, he will be here in a minute."
"I am very much obliged to you, dear Hattie, for your kindness; but indeed I cannot attend. It is 'Ash Wednesday,' and I hope to be able to attend church."
"Pho! what if it is? There is no need of your going, for you are not a communicant of the church; besides, even if you were, that would make no difference, for on my way hither, I met two or three of our best members wending their way towards Tremont Street."
"Well, I am very sorry; they must surely have forgotten that they promised 'in the presence of God, and the congregation, to renew the solemn vow and promise made for them at their baptism.' That they 'renounced the pomp and vanities of this world.'"
"Oh, fudge! You know it is proverbial that Unitarians, and Episcopalians, are worldly, pleasure loving people, and so why need you set yourself up for a pattern of goodness?"
"I am sorry, Hattie, that you have such an opinion of us; for I know a great many Episcopalians who are sincere christians. Far be it from me to judge my Unitarian friends—dear Mrs. E. and our lovely friend Miss C. I am sure that you call them perfection."
"Yes, they would as soon think of riding to the moon, as going near a play-house; but never mind, do go, just this afternoon, we shall enjoy so much seeing the performance together, you know while we
were reading the book, that we agreed to go.
"How I shall like to see Topsy roll up her eyes when Miss Ophelia catches her with her ribbons in her sleeves! But more than all, how beautiful to see dear, sweet Eva, come before us, and with tearful, loving pathos say, 'Dear Topsy, the Lord Jesus loves you, and so do I.'"
"Please, Hattie, tempt me no more. Believe me, the inclination is very strong, but I cannot at the commencement of Lent, the season in which our church, especially calls upon its members to draw themselves from the world, and with deep and sincere repentance to renewedly consecrate themselves to their Redeemer. I cannot thus openly say I disregard all its teachings."
"Dear Amy, don't look so sorrowful, and I will tease you no more. Hark! There is father's voice: I will make your excuses to him—good bye."
"One temptation overcome," exclaimed Amy, as the door closed upon her cousin, "how sweet the reward! I already feel strengthened for the service of the afternoon. But it is time for me to prepare for church," and hastily arranging herself, she left the house.
Amy Seward was an only child, and motherless. She was naturally of a reserved disposition; had it not been for the devotedness of a fond father, and the judicious management of a kind aunt, she would have been morbidly sensitive, as it was she was now a quiet, loveable, affectionate girl. She dearly loved all her friends, but was particularly attached to her cousin Hattie, a gay, laughing girl, who returned her friendship with sincere warmth. They had long wished to see "Uncle Tom's Cabin," but school duties had prevented until the afternoon upon which our story commences. Within the past few weeks, (their rector being absent) the presiding Bishop had occupied their pulpit, his discourses were very serious, especially to the young. Amy's attention had been awakened, and she had resolved that at the next confirmation she would dedicate herself publicly to God. This had been her first temptation, and it had been a powerful one to overcome. Will not my readers rejoice that she was enabled to do it?
As Amy knelt in church, and responded to the services, she exclaimed inwardly, "Certainly 'the Lord is in his holy temple,'" and she felt that His peace had been given unto her, that "peace which the world cannot give, or take away."
The remembrance of that hour must always with her be holy.
"Only kneel on, nor turn away
Not once did her thoughts recur to the play which a few hours before she had anticipated with so much pleasure, until she reached home, and as her eye fell upon Mrs. Stowe's inimitable work, she smiled and said, "It is sufficiently interesting to read it, without seeing it performed."
"What is that, Amy?" inquired her aunt, looking up from her sewing in surprise.
As Amy concluded her recital of the temptation and its reward, her aunt drew her towards herself, saying with deep emotion, "It was the strongest wish, the most fervent desire of your departed mother, as it has ever been our prayer, that in your youthful days, you would of your own desire unite yourself with His people. May your mother's God bless you, my dear child!"
"Dear aunt, I feel so happy, and yet I dare not speak to our rector for fear that he will think me unworthy."
"Rather, my love, will he rejoice that one of his precious lambs wishes to enter the visible fold of our Saviour on earth.
"How happily has this day ended for us, cousin Hattie's temptation, by the grace of God, has proved a blessing to you, and a source of thankfulness to me. With renewed earnestness, my dear girl, pray 'Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.'"