Page:A New England Tale.djvu/19

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8
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

secret from the keen and quick observation of his neighbours. The expedients practised for concealment are much like that of a little child, who shuts his own eyes, and fancies he has closed those of the spectators; or, in their effect upon existing circumstances, may be compared to the customary action of a frightened woman, who turns her back in a carriage when the horses are leaping over a precipice.

It may seem strange, perhaps incredible, that Mrs. Elton, possessing the virtues we have attributed to her, and being a religious woman, should be accessary to such deception, and (for we will call "things by their right names") dishonesty. But the wonder will cease if we look around upon the circle of our acquaintance, and observe how few there are among those whom we believe to be Christians, who govern their daily conduct by Christian principles, and regulate their temporal duties by the strict Christian rule. Truly, narrow is the way of perfect integrity, and few there are that walk therein.

There are too many who forget that our religion is not like that of the ancients, something set apart from the ordinary concerns of life; the consecrated, not the "daily bread;" a service for the temple and the grove, having its separate class of duties and pleasures; but is "the leaven that leaveneth the whole lump," a spirit to be infused into the common affairs of life. We fear Mrs. Elton was not quite guiltless of this fault. She believed all the Bible teaches. She had long been a