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THE CHOICE:

THE

CHURCH,

OR THE

MEETING-HOUSE.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR J. G. & F. RIVINGTON,

ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,

AND WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL.

1839.

Price Fourpence.

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GILBERT & RIVINGTON, Printers, St. John's Square, London.

THE CHOICE.

In a small village, beautifully situated on the banks of the Wye, stood the pretty cottage of John Williams. No one could pass the neatly-cut hedgerow, without stopping to admire the little garden in front, where grew the most beautiful flowers, with not a weed to disfigure the nice order and perfect arrangement so pleasing to look upon. The cottage itself was quite a little picture. The door, shaded with a kind of rustic lattice-work, was covered with woodbines and sweetbriar, while over the front of the house was trained the rose and the jessamine, filling the air with delightful perfume. Such was the outward appearance of this pretty residence, while within every thing corresponded with the order and neatness there observed. The floors were nicely cleaned, the chairs well rubbed, while the table gave evidence of the care bestowed upon it, by the brightness of its shining. The mantlepiece displayed a variety of useful tin ware, polished like silver, and in the corner cupboard was arranged a neat set of tea china, with some glasses and a handsome punch-bowl, with half a dozen silver spoons, and, to finish the whole, an excellent clock was at once the most useful and the most ornamental part of the furniture. Any one may well imagine that such an abode

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was likely to contribute to the happiness of the family who inhabited it. And such was really the case; for neither John Williams nor his wife could have been comfortable in a cottage filled with dirt, confusion, and litter. One of their favorite maxims was, that “ clean liness was next to godliness," and on the two they framed the model of their lives.

Here, perhaps, it may be well to enter a little into the former history of the persons whose characters. I am desirous of recording. John Williams had been for many years head gardener to a gentleman upon whose estate his pretty cottage was situated, and his excellent wife had almost from her infancy been brought up by the same family, and in the course of years she became the attached, humble, attentive companion of the lady who, from severe indisposition, was almost confined to the house, and having one only son, Mary Smith performed all the duties of an affectionate daughter; and from being constantly engaged in scriptural reading, joined to a great deal of instructive conversation and solid advice from her mistress, her mind became stored with those firm religious principles which in after-life proved so great a blessing to herself and family. At the death of her lady she became possessed of a small annuity, and having long been engaged to John Williams, with the full approbation of the family they both so faithfully served, she entered the marriage life, and took possession of the pretty cottage, which her master had furnished as a token of his approval of her conduct and attention to her lamented mistress. Years had passed away since this happy union took place, and their family consisted of a son and daughter, the former a young man of 18, who assisted his father in the gentleman's garden, and the latter about 16, who shared in her mother's domestic employments and in needle work, with which they were supplied from the hall. So much was this family respected and looked up to, that Mrs. Williams's opinion was usually consulted upon every occurrence

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in the village : and from the circumstance I have mentioned of her mistress's instructions, her judgment rarely proved erroneous.

One lovely afternoon, in the latter end of April, Mary and her mother were sitting at their work, when a neighbour of the name of Susan Price entered the cottage. After taking a chair, she immediately began to inform them of her business : “ You are always so kind, Mrs. Williams (she said), in giving your advice, that I thought I would just step in and ask your opinion about a place I am thinking of looking out for my Anne. She is rather older than your daughter Mary, and as I have such a large family, my husband says it is high time she should be earning her bread.” MRS. WILLIAMS. " That is very true.

But there are many things which ought to be considered, before taking such an important step. In the first place, you would not like her to enter a family where her religious duties would not be attended to ? It would be but of little avail for her to earn her daily bread, for the support of her body, if the bread of life for the nourishment of her immortal soul was neglected.”

Susan PRICE. “ Why that is very true; but my husband says beggars must not be choosers,' and if we can but get anybody to take her, he dares

say

she will do very well.”

MRS. WILLIAMS. - That is much more than he can answer for. And it is a very dangerous experiment to place a young creature in the way of temptation, in the hope that she may escape it. The better plan is not to run such a risk; but to endeavour to find a service where her religious knowledge may be increased, her faith strengthened, and her principles made firm to resist those sins and wickednesses which are sure to spring up, even in the path of those who do not needlessly run into temptation.”

Susan PRICE. 66 I wonder that did not strike me before, for I am sure it is quite my wish that she should do well; and I am very much obliged to you

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