go forth, my husband, into the wide world, and to comfort thee I will go with thee." "And what can I do in the wide world?" said I, despondingly. "Much," replied Winifred, "if you will but exert yourself; much good canst thou do with the blessing of God." Many things of the same kind she said to me; and at last I arose from the earth to which God had smitten me, and disposed of my property in the best way I could, and went into the world. We did all the good we were able, visiting the sick, ministering to the sick, and praying with the sick. At last I became celebrated as the possessor of a great gift of prayer. And people urged me to preach, and Winifred urged me too, and at last I consented, and I preached. I - I - outcast Peter, became the preacher Peter Williams. I, the lost one, attempted to show others the right road. And in this way I have gone on for thirteen years, preaching and teaching, visiting the sick, and ministering to them, with Winifred by my side heartening me on. Occasionally I am visited with fits of indescribable agony, generally on the night before the Sabbath; for I then ask myself, how dare I, the outcast, attempt to preach the word of God? Young man, my tale is told; you seem in thought!’

‘I am thinking of London Bridge,’ said I.

‘Of London Bridge!’ said Peter and his wife.

‘Yes,’ said I, ‘of London Bridge. I am indebted for much wisdom to London Bridge; it was there that I completed my studies. But to the point. I was once reading on London Bridge a book which an ancient gentlewoman, who kept the bridge, was in the habit of lending me; and there I found written, "Each one carries in his breast the recollection of some sin which presses heavy upon him. Oh, if men could but look into each other’s hearts, what blackness would they find there!"’

‘That’s true,’ said Peter. ‘What is the name of the book?’


‘Some popish saint, I suppose,’ said Peter.

‘As much of a saint, I daresay,’ said I, ‘as most popish ones; but you interrupted me. One part of your narrative brought the passage which I have quoted into my mind. You said that after you had committed this same sin of yours you were in the habit, at school, of looking upon your schoolfellows with a kind of gloomy superiority, considering yourself a lone monstrous being who had committed a sin far above the daring of any of them. Are you sure that many others of your schoolfellows were not looking upon you and the others with much the same eyes with which you were looking upon them?’

‘How!’ said Peter, ‘dost thou think that they had divined my secret?’

‘Not they,’ said I, ‘they were, I daresay, thinking too much of themselves and of their own concerns to have divined any secrets of yours. All I mean to say is, they had probably secrets of their own, and who knows that the secret sin of more than one of them was not the very sin which caused you so much misery?’

‘Dost thou then imagine,’ said Peter, ‘the sin against the Holy Ghost to be so common an occurrence?’

‘As you have described it,’ said I, ‘of very common occurrence, especially amongst children, who are, indeed, the only beings likely to commit it.’

‘Truly,’ said Winifred, ‘the young man talks wisely.’

Peter was silent for some moments, and appeared to be reflecting; at last, suddenly raising his head, he looked me full in the face, and, grasping my hand with vehemence, he said, ‘Tell me, young man, only one thing, hast thou, too, committed the sin against the Holy Ghost?’

‘I am neither Papist nor Methodist,’ said I, ‘but of the Church, and, being so, confess myself to no one, but keep my own counsel; I will tell thee, however, had I committed, at the same age, twenty such sins

  By PanEris using Melati.

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