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nean. I have never exposed myself yet, to be charged
father requires you to be sober.
Sist. Pr’ythee what do you inean by sober? I think I am sober enough, and want no more reforming than any of you. What would you have?
2 Bro. I am no way taxing your sobriety, but should be very glad you should increase the stock, and improve it; and I believe my father means no other.
Sist. Can't I be sober as well with all my books ther has taken away, as without them? What can you tax me with that is not sober, that there is such a rout about?
2 Bro. Dear sister! I do not find that my father or mother is inclined to tax you in particular any more than all of us, but all of us together; nay, even our father and mother themselves have been negligent, godless, and graceless ; and if they now resolve to repent, and turn, and to carry it after another manner, and to have us do the same, pray what taxing can you call this? Does not my father say, he confesses he has been negligent, and has not done his duty
all of us? And what is all he desires of us, but only that as he begs pardon of Almighty God for himself, so we should ask the same for ourselves ;—that as he resolves to reform his practice, so we should do also ;--that so at last
be a sober family, a reformed family, and may serve God for the future after another manner than we have done. Pray where's the hardship in all this?
Sist. Well, you may go on with your reformation, and confessions, and all that, if you have a mind : for my part, I'll have nothi to do with it, I'll let you all go your own way.
2 Bro. Well, sister, I am sorry for you. If you hold in this mind, we are like to have a foul house with you, quickly, for I kuow my father will go thorough stitch with what he has begun.
Sist. My father may go on with what he will, I shan'ı
hinder him. He may let me alone, and reform the rest of you, can't he ? I need no reformation that I know of.
2 Bro. I am not so sorry for the difficulty my father will meet with, as for the bazard you will run for yourself, and the breach you will make in your own bappiness. But here comes my sister Betty, I see by her looks she has some thing to say upon the same subject.
2 Sist. How long have you two been together ? 2 Bro. A great wbile.
2 Sist. I suppose I know something of your discourse; at least, I guess at it by your looking so grave. Pray how long bave you been here?
2 Bro. I told you a great while. But since you would be answered particularly, I believe we have been bere just as long as you have been with my mother ; for I know she has been talking to you.
2 Sist. That's true, my mother and I have been talking1 Sist. Talking ! do you say? or fighting ?
2 Sist. Fighting! What do you mean, sister ? Do you think I fight with my mother ?
1 Sist. No, but it may be your mother may fight th you. Why not with you, as well as with your eidest sister ?
2 Sist. My mother never struek me in her life, and I never gave
her any cause that I know of. 1 Sist. That's more than I can say, yet I think I never gave ber any more cause than
did. 2 Sist. If my mother has struck you, certainly you must have given her more cause than I have done ; for every body knows she loves you to a distinction above every child she has.
1 Sist. I don't believe a word of it, nor do I desire such love.
2 Bro. Well, sister, but you may tell us a little how you like things, and what discourse my mother has had with you, for we all know the subject already.
I wish we
2 Sist. My mother said nothing to me but what I like very well, and am very willing to comply with.
2 Bro. I am very glad to hear you say so, were all of the same mind.
2 Sist. I hope we shall. I think what she proposes is so rational, and the reasons of it so unanswerably good, that I see no room to object against it in the least; nor do I see any thing designed in it at all, but what is for our good.
2 Bro. I am perfectly of your opinion, and am glad to find you of mine. But here is my sister Mary, quite of different sentiments from us all.
1 Sist. And with a great deal of reason, for I have not been treated with the same kindness as you have been treated with.
2 Sist. Wherein, pray ? ?
I Sist. Why, I suppose my mother has not been in your chamber, and rifled your closet, and taken all your choice books, and your plays, and your songs, and your novels, &c. and carried them away, and thrown them into the fire.
2 Sist. No, no, my dear; for what my mother said to mo was so affecting, so fully convincing, and so unanswerable, that I immediately fetched them all down myself, and put them into the fire with my own hands, before her face.
I Sist. A pretty, complying easy fool! I warrant she kissed thee, and called thee dear child, and cried over theo for thy pains. Did she not, my dear?
2 Sist. I am ashamed to hear you talk so of my mother, şister. Sure you han't lost your manners and duty, as well as respect and religion. Sister, I beseech you what is the matter with you ?
I Sist. And have you really burnt all your plays to please a humour?
2 Sist. Indeed I have burnt them, but not to please a humour. I have done it to oblige the best mother in the world: and I have done it from a sense of its being very fit to be done.
1 Sist. A fine child! and are not you a deal the wiser for it? Do you not repent it already?
2 Sist. No, sister: so far from repenting it, that I never did any thing in my life that gave me more satisfaction ; and if it were to do again, I should now do it with ten times the pleasure I did it then; and if God give me grace to keep my
resolution, I never design to see a play, or read a play more.
1 Sist. Pretty child! thoroughly reformed at once! this is a mighty sudden conversion, and may hold accordingly, I suppose, as most such hasty things do.
2 Sist. It will hold, I hope, longer than your obstinacy against it.
1 Sist. When it has as good reasons, I may think se too.
2 Sist. I shall debate that with you hereafter, when you have heard the same reasons for it that I have heard.
I Sist. Well, but come, pray let's have a few of your reasons just now, if you can spare them. Pray, what harm is there in seeing or reading a play? Is there any sufficient mischief in them to justify your burning them, and to justify mother's using me about them as she has done?
2 Sist. In the first place, sister, the time we have before us, compared to the eternity that is to be prepared for, is so little and so short, that, if it be possible to employ it better, there is none to spare for what has so little good in it as a play.
I Sist. I have learned a great deal of good from a play.
2 Sist. But might you have learned more from the scriptures ? I Sist. It
be not. 2 Sist. You would have been a bad scholar, then. 1 Sist. Well, and what's next?
2 Sist. In the second place, the little good which you can pretend is to be found in them, is mixed with so much evil, attended with so much lewd, vicious, and abominable stuff, that no sober person will bear with the wicked part
for the sake of the good part; nor can any one justify it, that the good part is such, or so great, that so much hazard should be run for it.
1 Sist. Very well; so you are afraid you should be in every thing that is right, more especially in every thing that is for my own good, and, most of all, where my duty to God joins with it. If you think it below you to do so,
I am tempted when you go to the play ; I suppose that is because you are so templing yourself.
2 Sist. No, sister, I am in no more danger, I hope, than another; but sure, if I am to pray to God, as in the Lord's prayer"Lead me not into temptation," I must not lead myself into it.
1 Sist. And is this all you have to say for throwing the best collection of plays the whole town had into the fire ?
2 Sist. I have many more reasons which I shall bestow on you, when you have answered these. But there is one more which I will bestow upon you now, which you may give an answer to before the rest, if you please, viz. that it is my mother's desire and resolution that I should do so; and that she declares it is against her conscience to permit me the use of these things as formerly,—and therefore desires, and in one kind commands, that I should do thus: and I am bid in the scriptures many ways to obey :-"Chile dren obey your parents in all things,” &c.
1 Sist. That is the best reason you have given yet.
2 Sist. I think not, neither; for the other reasons are better, as they are drawn from the nature and authority of God, and this but from the authority of my mother; which, though it is great, and ought to be very prevalent with me; and ever shall be so, yet not quite equal, or up to the authority of him that made us all: nor will my mother think hard that I say so.
2 Bro. Sister, indeed I think my sister Betty has fully answered you there.
1 Sist. Yes, yes, you are two fine new converts. 2 Bro. Which I hope we shall never be ashamed of.