A shade of feeling, somewhat rueful, sat on M’Slime’s features, until he caught Darby’s eye fixed upon him, when, after rebuking him for the terms in which he proposed the, prayer, he knelt down, and with a most serene smile, commenced an earnest supplication, which became still more vehement—then louder—bewailed his lost state—deplored his keeping aloof from the means of grace—feared that the example of his old, and sinful, and blasphemous father, and his most profligate mother, had rendered his heart impenetrable to all visitations of conscience or religion—if conscience he ever had, or religion he ever heard; both of which, he, the humble and sinful suppliant, doubted. What then was his state? Oh! how could a charitable or truly religious heart bear to think of it without being deeply affected”—handkerchief here applied to the eyes, and some sobs—a nondescript sound from Darby, accompanied by a most pathetic shaking of the sides—evidently as much affected as M’Slime.—The prayer was then wound up in a long, heavy, dolorous cadence, which evidently proceeded from a strong conviction that he who prayed was laboring against all hope and expectation that the humble “mean” then adopted would be attended by any gracious result—the voice consequently quavered off into a most dismal sound, which seemed, as it were, to echo back a doleful answer to their solicitations, and accordingly Solomon rose up with a groan that could not be misunderstood.
“You see, O’Drive,” said he, “we have received no answer—or rather a bad one—I fear his is a hopeless case, as, indeed, that of every reprobate and castaway is; and this distresses me.”
“Mr. M’Slime,” said Darby, “will you excuse me, sir—but the thruth is, I never properly knew you before.” These words he uttered in a low confidential voice, precisely such as we might suppose a man to speak in, who, under his circumstances, had got new convictions. “I’ll appear next Sabbath, and what is better, I think in a few days I’ll be able to bring three or four more along wid me.”
“Do you think so?” said M’Slime, a good deal elated at the thought; for the attorney was only playing his game, which certainly was not the case with the greater number of the new reformation men, who were as sincere in their motives as he was hypocritical in his exertions. “And what are their names, Darby?”
“I feel, sir,” replied O’Drive, “that it’s my duty as a Christian, brought out of the land of cordage—”
“Of bondage, to do all I can for the spread o’ the gospel. Their names,” responded Darby, rubbing his elbow with a perplexed face; “don’t you think sir it would be better to wait awhile, till we’d see what could be done with them privately?”
“No, Darby, give me their names and residences, and I will see, that however hard the times are, they shall not at least be starved for want of—truth.”