Here Dinah turned to Bessy Cranage, whose bonny youth and evident vanity had touched her with pity.
“Poor child! Poor child! He is beseeching you, and you don’t listen to him. You think of ear-rings and fine gowns and caps, and you never think of the Saviour who died to save your precious soul. Your cheeks will be shrivelled one day, your hair will be grey, your poor body will be thin and tottering! Then you will begin to feel that your soul is not saved; then you will have to stand before God dressed in your sins, in your evil tempers and vain thoughts. And Jesus, who stands ready to help you now, won’t help you then; because you won’t have him to be your Saviour, he will be your judge. Now he looks at you with love and mercy and says, ‘Come to me that you may have life’; then he will turn away from you, and say, ‘Depart from me into ever-lasting fire!’”
Poor Bessy’s wide-open black eyes began to fill with tears, her great red cheeks and lips became quite pale, and her face was distorted like a little child’s before a burst of crying.
“Ah, poor blind child!” Dinah went on, “think if it should happen to you as it once happened to a servant of God in the days of her vanity. She thought of her lace caps and saved all her money to buy ’em; she thought nothing about how she might get a clean heart and a right spirit—she only wanted to have better lace than other girls. And one day when she put her new cap on and looked in the glass, she saw a bleeding Face crowned with thorns. That face is looking at you now”—here Dinah pointed to a spot close in front of Bessy—“Ah, tear off those follies! Cast them away from you, as if they were stinging adders. They are stinging you—they are poisoning your soul—they are dragging you down into a dark bottomless pit, where you will sink for ever, and for ever, and for ever, further away from light and God.”
Bessy could bear it no longer: a great terror was upon her, and wrenching her ear-rings from her ears, she threw them down before her, sobbing aloud. Her father, Chad, frightened lest he should be “laid hold on” too, this impression on the rebellious Bess striking him as nothing less than a miracle, walked hastily away and began to work at his anvil by way of reassuring himself. “Folks mun ha’ hoss-shoes, praichin’ or no praichin’: the divil canna lay hould o’ me for that,” he muttered to himself.
But now Dinah began to tell of the joys that were in store for the penitent, and to describe in her simple way the divine peace and love with which the soul of the believer is filled—how the sense of God’s love turns poverty into riches and satisfies the soul so that no uneasy desire vexes it, no fear alarms it: how, at last, the very temptation to sin is extinguished, and heaven is begun upon earth, because no cloud passes between the soul and God, who is its eternal sun.