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The Proselytes
by [?]

“Seekest thou, like Pilate, after truth? Look thou within. The holy principle is there; that in whose light the pure hearts of all time have rejoiced. It is ‘the great light of ages’ of which Pythagoras speaks, the ‘good spirit’ of Socrates; the ‘divine mind’ of Anaxagoras; the ‘perfect principle’ of Plato; the ‘infallible and immortal law, and divine power of reason’ of Philo. It is the ‘unbegotten principle and source of all light,’ whereof Timmus testifieth; the ‘interior guide of the soul and everlasting foundation of virtue,’ spoken of by Plutarch. Yea, it was the hope and guide of those virtuous Gentiles, who, doing by nature the things contained in the law, became a law unto themselves.

“Look to thyself. Turn thine eye inward. Heed not the opinion of the world. Lean not upon the broken reed of thy philosophy, thy verbal orthodoxy, thy skill in tongues, thy knowledge of the Fathers. Remember that truth was seen by the humble fishermen of Galilee, and overlooked by the High Priest of the Temple, by the Rabbi and the Pharisee. Thou canst not hope to reach it by the metaphysics of Fathers, Councils, Schoolmen, and Universities. It lies not in the high places of human learning; it is in the silent sanctuary of thy own heart; for He, who gave thee an immortal soul, hath filled it with a portion of that truth which is the image of His own unapproachable light. The voice of that truth is within thee; heed thou its whisper. A light is kindled in thy soul, which, if thou carefully heedest it, shall shine more and more even unto the perfect day.”

The stranger paused, and the student melted into tears. “Stranger!” he said, “thou hast taken a weary weight from my heart, and a heavy veil from my eyes. I feel that thou hast revealed a wisdom which is not of this world.”

“Nay, I am but a humble instrument in the hand of Him who is the fountain of all truth, and the beginning and the end of all wisdom. May the message which I have borne thee be sanctified to thy well-being.”

“Oh, heed him, Ernest!” said the lady. “It is the holy truth which has been spoken. Let us rejoice in this truth, and, forgetting the world, live only for it.”

“Oh, may He who watcheth over all His children keep thee in faith of thy resolution!” said the Preacher, fervently. “Humble yourselves to receive instruction, and it shall be given you. Turn away now in your youth from the corrupting pleasures of the world, heed not its hollow vanities, and that peace which is not such as the world giveth, the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall be yours. Yet, let not yours be the world’s righteousness, the world’s peace, which shuts itself up in solitude. Encloister not the body, but rather shut up the soul from sin. Live in the world, but overcome it: lead a life of purity in the face of its allurements: learn, from the holy principle of truth within you, to do justly in the sight of its Author, to meet reproach without anger, to live without offence, to love those that offend you, to visit the widow and the fatherless, and keep yourselves unspotted from the world.”

“Eleonora!” said the humbled student, “truth is plain before us; can we follow its teachings? Alas! canst thou, the daughter of a noble house, forget the glory of thy birth, and, in the beauty of thy years, tread in that lowly path, which the wisdom of the world accounteth foolishness?”

“Yes, Ernest, rejoicingly can I do it!” said the lady; and the bright glow of a lofty purpose gave a spiritual expression to her majestic beauty. “Glory to God in the highest, that He hath visited us in mercy!”

“Lady!” said the Preacher, “the day-star of truth has arisen in thy heart; follow thou its light even unto salvation. Live an harmonious life to the curious make and frame of thy creation; and let the beauty of thy person teach thee to beautify thy mind with holiness, the ornament of the beloved of God. Remember that the King of Zion’s daughter is all-glorious within; and if thy soul excel, thy body will only set off the lustre of thy mind. Let not the spirit of this world, its cares and its many vanities, its fashions and discourse, prevail over the civility of thy nature. Remember that sin brought the first coat, and thou wilt have little reason to be proud of dress or the adorning of thy body. Seek rather the enduring ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, the beauty and the purity of the altar of God’s temple, rather than the decoration of its outward walls. For, as the Spartan monarch said of old to his daughter, when he restrained her from wearing the rich dresses of Sicily, ‘Thou wilt seem more lovely to me without them,’ so shalt thou seem, in thy lowliness and humility, more lovely in the sight of Heaven and in the eyes of the pure of earth. Oh, preserve in their freshness thy present feelings, wait in humble resignation and in patience, even if it be all thy days, for the manifestations of Him who as a father careth for all His children.”

“I will endeavor, I will endeavor!” said the lady, humbled in spirit, and in tears.

The stranger took the hand of each. “Farewell!” he said, “I must needs depart, for I have much work before me. God’s peace be with you; and that love be around you, which has been to me as the green pasture and the still water, the shadow in a weary land.”

And the stranger went his way; but the lady and her lover, in all their after life, and amidst the trials and persecutions which they were called to suffer in the cause of truth, remembered with joy and gratitude the instructions of the pure-hearted and eloquent William Penn.