396 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
afternoon, that chapter in Matthew that gives an account of it, and I have been quite struck with it. One should have expected some terrible enormities charged to those who are excluded from heaven, as the reason; but no, — they are condemned for not doing positive good, as if that included every possible harm."
" Perhaps," said Miss Ophelia, " it is impossible for a person who does no good not to do harm."
" And what," said St. Clare, speaking abstractedly, but with deep feeling, " what shall be said of one whose own heart, whose education, and the wants of society have called in vain to some noble purpose ; who has floated on, a dreamy, neutral spectator of the struggles, agonies, and wrongs of man, when he should have been a worker ? "
" I should say," said Miss Ophelia, " that he ought to repent, and begin now."
" Always practical and to the point! " said St. Clare, his face breaking out into a smile. " You never leave me any time for general reflections, cousin ; you always bring me short up against the actual present; you have a kind of eternal now, always in your mind."
" Now is all the time I have anything to do with," said Miss Ophelia.
" Dear little Eva, — poor child! " said St. Clare, " she had set her little simple soul on a good work for me."
It was the first time since Eva's death that he had ever said as many words as these of her, and he spoke now evidently repressing very strong feeling.
" My view of Christianity is such," he added, " that I think no man can consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society ; and, if need be, sacrificing himself in the battle. That is, I mean that / could not be a Christian otherwise, though I have certainly had intercourse with a great many enlightened and Christian people who did no such thing;