« PreviousContinue »
dividual is leavened with the leaven of the Pharisee,or with the leaven of Herod, a Christian has nothing good to expect from him.
Leaders of religious sects are generally leavened with the leaven of Herod, and their adherents with that of the Pharisees. The Redeemer ascribes to Herud the nature of the fox. He was informed Herod sought his life : Go, said he, tell that fox, Herod, I work to-day and to-morrow, &c. &c. but Jesus describes the latter as serpents and vipers.
Our Saviour spake not unto the people without a parable ; and infinite wisdom, no doubt, made use of the most pertinent. Hence the figure leaven, when speaking of the proud in church or state, it swells and sours the mind in which it takes place.
Many instances have come under my observation in this country, where it has worked with great violence in many religious characters. Yet, blessed be God, we are distinguished by so great a share of civil and religious liberty, that the most zealous worshippers of antichrist can go no farther than to say all manner of evil of the message and the messenger of peace; pronouncing the former a doctrine of licentiousness, and the latter the vilest of men. Yet the truth will prevail ; and in this great, this new world, it doth greatly prevail. A fire is kindled which I am persuaded will never be extinguished, until the heavens are no more.
When I have leisure I will write you circumstantially, as I am persuaded a mind like yours will be refreshed and invigorated by the accounts which I am able to transmit to you. I am fully convinced it is impossible to taste of the grace of God in truth, and not feel the heart expand on hearing that the preachers thereof are multiplied, and that the pleasure of Jehovah is prospering in their hands.
At present, however, I only design to say that I have felt your kindness, that I bless God, who has indulged you with such luminous views of his salvation, that I have communicated the intelligence you have transmitted to many of our American brethren ; and I have promised to read both yours and Mr. V's. letter, next society night, to the whole body; they will be glad, and rejoice with me, to hear so much good news from a far country that I have written to you, some time since, by a captain S.. of this town, a friendly man, although not one of our society—that I intended my next letter should be more circumstantial ; but the gentleman who will hand
you this communication, takes his departure at a much earlier period than I expected, but that I shall embrace the next opportua
VOL. II. 36
nity for this purpose-that I have delivered some of your shopbills that I intend to commence a journey to the city of Philadelphia, with the opening spring, when passing through many towns and cities; and having some friends of note in every principal place in those States through which I shall pass, I shall be able to distribute them among my mercantile friends, to the best advantage. These were the few particulars I sat down in haste to relate, but I find it difficult to surrender my pen.
I have to introduce to your notice the gentleman who will hand you
this letter: I have known him many years ; he was one of my first friends"; and I have concluded from his conduct, for he is not a man of words, that he is warmly attached to the truth as it is in Jesus. He was a valuable assistant in building a place of worship in this town, and he has never failed to distinguish himself as a steady friend to the cause of truth. His character is well established for mercantile knowledge, industry, probity and honour : all who are acquainted with him will sincerely wish him God speed. I feel very sensibly for the unfortunate, worthy character; he is both, and I doubt not he will be received by you, as a christian brother, and as an honest man.
I have some reason to fear my last communication will not reach you. My pleasure in hearing from you, is proportioned to the pain I experienced on the return of the gentleman to whom you advert, who was the bearer of the letter in the direction of which I made so unfortunate a mistake. I regret the not having before received the account you have so frequently transmitted. The conclusion of the late wasting war is, in every view, matter of rejoicing.
Yes, indeed, Mr. Relly was, during his life, and his memory will continue while I have life, rigiit precious to my soul.' My reasons for attachment, for homage, were similar to those which actuated
Timothy in his devotion to the Apostle Paul; and my loss is indeed irreparable. You observe he died greatly lamented, no doubt ; it was impossible to know Mr. Relly and not regret his departure out of time, and the many who experienced a religious joy at this event knew no more of my honoured friend than their brethren of old did of our blessed Master. Yes, yes, he was truly a Christian, and it could not happen but that he should endure his sufferings with patience for the joy that was set before him.
His disposition of his little property is perfectly just. Mrs. P. was entitled to every thing. I trust the profits arising from the
sale of his excellent writings will be adequate to her support; o! if not, I trust her friend has left behind him friends who will prove themselves worthy that character by acting the part of real friends to her. Poor lady, my heart feels very sensibly for her; how great is her loss! There are, in your congregation some, who, from the account I have had of them from the departed saint, will no doubt cherish his fame, and take proper measures to display the innate elevation of his dignified mind. The highly favoured instruments who may combine to perform this duty, will in no wise. lose their reward.
The loss of the packet from Mrs. P. containing letters from each of her invaluable friends, originates in my bosom very painful sensations; strange that so long accustomed to disappointments I should still be so strongly affected thereby.
I am exceedingly pleased with, and obliged to you for the portraits of my reverend friend: next to my friends, there is nothing I value so much as their pictures. First their writings, which exhibit pictures of their minds ; and next such happy representations of their countenances as is exhibited in the finished performance before me. I congratulate you, my dear Sir, that you have among your sons, one who holds so masterly a pencil, such an acquaintance' with the finest of the fine arts, as puts it in our power to preserve so good a likeness of so great a man, is indeed a happy talent; I pray God your son may exhibit in his own individual character as perfect a copy of the mind of our excellent friend as he haş traced of his person. But he will fill just such a place as the Saviour hath appointed for him. Please to present to the young gentleman my sincere thanks for the pleasurable sensations which his labours have afforded me.
Our divine Master taught us to expect tribulation in this world, and none but God knows how much I have endured, yet blessed be his name; I am not able to say with many, there is nothing but tribulation in this world. I have had some sweets as well as bitters, and it is a sweet reflection, that although the bitters are not pleasant, they are wholesome. But friends are the medium through which my most refreshing consolations flow. Yea, I am s very rich in the friends kind Providence sends to help my infirm ities all.” My friends are friends in the Redeemer; nothing else but an attachment to that cause, of which I am a promulgator, could render them such
May I not flatter myself with the pleasing assurance that I have some friends in London on this same principle. Yes, I'indulge this hope, and the worthy friend to whom I am writing, bids me conclude him my sincere friend and brother in our adorable and beloved Saviour. Thank you Sir, most cordially I thank you, I do assure you my heart feels very grateful.
Certainly, I am fond of turning from this busy, bustling state of things, from these perplexing uncertainties, to the rest that remaineth. In the name of my Redeemer, and in his name only do I obtain sweet, refreshing, undisturbed repose. When Jesus tells us In the world we shall have tribulation, he benignly adds, but, what a blessed but, but in me you shall have peace. We have no right to expect permanent peace in this world. We enjoy by faith expected good. O, for an increase of this soul-reviving, soul-satisfy-. ing good! Look unto me, and be ye saved, said the just God, and the Saviour. They looked unto him and were lightened, said the teaching spirit. Let thine eye be single, said the Saviour, and the whole body shall be full of light. “I am," said the same divine character,“the light of the world.” “ As ye have received the Lord Jesus,” saith the spirit, “so walk in him.” If we thus walk in the light, our fellowship even while here, is with the Father, and with the Son. It is a divinely consoling consideration, that tlie Redeemer hath promised, he will be with us even to the end of our journey.
I sincerely thank you for the concluding petition in your truly evangelical epistle. I repeat that I contemplate attending particularly to every paragraph, and in the mean time permit me to assure you, that I am with grateful affection in our ever-blessed, ever-blessing Lord and Lover, Head and Husband, your friend and brother, and very
To Mr. W. P. of Plymouth, Great Britain.
Can it be that the friends to whom I set me down to write, have received, and never replied to the letters sent by me and mine? Has Mr. P. has Anna Maria, has Louisa forgotten me? Or am I only remembered at times, and that with indifference?
Or have they written, and in writing exerted all their powers to convince me I am still dear to them; and have I been so unfortunate as to lose these refreshing testimonies of their affection? How is it? I will make one more experiment, and I beseech you to inform me if you live in the character in which I left you? in the character in which you followed me in the last stage of my journey through our beloved country? You will, let your present character be what it may, I am sure you will excuse these queries. You know, and you know that I know, man is mutable ; that we are given to change; and that it is our Saviour only, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. But our Saviour sometimes opens hearts that no one can shut ; and let me add that if we are found looking more to the open hearts, than to him who hath mercifully opened those hearts, he may shut them again, so that no man can open them.
For me, as I never was able to paint a passion which I did not feel, my heart, through life, has ever been upon my lips. I never professed an affection for any one who had not taken possession of my heart; nor has it ever been in the power of any one beside the possessors themselves, and this of their own choice, to drive them thence. When some individuals have thought proper, either for the gratification of themselves, or others, to abandon their residence, I have in many instances wept at their departure until I have generally been constrained to say with the Poet,
“Good when he gives, supremely good,
Nor less when he denies,
Are blessings in disguise." Yet, after all, I echo another poet. Friends are our chief treasure. They are not, however, our entailed inheritance. No, they are no more than travelling charges; but they are the sweeteners of life. Without friends, this world would become one vast desert.
It is not probable I shall ever again see in the flesh my Plymouth friends; I had hoped to have seen them often on paper; but if they be otherwise determined, I will say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; and blessed be the name of the Lord.” Still I shall remember you as friends, with whom I was most blest; who for a time were instruments of much good to me; and I will look forward to a better country where affection will never cool, and where no whisperer will ever be suffered to make a separation between choice friends.