« PreviousContinue »
is no other; he that thus believeth, I say, can never come into condemnation. He never shall be ashamed nor confounded; he can never stumble. Yes, that perfect love which is manifested in the union of the two natures, beheld in all their fulness, by the true believer, casteth out fear. There is no fear in love; fear hath torment, which is made manifest by its effects, as the element in which every unbeliever exists, as fire is made manifest by smoke ; the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; until day and night shall be no more, that is, till unbelief shall be no more, when, from the least to the greatest, every eye shall see, and every individual of the human family shall know God, as the Creator, the Father, the Preserver, and the Redeemer.
You will, my dear friend, let me hear from you as frequently as possible, and send me the residue of the letters as soon as they come from the press. Farewell.
I have more than once perused your obliging favour of June 16th, and it is pleasing to me to learn, that either profit or pleasure can, in any degree, be obtained from a correspondence with me, peculiarly so, if the friend to whom I am writing can be benefited thereby.
Doubtless, this mode of conversing is of divine origin, and for this inestimable gift we are indebted to the bounteous Giver of every good and perfect gift. It is the pleasure of Deity that we should, dwell in separate apartments of his great house, but having formed us social beings, by indulging us with this mode of conversation, he seems to have broken down the separating wall, and however distant he may think proper to fix the bounds of our habitation, our ethereal selves are, by this happy expedient, brought into close contact: and we can freely communicate what
the Father of our spirits may think proper to discover to our souls. We are not interrupted by noisy intruders, we retire from the busy, bustling world, from whence we fly to meet and mingle congenial souls.
There is nothing by which I am so much astonished, as our attachment to the present mode of existence. This attachment was perhaps excusable in the tribes of Israel, who, being under the ministration of a dispensation that was not designed to bring life and immortality to light, might rationally consider a long life as the greatest blessing with which they could possibly be indulged. Long life was to them the reward of filial obedience. Honour, saith the Lord, thy father, and thy mother, and thy days shall be long in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
But for us, who are blessed with the unspeakable gift of God, which is everlasting life; for us, who are heirs of a blessed immortality, to mourn for departed friends, and grieve that they go so soon, is just as consistent, as if we were to reflect with anguish, that those of our friends, who do business upon the great waters, had made a speedy passage, and were safely moored in a good and commodious harbour, much sooner than could rationally have been expected. Reason and religion both bid us rejoice on these occasions; yet, I know that it is natural to grieve, and I also know that we are naturally lovers of our own selves. When we are ostensibly mourning for a departed friend, we are, in fact, mourning for our surviving selves. Show me the man or woman who ever sincerely mourned for the departure of an individual, from whom they never had, nor expected to have, either directly or indirectly, pleasure or profit. Trust me, my friend, the hearts of mourners are like other hearts, deceitful above all things.
Were we properly influenced by the religion we profess, we should rejoice whenever our God called a suffering friend to that fulness of bliss, which is found at his right hand, and looking with anxious expectation to the period destined to reunite us to those we loved, we should say,
"Blest be the barge that wafts us to the shore,
Where death divided friends shall part no more."
Friends pass on before to slope our passage, and point the way. The friend you mention has been highly favoured in his death; at home he is happy, here he was environed with difficulties; he VOL. II.
now sees and enjoys that for which he was made; I may envy, but I cannot mourn him.
I have been very ill, but am now, through the favour of heaven, much better. For your recovery I also bless God. But well or ill, we are still dying, blessed be God for this also. Yet it must be confessed that sickness is a gloomy path to immortality; but it will add new charms to our destined home.
I am always pleased with letters from my friends, but never angry when I get them not; I take it for granted something beside a failure in friendship occasions the silence of my friend; I thank you for the sermon you have inclosed. You designed it, I presume, for a funeral oration, not a gospel sermon. As an oration it is good, as a gospel sermon nothing. You see, my friend, I am a friend, and do not flatter. If the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Who was it said?
"I value not that doctrine, book or theme,
And leaves out his dear name."
I thank you for your offer; but your brother has been kind enough to supply me. When we agree, I am pleased; when we do not, I am not displeased. I think you are sincere, and I am attached to you. I beg you to remember me to Mrs. W. and to our mutual friends.-Farewell.
To the Rev. Mr.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
YOUR obliging favour came yesterday to hand, for which, as well as the favour inclosed therein, accept my grateful acknowledgments.
I have been expecting captain I. and was much disappointed in not meeting him last autumn. I calculate, however, upon an interview on my return to Boston.
Our friends in this place are like our friends with you; and the thorns and briars of worldly care seem to have the same effect upon them. In fact, we are getting into bad circumstances; these are really melancholy times; our prospects, as a people, are gloomy. But when the judgments which we dread are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of our world will learn righteousness.
A challenge from parson A. to Dr. P.!! Simple man! Why a babe in the school in which Dr. P. has been taught would be more than a match for parson A. or any other parson in his temper and state of mind. I long to hear the result of this same challenge; you will have the goodness to transmit it as soon as possible. I am happy to find, that notwithstanding the opposition made by high and low priests, supported by the united force of bigots of every description, the truth, as it is in Jesus, is, however, gaining ground in W and HBut, by your account of N- -, I
am fearful that I have laboured in vain in that place. Yet, let me not form so melancholy a conclusion; there are some in N- who do not bow the knee to Baal; but it would give me heart-felt pleasure to learn, that those who drink into the same spirit of christianity, were bearing one another's burdens, and thus fulfilling the royal law of love. After all, my dear Sir, the hearts of the people are in the hand of God, and he turns them withersoever he will. The opinions of people, however heterogenous, are merely opinions which you know are garret lumber; their seat is the head; not the heart; I wish they were in the heart or no where, then the people would be either cold or hot, and unbelievers would constrain professors of the gospel of God our Saviour, to decide for or against. Would to God our adherents discovered as much energy as our opponents. I admire your reasoning; were you, in the present situation of affairs, to insist on the union of our friends in the way to which you advert, it might defeat the purpose you wish to effecNo doubt the great Head of the church will do with, and by them and us, as seemeth good in his sight; and here, my valued friend and brother, we must, as becometh the Christian character, leave this and every other matter.
gives the alarm to big
But the progress of the truth in Wotry. No doubt of it; the increase of the knowledge of the gospel of God our Saviour has alarmed superstition and prejudice in every country, where it has been promulgated since its first appearance in our world; and thus it will continue to do, until nothing can be
obtained by opposition, and mankind see it more for their honour and interest to unite in its favour, than to attempt its destruction. But your fellow-servants have complained of you to their master; this is as I expected. The recent event to which you advert will strengthen their hands; opposition will be embodied, and their bands will be made strong; mutual aid and support will be afforded; the rays of their malignant fire will be collected, and pointed at every individual connected with, but in spirit differing from their order; and if they have not the power to make use of temporal fire, if they cannot consume you as a heretic, they will evince their disposition toward you, by consigning you to the pains and penalties of eternal fire. Depend on it, my brother, you will find no peace nor rest in your present connexion; they will hate you, they will say all manner of evil of you; and this they will be the more diligent in saying, because they cannot do all manner of evil unto you.
Our Saviour, in this age and country, has mercifully saved his servants from the power of wicked hands, but he has not in this, or any other age or country, saved them from the power of wicked tongues; these unruly members will have full play, nor is it in your power, by any thing you can say, to tame them. Nay, the more excellent your defence when you are brought before them, the more they will be exasperated; they will be cut to the heart, and in the bitterness of their rage they will say, Away with him, it is not fit that such a fellow should live.
Yes, I believe B. was sensible he gained no ground, but in proportion to this conviction you may rest assured that in his heart you lost ground; your conversation ended, in appearance, amicably. How impenetrable are the folds in which, upon such occasions, the designing heart is enveloped, indeed we ought to calculate upon duplicity. I think,however,the artful covering thrown over the latent design of B. in the request he made, was almost too thin to answer the design of a covering. You must give in writing to the convention the particulars in which you differ from the principles commonly held by your order; and this must be done in the language of God. They could not stand before this if they admitted its force, any more than Dagon could stand before the ark. But to give your principles in the language of scripture, would be saying nothing at all, as they have been accustomed to read scripture ; as they have been accustomed to treat the sacred testimony, giving it without ceremony whatsoever sense they pleased.