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and most desirable issue; and I am sure, an irreproachable life is the best method of defending truth.
I trust I shall never deport myself so unbecomingly, as to treat any person with severity for differing from me in sentiment, much less the venerable gentleman, with whom I have the honour to correspond. Were I thus to act, I should not prove myself a disciple of the meek and lowly. Jesus. I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient, very humble servant, &c. &c.
To a dear and much honoured Friend.
By bidding me write to you, you have conferred upon me both honour and favour; and right happy shall I be, if I can render my letter worthy your acceptation. I assure you, Madam, I know not any person among the large circle of my acquaintance, inore blest and chastised than yourself; you are indeed greatly blessed, and your very chastisements are blessings, although, perhaps, in disguise. These chastisements are marks of parental love; whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Is there a child of man who cannot produce this evidence of his Creator's love? Often do those events, which appeared as they succeeded, heavy calamities, rank to the eye of retrospection, as the first of blessings. There is nothing more consistent with reason and with our truest interest, than to view occurrences upon the bright side ; but do you say, "alas, alas, there is no bright side!” O, yes, my honoured friend, there is sunshine still, both for you and for me, and we should remember who hath said, all things shall work together for good. “Aye,to those who love God, and who are the called according to his purpose.” In a strict sense, this is applicable only to Jesus, and to us in him ; who is there that loves God in perfection, except the Head of every man? and we, as his members, receive this, as every other blessing, by union with him, yea, a union as intimate
as that by which our hands and feet partake with our head. I had intended to enumerate your blessings, but it is beyond my power; they would fill a volume; they are more in number than the hairs of your head; and what is best of all, your sorrows are rapidly passing away, they will know a period ; and the glimpse which you have recently caught of the gospel of God our Saviour, will teach you that unclouded felicity awaits you in the kingdom of your Father, God. The blessings of our Redeemer are of incalculable magnitude; he hath provided for us an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, which fadeth not away, in which is durable riches, with righteousness. You complain of confinement, this is natural; I verily think it would make any individual unhappy to be obliged to continue even in Paradise. How then, say you, shall we be happy in a future state ? There will not, my dear Madam, be any confinement in heaven. Boundless space banishes the idea of confinement. Besides, we shall be changed before we reach our destined home; this wretched, restless, unsatisfied disposition, will not haunt us in worlds beyond the sky.
May God, in great mercy, preserve the lads entrusted to your maternal care, and give them to grow up under a strong sense of the forgiving love of their redeeming God; and may they be constrained, by a principle of gratitude, to glorify their Creator; and never, O never, may they be found in the paths of the prophane and the impious ; may they never so far affront the Majesty of heaven, as to swear by his most holy and reverend name.
You will, I doubt not, uniformly point your children to a future world, for the perfection of their being; you will tell them of an inheritance which they can never lose, of an house not made with hands, eternal, and in the heavens. Blessed be God, you have learned of the Father more than I can teach you. O, may you be under the influence of this divine teaching; may your fears diminish, and your hopes increase; may you live by faith upon the Son of God; may your heart be fixed, trusting in the Lord, for well do you know he is faithful, who hath promised. But, alas, how vast the difference between theory and practice! And so tremblingly alive is your susceptible heart, that it is next to impossible you should, in this changing state, enjoy tranquility. Shall I say, I pity you; what, alas, can helpless pity do? But I can pray the Lord to increase your faith. 0, may you have faith and
patience! May God, in his infinite mercy, enable you to cast your care upon him, who careth for you. Are your children dear to you? Think, Madam, how much dearer they are to their heavenly Father. This is really a consoling consideration, that is, when it consoles ; but except the God of mercy is pleased to bring his consolations home to the soul, they will never be effectual to the removing any of those maladies to which the mind is subject. To him then let us look. May God be gracious to your soul, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you. May you be preserved from pain, or have patience to bear it. My fervent prayers are frequently offered up to God in your behalf, not that I believe the everlasting Father of your spirit is less mindful of you than I am, or that he will do that for you, on account of my supplications, that he would not perform, if I were silent; for well do I know he will parcel out every pain and every pleasure, to you, to me, in number, weight, and measure of all this I am well convinced; yet I pray, and if you ask, wherefore? I can only answer when my mind is afflicted; I find it as natural to lift up my soul to my everlasting Father, as it is for your children, when they are hurt, to look to you for solace. Yet you feel for your children, before their supplicating eyes are raised to you; and were they unable, or even unwilling to make application to you, yet your maternal heart would hasten to their relief; and you would redress, as far as might consist with their well being, their every grievance. Thus, while I know that the divine favour does not in any sort depend upon my asking, I, nevertheless, continue to ask, and really find a sweet relief in asking Prayer, at least, leads me to reflect upon the nature and character of the God, with whom I have to do; and a recurrence to the nature and character of my God and Father is a sovereign remedy for despondence. Say, my dear Madam, do you not frequently experience this truth? I am sure that you do; for you know in whom you have believed. Peace then to your susceptible soul. May that peace of God, which passeth our understanding, keep your heart and mind; may an abiding sense of the divine favour dwell on your spirit, leading you at all times to trust in God.
Are we not happy, supremely happy, that, in the midst of calamities, we are not tortured by the fear, that when these frail houses of clay fall to dust, the immortal inhabitant will be led in
chains by an insulting foe. O! my dear Madam, to know God; (can we too often repeat this precious truth ?) and, in knowing God, to know that he is our eternal life, is more than sufficient to compensate for the loss of every other comfort. Blessed be God, you have not only seen the condemning law, which came by Moses, but the emancipating grace aad truth, which came by Jesus Christ. You have, therefore, an abiding consolation with which a stranger intermeddleth not. This crown of your rejoicing, cannot be taken from you. It is in this world only you will be called to suffer; and your sufferings, during the present scene, will enhance your future felicity; will work out for you a far more exceeding weight of glory. When you arrive at the house of your Father, "you will enter into perfect rest and peace : you will not then struggle with that cruel spoiler, pain; there shall be no more pain: tears will no more bedew your fine face'; for all tears shall be wiped away : there the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary will be at rest.
I love to dwell upon such subjects, as are calculated to refresh your spirit, your drooping spirit. I was solicitous to speak of the good things of the kingdom ; to recur to what you already know; but of what perhaps you, as well as I, need often to be reminded. Look unto me, says your Redeemer, and be ye saved Saved from every anxious, distressing care. May God in mercy lead you into all peace.
I do not know if the intelligence to which you advert be an established fact. Ah, Madam, there is little to be depended upon, save what is recorded in the sacred volume. There, indeed, as Young beautifully observes, “Truths abound of sovereign aid to peace." My love to my sweet pupil ; I hope he still attends his book.
I am, Madam, your ever faithfully
deyoted friend and servant, &c. &c.
To the same.
I now set down with a heart full of gratitude to the merciful Preserver of men, for the many signal tokens of his favour, conferred upon me; so many that the utmost powers of my soul cannot enumerate them. I never can forget the goodness of God, in preserving and bringing me through this long, toilsome, tedious journey. I have passed through many difficulties since I had the happiness of seeing you: but what a mercy that I am able to say, I have passed through them. I reflect upon these things, with thankfulness to God. Yet, great as are these favours, they are small when compared with others. My heart swells when I reflect upon the treasures of friendship, upon the inestimable friend, to whom I am now writing. But as often as I recur to the rich treasures of redeeming love, my bosom glows, my soul is on fire, and I feel as if touched by a coal from the living altar of
God. It has not been for lack of faithful, fervent, christian affection, that I have not frequently employed myself in writing to you ; but my time has been unusually occupied. Subjects of a gloomy nature frequently press upon me: these would fill me with dismay, if not with terror: but I am at present in a humour to spurn them with becoming disdain : they seem unfit for me to write upon, or for you to read : to dwell upon such dark subjects, is rendering service to the adversary. We are taught to conceive of the prince of darknesss, as a malignant being, who takes pleasure (if such a spirit can properly be said to take pleasure) in the distresses of mankind: whatever, therefore, distresses us, answers his purposes. I will not, then, dwell upon the dark side of our prospects : I will not render the arch fiend any service of this sort, this morning : on the contrary, I will bend my thoughts, and the eye of my honoured friend, to subjects that will, of necessity, torment him.
respect to the things of the present state, although he is said to be the god of this world, yet, to his confusion we declare,