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which can effect the purity and permanent felicity of mankind.
However, it does not appear that the Lynn Church adopted Free COMMUNION; and Mr. Richards seems to have acquiesced. Here I shall introduce part of the Rev. Hugh Evans's letter, who thus writes with his usual candour and piety, notwithstanding their rejection of Free Communion.
Hanham, June 25, 1778. Having a little recess from the hurry I am often in, I take up my pen to address my friends, among whom I esteem you. Yours of the 19th of February has lain by me too long among the unanswered; but better late than never. As my son replied to his, I thought it less necessary for me to repeat the same or similar things.
As to your settlement of the church, I hope it will answer your and their expectation. No doubt order is preferable to confusion; and the nearer we come to the favoured standard the better. Mr. Booth, you know, has wrote in defence of strict communion. I have seen, but not read the performance. I suppose it will introduce that old controversy on the stage again. I wish it may be managed with temper on all sides. In most debates too much of the man creeps in unawares, and the honour of God and love of truth are lost in the unhallowed human heart. Could we divest ourselves of self more, and be filled with the spirit, we should undoubtedly gain much advantage every
way. I must acknowledge, in my apprehension, union is the foundation of communion ; and without a rational evidence of union to Christ, there can be no real spiritual communion with him or one another, whatever form we make use of. I shall be glad to see a clear proof that an agreement '. in sentiment respecting, say, baptism—was required by the Apostles, or that submission to that institution, in order to Christian fellowship. Perhaps Mr. Booth has produced it;-I will see. I have thought there is great wisdom and goodness in our not seeing all alike, as in our having different faces and dispositions ! Amongst other ends answered by it, there is room for the exercise of mutual forbearance and charity, and a call to the study and examination of the sacred records with many others.
I much approve of the conduct of your people in acting with so much coolness and deliberation in their settlement, and hope they will still persist in the same good way.
I am glad Mr. R. David goes on so well at Norwich;. I hope he will be the instrument of much good there,
We had a very comfortable association at Horsley, the 10th and 11th instant. I think the Lord was with us. It is not for me to say, my Son gave us a plain, close, and home sermon from Math. v. 47, which he addressed to the hearers, members, and ministers of the churches, and gave to each their portion. He was himself; and his audience, which
was very large, were greatly affected. Mr. King. don also gave us a good sermon from 2 Cor. iv. 6. But you will see the letter, which is a very good one. As to your acceptance of the people's call, as they are unanimous, and you have a reasonable prospect of usefulness and comfort, I see no reason why you should not accept it. I hope you will be directed by unerring wisdom.
The family join in kind respects to you, and best wishes for you.
Your real and affectionate friend, &c.
· P.S. Let me hear from you soon.
· The Church which Mr. Richards found in so depressed a condition soon began to flourish. He infused into it, by his judicious labours and prudent conduct, a fresh principle of vitality. The almost expiring spark was blown up, and for many years burnt with a bright and steady flame. He baptised on the profession of their faith, in the divine mission of Jesus, upwards of fifty persons in the earlier part of his ministry! Preaching three times a day—he laboured in season and out of season. Attendance twice a day (morning and afternoon) is enough for the purposes of practical devotion. Let the remainder of the day be spent by professors in reading the Scriptures to their families, or let them
examine how far what has been heard from the pulpit accords with the word of God. A small but interesting volume, entitled Social Religion, by the late venerable Mr. Turner, of Abingdon, may be consulted on this subject.
From bis intelligent friend Dr. John Ash, Mr. Richards received the subsequent letter, congratulating him on bis success at Lynn:
Pershore, Dec. 17, 1776. . We thought it long before we received the promised favour from our dear friend; but we must now acknowledge, that he has made it up to us both in quantity and quality, for which we really think ourselves much obliged to him. It gives us all pleasure to hear of your safe arrival at Lynn, and of your acceptance with the people there. We think you have done quite right in complying with their request to stay with them this winter; and I hope, by the summer, you will see your way clear, either to settle with them, or remove to some other place. Whenever it suits you to call on us, we shall be very glad to see you; and were it for your advantage to have you fixed near us; but that we would leave to the disposal of Providence. As to the question of Mixed Communion, you know that, with some qualifications, I am rather a friend to it. But you are to judge for yourself. In some cases it would be, perhaps, imprudent to admit of it : and, by your account, very possibly, some insurmountable difficulties may attend the admission of
it at Lynn. Could the people be thoroughly agreed so as cordially to embrace each other, notwithstanding the distinction of adult and pædobaptism, and could you yourself conscienciously fall in with it, I am sure I should never reproach you for such a conduct.
The people at Westmancote have been regularly supplied, chiefly by MR. HAYDEN, ever since you left them. The season has been remarkably favourable; the roads have been good; and Mr. Hayden has been prevented, I think, but two days since Michaelmas. There is now some expectation of a young man from Bristol, Mr. Cooper, who is to be at Pershore for a year, and to serve at Westmancote occasionally. He has been, and is now, at the academy, in Bristol. But as his health is precarious, it is presumed he may niend it by being some time in the country; and we are to give him some little assistance in the pursuit of his studies at Pershore. I was at the meeting of the Society in August. Mr. Newton preached the Sermon, and was desired to print it; but I have not yet seen it. The first vol. on EDUCATION, of which you have some little acquaintance, is nearly printed off; and the second will follow it as fast as possible, and will be out, I suppose, in a few weeks. We are all as well as usual at Pershore. And many of our friends here desire to be affectionately remembered to you. Be as good as your word, and write soon, as you promised, to Mr. Hayden ; it will afford much pleasure to your friends in Worcestershire to be