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We will drop the curtain here; for, in less than an hour, the sufferer knew more of Eternity than you or I.

Now, it is not necessary that exactly such an example should be adduced, in support of our position. It is still true, whatever be the nature of the feelings under conviction, that to realize the near interest in salvation which once gave energy to desire, and force to our resolution, will be far less easy, after the mind has been brought to a certain degree of closeness in the approach to spiritual things, and has retreated from them again. The degree of actual guilt, in the commission of sin, may have less to do with such an effect, than have a sense of warning gone by and the consciousness of past divine interposition. There is an agency between the sinner and his God; and, however little the former may say on the subject, or however indistinct it may appear in the bustle of his thoughts, he will not be insensible to it, nor will he ever wholly forget it, in the remainder of his life.

Adieu, my dear sir, for the present. Remember what eyes are upon you. Remember what interests are at stake. Recollect that all your anxiety is known to ONE who can afford you relief; and that every fluctuation of hope and fear is noted with an earnest concern for your welfare. This single reflection carries with it both admonition and encouragement. Be much in prayer. Make the word of God your principal study. Maintain a vigilant guard over your thoughts; and avoid every engagement which might unnecessarily divert them from your present pursuit.

I am truly yours, &c.

23

LETTER II.

Too sanguine views.—Danger of reliance on present, though

strong, feelings.—The duty of avoiding unnecessary asso. ciation with men of the world. - Importance of duly estimating the great concern.-On the opposition and seductions of mistaken friends.-A melancholy instance.The opposition of the irreligious should be regarded as an additional motive to diligence.--Prudential advice. – An instance of the happy effects of Christian prudence.Discouragements from luke-warm professors of religion.The folly of relinquishing the pursuit in consequence of external difficulties.—The great source of encouragement.

That ardour, and perhaps vehemence, of feeling, which exists in some inquirers, frequently precludes the calmer suggestions of the understanding. To one in such a state, no obstacle from the matters of the world appears of magnitude: no temptation seems worthy of thought. He believes himself fortified against all the seductions of common life. The great end of salvation he conceives to engage, not only the emotions of his heart, but the faculties of his mind. Without a single fear from external impressions, he is ready to encounter any temptation: and he thinks himself prepared to oppose the feelings of his present anxiety, to all that could be set in array against it. The allurements of time have disappeared. All that belongs to earth has sunk down into insignificance.

But is such a state always one of safety? May there not be danger in this overweening confidence? There is, certainly, imminent danger. The same susceptibility of temperament which exposed his bosom to its present agitation, lays it open to insidious encroachments from a quarter whence he apprehends but little danger ; and the strong holds of his security are, generally, his most vulnerable points.

Nor is this a matter of surprise, when we recollect that there is no state of mind more deceptive, or more treacherous, than that which is produced by some kinds of serious impressions. The secession from the world is not always, as might be imagined, the effect of a love of holiness; and the disinclination to pleasures recently dear, does not arise from a positive taste for piety. There is no new principle planted in the heart; and the powerful feeling which is supposed to govern it, is without any rule of control, or any defined place of direction. The scenes of a single hour may produce a rapid and perceptible return of the former current.

Is there, then, any thing more unwise, or more hazardous, than a confident reliance on a condition so precarious, in the midst of temptations which present so strong an appeal to the natural heart? Yet it is to this that we are to attribute the failure of many an inquirer, whose earnestness had inspired us with lively hope of his success; but who, mistaking an unorganized feeling for a substantial principle, was taken in the snare which presumption had placed in his way. Then, perhaps, he is astonished that a state of mind which he considered as the dawn of religion, has passed off so easily, and all that is unspiritual has resumed its sway in his bosom.

If the remarks in my last letter have increased your apprehensions of temptation and danger, from the circumstances under which Providence has placed you, I trust there will be no reason to regret that they were written. There is, indeed, in all the states and relations of life, much that should excite a jealousy of ourselves : and it is well to discover its very secret and insidious operation upon our conduct, before that operation is carried to an exclusiveness of the great object which we are labouring to reach. Such an effect, my dear friend, is more than possible. We may exert our whole efforts to keep up a certain condition of feeling, yet without any direct or practical reference to its ultimate design. The evil of

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