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MY DEAR MADAM,
1775. | should have been more uneasy at being prevented writing immediately, had I any reason to apprehend my advice necessary upon the point you propose, which by this time I suppose is settled as it should be without me. I smiled at Miss M-'s disappointment. However, if the Lord favours her with a taste for the library of my proposing, she will be like the merchantman seeking goodly pearls, and will count all other books but pebbles in comparison of those four volumes, which
present us with something new and important whenever we look into them. I shall be much obliged to her, if she will commit the third chapter of Proverbs to her memory, and I shall pray the Lord to write it in her heart.
You surprise me when you tell me, that the incident of my birth-day was noticed by those I ne
Be so good as to return my thanks to my unknown friends, and tell them, that I pray our common Lord and Saviour to bless them abundantly. His people while here are scattered abroad, seperated by hills and rivers, and too often by names and prejudices; but by and bye we shall all meet, where we shall all know and acknowledge each other, and rejoice together for evermore. I have lately read, with much pleasure, and I hope with some profit, the bistory of the Greenland Mission. Upon the whole, it is a glorious work. None who love the Lord, will refuse to say, it is the finger of God indeed. For my own part, my soul rejoices in it; and I honour the instruments, as men who have hazarded their lives in an extraordinary
manner for the sake of the Lord Jesus. Sure I am, that none could have sustained such discouragements at first, or have obtained such success afterwards, unless the Lord had sent, supported, and owned them.
I hope we shall have an interest in your prayers. I trust the Lord is
We have some ripe for the sickle, and some just springing up; some tokens of his gracious presence amongst us; but sin and Satan cut us out abundance of work as individuals, though through mercy as a society we walk in peace.
The toad and spider is an exhibition of my daily experience. I am often wounded, but the Lord is my health. Still Iam a living monument of mercy; and I trust that word, “ Because I live, you shall live also,” will carry me to the end. I am poor, weak, and foolish; but Jesus is wise, strong, and abounding in grace. He has given me a desire to trust my all in his hands, and he will not disappoint the expectation which he himself has raised. At present I have but little to say, and but little time to say it in. When you think of this place, I hope you will think and believe, that you have friends here most cordially interested in your welfare, and often remembering you ine prayer. May the Lord be your guide and shield, and give you the best desires of your heart! i pray him to establish and settle you in the great truths of his word. I trust he will. We learn more, and more effectually, by one minute's communication with bim through the medium of his written word, than we could from an assembly of divines, or a library of books.
I am, &c.
MY DEAR MADAM,
August 17, 1775. It is not owing to forgetfulness that your letter has been thus long unanswered. It has lain within my views this fortnight, demanding my first leisure hour; but affairs of daily occurrence have been so many and so pressing, that I have been constrained to put it off till now. I trust the Lord, by his Spirit and providence, will direct and prosper the settlement of your children. I desire my love to Miss M- My idea of her enlarges. Methinks I see her aspiring to be as tall as her mamma, I hope likewise that she increases in grace
and wisdom as in years and stature; and that hearing our Lord's flock is a little flock, she feels an earnest thirst to be one of the happy number which constitutes his fold.
There the Lord dwells amongst them upon his own hill,
With the flocks all around him, awaiting his will. If she has such a desire, I can tell who gave it her, for I am persuaded it was not boru with her: and where the good husbandman sows, there will he also reap. Therefore, dear Miss M-press forward: knock, and it shall be opened unto you, for yet there is room: O what a fold! O what a pasture! O what a Shepherd ! Let us love, and sing, and wonder.
I hope the good people at Bristol, and every where else, are praying for our sinful, distracted Jand, in this dark day. The Lord is angry, the sword is drawn, and I am afraid nothing but the spirit of wrestling, prayer can prevail for the returning it into the scabbard. Could things have proceeded to these extremities, except the Lord had withdrawn his salutary blessing from both sides? It is a time of prayer. We see the beginning of trouble, but who can foresee the possible consequences ? The fire is kindled, but how far it may spread, those who are above may perhaps know better than we. I meddle not with the disputes of party, nor concern myself about any political maxims, but such as are laid down in scripture. There I read, that righteousness exalteth a nation, and that sin is the reproach, and if persisted in, the ruin of any people. Some people are startled at the enormous sum of our national debt: they who understand spiritual arithmetic, may be well startled if they sit down and compute the debt of national sin. Imprimis, Infidelity: Item, Contempt of the gospel : Item, The profligacy of manners: Item, Perjury: Item, The cry of blood, the blood of thousands, perhaps millions from the East Indies. It would take sheets, yea, quires, to draw out the particulars under each of these heads, and then much would remain untold. What can we answer, when the Lord saith, “ Shall not I visit for these things ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this ?" Since we received the news of the first hostilities in America, we have had an additional prayer-meeting. Could I hear that professors in general, instead of wasting their breath in censuring men and measures, were plying the throne of grace, I should still hope for a respite. Poor New England! once the glory of the earth, now likely to be visited with fire and sword. They have left their first love, and the Lord is sorely contending with them. Yet surely their sins as a people are not to be compared with ours. I am just so much affected with these things, as to know that I am not affected enough. Oh! my spirit is sadly cold and insensible, or I should lay them to
heart in a different manner: yet I endeavour to give the alarm as far as I can. There is one political maxim which comforts me, “ The Lord reigns.” His hand guides the storm; and he knows them that are his, how to protect, support, and deliver them. He will take care of his own cause, yea, he will extend his kingdom, even by these formidable methods. Men have one thing in view, he has another; and his counsel shall stand.
The chief piece of news since my last is concerning B. A. She has finished her course, and is now with the great multitude who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of his testimony. Tuesday, the 1st of February, she was in our assembly, was taken ill the next day, and died while we were assembled the Tuesday following. She had an easy dissolution, retained her senses and her speech till the last minute, and went without a struggle or a sigh. She was not in raptures during her illness, but was composed, and maintained a strong and lively faith. She had a numerous levee about her bed daily, who were all witnesses to the power of faith, and to the faithfulness of the Lord, enabling her to triumph over the approaches of death; for she was well known, and well respected. She will be much missed; but I hope he will answer the many prayers she put up for us, and raise up others in her room.
“ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” Blessed are they who know whom they have believed, and when death comes, can cheerfully rest their hopes on him who died that we might live. B-- had been long a precious and honourable woman; but her hope in the trying hour rested not in what she had done for the Lord, but upon what he had done for her; not upon the change his grace had wrought in her, but upon the righteousness he had