Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

be, who are not awaked out of them, to see that all their happiness consists in living to God, and becoming “holy as he is holy !" Oh, may you never fall into the tempers and vanities, the sensuality and folly of the present world! You are, by divine providence, left as it were alone in a wide world, to act for yourself: be sure then to remember, it is a world of temptation. You have no earthly parents to be the means of forming your youth to piety and virtue, by their pious examples and seasonable counsels ; let this then excite you with greater diligence and fervency to look up to the Father of mercies for grace and assistance against all the vanities of the world. And if you would glorify God, answer his just expectations from you, and make your own soul happy in this and the coming world, observe these few directions, though not from a father, yet from a brother who is touched with a tender concern for your present and future happiness.

First, Resolve upon and daily endeavour to practise a life of seriousness and strict sobriety. The wise man will tell you the great advantage of such a life, Eccles. vii. 3. Think of the life of Christ; and when you can find that ke was pleased with jesting and vain merriment, then you may indulge it in yourself.

Again, Be careful to make a good improvement of precious time. When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation and prayer; and while your hands are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.

Further, Take heed that you faithfully perform the business you have to do in the world, from a regard to the commands of God; and not from an ambitious desire of being esteemed better than others. We should always look upon ourselves as God's servants, placed in God's world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for kim ; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can.

Again, Never expect any satisfaction or happiness from the world. If you hope for happiness in the world, hope for it from God, and not from the world. Do not think you shall be more happy, if you live to such or such a

state of life, if you live for yourself; but look upon it that you shall then be happy, when you can be constantly employed for God, and not for yourself; and desire to live in this world, only to do and suffer what God allots to you. When you can be of the spirit and temper of angels, who are willing to come down into this lower world, to perform what God commands them, though their desires are heavenly, and not in the least set on earthly things, then you will be of that temper that you ought to have, Col. iii. 2.

Once more, Never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace. There is no greater truth than this, that " we can do nothing of ourselves,” John xv. 5. 2 Cor. iii. 5. ; yet nothing but our own experience can effectually teach it to us.

Indeed we are a long time in learning, that all our strength and salvation is in God. This is a life that I think no unconverted man can possibly live ; and yet it is a life that every godly soul is pressing after. Let it then be your great concern, thus to devote yourself and your all to God.

I long to see you, that I may say much more to you than I now can, for your benefit and welfare ; but I desire to commit you to, and leave you with the Father of mercies, and God of all grace; praying that you may be directed safely through an evil world, to God's heavenly kingdom.

D. B..

LETTER IV.

To a special friend.

Forks of Delaware, July 31, 1748. CERTAINLY the greatest, the noblest pleasure of intelligent creatures must result from their acquaintance with the blessed God, and with their own rational and immortal souls. And oh how divinely pleasant and entertaining is it to look into our own souls, when we can find all our powers and passions united and engaged in pursuit after God, our whole souls longing and passionately breathing after a conformity to him, and the full enjoyment of him! Verily, no hours pass away with so much divine pleasure, as those that are spent in communing with God and our own hearts. How sweet is a spirit of devotion, of seriousness and solemnity; a spirit of gospel simplicity, love and tenderness! Oh how desirable and profitable is a spirit of holy watchfulness, and godly jealousy over ourselves; when our souls are afraid of nothing so much as that we shall grieve and offend the blessed God, whom at such times we apprehend, or at least hope, to be a father and friend; whom we then love and long to please, rather than to be happy ourselves, or at least we delight to derive our happiness from pleasing and glorifying him. Surely this is a pious temper, worthy of the highest ambition and closest pursuit of intelli. gent creatures. Oh how vastly superior is the pleasure, peace and satisfaction derived from these divine frames, to that which we sometimes seek in things impertinent and trifling! Bitter experience teaches us that “ in the midst of such laughter the heart is sorrowful,” and there is no true satisfaction but in God. But alas, how shall we obtain and preserve this spirit of religion and devotion ? Let us follow the apostle's direction, Phil. ii. 12, and labour upon the encouragement he there mentions, ver. 13, for it is God only can afford us this favour; and he will be sought to, and it is fit we should wait upon him for so rich a mercy. May the God of all grace afford us the influences of his Holy Spirit, and help us that we may from our hearts esteem it our greatest liberty and happiness, that “ whether we live, we may live to the Lord, or whether we die, we may die to the Lord;" that in life and death we may be bis.

I am in a very poor state of health ; but through di. vine goodness, I am not discontented unler my weakness, and confinement to this wilderness. I bless God for this retirement. I never was more thankful for any thing than I have been of late, for the necessity I am under of self-denial, in many respects. I love to be a pilgrim and stranger in this wilderness : it seems most fit for sucli a poor ignorant and worthless creature. I would not change my present mission for any other business in the wbole world. I may tell you freely, without vanity and osten

tation, God has of late given me great freedom and fervency in prayer, when I have been so weak and feeble that my nature seemed as if it would speedily dissolve. I feel as if my all was lost, and I was undone for this world, if the poor Heathen may not be converted. In general, I feel different from wbat I did when I saw you last; at least more crucified to all the enjoyments of life. It would be very refreshing to me to see you here in this desert, especially in my weak disconsolate hours; but think I could be content never to see you, or any of my friends again in this world, if God would bless my labours here to the conversion of the poor Indians.

I have much that I could willingly communicate to you, which I must omit, till Providence gives us leave to see each other. In the mean time I remain, &c.

D. B.
LETTER V.
To a special friend, a Minister of the Gospel in

New Jersey.
Rev, and dear brother,

Forks of Delaware, Dec. 24, 1744. I have little to say to you about spiritual joys, and those blessed refreshments and divine consolations, with which I have been much favoured in times past : but this I can tell you, that if I gain experience in no other point, yet I am sure I do in this, viz. that the present world has nothing in it to satisfy an immortal soul: and hence that it is not to be desired for itself, but only because God may be seen and served in it: and I wish I could be more patient and willing to live in it for this end, than I can usually find myself to be. It is no virtue I know to desire death, only to be freed from the miseries of life but I want that divine hope which, you observed, when I saw you last, was the very sinews of vital religion. Earth can do us no good, and if there be no hope of our doing good on earth, how can we desire to live in it? Yet we ought to desire, or at least to be resigned, to tarry in it; because it is the will of our all-wise Sovereign. But perhaps these thoughts will appear melancholy and gloomy, and consequently will be very

Сс

undesirable to you; and therefore I forbear to add. I wish you may not read them in the same circumstances in which I write them. I have a little more to do and suffer in a dark disconsolate world : and then I hope to be as happy as you are. -I should ask you to pray for me, were I worth your concern. May the Lord enable us both to “ endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ ;" and may we “obtain mercy of God to be faithful to the death,” in the discharge of our respective trusts. I am, &c.

D. B. LETTER VI.

To his brother John at College. Very dear brother,

New-Jersey, Dec. 28, 1745. I am in one continued and uninterrupted hurry; and divine providence throws so much upon me, that I do not see it will ever be otherwise. May I obtain mercy to be found faithful. I cannot say I am weary of my hurry; I only want strength and grace to do more for God than I have ever yet done.

My dear brother; the Lord of heaven who has carried me through many trials, bless you ; bless you for time and eternity; and fit you to serve him in his church bem low, and to enjoy his blissful presence in his church triumphant. My brother, “ the time is short." Oh let us fill it up for God; let us “count the sufferings of the present time” as nothing, if we can but run our race, and finislı our course with joy. Let us strive to live to God. I bless his name that I have nothing to do with earth, but only to labour honestly in it for God, till I shall “ acs complish as a hireling my day." I think I do not de sire to live one minute for any thing that earth can afford. Oh that I could live for none but God, till my dying moment !

D. B. LETTER VII. To his brother Israel, then a student at Yale-College in

New-Haven. Dear brother, Elizabeth-Town, New Jersey, Nov. 24, 1746. I HAD determined to make you and my other friends in New-England a visit this fall; partly from an earnest de

« PoprzedniaDalej »