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so generous a procedure would meet a just reward; nay, such are my sentiments of you, that I am confident, were you able to build a house yourself, you would wish to keep it like the heaven to which our gospel leads, perpetually open. If you proceed upon the liberal principles which you contemplate, my efforts to perfect your plan shall not be wanting; I have already addressed many of my friends upon the subject.
It is uncertain when I shall be able to visit your city; the winter is a season most unpropitious to my health. I suffered much during my last journey, and, and, and—but no matter, I shall tell you more when I see you. You will journey to New England in the spring; you will assuredly pass a few days with me, when we will, at our leisure, investigate this, and many other abundantly more important matters.-Farewell.
YOUR letter of November 26th, enclosing the fragments of your invaluable production, hath reached me in safety. I know not how much pleasure you might derive from perusing the letter to which you advert, but this I know, if your satisfaction abounded, our pleasures were mutual. The excellent writings to which you advert will always be preferable, I will not say to yours, but certainly to mine. Both the matter and the manner are admirable; but if you do not favour us with a visit, the end of the extract will not be answered; and I am really concerned to perceive that you speak of this event as doubtful I, however, acknowledge with gratitude, your distinguishing kindness in writing to me, when you had no leisure to bestow upon any other correspondent.
The article respecting your health has removed from my bosom many fearful apprehensions; it hath given birth to a flattering hope, that although at present scarcely a convalescent, you will ultimately be wholly restored; and as you have been able to per
form a journey to Virginia, you will be in such full possession of this best of temporal blessings, as to be both able and willing to visit New England in the spring.
I wish the printer who engaged to print your letters, had, previous to the engagement, been a Christian, he would not then have given you so much just cause of complaint, respecting his carelessness; but if arguments drawn from the fountain head of divine authority were of themselves sufficient to irradiate the human mind, and make God manifest in the flesh, not only the printer in particular, but the readers of your letters in general, would clearly discern that the fulness of the Godhead did indeed dwell in Christ Jesus.
But alas! It is not all that the prophets and apostles have said, with all that he of whom the former prophesied, or the latter preached, did, when by signs and wonders he confirmed their testimony, that can turn the deceived soul from the darkness of error, to the light of truth. It is the Almighty Spirit, the divinity dwelling in the humanity; it is this Almighty Spirit alone, which is able to take away the veil from the human heart, and so effectually to make the Saviour manifest, as to constrain the soul to cry out, with the Apostle, My Lord, and my God.
It is those who have learned of the Father, as the divinity, whọ will come to this Father, as manifested in the flesh, and with devout adoration acknowledge the Deity, thus clothed, as the only wise God our Saviour.
But this spirit frequently makes use of instruments, and through the medium of such instruments, however contemptible they may appear in the eyes of the wise and prudent, the wisdom of such wise and prudent is oftentimes confounded. I humbly trust that he who sends by whom he will send, will make use of you as a faithful witness, through whom the Redeemer will be known. Much more depends upon the truth of the doctrine you labour to inculcate in your letters, than people in general imagine. I conceive it impossible to find peace and joy in believing, or so to believe as to be saved from whatever is contained in the damnation, that must be the portion of every unbeliever, until we are firmly persuaded that beside the Saviour, there is no other God. But he who believeth on the Son, beholding the fulness of paternal Deity dwelling in the Son, viewing the divine and human nature as constituting one God, the just God and Saviour, beside which there
is no other; he that thus believeth, I say, can never come into condemnation. He never shall be ashamed nor confounded; he can never stumble. Yes, that perfect love which is manifested in the union of the two natures, beheld in all their fulness, by the true believer, casteth out fear. There is no fear in love; fear hath torment, which is made manifest by its effects, as the element in which every unbeliever exists, as fire is made manifest by smoke ; the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; until day and night shall be no more, that is, till unbelief shall be no more, when, from the least to the greatest, every eye shall see, and every individual of the human family shall know God, as the Creator, the Father, the Preserver, and the Redeemer.
You will, my dear friend, let me hear from you as frequently as possible, and send me the residue of the letters as soon as they come from the press.-Farewell.
I have more than once perused your obliging favour of
June 16th, and it is pleasing to me to learn, that either profit or pleasure can, in any degree, be obtained from a correspondence with me, peculiarly so, if the friend to whom I am writing can be benefited thereby.
Doubtless, this mode of conversing is of divine origin, and for this inestimable gift we are indebted to the bounteous Giver of every good and perfect gift. It is the pleasure of Deity that we should dwell in separate apartments of his great house, but having formed us social beings, by indulging us with this mode of conversation, he seems to have broken down the separating wall, and however distant he may think proper to fix the bounds of our habitation, our ethereal selves are, by this happy expedient, brought into close contact: and we can freely communicate what
the Father of our spirits may think proper to discover to our souls. We are not interrupted by noisy intruders, we retire from the busy, bustling world, from whence we fly to meet and mingle congenial souls.
There is nothing by which I am so much astonished, as our attachment to the present mode of existence. This attachment was perhaps excusable in the tribes of Israel, who, being under the ministration of a dispensation that was not designed to bring life and immortality to light, might rationally consider a long life as the greatest blessing with which they could possibly be indulged. Long life was to them the reward of filial obedience. Honour, saith the Lord, thy father, and thy mother, and thy days shall be long in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
But for us, who are blessed with the unspeakable gift of God, which is everlasting life; for us, who are heirs of a blessed im mortality, to mourn for departed friends, and grieve that they go so soon, is just as consistent, as if we were to reflect with anguish, that those of our friends, who do business upon the great waters, had made a speedy passage, and were safely moored in a good and commodious harbour, much sooner than could rationally have been expected. Reason and religion both bid us rejoice on these occasions; yet, I know that it is natural to grieve, and I also know that we are naturally lovers of our own selves. When we are ostensibly mourning for a departed friend, we are, in fact, mourning for our surviving selves. Show me the man or woman who ever sincerely mourned for the departure of an individual, from whom they never had, nor expected to have, either directly or indirectly, pleasure or profit. Trust me, my friend, the hearts of mourners are like other hearts, deceitful above all things. Were we properly influenced by the religion we profess, we should rejoice whenever our God called a suffering friend to that fulness of bliss, which is found at his right hand, and looking with anxious expectation to the period destined to reunite us to those we loved, we should say,
"Blest be the barge that wafts us to the shore,
Friends pass on before to slope our passage, and point the way. The friend you mention has been highly favoured in his death; at home he is happy, here he was environed with difficulties; he VOL. II.
now sces and enjoys that for which he was made; I may envy, but I cannot mourn him.
I have been very ill, but am now, through the favour of heaven, much better. For your recovery I also bless God. But well or ill, we are still dying, blessed be God for this also. Yet it must be confessed that sickness is a gloomy path to immortality; but it will add new charms to our destined home.
I am always pleased with letters from my friends, but never angry when I get them not; I take it for granted something beside a failure in friendship occasions the silence of my friend; I thank you for the sermon you have inclosed. You designed it, I presume, for a funeral oration, not a gospel sermon. As an oration it is good, as a gospel sermon nothing. You see, my friend, I am a friend, and do not flatter. If the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Who was it said?
"I value not that doctrine, book or theme,
And leaves out his dear name."
I thank you for your offer; but your brother has been kind enough to supply me. When we agree, I am pleased; when we do not, I am not displeased. I think you are sincere, and I am attached to you. I beg you to remember me to Mrs. W. and to our mutual friends.-Farewell.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
To the Rev. Mr.
YOUR obliging favour came yesterday to hand, for which,
as well as the favour inclosed therein, accept my grateful acknowledgments.
I have been expecting captain I. and was much disappointed in not meeting him last autumn. I calculate, however, upon an interview on my return to Boston.