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your heavenly Father will ever put into your hand. May He now give you liberty to drink at these wells of salvation, till you are filled with consolation and peace in the midst of trouble. He has said, when thou passest through the fire, I will be with thee, and when through the floods, they shall not overflow thee. You have need of such a word as this, and he knows your need of it, and the time of necessity is the time when he will be sure to appear in behalf of those who trust him. I bear you and yours upon my heart before him night and day, for I never expect to hear of a distress which shall call upon me with a louder voice to pray for the sufferer. I know the Lord hears me for myself, vile and sinful as I am, and believe, and am sure, that he will hear me for you also. He is the Friend of the widow, and the Father of the fatherless, even God in his holy habitation ; in all our af. flictions he is afflicted, and chastens us in mer: cy. Surely he will sanctify this dispensation to you ; do you great and everlasting good by it; make the world appear like dust and vanity in your sight, as it truly is, and open to your view the glories of a better country, where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor pain, but God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes forever. Oh that comfortable word ! "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction," so that our very sorrows are evidences of our calling, and he chastens us because we are children.
“ My dear cousin, I commit you to the word of his grace, and to the comforts of his Holy Spirit. Your life is needful for your family: may God in mercy to them prolong it, and may
he preserve you from the dangerous effects which a stroke like this might have upon a frame so tender as yours.-I grieve with you ; I pray for you ; could I do more, I would, but God must comfort you.”
Olney, Aug. 31, 1769.
( No. 5. ) “ It is a bold undertaking at this time of day, when so many writers of the greatest abilities have gone before, who seem to have anticipated every valuable subject, as well as all the graces of poetical embellishment, to step forth into the world in the character of a bard, especially when it is considered that luxury, idleness and vice have debauched the public taste, and that nothing hardly is welcome, but childish fiction, or what has at least a tendency to excite a laugh. I thought, however, that I had stumbled upon some subjects that had never before been poeta ically treated, and upon some others, to which I imagined it would not be difficult to give an air of novelty, by the manner of treating them. My sole drift is to be useful: a point which, however, I knew I should in vain aim at, unless I could be likewise entertaining. I have therefore fixed these two strings upon my bow, and by the help of both have done my best to send my arrow to the mark. My readers will hardly have begun to laugh, before they will be called upon to correct that levity, and peruse me with
a more serious air. As to the effect, I leave it alone in His hands who can alone produce it ; neither prose nor verse can reform the manners of a dissolute age ; much less can they inspire a sense of religious obligation, unless assisted and made efficacious by the Power who superintends the truth he has vouchsafed to impart."
October 19, 1781.
Si te fortè mia gravis uret sarcina charta, Abjicito.
Hor. lib. 1. epist. 13.
A. YOU told me, I remember, glory, built On selfish principles, is shame and guilt ; The deeds, that men admire as half divine, Stark naught, because corrupt in their design! Strange doctrine this, that without scruple tears The laurel that the very lightning spares ; Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust, And eats into his bloody sword like rust.
B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war ; And never meant the rule should be applied To him that fights with justice on his side.
Let laurels, drench'd in pure Parnassian dews, Reward his memory, dear to every muse, Who, with a courage of unshaken root, In honour's field advancing his firm foot, VOL. I.
Plants it upon the line that justice draws,
But let eternal infamy pursue The wretch, to naught but his ambition true; Who, for the sake of filling with one blast The post-horns of all Europe, lays her waste. Think yourself station'd on a towering rock, To sce a people scatter'd like a flock, Some royal mastiff panting at their heels, With all the savage thirst a tiger feels ; Then view him, self-proclaim’d, in a gazette, Chief monster that has plagu'd the nations yet ! The globe and sceptre in such hands misplac'd, Those ensigns of dominion, how disgrac'd! The glass that bids man mark the flecting hour, And death's own scythe, would better speak his power; Then grace the bony phantom in their stead, With the king's shoulder-knot and gay cockade ; Clothe the twin brethren in each other's dress, The same their occupation and sucecss,