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Thames at Windsor; nor does the silver Thames beta ter deserve that epithet, nor has it more flowers upon its banks, these being attributes which, in strict truth, belong to neither. Fluellin would say, they are as like as my fingers to my fingers, and there is salmon in both. It is a noble stream to bathe in, and I shall make that use of it three times a week, having introduced myself to it for the first time this morning.
I beg you will remember me to all my friends, which is a task will cost you no great pains to execute“particularly remember me to those of your own house, and believe me
To Lady HESKETH.
Huntingdon, July 1, 1765.
MY DEAR LADY HESKETH,
Since the visit you were so kind to pay me in the Temple, (the only time I ever saw you without pleasure) what have I not suffered? And since it has pleased God to restore me to the use of my reason, what have I not enjoyed? You know, by experience, how pleasant it is to feel the first approaches of health after a fever; but, Oh the fever of the brain ! To feel the quenching of that fire is indeed a blessing which I think it impossible to receive without the most consummate gratitude. Terrible as this chastizement is, I acknowledge in it the hand of an infinite justice; nor is it at all more difficult for me to perceive in it the hand of an infinite mercy likewise : when I consider the effect it has had upon me, I am exceedingly thankful for it, and, without hypocrisy, esteem it the greatest blessing, next to life itself, I ever received from the divine bounty. I pray God that I may ever retain this sense of it, and then I am sure I shall continue to be, as I am at present, really happy.
I write thus to you, that you may not think me a forlorn and wretched creature; which you might be apt to do considering my very distant removal from every friend I have in the world—a circumstance, which before this event befel me, would undoubtedly have made me so; but my affliction has taught me a road to happiness, which without it I should never have found; and I know, and have experience of . it every day, that the mercy of God, to him who be
lieves himself the object of it, is more than sufficient to compensate for the loss of every other blessing.
You may now inform all those whom you think really interested in my welfare, that they have no need to be apprehensive on the score of my happiness at present. And you yourself, will believe that my happiness is no dream, because I have told you the foundation on which it is built. What I have written would appear like enthusiasm to many, for we are apt to give that name to every warm affection of the mind in others, which we have not experienced in ourselves; but to you, who have so much to be thankful for, and a temper inclined to gratitude, it will not appear so,
I beg you will give my love to Sir Thomas, and believe that I am obliged to you both for enquiring after me at St. Alban's.
To Lady HESKETH.
Huntingdon, July 4, 1765.
Being just emerged from the Ouse, I sit down to thank you, my dear Cousin, for your friendly and comfortable Letter. What could you think of my unaccountable behaviour to you in that visit I mentioned in my last? I remember I neither spoke to you, nor looked at you. The solution of the mystery indeed followed soon after, but at the same time it must have been inexplicable. The uproar within was even then begun, and my silence was only the sulkiness of a thunder storm before it opens. I am glad, however, that the only instance in which I knew not how to value your company was, when I was not in my senses. It was the first of the kind, and I trust in God it will be the last.
How naturally does affliction make us Christians! and how impossible is it when all human help is vain, and the whole earth too poor and trifling to furnish us with one moment's peace, how impossible is it then to avoid looking at the Gospel! It gives me some concern, though at the same time it increases my gratitude, to reflect, that a convert made in Bedlam is more likely to be a stumbling block to others, than to advance their faith. But if it has that effect upon any, it is owing to their reasoning amiss, and drawing their conclusions from false premises. He who can ascribe an amendment of life and manners,
and a reformation of the heart itself, to madness, is guilty of an absurdity, that in any other case would fasten the imputation of madness upon himself; for by so doing, he ascribes a reasonable effect to an unreasonable cause, and a positive effect to a negative. But when Christianity only is to be sacrificed, he that stabs deepest is always the wisest man. You, my dear Cousin, yourself, will be apt to think I carry the matter too far, and that in the present warmth of my heart, I make too ample a concession in saying, that I am only now a convert. You think I always believed, and I thought so too, but you were deceived, and so was I. I called myself indeed a Christian, but He who knows my heart, knows that I never did a right thing, nor abstained from a wrong one, because I was so. But if I did either, it was under the influence of some other motive. And it is such seeming Christians, such pretending believers, that do most mischief to the cause, and furnish the strongest arguments to support the infidelity of its enemies: unless profession and conduct go together, the man's life is a lie, and the validity of what he professes itself is called in question. The difference between a Christian and an Unbeliever, would be so striking, if the treacherous allies of the Church would go over at once te