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account of others, shall in the end prove to expected. I spoke to them near an hour and your advantage. And your peace does not a half. I shed many tears myself, and saw depend upon any change of circumstances some of them shed tears likewise." Ah! had which may appear desirable, but in having you seen their present condition, and could your will bowed to the Lord's will, and made you hear the history of some of them, it willing to submit all to his disposal and would make you sing, management. Pray for this, and wait patiently
O to grace how great a debtor! for him, and he will do it. Be not surprised to find yourself poor, helpless, and vile; all By nature they were no worse than the most whom he favours and teaches will find them- sober and modest people. And there was selves so.
The more grace increases, the doubtless a time when many of them little more we shall see to abase us in our own thought what they should live to do and sufeyes; and this will make the Saviour and fer. I might have been, like them, in chains, his salvation more precious to us. He takes and one of them have come to preach to me, his own wise methods to humble you, and to had the Lord so pleased.—I am, &c. prove you, and I am sure he will do you good in the end. - I am, &c.
Oct. 10, 1777. I am just come from seeing A NSeptember 16, 1775. The people told me she is much better than When you receive this, I hope it will give she was, but she is far from being well. She you pleasure to think, that if the Lord be was brought to me into a parlour, which saved pleased to favour us with health, we shall all me the painful task of going to inquire and meet again in a few days. I have met with seek for her among the patients. My spirits much kindness at London, and many com- always sink when I am within those mournforts and mercies; however, I shall be glad fil walls, and I think no money could prevail to return home. There my heart lives, let on me to spend an hour there every day. Yet my body be where it will. I long to see all surely no sight upon carth is more suited to my dear people, and I shall be glad to see teach one thankfulness and resignation. you. I steal a little time to write another Surely I have reason, in my worst times, to line or two, more to satisfy you, than for any be thankful that I am out of hell, out of bedthing particular I have to say. I thank you lam, out of Newgate. If my eyes were as for your letter. I doubt not but the Lord is bad as yours, and my back worse, still I hope bringing you forward, and that you have a I should set a great value upon this mercy, good right to say to your soul, Why art thou that my senses are preserved. I hope you cast down and disquieted ? Hope thou in will think so too. The Lord afflicts us at God; for I shall yet praise him. An evil times; but it is always a thousand times less heart, an evil temper, and the many crosses than we deserve, and much less than many we meet with in passing through an evil of our fellow-creatures are suffering around world, will cut us out trouble: but the Lord us. Let us, therefore, pray for grace to be has provided a balm for every wound, a cor- humble, thankful, and patient. dial for every care; the fruit of all is to take This day twelvemonth I was under Mr. away sin, and the end of all will be eternal W—'s knife; there is another cause for life in glory. Think of these words, put thankfulness, that the Lord inclined me to them in the balance of the sanctuary; and submit to the operation, and brought me then throw all your trials into the opposite happily through it. In short, I have so many scale, and you will find there is no propor- reasons for thankfulness, that I cannot count tion between them. Say then, " Though he them. I may truly say, they are more in slay me, I will trust in him;" for when he number than the hairs of my head. And yet, has fully tried me, I shall come forth like alas! how cold, insensible, and ungrateful! I gold. You would have liked to have been could make as many complaints as you ; but with me last Wednesday. I preached at I find no good by complaining, except to him Westminster bridewell. It is a prison and who is able to help me. It is better for you house of correction. The bulk of my con- and me to be admiring the compassion and gregation were housebreakers, highwaymen, fulness of grace that is in our Saviour, than pickpockets, and poor unhappy women, such to dwell and pore too much upon our own as infest the streets of this city, sunk in sin, poverty and vileness. He is able to help and and lost to shame. I had a hundred or more save to the uttermost: there I desire to cast of these before me. I preached from 1 Tim. anchor, and wish you to do so likewise. i. 15, and began with telling them my own Hope in God, for you shall yet praise him.story: this gained their attention more than I l I am, &c.
TO MR. C
New Testament, and competently acquaint
ed with the January 16, 1775.
Ta vonurta, with the devices, the DEAR SIR,—The death of a hear relative deep-laid counsels and stratagems of Satan, called me from home in December, and a
we should prove but mere declaimers. But the fortnight's absence threw me so far behind- Lord will take better care of those whom he hand in my course, that I deferred acknow- loves and designs to honour. He will try, ledging your letter much longer than I and permit them to be tried in various ways. intended. I now thank you for it. I can He will make them feel much in themselves, sympathize with you in your troubles; yet others ; according to that beautiful and ex
that they may know how to feel much for knowing the nature of our calling, that, by an unalterable appointment, the way to the king-pressive line, dom lies through many tribulations, I ought to
Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco. rejoice rather than otherwise, that to you it is given, not only to believe, but also to And as this previous discipline is necessary suffer. If you escaped these things, whereof to enable us to take the field in a public caall the Lord's children are partakers, might pacity with courage, wisdom, and success, that you not question your adoption into his fami- we may lead and animate others in the fight, ly? How could the power of grace be mani- it is equally necessary, for our own sakes, fest, either to you, in you, or by you, without that we may obtain and preserve the grace afflictions? How could the corruptions and of humility, which I perceive with pleasure devastations of the heart be checked without he has taught you to set a high value upon. a cross? How could you acquire a tender- Indeed we cannot value it too highly; for we ness and skill in speaking to them that are can be neither comfortable, safe, nor habitweary, without a taste of such trials as they ually useful without it. The root of pride also meet with? You could only be a hear- lies deep in our fallen nature, and, where the say witness to the truth, power, and sweet- Lord has given natural and acquired abilities, ness of the precious promises, unless you it would grow apace if he did not mercifully have been in such a situation as to need watch over us, and suit his dispensations to them, and to find their suitableness and suffi- | keep it down. Therefore I trust he will ciency. The Lord has given you a good de- make you willing to endure hardships, as a sire to serve him in the gospel, and he is good soldier of Jesus Christ. May he enable now training you for that service. Many you to behold him with faith holding out the things, yea, the most important things be- prize, and saying to you, Fear none of these longing to the gospel-ministry, are not to be things that thou shalt suffer: be thou faithful learned by books and study, but by painful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. experience. You must expect a variety of We sail upon a turbulent and tumultuous exercises; but two things he has promised sea; but we are embarked on a good bottom, you, that you shall not be tried above what and in a good cause, and we have an infallihe will enable you to bear, and that all shall ble and almighty pilot, who has the winds work together for your good. We read and weather at his command, and can silence somewhere of a conceited orator, who de. the storm into a calm with a word whenever claimed upon the management of war in the he pleases. We may be persecuted, but we presence of Hannibal, and of the contempt shall not be forsaken: we may be cast down, with which Hannibal treated his perform- but we cannot be destroyed. Many will ance. He deserved it; for how should a thrust sore at us that we may fall, but the man who had never seen a field of battle be Lord will be our stay. a competent judge of such a subject? Just I am sorry to find you are quite alone at 60, were we to acquire no other knowledge Cambridge, for I hoped there would be a of the christian warfare than what we could succession of serious students to supply the derive from cool and undisturbed study, in- place of those who are transplanted to shine stead of coming forth as able ministers of the las lights in the world. Yet you are not alone;
for the Lord is with you, the best counsellor gathering. What, then, must have been the and the best friend. There is a strange back- case, had I proceeded to the interior arcana wardness in us, at least in me, fully to im- of speculative geometry? I bought my nameprove that gracious intimacy to which he sake's Principia, but I have reason to be invites us. Alas! that we so easily wander thankful that I left it as I found it, a sealed from the fountain of life to hew out cisterns book, and that the bent of my mind was for ourselves, and that we seem more at drawn to something of more real importance tached to a few drops of his grace in our before I understood it. I say not this to disfellow-creatures, than to the fulness of grace courage you in your pursuits; they lie in that is in himself
. I think nothing gives me your line and path of duty, in mine they did a more striking sense of my depravity than not. As to your academics, I am glad that my perverseness and folly in this respect; the Lord enables you to show those among vet he bears with me, and does me good con- whom you live, that the knowledge of his tinually. I am, &c.
gospel does not despoil you either of diligence or acumen. However, as I said, you
need a double guard of grace, to preserve LETTER II.
you from being either puffed up or deadened
by those things, which, considered in any
March - 1776. other view than quoad hoc, to preserve your DEAR SIR, -I know not the length of your rank and character in the university while college-terms, but hope this may come time you remain there, are, if taken in the aggreenough to find you still resident. I shall not gate, little better than a splendidum nihil. apologise for writing no sooner, because I If my poor people at could form the leave other letters of much longer date un- least conception of what the learned at Camanswered that I may write so soon. It gave bridge chiefly admire in each other, and me particular pleasure to hear that the Lord / what is the intrinsic reward of all their toil, helped you through your difficulties, and they would say (supposing they could speak succeeded your desires. And I have sympa- Latin,) Quain suave istis suavitatibus cathized with you in the complaints you make rere! How gladly would some of them, if of a dark and mournful frame of spirits after- such mathematical and metaphysical lumber wards. But is not this upon the whole right could by any means get into their heads, and salutary, that if the Lord is pleased at how gladly would they drink at Lethe's one time to strengthen us remarkably in an- stream to get it out again! How many perswer to prayer, he should leave us at another plexities are they freed from by their happy time, so far as to give us a real sensibility ignorance, which often pester those to their that we were supported by his power and lives end who have had their natural pronenot our own? Besides, as you feel a danger ness to vain reasoning sharpened by acadeof being elated by the respect paid you, was mical studies.-I am, &c. it not a merciful and seasonable dispensation that made you feel your own weakness, to prevent your being exalted above measure?
LETTER III. The Lord, by withdrawing his smiles from you, reminded you that the smiles of men
May 18, 1776 are of little value, otherwise perhaps you DEAR SIR,—Though I wished to hear from might have esteemed them too highly. In- you sooner, I put a candid interpretation upon deed you scholars that know the Lord are your silence, was something apprehensive for singular instances of the power of his grace; your health, but felt no disposition to anger. for (like the young men in Dan. iii.) you live Let your correspondence be free from fetters in the very midst of the fire. Mathematical Write when you please, and when you can: studies, in particular, have such a tendency I will do the like. Apologies may be spared to engross and fix the mind to the contem- on both sides. I am not a very punctual corplation of cold and uninteresting truth, and respondent myself, having so many letters to you are surrounded with so much intoxicating write, and therefore, have no right to stand applause if you succeed in your researches, upon punctilios with you. that for a soul to be kept humble and alive I sympathize with you in your sorrow for in such a situation, is such a proof of the your friend's death. Such cases are very Lord's presence and power as Moses had distressing! But such a case might hare when he saw the bush unconsumed in the been our own. Let us pray for grace to be midst of the flames. I believe I had natu- thankful for ourselves, and submit every rally a turn for the mathematics myself, and thing in humble silence to the sovereign dabbled in them a little way; and though I Lord, who has a right to do as he pleases did not go far, my head, sleeping and waking, with his own. We feel what happens in our was stuffed with diagrams and calculations. own little connexions; but, О the dreadfu Every thing I looked at, that exhibited either mischief of sin! Instances of this kind are a right line or a curve, set my wits a wool- | as frequent as the hours, the minutes, per
haps the moments of every day: and though I give (cæteris paribus) to extempore we know but one in a million, the souls of preaching: When we read to the people, others have an equal capacity for endless they think themselves less concerned in happiness or misery. In this situation the what is offered, than when we speak to them Lord has honoured us with a call to warn point-blank. It seems a good rule, which I our fellow-sinners of their danger, and to set have met with somewhere, and which, perbefore them his free and sure salvation; and haps, I have mentioned to you, to fix our if he is pleased to make us instrumental of eyes upon some one of the auditory whom we snatching but one as a brand out of the fire, judge of the least capacity; if we can make it is a service of more importance than to be him understand, we may hope to be underthe means of preserving a whole nation from stood by the rest. Let those who seek to be temporal ruin. I congratulate you upon admired for the exactness of their composiyour admission into the ministry, and pray tions, enjoy the poor reward they aim at. It him to favour you with a single eye to his is best for gospel-preachers to speak plain glory, and a fresh anointing of his Holy language. If we thus singly aim at the Spirit, that you may come forth as a scribe glory of our Master and the good of souls, well instructed in the mysteries of his king. we may hope for the accompanying power dom, and that his word in your mouth may of bis Spirit, which will give our discourses abundantly prosper.
a weight and energy that Demosthenes had I truly pity those who rise early and take no conception of. late rest, and eat the bread of carefulness, I can give you no information of a curacy with no higher prize and prospect in view in a better situation. But either the Lord than the obtaining of academical honours. will provide you one, or I trust he will give Such pursuits will, ere long, appear (as they you usefulness, and a competency of health really are) vain as the sports of children. and spirits where you are. He who caused May the Lord impress them with a noble Daniel to thrive upon pulse, can make you ambition of living to and for him. If these strong and cheerful even in the Fens, if he adventurers, who are labouring for pebbles sees that best for you. All things obey him, under the semblance of goodly pearls, had a and you need not fear but he will enable you discovery of the pearl of great price, how for whatever service he has appointed you to quickly and gladly would they lay down perform. their admired attainments, and become fools This letter has been a week in hand, owing that they might be truly wise! What a to a variety of interruptions from without, snare have you escaped : You would have and indispositions within. I seem to while been poorly content with the name of a away my life, and shall be glad to be saved mathematician or a poet, and looked no far- upon the footing of the thief upon the cross, ther, had not he visited your heart, and en- without any hope or plea but the power and lightened you by his grace. Now I trust you grace of Jesus, who has said, I will in no account your former gain but loss, for the wise cast out. Adieu.—Pray for yours, &c. excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ the Lord. What you have attained in a way of literature will be useful to you if sancti
LETTER IV. fied, and chiefly so by the knowledge you have of its insufficiency to any valuable pur
September 10, 1777. pose, in the great concerns of walking with DEAR SIR, -I was glad to hear from you God, and winning souls.
at last, not being willing to think myself forI am pleased with your fears lest you should gotten. I supposed you were ill. It seems, not be understood in your preaching. Indeed, by your account, that you are far from being there is a danger of it. It is not easy for well; but I hope you are as well as you persons of quick parts duly to conceive how ought to be, that is, as well as the Lord sees amazingly ignorant and slow of apprehension it good for you to be. I say, I hope so; for I the bulk of our congregations generally are. am not sure that the length and vehemence When our own ideas are clear, and our ex- of your sermons, which you tell me astonish pressions proper, we are ready to think we many people, may not be rather improper have sufficiently explained ourselves; and and imprudent, considering the weakness of yet, perhaps, nine out of ten (especially of your constitution ; at least, this expression those who are destitute of spiritual light) of your's be justly expounded by a report know little more of what we say than if we which has reached me, that the length of were speaking Greek. A degree of this in- your sermons is frequently two hours, and convenience is always inseparable from writ-lihe vehemence of your voice so great, that ten discourses. They cast our thoughts into you may be heard far beyond the churcha style which, though familiar to ourselves, walls. Unwilling should I be to damp your is too remote from common conversation to zeal; but I feel unwilling likewise, that by be comprehended by narrow capacities; excessive, unnecessary exertions, you should which is one chief reason of the preference I wear away at once, and preclude your own
usefulness. This concern is so much upon over-boiled. They leave likewise but little iny mind, that I begin with it, though it time for secret or family religion, which are makes me skip over the former part of your both very good in their place, and are entitled letter; but when I have relieved myself upon to a share in the Lord's day. Upon the this point, I can easily skip back again. I preacher they must have a bad effect, and am perhaps the more ready to credit the re- iend to wear him down before his time: and port, because I know the spirits of you nerv- I have known some, by over-acting at first, ous people are highly volatile. I consider have been constrained to sit still and do little you as mounted upon a fiery steed; and pro- or nothing for months or years afterwards. I vided you use due management and circum- rather recommend to you the advice of your spection, you travel more pleasantly than we brother Cantab, Hobson the carrier, so to set plodding folks upon our sober, phlegmatic out as that you may hold out to your journags; but then, if, instead of pulling the rein ney's end. you plunge in the spurs, and add wings to the Now, if Fame, with her hundred mouths, wind, I cannot but be in pain for the conse- has brought me a false report of you, and quences. Permit me to remind you of the you are not guilty of preaching either too T'erentian adage, Ne quid nimis. The end of long or too loud, still I am not willing my speaking is to be heard, and if the person remonstrance may stand for nothing. I defarthest from the preacher can hear, he speaks sire you will accept it, and thank me for it, loud enough. Upon some occasions, a few as a proof of my love to you, and likewise of sentences of a discourse may be enforced with the sincerity of my friendship; for if I had a tone of voice still more elevated; but to be wished to Hatter you, I could easily have uncommonly loud from beginning to end, is called another subject. hurtful to the speaker, and, I apprehend, no I have one more report to trouble you with, way useful to the hearer. It is a fault which because it troubles me; and therefore you many inadvertently give into at first, and must bear a part of my burden. Assure me it which many have repented of too late; when is false, and I will send you one of the handpractice has rendered it habitual it is not easi- somest letters I can devise by way of thanks. ly corrected. I know some think, that preach. It is reported, then, (but I will not believe it ing very loudly, and preaching with power, till you say I must,) that you stand upon your are synonymous expressions, but your judg- tiptoes, upon the point of being whirled out ment is too good to fall in with that prejudice. of our vortex, and hurried away, comet-like, If I were a good Grecian, I would send you a into the regions of eccentricity; in plain Eng. quotation from Homer, where he describes lish, that you have a hankering to be an itinethe eloquence of Nestor, and compares it, if I rant. If this be true, I will not be the first remember right, not to a thunder-storm or a to tell it in St. John's College, or to publish it hurricane, but to a fall of snow, which, though on the banks of Cam, lest the mathematicians pressing, insinuating, and penetrating, is soft rejoice, and the poets triumph. But, to be and gentle. You know the passage; I think serious, for it is a serious subject, let me beg the simile is beautiful and expressive. you to deliberate well, and to pray earnestly
Secondly (as we say,) as to long preaching, before you take this step. Be afraid of acting there is still in being an old-fashioned instru- in your own spirit, or under a wrong impresment, called an hour-glass, which, in days of sion; however honestly you mean, you may yore, before clocks and watches abounded, be mistaken. The Lord has given you a little used to be the measure of many a good sermon, charge; be faithful in it, and in his good time and I think it a tolerable stint. I cannot wind he will advance you to a greater: but let his up my ends to my own satisfaction in a much providence evidently open the door for you, shorter time, nor am I pleased with myself if and be afraid of moving one step before the I greatly exceed it. If an angel was to preach cloud and pillar. I have had my warm fits for two hours, unless his hearers were angels and desires of this sort in my time; but I likewise, I believe the greater part of them have reason to be thankful that I was held would wish he had done. It is a shame it in with a strong hand. I wish there were should be so; but so it is, partly through the more itinerant preachers. If a man has grace weakness, and partly through the wickedness and zeal, and but little fund, let him go and of the flesh, we can seldom stretch our atten- diffuse the subştance of a dozen sermons over tion to spiritual things for two hours together as many counties; but you have natural and without cracking it, and hurting its spring; acquired abilities, which qualify you for the and when weariness begins, edification ends. more difficult, and, in my judgment, not less Perhaps it is better to feed our people like important station of a parochial minister. I chickens, a little and often, than to cram wish you to be a burning, shining, steady light. them like turkeys, till they cannot hold one You may perhaps have less popularity, that gobbet more. Besides, over-long sermons is, you will be less exposed to workings of break in upon family concerns, and often call self and the snares of Satan, if you stay with off the thoughts from the sermon to the pud- us; but I think you may live in the full exding at home, which is in danger of being ercise of your gifts and graces, be more con