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ner: you would find a continued exercise in this way would be greatly useful to form your own style, and help your delivery and memory; you would become insensibly master of their thoughts, and find it more easy to express yourself justly and clearly: what we only read we easily lose; but what we commit to paper is not so soon forgot. Especially remember (what you well know, but we cannot too often remind each other), that frequent secret prayer is the life of all we do. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it shall be given; but all our diligence will fail, if we are remiss in this particular. I am glad it is not thought necessary for
you go to London on this occasion. I hope you will not think it necessary upon any other account. Rather keep close to the work you have undertaken; and endeavour to avoid any thing that looks like ostentation, or a desire to be taken notice of. You see I advise you with the freedom of a friend who loves
you, and longs to see your work and your
soul prosper. You will, I doubt not, endeavour to promote the practice of frequent prayer in the houses that receive you. I look upon prayer-meetings as the most profitable exercises (excepting the public preaching) in which Christians can engage: they have a direct tendency to kill a worldly trifling spirit, to draw down a divine blessing upon all our concerns, compose differences, and enkindle (at least to maintain) the name of divine love amongst brethren. But I need not tell you the advantages; you know them; I only would exhort you; and the rather as I find in my own case the principal cause of my leanness and unfruitfulness is owing to an unaccountable backwardness to pray. I can write, or read, or converse, or hear, with a ready will; but prayer is more spiritual and inward than any of
these; and the more spiritual any duty is, the more my carnal heart is apt to start from it. - May the Lord pour forth his precious spirit of prayer and supplication in both our hearts !
I am not well pleased with the account you give of so many dry bones. It increases my wonder, that you could so readily exchange so much plump flesh and blood as you had about you for a parcel of skeletons. I wish they may not haunt you, and disturb your peace. I wish these same dry bones do not prove thorns in your sides and in your eyes. You say, now you have to pray, and prophesy, and wait for the four winds to come and put life into these bones. God
God grant that your prayers may be answered: but if I knew a man who possessed a field in a tolerable soil, which had afforded him some increase every year; and if this man, after having bestowed seven years labour in cultivating, weeding, manuring, fencing, &c. just when he has brought his ground in his neighbour's judgement) into good order, and might reasonably hope for larger crops than he had ever yet seen, should suddenly forego all his advantages, leave his good seed for the birds to eat, pull up the
fences which cost him so much pains to plant, and all this for the sake of making a new experiment upon the top of a mountain; though I might heartily wish him great success, I could not honestly give him great encouragement. You have parted with that for a trifle, which in my eyes seems an inestimable jewel; I mean the hearts and affections of an enlightened people. This appears to me one of the greatest honours and greatest pleasures a faithful minister can possess, and which many faithful and eminent ministers þave never been able to obtain. This gave you a vast advantage; your gift was more acceptable there than
that of any other person, and more than you bly find elsewhere. For I cannot make a comparison between the hasty approbation of a few, whose eyes are but beginning to open, and their affections and passions warm, so that they must, if possible, have the man that first catches their attention; I say, I cannot think this worthy to be compared to the regard of a people who understood the Gospel, were able to judge of men and doctrines, and had trial of you for so many years. , It is indeed much to your honour (it proves that you were faithful, diligent, and exemplary) that the people proved so attached to you; but that you should force yourself from them, when they so dearly loved you, and so much needed you, this has made all your friends in these parts to wonder, and your enemies to rejoice; and I, alas ! know not what to answer in your behalf to either. Say not, I hate this Micaiah, for he prophesies not
good of me, but evil;” but allow me the privilege of a friend. My heart is full when I think of what has happened, and what will probably be the consequence, In few words, I am strongly persuaded you have taken an unadvised step, and would therefore prepare you for the inconvenience and uneasiness you inay probably meet with. And if I am (as I desire I may prove) mistaken, my advice will do no harm; you will want something to balance the caresses and success you meet with.
We should be very glad to see you, and hope you will take your measures, when you do come, to lengthen your usual stay, in proportion to the difference of the distance. Pray for us.
I am, &
My Dear Madam,
May-1774. I HAVE had sudden notice, that I
send hasty line, to express our satisfaction in hearing that you had a safe, though perilous journey. I hope I shall be always mindful to pray, that the Lord may guide, bless, and comfort you, and give you such a manifestation of his person, power, and grace, as may set you at liberty from all fear, and fill you with abiding peace and joy in believing. Remember that Jesus has all power, the fulness of compassion, and embraces with open arms all that come to him for life and salvation.
I know not whether Mrs. ****'s illness was before or since my last. Through mercy she is better again; and I remain so, though death and illness are still walking about the town. O for grace to take warning by the sufferings of others, and set loose to the world, and so number our days as to incline our hearts to the one thing needful! Indeed that one thing includes many things,' sufficient to engage the best of our thoughts and the most of our time, if we were duly sensible of their importance; but I may adopt the Psalmist's expression, My soul cleaveth to the dust.” How is it that the truths of which I have the most undoubted conviction, and which are, of all others, the most weighty, should make so little impression upon me? 0 I know
the cause! It is deeply rooted. An evil nature cleaves to me; so that when I would do good, evil is present
It is, however, a mercy to be made sensible of it, and in any measure humbled for it. Ere long it will be dropped in the grave; then all complaints shall cease. That thought gives relief. I shall not always live this poor dying life: I hope one day to be all ear, all heart, all tongue: when I shall see the Redeemer as he is, I shall be like him. · This will be a heaven indeed, to behold his glory without a veil, to rejoice in his love without a cloud, and to sing his praises without one jarring or wandering note, for ever. In the mean time, may he enable us to serve him with our best. O that every power, faculty, and talent, were devoted to him! He deserves all we have, and ten thousand times more if we had it; for he has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He gave himself for us. In one sense, we are well suited to answer his purpose; for if we were not vile and worthless beyond expression, the exceeding riches of his grace would not have been so gloriously displayed. His glory shines more in redeeming one sinner, than in preserving a thousand angels. Poor Mr. **** is still in the dark valley, but we trust prayer shall yet bring him out. Mighty things have been done in answer to prayer, and the Lord's arm is not shortened, neither is his ear heavy. It is our part to wait till we have an answer. One of his own hymns says,
The promise may be long deferr'd,
But never comes too late. I suppose you have heard of the death of Mr, T**** of R**** This is apparently a heavy blow. He was an amiable, judicious, candid man, and an excellent preacher in a great sphere of usefulness; and his age