Imágenes de páginas











CIBRARY mre. Martha m. Erneston


[ocr errors]




WITH the most affectionate gratitude and respect, I beg leave to present you a book, which owes its existence to your request, its copiousness to your plan, and much of its perspicuits to your review, and to the use I made of your remarks on that part of it, which yoor health and leiture would perinit you to examine. I address it to you, not to beg your patronage to it, for of that I am already well assured ; and much less from any ambition of attempting your character, for which, if I were more equal to the subjeet, I should think this a very inproper place; but chiefly from a secret delight which I find in the thought of being known to those whom this may reach as one whor you have honored, not only with your friendship, but with so much of your esteem and approbation too, as must substantially appear in your committing a work to me, which you had yourself projected as one of the most considerable services of your life.

I have long thought the love of popular applause a meanress, which a philosophy far inferior to that of our Divine Master might have taught us to conquer ; but to be esteemed by eminently great and good men, to whom we are intimately known, appears to me, not only one of the most solid attestations of some real worth, but next to the approbation of God and of our own consciences, one of its most valuable rewards. It will, I doubt not, be found so in that world to which spirits like yours are tending, and for which, through divine grace, you have obtained so uncommon a degree of ripe

And permit me, sir, while I write this, to refresh myself with the hope,ibat when that union of hearts,which has so long subsisted between us, shall arrive to its full maturity and endearment there, it will be matter of mutual delight to recollect, that you have assigned me, and that I have in some degree executed a task, which may perhaps, under the blessing of God, awaken and improve religious sentiments in the minds of those whom we leave behind us, and of others who may arise after us, in this vain, transitory, ensnaring world.

Such is the improvement you have made of your capacities for service, that I am fully persuaded heaven has received very few in these latter ages, who bare done so much to-serve


its interests here below ; few, wbo have labored in this best of causes with equal assiduity and equal success. And, therefore, I cannot but join with all who wish well to the christian interest among us, in acknowledging the gondness of providence to you and to the church of Christ in proloog. ing a lise, at once so valuable and so tender, to such an advanced period. With them, sir, I rejoice that God hath given you to possess, in so extraordinary a degree, not only the consciousness of intending great benefit to the world, but the satisfaccion of having effected it, and of seeing such an har. vest already springing up, I hope as an earnest of a much more copious increase from thence. With multitudes more I bless God, that you are not, in this evening of so afflicted, and yet so laborious a day, rendered entireiy incapable of serving the public from the press, and from the pulpit ; and that amidst the pain which your active spirit feels, when those pleasing services suffer long interruptions from bodily weakness, it may be so singularly refreshed by reflecting on that sphere of extensive usefulBess, in which by your writings you continually move.

I congratulate you, dear sir, that while you are in a multi. tude of families and schools of the lower class, condescending to the humble, yet important work of forming infant minds to the first rudiments of religious knowledge and devout impressions, by your various Catechisms and diyine Songs, you are also daily reading Lectures on Logic, and other branches of philosophy, to studious youth; and this not only in pripate academies, but in the most public celebrated seats of learning ; not merely in Scotland, and in our American colopies, (where, from some peculiar considerations it might most naturally be expected;) but through the amiable candor of some excellent men and accomplished tutors, in our English universities too. I congratulate you, that you are teaching, no doubt, hundreds of ministers, and thousands of private christians, by your sermons and otber theological writings: so harpiis calculated to diffuse through their minds that light of knowledge, and through their hearts that fervor of piety, which God bas been pleased to enkindle in your own. But, above all, I congratulate you, that by your sacred poetry, especially by your Psalms and you Hymns, you are leading the worship, and, I trust, also apirnating the devotion of myriads, in our public assemblies every sabbath, and in their families or closets every day. sir, at least so far as it relates to the service of the sanctuary. is an unparalleled favor by wbich God hath been pleased to distinguish you, I may boldly say it, beyond any of his servanış pow upon earth. Well may it be esteemed a glorious equivalent, and

indeed much more than equivalent for all those views of ccclesiastical preferment, to which such talents, learning, virtues, and interest, might have entitled you in an establishment; and I doubt not but you joyfully accept it as such.

Nor is it easy to conceive in what circumstances you covid on any supposition, bave been easier and happier than in that pious and truly honorable family, in which uc) verily believe, in special indulgence both to you and it, providence has been pleased to appoint that you should spend so considerable a part of your life. It is my earnest prayer, that all the remainder of it may be serene, useful and pleasant.

And as, to my certain knowledge, your compositions have been the singular comfort of many excellent christians (some of them numbered among my dearest friends) on their dying bed ; for I have heard stanzas of them repeated from the lips of several, who were, doubtless, in a few hours to begin the Song of Moses and the Lanıb; so I hope and trust, that when God shall call you to that salvation, for which your faith and pa. tience bath so long been waiting, he will shed around you the choicest beams of his favor, and gladden your heart with consolations, like those which you have been the happy instrument of administering to others.

In the mean time, sir, be assured that I am not a little animated in the various labors to which providence has called me, by reflecting that I have such a cotemporary, and especially such a friend; whose single presence would be to me as that of a cloud of witnesses here below, to awaken my alacrity in the race that is set before me.

And I am persuaded, tbat while I say this, I speak the sentiments of many of my brethren, eren of various denominations ; a considera. tion wbicb I hope will do something towards reconciling a heart so generous as yours, to the delay of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which is now so nearly approaching. Yes, my honored Friend, you will, I bope, cheerfully endure a little longer continuance in life amidst all its infirmities; from an assurance, that while God is pleased to maintain the exercise of your reason, it is hardly possible that you should live in vain, to the world, or to youiseli. Every day and every trial is brightening your crown, and rendering you still more meet for an inheritance among the saints in light. Every word that you drop from the pulpit bas now, surely, its peculiar weight; the eyes of many are on their agcending prophet, eagerly intent that they may catcb, if not his mantle, at least some divine septence from his lips, which may long guide their ways and their hearts. This solicitude your friends bring into those happy moments in which they are favored with your converse in private ; and when you are rea

« AnteriorContinuar »