« AnteriorContinuar »
pray, who do it sincerely and in dependence upon Christ. I hope you will pray for your dear brothers and little sister, and also for me every day.”
The following letters show that his filial and fraternal attachments were not diminished by time or distance of place.
“ Andover, January 18, 1819. “ My dear Father,
Immediately after receiving your last letter, I sat down, and with mingled emotions of joy and sorrow, expressed my warmest sympathy in your afflictious. I hope the same gracious God who spared you in the hour of danger, has already healed your broken bones, and restored you to the enjoyment of health. But I am not a little apprehensive that your former disorder may come upon you with increased violence, in consequence of the internal wounds which you have received. I hope, should this be the fact, you will immediately inform me. I feel conscientiously bound to do every thing in my power to comfort and support your declining years, and if you, or any of the family should be seriously ill, I should consider it my duty to break away from every other engagement, and visit you. I shall therefore, expect to be always informed at an early period, of every accident or sickness in the family; although I am at some distance from you, my heart is with you, and not a day passes,
but I think of you tenderly. May the God of Israel abide with you, and bless you all, evermore."
“ Salem, March 23, 1820. “My very dear Father,
“I was sorry to learn that you have had another attack of your old disorder. I know you must have been suffering most severe pain in consequence, and
this has an almost certain effect upon your nervous system, and to depress your spirits. What comfort can you have at such seasons, but in the assurance that it is God, your covenant God and Father, who inflicts every pang you feel. And he is good.
And he is good. He doth not willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men ; but when he chastises us, it is invariably that we may be partakers of his holi
Thus it was with Job, and with David, and thus it must be with every saint. It is, dear father, only through great tribulation that we can any of us enter into heaven. Much dross must be purged away before the gold is sufficiently refined and purified for the use of the heavenly Artist. Many and wonderful have been the vicissitudes of your life, but I doubt not when you look back, you can say in view of what God has done, "Oh, my mercies, my mercies.' It would seem almost enough to hush every murmuring thought, when we are in ever so great afflictions, that our deserts would have consigned us to hell long ago, but for God's mercy, and that even our precious Saviour, who had no sin, suffered more pain for us, than we are appointed of God to suffer for ourselves in this world. I know you have trials, and often such as are severe. But are they not such as God frequently sends upon his children? I do believe that all you suffer, God sends upon you as upon a son, whom he desires to purify more and more, that ere long you may be ready for that glorious world where sin, and sorrow, and pain never come. Let me humbly and earnestly request you to think much of God's government. He it is 'who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.' Only let this dwell upon your mind, and your own experience will testify how powerful it is in allaying our sorrows and reconciling us to our allotments. It is God who sends pain upon you.
It is God who determined the kind of disease by which you should be afflicted. It is God who has fixed the bounds of your habitation, who gave you children and points out their respective allotments. It is God who has separated you from a son who loves you most tenderly, and can never think of you, but with gratitude and prayer. It is God who stations you at Somers, and me at Salem. And it is the same God who does all things well. We shall see it to be so by and by. Let us believe it now, and have the comfort of it.
What if we are separated on earth?
It is only I trust that we may meet with the greater joy in heaven to separate no more. Soon, I trust, we shall be there, and then how trifling will appear all the lesser concerns of this lower world. Comfort your heart' then with these things. God will do all things well. Jesus says
• What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.' Think of what you have experienced in days and years that are past, and what you sometimes think you experience now. And would God have given you so much mercy, and so much enjoyment in religion, if he had intended to destroy you?'
“I have written this letter to you, my dear father, because I feel most tenderly for you. My whole soul sympathizes in your trials, and loves to administer, if it be but one drop of consolation to your heart, to cheer your mind, to enliven your spirits, and to sweeten your enjoyment in God. I think that every other desire of my heart is swallowed up in this, that you may be ready to dwell with Christ above. I sometimes think your sorrows and pains will not last much longer. But God has appointed the time of your departure from this sinful world, and may his grace sustain and comfort you with heavenly joys."
“ Salem, December 3, 1821. “My dear and respected Father,
“ I have just received S.'s letter, dated November 26, from which I learn that since the cold weather commenced,
you have felt unwell, and particularly that you have increased distress in
head. It is truly afflicting to me to be so far distant from you, at a time when you may more than ever need my attentions, and I can reconcile myself to it only on the ground that Providence has so ordered it. I trust that God, who is an infinitely better friend than any human being can be, is constantly with you ; that in Jesus Christ he often reveals himself to your mind as a reconciled God and Father, and verifies to you the rich promises of the covenant of grace. That you have dark hours, and severe trials, I have no doubt, but you can, I trust, obtain such a near and believing view of that Saviour who says, come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' and such a sense of the efficacy of his blood to cleanse from all, even the greatest of sins, that you can enjoy some inward peace and hope. We should all of us, alas ! be in a most miserable condition, if we were to look to God without such a Mediator and Intercessor as Christ is. But since he has shed his precious blood for us; since the Father has declared himself so well pleased with the sacrifice; why may we not hope in him ? why may we not come, and although our iniquities have arisen like mountains, have faith in him as able and willing, to forgive them all ? When you look back upon all the way in which God has led you, to the time when you was first awakened from a state of carnal security, when you was led, as you hope, to embrace Jesus Christ as your only Saviour and everlasting portion; when you recall the peaceful and joyful hours you subsequently enjoyed, and remember that for many years you felt a prevailing and lively interest in his cause ; can you think that it was all delusion? or that if God had intended to destroy you at last, he would have dealt thus with you? You may feel that you have often departed from him, grieved his Spirit, and brought darkness upon
your soul, but have you not felt unwilling to live in such a state, have you not sometimes obtained freedom at the throne of grace, and wept bitterly over these backslidings, and has it not been your desire and frequent prayer to God, that you might be kept by his mighty power through faith unto salvation? Do you not now feel that all you want is to be kept near to this almighty and glorious Friend, that you may never again lose the sense of his presence, or doubt his goodness? I repeat it, my dear father, is there not some evidence in all this, that you hate sin, that you desire to be conformed to God, and to have your soul renewed after his image ? And if you
do feel thus, why should you not look up to God with hope and confidence, why should you dread to meet him in another world? “You know in whom you have believed,' and if Jesus is your friend, how blessed, oh, how blessed to be introduced by such a Mediator into the presence of God! If in your heart you believe in Jesus Christ, and trust in him as your only Saviour, will he refuse to plead your cause, or will he deny your request ? Hope, my dear father, hope in this almighty Redeemer ; build your everlasting all upon this Rock, and verily you shall never be moved. Thousands have rested here, and gone with holy triumph through the dark valley, and trusting to this allsufficient Guide, have been conducted to immortal life and glory.
“ For all your kindness to me in infancy, in childhood, and in riper years, I give you once more the warmest gratitude of my heart. Your watchful care of me in sickness, and in health ; the numberless instructions of a religious kind which you gave me, and the benefit of which I hope to feel to my dying day; your forbearance with me when a wild and giddy youth ; your paternal kindness in providing for my wants; and by giving me an education, qualifying me to be useful in the world ; all be