Imágenes de páginas

have in using his pen. He amused himself in putting down hundreds of epitaphs, which he hoped might more usefully meet the public eye in a church-yard, than those trite and often ridiculous ones that are usually observed. With the same view he composed a great number of fables, as the ground of moral and religious sentiments with which he meant to accompany them. They were, however, written in such haste—generally put down at the moment the thought occurred, and often conceived as he walked the streets—that they are not fit, in their present state, to appear in print: but as a specimen of each will oblige his friends, they will find it in the note below *. A long and intimate acquaintance with the deceased enables the Writer of these Memoirs to speak thus of a once invaluable friend, the loss of whose counsel and example he must deeply feel through life. In his intercourses, he observed the Philosopher and the Sculptor lost in the Believer and the Philanthropist: he heard the Artist discourse, but he saw the Christian glow: and he now views, with heartfelt satisfaction, the blessings of this eminent character descending upon his children.


A mirror, placed in a painter's study, thus vaunted itself against a Design on the easel: “Can you,” says the mirror, “covered with blots and scratches, pretend to vie with Me, who exhibit so precise an image of every thing that comes before me? and where the variety is as great as the resemblance is exact?”—“I grant,” replies the canvas, “ that all my excellence consists in faithfully returning whatever is committed to my charge ; but it might serve as a check to your pride to consider, that, after you have been the companion of the wisest and best of characters, you are ready to admit a fool, or embrace a harlot.”


The same objects and events which the superficial suffer to pass without a trace left behind, become a fund of knowledge to the diligent; who,

being enriched with principle and fixed by habit, stand among mankind a repository of all that is wise, and an example of all that is good.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The two following Letters, written to Miss Bacon, I gladly insert; as they will not only serve to confirm the account already given of the subject of these Memoirs with respect to his feelings as a Parent, but will also more fully exhibit his sentiments as a real Christian. I make no apology here for any want of accuracy that may be observed in them; since, to examine a private correspondence, like this, with criticism, would betray an inconsideration which it seems vain to attempt correcting.



I HAVE been seeking for a moment of leisure to acknowledge your very acceptable letter, and now I am resolved to seize it. Much I cannot say: much I need not say. The Redeemer is soon mentioned, but that Redeemer comprehends all things. I bless his name for what he has done for you, and all my future expectations are from Him. Though Mr. — , &c. are withdrawn, HE, who made them what they were, can fill their place with others, or can do without them. I desire to rejoice in your behalf for the comforts you are favoured with; and, perhaps, I ought to rejoice at your conflicts too. Sure I am, you would have less evidence of the reality of a divine

work, if you were entirely without them. God obtains honour in supporting you under them; and you acquire patience, experience, &c. by the exercise. My Dear Child, all mankind have their conflicts. He, that is entirely of the world, finds it a world of conflicts, and cannot escape many a wound from it: but the worst of his case is, that he has no physician to apply to, though the sorrow of the world worketh death. What a blessed thing it is to fight for the Truth—for the honour of God—for everlasting Life—to strive for the noblest Prize—to wear celestial Armour—to have free access to that Tree, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, and which heal every wound upon the immediate application—to fight with the Captain at our side, and to be sure of the victory at last! Certainly we have a foe, subtle and powerful; but, in both these respects, he is a conquered enemy. It is impossible for me to describe a thousandth part of his stratagems. One general hint I will suggest to you: take the Armour of Righteousness on the right hand and on the left. There is scarce a temptation, but has an opposite one as dangerous. Who can tell which is to be most dreaded, presumption or despair?—either for us to think that God will never punish sin, or that he will never pardon the penitent? If we in any degree gain the victory over sensuality, Satan

will then tempt us to pharisaism or spiritual pride, There is no end of these opposite temptations. If he cannot keep us from the conscientious performance of duties, he will urge us to a performance beyond our strength, that he may tempt us to despair. From the fatal effects of all which contrary snares, may the blessed Saviour of sinners, my Dear Girl, deliver you!

This is precarious weather for riding—There is no place, my Dear, but Heaven, where it always shines.—Well, it is not far off: let us congratulate one another.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Dec. 12, 1792.

I Do indeed most heartily concur with you in the sentiment, that “there is no subject so proper for a letter” from one sinner to another, “as that of Immanuel, God with us.” Every other subject depends on the fabrick of our imagination for its importance. Still the votaries of pleasure say, “at least it has a reality, for we feel an interest in it every hour.” We grant it: pleasure is pleasure, from whatever source it arises: and let them make the most of the concession. Truth must allow that the colours in the rising bubble are brilliant,

« AnteriorContinuar »