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I act in tolerable conformity to my intention, as it is but lille matter that I send you, though spread over several pages, and inveloped in a multitude of words. I have often and often wished that I had the pen, pot only of a ready, but of a concise writer, so that I could save my time and paper, and the patience of my correspondents, by the happy art of saying multum in parvo. But such as I am you see me in my letters; and such as I have to communicate in them, you receive in my own manner. For your sake, as well as my own, I wish I was myself, and that I could do, much better. As things are, well is it for me, at least, in point of enjoying your correspondence, that you are à partial friend, and seem willing to be pleased with trifles, offered by a well meaning heart, as tokens of affection.
As with all my consciousness of my many infirmities and deficiencies, I have some vanity, which you know always loves to be flattered; I must acknowledge to you, that I have felt some gratification in reading the expressions of your approbation of the printed discourse which I sent you. I wish it had been more worthy of the cause, and of course, of your acceptance. I have long judged, that political interests and duties, as they undoubtedly come within the compass, the wide compass, of religion, which teaches us what we owe, not only to God and ourselves, but to our fellowmen, as individuals, and as members of sacred and civil society, may with propriety be introduced, as subjects worthy of attention, in our public discourses. But as they require to be managed with a peculiarly delicate hand, and should not, perhaps, be often brought forward, or very particularly discussed, excepting in
extraordinary seasons and circumstances, I have rarely indeed, allowed my unskilful hand to touch them. That what was attempted in this way, on a late occasion, which seemed naturally to lead to some observations on the critical state of our country, should bave been demanded for a more extensive publication through the press, than was given from the pulpit, was altogether beyond my expectation; and to this measure of my friends, I rather submitted, than consented. And now I see, they are dragging a part of it again before the public, through the channel of the newspapers, the Courier. Now is not this on the whole, more humbling, than flattering ? For when do you ever see a really excellent, evangelical sermon, on any of the most important subjects, involving the great, the ever-lasting interests of the soul and its salvation, thought worthy of being communicated to the public, in a newspaper? But enough of this sermon!
On your essay on Patriotism, 1 have not now time to comment. Let one remark suffice, that on this subo ject, my sentiments fully coincide with those which you have communicated. And be assured, that your religious sentiments and experiences, as intimated, sometimes more briefly, and sometimes more largely, in your epistolary communications, as well as in conversation, (when the opportunities for that have occur. red) meet my approbation, and, without meaning to express a compliment, have led me to esteem you, among many others, better than myself; as being more experimentally, and practically acquainted, with the truth and grace of the gospel, which I profess to have believed and embraced, and which, in Providence, and by office I bave been called to preach to others. Ab!
to preach not ourselves, but Christ, and bim crucified, requires a degree of divine illumination and grace, of which, when I seriously think, I see reason enough for the deepest humiliation of soul. Happy are they who properly feel their own insufficiency in this case, and who experimentally know that their sufficiency is of God their Saviour !
We have lately received a long, and as usual, an excellent letter, from Mrs. W. Among other mat. ters, she informs, that, since the edition of 2000 copies of the volume of her husband's sermons, there has been such a demand by non-subscribers, for the small balance of 200 or 300, which had not been subscribed for, that she expects the whole edition will soon go off : and with other friend's regrets, that the edition had not been extended, to at least 2,500 copiese Of the numerous patrons of this publication, who subscribed, chiefly from love to Mrs. W. and with a view to the benefit of her family ; many of the best judges of evangelical preaching among us, have expressed a cordial and warm approbation of the sermons generally : so that they seem to enjoy, in this case, a double reward, in the pleasure of doing good, and the benefit, that has been reflected back upon themselves from the good which they designed to do to another. Had those sermons passed under the deliberate review and polishing hand of the author who left them, I sup. pose, in the state in which they were first prepared for his stated course of preaching, they might have, pero haps, appeared to greater advantage in the eye of the critical reader ; but I doubt whether they would have been at all more pleasing and acceptable to the piouş heart.
Mrs. W. mentions in her letter, the appearance of a remarkable, and most desirable revival of religion, in the church under the care of the Rev. Mr. H. whose excellent funeral sermon on Mr. W. is inserted in the volume of his sermons: and some drops of the heavenly shower, she says, are beginning to fall upon the neighbouring churches. She observes, that Mr. H. seems to be wearing himself out by his fervent zeal and abundant labours ; and speaks of his preaching lately to great acceptance, in the church at Farmington, on these words: “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory."* Do our hearts indeed long to see such a day of our Lord's glory, in Charleston, and in Beaufort, and all around? If so: let us pray and labour, in our respective spheres, with becoming importunity, and diligence: then may we hope to be thus favoured, as others are, and as we have been, in some measure heretofore.
With this, I send under the same cover, a letter to Mrs. B. on the subject of her late distressing, yet consolatory affliction. I have endeavoured to express my good will, to minister consolation, if it were in my power; but the Lord alone, I know, can, and he I trust will, effectually comfort her heart. This letter was written a few days ago, when in daily expectation of B's arrival. Be so good as to hand it to Mrs. B. and may a blessing attend, what may be proper and seasonable in it, to herself, and to those who mourn with her. I thought that surely, I must and would conclude here: but I must yet take the other end of the page for finishing, when I have no room for another line more. You will easily perceive, that my brains
Poulm nii. 16.
have not been much on the rack, in writing this; but my fingers are tired with holding the pen; as your pa. tience must now be in trying to read, or to spell out, this hasły, yes literally hasty scrawl.
In love to yourselves, and all friends around you, your little friend Jane, joins with your greater friend,
ISAAC S. KEITH.
TO MRS. W.
CHARLESTON, AUGUST 27, to SEPT. 10, 1807.
AGAIN we have been favoured with a long letter, from our very dear, dear friend, under date the 29th of July. It must have been more than three weeks on the way, as it was not received here till the 24th of August. It was, if not long looked for, at least for some time expected, not without some degree of anxiety and impatience, before it came at last. And when it came, as we knew that it came all warm from the heart of a friend, whom we highly esteem, and very affectionately love ; and whose reciprocal affection gratifies our self-love, more than our pens or words can express, you may be assured, that this renewed evidence of your continued friendship, and kind remembrance, was most welcome to our hearts ; as is every letter indeed, that we receive from you. This, I believe, I have in substance told you more than once already. But to those whom we love, we are apt to say the same things over and over again.