« PreviousContinue »
June and his letter, I hope you have ere this received. Assure yourself and Mrs. F. of the sincere esteem, and affectionate regard, and continued prayers of your real friend,
ISAAC S. KEITH.
JULY 7, 1805.
P. S. I refer you to Mr. P. for information respecting the state of things in our city, and in our church, &c.
I wish I could inform you that religion had become more lively among us. Some of our professors appear, indeed, to be a little revived; and our assemblies in church, are much more full than they were a few weeks ago, even when they were collected in one house of worship; as has been the case during Dr. H's indisposition, since Mr. C's departure for the northward.
Here and there an individual is discerned among us, inquiring the way to Zion, with the face directed thitherward. Oh! to see multitudes flying to Christ, and crowding unto his church, like the doves to their windows! Pray for us as a church: I would desire to do the same for you. May the Lord bless and keep you and yours!
1. S. K.
TO REV. MR. P.
CHARLESTON, NOVEMBER 16, 1802.
MY DEAR SIR,
I HAVE now before me, three of your favours, under dates, September 3, October 22, and November 7. When I was about sitting down to answer the first,
a letter from Dr. F. informed me, of the determination of the Independent Church, in B. to present a call to you, inviting you to become their pastor; and that you intended very soon to write to me on the subject. I then concluded to wait a little longer for your expected communication, which I accordingly, in a short time received; and before I could find leisure for acknowledging it, your last came to hand, through Mr. F.
For all these favours, I sincerely thank you. While they excite my sympathy, on account of some difficulties which you feel, they have given me much satisfaction, as they express those exercises of heart, with which all real christians are more or less acquainted, and to which all others are entire strangers; and as they give the desirable information that religion is still lively and flourishing, and apparently increasing in B. notwithstanding some unpleasant circumstances seem to threaten giving a check, or unfavourable turn to the good work which is going on among you.
The difficulties of which you complain, appear to arise from three sources; your heart, your head, and your local situation. Those connected with the heart, although they are peculiarly painful and trying, may yet be considered as at the same time adapted to minister to you, much encouragement and comfort. What indeed can be more encouraging and consoling, than to find your case so fully corresponding, with that of other disciples and followers of Christ, who have given the best evidence of their sincerity, and have been most distinguished by their spiritual experiences? What think you of the view which the great apostle Paul has given, particularly in the 7th chapter of his Epis
tle to the Romans, of the state of his heart, as the seat of a constant warfare, between the struggling principles of corrupt nature, and ruling power of victorious grace? And if you are travelling over the same ground, and engaged in the same conflict with him, though not with equal strength and success, have you not good reason to conclude, that you are in the right way, to the everlasting rest, and gloriou triumph, of the genuine followers of when grace shall complete what grace has begun, and finish that salvation from sin and sorrow, in the partial experience of which, the redeemed are even now authorized, and frequently enabled to rejoice and sing, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ my Lord."
As to your head, seeming to be sometimes, as if it were made of block. I suppose you do not feel more stupid, or barren of sentiment, or slow at conceiving and arranging ideas, than Bunyan did, when he felt, in preaching, as if his head were tied up in a bag. Yet he preached and wrote too, eminently to the edification of believers, and the salvation of sinners. If it would be any comfort to you, I might refer you to others, and particularly to one with whom I am intimate ly acquainted, who have been much longer than you have been, groaning under the complicated difficulties of a disordered heart, and a blockish head; and who have been often and often tempted, to think that they were out of their proper sphere, when attempting to compose sermons, or to preach the gospel; but have been still, by some secret influence, which they could not wholly withstand, constrained to persevere in the work, however arduous, and however great their insufficiency for it, of which they have been conscious. In short, those seasons, in which we feel most sensibly
and deeply, the stupidity of our heads, and the perverseness of our hearts, may be in the result, the most profitable, although at first, they may seem to be the most unpleasant and unpromising. And this will certainly be the case, if at such seasons, we are emptied of self, and brought to seek more earnestly, and to partake more largely, of that fulness, which dwells in Christ; who is our light and life, our wisdom and strength, our sanctification and redemption, our All in all.
In respect to your acceptance of the call presented to you by the Independent Church, I have already, as you observe, given my sentiments to Dr. F. and till I see substantial reason for altering my opinion, it must remain decidedly in favour of that measure. I would, indeed, apprehend, that your declining the acceptance of the call, would have a tendency very unfriendly to that infant church, if not injurious to the great cause of the gospel in B. So far as I have light to guide my judgment, I think the apostolic advice given with reference to another case, may be applied to you in this instance: "Let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God." But my paper is filled and understanding that you expect to be in this city, in the course of next month; I willingly reserve what might be written, to the expected opportunity of personal conversation with you, on the several subjects, on which you wish to have communication. You have no doubt heard of Dr. H's arrival, a few weeks ago. He has resumed his public labours, and his recruited health and strength, seem to be adequate to them. Mr. A. has also returned to D..
With my best regards to Dr. and Mrs. F. &c. I am, affectionately yours,
ISAAC S. KEITH.
TO DR. F.
CHARLESTON, NOVEMBER 1804.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
you bave now come up to the terms of our correspondence, by favouring me with three letters, viz. under dates August 16, October 17, and November 3. I sit down, busy and lazy as I am, to scrawl a page or two to you, that I may with some sort of conscience, and confidence' claim, in due time and succession, three more of your friendly and good letters, which I always read with interest, and with the lively emotions of pleasure, mingled with a little seasoning of pain, on account of the trials with which you are exercised, chiefly in regard to your infant church. But perhaps, I ought to feel as much satisfaction in what you write about these trials, as on subjects of a more agreeable and pleasing nature. For the influence and effects of them, upon your mind and conduct, seem to be on the whole, salutary and beneficial; and perhaps, more so, than the comforts which are generally honored with the name of mercies, in contradistinction from afflictions; which, however, divinely sanctified, and wisely improved, are frequently the mercies, for which our warmest praise is due. Whatever, in short, serves to bring us out of self and the world, to draw us nearer to our God and Saviour; to engage us to place a more unreserved, humble, stedfast trust in his wisdom, power, grace, truth, and promises, and to constrain us, to cast all our care upon him; and resign all our wants