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Tanity and emptiness, in so many of the things of the world, and of our fellow mortals who dwell in it; let us be thankful for the few good things, and worthy, and valuable, and dear friends, which we enjoy in it ; and through all its varied scenes, let us walk by faith, and not by sight, leaning on our beloved Lord, whose fulness is always ready to supply all our wants, rejoicing in worldly comforts, as though we rejoiced not, and weeping under worldly sorrows, as though we wept not; looking not at the things which are seen and temporal, but at the things which are not seen, and eternal ; firmly believing, and bumbly exulting, in the persuasion, and the prospect, that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory.”
I do not wonder at your feelings, after reading Orton's Life of Doddridge. The perusal of that volume, made me feel so humble, and gave me such a degrading view of myself, that I often almost blushed at the thought of claiming the christian character, which shone with so much of its native beauty and lustre in Doddridge, or of raising even a trembling hope to that heavenly habitation, where his happy spirit now dwells, triumphing in grace, perfected in glory. But some time afterwards, consulting with an old near neighbour of mine, Mr. Self, who, though I know him to be far from being as good as he should be, and have been, in many instances, shamefully duped and grossly injured by him, yet some how or other, possesses a most extraordinary influence over me; he slyly insinuated, that in this admirable picture, which Orton has drawn of his friend, we have only, or chiefly, an exhibition of his excellencies, which appear prominent and brilliant indeed
while his defects are kept wholly out of view, and are thrown so far into the back ground, as to be scarcely visible; and he suggested further, that with such mental imbecility, as had fallen to my lot, it would be the extreme of folly, to attempt, to rival a man of such superior talents, as well of such pre-eminent piety: while he added, which I knew to be true, and which seemed to give a plausible, pleasing air of truth to all the rest, that my bodily frame, especially in this debilitating climate, would have long ago sunk into the earth, from which it was taken, under one fourth part of the labours which the pious, the benevolent, the zealous, the indefatigable Doddridge, sustained. But if this same Mr. Self, should ever come in your way, I advise you to be very cautious in your intercourse with him ; for though he shews, at first, a very friendly, prepossessing countenance, and possesses an eloquent, persuasive tongue; yet, trust not to these flattering appearances, nor believe his much fair speech; for he will deceive you, and do you a mischief, where he seems to intend you a kindness. Avoid him, therefore, as much as possible, and as often as you meet him, turn immediately from him, and go, and do like Doddridge, as far as you have ability and opportunity; or, at least, nobly try to be a follower of him, as he was of Christ.
ISAAC S. KEITI.
TO MRS. W.
CHARLESTON, AUGUST 14, 1806 “As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country;" and so grateful and refreshing to our spirits, was the excellent letter of our highly es. teemed, and very dear friend, of the 23d and 24th of July ultimo, which we received on the 11th iost. For some time past, we sent to the Post-office, as often as the northern mail arrived; but still found nothing there for us, from Farmington, but disappointment. For this, indeed, we may chiefly thank ourselves; since, if we had consulted our judgment more, and our feelings less, we could not have allowed ourselves, to indulge any very sanguine expectations of a letter from you, much sooner than we were favoured with the one above mentioned: and I am truly sorry, that an intimation, dropped by my unguarded pen, on that subject, should have given a moment's pain to your feeling heart, on account of your not being able to gratify our expectations, so soon as we and you also wished. The peculiar circumstances of your situation, after so long an absence from home, and so great and afflicting a change in your family, and your having, since your return, such a multiplicity of affairs, and the almost incessant calls of so large a circle of kind and sympathizing friends, to occupy your attention, would have formed a sufficient apology, for even a longer delay of your much desired, and much valued, communications. And even when our affectionate wishes, became almost impatient to hear from you, still would not our hearts cherish, for a moment, the thought of attaching any blame to you; for we were sure, that your heart was not in fault. No, indeed; never have we, in a single instance, been inclined to call in question, the sincerity, the affection, the good will, of your friendship for us ; while we have felt and regretted our inability to make due returns for it, in all those refined satisfactions, and important benefits, which
christian love delights in conferring, and would often communicate in a measure far, very far beyond its power. In the present case, if any of us have been blameable, it must be ourselves, rather than you; as your second letter from New York, which came, I believe, by Capt. R. and which we did not receive till some time after our letters were written to you, has not till now been mentioned. And the reason of this was, that we were then looking for another from you, and meant to take notice of both together; and thus, at the same time, to avoid unnecessary postage, and to spare some labour in writing; and you know, how agreeable to us, are all labour saving plans, and measures, in this warm, and relaxing climate. And much of this summer, has been unusually warm, though still very healthy in the city, and very favourable to the crops in the country.
Your labour in writing, in a climate much more favourable, both to bodily and mental exertion, you may consider as most agreeably compensated to you, by the pleasure, and the instruction communicated to ourselves, and some other friends, who have been favoured with the perusal of your last, as well as of your former letters. After such a remark, sball I now be allowed to intimate, that there is any thing in your last letter, I mean as to sentiment or expression, that is not pleas. ing ? Perhaps, rather, I should say that ought not to be pleasing? For, should I be pleased with flattery? It was not, I am sure, your intention to flatler. But, ab! my friend, yielding only to the impulse of your own grateful, benevolent heart, and not sufficiently aware of the vanity and selfishness of mine, you have incautiously indulged in a language, about as well adapted to preserve and promote that humbleness of mind, which is one of the first dispositions of the christian temper, and brightest ornament of the christian character, as a lighted match would be to secure gunpowder from an explosion. Yet, on the whole, what seemed in itself, not surely so designed by you, adapted to do me some harm, may, on the contrary, be productive of much good; if it shall lead me to reflect, how fallible a criterion of our character and state, is the opinion of our fellow mortals, while prejudiced enemies, censure and condemn, without knowledge or mercy, and partial friends approve and commend, beyond all truth and reason; if it shall admonish me, to consider how much better we should be, if we were even as good as we sometimes appear to be, in the view of the kind friends, whose charity for us is such, that they can scarcely think any evil of us; and if it shall serve to remind me, how inestimable is the privilege of all real believers, who would do good, while eril is present with them; and who, on account of that evil, cannot do half the good which they would, in having a divine Redeemer, mediator, high-priest, and advocate, who is the Lord, their righteousness and strength; who can be touched with the feeling of all their infirmities, who ever liveth to make intercession for them, and who, through his own atoning blood, justifying righteousness, and infinite merits, presents their persons and services, notwithstanding all their failings and imperfections, with acceptance to the most holy, and the most gracious God. Are we united by a vital faith to this adorable Saviour ; and are we complete in him, in whom all fulness dwells? Ob! how precious should he be to our souls! how deeply should we be humbled, on account of living so little by faith