Page images

in him, and in the promises of his gospel : and how much more should our souls be animated, with the fervent desire, and holy ambition, of having that mind in us, which was also in him, and of being conformed to that perfect and amiable example, which he has left us, that we should follow his steps ! Lord increase my faith, that the proper fruits of it, in love to God and man, of pure, disinterested, active, beneficent love, may more abound !

And now, what were the kindnesses shewn, or the services done, to our worthy and dear friend, for which she feels and expresses so much gratitude ? If we were instruments of any comfort, or benefit to you, this was altogether in consequence of the Lord's designs of mercy and love to you ; wbo, having all hearts in his hands, inclinės every one to do for his people, just what he bath purposed and determined in their favour. If, on the principles of humanity, directed and sanctified, as we would hope, by the benign spirit of the gospel, we received you, in the first instance, as an afflicted stranger, to whoin, in all cases, compassion should be sliewn; in the course of the first evening, and much more in the course of the succeeding Lord's day, and still more so the longer you remained with us, we were constrained to receive you, as one whom our Lord had honored, with the distinguishing tokens of his love and favour, and had sent to us with some special recommendations, reminding us, that whatever kindness, in the spirit of christian love, we might shew to you, he would graciously consider and accept as done to himself. In such a case, christian sensibility could not, for a moment, be at a loss, or hesitate, in determining what was to be done. And though christians, conscious of acting

on christian principles, may have respect, to that future recompense of reward, which their Lord has promised, for their support and encouragement in the way of well doing, without being liable to the charge of selfishness, nay, with a double regard, to the honor of their Lord ; yet, in this instance, all the little which we did for you, in compliance with the intimations of his will, was, as far as we could desire for the present time, most agreeably repaid to us, by the satisfaction which we felt, in loving, and by love, serving one of the dear children of his family, and fellow-members with us, of the household of faith, if to that sacred society, we indeed belong; and by the pleasure and improvement, which we found in the society and conversation of one, whom divine grace had eminently qualified, and particularly in the school of affliction, to be an useful instructor and example to us. How much reason, however, hare we to be ashamed of ourselves, when we think, that the season of your stay with us, passed away so rapidly, and left us so far in arrears, with respect to the payment of the debt of love, which we owed you ; and so little benefitted, in respect to the improvement which we might have received from you, and from the providential dispensations, which placed you with us, during those short months, as one of our family! But what is the season, which we have ever enjoyed, or what the providence of which we have been the subjects or the witnesses, when it is passed, and when we reflect on our conduct respecting it, which will not appear, to furnish us with abundant reason for smiting on our breasts, and crying, “God be merciful to us, sinners !"

After the account, which you gave, in your first letter from home, of the state of your feelings, under the

pressure of the kindnesses of friends, and the heavy load of family cares, which you have now to bear, without having it now in your power, to resort to the advice, the sympathy, the assistance of that dear com. panion and friend, on whose judgment, affection, and supporting arm, you have been accustomed to lean with so much satisfaction and confidence; we might almost have expected to hear in your next, that you had be. come " quite sick," as we find, indeed, that you have been. We are, however, pleased to find, that your humble and firm confidence in God your Saviour, your everliving, almighty, all-sufficient, and unchanging friend, had been so happily maintained, under all your trials; and that you were so soon restored again, to a comfortable measure of health. The affecting solemnities of the scene which inmediately followed, when the funeral sermon was preached, must have proved a severe trial to your faith; which, we doubt not, was found unto praise and glory. The honor done to the memory of your late worthy husband, connected with the respect shewn to yourself, in all the circumstances attending that solemn and tender occasion, while they could not fail, in some respects, to open afresh, the bleeding sorrows of your heart, must, at the same time, have served to minister also the balm of consolation, adapted to sooth the wound, until it shall be more effectually healed, by the hand of that heavenly physician, whose office it is, and in whose power alone it is, “ to bind up the broken-hearted, and to comfort those who mourn.” As soon as the sermon is printed, I hope you will remember to send us a copy of it by post, that we may, by the perusal of it, share in some degree, in the satisfaction and the improvement, with which it was generally heard, by the very numerous and respectable assembly to which it was preached. The attendance of more than thirty ministers, on the occasion alluded to, was a most pleasing circunstance; and it shews, in a striking and impressive light, not only bow highly the memory, of an able, faithful, and useful minister of Christ is honored, by those who were best acquainted with his worth, and the importance of his services; but how greatly your country is favoured, in having so many men of God, employed in the work of the gospel ministry, and so generally dispersed among the people, as the salt of the earth; while the spheres of their benevolent and useful labours, are so near together, that like a constellation, they shed a lustre upon each otber, and contribute to make the whole number, and every individual composing it, shine more brightly, as the lights of the world. “ Ob ! how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren, whether few or many, to dwell together in unity.And oh ! that the gloomy regions along the seaboard of our Southern States, might be speedily gladdened with such a sight, as your State often exhibits, in those numerous and harmonious associations, of the ministers of Christ. It would be a cir. cumstance, adapted to give greater joy, than the joy of harvest, than all the worldly riches and luxuries of the south, can afford.

From your account of Mr. P's talents and qualifications for the work of the ministry, I cannot but wish to hear of his being, in due time, settled in the pastoral charge of so respectable, and important a branch of the church, as that at Farmington. But the great Head of the church alone knows what is best for bim, and for that part of his church : and He, it may be hoped, will

give that result to present plans, wishes, and expectations, in which they will respectively have the greatest reason to rejoice, as being ordered in the best manner for all concerned.

Very pleasing indeed, is the account which you give of the lively and active piety, and benevolence, of your venerable friend, the Rev. Mr. P. at his advanced period of life. If I should ever have the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him on earth ; his conversation and example, would, I hope, have some desirable influence and effect, in quickening and animating me, in my present work, and in waiting for the coming of our Lord. Should he not permit us to meet on earth; may


prepare us to meet, to dwell, and to rejoice together for ever, in his presence in heaven. Did I omit mentioning this gentleman, in my former letter ? If

SO, I am ashamed of the omission, after all, that you had told us of him, while you were with us. But you know something of the infirmities of my memory, as well as of my head and my heart. Do now, endeavour, with your accustomed ingenuity, simplicity, and godly sincerity, to make up for me, to this worthy old disciple and servant of our common Lord, my former deficiency of friendly remembrance, &c.

From the hon. Mr. T. and Capt. R. I would most gladly receive letters, if they would take the trouble of writing to me ; and I am sure that I would highly value their communications. But I am ashamed to think how, or when they would be repaid, by any return, which I could make for their favours done me, in this way. In this case, however, as well as in many others, they may be referred for satisfaction and com

« PreviousContinue »