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tions as our habitation could afford, and to assure her of the most cordial welcome, by such expressions of christian sympathy and love, as were within our power, was so plainly our duty, according to the principles and rules of the gospel, as well as the sentiments and dictates of bumanity, that there was no room left for us, in this case, to hesitate for a moment, as to the part which we were called to act; and while endeavouring to fulfil the obligations of so obvious a duty, we soon found, and from day to day, more and more experienced, in Mrs. W's very agreeable and improving society, some of the most pleasing gratifications, of which an heart of genuine sensibility is capable.
I trust, my worthy friends, that I am not altogether a stranger to the influence of that most excellent, that divine sentiment or maxim, worthy of its adorable author, that “It is better to give than to receivę ;" and that I am not entirely regardless of His most condescending and munificent grace, “who has promised a rich and everlasting reward to those that shall give to drink to one of his little ones, even a cup of cold water, in the name of a disciple. But how often have I been led to reflect, and to say, "can I pretend to this blessedness, and claim this reward, when I know that a spirit of selfishness so greatly debases all the little that I do, which, in the eye of a partial friend, may look like christian benevolence ? In the case now in view, whether the principles of my conduct were such as the spirit of Christ inspires, and his gospel enjoins and sanctions, and therefore such as will authorize the belief and hope, that according to the constitution and the provisions of the covenant of grace, I may safely look within for an approving conscience, and look up to an approving God, is a question which I feel myself not competent to decide. I know, however, that in what I did, which was, I doubt not, far less than what I ought to have done, I felt a satisfaction and pleasure, which were more than an abundant equivalent, for the little which was done; and in these sentiments and feel. ings, i hose of Mrs. K. have, as I believe, fully co-incided witb'my own.
On this subject, indeed, one of my most intimate and highly esteemed christian friends, not very long ago, after reading one of Mrs. W's letters, observed, that if we had been permitted to form a plan for obtaining the most desirable addition to our social and domestic comforts, we could not possibly have chosen better for ourselves, than the wisdom of our gracious Lord had already chosen for us, in brioging Mrs. W. into our family, and detaining her there during the short season which she spent with us. When she left us, we felt that we were separated from a friend, who was among those most near and dear to our hearts, and with whom we might probably never meet again in this world; yet consoled with the hope, if that hope we might venture to cherish, of meeting, never to part, in a better world; where christian love and friendship are perfected, and where the joy and pleasure, resulting from this source, and that infinitely higher source, the love and favour of our God and Saviour, shall never be interrupted, but shall be ever full, and ever growing, through all the ages of a blessed and glorious immortality!
But I must check a roving pen, which never knows where to stop, when employed on a pleasing, interesting subject, Allow me only to add, on this subject, that the well meant, but too flattering expressions of the sense, entertained by the church and their committee, of my poor and very defective labour of love, in the instance alluded to, though very grateful to my feelings, on my own account, have been still far more pleasing to me, as they have exhibited the satisfactory evidence, of the mutual esteem and regard, cherished by the church, and by Mrs. W. for each other; and particularly as they have manifested the disposition of the church, thus to honor one of their members, who was doubly related to them, in sacred and peculiarly interesting ties; and who, from the dissolution of one of those ties, wbich was in its nature, particularly endearing, now shares much more deeply than any
other member, in the heavy affliction with which the church has been visited, by the removal of their late worthy pastor, her dear husband, and the excellent father of her now fatherless children. The Husband of the widow, and the Father of the fatherless, will, I trust, be found a most kind and faithful friend, who will never leave or forsake her, or her dear babes ; so that in Him they inay still have an all-sufficient portion, that will never fail them.
With respect to your bereaved church, I am much gratified in hearing, that you have the pleasing prospect of soon again enjoying the stated ministrations of the gospel, and administration of its ordinances, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. P. whose talents and piety, and respectable character, under the influence of his providence and grace, in whose hands are the hearts and the times of all men, have concurred to produce that cordial unanimity, with which he has been invited to take upon him the arduous, and awfully responsible, charge of the immortal souls, belonging to your church
and congregation. If it shall please the great Head of the church, to favour his ultimate settlement with you, in the pastoral relation, may the important connexion be crowned by His blessing, to the mutual, everlasting comfort, of pastor and people, in the day of his final, glorious appearing, to judge the world in righteousness, to punish with an everlasting destruction from his presence, those who have not known God, nor obeyed the gospel of Christ; but to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all, who have believed; and who, under the influence of their faith, and in the course of a sincere, cheerful, and persevering obedience to the gospel, have looked for the mercy of their Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life.
I have taken the liberty of sending to Mrs. W. under cover to Mr. R. a copy of my sermon, which was lately preached here, and which was, in a manner, extorted from me, in order to its being more extensively communicated to the public, through the press. Το any friend, who may wish to have the perusal of this plain discourse, Mrs. W. will, no doubt, readily allow the use of it, for that purpose.
You see, my worthy friends, that instead of undertak. ing to make a respectful, formal acknowledgment of, and reply to, the very flattering vote of your church, with which they have been pleased to honor me ; I have used those freedoms, in writing to their respectable committee, which I am accustomed to take in my epistolary communications to my familiar friends. This liberty will, I hope, be candidly excused; and I doubt pot that you will kindly communicate, to the church, so much of the contents of this long letter, as in your judgment, you may think proper to be imparted; and that
you will do this, in the mode that may be most eligible, and acceptable.
This has been delayed, much beyond my wishes ; partly on account of a more than ordinary pressure of business, especially of writing, and partly with a view to ascertain, that I might inform you, of the amount of subscriptions for Mr. W's sermons, which you are to expect from this quarter. The names of the numerous patrons of this worthy undertaking, which appear on the paper in my hands, I will endeavour to transcribe and send forward, within the course of two or three weeks. Be assured, my christian brethren, and be so good as to assure the church, which you represent, that I am with great esteem, and as I hope, in the sacred ties of the gospel of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, your
and their sincere and affectionate friend, and fellow servant,
ISAAC S. KEITH.
CHARLESTON, JANUARY 20, 1807. The last letter received from you, our very dear friend, is under the dates November 28th, and December 5th, 1806; and like all the others, with which you have favoured us, it has been read by us, and also by some other friends, with a very lively interest, and cordial pleasure, and as I would hope, not without some spiritual improvement. We have only to regret, that we are so seldom indulged, with the pecu-' liar satisfaction, which the perusal of your letters never