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ter into his rest in heaven. But contrary to my plan, I am beginning to particularize, in speaking of friends around you; and am tempted now to name your good deacons, and the several families of C. M. R. C. &c. &c. &c. but I must stop here, with the request, that our united love and best wishes, may be presented to them all and every one, as if they were severally nam. ed, including especially your sisters and brothers, and their and your dear children. As to yourself, rest as. Bured, that we continue to love you as dearly and sincerely as ever ; and while we tenderly sympathize with you under the renewed deaths, sicknesses, and various afflictions, in which you are from time to time called to hear your part of sufferings, we are at the same time consoled with the persuasion, that all are appointed and ordered in love, and will be sanctified to the furtherance of your salvation, and the increase of your everlasting happiness. And surely you can have no cause to complain, if it pleases your wise and gracious Lord, in the furnace of affliction, to brighten your future crown of glory.
ISAAC 8. KEITA.
TO MRS. W.
ON THE DEATH OF HER SON.
NEW YORK, JULY 9, 1808.
Your kind letter, our very dear friend, which you wrote at Middleton, under date of the 4th inst. we have just now received. How little did we apprehend,
after having received and read so many letters from you, communicating so much pleasure and satisfaction, that your next would be the messenger of such sorrowful tidings, and penetrate our hearts with pain, instead of filling them with joy! But alas ! what are the most flattering worldly prospects, and the most pleasing cal. culations founded upon them! The storm of affliction had beaten heavily upon you, and laid your best earthly support, and dearest mortal comfort in the dust. Your sky, however, seemed to be clearing up, and the sun of prosperity had begun again to shine upon you. But the black cloud has again gathered around you, and drawn you again into the bouse of mourning; and to the feelings of nature, and especially to the tender sensibilities of a widowed mother's heart : how gloomy now the scene, where you are watering, with unavailing tears, the lovely plant which you were cultivating with the most affectionate christian care, and which in the morning was flourishing and growing, as one of your favourite, rising hopes; but which, before the evening, was cut down and withered, under the irresistible stroke of death! How sudden the event, how affecting the change! But the hand, Oh Lord, was thine! A consideration sufficient to silence at once every murmur, and to bow the soul into adoring submission. For the Lord doth all things well, and all that he does, concerning you, will, I doubt not, work for your good. Only be now still, and know that he is God : and hereafter, you shall know what he has done, and why he bas done so, to your unspeakable consolation and joy, and to his everlasting praise ; when in the light of hear. en and eternity, all that is now obscure, in the dispensations of his providence, in this twilight scene shall
exhibit the strokes of his wisdom, and the benignity and munificence of his love, in full ineridian splendour. There and then you will see and know, and feel, in a manner and degree far, far exceeding your present capacity, that God is Love, and that this God, your Saviour, will be your God and portion, and your exceeding great reward for ever! In these views, and in this persuasion, surely you will weep under this renewed sorrow, as though you wept not. Fain would I be the minister of comfort to you. But I feel my own insufficiency, and therefore commend you to the God of all grace and comfort, our compassionate Lord and Saviour, who by his word and spirit comforts them that mourn, and binds up, cheers and heals, the hearts of his dear people, which he hath wounded and broken, not for his pleasure, but for their profit, that they may become in a larger measure partakers of his holiness, and thus become qualified for an higher degree of the life and happiness which can be found only in his favour. All that we can do for you, will, I trust, be done with something of the spirit of human and christian friendship ; we will still give you the place of a favourite friend, in our affections, and in our sympathy; and we will endeavour to bear you on our hearts, particularly in our prayers. At the same time, I cannot forbear to remind you of the satisfaction which we feel on your account, and of the ground of thankfulness to the God of your and our mercies, which is afforded, by the grace and strength which he has manifestly given you, (in answer to the prayer of faith) to prepare you for, and to support you under, the renewed trial to which he has called you. It would seem, indeed, as if we had reason, rather to congratulate you, than to condole with you; on account of those repeated, painful trials, with which you have been visited, as in these you have received the distinguishing tokens of your Heavenly Father's love, who chastens those whom he loves, and often scourges, most severely, those whom he receives with peculiar regard and honor ;, and as under these trials, he has so remarkably furnished you with strength according to your day, and with grace to enable you to glorify him in the day of visitation. In him may you still be enabled to hope, to trust, and to rejoice, as the God of your salvation, and the portion of your sonl; and may he still be with you, to keep you and to bless you, to bless you by all his dealings with you, and to conduct you in the right, the best way, to that everlasting rest which remaineth for his people!
How melancholy is the account which you give, of the prevalence and the ravages of that fatal epidemic, the spotted fever, in Farmington, and the towns adja. cent; under which not only your dear Joseph Ebenezer, (“in whom you have lost the name, and a very striking portrait of your late husband, deservedly most dear to you,”') but many other of your very near' and dear friends, have fallen the lamented victims, “ cut off in the midst of life and usefulness !” May it please the Lord speedily to say, to this destructive scourge, “It is enough !” and restore that precious, but too generally abused blessing of health, to the people, who have been visited with this awful chastisement of his holy hand ! to those who have been called to mourn under it, the loss of nearest connexions and dearest friends; may he vouchsafe his supporting, sanctifying, comforting grace : and to the inhabitants generally, may the alarm and the distress which it has occasioned,
be abundantly compensated, by the pouring out of his spirit from on high upon them, and by a glorious revival of the work of his grace among them, whereby multitudes
be turned from their sins, the causes of all God's judgments, and engaged to fly for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them, in the Saviour of sioners, in whom they will be secure from all that is truly formidable in sickness and death, and in whom they may at all times, and in all circumstances, triumph in the hope of a blessed and a glorious immortality !
The goodness and mercy of the Lord, have remarkably attended us hitherto, since we left home, by sea and by land : and my health seems to be already sensibly improved. Oh for humble, thankful, obedient hearts !
On the 11th or 12th inst. we expect, with Divine permission, to proceed on our journey eastward. As we travel slowly, and occasionally stay a little time where we find it convenient and agreeable, we may not, perhapi, reach Middleton till the week following, say about the 20th. With a melancholy satisfaction, if the Lord so appoint, we will meet you there. How much greater would have been the pleasure of meeting you at home in Farmington, with your family and friends around you in health and peace ! But the Lord knows best what is best for us, and his will be done! My dear Jane is very well, and in christian love to you and yours, very cordially joins with your very affectionate friend,
ISAAC S. KEITH.