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have been already bestowed upon me, or which I may yet hope to experience, from a people, whose friendly and affectionate conduct towards their ministers, has been long honourably distinguished, will be, to devote myself with a zealous and affectionate heart, to the service of your souls, in the advancement of your spiritual and eternal interests and happiness. And I trust and hope, that I shall not be found altogether wanting in that Christian and cordial love, and attachment to you, which will dispose and lead me, in this way, very gladly to spend and be spent for you.
Many deficiencies, I am sensible, you will discern in the exercise of my ministry, as well as in other instances. From a consciousness of these, it was not without much difficulty, that my own consent was obtained, to take part in the pastoral care of so large and important a branch of the Christian Church. To this, however, I was encouraged, primarily by the promises of the Great Head of the Church, that he will always be with his ministers, whenever and wherever they are employed by his Providence, and that he will not require more than he has given, but graciously accept them, according to what they have to offer, or are able to do, in his service. In subordination to this divine encouragement, was that derived from the persuasion, of my finding with you that candor and indulgence, which would lead you kindly to overlook, or bear with, my infirmities, and benevolently to accept my well meant endeavours to serve you; and from the consideration, that I was not to be engaged alone in the arduous undertaking; but to be associated with one, whose worthy character and useful labours, have justly acquired him that approbation, esteem and influence,
which he happily enjoys with you, and from whose friendly and good offices, in various ways, I promised myself many advantages.
With him, under whose ministrations you have already enjoyed several happy, and I hope, not unprofitable years; it is my earnest wish, it is my sincere resolution, and I trust, through grace, it will be my constant endeavour, to maintain the most cordial harmony, in carrying on the great design of our common ministry. And to every proper measure that may be used by us, to cultivate a friendly and affectionate union, and to encourage each others hearts, and strengthen each others hands in this great and good work. am persuaded you will always add every countenance and aid, which you can give. Your fervent prayers, it is hoped, will ever be united with our own, that we may be ever animated as by one soul, that we may always speak the truth in love, as with one mouth; and that we may constantly and uniformly aim, and with abundant success, at the same great object, the glory of God, in your salvation. And whatever different powers, gifts, or qualifications, we may possess, you will not, on this account, we trust, ever think of declaring yourselves one for Paul, and another for Apollos; but still consider us as instruments only of a different form, used by the same God of all grace, and employed by the one only Head of the Church, in the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body, or the Church of Christ; and whether we plant or water, prove instrumental to the conversion of sinners, or to the edification of believers, you will consider God alone as the Author of all the fruits or suc
cesses of our respective services, and give Him the praise who giveth the increase.
The pastoral relation in which I am now united with you, I consider as one of the most important and tender, that can take place between men on earth; and conformably to the very interesting nature of the connexion, I trust, my heart will ever feel the tenderest interest in your concerns. For your prosperity, and especially that your souls may be in health, and prosper in the divine life, I shall ever fervently pray, and in all your afflictions and distresses, whether as a Society or as individuals, I shall ever be ready to bear a sympathetic part. In the God of your salvation, in whose favour is your life, and whose loving kindness is better than life, may you find that joy, in which I would always wish to rejoice with you, and the consolation, which you may need under all those sorrows in which I may be called to weep with you, may you also find in the same God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who alone is able, and who will be found always ready to comfort you, if you are not wanting to yourselves, in all your tribulations.
The ministry received of the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify the gospel of the grace of God, which I have now begun to exercise among you, it will, trust, be my aim so to fulfil, through the whole course of it, whether that may be long or short, that I may finish it with joy. May I obtain mercy of the Lord to be faithful in the discharge of it, so that when it comes to be concluded among you, I may be able, in the language of St. Paul, to take you to record, that "I am pure from the blood of all men," having not shunned
to declare unto you the whole counsel of God, nor kept back any thing that appeared to be profitable to you; and uniformly inculcating, as the scope and tendency of all my preaching, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. By your receiving the truth, thus preached, in the love of it, and with cordial obedience to it, let me entreat you, to afford me the best encouragement which you can give in this difficult work; and to bestow upon me the greatest honor and happiness, to which I can aspire among you, even that of cherishing the hope, the pleasing the animating hope, that if I should be so successful as to save my own soul, I may also rejoice in the day Christ, that I have not laboured in vain among you, but have been in some measure instrumental to your salvation.
Before I conclude, I cannot forbear expressing the pleasure which I feel, and my affectionate congratulations, with a word of exhortation to you, on account of the prosperous circumstances in which I find your Society at the present day, and the pleasing prospects which seem to be opened before you for the time to
The increasing numbers, and growing strength of your Church, and the successful exertions which you have made under the many disadvantages in which you were involved by the calamities of an eventful, and to you of this place in particular, a most distressful war to repair the ruins of your ancient house of wor ship, and to complete the new building for the public service of God, which you have raised, and the comfortable provision which you have made for the support of the ordinances of the gospel in them, are circumstances highly honorable and favorable to you. Not
unto yourselves, however, not unto yourselves, but unto God, to whose, kind and bountiful Providence you are so deeply indebted, let all the praise be ascribed, for his truth and his mercy's sake.
Be not weary in well doing, but let your zeal be still unremittingly employed, in the same good cause of your church and your religion, on those worthy motives, and with those exalted views, which Christianity inspires; and in this way encourage your hope, that he who has put it into your heart to do so much for the honor of his name, will remember your works and labours of piety and love, and will cause you to see more and more of the good of his chosen, and to rejoice and glory with encreasing joy and triumph, in the gladness and prosperity of his church and inheritance.* That he will abundantly bless the provisions of his grace, dispensed to you in the house which you have builded to his name, and add many to the number that shall here be fed with the bread of life.
And as you would desire and hope that he would thus befriend and bless you, be careful that your hearts may ever remain united, in a sincere Christian friendship for each other, and that your mutual endeavours be employed in love, to serve one another, and to promote the common interests of the whole body, of which you are members. This spirit of amity and concord, so congenial to the gospel, so well becoming a Christian society, will, in the nature of things, eminently contribute to the stability and growth of your church, and the advancement of your religious edification and comfort; and it will most certainly secure to you the divine pres
* Psalm 186.