« PreviousContinue »
and wishes, our plans and bopes, to his disposal, in the persuasion that he will invariably do what is right in itself, and order the event which is best for us, and for his church: this must be mercy, this must be love divine, although sometimes our eyes may be so holden, that we discern not the friendly Providence, under a frowning aspect. However, I need not occupy much of this sheet, and of my present time, in thus preaching to you; for the tenor of your communications, admonish me, that you are, by that heavenly teacher, God the Spirit, at least as well, if not much better instructed, on such subjects than I am myself. At the same time, I know, that both you and myself, have great need of further improvement in spiritual understanding, and wide scope for rich and comfortable attainments of christian experience. May we, under the teaching and discipline of the word and providence of God, accompanied by the enlightening, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, continually grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In proportion to this growth, in the spiritual life, will be our establishment, our peace, our usefulness, in the stations in which we are placed, whether these be attended with circumstances more or less comfortable or trying.
My dear Jane and myself, have shared the joys of yourself and Mrs. F. on account of the Lord's good. ness and mercy to you both, in making her the living mother, of such a fine and promising daughter. May she, with your sons and their parents, be richly blessed in Him, in whom every blessing is treasured up, and through whom all our enjoyments descend from, and all our hopes must ascend to, the God of all grace. When the Son of righteousness, with a small portion of the
splendour of his beams, dispels the mists of sense, which a storm of adversity is apt to produce ; your faith will then clearly see that the sickness in your family, with which you have been exercised, and the disappointment of your hopes from your crop, through the depredations of the caterpillar, and the desolating effects of the tremendous gale, with which our guilty country has been visited, are to be reckoned among your blessings, no less than your family comforts, and worldly prosperity and enjoyments. And as to your particular church, why should you not be willing that it should Whave the same lot with the church generally in the world: that it should be aflicted and tried, and that in circumstances which seem to be all against it, yet protected, supported, and favoured by its glorious Head and Saviour, it should live, gather strength, flourish, and triumph? Only believe ; and believing, faithfully attempt your duty: then quietly leave the event with the Lord, and it will be such as will be most for his glory, and for the ultimate benefit of his friends, in their individual, and their church capacity. Should it appear to be the will of God, that Mr. P. be removed to another sphere of labour ; still let it be your motto ; “ The Lord will provide ;” and your encouragement and consolation, while endeavouring to be found with him, and waiting upon him, that he will not leave nor
At all events, persevere, while you have a beam of hope to cheer your spirits, and animate your exertions; and in the mean time, let your temper and language be, “ Behold, here are we, let the Lord do to us, as seemeth good unto him."*
* 2 Sam. xv, 26.
Mr. P. who just called upon us here in Charleston, last week, seems to be as yet undetermined, whether it will be his duty, to remain with you, or to remove to Dorchester. I hope that he will be directed by unerring wisdom, to the right conclusion. And if that conclu. sion could be formed within a short time, it would be desirable, as a mean of settling his own mind, and giving those churches a greater freedom and decision, in pursuing the measures suited to their circumstances and prospects.
I sincerely sympathize with the family and connexions of Mr. E. and also with your infant church, on ac. count of their afflicting loss, sustained by his death. But let us be thankful for the consolatory hope, that he has died in the Lord ; and that the Lord lives to protect, support, and bless his friends, and the churcb, on earth.
A visit to Beaufort, if all circumstances could be agreeably arranged, would be highly gratifying to Jane and myself : and we feel ourselves much obliged to you
and Mrs. F. and other friends around you, who have so warmly expressed the desire to see us among them, and the disposition to facilitate our journey, and to make us feel so much at home in Beaufort. But after thinking and talking awhile on the subject, we could not find freedom to determine, in favour of this measure, for the present season ; and have therefore, for some time, given up every idea of it, till a more convenient season shall seem to offer; “ A man's heart deviseth his way : but the Lord directeth his steps.” May we ever so acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, that we may find him graciously directing us, in the path of duty and peace, in the way of life everlasting !
Having no prospect of seeing Beaufort this fall or winter; it is with much pleasure, that we hear of Mrs. F.and yourself, &c. being expected in Charleston, next month. We shall be happy in waiting upon you both; i.e. according to the New England sense of that phrase, at our own house ; where we hope to be favoured with as much of your company, as it will be converient and agreeable to yourselves, to allow us.
The news of the city, &c. I suppose you receive, by the public prints, and by other correspondents than myself; to which accordingly, I refer you, and thus save myself and you, the trouble of extending this tedious sorawl. I think it may, as to quantity, be considered as nearly an equivalent, to three folio, and seven and an half quarto pages, received in the three letters from you, to which it is to serve as an answer.
Thus I am in a degree relieved from an oppressive sense of obligation, for favours, which otherwise might seem to be not duly acknowledged, or fully reciprocated: and now I hope you will not think any more of altering the stipulated terms of our correspondence, viz. three for one ; nor feel it a burden to fulfil a task, which is only on your part, the discharge of a reasonable duty, and which on my part, highly gratifies, at once, my friendship and indolence, neither of which has in any degree decreased, since our correspondence commenced.
ISAAC S. KEITH. TO REV. MR. P.
CHARLESTON, SEPT. 17, 1805.
When I received your favour of July 8th, I was disposed, and almost resolved, to answer it by the return of the conveyance which brought it to me.
I do not now distinctly recollect the circumstances, or the considerations which prevented my good intention being carried into execution. But I suppose that they were such as appeared sufficient, to one that is too lasy, if not too good natured, to examine very strictly and severely, the reasons which are allowed to restrain him from doing the good which he would, in cases that are not supposed to be of the first importance or obligation. And as the heart of one lasy mortal, answers to that of another, as well as the reflecting image of a face in a glass. does to its original, I suspect, that while you may be ready enough to complain of my negligence, and to make a cloak of it for covering your own, you are secretly glad that I did not write so soon as I intended; because you have in the mean time, felt yourself out of my debt, and consequently relieved from those peculiarly unpleasant sensations and reflections, which must frequently disquiet those, who have some conscience, connected with much indolence, and would therefore, rather forego a pleasure, than submit to the labour and trouble of repaying it. If I am wrong in thus suspecting you, you will feel yourself bound to set me right, by improving an early opportunity for sending me a