« PreviousContinue »
prehensive, that the truth as it is in Jesus will be but little known; it seems to be going out of fashion very fast, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith upon the earth? "Ay,Sir,theGod of all the earth will do right;" here we parted, I only repeating his observation-Yes, Sir, the God of all the earth will do right; and I will now add, glory be to his name therefore, yea, forever and ever, amen, and amen.
Thus, I have, agreeably to the best of my poor abilities, employed myself in endeavouring to comply with your wishes. May the spirit of truth lead you into those paths, which are peace, into those ways, which are ways of pleasantness.-Farewell.
To a youth on the point of being separated from his family. MY DEAR YOUTH,
I SHALL not have an opportunity of speaking to you as I could wish. I must, therefore, beg your patience, while I give vent to the affections of my soul, in this way. I flatter myself, your attachment to me will oblige you to attend to the voice of my supplication.
Permit me then, as a brother, as a friend, as a father, as one to whom you have attended in the character of a teacher, and from whom, in that character, you have heard what God the Lord has done for your immortal soul. Permit me, I entreat you, in these characters, and in the fulness of warm affection, to give you a few words of advice.
You are now entering upon the stage of public life; public when contrasted with the life, which, you have hitherto led in the bosom of your family. A life with which you can have no acquaintance, until you make the experiment, and therefore you cannot be so well guarded against the dangers and difficulties with which that life abounds. A life, however, which, should you pass cautiously through, may be rendered subservient to your future happiness.
In the first place, suffer me to remind you of the character you now sustain, which, if well supported, will not only command respect from the sensible part of mankind, (and to those only will a sensible man render the homage of his regard) but give you a continuation of what, (as the poet justly observes,) nothing earthly can give or take away
"The soul's calm sunshine and the heart-felt joy."
It is known that you are a member of a society, who profess to believe that Jesus died for their sins, and rose again for their justification. Of this truth, you are well persuaded; and you know it is incumbent upon you, in every walk of life, in every action, to endeavour to adorn the doctrine of your election. It will assuredly be your interest, as well as your duty, to conform thereto. The people with whom you associate will respect you the more, whatever they may say. The Redeemer of men will, in his own gracious way and time, amply reward you; and you will have, what of itself will be a full and sufficient recompense for any effort you may make in supporting your character, you will have the approbation of your own heart.
We are right happy in knowing that the service of our Master is perfect freedom, and that it is as much our interest, as it our bounden duty, to be found in the paths of wisdom; you will not, therefore, while exemplifying the christian character, be reduced to the necessity of appearing gloomy or unsociable. But I conjure, I entreat, I charge you, by every obligation you are under to the Lover of your soul, that you do not bring a reproach upon that sacred name, by which you are called. That you do not unite with them who speak profanely of that name. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain is more applicable to you than to others. The world may not yet know that Jesus is their Saviour, and their God. We are ready to say, it cannot be neces sary to draw any arguments from christianity, to dissuade men from swearing, forasmuch as it is neither a genteel nor a prefable accomplishment. But, although, it is scandalous in all, it is peculiarly so in a professed Christian. God preserve my young friend from this ungentlemanly, from this horrid practice.
There are many vices, to the practice of which, you will have no inclination; there are some, from which, pride will guard you. But nature and company will draw you to others. There are two capital crimes, which have frequently proved fatal to young men.
commencing the career of life; a criminal connexion with the dissolute of the other sex, and with gamesters. Indeed, it is hardly possible to have any other than a criminal connexion with either. Those degrading passions, either combined or singular, have brought many a promising youth to destruction. But Oh, my dear, young friend, if you have the smallest value for the respectable family, of which you are at present a meritorious member, if you have any value for health, or for property,
"Shun as a plague, or any thing that 's worse,
"The lewd embraces of the wanton dame,
Believe me, or rather believe the wisest man, or men, that have ever written, this is the certain road to destruction.
It is, in my opinion, possible to go through life with more pleasure, and less sorrow, than people in general suppose. Shun vicious company; meddle not with other people's concerns; study to be quiet, and mind your own business; bear, and forbear; render not railing for railing. Let these excellent, these divine maxims, ever live in your heart, and direct your conduct, and whether you are thrown among friends or enemies, you will be beloved and respected.
These are friendly admonitions, they are not words of course; they are dictated not so much by a sense of duty, as by sincere affection. I love you, and therefore I feel for you; I love your connexions, and I am, therefore, interested in you; I know the world, and it is therefore I tremble for one, for whom I so tenderly feel, and who is just preparing to encounter its dangers. You do not want sense, but I pray you trust not too much to that; you are blest with a good disposition, do not, however, rest your hopes on this consideration; you are nearly related to the Preserver of men, attend to, and depend upon him, and you will never fail.
That your way may be made prosperous, that you may be preserved from every evil, and returned home in safety, and with an unblemished character, is the fervent prayer of, my dear, young friend, your truly affectionate, &c. &c.
To a young man.
I THANK you unfeignedly for your last favour. O, that you might continue in that frame of mind, in which this sweet epistle describes you! And do you, indeed, wish to hear again the voice of the good Shepherd? Yes, I know that you do; you cannot choose, but sigh to listen to the words of grace and truth, for they are sweeter to the soul of the sinner, than honey to the taste, or the softest strains of music to the ear. Indeed, my poor fellow, I do, from my soul, pity you. I am confident, no satisfaction can possibly be obtained, from the society with which you are accustomed to associate. Were you under an absolute necessity always to mingle in such company, I should calculate upon hearing you exclaim, Woe is me, for I am constrained to dwell in the tents of Kedar. And if the conversation of Pharisees, and pretended Christians, is so tedious to you, what must be the company of profane persons, to whom we are told you are attaching yourself? William, my heart bleeds for you, the circle of which you are so fond will lead you as far in the road to destruction, as the faithfulness of God our Saviour can suffer you to proceed. I well know your temper; your disposition is affectionate and generous; you would gladly administer good things, even to the evil and unthankful, and God forbid, I should presume to give yoù a motive, which may have a tendency to prevent your following the steps of your divine Master. But indeed you cannot benefit those you misname your friends; you cannot essentially benefit either them or yourself, and you will greatly injure your dear, innocent family; and what I am persuaded will have more weight with you, and with every one who loves our Lord Jesus, you will plant a dagger in the calumniated cause of your Redeemer.
Reflect, deluded young man, and may reflection produce reformation. Let the profane scoffer, and the malignant bigot, let the practices of those characters, be equally objects of detestation. Separate yourself from them, I beseech you, and let them know, VOL. II.
that you are determined to commence a true son of liberty, and that, although you will be ready to do them, upon every occasion, as much good as may consist with your duty to your Saviour, God, to your family, and to yourself; yet, that you will no longer continue the associate of their unwarrantable excesses. Fly, fly from them, as you would from the poison of the serpent. God hath given you a tender, faithful companion, lovely and promising infants; do not upon any occasion sacrifice to the adversary, to the accuser of the brethren, what belongs to your Saviour, and to them. You see, I not only prove my friendship, by being thus plain, but I evince my sentiments of your attachment to me; were I not sure of my influence, I should not thus presume.
No, it is not possible that an angel from heaven can direct you more advantageously, than to make your Bible, your constant companion. Look, I beseech, you for counsel and support, to him who giveth to all men liberally, and who upbraideth not. Our travels through this wilderness will by and by end; there is a rest which remaineth; we shall shortly reach our native skies.
I thank you for your caution. I am indeed a minister of the reconciliation; God forbid that any consideration should ever induce me to surrender that, which was committed to my charge. Let us be, while we continue in this wilderness, companions in the gospel. When your leisure will permit, of an evening, open your writing desk, take your Bible, and search diligently in your grand treasury, and when you meet with any new discovery, transcribe it from this sacred volume, and send it forward to me. It may be highly beneficial to me, and through me to others. In this way your voice may be heard through these United States. But I will not add, you will again charge me with sermonizing, instead of letter writing. Remember me to Mary, and to the sweet babes, and, my dear William, be assured that I am, with cordial affection, your ever faithful friend, &c. &c.