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rest, to employ a portion of it in thinking aloud to my excellent daughter, on the subject which ought to engross my mind and affections, and which ever has so large a share in her regards. There was a sentiment, a feeling, in your last which affected and delighted me beyond measure. I am growing old, my dearest child, and I wish to be constantly sensible that every day brings me nearer to my release from this transitory life. How happy I consider myself in a beloved correspondent, who can think and write of a better world as you do. You remind me constantly, my dearest W of that departed saint, who, I indulge myself in thinking, perhaps watches over me as I write ; whose memory I cherish with a reverence, as well as affection, I cannot express; whom I see continued on earth to me in you. There are times, my love, when I allow myself, with the deepest thankfulness to Him who “gave and hath taken away,” to compare you with each other, and to acknowledge the great goodness of the Almighty in bestowing on me two such daughters; but neither you nor I desire to say two only. It is the wonderful mercy of His goodness to me, that, look where I will within my own little circle, I see blessings and comforts on all sides. No parent was ever more rich than I am in domestic happiness.
I rejoice that you “ sit looser"_to use the language of Jeremy Taylor—to this passing being, than at your time of life it is common to do, and
are never more happily employed, than when you look to the “life and immortality brought to light through the gospel."--Read v. of St Paul's 2d Epistle to the Corinthians.—He speaks in 6th to 8th verses of the “ confidence,” the settled conviction of a Christian believer, that it is “better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.” Now, in your prayers for your poor father, offer one supplication, that this “confidence” may be every day more and more wrought in me! This is, I am deeply convinced, the highest attainment in this world of the Christian faith. In his Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. ii. we find the Apostle describing the state of the natural man, as in all his lifetime under the dominion of the fear of death; and while it was the great office of the promised Deliverer (Gen. ii.), to “ destroy him who hath the power of death,” it is at the same time the most precious fruit of the Spirit, whom He promised as a Comforter to his disciples “to abide with them for ever,” to be not only released from the natural fear of death, but to be willing to die. I remember a remarkable passage in one of Wesley's journals, recorded by Southey, where Wesley observes, that we may consider our feelings in the contemplation of death, as a test of our progress in the Christian life. Now I feel that this is true ; that when we consider what is assured by the word of Almighty God through His ever blessed Son, to be the portion of his faithful servants, there ought to be no hesitation to prefer death unto life in this world ; that is (for the expression has sometimes been sadly misunderstood), to prefer that state which the mercy of God has provided for his accepted servants, to the best happiness that this world can furnish, and in this the test consists; for it is evident, that unless the heart be purified and the taste refined, so as to make the prospect of the employments and gratifications of a spiritual world desirable, this preference would be impossible. At the same time, for infinite are the wisdom and mercy of God, He has ordained, that in the faithful discharge of our duties in this state consists the preparation for that which is to come.
You must have read of enthusiasts who have actually shortened their own lives to arrive at the happiness of another world, but the appointments of Almighty goodness are directly opposed to this madness, by ordaining that the endeavour at least to fulfil our obligations here, is to be the necessary qualification for a better world. So that the faith in which we rely on the promises of God, is to be the excitement to a righteous discharge of our duties in this life, while the same faith, instructing us in the unspeakable blessings and happiness, “the rest which is prepared” for the people of God, is designed to render our removal the object of complacent regard. And here, I think, is the struggle,—the events and engagements of our days on earth are, through
the hereditary sin of our nature, calculated to engross us too much, and put out of our minds that for which they are in reality intended and it is for this reason that I contemplate the wish, to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, as the highest attainment of Christian faith. It is a principle rendering death itself an object of more than resignation, while the alacrity and spirit with which our various duties in this world are to be performed, are not in any measure weakened or impeded. I am afraid that I have scarcely expressed myself clearly; I have neither time nor space to do better just now : but a few words will suffice to say, that it is the earnest object of my prayers and reflections, to be able to look on
“the last enemy which shall be destroyed ” in this light; and the greatest blessing, in my opinion, which we can enjoy in this life, is to be actuated by the spirit which the Apostle describes in the passage to which I have referred above.
I ever am, my beloved Wtionate Father,
> your affec
Believe me, I was much flattered and gratified by your kind attention in writing to me so soon after your arrival at Oxford, and have regretted every day the indisposition or interruptions which have delayed my acknowledgment of
your kindness till this day, when my letter will, by all accounts, reach you only time enough to wish you a pleasant and happy vacation.
You do me the kindness to express a wish for my advice. That advice can only be of use to you when you return in October; and I am not willing to give up the hope of seeing you in your way southwards in the Autumn, when I may
do better in conversation, now that you have seen something of the society and ways of the University. Still I have somewhat to say, in the opinion that you purpose to see another