« הקודםהמשך »
TO W. H. S. S.
Bolney, Tuesday evening, Dec. 11.
ALAS! alas ! my dear friend, my poor dear father is no more: he expired yesterday morning about a quarter before eleven of the clock. This to me, my dear friend, is one of the severest strokes that has ever befel me since I have been in this world. But one thing at times assuages my grief, and in some measure composes my mind, which is this : I am sure that he departed out of this world in peace.
Poor dear man, I was one that sat up with him during the last night of his abode with us. When in the agonies of death he looked and smiled twice, and once he endeavoured to speak, and got out these words—How beautiful! Isaiah lii. 7. But he then dropped short; his strength was too far gone to say more. He expired without a struggle ; and to his last moments there was peace, composure, and resignation, to be read in his very countenance. O, my dear friend, we have lost a most tender and affectionate father; and I think my poor sister and I are left almost alone in a sinful world. The cross of Christ is not ceased where
the the power of God appears ; and I know that there are none around these parts that will care for us, except the poor despised few that favour the Lord's righteous cause. My aunts and my uncle are remarkably kind to us, and much lament the loss of my venerable parent. It is impossible for me to describe the grief and forrow of my poor Gifter ; dilinayed and cast down she is with a witness, and quite inconsolable. She said to me yesterday, “I " think I have lost the only friend I have had in " the world;" adding, “ There is another thing “ which distresses me above measure; which is, « that the Doctor, whom I sincerely love, feels his "mind at a distance from me; for he has not so et much as mentioned my name in any one letter " sent to my father or you since the beginning of " his illness.” I hope my dear friend will favour us with his acquaintance, his correspondence, and his summer visits, as long as it shall please God to spare your life. If you can find it in your heart, pray remember us in your petitions : For I am sure, if we were both destitute of faith in Christ, we could never bear up under this calamity which is now fallen upon us. It has been our most anxious desire, and earnest prayer to God, that our poor father might be spared a few years longer : but this request is not granted, this comfort is denied ; but we hope still to share in your prayers. LET TER IV.
Pray, sir, excuse my writing so freely, for it is out of the abundance of my heart that my mouth
speaketh. I should esteem it an unspeakable favour if you would drop us a few lines. Sometimes I thought that I would not write, for I could put down nothing in my paper but the grief and feelings of my heart: but I felt å fecret persuasion that you would feel for us, and bear a part of our burthens. Excuse, my dear friend, what is amiss, and believe me to remain, with the highest esteem and regard,
TO E. B
Cricklewood, Dec. 14, 1804. My dear friend in the Lord Jesus Christ,
I have now received what I fully expected, and what I knew before the coming of yours. For, when you sent me the first account of your father's illness, I spread the matter before the Lord in prayer, but felt a bar upon my heart, as I mentioned to you in my former letter. The Spirit of grace and supplication maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, and always according to the will of God (Rom. viii. 26, 27', but never against it.
It is now many years since he and I set out for Bolney (polt), and we left London about nine o'clock in the evening. On the road I was determined to pump his heart, and to draw out all that was in it.-Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. Prov. xx. 5. I begun with him, and soon the spring appeared to rise, and to flow out rapidly.
The The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the well-spring of wisdom as a flowing brook. Prov, xviii. 4. After some time he stopped. I then asked another question, such as agreed with the chain of discourse, and off he went again, filled with love and heavenly joy. It was quite dark, so that he could not see my countenance, nor did I speak one word all the time he went on; but when he stopped, then I mentioned to him how this and the other passage of Scripture was fulfilled in this and in the other part of his experience; and then asked another question or two, agreeing with the end of the thread where he left off; and that set him going again, till I got him to the time when the Lord turned his captivity; and then his mouth was filled with laughter. Plal. cxxvi. 2.
He informed me of the soul-trouble which came gradually upon him ; of his sinking deeper and deeper under it; of some friends of the Baptist persuasion getting hold of him, and persuading him of the goodness of his state, and how this lifted him up into vain and presumptuous confidence, until sin got the mastery of him, and the contraction of fresh guilt pulled hiin down again into all his former horrors and terrors. About this time a book of mine fell into his hands, which pointed out his presumptuous confidence, and helped forward his calamity, till he came over to Lewes to hear me: and after that his determination to speak