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FROM MR. GUTTERIDGE TO MR. HALL.
PROPOSING THAT HE SHOULD PREACH A SERIES OF LECTURES
I am now about to address you on the subject of our conversation when last at Denmark Hill. I then suggested to you the wishes of many friends, that you would consent to visit London the following spring, and make arrangements for spending a longer time with us. Several persons have been inquiring if there were a probability of such an event being realised; but I did not wish to trouble you farther on the subject till it became needful to do so.
My idea has been, that if you would spend six weeks at least with us, a course of lectures might be established, to be preached by you, that, under a divine blessing, without which all our efforts are vain, might be productive of much good at the present season. A course of lectures, say you ;on what subject ? I reply, on any subjects that have a tendency to counteract the impiety and irreligion of the world in which we live: and surely you will admit this is latitude sufficient. I am aware that some objections will arise in your own mind. You will perhaps indignantly ask, “ Does he think I will go to London to preach for money ?' You may rely upon it, I have too much regard for you to wish you to do any thing that might even
be interpreted to your discredit. But is it dishonourable in a man, who has a family that have claims upon him, to do that which may promote their comfort ? Is the fair and honourable exercise of talent to be deprived of a suitable remuneration ? Is not “ the labourer worthy of his hire ?” And although he who is called to preach the gospel is not to be actuated by motives of “ filthy lucre,” yet he is nowhere called to despise the cup of blessings that Providence may put into his hands, “ who giveth us all things richly to enjoy." All this I am saying, upon a presumption that your friends will cheerfully raise a subscription, of which you will know nothing, save the contents.
I should propose to obtain places of worship well adapted for evening lectures; probably one in the city, and one on the other side Temple Bar; and that on the Lord's-day evening, and also one evening in the week, you might alternately preach there. This plan would leave your sabbath mornings at liberty to oblige particular friends, or to supply destitute congregations; and in this respect, I would propose to fix you to Prescott-street, if I dare. The time that appears to me most suited for the purpose would be the beginning of April ; and then you would be in Town, through the missionary meetings. There is also, in the beginning of May, a most important service to be performed for the “ Orphan School ;" the only school, among protestant dissenters, where the children are maintained as well as educated, and which has been
upon the decline, but is now, we hope, reviving. I should rejoice to see you become the advocate of so extensive and valuable an object; and, if you fall in with my design, you will, I hope, undertake it. I hope Mrs. Hall and the children will come with you: you have friends who will be glad to take them in; but if you would prefer a lodging, we can, I doubt not, manage that to your satisfaction. Thus have I given you the outlines of a plan which is subject to any alterations you may propose. Let me beg you to take it into your serious consideration, and to send me soon a favourable answer. I am, dear Sir, affectionately yours,
TO JOSEPH GUTTERIDGE, ESQ.
IN REPLY TO THE PRECEDING. My dear Sir,
Leicester, Feb. 29, 1812. I have taken into my most serious consideration the proposition laid before me in your last letter, and have sought the advice of those friends whose opinion I judged most fit to be relied upon. Some of them are decided in favour of my compliance, others leave the matter in suspense. My people at Leicester have given their cheerful consent, on a supposition of its appearing to me to be the path of duty. Upon making it frequent matter of prayer, I am inclined to think it may be my duty to fall in with the ideas entertained by you and
others upon this point, provided my health admit. The difficulties and discouragements attending the affair appear to me so formidable, that nothing could induce me for a moment to think of encountering them, but an apprehension that I might, by yielding to them, be going against the will of God. I am habitually alarmed at the thought of my having already too much hid my little talent in a napkin; and should consequently rather risk the most unpleasant imputations than increase that score of guilt. It ought to be (alas ! how weak my heart!) “ a small thing with me to be judged by man's judgement: there is one that judgeth, even the Lord.” The business, however prudently conducted, will expose me to the censure of pride and presumption, on the part of many; and my deficiencies will disappoint, I am certain, the expectation of my partial friends. Nevertheless, supposing it possible some good may result, I am inclined to say, “ I will go in the strength of the Lord my God.” An impediment lies in the way, however, at present, which must be removed before I can think of it; that is, the state of my health. My old complaint has grown upon me so much of late, that it is with great difficulty I can go on with my stated work. I have been for some time under the necessity of taking fifty, and sometimes a hundred, drops of laudanum every night, in order to procure any rest. The pain has been both violent and very nearly constant. It is quite out of the question to think of a journey to London, unless I am
better. So situated, whatever arrangements are made, connected with the proposal you mention, must be conditional ; and I shall, if you judge it fit to give it any farther consideration, inform you previously whether I can come or not. It seems to me there are some objections to the place of preaching being alternate : will not this interfere with its being well known? The same objection seems to apply to the appointment of different places. These, however, and all other points, I wish to submit to the decision of friends. Mrs. H. will, I believe, not be able to accompany me. She desires to be most respectfully remembered to you and Mrs. G. Please to present my best respects to Mrs. G. and Miss G., and believe me to be, with great esteem, • Dear Sir, yours affectionately,
TO JOSEPH GUTTERIDGE, ESQ.
ON THE SAME SUBJECT.
My dear Sir,
Leicester, March 29, 1812. I delayed writing to you as long as I could, that I might the better ascertain the state of my health at the time when it was proposed I should undertake my journey to London. I now feel myself under a necessity of informing you and my other friends, that my health is such as renders it impossible for me to think of engaging in such a matter. It is with the utmost difficulty that