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consideration of my deserving it so little, and my perfect conviction, that did they know me more they would esteem me less. It ought to humble most persons, to reflect, that for a large portion of the respect in which they are held, they are indebted to ignorance; to the necessary unacquaintance with each other's hearts. The Great Supreme is the only being from whom nothing is to be feared on this head; the only one who may be safely trusted with the worst secrets of our hearts. “His mercy endureth for ever." He also is able, and only he, to correct the obliquities he discovers. The Leicester news you probably hear from other quarters. I go so little into society, that the report must be strong and loud which reaches me.
Leicester, April 23, 1813. I am ashamed of not having earlier answered the kind letter I received from Mrs. B., for which I beg you will present my hearty acknowledgements. I must also thank you for your book on the Accidents of Life. It is a most entertaining production, and will, I hope, be extensively useful in preventing or remedying a large portion of human calamity. It is plainly dictated by the
same spirit that breathed in a Howard and a Hanway, and will entitle you to a portion of their reward.
As I hope to see Cambridge in the course of this summer, you will not expect from me a very long letter. I recollect, with fervent gratitude, the kindness I there met with ; mixed with much shame, to think it should have been lavished on such an undeserving object. When I recollect the course of my ministry at Cambridge, I feel continual matter of condemnation. “Do you preach better now, then ?' you will perhaps say. In one respect I do not preach half so well :-I do not bestow near so much attention on my composition : but I trust I do insist on more interesting and evangelical topics. A greater savour of Jesus Christ does, I trust, breathe through my ministry, in which it was formerly greatly deficient.
But why do I speak so much of myself ?-We last Monday held our annual[meeting of the] Bible Society. It was more numerously attended than ever, and delightful to see clergymen and dissenting ministers sit on the same seat, and ardently engaged in promoting the same object, with perfect unanimity. We cannot say of the past times, that they were better than the present. I think the age is greatly improving : it must improve, in proportion as the grand catholicon is more universally applied. * *
It would have given me great pleasure to have
seen you this summer at Leicester : I am sorry your letter indicates no intention of that sort.
* * * * * * I am much delighted with reading a new translation of Mosheim's Commentaries on the Affairs of the Christians before Constantine. It appears to me one of the most instructive theological publications that has appeared for a multitude of years. With kind remembrances to Mrs. B. and all inquiring friends,
I remain, my dear Sir,
P.S. We have had an irreparable loss in the removal of dear Mr. Robinson. It has been a most affecting event, and has left a chasm which can never be filled up. Last Wednesday I endeavoured to improve the event by a suitable discourse.
[When Mr. Hall visited Cambridge, in the summer of 1813, he preached a sermon to the young persons belonging to the congregation there with which he had formerly been connected. The next day they assembled, and addressed to him a letter of thanks, to which the following is his reply:-)
To my young Friends, of Mr. Edmonds's con
gregation : My dear young Friends,
I feel greatly obliged to you for your very affectionate testimony of your esteem, and rejoice to find my feeble attempts to impress religious sentiments were not altogether without effect. Your letter breathes a spirit of unaffected piety, which it is impossible to witness without emotion. I hope the Lord will enable you to persevere, and that, “ being planted in the house of the Lord, you will flourish in the courts of your God, and bring forth fruit even to old age.” Be sober, be vigilant ; watch closely over your own hearts, and be much in earnest supplication to the Fountain of grace. Bless God, for having inclined your hearts to seek him; and doubt not that he will most graciously afford all the succour necessary to enable you to finish your course with joy.
That you may very greatly profit by the means of grace with which you are favoured, and become the joy of your parents, the hope of your minister, and great examples of pure and undefiled religion, is the earnest prayer of,
My dear young Friends,
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER TO THE REV. W.
Leicester, Oct. 25, 1813. I have taken into consideration the proposal you have made. I know not what to say to it. If I shall part with the copyright of the little tracts, it may be, possibly, an injury to my family, and put it out of their power to publish a complete edition. Your proposal is very handsome; but this is one of my objections to it. Another is, it is so long since the tracts made their appearance, and several so short, and their subjects so miscellaneous, that I am afraid it will have an ostentatious appearance. I hate the appearance of vanity: I have so much of it in my heart, that I am ashamed it should display itself to the eyes of the world. As to my sermon, I am doing something to it at intervals. I have, indeed, nearly written it out in the rough, but I am so much disgusted with it, as usual, that I can by no means let it appear, unless it is in my power greatly to improve it.*
* The Sermon here alluded to was never published.