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been to renounce reviewing altogether. I think it probable he would not admit my review; I am sure he ought not, for the reasons I have assigned, and I have laid him under no such obligation as to induce him to depart from the straight-forward path. I do not suppose I could bring myself to speak higher of the work than an impartial reader would do; and what advantage, then, could be derived from my reviewing it? But, supposing I did, where would be the justice to the public ? You perceive, my dear friend, the difficulties which surround me, and the reasons why, in my humble opinion, the interference of friendship should not be allowed in such cases.
I write altogether in the dark. You have not informed me in what Review you would wish me to write; nor do I know whether it has been reviewed already. I am not at all in the habit of reading either the Eclectic, or any other Review : indeed, I wish the whole tribe could be put an end to.
TO MR. J. E. RYLAND. (EXTRACT.)
Leicester, 1824. - I cannot write but upon some specified subject; and that subject must be something which suggests itself spontaneously to my thoughts. I
feel an insuperable repugnance to the bending of my mind to the suggestion of others : it must be free as air, or I cannot move to any purpose : whatever I write, must originate entirely with myself. Though I have no objection to gaining money, yet my love of it is not sufficiently strong for it to have any sensible influence in directing my literary exertions. There are several subjects, which I have revolved in my mind, to which I feel a decided preference; and if I present myself to the public at all, it must be in the discussion of these. As to Pascal, few admire him more than myself: but, in writing an introduction, I should feel myself quite out at sea; I should float, without any determinate direction; my mind would have no determinate object; and, not having a distinct idea of what I wished to do, I should do nothing to any purpose. For elegant and specious declamation, I have no sort of talent. I must have a brief; I must have something like a fixed thesis, some proposition I wish to establish or illustrate, or I feel perfectly cold and indifferent. For my part, I let every man pursue his own plans: how it is that I am doomed to be the perpetual object of advice, admonition, expostulation, &c. &c., as a writer, I know not. I am sure it does not arise from any proofs I have given of superior docility. I know myself so well, as to be distinctly aware that importunities of this kind have always the effect of indisposing me to their object. I should have written more had I been urged less ; and when the public cease to dictate to me, I shall feel myself my own master.
TO MRS. LANGDON.
ON THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND.
My dear Madam,
Leicester, Oct. 23, 1824. The melancholy intelligence of the death of dear Mr. Langdon has deeply affected me; and most happy should I deem myself, were it in my power to administer effectual consolation under such a stroke. I refrained from addressing you immediately, waiting for the first transports of grief to subside; because I well know, that premature attempts to console only irritate the sorrows they are meant to heal. Let me indulge the hope, that by this time reason and religion are come to your aid, and that you are prepared to say, with the greatest and most illustrious of sufferers, “ Even so, Father; for so it seemeth good in thy sight.”
The remarkable combination of the most lovely qualities with the most fervent piety, which distinguished the character of our dear friend, while they enhance the sense of your loss, will, I hope, mitigate its bitterness in another view, by assuring you, that " great is his reward in heaven.” Death to him is, undoubtedly, “ exceeding great gain ;” nor would you, in your best moments, wish to draw him down from his elevated abode, to this vale of sorrow and affliction. The stroke was not entirely sudden and unexpected : a long series of attacks and infirmities must, no doubt, have contributed to familiarize your mind to the event. Remember, my dear Madam, that the separation is but for a season; our dear friend is not lost, but preferred to an infinitely higher state, where he is awaiting your arrival. To me, his removal will long be a source of deep regret; for where shall I find a friend equally amiable, tender, and constant ?*
I beg to be most affectionately remembered to each of your dear children, earnestly praying that their father's God may be their God. Wishing and praying that you may be favoured with the richest consolations of religion,
I remain, my dearest Madam,
* Mr. Langdon and Mr. Hall had been fellow-students at Bristol ; and ever after cherished for each other the warmest esteem and affection.—Ed.
TO J. B. WILLIAMS, ESQ. SHREWSBURY.
Leicester, March 29, 1825. Some apology is necessary for not having sooner acknowledged your very kind present of your new and highly-improved edition of the admirable Philip Henry, whom you have the honour, I find, of enumerating among your ancestors. It is a descent with which you have more reason to be satisfied, than if you could trace your pedigree from the Plantagenets. I waited only until I had time to renew my acquaintance with the Life of that amiable man, and to form an estimate of the improvements it has derived from diligent researches. I have not yet entirely completed the volume ; but I am now busy in doing so, and have read enough to satisfy myself of the great obligations you have conferred on the public, by this excellent work. The additional documents and letters, by which you have enriched and enlarged the original narrative, constitute a treasure of wisdom and piety, for which you are entitled to the warm acknowledgements of every christian reader, and especially of every dissenter. May a double portion of his spirit descend on the rising generation of ministers!:
The labour and research requisite for furnishing such a repast, must have been great; but not more so, I dare say, than the pleasure you derived from