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and I feel them in their full force, insomuch that I feel myself incapable of relinquishing the thought of Bristol without a pang. On the other hand, I most sensibly feel the difficulty of leaving a people who are most affectionately attached, and a congregation which I have, through mercy, been the instrument of raising from a very low to a very flourishing state. The certainty of giving great uneasiness to many excellent and worthy friends, and of being accessary to the injury of an interest which ought ever to be dear to me, presses much upon my mind; it is, indeed, the grand difficulty I feel in the way of leaving Leicester. I tremble at the thought of destroying what I have been the means of building up. I tremble at the thought of rushing into a sphere of action, to which I am not called, and, it may be, of offending God by deserting my proper post. As it is the last remove, in all probability, I shall ever be tempted to make before I am conveyed to the “ house appointed for all living,” I feel extremely anxious that it may be made with the divine approbation, conscious that my times are in the Lord's hands. I desire most sincerely to acknowledge him in all my ways. O that I might hear a voice behind me, saying, “ This is the way, walk thou in it!” My mind is much perplexed, my resolution not decided. I feel a conflict between opposite motives, and am drawn by contrary attractions; though, were I to consult my inclinations alone, I should certainly decide for Bristol: my advanced period of life, and the apprehension of its possible, if not probable effects on the interests of religion, form the grand objections. One thing I must beg leave to mention, that, were I to settle with you, I should decline taking any share in the monthly lecture. In the united prayer-meeting I should engage with pleasure. I have but little opinion of the utility of the first of those meetings.
On the whole, I must request one month more, and, at the end of that time, (if my life is spared,) you may reckon upon my giving you a decisive answer. During that interval, I will again seek divine guidance; and I humbly hope I shall receive it. At all events, I will not keep you longer in suspense, and am truly concerned at having exercised your patience so long.
I beg to be most affectionately remembered to Mr. Holden, and thank him sincerely for his kind letter. My best regards await all inquiring friends. My love to dear Mr. and Mrs. James, and my
sister. I remain, my dear Sir, Your affectionate Friend and Brother.
TO THE SAME.
My dear Friend,
Leicester, Dec. 6, 1825. I have just time at present to inform you, that I have come to a determination to accept the invitation the church and congregation of Broadmead have thought fit to give me, on the following terms: that I make trial of the situation for one year, and that at the termination of it, if it should not answer our mutual purposes, each party, i. e. the church and myself, shall be at liberty to separate. I do not say this from the smallest desire that the union may not be permanent; I earnestly hope and pray that it may: but futurities are in the hand of God; and if the change of situation should be found materially to affect my health, which, at my stage of existence, is equivalent to life,—or, if the ends we propose are not answered, I may be at liberty, after a fair trial, to dissolve the connexion, without incurring the charge of levity and inconstancy. If I shall be spared to come, it will be with the hope and intention of living and dying among you, nor shall I cherish any expectation of change; but imperious reasons, connected with my happiness and usefulness, may arise to determine me to the contrary, of which I shall probably be able by that time to form a judgement.
I write this in haste, as I expect Mr. Daniell every moment, who is setting out at two o'clock. I shall address a letter to the church in a few days: I purpose to direct it to you; when you will be so good as to forward it, or read it to the church. I have only one thing to request, and that is of great importance; that you will grant me an interest in your prayers, that my way may be prospered, that I may be kept from falling, and that my removal to Bristol may be instrumental to the conversion of sinners, and to the building up the church in faith and holiness. Let me beg you, my dear and honoured friend, not to forget me at a throne of grace. My assurance of this on your part, and on the part of my friends in general, would add unspeakably to the comfort of,
My dear Sir,
ROBERT HALL. P.S.—I beg my love to Mr. and Mrs. James, and sister Mary. Kind remembrances to all friends.
TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST ASSEMBLING IN
ON ACCEPTING THE PASTORAL OFFICE.
My dear Brethren,
Leicester, Dec. 21, 1825. After long and mature deliberation, and earnest prayer, I write these lines to inform you that I accept the invitation you have been pleased to give me, to the pastoral office. That it may become a mutual blessing, and that you and myself may reap the fruit of it, in the glory of God, the spiritual improvement of each other, and the conversion of sinners from the error of their way, will, I trust, continue to be, as it has already been, the object of your frequent and fervent supplication to the throne of grace. Be assured, I feel deeply my utter inability for the adequate discharge of the weighty duties which devolve upon me, and particularly my unfitness to walk in the steps of your late venerable pastor. My only hope, amidst the discouragement arising from this quarter, is placed in “your prayers, and the supply of the spirit of Christ Jesus.” Conscious as I am of innumerable imperfections, I must rely on your candour for a favourable construction of my conduct, and reception of my labours. Permit me, my dear brethren, to conclude, by “recommending you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified by the faith of Jesus.” I remain, dear Brethren, Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
TO THE REV. P. J. SAFFERY, OF SALISBURY.
Leicester, Jan. 16, 1826.