« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
spare time I can command from my proper station, will, necessarily, be occupied in visiting the connexions among which I have lived, and where I have numerous old and tried friends, who must be ever dear to my heart. As to ordinations, it has long been my opinion, that they are best conducted by the presbyters or elders of the immediate vicinity of the party; and that, to step beyond that circle, is to sacrifice or impair the chief benefit of that practice, which is the putting a wholesome check on the abuse of the popular suffrage, by making it impossible for a minister to establish himself at the head of a congregation, without the approbation and sanction of the circle of pastors with whom he is to act. It is an affair in which the church are chiefly or solely concerned; and though the calling in a stranger on such occasions may attract a greater audience, it is, in my humble opinion, at the expense of more important objects. For these, and other reasons that might be adduced, you must allow me firmly, though most respectfully, to decline the service you have been pleased to assign me; and, to cut off any occasion of [discussion], I must request the favour of [your] accepting this reply as final.
I cannot close these lines, however, without expressing the pleasure it affords me to find you are likely to succeed your excellent father. That a double portion of his spirit may rest upon you, is, dear Sir, the sincere desire and prayer of Your sincere Friend and humble Servant,
P. S.—1 beg to be respectfully remembered to your excellent mother, though personally unknown.
TO THE REV. DR. J. P. SMITH, HOMERTON.
Bristol, Nov. 3, 1826. I have to complain of a good deal of misrepresentation in what is stated in your letter, as having passed in my interview with Dr. Malan. The conversations (for they were two) passed at my house, not at Clifton. He was insisting much on the absolute necessity of the full assurance of our personal salvation, which, as he appeared to carry it to a great extent, led me to remark, that it seemed to me a most desirable attainment, and what every sincere christian ought to seek after with diligence, rather than as essential to the very [existence] of religion. And in the course of conversation, I confessed that I had it not myself. At this he expressed his surprise, and began with emphasis to recite that passage in John's epistle, “ He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” His discourse to me on this subject was not satisfactory. Part of it was not very intelligible; and part, as far as I did understand it, was injudicious, and bordering on enthusiasm. I certainly was extremely struck with the indications of exalted piety and love, exhibited by his whole deportment, and particularly his countenance. I must confess there was something in his looks that reminded me more of the ideal picture I have
formed of the Saviour, than I ever saw before in any human being : and as I am too prone to express myself in the style of hyperbole, it is to that part of his character that the expression your letter quoted must be understood to allude. Though I am certain, I never used some of the words imputed to me, particularly those in which I am represented as saying, “ All other men were brutes and beasts compared to him.” I am equally a stranger to the words and the ideas, you may depend on it. I never acknowledged the little success of my sermons arose from my ministry not being accompanied with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He observed, that my printed discourses (of these only he spoke) wanted simplicity: nor was I at all concerned or surprised at that; for he found much fault with Maclaurin’s, on “ Glorying in the Cross of Christ,” which he accused of the same defect, observing, that it exhibited the truth, but did not exhibit his Master; a remark which appeared to me (as I observed to him) very unintelligible. I never gave thanks aloud, that Dr. Malan was brought to Bristol; nothing of the kind ever passed from me. bably did (indeed, I know I did) express myself much gratified in having an opportunity of a personal interview; and I parted from him with much esteem and affection on my part. I thought him, on the whole, a very extraordinary man; though much more to be admired for his ardent piety and lively imagination, than for judgement or profundity. Even on his favourite topic of assurance
I prohe seemed sometimes to retract all that he had asserted. I did not hear him [preach]; but I learnt afterwards, that his hearers generally went away with the impression of their having heard very new doctrine.
If Dr. Malan has given the statement you have copied, I am heartily sorry for it, because it is extremely inaccurate, and must necessarily diminish the high regard in which I held him. Thus I have given you, my dear Sir, a brief outline of what passed; and most earnestly wish you every degree of success in your labours to maintain the truth as it is in Jesus.
dear and Rev. Sir, With very high esteem, your affectionate Friend,
ROBERT HALL. N. B.—Permit me to return my most sincere thanks for your admirable defence of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, against Belsham: it will benefit the church, I trust, as long as the English language lasts.
TO W. B. GURNEY, ESQ.
ON THE DEATH OF MRS. GURNEY.
My dear friend,
Bristol, August 25, 1827. It is a very few days since I heard the very melancholy intelligence of the removal of dear Mrs. Gurney; and I was not willing to obtrude on the sacred privacy of grief till its first agitation was in some measure subsided. Most deeply is this stroke felt, and long will continue to be so, by that very large circle of which she was the ornament and delight; but how much more severe the stroke on him who was united to her by the tenderest of earthly ties ! To me the information was like a thunderclap: it was so sudden, and so unexpected, that I could scarcely persuade myself it was a reality; it seems now like one of those frightful visions of the night which vanish at the return of dawn.
Alas! how fresh in my mind is the gure of the dear deceased, presiding in the social circle with that inimitable ease, elegance, and grace, which captivated every heart:-changed now, and clouded for ever with the shades of death! Never was a victim snatched by the great destroyer, more beloved, or more lamented.
But why should I dwell on what is so distressing to remember, rather than advert to the brighter side of this melancholy picture? You, my dear friend, have lost the richest of earthly blessings in a most admirable and amiable wife; but grace has completed its triumph in adding to the celestial choir one more spirit of “the just made perfect.” Bright as she shone in her earthly sphere, her light was dim and obscure, compared to that which now invests her. Her pure and celestial spirit has ascended to its native seat, where she “ bears the name of her God on her forehead, and serves him day and night in his temple.” Your loss, my dear friend, is her unspeakable gain ; and your mind is too generous, in your calmest moments, to wish her hurled from her celestial elevation.