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Let a few more months and years revolve, and you will be reunited, to part no more; the days of your mourning will be ended; the Lord will be to you (as he is already to the dear deceased)
your everlasting light, and your God your glory.”
I hope you will not suffer the excess of grief so to absorb your mind as to shut out the consolations of piety, or the claims of duty. It is my earnest prayer that God himself may comfort you, and that he may be pleased so to sanctify this most heavy trial, that, though “ faint,” you may be “ still pursuing;" and that, though you “ sow in tears,” you may“ reap in joy."
I beg to be most affectionately remembered to every branch of your family, as well as to all in
Your affectionate and sympathizing Friend,
Bristol, Jan. 29, 1829. I safely received your favour of the 20th instant. It gives me great pleasure to infer, from your letter, that the health of your family, and particularly of your elder brother, is in a tolerable state.
The death of Mrs. —- must have been felt very severely by your excellent consort, to whom I beg to express a deep and sincere sympathy. I was greatly affected when I heard of it, and shall ever carry with me a grateful and affectionate sense of the uniform kindness with which she treated me, as well as of the many amiable and interesting traits of her character. It would have given me pleasure to have been informed what were her views and feelings in the prospect of eternity: I hope she exhibited that state of mind, on the approach of that awful crisis, which must prevent surviving friends from “ sorrowing as those who have no hope." I have lately heard, with much concern, of the alarming illness of my dear friend ;—but have rejoiced to learn subsequently, that considerable hopes are entertained of his recovery. While events of this nature present a striking commentary on the solemn declaration that “ all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the field,” it is consoling to remember that “ the word of the Lord endureth for ever;" and that, by the preaching of the gospel, it is more extensively promulgated than ever.
The intelligence you have just given me of the rapid extension of evangelical religion in Cambridge, is highly gratifying; nor can I entertain any serious apprehension of ultimate injury resulting from thence to the dissenting interest. If something like competition should have the effect of giving increased momentum to the exertions of both parties, the public may be benefited, and both improved.
With respect to my health, I can say little that I could wish to say. Some small abatement of the violence and frequency of my old complaint has, I think, of late, been experienced : but it is very inconsiderable; and the last night it prevented me getting a wink of sleep until after seven o'clock this morning. On this account, I can speak with no sort of confidence of my intended visit to Cambridge, further than this, that I feel a most anxious desire of enjoying it, and that nothing but absolute necessity will prevent me from making the attempt; and, as travelling on the outside is much the easiest to me, it will not be prudent to undertake it till the summer is tolerably advanced. I have little intelligence to communicate worthy of your attention. I continue to be very happy with my people, from whom I daily receive every demonstration of affection and respect. Our attendance is as good as I could wish; and we have added to the Baptist Church,* during the last year, twenty-seven, and six are standing candidates for baptism. For these tokens of divine presence I desire to be thankful. Mrs. Hall and my family are, through mercy, as well as usual ; and join with me in most affectionate regards to every branch of your family, and to the Cambridge circle of friends in general. I beg to be most affectionately remembered to dear Mr. — , and to assure him of my deep sympathy with him under his heavy and irreparable loss. It is my fervent and sincere prayer it may be sanctified.
I remain, my dear Sir,
* To render this phrase intelligible to some readers, it may be proper to observe, that in the congregation at Broadmead there are two classes of persons who are associated in church-fellowship : one consists of those only who have been baptized in adult age,
My very dear Friend,
Bristol, Feb. 16, 1829.
I heard with much concern of your late alarming illness, and, with a proportionate degree of joy, of your partial recovery, and of the pleasing prospect presented of your yet surviving for years, to be a blessing to your family and connexions. It grieves me much to learn from Mr. Price, that you have experienced something like a relapse, and that your situation is considered still critical and precarious. However the Lord may dispose of you, (though it is my earnest prayer that your days may be prolonged to a distant period,) I cannot adequately express my satisfaction at finding you are favoured with such an experience of the consolations of religion, as to enable you to comfort your sorrowing friends, and to bear so glorious a testimony to the power and grace of the Redeemer. 0, my dear friend, how precious is a merciful Saviour in the eyes of a dying sinner! When the heart and flesh fail, he can adopt the triumphant language of Simeon, and say, “ Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” You will
on a confession of faith ; while the other consists jointly of such and of pedobaptists. The former are “strict communion baptists,” and constitute the baptist church: the latter furnish an example of “mixed communion.”—ED.
never, my dear friend, to all eternity, be able sufficiently to magnify the riches of divine grace, in adopting you into the family of the Redeemer, and making you“ an heir of glory.”
I earnestly hope the spectacle they have witnessed will have a most beneficial effect upon the younger branches of your family, in confirming pious resolutions, and convincing of the emptiness, the nothingness, of all which the world admires, compared to an interest in Christ, and a preparation for heaven. In the prospect of life there are many things which are adapted to animate and support; in the near approach of death, there is but “ the hope of glory.” It is my earnest prayer, that this hope may shed its brightest beams on the mind of my dear and highly esteemed friend. As to myself, my health is in such a state that I can say nothing of the future: but your wishes will be with me so far a law, that, if my complaint will permit me during the early part of the summer, I shall accede to Mr. Price's request, by officiating at the opening of his meeting-house.
Earnestly praying that every blessing may be communicated to you, which a covenant God has to bestow, I remain, Your most affectionate Friend and Brother,
* This letter did not reach Shelford until the day after the death of the excellent individual to whom it was addressed.-ED.