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this affair to such an issue, as would be most calculated to promote his own glory; and he had the satisfaction, in a short time, to receive a gracious answer to his petitions. A few days afterwards he mentioned the subject to Mrs. Unwin, a satisfactory arrangement was very speedily made with the family, and he entered upon his new abode, the eleventh of November, 1765.
The manner in which he spent his time while associated with this exemplary family, and the high degree of enjoyment he there experienced, will be seen by the following extracts from his correspondence with his two amiable cousins, Lady Hesketh and Mrs. Cowper. To the former he thus writes :
“My dear Cousin,—The frequency of your letters to me, while I lived alone, was occasioned, I am sure, by your regard for my welfare, and was an act of particular charity. I bless God, however, that I was happy even then; solitude has nothing gloomy in it, if the soul points upwards. St. Paul tells his Hebrew converts, · Ye are come,' (already come)to Mount Sion, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.' When this is the case, as surely it was with them, or the Spirit of truth would never have spoken it, there is an end to the melancholy and dulness of life at once. You will not suspect me, my dear cousin, of a design to understand this passage literally ; but this, however, it certainly means, that a lively faith is able to anticipate, in some measure, the joys of that heavenly society which the soul shall actually possess hereafter.
“Since I have changed my situation, I have found still greater cause of thanksgiving to the Father of all mercies. The family with whom I live are Christians, and it has pleased the Almighty to bring me to the knowledge of them, that I may want no means of improvement in that
have found still
anksgiving to the '
temper and conduct which he requires of all his servants. My dear cousin ! one-half of the Christian world would call this madness, fanaticism, and folly; but are not these things warranted by the word of God. If we have no communion with God here, surely we can expect none hereafter. A faith that does not place our conversation in heaven; that does not warm the heart, and purify it too; that does not, in short, govern our thoughts, words, and deeds, is not Christian faith, nor can we procure by it any - spiritual blessing, here or hereafter. Let us therefore see that we do not deceive ourselves in a matter of such infinite moment. The world will be ever telling us that we are good cnough, and the world will vilify us behind our backs: but it is not the world which tries the heart — that is the prerogative of God alone. My dear cousin! I have often prayed for you behind your back, and now I pray for you to your face. There are many who would not forgive me this wrong, but I have known you so long, and so well, that I am not afraid of telling you how sincerely I wish for your growth in every Christian grace, in every thing that may promote and secure your everlasting welfare.”
To his cousin, Mrs. Cowper, he thus writes : --“I am obliged to you for the interest you take in my welfare, and for your inquiring so particularly after the manner in which my tiine passes here. As to amusements – I mean what the world calls such — we have none; the place, indeed, swarms with them, and cards and dancing are the professed business of almost all the gentle inhabitants of Huntingdon. We refuse to take part in them, or to be accessaries to this way of murdering our time, and by so doing have acquired the name of Methodists. Having told you how we do not spend our time, I will next say how we do. We breakfast commonly between eight and nine; till eleven, we read either the scripture or the sermons of some faithful preacher; at eleven, we attend divine service, which is performed here every day; and from twelve to three, we separate, and amuse ourselves as we please. During that interval, I read in my own apartment, or walk, or ride, or work in the garden. We seldom sit an hour after dinner, but if the weather permits, adjourn into the garden, where, with Mrs. Unwin and her son, I have generally the pleasure of religious conversation till tea-time. If it rains, or is too windy for walking, we either converse within doors, or sing some hymns of Martin's collection, and by the help of Mrs. Unwin's harpsichord, make up a tolerable concert, in which our hearts are the best and the most musical performers. After tea, we sally forth to take a walk in good earnest, and we have generally travelled four miles before we see home again. At night, we read and converse till supper, and commonly finish the evening either with hymns, or with a sermon; and, last of all, the family are called to prayers. I need not tell you that such a life as this is consistent with the utmost cheerfulness; accordingly, we are all happy, and dwell together in unity as brethren. Mrs. Unwin has almost a maternal affection for me, and I have something very like a filial one for her, and her son and I are brothers. Blessed be the God of our salvation for such companions, and for such a life; above all, for a heart to relish it.”
It was during his residence with this family, while they resided at Huntingdon, that he wrote some of those excellent letters to Mrs. Cowper, with extracts from which it is our intention to enrich this part of his memoirs. Speaking of the knowledge which Christians will have of each other hereafter, he remarks — “Reason is able to form many plausible conjectures concerning the possibility of our knowing each other in a future state; and the scripture has, here and there, favoured us with an expression that looks at least like a slight intimation of it; but because a con
jecture can never amount to a proof, and a slight intimation cannot be construed into a positive assertion, therefore I think we can never come to any absolute conclusion upon the subject. We may, indeed, reason about the plausibility of our conjectures, and we may discuss, with great industry and shrewdness of argument, those passages in the scripture which seem to favour this opinion ; but still no certain means having been afforded us, no certain end can be attained ; and after all that can be said, it will still be doubtful whether we shall know each other or not. Both reason and scripture, however, furnish us with a great number of arguments on the affirmative side. In the parable of Dives and Lazarus, Dives is represented as knowing Lazarus, and Abraham as knowing them both, and the discourse between them is entirely concerning their respective characters and circumstances upon earth. Here, therefore, our Saviour seems to countenance the notion of a mutual knowledge and recollection; and if a soul that has perished shall know a soul that is saved, surely the heirs of salvation shall know and recollect each other.
“ Paul, in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, encourages the faithful and laborious minister of Christ to expect that a knowledge of those who had been converted by their instrumentality would contribute greatly to augment their felicity in a future state, when each minister should appear before the throne of God, saying, “Here am I, with the children thou hast given me.' This seems to imply, that the apostle should know the converts, and the converts the apostle, at least at the day of judgment, and if then, why not afterwards ?
In another letter, the following excellent remarks occur respecting what will engage our thoughts and form part of our communications in heaven :-“ The common and ordinary occurrences of life, no doubt, and even the ties of kindred, and of all temporal interests, will be entirely discarded from that happy society, and possibly even the remembrance of them done away : but it does not therefore follow that our spiritual concerns, even in this life, will be forgotten, neither do I think that they can ever appear trifling to us, in any the most distant period of eternity. God will then be all in all; our whole nature, the soul, and all its faculties, will be employed in praising and adoring him; and if so, will it not furnish us with a theme of thanksgiving, to recollect “The rock whence we were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence we were digged ?'
-To recollect the time when our faith, which, under the tuition and nurture of the Holy Spirit, has produced such a plentiful harvest of immortal bliss, was as a grain of mustard-seed, small in itself, promising but little fruit, and producing less ? — to recollect the various attempts that were made upon it by the world, the flesh, and the devil, and its various triumphs over all, by the assistance of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ? At present, whatever our convictions may be of the sinfulness and corruptions of our nature, we can make but a very imperfect estimate either of our weakness or our guilt. Then, no doubt, we shall understand the full value of the wonderful salvation wrought out for us by our exalted Redeemer; and it seems reasonable to suppose, that in order to form a just idea of our redemption, we shall be able to form a just one of the danger we have escaped; when we know how weak and frail we were, we shall be more able to render due praise and honour to his strength who fought for us; when we know completely the hatefulness of sin in the sight of God, and how deeply we were tainted by it, we shall know how to value the blood by which we were cleansed as we ought.”
In the following letter to the same lady, he says:--" I