« PreviousContinue »
easy and delightful was the transition! To her to live was Christ, and to die was gain. Let us improve this dispensation of Providence, by imitating her example; let us cherish her memory with reverential tenderness; and consider it as an additional call to all we have received before, to seek the things that are above. I confess the thought of so dear a friend having left this world, makes an abatement of its value in my estimation, as I doubt not it will still more in yours. The thought of my journey to London gives me little or no pleasure: for I shall hear the accents of that voice which so naturally expressed the animation of benevolence —I shall behold that countenance which displayed so many amiable sentiments—no more.
we wish her back? Can we wish to recall her from that blissful society which she has joined, and where she is singing a new song ? No, my dear friend ! you will not be so selfish. You will, I trust, aspire with greater ardour than ever after the heavenly world, and be daily imploring fresh supplies of that grace which will fit you for an everlasting union with our deceased friend. I hope her amiable nieces will profit by this expressive event. And as they have (blessed be God for it!) begun to seek after Sion with their faces thitherward, that they will walk forward with additional firmness and alacrity. I shall make little or no stay in London on my first journey; but, as I long to see you, will spend the 11th instant (that is, the
evening preceding my engagement to preach,) at your house, if agreeable. I shall be glad to see Mr. Dore, but pray do not ask strangers.
Your sympathizing friend,
TO DR. GREGORY.
ORIGIN AND OBJECT OF THE ECLECTIC REVIEW.
Foulmire, (near Cambridge,) My dear friend,
Oct. 30, 1804. You have probably heard of the project of a new Review, called the Eclectic Review, which is intended to counteract the irreligious bias which seems to attach to almost all literary journals. Whether a sufficient number of persons of real talents can be procured to give it permanent credit and support, appears to me very doubtful. Mr. Greathead has written to request my assistance, and I intend occasionally to write in it. I have at the same time taken the liberty to mention Mr. Gregory, as a person admirably adapted to conduct the mathematical and astronomical department, if he can be persuaded. Mr. Greathead has accordingly requested me to write to you on this subject, and to assure you that your assistance will be most welcome, and the terms your own. I really think a review of the kind proposed would be a public
benefit; as the cause of piety and moderate orthodoxy stands no chance at present. Will you permit me to inform Mr. Greathead, to whom it is left to treat with writers, that you are willing to contribute to it in the line of mathematics and natural philosophy?
TO WILLIAM HOLLICK, ESQ. OF WHITTLESFORD,
ON HIS OWN RECOVERY FROM A SEVERE MALADY.
My dear friend,
Leicester, Feb. 26, 1805. I thought it would be some satisfaction to you, to hear that I continue, through the blessing of God, perfectly well. My health, through divine mercy, was never better; nor can I be sufficiently thankful to that good Providence which has recovered me from the gates of death. Motives for gratitude crowd in upon me on every side; and the most I have to complain of is, that my heart is so little alive to their impression.
When, my dear Sir, we look back upon past life, what a series of evidences present themselves of a presiding and parental care ! With what propriety may we adopt the language of David : “ Bless the
soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name ; who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and with tender mercies !” I am more and more convinced, that nothing deserves to be called life that is not devoted to the service of God; and that piety is the only true wisdom. But, alas ! how difficult it is to get these lessons deeply impressed on the heart, and wrought into the whole habit of the mind! I have not yet been at Arnsby, but shall go there in a day or two, and propose to spend about ten days there; and shall probably visit Cambridge in little more than a fortnight. My spirits are rather low; but my mind is composed, and in some measure resigned to the leading and conduct of Divine Providence. The narrow bounds of my experience have furnished me with such a conviction of the vanity of this world, and the illusion of its prospects, that I indulge no eager hopes. If God enables me to do some little good, and preserves me from great calamities, it will be enough, and infinitely more than I deserve; for I have been, in the most emphatic sense of the word, “ an unprofitable servant.”
I am, my dear Sir,
TO DR. GREGORY.
ON THE CERTAINTY ATTENDING RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE.
My dear Friend,
Foulmire, Sept. 4, 1805. Let me beg you will not impute my long silence to a diminution of esteem or affection. It arose simply from my being conscious of my utter inability to make any such reply to your letter as should be in the least degree satisfactory. The subject, on which you have touched in your last, is so unspeakably intricate, that the more I have reflected upon it, the more I have seemed to feel myself lost and perplexed. Of all the problems proposed to the human understanding, the inquiry respecting the certainty of the objects of human knowledge seems the most difficult of solution. If the ideal theory of Locke be true, and there be no resemblance between the impressions made on the senses, and the inherent qualities of external objects, we cannot be said to have any absolute knowledge of things without us. In things of an abstract nature, such as the relations of quantity, the consciousness of a distinct agreement and disagreement of our ideas, lays a sufficient basis of science, though the objects themselves to which the science is referred be supposed to have no existence. It matters not whether there be a circle in the world, in regard to the certainty with which we accede to the propositions which explain its properties. It is entirely an affair of