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My dear Friend,
Leicester, August 26, 1806. My long silence will naturally surprise you, till you hear the reason of it. The box which contained your letter has remained at Bristol, unopened, till last week; nor did I receive your
had multiplied in number, and elevated in character; and when he unexpectedly recovered, he found that his office was filled by another.” Nothing can be more inaccurate than this assertion ; nothing more unjust. The church and congregation, during Mr. Hall's separation from them in consequence of his indisposition, evinced the utmost solicitude on his account. They made arrangements to receive weekly communications as to his progress towards recovery; which were read publicly to the assembled congregation every Sunday. On the permanent dissolution of their connexion, to which the above letters so affectingly allude, they did not content themselves with bewailing his loss; but they exerted themselves most actively and successfully in raising a sufficient sum to purchase for him a handsome annuity, and otherwise to contribute effectually to his comfort. During the quarter of a century which intervened between his removal from Cambridge and his death, they continued to manifest for him the most cordial affection and the highest veneration. His periodical visits to them were seasons of real delight, diffusing (shall I say?) a gleam of pious hilarity and intellectual and spiritual refreshment over all. And more than once has Mr. Hall assured me, that every such visit produced the most unequivocal proofs of their undiminished esteem and friendship. I feel it due to my old and valued friends at Cambridge, a sense of whose kindness, intelligence, and excellence, the lapse of nearly thirty years has not effaced, to record this my humble testimony, to their delicately grateful and generous conduct towards their former invaluable pastor.-ED.
very kind favour until a few days since. This is the true state of the case, and must plead my apology for a silence which must otherwise appear so unkind and unnatural.
Permit me to express my acknowledgements for the expressions of regard contained in your letter, of the reality and warmth of which I cannot entertain a moment's hesitation, as they are so perfectly in unison with every part of your conduct during all the years I have had the happiness of knowing you.
Your congratulations on my recovery affect and humble me, as I am perfectly conscious of my not deserving the hundredth part of the esteem they imply. If my ministry has been at all blessed, as the means of spiritual good to your soul, God alone is entitled to the praise. I have been, in every sense of the word, an unprofitable servant. When I consider the value of souls, the preciousness of the blood of Christ, and the weight of eternal things, I am ashamed and astonished to think I could have spoken of such subjects with so little impression, and that I did not travail in birth more, till Christ was formed in my hearers. I have no plea for my negligence, no hope of pardon, but what is founded on that atonement and intercession I have endeavoured, though so very faintly, to recommend to others. Every fresh experience of life convinces me, more and more, of the truth and importance of the doctrines I have preached; and, blessed be God! I am sometimes favoured with
some experimental taste of their sweetness. As often as I look back on such seasons, I am ready to exclaim,
0, my dear friend, let us press towards the mark. We know where true happiness is to be found. Let the dead bury their dead; but let us follow Christ, and aspire, with an intense and increasing ardour, to the heavenly kingdom. Happy shall we be, if we can habitually act as becomes those who are but a few steps from heaven.
I rejoice in your domestic felicity. May it long be continued, and, if possible, increased, without being permitted (and God can attemper all things) to abate your ardour after heavenly enjoyments.
Your account of the reception of Mr. Gregory's book on Mechanics, gives me great pleasure. He
thus affording a demonstration that the highest scientific attainments are, by no means, incompatible with the simplicity of the gospel. Please to remember me affectionately to him, when you write. May God long preserve and bless him!
I thank you sincerely for your proffered assistance in packing up my books, which I shall probably shortly need; for I am tired of wandering,
and propose soon to fix upon some place where I may have my books about me.
Remember me to Mrs. Bosworth, and all other friends, as if named. Pray let me hear from you soon and often.
I am, dear Sir,
TO THE REV. JAMES PHILLIPS.
My dear friend Phillips,
Leicester, Jan. 2, 1807. I ought, long since, to have written to you, but you know what a poor correspondent I am, and how reluctant to write letters. I feel myself much obliged by your kind favour. Your letter, like many things else in human life, contained a mixture of what excited melancholy, with what produced pleasing emotions. The succession of calamitous accidents which befell our friends in your neighbourhood, is truly singular and affecting. I am happy to hear every one of the sufferers is doing well. I hope it will have the right impression on their minds, by bringing them nearer [to God); and they will have abundant occasion for thankfulness, even if their respective calamities had been worse. Present my kind and sympathizing respects to each of them, the first opportunity. Your account of Ireland interested me
much. The state of the class of inhabitants
you describe, is truly deplorable. I am afraid any attempts to remove their ignorance will have little success, unless some methods could be adopted, at the same time, to relieve their excessive poverty. There is a close connexion betwixt the two. I
suppose their poverty must be ascribed to the want of encouragement to industry afforded by the landed proprietors, and, perhaps, in some measure, 'to the hardihood of their constitution, which enables the Irish peasantry to subsist and multiply, where a more feeble race would absolutely perish. You give no account of the Lakes of Killarney, which, I understand, are singularly sublime and beautiful.
You are desirous of some information respecting my situation and intentions. I have not yet taken possession of my apartments at Enderby, having been detained at Leicester by the affliction of my sister and niece; the former is nearly recovered, the latter is not worse, and I intend to go to Enderby to-morrow, or Monday at farthest. Enderby is a very pleasant village, about five miles from Leicester ; it stands upon a hill, and commands a very pleasant and beautiful view. I am extremely pleased at the prospect of seeing you there in the spring. I hope nothing will occur to disappoint me. Be assured I shall do every thing in my power to make your visit pleasant. I have no immediate intention of coming to London : there are some friends there, and in the