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way home, as I expect to proceed thither from Cambridge. It will considerably facilitate my executing this plan, if your service is on a week-day, as I fear it will be quite out of my power to add another sabbath to my excursion. It will give me very high satisfaction to see you once more in the flesh, if it be only for a day or two; the time, I am afraid, must be very short.
I am far advanced in my answer to Mr. Kinghorn, and expect it will be in the press in a very few weeks. I am afraid it will be a more hasty performance than I wish. It is exactly as you say: there is more difficulty in disentangling his arguments, than in replying to them. He is unquestionably a clever man. I hope, however, that I have succeeded in shewing the utter fallacy of the far greater part of his reasoning; but the public must judge.
I desire to be affectionately remembered to Mrs. Langdon, and remain, Your most affectionate Friend and Brother,
TO DR. RYLAND.
Leicester, August 8, 1817. You are the best judge, but I am quite at a loss to perceive the utility of having all the missionary sermons preached at one season. Such
a method of procedure makes more noise and parade than if they were preached at separate times, it is true; and this is probably the chief motive for preferring it, with those who appear studious of ostentation in religious exertions : but, to a person of your disposition, I presume it would rather be repulsive. There is something I do not like in these perpetual suggestions of Mr. respecting the deficiency of your collections for the Baptist Missions. If annual collections are made in each congregation, and such individuals are solicited to subscribe who are able and disposed, what can with propriety be done more? This perpetual struggle who shall get most money, and the theatrical and abominable arts exerted to procure it, prognosticate ill to the real interests of religion. There is one simple and effectual mode, in my opinion, of promoting the mission, which has never yet been tried on any extensive scale; namely, an annual collection in every baptist congregation which is attached to its interests. If such a measure were resolved
your association, it would soon spread to others, and would shortly become a standing practice in all our congregations; and their number is such, that, with the sums which would incidentally fall in from other quarters, the pecuniary resources of the society would be as great as we ought to aspire to. As to collecting a great number of ministers together, for the purpose of making a collection, nothing, in my opinion, can be more injudicious. Besides, why
should more assemble than are wanted! and what a waste of money attendant on the travelling of so many from distant parts! I do most earnestly wish, my dear brother, you would set yourself in earnest towards promoting annual collections, and making them universal.
I feel extremely concerned for the uneasiness you have felt. My poor prayers will not be wanting in your behalf: but, alas! how far am I from having power with God! Do not, my dear brother, let your spirits sink; you are dear to God, and he will, I am persuaded, support you, and bring forth your “righteousness as the light, and your judgement as the noon-day.”
TO WILLIAM HOLLICK, ESQ.
My dear friend,
Leicester, August 11, 1817. It is with great concern I have heard of your illness. Mr. Edmonds informed me [some time ago that] you were very poorly; but I have been much concerned to hear that you have since been much worse, and that you suffer much from your complaint.
Mrs. Hall and myself have been long anticipating the pleasure of seeing you shortly at Cambridge, and of renewing the pleasure we derived from our former visit. But, alas ! how uncertain are all
human prospects! how vain to depend upon any thing short of the promises of “ Him who cannot lie !"
I hope, my dear friend, you enjoy the consolations of that religion you have been so long acquainted with, and the value of which is never more sensibly felt than under the pressure of affliction. How empty and delusive does the world then appear; and how unspeakably cheering that “ good hope through grace,” which the gospel inspires! To look up to God as a reconciled and compassionate Father,—to know that “ He is touched with a feeling of our infirmities," and that he “made an everlasting covenant with us, well ordered in all things, and sure,"—these are wells of everlasting consolation. You, my dear friend, are, I trust, no stranger to these sure cordials and supports; and, with these, should you be called to pass through “ the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil; his rod and staff will comfort you.” It is impossible for me to suggest any thing to your mind, with which you are not already acquainted; but, might I be permitted to advert to my own experience, I should say, that I have found nothing so salutary as to turn the mind immediately to the Saviour: “ Whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” To pray immediately to Christ, to cast ourselves incessantly upon His power and grace, as revealed in the gospel, appears to be the best antidote to every tendency to despondency. I have no doubt
that we are much wanting to ourselves, in not having more direct dealings with the Saviour, or not addressing him now in the same spirit in which he was applied to for the relief of bodily disease. He is exalted at the right hand of God, for the express purpose of dispensing pardon, peace, and eternal life to all that humbly seek his aid; and, wonderful condescension! he has declared “he will in no wise cast out whomsoever cometh unto him."
If I had not been particularly occupied with my answer to Mr. Kinghorn, which is now in the press, I should probably have been at Cambridge before this. Mrs. H. has suspended all thoughts of coming under present circumstances; but if it would be any particular gratification to you to see me, I will give up every engagement in order to see you; though it can be but for a few days. I desire to bless and adore the grace of God, in the signal change which has been wrought in the mind of Mr. N., to whom, as well as your daughter, Mrs. H. unites with me in affectionate remembrances.
I am, dear Sir,