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two volumes of the History of the Baptists. I think it is highly creditable to yourself, and to the denomination to which you belong. I read them both with much interest and delight, and have seldom derived equal information and pleasure from any similar work. It will be a permanent monument of your talent, and devotedness to the cause of religious truth and liberty. You have brought forward a great deal of curious information, with which the public were little, if at all, previously acquainted. I was much pleased with your style of narration : it is perspicuous, lively, and perfectly unaffected. With respect to reviewing it in the Baptist Magazine, I am sorry to be obliged to put a negative on your wishes. I have the utmost aversion to the whole business of reviewing, which I have long considered, in the manner in which it is conducted, a nefarious and unprincipled proceeding, and one of the greatest plagues of modern times. It was infinitely better for the interests of religion and literature when books had fair play, and were left to the unbiassed suffrages of the public. As it is, we are now doomed to receive our first impression and opinion of books from some of the wickedest, and others of the stupidest of men; men, some of whom have not sense to write on any subject, nor others honesty to read what they pretend to criticise, yet sit in judgement upon all performances, and issue their insolent and foolish oracles to the public. To abolish the power of reviewing would be the
greatest benefit a single man could confer on the public. At the same time, while such things are, the support of one, like the Eclectic, upon sound principles, becomes a necessary evil. Your work wants no such artificial props.
Earnestly wishing your valuable life and labour may long be spared, I remain, with much esteem, dear Sir, Your obliged Friend and Brother,
TO MRS. TUCKER.
Leicester, April 16, 1819. I feel myself much gratified and honoured by your kind and affectionate expressions of remembrance of an old friend; who, though long detained by circumstances from personal intercourse and correspondence, will never hear the name of Mrs. Tucker with indifference. I am delighted to hear from you; and to learn, that, with all the changes effected by time, to which you so affectingly allude, the ardour of mind and warmth of sensibility, by which you were formerly distinguished, remain unimpaired. How wonderful, how complicated, the mazes of providence through which we are conducted in our pilgrimage to eternity! Could we foresee the trials which await us, the agonies and vicissitudes we are called to pass through, life would be insupportable; but we are led, like the blind, by a way that we know not; and strength is dealt out just in proportion to our day. Let us, my dear friend, look forward, and remember that our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Let us hope that the fiercest part of our mortal warfare is passed, and that the evening of life will be more tranquil than the morning and the noon. May our deep experience of the mutability and vanity of the present shadowy state be improved into a perpetual motive for cultivating that heavenly-mindedness which is the only effectual antidote to the miseries of life. With respect to my visiting Plymouth, I have heard nothing of it from any quarter; and, should I be invited on the occasion you mention, it will be utterly out of my power this summer to comply with it. My engagements are already too numerous. But of this, my dear Madam, be assured, that should my steps be directed to Plymouth at any time during your life, I shall never for a moment think of taking my abode but at your house, with your permission, should I be invited by a prince. You little know me, if you suppose that rank and fashion would have the smallest influence in inducing a forgetfulness of ancient friendship. My chief inducement to visit Plymouth would be the pleasure of once more seeing and conversing with Mrs. Tucker. With my kindest remembrances to Mr. Tucker, I remain,
TO THE REV. THOMAS LANGDON.
My dear friend,
Leicester, Jan. 11, 1820. As Mr. Ryland is passing through to Leeds, I take the liberty of troubling you with a few lines, just to let you know how I and my family are, and to express my undiminished affection and attachment to one of my oldest and best friends. I look back with renewed pleasure on the scenes through which we have passed; and deeply regret that Providence has placed us at such a distance from each other, that our opportunities of intercourse are so few. I hope the period will arrive, when we shall · spend an eternity together, and look back with mingled wonder and gratitude on all the way the Lord God has led us. What a scene will that present, when the mysterious drama shall come to a close, and all the objects of this dark and sublunary state shall be contemplated in the light of eternity!
“O, could we make our doubts remove,
Those gloomy doubts that rise ;
With unbeclouded eyes !” I am very sorry to hear that you have been so much afflicted with your asthmatic complaint. It is high time you retired from your school, and procured a house nearer your meeting. I am persuaded your long evening walks are extremely
prejudicial. Do, my dear friend, be prevailed upon to give up your evening lectures. It is what you owe to your family, to be as attentive as possible to your health. “ Do thyself no harm,” is an apostolic injunction.
I was much affected to hear of the death of dear Mr. Robert Spear. It must have been peculiarly distressing to the amiable youth I saw at your house. He was a most excellent man, and has, no doubt, had an abundant entrance into the joy of his Lord. May we be followers of those who thus inherit the promises. My health is, through mercy, very good. Mrs. Hall is at present very much indisposed by a bad cold and oppression of the lungs; but, through blistering and bleeding, is, through mercy, better. Let me indulge the hope, that, next summer, you and Mrs. Langdon will visit me at Leicester. Be assured that the company of no friend would give me more pleasure.
Please to remember me affectionately to Mrs. Langdon, to your family, and to all inquiring friends, as if named.
Your affectionate Friend and Brother,