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stayed at Kettering, in order to preach for the mission, which I did morning and evening.
The letters from you ought, in all reason, to have been sent forward; but this was impracticable, because my whole family were, at the same time, on an excursion for their health. I hope you will be so good as to accept this as a sufficient apology for my apparent neglect. Had I been guilty of any voluntary one, towards a friend whom I so highly esteem, I should never forgive myself.
It is impossible for me to hear the favourable opinion which you and the rest of my friends entertain of me, without being deeply sensible of their kindness. I feel myself most unworthy of such an expression of their regard; the consciousness of which, while it enhances my gratitude, impairs my pleasure. Could I see my way clear to leave Leicester, I should still tremble at the thought of being placed in a situation in which I must necessarily sustain a comparison with your late beloved and lamented pastor.
In an affair of so much magnitude, I should wish to avoid whatever might wear the appearance of precipitance; and, on that account, should the church at Broadmead see fit to give me an invitation to the pastoral office, I should wish to be allowed some time, before I give a decisive answer. On some very obvious accounts, I should prefer Bristol, perhaps, to any other situation; and the state of the church at Leicester is far from being precisely as I could wish. Still the aspect of things is brightening ; the clouds, I trust, are beginning to disperse; and an important step has already been taken towards the restoration of mutual confidence and affection. I feel at present inclined to believe it is my duty to stay at Leicester. I wish most earnestly to be directed from above, and that the few remaining years of my life (if any are allotted me) may be passed where they may best subserve the best of causes. I am not at all given to change: I have long fixed it in my mind that it was the design of Heaven that I shall finish my days here; and, had nothing occurred to disturb our tranquillity, I should not have indulged a thought to the contrary. I do most earnestly bespeak an interest in your prayers, that my way may be directed of the Lord; and that “for me to live may be Christ, and to die gain.”
Pecuniary considerations, as you suspect, will have little influence in guiding my determination. I beg to be most affectionately remembered to all inquiring friends, and remain, dear Sir, Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
TO THE SAME.
My very dear friend, Leicester, August 11, 1825.
I should have sooner written to you, but on two accounts : first, the almost ceaseless interruptions I have met with since my return from London, which have kept me in a perpetual hurry; and, second, my inability, even at present, to give you the satisfaction you wish by a decisive answer. Sensible, as I deeply am, of the unmerited tokens of respect shewn me by my Bristol friends, and solicitous, if possible, to comply with all their wishes, I still feel difficulties in the way, which I know not how to surmount. The church at Leicester is much agitated on the occasion, and have evinced great unanimity in their resolution to adopt the speediest and most effectual measures, in order to remove the principal source of my uneasiness. There appears to be but one feeling pervading the church and congregation. What success may attend their efforts to restore peace, God only knows; but, should they be successful, I shall find it very difficult to separate myself from them. To inflict the pain it would occasion to many excellent persons and kind friends, would cost me a conflict for which I feel myself little prepared. In truth, the motives for staying in my present situation, and the motives for relinquishing it, are so equally balanced, that I am kept still in a state of suspense; and am habitually under some apprehension, that, whatever choice I make, I shall be apt to repent not having made an opposite one. It is certainly a humbling consideration, not to be able to come to a speedier decision; but I feel the weight of the affair, and that the consequences of it, both to myself and others, will probably be greater than can result from any future step in my life. I earnestly implore an interest in your prayers, that the Lord would be pleased to direct me, and that, wherever the bounds of my
“ Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by my life or my death.” The greatest annoyance of my life, for some years past, has arisen from not being able to command my time, particularly in the morning; and, could I be assured of my possessing this inestimable privilege, the poorest and most neglected village would possess irresistible charms
The afternoon and evening I have always been willing to abandon to the use of others; but to have no time I can call my own,—to be liable to have the most precious hours of reading and meditation snatched from me,- is an evil, to one of my temperament, almost insupportable. Now, I greatly fear this evil would be increased at Bristol. One advantage I should enjoy at Bristol (the want of which I severely feel here) is, access to books; but what will this avail me, if I have no time to read them ?
I have carefully inspected the documents relating to Terrils deeds, brought by Messrs. Sherring and Phillips. It is my decided opinion, that the pastor of Broadmead is under no obligation to prepare young men for the ministry, unless they are presented to him for that purpose ; a thing most unlikely to happen, when such ample means of education are already provided. Should it occur, however, he has only to make his election, either to comply with the demand, or to relinquish his interest in the establishment. As to the fear of incurring penalties, it is too ridiculous to be thought of. All this, however, I most cheerfully leave to the determination of the trustees; for, if ever I was sincere in any thing, it is when I declare, that pecuniary considerations will have no influence in my decision. To deteriorate my situation would be injustice to my family: beyond that, I have no solicitude. I beg to be most affectionately remembered to Mr. James and my sisters, and all friends, as if named. I remain, dear Sir, Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
TO THE SAME.
My very dear friend, Leicester, Oct. 3, 1825. I am as much ashamed as any of
friends can be, to keep them so long in suspense respecting my determination in regard to removing to Bristol. I feel it to be of so much importance to my own happiness, and in the relation it bears to the spiritual interests of a large body of people, both here and at Bristol, that I tremble at the thought of coming to a final decision. My inclination, I confess, stands towards Bristol. The reasons are obvious: two sisters, justly dear to me, residing there; a place dear to me from ancient recollections, and from the most enchanting scenery; access to books, a want which I most grievously feel here; many old friends, or the families of old friends, whom I much love and esteem; a superior description of society; and, I may add, equal, if not superior, prospects of usefulness. These, it must be acknowledged, are weighty considerations,