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EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS
WRITTEN TO MR. AND MRS. B—,
While in Britain, for the benefit of Mr. B.'s health, in 1801 and 1802.
March 23, 1801.
My dear Children,
THIS is mortifying to both, to be anchored half a mile from us, and there to lie for hours-but even this, trifling as it may appear, has its end to answer in His scheme, without whom not a sparrow falls. I have retired with my Bible, to commit you, and all my cares and concerns, afresh to that God whose goodness and mercy have followed us through life; who is my God, your God, and the God of our seed; who answered my prayers, in the face of all my inconsistent conduct; took you out of my idolatrous management, into his own more merciful guidance. He has done all things well, and He will perfect his own work. Now, may "the Angel that redeemed you, be with you, keep you in the hollow of his hand, and as the apple of his eye;" be with you on his own ocean, and command the billows not to touch you; carry you to the bosom of your dear native country, where a large proportion of his body live in Him and by Him: bless you, and make you a blessing, wherever his providence shall carry you, and restore you with blessings to us in his own time. Amen.
Sabbath, after Morning Service.
THIS, my dear children, is a day of storm, wind, and rain; O that the prayer of our dear Pastor, and I hope of many present, may be with you, and be answered to and for you-it was thus expressed:
Lord, be with that family, who, now, on the mighty ocean, desire an interest in our prayers. May He whom winds and waves obey, preserve them in this tempestuous season; may they see, and improve his wonders in the great deep; may the blessings of the everlasting Gospel preserve their souls in peace: conduct them in safety to their destined port, and restore them to us, enriched with the blessings of thy well-ordered covenant.'
I sent two notes for the Dutch churches, enclosed to Mr. B., one for Wall-street, to Mr. A., and one for the Brick Church, to Mr. M. I watered all with my tears.
OH! how it blows and rains! O my children, how my poor heart aches for you; if not in danger, yet sick, and in much discomfort: I gave a note in the old church, in the afternoon, supposing the congregation, on this dreadful day, to be different. Mr. M. prayed: 'The Angel of thy presence be with them, give them much of the consolations of thy Spirit. Conduct them in safety to the place of their destination, and restore them enriched with thy blessing, to worship with us again, in this thy house of prayer.' I write on this day, merely to record, for your perusal, the prayers of your Church. I think you ought, if the Lord conduct you safe, to propose public thanks to that God, who heard and answered; if agreeable to Mr. M. Write me how it was with you on this day. Now I
will go to a throne of grace for you, and all of us. O keep close to the Lord: may he save you from a dissipated, trifling, carnal spirit; may he sanctify all your comforts, and give you a just estimation of all you see and hear; may the Christian's portion rise more and more; and the world and its vanities sink in your view.
April 4. A VESSEL which sails for London to-morrow, will, I hope, convey this to you, if the Lord spare you to be there; I cannot help being very anxious since that storm: by the arrival of several vessels in twenty-four and twentythree days, we find the winds have been all easterly and strong; all contrary to you; but they are God's winds, and I hope his presence will make all up, and cause you to profit by all his providences.
Mr. W. W lost, this week, three sons, which makes four in all, of the scarlet fever, and sore throat-all very suddenly; one in twenty-four hours; he has two of six left: what can we say to these things? The Lord does what pleases him in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. Blessed are they to whom all things shall work together for good. It is my great consolation, that you are, through grace, among that happy number, and in no possible way can be a loser at his hand; death itself will be your gain. The Society met here last Monday, where you were again, in the prayer of faith, brought to a throne of grace.
I am, with love, your Mother.
WHAT the Lord is going to do with his, and my children, I know not; but the Samuel Elam has returned to port, with a leak, after being out nineteen days. On the day of storm, she had seven feet water in her hold. I hope that the Lord, in mercy to you, to his church, and to me, his unworthy servant, has guided you in safety, and that the prayers of his church were answered in your behalf. O, my children, what would be the situation of my heart, had I not confidence of your being within the ark! I desire to rejoice over all my fears, for this unspeakable consolation: nothing can hurt you. I experience for you, what I did in my own case, when darkness and tempest added to the horrors of many, while our vessel kept dashing on the rock*; I, too, expected her to go to pieces every moment; but the idea was ever with me, "In the bosom of God's ocean, I shall find the bosom of my Saviour." On the night of the 29th of March, I dreamt my dear J-y fell overboard, and I saw her floating on the billows, supporting herself by her little chair: this is the state of my mind; yet I am thankful, and enjoy much peace. The Lord has given me all I asked-the salvation of your souls. In a little time we shall all be gathered around his throne. Well may I leave to him all intervening circumstances, as well as who goes first and how. O how he blesses my latter end, how he soothes and comforts my old age! Far other things have I merited, that my soul knows; but he has not only pardoned, but comforts, and draws a veil over my transgressions, covering them from the world's observation. What can I say?
He is God, and mercy is his darling attribute.
* On the coast of Ayr, as stated in her Life.
April 17, 1801.
I WROTE, my dear children, by the Draper, by the British Packet, and by I know not whom; but this is the fourth. I will now begin to number my letters: for I prepare them to go by the first opportunity, without being able to know, at the time of writing, which will be the first.
The weather has been tremendous. It is not my anxiety that makes the observation. Others allow it, and the winds are all easterly. Were not my God your God, did I not know and believe that all his providences shall be overruled for your true interest, did I not enter more into your eternal state, than your temporal, I should very miserable.
I have brought the reality near me, that mine eyes may never behold you again on earth. I can say, even of that, "It is well;" but the idea of the horrors of a tempest, a leaky vessel, racked by the storm, and sinking by inches; sickness, nervous timidity, and the sufferings to be undergone, before the entrance to the haven of rest be attained, is my chief disquietment, I will not say distress; because, when these horrors (horrors they are to mere nature) dart across my mind, filling my soul with momentary anguish, Satan too, seeking to distract my mind, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him, and comforts me with his own word, the everlasting promises suited to every possible circumstance in the believer's lot. Thousands of times have I grasped that promise, "Leave thy fatherless children on me, I will preserve them alive." I pleaded it for the life of their souls; he answered my prayers; he has given them life, and they live to him. Yes, I see the fruit; and though iniquities still prevail against them, he still purges away their transgressions; kindles their re