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much relieved at present, so that I sit up ali day, and read and write, as usual-though I go but little out of doors. But I am seldom free from one complaint or another, and am daily reminded that I am an old man. My greatest complaint, at this time, is a tumor, of a very extraordinary nature, on the left side of my face, which at times, is painful, but has no appearance of coming to a head, though it has been there for many months. The greatest disadvantage arising from it is, that it so affects my left eye, that frequently I can neither see to read nor write. My right eye is not affected by it, but this I have not seen to read nor write with, for above thirty years. I believe the sight of my right eye was lost by the pain, which followed the small pox, which pain I mentioned in a former letter.
However I consider all things as proceeding from God's continued good will toward me, and intended to remind me, that this earth is not my place of rest—that here I have no abiding city-and that I ought to wean my heart and affections from this world, as the time draws near, when I shall be no longer fit to act my part in it. Therefore, in devotion to God, my creator and liberal benefactor, and in the continual habit of practical religion, would I say, with Job, All the days of my appointed time, (be. they few or many) will I wait, till my change come.
The late Dr. Franklin, in the memoirs of his own life, states the case that should an offer be made him of living life over again, he would accept it, on condition of being allowed the privilege of an author, to correct in a second edition of life the errors of the first : but concludes with say. ing, that he would not decline the offer, though that privilege were denied him, and he should be limitted to the identical steps he had already trod. I think it was childish in the doctor to state such a case, though I would allow to such a lucky life as his some perquisites of joy.—But the case was so improbable, not to say impossible, that it reminds me of an old saying among the Scotch (intended, I suppose, to ridicule something like that of Franklin (“ if the sky should fall, it would kill the larks.”— However, I imagine what the doctor intended was to express his wish of continuing in this world another three-score years and ten, at least; and perhaps the pleasure he had enjoyed in being serviceable to his country and individuals might, with some propriety, dictate such a wish. But
I cannot say that I am of this great man's mind in this. I would rather say, with St, Paul, What I should choose I wot not : I have lived long enough to know there is no permanent happiness in this world that all its comforts and enjoyments are fleeting and unsatisfying-mixed with many bitter ingredients, and attended with many a sting.
To be allowed the privilege of correcting in a second edition of life the errors of the first, might seem an inducement to en. ter on a second career, if the consideration of human weakness and depravity were left out of the account. But if taken into the account, it would weaken the inducement; because it is more than probable that such
a privilege would avail but little; and in“stead of correcting errors, our corruptions might hurry us on to greater blunders than before. At least, in like circumstances, like actions would ensue; or else we might run into greater extremes on the one hand, while striving to avoid errors on the other. Upon the whole, though nature is always abhorrent to dissolution, yet, instead of suppositions, and stating idle cases, it is certainly best to submit to the just and wise disposals of Providence, in this and all other things, and not be anxious about
suppainly beats of
a not be
how long, or how short, but how well, or holy, we may live.
The most important thing, for which a wise man would wish to live here, is, that he might acquire a greater degree of holiness and maturity in grace, and be beneficial to mankind. If I know my own heart, these are, and have been for some time, the principal motives of my wishing to abide longer in the flesh. No doubt there have been other motives besides these. In time of sickness, which is usually a time of serious reflection, I have looked inward, and have been mortified to discover what small improvements I have made in divine love and holiness and how far I have been from a due conformity to the image of God. I have also discovered such a variety and multiplicity of great imperfections, which have clave to all my attempts in the service of God, both as a Christian and a minister, that I have been grieved and distressed, and wished to live longer, that I might. use greater diligence, and be more ardent to obtain such degrees of grace as would render me more like God-enable me to serve him better, and labour more zealously and sincerely in the salvation of souls.But after repeated trials, I find my proper motto still is, 6 Less than the least of all
144 THE LIFE OF THE REV. D. JARRATT.
saints.”-I find this world to be a climate very unfavorable to the growth and improvement of every thing holy, spiritual and divine-so that I am sometimes tempted to think I shall never be much better prepared for heaven, than I now am, though I should live to the age of six-score years and ten. However, I will not limit the Most High-I will still call upon him, as long as I live, for a greater maturity in grace, I will plead the promises of sancti. fication, and beseech the Lord to make me holy, as he is holy, and to fill me with all the life of love. I will also endeavor, God being my helper, to divest myself of every undue attachment to things of time, and of every wish of continuing here any longer than I can be useful.
That God would help both you and me to be faithful unto death, that we may receive a crown of life, is the fervent prayer
Dear, and respected sir,