« AnteriorContinuar »
January 28, 1796.
REV. AND DEAR Sır,
IN the second paragraph of the preceding letter, I mentioned the uninterrupta ed state of my health, during the last year, and how little pain I had suffered from the tumor, which has been so long on the side of my face :--but in this I am constrained to give a very different account. Toward the evening of that day, on which the letter was dated, I felt an unusual degree of soreness take place between the tumor and the ear, which soon extended almost round the ear, and became much swelled, and was attended with much pain, so that I had little sleep or rest that night; which was also the case for several nights afterward. The swelling was very hard and painful, and some applications were made use of to sof. ten and alleviate;- but to no purpose-applications rather irritated than relieved. I therefore desisted, and gave up all to the divine disposal to do with me as seemed him good.—The pain still continues, but is more moderate, so that I got some sleep the last night, and, to day, am permitted to write and read in some measure. The misery has generally been less intense during the hours of the day ; but, with Job, I can truly say, “ Wearisome nights are appointed to me. When I lie down, I say, when shall I arise and the night be gone ? And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day." I thank God, I trust, I am preserved from uncreaturely murmurings and repinings—I have a degree of patience afforded me, so that, as yet my prayer has not been so much for the removal of the rod, as for the sanctified use of it. But I find I cannot avail myself of the precious promises and supports of the gospel as I would.—Some of my neigh. bours visit me in my afflictions and when they are with me, I am so far from wearying them with my complaints (which they cannot relieve that I converse with them with a degree of chearfulness, so as to afford them as little pain on my account, as possible ; and I often, for this purpose, put a smile on my face, when pain and anguish are sensibly felt in almost every part of my body. If this be hypocrisy-I hope
any, “ How God alone. To leave my
it is not of the criminal kind, as it proceeds from a wish to give no uneasiness to my kind friends, and to leave my complaints with God alone. When asked by any, “ How do you do?” My general answer is,. I am tolerable. Whatever idea they may affix to the word tolerable, my nean-' ing is, that my complaints are not insupportable, but, by divine grace, I can bear up under them without fretting and repining to any great degree. It is still a preci. ous article of my faith, that the Lord doth all things well that amictions are blessings in disguise that he corrects for my pro. fit-and, perhaps, among other benefits intended me, this may be one, that is, to wean me more and more from a world in which I am becoming less and less qualified to be of service. I have not been at church, but once, since Christmas, occasioned chiefly by rainy days—otherwise I should have gone, for, notwithstanding any indisposition from the tumor, I have the free use of my limbs and my tongue
and, perhaps, my lungs are as good and sound, at this day, as ever they were. I wish to go to church, every Sunday at least, and join in her most excellent system of public worship: a system to which I am ii. ..
2 ... so .
of servicoming le
peculiarly attached, because it is noble, beautiful, complete in all its parts, and, in my judgment, well calculated to answer the end designed.--And will such a system ever be permitted to fall wholly to the ground ? I fondly hope that it will not. Though, alas! the prospect here, in Virginia, is gloomy and truly suspicious and discouraging. Churches are little attended -perhaps, in most places (I judge from report) not more than a dozen one Sunday with another; and sometimes about half that number. This indeed is shocking, alarming, and distressing on many considerations, -as it goes to manifest, not only the low and still declining state of the Church, but also the little regard the people have for the public worship of their Maker and Preserver, and for the salvation of their own souls. It is true, ministers, as I hear, are ordained from time to time, by our bishop: but I am not so happy as to hear that any of these are, in reality, gospel mninisters you know what I mean.-I am told also that the vestries, in different parishes, are still receiving ministers to officiate in their churches : but they are such ministers as the people will neither hear nor pay; consequently : the whole burden must fall on the hands of the vestries, which
vear, for thícting with no hole fell upon
they are not able to sustain. The conse quence follows, that if the minister is not an independent man, he must be driven to seek new quarters, almost every year. Among others, we have a recent instance of this, in a case of Dr. Cameron, whom you saw at my house, three or four yearsago, in habit of a visitor. He then lived at Petersburg. But, induced by necessity, having a large and increasing family, he removed into the parish above me, called Nottoway, where the vestry obligated themselves to pay him one hundred pounds per year, for three years successively. But the vestry meeting with no assistance from any one of the people, the whole fell upon themselves alone: this burden they found too weighty, and caused them, no doubt, to wish to get rid of the incumbent—which, I am told, they have effected, and Dr. Cameron is now minister of a parish in Lunenburg county. Few or none of the people would go to hear him (at least very! seldom) and very few of the vestry made a constant practice of going to church, as I have been informed, so that, frequently, his congregation would not exceed five or six hearers. Surely this was enough to weary him out, and make him think of new quarters. In a word, the prospect of