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To Mr. George Merryweather.
CROSS-HALL, NEAR LEEDS, Aug. 27, 1781.
I REJOICED in reading your kind and friendly letter. I long to get acquainted with all my brethren, with all the people of God: I rejoice in hope of the time when we shall all meet in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father!. Then,' says St. Paul, we shall be ever with the Lord ; comfort one another by these words.' I thank you, my unknown friend, for your love and kindly invitation ; I cannot (at present) visit my Yorkshire friends, as I could wish. I am obliged at this time to go back to my parish to serve my church, whilst my curate goes to London for priest's orders. I do not despair, however, to have one day the happiness of thanking you at Yarm for your hospitality : Exercise it to the poor saints, till I can go and see how you fare in the body, and how your soul rejoices in God your Saviour and mine.
At present Providence calls me back to my parish; but I trust, that I shall be permitted to visit again my friends in these parts ; and then (if God permit) I shall assure you more fully how much I am, dear Sir, your obliged friend and brother,
PORTRAIT OF ST. PAUL,
OR, THE TRUE MODEL
Christians and Pastors,
TRANSLATED FROM A FRENCH MANUSCRIPT
OF THE LATE
REV, JOHN WILLIAM DE LA FLECHERE,
VICAR OF MADELEY.
REV. JOHN GILPIN,
Vicar of Rockwardine, in the County of Salop.
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. -1 Cor. xi. 1
The following Work was begun and nearly com. pleted in the course of Mr. Fletcher's last residence at Nyon, where it formed a valuable part of his private labours, during a long and painful confinement from public duty. On his return to England, he suffered the manuscript to lie by him in a very loose and disordered state, intending, at his leisure, to translate and prepare it for the press. In the mean time, he entered upon the arduous task of revising and enlarging a French poem, which he had lately published at Geneva under the title of “La Louange,” and which was reprinted at London in the year 1785, under the title of “ La Grace et la Nature. The second appearance of this poem was speedily followed by the dissolution of the Author. Soon after this melancholy event had taken place, Mrs. Fletcher, in looking over the papers of the deceased, discovered the first part of the Portrait of St. Paul, with the perusal of which she favoured the translator, who, finding it a work of no common importance, was readily induced to render it into English. From time to time different parts of the work were dis. covered, and though the manuscript was so incorrect and confused, as frequently to stagger the resolution of the translator, yet a strong persuasion that the work was calculated to produce the most desirable effects, encouraged him to persevere till he had completed his It is scarcely necessary to inform the intelligent reader, that the Portrait of St. Paul was originally in. tended for publication in the author's native country, to which its arguments and quotations apply with peculiar propriety. It may be more necessary to observe, that, had the life of Mr. Fletcher been prolonged, the traits of St. Paul's moral character would have been rendered abundantly more copious and complete.