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be this or that, just as you would at a game of play, without any reason or motive, and without well, and again, and again, examining your reasons and motives. But this I can venture to say, that if you do, to the bottom, examine them, you will find them, some so childish, and some so sinful, that you could not utter them honestly, and at full, to any creature upon earth. You are not required to do it; God has not commanded any confession, any opening of the heart to man. But go to God, and confess yourself fully and truly to Him; say, "If such and such are the motives that influence my fallen and corrupt heart, how can I expect to judge and decide rightly for myself? Do Thou judge and decide for me." If you are brought to such a prayer, then you are happy; -not only in this instance, but throughout life. This is casting your care upon God: and if you can thus cast it upon Him, He will bear it for you.
Not but that still you must choose for yourself; but, your heavenly Father will direct your choice. You want to choose, I think, between leaving school immediately and going into business; and, continuing at school with the hope of being permitted to serve God hereafter in his church. Your choice should be regulated by three considerations:--How shall I be employed most usefully for God?-how shall I be most comfortable myself?-how can I best serve my parents, brothers, and sister? With respect to the first, when a person has the grace of God in his heart, talents for the ministry, and no call or opening of pro
vidence any other way, there can be no question how he may be employed the most honourably to God, and most usefully to his fellow-creatures. * But I am afraid you will say, "I cannot conclude that I have the grace of God in my heart." My dear J-, it is to be obtained, as certainly as any thing you could ask from your father or mother. There is no promise in the Bible more direct, or less disputable, than this; If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask Him! And if you have not the grace of God, you are fit for no profession, no occupation in life. So long as you are in that unhappy state, you have not the promise of God's blessing in any, you will have no true comfort in any. Merry and gay you may be, happy you cannot be, till you have obtained happiness from God. You know that by your own experience; you know, even in your most pleasurable moments now, how the thought of death will spoil all; especially if it be brought home at all, by some illness of your own, or any other accidental circumstance. I am led away from your choice for this life, to your choice for another. But they are connected and I do not know that I could give you a more useful piece of advice (I pray God to enable you to follow it) than, not to choose for this life, not to make your estimate and determination by the things of this world, but to choose that state here which shall be most like heaven, and shall most fit you for it. Remember,
you sow to the flesh, you may reap, indeed; but
then it will be of the flesh; your harvest will be corruption: but if to the Spirit, then of the Spirit you shall reap, and that everlasting life. Choosing your station for life where you shall serve God most acceptably, and your fellow-creatures most usefully, is not a thing to be set about lightly.
LETTER X.-TO MRS. R.
Hastings, July 19th, 1821.
This place, in a religious point of view, is very melancholy, and puts one in mind of Jeremiah's commission, in his fifth chapter. Such views of things as are forced upon one in looking out into the world, and which no charity can shut one's eyes against-rich and poor forgetting God, and more than that, defying Him;-all the world in a conspiracy, as it were, to make this world the theatre of His dishonour; and this in a place where the Gospel has been faithfully preached :-and then so many places in this Christian land where it has not; -and then the dreary wastes not Christian even in name;-I say such views ought to bring home to us these two thoughts;- Who made ME to differ? Why was not I one of these heathens, one that even in this country never heard the glad tidings, one that hearing heard not?-And again; if there be so many striving, as it were, who shall most dishonour God, so few who are really brought to know Him, what manner of men ought those few chosen.
to be! oh, how different from the world! how intent upon their Master's interest!.
LETTER XI. TO A FRIEND.
Caroline Place, September 19th, 1821.
I have, you know, by high churchman's law, deserved this rejection by my Sunday evenings' congregations.* I confess to you I wish rather to consider this matter as one of gentle discipline to myself, and the refusal as coming not from the bishop, but from the good Shepherd and Bishop of the Church; and such, I am well persuaded, in this, and in all other cases where one is called to endure unkindness or scorn from men, is the only way, under a divine blessing, to avoid bitterness of spirit. For who shall quarrel with what is done in love, as I am assured all that He does is? All is right; and I am satisfied it is so.
LETTER XII.-TO MRS. R.
Barton Mills, March 4th, 1822.
I find Baptists and Methodists there. One thinks, at a distance, that one could live in perfect peace and good-will with all good men engaged in the same work with oneself, without disputing about or mentioning minor points. But one has not been tried, and therefore one does not
* See page 49.
know the difficulties; and when one sees so many good men lose their tempers under such circumstances, I desire to think and speak humbly of myself. The tongue is a fire; and in one unguarded and prayerless moment, what great and lasting mischief may a few words, a disquisition perhaps coolly begun, occasion!
LETTER XIII.-TO HIS WIFE.
May 4th, 1822.
If I am absent from you in body, I am yet much present with you in mind. I pray for you, that you may have much of the presence of God; and may we account that to be-(as, without a doubt, if we had much of it, we should)-our chief delight! How much have some good men known of God on earth; not by nature, but by grace given from above. We have heard with our ears, O Lord, and our father's have told us, the mighty works that Thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them. Alas! I seem, for my own part, bound down in the merest trifles of the moment; not, indeed, knowingly and allowedly building up any schemes of worldly happiness, but taken up with the common things and occurrences of each day in its day. I feel a light and trifling mind, wandering away, on the most solemn occasions, to the most trivial things. Every heart knows its own bitterness.-I often think how very careful we should be in praising men.