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The holy resignation and subdued temper of Mr. Walker proved no hindrance to his activity; he knew how to combine calm submission with the most fervent zeal. When the fruit of his ministry seemed to wither, he was patient; but how anxiously he laboured for its ripening, appears in the following advice to a young Christian just entering the University.
I might be thinking of pleading some excuse that so many of your letters lie by me unanswered, did I not know how too ready you are of yourself to think favourably of me, and how well persuaded you are, that I am no way desirous to neglect you. Whenever I can gain half an hour from a multitude of business, which you as well as myself think to be of the greatest importance, I shall think it well and agreeably employed in your correspondence; but I will not promise that this shall be so often as you may wish, though it shall be as often as you seem to me to need it. And now that I am writing, you must take things as they occur, and not expect that full answer which I must, on many accounts, defer to the time when I shall have the pleasure of seeing you. You have given me so many reasons to be assured of your sincere attachment to the cause of God, that I will freely tell you, I have not the least doubt upon me concerning it in your present circumstances. However, as I observe from your whole manner of address, that you are constitutionally warm and lively, we must have care, that that which is quickly heated do not suddenly cool; that holiness may have leisure to fix itself into
temper and habit before we adventure upon hazardous trials, and I must honestly assure you that the university will afford you abundance of them. Holiness in its first outset is usually full of heat and joy too; both the newness of spiritual objects, when now discerned in a new and spiritual manner, and no doubt the spirit of grace giving encouragement to the new born Christian, conspire hereto. But we may reasonably, as well as being taught by experience, expect that by and by these lively views will subside, the heats of transported religion will flag, leaving the soul to a more substantial, rational, and manlike exercise, it may be without much of this stir in the affections. When this season comes, unless there be an habituated choice of the will for God fully obtained, all is in danger. And till any one hath found by more than a trial or two, that he is a match for the present difficulties which the world administers to him, it seems not prudent he should adventure upon new and greater ones. You must endeavour to gain strength (as I see you do) by exercising yourself in fighting against the customs of the world, which offer in present circumstances. This, at once, is a due improvement of divine grace, and a building ourselves up for severer conflict. Fear of men is the great enemy of him who appears in a public character, with a commission under Christ. The discharge of plain duties, which are ill thought of, will prove the likeliest means of rooting out this fear, and the Spirit, if applied to, will co-operate. Suppose then you should at a proper time ride again to ****.
reluctance when you read this intimation? If so, it points out to you the fear I speak of and the remedy. Observe I speak of such a thing as a duty; and verily I think it such, when circumstances are weighed, and reasonable allowances granted, and opportunies for convenience and prudence consulted. I think it, under these qualifications, a duty to seek for a more edifying hearing of the word; and this I mention lest you might think it advisable to run yourself into trials uncalled for by Providence or duty. This is rash, and being of our own seeking, will end in our disgrace. Notwithstanding I am much pleased with the little attempts you have made for the young ladies, with your answer to your master, and your strictness in sabbath duty. These are plain Christian exercises : we may not decline such things without lukewarmness at least, and they will be found to add strength to our graces. You have been making a proper use of my papers, suitable to my design in transmitting them to you, which is solely your own benefit or improvement. Pray if you write to any one but me, or some other in whom you have like confidence, be sparing of your Latin; it is capable of a bad interpretation. Keep yourself out of debates; they hurt the mind; and labour not to be disturbed about names given to you or others by unthinking men. Your particular sentiments about the affair you mention in your last are altogether right, and the condemnation you pass on yourself relative to one circumstance of it certainly just. You will not now be hasty in coming to any engagements of that sort which seem at
present to clash with your views. Believe me very
Your affectionate and faithful,
Though this careful minister had often to mourn over the awful defections of many who gave promise of steadfast faith, at times he had the joy of seeing prodigals return-" there were,” says he in one of his letters, "many wet eyes last Sunday among the backsliders; this is encouragement."
While Mr. Walker thus sedulously laboured in his more immediate sphere of duty, he was prevailed on to endeavour to enlarge his field of usefulness, by publishing his admirable course of sermons called The Christian. Prefaces have been written to this excellent work by two clergymen eminently entitled to the name it bears, Mr. Adam, of Wintringham,1 and Mr. Simeon, of Cambridge. The latter of these devoted men had not begun his laborious course when Mr. Walker entered into rest, but the former, as has been before noticed, was his beloved adviser and friend. The service done him by this judicious fellow labourer in those days of darkness, is alluded to in the following letter to one dear to him in the bonds of piety.
Dec. 16th, 1755.
Since you will have it so, I send you my. letter to Mr. Browne, which if you please (I mean as
Who can read his Private Thoughts without feeling assured of this?
far as the scheme2 goes) I shall be glad [if] you will transcribe, but send to no one till the whole be finished. You may do well to make him some apology on my behalf for writing so freely and abruptly in a first letter.
I have a letter from Mr. Johnson, but shall not be able I believe to answer it till after Christmas, because of many engagements. I send you back his letters to all [of] you, as his to me gives me light enough. He is exceedingly honest. I love him much, and will gladly try to serve him.
Dear Mr. Adam hath sent me a most judicious, smart, and explicatory preface to my sermons, which will greatly assist them. Would God such a man were among these young fellows! But he is a rara
We have continually letters from T. and G. which give us a good deal of content. They are in a barren land, and will need your prayers. Poor young men, it is well for them they are together, and especially for your favourite that George is with him. Nothing [can be] more providential; he is so suited [to him,] I know no other so fit for him. They are lovely youths. I have the greatest hopes for them. they stand their ground, they will be both diligent and useful. They have both their temptations, and both their excellencies. Tom will be in danger of over rashness, and George of over caution. George will make the greater figure, and Tom will be the most liked. Should they be associates in a cure,
2 The scheme, I presume, of private instruction which has already been given in these pages.