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fied sin casts a cloud before my eyes, that I cannot yet look forward with that joyful expectation which animates the breast of my friend. May my Lord speedily remove it, and give me to rejoice in hope of his glory, with joy unspeakable! I know you will not think it a trouble to let me hear once more of Mr. Walker. The sermon and tract you promise will be very acceptable, as all the former have been. I am much obliged to you for the perusal of Mr. Burnett's letter:-if the anecdote which he mentions concerning the laypreachers be true, I am heartily sorry for it. I have heard that it was true some years ago, but has not been permitted of late. He and his fellow labourer, Mr. Venn, are, I believe, as useful ministers as any that adorn our church; may they long be made a blessing to their parish and the kingdom! I beg you to pray for one who much needs your prayers, as the most unfaithful of the servants of our common Lord, and who is your
Another letter from Lord Dartmouth to the same gentleman, will shew the lively interest he felt in the cheering, but delusive prospect of Mr. Walker's recovery; and though only a part of it refers directly to the subject of our present narrative, the remainder is a valuable testimony to the zeal of other excellent and well known clergymen.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Blackheath, June 26, 1760.
I sent forward your letter to Mr. Talbot without delay, and the sermon as soon as I had read it; which I did with much satisfaction, and most heartily join in praising the Lord for giving the powerful word, and adding to the company of the preachers of the everlasting gospel in this favoured land. A mercy of the like nature is that which he has lately shewn to your part of the kingdom more especially, and to the whole in a degree, in restoring Mr. Walker to life and usefulness. May his latter end [be] greatly [blessed] and many souls yet be added to his crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus! How greatly am I obliged to you for the particular account you have sent me, of the temper of this happy man in his late trying circumstances: my earnest wish for myself, for you, for all that I love, is, that whenever we are brought to the borders of the grave, we may be possessed of the same calm and stedfast confidence in the loving promises of our redeeming God and Father, and taste of that peace which passeth all understanding, which Christ did bequeath as his dying legacy to his beloved disciples, and in them to all that believe on, and love him to the end of the world. If we would thus die the death of the righteous, we must of all necessity die daily to the world, to sin and self; the Lord help us so to do.
I have delightful accounts from Huddersfield of the wonderful manner in which the ministry of their
faithful and laborious vicar1 is blessed to that people, and by my last letters from thence, have the satisfaction to learn that his health was never better than at present. Thus does the Lord prosper and support his servants that trust in him, under all discouragements; blessed are they, who with faithful Abraham, against hope can believe in hope, and expect the accomplishment of the promises of God, when to the eye of flesh and blood, there appears the least probability of it. Mr. Venn laments exceedingly the loss of Mr. Burnett, whose infirm state has I find at last obliged him to seek the benefit of change of air. In his last [letter] to me are these words concerning him ; my faithful helper in the Lord's work, after many repeated efforts to continue in the exercise of his duty, is obliged to desist: his behaviour under these afflicting circumstances, glorifies his Saviour and recommends his faith. Invincible patience, and the deepest humiliation, justifying God and accepting the strokes of his rod as a punishment for iniquity, joined to stedfast confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, are the abiding tempers of his heart. It is my prayer that he may be restored to help me; for I for I may really say of Mr. Burnett as Paul of Timothy, I know few like minded, who preach the hatred and the mortification of sin, whilst they exalt the free grace and righteousness of our God and Saviour; who teach men to live in the denial of every evil temper, and in the exercise of every heavenly grace, and at the same time, sensible of their vileness, to cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
1 Mr. Venn.
As I have formerly mentioned to you the labours of my dear friend and tutor Mr. Merrick, at Reading, among the soldiers occasionally quartered in that place, I inclose for your perusal, the copy of a letter he received from one of them, sometime after he had left the place. I have not time at present to copy it, therefore must beg you to return it. My best respects attend Miss A. and Miss T.
I am my dear friend,
Yours in the bonds of Christian love,
A violent cough which appeared to be the forerunner of a decline, at length gave a fatal blow to the hopes of Mr. Walker's friends, and utterly incapacitated him for every species of labour. Surrounded by the exciting objects of his spiritual care, he yielded with great reluctance to the necessity of refraining from all exertion, and his illness was increased by the inquietude he experienced, as he felt a growing inability to continue feeding the flock of Christ. He was so enfeebled by disease and worn down by anxiety, that it was thought advisable to recommend him to go to Bristol Hotwells in the autumn. He remained there two months, but derived little or no benefit from the change of scene. His complete resignation to the will of God, and anxiety for the society at Truro, appear from the following letter which he wrote to them during his residence at Bristol.
His letter to the Truro society.
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
Bristol, September 18, 1760.
While the unsearchable will of our common most gracious Father, who has united us in spirit by so near a relation, is taking me from you for a season in presence, it becomes both you and me to submit: and although, during this separation, both you are deprived of very valuable opportunities, and I disabled from that service, and deprived of that people which are so justly near my heart, yet we ought not to indulge an untimely, unsubmitting wish of seeing each other again. What a blessing, comfort, and refreshment the thought of you has been to my soul (as always, so more especially in these never-to-be-forgotten hours, when the eternal world appeared but a step off, and my soul was fixed on the illustrious day of the Lord's appearance) God only knows. While therefore you are so near my heart, my comfort and happiness having so much dependence upon you, it is impossible that I should either forget you, forbear to pray and praise God for you, or contribute what I may in my present circumstances to your establishment, progress, and joy.
How much my views must have been drawn to the world whither the forerunner is for us entered, in the sickness I have been so long under, and am, as far as I can see, very slowly recovering from, ye may easily judge. Views of the riches of Christ, and prospects of the glory that shall be revealed, have been and still