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TO DR. H. M.-, Rothsay, Bute.
November 11, 1799.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
BEFORE this reaches you, the public papers will have informed you of the desolation of New-York, by the yellow fever. We are among the escaped; and there are no breaches in the family. My health, and that of the family, made the country necessary to us at any rate, and we had left town previous to its becoming general : but Mr. B-kept in the city, only sleeping in the country, till 45 were carried off in a night. The inhabitants abandoned the city in crowds, spreading over the adjacent countries; in Long-Island, Jersey, and New-York, for sixty miles round. In the most busy trading streets, a person might have walked half a mile without meeting an individual, or seeing an open house or shop. Eleven physicians and surgeons fell sacrifices to it: five of them men of eminence; several were confined by mere fatigue, and had to retire to rest, relieving others when recruited. Dr. B—, one of our oldest, and most eminent physicians, who had retired from business two years ago, and lived on his estate in the country, hearing of the distress of his brethren, and the impossibility of their answering all the calls of the sick and dying, left his retreat, returned to town, and slaved to the last. His affectionate wife would not be left behind, but determined to share or witness his fate. It has pleased God to preserve them both. Notwithstanding the general flight, the mortality amongst those that remained was so great, that for three weeks from 48 to 54 died every 24 hours; this was no vague report, but that of the physicians, and published in the daily newspapers. The Churches were shut up, except those which stood out of danger. Great numbers carried the infection with them to the country, as far as 60 and 80 miles, and died there; almost every one that took it in the country died, having no proper medical assistance; I do not remember of one that recovered; many died in the city and in the hospitals. Some died without getting sight of a Doctor: some alone deserted by every creature. The coffins were ready made, the graves ready dug, and the minute the
last breath was fetched, they were buried with the utmost despatch. Many widows had to put their own husbands in the coffin, with the assistance of the maker; and often, very often, there was not a creature at the burial, but the man that drove the herse, who assisted the sexton to put the body under the ground. I myself met a herse, followed by three well-dressed females, not a man but the driver. Long before this, your heart has asked, what became of the poor? wonders were done for them, yet many suffered for want of nursing. A number of humane men formed themselves into a society, sought them out, and ministered relief from the public funds. Two cook shops in different quarters of the city prepared soup, meat, vegetables, and bread. A committee sat in the alms house every day, from nine to one o'clock, to receive such reports or applications as might be made to them, either by, or in behalf of, the sick or poor; and they were visited, and nurses and medical attendance paid by the public, as well as every species of necessaries; but alas! nurses were not to be had; doctors could only be at one place at a time. When speaking of the poor, I omitted mentioning the large donations which were sent from both town and country, to the committee :-flour, meal, fowls, sheep, vegetables, money, and clothes. One of the members of this Society told me that there was a plentiful supply; and temporary hospitals, and other buildings, were erected for the reception of the sick and recovering: every thing that could be done was done to soften the calamity.
I am obliged to stop abruptly. Love to all with you. Yours, ever,
TO THE SAME.
New-York, March 3, 1800.
HERE comes a letter of wo from my dear brother, on a subject almost already forgotten in New-York, the yellow fever. Strange as it may seem, the disease, and all that it carried off, seem entirely out of mind. No mention made of the past, no apprehensions for the future. Country retreats are multiplying around, and people ap
pear as if they had made a covenant with death. Potter's field is filled with our principal citizens. The prison, and prison limits, with many of the survivors. The rest are feasting, dancing and revelling, or weeping over feigned wo in the theatre. A few escaped, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before them; whose eyes have been opened to discern the danger, and accept the offered Saviour: among which number, I dare, through Grace, reckon your sister, and her children. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. The city, (indeed, the United States,) have been swal lowed up in the loss of Washington. The utmost stretch of human eloquence has been called forth in panegyric. His eulogium has been sounded in every possible mode
-not excepting our pulpits. The 22d of February, his birth-day, was set apart to his memory. Two of our ministers were appointed to pronounce an eulogium on his character: one of whom was Dr. Mason, the other Dr. Linn. The last I admired; it had its due influence over me; but of my own minister, I could form no judg ment; the Church, the pulpit, the man, the words, seemed so connected with the Lord Jesus Christ,' his favourite theme, I could not realize the mere orator.Great things were said of Washington, and they were due. The Lord himself called him by name, girded him, subdued great armies before him, with handfuls, like Gideon. He gave him wisdom in counsel, and prudence in executing justice. A nation blessed him while he lived, and with all the power of language lamented his death. Ah, human depravity! how striking! Bursting with gratitude to a creature-with enmity to a Saviour God. To God, 'who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And to as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become the sons of God,' by putting his Spirit within them, and causing them to love, and walk in his statutes. But, alas! the carnal, unrenewed mind is enmity against God and his Christ. O that men were wise, and could see their disease, and the remedy! What misery is in the world at this day, it is only equalled by the wickedness. How does potsherd dash against potsherd, mutually destroying each
other! How consoling to the Christian, that the Lord reigns! The Lord sits King among the nations,' even our own Jesus, Head over all principalities and powers, and dominions, and every name that is named in heaven and in earth: all these shakings, turnings, and overturnings, shall prove subservient to the real prosperity of his Church. Great things are on the wheel! Soon shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the firmament. There appears also to be a shaking in the Church. I hear strange things from Edinburgh, of which I can form no judgment. Men going to reverse the Scripture order of the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery; yet preaching in purity, with zeal, the faith once delivered unto the. Saints,' and the Lord working by them in turning many to himself. The regular-bred, licensed, and ordained ministers, leaving their flocks, and going with these others. What can this be? where can it end? can the Redeemer's kingdom be divided against itself? It may seem so for a time, through indwelling corruption, and outward temptation, suited to the times; still the kingdom of Christ is oneone body; the Lord shall chasten, purge, heal, and unite, till all shall be one stick in his hand: Amen Lord do as thou hast promised.
I wrote you a sketch of our Widows' Society. I send you a Constitution. We are all on foot; the mothers healthy, the children thriving. I hope you can give the same account of yours. Love to all your dear friends. Yours, ever,
To DR. MARSHALL.
New-York, April 24, 1802.
AFTER a year's silence I have a letter from my dear brother. What I have suffered, He only knows, who knoweth all things. I am too happy to know that you live, and that your dear family are in a measure of health, to scold. The sweet Isabella has disappointed your fears, and lives. My dear brother seems the most afflicted for the present, and adds to present suffering
cares for futurity, to which he is not entitled. O, my brother, has God given his Son to be a suffering substitute in the room of sinners, and shall he not with him give all things necessary for life and godliness? Oh! my dear brother, you have, I think, taken hold of God's covenant: the style of your last, and of several of your former letters, seem to intimate this to be your desire. God is by Christ reconciling the world to himself. By the constitution of that covenant, transacted in heaven and executed in our world, the purchase price is paid, a finished salvation provided, and ready to be bestowed, upon no harder terms than the sinner's acceptance-its blessings are free. This is the record, that God giveth to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. God so loved a lost world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Ho! every one that thirsteth,' &c. Now, my brother, if God has inclined your heart to seek an interest in that salvation which he himself has provided for sinners, you have received in part; for the subduing of the heart is God's work. God has appointed means by which we are called to be engaged; but the success of these depends on his blessing. That we can do nothing of ourselves is no discouragement, while he has not only promised, but commanded and promised. "Ask that ye may receive -seek that ye may find, and knock that it may be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth," &c. &c. This salvation is all of God's providing the subjects of it are ruined, lost, rebellious, ungodly sinners, under the sentence of condemnation. The substance of it is a perfect complete surety-righteousness wrought out in the person of Christ, and transferred to, imputed to, made over to the sinner as his own, as fully, as completely, as if he had wrought it out in his own person. When the sinaer accepts of this as the gift of God to him-rests his soul upon God's promise that he shall have eternal life, he becomes, according to the order of God's covenant, an adopted son. It is no presumption to call God his reconciled Father, and to lay claim to all the promises in the Old and in the New Testament, as his own. It is his Auty to cultivate confidence in God, to call him his