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May 12, 1783. I
HAVE just now received my child's short
and sweet letter; and, having nothing to prevent me, I begin my answer to it immedi. ately.
The snow does not often cover the ground in the neighbourhood of London, so late as the 8th of May; but it has been so sometimes. One reason you were surprised at the sight is, because you are young, and this is the first instance, perhaps, in the few years you have been able to take notice. You will meet with
many other things, as you grow up, which will surprise you for the like reason: for want of experience, you will not expect them! We expect flowers on the ground in May, and not snow: so those pleasures, the prospects of which present themselves to your mind and appear at a distance as beautiful as we usually conceive a May morning to be, when we talk of it in winter, will not always answer expectation. When the time comes, something which you did not think of, upseasonable as snow in May, will come with it, and you will be surprised
and disappointed; especially at first, and till you are used to these changes. By the time you are as old as I am now, you will not wonder so much ; and I hope, long before that, the Lord will teach you to profit by such things. It is necessary we should find all to be uncertain and unsatisfying in the present world, or we should be contented with it, and not think of a better. One reason why young people are but seldom serious is, because the world appears so pleasing and so promising. They ex. pect roses without thorns, and May without snow. The Lord make you wise by times, that you may remember and seek bim now in the days of your youth, before the evil days come (for come they will), when you will find no pleasure in them.
Such days are come very early to Miss B****. I wish, if it were practicable, that all the misses in all the schools in London could see her. What are the pleasure and gaiety which the most are thinking of, now to her! shut up as she is, in the bloom of life, unable to move herself, and with pain her constant coni panion day and night! I have been much af fected with looking at her ; but I believe I shall not see her long. Within these three days she has been much worse. I was with her twice yesterday; and I have been with her again this morning. The doctors think she cannot live many days; and she thinks so too. I am glad to find that she is not unwilling to die. If her affliction has been sanctified to lead her heart to the Lord, then, instead of greatly pitying her, we shall rejoice in her be. half. It is better to be sick or lame, or full of pain, and seeking after him, than to live what is coinmonly deemed a happy life without God in the world,
Cannot you contrive to put your lines in a little closer together? Your paper looks like a half-furnished room. I want a good long letter; I care not what it is about, so that you write easily. You read sometimes ; cannot you find something in your books to tell me of? You walk sometimes, and without doubt look about you. Take notice of any thing that strikes your eye; make some reflection or observation upon it, and then put up your thoughts very safely in a corner of your memory,
send them to me the next time you write. I love a long letter, especially from you, because I love you a great deal. Adieu, the Lord bless you, is the prayer of
May 19, 1789. My dear Child, IF your sensibility drops a tear or two when
you are informed that your aunt C**** is removed from this world of sin and sorrow, I have no objection; but I do not wish you to shed many, nor is there just cause for it. If we could see her now, she would surely say, “ Weep not for me, I am happy!" Yes, she knew and loved the Lord ; she lived in his faith and fear, and died in his peace and favour; and now she is before the throne. She had her share of trials in this life, but they are all over now: she fought the good fight, and the Lord made her than
Now she has received the conqueror's crown, and is singing the conqueror's song. Methinks, dearly as I love you, I could bear to part with you like. wise, if I was sure that the Lord had set his . seal of love upon your heart, and thereby marked you for his own.
If he has not done this already, I hope he will. If he has not yet
taken full possession of your heart, I hope you are sensible that he is standing, as it were, at the door, and knocking, waiting to be gracious to you. The door of the heart is not easily opened. T'he love of sin, of self, and the world, are so many bolts, which are too strong for us to remove by our own power; yet he can open it easily (because all things are easy to him), and, by a sweet constraint of love, force him. self an entrance. I hope you are willing that he should do this ; and that you are not willing to do any thing on your part that may grieve him, and cause him to withdraw and leave you to yourself. You cannot do much : you can, indeed, do nothing spiritually of yourself. Yet there is something for you to do; you are to wait, and pray, and long for his blessing; you are to read his word, and to endeavour to make it the rule of your conduct, so far as you understand it; you are to attend to his voice in your conscience, and not wilfully allow yourself in what you know to be wrong. This is the path in which my heart's desire and prayer is that you may walk at present; and then in due time the promise shall be fulfilled to you which says, “ Then shall you know, if you 66 follow on to know the Lord;" Hosea, vi. 3.