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St. Peter's, October 3, 1793.
As I told
when we met, so I may now repeat, that you cannot conceive what I have suffered on your account. I was under the most fearful apprehensions that the LORD had seen fit to take you hence, and remove you to an unknown, and, I am afraid, unthought of, eternity.
With such fears as these, I was wretched beyond description. Pained under an idea that I had lost an affectionate
but doubly so when I reflected that that had a soul of infinite importance, and as to the safety of which, I confess frankly to you, I was left in considerable doubt. Forgive my freedom in speaking thus plainly; I must not, through fear of offence, keep any thing of this sort back from you, as I am only. performing the vows that I made to the LORD in the days when I was in trouble respecting you. Never sure, did I see the worth of an
immortal soul to that degree as at those times ; and I thought to myself, if ever I was brought to heaven, and there could be cause of regret there ; it would be on this account, that I had not faithfully declared to my dear here below, the danger of trifling with eternity, and the great importance of the salvation of the soul.-Oh that I could deeply impress these truths on your mind! A little while longer, my shall be yet convinced, that there is a reality in religion : for though the LORD has spared you, it is but for a season ; “ it is appointed
unto all men once to die," and after death comes that awful judgment, day, when the LORD Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords, shall pronounce the decisive sentence Come
or, ye,cursed:” and what shall I say to you on this particular? -The word of God declares that without holiness no man shall see the LORD, that is, acceptably. Now, I would appeal to
your conscience, do you as in the sight of a heart-searching God, believe that you possess that holiness which will give you a fitness for the enjoyment of heaven? We are born in sin; and unless we are born again, that is, changed from this state of nature to a state of grace, we cannot see the kingdom of God; for the wicked of all descriptions, whether liars, swearers, or those who take his blessed name in vain, shall be turned into hell. Now, do be persuaded, my dear
, to attend to these things; and let me ask you,
do know any thing of such a change having taken place in your heart? I think I can answer that you have not; and a painful persuasion of this, with a sense of your lost and undone state, made me miserable in those unhappy moments, when I imagined that your precious and never-dying soul was in an unalterably wretched condition: for I had never perceived that in your life which would give me hope in your death;
and whilst Lwas thus meditating on these gloomy subjects respecting you, I resolved in my own mind, that if the LORD should be better to me than my fears, I would, to the best of my ability, shew you to what a deplorable state sin has brought you. For believe me, you can never be saved from eternal wrath and misery, but by the blood of CHRIST. It is not, I am convinced, all that I can say or write, that will make you apply to him for pardon and forgiveness of your many and aggravated sins—if it would, how would I labour and wrestle with you, till I obtained such a desirable end! Oh, what pleasure would it give me, to see you walking in wisdom's ways, and what an eternal source of satisfaction would it be to yourself!
The Lord give you the will and power to make the trial ! I am sure you will never repent it,-living, dying, nor throughout the countless ages of eternity.-What a different person would you then be! Do you
not, my dear
often indulge yourself in a variety of foolish gratifications, which you would tremble to be found in the commission of, if you were about to die? Or are you ever found in the exercise of those duties, which would give confort in dying moments? I fear not.-Oh, be persuaded to lay aside your follies and vanities, and often put to yourself this serious question, Am I now living as I shall wish I had when I come to die? and let your conscience do its office.Accept these lines as a mark of great love. The most tender affection to your soul has dictated them. I shall conclude the whole, with intreating the LORD to make them use. ful to you at this or some future period; I leave it to his blessing, being in very deed and truth,