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bears testimony to his devotedness. Before quitting it next morning he wrote: “Rose by half-past six. After breakfast I retired for prayer. I have reason to believe I had access to a throne of grace. I was especially enabled to pray for a blessing on my journey. I laid out a plan for my study, &c., during the coming month. The scenery around this place is beautiful. Have taken a walk into the church-yard, and on the river's bank—they are beyond description."
The following is the plan he mentions : “ As it is of the utmost importance in any pursuit to have its objects well defined, so that the mind may clearly see at what it is aiming and be enabled to ascertain its progress, I will lay down the great objects to which I intend to consecrate the next month. I wish to acquire a better acquaintance with the classics. I have the painful retrospect of much time spent in them to no purpose simply on account of the way in which their study has been pursued. A careless mode of translating has been my mischief. From this I will now make a determined effort to extricate myself. The only rule I lay down is this general one-to make every word an object of distinct attention—to hold every image before the mind so long that a copy of it may be engraven upon the memory ; never, if possible, pass by any thing obscure, but by careful and patient investigation clear up every difficulty.
“I wish to get into a better way of preaching. In the following things I will seek an improvement : 1. In voice. I want loudness, clearness, variety, strength. For this I will exercise myself every day upon some of the hills. 2. In style. I will aim at greater perspicuity. Avoid long sen
I tences, in which the sentiment cannot be easily comprehended ; and the contrary extreme of short ones, in which
I it cannot be easily retained. Unite simplicity with boldness and vigour. Make great use of direct address ; I am confident it will tend to interest a congregation. The people ÆTAT. 21] THE GRAND QUALIFICATION FOR USEFULNESS. 53
like to feel that the preacher is speaking to them—not repeating a composition. 3. In energy. Here I have failed. This is partly to be attributed to the peculiar delicacy of my mind, to depression of spirits when in the pulpit, and to the drudgery of repeating a discourse memoriter, by which the nobler faculties of the mind are cramped, but principally to a want of more piety. I know that if I formed a right estimate of the solemn situation I occupy when in the pulpit ; if I could see and feel my own responsibility, the value of immortal souls, and the dread realities of eternity, I could not but be energetic. Prayer, then, must be the great means of increasing energy.
“These are the principal objects I propose, I have others but they are subsidiary. My aim is to come from Sedbergh a better classic and a better preacher.”
I promised in my last to give you an outline of my plan of future life,” he writes to Miss * * on the Monday after his arrival. “Without attempting any formal representation of my purposes, I will offer a few cursory
remarks respecting them. In our future correspondence I shall no doubt often allude to this subject. I wish to aim at a high standard of moral and intellectual excellence. Of moral excellence I am lamentably deficient. When I think of my privileges I have reason to be ashamed. I am convinced my dear C-, that eminent piety is the only solid foundation for permanent and extensive usefulness. In order that you and I may be useful we must strive to be uncommon Christians. As to intellectual excellence it is my wish to cultivate those powers which God has given me to the utmost. I cannot charge myself with indolence. I believe I now do as much as my frame will bear. I say not this in a spirit of self-commendation, I merely state what I believe to be fact. I have reason to be grateful to the great author of my existence that He has given me an ardent, quenchless desire for knowledge, and has also
furnished me with means to gratify it. I hope you have no objection to accept a student for a husband. Although I cannot expect you to tread the heights to which I aspire, I trust your acquaintance with literature and general knowledge will be considerable. Much, nay every thing, depends upon yourself. If you are bent upon improving your mind you are sure to accomplish your object.
“I hope you are not among the number of those who think they have finished their education. You will think no worse of me, my dear C—, when I tell you, that in considering your mental character, I have thought quite as much of what you might be as of what you are. You have now a wide field of enterprise before you, and in pointing you to it I would animate you with the enthusiasm which fires my own breast.
“In all my plans and purposes I wish you to take a part. I shall always require your counsel, your sympathy, your
I shall not be satisfied unless you take a deep interest in my affairs as well as in me. When agitated by the storms of this scene of strife I shall always hope to find repose in you; when deep anxieties prey upon the heart I trust I shall find relief by making a safe deposit of my troubles in your breast; when chilled by the indifference of this ice-hearted world I shall always expect that your heart beats warm with sympathy and affection. You see I make a large demand upon you, but not larger I hope than you are willing to give. I do not forget that you
will have equally strong claims upon me,-claims which I trust I shall ever delight to yield. Neither of us must live to ourselves; we must live for each other that we may live to God. There must be unity of thought, of desire, of purpose, and of action. Our wishes, our plans, our efforts, our hopes, and our prayers, must all be one. We serve one God, we believe in one Saviour, we are washed in the same blood, we are sanctified by the same Spirit, we are con
ETAT. 21] A LOVER'S SOOTHING REFLECTIONS.
secrated to the same service, we are travelling to the same heaven, and surely with such motives to unity, in addition to those tender bonds whose mysterious power over our nature is perhaps inexplicable, we ought to be united.
“Do not imagine that I am picturing a scene of uninterrupted harmony and bliss. So long as we possess a depraved nature, 'offences will come. I am not so ignorant of the married state as to imagine, that even under the most favourable auspices, it is good unmixed with alloy. There may be coldness—there may be fancied neglectthere may even be times when the souls wont to chime so sweetly, will 'grate harsh discord.' But then we have so much common ground of love-so many arguments for mutual amity. If we should experience a partial estrangement, there are so many sweet attractions to induce us to return. Surely we can never take our differences to Calvary, and agitate them within the hallowed precincts of that cross on which the Prince of Peace bled and died ! And I trust, that whatever may be our state, we shall always meet at the cross of Christ. Our very sins and imperfections, methinks, should bind us when we bow before the mercy seat.
“It has given me great pleasure to find that you have given full utterance to your feelings. I have no idea of any reserve in that endearing relationship which has commenced between us. There must either be an interchange of the best thoughts and feelings or none at all. We must trade in nothing but the best goods—the choicest and most finished productions of the understanding and the heart. I confess it was one part of my design, in giving you an account of my brief career, to draw forth a similar memoir from yourself. I am glad you have met my wishes without requiring the formality of a request. Take your time over it ; be full and copious.
"I certainly wish you had more time for mental improve
ment, although I imagine your situation is not so unfavourable as you suppose. You must remember that books are not the only, nor perhaps the best, sources from which we derive knowledge. Dr. Johnson tells us that the knowledge obtained from books is strained ; and in undergoing this process its strength is impaired, and its beauty obscured. I regard books as valuable, chiefly because they enable us to work upon the materials supplied by the ordinary circumstances of life. Improve what little time you have to the best of your ability, and your acquisitions will be greater than those of females whose whole time is spent in cursory reading
“Your situation as an instructress will afford you facilities which others do not possess, although you are imparting but the elements of knowledge. Miss B — is now rising into something like an intellectual existence, and I have no doubt that your efforts to call forth her powers, and teach her young ideas how to shoot,' will be a valuable exercise to your own mind. I am aware that perhaps the majority of your profession derive but little benefit from this source, but be it your ambition to rise above the trammels custom has imposed. Were I in your situation, I would get her to commit to memory some of the finest passages of our poetry -to read to you some of our best literature ; and I would do my utmost to create in her an interest in these pursuits. No doubt you will encounter difficulties ; but the effort to conquer difficulties is one of the finest exercises of the human mind. Besides I am convinced you may easily interest Mrs. B—- in literary pursuits. Although not a great reader, I know she possesses considerable intellect, sensibility, and taste. Her powers only need calling forth. Read to her, or get her to read your books; this will lead you to converse about them; and next to writing, conversation is the best means of turning what you read to good purpose. To realize the fullest improvement both must be