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Letter XVIII

LETTER XVIII.

July 29, 1/83. My DEAR GREAT GlRL,

YOU seem to take it for granted, that I must always write first; and you see 1 very readily submit, in hopes that when your great and many important businesses will permit, you will at least oblige me with an answer: for it \vill give your mamma and me, and your cousin, pleasure to know that you are well.

While you were a little girl, we used, when you

came home from N , to place you with your

back against the wall, by the fire-place in the parlour, and compare you with your former marks, that we might notice how much taller you grew from, one half year to another. According to present appearances, you are likely to be sufficiently tall, and to shoot up apace. I need not measure, for I can perceive by a glance of the eye, that you are growing every time you return to us. But I an* watching your growth in another sense with more attention—I wish I could say with more satisfaction. I wish to see you outgrow a certain childishness, which once looked very pretty in you, but is by no means so pleasing in a person of your years, and of your size ; I think I may add, of your sense too, for I know the Lord has given you a good measure of understanding and natural abilities ; so that with a proper degree of attention and application, you are very capable of every attainment suitable to your sex and your situation in life. I love to call you my dear child, and shall probably call you so as long as 1 live, because there is something to me in the sound of the word child, expressive of the tenderness and affection I feel for you ; but I would not always have you a child in the common sense of .the word. I hope you will not think I am angiy with you, and I hope you will not be angry with me, for giving you this hint. I love to see you cheerful, and a little occasional volatility in a young person favoured with health and full of spirits, is very tolerable ; but then I would have you remember, that it is high time that a measure of thought, and steadiness, and attention, should be^in to mark your general deportment. Your dear mamma, at your age, was capable of superintending the affairs «£ the family, and was. actually called to it; and you. D 2 . .

'are now old enough, if you will do yourself justice, to take a great deal of care off from her hands when you are at home ; you have it in your own power to shorten the term of your living away from us. I am glad that though you like your school very well, yet you like home better ; and I am sure we shall be glad when we can think it no longer necessary to keep you abroad, for we love your company, and it is principally for your own sake that we are constrained to part with you. But they say, a word to the wise is enough, and therefore 1 shall add no more in this strain.

You heard several of my sermons on Mary and Martha. Last Sunday night, I finished the subject by speaking on " One thing is needful"—a sentence which I pray the Lord to write upon your heart. Many things are necessary in their places ; but one thing is absolutely needful. It is right that you should be diligent at school, obedient and obliging to your governess and teachers, and endeavour, by a kind and gentle behaviour, to gain the esteem of your school-fellows and of the whole family : a regard to the one thing needful is very consistent with all this. But though you were beloved by every body that knows you, you cannot be happy except you know and love the Lord. The one thing needful, therefore, is to seek him, and his favour, which is better than life ; and if you seek him, he will be found of you. You are a sinner, and need forgiveness; you have many wants, which he onlycan supply; you are growing up in a world which is full of sins, snares, troubles, and dangers. Will you not cry to him then, " My Father, thou art the " guide of my youth !'' You have encouragement to seek him, for he himself both invites and commands you to do it; and if obligations and gratitude can prevail, there is no friend like hiin, whose mercies are new every morning, and who died upon the cross to redeem us from misery. I commend you to his blessing.

Your cousin is much as she was ; she sends her love to you. 1 believe she loves you dearly, and I believe you love her. I hope you will both love each other as long as you live upon this earth ; and that afterwards you will meet in the kingdom of love, and be happy together in heaven for ever. Mamma sends her best love. Believe me to be often thinking of you, and praying for you, and always desirous to show my love in deed and in truth.

Your affectionate.