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Letter XXI

LETTER XXI.

October 30, 1783. My Dear Child,

THOUGH I lately sent you a long letter by the post, which I hope you received on Tuesday, I must write again; and I take a new pen and a sheet of gilt paper, that I may, in the best manner I can, make you a return for yojir letter which I received yesterday. I would not delay long to let you know how much your mamma and I were pleased with it. It is a great happiness to us that we are well assured of your desire and intention to oblige us; and We hope hot to be behind-hand with you.

We are very far from thinking your temper is bad ; the manner of your answer is a proof of the contrary. You may sometimes need a word of advice or admonition j I believe even this will not be often necessary; and when there is occasion, my affection will prompt me to offer it with so much tenderness, that it shall look as little like reproof as possible : and I hope and expect to find many more occasions for commending than for reproving you.

Should it please the Lord to spare your cousin, a time will come when you will live together, and, I believe, love each other dearly. I would certainly wish you to imitate her in any thing that you see is commendable ; and there will be other things, I trUst, in which you may be a pattern to her. Thus you may be mutually useful to each other; and we wUl love you both, and rejoice in you both. We shall not love you a hair's breadth the less than we should have done if we had never seen her.

Indeed, I cannot be sufficiently thankful to the lord, that when he was pleased in his providence to put two children under my care, they should be both of such an amiable, affectionate disposition, as would win my love if they had been strangers, and not so nearly related as you and your cousin are to us. And though I consider you both now as my own children, yet you are still i my eldest, and my having a second, will be no prejudice to your birthright.

I have not a bit of news that I can think of to send

Vot. II. E

you. Your mamma is pretty well, and your cousin likewise ; but she is much confined, for if the weather is either wet or cold, we cannot venture her abroad. She does not seem to want to go out, except to church. When we are going thither, it is some trial to her to be left behind ; but she is satisfied, because she thinks her aunt is the most proper judge whether she can go with safety or not.

You, my dear, are favoured with health, and I hope you will be thankful for it. Your cousin, and twenty other young people I could name, know the value of health by the want of it. The Lord can make sickness a blessing when he is pleased to send it; but still a good state of health is a great privilege. If your life should be prolonged, it may be a good while before increase of years makes a sensible change in your constitution, but you will feel it at last. When you see an old woman tottering about with a stick, consider that she was once as young as you are now, and probably her spirits as lively, and her limbs as agile as yours. Suppose it may be fifty years before you are like her, such a space, which seems long beforehand, will seem very short when it is past, and there is hardly one in fifty of your age, that will be alive fifty years hence.

Dangers stand thick through all the ground, . To push us to our tomb ;

And fierce diseases wait aroifnd, >
To hurry mortals home.

How just, therefore, and important is that advice, " Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, " before the evil days come !"

And whom should we remember if we forget him ? Our Creator is our Redeemer ; Isa. liv. 5 ; the Saviour, the Lover of souls, who assumed our nature, that he might be capable of dying for us. Shjr-we not remember him who endured agonies, and sweat blood, and hung upon the cross, that we might escape the misery we have deserved, and be made the children of God ! I wish the poet's words may express the very feeling of your heart and mine :—

Remember thee !—
Yes, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial, fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment, all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter.

I commend you to his love, and pray him to write his name upon your heart. We all join in love to you.

Believe me to be your affectionate.