August 3, 1780. My Dear Child, V
YOU may be sure your mamma and I were very glad to hear that the Lord preserved you from
harm, and that you were safe and well at N .
I wish you to have a deep impression on your mind, that your safety, whether abroad or at home, or the continuance of your health from one. hour to another, is not a matter of course, but the effect of the care and goodness of Him who knows we are helpless as sheep, and condescends to act the part of a shepherd towards us. May you learn to acknowledge him in all your ways, to pray to him for his blessing, and to praise him daily for his mercies ; and then you will do well. This Is the great privilege which distinguishes us from the beasts of the field ; they likewise owe their preservation to his providence,; but then they are not capable of knowing him or thanking him. There are many young people who are contented to live without God in the world ; but this is not only their sin, but their shame likewise. They thereby renounce the chief honour they are capable of, and degrade themselves to a level with the beasts. But let it riot be so with you. Pray to the Lord to teach you to love him, and when you think of him, fix your thoughts upon Jesus Christ ; Upon him wbo conversed on' earth as a man. The great God has manifested himself in a way suited to us, as weak creatures and poor sinners. God is every where present, but only those who look to him in Christ can attain to love, trust, or serve him aright. When you read our Saviours discourses, recorded by the evangelists, attend as if you saw him with your . own eyes Standing before you; and when ypu try to pray, assure yourself before you begin, that he is actually in the room with you, and that his ear is open to every word you say. This will make you serious, and it will likewise encourage you, when you consider that you are not speaking into the air, or to one who is a great way off; but to One who is very near you, to your best friend, who is both able and willing to give you every thing that is good for you.
Though you have not been gone from us a fortnight, we seem to long to see you again. August is come already; and December, which we hope will bring you here again, will be here before long. I shall be glad if you make the most of your time, and return so much improved, that we may be able to keep you at home ; for it is no pleasure to us -to have you at such a distance from us. But there is no suitable day-school in this neighbourhood, and if you must be at boarding-school, I believe you must
be at N • for, after you have been so long
there, we should not be willing to take you from
Mrs. 's school to put you to another; it would
seem a slight to her : though our motive would be only to have you nearer to us, people would think we had other reasons.
My advice to you will be chiefly with respect to your religious concerns and your moral conduct. But there are other things belonging to you mamma's province. She wishes, as you grow up, you may not appear to a disadvantage when compared with other young women; and, indeed, if you should be every thing she wishes you to be, you will do honour to the school you come from.
I think you are in general willing to oblige her, and I am persuaded a little care and resolution on you part, would soon make it easy and familiar to you to follow the example she sets you, as well as the advice she gives you. I hope therefore, for her sake, for mine, for the sake of your governess, and especially for your own sake, you will endeavour to be notable. It was a grief to me that my time was so unavoidably taken up, that 1 could spare but little to converse with you; but we agreed, you know, to make it up by letters. It is now your turn to write, and I shall be glad of a long letter from you soon, in which I wish you to open your mind, to tell me what you think, feel, hope, fear, or desire, with the same freedom as if you were writing to one of your school-fellows.
The Lord bless you, my dear child, and give you to increase in wisdom and grace, as you increase in years. Always think of me as
Your very affectionate father.