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son, I have generally the pleasure of religious con- trifling to us, in any the most distant period of versation till tea-time. If it rains, or is too windy eternity. God will then be all in all; our whole for walking, we either converse within doors, or nature, the soul, and all its faculties, will be emsing some hymns of Martin's collection, and by the ployed in praising and adoring him; and if so, will help of Mrs. Unwin's harpsichord, make up a tole- it not furnish us with a theme of thanksgiving, to rable concert, in which our hearts are the best and recollect "The rock whence we were hewn, and the the most musical performers. After tea, we sally hole of the pit whence we were digged ?-To recolforth to take a walk in good earnest, and we have lect the time when our faith, which, under the generally travelled four miles before we see home tuition and nurture of the Holy Spirit, has proagain. At night we read and converse till supper, duced such a plentiful harvest of immortal bliss and commonly finish the evening either with hymns, was as a grain of mustard-seed, small in itselt or with a sermon; and last of all, the family are promising but little fruit, and producing less ?–16 called to prayers. I need not tell you that such a recollect the various attempts that were made upon life as this is consistent with the utmost cheerful- it by the world, the flesh, and the devil, and its ness; accordingly, we are all happy, and dwell to various triumphs over all, by the assistance of God, gether in unity as brethren. Mrs. Unwin has al- through our Lord Jesus Christ? At present, whatmost a maternal affection for me, and I have some ever our convictions may be of the sinfulness and thing very like a filial one for her, and her son and corruptions of our nature, we can make but a very I are brothers. Blessed be the God of our salvation imperfect estimate either of our weakness or our for such companions, and for such a life ; above all, guilt. Then, no doubt, we shall understand the full for a heart to relish it."
value of the wonderful salvation wrought out for us It was during his residence with this family, by our exalted Redeemer; and it seems reasonable while they resided at Huntingdon, that he wrote to suppose, that in order to form a just idea of our some of those excellent letters to Mrs. Cowper, with redemption, we shall be able to form a just one of extracts from which it is our intention to enrich the danger we have escaped; when we know how this part of his memoirs. Speaking of the know- weak and frail we were, we shall be more able to ledge which Christians will have of each other render due praise and honor to his strength who hereafter, he remarks:—“Reason is able to form fought for us; when we know completely the hatemany plausible conjectures concerning the possi- fulness of sin in the sight of God, and how deeply bility of our knowing each other in a future state; we were tainted with it, we shall know how to value and the Scripture has, here and there, favored us the blood by which we were cleansed, as we ought.” with an expression that looks at least like a slight In the following letter to the same lady, he says: intimation of it; but because a conjecture can “I am not sorry that what I have said concerning never amount to a proof, and a slight intimation can- our knowledge of each other, in a future state, has not be construed into a positive assertion, therefore a little inclined you to the affirmative. For though I think we can never come to any absolute conclu- the redeemed of the Lord will be sure of being sion upon the subject. We may, indeed, reason happy in that state, as infinite power, employed by about the plausibility of our conjectures, and we infinite goodness, can make them, and therefore, it may discuss, with great industry and shrewdness of may seem immaterial whether we shall or shall not argument, those passages in the Scripture which recollect each other hereafter; yet, our present hapseem to favor this opinion; but still no certain piness, at least, is a little interested in the question. means having been afforded us, no certain end can A parent, a friend, a wife, musi needs, I think, feel be attained; and after all that can be said, it will a little heart-ache at the thought of an eternal sepastill be doubtful whether we shall know each other ration from the objects of their regard : and not to or not. Both reason and Scripture, however, fur- know them when they meet them in another state, nish us with a great number of arguments on the or never to meet them at all, amounts, though not affirmative side. In the parable of Dives and La- altogether, yet nearly to the same thing. Rememzarus, Dives is represented as knowing Lazarus, and ber and recognize them, I have no doubt we shall; Abraham knowing them both, and the discourse and to believe that they are happy will, indeed, be between them is entirely concerning their respective no small addition to our own felicity; but to see them characters and circumstances upon earth. 'Here, so, will surely be a greater. Thus, at least, it aptherefore, our Saviour seems to countenance the pears to our present human apprehension; consenotion of a mutual knowledge and recollection ; quently, therefore, to think that when we leave them and if a soul that has perished shall know a soul we lose them for ever, and must remain eternally that is saved, surely the heirs of salvation shall ignorant whether those, who were flesh of our flesh, know and recollect each other.
and bone of our bone, partake with us of celestial “Paul, in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, glory, or are disinherited of their heavenly portion, encourages the faithful and laborious minister of must shed a dismal gloom over all our present conChrist to expect that a knowledge of those who had nections. For my own part, this life is such a been converted by their instrumentality would con- momentary thing, and all its interests have so shrunk tribute greatly to augment their felicity in a future in my estimation, since, by the grace of our Lord state, when each minister should appear before the Jesus, I became attentive to the things of another, throne of God, saying, “Here am I, with the chil- that, like a worm in the bud of all my friendships dren thou hast given me.' This seems to imply, and affections, this very thought would eat out the that the apostle should know the converts, and the heart of them all, had I a thousand; and were their converts the apostle, at least at the day of judgment, date to terminate in this life, I think I should have and if then, why not afterwards ?"
no inclination to cultivate and improve such a fugiIn another leiter, the following excellent remarks tive business. Yet friendship is necessary to our occur respecting what will engage our thoughts and happiness here, and built upon Christian principles, form part of our communications in heaven :-"The upon which only it can stand, is a thing even of common and ordinary occurrences of life, no doubt, religious sanction-for what is that love, which the and even the ties of kindred, and of alí temporal Holy Spirit, speaking by St. John, so much incul. interests, will be entirely discarded from that happy cates, but friendship? The only love which desociety, and possibly even the remembrance of them serves the name, is a love which can enable the done away; but it does not therefore follow that our Christian to toil, and watch, and deny himself, and spiritual concerns, even in this life, will be forgot- risk even exposure to death, for his brother. Worldly ien, neither do I think that they can ever appear friendships are a poor weed compared with this;
and even this union of the spirit in the bond of and affectionate obedience to the will of the most peace, would suffer, in my mind at least, could I Holy. ihink it were only coeval with our earthly mansions. "These, my dear cousin, are the truths to which, It may possibly argue great weakness in me, in this by nature, we are enemies; they debase the sinner, instance, to stand so much in need of future hopes, and esalt the Saviour, to a degree, which the pride to support me in the discharge of present duty: but of our hearts, while unsubdued by grace, is deterso it is. I am far, I know, very far, from being mined never to allow. May the Almighty reveal perfect in Christian love, or any other divine attain- his Son in our hearts, continually more and more, ment, and am, therefore, unwilling to forego what- and teach us ever to increase in love towards him ever may help me on my progress."
for having given us the unspeakable riches of The anxiety of his mind respecting religion, and Christ.” the progress he had made, and was still making in In the following letter to the same lady, he again it, will appear from the following extract :-“ You writes :-"I think Marshall one of the best writers, are so kind as to inquire after my health, for which and the most spiritual expositors of the Scripture, reason I must tell you what otherwise would not be ever read. I admire the strength of his argument, worth mentioning, that I have lately been just enough and the clearness of his reasonings, upon those indisposed to convince me, that not only human life points of our most holy religion which are genein general, but mine in particular, hangs by a slen- rally least understood (even by real Christians) as der thread. I am stout enough in appearance, yet a master-pieces of the kind. His section upon the little illness demolishes me. I have had a serious union of the soul with Christ is an instance of what shake, and the building is not so firm as it was. I mean; in which he has spoken of a most mysteBut I bless God for it, with all my heart. If the rious truth, with admirable perspicuity, and with inner man be but strengthened day by day, as I hope, great good sense, making it all the while subservi. under the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit, ent to his main purport, of proving holiness to be it will be, no matter how soon the outward is dis- the fruit and effect of faith. I never met with an solved. He who has, in a manner, raised me from author who understood the plan of salvation better, the dead, in a literal sense, has given me the grace, or was more happy in explaining it." I trust, to be ready, at the shortest notice, to surren That Cowper inspected very closely, and watched der up to him that life which I have twice received very narrowly his own heart, will appear by the from him. Whether I live or die, I desire it may following extract from a letter to the same lady:be to his glory, and then it must be to my happiness. “Oh pride! pride! it deceives with the subtlety of I thank God, that I have those amongst my kindred, a serpent, and seems to walk erect, though it crawls to whom I can write, without reserve, my sentiments upon the earth. How will it twist and iwine itself on this subject. A letter upon any other subject is about to get from under the cross, which it is the more insipid to me than ever my task was, when a glory of our Christian calling to be able to bear school-boy. I say not this in vain-glory, God for- with patience and good will. Those who can guess bid! but to show what the Almighty, whose name I at the heart of a stranger, and you especially, who am unworthy to mention, has done for me, the chief are of a compassionate temper, will be more ready of sinners. Once he was a terror to me; and his to excuse me than I can be to excuse myself. But, service, oh, what a weariness it was! Now I can in good truth, I am too frequently guilty of the say I love him and his holy name, and am never so abominable vice. How should such a creature be happy as when I speak of his mercies to me." admitted into those pure and sinless mansions where
To the same correspondent he again writes. "To nothing shall enter that defileth; did not the blood find those whom I love, clearly and strongly per- of Christ, applied by faith, take away the guilt of suaded of evangelical truth, gives me a pleasure sin, and leave no spot or stain behind it! what superior to any this world can afford. Judge, then, continual need have I of an almighty, all-sufficient whether your letter, in which the body and substance Saviour! I am glad you are acquainted so particuof saving faith is so evidently set forth, could meet larly with all the circumstances of my story, for I with a lukewarm reception at my hands, or be en- know that your secrecy and discretion may be tertained with indifference! Do not imagine that I trusted with any thing. A thread of mercy ran shall ever hear from you upon this delightful theme, through all the intricate maze of those afflictive without real joy, or without prayer to God to pros- providences, so mysterious to myself at the time, per you in the way of his truth. The book you and which must ever remain so to all who will not meniion, lies now upon my table; Marshall is an see what was the great design of them; at the old acquaintance of mine; I have both read him, judgment-seat of Christ the whole shall be laid and heard him read, with pleasure and edification. open. How is the rod of iron changed into a sceptre The doctrines he maintains are, under the influence of love! of the spirit of Christ, the very life of my soul, “I have so much cause for humility, and so much and the soul of all my happiness. That Jesus is a need of it too, and every little sneaking resentment present Saviour from the guilt of sin, by his most is such an enemy to it, that I hope I shall never give precious blood, and from the power of it by his quarter to any thing that appears in the shape of Spirit; that, corrupt and wretched in ourselves, in sullenness or self-consequence hereafter. Alas! if Him, and in Him only, we are complete; that being my best friend, who laid down his life for me, were united to Jesus by a lively faith, we have a solid and to remember all the instances in which I have neg. eternal interest in his obedience and sufferings, to lected him, and to plead them against me in judgjustify us before the face of our Heavenly Father; ment, where should I hide my guilty head in the and that all this inestimable treasure, the earnest of day of recompense? I will pray therefore for which is in grace, and its consummation in glory, is blessings upon my friends though they cease to be given, freely given to us by God; in short, that he hath so, and upon my enemies, though they continue freely opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers; such." are iruths which cannot be disproved, though they Cowper had now been an inmate with the Unwin have been disputed. These are the truths, which, family a little more than eighteen months; and the by the grace of God, shall ever be dearer to me above extracts, taken from his confidential letters, than life itself; shall ever be placed next my describe the happy frame of his mind, and the great heart, as the throne, whereon the Saviour himself progress he had made in divine knowledge, during shall sit, to sway all its motions, and reduce that this period. Living in the enjoyment of the divine world of iniquity and rebellion to a state of filial presence himself, and associated with those who
experienced the same invaluable privilege, he tran- | into their wounded spirits; and his providential quilly pursued the even tenor of his Christian visit proved as useful as it was seasonable. He incourse with undiverted attention, and with holy vited them to fix their future abode at Olney, whither zeal; nor did there appear the slightest reason to they repaired, in the following October, to a house suppose that any alteration was likely to take place he had provided for them, so near the vicarage in in his circumstances, or in the circumstances of the which he lived, that by opening a door in the garfamily. He might fairly have calculated upon the den wall, they could exchange mutual visits, withuninterrupted continuance, for many years, of the out entering the street. Mrs. Unwin kept the house, same distinguished privileges; but the dispensations and Cowper continued to board with her, as he had of Divine Providence are sometimes awfully mys- done during her husband's life. terious. Events unforeseen, and unexpected, are often occurring, which give a bias to our affairs quite different to any that we had ever conceived.
CHAPTER VI. Such was the melancholy occurrence which hap Commencement of Cowper's intimacy with Mr. Newton. Pleasure pened in this family, about this time, and which, at
it afforded him. His charitable disposition. Means provided for no distant period, led to Cowper's removal from its indulgence, by the munificence of the late J. Thornton, Esq Huntingdon.
Mr. Thornton's death. Cowper's poetic tribute to his memory. Mr. Unwin, proceeding to his church, one Sun Remarks on the insufficiency of earthly objects to afford peace to day morning in July, 1767, was flung from his horse, the mind. His great anxiety for the spiritual welfare of his cos. and received a dreadful fracture on the back part respondents. Consolatory remarks addressed to his cousin. Severe of his skull, under which he languished till the fol
affliction of his brother. Cowper's great concern on his behalf. lowing Thursday, and then died. Cowper, in re
Happy change that takes place in his brother's sentiments on reli lating this melancholy event to his cousin, remarks:
gious subjects. His death. Cowper's reflections on it. Deep in
pression it made upon his mind. Description of his brother's cha -“This awful dispensation has left an impression
racter. Engages with Mr. Newton to write the Olney Hymas upon our spirits which will not presently be worn
Cowper's severe indisposition. ofi. May it be a lesson to us to watch, since we know not the day, nor the hour, when our Lord Great as were the advantages enjoyed by Cowper, cometh! At nine o'clock last Sunday morning, Mr. while inmated with the Unwin family at HuntingUnwin was in perfect health, and as likely to live don, they were not to be compared with those which twenty years as either of us, and by the following he experienced in his new situation at Olney. He Thursday he was a corpse. The few short inter- spent his time nearly in the same manner as at vals of sense that were indulged him, he spent in Huntingdon, having the additional advantage of earnest prayer, and in expressions of a firm trust frequent religious intercourse with his friend, Mr.' and confidence in the only Saviour. To that strong- Newton, with whom he was upon terms of the hold we must resort at last, if we would have hope closest intimacy. The amiable manners, and exin death; when every other refuge fails, we are emplary piety of Cowper, greatly endeared him to glad to fly to the only shelter to which we can re- all with whom he was acquainted. He gladly avail. pair to any purpose; and happy is it for us, when ed himself of the benefits of religious conversation the false ground we have chosen for ourselves, with the pious persons in Mr. Newton's congregabreaks under us, and we find ourselves obliged to tion, and was particularly attentive to those among have recourse to that Rock which can never be them, who were in circumstances of poverty. He shaken: when this is our lot, we receive great and regularly visited the sick, and, to the utmost extent undeserved mercy.
of his power, afforded them relief. He attended the “The effect of this very distressing event will only social meetings for prayer established by Mr. Newbe a change of my abode; for I shall still, by God's ton; and at such seasons, when he was occasionally leave, continue with Mrs. Unwin, whose behavior required to conduct the service, agitated as were to me has always been that of a mother to a son. his feelings before he commenced, he no sooner beWe know not yet where we shall settle, but we gan, than he poured forth his heart unto God in trust that the Lord, whom we seek, will go before earnest intercession, with a devotion equally simple, us, and prepare a rest for us. We have employed sublime, and fervent, affording to all who were preour friends, Mr. Hawes, Dr. Conyers, and Mr. New- sent on these occasions proofs of the unusual comton, to look out a place for us, but at present are bination of elevated genins, exquisite sensibility, entirely ignorant under which of the three we shall and profound piety, by which he was pre-eminently settle, or whether under any one of them.” distinguished. His conduct in private was consis
Just after this melancholy event had occurred, tent with the solemnity and fervor of these social and while the family were in the midst of their devotional engagements. Three times a day he distress, Mr. Newton, then curate of Olney, while prayed, and gave thanks unto God, in retirement, beon his way home from Cambridge, providentially sides the regular practice of domestic worship. His called upon Mrs. Unwin. The late Dr. Conyers familiar acquaintance with, and experimental knowhad learned from Mr. Unwin's son, the change that ledge of the gospel, relieved him from all terror had taken place in her mind, on the subject of reli- and anxiety of mind; his soul was stayed upon God; gion; and he accordingly requested Mr. Newton to the divine promise and faithfulness were his supembrace the earliest opportunity of having some port; and he lived in the enjoyment of perfect conversation with her on the subject. His visits peace. could not possibly have been made at a more sea His hymns, most of which were composed at this sonable juncture. Mrs. Unwin was now almost period, prove that he was no stranger to those coroverwhelmed with sorrow; and though the strength rupt dispositions, which the best of men have to of her Christian principles preserved her from bewail, and which have so strong a tendency to losing that confidence in the Almighty, which can draw away the mind from God. Against these disalone support the mind under such distressing cir- positions, however, he was constantly upon the cumstances, yet, both she and Mr. Cowper stood in watch, and by the cultivation of devotional habits, need of some judicious Christian friend, to admi- with the gracious aid of the Divine Spirit, he supnister to them the consolations of the gospel. Their pressed every irregular desire, restrained every Heavenly Father could not have sent them one corrupt inclination, and ultimately came off sucmore capable of binding up their wounds, and cessful in his spiritual warfare. soothing their sorrow, than Mr. Newton. He knew The first few years of his residence at Olney, when instrumentally, to pour the oil of consolation may, perhaps, be regarded as the happiest of his
life. Assuciated intimately with his beloved friend, The same vein of genuine and unaffected piety, Mr. Newton, and availing himself of his valuable however, runs through those letters which he did assistance, in his efforts to acquire divine know- write, and they abound with remarks of uncommon ledge, his heart became established in the truth, excellence. To his cousin, Mrs. Cowper, he thus and he experienced that degree of confidence in expresses his feelings :-"You live in the centre of Guu, which alone can insure peace of mind, and a world, I know you do not delight in. Happy are real tranquillity. Aware of the pleasure which he you, my dear friend, in being able to discern the took in visiting the poor in his neighborhood, and insufficiency of all it can afford, to fill and satisfy contributing to their relief, Mr. Newton procured the desires of an immortal soul! That God, who for him, a liberal annual allowance of cash, for the created us for the enjoyment of bimself, has deterpurpose of distribution, from the late excellent John mined in mercy that it shall fail us here, in order Thornton, Esq. It is almost needless to add, that that the blessed result of all our inquiries after hapbecoming the almoner of this distinguished philan- piness in the creature, may be a warm pursuit, and thropist, was to Cowper a source of the greatest a close attachment to our true interests, in fellowenjoyment. No individual was ever more alive to ship with him, through the mediation of our dear the cry of distress; he seemed, indeed, to possess Redeemer. I bless his goodness, and his grace, that almost an excess of this amiable sensibility. No- I have any reason to hope I am a partaker with you thing gladdened his heart more than to be the means in the desire after better things, than are to be found of drying up the widow's tears, and assuaging the in a world polluted by sin, and, therefore, devoted orphan's grief; which the liberality of this great to destruction. May he enable us both to consider philanthropist allowed him often io accomplish. our present life in its only true light, as an opporThe decease of Mr. Thornton took place in 1790, tunity put into our hands to glorify him amongst and Cowper has immortalized his memory, by the men, by a conduct suited to his word and will! I following beautiful and sublime eulogy:
am miserably defective in this holy and blessed art,
but I hope there is, at the bottom of all my sinful “Thee, Thornton, worthy in some page to shine infirmities, a desire to live just so long as I may be As honest, and more eloquent than mine,
enabled to answer, in some measure, at least, the I mourn; or, since thrice happy thou must be, end of my existence, in this respect; and then to The world, no longer thy abode, not thee:
obey the summons, and attend him in a world, Thee to deplore were grief misspent indeed ; where they who are his servants here, shall pay It were to weep that goodness has its meed him an unsinful obedience for cver." That there is bliss prepared in yonder sky,
The lively interest which Cowper took, in the And glory for the virtuous when they die.
spiritual welfare of his correspondents, will appear What pleasure can the miser's fondled hoard, in the following letter to his esteemed friend, Joseph Or spendthrift's prodigal excess afford,
Hill, Esq., dated 21st January, 1769:—“Dear Joe: Sweet as the privilege of healing wo,
I rejoice with you in your recovery, and that you Suffered by virtue, combating below ?
have escaped from the hands of one, from whose That privilege was thine ; Heaven gave thee means, hands you will not always escape. Death is either To illumine with delight the saddest scenes, the most formidable, or most comfortable thing, we Till thy appearance chased the gloom, forlorn have in prospect, on this side of eternity. To be As midnight, and despairing of a morn.
brought near to him, and to discern neither of these Thou hadst an industry in doing good,
features in his face, would argue a degree of insenRestless as his who toils and sweats for food; sibility, of which I will not suspect my friend, wbom Avarice in thee was the desire of wealth,
I know to be a thinking man. You have been By rust unperishable, or by stealth ;
brought down to the sides of the grave, and you And if the genuine worth of gold depend
have been raised up again, by him who has the keys On application to its noblest end,
of the invisible world; who opens, and none can Thine had a value in the scales of Heaven, shut, who shuts and none can open. I do not forget Surpassing all that mine or mint has given; to return thanks to him on your behalf, and to pray And though God made thee of a nature prone that your life, which he has spared, may be devoted To distribution, boundless, of thy own,
to his service. “Behold! I stand at the door, and And still, by motives of religious force,
knock,' is the word of him, on whom both our morImpelled thee more to that heroic course,
tal and immortal life depend, and blessed be his Yei was thy liberality discreet,
name! it is the word of one who wounds only that Nice in its choice, and of a temperate heat;
he may heal, and who waits to be gracious.' The And, though an act unwearied, secret still
language of every such dispensation is, 'Prepare to As. in some solitude, the summer rill
meet thy God.' It speaks with the voice of mercy Refreshes, where it winds, the faded green,
and goodness; for, without such notices, whatever And cheers the drooping flowers, unheard, unseen. preparation we might make for other events, we Such was thy charity; no sudden start,
should make none for this. My dear friend, I deAfter long sleep, of passion in the heart;
sire and pray, that when this last enemy shall come But steadfast principle, and in its kind
to execute an unlimited commission on us, we may Of close alliance with the eternal mind,
be found ready, being established and rooted in a Traced easily to its true source above,
well-grounded faith in his name who conquered To Him whose works bespeak his nature, love. death, and triumphed over him on the cross. If I Thy bounties all were Christian, and I make
am ever enabled to look forward to death with comThis record of thee for the gospel's sake,
fort, which I thank God is sometimes the case, I do That the incredulous themselves may see
not take my view of it from the top of my own Its use and power exemplified in thee.”
works and deservings, though God is witness, that
the labor of my life is to keep a conscience void of Owing to some cause, for which we are unable to offence towards him. Death is always formidable account, Cowper's correspondence with his friends to me, but when I see him disarmed of his sting by became much less frequent after his settlement having it sheathed in the body of Christ Jesus." at Olney, than it had been formerly: probably it To the same friend, on another occasion, he thus might be attributed, in some degree at least, to writes:-"I take a friend's share in all your con his close intimacy with Mr. Newton, for they were cerns, so far as they come to my knowledge, and seldom seven waking hours apart from each other. I consequently did not receive the news of your
marriage with indifference. I wish you and your led to his removal to St. Alban's, his brother had bride all the happiness that belongs to the state; and watched over him with the tenderesi solicitude; and the still greater felicity of that state which marriage it was doubtless owing, in a great degree, to this is only a type of. All those connections shall be dis- tenderness, that Cowper was placed under the care solved; but there is an indissoluble bond between of Dr. Cotton. While he remained at St. Alban's, Christ and his church, the subject of derision to an his brother visited him, and, as has been related unthinking, world, but the glory and happiness of above, became the means of contributing materially all his people."
to his recovery. On Cowper's removal to HuntingNo one knew better how to administer consolation don, these affectionate brothers adopted a plan for a to those who were in distress, and certainly no one frequent and regular interchange of visits, so that ever took a greater delight in doing it than Cowper. they were seldom many days without seeing each To his amiable cousin, Mrs. Cowper, who had been other, though the distance between their places of called to sustain a severe domestic affliction, he abode was fifteen miles; and, even after Cowper's writes as follows:-"A letter from your brother, removal to Olney, his brother, during the first two brought me yesterday the most afflicting intelligence years, paid him several visits; they seemed, indeed, that has reached me these many years; I pray God mutually delighted with an opportunity of being in to comfort you, and to enable you to sustain this each other's company. heavy stroke with that resignation to his will, which Cowper, on hearing of his brother's illness, imnone but himself can give, and which he gives to mediately repaired to Cambridge. To his inexpresnone but his own children. How blessed and happy sible grief he found him in a condition that left little is your lot, my dear friend, beyond the lot of the or no hopes of his recovery. In a letter to Mrs. greater part of mankind: that you know what it is Cowper, he thus describes his case :-"My brother to draw near to God in prayer, and are acquainted continues much as he was. His case is a very with a throne of grace! You have resources in the dangerous one-an imposthune of the liver, attendinfinite love of a dear Redeemer, which are with ed by an asthma and dropsy. The physician has held from millions: and the promises of God, which little hopes of his recovery; indeed I might say are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, are sufficient to none at all, only, being a friend, he does not formanswer all your necessities, and to sweeten the bit- ally give him over by ceasing to visit him, lest it terest cup which our Heavenly Father will ever put should sink his spirits. For my own part, I have no into your hand. May he now give you liberty to expectation of it, except by a signal interposition of drink at these wells of salvation till you are filled Providence in answer to prayer. His case is clearly with consolation and peace, in the midst of trouble. out of the reach of medicine, but I have seen many He has said, When thou passeth through the fire, I a sickness healed, where the danger has been equally will be with thee, and when through the floods, they threatening, by the only Physician of value. I shall not overflow thee. You have need of such a doubt not he will have an interest in your prayers, word as this, and he knows your need of it; and as he has in the prayers of many. May the
Lord the time of necessity is the time when he will be incline his ear, and give an answer of peace. I sure to appear in behalf of those who trust in him. know it is good to be afflicted; I trust you have I bear you and yours upon my heart before him, found it so, and that under the teaching of the night and day. For I never expect to hear of dis- Spirit of God, we shall both be purified. It is the tress, which shall call upon me with a louder voice desire of my soul to seek a better country, where to pray for the sufferer. I know the Lord hears me God shall wipe away all tears from the eyes of his for myself, vile and sinful as I am, and believe, and people, and where, looking back upon the ways by am sure, that he will hear me for you also. He is which he has led us, we shall be filled with everthe friend of the widow, and the father of the fa- lasting wonder, love, and praise." therless, even God in his holy habitation ; in all our Finding his brother on the verge of the grave, afflictions, he is afflicted; and when he chastens us, Cowper discovered the greatest anxiety respecting it is in mercy. Surely he will sanctify this dispen- his everlasting welfare. He knew that his sentisation to you, do you great and everlasting good by ments on some of the most important truths of reit, make the world appear like dust and vanity in ligion had been long unsettled; and fully aware your sight, as it truly is, and open to your view the that while such was the case, he could experience glories of a better country, where there shall be no no solid enjoyment in the present life, whatever more death, neither sorrow nor pain, but God shall might be his condition in future, he labored diliwipe away all tears from your eyes for ever. O gently to give him those views of the gospel which that comfortable word! 'I have chosen thee in the he had himself found so singularly beneficial; nor furnace of affliction;' so that our very sorrows are did he labor in vain. He had the unspeakable gratievidences of our calling, and he chastens us because fication to witness the complete triumph of the we are his children. My dear cousin, I commit truth, and its consolatory influence upon the mind of you to the word of his grace, and to the comforts of his beloved brother, in his dying moments. Writing his Holy Spirit. Your life is needful for your family; to Mr. Hill, he says:-" It pleased God to cut short may God, in mercy to them, prolong it, and may he my brother's connections and expectations here, yet, preserve you from the dangerous effects which a not without giving him lively and glorious views of stroke like this might have upon a frame so tender a better happiness, than any he could propose to as yours. I grieve for you, I pray for you; could I himself in such a world as this. Notwithstanding do more I would, but God must comfort you." his great learning, (for he was one of the chief men
Cowper had scarcely forwarded this consolatory in the University in that respect,) he was candid and and truly Christian letter, when he was himself sincere in his inquiries after truth. Though he visited with a trial so severe as to call into exercise could not agree to my sentiments when I first acall that confidence in the Almighty which he had quainted him with them, nor in many conversations endeavored to excite in the mind of his amiable which I afterwards had with him upon the subject, relative. He received a letter from his brother, could he be brought to acquiesce in them as scriptu. then residing as a Fellow in Bene't. College, Cam- ral and true, yet I had no sooner left St. Alban's, bridge, between whom and himself there had always than he began to study with the deepest attention existed an affection truly fraternal, stating that those points on which we differed, and to furnish he was seriously indisposed. No brothers were ever himself with the best writers upon them. His mind more warmly interested in each other's welfare. At was kept open to conviction for five years, during the commencement of Cowper's affliction, which all which time he labored in this pursuit with un