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A letter to his friend Mercer touches upon one instance which appears to have long rested on his memory. The fever,' says he, in a letter of the date of 18th September, 'rages with the greatest violence in the city; more than threefourths, it is thought, of the inhabitants have removed to the country, or to camps on the commons.
Nor does death confine his ravages to the city-several in the country have died, supposed to have taken the fever in the city. Among these, the death of Miss Breck, and of Miss Westcott, who was on a visit to her, excites peculiar interest. They died, after a few days' illness, on the same day. I was at the house the day Miss W. died-went with the corpse to the grave between eight and nine in the evening while absent there, Miss Breck also died, and was buried before morning. Yet these affecting instances of mortality seem to produce very little effect upon any but those who immediately suffer by them in their friends or property.'
That he himself deeply felt this sudden visitation, and was unwilling to lose the impression of it, would appear from the careful preservation among his papers, of the following little note and enclosure from the surviving sister, dated the following day.
Miss Breck, at the request of her parents, encloses'a note of supplication and thanks to Heaven, to be read or omitted, as the judgment of Mr. Hobart shall direct, at the Morning Service. When Mr. Hobart can with safety visit them, Miss B. will derive much consolation from conversing with him on the important subject of that future state, whither are now consigned the beloved sister and friend of her heart.
The enclosure is as follows:
“A family of this church desire to return thanks to Almighty God for his divine mercy in restoring to the hopes of safety a young woman, who has been for many days dangerously ill. They also implore his divine assistance to enable them so to bear their late heavy calamities, as shall render them worthy of that Christian faith in which they profess to believe.'
Of this afflicted family no further records remain, but they who knew the ardor and devotedness of their young pastor's feelings in after-life, will readily conceive that no prudential scruples kept him back from the house of mourning.
In answer to a letter communicating this, or some similar dispensation, one of his correspondents observes :
I condole with you. May we look from secondary to primary causes, and may the judgments of God which are in the earth lead us to amend our lives, and teach us righteousness. He alone can dissipate the
darkness of our minds, dispel the clouds of sorrow which afflict us, and render it fruitful and salutary. With this short letter I bid you farewell, wishing sincerely your happiness. May peace and competency attend you on earth, and everlasting joy await you in heaven.
Your sincere friend,
John I. SayRs.
FROM REV, H, KOLLOCK.
· Elizabethtown, October 24th, 1798. The letter of my dear friend would not have remained so long unanswered, had not a fit of sickness debarred me from the use of my pen; I now resume it for the first time after my recovery.
What is that undefinable charm which attaches us so strongly to the scenes of our youth, and so highly endears to us our native home? Five months have swiftly flown; they were spent with friends most dear to me, and in occupations most pleasing, yet I return with joy to Elizabeth, and visit with delight those places which recall times that are past.
My principal study during the last session, was “ Warburton's Divine Legation.” He seems to have chosen this topic, that he might display his almost unlimited knowledge, since there is scarcely a subject of science which he has not introduced into it. He abounds with much rude railing, and has a number of very singular paradoxes, but his leading proposition is proved with a strength of argument which is, I think, irresistible. Whatever may be your opinion of his primary argument, you will be highly pleased in reading him.
The question so bitterly agitated between our churches, on the question of original sin, has been the subject of my meditation for some time past; and you will, perhaps, smile when I tell you that I have found myself obliged to renounce the sentiments of the rigid Calvinists. The doctrine of imputation, as held by them, appears to me inconsistent with the justice of God. I can very readily grant, that in consequence of the sin of Adam, mankind should become subject to temporal death, since immortality was not a debt but a free gift, and we could have no claim to it, though we had remained for ever innocent. I can likewise allow that mankind have hence received a moral taint and infection, by which they have a propensity to sin; but my mind revolts from the idea, that I should be sentenced by a God of justice and mercy to an eternity of misery, because of the transgressions of one who sinned before I was born, and in a capacity of knowing or hindering what he did. On this ground I think we may both meet.
H— has left Mrs. Knox's, and taken up his residence in a solitary hamlet entirely encircled by woods. He thinks, perhaps he thinks with propriety, that he can there cultivate the better affections of his nature, and prosecute his studies with greater advantage than at Princeton. He may plead Milton's authority for the latter part of his sentiment, who very elegantly tells us that
66 Wisdom's self Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, Where with her best nurse, Contemplation, She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, That in the various bustle of resort Were all too ruffled."
I should have preferred for my retreat, however, that season when all nature puts on an aspect of cheerful
But I believe that my disposition is not sufficiently romantic to be invariably pleased with retirement; for, after the novelty of the landscape has ceased, I have beheld them with a sigh, and exclaimed, “ The society of one dear friend would be worth them all.”
FROM REV. E. GRANT.
New-Brunswick, December 20th, 1798. My dear Friend,
The receipt of your affectionate letter gave me great pleasure; I had been long wishing to know where I might address myself to you, but being sent to and fro through the upper part of this State, all last summer, I could get no information. I came home, however, fully determined to renew our correspondence, and was pleasingly disappointed to find that your goodness had been beforehand with me. Your professions of regard, my dear John, I can sincerely return. I assure you no day passes that I do not bear you in frequent, pleasing, and affectionate remembrance on my mind. I account the time I spent at Princeton as among the most agreeable and profitable days of my life, and your friendship and correspondence as among its most profitable and agreeable acquisitions.
It rejoices me to hear that you have been enabled so soon to have a field for active and pious exertion. Your situation, it is true, like that of others, has its advantages and its disadvantages, but you must not suffer the latter to have a discouraging influence. “That they have little zeal'--that they are dispersed that they are intermixed with other denominations, these shou!!