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from meeting, or running about from one meeting-house to another, when there is meeting in your meeting-house ! Perhaps, however, something was the matter ; let me know.
“Do you pursue the good and excellent practice of reading one or two chapters in the Bible every day ? Hoping that you do, and that you strive earnestly and constantly, by every other laudable means to improve yourself, I remain, with solicitude, with much anxiety for your welfare, your affectionate brother."
He also writes
“ December 16th. “ Be not disheartened, my dear brother. You have our kind father with you.
You are under the kind care of a Heavenly Father, who has your destiny in his will, and orders all your lot. Do your duty in all things; endeavour to sustain a good character; attend to the business of your station ; be peaceable, be contented, improve your mind, avoid bad company, attend to the duties of religion, read your Bible, read it every day. I entreat you, never lie down or rise up without prayer. To our Heavenly Father, I commend you ; in his gracious hand I leave you, hoping, that, after oft meeting below, we may meet in the realms of Heaven, together with those friends we have tearfully consigned to the sorrowful mansions of the tomb, never more to separate. Farewell, fare you well, my dear brother, Adieu, with prayer, sincere prayer.”
“ January, 1810. “ Dear Brother,
“Shall I repeat the advice I have so often endeavoured to give you? I hope I need not.” “ Do as I endeavour to do; strive to improve yourself by reading and study.” a little ambitious, but let it be a laudable ambition, an ambition to do well. With much solicitude and sincere affection, I remain, my dear brother, yours.”
“February 11th. By our dear father, I send you this. With him, I have had the great pleasure twice to attend meeting to-day. He leaves here to-morrow for Albany, and from ” thence “ for Hudson. You, my dear brother, have an opportunity to attend meeting with him every Sabbath; to me, it is now unusual. That you may properly appreciate this, and the many other advantages you enjoy, is the ardent wish of sincere affection." “ Conduct yourself well, my dear brother.” “ Above all, do your duty to your God. Remember, remember you must die, and there is a futurity; an eternity in which you must be always happy or miserable. What can you gain by doing wrong? Nothing. What will you gain by doing right? Every thing. Do well, then, I entreat you, and not by a few hours of disobedience to your Maker, get a never-ending eternity of pain and misery. Prepare yourself.” “ Pray to your God, your merciful Heavenly Father, for assistance, and push resolutely on in the path of virtue. Be not discouraged, never, but keep strait forward, and you need not fear.” “My heart yearns with solicitude for you. I have been reading some of mamma's letters to-day. Oh, she was an excellent woman. Remember she was your mother; and may I not be allowed to say, she expects us in heaven? Do right then.”
6 March 21st. “ Dear brother : I think, now, you must feel the necessity of exerting yourself to obtain something of an education. The time is short, and now, more than ever, I feel sensible you will strive anxiously to improve it." “Study in odd hours, in all hours, except Sundays. Then read as you ought. Go to meeting.” “My anxiety is extremely great, Do strive, I beg of you. Do well, well, well. Adieu,”
“ June 11th, and September 10th. My Dear Brother,
“I am so anxious for your present and eternal welfare, that I have ” arisen “ from my bed to write a few lines, now it is upon my mind, to impress it upon you to be seri. ous, and attend to the things of religion. Thomas, if you get rich, you cannot be happy without religion. You see how unhappy those are who are not religious, and how happy they are who are truly religious. Remember our Uncle and Mamma. Do you not wish to meet their approbation; to meet them ? Not only are they happy now, but they will be so for ever; and far happier than any be in this world.” “ Remember your Bible and your prayers; and oh, may God have mercy upon you now and for ever, and take you into his kind care and keeping for Christ, the dear Redeemer's sake, Amen."
“ Be not afraid of being laughed at; pity them if they do." “ Commending you to our Maker, with prayer, 1 say adieu, with a full heart,"
66 June 17th. “My Dear Brother,
“ I hope you do not omit any opportunity of attending divine service, nor reading your Bible every day. Be in the means of grace, that God, most merciful, may make you happy by making you a Christian. Although I seldom write to you, I often think of you, and remember you in my prayers to our kind, Heavenly Father.”
“ Am closely engaged in study when I can.” resignation and improvement mark this instance of bereavement, my dear Thomas." (The death of our grandmother.) “Do, I entreat you, let it make you prepare for the same.
“ One young man was drowned here on Sunday ; four boys in Albany. You know not how soon you may go.
Oh, my dear brother, pray earnestly, every night and morning, as well as other times, that your kind and Heavenly Father would make you wiser and better. Enter into his service now, and you will be happy for ever; do, Thomas; I entreat it of you as the greatest favour you could grant me; and it is for your sake. Ask yourself the question ; suppose I should die this night, this hour, what would be my portion? Prepare-Oh prepare !"
He further adds
“July 27th. < Remember it is of infinitely more consequence to be a good man than a rich one. Think of this always." mindful, my dear brother, of the good advice that has been attempted to be given you.” “Keep the Sabbath sacred as the day of the Lord, steadily persisting in this ; remembering it is your duty to obey God rather than man in all things. With earnest desire for your safety, I commend you into the hand of Him, who can, and will, take care and charge of you, if you conduct aright, and look to him as you ought, which I hope you do night and morning, as well as in and through the day."
“Oh, Thomas, do not forget our Mamma and Uncle ; how happy they will be to meet us in Heaven. But if we will not look to God, what can we expect but misery ? Farewell. Your true brother."
I have presented numerous extracts from this correspondence, praying that it may be as instrumental of good to the souls of others, as I have reason to believe it was to myself. What mother ever displayed a greater ardour of love, and a more uninterrupted and tender solicitude for her own child, than my beloved brother thus evidenced towards me.
And he did not labour in vain. Light was thus gradually let into my mind, and the current of my affections was in a good degree turned from earth to heaven. And my bosom now swells with gratitude to our Heavenly Father, that I was blessed with such an exercise of parental love by an elder brother. And if parents, and those who can exercise an influence over the minds and hearts of the youth, would but pursue a similar course, a similar, yea, a more glorious result might certainly be anticipated. Infinite Wisdom says, “ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Not only the peculiarly affectionate disposition of my brother was thus unfolded, but the soundness of his principles, his knowledge of human nature, and the maturity of his judgment. He continually brings forward the fundamental doctrines and the important duties of the Gospel in such a variety of attractive forms, so adapted to the peculiar state of my mind and heart, and the providences through which we were passing, that we are not so much astonished at their salutary influence.
What renders this stage of his history the more interesting is, that in these unfoldings of the youthful mind and heart of a brother, we but view in embryo, the affectionate ardour, the anxious solicitude, and the untiring zeal of the devoted pastor, which overwhelmed his frail body, which drank up his spirit, and now constrains us to exclaim, that the zeal of the Lord's house hath indeed consumed him.