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You fear that it is not the hand of the Lord that is upon you. I do think that it is, my J– It is the peculiar office of the Spirit to convince of sin : and I do think that he is at this time dealing with your soul. But why look so much at your vow? You have sinned, my J—, in heart, lip, and life. “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” O my J—, what prostituted affections, what mis-spent time! While God says, " Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." What self-indulgence, and self-will, instead of self-denial! Listen to the voice of convictions ; listen to it as the voice of mercy, leading you to Christ, the great propitiatory Sacrifice, the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." Go to Christ, my dear, as a sinner ; tell him that you commit your sinful soul into his hands. Say, • Thou hast bid me look unto thee, and be saved. Saviour, I do look unto thee for salvation. Wash me in thy blood, clothe me in thy righteousness : sanctify me by thy grace: accept of me as thy pardoned, saved child ; and be Surety for me for good : that, having vowed to thee that I would be thy servant, I may perform my vow ; furnish me with both will and power to devote myself to thee every day of my life.' Try, my dear, to rest on Christ; put your trust in him; if you do, he will not disappoint you: as your faith, so shall it be unto you. Now, faith is a saving grace: thereby we receive, and rest upon, Christ for salvation, as he is offered to us in the Gospel. Do as you have said; wait his appointed time, in the use of means, till he manifest himself to you. I am hurried for time to get this to Farewel. I will pray for you.
TO DR. H. M-, ROTHSAY, BUTE.
November 11, 1799. My dear Brother,
Before this reaches you the public papers will have informed you of the desolation of New York, by the yellow-fever. We are among the escaped ; and there are no breaches in the family. My health, and that of the family, made the country necessary to us at any rate, and we had left town previously to its becoming general: but Mr. B- kept in the city, only sleeping in the country, till forty-five were carried off in a night. The inhabitants abandoned the city in crowds, spreading over the adjacent countries ; in Long-Island, Jersey, and New York, for sixty miles round. In the most busy trading streets, a person might have walked half a mile without meeting an individual, or seeing an open house or shop. Eleven physicians and surgeons fell sacrifices to it; five of them men of eminence; several were confined by mere fatigue, and had to retire to rest relieving others when recruited. Dr. B-, one of our oldest, and most eminent physicians, who had retired from business two years ago, and lived on his estate in the country, hearing of the distress of his brethren, and the impossibility of their answering all the calls of the sick and dying, left his retreat, returning to town, and slaved to the last. His affectionate wife would not be left behind, but determined to share or witness his fate. It hath pleased God to preserve them both. Notwithstanding the general flight the mortality among those that remained was so great, that for three weeks from 48 to 54 died every 24 hours! This was no vague report, but that of the physicians, and published in the daily newspapers.
The churches were shut up, except those which stood out of danger. Great numbers carried the infection with them to the country, as far as 60 and 80 miles, aud died there : almost every one that took it in the country died, having no proper
medical assistance ; I do not remember of one that recovered : many died in the city, and in the hospitals. Some died without getting sight of a doctor, some alone, deserted by every creature.
The coffins were ready made, the graves ready dug, and the minute the last breath was fetched, they were buried with the utmost dispatch. Many widows had to put their husbands in the coffin, with the assistance of the maker; and often, very often, there was not a creature at the burial, but the man that drove the hearse, who assisted the sexton to put the body under the ground. I myself met a hearse, followed by three well-dressed females, not a man but the driver. Long before this, your heart has asked, What became of
Wonders were done for them; yet many suffered for want of nursing. A number of humane men formed themselves into a society, sought them out, and ministered relief from the public funds. Two cooks' shops in different quarters of the city prepared soup, meat, vegetables, and bread. A committee sat in the alms-house every day, from nine to one o'clock, to receive such reports or applications as might be made to them, either by, or in behalf of, the sick or poor; and they were visited, and nurses and medical attendance provided by the public, as well as every species of necessaries ; but, alas! nurses were not to be had ; doctors could be at only one place at a time. When speaking of the poor, I omitted mentioning the large donations which were sent from both town and country, to the committee : flour, meal, fowls, sheep, vegetables, money and clothes. One of the members of
this Society told me that there was a plentiful supply; and temporary hospitals, and other buildings, were erected for the reception of the sick and recovering ; every thing that could be done was done to soften the calamity.
I am obliged to stop abruptly. Love to all with you.
New-York, March 3, 1800. Here comes a letter of woe from my dear brother, on a subject almost already forgotten in New-York, the yellowfever. Strange as it may seem, the disease, and all that it carried off, seem entirely out of mind. No mention made of the past, no apprehensions are entertained for the future. Country retreats are multiplying around, and people appear as if they had made a covenant with death. Potter's field is filled with our principal citizens; the prison and prison limits, with many of the survivors. The rest are feasting dancing, and revelling, or weeping over feigned woe in the theatre. A few escaped, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before them; whose eyes have been open to discern the danger, and accept the offered Saviour; among which number, I dare, through grace, reckon your sister and her children. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." The city, (indeed, the United States) have been swallowed up in the loss of Washington. The utmost stretch of human eloquence has been called forth in panegyric. His eulogium has been sounded in every pos
sible mode—not excepting our pulpits. The 22d of February, his birth-day, was set apart to his memory. Two of our ministers were appointed to pronounce an eulogium on his character; one of whom was Dr. Mason, the other Dr. Linn. The last I admired ; it had its due influence over me ; but of my own minister, I could form no judgment; the church, the pulpit, the man, the words, seemed so connected with the Lord Jesus Christ, his favourite theme, I could not realize the mere orator. Great things were said of Washington, and they were due. The Lord himself called him by name, girded him, subdued great armies before him with handsful, like Gideon. He gave him wisdom in council, and prudence in executing justice. A nation blessed him while he lived, and with all the power of language lamented his death. Ah, human depravity, how striking! Bursting with gratitude to a creature—with enmity to a Saviour God; to God " who so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And to as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become the sons of God,” by putting his Spirit within them, and causing them to love, and walk in, his statutes. But, alas ! the carnal, unrenewed mind is enmity against God and his Christ. O that men were wise, and could see their disease, and the remedy! What misery is in the world at this day! It is only equalled by the wicked
How does potsherd dash against potsherd, mutually destroying each other! How consoling to the Christian, that “ the Lord reigns! The Lord sits king among the nations,” even our own Jesus, “ Head over all principalities, and powers, and dominions, and every name that is named in heaven and in earth :" All these shakings, turnings, and overturnings, shall prove subservient to the real prosperity