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and Sunday-schools? Our friends at Clapham were very apprehensive of it some time since, but we hear little of it in the country. Mr. Simeon informed me lately, he had little doubt something of the sort would be attempted. He gave some intimation of the same kind in a sermon he preached to his own people. Pray inform me of all you have heard about it, for it is an affair which lies with considerable weight on my mind. If there should be any thing done, we shall see dismal times. you know whether any thing has been written on the subject? Mr. Simeon and I are upon very friendly terms. I lately dined with him at his own rooms, and have repeatedly met him in company, in which the conversation has been very agreeable. The reconciliation was effected principally by the intervention of Mr. Owen, of Fulham, and of Alderman Ind. A paper was drawn up, and signed by each party. We are upon very comfortable terms with the church-people at present; never was less party spirit at Cambridge. I wish I could see more good done; but yet I must not complain. Our congregation is very flourishing, and things wear an agreeable aspect. But my paper admonishes me to close. Pray write to me very soon, if not immediately, and let us see you at Cambridge as early as possible. Remember me respectfully to Mr. Thompson, Miss Wilkinson, Mr. Beddome, &c.
TO THE REV. JAMES PHILLIPS.
My dear Friend,
Cambridge, May 26, 1801.
I thank you for your very kind letter, and for your invitation to pay you an early visit at Clapham. You know, and every one who knows me knows, there is no friend living whom I should be so glad to see as yourself, but am afraid it will not be in my power to gratify this inclination at present. I am just going to see my old friend Kinghorn, at Norwich, where I shall be absent one, possibly two, sabbaths. In the fall of the year I am engaged to visit Bristol, and to go as far as Plymouth; so that I am afraid it will not be in my power to pay my London and Clapham friends a visit this summer. I shall fully expect, however, to see you at Cambridge some time in the summer. It is long since you were here; and we are anxiously desirous of seeing you, with Mrs. Phillips, to whom I beg to be affectionately remembered. It gives me extreme pleasure to hear of your great acceptance at Clapham. Miss Wilkinson* spoke in raptures of you to Mrs. Gutteridge. The distinguished respect the people have shewn you,
* This excellent lady, for more than half a century, devoted a portion of her income to the publication, in a cheap form, of judicious and valuable selections from the works of Baxter, Howe, Allein, Janeway, Watts, &c. she was also Editor of the "Pocket Prayer Book," the "Sunday School Library," "Pocket Sermons," and other useful books; of which many thousand copies were sold, and as many distributed gratuitously. They still obtain, as they deserve, a wide circulation.-ED.
does them much more honour than it can do you. You are intimate, I find, with Mr. Beddome's family. They are, indeed, a lovely family, truly friendly, liberal, and intelligent: there is no house where I spend my time more agreeably, in London or the environs. The parcel you sent me consists of a very polite letter from Mr. Roberts, enclosing a copy of verses, elegant, and truly and strictly poetical, that is replete with fiction, containing praises which my heart compels me to disclaim with a sigh! O my friend, what an infinity of time I have lost, and how ardently do I long to do something which shall convince the world I have not lived in vain! My wishes, in this respect, will, it is to be feared, never be fulfilled. Tranquillity is not my lot.. The prey, in early life, of passion and calamity, I am now perfectly devoured with an impatience to redeem time, and to be of some lasting benefit to the world, at least to the church. But this inter nos.
You wish me to answer Bishop Horsley. You have seen, probably, Rowland Hill's sermon. I should be little disposed to answer Horsley, or any individual. Were any thing to be done, it should, in my opinion, enter into the whole matter, containing an ample defence of the liberty of worship, and of the specific efforts of methodists and dissenters, in instructing and evangelizing mankind.* I, some time since, put down some thoughts on this subject;
See the Fragments on Toleration, &c. in Vol. III.—Ep... }
but whether I shall proceed will depend on the conduct of the government; as a laboured defence would be, probably, impolitic, without a projected attack. Pray come soon to see us. My respects to Mr. Thompson, Miss Wilkinson, Beddomes, Petries, and other friends, as if named.
I know not what apology to make, for having so long neglected to fulfil my part of the mutual promise of correspondence. Impute it to any thing rather than indifference; for I can assure you, with the utmost sincerity, that your kindness to me, while I had the happiness of being under your roof, left an impression on my mind of gratitude and esteem which no time can efface. It is doing no sort of justice to my feelings, to say that it exceeded any thing of the kind I ever experienced in my life; and heightens the regret I feel at the probability of few opportunities of personal intercourse with a friend, who has so great a claim to my regard, and in whose welfare I shall always feel myself so deeply interested. When I look back on my past days, (alas! why should I ever look back,) the few I spent at Plymouth Dock
appear like a bright spot in a dreary prospect. Though my friends at Bristol were disposed to be displeased at my staying so long in Devonshire, I shall never repent of it, since it afforded me an opportunity of renewing and cementing a virtuous friendship-the only kind of friendship that will flourish to eternal ages. Yes, Madam, I hope to renew with you the remembrance of my visit to Dock, and of your kindness, before the throne, where distance will no more interrupt the intercourse of kindred minds. What a happiness to reflect, though separated here, we are advancing every step nearer to the place of meeting; and, in the mean time, we are mingling our addresses at the same mercy-seat, imbibing pleasure at the same spring, and deposing our anxieties in the same compassionate bosom. There is a divine reality in the communion of saints, which I pray we may more and more experience.
I have just been reading Dr. Whitehead's Life of Mr. Wesley: it has given me a much more enlarged idea of the virtues and labours of that extraordinary man than I ever had before. I would not incur the guilt of that virulent abuse which Toplady cast upon him, for points merely speculative and of very little importance, for ten thousand worlds. When will the christian world cease disputing about religion, and begin to enter into its spirit, and practise its precepts? I am attempting to write a vindication of village preaching and of Sunday-schools, but when it will be out