Page images
PDF
EPUB

willing to sacrifice the happiness of eternity to the deceitful pleasures of the passing moment. My heart is indeed a lamentable sink of loathsome corruption and hypocrisy. In consistency with my professed opinions, I am often obliged to talk on subjects of which I know but little in experience, and to rank myself with those who have felt, what I only approve from my head, and, perhaps, esteem from my heart. I often start with horror and disgust from myself, when I consider how deeply I have imperceptibly gone into this species of simulation. Yet I think my love for the Gospel, and its professors, is sincere; only I am insincere in suffering persons to entertain a high opinion of me as a child of God, when indeed I am an alien from him. On looking over some private memorandums, which were written at various times in the course of the two last years, I beheld, with inexpressible anguish, that my progress has, if any thing, been retrograde. I am still as dark, still as cold, still as ignorant, still as fond of the world, and have still fewer desires after holiness. I am very, very dissatisfied with myself, and yet I am not prompted to earnest prayer. I have been so often earnest, and always have fallen away, that I. go to God without hope, without faith. Yet I am not totally without hope; I know God will have my whole heart, and I know, when I give him that, I shall experience the light of his countenance with a permanency. I pray that he would assist my weakness, and grant me. some portion of his grace, in order that I may overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, to which I have long, very long, been a willing, though an unhappy slave. Do you pray earnestly with me, and for me, in these respects; I know the prayers of the faithful avail much; and when you consider with what great temp

tations I am surrounded, and how very little strength I have wherewith to resist them, you will feel with me the necessity of earnest supplication, and fervent intercession, lest I should be lost, and cast away for ever.

I shall gladly receive your spiritual advice and directions. I have gone on too long in coldness and unconcern; who knows whether, if I neglect the present hour, the day of salvation may not be gone by for ever!!

TO MR. JOHN CHARLESWORTH.

St. John's, 22d Sept. 1806.

MY DEAR CHARLESWORTH, THANK you for taking the blame of our neglected correspondence on your own shoulders. I thought it rested elsewhere. Thrice have I begun to write to you; once in Latin, and twice in English; and each time have the fates opposed themselves to the completion of my design. But, however, pax sit rebus, we are naturally disposed to forgive, because we are, as far as intention goes, mutual offenders.

I thank you for your invitation to Clapham, which came at a fortunate juncture, since I had just settled with my tutor that I should pay a visit to my brother in London this week. I shall of course see you; and shall be happy to spend a few days with you at Clapham, and to rhapsodize on your common. It gives me pleasure to hear you are settled, and I give you many hearty good wishes for practice and prosperity. I hope you will soon find that a wife is a very necessary article of enjoyment in a domesticated state; for how, indeed, should it be otherwise? A man cannot cook his dinner

while he is employed in earning it. Housekeepers are complete helluones rei familiaris, and not only pick your pockets, but abuse you into the bargain. While a wife, on the contrary, both cooks your dinner and enlivens it with her society; receives you after the toils of the day with cheerfulness and smiles, and is not only the faithful guardian of your treasury, but the soother of your cares, and the alleviator of your calamities. Now, am I not very poetical? But on such a subject who would not be poetical? A wife!—a domestic fire-side; --the cheerful assiduities of love and tenderness! It would inspire a Dutch burgomaster! and if, with all this in your grasp, you shall choose the pulsare terram pede libero, still avoid the irrupta copula, still deem it a matter of light regard to be an object of affection and fondness to an amiable and sensible woman, why then you deserve to be a fellow of a college all your days; to be kicked about in your last illness by a saucy and careless bed-maker; and, lastly, to be put in the ground in your college chapel, followed only by the man who is to be your successor. Why, man, I dare no more dream that I shall ever have it in my power to have a wife, than that I shall be Archbishop of Canterbury, and Primate of all England. A suite of rooms in a still and quiet corner of old St. John's, which was once occupied by a crazy monk, or by one of the translators of the Bible in the days of good King James, must form the boundary of my ambition. I must be content to inhabit walls which never echoed with a female voice, to be buried in glooms which were never cheered with a female smile. It is said, indeed, that women were sometimes permitted to visit St. John's when it was a monastery of Black-Friars, in order to be present at particular religious ceremonies; but the good monks

were careful to sprinkle holy water wherever their profane footsteps had carried contagion and pollution.

It is well that you are free from the restrictions of monastic austerity, and that, while I sleep under the shadow of towers and lofty walls, and the safeguard of a vigilant porter, you are permitted to inhabit your own cottage, under your own guardianship, and to listen to the sweet accents of domestic affection.

Yes, my very Platonic, or rather Stoical friend, I must see you safely bound in the matrimonial noose, and then, like a confirmed bachelor, ten years hence, I shall have the satisfaction of pretending to laugh at, while, in my heart, I envy you. So much for rhapsody. I am coming to London for relaxation's sake, and shall take it pretty freely; that is, I shall seek after fine sightsstare at fine people-be cheerful with the gay-foolish with the simple-and leave as little room to suspect as possible that I am (any thing of) a philosopher and mathematician. I shall probably talk a little Greek, but it will be by stealth, in order to excite no suspicion.

I shall be in town on Friday or Saturday. I am in a very idle mood, and have written you a very idle letter, for which I entreat your pardon: and I am, Dear C

Very sincerely yours,

H. K. WHITE.

TO HIS BROTHER NEVILLE.
(Found in his pocket after his decease.)

St. John's College, Saturday, Oct. 11th, 1806. DEAR NEVILLE,

I AM safely arrived, and in college, but my illness has increased upon me much. The cough continues, and

is attended with a good deal of fever. I am under the care of Mr. Farish, and entertain very little apprehension about the cough; but my over-exertions in town have reduced me to a state of much debility; and, until the cough be gone, I cannot be permitted to take any strengthening medicines. This places me in an awkward predicament; but I think I perceive a degree of expectoration this morning, which will soon relieve me, and then I shall mend apace.

Under these circumstances, I must not expect to see you here at present: when I am a little recovered, it will be a pleasant relaxtion to me.

Our lectures began on Friday, but I do not attend them until I am better. I have not written to my mother, nor shall I while I remain unwell. You will tell her, as a reason, that our lectures began on Friday. I know she will be uneasy, if she do not hear from me, and still more so, if I tell her I am ill,

I cannot write more at present, than that I am Your truly affectionate brother, H. K. WHITE.

HINTS, &c.

WHY will not men be contented with appearing what they are? As sure as we attempt to pass for what we are not, we make ourselves ridiculous. With religious professors, this ought to be a consideration of importance; for when we assume credit for what we do not possess, we break the laws of God in more ways than we are aware of: vanity and deceit are both implicated.

« PreviousContinue »