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A. D. 1784-1796.
Letters relating to Mr. Adam's Life, from the Rev. J. Burnett
The Rev. Robert Storry- The Rev. Henry Venn-And Colonel Pownall.
A few extracts from letters which passed among the immediate friends of Mr. Adam respecting him, are added by the present editor. These are chiefly addressed to the Rev. J. Stillingfeet, when he was engaged in writing the Memoir of Mr. Adam. The Rev. J. Burnett writes : “ Messrs Walker, Jane, and I, went to see him in 1757 ; which was the sole interview the first of these ever had with him. I do not know that Mr. Madan was ever at Wintringham. Mr. Knight can tell you of the manner of his death.”
The Rev. Robert Storry writes to the same': “ You know the firm and calm peace which Mr. Adam enjoyed for many years, through faith in Jesus; and of which it will be the more needful to take notice, as I have found some rather puzzled to conceive how he could enjoy the true liberty of the gospel, without holding election and perseverance in their way, for he held them both in a way of his
"It appears to me that his proverbs will delineate his character ; but the happy influence of his views and principles, upon his temper and conversation, may be enlarged upon to the benefit of those who read his “Thoughts,' and did not know his particular character.”
“ Being naturally of a proud and haughty temper, it cost him much prayer, labour, and watchfulness to obtain that mastery over his passions, which all admired in him; for you know he was remarkably meek, patient, and humble, which he learned by inch and inch through hard conflicts.”
“ He was a good master, a steady friend, and a kind neighbour. Instead of going to the largest shops, he frequently dealt with those tradesmen whom he judged to stand most in need of encouragement. He has often requited the base ingratitude and incivility of an ignorant and perverse parishioner, by doing him some good turn. What I saw in him, in all these respects, gave me much more enlarged views of practical religion, than I ever had before; and now that I am a family man, and have a little more to do with men and things, I often endeavour to place the example of that dear man before me.”
“ He laid a greater stress upon the duties of common honesty, fairness, and punctuality in his dealings, than the generality of ministers and proessors do : in which he was certainly right.”
“ I esteem it one of the happiest circumstances of my life, and a peculiar mercy and favour from the Lord, that I lived so long in his family, about six years, and had such opportunities of knowing him intimately, and of being favoured with his affectionate friendship and regard."
Nothing seemed to hurt him more than to perceive any one taking pleasure in relating slanderous reports; I have known him more than once put a stop to it by saying, “The roots of the tongue lie very deep. When I see a fault in another, 1 look for two in myself; and very often they are not far to seek.'
“Some things were very odious to him, such as these : dealing in any sort of smuggled goods ; living above one's income; indulging in needless expenses for the sake of appearing like others, especially when it occasioned a breach of common honesty, an injury to a person's family, or an hindrance to benevolence and charity
“ The prodigious veneration and regard which your wife (Mrs. Stillingfleet) had for him, was very much owing to what she saw in him above others, in all these respects.'
The Rev. Henry Venn addressed two letters to the Rev. J. Stillingfleet, relating to Mr. Adam.
Yelling, Jan. 7th, 1785. My very dear Brother, “ You act like a brother in passing over my long silence, for which I have been condemned at the sight of your hand-writing. If such neglect can cause a momentary uneasiness, what will the slothful and wicked servant feel when he appears before his injured Lord ? It would have given me much satisfaction could I have sent you any anecdotes concerning our dear glorified brother who ascended up on high from Wintringham. He was rather reserved you know, and like a truly wise Christian spoke very little of himself. .
Your letter confirms what Mr. Hervey told me, and others, that your house is always full of company. I should wonder if it were not so, when two such persons preside in it. I know if I were within twenty miles I should be one to add to the evil of which you complain; for a great evil it certainly is. I have suffered loss exceedingly in my own soul, by too much company. The loins of my mind have been unloosed, my time wasted, my communion with God very faint, and only by fits and starts; my preaching light, and the weight of eternity almost nothing. Happy are those who have resolution and grace, and when they are of your social and pleasing cast, O how much resolution and grace are required to forego company, in a proper degree,—the company of dear Christiansthe company of Christians who are united to you in love, because you love that dearest name by which all love in purity is enjoyed in earth and in heaven. But it must be done. We must make it a matter of prayer in some such way as this.
Most gracious God, who in marvellous condescension hast put me into the ministry, when I was madly seeking death in the error of my life, and hast charged me to give all diligence and always to be occupied in my most holy office, for the good of souls, till thou shalt come, O make me truly conscientious to spend my time to
the best advantage for myself and others. Make me lose all relish for society, which would deprive me of sweet communion with thee, and make me idle or dissipated. I would be for thee only.' We ought also to pray much and earnestly that when we have company, both they and we may speak words which are good and acceptable, such as men who fear the Lord, and think upon his name, speak, and which give pleasure to him who hearkens to them. When this is done, we shall find a sense of the divine presence a salutary restraint upon the levity natural to men of our own constitution. The Lord will honour our desires, and our fellowship with his children shall be greatly profitable to our souls. We shall love each other more, and anticipate in some measure that happy time when it will be no longer necessary to watch, and pray, and strive, that we hurt not our dearest friends, nor they us. Take a recent instance of the success attending this method.
“ In November, the Rev. Mr. Robinson from Leicester, gladdened my heart with a visit, and after sleeping one night in his way to Cambridge, we engaged to meet at Huntingdon, and spend the evening. He, the Rev. Mr. Simeon, Mr. Brock, and myself, were the party. It was much upon my mind,
, and upon the minds of the rest, that our meeting might prove a blessing. Indeed it did, equal to any one I ever found such. Our whole discourse was solid, pertinent, and relating to our profession. We were engaged in conference, like officers, when a council of war is called to extricate the army from a most perilous situation, or plan the works for a general action, on which they are just going to