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TO DR. I
TO DR. F.
CHARLESTON, OCTOBER 8, 1809.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your kind, and good, and interesting letter, extending from the 30th of August, to the 7th of September, and reaching me, at this great distance, within the space of twenty three days, viz. on the 30th ult, after taking leave of your pen, I now begin to acknowledge, in the hope that this may be finished in time for travelling to you, in the course of a month at the farthest, from the present date.
Some two or three months, ago, I received, in a package with other hooks, &c. from Philadelphia, some two or three copies of the Report, &c. of the Bible Society, lately established in that city, but without any letter accompanying them. On the subject of the establishment of a similar society in this city, I have thought again and again, and the result of my reflections is, that the attempt is not likely to be attende ed with the success that would be desirable. Among the reasons which have led to this conclusion, are, 1st, The existence of the Society for promoting the interests of religion, consisting of members belonging to our own congregations here, &c. which embraces the gratuitous distribution of the Bible, as one of its leading objects ; and, 2dly, and chiefly, the difficulty which exists here, of collecting, with any tolerable punctuality, the annual contributions, which may be subscribed to
the support of Institutions, of a character so purely'religious. Liberal donations, in proportion to the resources of the donors, to charitable purposes, humane and pious, may be obtained here, with as much facility, perhaps, as in any part of our land, city, or country. But annual contributions, subscribed to the same purposes, do not seem to be well recollected, at the line when they are due ; and they are often altogether, and for ever forgotten, or at least neglected. Whether this may be occasioned by the beat, or any other quality of our climate or atmosphere, relaxing the tenacity of the memory, and rendering it incapable of extending itself to the distance of a year, so as to recollect distinctly, and to meet cheerfully, the return of an annual period, when it comes round, demanding again the money, which having been once paid, was no more thought of; as to be paid again, is a question, which I leave to you, as a medical man, a chymist, and a philosopher, to solve. In the mean time, I have the satisfaction of informing you, that a subscription paper, headed by one of those pamphlets, has been lately put in motion among us, and that within a few days, while it was in my hands, were obtained three subscriptions of fifty dollars each, with some others from twenty, down to five dollars, amounting to upwards of two hun. dred dollars, as donations to the Philadelphia Bible Society. It has since been committed to the attentions of a friend, who I presume has obtained considerable additions to the above sum ; and after receiving it again, I hope to have an opportunity of banding it to some of her friends, with further success; say, now, $270. Giving the Bible to those who are not able to purchase it, or who would have their attention to it particular
ly excited, by the circumstance of their receiving it as a present, has long been regarded by me as one of the most important and promising objects, to which the charity of christians can be directed ; and more espec. ially so, the giving of the Bible, in their native languages, to the Heathen nations, who are capable of read. ing it, and who are willing to receive and read it, when thus presented to themi, Thus disposed, it seems are many, very many, among the various populous nations of the East, at this day. And what christian can forbear most cordially wishing, “God speed,” to those poble spirited, generous hearted lovers of Jesus, and friends of Zion, who are at this day, thus giving the Book of God to those people, who hare been so long destitute of its Divine and saving light; and therefore perishing, because, in their regions, there bas been no such heavenly vision, to guide thein into the way of salvation ?
October 9th. Have you seen the Star in the East ? I mean Dr. Buchanan's Missionary Sermon, lately preached in England, and published under this tille? If not, you have a pleasure yet to come. It is truly an evangelical, eloquent, and most excellent discourse, and gives us more satisfactory information, respecting the progress and the triumphs of the gospel, in the countries of the East, than any publication which I bave seen. He tells the people of Britain, that they have it in their power, greatly to promote the cause of christianity in India, but that they have no power to de. stroy it; that it would be as easy to extinguish christianity in Great Britain, as in India'; where there are thousands, and hundreds of thousands of christians, and that while the people of Great Britain are contend. ing, whether it be a proper thing to convert the Hindoos, they will go on extending the bounds of their churches, and enjoying the blessings of the gospel, regardless of all opposition. What christian heart will not leap for joy, at such good news, and what christian hand would not, if it bad opportunity, open itself wide in ministering to the support, and promotion of so glorious a cause ? On the last sabbath of September, I took the liberty of presenting in my discourse, some extracts to my hearers, from this admirable sermon, and of commending it to their perusal. In the course of the Tues. day following, of an hundred copies that were on sale, at M's book store, not one remained to be purchased. But a new supply is ordered.
I am, very affectionately, yours,. .
ISAAC S. KEITH.
TO DR. F.
CHARLESTON, DECEMBER 15, 1810.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
The death of Major Lawrence must be deeply felt as an heavy loss, to his family and friends, and also to your church, of which he was an eminently worthy inember and deacon, and a zealous, active, liberal supporter. To bimself, I doubt not, it bas been gain indeed, gain, unspeakably great and everlasting ! Through a mistake, respecting a message left at my house, when I was out, I did not know of his being in town, when he made his late and last visit to this city, till be had been several days' at Mrs. S's. I called to see him there two or three times. The scene on those
occasions, was, in my view, interesting and instructive to all concerned ; and consoling and animating to the friends of Jesus and of Zion, in a degree which I have rarely seen equalled, and still more rarely, if ever, surpassed. His views of Christ, as the most needful, and suitable, and sufficient, and precious Saviour ot his soul: bis faith, trust, and hope in bim, bis grateful love to him, and his calm, sweet submission to his holy will, and wise disposal ; his affectionate desire to live to the Lord, bis Maker and Redeemers, and to die to him, and to glorify and enjoy bin for ever : his cordial salisfaction and cheerful confidence in committing his family, and friends, and the church, to the care and keeping, and blessing of the same gracious God and Saviour, with whom he had iotrusted his own soul, and all bis interests, temporal, spiritual and eternal; and the unaffected humility, which be manifested, as flowing from a deep sense of his sinfulness and unworthiness ; all combined to throw such a lustre around the scene, in which this good man was suffering and glorifying God, as made it appear indeed, to be privileged beyond, far beyond, the brightest and most admired scenes of worldly joy. In this case, surely we may well “ congratulate the dead, and crown his tomb with wreathes triumphant.” While affection and friendship, while humanity and piety, drop their tears to his memory, let his example, as it displayed the power of Divine grace in his life, and in his death, excite and engage us to be better followers of him, and of all them, who through faith and patience have gone to inherit the promises of grace fulfilled in glory!
I still feel, as I have been accustomed heretofore to feel, very sensibly for your little church, tossed by se