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Extract of a Letter from Mr. Bourn, Missionary at Honduras, to a Friend in the neighbourhood of Kidderminster, dated Belize, Sept. 26, 1823.
meeting on Friday evening. There are
The land all along this coast lies uncultivated for miles, and belongs to any one who has a mind to take it up and cultivate it. It is mostly very fertile, and will produce any thing grown in the West Indies. My dear Brother, live near to God;—I beg an interest in your prayers. Give my love to all friends, and accept the same yourself, from an affectionate brother in Christ, JOSEPH BOURN.
MY DEAR BRother,
Your's with others came safe to hand, as probably you have learned by this, by a Letter I have written to my Mother some time ago. I would have written to you then, but I had a great deal of writing in hand, which I could not defer; believe me it was not for the want of inclination, but from the unavoidable pressure of business. When I say business, I mean not that I am engaged in any mere worldly avoca
tion, but there are different kinds of busi-To the Editor of the New Evan. Magazine.
ness, what relates to this world and that which is to come. The great business of the Christian, especially of the Minister, in this life, is with the kingdom of God in his own soul, and in the souls of others. To establish this the Lord came down from heaven; he laboured, he taught, and at last yielded himself a sacrifice to death. To establish this, apostles preached in season and out of season, and were always abounding in the work of the Lord. If we live, my dear Brother, to any great purpose, we shall live for this; indeed, compared to this, nothing else is worth living for. Not that I say every man is to leave the situation in which God has placed him, but to glorify God in it, and do all the good he can by the gifts, means, and opportunities God has given him; this is urged by the very great obligations under which, as a Christian, he is laid to Godthe little he has done in his past life to glorify God, and the shortness of his remaining days, if indeed they are spared him. Brethren, the time is short," work while it is day, for the night cometh in which no man can work; it hasteth on, it will soon be here; let us not sleep as do others. *** The loss you refer to,* I deeply feel in this land of sin and strangers. As to the climate it agrees upon the whole with my constitution; many who arrived here before and since I came have been carried off, while as yet I have not been confined to a bed of sickness; this is a mercy I cannot be sufficiently thankful for. There are vessels running continually between here and the United States, and their passage in going and returning is about six or eight weeks. I expect soon a (wood) place of worship, from thence, 64 by 34 feet. With respect to the cause of Christ, I trust the Lord has a work to do here, but it will require time, labour, and patience for it to be accomplished. I have three services on the Sunday, besides the Sunday school, which is as much as another, to attend to; one service at six in the morning, one between breakfast and dinner, the school in the afternoon, and preaching in the evening. Another service on the Monday evening, another on Wednesday, a little way out of Town, another on Thursday evening, and I am just on the eve of beginning an experience
In your Magazine for March last, you have inserted an article, relating to the distressed circumstances of Mrs. Cook and family, signed by the minister and deacon of the Baptist church at Wells; in which are these expressions,-" Mr. Cook, with a noble generosity, expended his wife's fortune, in the purchase and fitting up of a place of worship.'
As this assertion has been questioned, and doubts raised in this neighbourhood, which have tended to paralize the efforts of Mrs. Cook's friends, I have taken pains to investigate the business, and think it my duty to communicate to the public, through the medium of your Magazine, the result of my enquiries; first premising that I well know Mr. Shell and Mr. Payne, whose signatures are affixed to the case; and having the best opinion of their characters, can have no idea that they would willingly sanction any thing, which would not bear to be exhibited in the light of the noon-day sun; and, moreover, declaring that the information which I have received, comes from a person, whose veracity I can no more question, than I would that of an angel sent from heaven for the express purpose of declaring the truth.
My informant tells me, that "The house which was afterwards fitted up as a chapel was sold by auction: that Mr. Cook, sen. the father of the late Mr. George Cook, bid for it, and purchased it for him, intending it for his residence. That Mr. Cook, jun. paid the deposit next morning. That the purchase was in due time completed. Ånd that about that time, or soon after, Mr. George Cook having received several hundred pounds from the executor of his wife's father, and having taken the purchase on himself, determined to convert it into a chapel, towards which his father gave £20. for the use of the congregation, which had before assembled in his own house. This design he carried into execntion at his own risque and responsibility, to an amount at least equal to his wife's fortune; which, at that time, constituted the major part, if not the whole of his property, the stock in trade being absolutely his father's, for which bonds were given to a consider able amount, and interest paid. It appears
* This refers to his afflictive bereavement in the decease of Mrs. B.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE EDITOR.
that a part of the money was afterwards | To the Editor of the New Evan. Magazine, repaid to Mr. Cook, and the place itself vested in the hands of trustees; but as by his will, he left all his property to satisfy the demands of his creditors, a claim is justly made upon the Meeting-house to the amount of £350. by one of his relatives, who has acted the part of executrix. And it is supposed that, a fear lest the case of the poor church at Wells, who feel the burden of this debt, should sustain injury by the sentence alluded to, has elicited expressions which motives of a less justifiable nature have assisted in diffusing, to the disadvantage of Mrs. Cook's case. However, whether Mr. Cook was the original purchaser, or took the house from his father: and whether the money was originally paid from the trade, or with his wife's fortune, the responsibility was his alone, and her property was involved in that responsibility. I therefore conceive the expressions to be fully justifiable, and cannot help thinking, that there is a degree of cruelty manifested by some, who appear quite willing that the family should remain in the state of depression, to which great and unforeseen misfortunes have reduced
them. Some think this circumstance should not have been introduced into Mrs. Cook's case; I think otherwise, especially as she fully approved of, and consented to this appropriation of the property in question. Whilst writing on this subject, I cannot help adding a word or two on the integrity manifested by Mr. Cook, in the final disposal of his effects.
It appears that his father left him a hold property in reversion, of the value of £1010.; which, it was supposed, had he died without a will, would have been his son's at the death of his grandmother; and therefore after the occurrence of the misfortunes which, no doubt, broke his heart, he bequeathed this, as well as his other property, to his creditors: leaving his wife and children with no other inheritance, either in possession or prospect, but the protection and support of that God whom he served, and in whom he trusted. And it is a source of satisfaction to his friends, that no one, beyond the pale of his own family, will have to reproach his memory with the loss of a shilling; and it is hoped that they will lose but little, except the rent of the freehold above mentioned, though as one only of the two executrices has acted, and access to Mr. Cook's accounts is not in my power, it is a point upon which I cannot decidedly speak.
Perhaps some persons may question the prudence of Mr. Cook's conduct in the case alluded to. To me it appears a memorable instance of devotedness to God, and zeal for his glory, worthy of admiration, though not perhaps of general imitation. And, therefore, whilst I entertain the sincerest respect for his memory, and an earnest compassion for his family, I am determined to use my best endeavours to promote their welfare and fulfil the duties of, A Friend to the Widow and Fatherless Children of GEORGE Cook.
Having been called by Divine Providence to spend eight or nine days in the country, I have not had an opportunity of attending any of the public meetings which have been held in London; but have heard from some of my Christian friends. I am some very pleasing and gratifying accounts looking forward to the Annual Meeting of our own denomination, and I do most sincerely and devoutly pray, that the Lord may pour out his Holy Spirit in an abundant manner upon them. I confess I am a little alarmed at some circumstances; and as I am not now quite a young man, having occupied one pulpit nearly thirty-nine years, I hope I shall be excused if I make a few serious remarks as to the cause of my uneasiness: especially as I have two Sons, who are Pastors of churches, besides several others who once called me their Pastor. I deeply lament, that it is become a very frequent practice, particularly on public occasions, for ministers to read their Sermons-a practice which, I believe, to be both unscriptural and unprofitable. I felt it an imperative duty incumbent upon me as a Father, when I addressed my eldest Son from Paul's words to Timothy, Preach the word,' never to read his Sermons. Yea, I solemnly enjoined it upon him, I hope in the fear of God, never to accept any invitation to preach on any public occasion, till he possessed temerity sufficient, to cast himself upon himself, upon the candour and kindness of any congregation, and free-confidence in the gracious promise of the exalted Redeemer, (who has said, " Lo, I world,) sufficiently strong to trust in him am with you always, even to the end of the for the assistance of the Holy Spirit. If ever he practically disregard that charge, while I live I shall deeply deplore the circumstance; I shall consider that God is dishonoured, and his father disobeyed. The second circumstance which is a source of sorrow to my mind, is the inordinate length to which such services have been generally protracted. I will not mention particulars, lest the preachers should think me personal and severe. I leave their consciences to make the application. My object is to prevent what I consider to be disgraceful to any man in the world, and an offence to any congregation.
If you will permit these thoughts to appear, I will cheerfully bear all the censures which they may bring upon me, as no individual beneath the sun has seen these lines.
Yours, very respectfully,
The sincere respect which we entertain for MR. UPTON, has induced us to print his letter; at the same time, we crave permission to add, that if there exist no greater cause for "alarm," than those which he has specified, we should hope his alarm might be very
safely allowed to subside. In our humble opinion the offences, should they exist in the present instance, are not of vital importanee. EDITOR.
HOUSE APPOINTED FOR ALL LIVING.
An awe inspiring sadness round
Pride and ambition are unknown;
Sepulchral marks the spot
Here side by side in quiet state, Nor fell revenge, nor feverish hate Disturb the mould'ring bust; Sworn foes and angry chiefs reside, Nor former feuds can now divide The incorporated dust.
Newtonian sages, white with years,
If genius weeps when crown'd with wreaths
To rest from thought profound.
How high must grief tumultuous rise, How deep must be her widow'd cries, When giant youths are slain; When opening glories dazzling bright, Appear'd awhile to cheer our night, And then were lost again.
SPENCER has fall'n! O woe fraught sound, As newly giv'n, the deep made wound Continues still to flow;
The soft persuasive lore which hung,
But hush my murm'rings! cease my grief!
Mystery conceals in rayless night,