1796 (Spring) (Anne)
Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [c. spring 1796].
My dear love has indeed been kind in overlooking my indolence and indulging me with a few lines < > it is the joy of my heart to conceive myself the object of. Yes, I do prize your friendship & am ready to long for that tie when it shall be perfect & for ever; then, as spring the purest of motives & having in view the most noble & glorious ends it shall communicate the most refined & unexpressible delight to the immortal Mind. O my Friend how vain & trifling are all sublunary joys when contrasted to this blissful prospect well may the Christian Poet say in the Holy triumph of his soul
“Begone for ever mortal things,
Thou mighty, mole hill, Earth, farewell,
Angels aspire on loftier Wings
And leave the Globe for Ants to dwell”
What a painful consideration it is that at professing ourselves Strangers & Pilgrims upon Earth the things of time & sense are not more habitually kept by us in their proper place; that while enjoying them in a lawful measure as the gift of God we cannot look upon them with a holy indifference & I say Thanks to thy Name for meaner things – but they are not my God –
We perchance never love the Creature so well as when the Creator maintains his right of supremacy in our afflictions – When God is on the Throne the informal Government of the human heart is conducted in the same beautiful order the same systematic Baroncy whh is so visible in the oeconomy of universal Nature –
I had written thus far last night when my Candle failing I retired to rest I am sorry to say that the motions of my Mind this morng are not very lively I can scarcely rouse my stupid senses from the inactivity of Sleep and this too when writing to my beloved – is not this like every other operation of our degenerate Nature a converting the blessing of repose into a temporary ill as it respects our immortal part: tho’ certainly it is an evil we rather suffer than embrace – I have a conviction at present that Man in a State of Innocence felt very differently after enjoying the refreshment of Sleep from what I feel – his powers were no doubt active, his emotions of gratitude to the great Benefactor strong and fervent in short he experienced an entire renovation of the whole System and employ’d his renewed strength in such a manner as to insure the continuance of every blessing alas! how great the change –
You say that my longing for your return is a desirable sound well then I assure you that I rejoice in the hope of embracing you on Wednesday eveng but in this as in many other instances am inclined to rejoice with trembling I indeed dread disappointment & am ready to think I should not bear it in a very becoming manner but all of this is vain anticipation – Oh my love, what should I do if I were not enabled sometimes to leave you to leave myself with God – to trust his mercy, his love his faithfullness for the protection & support both of Soul & body & to believe with the Apostle that our God will supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus –
I am grieved when I find there is so little to be said of our dear Mrs Saffery’s amendment beg wish to feel that whh I make no doubt she does willing to wait the Lord’s time – I desire greatly to tell her how much I love her not by letter but by word of mouth – remember me most affectionately to her – assure her I shall be full as glad to provide a supper as she to partake of it when provided –
I must bid you Adieu that the God of all grace may guide bless direct & comfort you is the earnest desire & prayer of
Your faithfully affecte Friend & Sister
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.2.(a.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews. No postmark; for a fully annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 6, pp. 126-28. References in the letter to the health of Elizabeth Saffery, and to Anne’s desire to return to Salisbury suggests a possible date of spring 1796.