This letter was written by Rev. Charles N. Smith (1817-18xx) who served the Methodist Episcopal Church in Royalton, Vermont, from 1842-43. After leaving the Vermont Conference, he joined the New England Conference, and was at one time stationed at Bromfield Street Methodist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Rev. Smith was married to Cynthia Ann Hook (1818-1908) of Salisbury, Massachusetts, in 1855.
Rev. Smith wrote the letter to his friend, James Allen (1805-18xx), who was appointed postmaster at Lisbon, New Hampshire, in July 1841.
Addressed to Mr. James Allen, Lisbon Post Master, New Hampshire
September 27, 1843
It has been some time since I have written to or heard from you and having a solicitude to know of your prosperity, I have selected a few moments in which to write you. I feel still a great interest for the people at Lisbon. There are a great number of the young people who were formerly my students for whose spiritual interests especially I feel interested. There is no place in which should God work by his mighty power, that would give me greater rejoicing than Lisbon. It is a source of pleasure, therefore, to learn of your circumstances & prosperity. The Lord is good to me & gives me some prosperity — at least in my own soul. We have had no special move upon the charge since conference though the Lord has not forsaken us entirely; four have lately been converted and are now happy in a Savior’s love. And we are looking & praying for greater things.
I believe, Brother Allen, that it is the privilege of the Christian Church to enjoy a general victory, to see a universal breaking up among the ranks of the enemy. Look at the promises which are immovably based in the eternal God — “When Zion travels, she shall bring forth. He that goeth forth & reapeth bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” And many others he might site, were it necessary. O! the incredulity of the church! How slow we are to believe! We are apt to become immersed in the world & drunk with time, forgetting the weightier matters that concern us & our fellow men.
As we are not too much disposed as a church to recline upon the couch of indolence & supineness, professing (falsely) to hope for the best. While we fear to grapple with that labor of soul which God requires, & struggle for that faith which says, “I will not let thee go until thou bless me?” Many souls are here — hung over eternity and naught but this mighty labor & struggle of the church can save them; and yet we fear to meet it. O! that God would make us that we sleep no more!
Individual responsibility is great; — perhaps greater than many Christians realize. We all have an important part to act in the great drama of life. One that no other can act for us; like a Fletcher [?] then, in all that I do, I would have my eye fixed upon the judgement — that its approaching solemnities may influence every cultivated thought & action that I perform. But there is a counterpart to this. It’s not all labor & toil but there is rejoicing; there is a glory in it — which none but he that feels it knows (and I am speaking to no stranger to this joy). Yes, and this joy is not all expended here. When the faith ful laborers return from the north & south bringing their sheaves wit them prepared for their reward, then there shall be rejoicing which I will not attempt to describe. O let us seek the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of peace that we may be counted worthy in that day when the Lord shall make up his jewels.
How goes the principles of tea-totalism with you? How do the reformed inebriates hold out? We had here a good work in those matters though for a time the excitement abated. Yet we are trying to raise an interest again & I think we shall be successful. Brother Allen, I do not believe in the positive absurdity involved in the phrase, “rum drinking Christian.” I have no sympathy for this kind of trash. The time has come when we as Christians recognize in the Bible as the “Light of the World, the salt of the Earth” should speak out upon this subject; It appears to me that no Christian enjoying the light & information prevalent at the present day upon this subject (and if he is ignorant, he is willfully so) can be held a slave to his appetite so as to violate every principle of humanity by habitual trifling with impurity. It is true; though with shame & confusion of face let it be said we have many such in the pale of our own beloved church, and its influence is felt in some degree on my charge. And so far as it goes, itr is withering in its influence & is an eternal enemy to all true piety & holiness. We have a very good Sabbath School & Bible Class in this place — [Paper torn] They number about 130. These are the nurseries of our church & in a great degree we are to look to these for the active members of our church & congregations in the future — therefore, with care & discretion, should they be nurtured & cultivated.
Our camp meeting was powerful in itself, good in its influence & productive of much good. I would be glad to write more but my sheet is getting full & I must close. Do you have a school this fall? If so, foes it prosper? How is Samuel Casey’s health?
Write soon & give all the news. My health is good at present. My respects to Mr. Hollister’s people and all enquiring friends. Mrs. Smith joins me in much love to yourself and wife.
— C. N. Smith