Religious letter

Date Written

Sept. 7, 1819

Joseph Palmer Fessenden was 26 years old when this was written.
The recipient, John Stuart Barrows, was 28 when it was received.

Joseph Palmer Fessenden died 41 years, 5 months, 6 days after writing this.
It was written 199 years, 4 months, 16 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.

Gorham
Sep. 7, 1819

You wrote me a fortnight since on the subject of religion, and I sent you an incoherent scrawl in return. I feel very anxious to know what all your present beliefs and views on this subject & have thought of you daily since I learned your attention was called to the great concerns of your soul. I considered your case a critical one. “The heart is Christ felt above all things and distinctly wicked.” The adversary is active whenever a person is brought seriously to inquire what he must do to be saved. I believe there is great danger of an awakened sinner being prevailed on either by the [?] or the others of their enemies as the influences of both united to take up with a calm hope and [?] [?] when indeed these is worse. I believe there is danger too of his grieving the Holy Spirit and becoming more hardened. I wish you would have the goodness immediately on the reception of this to give me a full statement of your views and beliefs, your hopes and fears, your doubts and difficulties. If there are any truths of the Bible [?] which you are perplexed have not a clear understanding will you be so kind as to let me know?

I was at commencement last week. [?] a night with our brother. His health is good for him. He has let no inconvenience from the blood he raised. I presume it did not come from the lungs. He told me he should write you soon. Probably you have heard from him before now or will get a letter this week. The students performed well, better than I expected. It was pleasant to unite with old classmates. President Appleton is fast going. I never saw a more happy man. Death has no terrors to him. I saw Doc. Waterman Yesterday. He is anxious by inquiring the way of life. I am informed it is very sickly in F. [Fryesburg] Plan to give me an account of the sickness. I can write no more, the mail will be along very soon. In great haste your sincere friend.

Jos. P Fessenden

Do not fail to write next mail. Remember me to my friends. Press forward in the way to heaven—look not back. Turn not to the right hand or to the left. Remember a crown of glory is in vision for all who live severingly and patiently [?] for it—a hill of indescribable misery must be the portion of [?] own who “draws back.”

Scans of Letter