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[Letter from Young John Allen to Mollie Houston, October 10, 1856]


Oct.10 1856

My Dearest Mollie

You are, doubtless, aware why it is that my delay has been so protracted this time, and consequently I shall not attempt any apology, believing as I do, that you are as generous to forgive and as willing to pardon, as the past has always proven you at least as I.

Your letter came, Mollie, in the best time imaginable and was the very one, containing as did such sentiments and happy information that I needed; I tell you I have perused it [added] many and many a time, in my room, in my evening walks, and in the silent grove, the retreat of my soul, the place of my meditations, where undisturbed and without distraction I could can [added] commune with the genius of its sentiments, with the spirit of its inspiration,
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and especially with the one, of [added] whose mind, character, heart and soul, they are but feeble expressions, imperfect exponents. I scarcely know, Dear one, how to express the influence it had upon me; it was almost exclusively a religious letter and its thoughts, views and whole [added] tenor seemed perfectly to harmonize with the times, impressions and feelings which our recent meeting had produced upon me, and I could but agree, and say from my heart in solemn and sincere response to your appeal and aspirations, I will. I will cooperate with you to secure that perfect love, that entire freedom from Sin, that entire consecration of soul, which sanctifies our nature, cleanses it from all impurities and renders it meet for the indwelling of holiness, and for ultimate acceptance and residence with God in Heaven. But I am anticipating I fear as did you, by
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introducing these considerations in this connection. I will now endeavor hastily to glance over your letter and respond to the various suggesgions that have been made as much in order and briefly as I can, for I have but a few minutes, comparatively, this time. I need not tell you that "feeble pens [unclear] " are oftener imaginary than real, and the great news, when from some prospective eminence so they surv [added] ey the field of conflict where great and momentous interests are at stake, are constrained to acknowledge their insufficiency, their inadequacy to [deleted] accomplish what they can not shun, yet fear to undertake, until like them, they begin the task, forget their imbecility, and enter fully and spiritedly upon the discharge of duty amid the clamors of the occasion and of their own weakness, and evolve results, and consequences which, as in the
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case of Demosthenes, shall make some Macedon tremble, intimidate an P [deleted] invading Phillip, or send some slanderous AEschines into exile. I need not [added] refer to the fact, to the past, to those impressions and convictions of duty, to which we have been mutually yielding; to those hopes and prospects which promise to be ours in the end if we persevere; nor need I refer to the bitterness of that anguish which would tear if not break our hearts were we called to enter upon that field of labor, (that station of life and usefulness which "of all others is your decided preference,") and leave our friends, our relatives and especially our Dear Sisters, yet unconverted, orphaned, hopeless and without God- no, no, I need not, and thank the Lord, I shall never, whatever be my calling, or wherever be my station, nor will you My Dearest, ever have to look upon such a sad
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scene as that, since now your sisters have joined you in the work of the Lord and have found a Father in Him whose grace is sufficient, for [added] and whose love and mercy are infinite and unto "all them who put their trust in the Lord"- Oh! Dearest, let us "call upon our souls and all that is within us" to magnify and exalt the praise and name of our Savior,who hath heard and answered our prayers, and [deleted] accomplished what our souls agonized and struggled for, and thus given us fresh encouragement, greater zealousness and stronger faith to go whithersoever He leads, believing that his promises are sure and steadfast and that "Hewill be with useven unto the end of the world."

Yes. Yes, My Dear, just [added] as I said in [added] reference to this subject a page or two back, will I
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strive with you to reach that degree in grace, that height in the love of God where our Souls can have perfect dominion over Sin and temptation, where we can live in favor with Christ, with the presence of God always sensibly near us, his love burning always in our hearts consuming all in-bred sin, and freeing it from the "least and last remains of a carnal mind;" where we'll know no will but that of our heavenly Father, no way, but the way of His Providence.

Let us still press on then, My Dear, as you say and be satisfied with nothing short of "Perfect Love" and a full, complete work of grace. But be not discouraged, Dear One, if you should not [added] obtain it immediately; unlike justification, it is a gradual work, the work of patience, and humble reliance in the providence and dispensations
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and promises of God, consulting not our feelings and wills, but trusting submissively and meekly in the Lord. Tis a great and glorious accomplishment and as [added] holy and exalted. It i.e. sanctification [added] is, says Buck in his theological dictionary, "that work of God's grace by which we are renewed after the image of God, set apart for his service, and enabled to die unto sin and live unto righteousness." He further says that it is- first, a divine work and not to be begun or carried on by our own efforts unassisted by the power of the grace of God- 2dly 'tis a progressive work, and not perfected at once. 3dly it is an internal work, and 4th it is a necessary work, necessary for many reasons- of which the most prominent are, to give evidence of our state, our characters before God; tho increase the usefulness of our lives, the happiness
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of our minds and the internal enjoyment of God's presence in this world and in that which is to come. In fine, Archbishop Usher sums it all up "to be nothing less than for a man to be brought to an entire resignation of his will to that will of God, and to live in the offering up of his soul continually in the [added] flames of love, and as a whole burnt offering to Christ. Oh! my Dear One, how happy am I when I think of thee, of thee the one whom God has given me, the one whom my soul delights in and rejoices with, in prospect and hope that one day we shall be united in life, united in effort, united in the love of God and together will [deleted] be permitted to ascend height after height in God's love until we shall at last scale the very altitudes of Christian perfection, and there await the glory of Christ's second coming.

Yes, Dearest, I am so happy in thee, and espcially since I received your last letter, that I sometimes, yea
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frequently rejoice unrestrainedly, and thank the Lord that he hath thus favored me in the choice, which I now verily believe was directed and sanctioned by his providence and which I trust shall ever be blessed to his holy name and to usefulness in his cause. You have begun (Family prayer) right, My Dearest, and the Holy Spirit will ever assist and strengthen you in thus taking up your cross, denying self and following Jesus— Trust in the Lord then my Dear, and thus persevere and you shall find that the "path of duty is the path of safety,"and to do the whole will of the Lord is the way of pleasantness and path of peace.

After about 18 hours respite or rather interruption, I will now Dear Mollie return again to renew my communion
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with thee and complete this brief letter. Dearest we have indeed had a glorious time here in our meeting, which after a few days [added] interval or rest began anew last night- this then is the 3d week of its progress. I began striving several weeks previous to its beginning, while it was yet far in prospect, to get myself, my mind and heart properly engaged and enlisted in the work when it should come, the result was when the times arrived I was to a great degree in waiting for it- and ready to enter actively upon the discharge of my duty and thus keep pace with its progress and enjoyment and I tell you, My Dear Mollie, I never have enjoyed so much religion, such a fulness of the promised blessings, such an entire surrender and consecration to God, before as then (at this meeting). We had regularly prayer meetings
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in the grove, where indeed the revival began by 4 conversions in one night and 5 more, after going to the church, at the altar. I never was so happy in all my life, I gave up all into the hands of the Lord then and tried to work for him, and I tell you, Mollie, I believe the Lord has rewarded me, blessed my efforts to the salvation of several souls, for they told me so. I don't know how many have been converted but several and the meeting is still continuing. Dearest, it is imposssible for me to tell you anything about it; in writing and I will therefore desist until I return (home) to thee and there we will exchange our information and views concerning this and those you have enjoyed.

I am determined by the grace and help of God to live
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to live [sic] a better Christian, a more active and useful life as such, for I want to do all the good I can, (and don't you, dear Mollie?) for I know I have not long to labor before the day will be past [added] and the "night come when no man can work." Let's be up and doing then Dearest, "with a heart for every fate." My heart is exceed'ly wicked yet, and depraved, full of corruption and guilt, and I find myself often as the [deleted] Paul [added] salmist [deleted] said, "when I would do good and work righteousness there is evil present with me." Yes, My Dear, though like him too "I delight in the law of the Lord after the inward man, yet I see and feel another law in my members, often warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the [added] law of sin which is in my members "or in other words to the law of the carnal mind which yet remains in me [added] uncast out. Oh! [deleted] may I not with him exclaim "Oh! wretched man
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that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" But thank the Lord, it is his will that we should be freed from such a death, from the body of sin— yes his will, even to [deleted] our entire sanctification. I shall strive as I before said to obtain it, and be fully on the side of the Lord.

Dearest, a few days ago I had an interview with Prof. Sasnett, on the subject of religion, a call to the ministry, And&c I thought it would perhaps be prudent to reveal, at least, some of my mind, convictions, feelings and impressions on that subject, (the latter) (as I had cherished them long and had well nigh exhausted in examination of them all the information and experience I could gain on that subject) to him as he was capable of advising
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and directing me in the way I should go and the manner in which I should act; I told him that the probability was, according to the impressions received upon my mind, that if I preached at all, I should have to surrender all and yield myself into the hands of the Lord, and doing so, I should have to become a Missionary and I feel it deeply, sensibly;— I told him that although, these were my convictions, that as yet there was no [added] determination with me where I should go, or what place should be the field of my labors, but that it was all dark before me in that respect- but like Abraham of old when called to go out into a strange land and among a strange people neither of which he knew, I should endeavor to trust in God and believe that in due time the way would
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be opened up for me. He heard me cheerfully in my statements— and then endeavored to encourage me, told me to press on still cherishing my impressions and being faithful to my calling as a private Christian here, and in due time my way that seems now hedged up would be laid open to me, and my duty be fully known and evident to me-, that is the principal part and tenor of that interview though not all—he cordially invited me to come around to see him again and talk with him on any subject concerning which I needed advice and direction and I believe, Mollie, that I shall avail myself of that invitation, and call on him now and then again. When you answer this Dearest, give me your mind as it
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been exercised on that subject since I saw you, also your impressions and feelings at present on it; be sure now Mollie, for they will be more than interesting to me as you know— and I desire that we should unreservedly communicate especially our views feelings &c on that subject to each other—feel no reluctance or hesitancy at all then Mollie but give me a full statement of all your experience in that respect. I must quit now as it is about time to go to church- I can't send this off until Sunday night though. I will accompany it with an address of Bishop Piere, delivered before [unclear] Madison T. College and also one of Prof. Sasnett's if I can get one from him in time, both on Female Education, but advocating widely different plans and views of that "Mania" as the Bisop [sic] terms it. Give my love to Mellie & Honie [unclear] and accept this as a token of the faithful love of him who is thine only & forever. Don't delay to answer this My Dear but respond very soon—

thine own

Young Allen

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