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[Letter from Young John Allen to Mollie Houston, May 7, 1857]


May 7th 1857

My own Dear "Mary,"

I have a few minutes of leisure to night that I desire to spend in communion with my [added] the absent beloved one.-- I have been unusually cheerful this evening and to night I have (in private meditation and prayer) enjoyed much of the presence and sweet influence of the Holy Spirit-- My Dear Mollie, I do love God, and I feel it now, and I love to praise his name--I love to think of heaven, and of Christ and to give myself to his service-- Bless God with me my own Mollie, and help me to magnify his grace and his glory-- Oh! Can't you say with me this happy night, Mollie,
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"Jesus I my cross have taken All to leave and follow Thee," don't you feel willing to leave all and count the treasures, the riches, the honors and glories of this world as but loss and worse than nought that you may miss, that you may live for Christ, that you may be a useful and happy Christian, a faithful Servant in the vineyard of the Lord? Yes, thank the Lord, My Dear One, I know you are willing and that you are striving thus to glorify God with me your very unworthy but devoted One- Yes I do bless the Lord with my whole Soul when I think of it, that you are so devoted and attached to the Cause of our Blessed Savior, that it is always first in your thoughts, the first in your private soul-communings, the first and chiefest of all
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your writings, in your correspondence not only to him who now writes, but to [deleted] those who love you so dearly and who look so much and so confidently to you as a counselor and example, as a pattern for piety and laudable trust and submissive to the will and way of the Lord- Oh! my Dear, if you knew my heart this moment, which now it writes, you would understand perhaps how it is that I so much rejoice- But as it is, I know it's so. Bless God, and that's all I can tell you now-- I got some of your old Letters this evening, Mollie, and read them, some that you wrote while in La Grange, some that you wrote me in reference to your soul's interest, about religion, about joining the church, about devoting yourself entirely to God,
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and oh! how quick my mind run back and traced up the history of the past-- I love at times to recur to those happy days, to live over again, as it were, the scenes and days that memory alone can recall-- But Oh! how different now is every thing, how changed the scene that presents itself, how different the circumstances that surround us-- Oh! how different we ourselves are--

All Glory be to God--for he it is that has changed our poor souls, our hearts, our lives, and given us the:new song,""established our goings," and planted our feet upon "the Rock Christ Jesus"-- Yes all Glory be to God, that where as once we were blind now we see, that though we were
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lost and guilty wretches now we are found and pardoned and permitted to rejoice in hope of heaven--Yes Glory be to God, can't you say it too My Dear Mollie? Christ has forgiven all our sins, washed our souls and cleased them in the fountain of his own blood-- Can't you rejoice this night, and say thank God! Thank God! I am on my journey home, yes home, to Canaan, to heaven, my happy home, my long sought home, yes that you are bound to die in the army, in the service of your dear Jesus-- Oh! my soul! farewell vain delusive world, I know you often say, and your soul mounted on faith and winged by prayer, sums up the shining way to see and praise your God, the spring of all your joys and life of all your delight.
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Oh! does not each day bring some fresh memorial of his grace, make some precious promise still more sweet, some sacred word still more dear- do you not each day have much to praise and magnify the Lord for, do you not find his word still more and more interesting and full of life more precious- and Oh! do you not feel daily a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, after a greater fulness [sic] [fullness] of God, after a more perfect image and likeness and conformity of your Savior and to his will? do you not grow in grace, in the knowledge of God, in acquaintance with your own deceitful and wicked heart? do you not see your prospects brightening for the upper and better Kingdom even though the world is darking all around,
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are not your hopes renewed, those glorious hopes of the Christian that cheer our pilgrimages while here on earth we stay? Yes, yes, My Dear One, I do bless God for the triumphs of his grace and the strength of his spirit which has been vouchsafed you so recently- I know the Lord is with you and he will all the time sustain and comfort you, Mollie, if you will put your trust in him- Strive to live, Dear One, by faith, by naked faith in the word, in the promises and the willingness of Christ to do anything for us, to grant us anything whatsoever that we ask for, that will be for our good and his glory- lean upon his strong arm, my Dear, when you are weak, he will support and strengthen you for all the trials, conflicts and temptations with which this world shall harrass and ? [unclear]
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My Dear Mollie I am so glad that you so cheerfully give me your experiences, it does me great good, it cheers me much; and Bless God my own Mollie, I feel that it draws out my soul with yours and bears it up toward heaven, I feel that it causes me, (and does it not you, too) to "delight more and more in the law of the Lord," and to "meditate in it day and night;" It points us both to the path of the just man, to his upward and holy flight, which "shineth more and more, says Psalmist, unto the perfect day."-

Let us put our trust entirely in the Lord, Dear Mollie, and then we shall fear no harm and no danger shall befall us (that is, our souls, whatever may attach this body but we shall be always praising God and looking forward to that happy day the day of deliverance when
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from earth set free, "we shall go marching home together," yes home to that happy place where Jesus reigns and saints and angels dwell--

I will close now for this time to resume the next leisure opportunity, by committing you to the Lord with the sincere prayer, my beloved, for his spirit and presence to always attend, and give you great peace and joy, great strength of [added] faith in approaching his presence, and for the realization and appropriation of all those precious promises which Christ holds out to us- Oh! that you may always exercise that meek, simple, childlike faith and confidence in coming to God that we see the little child exercise towards the earthly parents- May God bless, and keep my Dear Beloved One this night for Christ's sake- Thine own and thine alone


Young

Well, Dear One, I was reading he other day the memoir of Mrs. Henrietta Shuck and came across an extract (204 page) penned by her in her journal, it being an illustration by Bp. Beveridge of that "sublime Text""I Am."
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That illustration does seem to be to be beautiful indeed, and I think that it is worth the Christian's serious reflection for it contains a great deal-- Just think of it a little, My Dear Mollie, as it is set forth by the Bishop. I Am, says the Bishop--he doth not say, I Am their light, their strength, their guide or tower [unclear] but only"I Am"-- He sets as it were his hand to a blank, that his people may write under it what they please that is good for them--As if he should say, are they weak? I am strength. Are they poor? I am all riches. Are they in trouble? I am comfort. Are they sick? I am health. Are they dying? I am life. Have they nothing? I am all things. I am wisdom and power. I am justice and mercy. I am grace and goodness.
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I am glory, beauty, holiness, eminency, super-eminency, perfection all-sufficiency, eternity!-- Jehova, I Am--whatever is amiable in itself or desirable unto them that I am. Whatsoever is pure and holy; whatsoever is great or pleasant; whatsoever is good or needful to make men happy, that I am. My Dear Mollie, what do you think of that interpretation? don't you agree with me, that it is a most glorious and consoling one to the Christian's heart, isn't it so, with you, to you?-- Are you weak, then my Dear, remember the Lord is your strength--I am is your trust-- Are you in trouble, distressed, afflicted--are you poor, guilty and wretched, vile and sinful, oh! Let us remember in whom we trust--the Lord, he is I am-
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There are two or three other very important texts which of late have been seriously impressing my mind, and it may do us both good to refer to them and ponder them in our moods of thought and meditation, one of them is found in St. John chapter 8,9th verse-- "And he that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left one alone; for I do always those things that please him." These, My Dearest are the words of Christ, and oh! that we who hear his name could adopt at all times the same language and say that "we do always those things that please Christ" as he pleased the Father-- Oh! what a noble motto, to say-I live for God-- Let us, Mollie, live more for him, nearer to him, and our will be his will, yes in the language of Christ in another place, let us say, and adopt as our rule of life--"Lo I come, I delight to do thy will o God." My Dear One, we ought to live near to Christ--entirely for Christ, and is it not your prayer all the time, Mollie, that you may become more and more like him, partake more of his heavenly image, of his holy and spotless Character, of his meek and humble, submissive disposition, of his gentleness of spirit and mildness of manner?-- Now My Dear Mollie, I know you do desire it [added] ; I do desire it with my whole heart and I try to pray for each, for both of us as one, and individually, that we may become like minded in Christ and that we may all the while work harmoniously and happily together for the Cause Your Dear Savior
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that we may become as [added] entirely conformed to his will and to his way as we once were in our sinful career to the way of sin and Satan-- Yes Mollie I know you wish to be entirely the Lord's, renewed in all your ways, in all your actions, purified and holy in all your meditations, in all your words, and especially in all your thoughts--do you not, my own Loved One: yes, I know is the response of your devoted heart, and you ask is it possible that we can attain such a height of Christian perfection here as to be entirely freed from these unholy and impure thoughts?-- My Dearest One, these thoughts have been great stumbling stones to many honest and consecrated hearts, they have been rocks of offence, hard to over-come but [deleted]
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and I imagine, Dearest, that they have caused more uneasiness and unrest in the soul than almost all else, or all other of the attacks Satan uses-- I do believe they are the severest tests and trials the Sanctified Christian has to contend with-- I have read many experiences on this very point. Several of my friends here, one in particular complained to me about the same, and my own experience corroborates this assertion, that it is the greatest and perhaps the last struggle we have with the enemy. But bear in mind, Mollie, this one important fact that temptation is not sin, that is the whole difficulty (in all our thoughts perhaps) that troubles us so much-- Remember then, Mollie, temptation is not sin", but the yielding
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to temptation, that is sin-- For what says James, the Servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ in his epistle to he twelve tribes-- "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, or tempted [added] he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to those that love him."... Let no man say when he is tempted that he is is tempted of God &c-- But every man is tempted that he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin &c-

We see now, Mollie, that it is no sin to be tempted, but only when we yield and are enticed--we see also that to be tempted is nothing, i.e. [added] since we have such a Crown--a crown of life--offered us if we endure--but that it is sin only when we have given way so far to the temptation as that lust shall conceive, the conception of which is sin, sin, (and) [deleted] the fruit of which is death--these are the ideas I get from the language of the text quoted--James 1st 12-15 verses. Well now let us apply these views to the case of our thoughts-- Remembering now that our thoughts are not sin, but that only [added] the indulgence, the cherishing of them is sin; that is what is meant by the [deleted] "when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin"-- No it is not sin My Dear, for thoughts of an impure nature, unholy and sinful to pass through our minds, but it is sin of the most ruinous and dangerous kind for the holy, Sanctified Christian to try to harbor or cherish any of [deleted] such thoughts, don't you perceive there is a great difference
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Mollie between the thought entering our minds but not finding a lodgement in our hearts, and its entering and finding a welcome reception or of even forcing itself upon(y)our mind so as to overcome y(our) efforts to drive it away and at last finding lodgement there-- take a simple illustration, suppose a man, a traveller, a preacher for instance, were on his circuit, in the [deleted] and in prusuance of his duty, to put up at some hotel in a city in his bounds, and in passing about the rooms of the Hotel should happen to fall into a barroom of drunk men, or into a billiard saloon, would that be accounted to him as sin--verily I think all would say not--but what would they condemn him for, or call sinful in his acts--would it
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be his getting into either of the places--no, no, to be brief, it would be sinful in him only [deleted] they could not censure him for happening to fall into those places, but if he were to rremain there, participate with the drinkers, indulge the passions or associate in the games of the saloon, why then he would commit sin and could justly be censured-- But if he is a holy man, a man of God, opposed to all these agencies and dens of the devil, and shuns them as the deadly viper or poisonous adder, and only happened to fall in to them for a moment, but [deleted] and retreated immediately, then there are no grounds for censure, and there can be, there is no sin,--this is a rude illustration but I suppose the idea is plain to you--Then let's see in our case--isn't
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just in that way these thoughts pass into our minds; we are opposed to all impurity and unholiness of thought; and consequently we expell [sic] [ expel] them as soon as they enter, now if we do that and do not allow them to find refuge in our hearts, then we do not sin &c &c-- So My Dear Molie, be not troubled, nor let these unholy thoughts disturb your peace, for you have no reason for alarm or fear unless you let them get into your heart, and you indulge them there-- To be tempted then is not sin but the yielding to temptation-- As to arriving at a point, a height of Christian perfection where we will never be attacked by these thoughts, I don't believe hardly that we can, that is, this is my opinion. for [deleted] I never saw any body's else opinion on this point-- But, Mollie, I must explain what I mean-- I simply mean this, that I do not believe that there are any men, if so, but very rare cases, that the devil does not now and then renew his attacks upon, and I believe [added] that most frequently these attacks are made upon [deleted] through the [added] by thoughts, for this is the most powerful of the agencies that influence man either for heaven or for hell, if God can enlist them they are powreful for good, if the devil, then they are potent for evil there is a continual warfare kept up then, Mollie, between Christ and the devil as to who shall sway the empire of the mind and rule the thoughts; and I believe these attacks are continually renewed against the soul while it tabernacles here
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in the flesh-- -- -- But do not understand, My Dear, as [deleted] by means, that I say or advance or hold the idea that man cannot reach that height where he will never be overcome, where he will be safe, insured against all these onsets and attacks of Satan--No--for this is my view and blief [sic] [belief] , Mollie, in a few words-- I believe that the Bible encourages and warrants us to believe that we can become so near like God, so assimilated to the character of our Dear Savior as to be proof against sin, because we live in Christ and are dead to the world--and too I think it warrants us to believe that the contest between Satan and Christ for souls [added] is never finished until near the last struggles of the impatient Spirit that is about leaving its earthly home and very often not until the very last moments
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but although this be the case yet we have the promise echoing in our ears that was given to faithful Paul under similar circumstances--"My grace is sufficient for you-" The attacks then, Dearest, may be renewed, evil thoughts may come, unholy desires and passions arise and threaten us with immediate ruin, yet we need not yield, we need not sin, our strength is I am the Lord Jesus Christ is our friend and will still give us aid---then let attacks from without and from within renew and redouble their strength and their powers, only let our souls be staid on Christ and but [deleted] as for the poor mariners that were tossed upon that tempestuous sea, threatened with immediate
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death, ? [deleted] the nod of his head or a beck of his hand shall stay the billows, for us, [added] the attacks of satan shall cease and his forces retreat, and all shall subside into peace--yes, peace, be still, will be the language of Christ to our souls if we are fired in him and the devil cannot prevail against us-- You will understand me, My Dear, I hope although I have been so circuitous and obscure at times in my explanations and views-- If I had more time and did not have to run along so hastily I could be more plain and satisfactory perhaps but you must pardon this for I am writing just as fast as my pen can possibly move or my thoughts gather in my head. If you have read the "Riches of Grace" Dear One, you will there find that there was much trouble and confusion among those holy Christians in reference to this thing of temptation--they could not discriminate between a temptation to commit sin and actual sin, many of them, and for a long time were actually disquieted and disturbed for want of a proper understanding of the nature of temptation--let us avoid the "rock of offence" against which they fell, since we have their experience and their testimony to guide us on our way-- I hope the digression above [added] will be profitable to you as it has been to me, Dearest.-- I will now return to another passage of Scripture which has of late weighed much upon my mind and elicited some solemn inquires of my soul as to its state;
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the passage is this-- Addressed by Christ to his apostles and the multitude that surrounded him--"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me"-- Now, Mollie, these solemn inquiries I have been putting to my soul-- We profess to be Christians, to be willing to come after Christ--yes we say, yes, says the soul, I profess to believe in Christ. I am willing to "come after him"-- Now my Soul have you denied yourself, have you denied the world, denounced the pleasures of all manner ofsin, little sins, as well big sins, crucified the flesh, have you denied yourself the gratification of the sensual passions, the appetites, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of the eye, have you humbled your pride, have you become willing to be any thing or to do anything for the Lord, have you
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become willing to give up all the honors, the glories, the riches and treasures of this world, to serve the Lord, are you willing now to be despised, forsaken; become and outcast, to have your name cast out as evil for the sake of Christ, Oh! My soul are you willing to count all things [deleted] as [added] loss that you may win Christ, for the excellency of the knowledge, [deleted] are you willing to forsake all other knowledge all other learning, all other teachers "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus My Lord"?" Lastly Oh! Soul, tell me, are you willing to forsake all here, all that is dear to the heart of man, all that's tender in affection, all that is endearing and binding to the soul-- Are you willing to forsake home, its thousand attractions and endearments its friendships
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and firesides, its dear ones,--Oh! can you leave the home of your Father & Mother, can you leave your tenderest, dearest relations, brothers, sisters, Oh Soul you can't leave them can you? Can you tell them farewell, farewell no more to meet them on earth, can you Oh! can you leave them and native land far, far in heathen lands to dwell, can, you say,

Home thy joys are passing lovely
Then to all--your sisters--say farewell
And go far in heathen lands to dwell?

Oh! my soul, can'st thou do all these things for Christ? My Dear Mollie, my own and only love, these are solemn thoughts solemn and serious inquiries. But thank God, yes glory be to his name, I have through his grace and in his strength been permitted to answer them all I believe affirmatively; I have given up all for Christ and consecrated body and Soul and all I possess to his service and I do feel "willing to come after him" and deny myself" all, all that would keep me back from God I have been encouraged to do so, and influenced much by my own Sweet, devoted Mollie, for whom I often praise and bless God; ? [deleted] I have asked the Lord to purify and sanctify our love for each other as well as for him and to regulate it according to his will, and I do believe, the Lord is with us--and I am happy in anticipating that day when the Lord's will shall be done in us and through us [added] as his single agent, when we shall be as one flesh and always serving and working for the Lord together in zeal-
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and love--Yes Mollie, I do often rejoice on account of you, you cheer my soul much, your correspondence keep my soul alive, bestirs my energies, awakens new zeal and power and increases the motives and inducements this world affords to serve God-- I could not do without you even now, though we are far separated from each other-- Mollie I do believe you are willing if you will examined your soul, to answer all those questions affirmatively, I know you are, the Lord will help you and give you strength to do so My Dear One-- I know, Mollie, you have many more ties than I have, many more pangs would be yours, but Oh! Christ bids us go do his will and we must go--and
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I know you are willing to go; I talked some with Dear Mellie, the other day about it. She is willing now, perfectly willing, and I did rejoice and Bless God in my heart when she said so, that you should go wheresoever the Lord may call us to go-- Dear One, the Lord is with Mellie, I know he is, she loves him more and more, yes Bless God she loves him well enough to consecrate a dear Sister to his service and say go dear Sister I love you dearly but I love Christ better and I want you to go do his will, and I will meet you in heaven when all the trials of this world are over, yes then I shall meet you with that dear Savior to whom I consecrated you in that world where Christ
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was unkown to poor heathen souls--Oh! glory be to God, my dear Mollie, won't that be a happy meeting, to meet in heaven? I feel like rejoicing right now in prospect of meeting Mellie there and seeing you and her meet--yes meet at Jesus feet--meet to part no more, Oh! there we shall all meet to praise our God and live with Dear Jesus-- Don't you want to get there? don't you feel like getting there? My Dear Mollie-

Well then if we are willing to come after Christ, to deny ourselves let us also take our cross and follow him through evil as well as through good report; then, then shall all be right, and happy be our lives, though our body be weak and pained and tortured, and our death be triumphant, glorious, the very opening of heaven upon our weary souls--

Try my Dear Mollie, to live just as near to God all the time as you can, do no sin willfully, for that is all that constitutes an action that is wrong, a sin--we have our infirmities still and our judgements [sic] [judgments] are often wrong and accordingly our practice is very frequently wrong, but be sure you always have a single eye, for the eye is the light of the body, and says Christ if the eye be single thy body shall be full of light, for Dearest the "intention" is to our souls what the eye is to our body, be sure then Mollie that your intention is always the glory of God and you will commit no wilful [sic] [willful]
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sin-- Be not troubled then when you have done some little wrong through ignorance or misunderstanding; let those be instances to improve and correct you for another time, if you did the best you could you could do no better, had you a thousand trials-- "Angels can do nothing more"-- My Dearest, you know I love you and you alone next my God, next to Jesus, and you know I feel much interested in you and for you, I would gladly do anything in the world that I could do for you; there is no one can appreciate my feelings toward you save you yourself and I believe you do in a soul responsive and reciprocative ways, let us then live for God all the time and pray that the Lord may abundantly bless us and sanctify us in our love for each other anew

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Dear Mollie, I see that I can't finish this letter and get it in the office to night without great hast so I will make a short request of you and about close up--As I told you it is the purpose of John Norris, my friend, to enter the min [deleted] Conference next winter, and as he likes Miss Nettie very well, being partially acquainted with her, he desires me to ask you, to find out from her how she would like an itinerant's life, and how to be an itinerant's wife; you can talk around her, speak of the professions and the life you would like to lead and so on and thus without suspicion find out, don't let her have the least idea that you are inquiring for any purpose more than for
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yourself--you may ask her several questions if you will on that, John will be glad to receive anything from her in reference to that subject if it is by any means favorable [unclear] he is a very pious young man I do love him, and I know you ought to like him My Mollie-- I sent you some articles down from Atlanta, accompanied by a short letter, which I trust you have already received-- There is still another request I have to make of you and it is this, I have to make a speech in a few days in the Few Hall before the ladies on this question "Which exerts the greater influence for good upon the destinies of the world Man or Woman"-- I shall defend you, your sex on that day and now I want you to send me immediately that book-- Entitled "The Mothers of the Wise & Good" I believe it is-- I suppose you have it with you, Mellie could not find it at home-- please now don't forget it for I am trusting considerably to that work--

I would--I could--write a great deal more, My own Dear Mollie, but I know you will be wearied to death reading this-- You must respond soon and write me all you can, I don't wish to confuse you to write half nor even a third hardly a much as I have but I want you to be quite liberal Mollie, I am resigned to be patient and await your time for I can appreciate your situation
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Tell me how your heart your soul and mind are on the subjects mentioned in this letter--give me a full account of your state Mollie, for I am your bosom friend, am I not, and I want you to feel it so and be not any way backward to express yourself fully in all these to him who now with a happy heart and devoted love subscribes himself Thine and thine alone

Forever


Young J Allen

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