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[Letter from Young John Allen to Wiley Hutchins, October 23, 1857]

Oxford Geo.
Oct. 23d 1857

Dear Pa,

As it is perhaps time that I should write home, and as you may be expecting a few lines this evening though there is no news or anything very interesting about here that I can write you. We have 5 weeks more from this evening to attend College this term, and I assure [sic] I will be glad, glad enough when they expire, and it will not be long, for time flies swiftly with me now sure.

There has been a great deal of sickness of one kind or other
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here since my return, and I have been myself very unwell with severe cold and headache, which I have now, even while I write. I heard from Nasworthy [unclear] , the other day, and he tells me that there has been an unusual amount of sickness down there and a very unusual number of deaths, for he says that he can count up 20 or 30 deaths there at Bark [unclear] Camp in about 6 weeks; he informs me also that Kitty, my Negro woman that Adams has hired, is dead. Oh! how uncertain is life, how sure is death, and surely it comes as the thief, at an uncertain hour of the night, even when we are not expecting it
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and therefore not looking for it. If that be true then, that death is sure to come, and comes [deleted] when it does come is [added] perhaps all unlooked for, how does it become us, as rational and accountable beings to be prepared for it, whether it come by night or by day, whether it come gradually in slow disease or suddenly and unexpected. Oh! why will man who knows he must surely die, who knows that he has to live forever either in hell amid devils and damned spirits and among men with whom he could not bear to stay or associate with even for a little while here, or live forever in heaven with Christ and dear Sainted Ones he
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he [sic] once loved & cherished here; why, oh! why will such a sensible man as that, acknowledging and believing all these things, refuse to make preparation to meet his God, why will he still sit at ease, and seem not to care whether or not he escape hell and the wrath of God, or gain the bliss and rest of heaven forever & ever. Oh! how it makes my very soul quake and tremble within me to see a man just ready as it were to die and yet not prepared to die; and yet there are thousands of them in that situation that are now hastening on to death and destruction forever. Oh! how sad and awful
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is such a sight; and why, Oh! why is it so? There is a reason, there is a cause even for this most fatal of all actions- and the same cause even 2500 years ago Isaiah tells us was hurrying its thousands down to hell forever. Here is the cause, here is the reason; Oh! hear what Isaiah says of the people in this day, he declares that "My people doth not consider," he tells us they will not think, they will not reflect, they will not consider. Yes and the same is the cause why so many now do not prepare to go to heaven to live with God, they do not, they will not consider. Oh! that they would stop and
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think before it be finally too late. I do not believe that there is any man who wants to go to hell; I do not believe there is one who is wilfully and blindly making [deleted] expecting to miss heaven. No I cannot believe that man, even the very worst man, could abandon all desire for rest, peace and happiness when he dies. Then why is it that so many live so carelessly, so thoughtlessly; so daringly and presumptuously trample the love and mercy of such a kind and good God as [added] our heavenly Father, under their feet. Oh! is it not because they will not consider, yes, because they do not consider.

Do you not think, do you not believe that there is not a single man who has a sound mind, who thinks and acts as an accountable and rational being, who if he will consider what the Lord has done for him and promises to him, but will turn and serve his God and Master if be not already engaged in his service. Now let us look at some of the things which we should consider, and which we believe if any man will rightly consider he will become a good man, a servant of the Lord Our God- a Christian indeed and in truth.

1st We hould consider the character and will of our blessed God; He is our Father and bountiful
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preserver. We are ever in his hand, ever before his eyes, he everywhere surrounds us. He is great and wise and powerful, and just and holy. And his love and favor are heaven, and his frown and anger are hell. Oh! let us consider that first-- and then we can

2d Consider what we ourselves are, what our end and destiny are; what the claims of God upon us are; what we should do in reference to eternity and meeting of our righteous judge.

3d We should often ask ourselves what our spiritual condition is before God; we should inquire of our own hearts
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whether we are accepted of God; whether we love him and have the evidence that he loves us, or whether we are in a state of condemnation and sin, and liable to [sic] banished from his presence any moment if we should die.

4th Oh! we should consider how short is life; how important it is, that now, even in this life is the time "to ensure the great reward", the time to make preparation for eternity and heaven. Oh! let us consider how short,, how uncertain it is and make haste to make peace with our God. Then it will be sweet to live, but better still
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to die, because death then will be but the opening of the gates of heaven to our souls and the invitation to come in, and live forever in our Father's kingdom no more to go out.

5th Having considered the above subjects we should now approach the solemnities of death. We must all surely die; the history of the world is that we die; Oh! we cannot doubt that; then does it not behoove us to consider seriously its certainty in reference to ourselves? should we not lay it to heart? should we not consider its probable nearness to us, its awful character if we should be unprepared for it, yes should we not
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seriously consider all those things and make haste to prepare against its certain coming.

But Death is not all, there is something else that remains for us besides to die. Yes we have "to be to judgement brought, and answer in that day" for our lives our acts and all that we have done while God has spared our lives here in this world, but judgement is not all, we must from judgement depart with the cursed down to hell, or go with the righteous up to heaven, but that is not all yet we have to live in one or the other of those places forever and forever, yes live and burn in hell forever or reign rejoice
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in heaven forever.

Oh, now Dear Pa, does it not seem to you that if a man will sit down and calmly consider these things as they are, that he will get up fully determined in his heart to be a Christian and make ready to leave the world in peace for heaven and immortality with the saints in light. Pardon me that I have written so much on this subject, for I feel much more than I have written and would that I could express to you half the desire and solicitude I have for your salvation; it weighs upon my heart both night and day; I feel I know that I can never repay
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you for all the kindnesses and good acts and things you did for me as a parent, as a Father, yes I say I know I cannot in any worldly sense repay you, but because of all those things I do feel doubly, yea a hundred times more desirous to see you secure your salvation and start out for heaven. Oh! how happy it would make my very soul to know that, when I shall be called to leave your and go forth to labor perhaps far from home, that you are almost home, yes that all of you Mother & Father & the rest were all hastening on to heaven. Oh! that such a happy, joyful news as that
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may reach me before I shall have completed my College course and am ready to take my leave of you all perhaps forever till we meet at the judgement seat of Christ. Yes, Oh! that I could know, be assured that you were all determined to meet in heaven an unbroken family band, there are some of the family already there; the Lord has taken them first as it were while young and tender and lovely that he might lead our love and affections up with them to heaven and fasten them there. Yes [added] that thereby he might excite in us permanent desire and a [added] fixed purpose to meet our loved and lost ones there

Oh! should we not desire to get to heaven? Yes, yes, I am not ashamed now to say that I want to get there, though I was once ashamed, no blessed be God, I am not ashamed to say that I want to escape hell, that I want to get to a place of rest, to a home of bliss! where there is no more death, no more sorrow no more grief, no more cares, disappointments and pain. Oh! this is a happy, happy thought that we [added] are invited to go to such a place, that we are promised such a home and resting place. May the Lord help us all to make preparation against the final day, that we may be permitted to enter into the joys of our blessed Lord.

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I have nothing more to write now. You will please write me soon and write me all the news.

Your devoted & affectionate

Young J Allen

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