To the Rev. Mr. Thos. Newcomb at Hackney near London.
My dear old friend,
And now my only dear old friend, for your namesake Colburn is dead; he died last winter of a cold, caught by officiating on the Fast-day: He has left one daughter, I believe in pretty good circumstances; for a friend of his, some time ago, settled upon her twenty pounds a year; and he, no doubt, has left her something considerable himself.
I am pleased with the stanzas you sent me; there is nothing in them of eighty-seven; and if you have been as young in your attempt on the Death of Abel, it will do you credit; that work I have read, and think it deserves that reception it has met withal.
The libel you mention, I have not seen: but I have seen numberless papers, which shew that our body politic is far from being in perfect health. As for my own health, I do not love to complain; but one particular, I must tell you, that my sight is so far gone, as to lay me under the necessity of borrowing a hand to write this. God grant me grace under this darkness, to see more clearly things invisible and eternal, those great things, which you and I must soon be acquainted with; and why not rejoice at it? There is not a day of my long life that I desire to repeat; and at fourscore it is "all labour and sorrow." What then have we to do? But one thing remains, and in that one blessed be God, by his assistance, we are sure of success. Let nothing therefore lye heavy on our heart; let us rely on Him who has done so great things for us; that lover of souls, that hearer of prayers, whenever they come from the heart; and sure rewarder of all those who love Him, and put their trust in his mercy.
Let us not be discontented with this world; that is bad, but it is still worse to be satisfied with it, so satisfied, as not to be very anxious for something more. My love and best wishes attend you both, and, I am,
my good old friend,
Wellwyn, Nov. 25, 1762.
P.S. I am persuaded that you are mistaken as to your age. You write yourself 87, which cannot be the case; for I always thought myself older than you, and I want considerably of that age. If it is worth your while, satisfy me as to this particular.