This letter was written by Rev. Wooster Parker (1807-1884), son of Rev James Parker (1764-1826) and Mary Peck (1772-1819). Wooster was a graduate of the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1832, who served the community of Castine, Maine, at the time this letter was written in 1836. In 1833, Wooster married Wealthy Ann Pond (1815-1903).
Rev. Parker wrote the letter to Jane Elizabeth Adams (1817-1891), the daughter of Thomas Adams (1783-1847) and Jane Russell (1792-1834). Jane married Charles Adams Cate (b. 1814) in 1839 – some three years after this letter was written.
Addressed to Miss Jane Elizabeth Adams, Ipswich, Massachusetts
February 5, 1836
My Dear Friend,
For several weeks past, as I have often been in to your father’s house, & conversed with your dear parents, as I have bowed with them at the alter of prayer, & as I have seen one & another of your acquaintance entering the Kingdom of Christ, I have thought of you. And having read our last letter to your father, I need not say it affords me great pleasure to steal a moment to write you.
Your letter interested me very much. You have already heard that some whom you left here thoughtless in the world & in their sins, are now, as we hope, the children of the living God & heirs of heaven, & O may I not hope this will find you a humble, sincere & devoted follower of that adorable Redeemer who has died for us. I know not what to say to you, for I know not what state of mind this sheet will find you in, but I rejoice that the great question of your soul’s salvation is before you. And when this is a matter of such unspeakable moment, O why has it not always claimed your thoughts & feeling? Strange that we should forget a dying hour, a judgment day, forget God, & Christ & heaven, & remember our dying bodies, our dying friends, & the pleasures of a dying world.
We are immortal beings. Immortal! Yes. We are to rise to heights of glory, to enjoy more than all which has been enjoyed by every being on earth & every angel of God up to this moment, or to sink& suffer more than has been suffered by all human beings & by all the spirits in hell up to this moment. O what are we then! But we are sinners – guilty, ruined sinners. I hope you have already looked back, with a bleeding heart, upon your life of forgetfulness of God, — your life of sin against that glorious God whom every saint & angel in heaven loves forever to adore. Your ingratitude to that blessed Savior who condescended to agonize & weep in the garden, & expire on the cross that we might live. I hope you have called into mind all the forbearance of God, the kindness of his hand, the solemn warnings og his providence & his word. These neglected, slighted, perverted – the gift of the Holy Spirit to breathe in upon your darkened heart the light of truth, the influence of heaven. This often grieved, _____ resisted. I hope you have surveyed this ocean of guilt into which your sins have swelled & if you have, you may be ready to exclaim, “Woe is me! I am forever condemned. I have gone beyond the reach of pardon.” This debt you cannot pay. You cannot diminish it by your prayers or tears, or purposes, nor even by your future obedience. Your past sins are all charged against you in God’s book. They are enough to sink a world.
What then can you do? You can only come, as if you were the only dependent & ruined creature in the universe, to God & confess your sins & ask him with yearning, but submissive importunity to forgive them – to forgive them all, to freely pardon a wretch undu__. Can he? Will he? Listen to his word, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you.” He offers to blot out all our sins, to wash away all our iniquities. O what a merciful God! How ready to forgive! My dear friend, come to him. Come to his feet. Come through a Savior crucified, & cast your soul on the mercy of that God.
Sometimes a person feels that if he could receive the favor of God, he would give up the world, give up all, & serve God. But O look up & see the goodness & mercy of God. See his adorable perfections. Look to a dying Savior, Remember his condescension [and] hear his voice inviting sinners to his arms. Look to Holy & blessed Spirit of God, who comes to our souls by a heavenly influence & offers to guide us back from our wanderings & lead us up to heaven, up to Christ, to God; & say, even though God should afford us not one ray of light, not one moment of peace to your dying day, is he not worthy our heart, our service, our all? Is it not a privilege, the greatest privilege, that we are permitted to devote ourselves to the service & praise of such a God, of such a Savior forever. This is the employment of heaven. This is heaven. Consecrate, my dear friend, yourself to this God & Savior. Give him all. Ask him to guide you, humble you, pardon you. Submit yourself, your all to his blessed will by a solemn & unalterable purpose of your soul bind yourself over to be his servant & he will be your friend, your Father, Your God, Your Heaven.
I am yours, very affectionately, — Wooster Parker
I should be happy to receive a letter from you. I shall look for one. Tell me all your feeling & purposes. W. P.