Letter from Joseph Fish to Henry Sherburne

Honored and Dear Sir,

As my friendship for you, at college, was indissoluble, being founded upon those natural endowments that demanded respect from all your acquaintance, you will not [ illegible  ] suspect me of flattery, when I suggest how high you rose in my esteem and affection, when I heard, many years ago, that you had openly taken part with Christ, and that you were not ashamed of his cross.1  I have often wished for an opportunity to see you, as for such an occasion to write you, as might overcome the common impediments, that attend my station and circumstances of life.  The former, though much desired, I never expect on Earth; (Instead of that must content myself with the hopes of dwelling together in the Kingdom of Heaven,) but the latter I think, now offers itself.

All that are friends to the Redeemer’s Kingdom have long been praying to the Father of Mercy, that the heathen might be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,  that the name of Jesus might become great among the Gentiles,  from the rising of the Sun to the going down thereof.  And have made this one argument in our prayers to God, for success to our armies, viz., that a way might be thereby opened for the propagation of the gospel among the heathen.  And now, since the Lord has granted our request, fulfilled the desire of our hearts, and even accounted one our most raised expectations, by subduing our  popish enemies, and thereby opening a passage, with ease and safety, into the wide extended regions of darkness, what less can be expected, from the hearty friends of Zion, than that they should now show their zeal for the Redeemer’s cause  by freely offering them substance and their service, to conduct their Lord, the King of Nations, into his [ illegible ] Dominions among the heathen, where Satan has, for ages past,  maintained the throne?  The savages, that now lie open to access, are doubtless included in the inheritance which the Father gave to his glorious Son in the Cowl of Redemption.   These are some of the [ illegible ] uttermost parts of the Earth which he gave him for a possession and the time to favor his entering there, seems now to be come.   How smiling is the aspect of Providence, upon such a noble and gracious design?  Shall we not then come in to the help of the Lord, improving so favorable an opportunity, to promote a cause, which his heart is set upon?   Lest by our          [ illegible ] we gave him a fresh occasion to complain, I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold .  By his opening so wide a door, to carry the joyful tidings of salvation to the heathen, what day he less than call upon his friends, to [ hole ] show pity to these miserable pagans, by lending him a portion of our treasures to defray the necessary charges of such an important expedition, to enlarge the borders of his dominion?  Whatever we advance upon this occasion, our Lord will take it as sent to Him, and that which we give He will pay us again.  Shall we be more loyal to our Earthly sovereign, by freely [ illegible  ] our lives and expending our substance, for the defense of his [ illegible ], throne and dominions, then we are to the Son of God, The King of Kings, who in all things should have the dominion!  How [illegible]ly might I go on to fill my mouth with arguments in behalf of those miserable people but I need not plead a cause with one that is before hand with me in his favorable sentiments of it.  I rather offer these [illegible]ints, to confirm your resolution, to improve the influence that your station affords you, in inciting the lovers of Zion among you, to promote the design of the letter we send you, in favor of the Reverend Dear Mr. Wheelock; whose fervent zeal in the cause of Christ, may be looked upon as a token for good, that the Lord has mercy in store for the heathen that are ready perish.

Could you find leisure to honor me with a letter, I should take it as a singular favor:  A[ illegible ] remaining, as I now subscribe, your very sincere friend and most obedient humble servant,

Joseph Fish

Stonington, July 9, 1762

Address:          To Honorable Henry Sherburne, Esq., Portsmouth

Copy:               Reverend Joseph Fish to Henry Sherburne/Copy

  • 1. The preceding sentence was out of sequence in the original with a notation from the author regarding its intended location.