A selection from a letter by Rev. Robert L. Dabney to his older brother, Charles William Dabney. The letter is evangelistic. He longed to see his brother, a distinguished lawyer, come to an open profession of Christ. After writing at length about depravity and the necessity of the new birth, Dabney concluded with an earnest appeal. The letter was written December 23, 1855.
You will say I send you a sermon instead of a letter. Well, I will add one more feature of resemblance; and as the preachers follow their sermons with a prayer for the divine blessing, after I have folded up this lame and halting composition, and directed it to you, I will kneel down, and pray to "the God who seeth in secret," to guide you into his truth, to show you the way of salvation, and place you in it, to bless your little ones and make them his children, and to give the sweetest and best influences of his grace to my dear sister; and may the Lord forgive me that I, so poor and beggarly a sinner, should try to unfold the riches of his grace to one less guilty than myself.
The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, by Thomas Cary Johnson, first published in 1903, reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust, 1977, pp. 184-85.