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About Mr. Kendrick
letter, McIlvaine, Bedell, Kendrick
Bedell, Bishop, "To Charles Petit McIlvaine" (1863). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 183.
Jan. 19 1863
My dear Bishop
I have had a long talk with Kendrick.
He acknowledges freely, that much of his course when here previously was an error. Says he sees the error, & their causes. Acknowledges that he did not feel as he ought respecting the Ministry.
Also that he did wrong in leaving the Sem. as he did, but that he had no intention of disrespect [to] the Faculty, and that it was done under excitement of an enlistment which drove other thoughts from his mind. I conversed with him as to his personal religious views.
His Pastor Dr. Lewis of Brooklyn admitted him when (as he told me with regret) his views of faith were very indistinct. That was 185. Long after that, he obtained a clear idea of Christ as his own personal Saviour, & his right to trust in his promises as addressed to himself. When at the Sem. before he often had doubts. He says that now his habit of soul is faith, which gives him a satisfaction that his sins have been forgiven.
He expresses himself as humbled. He says that now he sees the [?] of sin, as he did not before. And also volunteered the remark, that many things appeared sin to him now which had not so appeared before.
You will of course see in these experiences what may be a genuine work of the spirit. What is such a work, if he is sincere in making the statements, of which I have no reason to doubt. But there was at the [?] time a want of loving views of Christ, a want of warmth in speaking of him, a continued duty, aspect of religion, which showed a lack of realization of the power of the Cross. His views are [deficient], & his religious life in infancy. And yet I think it has begun.
HIs motives leading to the Ministry are still less filled with the love of Christ, or I ought to say, his expression of them. He seems bent upon the Ministry because as a Christian he could not be satisfied with any other life. The duty view again. But he added, he felt that gratitude to Christ impelled him.
I made my inquiries as searching as I knew how. It may be that an appearance of investigation (which with all efforts I could not entirely avoid) may have checked my warmth of expression.
I have thus given the grounds of my opinion, which is that he is a Christian in his childhood, that he is right as for as he goes now, but that he is far from having “attained,” that he is humbled & repentant, that it will be best to deal tenderly. My own course would be to receive him for a Candidate [de] [novo], reserving the question as to allowing him the time already spent as a Candidate, to be determined by his future conduct. His conduct so far promises well.
G. J. Bedell
Rt. Rev. Dr. McIlvaine.