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so frail and exposed, I have enjoyed for a number of years an almost perfect exemption both from pain and sickness. This is wonderful indeed, even in my own eyes.
But my soul is far from being in a healthy state. There I have laboured, and still labour under a complication of diseases; and, but for the care and skill of an infallible Physician, I must have died the death long ago. At this very
very moment my soul is feverish, dropsical, paralytic. I feel a loss of appetite, á disinclination both to food and to medicine; so that I am alive by miracle: yet I trust I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. When I faint, he revives me again. I am sure he is able, and I trust he has promised to heal me; but how inveterate must my disease be, that is not yet subdued, even under his management !
Well, my friend, there is a land where the inhabitant shall no more say, I am sick. Then my eyes will not be dim, nor my ear heavy, nor my heart hard.
One sight of Jesus as he is,
Blessed be his name for this glorious hope! May it cheer us under all our present uneasy feelings, and reconcile us to every cross. The way must be right, however rough, that leads to such a glorious end.
O for more of that gracious influence, which in a moment can make the wilderness soul rejoice and blossom like the rose! I want something which neither critics nor commentators can help me to. The Scripture itself, whether I read it in Hebrew, Greek, French, or English, is a sealed book in all languages, unless the Spirit of the Lord is present to expound and apply. Pray for me. No
prayer seems more suitable to me than that of the Psalmist, “ Bring my soul out of “ prison, that I may praise thy name.'
I am, &c.
My Dear Friend,
August 28, 1779. I WANT to hear how you are. I hope your complaint is not worse than when I saw you.
I hope you are easier, and will soon find yourself able to move about again. I should be sorry, if to the symptoms of the stone you should have the gout superadded in your right hand; for then you will not be able to write
We go on much as usual; sometimes very poorly, sometimes a little better; the latter is the case to-day. My rheumatism continues; but it is very moderate and tolerable. The Lord deals gently with us, and gives us many proofs that he does not afflict willingly.
The days speed away apace; each one bears away its own burden with it, to return no more.
Both pleasures and pains that are past are gone for ever.
for ever. What is yet future will likewise be soon past. The end is coming. O to realize the thought, and to judge of things now in some measure suitable to the judgement we shall form of them, when we are about to leave them all! Many things which now either elate or depress us will then appear to be trifles light as air.
One thing is needful: to have our hearts united to the Lord in humble faith; to set him always before us; to rejoice in him as our Shepherd and our portion; to submit to all his appointments, not of necessity, because he is stronger than we, but with a cheerful acquiescence, because he is wise and good, and loves us better than we do ourselves; to feed upon his truth; to have our understandings, wills, affections, imaginations, memory, all filled and impressed with the great mysteries of redeeming love, to do all for him, to receive all from him, to find all in him. I have mentioned many things, but they are all comprised in one, a life of faith in the Son of God. We are empty vessels in ourselves, but we cannot remain empty. Except Jesus dwells in our hearts, and fills them with his power and presence, they will be filled with folly, vanity, and vexation.
I am, &c.
My Dear Friend,
Oct. 26, 1779. BEING to go out of town to-day, I started up before light to write to you, and hoped to have sent you a long letter; when, behold! I could not get at any paper. I am now waiting for a peep at Mr. B**** at his lodgings, who came to town last night; and I shall write as fast as I can till I see him.
I feel for you a little in the same way as you feel for yourself. I bear a friendly sympathy in your late sharp and sudden trial. I mourn with that part of you which mourns; but at the same time I rejoice in the proof you have, and which you give, that the Lord is with you of a truth. I rejoice on your account, to see you supported and comforted, and enabled to say, He has done all things well. I rejoice on my own account. Such instances of his faithfulness, and all-suf
ficiency are very encouraging. We must all expect hours of trouble in our turn. We must all feel in our concernments the vanity and uncertainty of creaturecomforts. What a mercy is it to know from our own past experience, and to have it confirmed to us by the experience of others, that the Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and that he knoweth them that trust in him. Creatures are like candles, they waste while they afford us a little light, and we see them extinguished in their sockets one after another. But the light of the sun makes amends for them all. The Lord is so rich that he easily can, so good that he certainly will, give his children more than he ever will take away. When his gracious voice reaches the heart, It is I, be not afraid ; Be still, and know that I am God; when he gives us an impression of his wisdom, power, love, and care; then the storm which attempts to rise in our natural passions is hushed into a calm; the flesh continues to feel, but the spirit is made willing. And something more than submission takes place; a sweet resignation and acquiescence, and even a joy that we have any thing which we value to surrender to his call.