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LETTER XIII. 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 to me.
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
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 judgment 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.
LETTER XIV. My dear friend,
October 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
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-sufficiency 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 creature comforts. 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.