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such thoughts with warmth and efficacy to your mind, as may be most seasonable ; and, though your wound may be still painful, yet faith and prayer will not only support you now, but accelerate the blessed end. There is something in grief not easi. ly accounted for it seems bewitching: it is painful in itself, and yet we seem loth to part with it, yea, we are prone to indulge it, and to brood over such thoughts and circumstances, which are most likely to in. crease and prolong it. And why is it thus, unless the Lord when he afflicts, intends or designs not only that we should grieve, but also that our grief should prove medicinal, and terminate with the blessing intended by it? The Lord employs afflicti. ons for his people's good : and many ad. vantages are derived from them; so that, perhaps, we could not well do without them.
First. Afflictions tend to quicken us in prayer. It is a pity it should be so; but experience testifies that a course of prosperity and ease, has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal, especially in our secret devotions. But when troubles rouse the spirit, we are constrained to call upon the Lord in good earnest, for we feel a need
; of that help, which none but God can supply.
Second. They tend to keep alive a con: viction that all sublunary bliss is vain and d unsatisfying that here we have no abiding
place of rest, and therefore our thoughts j should fly upwards where true joys and permanent treasures are. The children of Israel would have laughed at Moses, or treated his invitation of going with him to the land of promise with coolness and, perhaps contempt, had they not been, at that time, sorely galled with the cruel yoke of uncommon oppression. Thus the Lord, by withering our gourds, and breaking our cisterns, weakens our attachments to the present world, and renders the thought of leaving it less painful, and more welcome. This you seem sensible of when you say, two ties, &c. are broken.
My paper reminds me of drawing to a conclusion-in which I have only to say sincerely that I am your real Friend,
Providence, February 16, 1797. Rev. And Dear Sir,
I SAW your brother and family last Saturday—he told me you had read Wát. son's Apology with pleasure and profit.- Ft is indeed no easy matter to estimate the value of that little book-take it by and large, and it exceeds any controversal writing I ever saw. Could any man of any discription, divest himself of prejudice, only for three or four hours, and read, with attention and understanding, those few pages containing the Apology, and, I think, infidelity must be eradicated from his mind. By the favor of my friends i have been possessed of three copies of that work, and I am endeavoring to put them about in such a manner, as may answer some good purposes. True, a mere speculative belief of the Bible will not of itself save any man, but as long as such a belief is retained there is the greater probability that the principles of the Bible will sooner or later opperate with force—whereas, when infidelity has taken place and infused its
poisonous effects—the case looks very hopeless—though not beyond the reach of divine grace: and as the Almighty usually works by means which most aptly apply to the accomplishing the end—I have hopes that Watson's Apology will, in many instances, answer the salutary purposes, both of preventing the spread of infidelity, and of reclaiming infidels.
With our best respects to you and your's, I hasten to subscribe myself, Your affectionate Friend,