London, December, 1790. To my Son Edward greeting.
I SUPPOSE that by this time submission to the will of God is hardly to be found; that resignation is at a low ebb; that the hand of faith has almost lost her cunning; and that patience is worth a guinea a grain: nothing but poor hope is left; and, as for love, it has waxed so cold it is likely to terminate in an ague. Every grace must be tried, the dross must be worked up and purged off, the chaff must be discovered and blown away. God has chosen us in the fiery furnace of affliction, and will sift us as corn is sifted in a sieve; but not one grain shall fall to the ground. Thou hast not had the twentieth part that has fallen to my lot, and yet I know that it has all been for my soul's good, and I should never have been able to hold on my way without it. God will humble us, and will do his pleasure, whether we refuse or choose.
I did intend to have called on thee on Thursday, but I had to go to Covent-garden; then to see two people, both ill, in the Strand; then to go to Terry's about the plate, and to Harrison's about the book; so that I could not get round, being pretty well knocked up by the time I got to Horsleydown: but I do not forget thee in my prayers: be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus: a stock in hand may fail, but his fullness will never fail; and while he lives we shall live also. Adieu! Fight the good fight of faith, and glorify God in the fires; while I remain, dear son,
Thy friend and father in the gospel,
W. H. S. S.