Church Street, Paddington, April 15, 1793.
Dearly Beloved; Grace, mercy, and peace be with thee, - through our Lord Jesus Christ.
TOMMY BENSLEY told me the other day that thou hadst had another visit of the gout; we may truly say of such visitors as Job does of his friends, "Miserable comforters are ye all." Nevertheless, a purging draught is as profitable as a cordial; only it is not so palatable. The world, and the things of it; ease and security carelessness and indifference; coldness and disaffection; deadness and slothfulness; are things which easily beset us, and things that must be purged away; and know that every branch in Christ that bears fruit, our heavenly Father purgeth that it may bring forth more fruit. It is well for us that there is balm in Gilead, and a good physician there - one that can cure the plague - even the plague of the heart; and the leprosy also, however bad, or however long standing; the deaf, and the blind too, have been healed by him; and I believe that he is the only physician that can cure the gout. He is a skilful and a tender physician, never failed in his undertaking, nor did any patient ever die or perish under his hands; and he generally effects his cures by the most despicable means.
Looking to a bit of brass on a pole cures the venom of serpents; dipping seven times in Jordan cures the leprosy; a bunch of figs heals a burning boil; clay cures one born blind; and a little salt in a cruse heals a spring that never was sweet before. Nothing is wanting here but humble faith, and fervent prayer; prayer brings in the medicine, and faith applies it. But alas, alas "he could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief, save that he laid his hand on a few sick folks, and they recovered." I hope patience will have its perfect work, and that resignation to the divine will may be granted, together with a full persuasion that all things work together for good to them that love God; this will' bring in that peace which passeth all understanding; insomuch as that the soul may be healthy when the body is sick, and be on the wing, while the other is confined to the bed. "No affliction is joyous but grievous, nevertheless it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those that are exercised thereby;" and he was an excellent saint that said, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; for before this I went astray." - The Lord bless thee and keep thee; my respects to the household; and believe me to be, dear friend, ever thine,