I WAS sorry to hear by my friend Tommy that my dear father in the Lord was ill. However, we need physick as well as food: all things are not the most healthy which are the most palatable: our God does nothing in vain. Afflictions take us out of company; they gather our thoughts home; they serve to turn our eyes inward; they bring the child of God to books; they cast a damp upon earthly enjoyments, and wean the affections from a vain world; they lead to self-examination, and to consider the one thing needful; and they often humble the mind, meeken the spirit, encourage faith, awaken fear, and perfume the soul, and make it more unctuous and savoury; they lead to watchfulness on the handy works of God, and to thankfulness when his goodness appears; and I hope the good Lord will sanctify this stroke, that thou mayest have it to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted." God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men without cause; but corrects us with measures, and leaves us not wholly unpunished. But we have a forerunner who led the armies of heaven forth, the Captain of our salvation, who himself was made perfect through sufferings. He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, having himself been a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and has declared his sympathy to be such, that in all our afflictions he is afflicted, being the tender hearted father of the family; the sympathetic husband of his church, who cost him so dear, so great a price. Of which purchased inheritance, and purchased possession, he will never lose an atom, either of the gross, or the fine; the earthly, or the heavenly part. "The very hairs of your head are all numbered," nor shall one of them ever perish. The devil sets our sinfulness and nothingness against this; and unbelief bars the heart against it, and the comfort of it, by making us look at the evils of our heart, not at the love and good will of God; and at our corruptions, not at the great price of our ransom; and so to draw conclusions from our own feelings and views of ourselves, not from the promises of God, the covenant of his grace, or from the great undertakings, and finished work of Christ; and by this means he gains an advantage over us, and robs both God and us by barring the heart against both truth and grace, and God; by making us murmur because we are not better, instead of thanking God, who by his grace hath made us what we are. However, we are not altogether ignorant of Satan's devices; nor shall he ever save himself, or destroy us by all his cunning or power. God will work and none shall let it. Dear Father, the Lord bless thee, and keep thee; and may faith, patience, and submission, have their perfect work both in thee and me. Tender my love to dame, Mr. B. and all friends, and excuse haste, blunders, and imperfections, as I have but just finished my book, and got a moment to spare. Ever thine in the hope of the gospel,


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