1800. Dear Father C.
I HAVE heard for some time that thou hast been poorly, as hath been the case with me; but, blessed be God, I am much better. This long cold winter has tried me not a little: but God will take .these poor clay tabernacles down gradually, and by degrees, and yet let us know that we have an house in heaven, a house not made with hands; a more perfect tabernacle, not of this building; in this we do groan, being burdened, and must groan, because it will wax weaker and weaker. But faith believes, hope expects, and patience waits for the better mansion, where "the inhabitants shall no more say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity;" which is the cause of all our pain and grief, sorrow and sadness. But the blessed Redeemer carried our sorrows, and was well acquainted with our griefs: he endured our sins and our sufferings; and he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied in our salvation, and in our glorification; for he shall rejoice in his own purchased inheritance, when he shall deliver up the subjects of his kingdom to the Father in full tale, all completely saved, and all completely glorified, with a "Behold me, and the children which thou hast given me!" Our earthly afflictions are but for a moment, when compared to the eternal inheritance; and it is in the furnace of affliction that God hath chosen us, in order to humble us, and make us meet for it. These "afflictions are not joyous, but grievous; nevertheless they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness in them which are exercised thereby:" they discover the evil and enmity of the carnal mind, and the want of submission to the will of God; which brings us off from trust in our own hearts. Trials bring this world into contempt with us, and they make a hope in Christ appear of infinite value, and excite gratitude from the heart to God, who has not put us off with a portion in this life, in which there is nothing but vanity and vexation of soul.
I hope when the weather gets a little fine to have the pleasure of paying you a visit, but at present I can hardly endure the cold. My dame is laid by with the gout in both feet; which by no means makes her better tempered, but rather worse. Tender my respects to your spouse, and accept the same from
W. H. S. S.