Paddington, August 4, 1792.
I have just received your second letter, and now thank you for both. I am glad to hear from you with all my heart: but, as to your spiritual leanness, I do not pity, nor lament at all: for I think you had much better have staid with your dame at home, who has been very constantly under me, in company with her sister, ever since. Whether she gains by trading I know not; but, if she doth not follow me for the truth's sake and for honest dealings, by the help of God she shall never follow me for any thing else.
All your entertainments and rarities at the Peak you are welcome to: the beautiful situation of Zion, faith's view of her glorious Sovereign, and the mysteries of his cross, have killed me, and I hope ever will keep me dead, to all the wonders of Derby. The few precious moments that I have enjoyed this morning in reading the scriptures of truth, and weeping under a sense of dying love, and undeserved providence displayed in the behalf of such a poor devil as the coalheaver, are so sweet to me that I would not part with them for any sensations or prospects beneath the stars. I have been this morning at Jacob's wedding, and at his death and funeral; at the death of Joseph; and I think it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting: though I got some things of the ancient mountains, and some of the chief things of the lasting hills; and felt the good of him that dwelt in the bush; together with the coming of Shiloh, and of the gathering of the people to him; in which the poor devil of a coalheaver has had no small hand: which is a great grief to the pious followers of Satan, and will I believe continue so to be as long as Satan can conceal his bane under their lips, and bend their tongues to shoot lies.
But now to the point in hand: - tomorrow, being the fifth of August, is our ordinance day; I must preach and break bread. The Sunday following, which will be the twelfth, is our quarterly collection day; on which I must preach and shear the sheep, or else I shall have no money to travel with: for the Midsummer quarter and the Christmas quarter are the times of clearing school bills, when the young stuff leave me like the land of Egypt when the locust had gleaned and reaped it - there was nothing green left in it. You know, sir, that there is no going to see the Peaks Of Derby without money. I am too weak to dig, too proud to beg, and too black to borrow, unless it is of those fools who know nothing of my character. Thou seest what a hobble I am in, my son; I am resolved what to do. I will on the Monday, the thirteenth instant, set off for Northampton; preach to them on Tuesday and the Lord's Day following, which will be the nineteenth day; then set out at the beginning of the following week, and preach at Birmingham that week and the Lord's day following, which will be the twenty-sixth instant; then set off from Birmingham to Bradford, near Bath, and there trade all the week and the Lord's day following, which will be the second of September. After which, if God permit, I shall set my face toward mount Galeed, and reach Bethelem toward the latter end of wheat harvest. And perhaps I shall return with as dark a countenance, and as good a conscience, and just as much cash in hand, as if I had seen every peak in Derby. Yours is a party of pleasure, Tommy, but mine is a party of labour: there is a difference between roes and asses; the one sports with its legs, the other bows its shoulders to bear; the one is for pleasure, the other for burden: and I know that they will work me well before I come home; though the beast comes not for his hire, but from love - a pay already received. This, my son, is the plan I am obliged to draw; and I hope brother B's lines will comport with it. I shall inform the people at R. of his absence, the cause also, and secure a supply. Young Doctor E. intends to accompany me, if nothing prevents. That God may send me among them with a living coal and a springing well, is the desire of my soul; that my feet may be beautiful on the mountains, and my conversation savoury; and that the mountains may bring peace to the people, and the little hills righteousness. Tender my love to Mr. C. and all friends at Birmingham, while I subscribe myself a greater lover of the mountains of Zion, than of all the peaks of Derby.