July, 1800 .
My dear Brother and Sister in the Lord Jesus
Christ. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you.
I am still in the land of the living, but rather poorly this day or two, through the sudden alteration of weather. But as long as we are in this world bonds and afflictions will abide us; and these inform us that this is not our rest: here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come; and whither our beloved is gone we know, and the way we know. And sure I am that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err in the way. The voice behind us, which at first spoke peace to us, is to be our guide even unto death.
I am at present full of rheumatic pains all over; I think the weather is going to change. O! that we were but safely landed in the heavenly country, where the inhabitants shall no more say I am sick, where there shall be no more heat nor cold! But till we arrive there we must be clogged, bowed down, and burdened with this wretched body of sin and death, which miserable load gets more and more intolerable to me. But through grace the inner man is still alive, in hope and faith, and is often looking out, and looking forward to that country which Abraham sought. Were it not for this, I should be of all flesh most miserable, sick of life, and afraid of death. But the faster and heavier these burdens and infirmities come on, the sooner will they be over. All our afflictions are dealt out to us in weight and measure; what is appointed for us we shall have, and no more. There is a measure of the sufferings of Christ to fill up; and when that measure is full, farewell to all furnace work: but till this is finished we must die daily, the old man must wax weaker, and the new man must be renewed day by day.
Next Tuesday I set off for Petersham, and shall preach on Wednesday at Richmond; where I hope to meet you or James, in company with the great woman at Shunem. I have written to her about it, and she will inform you. I have great success in the work in these woods, such as I think I never saw before: and most certainly it will appear when God writes up the people, that this and that man was born here. God bless you.
W. H. S. S.