Grace and Peace be with my poor dear Friends.
WAS sorry to hear my poor dear friend had got his old disorder returned upon him. But we must come to our appointed end some way or other. God has not hurled you, as Job speaks, out of your place like a storm, nor like a tempest stolen you away in the night. "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness," as you have often seen it all round your neighbourhood. You are gently gathered, not hastily plucked; God takes down your tabernacle a pin at a time, and loosens the cords as you are able to bear it. God comes not to you, my dear friend, like a thief in the night; but knocks at the door time after time, and gives his kind, mild, and gentle warnings; but no killing rebukes, no terrible alarms, no threatening judgments; this I have long observed, yea, and I have admired his kindness in it. And, should you meet with some bands in your death, wonder not at it; the scriptures say, the wicked have them not. God sometimes exercises his children before he takes them; it is their last furnace, their last purging draught, and sweet refreshings from above are sure to follow; his favour comes like a cloud of the latter rain; and O, what must the change be, to go from a body of death to a fullness of life - from a bed of sickness to eternal health! God makes us willing in the day of his power; not only willing at first conversion, but willing to follow him, to bear the cross, and to execute what he commands, while he works in us to do what he requires. This long painful illness will make my dear friend willing to leave this life, and this world, it being labour and sorrow, vanity and vexation; hence the wise man observes, "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting; sorrow is better than laughter, and the day of death better than the day of one's birth." The elect are born to trouble; and they die to trouble, and to all sorrow for ever, for sorrow and sighing are to flee away. My kind love to all friends.
W. H. S.S.