Nov. 22, 1800.
ALTHOUGH I have no room nor ground to think that you were any friend to me on a former occasion, when a friend in court was much wanted; yet, to convince you that I am inclined to overcome evil with good, I am come to inquire after your welfare. You have, if report be true, been long sending out, crying out, lying-in, travailing, or in lingering labour; and I wish to know what you have brought forth, or if there be any hopes of a new creature? Is Moses dead? Are you divorced from him by the rules of his own law, who for the hardness of our hearts wrote us that precept? If so, has our next kinsman married the widow, in order to raise up the name of the dead upon the inheritance? Or are you still a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God? In such circumstances God calls us; and, if this be thy case, I know of no just cause or impediment why the match should not go on. All the time we are dying to Moses, and not espoused to Jesus, the devil and conscience will reproach us, and set the sins of our youth before us, as an impediment in the way of a second match; but when the bridegroom comes we forget the shame of our youth, and remember the reproach of our widowhood no more; for our Maker is our husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, the God of the whole earth shall he be called; and therefore we must be joint heirs with him in all these things. But may I say to the everlasting Father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? But surely, if we are dead to the law, that we may be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God, I may inquire after the new man, after fruit, as among other gentiles. God is the Father of lights. Does the eye of the new creature appear? "Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death." Are you quickened? Is there any life and motion, any contest and struggle between Esau and Jacob? God is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.. Is there any saving, supporting, encouraging, or delivering mercy? He begets us to a lively hope. Is there any looking out or looking up; any hopes or expectations? That which is born of God overcomes the world, and that which does it is our faith. Is your heart lifted above this world? Is there any heavenly-mindedness, life, peace, faith, or affections, desires, or longings above, where our treasure is? These are the fruits and effects of a second match; these are the members and features of the new man, and the soul of him is love.
Thus have I shewn you the divorce, the second husband, the union, the conception, the quickening, the bringing forth, and the real legitimate offspring, which bears the image and likeness of the second Adam. And shall expect to know by a line in what stage of this gradual process you are. And, if all these things are found in you, you will cut a better figure in the green bed (Song i. 16) than you did in the court of judicature.
Tender my kind respects to your spouse and mother; and believe me to be a parson in publishing banns; an apothecary in carrying medicine; and an under man mid-wife, in delivering many by the preaching of love and I am willing to attend your groaning.