Feb. 28, 1800.
Dearly beloved Sister in Christ,
Grace, mercy, and peace be with thee, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, who hath loved us, and given us ever everlasting consolation and good hope through grace: that we should be to the praise of his glory who trust in his name.
I WANT to know how my old friend goes on this cold inclement season; which doth so severely try those whose clay tabernacles are gone into years. But there will be an end to this our pilgrimage, and our expectation of a better country (God hath said) shall not be cut off. He knows the miserable days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be for ever. My soul is sick of this world, and sick of a body of sin and death: but faith maintains her hold,and hope expects what faith has in view; and patience must wait till the vision speaks, till the vail rends, and the boundless scene opens to view; then shall mortality, with all her grievous train and miserable attendants, be banished from the glorified soul. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption." spiritual, and a glorious, or a glorified, body is promised. "He shall change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious body. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting!" God hath granted us that faith which is the substance of these things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. He has given us the Comforter, which is the earnest of the inheritance, and our meetness for it. He hath imputed the righteousness of his dear Son to us, which is our title to it. "Whom God justifies, them he also glorifies." How must the soul feel itself, when unclothed of this cumbersome clog! How must the prisoner of hope feel when it quits these clay walls; when the Holy Spirit, in possession of it, shall ride on the wings of an angel, and convey it into the bosom of everlasting love: the bosom where Abraham, and all his spiritual seed, lie! Then shall the tree of life, the river of pleasure, the throne of glory, the angelic millions, and' the spirits of just men made perfect, appear as they really are; and we shall see face to face, and know as we also are known; and be no more clogged with corruption, no more interrupted in our devotions; our rest and peace shall be disturbed no more. No more shall the sweet countenance of our God be hid, nor the smiles of the heavenly bridegroom be withdrawn from us any more. But after all this soaring aloft, after all these imaginary flights, I am still in this body of sin and death: compassed about with many sins and infirmities, attended daily by a diligent devil; oft repining, fretting, and grieving at the deplorable weather; at the unparalleled distress of the poor; at the sight of the artificial famine; and at the intolerable insensibility and cruelty of the unbearable oppressors. But there is a judgment, and "they shall have judgment without mercy, who have shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." "Oppression maketh a wise man mad. But we must leave them in the hand of that God who hath said, "The covetous, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth." Our days, however, can be but short, our glass is almost out; and blessed for ever be that God, who hath not put us off with a portion in this life; who hath not given us meat for our lust, nor sent leanness into our souls. Tried we must be; through evil and good report we must go. In the furnace of affliction he manifests his choice of us, and from all our dross and tin he will purge us, and make us more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir; and, when this work is done, and our generation work likewise; when faith and patience are fully tried; when the appointed race is run, and the appointed warfare completed, we shall return with songs, and everlasting joy upon our heads. This shall fully satisfy and reward us for all our labour and toil in this miserable world. Betty, farewell! Be of good cheer for "he that shall come will come." In hope of this, I subscribe myself,
Yours in Him,