June 4, 1802.
Dear Brother in Christ, perfect peace, and at such a time.
I SEND these few scraps to thank you for your kindness to the most unworthy of all the royal family: nevertheless, I am a living witness of the truth of this passage - that "He raises up the poor from the dust, and the beggar from the dung-hill, and sets them among the princes of his people, and makes them to inherit the throne of glory." But there is a deal of humbling and debasing work in the dust; and much doubting, fearing, sighing, and sobbing, on the dunghill;. and putting the mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope of the throne of glory, before we can be brought to expect it upon solid and sure grounds: for the poor soul, who knows the evil of his own heart, is so jealous and suspicious, that he cannot entertain a good opinion of it, even when God hath made it good.
In this debasing work upon the dunghill, it is God's will that we should only see one side of him - wrath, anger, terrible majesty, holiness, justice, and the just Judge as a consuming fire. But that which alters the scene is another, and a better prospect; and that is the name of the Lord, "the Lord God, gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and truth, pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin." A believing view of this works the change, and wonderful it is, as not one of the aforesaid terrible attributes appears in all the proclamations of this name. The former works self pity, sullen stubbornness, and hard thoughts of God: but the latter works abhorrence, and begets a love to the- Almighty; and this is a live coal to work energy, and affords a spur to diligence. And the weakest believing view of the tender pity and compassion that appear in this name, which name is now found in Christ, is that which I believe it to be the landing of the soul on the right side of Jordan, or the first step it takes towards the heavenly country. And so saith the prophet - "Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant, and walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God." Where observe - when God had proclaimed this most blessed name to Moses, he promises to send his angel before him, and bids him not provoke him, "for he will not pardon your iniquities, for my name is in him." Now to be enabled by the word to believe this is the turning point.
When we are under the yoke and rod, we firmly believe in his anger, wrath, justice, and terrible majesty; and indeed we firmly believe nothing else: But, when we are enabled to believe in the pity, compassion, love, favour, and mercy of God, this is the landing of the soul on God's covenant name; the face is turned Zion-ward, and the dismal prospect gets behind. Terrible views beget terrible meditations; but merciful views and prospects melt and dissolve us. This is obeying the voice of his servant; and God himself owns and claims such for his own. - "Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God." - His God, though he walks in darkness and hath no light - No light of joy, of love, or of comfort, whereby he can see his interest or his pardon; no, nor the light of God's countenance. Well - be it so; yet let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God. "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." This, Joseph, is good news from a far country.
In humble and thankful acknowledgments for all favours, I subscribe myself, yours to serve for his sake,
W. H. S.S.