May 10, 1805.
The Doctor, farmer, and grazier; to the Farmer, grazier, and butcher, sendeth greeting.
THIS is fine showery weather for us graziers and I have found my soul at times grateful to God for it; and, when this is the case, the inside and out-door crop increase and move in concert together. Goodness passes before us, and faith and gratitude follow after; the former helps the latter, and the latter is enlivened by the former. The business of faith is to follow God, to watch his hand, to observe his footsteps, to go on errands, and bring in fresh supplies; to attend and help beggars at the door of hope; to carry petitions and other messages; to kindle the fire upon the altar at the time of incense; and to wait the returns, and apply the answers. In fine weather, when the sun shines;and in peaceable times, when there is no war; she is much abroad, going often out, and is in much exercise. But in the midst of dangers, and when beset on every hand, as was the case of the disciples on the sea; "Where is your faith?" Not abroad, not in exercise: No, it is within, keeping house, and propping up the heart against overwhelming fears. Let a good word come in, and make the heart glad, and then it will go out. "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" "Thou hast seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee;" and out it goes "Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him." We live by faith, and thus it is that we go in and out, and find pasture. This principle, called faith, when dormant as an habit, is always attended with a fast; but when active, and in exercise, feasting is going on. Deadness attends the former, but heavenly mindedness, with life and peace, attends the latter. The heart contracts when faith stays at home, but always enlarges when faith goes abroad. Watch these things, and I have no doubt but you will find it so. Out of all the graces which the Holy Spirit plants, there are but three that labour hard in an active way, so as to contribute towards the food of the soul. Patience is to bear weights and burdens; meekness to soften the soil; and humility to submit to God's will. But faith goes out and in; hope is expecting what faith discovers and lays hold of; and love sends her grateful returns for the blessings. "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;" these are the labourers. Hence you read of the works of faith, the labours of love, and the patience of hope. "I laboured," says Paul, "more than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."