Nov. 28, 1806.
To my old companion in soul travail, and dearly beloved in the Lord, the Coalheaver sendeth greeting.
THE gout in the body, and that which is peculiar to the pocket, do operate different ways; and what is good for the former is of little use to the latter. I have been free from this epidemical disease all this winter, though I do not believe that I have one near relation in the flesh that is ever free from it, either in the winter or summer, it being a family disorder, constitutional, and hereditary. But yours lies in the vitals, mine in the extremities. However, there is one sovereign remedy, that is irresistible; which neither cold nor heat, ague nor fever, chilling damps, nor parching winds, can ever withstand - and that is faith in, and prayer to, the all-wise, divinely-skilled, and omnipotent Saviour of helpless sinners. And I have at times thought that, if there is a worthless worm in the British isles who can assert this with confidence, the presumptuous rebel (as I am often called) and the despicable, stinking Antinomian (as some call me) can with all boldness affirm this. No disorder or disease; no foe without or foe within; no bodily or ghostly enemy; no corporeal or spiritual infirmity; could ever withstand, much less repel, the force of believing and persevering prayer, put up to the great Physician, or to the Father of all mercies in the great Physician's name. And , the more this holy way to the throne is trodden, the more smooth and easy it becomes; the more faith is employed in this way, the stronger and bolder she grows; and the more our poor petitions are repeated, the greater are their returns; yea, these proceedings assure us of divine audience, of attention, and of redress. This is the new navigation, opened for the vessels of mercy, where all wise merchantmen should seek their goodly pearls. The worst diseases in this world are the leprosy, the plague of the heart, the dead palsy, and that of being born blind. The blood of sprinkling cures the first, sovereign grace the second, the promise of life the third; and he counsels us to buy eye salve of him to expel the deadly and dismal gloom from the mind and understanding.
I wish you was as free from your gouty habit as I am from mine, that I might congratulate you on your happy recovery. However, the new man is incapable of all the train of diseases, and of the infections of this old man, the sole cause of them all. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit; " and we know that divine light and life, faith and hope, love and joy, peace and comfort, are of God; nothing can be added to these, nor any thing taken from them; and God does this work that men should fear before him; and the fear of the Lord is his treasure. But, though these things are begun, they are not complete. There is room for more love, more joy, more light, more life, and more peace: But Christ is ascended on high that he might fill all things; that is, that every treasure of grace might be filled with glory; and this he promises to do: "I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures." This will be the accomplishment of the good work begun; and this being set before us leaves room for appetite, for desires, longings, and cravings, which I believe will never cease where the Holy Spirit once sends his divine influence through the soul, until we are filled with all the fullness of God. Many, many earnests, pledges, tokens, foretastes, first fruits, &c. are given by the way, to assure us of this sociable and all satisfying banquet; after which we shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more. Adieu!