Dec. 22, 1806.
I DO not expect my beloved friend to answer every scrap that may fly to him from me; he has much on his hands. At times I find a few leisure hours, when I send a few fragments of the bread of life to those who are quickened to feel an appetite, and whose perishing state has changed their vitiated stomachs to relish and savour of the bread of heaven and the pass-over offering, which choice fare seldom goes a begging. YOU complain of being a dunce, and of ease, . &c. The Laodicean church wanted eye-salve; and for want of this she was all fullness, all wealth, all sufficiency. But the unction is to make her appear wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; that faith, the wedding robe, and the ointment of Christ, might be embraced. In this view we have both our beggary, and the true riches; and I believe that the Spirit of divine revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, will never let the child of God finally lose sight of either of these. A sight of self counteracts pride, and Christ's fullness forbids despair.
I often feel myself in your dead, careless, unsavoury and ungrateful frame. But, being conscious that by terrible things in righteousness I must be brought out of the lethargy, and of the rickets, which my cowardly soul much dreads; as soon as I find it, I plead hard, though with little life, and tell him how he finds fault with those who have a name to live while dead; with the preacher who did not strengthen the things which were ready to die, and how much I am indebted to his grace; likewise of his promise to water us every moment, that our life should not wither; and of being fruitful in old age, to shew that God is upright; then again of his promise, that those who Scatter shall increase, and they that water shall be watered also themselves, &c. I persist in this, and am sure to feel an alteration whenever I adopt this method. And, finding this, I continue to offer thank offerings, and try all day long to watch and observe, that no undeserved favour may pass unnoticed or unacknowledged, knowing that these are all the tributes of his empire, and the only revenues of his realm.
These things, my dear brother, are weighty matters with me, to which I attend every day of my life; and they are now become so customary and habitual, that I find my account in it, and therefore hope, by God's help, to be unwearied and indefatigable in these poor simple offerings; which I know come up with acceptance on God's altar, nor do they return empty to the gentile Levite. All our fruit is found in him; and both the incense and the fire must be obtained from his fullness by the prayer of faith, before they can be offered up. Daily experience teaches this. All the sweet things with which the soul is nourished are conveyed to us from his treasure, while our grateful acknowledgments are his sweet repast. "I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey, I have drank my wine with my milk; eat, O friends, drink; yea, drink abundantly, O my beloved."
But now to business: I have a desire, if God should permit me to die a natural death, to lay my bones near to those of his Excellency; and James and old Peg B. would like to sleep by me. I have children now in London to fill the vault at Petersham, who perhaps will not be able to convey themselves further off. I wish therefore to know whether a bit of ground can be obtained, and what the expense of such a vault would be. Do, if time will permit, set some friend to examine and estimate it, and you will much oblige, dear brother,
Yours in the best of all bonds, with love to dame,