Dec. 24, 1807.

My friend has been in the furnace; but whether he is still in or out I know not. In the furnace of affliction we are all chosen, and in
the furnace God promises to acknowledge us far his own, and that we shall claim him as ours. There is nothing spiritual or divine but what will stand the fire or the water. Grace is an incorruptible seed; and gospel blessings are the divine nature, which no matter can touch, no corruption can taint: these live and abide for ever. Job never lost one promise, one blessing, nor one grace, in all his trials: he came forth as gold, more pure, more rich, more weighty, and more holy. Neither God's testimony nor his own integrity; neither his faith, his hope, his patience; no, not one ray of light, not one breath of life, not one branch of knowledge, not one prophecy of future enlargement, was missing at Job's enlargement; without fail he recovered all.

The furnace is intended to purge off the dross and the tin. The base metal, and not the real, God purges off; and, when it is purged away, faith and truth, Christ and conscience, come the closer together: and these are the days of the Son of man; but they are of short duration; for the old stock soon works afresh, and collects its fresh burden; and hence it is that the fire must remain in Zion, and the furnace in Jerusalem. But it will not be always so; grace shall not only reign over sin, but shall outlive it. The incorruptible seed shall terminate in an incorruptible harvest; the body shall share in the soul's treasure, and then there will be no room for the old man, the Canaanite, the uncircumcised, nor the unclean. At present we are in a struggle betwixt two - two laws; two men, the old and the new; and, as this is Christmas eve, we are betwixt the old year and the new. And. indeed we shall always be in struggles as long as we are in this life.

Some time back I was much indulged, but at present am very dead, cold, and indifferent to every thing. No attracting cords, no living springs, no flowing brooks, no reviving cordials, no pleasing prospects, no gentle breezes, no animating gales, nor any fruitful refreshings. Faith stays at home and keeps house, and of course brings nothing in; hope is out of sight, and love seems lost in the fog. I have had a bad cold, and such a weezing in all my pipes that my breath is short, and old age creeps on apace. This will, I think, be a long, cold, trying winter; and May-hill very difficult to ascend. But I suppose you have soared so high in this last furnace that you cannot descend to these old things, which respect the old man. It is, however, compulsive in me; I must attend to them.

W. H. S.S.

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