EVER since my return from Bristol I have had a sick house. From the various influences that roll over me, and the continual changes that are upon me, I seldom remain in the same frame half a day together. Enmity, rebellion, impenitence, and infidelity, are too often present with me; and, although the better crop is not idle nor inactive, nor imperceptible, yet the former appear more conspicuous, more predominant, and more violent in their strife for the mastery. But the Holy Spirit is omnipotent; he defends his own implanted seed, which is incorruptible, unconquerable, and cannot be frustrated. Between these contending parties, these contrary principles, how is the soul rent and torn, tossed and tumbled! Sometimes upon the waves of disquietude, and then hushed into a calm; sometimes driven by a hasty Spirit, like the lunatic, into the wilderness, and then at Christ's feet in its right mind.
The rebellion that has spread itself through Priestley and Tom Paine; the oppression and monopoly that appear rampant; the endless war, and the perpetual demand for taxes; the perplexity in making out the papers that are sent; the dishonesty that abounds; the advantage that every class of men take wherever they can; the displeasure of God that hangs over the land; are so evident, that "a fruitful land is turned into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein." I say this is evident; for I never saw the wheat so bad as it appears to be this year in all the counties through which I have passed. "Ten acres of vineyard yield a bath, and the seed of an homer yields an ephah." And a continual east wind comes every spring when the trees are in bloom, which with the frost destroys the fruit of the trees; so that the curse of God is visible upon the work of our hands. And, as the nation gets worse and worse, so will the land increase in its barrenness.
These things make my soul sick of this world; for the devil keeps his court in it, and his courtiers are all but mad upon the service of their sovereign, while "they that depart from evil make themselves a prey;" and to indulge any reverence or fear of God, is an occasion of the utmost scorn and reproach. The accustomed weather of May comes in March; and that of June appears in April, while March weather comes in the middle of May. This seems to puzzle and perplex even the very birds of the air, for the pewit has ceased from its song, and the cuckoo from its music. I can but observe these things; for where there is the least hope, the reward in hope attracts, the disorders of the world drive, and both work for good to the lovers of God and truth.
Remember me to dame and family. God bless you! so says