August 11, 1812.
May mercy and peace be with thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Good is the Saviour of mankind to his poor despised family, and true to every word of his. I still "prophesy upon the thick boughs," and God works by the most hateful of all labourers; which causes great joy and much bitterness; joy, to think I am so honoured as to turn sinners "from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God;" much bitterness, to empty me of self; and to exercise me in deep waters, that I may fetch up and bring out some new things to mix with the old; to get more meekness and brokenness of heart, to enable me to succour, swaddle, suckle, and sympathize; and to add fresh sparks to the zeal, fervour and energy of my heart, when it is too careless and too cold. This keeps me low, sorrowful, sad, and disconsolate, from day to day; which has been much my unhappy case of late. But it certainly is a truth, that "by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of our spirit." For they will never settle on their lees, get rickety, sink into sloth or carnal ease in Zion, nor grow careless, indifferent, or carnally secure, who are under perpetual changes, and are tossed up and down like the locust with inbred corruption boiling like a pot, and the devil labouring by bitter curses to bring them under his own sentence. We may say to such, "Sleep on now and take your rest," if you can: for, under such circumstances - if there be a breath of life in the soul, if any claim upon God, if any interest in the Son of man, if a grain of faith, or a shadow of hope, if one plea in the mouth, or one word in the mind - all, all are called up to engage in the business. Such a soul will fight rather than flee, resist rather than yield, cry rather than sink, believe rather than cast away all confidence, hope sooner than despair, beg rather than starve, plead rather than loose the cause, and cry day and night sooner than be overcome and lose all. And this is faith's fight. And what can keep up all the movements of this army but life? What can put all this valour, this courage, this fortitude, into action, and bring us off more than a thousand times victorious, but he who dwells in the heart by faith? "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." And "by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of our spirits," Isaiah xxxviii. 16.
It came on my mind this morning to write to my friend; so I sat down and began, and followed my own thoughts, which furnished me out of my own abundance; but whether it will suit you I know not. However, he that knows the plague of his own heart needs no other glass to see the hearts of others. My dame sends her kind love to you and Mrs. M. and so does Parson Sack.