May 14, 1798.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
I WAS much surprised to hear, by a letter from you to Mr. 0. that Satan had paid you a visit in the person of his ambassador. Had you not been upon your watch tower; had you been all asleep; the enemy had sowed tares among you, and then gone his way. How diligent is that enemy of all righteousness! But he becomes a sore burden to those that once favoured him, who would be glad to get rid of him, but cannot, unless they could palm him upon some poor flock of lambs, who cannot well discern a wolf if he comes in a sheep skin. You may well be thankful for such a narrow escape; for I think that man is one of the completest traps that ever the devil set, or baited, to catch the simple and unwary. We had need on all occasions to seek wisdom, and ask counsel of God, that we make no league with these foreign ambassadors, who come with their clouted shoes, mouldy bread, and old bottles: for so completely does the devil furnish them, that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect. But the Lord knows them that are his, and "those that fear God shall come forth of, them all."
I have lately seen a letter from your sister at Leicester, very simple and pretty. It shews that her eyes are opened, and the common cant of the day, called gospel, will not go down with her any longer. The lamb, the bitter herbs, and the good old wine, make us rather nice in our food, nice in our hearing, and nice in what we commit to our minds to feed upon. When we eat the little book and digest the contents, and find it to be sweet as honey, though afterwards our bellies are often bitter; yet we find that the bitters strengthen the stomach, and create an appetite, and make the honey go down the sweeter; nor do we desire any other food, nor any new wine, for we know that the old is better.
I will, if possible, make Mr. L. pay you a visit when he returns from Sussex. I have been' informed of your brother's intention of coming to town, of which I much approve, and have no doubt but it will be for his spiritual advantage. Tender my love to all friends - and excuse haste, as I am correcting and republishing several books.
Adieu! Thine in the Lord,
W. H. S. S.