July 22, 1802.
Dearly Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Grace and peace be with thee, and much joy and comfort in believing.
REACHED home in safety, through the mercy of my God, and was most cordially received. Many inquiries, and much longing and wishing for my return, were found among the people; and much complaining for want of the good old cheer. The place was amazingly crowded, and the good Lord led me through the hard day's work with a high hand, and the people seemed to feed with an appetite. Bless God for the affection the people seem to have for me and I must say that hitherto the Lord hath helped me. I bless God there is no dividing, nor scattering, nor evil occurrence amongst us. I have often thought of thee since my return, knowing that, like Elijah, thou must go in the strength of the meat which God gave thee for many days; but surely "the needy shall not always be forgotten, the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever." A broken heart and contrite spirit are our best sacrifices, when all others appear to fail, and seem to meet with no acceptance; at least we seem to receive no returns; yet, saith the Psalmist, "the broken heart thou wilt not despise."
I have been comforted not a little, at seeing thy poor dame abounding in hope, which has counteracted despondency. No fear of shipwreck in the faith, when God hangs the anchor of hope in the heart Of the vessel of mercy. The simple account of poor James and Fanny comforted me not a little, and has encouraged my soul to remember with fervour the poor souls in the North. I often survey you all with pleasure, not doubting but the bond of the covenant is cast round you, which will hold us fast to the covenant Head, and to one another. Pass under the rod we must before we can be brought into the bond of the covenant. "All that I love;" there is the bond; those "chasten;" there is the rod. And surely it is -good for us that we have been afflicted. God opens our ears in affliction, and our eyes in oppression. The rod softens the spirit, breaks the heart, and enables us to pour out our griefs with tears of sorrow to God when the hardened and stubborn spirit can only ease itself by murmuring, complaining; and muttering perverseness. And, when the spirit is once made meek and soft, a little of the rod will keep it so. Farewell! My love to dame, Fanny, Betsey, and all friends.
Affectionately yours in the Lord Jesus,
W. H. S. S.