Cricklewood, Aug. 23, 1802.
As your sister Fanny told me you was desirous )f knowing when I should go to Ely; that here may be no mistakes, nor travelling in rain, I send a few lines to inform thee that I purpose setting off from home, if God permit, on Thursday next, and am to preach at Ely on the twenty-ninth instant. I shall be at Mr. C. M's. where you will be welcome. You have been taking stock, and so have I, and am often convinced that I have run back, and am considerably worse than I was the last year; and never can get forward again, or get on the gaining side, but by a fresh discovery and fresh exercises of faith on the Surety of the better testament. But in taking stock there is not a little deception; for I am apt to overrate some. old things in trade, that do not go off, and to put too large a profit upon others, to keep me from the perplexing cogitations of approaching insolvency. But, when these goods come to sale, I often find that I have only increased my debt, by overrating my goods.
O, Tommy, stand fast in redemption, and there is freedom; in the blood of the covenant, and there is a gaol delivery; in the atonement, and there is no exaction; and in the Surety, where there is nothing owing. All this is free, well becoming the riches of divine grace, and a gracious God, who is rich in mercy: and for lost sinners to receive this without money and without price, is giving God the glory, and is indeed all the revenues of his empire. But to this, proud, legal consequence and infidelity will not submit, which is the grand bone of contention between God and awakened sinners. There must be a price in the hand of the fool to get wisdom, and God rejects it; telling us that he himself is the portion of our souls, and that no dead works can merit such an inheritance.
Your poor dame has been for some time at this business, striving to enter in at the strait gate. And, when once she can learn to receive divine alms with self-abased unworthiness, and with a thankful heart to give all the glory to the great benefactor, then - then she shall enjoy the royal bounty, and become a happy pauper upon the divine fullness. So I write, and so I believe. My love to her, and to peevish, fretful, nagging Betsey.
W. H. S. S.