March 17, 1808.
I RECEIVED your epistle, pregnant, not with business, but with buildings and alterations. Build as plain as you can. To keep out wind and rain is all we want, because we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I wish to make no alteration in your plan; only let it be so contrived as to go out of the vestry into the pulpit; and, as there are to be no galleries, the pulpit should not be very high. This long, cold, sharp, easterly wind has exercised my old bones not a little. Every part of -my old tabernacle has felt this severe winter, except the old man of sin, who is insensible of all pain; an utter stranger. to all fear; never tires, faints, nor grows weary; nor is he ever absent when good should be done, nor inactive whether I am asleep or awake. Paul calls him the old man; but I am sure he is neither stiff, infirm, bowed down, decrepit, nor in the least decayed through age; for he is as alert as a stage player, as diligent as a miser, and as amorous as a boy of eighteen. He is a plague to me; but hell itself will never plague him, though it will plague his father, and all who have been constantly nursing him.
I am a riddle; being three men, and yet but one Coalheaver. I have an outward man, which decays; an old man, which is more foolish and boyish than I am; and I have a new man, which is called the hidden man of the heart, which wants renewing day by day. And what can any body make of such a creature as I am? And yet all sinners are as great a riddle as myself; for in them the strong man armed (which is the devil) keeps the palace. They have an old man, which is sin; and an outward man, which is their bodies. But the saint beats them all. For God is the husbandman, and he that loveth dwelleth in him; Christ is the second man, the Lord from heaven, and he dwells in the heart by faith: grace is the new and hidden man, which shall reign. The body is the outward man, which shall be raised and glorified; and the old man, the body of sin, shall be destroyed.
Duty to old Sarah; love to Fanny, Bess, and all that love Him.