Aug 30, 1805.
My dear Friend, Grace end Peace be multiplied, through our Lord Jesus, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
I HOPE you are not the worse, but the better, for my last visit. I am fully persuaded that God has planted his fear in thy heart, and no fruit of the Holy Spirit will ever be lost. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;" and its business is to bring distant things near; such as death, judgment, and the world to come; and, as these come near, so evil is departed from: because this grace presents God as present, watching over us, and observing all our actions; and this makes us stand in awe. To this grace hope is added, which is a looking out for, and expecting, some future good, which God has promised to poor sinners, and which the sensible sinner feels his need of. Under this grace the soul becomes stayed; for, although love and comfort, life, and the assurance of it, are much needed, yet the first stage of hope is of an inestimable worth, because it counteracts despondency, raises the soul up with support, which lightens the burden; and it blunts the arrow of wrath, and in a great measure makes us stand more firm against the darts and accusations of Satan. And this, Sarah, is such a wonderful indulgence, that the prophet says, the sinner "puts his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope." For this indulgence, and for this saving grace, my dear Sarah, be not unmindful, ungrateful, nor unthankful; but acknowledge every indulgence, every revival, every gleam of hope, grain of faith, and dawn of love; knowing that we have forfeited every right and title, and every claim upon God, both for things spiritual and temporal.
And do let me advise my dear sister in God never to be remiss in her duty - let me say privilege, for such God knows it is, and that with a witness. It is the method which I always unremittingly pursue in every time of danger, trouble, or distress - to pray without ceasing; to be short at it, unless uncommonly enlarged and indulged; and to go constantly, and tell him plainly, and without reserve, all that I feel, fear, or dread; all that is amiss; and aggravate every evil to the uttermost; pleading guilty, faulty, and unworthy to the last degree. And God, and God only, knows the success, the benefits and blessings I have experienced in this poor simple way. And sure I am that the rebellion of my heart is of a most singular nature; for, though I pray against the power of it both day and night, yet still it harasses me.
But there is no discharge in this war, except by death; that, dear Sarah, is the last engagement, in which we are to be "more than conquerors through him that hath loved us."
Give my kind love to Tom and Bess, and accept the same from
THE COALHEAVER, S. S.