Cricklewood, Nov. 12, 1806.
The Coalheaver to his venerable and revered mother Sarah, sendeth greeting, with perfect peace, and at such a time.
I HAVE no doubt but thou art still at war with the grand enemy, and with his allies, the inbred corruptions of depraved nature. These things lying contrary to our best designs and best pursuits, furnish us with a daily cross, which the Captain of our salvation tells us to take up daily, and to follow him. All and every adversary we have to cope with has been conquered ere we were born. "Be of good cheer," says the Lord, "I have overcome the world." And his victory is the cause of our good cheer, because our faith makes his conquest our own; "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
I am sorry to hear by Mr. H. that your health is so indifferent; but all things must and shall work together for our soul's good. And afflictions keep our thoughts at home, bring the end in view, and keep us from putting far away the evil day. In afflictions we labour to muster up every evidence that we can; and some small things and tokens for good, which passed unnoticed, as of little worth, and lightly esteemed, are in afflictions courted, embraced, and hugged; for "to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet;" that is, the soul would sooner be under the rod, and feel his own sore, the plague of his heart, and his own burden, than be given up to ease, sloth, insensibility, and carnal security. And so, in times of affliction, weak faith, feeble hope, momentary joys, transient visits, sudden rays of light, meekness, submission, self abasement, humility; together with every supporting and encouraging word, and. every enlargement of heart, or liberty in prayer, or apparent answer thereto, are all courted, called in, pondered over, and highly prized, when the soul is in the furnace. In short, all of Christ, and everything belonging to him, are of infinite worth to the sinner that is poor in spirit. And every grace within will stir themselves with all their energy and power in times of trouble; for by these things grace lives, and in all these is the life of grace discovered to the soul; for God's strength through grace is made perfect in weakness, and appears to be enough, and all sufficient, when our heart and flesh both fail, and we retain no strength. "To them that have no might he increaseth strength."
Come, Sarah, pluck up thy courage, and be of good comfort, for "they shall not be ashamed that wait for him." He deals out all our afflictions by weight and measure; and will never lay more on than he will enable us to bear. We are his own dear bought bargain; the purchase and inheritance of the Lord; and he will never lose one particle of what he has bought, neither of the body, nor of the soul: no; there shall not an hair of our head perish. Sin in us is Satan's work, and not God's, and this he will root up and purge out of his inheritance; so that "there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord."
Kind love to Tom, Fan, and Bess.