August 17, 1809.
I HAVE been very busy with my second crop of hay, or you should have heard from me sooner. I have had a sweet account, since my return from Ely, of a young man who was brought out during my last visit there; another of a young man delivered in London; and on Tuesday last I received a third. All which I intend immediately to answer, and send to the press.
I am glad to hear by Tom that poor Sarah mends. Afflictions are not joyous; but they make manifest what we are, and whose we are. If graceless, we wax worse and worse under them, have much sorrow and wrath in them, and are at last consumed by them; for, if we do not belong to God, he will neither own, support, nor deliver us, nor suffer us to. lay any claim upon him; much less sanctify our afflictions, by causing them to work for our good. Nor will the Holy Spirit attend them with meekness, humility, or submission; much less help our infirmities in praying, believing, hoping, and waiting for the appearance of God. But, if God be for us, let our troubles be what they may, we shall find some of the rubbish, dross, and tin, purged away from the heart: we shall find our nature more and more vile; self will sink into disesteem, and faith and hope get more firm, the mind more sound, and the soul more fortified to hope and trust in God; yea, we shall resolve to do it, come what may. And I know that Sarah gains by occupying business in these great waters. "What is man," says Job, "that thou shouldest magnify him - that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him - and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?" Job vii. 17. This will be the case where God sets his heart; and they that escape the furnace in this world have a worse furnace of fire before them; so that a furnace is prepared for all.
My love to Torn, Bess, Fanny, and all the seed royal.