Dec. 16, 1807.
I SEND thee a few lines in love and respect, hoping that my prescriptions may be of use to thy health, to strengthen thy stomach, and to relieve thine often infirmities. I find no physician in this world that is to be named in comparison or competition with the great Physician of souls. No means, medicines, care, or attention, like that of fervent and constant prayer; whether the disorder be ghostly or bodily, of long standing or of recent contraction, epidemical or singular; there is no stomachic like bitter herbs, which strengthen, and help digestion, insomuch that Wisdom herself avers, that "to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." The Passover offering was to be eaten with bitter herbs. Ezekiel's roll, and John's little book, were bitter sweets; sweet to the taste, but bitter to the belly. All the Saviour's garments smell of myrrh and aloes, and with these two ingredients was our Lord's body embalmed. And what smells sweeter than myrrh, or more bitter than aloes? If we feed on the roast meat, we must expect the salted provisions. "In the day of prosperity be joyful," it is a day of feasting: but in adversity consider, it being an 'appointed fast; for "God hath set the one against the other." "The heart knoweth its own bitterness," which appears when the Bridegroom hides his face; cc and a stranger intermeddles not with his joy; "that is, when the Bridegroom is present, for "the children of the bride chamber cannot fast in those days."
We are clogged with a body of sin and death; overmuch indulgence would make the divine bounties too cheap; for that which is easily obtained is not so highly prized. God will keep us short, that he may teach us to beg; and he will at times banquet us, that no provision may be compared or once named with his. If the penny a day seem to be withheld, it is to teach us to trust; and, when the dividend is received, it is to convince us that we trust not in vain. Whenever you are admitted into the guest-chamber, expect the dungeon next; the former shews us the goodness of God, and the latter that we are an hell without it. Job's glorious testimony from Heaven, .given to his uprightness, was 'followed by a seven years' furnace, if what the Jews write be true. Peter's noble confession, and the Saviour's approbation of it, - were succeeded by Satan's sieve. Our Lord's reception of the Spirit like a dove, and the voice of his divine Father from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I .am well pleased," were a prelude to his forty days' temptation, after which he returned in the power of the Spirit. The former are cordials to keep us from fainting, and to animate hope to . expect another drop When the conflict is over.
Give mine honour to mother Sarah; love to Tom the ragman; duty to the Justice, and best wishes to all the faithful.
Miss Peevish, adieu!
Q. IN THE CORNER.