MY DEAR BESS,
MEN, all men, are born to trouble, and they that love God are born again; and the second birth is to a daily cross, to self-denial, and to a mortifying of the sins of the flesh, or the deeds which the body relishes, feeds on, and delights in: the flesh loves the law of sin, the whole of which lies in these three things - love of money, love of pleasure, and love of lasciviousness which work in the carnal mind, in unclean thoughts, and call for gratification: this is the soul of the old man, "which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts." Hence come the daily cross, the internal war, and continual strife of flesh and spirit.
Old maids in a family are commonly the drudges of the whole household. Like the ass in the yard, they must yield the back, and bow the shoulders, to every one that brings the saddle or the collar. But the old man within has not half the indulgence, nor half the attention paid him, when the hands and mind are fully employed, as when we are at perfect leisure to attend to his deceitful cravings. The devil has no objection to idleness; and it is seldom that he complains of needle-work, for the needle may go on when we are enjoying a thousand bridegrooms or brides. The carnal mind must and will work, and our vain imaginations feed it; for neither the devil nor the old man can relish, savour, or feed upon, any one thing else under heaven but the corruption and pollution of our nature. 0, how is Lucifer fallen! Once an holy angel, feasted with the love, joys, and presence of God; but now rolling, bathing, feeding, exciting, stirring up, and delighting in, the corruption of flesh and blood, which is but dust and ashes. "Dust shall be the serpent's meat." But God by his Spirit, froth the fulness of his dear Son, has raised up in us an incorruptible seed, a better crop, flowing from the everlasting Father; which shall live, thrive, grow, and flourish, till these corruptible bodies shall put on incorruption; and then shall all mortality be swallowed up of life.
Be content to serve, Bessy; the diligent in business is coupled with the fervent in spirit. Tender my love to Lucy, and accept the same from
Yours most affectionately,
W. H. S. S.