July 5, 1810.
I AM among the invalids, neither fit for marching, nor for the field of action, but for the baggage waggon. The rheumatism, which has long been in my shoulder, is now fixed in my right hip; which, though not very painful in bed, nor when I sit, yet renders me almost incapable of walking. But the inward man is not sick, though the outward man decays. I have not prayed as yet, nor can I find a heart to pray, for the removal of this pain, though I firmly believe that God would take it away, if I entreated him so to do. But, being conscious that my soul flourishes under it, and fearing something worse will come on, if this cross were removed, makes me willing to bear it. What a man is enlightened to see, and quickened to feel, that he believes, let it be what it may. The ignorant infidel, described by Paul as being convinced of all, judged of all, and having his thoughts made manifest, reports that God is in the speaker of a truth.
To convince a person, is to make him sensible of his sins: to judge him, is to prove him guilty, and condemn him: all which is done by making manifest the evil thoughts of his heart. Whereupon he believes with the heart, and then makes confession with his mouth, that God is in the speaker of a truth. Faith persuades me of the truth of what I hear; the substance of which is, that "Christ came into the world to save sinners:" believing this, I watch and wait; and, when the word works within me, it makes me feel my need; and, when it describes my case, I believe that I am in the way, and that I am a sensible and needy sinner. To such the promises are made; and, believing God to be faithful to his word, I believe that he will, in his own time, fulfil his promises in me; and will heal as sure as he has wounded me; for one is God's work as well as the other. "I wound, and I heal; I bring low, and I lift up; I the Lord do all these things." And these works of the Lord the elect believe, while others reject. "Behold, ye despisers, I work a work in your days, a work that ye will not believe though it be told you." Paul told many in the open courts of justice of his conversion, though it was rejected and disbelieved by most. That therefore which lies nearest to us is, whether this good work of searching and trying, wounding and healing, chastening and rebuking, is begun in us; if it be, it will be carried on till pardon comes with peace, and liberty with love.
Tender my kind love to all the friends at Cranbrook. I long much to know how the hops are; how the corn is; and what crops of grass appear. I think it will be a bad time for us graziers and hay farmers. But our hopes are within the vail, and not in a meadow, nor in a corn field. Adieu!
W. H. S. S.