MY DEAR FRIEND,
I RECEIVED your kind epistle, and am glad to hear of the unity that subsists among the believing, hoping few at Leicester: the Lord increase your faith, and the faith of the feeble few, and make the small number a thousand, and the little one a great nation. Marvel not at the world's hatred - God's choice of us is the bone which they cannot endure. "Because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you;" especially those professors who make a fair shew in the flesh, but are ignorant of the celestial adorning of the soul.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. A demure countenance, feigned speech, decent behaviour, voluntary humility, reproving others, straining at gnats, sighing under the word, turning up the eyes, prayer meetings, and learning to prate - pass current enough with many. But a deep sight and sense of sin, a wounded spirit, a thirst for the living God, self-lothing, humility arising from a sense of undeserved mercy, meekness, submission under the rod, compunction of soul, a sorrowing after God, being stung with grief for past sins, repentance drawn forth by a believing discovery of the dying love of Christ, to rejoice with trembling, humble confidence, filial fear, cordial affections for the Son of God, and sympathetic fellowship with him in his dolorous suffering, Which make the King's daughter all glorious within - these are the spangling jewels which adorn the renewed soul, and which these outside adorners know nothing of, nor care for; and it is these that are in the sight of God of great price.
Whatever you do, be sure to observe the Spirit's teaching, his influence and operations, that you may understand his works, and glorify him for them. The Saviour says that the world knoweth him not, and therefore it cannot receive him; "but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Take notice of his quickening operations in dead frames; of enlargement in prayer; both in soul and speech, when he fills us with energy, and brings passages and promises to our minds to plead; when he strengthens confidence after many doubts and fears; when he emboldens us to look up and wrestle hard, after times of blushing, shame, and confusion; when he enlarges the heart after fits of legal bondage, making the mind heavenly, the conscience calm, and the soul to abound in hope: watching these divers frames will lead you to know, to adore, to admire, and to acknowledge, the Holy Spirit's work. And surely the aid and assistance that he gives us in prayer, the witness that he bears in our hearts, the claims of our adoption, the secret comfort he brings, the promises that he applies, and the alarms in the soul that he stills, the accusations that he silences, are works sufficient to make him known and admired.
About coming down, my dear brother, I know not what to say, the distance is so far, the people disapprove, and curates of any value with whom I am acquainted are so scarce. However, tender my kind love to all the holy brethren. Cleave steadfastly to the King of the Jews, and all will be well.
Yours to serve in Christ Jesus,