Cricklewood, Dec. 15, 1807.
YOURS came safe to me, and the contents were pleasing and delightful; but soul humbling to me to think of the mean instrument; one of low degree, and lightly esteemed; who has waded through a sea of affliction, and for a number of years been loaded with unparalleled scandal and reproach. But the most Holy Spirit; his support, tuition, light, and lively influences; together with a purged, peaceable, well-informed and established conscience; have born me up, and brought me through all the evil report and violent oppositions that devils, impostors, and hypocrites, have thrown in my way, or cast upon my name. And I firmly believe to this day that I am a labourer not of man, nor by man; and an ambassador, called, commissioned, and sent forth, by the King of kings and Lord of lords: and the time will come when all my enemies shall see and own this, and confess it, "for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." And I must confess to you, that I never went my northern circuit with so much satisfaction to myself as at this last time. There was, to my view, in every place a mixed medley of sons and slaves; sturdy oaks and lowly shrubs; many masters, but few servants; two in office to one rank and file: this my soul loathed, and it made me sick of the North. But God has fulfilled his word; he has made his servants new threshing instruments having teeth. The mountains have been threshed, and the hills made as chaff; the wind has carried them away, and the whirlwind has scattered them; and those that abide shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the holy One of Israel, Isaiah xli. 15. The rebukes and reproofs of truth have threshed them; and these mountains of pride and power. are become small, and these hills, being not the hills of Zion, but heaps of chaff, the wind has carried them away. L. at Grantham, and T. at Leicester, have been the purging fans, while the wind of error was one and the same in both. This boisterous whirlwind, however, has scattered them; and my soul rejoices in the dispersion; for the wheat, being winnowed, 'consolidates the closer in the heap.
Having little preaching places of our own is most agreeable to me; I cannot endure going to Egypt for help, to the Assyrian for bread, or to the congregations of the dead for house room. I have laboured long in the Isle of Ely, at Bolney in Sussex, and in the North too, in plowing, sowing, harrowing and breaking the clods, ere the grain springs up and shews itself. After which the fields appear white, changed in colour, and ready to harvest; and reaping them off from the flesh, and binding them up in the bond of peace and love, becomes the most delightful part of all the labour. The last time I was at Bolney I had an account' of five. In the Isle of Ely I saw a great deal of this work the last time I was there. In the North also the Hebrews begin to crawl out of their holes. But our work goes slowly on; the Arminians, and T.'s proselytes, are like the Hebrew women in Egypt; so strong and lively, that they are delivered before they come upon the stools. But it is better to be slow and sure, than to be first and last; first in their own conceit, but last in God's account.
And now, my very dear friend, if all that thou hast written to me be a fair, true, and just account, thou art upon the foundation that God hath laid in Zion; and, being converted, strengthen thy brethren; for the harvest is great, and the labourers few. This do; get into the pulpit, and read a chapter in which you' have some light; and, when any- thing strikes you, offer your thoughts upon it as long as any thing flows in, and this will refresh the bowels of others. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come." And, as you now hear and understand, do you say, Come: and in this thou wilt have the hearty prayers of him who is the well-wisher and willing servant of all the saints at Leicester,