Dec. 17, 1807.
My friend must not wonder at hearing so soon again from me. I have a bad cold, sore throat, and much shortness of breath. Being thus confined at home, I am trying to trouble others abroad, and have been at it all the week. To day I have been thinking of the legions of young, arrogant, presumptuous, daring, bold, and empty men, that have thrust themselves into the office of the ministry, taking the highest seat, who never saw the lowest room; having nothing to commend them but pride, blindness of mind, and hardness of heart; yet how boldly they claim God to be their God, their patron, and the author of their authority! Others, again, have gone from every appearance of truth, and hold nothing but fables; these have wholly wandered out of the way of understanding, and shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Many of this stamp you know; and surely the destruction of such is inevitable; yet are they bold and wise -above what is written, and even attack the standing ministry of the Word, which is to be the trial and decision of the world: Under all this rebellion they claim the Spirit as their guide, God as their Father, and conceive themselves to be the church of Christ; whilst-all the saints of God, who are sealed to the day of redemption, are traduced as the vilest miscreants on earth. And all this trade is carried on with the most consummate effrontery, and even in the name of God himself. Thus the children of this world are not only wiser in their generation than the children of light; but are more Bold, valiant, diligent, and indefatigable, than the saints of God themselves, which is a shame to them.
God has done great things for thee,, that thou mightest hear it, see it, and know it for thy good. And is Zion to have "none to lead her among all the sons that she has brought forth? None to take her by the hand, among all the sons that she has brought up?" Get up the next Lord's day, and give out this passage, "Come hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul;" and give the people the whole account from first to last; you will then be in your element, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." I am getting old and feeble, and Jenkins is ten times worse; the harvest is great, and the labourers worn down with age and the burden of the day.
When God sent me out I was friendless and defenceless; poor to an extreme, and illiterate to the last degree; without a Bible or book of any kind, in all the world; and I laboured hard for bread, suffering hunger, cold and nakedness. The few that came over to me, pretending to be much older in grace, and more valiant for truth in appearance, than I was, became at a long run my plagues, my enemies, and at last apostates, and two of then are gone to their own place. I was sent into dark corners of the earth, where there was no light nor truth; and opposed both by professors at home, and the profane abroad. But Leicester bears a brighter aspect; there is an house of prayer ready, and a candlestick, but it wants a light; a golden bell, but it wants a clapper; a body of people, wanting an eye; a cry for bread, but none to break it.. Others have laboured; enter thou into their labour, and confer not with flesh and blood. Satan is both advocate and chief speaker there.
I have laid this before the Lord, and hope to do it again and again. God bless thee, and the little flock.
W. H. S. S.