Dec. 9, 1808.
I HAVE been informed of your poor sister's affliction, which I am sorry for. Her body falls under the rod, and the soul generally shares the same fate, they are so nearly akin to each other. I understand that you have also been low in your mind, as well as much crossed in business. All these in turn have fallen to my lot, and, though I have been most refractory, stubborn and rebellious under them, yet I am sure they are and always have been, for my good for they discover the heart, make us sick of self, drive us from confidence in the flesh, and make us more pure and evangelical in word and spirit. Was all the profession of the present day attended with the same furnace, there would not be one Arminian of all the race called christian.
There is left upon record a branch of christian triumph, which springs from an evident token of salvation, and yet I never could attain to it, except in a very low degree, nor even so but at certain seasons. Those who are adversaries to us for Christ's sake are doubtless of the serpent's seed, and therefore their enmity is to them an evident token of perdition; and to be hated of such for Christ's sake, is to us an evident token of salvation, and that of God; as Paul asserts. But I never could as yet rejoice, and, as Christ commands, leap for joy, when reproached, reviled, separated from their company, and my name cast out as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Paul arrived at this firmness and fortitude; "I take pleasure in infirmities, in distresses, in necessities, in reproaches, in persecutions, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong." In this patience must have its perfect work, and the saint's triumph be at its height. To this I never have attained; but fall short, and must be content to come behind. And what is more strange to me on this head is, that I have known two men, who did most wonderfully rejoice in persecution, and that for many years, yet both of them fell into dangerous errors, and came at last to nothing, as far as I can judge. Nevertheless, the daily cross, the rod, and the furnace, lay a firm foundation for continual joy; for these are the peculiar lot of God's darlings; and all that escape the furnace are out of God's choice; such as miss the rod are base born, and all that fail of the daily cross are not in the footsteps of the flock. Kind love to them all,
W. H. S.S.