Feb. 26, 1812.
I HAVE been poorly, and my poor dame much worse. My dear friend goes on nobly. He enjoys both the pulpit and the pillory. If he had been an instrument without life, he might make an uncertain sound when he pleased; but without Christ his workmen can do nothing, for it is not , they that speak, but the Spirit of their Father that speaks in them. Hence Ezekiel is dumb before the elders, but his mouth is open to them that escape. Paul is straitened before the Romans, but enlarged towards the Corinthians. The sweets before you began were a feast for yourself; your being dumb was a fast to the flock, and your own fast followed, which thus sharpens the appetite, and makes even bitter things sweets. Sometimes the fleece, and sometimes the floor, are wet; and if dry, both are the Lord's doing. It is possible that the congregation might otherwise look more to the wool-dealer than to the good Shepherd; expect to reap where they had not sown; and look for the water of life, when they had never prayed to God to fill the pitcher. A few of these heedless blunders will make us more wise and cautious. Gifts and grace are two things; the former may work without life; but the latter is the good treasure, the springing well, and the flowing brook.
This is my labouring day, and therefore adieu!
W. H. S. S.