Sept. 19, 1801.
DEAR LADY MARY,
GRACE and peace be with thee through our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope by this time that you and your messmate are recovering from your indisposition; and, should this be the case, it will not be long before some other disagreeable circumstance succeeds. Man is born to trouble. This world is not our resting place, it is polluted; God has provided some better thing for us. Our carnal part, the old man, would fain take his abode here; but the better part is for soaring aloft, mounting and aspiring after a better country, that is an heavenly; hence comes the christian's strait betwixt two; "when I would do good evil is present." That which comes from God leads to him. The Spirit raises up a little army of graces; such as life, faith, hope, fear, love, meekness, patience, zeal for God, and loyalty to him: and the old inhabitants of the soul; such as insensibility, infidelity, carnal security, hardness of heart, enmity and rebellion; these oppose the good and perfect gifts which come down from the Father of lights: hence the complaint, "I feel then a law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" To weaken these old inhabitants, afflictions, crosses, trials, temptations, and bodily infirmities are sent, that grace may thrive."0 Lord, by these things men live, and in all these thing is the life of my spirit," Isai. xxxviii.
The trials of the soul are the weakening of human corruptions; and the visits, revivals, and refreshments, God favours us with, are the encouragements of the new man of grace "though our outward man perish (says Paul) the inward man is renewed day by day." In this war expect no discharge, dismission, nor long cessation, until death, which is the last enemy to be conquered. "Be thou faithful unto death,, and I will give thee a crown of life," which is no less than an eternal pension.
My kind love to the Captain, and accept the same from your friend and brother in tribulation,