MY dame has told me that thou art ill; which is the cause of thy seat at the King's table being empty. We are born to trouble at our first birth, and a brother is born for adversity when he is born again. These afflictions are not joyous, but grievous, yet afterwards they are to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those exercised thereby; and these fruits are peace, quietness, assurance, submission, and gratitude to God. We descend into the furnace with much reluctance, self-will, hanging back, and withdrawing of the neck from the yoke. There is in our corrupt nature a disapprobation of the divine conduct, and a resentment of it, fretting and kicking against it; but, if all within was resignation, where would be the cross? However, God makes us willing, because we expect the present help promised; for this we hope, this we expect, this we call for, and for this we look and long; and God shall satisfy the longing soul. The good Spirit mingles his meek and quiet, humbling and softening influences with our pain and grief, and turns all the sorrow into a sorrowing after God, and sorrowing over Christ, and both these are of a godly sort.

The balm of Gilead, under the Spirit's testimony of Christ, calms and composes conscience, when the sparks of love, and the oil of joy, melt the mountains, dissolve the doubts, and make servile fear give way,; while grateful acknowledgments expand the heart, and flow out with a thousand blessings and praises to the sympathetic High Priest of our profession. Our best obedience in affliction is to lie passive: we were so when formed anew in Christ Jesus; and we must be the same under every future transformation, being ordained to be conformed to Christ's image.

God bless you both.


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