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March 7, 1805.
Have received Becky's epistle, and am always glad to hear how the foreigners go on.
“He that believeth shall not make haste." Faith moves by fits and starts ; 'a smiling providence, a sweet promise, suitably sent; a token for goodan enlarged heart at the throne; a deliverance from affliction; seasonable "relief or support in trouble; are all sweet morsels for faith, and contribute to her help in walking. Nothing weakens faith like fresh-contracted guilt; nothing strengthens her more than prayer, a good conscience, and a life in the fear of God. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Prayer strengthens faith, as you may see in Samson, and in the apostles, “O Lord, increase our faith.” And answers granted to prayer are great helps and establishments to faith: “ This is the confidence we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And, if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we Thus faith is fed by the smiles of providence, and by the promises of grace. She is helped and encouraged by prayer; gathers much boldness by sharp trials; and shines with peculiar lustre upon every victory she obtains. Faith is an excellent servant to God; she will not suffer fortune, luck, or chance, to rob him. Every good thing in the world, either in creation, in providence, grace, or truth; faith leads us to give all the glory of these to God. Not one thing in this world will faith give up to Satan, except these three-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; these are all the devil's share; being not of the Father, but of the world; and they came from the god of this world; not from God that made the world, but from Satan, who is adored by the children of this world.
Faith's business is to give glory to God ; she leads us to gratitude, thankfulness, and humble acknowledgements of all favours, great or small, that come from him: her hardest and most difficult work is in trusting and relying upon God for the fulfilment of his promises by Christ; and under apparent delays she meets with much opposition from carnal reason, from unbelief, from natural enmity, and from the hellish and peevish
mutterings and bickerings of our rebellious hearts and lips. She nevertheless holds her own, stands her ground, and speaks her own language, even when we are taking part with unbelief; for even then we are obliged to go back to her, after all, and to listen to her advice and counsel, and follow it too. Real faith is neither terrified, affrighted, nor driven from the field of action. But our whole warfare is called “the fight of faith,” and she is the victory also. “For this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Take it in the rough; for, as old Peg says, “I am bruisen with work.” God bless thee.
W. H. S.S.
April 1, 1805.
The Son of thy vows to his Mother in faith and hope
A journey into the country, much business, with a heart backward and reluctant to all good, are the causes of my long silence.
My son,” says God, give me thy heart.” I believe he has got it, for I can do nothing with it; and, according to my feelings, he only moves it by fits and starts, and without him we can do nothing. To will is always present with me, but to perform is not. I often purpose, but my purposes are broken off. And does this stand for nothing ? O no. “ If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted.” God's power makes us willing; and “ whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely.” But suppose, after long seeking and begging, I succeed nothow then? why this aggravates the appetite, makes it more keen, and we get more and more sensible of our beggary and neediness,
cry and beg, till all our strength is gone, and nothing appears but an expectation of perishing for ever. He is to appear and give strength to them that have no might; they are to come to the feast that were ready to perish, for “the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor
shall not perish for ever.”
You see I labour to build up, and the devil and my poor old mother labour jointly to pull down. Nevertheless, though thou canst not go forth in the dances of them that make merry, yet thou art not altogether without thy tabrets and ornaments. There is some little love between you and me, and at times much self-abasement. There is a real regard to the truth in the power of it; at times some meekness and submission; some hungerings and thirstings, and holy longings; some cries, tears, hopes and expectations; and some very high and worthy conceptions of the suitableness and preciousness of the Son of God: or else why such an earnest desire after an interest in his love, grace, and great salvation? We must not despise the day of small things. God will not quicken us to feel our wants,