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To RICHARD REYNOLDS.
Manchester, 12th Mo. 1, 1808.
My dear Friend,
The mental languor thou complainest of, may well be expected after thy illness; but if we should not this way account for it, thou and I have now to expect to feel the infirmities of age, when the vigour of the system must be greatly declined. The fervours of devotion, in which we most delight, are not always best for 'us; and I accord with the sentiment of a pious author, that “ if the will spirit stand right, the changes of creaturely fervour lessen not our union with God.” I know the enemy is always accusing us, and would dispose us to accuse ourselves; but we have a merciful High-priest, who is “ touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Let us, then, semember that apostolic exhortation, “ Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.”
We are also very liable to be mistaken in our opinions, how it fares with others, who may be sitting with us. With regard to myself, I have little to say; I am favoured with health; but it is winter; it is also the winter of age, and to me it seems like winter in the revolution of the Lord's year; and what can one say, or what can
one do, in such a case ?—why, endeavour after silent, patient submission, and be thankful, if we can, for the many undeserved mercies which yet remain.
Thou hast done a good day's work; I have done but little; I am not at all disposed to flatter; but I would counteract the enemy, who, I know, would always spread discouragement both before thee and me.
Farewell, my dear friend; to hear from thee is always pleasant to thy affectionate friend,
To RICHARD REYNOLDS.
Manchester, 5th Mo. 2, 1809.
My dear Friend,
say to myself (though perhaps it is not always good reasoning,) I have nothing new to say to my dear friends. I think of them often; I love them increasingly; I look forward in hope, to that blessed period, when there will be no more need of and ink in our communications, and when they will be purged from all impurities, and all impediments. If thou and I should land safely in the heavenly country, this time can be at no
great distance from us; a few more days and nights, and we shall have done with all the shackles of mortality.
Those genuine traits of humility and selfabasement, which run through all thy letters, are very instructive, pleasant, and comfortable to me; because I know these heavenly virtues are only taught to the disciples of Him, who was “ meek and lowly in heart:" and I have often been thankful, and my soul hath worshipped many times before this blessed Master, in feeling and observing, that He knows how to teach these blessed lessons, and is still teaching them to many, whose natural dispositions and circumstances are most unfavourable to this sort of learning.
I sincerely wish, for myself and thee, that we may be strengthened to do or suffer what little may yet remain to fill up the measure of our duty; and I have no doubt at all, but we shall be thus supported, and that He, who hath been our morning light, will be our evening song.
I am, with the salutation of brotherly love, thy affectionate friend,
To Richard REYNOLDS.
Manchester, 8th Mo. 15, 1809.
My dear Friend,
I sometimes wonder that there should be any such thing as self-righteousness in the world; or that any should think they have any claim, from merits, to rewards. But we have both cause humbly and gratefully to acknowledge, that mercy and goodness have followed us all the days of our lives, and, I have confidence to believe, will be continued to us for ever. Let us, then, contend for this faith, and possess our souls in patience. We have both had many trials, in passing through this vale of tears, and many mercies to acknowledge; and I humbly hope and pray, that He who hitherto hath helped us, will continue to be with us, and finally give us an inheritance in His everlasting kingdom. am thy affectionate friend,
9th Mo. 11, 1809.
I received thy letter, and should be glad if I might be enabled to say any thing in answer to it, that might contribute to thy comfort and instruction. It is written in the Scriptures, " ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss :" “ hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name.” The first petition, in that prayer which our blessed Lord taught his disciples, is, “ Thy kingdom come, thy will be done;" when the heart is thus humbled in submission, so as to make a sacrifice of its own will to the will of God, all complaints are over; and to that state of mind, every dispensation is sanctified, whether it be sweet or bitter, darkness or light, “ all things work together for good.” But, until our wills are thus subjected, it is in vain we look for peace. It is not the clamorous importunity, travail, and labour of the natural man, to be favoured with Divine consolation and peace, that will be heard or answered ; but the prayer that arises from the sensible operation of the Spirit of God in the heart, will never be sent empty away ; for, as its prayer is, that the will of God may be done, whilst preserved in that submission, it never can complain, because it is His blessed will to deal with us in