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TO RICHARD REYNOLDS.
My dear Friend,
MANCHESTER, 7th Mo. 26, 1808.
Last sixth day evening, after an absence of more than ten weeks, I got safe to Manchester in health and peace, where I was kindly received by my relations and friends. I staid nearly four days at Worcester, and was at most of the friends' houses; and from thence I went to Colebrook Dale, where I stopped about fifteen days. 1 was at most of their houses, and at the New Dale, and from thence, by the monthly meeting at Shrewsbury, through Chester, home. I had not all this in view when I left you; but I think I have reason to believe, it was in the ordering of His gracious providence, who is yet leading the blind by a way which they know not, and guiding them in paths that they have not known: so that my little journey affords a pleasing, grateful retrospect.
If our dear people did but live in the truth they profess, and act under its holy influence, they would indeed be as a kingdom of priests, and for a holy nation; but through the lamentable prevalence of the love of this world, the want of more uniform labour, for heavenly bread and heavenly riches, and living so much at ease, and this, (with
some happy exceptions,) being so generally the case, I am sometimes ready to fear lest we should become too generally a lifeless, formal, superficial people. And as I believe the proverb is mostly true, like people like priest, I am persuaded there is great danger (what else can be expected?) that what little there is of ministry amongst us, should become too much a superficial ministry. Have we not cause to be alarmed, lest others should come and take our crown?
Remember my dear love to Priscilla Hannah Gurney and to Sarah Allen, of whose kind attention I shall long retain a grateful remembrance. It was very pleasant to me, to see the close of a well spent life made happy by such domestic associates: I mean as happy as thou expectest to be, or perhaps as the nature of things will admit, in this present world; but there are better things in
Persevere, my dear friend, in the way of humility, self-denial, and faithfulness, and "a crown of righteousness" will soon be given thee, "that fadeth not away."
I am thy affectionate friend,
TO RICHARD REYNOLDs.
My dear Friend,
MANCHESTER, 12th Mo. 1, 1808.
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, remember 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 years; 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,
I 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 pen 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,