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and the power too are the Lord's; that He can work by many or by few, with or without instruments; and I believe He will work marvellously, and by His power carry on His work, and none shall let it. To Him, therefore, let us commit His own cause, desiring, willing, choosing nothing for ourselves, but that His will may be done in us and by us, as it is done in heaven.
I have only to add, that I would have thee in any wise comply with whatever thou thinkest may conduce to thy bodily health, in meat, drink, sleep, and exercise: to do any thing to injure our health, or shorten our lives, is certainly a fault. The blessing of natural life and health, deserves our gratitude and attention; and I believe it equally offensive to defile or to destroy.
I desire to be remembered by thee. It is always pleasing to me to hear from thee. Give my love to thy husband, in which my wife joins, and to thyself.
In the unfeigned fellowship of the gospel, I conclude at this time, and subscribe myself, thy loving and affectionate friend,
P. S.-Thou hast no occasion to fear my being offended at thy having suffered some of my letters to be seen; it is perfectly nothing to me.
To FRANCES DODSHON.
MANCHESTER, 4th Mo. 16, 1780.
My dear Friend,
It might seem somewhat inconsistent with that friendship which I have often, and with much sincerity, professed for thee, (and which in truth I do constantly possess,) that I have been so long in acknowledging the receipt of thy letter, which, as all thine are, was a welcome one to me; but thou, my friend, hast been instructed wherein the best fellowship consisteth,-not in words, but is beyond them, and standeth on that Foundation which will endure for ever. But the truth is, I had nothing which I believed it to be my business to communicate; at which, indeed, I do not wonder, believing the best of Counsellors, on whom all sure help is laid, to be often near thee; and thou knowest, the more our eye and attention are steadily unto Him, and our only expectation is from Him, the more we are in the way of receiving that help which cometh from Him; and this, thou knowest, is without exception, whatever be our state. To be preserved in faith, in patience, in humility and resignation of mind, in heights, in depths, in the night and in the day, is what I most earnestly desire on my own account; and I believe it to be the happy exercise
(and, in good degree, the blessed experience) of my much esteemed friend.
I desire my love to thy husband, whose kindness towards thee, and sympathy with thee, and (according to his measure) bearing a part of thy burden, will, I have no doubt, like the prayers and alms of Cornelius, go up as a memorial before God.
In a measure of that love, and desire for its increase, which believeth, hopeth, and endureth all things, wherein consisteth the communion of saints, and the resurrection from the dead, I conclude at this time; thy truly affectionate friend, JOHN THORp.
TO FRANCES DODSHON.
MANCHESTER, 11th Mo. 5, 1780.
My dear Friend,
My mind is frequently so shut up in meetings, and after them too, (and my mouth of course,) through the absence of Divine Light, at least as to the sensible feeling and enjoyment of it in dominion, that I seem to myself often unfit to speak or write any thing on religious subjects; yet, whether in suffering or rejoicing, I have fellowship with thee, and experience no abate
ment of that assurance which hath often been sealed on my mind, of the safety and blessedness of thy state; and though Infinite Wisdom is pleased still to permit close trials and conflicts to attend, yet these are but marks of filiation; "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth;" those whom He is in mercy preparing to be cloathed in white, He is leading through many tribulations.
I remember, when I was a child in years and in religious exercises, I thought there was none so exempt from trials and troubles as those who were truly devoted to God: but I have since been otherwise instructed; and I now believe, that they who are most entirely devoted to Him, are often led into the greatest depths of suffering. This is abundantly evinced by the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and confessors of the holy Jesus, who was himself "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;" nay, he was esteemed "stricken, smitten of God and afflicted;" so that, should our judgment be so far taken away in the days of our humiliation, as thus to esteem ourselves "smitten, stricken of God and afflicted," it is no more than what happened to our blessed Lord. But what need have I to write these things to thee! thou knowest them far better than I am able to express them, and the ground and cause have been deeply opened in thee, to wit, that every thing in us might be given up, crucified, and slain, but that holy birth of life, which, in
perfect submission and resignation, prays always to its Father, who is in heaven, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done."
It is certainly the will of God, and consistent with His goodness, so to sanctify all crosses and afflictions to His children, as to make them a means of their passing more entirely into the Divine nature; of entering more fully into Him, who is the soul's rest and sure hiding-place for ever; so that, putting their whole trust in God, they leave to His disposal all their concerns, both here and hereafter. I think I am sensible, whilst
am writing, of the ardent longing of thy sou after this state; and as fully so that it is the will of God in Christ Jesus to gather thee into it; and truly I believe, thou art far nearer to this perfect state, than many of those whom thou preferrest to thyself, and who perhaps are little acquainted with thy depths of conflict.
I know thou makest no great account of outward crosses and sufferings. I know the distress of thy soul is the absence of thy Beloved, and Bridegroom of souls; but art thou grown therefore more indifferent about Him? are thy desires abated, or do thy longings cease? Nay, are they not increased, and art not thou become more weaned from every thing besides Him? What then shall we say, my dear friend? perhaps it was for this eed that He has withdrawn Himself, (as to the sensible enjoyment,) that so we might become, by