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August 1, 1782. My dear Child, Do
O not think we forget you ; our love
would reach you were you a hundred times further from us than Highgate is; but we are very much taken up. Monday your mamma was ill in bed all day; she is pretty well now, but P**** is very bad indeed worse I believe than ever you saw her, and we can hardly attend to any thing but her. Then again poor Mr. B.**** was hurt by a mad ox, about ten days since; his life has been in great danger, but we now hope he will recover. I visit him every day, and that takes up a good deal of my time.
I would be thankful that the Lord preserves you in health and safety. I hope you are thankful too. When you see any body sick, or hurt, or lame, I would have you think it is of the Lord's goodness their case is not your's. Sin has filled the world with sorrow; all the calamities you read or hear of, or see with your eyes, are the fruits of sin; and as you are a sinner, you might suffer what others do, and it is only the Lord's mercy that preserves you, and provides you good things which many
others have not. You know many children are brought up in poverty, meet with ill treatment, have no parents or kind friends to take care of them. But though the Lord removed your parents before you were old enough to miss them, he took care to provide you place with us; he inclined us not only to receive you, but to love you ; and now your wants are all supplied : and, besides this, you have been instructed and prayed for every day. You have great reason to be thankful indeed, and I hope you will pray to the Lord to give you a thankful heart; for you cannot have it except he gives it you. That hymn in Dr. Watts' little book
Whene'er I take my walks abroad, &c. though it is written principally for children will deserve your notice when you grow up and become a woman; I hope you will say from
Not more than others I deserve,
Oh, it is a great blessing to be sensible we de. serve nothing from God but misery, and that all the good we receive is mercy, and then to know that all this mercy we owe to the Lord Jesus, who died for us that we might live and be happy.
There's ne'er a gift his hand bestows,
When you understand this, you will love him, and then you will be happy indeed; then it will be your pleasure to please him, and then putting your trust in him, you will be preserved from anxiety and evil.
August 10, 1782. My dear Child, “VANITY of vanities !" saith the preacher.
“How vain are all things here below!" saith Dr. Watts ;-and you and I, and your mamma, may say so likewise; for we all counted upon meeting last Sunday: we listened at the door, and peeped out of the window, but no Betsy came. When we heard by Miss **** that you were well, we were satisfied. Now we will venture to expect you next Sunday. Indeed, it is not amiss that
should now and tiren meet with a balk, that you may learn, if possible, not to count too much on what to-morrow may do for you; and that you may begin to feel the impossibility of being happy any further than your will is brought into submission to the will of God. In order to this, you must have your own will frequently crossed ; and things do and will turn out, almost daily in one way or other, contrary to our wishes and expectations. Then some people fret and fume, are angry and impatient; but others who are in the Lord's school, and desirous of being taught by him, get good by these things, and sometimes find more pleasure in yielding to his appoiutment, though contrary to their own wills, than they would have done if all had happened just to their wish.
I wish my dear child to think much of the Lord's governing providence. It extends to the minutest concerns.
He rules and manages all things : but in so secret a way, that most people think he does nothing, when, in reality, he does all. He appointed the time of your coming into the world; and the day and hour of your coming from Highgate to us, depends upon him likewise : nor can you come in safety one step of the road without his protection and care over you. It may now seem a small mat. ter to you and to me, whether
you came home last Sunday, or are to come home next Sunday, but we know not what different consequences may depend upon the day: we know not what hidden danger you might escape by staying at Highgate last Sunday. The Lord knows all things ; he foresees every possible consequence, and often what we call disappointments, are mercies from him to save us from harm.