South-hill, Bradford Co., Pa., April 12, 1842.
BROTHER BEEBE: – I sometimes try to pray that I might feel submissive to the divine will, but I am so much of an arminian, and love my own choice so well, and want to be doing so much, that I at times find it much more agreeable to some of my feelings to pray that things might take place as I wish, than to feel perfectly honest in saying, thy will be done. And yet I know, that when sometimes I have been gratified for a moment with the enjoyment of that I wished for, it was no more satisfaction to me, and apparently as disastrous to the cause of God, as for an indulgent parent to give a child a hammer and a looking-glass to play with, because it cried for them. But, I am a strange creature, and if not a stranger to myself, and wholly a stranger to the enjoyment of a love to holiness, it is because God has performed a work for me, that all the union of effort of hell and sin could not prevent, and a work in me, that notwithstanding all my nature, will and affections were opposed to, and did quarrel with, and rise against with their full strength; yet God would work – do all his pleasure, and not be prevented by earth, nor hell, nor sin, nor worms, but would have mercy on whom he would have mercy. I do ope that I love, really love the doctrine of sovereign grace, but the legion that inhabit the walls of my poor old crazy tabernacle are at war with it, plotting against, and are in league with all the devils in hell, and all the powers on earth, to do all they can against it and its Author, and if possible, to destroy by fraud, or force all the comfort that I think I wish to, or otherwise might take in it. I think sometimes that I am fully satisfied that God is infinite in wisdom, perfect in goodness, and incomprehensible in his kindness to poor sinful wretched me. And I feel perfectly sure that if he were not the lord and changed not, I long ago should have been consumed. I am so ugly, so hateful, stubborn, petulant and quarrelsome; so uneasy, unthankful and dissatisfied, because I cannot have my own way. But I am running quite away from what I took my pen with a view of writing, and it is so much like me, it is not wonder, for I am often thinking of doing one thing, and going right off and doing something else. I am not my own keeper, and when I think I would do good, I am often doing evil. O that I cold say with Paul, and know for certain that I spoke the truth, It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I hope yet to be able to visit New Vernon at your association, but the will of the Lord will be done, whether I am willing or not, I have thought that I was willing, but it is really trying, either to nature or grace, or faith, or something, habituated as I have been to go, now to be confined away from such sources of consolation as I have hitherto enjoyed. But hush! why so cruel, thus to complain, when the Lord bestows abundantly more than I improve as I ought.
It is now impossible for me, with any degree of dependence, to answer the request of the brethren in Trough Creek Valley, on account of the low state of my health. If it should please my divine Master to grant me health again, so that it would seem safe to engage, I hope I should be no less pleased to visit them, than they would to have me.
Your poor old broken down, who ought to be a broken-hearted brother,
Signs of the Times
Volume 10, No. 10
May 15, 1842