Welsh Tract, Newcastle Co., Del. May 8.
DEAR BROTHER: – You will see that I have struck my tend and changed my position in the wilderness, in doing which I believe I have been guided by the cloud of Providence; but what the design of Providence is in it I am not able to say. I find a material difference between the hook of Providence and the word of revelation. The latter, as relating to faith and order and as to what is duty is plain; but the former is often enveloped in darkness, at least to me: and I am often led (in looking at the movements of Providence) to think of what Christ said to his disciples, What I do now ye know not; but ye shall know afterwards. Yes my dear brother, whatever may seem dark to us now, in this respect will be made light by and by – and
“By all his saints it will stand confess’d
That what he does is ever best.”
For God is too wise to err and too good to be unkind.
It has been so long since I have written to you that I begin to fear my brethren will think I have given up the good old ship; but this is not the case: the longer I sail in her the better I like her; she is both bomb proof and ball proof: indeed if she were not she would have sunk long e’er this, having had to withstand the artillery of earth and hell ever since she made her appearance. I have attempted to write something several times during the winter, but heretofore have failed on every occasion; and I have been led to blame my poor afflicted head therefore; but in doing so I do not know but I have put the saddle on the wrong horse by attaching to my head what is more properly due to my heart. Last winter was a dreary one to me. I caught a violent cold in the early part of it, by which I was confined nearly all winter to the house, and had to make a number failures in my preaching arrangements. Indeed I had serious apprehensions for a while that I was about to receive my discharge – but God had thought otherwise, and I now find my health measurably restored: still I am far from being well. Indeed I am a poor thing at best. I feel that I am scarcely fit to live or die; but I thank God that I do know where my strength lieth.
I regret very much that it will not be in my power to attend the Baltimore Association, and the Old School Meeting. I had thought of offering some excuses, but I find them to multiply almost as thick as blackberries, and I must therefore leave you to attribute my failure to any thing you please, except to a want of love for my dear brethren, a desire to be with them. This I know is not the reason. If I cold always feel as certain of my love to God as I do of my attachment to my Old School brethren, I should never have a doubt on that subject. I find that Brother Meredith has informed you of the time of our Association; and in the invitation there given I (and I believe the brethren generally) unite. In addition to which I would say that the yearly meeting at Welsh Tract will commence the day after the close of the Association, to which I have been authorised by the church to invite our Old School brethren to call; in which invitation I must cordially unite. If you think it will get out in time you will please insert this in the Signs.
Yours as ever, in the best of bonds,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 7, No. 11
June 1, 1839