Dear Sir, It gave me pleasure to hear from you, but I am sensibly touched with grief for your ill state of health. May the Lord support you under the trial, increase your graces in the furnace, and bring you thence with advantage. It is our unspeakable privilege—that in all our afflictions our dear Lord Jesus is afflicted. Our best Friend, our sympathizing Friend at God's right hand—has an inexpressible fellow-feeling with us in all our miseries of soul and body. When His members on earth are sick, the Head in heaven accounts the sickness His own—"I was sick." What wondrous grace is this! It is a bright display—of the Savior's goodness—of His tender mercy—of His love which passes knowledge. We have in the love of Christ a sweet soft bosom to rest our weary heads—an open ear to all our requests—a flowing heart to relieve us in straits—and an almighty hand to supply all our needs. No indulgent father—no compassionate mother—nor countless numbers of them, were all their affections united in one person, has or could have a thousandth part of that sympathy with a beloved child, when sick—which Jesus has with us, His sick children. Yes, with us—though rebellious children. For we are unto Him dear, ineffably dear children—from an infinity of tender mercy—from an all-endearing love—that has in it neither bottom, bound, nor end! And what a joy in grief may it be to us, that all our afflictions—for kind and degree—are measured out to us and continued upon us, by our infinite Lover's hand! Wise is our compassionate Father's love—and His medicine, to promote our health, when He sees it best for us Himself will give unto us. Not an ingredient in our bitterest potion, but is put into it by wise love—to make it just fit to work for our salvation. Our Father, as our physician, not only prepares and gives our medicine—but His own hand also has the whole direction of its operation, to answer effectually all His wise and gracious ends designed thereby. And as He who afflicts us is afflicted with us—measures our afflictions to us—and over-rules them for us—so His love-sympathy with us in the best time and way will bring all salvation to us. He will say of us, "Is Ephraim my dear son, is he a pleasant child? For since I spoke against him I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my affections are troubled of him; I will surely have mercy upon him." Be free then, dear Sir, with the bosom of your heavenly Father; you shall be no more bold than welcome. The grace of your sympathizing Lord is boundless! You can never come too often to His bosom, which is always open—yes, the oftener you there flee the more welcome shall you be! Jesus loves you as His own, and will embrace you in love unknown! His sympathy with you in sorrow shall give you joy—His supports under pressures make heaviest burdens light—His management of your crosses bring greatest advantages—and His gracious designs gloriously ends in your salvation—by a light and momentary affliction, unto a weight of glory of eternal duration. Great grace be with you.
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