My Dear Wife and Children: - I am at present writing at Freeman Clark's, in Norwich, Canada West, and have pretty good health. We left Albion on Second-day (10th) morning last, the weather being extremely cold, and went up to London and stayed the night. Took the cars next morning, went south to Union, twenty-two miles, and took breakfast at James Haight's, whose health is poor, undoubtedly in decline. He kindly sent a boy with a horse and cutter to carry us to Yarmouth, where we stayed the night at Samuel Haight's. Next day (13th) we all attended the monthly meeting at Yarmouth. Notice having been given, the meeting was large, and satisfactory to me, and I believe to Friends. Here we met Freeman Clark and other Friends from Norwich, and Freeman and Jesse Cornell concluded to accompany us through to Norwich. After meeting we took dinner at Ephraim Haight's, and thence to Henry Zavitz; found them well, and little Seth sprightly as a bird. We stayed the night at Asa Schooley's, the home of that interesting young woman, their daughter, who was at our house last Yearly Meeting. Next morning (14th) a messenger came, to call Jesse Cornell home on account of sickness in his family; he therefore left, and Asa Schooley took us in his carriage to Jesse Kinsey's, in Malahide, Freeman Clark being with us. Next day (15th) we attended an appointed meeting at Friends' meeting-house at M., which, not withstanding the rain, was large. I went to this meeting rather low, and exceedingly poor in spirit, and in looking toward the meeting had nothing in sight for them. I had one consolation, however, and that was, I was not under bonds to men, as no man had hired me, so if no command from the Master was given, I was free. But the meeting did not so end, for after sitting some time in silence a little light sprang up, with a little life - just enough to warrant me to stand on my feet. I commenced by bringing before them a view of the various religions in the world, and how materially they differed from each other; and I proposed another term as a substitute for religion, to which and on account of which there need be no contradictions, even the name Righteousness. If all will engage earnestly to know this righteousness in experience, it will secure them from the impositions of the crafty and designing, and bring them to realize the blessing promised by Jesus on the Mount: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." We had a favored season; the bread of heaven was broken among us, and the multitude was not sent away empty. Some shouted, and many were bathed and tendered in tears; it was indeed a season of Divine favor, in which my own soul was made to live upon the gospel which I preached. It seemed sometimes as if my spirit were almost detached from the body and I could freely move over the congregation. May the opportunity be remembered to the profit of all who were present.
After meeting went to a Friend's by the name of Marsh and took dinner; here we left Asa Schooley, who had brought us thus far, and also parted with Elijah Shotwell, Samuel Haight and others who had come here with us. After dinner David Bearse brought us on to this place, fifteen miles, where we stayed last night, expecting to attend meeting to-morrow. I dreamed of home and loved ones. I can hardly picture to myself a being more unhappy than one who loves no one and has no one to love him.
I feel at present, and in indeed most of the time, as if my state could be best described as like a sheet of blank paper - which may convey to you an idea of my poverty or destitution, yet I find it to be the best state for me. Perhaps you may say, "Why not take a pen and fill the blank?" But understand I do not hold the pen, and it is well that I do not; but when he who holds the pen is pleased to write, and fill the blank with legible characters, then it is my business to read it to others. If this be so, how wrong it is for men to study in theological schools expecting to become qualified to preach the gospel or to sell it to others. Nothing short of the Spirit of God and the command of Jesus Christ can enable any man to preach the gospel livingly.
17th. - At Ingersoll. We attended meeting yesterday at Otterville, which was large, and I trust a favored season. I was led to open to the people many gospel truths. I am but a day laborer, and have to wait for my employer to tell me what to do day by day, and in this consists my safety, because I know that of myself I can do nothing.
I am now at the house of James Noxon - on the Great Western railway, and about twenty miles east of London. I have a meeting appointed for this evening at the Wesleyan meeting-house. To-morrow we leave for Lobo, where notice is already given of our being there on Fourth-day next; from there, on Fifth-day, we expect to go on to Michigan. I feel some uneasiness about home - I suppose you have written ere now. I am undecided as to whether I shall go to Battle Creek or to Adrian first; you may, if you think best, write to both places.
I have only been from home about a week, and it seems almost a month to me: you can form but a faint idea how much I desire to see you, and mingle in sweet converse around my own fireside. I meet with many and true friends here, who receive me with open arms, which is indeed consoling to a poor pilgrim.
We have yet, if not called home, a long journey before us, and I dare not look back, but I greatly desire your welfare in every sense of the word. I desire thee, my dear wife, to cease to burden thyself with so much care for earthly things, and with me prepare to become an inhabitant of that city whose Builder and Maker is God, for it appears to me that no time can be profitably spent out of the vineyard; the day is far advancing with both of us, and it will be our greatest wisdom to strive to make our calling and election sure.
To A. I would say, "Mind the Light." It will bring thee to see thy way with increasing clearness, and qualify thee to build upon that stone which has been so much rejected by the wise or self-sufficient, but which must become "the head of the corner" to every Christian building. I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not, for there is that which will yet try to sift thee as wheat, but fear not nor be dismayed; remember, no cross no crown, and the greater the cross the greater the crown.
21st. - I have just arrived at Battle Creek, and have received your letter, which gives the first news I have had from home. My health is good. I have already dispatched three letters; I suppose you think I mean to furnish you with reading matter, or keep you posted as to my movements; the latter is my principal object.
I have until the present time been quite comfortable in mind, except my usual poverty; but now it appears as though a cloud of death and darkness is hovering over the land: a sense of it bears heavily upon me, and I feel unable to bear the weight. Had I seen this before I left home I should probably be there to-day; notice is being given of my expected attendance at meeting here day after to-morrow, but I see no light; O "blindness to the future kindly given!" I dare not despond nor look back, I do not wish to murmur; I will therefore endeavor to suffer patiently under the present allotment, trusting that the Arm which has hitherto been made bare for my relief, made clear away those dreadfully-portentous clouds; and if my being "baptized for the dead" can be of any benefit to them or to me, I am willing to suffer. Oh may my faith hold out, and may the hands of my arms be made strong by the power of the mighty God of Jacob. I feel as though I need the prayers of the strong in the stripping season of depression.
22d. - A cold morning as to the outward, and it appears to me one of the darkest corners of the earth, and I do not as yet see any way to throw off the burden with which I am oppressed; but I must wait patiently to see what to-morrow will bring forth. It will undoubtedly bring its own labor, - "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Why, then, need I be anxious about anything? If I am a day laborer in another's employ, I should be so instructed as not to be troubled in mind, though the Master does not tell me to-day what kind of work he will require of me to-morrow. You understand me; you will sympathize with your absent friend.
24th. - I am now at William Cornelius's, at Adrian. We came from Battle Creek this morning, about - miles. The day is clear and remarkably pleasant, with a south wind.
I attended the meeting yesterday at Battle Creek, in which I had pretty close service, during which I told them that that was the darkest corner of the earth I ever visited, equaling Egyptian darkness! I expect to be here at meeting day after to-morrow, and then go to Ohio. I am not in good health to-day; changes of diet and water, with continual exercise and unseasonable hours, are rather prostrating; but I hope it will soon pass over.