May 12, 1783.
I HAVE just now received my child's short and sweet letter ; and, having nothing to prevent me, I begin my answer to it immediately.
The snow does not often cover the ground in the neighbourhood of London so late as the 8th of May; but it has been so sometimes. One reason you were surprised at the sight is, because you are young, and this is the first instance, perhaps, in the few years you have been able to take notice. You will meet with many other things, as you grow up, which will surprise you for the like reason : for want of experience, you will not expect them. We expect flowers on the ground in May, and not snow ; so those pleasures the prospects of which present themselves to your mind and appear at a distance as beautiful as we usually conceive a May morning to be, when we talk of it in winter will not always answer expectation. When the time comes,'something which you do not think of, unseasonable as snow in May, will come with it, and you will be surprised and disappointed ; especially at first, and till you are used to these changes. By the time you are as pjd as I am now, you will not wonder so much ; and} I hope, long before that, the Lord will teach you to ^profit by such things. It is necessary we should find all to be uncertain and unsatisfying in the present world, or we should be contented with it, and not think of a better. One reason why young people are but seldom serious is, because the world appears so pleasing and so promising. They expect roses without thorns, and May without snow. The Lord make you wise by times, that you may remember and seek him nov) in the days of your youth, before the evil days come (for come they will), when you will find no pleasure in them.
Such days are come very early to Miss B -.
I wish, if it were practicable, that all the misses in all the schools in London could see her. What are the pleasure and gaity which the most are thinking of, now to her ! shut up as she is, in the bloom of life, unable to move herself, and with pain her constant companion day and night! I have been much affected with looking at her ; but I believe I shall not see her long. Within these three clays she has been much worse. 1 was with her twice yesterday ; and I have been with her again this morning. The doctors think she cannot live many days ; and she thinks so too. I am glad to find that she is not unwilling to die- If her affliction has been sanctified to lead her heart to the Lord, then, instead of greatly pitying her, we shall rejoice in her behalf. It is better to be sick or lame, or full of pain, and seeking after him, than to live what is com. monly deemed a happy life without God in the world.
Cannot you contrive to put your lines a little closer together ? Your paper looks like a half-furnished room. I want a good long letter ; I care not what it is about, so that 'you write easily. You read sometimes ; cannot yoii find something in your books to tell me of? Ydu walk sometimes, and without doubt look about you. Take notice of any thing that strikes your eye ; make some reflection or observation upon it, and then put up your thoughts very safely in a corner of your memory, that you may send them to me the next time you write. I love a long letter, especially from you, because I love you a great deal.
Adieu, the Lord bless you, is the prayer of