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Lancaster, 24th of 8th month, 1753.

My Dear Friend, - Thy acceptable favour by John Backhouse came safe, which I was very glad of, not having a line from thee before since the death of our death and honoured brother, Samuel Bownas, who was lovely and pleasant to us in this time, and so will the remembrance of him be, during our time, as we are preserved in the unity of that one Spirit whereby we are baptized into our true spiritual nearness. Though his outward part be dead, yet his ministry and ways will be often speaking to us, being freshly brought up in our minds, as many other worthies are, who have served out their generation faithfully, and are gone before us to reap the reward of it. I often look over many places and countries where my lot hath been cst, and where I have had intimate friends, and they are almost all gone. Which occasions very solemn considerations; nevertheless, I neither dare nor do repine that I may left behind, though even alone as to an intimate or sensible feeling member of that sort, or one to labour with me in the work.

It is now my case to be very much at home in our own meeting, my spirit is often low and lonely when take a view of my condition; and when I think of thee it seem to be pretty much the same - the I say, "Lord help us that our faith fail not!" For, indeed, dear James, I find as much need to wait steadily for the renewing of it as every,that Divine strength maybe maintained to steer wisely, and be conducted prudently, both in and out of meetings, to be a safe and good pattern, and true instructive waymark in every thing relating to life and godliness. We have a wise observing people, and a large body of young folks to walk before. My soul is often humbly bowed in awful reverence before Allwise and Mighty Sufficiency, to be helped in every respect to make strait steps in a bright exemplary conversation, as well as fruitful ministry, with sincere inward breathing, that the blessing of our God may go along and give increase to the labour bestowed. Yea, and at times I am attended with comfortable hope that there is rather a thriving of good in several, and where little yet appears, it may be like bread cast on the waters, which will be found after many days, so that at times my mind is a little revived with some encouragement.

I now go very little out of my own house but to meeting, and sometimes to get a breathing in the field, and when I do, it is mostly alone, for that is what I delight in, and have done most of my time, finding profit in retirement and loving solitude; there being little company that suits my taste, or adds to my improvement, having gained more by meditation and application to the inward Teacher than in any other way. But methinks I hear thee saying, it is not so well, we are made to be conversable, and I do not so much service as I probably do if I accustomed (?) myself to company. I answer, bear with me, my friend, I have tried that way sometimes, but it hath not often answered so much to my advantage, there being so few but are so full of the world in almost all their discourse, which may be well enough in them; but I look upon myself as a lonely pilgrim, whose comforts and honour have still come another way. Yet I frequently go to visit any that are afflicted, and am glad of my friends' company when they visit me. And now, my dearly beloved friend and brother, I salute thee in the truth of love, with thy dear wife, and shall be glad to hear from thee, believing, when death comes to us, it will not be tremendous. Farewell, etc.