DINGWALL, November 10th, 1871.
Many thanks for your welcome letter. How one likes a token of remembrance from a friend! How one should desire and prize a token of love from the 'Friend that sticketh closer than a brother!' I have been better in health lately than for some time, although having an unusual amount of work. To give you a sample-preached three sermons on Sabbath, and made a few visits to sick people in the evening; preached thrice again on Monday, and a sermon and baptism and evening lecture on Tuesday. On Wednesday an English lecture and prayer-meeting.
I am also much occupied at my desk at present with a projected work. I am classifying all the sayings of Christ recorded in the gospels under these eight headings: (1)Words to Friends; (2) Words to Inquirers; (3) Words to the Multitude; (4) Words to Gainsayers; (5) Words to Devils; (6) Words of Power; (7) Words expressive of Feeling; (8) Words of Prayer. I would like to arrange and harmonise from the first four heads a system of doctrine giving a summary of Christ's teaching as a directory to preachers, and then from all the 'Words' educe a series of lessons suited for general readers. But with all my public engagements, I may never be able to accomplish in detail what I have sketched.
One of my sermons last Sabbath was from Cant. ii. 10-12.I had a sense of sinking under the power of unbelief, yet had glimpses that kept me strainIng towards the Beloved. I know not which overwhelmed me most, my conscious blindness to the glory of Emmanuel's Person, or my conscious sweetness in moments of His fellowship. Notwithstanding all the blindness, darkness, and carnality that keep our souls on this side of the mountains of Bether, the Beloved, through the lattices of His Word and ordinances, keeps us from utterly fainting by breathings of His Spirit and glimpses of His grace. And these He gives not only in love to His spouse, but in revenge upon the enemies who come between her and Himself.
But I must now leave off and resume sermon-writing, for work awaits me next week at Urray and Inverness, besides my usual Sabbath duties. There cannot be much worse preaching than mine, yet there can be worse things for me than preaching, so far as both mind and body are concerned.