Elias Fletcher to Andrew and Ruth Fletcher, 1846 August [3?]

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Paxton Aug [3d] 1846Dear Brother & Sister

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It seems a long time since we have received a communication directly from you which leads me to make the inquiry whether it may not be owing in part to our own delinquency in not answering yours received last Spring. Be assured it was not forgotten neither the kind inquiries you made at the time respecting my health. As it did't seem convenient to answer it immediately concluded to wait untill after my return from Providence Since then weeks have passed by and company and other cares have prevented. I find it a much greater task than to write owing in a great measure to the state of my health I think, as the position while writing seems unfavorable for my side which must be one apology to my friends for not writing more intelligibly. You wish me to be particular respecting my health. In some respects there is an improvement my arm I can use much better, less pain about the shoulder & arm &c. my general health is better with regard to my side can say nothing decidedly- the course I am pursuing is entirely different cannot tell the result. If nothing [occurs] to prevent Shall go and see the physician again in two or three weeks. But if god should not see fit to bless the means used for the recovery of my health neither the skill of physicians not the sympathy and anxiety of friends around me can be of any avail. Could we at all times [   ] to put our trust in our Heavenly father then should we be prepared for all the scenes that await us, whether prosperity or affliction, realizing that god doeth all things well, that he does not willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men; and in regard to his true followers all their afflictions are sent in covenant love, and infinite tenderness

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When I reflect upon my own situation and think how little I profit by affliction, how cold and indifferent it seems at times as if I am a going from god every day I live. Can I deem myself a christian while I exhibit no more of the spirit of Christ in my & deportment. When I look back upon my past life I see how I have lived, I have reason to mourn and lament my unfaithfulness in the cause of Christ. When I look into my heart I find it dark and gloomy; there yet remains so much sin and imperfections within I hardly dare to hope I am a child of god. I trust I shall be remembered by you not only when you retire for secret devotions, but at the family alter, when uniting your supplications at the family at the throne of mercy. Pray for me that I may not be deceived- that I may be a faithful christian, prepared for whatever scenes await me here. and for a seat at the right hand of god; there may I meet you-

Luke brought us the pleasing intelligence that a little daughter was added to your family and while you look forward with a parents feeling, you no doubt with past scenes in view, realize that He, who committed this little one to your care, has a perfect right to take it when he chooses. We would like to know with what feelings Craig looked upupon it suppose he is attending school, and making good improvement- came here in june- She is with sister Harrington- [writes] us when it is necessary. Maria mentioned the day after she came she wished your sister could come to Mr [S] H (brother of [Deo.]H_._) Sister sent word to them that day - the next day Mr H_ went to W_ and brought her home - She told E & M she liked_ Seems happy - I have not seen her- Maria & I have thought of going before this, but we have had so many cloudy days this ways for some weeks past, that we dare not encounter the long faces of the haymakers to ask assistence-

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Maria has just been into our room, says, 'tell them I have no love to send- but would like to have Ruth send that receipt as soon as possible-' She could't go out without saying how I want to see the little ones! that remark or a one is often made - While sitting here I often think of you - and you can something of the pleasure it would afford us if each of you could take a little one, and call in and see us - but our wishes you know, often affords only a melancholy pleasure.

Artemas works at the same place with your Sister Luke is in Worcester- We shall hope to receive a letter soon do not disappoint us

yours[Elias & [ ] P. B.] Fletcher