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"When first an infant draws the vital air,
It is when the imprisoned spirit escapes from its earthy tenement, that it begins to live. This is not the land of the living— "all here is shadow, all beyond is substance. The reverse is folly's creed."
I rejoice that your prospects in the walk into which, by divine favour, you are brought, are thus brightening to your view. Proceed, my friend, and be not forgetful of the word of our Lord. Lo! I am with you always; Yes indeed, I do always remember you in my supplications before the throne of that God, who wills that first of all, prayers, supplications, and intercessions, be made for all men, and my heart has felt spiritual pleasure, in thus conforming to the will of our Saviour. We are under infinite obligations to the Father of our spirits, for thus indulging us with the privilege of pouring out our souls before him; and prayer, in the present state, is a very delightful part of our worship.
Yes, there are seasons, when this world, stripped of its bewitching charms, appears deformed and disgusting; at such times we are ready to depart, and sick of life, and of ourselves, we rejoice that those we love arc delivered from a state of thraldom-but, generally speaking, although reason may remonstrate, we are in fact lovers of our own selves, and therefore had rather our friends, for whom we profess so much disinterested regard, should suffer every thing to which their residence in this distempered state subjects them, than by the attainment of complete felicity, in their own individual characters, rob us of a momentary gratification. In short, were it in our power, we should, as long as we remain in the present state, detain from the abodes of blessedness, every one who in any sort contributes to our individual enjoyment. Thus on the recovery of a friend from any illness which seemed to promise his emancipation, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, that he has escaped complete blessedness, and an eternity of undisturbed repose--such is the mercenary spirit of mankind!
Your remarks on Mr. Relley's letters are just; no doubt the spirit is at all times and all places the same; and I am persuaded no individual was ever, at any time, able to understand the things of God but by the spirit of God. No wonder then, that beings taught by this
spirit, in various divisions of our globe, have the same ideas, and clothe them in the same language. I lament that should hint even you at a possibility of your desisting to proclaim the truth, as it is in Jesus. What have you discovered which you ought not to have expected? you could not but suppose that many would be offended; when or where was our gospel ever preached, that it did not give offence? Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling block; and to the Greeks foolishness. I know the fear of man bringeth a snare, but I did not believe my friend N. could be caught in such a snare. Yes, I do remember, and it is with inexpressible pleasure, that I have in you a friend, a brother, and a fellow labourer. Poor soul ! "a weight which almost sinks you ;" and had you not divine support, you would indeed sink. But remember who it is that says, Be not afraid. Enemies, warm enemies are preferable to lukewarm friends; but every trial shall terminate in our best good.
It is my resolution to write in future, and to write often. I am entering into an entire new plan with respect to the disposition of my time, I have not the honour of designing this plan, I wish I One of the regulamay have the happiness to be the executor. tions will enable me to dispose of a portion of every day in this mode of conversation. But alas! I have looked with pleasure on many a beauteous plan-on many an air built castle-the demoliThe fact is, the imbecility tion of which I have lived to mourn. of my nature is at variance with all those good and proper regulations which require firmness in the performance. My heart, I do assure you, is softened by a sense of my own weakness. Pride forbids me to proclaim how very weak I am. I have recently discovered myself to be fond of popularity, and the discovery is truly humiliating. I have been led by this detection to a strict scrutiny into the dark chamber of my heart, and I am shocked and discomforted. O that I could as easily purify as expose it! I have been too vain, too much elated; indeed, indeed I have. Somebody says we have need of very faithful friends, or very bitter enemies, for the purpose of bringing us acquainted with ourselves. From enemics we are rarely disposed to receive remonstrances kindly. Prejudice, we are apt to suspect, will misrepresent; and friends either having that love which thinketh no evil, or being too much attached to themselves to risk our displeasure, rarely deal faithfully by us. But sometimes stimulated by one motive or another, a faithful friend may administer the wholesome discipline of reproof;
which, although like some medicines thrown into a disordered stomach, it may make dreadful work; yet like such medicines it leaves the patient much better. I thank God for such a friend; and I censure that inordinate pride which revolted from such a friend. We have all the light of the sun; but O, we sigh for the refreshing rain. Without the fertilizing shower, light and heat render the earth barren; but sun and rain together-O for the heavenly dew, or for the small rain! O for the light of God's countenance !
I am commencing a very long journey-God only knows whether we shall ever meet again. But why should this be an object? we rarely meet in this state; this is not our home and when we meet in our Father's house, we are blessed by the prospect of passing an eternity together, without any fear of future separation. In this consolatory hope, in full assurance, I bid you farewell.
That the good will of him that dwelt in the bush may ever accompany you, and each of our ever dear connexions, is the fervent prayer of yours, &c. &c.
To the same.
STAND, my valuable friend, reproved; but you have treated my last letter too seriously; yet I must again repeat, writing is not my talent: I cannot in this way easily communicate what God hath been pleased to bestow upon me. I often reflect upon the wisdom of God, in the distribution of his gifts; and that he giveth to every one severally as he pleaseth. To some he gives the gift of seeing for themselves, and for themselves only; others he lights up as you would a candle, to give light to all who are in the house. Some shall preach only to the present, by speaking; others to the future, by writing; and some few distinguished individuals to present and future, by speaking and writing. I know, and am persuaded by our Lord Jesus Christ, that I was sent out to preach
his word; and you know when I say preach, I mean no more than that I am appointed to speak of the things of the kingdom; but I feel nearly certain I am not appointed to write of them; and if I were not to preach except I had first written my sermons, I am inclined to think I should rarely preach at all. Yet, such as I have, I do, and will give unto you; and if I should be made instrumental in throwing light upon any dark passage, and thus help you, my faithful friend, forward in the path of peace, I shall be rendered very happy.
May you be more and more intimately acquainted with that most elevating subject, the love of God to man; the never beginning, never ending love of God to man. O, my friend, this knowledge doth not puff up; but it lifteth up, as on the wings of an eagle, ever mounting, never tiring, but still discovering new wonders, through the wasteless ages of eternity!
But man, fallen, erring man, by nature enmity against God, is ever measuring the love and compassion of a God, by his own rule; or rather a rule by which he would blush to walk. I have thought, and frequently said that no person ambitious of supporting uniform rectitude, would submit to be represented in any character, as the almighty God is conceived of and described.
What father would choose to be delineated as deficient in solicitude for his family? Were he a judicious and good father, how would he bear it should be reported he did not lend his children every possible aid? It is confessed by all that God is omnipotent; that he is a sovereign; that he can and will do as he pleases; and that throughout the extended universe, the power exists not, that can resist his will. It is also affirmed, in the oracles of truth, that God willeth not the death, the eternal destruction of the sinner; that he willeth that man should be saved, in the way and at the time he hath appointed; and that he therefore sends forth his servants to warn mankind; to invite them to eternal blessedness; to inform them that all things are now ready, and to urge them to come in.
All this is descriptive of love; of paternal love; the love of a God. But we are informed the people are enmity against God; and that not from a persuasion that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself; but because they are not acquainted with this truth; and therefore do not, cannot believe it; because they have no knowledge of God, and are carnal minded, and sold under sin. We are told too, that no man can come unto VOL. II. 18
the Father but by Jesus; that no man can come to Jesus except the Father draw him; and that all who learn of the Father, cometh unto Jesus; and that those who come unto him, he will in no wise cast out.
Are multitudes cast out forever? Then it is because they were not taught of God. If they had learned of the Father, they would have come to Jesus, and he would in no wise have cast them out. But did God attempt to teach them, and was that intellect, of which the Almighty was the source, so sealed against his teaching, against his influence, that he, from whence it originated, could not communicate the requisite information? Were they such dull scholars that he was obliged to surrender them as altogether unteachable? But is not God omnipotent? "Surely, if he had chosen to have exerted his power." But why did he not choose to exert his power?" Because if he had, they must have been saved; and he chose to leave them to the freedom of their own will." Did he not know that his leaving them to the freedom of their own will, would issue in their eternal damnation? "O yes; but this is perfectly right, for when he called they would not answer." Did he intend they should? "We have nothing to do with this question."
But you are sufficiently acquainted with this jargon. It is astonishing that any one who admits omnipotence, prescience, and boundless love, boundless mercy, as essential attributes of Deity, should consent to such absurdities, and believe them dictated by the spirit of God. And yet the wisest of men, in every age, have thus thought, thus spoken of the divine Being. We except, however, such wise men as came from the East, directed by a star, to worship the descending, condescending Deity, in the form of humanity. Yes, it is the wisdom of this world which rejects that shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. It is the wisdom of this world which encompasseth itself about with sparks of its own kindling.
Casting my eye yesterday over some passages in Paradise Lost, I was really amazed at the bitterness of this great man. Some time or other, when I have leisure, I will point out to you the passages which particularly struck me. O, how God has confounded he language of this master builder, thus making foolishness the I wisdom of this world! So it seemeth good in his sight, and now it appeareth good in my sight also. Thus will the righteous God stain the pride of all flesh, and his day will be upon all pleasant pic