« AnteriorContinuar »
its consequence, suffering, must. The judgments of God, as the moral governor of the world, are denounced against, and executed upon, the workers of iniquity. The children of God experience personal chastisements for personal sins, as a provision of the covenant. Psal. lxxxix. 30. And, if I mistake not, there are afflictions experienced by individuals, as members of Christ's body, in which God does not bring into view the per sonal sins of the sufferer. In this sense I read Paul's epistle to the Colossians, i. 24.-Who now rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the Church. Thes. ii. 3. And sent Timotheus to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith, that no man should be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. Phil. ii. 17. Yea, if I be offered upon the sacrifice, and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all ; for the same cause do ye joy and rejoice with me. 2 Cor. i. 6. And whether we be aflicted, it is for your consolation and -salvation; and whether we be comforted, it is for your salvation and consolation. There is no conscious personal sin expressed in these sufferings; on the contrary, Paul says, verse 12, For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to youward.
Most of the prophets, and all the apostles, except one, suffered martyrdom. Those indeed were public characters, but the beggar Lazarus, who, in addition to poverty, was full of sores, was carried by the angels from the rich man's gate to Abraham's bosom. And thousands and tens of thousands of redeemed highly
sanctified ones have suffered lengthened martyrdom, and perished with hunger, in holes and caves of the earth, unknown in history, except in groups-unseen at the time, except by the eye of the omniscient Jehovah, in whose view the hairs of their head stand numbered; their tears are in his bottle; nor shall one sigh nor one groan perish without its result.
O, my Eliza, what delightful wonders shall open to our view, when delivered from these prison-holds of earth!
I have finished one sheet, my dear Eliza; I fear it is too much, and may prove too fatiguing, especially as there are many references requiring a stretch of attention. I have been reading the epistle to the Hebrews, and you have naturally got my thoughts on part of it.
I remember once of your complaining that you had made small progress in knowledge, in comparison of a young person that had just left you; but you checked yourself, and said, “ The Lord has given me faith, let me be thankful.” I at that time considered your departure as very near, and advised you to keep your eye fixed on Christ, as your Redeemer and Saviour, who had performed all things for you, and would perfect all that concerned you; and added, one hour in Heaven will make you wiser than the most enlightened Saint on earth. Since that it has pleased your Lord to add many days to your life. He has mitigated your pain, and given you some intervals of ease and composure, and our dear Eliza has grown in that time. Should it please God to spare you for a yet longer season, and continue your intervals of ease, no subject can be so profitable; and I hope your Lord will make it pleasant as that of the contents of the New Testament which your Saviour bequeathed to you, sealed and ratified in
his blood. There are a vast variety of precious promises contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testament, which are all yours with Christ; for, as a member of his body, you are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. And now I commend you to your own covenant God, who does and will support you through life and through death to that happy land, where we shall all meet; and, O, then, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard ; neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things he hath prepared for them that love him. I am, with much love and affection, Yours,
T. MR. JAMES TODD, New-York. MY DEAR JAMES,
Rockaway, L. I. This will probably be handed you by our mutual friend, Mrs. C- The thought of her being with you, makes me part with her with less reluctance. You have not been forgotten by either; we have talked much of you, and have united in prayer to your and our God, that he may manifest himself unto you as your reconciled Father in Christ Jesus; and give you joy and peace in believing—that he may give you patience in suffering, and entire resignation to his most holy will. It has, my dear young friend, been my earnest inquiry, especially of late years, standing on the brink of eternity, “What is there within us, or without us, on which a sinner can rest in a dying hour?" If it be a holy life, there is no peace for me. Taking the law of God
for my rule, backslider is my name; yet peace I have found, and on the best security; this blessed Bible is my charter. I have searched it with diligence and prayer, and my mind is confirmed in the following truths :That the whole world is become guilty before God, and is under his wrath and curse on that account. This is our state; a miserable state it is, and as hopeless as miserable, for any thing we can do for ourselves. But I read in this Bible to the full amount of the following conclusions—that in the counsel of the mysterious triune Jehovah, Jesus Christ, the second person of the incomprehensible Trinity, was sanctified, or set apart to become the Saviour of their law-condemned sinners, to take their nature upon him, and the whole of the requisitions of the eternal immutable law of God upon him, to become in every sense their surety. Man is a rebel, it is put to his account—a penalty is incurred, He, as their surety, is made liable. Are they again to be made heirs of eternal life? Perfect obedience is the condition, and of him, as their surety, it is demanded. All this being fulfilled, sinners are become his property-he has paid their debts, fulfilled their duties, and merited for them eternal life, all in their own nature, as their head and representative; so that believers are complete in him. This is the righteousness of God, wrought out by Jesus Christ, in his own person, God man, as their surety. To this nothing of the believer's is to be added—with this nothing of his mixed; it is for ever perfect; entirely distinct from that holiness of heart and life which is wrought in him in consequence of this. It is the believer's by pure imputation. God has declared himself well pleased with this righteousness, and that being himself reconciled, he is in Christ Jesus reconciling sinners to him. Hence all the invita
tions scattered thick in the Old and New Testament, not only to the penitent, weary, and heavy laden, but to the stout-hearted, the backslider, to them that are wearying themselves in their own way. Ho ! every one that thirsteth, whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely. Hence all the promises annexed to believing, accepting, receiving, trusting, resting: Christ the Saviour is the object-the gift of God to sinners for all the above purposes. The Lord has convinced me that I have nothing in myself on which I can rest; my conscience echoes to his word in all that it asserts of my nature and my state: but this Saviour is provided for sinners exactly of this description. I am invited to put in my claim, I believe the record, I rest my salvation on his word ; God giveth to me eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Jesus calls me to look unto him, and be saved; I do look unto him, and I am saved. He assures me that those who come unto him shall never be cast out. I do go to him, and commit my sinful soul to his keeping; I shall not be cast out. That as many as receive the gift of his Son, receive at the same time power to become the children of God. I do receive his gift, and lay claim to his promise. He is my reconciled Father, and I am his adopted child, and he hath sent his Spirit into my heart, by which I can say, Abba, Father. I have, my dear James, taken this method of laying before you the grounds of my own hope, because I think it the most simple method, and containing at the same time my counsel to you to lay hold on the same hope. The warrant is given us in God's own word, as sinners, without respect to fruit or any works of ours. I can, if necessary, give you chapter and verse, to the full amount; but you bave those about you who can give it you by little and little, as