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truly made a blessing to my soul: all that I can do is to acknowledge myself your debtor, and may the Lord return an hundred-fold into your bosom for this kindness shewn to one of the -weakest and most unworthy of the lambs of his flock. It rejoiced my heart to hear that it had pleased the Lord to restore you again to your labour.
You say, in your letter, that the faith which the Lord has been pleased td work in my heart will shortly work by love, and cast out all fear and torment; I feel my want of it, and nothing short of union with the dear Redeemer, who is the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely, can satisfy my soul. At present I have but lictle of the joy of faith, but the Lord gives me to possess a sweet confidence in my soul, that he will never leave me till he has done all that he has spoken to me of. Never did he before take such a stubborn rebel in his hand. O the depth of electing love! I tried to get from under his hand, but he still held me fast. Viewing him as a sovereign God, as being just in damning me, raised in my heart such rebellion, that I felt as if I could have *** from his throne. What infinite mercy that Christ received gifts for the rebellious! If he had not, mercy never could have reached me. it was a sharp conflict at the last; I felt myself just dropping into hell, and was then brought to know this, that it all depended on one single act of his sovereign will, whether to save or damn me: but I lay not long in this place, ere the Lord appeared for me, and wrought faith in my heart to believe in him.
I was in the sharpest conflict when I received your first letter; indeed I was in such a situation, that I could not have read it if you had given me a thousand - worlds, and was almost induced to throw it on the ground; but dear M. S. took it from me, and read it to me. Pardon my freedom, dear Sir, I cannot help being open with you, and telling you what my God has done; I cannot do so to every one; and should I ever be favoured with your company in this world, I shall tell you more than I shall ever write. I pray you ever to remember me before the Lord: I feel myself a creature full of wants; I am so empty, that I want all that God has to bestow, that I may be filled with all his fulness, that I may rise up to the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ.
And now, my dear friend, I should be glad to hear from you as often as you believe you have a word from the Lord to send, not regarding times and seasons, and believe every favour will be cordially received by,
Your sincere friend in the gospel of Christ,
To Mr. R. M.
The Shunamite is come again, and it seems to be well with her. The next of kin hath married the widow, and raised up the name of the dead upon the inheritange; redeemed the mortgaged property, and done every thing that can be required or expected of a brother in Israel. She forgets the shame of her youth, and remembers. the reproach of her widowhood no more; her Maker is her husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name. She now sets to her seal that God is true; a father of the fatherless, and a husband of the widow, is God in his holy habitation. No deserted, divorced, desolate soul in a state of widowhood and solitude, bemoaning and bewailing its barrenness, its desolation, and forlorn estate, shall ever find this brother, this kinsman in Israel, refuse to do the kinsman's part; nor shall his honse ever be called, the house of him that hath his shoe loosed. He did worthily in Ephratah, in the days of his flesh; and his name was famous in Bethlehem, where he was brought up. But that patient, submissive, and humble act of throwing my letter on the ground, well becomes a good wife, whose desires are to be to her husband, and
who is to rule over her. This consequential and tyrannical behaviou will cause thee in future many a spiritual desertion, many a night's lodging alone, many a bitter sigh and silent sob, rtiany weeping hours and blubbered cheeks; for he will rule over thee be as stubborn as thou wilt: he will provoke thee to jealousy till thy flesh will crawl on thy bones; he will pass by thee, and take no notice of thee, but go down to the beds of spices, to the more simple, humble, savory, and unctuous souls: this will break thy proud spirit, and soften thy stout heart, and make thy soul more mild, meek, sympathetic, and tender; which will teach thee to submit to his frowns, and more highly to prize his presence, till thou art willing to put thy mouth in the dust, to obtain a hope in his mercy. That old man of thine will procure thee many a broken bone, and the more he is countenanced, the more will thy conduct be resented; but I spare thee: however at some future period thou wilt remember me, and, instead of saying in thy haste that all men are liars, thou wilt confess that this prophecy is true. Stubbornness and pride call for furnace-work; contention calls for stripes; peevishness calls for desertion; and a hasty spirit for a long and lingering cross: and it is well for such as you and I, that he hath proclaimed his name long-suffering, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth; or else we might justly expect the fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. But we are in the rock, in the
secret place of the Most High, and therefore must abide under the shadow of the Almighty. O blessed hiding-place, blessed refuge, blessed covert from the storm and tempest! No sword lays at us here, no arrow enters our reins, no billow rolls over our heads here; no storm nor hurricane, no snares of fire, brimstone, or an horrible tempest, shall ever be the portion of our cup. The Lord hath shut us in; he covers us with his feathers, under his wings we shall trust, and truth shall be our shield and buckler; the rainbow of the covenant encompasses the head of our faithful and true witness, and our nest is made in the heart of his everlasting love; nor shall height or depth, life or death, things present or things to come, ever separate us from the love of our heavenly Father displayed in the Son of his love. What is all the religion in the world short of this? Only a name to live! A shew, a web, the skin of a sheep. I am glad that my God hath unmasked thee, undeceived thee, uncased thy carnally secure heart; and shewn thee what better preaching can do, and how their work stands when it comes to be tried with fire. Where is all the wood, hay, stubble? What is become of the daubing, and the cry of Peace! Peace! the healing that was applied by them to thy wounds, and the smooth things which they prophesied? Nothing of all this armour was sufficient to repel, or ward off, the curses of a broken law, or the wrath of God. And how do such labourers appear in thine eyes now? As