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and out of their mouths hath the Saviour ordained strength, that he might perfect praise, and still the enemy and the avenger. I find no fault in this letter, except that you are too hasty in your expectation of me. I believe, and that from my heart, that what you say in it is the truth; I see it clear enough, and it agrees exactly with what I have, in some measure, felt.
There is nothing in this world that rejoices my heart so much as to see the Redeemer triumphing, and the people falling under him; this does indeed afford fresh matter for the pulpit, and matter for thanks, gratitude, and love to him. This has so melted and humbled me, that I have abased myself, and have been so ashamed, confounded, and confused before him, to think that he should condescend so low as to use such a vile, base, and nothing-worth instrument to convey the knowledge of himself to the souls of any of his children. And, indeed/ it is the wonder of all wonders, and it makes me often stand astonished at it, and can hardly credit such a thing. I have had some comfortable days of late, a very pleasant frame, and led in a sweet channel, with rays of light on the word and on my path; but, alas! alas! it is departed. It wore off by degrees, and I am left with all my old companions about me; fretfulness, rebellion, contention, and all evils. It really is shocking to relate it, but I know to whom I speak, that I have contended with the Almighty face to face, and have told him to kill me out
right; that it would be better, than plaguing me so, to make an end of me at once; and that, of all that I knew in the world, none fared worse than those who wished to serve him best, and those who were faithful and diligent for him to the utmost of their power; that these were always burdened, oppressed, slighted, mocked, and disregarded, whilst he honoured and rewarded those whom he knew degraded and debased him, perverted his word, and marred the paths of his children, and betrayed them, as far as in their power lay, into the hands of the devil himself. I know he is long-suffering, or else he would never bear with me. But is it not hard to see vile and baseborn slaves honoured for telling lies, while others are hated for telling the truth? I believe nothing in this world is so much hated and opposed as truth and conscience; and those that hold both are most slighted. This makes me wish that I was in some wilderness. But, oh! let them call them by what names they please, they shall find them beyond the grave. You have surely said the truth, and I set my seal to it.
I wrote the above on Saturday. This is Sunday afternoon; I am going immediately to Mr. B.'s house to preach to-night, and leave the L. people to live on their wisdom. To-morrow we set off, and get to Providence at night. I shall send this to Mr. B.'s lest you come out before the post.
BELOVED OF GOD,
Thou hast refreshed my bowels in the Lord. He who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted me by the coming of Titus. The contents are good news from a far country. God hath visited and redeemed his people. I fell more than once or twice on my knees, with many tears of thankfulness and joy. Satan hath a captive lost, and Christ a subject bom. There hath been joy this week in heaven among the angels of God, over that poor sinner that now repenteth. I told her when she opened her case to me, that she would not die in the pit; I added, 'As thou livest, I shall see thee in the kingdom of heaven.' My boasting before thee is found a truth. God hath confirmed the word of his servant, and performed the counsel of his messenger, and hath made thee the happy instrument. Thou art now a midwife and a nurse, if not a father, in Israel. Go on, the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. It is not thundering hell and damnation that do the execution, my dear son. The powerful, lifegiving, and all-conquering voice that brings the sinner from death to life, is the voice of the Son of God; it is a voice that is not lift up, nor is it
heard in the street; it is the small still voice that silences all the noise of the earthquake, the wind, and the fire; it is the voice of the Advocate in the sinner's conscience, saying, Loose him, and let him go. No soul hears this voice but the poor sinner in whose heart it speaks; God in this way gives testimony to the word of his grace; and the more pure the gospel, the more will the power of God attend it. “They that honour me I will honour;” and to preach the pure gospel, and declare his whole counsel faithfully, is spreading the savour of his name; and God will make such a sweet savour unto himself, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. The children are certainly come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. But as it hath pleased God, by the last visit of his poor unworthy servant, to put a little of the spirit of life both in the cherub and in the wheels, so that the living creature, and the chariot of his willing people, begin to move in consort, should matters begin to deaden or get flat, and the shaking among the dry bones begin to go off, and the present rushing of the mighty wind subside; if any thing like Paul's dream should appear, saying, “Come over into Macedonia and help us;” I will, if God incline and permit, come again, that, you may have a second benefit. Behold I shew you a mystery, which will much puzzle and perplex thee in thy present work of proclaiming liberty; Dost thou know that the spiritual birth of every
soul that is brought forth under thee will be attended with previous labour and travail in thine own soul; and, if their deliverance should not be attended with godly sorrow and repentance, selfloathing, pardon of sin, and those essential things that accompany salvation, that thou wilt travail again and again in birth till Christ be formed in them? When this comes on thee thou wilt wonder, and think some strange thing hath happened unto thee; but so thou wilt find it. About twentytwo years ago this puzzled me not a little. No preachers know any thing of this, but those who are in the spiritual bonds of the gospel, and whom God owns in begetting others in those bonds. I have been so much accustomed to this exercise, as to be enabled nearly to tell what is going on in the church, by the operations of the Spirit on my own soul; but the Lord will reveal even this unto thee.
God bless thee,
God brings down, and lifts up, my dear friend; he wounds, and his hands make whole. I believe that this present complaint will be one of the