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Isaac was meditating in the field, the camels arrived; his thoughts went out to meet his God, and God met him with a choice gift, a woman that feared the Lord. Never was there more profession and less possession than now; never did this island swarm with hypocrites as at this time. A name to live, and that is all. The soul that sits down contented under the ministration of death is a quiet member; and he that opposes the power of godliness is a zealous man: but God will have a remnant, and there are a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with him in white raiment, for he accounts them worthy. The Lord make and keep thee of this highly favoured and happy number, is the prayer and desire of
I have received and read your last favour, and some more that have come to L. and cannot help thinking that you must speak, that you may be eased, the bottle seems to be so full. I wish I could say so; but if I speak I am not eased, for my little pitcher is soon emptied, and I am like a dry tree. I came home last week from my journey very poorly; I preached in three places, and in the two first had very comfortable seasons; but before I got to the last, I was shut up, dark, and bound; and so I have continued ever since, and am now very poorly and low with a bad cold, which is the cause of your not seeing me in town this week. I think I can never be made to stand. There is no strength in me, and I am much afraid that I never yet had the true light.” Those that believe in the Saviour shall no longer walk in darkness; and this shews that I cannot believe in the light that I may be a child of light. How happy would I be if I could but continue in the enjoyment of the little that I have at times tasted! I think the Lord, at times, hath clothed me with power; and that his presence, in a measure, has been with me: but I am not certain it is he; yet, in this sweet letter of yours, there are many things applicable to my case, and many things that my soul earnestly hopes and prays for. I trust my inward conflicts are not altogether for sin, though I ought to suffer a deal for that; and if I did but know that I had an interest in the Redeemer's love, I think I would willingly suffer to the day of my death. There are certainly doors opening for me to preach, notwithstanding all the oppositions made by men; and that men, who have for so many years professed the gospel, should set themselves against me, is astonishing; neither can I see why they should be so exasperated as to vilify my character, except it be for the truth's sake; for when I was presuming in sin and false confidence, no tongue was moved against me. I cannot now expect to have the pleasure of seeing you till the fast-day is over. Do you think there is yet a prospect of our nation being saved? Sometimes, you know, that a Noah, Daniel, and Job, shall only save themselves; and, at other times, one Moses shall stand in the gap, and make up the breach. The French have been the lovers that this nation has doted upon, whom they have admired for years: their fashions, language, manners, and customs, have been adopted; and is it not likely that we shall have enough of them? Many, many from this town and country desire and wish their best respects to you, and are in great expectation of seeing the summer coming on, in hope then of seeing you in the country again. God bless you, is the desire and prayer of
To the Rev. Mr. Jenkins.
BELOVED OF GOD,
If there is any new wine in my bottle, it is for thy use; all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos, life or death. They that water shall be watered themselves, and they that scatter shall increase; God will dry up the green, tree, and cause the dry tree to flourish. For every comfortable season, my son, be thankful; knowing that we have, by sin, forfeited all claim upon God for any mercy, whether in providence or grace. Enlargement and contraction, liberty and bondage, love and fear, will all work in turn more or less; and those that have none of these changes fear not God.
God will make thee stand, and put strength in thee too when thy strength is all gone; but this is not thy happy case yet. There is a good deal of stiffness in the iron sinew of thy neck, it cannot bow to the yoke; there is strength in thy free will; you cannot accept the punishment of your iniquity, nor yield to bear the indignation of the Lord, although thou hast sinned against him. Nor hast thou lost all the power of thine arm:
thou art still working, tugging, and striving, in thine own strength, in order to subdue sin, please God, and recommend thyself to his favour; and thou expectest his approbation, his smiles, his blessings, and his working power, to attend thee on the footing of these things; and when he withdraws, or refuses to meet thee in this way, and cuts thine expectations off, then thine heart fretteth against him; this thy way is thy folly; what God does for us is not for our sake, but for his own name's sake, and for his dear Son's sake; Christ will be all to thee when thou art nothing. The true light that shines into God's elect, my son, discovers various things besides the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. When the Lord shined round about Paul and into his heart, it was no less to him than the light of life; and the commandment, with all its unlimited demands, immediately followed; now sin revived, now concupiscence appeared, now the carnal enmity, pride, wrath, and the web of human righteousness, shewed itself; and all fruits brought forth unto death were discovered; “All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light which doth appear, for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” In this light we discover the spirituality of God's law; the wrath, the bondage, and fear that it works; the demands of it, and the poor help and encouragement that it gives to the poor sinner. It was in the Lord's light that David