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in our own deceivings. But, above all, how deep, how unfathomable are his counsels! To choose such a poor, despicable, vile, and dunghill devil as me, to be an instrument in his hands of doing any good to his children; this astonishes me more than any thing: and when I have met with, or heard of, any that have been blessed through my niinistry, I have wept at his feet, and humbled myself in dust and ashes before him, and gave all the praise of it to him, as I know it is most due. Under my first alarm, you well know, I left my congregation, having then no suspicion that they were in the same state as myself, but viewed myself to be the only apostate. I left them then with a determination never more to come back to this country; for my false "cable was cut by this scripture: "The Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them." I fled, and conscience pursued me. I travelled into my native country for the benefit of the air, and rambled about for many months in England and Wales; but alas, alas! neither air nor seawater could afford me any relief. The congregation at L. tried to settle another minister over them, concluding I was gone for ever; but they could not. I wanted some place in the ends of the earth where I might flee to, but could find none. I endeavoured all that I could not to come back here again; but Providence forced me back, though sorely against my will. It was not long after this that the Lord was pleased to bring me
acquainted with you, after I had first seen and read your books; here I received the first ground of hope, as my letters shew. After I had conversed with you, heard you several times, and had been a month at your house, I returned home, with both light and hope in my soul; and with that little light I had, I began to separate the precious from the vile: some ran away from me, others cleaved to me; some cursed me, others have since blessed me; some said I was mad, others thought I was coming to my right mind; and this was the truth, for I had been not much better than mad for upwards of thirty years. I now began to preach what I felt, and I soon found the Lord stood by me in it and helped me. I saw clear that all of them were in the same state as myself; yea, when I was most miserable, I was sure that they must feel, in some degree, as I did, or be damned; and I used to tell them so: and God knows they were heavy tidings that I carried to them for a long time. I cannot but see now, as you observe, the effects of my poor ministry; and cannot but think often of what you used to tell me in time past, though then I could not believe you. I know the Lord hath, in a measure, fulfilled the word of his servant, and performed the counsel which his messenger gave me. I have seen, of late, some brought forth under my ministry; yea, they have escaped before I expected them, and I am ready to tell them, at times, this breach be upon you. Others have
been brought out to light and liberty through the assistance of your ministry among us. Many more I can discover in soul-travail; and one I have seen, and more I have heard of, since I saw you last. I do believe the Lord holds me back with these cords of affliction that I may feel, and that I may speak to such; but it is sorely against my will; I want to shine forth and flourish in the face of mine enemies. However, I have a few arrows in my quiver which they have not, therefore I am not ashamed when I speak with them in the gates.
God bless you, and reward you for your labour of love, will ever be the prayer of,
REV. AND DEAR SIB,
From a desire that the condescending goodness of God to one of his most unworthy creatures, may not pass unacknowledged, I take the liberty of addressing you on this subject; and, knowing, as I do, in sincerity and truth, that my aim is not to seek human applause, nor merely a name in his church, but to speak to the praise of Him who hath called me out of darkness into his marvellous light, I follow the example of David, in declaring to those that fear God what he hath done for my soul.
The Lord has promised to send his people pastors after his own heart, to feed them with knowledge and understanding; hy whose means the Holy Spirit of all grace and truth makes manifest to the heirs of promise, and to them only, the love of our heavenly Father, which in his dear Son was set upon them from everlasting: and that blessed Spirit having condescended to make use of you, Sir, in furthering this gracious manifestation in my soul, I hope that my addressing these particulars to you will tend still further to en courage you in the ministry which you have received of the Lord Jesus; the efficacy of whose promised blessing, Matt, xxviii. 20, is to this day verified in every soul that is quickened by his word, and to whom his gospel is made the wisdom of God, and the power of God, to salvation. Thus those who are sent of God to preach, and those to whom their preaching is made profitable, may rejoice in the behalf of each other, as well as of themselves; and, together with all his church, the spiritual Zion, will have abundant cause to bless him for his faithfulness and truth to his covenant promises and engagements, and for his lovingkindness and tender mercies, displayed in the salvation of sinners freely by grace in Christ Jesus our Lord and only Saviour.
Were I to attempt to describe all that has-' passed within me, both before and since it pleased the blessed Spirit to give me an experience of his quickening'power, it would only be taking up your time in endeavouring to do that which you have often done for me with ten times greater exactness than I could do it for myself; and which, while it proves you to be a scribe well instructed in the kingdom of heaven, has also been blessed to my encouragement, seeing I was thus led in the footsteps of the flock. Suffice it therefore to say, that I had been in a profession of religion for upwards of ten years before I knew any thing of what true religion was, but it was altogether a fleshly profession; for on leaving my friends in the country, by whom I had been brought up in a very regular manner, and coming to London, where already I had a, brother, my desires so yearned after my relatives (than whom I believe none were ever more affectionate), that I gladly took every opportunity of being with him j and as he, with a companion of his, were earnestly seeking the way of salvation (and have not sought in vain), I readily associated with, and accompanied them to places of public worship, and I soon began to entertain a superstitious reverence for those places, often walking bare-headed by them, especially the place where I received the sacrament of bread and wine. The doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ, as a mediator, when first unfolded to my natural understanding, charmed me as a novelty; as such I