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against God; and he continues at this till a wind from the four corners of heaven smites the house, and kills them altogether. And here we may repeat, "By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation."
W. H. S.
I AM sorry to hear of my dearly beloved friend's increasing weakness; but I am more than sure that the inward man will revive and be renewed day by day. I am more than sure of this, for, "Your heart shall live that seek God." Their heart, or conscience that is alarmed, awakened, and quickened, shall live; their convictions, their awakenings, their feelings, their sensations, their appetites, their cravings, longing desires, and struggles, shall never die away, as the alarms of Ahab and Judas did, who sought not to God, but to Satan. Their heart shall live; they shall never get into carnal ease, so as to abide in it; nor into dead insensibility; nor shall they ever settle on their legal lees of self-righteousness; nor shall they rest in their own performances; nor shall the devil ever regain his palace and keep his goods in a false peace. "Your heart shall live that seek God." If faith be weak, and hope low; if joys abate, and love cools; if meekness fails, and patience gives up the ghost; if fears abound, and heart and flesh fail, yet life shall abide; their conscience shall live that seek God. The holy spouse, who felt every power of the soul cold and indifferent, and every grace dormant and inactive, felt her heart, her conscience alive and upon the watch: "I sleep, but my heart waketh; it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh." She had life, and felt his reproofs, and knew where the voice came from, and calls him her beloved, though cold, and in a deep sleep. It is life, my beloved, that gives us our longing appetites, and nothing else; and you know that the Lord has pronounced them blessed that hunger and thirst after righteousness, and promises that they shall be filled. It is life that gives us all our spiritual relish to savour, taste, and approve, of the death and satisfaction of Christ, and that animates us to crave and feast upon that savoury meat, which all the heirs of promise are so doatingly fond of. '; My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." "Your heart shall live that seek God;" and so shall my dearly beloved, and I shall live with him.
November 19, 1806.
Last night my dear friend's letter came by Dinah Stock to Monk well; in which I find he is still indisposed, weak, and low; doubting, fearing, staggering, and halting, limping, and wavering. However, this I believe, that the Spirit of all grace is the fruit and effect of Christ's death, and of his mediation; and is received by the Mediator, and comes from him, and from God through him; and that every grace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, even from the first implantation of fear to the perfection of love: and that every grace has a secondary fruit, which is called the revival of the good work. Activity, which keeps the soul on the wing, or on the stretch for God, springs from the life of grace; when these are languid, we hear complaints: "Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found thy works perfect before God." Thus activity and vigour spring from life; joy from faith; comfort from love; quietude from peace; patience from hope; and humility, or lowly mindedness, from meekness. But the thief upon the cross could enjoy none of these supernumeraries. And some are saved and delivered at last, who, through
the fear of death, were, all the time they lived, subject to bondage; and some have received the word with joy who were never saved at all. But no one that ever received the word in faith, or that was broken and made contrite by it, and who was brought to tremble at it, was ever cast away. Nor is faith to be proved by joy, nor is the strength of it to be measured by love. The faith of Job never appeared so strong as when Satan lay hard at him, actual transgressions beset him, inbred corruptions made him desperate, providence stripped him, bondage seized him, God's wrath lowered over him, and his arrows stuck fast in him; enemies reviled him, and friends condemned him; yet, says he, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; and maintain my own ways before him:” he knew the integrity, honesty, and the uprightness of his soul, however perverse his nature might be. And many that you and I know, who have much more joy, peace, quietude, and apparent assurance, than ever you have had, were they stripped of this, and their souls put in thy sou!'s stead, would sink and not stand, lay down and not fight, give up and not hold fast: and say with Hezekiah, I shall see man no more in this world, nor God in the next; “As a lion so will he break all my bones; from morning even to night wilt thou make an end of me.” It is easy to believe when love burns, joy flames, the glory of grace is fresh in us, the
light shining on the path, the bow reno -u in
our hand, and God's secret choice of us upper* most in our frail tabernacle, and God blessing the work of our hands; when peace and prosperity are attending the house, and all that is in it. But my poor faith has sometimes stood in sore trials as undaunted, even when the reverse of all the above has attended me; when fears were on every side, and no prospects but worse troubles. We never read of the joy or peace of Elijah, but of the spirit and power of him. Nor do I believe that Jeremiah, for a whole forty years, enjoyed much; at least it doth not appear: only what is found in his 31st chapter; all the rest arc zeal, anger, sorrow, fortitude, and courage; and we may be assured, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Nor does God search, try, chasten, and scourge sinners; they are not in these troubles, nor do they ever see sip, nor feel sip, being destitute of light and life; God will ?iot search these till the great day, when the heavens shall reveal their iniquity, and the earth shall rise in judgment against them. It is Christ searches and tries the churches." the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts." And such, and only such, are sinners in God a sense of the word; and he has sworn that he has no pleasure in the death of such sinners, nor shall they ever die, Jf you had not stood by faith, you must ere now have fallen into apostasy; and, if you had no hope, you must have despaired; and, if no trust in the Lord, you could,