« AnteriorContinuar »
you were raised to a bishoprick. True; this promotion of yours will not ensure the riches and honours of this world; but you
know what was our great Master's opinion of articles of this description, when the God of this world spread them before his view as a mighty bribe.
Our Christian friends at O—, no doubt, found both pleasure and profit from your labours; and I am well persuaded your own heart was gladdened by the consideration, that you had taken this method to spread the savour of a Redeemer's name. I expected you would, on Tuesday, be blest with a sight of your family, and I am happy to learn that they continue in health. I fully approve your proceedings amongst your connexions; and I am confident your conduct will give to all our Christian friends inexpressible satisfaction; may you go on from strength to strength, and may the pleasure of Jehovah prosper in your hands.
I am sorry Mr.J. contemplates a removal ; I do not think the dwellers at Twill form a more advantageous connexion ; however, I am in sentiment with D.C.; he is not blame-worthy for declining preaching to empty pews. I think I could not bear to blow the trumpet, if there were none to hear. It appears to me, however, that if it had pleased God to have given honest Mr. J. the knowledge of the true Christ, and grace to determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified, he would not have been condemned to the necessity of preaching to naked walls. But to him it is not given; and no man can know the things of Jesus, but by the Spirit of God. Dear man, I both love and pity him; and I do most devoutly pray, that the Holy Spirit may lead him into the paths of peace. Yet I know God will send by whom he will, and not by whom we will. I think our Saviour distinguishes you very highly, in giving you such friends and such enemies. That they, who dwell with pleasure on the final perdition of souls, are your enemies; on the final perdition of the offspring of God, for all souls, are unquestionably the offspring of Jehovah. Such as expatiate upon the destruction of these souls, are your enemies; while all those who love our Lord Jesus, and believe on him, knowing him to be the Saviour of all men, to be testified in due time, are your friends; this, I say, I regard as a precious distinction; it is a favour that never was conferred upon any but the true ambassadors of that King, whose kingdom is not of this world.
I am happy to find you solicitous for a more extensive knowledge of the scriptures; those scriptures command you, when you;
lack wisdom, to ask of God, and assure you, that every one who asketh, receiveth. The scriptures in the hand of God, are sufficient to make you wise unto salvation. The scriptures are an inexhaustible source of good, so that however large the multitude may be, or whatever their characters, you will never be obliged to send any individual empty away; you will be able to distribute to every one of them a portion in due season.
The scriptures, says our Saviour, testify of me'; and our Saviour says, I am the truth, and the life. Every one who is able to receive these sayings of our blessed Lord, will never be at a loss for subjects, if his Bible be in his hand. I pity those who are ever searching for the living among the dead, and for the dead among the living. They who look unto themselves for those characteristic excellencies, by which they are to escape eternal death, and obtain a prospect of everlasting life, let them call those excellencies by whatever name they please, virtue, change of heart, conviction, new nature, divine nature, holiness, inherent righteousness, sanctification, new birth or Christ within us, called by some, an inward or spiritual Christ, in opposition to that outward Christ, supposed by many, of no more advantage to mankind than Mahomet. I say, all who are, on such principles, searching for eternal life, are certainly searching for the living amongst the dead. On the contrary, they who are searching Moses, and the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles, for a Redeemer, a Christ descending from the abodes of blessedness to condemn the sons of men, are certainly searching for eternal death, amongst the living witnesses of him, who gave himself for the life of the world, where, blessed be God, whatever they may think, they will never find their object, however diligently they may search.
You seem to lament your want of memory, the paucity of your ideas, and your slowness of speech. But, my friend, habit and at. tention will enable you, in a great measure, to surmount those difficulties, and that, before you are aware. That confidence which you must experience, in the consistent and well digested plan, which you have so deliberately, and so fully adopted, will be as oil to your chariot wheels. The Apostle speaks conviction when he says, It is good that the heart be established in faith. I think this sentiment is expressed by one or other of the apostles, but if it be not, it is however true; for no man can derive pleasure from speaking of the things of God, except he be blest with that confi
dence in the divinity of the testimony he is engaged to advocate, which a heart established in a faithful persuasion of the truth as it is in Jesus, always inspires. May you press forward in the race set before you, fighting the good fight of faith, until you at last lay hold of eternal life; the knowledge of your progress will gratify all your friends, but no one more than your truly affectionate, &c. &c. &c.
To Mrs. Y.
HAVE recently made inquiries respecting you and yours, to which I can obtain no answers. No news, it is pertinently said, is good news. I say pertinently, for evil tidings fly upon the wings of the wind, I confess I feel anxious respecting you—I ought not; you are in the hands of a wise and gracious Parent—so am I; yet I am subjected to inquietude and fear. Nor should this fact; every thing considered, be matter of surprise ; I am not, indeed, apprehensive that the judge of all the earth will not do right; I do not fear that he will cease to be gracious, or that his mercy will not endure forever. I am persuaded God is, and ever will be good, as good when he takes or witholds, as when he gives, and that all things will work together for good. Yet as no trouble is at the present joyous, but grievous, and as our happiness is in a good degree dependent on the enjoyments with which we are indulged, as we are no where assured we shall never lose them, and as many of our Father's children have been thus afflicted, and as I have myself, in numberless instances, experienced such and such sorrows, it is extremely natural for me to suffer in the dread of a repetition of calamities. I am instructed by my blessed Master, to expect tribulation in this world, and to look for peace only in himself; and as I have full faith in this divine testimony, I live in the dread of those evils, which, in this world, I am taught to ex. pect. Yet am I frequently refreshed by that cheering hope, which is full of a blessed immortality, that I shall one day live in the full
VOL. II. 46
enjoyment of that peace which I have in him. Whenever I am made to drink of the bitter cup of disappointment, my soul turns to its strong hold, to its rest in God, and is soothed by the rich grace contained in his soul-elevating promises.
There are none of God's children who do not need the rod. Foolishness is bound up in their hearts, and it is the rod of correction must drive it from thence. And when this gracious purpose is effectuated, we shall bless the rod, and him who appointed it, we shall then sing of mercy and of judgment, all the day long.
Circumstanced as I have been in life, my visible enjoyments have flowed from the bosom of friendship; friendship has still continued my prime source of good, at least, friends have been the conduits through which consolation has been conveyed to me. But as I have passed on, many of these conduits have been stopped, and I have felt unutterable anguish. My misery has been in full pro. portion to the happiness, to the confidence, with which my believing heart delighted to repose in the prospect before me. “ Friends," said the author of the Night Thoughts, “are our chief treasure ;" they have been mine through life ; “but,” said the same writer, “how they drop!” Alas! how many of these treasures have I lost ; and to aggravate my misfortune,could never learn the disorder, which proved fatal to them, or rather to me. For it is the survivor dies. “ Lean not on earth,” said our divinely inspired poet, “it will pierce you to the heart, a broken reed at best, but oft a spear, on whose sharp point, peace bleeds, and hope expires.” But a greater than Doctor Young, or any other poet, of any age or country, hath taught us, not to trust in man. Read the seventh chapter of the prophecy of the prophet Micah, there you will find melancholy truths.
Reading, and lending credence to this delineation of the Prophet, with what heart-felt joy shall we adopt his resolution, as expressed in the seventh verse of this seventh chapter. “Therefore, I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Many a time from my youth up have I been driven to look unto the Lord, and never, blessed be his great name, have I looked unto him without being lightened. Often have I walked in darkness, when suddenly, the Lord has become a light to my paths ; I will then bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Shall a sinner receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall he not receive evil also ? Yet, although a
sinner, and bearing the indignation of the Lord, I have the consolation to believe, that he will plead my cause, and execute judgment for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. My attention having been recently turned to a portion of Micah's prophecy, has given me more acquaintance with this blessed prophet, than I formerly had; you will read him at your leisure, and I am sure you will read him with pleasure, and with advantage.
I address you as one of my family, one of my congregation, assuming it as a fact, that you receive a gratification from the knowledge of divine truth, which you could not receive from any thing, which this world hath to bestow. I have no intelligence to communicate ; you obtain from your children and other connexions, whatever of this sort the town can furnish. My family, I bless God, are in health, and my congregation as usual. This same congregation is composed of good, bad, and indifferent; I mean by comparison. Some attend with us from a dislike to all other associations; some, from a love of those divine truths, which they believe they cannot hear elsewhere ; these attend from principle ; some, without principle, merely follow the impulse of the moment, they know not how to pass the hours usually appropriated to public worship, and with this motive or no motive, they find themselves in the midst of the congregation; others are actuated by the best intention ; they hear a preached word with joy, they feel an affection for the promulgator of glad tidings, and, under the influence of these first, warm impressions, they distinguish me by acts of kindness ; while I, though full of years, and much conversant in the world, receive, even with youthful ardour, the proffered friendship, nor dream of change until roused from my pleasing slumber, by some unexpected stroke; and although I have, through revolving years, been exercised by an almost uninterrupted succession of such events, yet do I suffer, from every new discovery, the extreme of anguish, and as the proverb is strictly true, which asserts, that one trouble never continues solitary, so I not only suffer in the first instance, from the deprivation, but from the dread of losing yet other connexions, thus shrinking from the consolation, which I might derive from remaining friends.
Alas! for me, how many friendly friends have I buried since I commenced my present career! How many of the ghosts of these buried friends, the friend buried, the man remaining, do I mect in