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and so with respect to congregations also, as is the mother, so is her daughter. I am informed there are a few that belong to us, who are leavened with the wild ferment of this awful and dangerous man; and, as you are one in union with the family, I wish you would endeavour to find them out, that we may purge ourselves from this old leaven, and be a new lump. For my own part, I hope never to be slack in this business, which is so strictly enjoined by the Lord himself, and so incumbent upon us all. We have long endeavoured to keep the gate into the fold as strait as possible, and many have complained of its being too strait: but this awful and wretched man shews us that it is by far too wide yet; which I hope will be an instructing lesson to us all. He had the countenance of Cain when he came to us; which was the cause of our criticising him so closely, and receiving him so reluctantly: but Satan had well furnished him, and deeply counselled him. And by this means that enemy of God props up his tottering interest in the world; who, notwithstanding all his efforts, shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
I cannot help thinking but the craftiness of this wretched man was exhibited to me a few months ago in a dream. One Saturday night I dreamed that I was in a barn floor, where there lay some wheat, some chaff, and some straw; which I was particularly remarking; when on a sudden I saw a wolf, of a tabby colour, come softly into
the floor, and creep under a little heap of straw; and soon after there came two more; and so on, till seven in all took the same shelter; but, as there was not much straw in the floor, they were obliged to get one upon another; but neither of them could so cover himself as to be entirely hid, I particularly observed how they all had placed themselves; and, recollecting that I had an old musket in the barn ready charged, I took hold of it, and attempted so to take my aim as to hit or wound three of them, even if I killed none. But my gun missed fire; which induced me to take another method; which was to take my gun by its butt end, and with the barrel to smite across the loins of three of them, and by so doing render them incapable of taking their hinder parts with them, consequently rendering them unable to defend themselves or run away; which I accordingly did, and wounded all three: but I waked myself by the violent swing of my arms.
This dream lately came fresh to my mind, and I have no doubt but it is now in part fulfilled. I believe the barn floor to represent the church of God, to which it is compared; the heap of wheat * to represent God's elect; who are called wheat gathered into the barn; Matt. xiii. 30. The chaff I construed to be light, graceless professors; Matt. iii. 12. The straw I took to be false doctrines; 1 Cor. iii. 10. And the wolves, erroneous men, who get into the floor, or into the churches, on purpose to injure the godly, who are hid under
the straw of false doctrine, making lies their refuge, as the scriptures witness; “ For I know,” said Paul, “ that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock; also of your ownselves shall men rise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” But the straw was not sufficient to hide any one of the wolves. And it appears that many of the gracious see through the deception of this new deceiver, though a few are under the straw with him. My gun missing fire convinced me that all the truth, that has been discharged from the pulpit, has been ineffectual to convince him of his error: but, as the last effort wounded three of them, it gave me some encouragement to take my pen in hand; and, if this will not do, we must handle Paul's rod.
I shall beg no excuse for troubling you with dreams, because I have my warrant for so doing: “He that hath a dream, let him tell a dream.”
Dear Tom, grace be with thee. My kind respects to your dame, the old disciple with whom you lodge; not forgetting the little family of Arminians, whom I love for your sake, though I am no friend to their principles. Believe me to be, in the Lord Jesus, ever yours,
Church street, Paddington,
3 January, 1794.
To Mr. BERRY, PERFUMER,
GREEK STREET SOHO.
Walworth, Saturday Evening,
May 11, 1793. MY DEAR FRIEND,
I RECEIVED yours; and would directly have answered it, but find myself exceeding busy; partly owing to my intended journey into the North, and partly owing to our purposed removal into the Borough High street at Midsummer. However, I feel myself inclined to comply, as far as I can, with your request, as a small acknowledgement of your unlimited kindness to me.
That you have found me faithful, my dear Friend, is owing to my having first obtained mercy. And indeed the grace of God, I can truly say, has been abundant toward me; for I have felt, and do feel to the present day, when left without the Saviour's sensible presence, that my heart is nothing but a mass and sink of corruption; but, when he is pleased to come into his garden, he causes a sweet moving of the affections towards himself; 'tis then that joy and praise spring up, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. And indeed, my dear Friend, the happiest, sweetest moments that I enjoy, are when the Lord is pleased to bless me with a view of the journey's end, and
the thoughts that by and by I shall be for ever with him. O happy state! O unspeakably blest abode! where no wretched old man shall ever come; no, not a limb or member of him; but Jesus and we shall live and reign to all eternity together. But here my pen has run with my heart a little; pray excuse me.
Respecting Mr. Loud; as you request me, I will be as explicit as the limits of time and paper will allow me to be. I think I have known him about seven years, and within the two last with some degree of intimacy; from which time, for reasons I shall presently give you, I have studiously avoided any intercourse with him. When I first became acquainted with him, I was led to look upon him not only as a godly man, but a man of singular abilities, gifts, and grace; and indeed have often looked upon myself as many degrees below him: but the Lord hath said, The first shall be last and the last first. He had a particular turn for much reading and study, which made him pass with me for a while as a man of profound wisdom; but now I greatly fear that his reading and study were only on speculation, rather than for godly edification. The first doctrinal defect that I ever discovered in him was, by his bringing one of Winchester's books to our house, in Princes street, about five years ago; which, when Mr. W. and I had read and condemned, he attempted to justify; not roundly, but by saying there were many things in it unanswerable, &c. Being pretty smartly