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him who loves righteousness and hates wicked.4 ness, and who will reward the one and destroy the other. All this is to be learned from the Bible; but finding fault in company sometimes brings more honour, from men, than reading or praying over the scriptures in private, where there are no lookers on but God and conscience: for young men, or green disciples, who can dissect the sermons of old labourers in the vineyard, are often looked up to as men of wisdom, judgment, and discernment; men of deep experience and superabounding grace, and are often extolled, and their company much courted; which is a feast of fat things to those that are not aware of the foot of pride. It is the Lord's sceptre that makes the gospel a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. His authority is to dispense both mercy and judgment; and not only to rule in time, but to judge both quick and dead at last. With this rod he smites through the proud, and with the same he reproves with equity for the meek of the earth. The rod that you say you have passed under, and the rod upon the fool's back, is one and the same thing, both in English and in Hebrew, and signifies no less than the sceptre of a ruler. He that is invested with authority to humble a rebel, and to protect a wise man, uses the same authority in correcting a fool. What countries you have passed through, and what are your records thereof, I cannot tell: but, if your journal is as unintelligible as your notions of a sceptre, no person will ever understand it, nor will you ever be able to explain it. you have, as you say, been brought under the bond of the covenant, I much question whether you was ever brought into it. Those who are humbled to lie down at the feet of the Lamb, and made teachable and tractable to receive their instructions at the mouth of the Saviour, and to be leu by him, are swift to hear and slow to speak; more ready to take the lowest than the highest seat, and more fond of being instructed than to instruct others. God knows that no man is sufficient of himself for the work of the ministry, and therefore promises that his Spirit shall speak in them; and when this is the case, it is not every novice that can condemn the speech. What you call dividing truth according to the proportion of faith contained in the word of truth, is altogether without either sense or meaning. Your records of the country are little better. And to talk of soldering rod and sceptre together, by blowing the coals and smiting the anvil, is ignorance, insolence, arrogance, and wickedness. For, though the Almighty pours contempt upon the carpenter and smith, who used to labour at the anvil and the solder, in making an image or a god, yet the omnipotent power and authority of Christ is not to be trifled with, nor yet to be compared to the work of men's hands, graven by art and man's device. For my part, I have been burdened with so much instruction of this sort, and so little has been added to me by this kind of conference, that
I could almost wish in my heart that, if they cannot help me, they would not hinder me. And, as a friend, I would advise this kind tutor of mine to begin with Nehemiah's burden-bearers, and get away a little of his own rubbish, Neb. iv. 10; and to learn to temper his mortar, and to make clear work at the dung-gate, Neh. iii. 13, before he lifts up his trowel in the temple: or in other words, that he wait till his understanding is more clear, his judgment better informed, the old vail of the heart a little more removed, and until the stream of truth runs a little more pure, before he attempts to instruct or polish the Lord's labourers; for it is not likely that he should pull a mote out of my eye while I can sec two beams in his. This instruction is sent to my instructor by his soul's well-wisher,
Church street, Paddington.
To Mr. HUNTINGTON.
I Hope you will excuse my liberty of writing to you; for I feel myself in duty bound to bless the Lord for his goodness and lovingkindness in directing my steps to Providence chapel; where I have had, under your ministry, by God's blessing, many sweet entertainments; yea many doubts and fears have been removed, and many points of scriptural doctrine cleared up; as, for instance, election, as one of the grandest truths in all the Bible; against which I have in times past fought like a devil, for I was all for universal redemption. But now I am, through grace, persuaded that, if I have no part nor lot in special redemption, which I humbly hope and trust I have, I should then never expect to be saved at all; for without an interest in Christ by free grace, it is impossible that any man can be happy, either in time or eternity. And, with respect to God's holy law and its demands, I have worked in a legal way at that for years, but all to no purpose; for it requires perfect obedience, internal as well as external; to which standard I could never attain, nor no one living ever will; for Christ Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness: and until he is pleased, in his rich mercy, to shew us his free salvation, O precious word! free salvation without money and without price! we keep stumbling upon the dark mountains, and go from bad to worse. To day the Lord has been pleased to shew me another error, which I have been taught, and believed for many years; namely, that Christ descended into hell after his crucifixion; either to shew himself as a conqueror to his enemies, or else to preach the gospel to the souls that were in prison, which did not believe in the time of Noah. But, if I now understand the text right, the Spirit preached to them, in and by Noah, when yet upon earth, before the destruction of the old world. Furthermore, concerning the incarnation of our blessed Lord and Saviour. I am sure I never had so clear a view of it before, as when you described it, and the Lord directed it to my heart, this day. How he took our nature into union with his Godhead, and how gloriously every thing under the old dispensation prefigured Christ's manhood; namely, the tabernacle in the wilderness, and afterwards the temple which Solomon built, where the Lord dwelt.
I must own I wished in my heart that that sermon might be printed, for the good of others as well as myself; for my memory is very shallow; yet what the Spirit of God writes in the inmost parts of the soul can never be erased, though all the devils in hell were to try at it; for he that is in us is stronger than he that is in the world. Blessed be his name, he says he will never leave us nor forsake us, world without end. Amen.
Now, my dear sir, I beg once more that you Will pardon my freedom, and excuse my blunders, considering that I am a foreigner in a twofold sense; and, if you think it worthy an answer, I shall esteem it a great favour; if not, I hope the Lord will enable me to bear it patiently, and with Christian fortitude; for without him I can do nothing: but through him and his grace, we are enabled to do every thing he requires of us. Although I am not worthy of the least of- his blessings, yet for his sake who has loved me, and