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BEING DEAD, HE YET SPEAKETH.
My dear Brother in the Lord,
I was extremely glad of your letter, and more so to find that you were in the good old way. Depend upon it there is no such a thing as living to any good pur
oth waters. God's ministers both see and feel the most of their divine Master's wonders in deep waters and a rough sea ; and they catch the most pure flame and shine the brightest in the furnace, and after furnace work. Here it is that we most blessedly prove that our life is hid with Christ in God.
At times, my brother, it appears as if the dear Lord holds me up with an invisible hand, whilst he suffers men, sin, and devils to have fair play (or, rather, very foul play) with me; all nature straight gives up the ghost; and his infernal majesty swears by all the horrors of the bottomless pit, that it is all over with me, sometimes accompanying his oaths with a volley of infernal flames; and he contrives at the same time to stir up within me a whole host of evils, very little, if any, better than himself, nay, in some cases, I believe much worse than himself; for Satan never could disbelieve and rebel against the God that redeemed, and quickened, and pardoned him, as these are blessings he never knew. But, vile, base rebel that I am, I have often done that. Yet, when
dear Lord brings me up out of deep waters, and out of the blazing furnace, and shines into my poor soul with fresh light, giving me a sweet glimpse of his glory and the lovely beauty of his Person as my own God, then I can in very deed sing victory, and shout the devil and all his host out of the camp, and can solemnly sing; "Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear, for in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock;” and if Satan ventures to charge me with what I have so often felt and feared, then I can in the strength of divine faith say, “ It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
The Lord be with thee, my brother, and lead thee on in the strength of the mighty God of Jacob. Never dream of fleshly ease; but be assureà, if the dear Lord allow you now and then a few resting moments, and sweet moments of unmolested converse with him in his pavilion, it is to prepare you for a fresh storm. You have raised å storm in these parts among some who are very high, and others who are very low in doctrine; but both can agree to fight against the real power of truth. I have not in the least endeavoured to put out the flame, but rather to fan it, and should the Lord spare us another year, you must come again to put a little more fuel to the fire. I believe your ministry was made a blessing to many of our friends. You know what the Lord says in 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16; and God's ministers must prove the word of God to be true in all its bearings, however painful some parts of it may be to flesh and blood.
Wishing you every real blessing, I remain, yours in the Lord,
HE RESTORETH MY SOUL. Dear Brother, -May mercy and peace be with you, and the God of all comfort ever preserve you.
Through the tender mercies of a covenant God, we arrived safely at home, and found the family and friends all pretty well. How many times has Ps. cxxi. been a sweet comfort to my soul in my leaving home, and returning in peace and love! O what a mercy it is to see and feel the Lord's preserving goodness in our goings out and in our comings in! What a humbling sweetness it is to feel the lovingkindness of God to such wretches as we, that daily feel hell 10 be our just desert, and that we must have been plunged there, but for sovereign, discriminating grace! O to have a sweet shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts, what a humbling sweetness it is ! how it brings us to tread the world under our feet, and despise all its smiles and honours as too base for our notice! Truly, it maketh rich, and no sorrow is added with it. But, with me, it is seldom that my soul is in the enjoyment of the love of God. It is my cry that the dear Lord would be pleused to favour me with more enjoyment of it in my soul; yet it is the will of God that I must be often in the dark, groping, like the blind, for the wall. I am stuck fast, and cannot tell what to do. All things appear to be against me. I have no faith to believe, no love to embrace, no hope to expect, no patience to wait, no gratitude to bless for one mercy. O! my friend, I never once thought that I should live to see and feel myself to be such a lump of nuisance, after all the tender mercies which the Lord has bestowed upon me, both for body and soul. I did indeed, thirty or forty years ago, expect and believe that I should, as I got older, feel my soul more alive to God, and have more sweet fellowship and communion with him; and that I should feel more zeal for his cause, honour, and glory. But alas, alas! my dear friend, I find it quite the reverse; so much 80, that, at times, I can neither see nor feel that I have one spark of grace
my heart. I do indeed fear, sometimes, that I am “twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.” How many times have I felt a little of Job's language, when he said, “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way, that I cannot pass; and he hath set darkness in my paths!" And know, and am a living witness, that when he "breaketh down, it cannot be built up again; and when he shutteth up a man, there can be no opening till He himself comes that "openeth, and no man shutteth.” My soul keeps learning more and more my own poverty, helplessness, vileness, and wretchedness; and I am confident that every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. I am at a point that I cannot work these gifts, attain to them, nor receive them, but as they come down freely from the Father of lights; and honours shall for ever be to his dear name that he does now and then visit me in love and peace, and make darkness light before me, and crooked things straight. I can then, in my very soul, be satisfied to be nothing, and Christ to be all and in all.
I found much of the presence of the Lord in my visit among your people. I do not think that I ever before spent six weeks so pleasantly as I spent the six weeks with them. When I left home for S-, I was much afraid that my sojourn with you would be very barren, tiresome, gloomy, and unprofitable, both to the people and to myself; but, blessed be the Lord, Í had many precious visits from him, and secret communion with him, as my Father; and I hope that it was not altogether unprofitable to the people. But this, you know, is as the Lord wills; for I have many times found the dew upon the fleece, and the ground very dry. Yes, my friend, the real profit to the Lord's living family is when his doctrine drops as the rain, and his speech distils as the dew. This is not at our command; it is at the pleasure and will of Him that cannot do wrong. We know a little of what Paul declares, “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling; and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.” My soul is brought to beg, long, and sigh for the power of God more than ever I did before in all my life; for I can assure you, from my very soul, that I never felt myself more helpless, empty, ignorant, and useless. I need no one to tell me what a fool I am. Yet it humbles and melts my soul when the dear Comforter whispers into my soul, with his still small voice, that it has pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. It has many times crumbled my very soul at the feet of a dear Saviour, when he has whispered, “Have ye never read that out of the mouths of babes and sucklings he has ordained praise ?" How many times has my soul exclaimed, with many tears,“ O Lord! take the little child, and set him by thyself. Speak in him, through him, and by him;" for, you know, my dear brother, “the voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty." How sweet and how humbling it is to see and behold Him that has the keys of death and of hell to be our Lord and Master, that has thrust us out into his vineyard, and when he whispers, "Behold, I will make thee a sharpthreshing instrument, having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff; thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel;" these are times of refreshings from the Lord. O! what must my poor soul do, if I had not, now and then, some of these refreshings? I think that I must sink into hopeless despair. 1 then can testify and say, through Christ who strengtheneth me, “I can do all things.” His visitations revive my spirit. I am then content to be the least preacher in all the world; and I find it to be my greatest pleasure to take the lowest room, anda to be nothing, that my God and Saviour may be all.
After I arrived at home from my last journey, the Lord left me: without his dear smiles; and I can assure you that I had about a fortnight of nothing but carnality, except occasionally a few groans, bitter sighs, and sore lamentations. I tried to write to you; but I
could neither write por read, preach nor meditate. It appeared to me that the end was now come; that I had left all my religion behind me, and had brought nothing home but death. O, my dear brother, we are living witnesses that the Bible is the word of God. No man can quicken his own soul; no man can receive anything, except it be given him from above. To be carnally-minded is death; but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. If the Lord had not paid me another visit, I could not have written to you now.
But when the Lord shines as the Sun of Righteousness, we can see and feel the needs-be for all these changes. How could we pick up the halt, the lame, and the blind, and make straight paths for their feet, if we did not occasionally tread in their paths ? We know, and have proved both to our sorrow and joy, what Paul meant when he said,
“And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation." that you may be still learning, enjoying, and proving the lovingkindness of a covenant God, in being your help, guide, supporter, and deliverer, in all your times of need! which I firmly believe
you will. I am persuaded that not one weapon that is formed against you shall ever prosper; nor shall any tongue ever rise up against you but what you shall condemn; for your God is with you,
, and who can be against you? Give
my kindest love and respects to the friends at S- and 0-. My very soul feels for their welfare, and wondêrs how they could be so affectionately kind to one so very unworthy of the least of all mercies. I hope that the Lord is with them, blessing them with many love-tokens for good. I felt it a pleasure to be amongst them. I hope that the Lord will bless you and them together, and that you may have the pleasure of secing the word of the Lord run and be glorified. I cannot but feel a hope that there are many of God's elect in your parts.
May God bless you, my brother, with a double portion of the Spirit. May you be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; and may you still give proof that the weapons of your warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. And the Lord bless you with a brow of brass, and a face of tempered steel, that you may never be lifted up with the smiles of either real friends, or friends in appearance only; nor be sunk down by their frowns. So prays your unworthy brother, · Trowbridge, August 5, 184).
J. W. I WAS BROUGHT LOW, AND HE HELPED ME.
Dear Editors,—Permit a devil-hunted and sin-bitten sinner to speak to my tempest-tossed brethren, through your work.
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.” Hear it, my poor brethren. Through a
<scene of dreadful conflicts I was brought low, and he helped me. My Jesus has done it; himself has done it, and no other. The snare is broken, and the poor bird escaped. May God enable me, first, to describe the conflict, and, secondly, the freedom.
I have, for months, yea, years, groaned, cried, prayed, and wrestled, till my throat has been dry, my bones cloven to my skin, my body wasted, my eyes many times failed with looking upwards, my past experience, like Job's, darkened, (Job xxiji. 8,) and my body brought, to all appearance, to the borders of the
with wave npon wave dashing against my frail bark, expecting every one to send it to the bottom; with Satan saying, "Where is now thy God ?" and attempting to dispute me out of every Ebenezer my soul has set up to exalt my Jesus, by telling me that they have been only sparks of my own kindling, that I should have to lie down in eternal sorrow at last, and that my lamp would go out when the sound of the Bridegroom's voice was heard, and my soul sink in everlasting destruction. Ah! let a soul be brought here, and it will envy the chirping of a bird when, like Paul, it is tossed for days together on the sea, or, like my soul, for months together without sun, moon, or stars appearing. While I have been in this state, often has my wife told me that I should go mad; and often, (poor woman!) to satisfy her, have I gone to a doctor. You may judge with what feelings I have looked on my children, and thought, "Ah! you do not know what your father is suffering, what pain and anguish be endures," while my breast has beaved up with sorrow. And many times bave I been ready to give it all up, and thought that God's mercy has been clean gone for ever; that, by and by, I should be held up a spectacle to angels, men, and devils, what a deceiver I was. I have cried, wrestled, groaned, and petitioned, till voice, strength, and hope gave way, and I have been ready to conclude that my eyes should no more see good. Afflicted in body, afflicted in soul, afflicted in estate, my soul has refused to be comforted either by sinners or saints. I have not known what I was, where I was, nor what it all meant, like the children of Israel at the Red Sea; mountains of sorrow on each hand; a sea of difficulties, which I have concluded it impossible to pass through; and enemies internal, external, and infernal, hard at heels, crying, "Let us pursue, overtake, and destroy;" and I, like Peter, crying experimentally, “Lord, save, or I perish!" This is a ispot that I have been in so long that my soul has been weary of my life; and I have a many times thought that it only needed another wave to come, and down I must sink for ever. Religion has appeared, at least mine has, an enigma. "I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not," when I say, had I not been supported by an invisible hand, the grave would have been my house long ago. Doctors have been confounded with my complaint; and no wonder, as it is an unusual one with them. All their prescriptions have proved abortive. But you will say, “Why 'try them for such a malady?" Ah! why, indeed ? For one thing, to satisfy an affectionate wife, and perhaps myself, in hopes of getting a little relief from them. But my wound was incurable by such means. My days were spent