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DOING THE WILL OF GOD FROM THE HEART.
My dear Friend and Brother in the best and sweetest of all bonds, -You will be surprised, I'think, to receive this letter from me, with whom you have had but little acquaintance in the flesh; and
when you see what it is that occupies my pen, and which, for many gone by days, has more or less occupied my mind also. I think that what is impressed on the mind by Jehovah the eternal Spirit cannot be erased from the mind, but must, sooner or later, be confessed both to God and to man.
I have stood nearly twenty-three years, as an Independent, in the the church of Christ; and I can assure you that, in that time, I have felt something of the briars and thorns of the wilderness. I have found the world to be unfriendly to my soul; and I am now ashamed while I write, that I have not been driven more to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul when the prowling wolf of hell has been ready to devour me.
O what a trinity of enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil! We have need to be clad in the whole armour of God to stand in the evil day. I have found that word to be true: “That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." These words have been very applicable to me. But I
“Yet have been upheld till now.
Who could hold me up but thou?" I have written these few things just to show that it is not a flash of my mind, but a deliberate consideration that I have long been weaned from the breast, and want strong meat for my soul, that induces me to address
you. The subject of baptism I treated with contempt for a long time, as an unnecessary thing; but, blessed be God, my views of it are altered; and what makes me the more free to speak of it is, that the work of man has contributed nothing to the confirmation of it in
soul. The convictions wrought there were by God alone. When I practised sprinkling in my family, I was convinced that the mode of believer's baptism must be the right and scriptural mode, although, when you lately took upon you to advocate that ordinance, and boldly to defend it as a man of God, in our room of worship at T-, even then I felt disposed to contend against it; but, blessed be He who overrules all things after the counsel of his own will, that which wrought prejudice and envy in the breasts of others both against you and against the ordinance, has not so wrought upon me, but otherwise, which I hope will terminate in my obedience, and tend to the glory of God. I believe that two reasons why I never complied with this ordinance nor confessed it before men were, prejudice and the want of union of heart to a people with whom I could join. But both are fallen; prejudice is rooted out of my heart, and its hostile weapon against that part of God's truth, I hope, never to be taken up by me again; and as it respects a people to be united with, I am no longer at a loss for them; for here are two or three that dare to be singular, and stand up for the whole truth, as far as God has given them light and discernment, whose names are cast out as evil, and are counted troublers of Israel, but whose lot it is to walk in the beaten path of tribulation. With them I have cast in my lot; with them my spiritual life is bound up; with them, in Christ, are my spiritual affections entwined about his loving heart, and each other's also; and with them, in the strength of the Lord, I am resolved to sink or swim, to rise or fall. This child of baptism has long been struggling in the womb of my conscience to be born, but I never had strength enough to bring to the birth.
The day that I was at your house, and heard that man of God, Mr. —, I had great enjoyment in my soul; and I thought that I would go to and hear him on the evening following. I accordingly went; but the Lord permitted a very old enemy of mine to present me with a bitter draught, which operated on my mind for several days to separate me from this very people, though, under God, it will, I believe, be the means of drawing me more closely to them; for I thought that I could not be a better match for my adversary than by bringing to light my views and feelings on the ordinance of baptism.
I have given you a little description of the book of conscience within; and as to the book of God, I believe I am nearly acquainted with all the passages therein that treat of the same; and when I have been reading them in God's light, it has been whispered, “This is the way; walk ye in it." And now, my dear friend, if you judge me worthy, and think what I have stated to be sufficient to constitute me a candidate for that ordinance, I am willing to be made a spectacle to angels, men, and devils, and to follow the Saviour through floods and flames, evil report and good report, honour and dishonour, though earth and hell oppose. I know that some will sneer, mock, and ridicule, and that some will say I am persuaded to it by others; but those who are of the true circumcision will rejoice with me, and be exceedingly glad.
Now, my dear brother, I can tell you that as a minister of the gospel you do live in my affections; and there are others also that can join with me both in praising God for past opportunities, and in praying to God that you may be made a blessing in future to God's tried family. I know that if you stand up for the whole truth, and preach a whole gospel, you will have much to contend with, especially from those that love doctrine without experience, and faith without fruits. But go on, my dear brother; for He who hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” has been with you hitherto, and will fulfil his word to the end. May he hold you up in the everlasting arms of his strength, and be the support of your soul while you are holding up the Saviour in the gospel as the way, the Truth, and the Life, and make your brow as brass against all the errors of the day, and bless you, and make the bill round about you a blessing; and may the best of covenant blessings rest upon you and your partner in life, until the toils of this mortal life are ended, and faith is changed into sight. So prays the chief of sinners, T-, Nov. 22nd, 1842.
“WE HAVE AN UNCTION FROM THE HOLY ONE."
My dear Friend, I take this first opportunity of reminding you that when you were ai London, last summer, you said that the next time you came there
you would try to come over to Bedworth, and preach for us some evening during your stay, the Lord willing. I hope, should
you visit London in your way home, that you will kindly try to spend one day at least with us at Bedworth, and preach for us in the evening, should nothing unforeseen prevent; and that our God, the God of grace, love, and mercy, may come up with you, and bless you and your labours,-you in speaking, and us in hearing,-shall, as far as the dear Lord enables us, be our heart's desire and
prayer. Our respected brother, - preached for us one evening, a few weeks ago; and he and we felt ourselves so blessedly at home and comforted together, that he was constrained to say that he would, God willing, try to visit us again when he returned from London; and our rejoicing souls answered, “Do, brother, do.” The dear man of God can now feelingly set to his seal, and say, “Verily the Lord is amongst us indeed and of a truth;” so, I trust, the church of the living God shall know. My dear friend, a numerous assembly is no proof of it; a respectable congregation is no proof of it, or our hopes would be in vain; for we are a despised few, counted the scum of the earth for the truth's sake. But we know that you will not despise us on this account. Nevertheless, our brother had an exceedingly large and attentive audience to hear his sweet, solemn, faithful, and most precious report; and my soul hails the day of his return, even as I do of your coming also, in hope of hearing you both again. No outward form, ceremony, sign, or appearance, can satisfy me in this respect, that the Lord is amongst that people; nothing but the Spirit's testimony within, a precious Christ revealed in my heart the hope of glory, the truth spoke and coming home with power divine, communion with God and his saints enjoyed, and the joys of heaven below really and truly felt, assure my soul that the Lord is in that place. How sweet it is to be thus satisfied for ourselves ! My dear friend, I do not only say so, but the Lord is my
witness that I know it by feeling experience, even as my conscience knows well the truth of this blessed saying: “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” My life is a ontinual scene of sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting; therefore, the longer I live, the sweeter salvation through blood, full, finished, and free, without money or price, is to my soul, and the more I see and feel my necessity for divine influence, and my dependance on sovereign, discriminating, and almighty grace. I often think that if God were to act like mortal man, he would spurn me from his dear feet into everlasting misery, as the basest and vilest of hypocrites, for having such a perverse heart, and acting towards him as I do. I sin against him, and ask his pardon; and sin against him again, and then crave his pardon in tears again; and that continually. I do the things that I hate and abhor, and leave undone the things my soul loves far beyond life itself. Yet be bears with me still, blessed be his dear
name for it! He knows my frame; he knows his Spirit's desire, the secret longings, groanings, and sighings which I feel within; he knows that it is sin working within, bringing me into bondage, breaking off my soul's communion with him, and causing him to hide his face from me, that distresses and wounds my soul; and he remembers that I am but dust. I want not the testimony nor the applause of mortals. If the Lord make me manifest in any of his dear people's consciences, my soul considers it a favour from his dear hand; if not, I am content to live alone, if so be he would let me spend my latter days in communion with him. It was this that constrained the apostle to call his afflictions light; it was this that inspired the martyrs to sing the high praises of their God in the fire; and it is this that so sweetly bears my soul up under every trouble, loss, cross, and disappointment which I have borne, that ofttimes I can say from feeling, in tears of love and joy, “None of these things move me;" neither count I my life dear unto me, that I may win Christ, and be found in him.
o the blessedness, my dear friend, of this stage of experience! Thousands of professors know nothing of it. Not all the sinfulness, guilt, and misery I feel, can then prevail to make me believe that I shall be lost at last; neither can all the wretchedness and unworthiness I feel keep me from a throne of grace. With great searchings of heart, my soul follows hard after Christ, if haply I may find him; in the closet, in the word, in the shop, amidst his saints, at home and abroad, night and day, my soul longs to find him, to embrace him by faith, to find rest at his feet, to feel my will swallowed up in his will, to feel his Spirit poured out upon me still more and more, to experience the power of his atoning blood more and more in my conscience, to be where he is, to behold his glory, and to enjoy him, as I have enjoyed him again and again, in his love and blood, and in all that he is, has been, and ever will be to his chosen, ransomed family, viz., the God of love. With these feelings of soul, together with his past favours received and enjoyed, I cannot doubt his faithfulness and good pleasure to save me to the uttermost, notwithstanding all that I at times feel and fear, and bring me safe through. Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake up in his likeness, and not before.
Pardon this unconnected ramble, my dear friend; for imperfection is stamped upon all that I think, say, and do. Do what you can to make this wicked village in your way, and preach for us some evening before you return home; and our God shall, and will supply all your and our needs out of his riches in glory, by, through, and from Christ Jesus, our crucified and living Lord.
But, before I conclude, suffer me just to add a word or two more; for my heart is full of grief and joy. My soul weeps with weeping Zion for the loss she has sustained since we last saw you. Our brother Gadsby is gone; bis labours are over; his work is done; his soul has entered into the joy of his Lord. My soul rejoices and trembles at the thought. O the sacred bliss he is now in the enjoyment of ! My soul would fain leap from her cell to join his transports of praise before the throne, to behold the glories of that place where my lovely Jesus reigns, where our brother is for evermore. But no; the favoured hour is not yet arrived. I have to behold somewhat more of the wonders which our God can do, more sorrows to bear, more joys to feel; I would therefore live all the days of my appointed time, till my change shall come, in hope of the glory of God, and say, "My Lord's will be done.” Our brother's memory is blessed to my soul. We shall never hear his favoured lips proclaim and exalt a precious Christ and a free-grace gospel any more below. But Zion's God still liveth; it was he who qualified, authorized, and sent forth our brother to the work; and he can as well qualify, authorize, and send forth others in his room, at his pleasure; therefore, my soul shall still rest and hope in God, for I and his dear Zion shall yet praise him. Blessed be God for you, my brother, and a few more witnesses left behind. As you go up to supply for our departed brother's churches, O may bis fallen mantle rest on you, and on them too; and may your and their labours be blessed in like manner as were his! Then dear weeping Zion shall rejoice, and our dear, all-wise, gracious, covenant God be glorified.-Yours affectionately in the Lord, Bedworth, June 5, 1844.
G. T. C.
THE PROFIT OF THE FURNACE.
Dear Friend in the Furnace,-1 was sorry to bear at Grove that you were so poorly that you could not get out to the meeting, nor come over to Grove to see us. I hope that you are better. I should be glad to hear that you were well, both in soul and body, if it were the will of God, to which we must submit, though we often rebel and resist his will in trouble. He is God, and will maintain his government, be our wills ever so perverse; and it is right that he should, and make us bow to it too. God cannot do wrong; he is a Rock; his ways are perfect, and without iniquity or crookedness. I wish, if your affliction must abide, that Christ may show you that he sits at the furnace in love, to see that you are not hurt thereby, but melted down into gratitude and love to Him that says, “When thou passest through the fire, I will be with thee; no evil shall come nigh thee, nor plague touch thy dwelling.” A sanctified furnace is better than unhallowed prosperity; many a soul-humbling lesson has been learned therein. “The more they were afflicted, the more they grew.” It is said that the more the palm-tree is loaded, the more uprightly it grows; the more true faith is pressed, the faster hold it will take: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” It is God's work in the soul, both as Author and Finisher; therefore it cannot die, nor yet sink, though there be a needs be for it to be tried. He that gives it will keep it alive, though but like a spark in the beacon. While Christ is full, supplies cannot fail; while God the Spirit stands engaged to take the things of Christ and show them to us, the work must go on.
If it depended more or less on us, we might, we must be overcome. But God, who has called you, is faithful, “who also will do it;" that is, what he hath promised never to leave, but to keep and supply every need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.