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But you may say that there never was such a poor wretch as you. All God's children are as poor, as weak, and as vile; for not one of them has any thing from self but sin. The more sensible we are of our vileness, and humbled under it, the better; for then the complaint cannot come against us: “Thou sayest, I am rich, increased in goods, and have need of nothing;" for we need all things which God, as a God of grace, can give to save the soul, to keep by the way, to work in us to will and to do, to bear the cross, to submit to trouble, to quicken when dull, to give a spirit of prayer, to answer the same, to help to praise him for it when enjoyed, to trust his providence, to trace his hand, and to give us glory at last.
I wish, friend, that you may not be discouraged at the things you are called to pass through, as Christ has said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but in me ye shall have peace.
It is the way; it must be so. God hath settled these things before they come to us, and orders them when they do come. That they all may have a tendency to lead you to live more out of self and in Christ, is my desire. Be thou faithful unto death,” and the crown of life will make amends for all which you have passed through here. May God help you to say, “The Lord is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever,” and you will not take harm. Peace and truth be with you, in the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. So prays, yours in love, Leicester, June 14, 1822.
NO CROSS, NO CROWN.
My dear ---Grace, mercy, and peace be multiplied unto you, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, in much as. surance, with the joy and power of the Holy Ghost; and not to you only, but to all those whom the Father hath sanctified, the “preserved in Jesus,” and “the called by grace" invincible and indeli. ble, according to electing everlasting love in Jesus.
I shall never be able to thank you half enough for your kindness in inviting me; neither am I able to express my disappointment in not being allowed to visit you even for one day. You may sup: pose how gladly I read dear --'s note. I could think of nothing else but God's smiling hand over me.
I trembled from head to foot, and hardly knew what I said or did, being filled with joy at the thought of coming over to see you. I thought that my parents could not conscientiously refuse your request; but I was kept in
suspense until the next morning, when the decision was given “We cannot let you go, for one reason.” I shall never forget how I felt. The refusal was cutting to my soul. It will not be edifying to you to insert all that passed between us. All that I said, and my many tears, could not prevail with them. I cried as long as I could shed a tear; which was very foolish, and showed my weakness. I never felt the outward cross more heavily. I was ready to cry out, “ Hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious, and hath my God forsaken me?” I was in a strait, not knowing what to do, “miserable and poor.”
It is not the outward cross only that I have to contend with, but the inward, the old Adam, and the devil, with all his fiery darts, which are innumerable. Satan is ready at any time, particularly when “persecution ariseth because of the word," to shake my faith. I was full of doubts and fears; and sank very low. But you know that text: “Who is sufficient for these things ?" Not 'I, but grace. Grace is sufficient, yr I do not know what would become of poor me.
And blessed be God, he gave me a precious promise in that trying hour: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb (even her firstborn)? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” What a comfort this portion was to me! and when Jesus visits our souls, (particularly under the cross,) how precious he is, and how “altogether lovely!"
We that are in this body of sin, and are taught of God to know and feel our vileness and exceeding sinfulness, "do groan, being burdened.” I feel to be hedged in all around with fleshly infirmities and sins. Do not you, my dear Christian friend? What a dreadful contest there is between the two armies, sin and grace! This is just what the Holy Spirit has taught me, or I should never have known it. The 7th chapter of Romans is my daily, yea, hourly experience. This epistle is quite a Bible; indeed, when any portion of God's word is opened by the power of the Holy Ghost, each verse becomes a chapter, and each chapter a Bible by itself.
O! if I know one word of the truth, it is that God has taught me, I am a hell-deserving sinner. I am often in doubt as to my knowledge of salvation. Mere head notions about free grace, or about
any other truth, will be of no benefit to us. O, no! it is only when we receive it in our hearts that we are benefited by it. God has, I hope, well taught me this, that unless I am found in Christ, I cannot be saved; "and that I must know him and the power of his resurrection.” There are two oceans which I shall never be able to fathom-my vileness, and the all-sufficiency, the all-fulness which is in the all-precious Emmanuel, who is the “all in all” to my starving soul. Grace unto it!
How am I to come and see you? This is a question which I cannot answer. O how often does Jehovah alter our plans! I am sure he has in this instance. He knows what is best for us both; and he can make the way at any time for you and me to see each other face to face.” Nothing, nor any one, can prevent my coming over to when God's appointed time comes in the appointed way; therefore I must wait, though I hope not for another four years. I have need of patience; but "tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." What would I not give to see you? I have a thousand things to tell
of. To be deprived of the society of God's dear people in Christ; to live so near to a place where the blessed gospel is preached, and not to live in the enjoyment of either, what a trial it is to me!
Sanctified trials bid me look to Christ. No crown of thorns, no crown of glory; no cross, no Christ. If I believe in him, I must suffer for his sake; and so must all God's dear children take up the cross, if we are to follow Christ, either in one way or another: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God has greatly blessed this promise to me, even to me; but it is on Christ's account, not on mine. God has spoken, therefore he will do it, that he “will bring the third part (the election of grace) through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on me, and I will hear them, I will say, It is my people, and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” What a glorious verse this is for the tried soul! I have nothing but persecution before my eyes. O that sweet promise, “ As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” The strength of Christ is that wherein I stand, if I stand at all. I am, in myself, worse than nothing; a bruised reed and a smoking flax. The more we feel our extreme weakness the more shall we know the power of God, wbich is unto salvation.
Have I written the truth? O! if I have, give God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all the praise, power, and glory. There is sin in all I do, say, and think, and in my writing too. O! is it thus with you? What a blessed comfort it is that nothing can turn you and me out of the everlasting covenant, (if we are in it,) which Christ has made sure in all things for all his elect. fect and finished salvation of Christ must be revealed in us, or we shall never know anything about it. Without a personal knowledge of Christ we cannot enjoy the blessings of redemption. This is what I want to know more about.
Well, I must not write much more; and God knows that what I have written has been for the truth's sake; for had known, she would not have allowed me to write. O, what would I give if we were all living in the unity of one Spirit and one faith in Christ Jesus. God only can give this discriminating grace. How marvellous ! “ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory. Amen."
Give my kindest remembrances to and love to dear May you all grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth, and in Christ Jesus, whom to know is life eternal. (I do not mean progressive sanctification in the flesh.) Believe me, my dear - to remain, in all sincerity and love, yours truly, Feb. 8th, 1843.
A PRISONER IN CHAINS.
“THY PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE."
It was a little remarkable, that on the very day I received your note, I had a friend called on me who is somewhat acquainted with the people whom you name, and, from what I understood from him and yourself, I feel desirous to know more of them. If they are
“poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked,” they will suit me right well; and if nothing will suit them, satisfy them, or fill them but the precious and perfect obedience, the bloodshedding, and the everlasting righteousness of Christ, the Son of the living God, which is unto all and upon all them that believe, their company and friendship will be dear and valuable indeed; if they are but empty pitchers, filled to the brim with the fulness of Christ, they will be right enough: “Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good.” The old man of sin, which never can believe in or love Cbrist, can bring nothing forth but the fruits of disobedience, (every seed yielding fruit after its kind,) while the Spirit of life, which we have in Christ Jesus, brings forth fruits meet for repentance; these are called, and are, the fruits of the Spirit, a sweet catalogue of which you have by the apostle—“ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness," &c. So I see that in the spiritual table of arithmetic, let me turn or reckon up the figures which way I will, all that is heavenly, all that is righteous, all that is pure, comes from Christ; and if I turn the figures the other way, I find that Christ is heaven, is righteousness, is purity. One said, “ Out of Zion (Christ) the perfection of beauty, God bath shined.” O yes, perfection! My friend, let your heart and mine rejoice and be exceedingly glad; let us dance again and again before this ark of God; let Jesus, and he alone, be the ground of our rejoicing. Whether living or dying, sinking or swimming, may we triumph in this our great Melchizedek. "Let thy name be great in the earth, (people,) and thy praise unto the ends (fag ends, ragged ends, least ends, worst ends, all ends) of the earth.” · Let the people (this earth, the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness) praise thee, O Lord ! yea, let all the people (all the great and small, good, bad, and indifferent, all sorts and all sizes, all that can praise) praise thee, O Lord!" This is to be purified from dead works to serve the living God. Dead works say, “Do, do, do;" but living works say, “Sing, sing, sing;" because they come from or relate to the living God himself; and sure I am, that we may as well try to breathe without lungs as to sing without Him. Who can tell, my dear friend, the extent of the blessedness of this sweet and everlastingly blessed truth, " In Him we live, and move, and bave our being ?”. It is the sum and substance, the top and bottom, the inside and outside, the beginning and end of the gospel of the ever-blessed God. Worthless wretch that I am, am I indeed made a partaker of such unfathomable wealth, such inconceivable, such indiscribable, such matchless honour? As to the gold, the silver, and the possessions of this world, though my flesh loves them as dearly as it is possible for one object to love another, I count them as trash, filth, dung, and dross, as nothing, yea, worse than nothing, and lighter than vanity, when put in the scale with the unsearchable riches of Christ. I must now say farewell
. Give my brotherly love to those whom I love for the truth's sake, and believe me, Yours in the closest of all unions,
THE FRUITS OF PARDONING LOVE. My dear young Friend, I am satisfied that nothing in this world will lay our souls under such strong obligations to love and serve the Lord as a sweet sense of pardoning love. When favoured with this, we may truly say that his service is perfect freedom. O, my dear friend, what a change does this produce in the soul of a poor sinner! Here bondage, wrath, guilt, terror, distraction, hardness of heart, rebellion, and unbelief, with all the doubts and fears that we are the subjects of, all vanish in a moment; and love, joy, peace, humility, contrition, godly sorrow, and repentance, are the blessed effects. This is being filled with all joy and peace in believing." Here the soul gets above the world and its vanities, and all its entangling circumstances; above itself and all its corruptions, and seems lost in wonder and astonishment. The goodness of God has such an overpowering influence upon the souls of his people, at times, that is better felt than described. Nothing will kill the love of sin and crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts, like this. Here our comeliness is all turned into corruption, and we abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes, renouncing all our works, both good and bad, as filthy rags, dung, and dross. Jesus Christ, and his free, full, finished salvation, are all our theme, and all our desire. O what love and sympathy the soul feels for him in his sufferings and death, and mourns for him as one mourns for an only son! And we are made heartily willing to be nothing and less than nothing, if possible, that Christ may be all and in all, and that his boly name may be glorified. These blessings are the fruit and effects of God's everlasting love flowing through the blood and righteousness of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into our souls, by the power of God the Holy Ghost. It is now
more than twenty years since I first knew something of these blessings; and many are the trials, troubles, and temptations I have been called to pass through since then; but, through the Lord's mercy, I continue to this day. Notwithstanding all the unbelieving fits, dark dispensations, and desertions that have fallen to my lot, I am constrained to acknowledge the truth of his faithful word of promise, and also of my unfaithfulness to him. O, my soul, in how many instances bave I dishonoured him,
adulterous heart has gone after its idols! And the Lord only knows where I should have gone, had he not stopped me by the powerful voice of couscience. Sometimes when this has been the case, I have expected and feared that some sore judgment or affliction would come upon me, and that he would visit me in his wrath and hot displeasure, which I knew I justly deserved; and then my sins and base ingrati. tude for past mercies would stare me in the face, till I have called myself a thousand fools for my folly. But, contrary to my expectations, instead of judgment, he has again revealed himself to me as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; and then my heart has been ready to burst with love and gratitude to him. This is heart-breaking work, which no language can fully express.