Page images




Church-street, Paddington, April 8, 1796.



QUR's came to hand, and I have considered the matter. God's ways are wonderful, and his judgments past finding out. It is God that hath founded Zion, and it is the Highest himself that must establish her: man cannot do it. It is God's work to fix the heart, to persuade Japheth, and to build

up the church, and every member of it. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” The Branch, he shall build the temple, and he shall bear the glory. It hath long been an established point with me, that a carnal man cannot be a minister of the Spirit; that he cannot season a soul with grace who hath no salt in himself, nor communicate that to others which he himself never had. Those who built up a wall, and those that daubed it; those who healed the wound slightly, and cried Peace, peace, where God had not spoken peace; and those who ran unsent of God, do not seem to have profited the people at all. And, as it was in the days of old, so it appears to be now; it is-like people, like cause the people to hear the word from his month, who turn them from the error of their


and from the evil of their doings: but the reprobate is not of God's counsel, and an incommissioned embassador is not as his mouth. This point not only appears plain from the scriptures, but from the faithfulness and justice of God; who, as he will not justify the wicked, neither will he countenance añ impostor, šêeiniğ ħě himself hath commended his churches, in the first ages of the gospel, for trying the false apostles, and proving them liars. And, as he forbids us to follow the voice of a stranger, it is not likely that the Shepherd should speak to us by a stranger, or that he should set the broad seal of heaven to confirm thé méssage and mission of a hypocrite in Žion. Ĝod is not the author of confusion; under the former dispensation he strictly forbids cattle to gender with diverse kinds, and the sowing the vineyard with diverse seeds, and the wearing of a garment of linen and woollen together; and likewise all affinity between the worshippers of God and idolaters. From all which we may warrantably conclude, that, under the more perfect dispensation, he will never use a wolf to beget a lamb of his fold, nor a presumptuous child of the devil to beget a saint of God, while he himself is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. The Lord's offspring are begotten in the bonds of the gospel.

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they believe, and therefore speak." If believing women are to keep silence in the church, much more male infidels ; for, as it is declared that without faith it is impossible to please God, so it is impossible that the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in the hand of an unbeliever; for, as holy things are not to be given to dogs, so no holy things are to be expected from them.

Nevertheless, this may be a truth, as I once found it myself-After I had been for some time convinced by the Spirit of the evil of sin, and of the condemned state that I was in by nature, a carnal man that worked with me, who had been a great reader, would often answer my questions from the scriptures (which I at that time knew nothing of), and by which means I got now and then a little light into the word, through his only mentioning the text; and in this sense a man with one talent, may put the talent out to the exchangers. The exchangers I take to be persons of grace; and the man with one talent a graceless man, with a gift of speculative knowledge. The former having grace and little knowledge, the other knowledge and no grace, the latter may furnish the former with head knowledge, and with expressions for prayer and conversation; and the feelings of the saint may tally with the word from the mouth of the hypocrite, insomuch as that the new-born soul may leap at the sound of the other's salutation; but still the power comes from the Spirit within the believer, not from the speaker: for be, having nothing but the letter, cannot be a I have known several, who have affirmed to me that they have received the grace of God under the ministry of some such men, which has staggered me more than once in this my opinion; but, by watching of them, they established me in my old sentiment, for they appeared to be a spurious race. Mr. Loud, against whom I wrote, was one of these illegitimate ones, who soon proclaimed to all what he was, and so did all the rest. The person you mention is not the person I alluded to in my discourse; it is one that hath made a much greater noise than ever he did, and nothing, I believe, but a noise. In these and in all other matters let thy request be made known unto God, and thy thoughts shall be established: the throne is accessible, and the way is open; go with boldness there: you have the promise to plead, and faithful is he that hath promised. That you may seek and find is the desire of,

Your's in the Lord,


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Winchester Row, Paddington, Feb. 12, 1791.

To Captain M. to be opened when out of sight of land.

May the Lord, who has inclined thine heart to seek him, manifest his Son to thee, and reveal him in thee! The sum and substance of all real religion is Christ; and an heartfelt union taking place, between a broken heart and Christ crucified, is the blessed effect of all the purposes and promises of God. Let none heal thy wound slightly, crying“ Peace, peace,” when God's hand is not felt, nor his voice heard. Seek in the scriptures for that one blessed, delightful, loving and altogether lovely object; çrave him of God as the promised, invalu

« PreviousContinue »