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vice upon this head; but I am ashamed to do
it, because I so poorly follow it myself. 1 May 28, 1775. want to live with him by the day, to do all
for him, to receive all from him, to possess You must not expect a all in him, to live all to him, to make him my long letter this morning; we are just going hiding-place and my resting-place. I want to court, in hopes of seeing the King, for he to deliver up that rebel self to him in chains; has promised to meet us. We can say he is but the rogue, like Proteus, puts on so many mindful of his promises; and yet is it not forms, that he slips through my fingers: but strange, that though we are all in the same I think I know what I would do, if I could place, and the King in the midst of us, it is fairly catch him. but here and there one (even of those who My soul is like a besieged city; a legion love him) can see him at once! However, in of enemies without the gates, and a nest of our turns, we are all favoured with a glimpse restless traitors within, that hold a corres. of him, and have had cause to say, How great pondence with them without; so that I am is his goodness! How great is his beauty! deceived and counteracted continually. It is We have the advantage of the queen of She- a mercy that I have not been surprised and ba, a more glorious object to behold, and not overwhelmed long ago; without help from on so far to go for the sight of it. If a transient high, it would soon be over with me. How glance exceeds all that the world can afford often have I been forced to cry out, O God, for a long continuance, what must it be to the heathen are got into thine inheritance; dwell with him! If a day in his courts be thy holy temple have they defiled, and de better than a thousand, what will eternity be faced all thy work! Indeed, it is a miracle in his presence! I hope the more you see, that I still hold out. I trust, however, I the more you love; the more you drink, the shall be supported to the end, and that my more you thirst; the more you do for him, Lord will at length raise the siege, and cause the more you are ashamed you can do so lit- me to shout deliverance and victory. tle; and that the nearer you approach to your Pray for me, that my walls may be strengthjourney's end, the more your pace is quick- ened, and wounds healed. We are all pretty ened. Surely the power of spiritual attrac- well as to the outward man, and join in love tion should increase as the distance lessens. to all friends.--I am, &c. O that heavenly load-stone! may it so draw us, that we may not creep, but run. In common travelling, the strongest become weary, if the journey be very long; but in the spi
LETTER VII. ritual journey, we are encouraged with a hope of going on from strength to strength.
July 6, 1776. Instaurabit iter vires, as Johnson expresses DEAR SIR, I was abroad when your letter it. No road but the road to heaven can thus came, but employ the first post to thank you communicate refreshment to those who walk for your confidence. My prayers (when I in it, and make them more fresh and lively can pray) you may be sure of. As to advice, when they are just finishing their course, I see not that the case requires much. Only than when they first set out.-I am, &c. be a quiet child, and lie patiently at the
Lord's feet. He is the best friend and minager in these matters, for he has a key w
open every heart LETTER VI.
I should not have taken Mr April 18, 1776. Z 's letter for a denial, as it seems you DEAR SIR, —Are you sick, or lame of your did. Considering the years of the parties, right hand, or are you busy in preparing a and other circumstances, a prudent parent folio for the press, that I hear nothing from could hardly say more, if he were inclined to you? You see, by the excuses I would con- favour your views. To me you seem to be trive, I am not willing to suppose you have in a tolerable fair way; but I know, in affairs forgotten me, but that your silence is rather of this kind, Mr. Self does not like suspense, owing to a cannot than a will not.
but would willingly come to the point at I hope your soul prospers. I do not ask once; but Mr. Faith, when he gets liberty you, if you are always filled with sensible to hold up his head, will own, that in order comfort: but do you find your spirit more to make our temporal mercies wear well, and bowed down to the feet and will of Jesus, so to give us a clearer sense of the hand that as to be willing to serve him for the sake of bestows them, a waiting and a praying time serving him, and to follow him, as we say, are very seasonable. Worldly people expect through thick and thin; to be willing to be their schemes to run upon all-tours, as we any thing or nothing, so that he may be glo- say, and the objects of their wishes to drop rified? I could give you plenty of good ad- into their mouths without difficulty; and it
they succeed, they of course burn incense to put us to shame! Presently there is an outtheir own drag, and say, This was my doing; cry raised in the soul against his managebut believers meet with rubs and disappoint- ment; this is wrong, that unnecessary, the ments, which convince them, that it' they ob- other has spoiled the whole plan: in short, tain any thing, it is the Lord must do it for all these things are against us. And then we them. For this reason, I observe, that he go into the pulpit, and gravely tell the people usually brings a death upon our prospects, how wise and how good he is;
and preach even when it is his purpose to give us success submission to his will, not only as a duty, but in the issue. Thus we become more assured a privilege. Alas! how deceitful is the heart! that we did not act in our own spirits, and Yet, since it is, and will be so, it is neces have a more satisfactory view, that his pro- sary we should know it by experience. We vidence has been concerned in filling up the have reason, however, to say, He is good and rivers and removing the mountains that were wise; for he bears with our perverseness, and in our way. Then, when he has given us our in the event shows us, that if he had listened desire, how pleasant is it to look at it, and to our murmurings, and taken the methods say, This I got not by my own sword, and we would have prescribed to him, we should my own bow, but I wrestled for it in prayer, have been ruined indeed, and that he has I waited for it in faith, I put it into the Lord's been all the while doing us good in spite of hand, and from his hand I received it? ourselves.
You have met with the story of one of our If I judge right, you will find your way kings (if I mistake not,) who wanted to send providentially opened more and more; and a nobleman abroad as his ambassador, and he yet it is possible, that when you begin to desired to be excused on account of some af- think yourself sure, something may happen fairs which required his presence at home: to put you in a panic again. But a believer, the king answered, “Do you take care of like a sailor, is not to be surprised if the my business, and I will take care of yours." wind changes, but to learn the art of suiting I would have you think the Lord says thus himself to all winds for the time; and though to you. You were sent into the world for a many a poor sailor is shipwrecked, the poor nobler end than to be pinned to a girl's apron- believer shall gain his port. O, it is good string; and yet, if the Lord sees it not good sailing with an infallible pilot at the helm, for you to be alone, he will provide you a who has the wind and weather at his comhelp-mate. I say, if he sees the marriage- mand ! state best for you, he has the proper person I have been much abroad, which of course already in his eye, and though she were in puts things at sixes and sevens at home. If Peru or Nova Zembla, he knows how to bring I did not love you well, I could not have you together. In the mean time, go thou spared so much of the only day I have had and preach the gospel. Watch in all things; to myself for this fortnight past. But I was endure afflictions: do the work of an evan- willing you should know that I think of you, gelist; make full proof of your ministry: and and feel for you, if I cannot help you. when other thoughts rise in your mind (for I have read Mr. – 's book. Some you have no door to shut them quite out,) things I think strongly argued ; in some he rud with them to the throne of grace, and has laid himself open to a blow, and I doubt commit them to the Lord. Satan will per- not but he will have it. I expect answers, haps try to force them upon you unseasonably lies, rejoinders, &c. &c. and say, with and inordinately; but if he sees they drive you Leah, Gad, a troop cometh. How the wolf to prayer, he will probably desist, rather than will grin to see the sheep and the shepherds be the occasion of doing you so much good. biting and worrying one another! And well Believe, likewise, that as the Lord has the ap- he may. He knows that contentions are a pointment of the person, so he fixes the time. surer way to weaken the spirit of love, and His time is like the time of the tide; all the stop the progress of the gospel, than his old art and power of man can neither hasten nor stale method of fire and sword. Well, I trust retard it a moment: it must be waited for; we shall be of one heart and one mind when nothing can be done without it, and when it we get to heaven at last. comes, nothing can resist it. It is unbelief that Let who will fight, I trust neither water talks of delays; faith knows that properly nor fire shall set you and me at variance. there can be no such thing. The only reason We unite in love to you. The Lord is gra. why the Lord seems to delay what he after- cious to us, &c.-I am, &c. wards grants, is, that the best hour is not yet come. I know you have been enabled to commit and resign your all to his disposal. You did well. May he help you to stand to
LETTER VIII. the surrender. Sometimes he will put us to the trial, whether we mean what we say. He
1776. takes his course in a way we did not ex DEAR SIR,—I do not often serve your lettere pect; and then, alas! how often does the trial so, but this last I burnt, believing you would
like to have it out of danger of falling into prettiest creature upon earth, than of the light improper hands. When I saw how eagerly of a candle on midsummer noon. the names devoured the paper, how quickly Upon the whole, I pray and hope the Lord and entirely every trace of the writing was will sweeten your cross, and either in kind consuined, I wished that the fire of the love or in kindness make you good amends. of Jesus might as completely obliterate from Wait, pray, and believe, and all shall be well. your heart every uneasy impression which A cross we must have somewhere; and they your disappointment has given you who are favoured with health, plenty, peace,
and a conscience sprinkled with the blood of Surely when he crosses our Jesus, must have more causes for thankfulwishes, it is always in mercy, and because we ness than grief. Look round you, and take short-sighted creatures often know not what notice of the very severe afHictions which we ask nor what would be the consequences many of the Lord's own people are groaning it our desires were granted.
under, and your trials will appear comparaYour pride, it seems, has received a fall, tively light. Our love to all friends.—I am, by meeting a repulse. I know self does not &c. like to be mortified in these affairs; but if you are made successful in wooing souls for Christ, I hope that will console you for meeting a rebuff when only wooing for yourself.
LETTER IX. Besides, I would have you pluck up your spirits. I have two good old proverbs at your
June 3, 1777. service: “ There is as good fish in the sea as DEAR SIR,—It seems I must write some any that are brought out of it:" and, “If thing about the small-pox, but I know not one won't, another will, or wherefore serves well what; having had it myself, I cannot the market ?” Perhaps all your difficulties judge how I should feel if I were actually have arisen from this, that you have not yet exposed to it
. I am not a professed advocate seen the right person; if so, you have reason for inoculation; but if a person who fears the to be thankful that the Lord would not let Lord should tell me, “I think I can do it in you take the wrong, though you unwittingly faith, looking upon it as a salutary expedient, would have done it if you could. Where which he in his providence has discovered, the right one lies hid I know not; but upon a and which, therefore, appears my duty to supposition that it will be good for you to have recourse to, so that my mind does not marry, I may venture to say,
hesitate with respect to the lawfulness, nor
am I anxious about the event; being satisfied, Ubi ubi est, diu celari non potest. that whether I live or die, I am in that path
in which I can cheerfully expect his blessing,” The Lord in his providence will disclose her, I do not know that I could offer a word by put her in your way, and give you to under way of dissuasion. stand, This is she. Then you will find your If another person should say, “My times business go forward with wheels and wings, are in the Lord's hands; I am now in health, and have cause to say, His choice and time and am not willing to bring upon myself a were better than your own.
disorder, the consequences of which i cannot Did I not tell you formerly, that if you possibly foresee: if I am to have the smallwould take care of his business, he will take pox, I believe he is the best judge of the seacare of yours? I am of the same mind still. son and manner in which I shall be visited, He will not suffer them who fear him and de- so as may be most for his glory and my own pend upon him to want any thing that is truly good : and therefore I choose to wait his apgood for them. In the mean while, I advise pointment, and not to rush upon even the pos. you to take a lodging as near as you can to sibility of danger without a call. If the very Gethsemane, and to walk daily to mount Gol- hairs of my head are numbered, I have no Lotha, and borrow (which may be had for reason to fear, that, supposing I receive the asking) that telescope which gives a prospect small-pox in a natural way, I shall have a into the unseen world. A view of what is single pimple more than he sees expedient; passing within the vail has a marvellous effect and why should I wish to have one less ? to compose our spirits, with regard to the Nay, admitting, which, however, is not allittle things that are daily passing here. ways the case, that inoculation might exempt Praise the Lord, who has enabled you to fix me from some pain and inconvenience, and your supreme affection upon him, who is lessen the apparent danger, might it not likealone the proper and suitable object of it, and wise, upon that very account, prevent my refrom whom you cannot meet a denial, or fear ceiving some of those sweet consolations a change. He loved you first, and he will which I humbly hope my gracious Lord love you for ever; and if he be pleased to would afford me, if it were his pleasure to arise and smile upon you, you are in no more call me to a sharp trial. Perhaps the clier necessity of begging for happiness to the design of this trying hour if it comes, may
be to show me more of his wisdom, power, We preach and hear, and I hope we know and love, than I have ever yet experienced. something of faith, as enabling us to intrust If I could devise a mean to avoid the trouble, the Lord with our souls: I wish we had all I know not how great a loser I may be in more faith to intrust him with our bodies, our point of grace and comfort. Nor am I afraid health, our provision, and our temporal comof my face; it is now as the Lord has made forts likewise. The former should seem to it, and it will be so after the small-pox. If require the strongest faith of the two. How it pleases him, I hope it will please me. In strange is it, that when we think we can do short, though I do not censure others, yet, as the greater, we should be so awkward and to myself, inoculation is what I dare not unskilful when we aim at the less! Give my venture upon. If I did venture, and the issue love to your friend. I dare not advise: but should not be favourable, I should blame my. if she can quietly return at the usual time, self for having attempted to take the manage- and neither run intentionally into the way ment out of the Lord's hand into my own, of the small-pox, nor run out of the way, but which I never did yet in other matters, with leave it simply with the Lord, I shall not out finding I am no more able than I am blame her. And if you will mind your praying worthy to choose for myself. Besides, at the and preaching, and believe that the Lord can best, inoculation would only secure me from take care of her without any of your contrione of the innumerable natural evils the flesh vances, I shall not blame you: nay, I shall is heir to; I should still be as liable as I am praise him for you both. My prescription is, at present to a putrid feve a bilious col to read Dr. Watts' cxxi.st Psalm every mornan inflammation in the bowels or in the brain, ing before breakfast, and pray it over till the and a thousand formidable diseases which cure is effected. Probatum est. are hovering round me, and only wait his permission to cut me off in a few days or
Hast thou not given thy word, hours: and therefore I am determined, by
To save my soul from death ? his grace, to resign myself to his disposal. And I can trust my Lord Let me fall into the hands of the Lord (for
To keep my mortal breath. his mercies are great,) and not into the hands
I'll go and come,
Nor fear to die, of men."
Till from on high If a person should talk to me in this strain,
Thou call me home. most certainly I could not say, Notwithstanding all this, your safest way is to be inocu. Adieu. Pray for your's. lated.
TO MISS TH
texts as Isa. xxii. 12–14, iii. 12, Amos vi.
3, 6, James iv. 4. I wish you, therefore, not MY DEAR MADAM, -Let what has been to plead for any of them, but use all your insaid on the subject of acquaintance, &c. suf- fluence to make them shunned as pest-houses, fice. It was well meant on my side and and dangerous nuisances to precious souls; well taken on yours. You may, perhaps, see especially, if you know any who, you hope, that my hints were not wholly unnecessary, in the main are seriously disposed, who yet and I ought to be satisfied with your apology, venture themselves in those purlieus of Satan, and am so. The circumstance of your being endeavour earnestly and faithfully to undeseen at the play house has nothing at all ceive them. mysterious in it: as you say you have not The time is short, eternity at the door: and been there this six or seven years, it was was there no other evil in these vain amuseneither more nor less than a mistake. Iments than the loss of precious time (but, heard
you had been there within these two alas! their name is legion,) we have not leiyears: I am glad to find I was misinformed. sure, in our circumstances, to regard them. I think there is no harm in your supposing, But, blessed be God! we need them not that of the many thousands who frequent The gospel opens a source of purer, sweeter, public diversions some may in other respects and more substantial pleasures: we are inbe better than yourself; but I hope your vited to communion with God; we are called humble and charitable construction of their to share in the theme of angels; the songs of mistake will not lead you to extenuate the heaven, and the wonders of redeeming love evil of those diversions in themselves. For are laid open to our view. The Lord him. though I am persuaded, that a few, who self is waiting to be gracious, waiting with know better what to do with themselves, are promises and pardons in his hands. Well, for want of consideration, drawn in to expose then, may we bid adieu to the perishing pleathemselves in such places; yet I am well sures of sin; well may we pity those who satisfied that, if there is any practice in this can find pleasure in those places and parties land sinful, attendance on the playhouse is where he is shut out; where his name is only properly and eminently so. The theatres are mentioned to be profaned; where his comfountains and means of vice; I had almost mandments are not only broken but insulted; said, in the same manner and degree as the where sinners proclaim their shame as in So ordinances of the gospel are the means of dom, and attempt not to hide it; where at grace: and I can hardly think there is a chris- best wickedness is wrapt up in a disguise of tian upon earth who would dare to be seen delicacy, to make it more insinuating, and there, if the nature and effects of the theatre nothing is offensive that is not grossly and were properly set before them. Dr. Wither- unpolitely indecent. spoon of Scotland, has written an excellent Í sympathize with all your complaints; piece upon the stage, or rather against it, but if the Lord is pleased to make them subwhich I wish every person who makes the servient to the increase of your sanctificaleast pretence to fear God had an opportunity tion, to wean you more and more from this of perusing. I cannot judge much more fa- world, and to draw you nearer to himself, vourably of Ranelagh, Vauxhall, and all the you will one day see cause to be thankful innumerable train of dissipations by which for them, and to number them amongst the god of this world blinds the eyes of mul- your choicest mercies. A hundred years titudes, lest the light of the glorious gospel hence it will signify little to you whether should shine in upon them. What an awful you were sick or well the day I wrote this aspect upon the present times have such lletter.