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clouds without rain. If the Almighty did not set such characters before us, we should not so well understand his portraits ; but by comparing the one with the other we find out feigned faith, vain confidence, empty-gifts, dissembled love, and learn to distinguish between the sheep-skin and the wolf that wears it; and when the Lord discovers them to us, it is a hint given that we may withdraw from them in whom we perceive not the lips of wisdom, nor even meddle with them that are given to change : besides, it teaches us to prize a faithful friend the more. Many believed on the Saviour upon the fight of his miracles, but he did not commit himself to them, he took them not into his privy council, nor did he open one secret to them, or make free with them, for he knew all men, and be knew what was in man. Moreover, among his own disciples he had one which is called the disciple whom Jesus loved; with whom, perhaps, he might with more freedom converse, and who outlived all the others, and was the only one who died a natural death; all the rest suffered martyrdom. Choose your company, and when you find one after your own heart, value him; but, above all, endeavour to keep up communion and fellowship with that friend that loveth at all times, and who sticketh closer than a brother. Wirdom is the principal thing, embrace her, and hold her faft; she shall be an ornament of grace to thine head, a crown of glory Mall she deliver to thee; her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Yea, amidst a thousand storms the keeps the soul in heavenly tranquillity; the improves every difappointment, loss, and cross, to our advantage ; sets us down under the same experiences and sensations of the saints of old; moves us from one covenant view to another, from one enlargement to another, from stage to stage, and from strength to strength, till our souls take up their various lodge ments in the same resting-places of those who are gone before, and who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. These are the footsteps of the fock. When the apostles had been for some time favoured with the pleasing and happy enjoyment of one branch of the Saviour's work, they came into foul-trials, which brought them out into another. In this way those great champions fulfilled their ministry, and their Aocks, following them, finished their warfare: their leaders brought forth, out of the Lord's treasures, things new and old; and their followers found their portion of meat in due season.
Dear brother (so I call you, though unknown), adieu.
Church - street,
ŘEV. SIR, I THANK my kind friend for his last, and hope ever to remember him in my poor petitions, when the heavenly aid of the kind and dear Comforter Ihall be upon me in that blessed privilege. My poor, leaky, and weatherbeaten vessel, is fallen into a certain creek where two seas meet; I mean the treachery and malice of pretended friends, and the scorn and contempt of open foes. Had it been an enemy, or one that hated me, I could have borne it, or hid myself from him; but counsellors, guides, companions, familiar friends, with whom I have walked to the house of God in company, are among the conspirators; and those who have eaten bread with me have lifted up the heel against me. But my dear Master himself went through this part of the path of tribulation, and we must follow his steps. Much foul-travail, hard study, wearisome nights, daily prayers, and many tears, have been my exercise for the good of their souls, who now hate me for attempting to undeceive them, and pluck them
from the hand of the artful fowler. I know the terrors of the Lord, nor am I ignorant of the consequences that will follow this revival of the old cause which was once pleaded at the waters of frife. They have been too well fed, their souls begin to loath the manna, the honeycomb, and the feast of fet ibings; these are become too common: and sure I am that God will proclaim a fast to these, he will turn them out of the vineyard, and separate them from the comfortable presence of the living Vine; all smiles of the Bridegroom fall be taken from them, and then shall they fast in those days; they want husks, wine mixed with water, and these stolen, for only such are sweet to them. They have fent for the impostor up, and I am glad of it; for the hand of God shall be known toward his fervants, and his indignation toward his enemies. God shall give them their own way, and they shall be filled with their own devices ; for the turning away of the Jimple fall say them, and the prosperity of ficls fall destroy them.
Some have been much grieved at my prosperity ; they could not endure to see God spread a table for me in the midst of mine enemies, though, I believe, I might have cried, My leanness! My leanness! long enough, if God had raised me up no better supporters than these who are now in the tents of Korah. They would wish me to take my bread out of the thorns, or cut up juniper-roots for ny meat; but they that would muzzle the ox, ihail feed the . Vol. II.
wolf; for it is but just that those who would starve them that wait at the altar, should be left to spend money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that wbich fatisfieth not. Christ will have no neutrals where he comes. If the Jewish fanhedrim cannot afford the Saviour a winding sheet, they shall give large money to the foldiers to obscure his resurrection from the dead.
In such cases as this there is no conferring with felh and blood; carnal reason and unbelief would be for cursing the day in which it was said, there is a man-child conceived; or els?, woe is me, my mother, that thou hast born me a man of strife and contention to all the earth : this brings nothing in, but there is a deal of it conceived in the heart. But no way so fafe, so good, so pleasing to God, as pouring it out before his throne ; hourly conceptions of this sort has furnished me with hourly burdens for the shoulders of my great Deliverer; bless him for ever, who, in this valley of Achor, gives us a door of hope. You may fee where I have been, and where I now am; frail nature hath got her arguments and pleas in us all; the great Captain shewed this--I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none: they gave me gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink; and we must taste the bitter cup, as well as the cup of salvation. This is the third time that I have been in perils among false brethren.—The first was at Wooking, in Surry, through the instrum