Page images
PDF
EPUB

LETTER XHI.

To the Rev. Mr. HUNTINGTON.

MY DEARLY BELOVED FRIEND,

RECEIVED

Grace, mercy, and peace, be multiplied. I received your kind instructing letter of March 4th, for which I return you my most grateful acknowledgment. I believe I should have troubled you with a letter before now, but many obstacles have been in the way; but most of all unbelief on the one hand, and a fear of presumption on the other, have worried and perplexed my soul forely, so that I have gone bowing down my head like a bulrush. Ifs and buts are cutting things to me, and also dishonourable to God. I have gone so far as to fear that the Lord had never begun the good work in my soul at all, and that I had deceived others and myself also, and have prayed the Lord to begin the good work now. I have endeavoured to go back, in these terrible times, to past experience; and there I have been baffled also. I have looked at my first convictions, but it has been represented that they were only natural convictions, and that I VOL. II.

F

never

ev

never saw fin exceeding sinful, nor in its true light; that I never had a godly sorrow for sin, nor that mourning on the account of fin which is peculiar to the saints; therefore they were not convictions by the Spirit of the Lord. I have answered, that they led me to pray to the Lord, and that, from a feeling sense of my lost condition (terrible and long as they were), that they might not go off but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I also answered, Did not this prove that, at that time, the Lord had granted me a new covenant-blessing, « his fear in “ my heart,” that they should not go off but by the blood of Christ. It came again : it was only a prayer while his chastening was upon me, and that he only mocked when my fear came; and in this way have I been, till I have been wearied and confounded. I then few, I thought, to a more sure testimony, I mean the day of my espoufals; which has many times kept me up: for St. Paul says, they may have many things, and having not charity, or love, they are nothing. I put the question, Have I not had the love of God shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost? which at that time took away that Navish fear of hell and damnation, and it has never returned (though, poor wretch, I have desired it) to this present period. To the last it was answered when God's chastening hand was off me I fell asleep again in carnal security, and the rest that I felt was in myself, noc in him. And to the first it was answered- it was nothing but the joy of a hypocrite or Arminian, which I have seen thanking and praising God from day to day, as if in the liberty of the gospel, but it was rejoicing only in a thing of nought; and here I have been forely put to it, and," being in darkness and having no “ light,” it has left behind a secret suspicion, and a jealousy which is cruel as the grave, and till the Lord is pleased of his mercy to remove it my life will hang in doubt.

My dearly beloved friend, let me crave an interest in your prayers, from a feeling sense of my need ; for I know that the effectual fervent prayer of W. H. S. S. availeth much, as has been proved to me concerning that woman at G , which was mentioned in a former letter. The prayer-meeting which she held in opposition to us is broke up, but what has been the occasion of it I cannot learn; the first cause I know, but cannot learn the second. She is also made manifest to another person, who I have great reason to believe is a Christian, and who has helped to support her by her pocket. I do believe the Lord is making her manifest very fast, praised be his name for that. I am often tempted to believe that the love I experienced at my deliverance from the gulph of black despair, was not attended with those soul-debasing, God-exalting, views, as is experienced by Christians; that it was not attended with that sympathy for Jesus Christ as is mentioned in Zech. xii. 10. « They shall mourn for him as " one that mourneth for his only fon; and shall be

F2

« in

" in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness “ for his first born." - May the Lord make you willing and able to give close answers. I shall say no more on this subject at present, but shall proceed, hoping you will send me a few lines in as short a time as possibly you can. And may the Lord direct you. Amen.

My heartfelt prayer is, “ Search me, O God, " and know my heart; try me, and know my “ thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in “ me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

There is Mr. Thomas B , &c. &c. &c. who desire to express their love, gratitude, and affection to you, as an instrument in the hand of God, for our beloved M. O 's visit among us. I believe he has been made useful in some sense or other to us all: some have been comforted, some reproved, and fome established; our eyes are completely opened to see into a certain description of ministers as they never were before; it has taught us the difference between a minister of the letter only and one of the Spirit; or, if you please, a minister of Satan and one of the Lord's. He speaks as one having authority, and not as our modern, letterlearned, fchool-taught, scribes; he is sweetly in the liberty of the gospel both in preaching and in speaking in private; and, oh, how do I long to be in it myself, the glorious liberty of the children of God! It sounds and vibrates in my heart, and I hope, one day, the Lord will grant my request, that I shall

steadily

steadily enjoy it myself. At present I am at war with a whole host of enemies, and am afraid I often attack them in my own strength. Legality is a terrible foe to me; but I must leave off here, and be gin on another subject.

In your love and kindness to us, you sent Mr. B- a letter, the contents whereof made me tremble ; the awful charge you gave me, and that in the presence of God, and at my peril if I refused; and your speaking so positively that God would bless us in this way: feeling myself so very weak (which this letter will prove), has laid me under fresh difficulties that I little thought of, and I think I have suspected my own state being safe more since that letter came than I did before. It has brought such thoughts as these. How can I describe the real convictions of a child of God, while I suspect the reality of my own? And how can I describe the everlasting discriminating love of God which is shed abroad in the finner's heart, after he has passed under the rod, when the day of his espousals is come, at the feast of fat things; and, at the same time, suspect my own ftate? It cannot be. I thought, if my dear friend had known me, 'he would not have said so much about my being useful in future, or laid such a charge upon me; besides, very often I cannot see any thing in the scriptures from one end to the other: I have looked and read, and at last have shut the book and gone away grievously disappointed, moping 'and mourning

F3

about

« PreviousContinue »