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And lastly, Sir, as I have ventured so far, I am desirous to speak to you of my walk. I do firmly believe we must walk in the Spirit, if we would not fulfil the lusts of the files. This is the walk I am seeking to attain ; but whether I strive lawfully I cannot determine. I hope, in time, God will appear for me, though I certainly at present go very heartlessly on; but I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him; and surely it is of his tender mercies I am not consumed.,
Will you forgive my intrusion, reverend Sir, even if you should not feel a wish to answer me? I certainly am very unworthy your attention,
To J-- H
Cove of Cork, Ireland.
Fellow finner in Adam, and fellow faint in Christ Jesus, grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the great channel of all conveyance. That the Most High God Mould condescend to own, bless, or acknowledge any thing written or spoken by me, is wonderful to many, and a humbling consideration to me; but this treafure is in the earthen vessel, that the excellency may appear to be of God, and not of man; and the more weak and contemptible the vessel, the less liable to rob the fountain that fills it. I know of no disparity, Sir, between the children of men in God's sight, unless sovereign Grace has made it. Christ will have nothing to do with any of the human race in a way of grace, but with sensible finners; for though all inen are the creatures of his care, there only are the people of his charge. Sinful and polluted is the whole fountain, Sir; and who can bring a clean thing from it ? None but God, who hath sent forth his own Son, made of a woman, and yet holy, harmless, and undefiled, and who is a fountain that cleanseth lis from all lin.
The name of an Antinomian is to me like the serpent upon a rock, or like the ship in the midst of the sea; the former makes no impression, and the latter foon loses its wake. A conscience purged from guilt, and furnished with the Spirit's testimony, is proof against all the counsel of devils, and artillery of men. If God chooses, who can reprobate? It is God that justifieth, who can condemn ? If he gives peace, who can create trouble ? No weapon formed can prosper. Let them all curse, but bless thou.
You are shut out from ordinances, and from the conversation of the godly and experienced; this you intimate to be your lamentation, and I have, for upwards of twenty years, viewed such a situation to be the one thing needful. My soul is sick of this world, fick of men, fick of preachers, sick of professors, and sick of many real faints, who are blown too and fro with every wind of doctrine, charmed with novelty, transported with an empty noise, zealously affected with the wanton allurements and empty oratory of the sons of Relial, and who cannot distinguish between Christ and Satan ; nor between an anibailidor of Christ by whom the Lord speaks, and falle teachers by whom Satan speaks. Satan, from the first, spoke by the serpent, and proclainis his guile by a generation of vipers to this day. The Lord rebuked Balaam by the ass, and by defpicable means he still speaks to sinners: now, the former is admired for his cunning,
the latter rejected for its stupidity. To distinguish here is the wisdom of the wise ; and to pursue the consecrated path of the latter, is walking in the way which no fowl knoweth. God does all things well; his lips transgress not in judgment, nor can there be any error in his government; where he fixes our station is best for us, and all things shall work for our good. Company entice us to talk, loneliness leads us to think: the former empties the cruse, the latter fills it: the latter humbles, sweetens, and meekens us ; the former exalts us, and nurses pride.
The talk of the lip tendeth only to penury; but meditation is sweet to the soul. You are welcome to your company; give me a place of wayfaring men ; let the swallow fly with her shoal, but let me be the sparrow alone upon the house-top; in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but prayer in the closet brings open reward. All discontent flows from a consciousness of distance, guilt, or some legal impediment, rebellion, carnal enmity, stubbornness, or some indulged lust, or prohibited idol, sensibly felt as standing between God and the soul, which provokes the Lord to jealousy, hides his face, closes his ear to prayer, clasps his bountiful hand, and straitens the bowels of his mercy against us; for our God is a jealous God, and will never unite with inordinate affections, nor suffer a rival to himself unresented. When the intercourse between God and the soul is open, we are in good company; and when the heart is fixed,
every part of the globe is both a home and a había tation.
I am not ignorant of the ghastly images exhibited on the carnal mind, as so many deformed representations of the object of worship. All idolatry began here: the idol was first set up in the heart, then represented to the limner, and formed by the artist. This was Ifrael's first stumbling-block : Satan drew the plan on the stage of fancy, and, when che idol was formed, they worshipped the first founder in the idol; they sacrificed to devils, and not to God. The advocate for catholic images should have told you whac form you should conceive when you pray; but here the divine ques. tion is, To whom then will you liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Isaiah xl. 18. 25; xlvi. 5. A human form must not be conceived; this conception is exploded. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself, but I will reprove thee, and sec thy sins in order before thee; now consider this, ye chat forget God, &c. The godhead is not to be likened to corruptible man, to fourfooted beasts, nor to creeping things, whether portrayed by the devil, or graven by art and man's device. Rom. i. 23; Acts xvii. 29. Ifrael faw no fimilitude, and therefore was strictly forbidden the making of any image, male. or female, tbe likeness of any fowl, beaft, creeping thing, or fij. Read Deut. iv. The Deity compares himself to living water, Jer, ü. 13 ; to fire, Heb. xii. 29;