« PreviousContinue »
be the case, that he would stop my mouth, and not fuffer me to go on contrary to his will; and this I have done in the bitterness of my soul, and have gone so far as to tell the people never to expect any thing from me, but some of them have contradicted me to my face; yet for all this fome word has come across that has fired my soul, that zeal for God has taken place, I have had liberty of speech, all the darkness has fed (nay, even forgotten for the time) as if it had never been, and nothing has been thought on but the glory of God, and the welfare of God's dear children; and when this has been over, I haye found myself gradually sinking into my old state again; but this is, no doubt, for wise and good ends, though it is uncomfortable beyond defcription. These things convince me also of the truth of your observation, that falvation, and the ministry of it, are not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth; it is not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
I have begged of God lately (betimes), that if he had designed me for usefulness, even as a private believer, that he would fulfil his blessed promise in Isaiah lii. 12 ; that he would not suffer me to go out with hafte, nor go by flight; but that he would (if this was his blessed will) go before me, and that he would be my rereward. I will (God willing) tell you, my beloved friend, how he was pleased, lately, to answer this prayer, in the joy of some
people's hearts, and my own also, and I hope it will be a joy to you.
S- , as I told you in a former letter, was the place where the Lord first appeared the health of my countenance and my God; it is a place where there is a deal of profession, there is what they call the gospel preached both in the church and in the chapel, and, to take it in the outside view of it, it appears a garden inclosed indeed; but I firmly believe that a deal of the profession stands in the enticing words of man's wisdom, and not in demonstration of the spirit and of power. The last time but one that I was there, the people that used to be so kind and so glad to see me, looked very shily at me, so far that I found I must go no more there; and that because I had embraced (what they term) your tenets, which they are industriously taught to think are destructive to the church. It was a steeplefied gentleman in that place that first acquainted me with the name of Mr. Huntington, and how he had disturbed the little hills of Zion by his dangerous doctrine and bad spirit; and I think he told me that he had broke some paítor or pastors hearts ; fo, by this means, I was prejudiced against you (as I believe many are, at this time, by the same instrument), before I had ever known you, or seen any of your writings; and I was thankful for the caution, till the Lord was pleased to open my eyes: first, by your Kingdom of Heaven taken by Prayer providentially falling into my hands, and reading part
of it before I knew the author ; but, finding fomething that fitted, and suited, and being attended with an unction, I nacurally looked to see who was the author; and who thould it be, but the very man that I had been so cautioned against; so the scales fell off my eyes, and I presently knew who was on the Lord's side.
This gentleman has been, and is at this time, very industrious to prejudice people's minds against both you and your books; I heard him say myself, that by your not making the law a rule of life, you overturned nineteen parts out of twenty of the scriptures. This man's tongue has been the occasion of Mr. B--'s sending him two letters. And so, what with the cool treatment of some of the people, and these letters (for if I went to S M, I must go to the house where he was, and in consideration of my own inability to contend with him), I concluded I would not go at all, at least for the present. Euc lately, a kinsman of my wife's came down from London, who, I hope and trust, is a Christian, and Providence so ordered it, that he is working at his trade at S--, and has been very busy in circulating your books (by which means fome of their eyes are open), which has given the alarm to the people in the Sand Bank; a caution is given to them, and an injunction is laid upon them, to shun both the books and the propagators of them, for they have been tried by their judgment, and been laid in the balance of their pride, and are
found wanting ; therefore with such an one, no, not to eat.
In this state of things, the young man sent for me several times to come over ; but my answer was, that I could not see my way clear, but I would come over as soon as I could conceive it was the Lord's will; for I know if the Lord is not in it, nothing good can be done. This word I sent to him from G- , the fabbath-day before I received your kind letter; and on the Tuesday following I went over ; for when I got home from G , on the Monday morning, there had been a message from S-4, acquainting me that this young man had suddenly dropt down as dead in the chamber where he worked, and that my wife's brother, which this young man was working with, was also so ill that they did not expect his recovery; and this circumstance brought me over to Se When I came there, I found the young man perfectly recovered, and he and myself went out in the evening to a person's house where fix or seven of us were cogether, but most of them prejudiced against you and your writings; however I had not been long before I found such liberty in speaking, that I was astonished at myself; and what I enforced I felt with fuch power in my own soul, that I could have said (as John Bunyan did, if it had been lawful), I was more than sure that what I advanced was truth; and the chief of my drift lay in enforcing the necessity of the power of godliness to be known and felt
by by each individual for himself; and how that the faith of professors of religion stands only in the wisdom of men; and that the poor weaklings of Christ's flock get entangled by these ministers of Satan transforming themselves as the ministers of righteousness, and by what means the Lord fometimes takes to bring them out, &c. &c. I think I never felt such power in my life; I had it with such clear evidence to myself that what I advanced was the truth, and such love and zeal I found for the honour and glory of God, that I cannot express. One of the persons said before them all, with a bright and cheerful countenance, how glad she was that I was come; she said she had been longing and praying for me to come over, and I really thought, whilft I was speaking, there was something for her as well as myself; the young man felt the power also, and declared he was refreshed by the coming of Titus. And this made way for a meeting the next night at a private person's house, though it was the night they met at the chapel.
I Nept there that night, and the next day I took an opportunity to go to one person that I heard secretly read your books, and had been comforted by them. It was a clergyman's widow, who was very glad to see me; she told me she thought when she came to S-- how happy she should be, having the gospel preached (as she thought) both in church and chapel, but she said she could not find any comfort at either place; but, says she, I have lately got a book or