Page images
PDF
EPUB

You say you have never yet suffered as a christian, but justly observe, you are not sure you never shall ; for your consolation I am sure you will ; not for living godly in the antichristian sense of the word ; very few I believe ever suffered on that account; on the contrary, if you will live godly in yourself you will be so far from incurring the hatred of all men, that you will be admired by all men, for although all men have not this godly life, yet all men hope to have it, and expect no salvation without it; nay, in general, salvation is expected consequent thereon. Hence they universally agree to worship this idol that is set up ; yea, both those who think they have this godliness in themselves, and those who acknowledge they have it not.

But if you will live godly in Christ Jesus, our divine master assures us you must suffer persecution. God in mercy give us in patience to possess our souls ; may we still look forward to that glorious immortality that was prepared for us, from before the foundation of the world.

It is a delightful thought, that the world is not to be overcome by us, therefore we dare be of good cheer, when we hear the Redeemer say, I have overcome the world. Yet how does this appear to the eye of sense ? not at all; hence it is by faith we have peace with God; by faith that we can be of good cheer. Did I not say we had reason to cry out with the disciples, Lord, increase our faith. How very easy

it is to draw conclusions from our own feelings. Are you not, you ask, at liberty to go when and where you please? Very fine ; but I pray you now take a view of my liberty, with respect at least to body and estate. My body has long been a prisoner, although in some sort a prisoner at large. Those disorders which must at last subdue have not only laid hold of my decaying frame in its out works, but have also taken possession of the citadel; yet perhaps these troublesome foes have only taken up their winter quarters in my territory; the main body at least, may decamp on the coming of the summer, and I may thus be able to surmount the difficulties of a journey to which I look forward with no very pleasing sensations. Both my mind and body are debilitated by inaction, and I am convinced I ought to be about my master's business.

But now for my estate. It is true I have not the mortification to reflect I have sunk my estate, except my selling my horse and spending the money may be considered in that light. I am neither able to purchase another horse, nor to keep him if I had one. This

[graphic]

I wish I had immediately complied with your request relative to the ten virgins ; my difficulties augment by delay ; yet I think I shall attempt it on certain conditions, however, but not by your son; I have not now leisure, and besides, I do not wish to have so much the advantage of you in the writing way, by rendering my communications so much more copious than yours. I am determined, in the traffic of friendship, to make no allowance for quality ; quantity is all, and on this principle, the balance is all in my favour. Your son looks finely; he has been hospitably treated by the foe; thus hạth kind providence rendered unto you abroad, in the person

of this amiable-son, those acts of kindness which you have shown · to the stranger and the prisoner at home. How condescendingly

indulgent is the God from whom we receive every thing, every good which we enjoy, when he encouragingly and soothingly says, 6 Whoso giveth to the poor, lendeth unto the Lord, and look what he layeth out shall be paid unto him again.” Look, hath he not paid you again ? But, you will say, you had previously received abundant compensation, inasmuch as it is more blessed to give than to receive; nor am I inclined to dispute this point with you.

The account you give me of these same modern Christians is, I confess, truly pleasing; and not the less for being unexpected. It is like my friends, that is all ; and they are the gift of my everlasting Friend. Their expressions of affection toward me, are but the outward and visible sign of what is infinitely more valuable than silver or than gold, at least, in my estimation ; they give assurance of that disinterested, that sacred friendship, enkindled by a love for that truth, which our common Saviour hath commissioned me to proclaim. May God, all-gracious, bestow upon each of my friends, as the best recompense they can possibly receive, still higher, still brighter views of that love of God, a perfect knowledge of which, passeth understanding. May they drink deeper and deeper of the soul-satisfying waters, that flow from the wells of salvation. Tell those dear friends, I cannot now visit them, but bid them look forward to that era, when distance shall no longer separate the family of man.

Some of my connexions affirm, the sabbath is not to them a day of rest! Whenever this is a truth, I am furnished with a subject of serious regret. When the sabbath is not a day of rest, it must be indeed tedious. O, that Christians were as wise in their genera-, tion, as the children of this world! they would then hold upon this

[graphic]

only admissible but laudable, and perhaps, men would still more effectually elevate themselves, were they to disclaim all title to merit, and say, with every faculty of their souls, “ Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name, O Lord! be all the glory.” Many are the methods taken by the pride of man to obtain superiority; how happy would it be for our species in general, if pride were mani. fested only in an ambitious desire, to surpass our brethren in acts of beneficence. Well, in God's good time all will be right.

You observe, it is necessary pride should be humbled. Assuredly then it will be humbled; but it is the power of the Almighty which must do this, for it is not in us to will, or to do in this respect; he that breathed into us the breath of life, can alone regulate the mind. Ought it to be viewed as a humiliating consideration, that on comparing our actions with those performed by the only wise God our Saviour, we come to learn that his actions, and their source, is as much superior to ours, as the divine nature is to the human nature? Man, you say, was made to have dominion over all things. What man? The figure or the substance ? « One in a certain place saith thou hast made man a little lower than the angels, thou hast put all things in subjection under him, now we see not all things put in subjection, but we see Jesus, &c. &c."

Yes, blessed be this man, the right of redemption was in him, yea, and the right of the redeemed too, and indeed the right of all things, for all things were made not only by him, but for him, even the wicked were made, like briars and thorns, for destruction. The head of every man was crowned with thorns ; thus when all we like sheep had gone astray, the iniquities of every man was visited on the head of every man, for the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all ; nor is it wonderful, that on this head of every man, was found the emblem of the curse ; on his head who was made a curse for us, on the day that burnt as an oven, when the proud, and all who did wickedly, were as the stubble. Thanks be to God our Saviour, who so effectually put away our transgressions, by the sacrifice of himself, that neither root nor branch remaineth before God, to condemn us. So that we can say we are black, but comely ; black in ourselves, but comely in him, in whom our once offended, but now reconciled God hath accepted us; saying I have not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel. Ye are complete in him, says the Apostle. To live contented in the belief of this

VOL. II.

« PreviousContinue »