Page images
PDF
EPUB

healed, he would then with true apostolic zeal, labour to turn his hearers from darkness to light, that they might thus see, and consequently rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free.

But he will know as much as our Saviour sees proper to teach him. I will, however, attend to the hints you have given, and when he visits me I will converse with him as freely and as impressively as I am able. I really feel a very warm affection for the good man, and from my soul I wish to see him in the way of peace. As to his manner, with which the new lights are so much pleased, I do not think there is any thing so very disagreeable in that ; and if his matter. were really gospel, perhaps this manner of his, might be really advantageous by drawing the attention of some of our blind.brethren, who are pleased with such sounds. Whatever you may think of it, I am sure I know but little ; but this little I am always l'eady and willing to communicate. I know but this, that Jesus is a complete Saviour; this is my enduring, my exhaustless theme, and I fervently unite with you in supplicating the divine Being, to guide us into the way of truth, and to keep our minds steadfastly fixed on him, who is our hope. I rejoice to learn, that your mind is so greatly enlarged and refreshed by your labours on the Sabbath day. Wretched indeed would our circumstances be, if we did not feel our subjects, and know that our hearers sometimes felt them too.

Yes, I have seen your account of R-, and it involves an ac, count of yourself. You have, it seems, blushed for yourself on the present occasion, and you may have more reason thus to do, than you are at present apprized of. It was, no doubt, wrong to make up a judgment of, and conceive a prejudice against any man, merely from report; our enemies could no more ; and is it not somewhat wrong, somewhat hasty, to establish your opinion of a preacher, from hearing him only once? But you conversed with him, and remember he conversed with you also. However, if your ļast conclusion be a fault, it is in my opinion a venial fault, and I should less blush to be convicted of a score of such faults, than in a single instance, to have made up a hasty judgment to the prejudice of a brother..

I am exceeding glad you have seen R. and that he has met with so kind a reception ; such accounts as these always fill my heart with pleasure. But poor S. ; I am greatly pained by his situation. Dear

man, he is very much from home in this fragile body of his. We ought not to wonder that his soul, his capacious soul, is so often disquieted : he will, no doubt, have his clear and cloudy seasons all his journey through ; and perhaps, his cloudy seasons may be very, very dark, accompanied by thunder, lightening, and rain; and his clear seasons very clear, accompanied by fervid heat, which may accelerate the approach of clouds; and, no doubt, he who regulates the seasons, regulates also the luminous mind of our friend. Your flattering remarks may be very just, but it would be difficult for any one to persuade me, nay, it would be impossible for me to persuade myself of the justice of your comparison as it respects our friend S.; but we will dismiss the subject. It is well you had so pleasant a time over the ruggid road; you see, my good Sir, when the mind is in health, the body can pass over rocks, as mere pebbles ; good company is, no doubt, pleasing on a journey and every where else ; would we could have the felicity of associating with serious, well disposed individuals to our journey's end. It gives me pleasure to hear of one and another of my weary fellowtravellers, “being landed safe on that blest shore, where tempests rise and billows beat no more.” I am happy too, that they could see their way through the valley of the shadow of death. Children, we know, are frequently affrighted by shadows, but because they were taught of God, it was therefore they feared no evil.

No, I would not be robbed of the pleasure of believing, that indi. viduals uniting to worship the Redeemer on the road, will recognize each other when they unite with the general assembly in the worship of the same Redeemer above, for any eartbly consideration. Why not? Shall we know others, and not know them? Our knowledge will increase, not decrease ; and although we may know all, and love all, it does not therefore follow, that we shall forget our connexions here, or love them less-God forbid.

I am told your mind has been uncommonly exercised and embarrassed, and I am so far from 'wondering at the difficulties we are called to encounter, that it is matter of astonishment to me, when any, (if any there be), pass smoothly o'er life's surface.

Shaping our course over a path abounding in briers and thorns, is it wonderful that we are torn thereby? Is it not rather amazing that we pass a day or an hour exempt from suffering? Even our choicest comforts either grow on, or must, with very great difficulty, be selected from these briars and thorns. But, in fact, it

may, with strict propriety, be said of all our comforts, except such as are derived from the fountain of all true, because spiritual good, and of all comforters, beside that spirit which is emphatically styled a comforter ; miserable comforts, and miserable comforters are ye all.

Yet, while smarting from frequent wounds, we are still so infatuated as to look to, and lean on, these broken reeds.

For myself, I have so often done this, that sometimes, when I reap heart-felt pangs, where I had looked for soul-satisfying pleasure, I have been conscious of a kind of gloomy satisfaction, from the consideration of the justice manifested in my vexatious disappointment. Yet, I shall still say to these illusive witcheries, “ Kind deceivers flatter still.”

My eyes are momently turned toward my closing scene. It is true I do not know what may be my then sensations ; but should the joy before me produce the same effect, with the sorrows by which I am now surrounded, I shall leap into eternity without a single regret-Yes, I too shall pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and I humbly trust that I also, even I, shall at that momentous period, be exempted from the fear of evil: and, truly my friend, I am inclined to think, that it is only on the occasion ad. verted to, that I shall be entirely exempted from fear.

In short, it is only on the paternal bosom we can repose with safety. The word, the oath of Omnipotence is pledged for our final happiness. Is it wonderful that we repose unbounded confidence in the word, in the oath of the God of justice, the God of truth, who knows our frames, who remembers that we are bul. dust, who hath compassion on the ignorant, and those who are out of the way, who bowed his heavens and came down to earth, for the sole purpose of seeking and saving those who were lost..

Please to give my love to each of our mutual friends, whom I hope and trust, we shall love to all eternity. (), may the love of God be more and more felt by them, by you, and by your ever faithful, &c. &c.

LETTER XXVIII.

To the same unfinished.

You ask my advice relative to your meeting house; alas! my friend, what can I say? It may be large enough, it may not. Neither you, nor I, nor any other person, can determine this question. I think you have got a most excellent committee, and this is certainly in your favour. I very glad the Doctor is determined on coming this way, and by his good wishes I am much obliged.

You would know my sentiments of the third chapter of Zechariah's prophecy.

The first thing in this section of the prophecy which the Lord showed the prophet, was Joshua the High-Priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O Satan ; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

In the first place let us inquire, of whom was Joshúa a figure?" Undoubtedly of the High-Priest of our profession, and it is no wonder therefore, that we find Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. But the LORD, the Jehovah, the Divinity rebukes him, effectually rebukes him, when, even in this moment of arrogance, he informs him he hath chosen Jerusalem. The LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee Satan.

Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments, and the angel before whom he stood commanded those who stood by him, to take from him those filthy garments, and then observed, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And he said, he who ordered the filthy garments to be taken away, said, Let them set a fair mitre on his head; and this being done, he was clothed with garments, and the angel of the Lord stood by, and protested unto Joshua saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, if thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep

my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by

Was Joshua a figure of the great High-Priest of our profession? Then whatever was done and said to Joshua, was figurative of what was done and said to Jesus Christ. But filthy garments were taken from Joshua, he was clothed with garments, a fair mitre was set on his head, the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

That we may enter more fully into the spirit of this part of the prophecy, let us dwell particularly upon the name ; upon the office ; upon the attendants; upon the garments ; upon the removal of these garments ; upon the change of raiment; upon the fair mitre on his head ; upon the angel of the Lord standing by ; upon his protesting in the name of the Lord of hosts, that he should judge his house, keep his courts, and have places to walk among these that stand by, on condition that he would walk in God's ways, and keep his statutes; upon walking in God's ways; upon keeping his charge ; upon God's house ; upon judging this house ; upon God's courts ; upon keeping these courts ; upon the places to walk among; upon those who stand by.

The name Joshua, literally rendered, says Mr. Cruden, is the Lord, the Saviour. This fact must be considered as illustrating the propriety of Joshua being appointed to succeed Moses, to take God's people out of his hands, and to bring them into his promised rest. Moses was the promulgator of the law-but he was an of fender; he broke the tables on which was engraven the commandments of his God; he spake unadvisedly with his lips, at the waters of strife-he therefore could not, in his own character, enter the promised rest; he had offended in one point. But Joshua, the Lord, the Saviour, was appointed to lead the people into the land of promise.

“ Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Joshua. Moses my servant is dead ; now, therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people unto the land which I do give to them, to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given unto you, as I said unto Moses. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee, all the days of thy life ; as I was

« PreviousContinue »