Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hence the business of God's sent servants is to turn the children of men from darkness to light; and from the power of the god of this world, unto the living God, that they may know him, and the power of his resurrection.

But the election which obtains this knowledge, has it not in the head only, it is operative upon the heart: hence the believer hath peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But the knowl. edge which only floats in the head, never yet gave peace to the heart; and as this knowledge, and every thing else which comes from God, comes freely, as it is an act of free grace ; there is no room for boasting, with respect to those who are in the light, nor for rejection, nor hatred, respecting those who are in the dark; for why should we set at naught a blind brother, as though we our, selves had not received our sight, and that as the free gift of God.

The sum total of the law of God, is this, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself. Let us then cultivate this spirit of love. I need no exhortation on this head, with respect to you and my other English friends; and I am pleased to learn that you have so much of the spirit of your Master, as to say, although it were true that I were in sentiment with Mr. W. and that difference in opinions must result, yet we might still love one another as fellow men, as fellow sinners; and why not as fellow Christians ?

I believe Mr. W. to be a very sincere man, and a very warmhearted Christian. I think him in an error-I think his plan cannot be supported upon christian principles ; 'but he believes it can. I have laboured to convince him of his error, well persuaded that he would abandon any principle which he could be convinced was wrong, But when I hear our divine Master upbraiding his immediate disciples, with their hardness of heart and unbelief, and yet loving them with an everlasting love ; when I learn that he hath compassion on the ignorant, and upon those who are out of the way,

I am ashamed of the reserves which I experience to: ward those who differ from me in sentiment,

I cannot be offended with those who think more highly of the Redeemer, or of the redemption which he hath wrought, than I am accustomed to think. Undoubtedly he has the most of christianity, who has the most of the love of God shed abroad in his heart. It is in this love, my brother, that I am with great sincerity attached to you. I sympathize with you, and strongly par

ticipate those afflictions which you experience on account of the death of your amiable companion, and your son.

If that Being who hath said thy Maker is thy husband, if that Being who hath said we are all his offspring, hath as much affection for your lost treasures as you, the creature, the imperfect husband, the imperfect father had, then you will most assuredly meet them again in his presence, where is fulness of joy, and uninterrupted pleasure forever more.

But, although in this distempered state, we are taught to expect tribulation, yet we have, however, some sweets mingled with our bitters; and were we obedient children, our pleasures would be augmented; for it will always be true, that virtue is its own reward. This is a checkered scene ; our journey through life is alternately rough and smooth. Awhile ago your way was hedg. ed up with thorns, since which your feet have been set in a large place.

Some time since, you were enveloped in dark clouds of suspicion, which grievously wounded your feelings ; but the dark clouds of suspicion are dispersed, and the clear sun of friendship again shines forth with primeval brightness; and to crown all, that the good hand of God may be visible in your removal from Falmouth, your labours have never been crowned with more success than since you have been taken from thence.

Well, all this is as it should be; and all things shall work together for good, to those who love God and are the called according to his divine purpose.

I long to meet you at home, in our Father's house, where we shall have much to say respecting the conduct of the Captain of our salvation : but here, and in a letter, it is little we can say. If you have any thing in your heart for me, like the love I feel for you in mine, you will write often, and more copiously, to your obliged friend and brother. Farewell.

LETTER XXXIX.

To the Rev. Mr. M. Portsmouth, Great Britain.

MY EVER DEAR FRIENDS,

Yes, I

ES, I say friends; for in writing to my friend M. I beg I may be considered as writing to our mutual friends; that is, to every one of the beloved circle with whose affectionate notice I was indulged, while your highly favoured guest.

As Mr. S. has been kind enough to inform me he should sail for England in a few days, I cheerfully embrace the opportunity of sending a line by, him. I have repeatedly written both to my honoured host and to yourself; but as I have never been favoured with an answer, and as I know man in his best estate is vanity, and therefore mutable, I cannot forbear admitting it possible, that what once gave you and the hospitable circle pleasure, may now be forgotten, or recollected with indifference. However, it may, blessed be God, be otherwise ; and the affection which flowed from my christian friends, to whom I am writing, may have originated in the love of God; and if so, although it commenced in 1788, it will never be lost ; but like the genuine juice of the grape, it will gain strength by age, and cheer our heart, not only through time, but through eternity

I shall soon be made acquainted with the nature of your feelings toward me; and if those feelings should not correspond with my wishes, I shall endeavour in patience to possess my soul, quietly taking persons and things as I find them. I shall recollect, with gratitude to my divinely gracious Master, the tender care he manifested of, and for me, when I arrived at Portsmouth, in opening at that time, when the soothings of sympathy were so necessary, the hearts of so many of his children to receive, to succour, and to cherish the stranger, the destitute stranger. True, I shall feel some painful regrets in being necessitated to recollect those friends, as friends I

had, and that I can only say, I was most happy. However, in this supposed event I ought not to complain, while still blest with so many proofs of divine favour in friends and sacred friend

once

ship: no, let me not murmur because I am not blest with every thing, especially when I am able to rest in the hope, that in a very little time I shall, through the merits of a complete Saviour, meet my blood bought friends in those mansions, where no whisperer will ever be permitted to make a separation.

“0, glorious hour! 0, blest abode !
We shall be near and like our God,
Where flesh and sin no more control,
The sacred pleasures of the soul.”

Yes, I am fond of repeating, the scattered family will be reassembled, to part no more forever. There is, my brother, there is, my friends, abundance of peace and joy'in believing. It is indeed life eternal to know God: there was a time I did not know him; I then lived under the spirit of bondage, and was tormented ty fear; yet I supposed I then knew him, while I verily believed him altogether such a one as myself, that he liked and disliked, loved and hated, precisely as I did !!

But as far as the heavens are above the earth, so far are the ways of God above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughtsį and it is therefore that I so freely indulge that hope which maketh not ashamed; that hope which is full of immortality. Here I rest; He that believeth entereth into rest, and his rest shall be glorious.

Now tell me, my friend and brother, how flourishes your garden ? Churches, you know, are gardens enclosed; but how well soever they may be enclosed, no enclosures can prevent weeds from springing up. I could not help noticing to that truly excellent lady, the Countess of Huntingdon, who complained to me during my residence in London, of the affliction she endured from the contentions so prevalent among her connexions, that the evil spirit is peculiarly fond of sowing tares in the richest soil ; and that the thorn in the flesh will still buffet the most enlightened among the children of God; no enclosures in this state of trial are sufficient; the subtle fiend can leap every barrier; and he who found his way into the garden of Eden, can only be shut out by the gates of heaven. I felt for

you
when with

you;
I feel for

you

whenever I think of you; your worthy heart has many trials, but there is a needs bem my soul's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you may be

saved from the plague of your own heart, and then you will rise superior to the world and the devil.

This country is not without its embarassments; but he who does all things well, has all power, and will continue to protect. Yet after all, this is a charming country. The frugal and industrious, will never suffer want; but let it be what it will, it is not our home; let ít be ever so excellent, we seek another and a better country; in which country, as I humbly trust, I shall meet my Portsmouth friends, where we shall be ever with the Lord. Farewell.

LETTER XL.

To Mr. J. P. city of London, Great Britain.

If my dear, my venerable friend were acquainted with my circumstances, an apology for my long silence would be unnecessary ; but the benevolent temper discovered in

your

invaluable favour, will plead my excuse.

I feel, I do assure you, exceeding grateful for your letter, and for your abundant kindness to me, so frequently manifested. I should have given you this assurance many months since, but for the following reasons : soon after the receipt of your letter, a christian friend and fellow-labourer, forty-seven miles from this place, requested a perusal of your manuscript, and I was unable to obtain it from him until my return from Philadelphia, which was very late in the autumn of the past year; and the present is the first favourable opportunity which has presented. I do most cordially thank you, not only for this letter, but also for that which I have never yet received. Blessed be God, the calamities to which I owe the loss of that letter, and many other friendly favours, are now no more; the intercourse is at last open, and we can freely converse in this way through the remaining stages of our journey.

The sad account of the departure of my inestimable friend, Mr. Relly, had reached me previous to the particulars relative to

« PreviousContinue »