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indeed true; yet, while we are conscious that these evil reports are unmerited, we shall be far more happy, than those malignant calumniators, from whom we suffer. I would rather be the subject of persecution, than the persecutor. The upright man, (I speak after the manner of men) will always find at home, what
“Nothing earthly gives, nor can destroy,
The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy." My soul's desire, and prayer to God for you, and our dear connexions in your neighbourhood, is, that you may be strong in faith, that as many of you as have had power given you to believe what the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles believed, may hold fast the profession of your faith, without wavering, suffering no man to take your crown, and that as many of you as have believed may be careful to maintain good works, not merely good words, although it be good to hold fast the form of sound words. Yet, my brother, what is a man of mere words in any character? I trust, that, as Christians indeed, and in truth, you will go on your way rejoicing in the Redeemer of men, until you finish your course with joy, and lay hold on your eternal life.
I am frequently necessitated to repeat, that I have had many, very many friends, who were only so in head but not in heart. As friends, many of these professors are dead. The friend, you know, may die, and the man may live. I frequently meet the ghosts of these departed friends, and when I see them, they preach to me without speaking; and they preach sound and wholesome doctrine. It is this Trust in the Lord at all times. Cease from man, Lean not on earth. Cast your care upon God. Come up from this wilderness leaning upon the beloved.”
I have suffered much from bodily indisposition during the past spring; I am now far from well; I sigh to be gone; I have been pierced by some of those thorns, which are appointed to wound us on our journey through this wilderness, Circumstances have taken place, which are calculated to wean me from a world that never was designed my permanent residence; our hcavenly Father knows, that we have need of weaning from this strange place, and with true, paternal goodness, he apportions the means to our necessities. I long to go where I can realize the glories of a state I have so long delighted to contemplate. I am confident, my expectations will be more than answered. I should doubt, were they based on what this world hath to bestow. Every thing here is, at
best, deceitfully flattering ;" theré, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the greatness of the bliss laid up for us, where nothing which defileth can enter.
Tell me, has your venerable parent left the house of his earthly tabernacle? I fancy it is, ere this, very much out of repair ; and if it be as mine, I should suppose the landlord would hardly think of repairing it; he will, no doubt, pull it down, and rebuild it upon à nobler plan. The tenement of your father has continued in tolerable good order, for a considerable time; I fancy it was well built, and kept in good order, though now “battered and decayed, it
may let in new light through chinks which time has made.”
Let me hear from you soon ; you will wish, when I am gone, that you again had your correspondent; use him then, in this character, while he is yet continued unto you. I often recollect you, when I am taking into consideration some divine portion of sacred writ. I see, in imagination, the rapturous joy of your countenance, at those precious discoveries, which are niade by the spirit of truth-I pity those children of God, who are feeding on busks. O, for that glorious era, when they will come to themselves, when they will resolve to arise, and go unto their Father. Blessed, forever blessed, be that Redeemer, who will receive them with open arms, with true, paternal love.
The money enclosed in your letter was opportune, and I cordially thank you for it. When you first knew me, money was not in all my thoughts ; I regret that I have lived to see the time, when a variety of pressing wants oblige me to think so much of it; but I shall have less of these wants every day; say what they will of money, we cannot pass through life with comfort or peace without it; I do not say the possession of money always gives comfort and peace, I am persuaded it does not; but our blessed Master taught his disciples, that if they would make friends in this world, it must be by the mammon of unrighteousness.
We must, while we live in this world, buy and sell, and this cannot be done without the mark of the beast. We cannot answer the demands made upon us, without money, and we are not blessed with the privilege of repairing to the margin of the deep, and there receiving it from the mouth of a fish.
I grieve for the misfortunes to which you advert; but, although heaviness continueth through the night of affliction, joy cometh in the morning. It is good for us to be afflicted; I have found more
real advantage from severe afflictions, than from any blessing which divine goodness hath conferred upon me; when the goods of time and sense are taken from us, we naturally cast our eyes around for something to supply their place, and it is then we hear the small, still voice of the spirit of our Saviour, saying unto us, Return unto thy rest. When we have lost the gilded toys of this world, and become indeed poor, the Comforter directs our eyes to that inheritance, “incorruptible and undefiled, which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, where rust and moth cannot corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.” In heaven, we see ourselves possessed of durable riches, with righteousness; but to this durable riches, with righteousness, we should not so feelingly revert, if we had not lost our uncertain riches, unaccompanied by righteousness. We are, my brother, of the earth, earthy; and we naturally cling to the things of this world, and while we can find pleasure in so doing, we never look further. We give the world our heart, and we are so engaged therewith, that we do not hear the voice of the Charmer, saying, “ my son, give me thy heart.” But when the substance on which we deliciously feasted is gone, and we find nothing but the husk of enjoyment left, when we feel ourselves in a suffering state, it is then we come unto ourselves, it is then we resolve to arise, and to go unto our Father. I do not recollect an instance, through the whole Bible, of any of the people of God crying unto the Lord in prosperity. But in ad'versity, in trouble, in their affliction, we frequently hear of their crying unto the Lord, who graciously hears the voice of their complaining, and they become gainers by their losses.
I regret most sincerely not having it in my power to visit you once more, but this I cannot do without rendering my connexions in this place unhappy, but I shall see you again in our Father's house, never more to be separated ; there, sin nor sorrow, pain nor death, can ever approach us. We are hasting to this our na tive home; not a pain do I experience which does not elate me by the prospect of getting home before you. I said, I had been indisposed of late, and I expect, in the order of nature, as I advance to the confines of that bright world to which I am hasting, I shall accumulate infirmities. But the last pain of body and of mind will come, this is my abiding consolation. O, my friend, there is a rest remaining for us, into which rest, he, who is faithful, hath promised to bring us.
Can it be matter of wonder, that those who believe the gracious words of their Redeemer should be impatient to get home? Yet I agree with you, we had better quietly wait, and patiently hope for the bliss that shall be revealed; and, believe me, I endeavour thus to do.
I have, I confess, much cause for gratitude, and very little cause for murmuring and complaining. I frequently ask myself this question: Why should a living man complain? I am, since Jesus Christ suffered death upon the cross, a living man, an heir of everlasting life, not a subject of death. My body, indeed, will fall asleep, and my soul, my immortal soul, will pass through the valley of the shadow of death, where I can have no evil to fearcertainly not; for in the Redeemer I am a living man ; and in the valley of the shadow of death, this Redeemer will be with me; his rod and his staff will guide and comfort me. Such are the reflections by which the mind, under the teaching of the Spirit of truth, is exercised.
I pray God to bestow upon you every thing that he sees best for you, both for time and for eternity. Adieu, my valued frience.
I am ever your gratefully affectionate, &c. &c.
LETTER LXXVIII. .
To the same
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
THOUGH I have recently written you a very long letter, yet I cannot forbear again addressing you with information, that through the good will of him who dwelt in the bush, I am still blessed with clear and cloudy dispensations; I am still alternately tasting the pleasing sweets, and wholesome bitters of life. Thus doth the physician of value administer to our infirmities. So great, however, is my folly, that, were it in my power, I would put aside the bitter, and receive only the sweet enjoyments of existence, though I am well persuaded I should satiate; that left to
myself, I should destroy myself. O, my brother, what a mercy that we are under the care of a Being most wise, most good, who will not leave us to the imagination of our own hearts. That like a beneficent and tender Father, he will do for us. what he sees is best for us, however reluctant, however refractory we may be. It is in the dark night of affliction, that we are most sensible of the advantages of the candle of the Lord shining upon us. In the bright sunshine of prosperity, who ever adverts to the glimmering of a candle ? A friend in adversity is a rich treasure; but it is in adversity we are made glad by the discovery of a never-failing Friend; and it is this, which maketh the house of mourning, so much better than the house of feasting. It is this, which makes God's children, each for himself, feelingly say, It was good for me that I was afflicted. Affliction is for the human soil, the best manure ; it enriches and renders it fruitful.
How is it with my friend? You have been in this school of ad. versity ; what is your proficiency? There are some scholars more dull than others; I hope your progress is rapid ; if so, you will not long continue a. pupil. The last letter you favoured me with made
my heart bleed for you. You had been sowing in tears; is it now seed time, or are you now reaping in joy? I trust you remember that seed time and harvest succeed each other, and that you will remember that the reaping in joy is subsequent to the tearful sowing
I have frequently been much delighted while contemplating the order of our Saviour, in the formation of all things. I say with the order of our Saviour, because I do not know any God but him, by whom all things were made.
Observe, I pray you, the order, “and the evening, and the morning, were the first day," and so on to the seventh. Not as we are accustomed to express ourselves, the morning, and the evening. In this arrangement, the evening would have been last, and night, eternal night, would have closed the scene. Not so the Spirit of truth- The evening, and the morning, saith God, by the Spirit of truth. The morning is the last period, and it will be without a cloud. I wound, saith the Lord, and I heal; I kill and I make alive; thus healing and life are events subsequent to wounding and death. Blessed be God, the sentence is not reversed; death, never-ending death, would then have been our portion; heaviness may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the inorning. What, though it be still