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integrity, he “will give thee beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," and he will be “thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” So to him I commend thee, hoping thou wilt serve him faithfully, and gain an admittance into his kingdom of glory, there to rejoice in beholding his face forevermore. So wisheth thy sincere friend,
To a Friend
Feeling, in the aboundings of my Heavenly Father's love, a renewed and earnest engagement for the eternal welfare of that part in thee which must endure beyond the grave, I am inclined to acquaint thee with the travail of my soul, and breathings of my spirit, to the eternal Fountain of all good, on thy account. For, indeed, the consideration of thy state, hath, at times, drawn tears from mine eyes, whilst the desire of my heart hath been, that thou mightest come to know, in this the day of thy visitation, the things that belong to thy peace; before they may be hid from thine eyes. Oh! that thou knew how to prize the unspeakable favour, vouchsafed thee in this tender visitation, and would improve it to the glory of him who hath called thee, and to the salvation of thy own soul.
But, alas ! while I have been contemplating the merciful kindness of a long-suffering God, and those ravishing delights, which nothing but disobedience deprives thee of, I have had to view the many difficulties and discouragements, yea, and the allurements, with which the adversary of all good, disturbs and confuses the minds of such as are desirous of travelling out of his territories, and of being redeemed from under his dominion. When I have thought on these things, a fear hath possessed my mind, lest, for want of a thorough resignation, the enemy should prove
too hard for thee. But when I have considered the unlimited power of him who inhabits eternity, and dwells in the light, and who is able to remove mountains, and divide the seas, I have had a secret hope that by his unremitted strivings, he would prevail with thee to forsake all, and follow him ; to come out and be separate from, and not touch the unclean thing; that so he might receive thee.
Oh! how I have lamented and mourned, to see the unhappy condition of many of the visited of our God, who, notwithstanding the holy call, are not willing to desist from partaking of the unclean thing, with the children of a dissipated age. Be not offended at the sorrows I have felt on account of the captivity of those, whose happiness I greatly desire: but bow down thine ear and hear, and obey the voice of him, who comes not to bring peace on the earthly mind, but a sword. Submit thy neck to his yoke, and thy shoulders to his cross. Suffer the operation of his refining fire, and purifying soap. Dwell under the discipline of his holy rod; and learn to give up thy whole heart to him, and to esteem his reproach, greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, having respect unto the recompence of reward ; remembering, that if thou lovest any thing more than Christ, thou art not worthy of bim, according to his own doctrine. Therefore, consult not with flesh and blood, neither stand gazing at the hardness of the way; but cast thy care upon him who hath called thee; and give up to his call. He will enable thee to answer the requirings thereof, and to run the way of his commandments with delight. But if thou lookest at this, that, and the other difficulty, and goest to reasoning against the conviction in thy own mind, thou wilt thereby drown its voice, and run thyself into confusion, and perhaps, lose all sense of truth.
Oh! arise, arise! and trim thy lamp, and provide therein the oil of the kingdom, by standing open to receive from him who is ready to communicate, but in his own way, the way of the cross. Hast thou not stood dallying long enough to know, that that will never do the work? If so, I beseech thee, now, at length, be engaged to work out thy salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in thee; and would, didst thou but cleave close to his workings, work both the will and the deed, but not without thy consent: for thou must be a coworker with him, if ever thou knowest a resting in and with him. Oh! I entreat thee, do not overlook the way and means, yea, the only way and means which he ever hath offered, or ever will offer thee; which are," the reproofs of instruction, the way of life.” If thou couldst live and employ a thousand years in search of another way, thou might search in vain. And at last, if ever thou know salvation, thou must know it by the same stumbling stone and rock of offence; through which, (but for want of belief therein, and obedience thereto,) thou and thousands more might, in a short time, come to witness peace to flow as a river. This is he who hath been the dwelling place of the righteous in all ages. And, blessed be his name, he is so to a remnant in this age ; and Oh! that the number may
be increased, of those who take sanctuary in him." The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe."
And now, my beloved friend, let me prevail upon thee, to attend to this most important concern; and give not sleep to thy eyes, nor slumber to thy eyelids, until thou hast prepared a habitation for the God of Jacob to dwell in; and art united to him in a covenant of everlasting righteousness and peace. Which happy state I ardently desire thou mayst attain to, and thus rejoice upon the banks of deliverance, with those to whom it is given to rejoice, even those who have come through great tribulation. Oh! that I could paint in thy view that unspeakable consolation which I so much desire thou mayst partake of: but language cannot describe it, therefore I recommend thee to the protection of that all-powerful arm, which, as thou relies thereon, will be underneath and sustain thee; and which I hope thou wilt not distrust, flee from, or forsake : but seek after a more intimate acquaintance with, and continue thy seeking until thou findest it; that so thou mayst be prepared to enter the mansions of glory, to celebrate the praise of him who is now paitently waiting to be gracious unto thee. I am thy sincere friend and well-wisher,
To Mary Callender.
Providence, 12th of 12th month, 1775. Esteemed friend,
It is in my mind, I believe in a degree of gospel love, to let thee understand, that since I saw thee last, I have sometimes had to consider the many difficulties, which I believe have attended, and which will, if faithful, attend thy progress through this scene of sorrows and vale of tears. For I have often thought it had fallen to thy lot to be engaged in a work truly laborious, and deeply exercising, and it is my earnest desire that thou mayst be preserved through and over all, to the glory of God and thy own abundant joy and consolation. And my friend, I have thought thou badst need to guard against the adversary's taking advantage, in low times, to cast thee under undue discouragements. For although I am deeply sensible, that the safest dwelling place is in the low vallies, which are often clothed with verdant greenness, while the exalted mountains are covered with dismal barrenness; yet there are extremes each way: for, no doubt, thou hast observed some holes so sunken, as to produce no pleasant plant nor fruitful vine, but seem to wear an horrible aspect, and are ofttimes an asylum or harbour for the serpentine brood and reptile offspring. Therefore, let us endeavour to dwell in the medium, out of all extremes; and bear up, as much as possible, under the various afflictive dispensations that it may please Divine Wisdom to lead us through. And thus, as there is an abiding in the faith and patience of the saints, I believe that he who hath been with his people in six troubles, will not leave them in the seventh, but will preserve and protect them even through the valley of the shadow of death; until he brings them into the full fruition and enjoyment of those blissful mansions, where uninterrupted hosannas, and high praises, will resound throughout the unlimited habitations of God, angels, and holy men.
My kind love is to thyself, and J. J., with all my friends at Newport, not forgetting that tender plant, M. R., whose eternal welfare I much desire; and hope thy watchful care over her for good, will not be wanting, From thy assured friend,
Part of a Letter to a Friend. My friend,
Feeling at this time a near sympathy with thee, I find my mind engaged for thy good, and therein a freedom to communicate a little of my own experience, hoping it may not be unpro. fitable to thee. When first I gave up to turn my mind from the world, and to seek a resting place for my distressed soul, I found, as I attended to the reproofs of instruction, that such things were required of me, as were in my weak apprehension, as bitter as death. Oh! said I in myself, must my life, from my youth, be a life of self-denial, and I myself a laughing stock for those that have been my pleasant companions ! Lord, excuse me in those despisable things which thou requirest of me; and let me walk sociably and amicably among mankind; and I will serve thee in the secret of my soul, if it be through tribulation and distress. But alas ! this sort of reasoning found no acceptance. It was not for me to make a sacrifice of that which the Lord called not for, and withhold that which he required. For, saith the prophet, “ Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?" No, no. This is not the
but “ He hath showed thee, O man,” (and woman too,)“ what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Which can be performed no other way, but by yielding obedience to bis requirings. For when the Lord hath showed what his will is, how can we either“ do justly,” “ love mercy,” or “ walk humbly," without doing it?