« ÎnapoiContinuați »
word and will have a prevailing, governing influence upon our lives and temper. If we love him, we do endeavour to keep his commandments : and it will hold the other way; if we have a desire to please him, we undoubtedly love him. Obedience is the best test; and when, amidst all our imperfections, we can humbly appeal concerning the sincerity of our views, this is a mercy for which we ought to be greatly thankful. He that has brought us to will, will likewise enable us to do, according to his good pleasure. I doubt not but the Lord whom you love, and on whom you depend, will lead
you in a sure way, and establish, and strengthen, and settle you in his love and grace. Indeed he has done great things for you already. The Lord is your shepherd; a comprehensive word. The sheep can do nothing for themselves; the shepherd must guide, guard, feed, heal, recover. Well for us that our shepherd is the Lord Almighty. If his power, care, compassion, fulness, were not infinite, the poor sheep would be forsaken, starved, and worried. But we have a shepherd full of care, full of kindness, full of power, who has said, I will seek that which was lost, and bind up that which was broken, and bring again that which was driven away, and will strengthen that which was sick. How tender are these expressions, and how well fulfilled! His sheep feed in the midst of wolves, yet are preserved safe; for, though they see him not, his eye and his heart are upon them. Do we wonder that Daniel was preserved in the lion's den? Why, it is a common case.
Which of God's children have not cause to say, “My soul is among lions?” But the angel of the covenant stops their mouths, or only per. mits them to gape and roar, to show their teeth, and what they would do if they might; but they may not,
they shall not, bite and tear us at their own will. Let us trust him, and all shall be well.
As to daily occurrences, it is best to believe that a daily portion of comforts and crosses, each one the most suitable to our case, is adjusted and appointed by the hand which was once nailed to the cross for us; that where the path of duty and prudence leads, there is the best situation we could possibly be in at that juncture. We are not required to afflict ourselves im, moderately for what is not in our power to prevent, nor should any thing that affords occasions for mortifying the spirit of self be accounted unnecessary.
I am, &c.
1768. I HAVE been some time hoping to hear from you, but Mr. **** was here last Saturday, and informed me that
you were ill, or had been so very lately. This intelligence prompted me to write as soon as I could find leisure. I think the Lord has seen fit to visit
with much indisposition of late; I say he has seen fit, for all our trials are under his immediate direction, and we are never in heaviness without a need-be. I trust he does and will give you strength equal to your day, and sweeten what would be otherwise bitter with the essence of his precious love. I hope soon to hear that you are restored to health, and that you have found cause to praise him for the rod.
How happy is the state of a believer, to have a sure promise that all shall work together for good in the
end, and in the mean time a sure refuge where to find present relief, support, and protection! How comfortable is it, when trouble is near, to know that the Lord is near likewise, and to commit ourselves and all our cares simply to him, believing that his eye is upon us, and his ear open to our prayers. Under the conduct of such a shepherd we need not fear: though we are called to pass through fire and water, through the valley of the shadow of death, he will be with us, and will show himself mighty on our behalf. It seems almost needless to say, that we were very happy in the company of ****: the only inconvenience was, that it renewed the pain it always gives me to part with them. Though the visit was full as long as I could possibly expect, it seemed very short. This must be the case while we are here: our pleasures are short, interrupted, and mixed with troubles : this is not, cannot be our rest. But it will not be always the case; we are travelling to a better world, where every evil and imperfection shall cease; then we shall be for ever with the Lord, and with each other. May the prospect of this blessed hope set before us revive our fainting spirits, and make us willing to endure hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ! Here we must often sow in tears, but there we shall reap in joy, and all tears shall be wiped from our eyes for ever. I hope the conversation of friends whom I so greatly love and honour afforded me not only pleasure but profit; it left a savour, upon my mind, and stirred up my languid desires after the Lord. I wish I could say the good effect has remained with me to this hour; but, alas ! I am a poor creature, and have had many causes of humiliation since. But, blessed be God! amidst all my changes I find the foundation stands sure, and I am seldom or
never left to doubt either of the Lord's love to me, or the reality of the desires he has given me towards himself; though when I measure my love by the degree of its exercise, or the fruits it produceth, I have reason to sit down ashamed as the chief of sinners and the least of all saints. But in him I have righteousness and peace, and in him I must and will rejoice.
I would willingly fill up my sheet, but feel a straitness in my spirit, and know not what further to say. O for a ray of divine light to set me at liberty, that I might write a few lines worth reading, something that might warm my heart and comfort yours! Then the subject must be Jesus; but of him what can I say that you do not know? Well, though you know him, you are glad to hear of him again and again. Come then, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Let us adore him for his love, that love which has a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, beyond the grasp of our poor conceptions ; a love that moved him to empty himself, to take on him the form of a servant, and to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; a love that pitied us in our lost estate, that found us when we sought him not, that spoke peace to our souls in the day of our distress; a love that bears with all our present weakness, mistakes, backslidings, and shortcomings; a love that is always watchful, always ready to guide, to comfort, and to heal; a love that will not be wearied, cannot be conquered, and is incapable of changes; a love that will in the end prevail over all opposition, will perfect that which concerns us, and will not leave us till it has brought us perfect in holiness and happiness, to rejoice in his presence in glory. The love of Christ: it is the wonder, the joy, the song of angels; and the sense of it shed
abroad in our hearts makes life pleasant and death wel
Alas! what a heart have I that I love him no better! But I hope he has given me a desire to make him
ту all in all, and to account every thing loss and dross that dares to stand in competition with him.
I am, &c.
1769. I FOUND this morning among my unanswered letters one from you, but hope I left it among them by mistake. I am willing, however, to be on the sure side, and would rather write twice than be too long silent. I heard of your being laid on the bed of affliction, and of the Lord's goodness to you there, and of his raising you up again. Blessed be his name! he is all-sufficient and faithful; and though he cause grief, he is sure to show compassion in supporting and delivering. Ah! the evil of our nature is deeply rooted and very powerful, or such repeated, continual corrections and chastisements would not be necessary; and were they not necessary, we should not have them.
But such we are, and therefore such must be our treatment; for though the Lord loves us with a tenderness beyond what the mother feels for her sucking child, yet it is a tenderness directed by infinite wisdom, and very different from that weak indulgence which in parents we call fondness, which leads them to comply with their children's desires and inclinations, rather than to act with a steady view to their true welfare. The Lord loves his children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it, but he will not spoil them. Their sin-sickness