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given the clearest evidences and strongest proofs that it is his own word. Think, I say, my dear friend, if it should be so, what they deserve, who either reject or neglect it without taking the trouble to inform them. selves, or be convinced that it either is or is not of di vine authority! How many great, learned, and wise men, have sifted these evidences with the greatest care, and the deeper they entered into the search, the more clear they appeared; yea, even those whose lives are entirely contrary to it, and whose interest it is to wish it false, cannot deny. As to the various explanations of it-it is every one's duty to read for himself, and although there may be some parts of it too deep for every capacity, and which may perhaps require a knowledge of the history of the times to understand, yet the simple truths of the gospel, what we are to believe concerning God, and what duties he requires of us, and what he forbids, are equally plain and easy. If we can only once be satisfied, that it is indeed the word of God, set ourselves to study it with an unprejudiced mind, with a sincere desire to know the truth, and be led by it, with earnest prayer, that the same spirit which inspired the writers, would make it plain to our hearts and understandings, that God himself would teach us its true meaning, and save us from error: such a one, I will venture to say, will be taught all necessary knowledge, will be led in the way to eternal life, and not suffered to err: we have God's promise that it shall be so. If any man will do my will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.'
Forgive me, my dear friend; the subject appears to me so important, that I know not how to have done. I love you with a true and sincere friendship: I love your soul, and am deeply interested in its eternal happiness. Once more I commit you to that God, who only can lead you to himself, and to true happiness, and that you may know the truth of this from deep experience, to the eternal joy, peace and safety of your immortal soul, is the last prayer of your affectionate friend, who hopes to meet and rejoice with you in our Redeemer's kingdom. ISABELLA GRAHAM.
LETTERS TO P
Chiefly written when she was in affliction.
February 10, 1797.
MY EVER DEAR FRIEND,
THE desire of writing you a long letter has occasioned a shameful delay on my part. One thing I can assure you of, you have been much on my mind, and the subject of all our prayers.
Tears of joy ran down my cheeks, when J- - told me the state of your mind, and I thank our good and gracious God for opening your eyes to see the emptiness, the vanity of this world, the corruption of your own heart, your need of the atoning blood, and a better righteousness than your own. Hail, my sister in Jesus! flesh and blood hath not taught you this, but your Father who is in heaven; the work is his, evidently his; and being begun, he will carry it on, and finish it too. Commit your soul then into his hand; he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;' his errand to our world was to seek and to save the lost. Trusting in his mercy, through Christ, your soul is as safe as his word is true, for none perish that trust in him. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding;' be not discouraged, because of deadness, darkness, wandering, want of love, want of spirituality, want of any kind; who told you of these evils and wants? the Sun of righteousness shining into your soul has shown you many of the evils there, but the half you know not yet. The more you learn of the holiness and purity of the Divine Nature, and spirituality of his law, the more you will be dissatisfied with every thing yours. Even a holy Apostle said-in me (that is, in my flesh or natu ral mind) dwelleth no good thing. The flesh, or natural mind lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that the things that I would I do not, and the
things what I would not that I do. Yet it is not I, (not my new nature) but sin that dwelleth in me; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.'
If this was the case with the Apostle, who sealed his testimony with his life, is it strange that you and I should have hearts full of all abominable things. These realities are cause of deep humility before God, but none of despair or doubt; all are guilty and vile alike, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart unsound; therefore we need a whole Christ, to atone for our sin, to cover our naked souls with his imputed righteousness, and to be surety for us; to sanctify us by his Spirit, and prepare us for the purchased inheritance. O try to rest in him : believe it, you are complete in him; give over, my dear friend, poring and diving into your own heart and frames, and try to trust in an almighty Saviour, to save you from foes without and foes within. Read Romaine's walk and life of Faith: he himself attained to a high degree of holiness, by getting out of himself, and trusting, resting, believing from day to day, for grace, for every duty, as it occurred. The promise runs, as thy day so shall thy strength be.'
I cannot at this distance, and knowing nothing of characters, offer you any advice with respect to outward means; but if you know any truly pious, spiritual minister, I should think it your duty to lay open your mind to him. You may find in books matter as good as any man living can speak; but it is the Lord's appointed way, and he often honours his servants, his ministers, by making them messengers of peace and comfort to his children. Are any sick, let them call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over them.' See how the Christians of old associated with one another!
I am now doubly yours, &c.
MY EVER DEAR FRIEND,
I have just read your letter; painful to you to write, yet no more so to me, than to see a dear friend in the pangs of child-birth, with every symptom of an approach
ing deliverance. The day will soon break, and the shadows flee away; and the dear Saviour, whom you seek, will again comfort his returning prodigal.
I will do what you desire me, and though I have the highest opinion of your young Timothy, I. M. I will pass by him in this case, and lay it before one of the aged Christians, Dr. R-rs, or Dr. L-n; at the same time, my friend, I am as sure of their answer, as if I were already in possession of it. Who told my friend, that she was blind, and miserable, and wretched, and naked? flesh and blood never yet taught proud man or woman this lesson.
My dear friend, there is nothing new, nor strange, in all you have told me there is scarce a heaven-taught soul, who has made any advances in the spiritual warfare, but could sympathize with you from experience. What have you experienced more than the Scriptures tell us? that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.' Only the Lord can search it, only he can cleanse it. He takes the prerogative to himself, and he calls it his Covenant that he will make with sin. ners in gospel times. You may strive and fight, and resolve and vow-all will not do: you lie at his mercy for holiness, as well as pardon. He is exalted as a prince to give repentance, and he is the author and finisher of faith. He works all our works in us, and without him we are not equal to one good thought. We are his workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus.' My dear friend, put the work into his hand, and try to wait in hope, hope in every situation; do more, trust.
You entirely mistake the situation of others; none of us have our heaven here: no, sin dwelleth in us; the very best have their ups and downs. Do you think your friend is always on the mount? very far from it. I am at times, so cold, so dead, so stupid, that I can neither pray, read, nor hear. I have begun the same chapter over and over, still trying to fix my thoughts, and as of ten they are off on every trifle; but my peace lies where you will soon learn to place yours, in the merits of my almighty Saviour; my safety depends not on my frames, but his promise; and I am equally safe when tossed and
tempted; dead and lifeless; emptied of every good, perhaps buffeted like you with abominable thoughts, the fiery darts of Satan, as when basking in the sunshine of His love, and tasting what you have tasted: for you have tasted, and you shall yet taste, the joys of his salvation. I too have proved false to his Covenant, have gone off with the world, and been intoxicated with its vanities, and empty delights, and have laid up for myself seasons of deep remorse; my sins have often separated between my God and me, especially in my younger days; the Lord calls to watchfulness and diligence in the use of means, and he generally honours these means, of his own appointing, with his blessing. When we either trust to these means, and fancy merit in them, or neglect to use them as his appointment, he generally makes us to feel our error, but he does not cast us out of his family; he chastens us, and restores us.
I write hastily, just to say you have my sympathy and my love; for well I know, the almighty Lord alone can loose your bonds, and give you joy and peace in believing.' All my advice may be summed up in thistrust in the Lord with all your heart; at least aim at this; I say aim at it, for this too must be given you.. Roll yourself, your doubts, your fears, your sins, your, duties, all, all on him; your deadness, your dryness, all on him: say, 'Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.' He is an almighty Saviour to deliver sinners from sin as well as from punishment. I leave you on the Father of mercies, and will, when the Lord enables, pray for you.. Yours, &c.
At last, my dear friend, the Lord appears; appears the bible God. 'The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.'
When was it, that the Lord proclaimed this, and took unto himself this name? After Israel, his chosen, had been guilty of that awful sin in the wilderness, of making the golden calf, and proclaiming, these be thy gods, O Israel: David takes it up in the cii. Psalm, The