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The blessing of him that was ready to perish, came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and the cause that I knew not, I searched out.' God allowed the weight of the trial to be upon his spirit, with the conviction of his presumption, till he brought him to his feet. • Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee?' I will lay my hand upon my mouth,' &c. 'I abhor myself, and repent in dust These things were written for our example and profit.



and ashes.'

This afflictive providence is now finished, at least so far. What you now possess is the allotment of your God. Set all instruments aside, and listen to the Holy Ghost Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he shall exalt you in due time.' In order to this I would recommend to you to take a close retrospective view of your past life, with earnest prayer, that God would search you and try you, and show you what wicked ways have been, or now are in you. Go back to the days of your youth; take a close view of the use you made of affluence and influence, not comparing yourself with others; but judging yourself by the law of God, the only standard of right and wrong, truth and error. Seek for humbling views of yourself in yourself. If the Holy Ghost enlighten, you will find sufficient grounds. Seek for consolation in the free promises of God, through Jesus Christ, of which there are also abundance, even to the chief of sinners. What I recommend to you has been my own practice, especially in times of trial; and if health will admit of it, add fasting, because I think it is the Lord's ordinance. The days shall come when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, then shall they fast in those days.'

Read the third chapter of Jeremiah's Lamentations ; endeavour to come under the feelings of contrition, on account of your sins, and derive consolation from faith in God's great mercy; ever keeping in view the channel through which mercy can only flow to sinners of Adam's race. Take also a view of God's dealings with his elect nation, in the wilderness; they had nothing but


manna, and were punished for murmuring; while at that very time, the nations in Canaan, the Egyptians, and Assyrians, were living in all manner of luxury. What was their whole history but backsliding, threatening upon threatening? then chastisement, turning, repenting, pardon, reconciliation, and the same round again, every chastisement severer than the last; while worldlings in general, have their day to the end; then, says David, they are cast down suddenly to destruction.' I wish you to take a particular view of God's dealings with them, before Nebuchadnezzar sacked the city of Jerusalem. The decree was passed after many warnings, and much long-sufferings. How many pauses, as it were, did the merciful Lord God make before he gave them finally up to their enemies; and when the decree was irrevocable, and the chastisement to take place, still he followed them with mercy. See Jeremiah xxvii. 12. and chap. xxix. : the letter which God commanded Jeremiah to write to those who had been carried away captive with Jehoiakim, advising them to build houses and plant vineyards, and to make the most of their situation. Those at Jerusalem were commanded to submit to the king of Babylon, as in that case he would not destroy the city : but no, they stood it out, and the threatened vengeance overtook them.

The poor were left to take care of the vineyards, &c. Jeremiah remained with them in preference to going with the king of Babylon to be promoted to honour. God offered to take them under his protection, and be their God: but no, they would go to Egypt, and put themselves under the king of Egypt's protection. Jeremiah told them from the Lord, that Egypt itself should soon go into captivity. But to Egypt they went, and carried Jeremiah with them. See Isaiah's prophecy on this occasion, chapter xxxv. 31. Now look at chapter Ixii. 24 : there you see God's judgment and chastening; follow him in the beginning of chapter lxiii. and view his mercy; in the end of the same chapter, again, see his charge against them but O, it is followed with mercy, not judgment. Thus we learn the character of God. Thus we learn his dealings with his people. They are not call


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ed to earthly comfort and prosperity. They ever have been, and still are, a suffering people; they are all sinners-sin brings suffering, and God overrules suffering, so as to make it profitable to them. Though redeemed by the life and death of Christ, being justified by faith, they have peace with God;' yet the Lord has not pleased all at once to qualify them for the purchased possession. They receive a new birth, new life, and are called to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, with this consolation, that God worketh in them, both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure. This is not their home, here they have no continuing city; they are travelling through the wilderness, to the city and mansions purchased and prepared for them by their Saviour, and must be made holy before they can enter in. They have many corruptions to be mortified; errors to be corrected in their estimation of men and things. Carnal, proud, hard, stony hearts, to be made spiritual, humble, tender, resigned, and loving. Then shalt thou remember all the way by which I led thee; to prove thee, and try thee; to show thee what was in thy heart, that I might do thee good in thy latter end.' Besides, all suffering is not the immediate punishment of sin in the individual sufferer, nor for his exclusive profit : it is evident, from Scripture, there is suffering for the benefit of the body of Christ; His Church, of which, (I think,) all have some share. God has wise ends to answer by all the suffering of his creatures, and especially of the members of his body. The apostles rejoiced in this, and so ought we. 'If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.' Paul- I fill up, in my flesh, that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ, for his body's sake, which is the Church.' Now, my dear friend, let us take a look at your real individual situation, as a suffering member of a suffering body; a suffering body, because a corrupt body, requiring bleeding, blistering, &c. &c. Take a view of the Saints of God in history, sacred or profane, and compare your own individual suffering with theirs, great as it is; I am apt to think, it will not rise to mediocrity. I could expatiate on this subject, from what comes every day within my own knowledge. The Lord is working in this way all


around me but of that another time. In your own case, try for a moment to shut out of view, every thing without your own family: what you once were, what you once possessed and enjoyed: also what your friends possess and enjoy at this present time: detach yourself from all. What was yours, is gone; what you calculated upon, is also gone set all aside, and consider yourself a sinner, saved from destruction by grace; in a state of purgation, and preparation for happiness, on a pilgrimage with thousands of others, your fellow-saved sinners, through the wilderness, to that inheritance which was purchased for you at such a price. Your Saviour is your Leader, Protector, Provider, also your Physician, and the Physician of the whole body, perfectly acquainted with the constitution, disposition, temper, &c. of every indi. vidual. He has made provision for each, all the journey through, and given security that none shall suffer real want. Bread and water is promised; nothing beyond these, though in general he gives more; to each he gives a portion in hand, to some for a day, some for a week, some for a year, which they calculate upon with more or less probability: none with certainty. Your portion is for a year; take a view of those whom you know, one with another, I am apt to think, the Lord has still given you mediocrity. Look at the ordinary provision he makes for the ministers of his Gospel: most of them with a flock of children; many of those in the country have five hundred dollars, some four hundred, some three hundred, generally ill paid. The Lord puts a blessing in it, he makes it go far-the garden produce, the cow; they do what their hands find to do, and get along : so will he do with you, my dear. He will put you upon methods of industry and economy: your one chicken divided in six parts, with a little bit of pork, with the fruit of God's blessing on your industry in the garden, shall both taste sweet, and satisfy for the time. Try to be thankful; Moses said of the manna, This is the bread which the Lord your God giveth you.' Pray and watch against dwelling on the plentiful tables of others; and when bidden to a feast, take your portion, and say, this is from the Lo for the time. Do not let a thought of


misery or wretchedness dwell upon your mind. O no, God is good; you shall not want. O what sweet meals have I and my children made on hot potatoes, nicely boiled and cracked, with salt-not merely content, but they tasted good and savoury, There are peculiar pleasures in a life of that kind. You shall yet sing of it.

Now, my dear friend, I have done with what I had to say on this head. I have had great fears of wounding, lest you should reckon me among Job's friends: but you call me mother, and it is required of a mother to be faithful. I now leave it with the Lord. We are delighted to find you girding up the loins of your mind, and setting about active duty. Let us meet at a throne of Grace, and look to the course the Lord marks out for us.

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I HAVE just parted with my dear afflicted friend P.; she left it in charge to me, that I should write to you in the time of your affliction. Surely, I would do any thing, whatever, that I thought might alleviate either her or your distress. But there are cases, to which God alone can speak; afflictions which he alone can console. Such are those, under which the sufferer is commanded to be still and know that he is God.' He never leaves his people in any case; but sometimes shuts them up from human aid. Their grief is too great to be consoled by human tongue or pen.

Such I have experienced. I lost my only son; I neither know when, nor where; and for any thing I know, in a state of rebellion against God. Here, at my heart it lies still; who can speak to me of it? neither can I reason upon it. Aaron held his peace. Old Eli said, 'It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his sight.' Samuel, in his turn, had his heart wrung by his ungodly son. David lamented over his beloved Absalom: but it availed him nothing. Job's sons and daughters were all cut off in one day; himself laid down in deep sore bodily affliction; his friends sat seven days and seven nights without opening their mouths, because they saw his af


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