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minished. But this was very far from being my conduct; the bent of the natural, unrenewed heart, is still opposed to God; and the best are sanctified only in part, while in this life; the law in the members still wars against the law of the Spirit of life in the mind The goodness of God, which ought to have been a powerful motive to gratitude, love, and diligence, was misimproved: I enjoyed the gifts, and forgot the Giver; "hugged my comforts to death." Many, many light chastisements, my dear, my kind, my indulgent heavenly Father, exercised me with; many repenting seasons under his strokes; many manifestations of pardon I received; and many fresh and solemn dedications of my heart, life and substance did I make: but no sooner was ease and comfort restored, than my heart turned aside like a deceitful bow; my whole life, from fifteen, till the thirtieth year of my age, was one continued succession of departure and backsliding on my part; of chastening, forgiving, restoring, and comforting on the part of my God.
He did not cast me off, but dealt with me according to the constitution of his well-ordered covenant-Psalms Ixxxix. 30. If his children (Christ's) forsake my law and walk not in my judgments-if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.' This is the covenant (made with Christ as the federal head of all who believe) of which I took hold in early life; my God kept me to my choice, and manifested his own faithfulness, and the stability of his covenant. When lighter afflictions proved ineffectual, He at last, at one blow, took from me all that made life dear, the very kernel of all my earthly joys, my idol, my beloved husband. Then I no longer halted between two opinions; my God became my all. I leave it as my testimony, that He has been · a father to the fatherless, a husband to the widow, the stranger's shield and orphan's stay. Even to hoar hairs and to old age he has carried me, and not one good word has failed of all
that he has promised. "He has done all things well," and at this day I am richer and happier than ever I was in my life. Not that I am yet made free from sin, that is still my burden; want of love and gratitude, indolence in commanded duty, self-will and nestling in the creature. But my heart's wish and earnest desire is conformity. The bent of my will is for God; and if my heart deceive me not, my God is the centre of my best affections. It is by grace that I am what I am, and the same grace engages to perfect the work begun.
This God is my God; he will guide me even unto death, through death, and be my portion through eternity. This God I recommend to my friend; and this well-ordered covenant, this all-sufficient Saviour, for your acceptance; the bible for your guide: pray to God for his holy Spirit to lead you to the knowledge of the very truth, as it is in Jesus. Accept this as a testimony of friendship, and believe me yours in love.
November 2d, 1800.
You have, I find, been the child of affliction: she is a stern rugged nurse; but blessed often are the lessons she teaches. I have (says God) chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. It is God's ordinary way of drawing sinners to himself, either to dry up, or embitter, the streams of worldly comfort, that he may shut them up to seek that comfort that depends not on any transitory source.
I have no doubt but you shall yet sing with the royal Psalmist, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy word. Blessed is the man thou chast enest, Lord, and makest to learn thy ways.' Many are the texts to the same purpose; take them for your consolation as a part of God's well-ordered covenant.
You have met with a late bereavement, which has entered deep into your soul. We are not called to stoicism, but to tenderness of heart and spirit. Jesus wept with the two sisters over a brother's grave. But still the Christian's spirit must be resigned, and say, and try to say with cheerfulness, not my will but thine be
done. And, O my friend, great will be the wisdom and happy the acquisition, if every new bereavement would enlarge the room for divine love in the heart, and be filled up with that most noble, most blessed of principles. Seek not, my friend, to replace friendship with any mere worldling; beg of God to fill up the vacuum,~ then will you be a great gainer.
Why hesitate to join the church? Let not a sense of unworthiness keep you back-a deep sense of unworthiness is one grand part of due preparation; and no worthiness of yours can give you any title to that New Testament in Christ's blood, which was shed for the remission of sins.' Worthless, vile, empty, helpless, is every son and daughter of Adam's race: but it was for the ungodly that Christ died; it was while we were without strength : his name was called Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins. In that day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood among a mixed multitude, and cried, if any man thirst let him come to me and drinkwhosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.'
If conscious at the time that it is the supreme desire of your soul to be washed in his blood, clothed with his righteousness, sanctified by his Spirit,-go-and take this water of life freely; go as a sinner to a Saviour; go at his command, put honour on his appointment, and repeat the dedication of all that you are, have or can have, over the symbols of his body broken for you,' his blood shed for you;' go, trusting in his mercy, and leave all to his management, believing that he will shed abroad his love in your heart, order your footsteps in his ways, and in due time perfect his image in your soul. Keep close to him in the use of means, but look beyond the means for life and power. I commit you to our God and Saviour, and pray that he may be to you'wisdom,. righteousness, sanctification,' and 'complete redemption.' I am, my dear Miss M. your ever affectionate,
January 4, 1801..
what he has done for you, for me, and for many dear to None ever sought him in vain, or found him worse than his promise. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God. So shalt thou know the Lord, if thou follow on to know him.'
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?' Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.' Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,' &c.
My friend, did I say too much of this kind, compassionate, loving, life-giving Saviour, or of the fulness and freeness of the gift of God? You have tasted it, you have witnessed it, you have seen a recent proof of ityou may trace mercy through all this dispensation; his lengthened out illness, his preserved judgment and strength of mind to the last, all concurred to manifest to himself, to you, and to all who would look on, the reality of that joy and peace which is the fruit of believing and acquiescing in that remedy of God's own providing for poor, wandering, erring, miserable sinners. He had wandered from the fountain of living waters; his broken cisterns could yield him no refreshment-like the poor starving prodigal, he desired to return to his father, and asked the way to Zion with his face thitherwards. not the sequel realized to him? his father met him, embraced him, brought him home, and filled his heart with peace and gladness. O, is it not all of a piece with what he has revealed of his own name and character?
The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, slow to anger, of great kindness, showing mercy to thousands, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin-who will by no means clear the guilty:' seeing. he has found a method of magnifying his own law, and justifying the ungodly, by substituting another in their room. God is merciful to all the extent he hath said; but still it is by his own method; for he has declared, that 'out of Christ he is a consuming fire;' and that'there is no other name given, by which men must be saved, but the name of Christ Jesus.' But men, even men
moral, benevolent, good in the common acceptation of the word in the world, going about to establish their own righteousness, will not submit to the righteousness of God's own providing: this is the madness, this is the folly, this, I fear, is the ruin of thousands; what did I say? I fear; dare I doubt ? no, I dare not, for God has said it. O my friend, let us cleave to the only Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, and let us be jealous among those whom we love, and over whom we have influence, to bring them off from every sandy foundation, to the Rock, Christ. You say true, that I was interested, personally, in this dear brother; never mother watched over the darling of her heart, with more unwearied attention, than he did over my Jessy. He, by the blessing of God, restored her for a time-now they are met; soon shall we follow; many friends have gone before. O that every bereavement may be blessed to us, that we may be weaned from the things of time, and made familiar with the prospects held out to us beyond the grave!
TO MRS. JULIET S-, New-York.
MY DEAR JULIET,
SINCE the hour I received your letter, you have been little out of my mind. You call upon me as mother, friend, counsellor. Shall conscious unworthiness, or weakness, or ignorance, prevent my answering, knowing that God often chooses weak instruments to bring to pass great ends? I have been once and again at a throne of Grace, for wisdom to direct me, and grace to be faithful. If your desire after spiritual knowledge, be sincere, and from the Spirit of God operating on your heart, you will bear searching.
You are a communicant, my Juliet; this presupposes that a very great, and an important change has taken place in your mind, that you have been made deeply sensible of what the word of God testifies of every son and daughter of Adam's race. Romans iii. 9. As it is writ