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shadow of death, I shall even then fear no evil, for his rod and staff shall support me; and I shall enter into the presence of my Redeemer, white and clean, drest in his most perfect righteousness; Angels and Saints shall know me in this glorious robe; my Redeemer will acknowledge me as his ransomed, and I shall finally be for ever with the Lord.
TO MISS M—.
September 11, 1800.
THERE was, my dear Miss M-, something in your countenance and manner, at our last interview, which has dwelt on my mind ever since. Your former attentions, which I also marked, I attributed to the natural benevolence of your heart; but your following a stranger, an old woman, of whom you knew so little, and you were likely never to see again-to solicit her whom friendship, and an interest in her prayers, spoke a language beyond nature. Either, my sweet friend has already chosen a God in Christ to be her portion, and his love in her heart powerfully draws her to every one in whom she thinks she discerns his image; or conceives that this world cannot give her happiness, even in this life; and impressed with the importance of that which is to come, she wishes to cast in her lot
among God's people, that she may "know the good of his chosen, and rejoice in their joy," become a partaker of that peace which the Saviour bequeathed to his disciples, when about to leave them: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world
giveth, give I unto you; let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Let me congratulate my friend, which ever of these be the case. If the first, you have, (or will soon have,) a peace which the world can neither give, nor take away; if the last, the Saviour stands at the door of your heart and knocks, soliciting that heart, which has too long been hunting shadows and vanity. If your soul be dissatisfied with the things of the world, and tired with disappointment, cast a longing eye to the fountain of happiness. This is the chaim of that God, whose name is love, My Son, give me thy heart. Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. In the world, ye shall have tribulation, but, in me ye shall have peace. Be assured, my dear friend, if you could obtain all of this world that your heart could wish for, you would find vanity written on the possession. Nothing short of God himself can give happiness to the soul of man; and exactly in proportion as man becomes weaned from the world, and his affections centre in God, is he in possession of happiness. But how is this to be attained? By God's own plan, and no other. As many weary themselves in vain, hunting the shadows of time; so many great philosophers, sensible of this great truth, that God alone can satisfy the rational soul, also weary themselves in vain, because they will not seek the blessing in God's own way. When the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased him by the foolishness of preaching, (what was esteemed so,) to save them that believe. I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. The Saviour said, Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. No man can come to the Father, but by me. I am the Way, the
Truth, and the Life. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. The Scripture testifies what our own hearts must assent to, that human nature is depraved, and corrupt; broken off from God; distanced from him by sin; enmity against him in his true character; opposed to his holy law, in its extent and spirituality: we are also helpless, dead in trespasses and sins. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, (blessed be God for what follows,) but in me is thy help. The same Scripture which testifies the misery of man, reveals also his remedy; a remedy of God's own providing, by which man may be restored to the image and favour of God, and to that communion with him, which is life and bliss. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life: for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, might be saved. And this is life eternal, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. When man becomes convinced that he is lost, helpless, wretched, lying at mercy. and submits to the method of God's own providing: casts himself on the mercy of God in Christ, and, coming to him, rests on his free promise, Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out; disclaiming all confidence in himself, or in his own works, he accepts o: God's offered Grace, in God's own way, a FREE and FINISHED salvation. This is the record of God, that he giveth unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: who, of God, is made unto us, Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and complete Redemption. Believing this, according to his faith it shall be. Christ shall be in him, a well of water springing up to eternal life. He will shed abroad his love in his heart, and according to his pro
mise give him power to become a child of God. Holy Ghost, the Comforter, shall be given unto him, to teach him the knowledge of the Scriptures, and to become a principle of holiness in his heart. Then shall he experience that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace; then shall he experience the blessedness of that man whose God is the Lord; then is the way open for communion, and converse with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
If, my dear Miss M-, I have made myself understood, you have my view of God's method of making his creatures happy; and I believe he will make us to know that he is a sovereign God, and that there is no other name, or method by which men can be saved, but the name of Christ Jesus. But, take nothing on my word, nor the word of any creature; search the Scriptures; read the first eight chapters of the Romans, the whole of the Ephesians; stumble not at mysteries-pass them over, and take the milk for babes; pray for the teaching of the Spirit; and let me recommend to you the advice of Mr. Newton, in his Omicron's Letters, a book well worth your reading,
Lay not too much stress on detached texts, but seek for the sense which is most agreeable to the general strain of Scripture."
My dear Miss M—, I am now old, and I hope have done with the world; but have been young, and drank deeply of youth's choicest pleasures. I was blest with the best and most indulgent of parents; I was the wife of a man of sense, sentiment, and sensibility, who was my very first love and lover: and that love ripened and improved with years. My children were good and healthy; love, health, peace, and competency blessed our dwelling. I had also, in early life.
taken hold of God's Covenant, and tasted his Covenant love; and devoted myself to his service, which was in my mind a principle of moderation, compared with mere worldlings: but very far was I from that non-conformity which the precept of the Gospel requires; had I kept close to my Covenant God, enjoyed his bounty with thankfulness, occupied my talents, devoted my time to usefulness and communion with him; had I prayed against corruption within, and temptation without, the Lord would have directed my steps, and held up my goings, and I should have continued to inherit the earth, and should not have been diminished. 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 case 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