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WAY AND THE FARE, &c.
TO MR. K.
Dear Brother and Sister in Christ Jesus,
AFTER several storms, contrary winds, boisterous waves, turbulent seas, dangerous shoals, encounters with formidable enemies of the ghostly kind, and many entanglements among the Caribbee islands, I am once more come to an anchor at the Cape of Good Hope, the wind at south-west. The dog-star is now out of sight, and I am looking to him that maketh the seven stars an Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning.
It has been a day of adversity with me, in which I have had many things to consider; and now the day of prosperity is arrived, in which I hope to be joyful. I have of late had various temptations and trials to cope with, and acted in my voyage as Paul did in his: I cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for day; I tried to anchor in the Spirit's former work; in former pro
mises applied, in former evidences, and in former visits; but, alas, alas, the vessel drove; I was obliged to cast anchor out of the fore-ship (our refuge is a hope set before us); but still she drove; until a little of that threefold cord that is not soon broken was let out; then she came to her anchor, and rode sweetly.
I am now ashore; and, having gained the summit of an adjacent rock, I have been, with the help of my glass, making what discoveries I could, while the eddy was visible: I left the group of Candour Islands about a league from the larboardside; I fell on the quicksands on the coast of Universal Charity; but the wind veered and brought her off; nevertheless, some of the crew were infected from the shore, and we performed quarantine.
The old shattered weather-beaten vessel has sprung several leaks; her timbers are impaired, her planking is much decayed, and ere long she will undoubtedly go to pieces; but nothing will be lost but the mortal infection of the timbers and the lading; for she will be weighed up again, refitted, and numbered among the first rates, as soon as the Master Builder appears: for he has sworn that no vessel of mercy shall suffer eternal wreck, or be deluged in wrath.
The storm is now forgot, this part of the voyage is to be performed no more; the Captain is with me, the sun shines warm, and the good old wine is going about. O how sweet are the visits
of Christ, after faith and patience have been tried! He stands behind the wall in times of trouble; shews himself through the lattice when the proud heart is humbled; sits as a refiner by the side of the furnace, regulates the heat, and brings us out when self is denied; affords supporting grace, stirs up and discovers the base metal at the bottom, purges away the dross and tin, and makes the trial of faith more precious than gold, and the believer like the golden wedge of Ophir. Thus we go through fire and water, but he brings us out into a wealthy place: "the ransom of a man's life are his riches." Christ is our ransom, wealthy place, hiding place, resting place, and dwelling place.
Having enjoyed my Lord, soon after I made the land I went to survey the little hills, and attempted to water the ridges thereof, in hopes of the blessing of increase. We had some little appearance of the days of the Son of Man: the perfection of beauty shone forth; the fire was scattered from the altar; reviving sparks and living coals went forth at his feet; while his inflaming purifying influences warmed the heart, and brightened the countenance of those that are of the true circumcision.
With delight I looked upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; but with more delight to see the Master of Assemblies there. O! to stand in Christ's strength, begirt with his truth, enrobed with his righteousness, cheered with his inward testimony, illuminated with the light of his countenance, free
in his liberty, and wise in his wisdom! then the eye of faith pursues his mysterious steps, which he makes glorious, while he displays his power and majesty as our King and our God in the sanctuary.
Upon the thirsty soul he comes down as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth; which makes love, joy, peace, praise, and gratitude, to spring forth, while himself delights in his own fruits. He unstops the ears of the deaf, opens them to pleasing discipline; causes a joyful sound to be heard behind, while the still voice informs the wondering listener, This is the way, walk ye in it.' With the hammer of his word he smites the inflexible heart of another; opens the everlasting doors, and makes the careless, senseless, stupid mortal attend to the voice, and reply, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. He takes the bane of guilt from the envenomed conscience of another, and sets the rescued sinner to banter the king of terrors, and the house appointed for all living: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" He couches the eyes of the blind, draws the veil from the understanding, lets a healing beam into the heart; and makes him that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death shew himself: the soul peeps out of obscurity and out of darkness, views his past life as a dream, supposes himself in a new world, and shines forth in the Sun that shall never go down. He takes another struggling in the horrible pit and miry clay, pulls him out of the deep waters, shews him the way
of life and path of peace; fixes his wavering heart, puts a new song in his mouth, and ever after orders his goings. Takes another, that has been long struggling against sin in his own strength, by which he has only burdened his soul with additional fetters, and proclaims his enlargement; sets his soul at liberty, and tells him to run the race set before him, looking to his Great Deliverer; pours a little of the oil of myrrh on the handle of the unbeliever's lock, and makes the bolt of infidelity fly back, while lovingkindness and tender mercy take possession, and display their banner there; thus turning the den of dragons into a silver palace, while every power of the soul proclaims their Sovereign come, kiss the Heir-apparent, acknowledge his hereditary right to government, and crown him King at large. He lets the enthralled sinner, that has been long cooped up in the strong hold of flesh and blood, out of his cell; unfolds the door of hope in the valley of Achor; when slavish fear with her train of terrors and the discovered tormentor sculk off, while the happy soul feels its plumage, spreads its wings, and escapes like a bird from the hand of the fowler, where it hopes to hear no more of the stormy wind and tempest. He whispers peace to another: bids the waiting soul be patient, and quietly hope they shall not be ashamed that wait for him: discovers and lays open the heart of the secure sinner, and spreads all his crimson crimes and carnal hopes before his face; saying, I have called thee by thy