Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

on Isa. vi. Ps. xxxix. cxxx. iv. and a part of Rom. xii. I have likewise a small quarto in Latin, of his Divinity Lectures, when professor at Edinburgh: the short title is, Prælectiones Theologiæ. Mine was printed in London 1698. I believe this book is scarce: I set the highest value upon it. He has wonderfully united the simplicity of the Gospel with all the captivating beauties of style and language. Bishop Burnet says, he was the greatest master of the Latin tongue he ever knew; of which, together with his compass of learning, he has given proof in his Lectures : yet, in his gayer dress, his eminent humility and spirituality appear to no less advantage than when clad in plain English. I think it may be said to be a diamond set in gold. I could wish it translated, if it was possible (which I almost question) to preserve the beauty and spirit of the original.

Edwards on Free-will I have read with pleasure, as a good answer to the proud reasoners in their own way; but a book of that sort cannot be generally read: where the subject-matter is unpleasing, and the method of treating it requires more attention than the Athenian spirit of the times will bear, I wonder not if it is uncalled for; and am afraid we shall not see him

upon Original Sin, if it depends upon the sale of the other, This answer to Dr. Taylor, which you speak of, is not a MS. but has been already printed at Boston.

You send us good news indeed, that two more of your brethren are declaring on the Gospel-side. The Lord confirm and strengthen them, add yet to your numbers, and make you helps and comforts to each other. Surely he is about to spread his work. Happy those whom he honours to be fellow-workers with hiin. Let us account the disgrace we suffer for his name's sake to be our great honour. Many will be against us;

but there are more for us. All the praying souls on earth, all the glorified saints in heaven, all the angels of God, yea, the God of angels himself, all are on our side. Satan may rage, but he is a chained enemy. Men may contradict and fight, but they cannot prevail, Two things we shall especially need, courage and patience, that we neither faint before them, nor upon any provocation act in their spirit. If we can pity and pray for them, return good for evil, make them sensible that we bear them a hearty good will, and act as the disciples of him who wept for his enemies, and prayed for his murderers; in this way, we shall find the Lord will plead our cause, soften opposers, and by degrees give us a measure of outward peace. Warmth and imprudence have often added to the necessary burden of the cross. I rejoice that the Lord has led you in a different

way; and I hope your doctrine and example will make your path smoother every day: you find it so in part already. As the Lord brings you out a people witnesses for you to the truth of his word, you will find advantage in bringing them often together. The interval from Sabbath to Sabbath is a good while, and affords time for the world and Satan to creep in. Intermediate meetings for prayer, &c. when properly conducted, are greatly useful. I could wish for larger sheets and longer leisure; but I am constrained to say adieu, in our dear Lord and Saviour,

Yours, &c.

LETTER IV.

ness.

Dear Sir,

Dec. 12, 1767. THIS is not intended as an answer to your last acceptable letter, but an occasional line, in consequence of the account Mr. T**** has given me of your late ill

I trust this dispensation will be useful to you; and I wish the knowledge of it may be so to me. I am favoured with an unusual share of health, and an equal flow of spirits. If the blow you have received should be a warning to me, I shall have cause to be thankful. I am glad to hear you are better; I hope the Lord has no design to disable you from service, but rather (as he did Jacob) to strengthen you by wounding you; to maintain and increase in you that conviction which, through grace, you have received, of the vanity and uncertainty of every thing below; to give you a lively sense of the value of health and opportunities, and to add to the treasury of your experience new proofs of his power and goodness, in supporting, comforting, and healing you; and likewise to quicken the prayers of your people for you, and to stir them up to use double diligence in the present improvement of the means of grace, while by this late instance they see how soon and suddenly you might have been removed froin them.

I understand you did not feel that lively exercise of faith and joy which you would have hoped to have found at such a season: but let not this discourage you from a firm confidence, that when the hour of dismission shall come, the Lord will be faithful to his gracious promise, and give you strength sufficient to encounter and vanquish your last enemy. You had not this

strength lately, because you needed it not: for though you might think yourself near to death, the Lord intended to restore you; and he permitted you to feel weakness, that you might know your strength does not consist in grace received, but in his fulness, and his promise to communicate from himself as your occasions require. O it is a great thing to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus! but it is a hard lesson; it is not easy to understand it in theory; but when the Lord has taught us so far, it is still more difficult to reduce our knowledge to practice. But this is one end he has in view; in permitting us to pass through such a variety of inward and outward exercises, that we may cease from trusting in ourselves, or in any creature, or framne, or experiences, and be brought to a state of submission and dependence upon him alone. I was once visited something in the same way, seized with a fit of the apoplectic kind, which held me near an hour, and left a disorder in my head, which quite broke the scheme of life I was then in, and was consequently one of the means the Lord appointed to bring me into the minis-, try: but I soon perfectly recovered. From the remembrance Mrs. **** has of whạt she then suffered, she knows how to sympathise with Mrs. B**** in her share of your trial.

And I think dear Mr. **** some years since had a sudden stroke on a Christmas-day, which disabled him from duty for a time. To him and to me these turn's were only like the caution which Philip of Macedon ordered to be repeated to him every morning, Remember thou art a man. I hope it will be no more but that

you

shall live to praise him, and to give many cause to praise him on your behalf. Blessed be God, we are in safe hands; the Lord hiipself is our keeper; nothing befalls us but what is adjusted by his

to you,

wisdom and love. Health is his gift; and sickness, when sanctified, is a token of love likewise. Here we may meet with many things which are not joyous, but grievous to the flesh; but he will in one way or other sweeten

every

bitter cup, and ere long he will wipe away all tears from our eyes. Othat joy, that crown, that glory, which awaits the believer! Let us keep the prize of our high calling in view, and press forward in the name of Jesus the Redeemer, and he will not disappoint our hopes.

I am but just come off from a journey, am weary, and it grows late; must therefore break off. When you have leisure and strength to write, oblige me with a confirmation of your recovery, for I shall be something anxious about you.

I am, &c.

LETTER V.

My Dear Friend,

March 14, 1775. I THOUGHT you long in writing, but am afraid I have been longer. A heavy family-affliction called me from home in December, which put me out of my usual course, and threw me behind-hand in my correspondence; yet I did not suspect the date of your last letter was so old by two months as I find it. Whether I write more frequently or more seldom, the love of my heart to you is the same, and I shall believe the like of

you; yet if it can be helped, I hope the interval will not be so long again on either side. I am glad that the Lord's work still flourishes in your parts, and that you have a more comfortable prospect at home than

« FöregåendeFortsätt »