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the faithfulness and truth of the unchangeable Tehovah; and fecrctly wished for another onset with the devil, not doubting but I should quit myself like a man. But, as soon as the next attack came on, I turned back in the day of battle, although harnessed and carrying a bow; for the devil, varying his temptations, surprised me on that fide where I was most secure. And hence it appeared as though some strange thing had happened unto me. For some months I went on, up and down in the balance of the sanctuary, this way. And I learnt one lesson in this field of action, and that was, that the Lord's strength was made perfect in weakness. For, when I resolved and mustered up all my courage, I never stood at all, but fell when the first dart reached me; but, when I feared, trembled, and cried mightily to my God and Saviour, he hath strengthened the weak against the strong, so that the weak hath come even to the fortress. I have, at such times, been enabled even to resemble a soldier of Christ. I have rebuked the devil for his insolence and blafphemy; I have cursed him and defied him, in the name of the living God. I told him he was damned, and his punishment would certainly come on him, and that my eyes should see it; and he could not deny it, nor reply against it. However, these continual changes, one day at the gates of heaven, and the next day in the belly of hell, led me to conclude that it was not pleasing to
God that I was so insatiable after comfort; because I perceived that my joys got more and more Short-lived, and my bitter seasons were more and more lengthened out. The day of profperity appeared but an hour, and the day of adversity a month. My heart was well acquainted with its own bitterness; nor did strangers intermeddle with my joy. Yet I secretly wished that my feet stood in a more even path. But must I tell you all the secret? must I disclose my own shame? Take it then. I thought in my heart, and muttered out with my lips, the following perverseness: “I believe the Lord grudges me my comforts, or else he would never suffer me to be so buffetted by the devil every time they are gone; and I would fooner be without them than go on so." And the Lord took me at my word; for the sweet breast of consolation was immediately withdrawn, to my great grief, and no small mortification; and I found it just as the evangelical prophet reprelents it : “ Whom shall he teach knowledge and · whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isa. xxviii. 9, 10. The breast being withdrawn, I searched the scriptures day and night to see what security I could get, what confirmation and establishment the word of God afforded. I compared
his work on my soul with his word, and especially those parts where he promises to make a new covenant with us, to pardon sin, and give us a new heart, &c.; and I found the work to be genuine, and that it would stand the test of every text, except such as these: “ He that is born of God finneth not.” “ They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.” Plalın cxix. 3. These I could not make out, as they seemed to assert nothing less than perfection. At these I often staggered; and they were fad stumbling-blocks to me. However, I considered the decrees and purposes of God, his covenants, promises, faithfulness, and truth; the immutability of his nature, the finished work of Christ, the oaths of God, the Spirit's work, and his faithfulness to his children in every age; and got much light, and gathered much strength, this way; and the blessed Spirit, who before was my comforter, was now a spirit of revelation and understanding to me; and, having lost all my milk and honey, I fed upon strong meat; the breast was taken away, and knowledge. and understanding became my food. I had before grown in grace, and now I grew in knowledge; and my mind was much employed in heavenly meditation on the glorious truths of the gospel. But this did not afford that nourishment, warmth, and heavenly sweetness, to the heart, which the other did. I often sat down and confidered the days of old, when “the visitations of
God preserved my spirit, when his glory was fresh in me, and when the dew lay all night upon my branch;” and wept,fighed, whined, and sobbed, after the milk and honey. But the Holy Spirit, at such times, would produce submission and resignation in me to the will of God, and suggest to my mind that, when I had finished my course, I should have my heart full of that sweet fare, and that for evermore; which made me long for death. At these times “ I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul was even as a weaned child." Psalm cxxxi. 2. About that period I was working in the coal barge, and suffering hunger, cold, and almost nakedness; besides the conflicts within, persecutions without, and the loss of that which to me was dearer than life. It pleased God to pity and visit me again. I had an old lumber-room, where I often withdrew when my burden was too heavy for me to bear; and as sure as I entered that place, so sure did the Lord of all lords visit me. He would “ come down as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth;” till I could compare it to nothing but what I had read of entering into the holy of holies, when “ the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.” O what condescension for the Most High to humble himself to take notice of such worms of the dust!
After many of these foul-reviving and foulestablishing visits, those trials, which are peculiar to the ministry, came on, attended with legal bondage, and various temptations and oppositions; and beset I was with every class of heretics, till I went, like the woman the Saviour healed, bowed together for several years; till, what with trouble, real want, and hard labour, I was at the brink of the grave, and longed for it; but it came not. At length it pleased God to renew my youth like the eagle's; and he supplied me with temporal necessaries, equipped me with truth and fortitude, and gave me a great desire to be useful; and he foon let me see that I did not labour in vain. And now this became my food; it was my meat and drink to do his will, and to see his work prosper. And this led me to walk steady with my God in peace and equity; and, having obtained help from him, I continue to this day. Thus, Delilah like, your three succeeding epistles have drawn the secret out of my heart. And, after all, what is it? Why, divine power lodged . in a lock of human hair; or, to speak in New
Testament language, it is God's strength made perfect in man's weakness. Adicu. I must attend the household; but cannot help subscribing myself