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rare thing for a child of God to retain the enjoyment of his comforts after his first deliverance for more than a year. The worst part of your letter, therefore, is that which states the length of your comforts; but the effects of pardoning love upon your soul, at the time of your deliverance, were such as clearly to manifest that it was the love of God, no other love ever having such blessed and glorious effects attending it as you experienced upon the pardon of your sins. Though my comforts and consolations only lasted a few months, yet even then I began to be afraid of them, on account of such passages as these, “ Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom,” Acts xiv. 22. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him," James i. 12. “ Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,"&c. Heb. xii. 6. These passages of scripture made me afraid, and I wished to feel their force, to satisfy me that I was in the way to the kingdom. It was not long however before I had such an experience of their contents, that I longed for some of my former old fare again--I mean conforts and consolations.
You say you are glad that I am not willing to * lay my hand suddenly upon you. My prayer for you is, that God's good hand may ever be upon you; that you may be kept by his power, and guided in a right way to a city of habitation. I
believe that God hath given you an honest and sincere heart; “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile,” deceit, or hypocrisy! You are in my heart a true copy, a living epistle; and I believe the Lord hath, in the multitude of his mercies, given us a sure dwelling-place in the cleft of the Rock, the sure refuge and hiding place; and may he be pleased to grant that, as the true circumcision, we may ever worship him in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
I think I have noticed every particular in your letter. I might, indeed, have enlarged upon many things; but, as they are more minutely handled in the letter to my sister, I beg your particular attention to that. Hoping that our correspondence may not cease, I shall at all times be glad to hear from you; and perhaps we may both have reason to bless God that ever we had a meeting at Faughheads. You tell me that you have been buffeted by men and devils for fifteen years, during which you must have gone through a deal of hard service. The more opposition we meet with, the closer do we cleave to Christ; and the more we cleave to him, the more useful and fruitful we are, the more God is glorified, and so all things work together for our good under the all-wise manage'. ment of our heavenly Father.
As you have been much opposed by the Arminians, I send you • The Arminian Skeleton,' where
you will find him dissected by Dr. Huntington, whose peculiar skill in anatomy I beg you to ob. serve. It appears to me that he has fully exposed him; and no wonder, seeing he works with the best of instruments, which are extremely sharp, and in constant practice. The Arminian is a complete body of corruption; and the Doctor's instruments have been so powerfully handled as completely to make it manifest. • The Funeral of Arminianism' I believe you have. I beg your acceptance of · The Correspondence,' which will no doubt be very acceptable, as also · The Child of Liberty in legal Bondage;' and may it please the Lord to give testimony to them as the word of his own grace!
I believe that God hath given you a clearer heart-felt experience than either preacher or professor in your parts. It differs widely from the generality of profession; and I doubt not but God will own and acknowledge it even to the end, while much that is called true experience will be found at last to be nothing less than a delusion. The Lord first of all quickened your soul to feel the state you were in, and shewed you what you really were; then he taught you out of his holy law, brought you in guilty, stopped your mouth from all hoasting; and then drew you, as a poor burdened sinner, to his dear Son; raised you to a lively hope, by the application of the promises of pardon for sin; then revealed his dear Son to you, whom you em
braced in faith as your own Redeemer. This was attended with pardon, peace, and the love of God felt in your heart, which drew forth that repentance that needs never to be repented of, and set you down at rest and at home in Christ, justified freely from all things, and delivered from all condemnation. Then your judgment was passed; you were acquitted by the application of the atoning blood of Christ; and by the imputation of his righteousness the Holy Spirit pronounced the sentence of justification in the court of conscience, and bore his witness to your adoption and sonship, when you knew the Lord to be your own everlasting portion. And this, being God's work upon your soul, must be your rule to judge and examine every preacher and professor by. If they know nothing of those things which you have felt, then you may depend upon it they have only a superficial profession; and the Lord calls thus upon his people; “ Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, O my nation; for a law shall proceed from me (the law of faith from Christ,) and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people,” Isai. li. 4. And the Lord's judgment of his elect, and his justifying of them by an act of free, sovereign grace, will ever be a light to them, or a rule of judgment, as long as they are in this world. Your patience will perhaps be tried by not hearing from me sooner ; but, as I always kecp a copy by me of every thing I write upon religion, which requires more time than I can always spare, I can assure you I have been obliged, as it is, to write hard all night. I know, by experience, that the grace of God cannot lead either into sinfulness or idleness, but always into fruitfulness to God, and diligence in wisdom's ways. Remember me to all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth, not forgetting your household. I by no means wish you to keep this secret, leaving to your discretion to do with it as you please; but surely, as we are such debtors to free, sovereign grace and electing love, it will be more for God's glory, and the good of souls, to say with David, “Come hither, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” We ought not to be ashamed, but to make our boast of, and triumph in, our covenant God and Father all the day long.
That this may be a word in due season; that you may be fed with knowledge and understanding, and triumph over every enemy in Christ; that your path may shine more and more; that you may be favoured with more judgment in your goings, more faith, hope, and love, in exercise ; enjoy refreshing from the Lord's presence; that he may turn the shadow of death into the morning; that you may look to Christ continually, and be receiving from his fulness an abundant supply for every want; that you may be like a tree, planted by the waters, that sendeth