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report from some, the good Lord does but favour me with a good report from others who love and fear him in sincerity and truth, arising from his making them profitable to their souls, I shall be satisfied; for I had much rather have the reproaches and curses of an empty, hypocritical professor, than his deceitful compliments or blessings; as David says, “ Let them curse, but bless thou; and when they arise (to do this) let them be ashamed, but let thy servant rejoice," Psalm cviii. 28.
These letters having been written without any view to publication, you will probably find much tautology and many imperfections in them; which however must remain, for I cannot find time to correct them, as I might have done had they been transcribed. But, should my reader find the matter sound, and to agree with his experience, and the Lord's presence and approbation with him as he proceeds, I am sure he will from his heart pardon and overlook any deficiencies or inaccuracies arising either from mistake or inability in the author, who makes no pretensions to a capacity for writing either an elegant performance, or a learned composition. In addition to the corruption of the present times, the consideration of the Lord's having blessed them to the profit of his soul to whom they were addressed, as also to some others who have since perused them, at the earnest solicitation of several friends, and in the hope that they may be still further useful to some of the Lord's fan ily, I have been induced at length to publish the two first. And, as it is deemed advisable to bring them out in numbers; should this first be acceptable, and meet with due encouragement, the rest shall be continued in succession, as it may please God to permit. And, that the reader may be apprised of the various subjects treated of, I here state the contents of those that follow:-
Letter III. The Spirit's work upon the heart; meaning of rivers and waters in Scripture, and those in the 27th of Ezekiel explained ; Use of the law, &c.
IV. On Divine teaching.
V. Principally upon Ezekiel xvi. 4-14. The fallen state of mankind by nature, and his recovery solely by grace.
VI. On the nature of apostacy.
VUI. Copy of two letters; one from Mr. L-s to me, and my answer; both sent to Mr. S-11. Principally upon Antichrist.
IX. Short remarks upon true and false faith; also a parallel between the church of God and the Garden of Eden noticed.
X. Who are proper, and who are improper guests at the sacrament. Remarks respecting true and false ministers, and the work of each.
XI. Principally upon the fundamental trutlis of the Gospel.
• XII, What means the Lörd uses to take away. hypocrites from his church, Hebrews vi. 4–6; largely explained.
XIII. Upon the parable, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves," &c. Luke x. 30—35. · XIV. On opposing the workings of unbelief, and holding forth encouragement to such, as revealed in the word of God.
XV. Mrs. S-n's letter to me upon her huş. band's death.
XVI. My answer to Mrs. S-n's letter..:..
I must yet trespass a little longer upon your kind indulgence, before I conclude this present address..
My last publication, as I naturally expected, has passed through both evil and good report.-One person has been pleased to vilify me not a little; whom I consider to be the quintessence of hardness, blindness, and awful presumption, and the most daring impostor that ever disgraced a profession of religion; and who, in traducing me, has in one instance (by a necessary consequence) done nothing less than blaspheme the Holy Ghost; so that I cannot but esteem his slander as a real honour; and shall never, I hope, disgrace myself by taking any further notice of one so truly despicable.
Another has been pleased to present me with a Christmas-box, a pamphlet valued at fifteen
pence; and I am very glad it cost me nothing.
The author deals with me in a double capacity; - he first pays me some handsome compliments, and then proceeds to chastise me as handsomely for what he considers confusion and error. Till now I did not view myself a man of so much consequence as to be deserving the notice of such wise and learned men. The author seeins to be conscious that he has espoused a bad or a desperate cause, or he would not surely have secreted himself altogether in fiction. The fictitious initials of Y. Z. and place of residence, " From the Wilderness and Solitary way,” indicate that he is ashamed publicly to appear at the head of bis production. Had he acted the honest and honourable part, he would have given both his real name and place of residence, as I was not ashamed to set him the example; and I call upon him for this, as a name less author deserves no notice. Besides, I feel a great aversion to disgrace my profession by fighting an adversary in the dark; as at present I call but consider him as a pretended friend at best; and, whatever absurdities I have been guilty of, or whatever erroneous views I may have taken, according to his ideas, he is perhaps the last man that ought to have sat in judgment upon me; for where he thinks he fixes one absurdity or erfor upon me, I consider him the author of ten, upon the most moderate calculation. And I will insist upon this, that his views of Popery, and the present state of the church and of the world, he never
had from the Spirit of the Lord, who leads into all truth, not into confusion; and where he does not operate as the spirit of revelation and understanding, such must and shall remain in gross darkness, relative to the times in which we live, the mystery of the kingdom of God, or the spiritual meaning of the word of God. The scriptures with him serve only as a nose of wax, to wrest as best suits his purpose, which is awful to observe in several places of his letter; and he mostly makes them subservient to history, not history subservient to them. He does not establish any thing firmly, with a “ thus saith the Lord;" but Rapin and others say so and so. “To the law and to the testi mony; If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isai. viii. 20. .
He is honest enough to acknowledge and confess his ignorance in divine things, and yet can point out the rock that myself and many more lave split upon, and the foundation of all our misconceptions; and has taken upon himself to teach and instruct us in that which has been beyond the experience of every one (a late friend of his excepted,) till his time, and that which is the most mysterious and difficult in all the word of God.—Hear his own words, “ There is one reason against these things that to me is unanswerable, and it is the only one that I know of that is so. It is a personal one; for certainly I am the last person upon earth likely to know any thing of di