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London, April 25, 1801.
To my good Friend Gaius, peace be multiplied,
RECEIVED your unexpected, but particularly Welcome epistle, which I have now before ine; and have reason to bless God that he should cause you to open your heart so freely to ine, wlio never saw you but once. I have known some in a very faming profession, to whom I never could open iny mind respecting my experience; so true is that saying of the church, where she is called " A spring shut un, a fountain sealed;' by which We may well understand, that God will not always suffer his children to open their experience to hypocrites, as such cannot understand one branch of it, becalise they are destitute of the Holy Ghost, who alone can lead the soul into all truth, and is a Spirit of judgment to all his people, when they sit in judgment, as well as of strength
to those who turn the battle to the gate. The unction from the Holy One must be received as God's free gift, in and from Christ's fulness, or else we shall for ever live with the vail upon our souls, and never know any thing of that kingdom in the heart, which stands in power, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; and without it Christ cannot be formed in the heart the hope of glory, neither can we ever experience a new birth; and, “ Except a man be born again, he cannot either see, or enter the kingdom of God;” Christ positively declaring of all that shall be heirs of glory, “ Ye must be born again.”
I have no doubt, from what I perceived when in company with you, and what I have now be. fore me, I am writing to an honest-hearted person, who desires by all means to come to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, whether they are or are not wrought in God. I think I may rely upon this in the full assurance of faith; and if so, then Christ speaks much to the comfort of such when he says, “ He that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God,” John iii. 2). But of others; “ And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doetlı evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved,” John iii. 19, 20. An honest heart is God's gift I am sure; and the language of such a one we have thus; “ Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts : and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting," Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24. Now, when God is pleased by his holy Spirit to convince a sinner effectually of şin, and shew him what he really is, which he does by sending the law home to lis conscience, and shining into his heart with it; for the law is not sufficient to convince a mai of sin, nor shew him his sin, unless the blessed Spirit quicken his dead soul, and give him light to see, as we read, “But all things that are reprored are made manifest by the light, for whatsoever doth make manifest is light,” Eplies. v. 13. Proverbs xx. 27;I say, when God does this, and we are brought to see and feel what we really are, then, but never till then, we find an honest heart, and a coming to the light, to know the worst of ourselves. Nothing but spiritual convictions for sin will do this: legal convictions, attended with the lashes of a man's natural conscience, will not do, for they will always make a man shun the light, and flee from God.
But before I come to any particular reply respecting your letter, I will thank you more largely to answer a few particulars in mine; and I am persuaded that you will declare nothing but to what both God and conscience will put their amen; for, if men are deceived by us, God cannot, who will bring every work into judgment,
and will make every hidden thing manifest;" All things being naked and open before him with whom we have to do.” I love plain dealing, and believe you do the same; and therefore in this confidence I am minded to notice a few particulars. First, Will you give me an account of the time when, and by what means, you were first wounded; whether by the word preached, or how? Secondly, “ How long you might labour in your own strength to obey the moral law, to satisfy its demands; and how you were brought to give up all hopes of ever obtaining the favour of God that way? Thirdly, When you were driven out of all confidence in the flesh, how were you brought to resignation to the sovereign will of God, and to justify him in sending you to hell? Or whether you were ever brought down sensibly to confess your sin, and to declare to God himself that you deserved ten thousand times more than you either felt or feared, and that he would be strictly just and righteous in your destruction? Fourthly, Wben you were brought to see and feel yourself a sinner, and to despair of any way or means of salvation, by or from yourself; how was the door of hope opened? How vere you raised to have any expectation that such a sinner as you could be saved, and yet a holy, just, and righteous God appear true to his law, his threatenings, and his justice, seeing he declares, “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die?" Fifthly, If this was ever made plain and clear to you, how were you brought to believe
that you were an object of God's love; and when his love was shed abroad in your heart, what was the effect of it, respecting both God and yourself? How did God appear to you then, and how did you appear in your own eyes? Sixthly, Tell me how long it was that you ceased to read the scriptures? Seventhly, As it is declared, that without repentance all must perish, will you say how God was pleased to give it you, seeing Christ. is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, as well as the forgiveness of their sins? Eighthly, How long might your comforts and consolations last before they were withdrawn, and you got from the sensible enjoyment of them? Ninthly, If you found unbelief work, what was it that you could not believe? Tenthly, Will you tell me how you became acquainted with Mr. Huntington? Eleventhly, You say you found all your wants wonderfully supplied; tell me what those wants were, and where you got a supply for them? Twelfthly, And, if you felt your sins a burden, how, and by what means did you get rid of them? I should be glad to have your answers to these few questions, and particularly how you were first raised to hope, and to expect salvation, and what your expectation could be founded upon ? I beg you will be as particular as you can, for I long to hear; and when you are pleased thus to favour me, as God shall enable me, I will more particularly reply to what you desire, and compare notes with you.