« PoprzedniaDalej »
ship: no, let me not murmur because I am not blest with every thing, especially when I am able to rest in the hope, that in a very little time I shall, through the merits of a complete Saviour, meet my blood bought friends in those mansions, where no whisperer will ever be permitted to make a separation.
"O, glorious hour! O, blest abode !
Yes, I am fond of repeating, the scattered family will be reassembled, to part no more forever. There is, my brother, there is, my friends, abundance of peace and joy in believing. It is indeed life eternal to know God: there was a time I did not know him; I then lived under the spirit of bondage, and was tormented by fear; yet I supposed I then knew him, while I verily believed him altogether such a one as myself, that he liked and disliked, loved and hated, precisely as I did!!
But as far as the heavens are above the earth, so far are the ways of God above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts; and it is therefore that I so freely indulge that hope which maketh not ashamed; that hope which is full of immortality. Here I rest; He that believeth entereth into rest, and his rest shall be glorious.
Now tell me, my friend and brother, how flourishes your garden? Churches, you know, are gardens enclosed; but how well soever they may be enclosed, no enclosures can prevent weeds from springing up. I could not help noticing to that truly excellent lady, the Countess of Huntingdon, who complained to me during my residence in London, of the affliction she endured from the contentions so prevalent among her connexions, that the evil spirit is peculiarly fond of sowing tares in the richest soil; and that the thorn in the flesh will still buffet the most enlightened among the children of God; no enclosures in this state of trial are sufficient; the subtle fiend can leap every barrier; and he who found his way into the garden of Eden, can only be shut out by the gates of heaven.
I felt for you when with you; I feel for you whenever I think of you; your worthy heart has many trials, but there is a needs bemy soul's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you may be
saved from the plague of your own heart, and then you will rise superior to the world and the devil.
This country is not without its embarassments; but he who does all things well, has all power, and will continue to protect. Yet after all, this is a charming country. The frugal and industrious, will never suffer want; but let it be what it will, it is not our home; let it be ever so excellent, we seek another and a better country; in which country, as I humbly trust, I shall meet my Portsmouth friends, where we shall be ever with the Lord.— Farewell.
To Mr. J. P. city of London, Great Britain.
IF I my dear, my venerable friend were acquainted with my circumstances, an apology for my long silence would be unnecessary; but the benevolent temper discovered in your invaluable favour, will plead my excuse.
I feel, I do assure you, exceeding grateful for your letter, and for your abundant kindness to me, so frequently manifested. I should have given you this assurance many months since, but for the following reasons: soon after the receipt of your letter, a christian friend and fellow-labourer, forty-seven miles from this place, requested a perusal of your manuscript, and I was unable to obtain it from him until my return from Philadelphia, which was very late in the autumn of the past year; and the present is the first favourable opportunity which has presented. I do most cordially thank you, not only for this letter, but also for that which I have never yet received. Blessed be God, the calamities to which I owe the loss of that letter, and many other friendly favours, are now no more; the intercourse is at last open, and we can freely converse in this way through the remaining stages of our journey.
The sad account of the departure of my inestimable friend, Mr. Relly, had reached me previous to the particulars relative to
that melancholy event, with which you have so condescendingly indulged me. From the moment of my leaving England, until the arrival of this heart affecting intelligence, I experienced much innate satisfaction from the prospect of meeting once more, in the present state, my spiritual parent, my guide, my father, my brother, my friend. I pleased myself with the expectation of communicating to him the discoveries I had made in this new world; and I anticipated the ineffable delight we should derive from the glowing devotion of our hearts, while we talked together of these things.
But, alas! all these high-raised expectations are now blasted, forever buried in his grave; and I have only to look forward to the period when we shall assuredly meet again, and with the additional satisfaction of knowing we shall never more be separated.
I am obliged by the account you have transmitted me respecting the last stages of my lamented friend; I never expected any failure in his faith; yet, although he had staggered at the promises, I have the happiness to assure you, this circumstance would have originated no doubts in my mind; for however great my opinion of, and affection for, so distinguished a member of that body, of which the Redeemer is the head, my faith was never founded on him. I should not have profited under his ministry, if I had thus rested my hope upon any mere man. But, although through the favour of heaven I am separated from that adulterous generation, which is ever asking after a sign, it nevertheless gives me pleasure, inexpressible pleasure, to hear of any of the redeemed finishing their course with joy, and triumphantly laying hold of eternal life.
Had James Relly departed under a cloud, it would, no doubt, have had a tendency to have made blind eyes blinder,and hard hearts harder; but, blessed be God, you have assured me that his views of his Redeemer and his finished righteousness, still brightened upon him, until escaping from the body; he, no doubt, attained the regions of interminable day.
Yet, how strictly true are your remarks upon the self-righteous disposition of the adulterous generation. I never saw so much of it as since my residence in this country; but I have the pleasure to inform you, that among the many who have been called home, after having heard and received the truth as it is in Jesus, I do not know a single individual who did not make a happy exit; while no instance has occurred in which pains has not been taken
to produce an impression, that they quitted life in great dismay and fearful torment. Recantations and confessions have been fabricated for the deceased, and dispersed through the country, for the purpose of terrifying the simple and preventing them from entering into rest by believing. I could fill many sheets with the slanders that have been propagated of departing Christians, with a view to invalidate the testimony to the truth of which, with their latest breath, they have borne solemn and joyful testimony. Yet among this adulterous generation, who are ever asking after a sign, the devices of the arch-adversary will produce the intended effect.
Blessed be God my heart' has long been established in the firm belief of those salutary truths, respecting the great salvation with which your epistle abounds.
I have no doubt that God hath in Christ reconciled the world unto himself; nor have I any doubt of the end for which God was manifested in the flesh, being fully answered, viz. the reconciling the world unto himself. I am persuaded that the prophets prophesied, and the apostles preached the unbounded, immeasurable grace of God to a ruined, lost world; and I am persuaded that the spirit of God witnesseth with the spirit of every believer, to the truth of the gospel of God our Saviour. Furthermore I conceive the scriptures which I am exhorted to search, and which I consider as the only rule given to direct me, I conceive these scriptures assure me, that in Jesus all fulness dwells; the fulness of the divine, the fulness of the human nature. In Christ Jesus the fulness of the human nature is presented to the divine nature, as an offering in a clean vessel. It is in Emmanuel that God saith unto man, I see no spot in thee; and in the self-same connexion we say unto God, "Fury is not in thee." It is in Christ Jesus that God says, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; and here we say "the Lord is my fortress, and my strong tower; I shall not be moved. It is by the elucidating influence of the blessed Spirit, that we are thus enabled to read the scriptures.
In Emmanuel I am instructed to believe, was found the fulness of sin; he bear all our sins in his body on the tree. In Emmanuel is found the fulness of righteousness; in the Lord is righteousness; he is the Lord our righteousness. The righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is unto all; in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. He hath blessed us
with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. The former, SIN, he put away by the sacrifice of himself; he hath made an end of sin. The latter, RIGHTEOUSNESS, is everlasting; the former is blotted out; the latter shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of the Father. All this, and much more to the same purpose, with which you have been much longer, and are, no doubt, much better acquainted than myself, the scriptures do abundantly teach.
Yet there is much contained in those sacred pages, with which I am solicitous to be better acquainted. Many scripture expressions seem to admit a doubtful interpretation. Our blessed Master says, Search the scriptures, for they testify of me. Do they all testify of Jesus, or does this expression of our Lord signify no more than that he is testified of therein? The parables in the NewTestament speak of Jesus; but do they all, and all in every part speak of him? Our Saviour taught the disciples in parables; but were they taught by these parables? Did he not say that he made use of these parables, that they should not understand? But of some few, to his immediate disciples, he condescended to give an explanation. Have we any other way of understanding the residue of the parables, but by considering what those which are already explained, contain?
I flatter myself with the prospect of hearing from you again; and I should be exceedingly obliged to you, for your ideas upon the parable of the talents. I think I am better acquainted with what this parable does not, than what it does mean. Who is the Lord? Who are his servants, and what are the talents? In the fourth chapter of Mark, our Saviour teacheth many things by parables; and amongst the many, one of a sower who went out to This parable seems as plain as any; yet it was not understood by his disciples until their Master graciously condescended to explain it. Know ye not this parable, said the Redeemer, how then will ye know all parables?
Does not this authorize a supposition, that the knowledge of this parable leads to an acquaintance with all parables? But how? The more I look into these things, the more I feel my own littleness. Alas! alas! how little do I know! but, blessed be him who sayeth, There is nothing hidden which shall not be manifested. But to whom shall they be manifested, and when?
Yes, I am fully of your opinion, when you tell me the scriptures testify of Jesus, through the medium of those illustrious names