« PreviousContinue »
To the Rev. Mr. W. of Pennsylvania.
ALTHOUGH personally unacquainted with you, yet you
will not be surprised at hearing from me, when you recollect a letter which you have recently written to a Mr. B. which has been handed to me, and in which I am mentioned.
The letter to which I advert contains many excellent, because divine truths; and it afforded me, in the reading, some heavenly sensations. It is so rare to find any person on earth speaking the language of heaven, that with every other charm, it possesses also the charm of novelty.
Many months havé elapsed since public fame brought to my ears the soul-reviving intelligence, that a certain gentleman who had breathed forth the spirit of Saul of Tarsus, was now like the Apostle Paul preaching that faith which before he persecuted, boldly affirming that in the way the worshippers of antichrist called heresy, so worshipped he the God of his fathers. When I heard this report, I felt, I believe, much as people in general do when they hear the gospel. I thought it was too good to be true. I did not, at the moment, attend to the power of him who calleth whom he will out of darkness, and bringing them into his marvellous light; who sendeth them forth to publish his salvation to every creature; to proclaim to every creature, that he died for their sins, and arose again for their justification.
However, as public report is so little worthy of credit, I determined to suspend my judgment, well persuaded that if you were indeed a genuine disciple of the true Christ, the deceived worshippers of antichrist would soon, by their manifold calumnies, sufficiently ascertain the fact; for he who said, Lo, I am with you always to the end of the world, said also, If ye be of me, the world will hate you, and they will thrust you out of the synagogue, saying all manner of evil of you, falsely, for my name sake. But if it is given you on the behalf of Christ to believe, I trust it will be also given VOL. II.
you cheerfully to suffer for his name sake; nor will you sorrow as those without hope, for, blessed be God, our hope is full of immortality, and therefore it is a hope that maketh not ashamed. Sir, I felicitate you on the divine discoveries that you have made. Not unto us, not unto us, but unto the name of our God be all the glory. You can, and I am persuaded you do say, "Not by the will of man, nor by the will of the flesh, but by the will of God." It is not of him who willeth, nor of him who runneth, but of God who showeth mercy, that abundant mercy and grace, that bringeth unto all men salvation, and therefore maketh for every man's peace; although, for wise reasons, hidden from the greater part of mankind in this their day, is now by the favour of heaven made manifest to you by the Spirit, even that Spirit which taketh of the things of Jesus, and showeth them unto us, that we may let our light shine before men, and in thaf light exhibiting our good works, lead them to glorify our Father who is in heaven.
If I may form a judgment from the letter I have read, I think you have received the spirit which is of God, by which you know the things that are freely given to us of God; and if so, may you run the race that is set before you with patience, looking unto Jesus, the authorjand finisher of your faith. O, the distinguishing grace of God! To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables. But light is put into you, as we put a candle in a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Mankind are even now in the house. In God we live, move,and have our being; but they know not where they are; if thou hadst known, says our Saviour, who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would haye given thee living water, &c. &c. This is life eternal to know him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; and why? Because Jesus is the life of the world.
Go on then, thou highly favoured of the Lord. I bid thee God speed. Go on and preach Jesus and the resurrection. Cry aloud, spare not; tell professors their transgressions; tell churchmen their sins, and show them that they, on whom the tower of Siloam fell, were not sinners worse than they; tell them that their works are evil. They will hate you for this; but remember him who hath said, They hated me before they hated you; and if they have done these things in the green tree, what shall they not do in the dry?
For my own part, so great are the obligations I am under to the world's Saviour, that should this Saviour be preached either through envy or through gain, still I must rejoice. But I shall rejoice more abundantly, when I think he is preached from conviction, and from love, and adoration of his character. When the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, if one died for all then are all dead, that they who live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again from the dead; I say, when Christ is thus preached, my pleasure is more abundant.
Of that part of your letter which relates to me, I know not what to think. I am ignorant what information you received from your correspondent, and indeed it is a light thing with me to be judged by man's judgment. One thing is certain, ignorance and prejudice has often laid that to my charge, to which I am a stranger. However, if, as I trust, you are a true disciple of Jesus Christ, you will judge no man before you hear him. I am ready at all times to give a reason for the hope that is in me, in meekness and fear. I confess I wish to have fellowship with those, whose fellowship is with the Father, and with the Son Jesus Christ, and to accompany them without the camp, bearing the reproach of our Saviour, and this I am persuaded I shall some way or other do.
True, my name has been for many years tossed about by censure and applause; among my enemies no good was said of me, and among friends no evil, for love thinketh no evil; but both friends and enemies are accustomed to exaggerate.
I am one of the least of God's servants; I speak not this out of feigned humility; I am but a babe, still desiring the sincere milk of the word; and so conscious am I of my own weakness, that I dare not venture to adopt a religious sentiment, for which I cannot produce a "thus saith the Lord." Doubtless the scriptures contain many things which it is not yet given me to see. Doubtless the Lord hath said in his holy word many things which I have not yet heard; but as my day is, so will my strength be.
As a preacher, my sole object is to make manifest the Saviour of the world, well persuaded that the poet, was, as a divine, strictly correct when he said,
"If all the world my Saviour knew,
and well do I know, that when love takes place in the heart, a desire to glorify him who has loved us, and given himself for us, will assuredly succeed.
If providence should direct your steps this way, it will give me pleasure to see you; and if I should not be so favoured, I should be glad to converse with you upon paper; and the more you are falsely reproached for the name sake of your Redeemer, the more I shall sympathize with, love, and admire you.
I am, believing you are a member with me in the same body, and drinking with me in the same spirit, with fervency of christian affection, your friend and servant, &c. &c.
To the same.
MY GREATLY VALUED FRIEND,
YOUR welcome, your thrice welcome favour of September 21st is now before me. It has relieved my mind from a weight of anxiety, and filled my heart with gratitude to that beneficent Being who is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
I am right happy that you have more health than when last I saw you; and I am cheered by the prospect of your being able to visit those friends which still remain to you in your native state; and that you contemplate the felicity of once more declaring among them the unsearchable riches of our Redeemer's grace. May the Lord of the harvest confirm your health, and make the conclusion of your career better than its commencement.
For many years I have stood alone upon this vast continent, and now my prayer to God is, may you be strong in the cause of our Emmanuel; may you come up from this wilderness leaning on the Beloved. I rejoice to learn that the number of your hearers increasc. May the God of peace continue to add unto you such as shall be saved; may they, under your ministry, continue to grow in the grace, and in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son
Jesus Christ. To know both these characters is life eternal; and O, how pleasing, how transporting the reflection, that the knowledge of both these characters, constituting a complete whole, shall fill the animated, human earth, as the waters cover the sea.
I am extremely pleased with your purpose, respecting the piece you are preparing for the press. May the spirit of that divinity, the fulness of which dwelt in the humanity, constituting the one Emmanuel, or the only wise God our Saviour, furnish you with such ideas, as when delineated on paper, may flash conviction on the minds of those unbelievers who presumptuously, most irreverently call this sublime and salutary truth in question. May those bloodbought infidels be constrained with strong faith, and its inseparable attendant, fervent affection, to exclaim, my LORD, and my God.
You do me honour, and give me inexpressible satisfaction, when you inform me, that the eye of your mind is fixed on me, as the very dear friend to whom you address the letters in question, and whom you still mean to address in the letters you may yet be enabled to write upon this truly important subject. I flatter myself, no one of your connexions can produce a clearer title to the appellation, friend, than myself; no one can feel a more warm and sincere affection for you than I have delighted to cherish; and I have not hesitated to wish you, most cordially, God speed.
I trust your endeavours to erect a convenient building for the worship of the true God will be crowned with success. Every genuine believer will acknowledge the true God to be the only wise God, and our Saviour, the Saviour of all men.
The quotation from the introduction with which you have favoured me, corresponds exactly with my wishes; yet, as there has been so many instances of religious fraud practised upon similar occasions, I doubt not you will readily agree to any plan proposed by liberal minds, calculated to prevent any thing of this kind which may arise from the zeal of Pharisaical leaven, fermenting in the minds of future bigots. You are well enough acquainted with the nature of man, even in his best estate, to know that privileges of this description cannot be too cautiously guarded. Would it not be well, therefore, I avail myself of the privilege to which friendship entitles me? Would it not be well to submit your plan to the consideration of judicious individuals not immediately connected with you? Possibly some salutary regulations might be thus suggested. In the multitude of counsel, there is security; and I am persuaded