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create, or restore for you, a temporal kingdom. But should adopt your plan, as there is no way for your guilty souls to be saved, but by my tasting death for them, should I avoid this death, your souls must inevitably be lost! and what would it profit you, should I, as a temporal potentate, gratify your most sanguine wishes, even to the bestowing upon you, all with which the grand adversary offered to endow me, all the kingdoms of this world, and you were thereby to lose your own souls?" This, my dear Madam, appears to me the plain, simple and obvious meaning of this passage.
May God preserve you, lead you into all truth, and give you peace and joy in believing.
I am, my honoured friend, most devotedly and respectfully, your very humble servant, &c. &c.
To Mr. L. of K—.
MY EVER DEAR FRIEND,
SHALL never forget the pleasing visit with which the great Master indulged me in your charming residence. Of a truth, God was there, blessing us with a hearing ear, and, as I trust in many instances, with the understanding heart.
I shall, as long as I live, feel grateful for the kindness you exfended unto me, in your hospitable dwelling. God only knows whether we shall ever again meet in this vale of tears; but this we know, it is good that we resign ourselves to his unerring pleasure.
Remember me to your venerable pastor. I have met but few of the clerical character, who have done what every Christian ought to đo, viz. that have done unto me as they would that others should do unto them. True it is, that if the only wise God our Saviour was not the Saviour of sinners, I could have no hope for myself, nor for any one of those reverend gentlemen; but as the just God is
a Saviour, I have, for them, as well as for myself, a hope full of immortality, and I expect to meet them in my Father's house, divested of every thing which can offend.
I trust, you and your friends will grow in the grace, and in the knowledge and love of God, and that your light will so shine before men, as that they may be constrained to glorify our common Father, who is in heaven. We must all be friends or enemies to the cross of Christ. They cannot be friends, who, while they in words profess him in whom we have believed, in works deny him I am persuaded, our Saviour never required any thing of any of his disciples, that was not for their advantage, in every point of view. Do we feel ambitious? Are we fond of gaining the esteem of our fellow-men? This is natural, this is laudable, and the only legitimate way of gratifying this virtuous solicitude is by living a blameless life. Are we fond of property? Do we wish to obtain, and to enjoy affluence? Honesty and sobriety point out the only sure road to well-earned and durable riches. Do we wish for. what is far preferable to opulence, permanent health? This blessing can only be found in the ways of wisdom, which are indeed ways of pleasantness. Are we anxious to obtain what is still better than all, peace of mind? Be assured it is only the virtuous who possess this good
Thus, it is equally every man's interest and duty, to live a sober, religious life. God is our Father; he is the Father of all, but he is a wise and a good Father. Tell me, my friend, do you think a Parent, who is wise and good, would leave the child whom be loved to himself? A child, left to himself, would bring his parent to shame, but a wise parent will, by his conduct toward his children, take care to avoid a catastrophe so fatal; and be asrured, the infinitely wise and good Parent will not let his offending children go unpunished.
"If," saith the Lord, "my children walk not in my statutes, I will visit their transgressions with the rod." The rod is made for the fool's back; shame shall be the promotion of fools, not only fools of one, but of every description.
O, that you and I, my much loved friend, may be wise unto salvation, salvation from every evil of body, of mind, and of estate, as far as it relates to our conduct through life.
But, it is said, that if we be of Christ Jesus, we shall suffer persecution, that all manner of evil shall be said of us; and this is
indeed true; yet, while we are conscious that these evil reports are unmerited, we shall be far more happy, than those malignant calumniators, from whom we suffer. I would rather be the subject of persecution, than the persecutor. The upright man, (I speak after the manner of men) will always find at home, what
"Nothing earthly gives, nor can destroy,
The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy."
My soul's desire, and prayer to God for you, and our dear connexions in your neighbourhood, is, that you may be strong in faith, that as many of you as have had power given you to believe what the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles believed, may hold fast the profession of your faith, without wavering, suffering no man to take your crown, and that as many of you as have believed may be careful to maintain good works, not merely good words, although it be good to hold fast the form of sound words. Yet, my brother, what is a man of mere words in any character? I trust, that, as Christians indeed, and in truth, you will go on your way rejoicing in the Redeemer of men, until you finish your course with joy, and lay hold on your eternal life.
I am frequently necessitated to repeat, that I have had many, very many friends, who were only so in head but not in heart. As friends, many of these professors are dead. The friend, you know, may die, and the man may live. I frequently meet the ghosts of these departed friends, and when I see them, they preach to me without speaking; and they preach sound and wholesome doctrine. It is this "Trust in the Lord at all times. Cease from man. Lean not on earth. Cast your care upon God. Come up from this wilderness leaning upon the beloved."
I have suffered much from bodily indisposition during the past spring; I am now far from well; I sigh to be gone; I have been pierced by some of those thorns, which are appointed to wound us on our journey through this wilderness. Circumstances have taken place, which are calculated to wean me from a world that never was designed my permanent residence; our heavenly Father knows, that we have need of weaning from this strange place, and with true, paternal goodness, he apportions the means to our necessities. I long to go where I can realize the glories of a state I have so long delighted to contemplate. I am confident, my expectations will be more than answered. I should doubt, were they based on what this world hath to bestow. Every thing here is, at
best, deceitfully flattering; there, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the greatness of the bliss laid up for us, where nothing which defileth can enter.
Tell me, has your venerable parent left the house of his earthly tabernacle? I fancy it is, ere this, very much out of repair; and if it be as mine, I should suppose the landlord would hardly think of repairing it; he will, no doubt, pull it down, and rebuild it upon a nobler plan. The tenement of your father has continued in tolerable good order, for a considerable time; I fancy it was well built, and kept in good order, though now "battered and decayed, it may let in new light through chinks which time has made."
Let me hear from you soon; you will wish, when I am gone, that you again had your correspondent; use him then, in this character, while he is yet continued unto you. I often recollect you, when I am taking into consideration some divine portion of sacred writ. I see, in imagination, the rapturous joy of your countenance, at those precious discoveries, which are made by the spirit of truth-I pity those children of God, who are feeding on husks. O, for that glorious era, when they will come to themselves, when they will resolve to arise, and go unto their Father. Blessed, forever blessed, be that Redeemer, who will receive them with open arms, with true, paternal love.
The money enclosed in your letter was opportune, and I cordially thank you for it. When you first knew me, money was not in all my thoughts; I regret that I have lived to see the time, when a variety of pressing wants oblige me to think so much of it; but I shall have less of these wants every day; say what they will of money, we cannot pass through life with comfort or peace without it; I do not say the possession of money always gives comfort and peace, I am persuaded it does not; but our blessed Master taught his disciples, that if they would make friends in this world, it must be by the mammon of unrighteousness. We must, while we live in this world, buy and sell, and this cannot be done without the mark of the beast. We cannot answer the demands made upon us, without money, and we are not blessed with the privilege of repairing to the margin of the deep, and there receiv ing it from the mouth of a fish.
I grieve for the misfortunes to which you advert; but, although heaviness continueth through the night of affliction, joy cometh in the morning. It is good for us to be afflicted; I have found more
real advantage from severe afflictions, than from any blessing which divine goodness hath conferred upon me; when the goods of time and sense are taken from us, we naturally cast our eyes around for something to supply their place, and it is then we hear the small, still voice of the spirit of our Saviour, saying unto us, Return unto thy rest. When we have lost the gilded toys of this world, and become indeed poor, the Comforter directs our eyes to that inheritance, "incorruptible and undefiled, which fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, where rust and moth cannot corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal." In heaven, we see ourselves possessed of durable riches, with righteousness; but to this durable riches, with righteousness, we should not so feelingly revert, if we had not lost our uncertain riches, unaccompanied by righteousness. We are, my brother, of the earth, earthy; and we naturally cling to the things of this world, and while we can find pleasure in so doing, we never look further. We give the world our heart, and we are so engaged therewith, that we do not hear the voice of the Charmer, saying, "my son, give me thy heart." But when the substance on which we deliciously feasted is gone, and we find nothing but the husk of enjoyment left, when we feel ourselves in a suffering state, it is then we come unto ourselves, it is then we resolve to arise, and to go unto our Father. I do not recollect an instance, through the whole Bible, of any of the people of God crying unto the Lord in prosperity. But in adversity, in trouble, in their affliction, we frequently hear of their crying unto the Lord, who graciously hears the voice of their complaining, and they become gainers by their losses.
I regret most sincerely not having it in my power to visit you once more, but this I cannot do without rendering my connexions in this place unhappy, but I shall see you again in our Father's house, never more to be separated; there, sin nor sorrow, pain nor death, can ever approach us. We are hasting to this our native home; not a pain do I experience which does not elate me by the prospect of getting home before you. I said, I had been indisposed of late, and I expect, in the order of nature, as I advance to the confines of that bright world to which I am hasting, I shall accumulate infirmities. But the last pain of body and of mind will come, this is my abiding consolation. O, my friend, there is a rest remaining for us, into which rest, he, who is faithful, hath promised to bring us.