Imatges de pÓgina
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God, to adorn my profession of the Gospel, and to yield submissively to his disposal, in whatever way, whether of service or suffering, he shall be pleased to call me to glorify him in the world. It is not necessary for me to live long, but highly expedient that whilst I do live I should live to him. Here then I would bound my desires; and here, having his word both for my rule and my warrant, I am secured from asking amiss.

Let me have his presence and his Spirit, wisdom to know my calling, and opportunities and faithfulness to improve them; and as to the rest, Lord, help me to say, What thou wilt, when thou wilt, and how thou wilt.

I am, &c.

LETTER II.

Dear Madam, WHAT a poor, uncertain, dying world is this! What a wilderness in itself! How dark, how desolate, without the light of the Gospel and knowledge of Jesus ! It does not appear so to us in a state of nature, because we are then in a state of enchantment, the ma. gical lantern blinding us with a splendid delusion.

Thus in the desert's dreary waste,
By magic pow'r produc'd in haste,

As old romances say,
Castles and groves, and music sweet,
The senses of the tray'ller cheat,

And stop him in his way;

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It is a great mercy to be undeceived in time; and though our gay dreams are at an "end, and we awake to every thing that is disgustful and dismaying, yet we see a highway through the wilderness, a powerful guard, an infallible guide at hand to conduct us through; and we can discern, beyond the limits of the wilderness, a better land, where we shall be at rest and at home. What will the difficulties we met by the way then signify? The remembrance of them will only remain to heighten our sense of the love, care, and power of our Saviour and leader. O how shall we then admire, adore, and praise him, when he shall condescend to unfold to us the beauty, propriety, and harmony of the whole train of his dispensations towards us, and give us a clear retrospect of all the way and all the turns of our pilgrimage!

In the mean while, the best method of adorning our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls, is simply to trust him, and absolutely to commit ourselves and our all to his management. By casting our burdens upon him, our spirits become light and cheerful; we are freed from a thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are wearisome to our minds, and which with respect to events, are needless for us, yea, useless. But though it may be easy to speak of this trust, and it appears to our judgment perfectly right and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great thing;

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and especially so to trust the Lord, not by fits and starts, surrendering one day and retracting the next, but to abide by our surrender, and go habitually trusting through all the changes we meet, knowing that his love, purpose, and promise, are unchangeable. Some little faintings perhaps none are freed from; but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good measure at all times, and living quietly under the shadow of his wing, is what the promise warrants us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not all at once, yet by a gradual increase. May it be your experience and mine!

I am, &c.

FOURTEEN LETTERS

TO THE

Rev. MR. B****

LETTER I.

Dear and Rev. Sir,

January 27, 1778. I CALL you dear because I love you, and I shall continue to style you Reverend as long as you dignify me with that title. It is indeed a pretty sounding epithet, and forms a striking contrast in the usual application. The inhabitants of the moon, (if there be any,) have perhaps no idea how many Reverend, Right Reverend, and Most Reverend sinners we have in Europe. And yet you are reverend, and I revere you, because I believe the Lord liveth in you, and has chosen you to be a temple of his presence, and an instrument of his grace.

I hope the two sermons you preached in London were made useful to others, and the medicines there were useful to yourself. I am glad to hear you are safe at home, and something better. Cheerful spring is approaching, then I hope the barometer of your spirits will rise. But the presence of the Lord can bring pleasanter spring than April, and even in the depth of winter.

At present it is January with me, both within and without. The outward sun shines and looks pleasant, but his beams are faint, and too feeble to dissolve the frost. So is it in my heart; I have many bright and pleasant beams of truth in my view, but cold predomi.

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nates in my frost-bound spirit, and they have but little power to warm me. I could tell a stranger something about Jesus that would perhaps astonish him : such a glorious person ! such wonderful love ! such huiniliation ! such a death! and then what he is now in him. self, and what he is to his people! What a sun! what a shield! what a root! what a life! what a friend ! My tongue can run on upon these subjects sometimes ; and could my heart keep pace with it, I should be the happiest fellow in the country. Stupid creature ! to know these things so well, and yet be no more affected with them! Indeed I have reason to be upon ill terms with myself! It is strange that pride should ever find any thing in my experience to feed upon; but this completes my character for folly, vileness, and inconsistence, that I am not only poor, but proud; and though I am convinced I am a very wretch, a nothing before the Lord, I am prone to go forth among my fellow-creatures as though I were wise and good.

You wonder what I am doing; and well you may ; I am sure you would if you lived with me. Too much of my time passes in busy idleness, too much in waking dreams. I aim at something; but hindrances from within and without make it difficult for me to accom: plish any thing. I dare not say I am absolutely idle, or that I wilfully waste much of my time. I have seldom one hour free from interruption, Letters come that must be answered, visitants that must be received, business that must be attended to. I have a good many sheep and lambs to look after, sick and afflicted souls, dear to the Lord : and therefore whatever stands still, these must not be neglected. Amongst these various avocations, night comes before I am ready for noon; and the week closcs, when, according to the state of VOL. II.

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