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January 24, 1810.
Those who enlist under the Lord's banner have an host of foes to engage. The Saviour of mankind is the world's stumbling-block, and the heretic's rock of offence; but real faith in Christ will hold and confess him, abide by him, and cleave to him, as the only tried stone and sure foundation. In this work we must be soldiers, and fight the good fight of faith : it is the Lord's war, “ I came not to send peace, but a sword.” It is faith's fight; the work of faith is to be despised; the despisers are to wonder at it, and perish; but they are in no wise to believe it though it be told them. Faith is the hand that lays hold on Christ; the Holy Spirit by his power produceth faith in the heart; in the power of God faith stands, and by this power through faith is the believer kept. The believer is in alliance with the Captain of salvation; faith is our confidence in our ally; and when the heart believes the mouth
But faith is born of God, and is an incorruptible seed that has eternal life in it, and therefore must overcome the world.
No sooner was my mind assured of an interest in Christ, than my mouth confessed that I should be saved, and that I never should be damned. Then came on the war: professors viewed me as most arrogant, daring, and unbearably presumptuous. The world said I was mad; the devil and inbred corruption united with these, and often prevailed so far as to drive me to cast away my confidence, concluding that 'salvation was too great and too good to be true in so poor a wretch as I; and this was continually the case for more than seven years. But every heavenly visit from the Lord constrained me to recover both my confidence and shield; and then I stood firm till the Lord withdrew and the devil approached me again, when down I went as before, concluding all was lost: but every time the Lord appeared afresh 1 pursued again, and without fail recovered all. It is now about twenty-nine years since I finished this part of my warfare, which I called fighting up and down. By this war 1 gained much strength, and learned in some measure what faith and her The offence of the cross still attends the life of faith, and wherever the offence of the cross abounds, there the devil is sure to suffer loss. If Satan loses no subjects, he has . no cause to make a stir: the work of the strong man is to keep possession of his palace, and his goods in peace.
Whatever disturbs or disquiets this palace is sure to offend the god of this world, and make him beat to arms. But God still gives testimony to the word of his grace.
We have this winter lost four of our friends, who acknowledged me (as Paul says) to the end. But I am now poorly, and not fit for the field or camp. I have been for near a fortnight laid up on the baggage waggon, lying among the knapsacks and camp-kettles. To abide among the stuff is all that I can do, for I am too weak to go over the brook Besor. Tender my kind love to dame, and all friends.
Yours most affectionately,
W. H. S.S.
Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, through our
Lord Jesus Christ.
Have been but poorly this damp winter; old age also gains ground apace upon my earthly tabernacle. But God has provided a better country than this, a better portion, and a more enduring substance: and we are told that “ Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." There is nothing so much dreaded by us poor creatures, in our fallen state, as death-death temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Nor is there any blessing so great as everlasting life. The life of God's Spirit is in faith; every grace is (as Peter says) the grace of life; and our Lord declares that “ He that believeth has everlasting life.” And this is seen by the workings, the acts and exercises of it; for, if faith can see promises at a distance, if she can see things
overcome the world ; attend prayer, apply promises, lay hold of Christ, and bring him into the heart; if it is by faith we stand, and by faith we walk, then there must be life in it; for what can walk or fight that is dead ? Nay, James tells us, that “ Faith without works is dead;" then faith that can work must be alive. But living faith has what we hope for, which is eternal life, and it is the evidence of things not seen. It is the evidence of a life of glory, being in itself the life of grace, or a living incorruptible seed. Our poor
friend Jenkins is taken from the evil to come.
It pleased God to exercise and try him sharply before he went off; but at times his comforts rose very high ; and at the end he was sweetly composed and resigned to the will of God. I saw him but a few days before his death, but did not think he was so near his end. I preached his funeral sermon, which, with his and my letters, and the account of his death, will be published.
Our good old King is still confined, which I am sorry for; because (under God) he has been the protector of the dissenters, and the papists wish him out of the way, that they may come into power, and once more estab