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My hope of thee, dear brother, is steadfaft, knowing this, that as thou art a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, so shalt thou be also of the consolations. Thy internal conflicts are doubtless the chastening rod of God upon thee for thy fin, but not altogether fo; one part is divine teaching, in order to future usefulness, and that which comes upon thee from fools, for truth and conscience fake, is the sufferings of Christ. The first cutting rebuke given to Paul was for his madness in persecuting; but what came afterward was for the sake of Christ : " I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” From the authority of that text, Paul calls all his sufferings the sufferings of Christ, which he suffered for his body's fake, which is the church. I perceive by your invitations to fresh places, that God sets before you an open door, and none shall shut it; he will spread your fame, and the word will found out from Lewes, and bear down all opposition, infomuch as Christ will make manifest the favour of his name in a fresh line of things, not made ready to your hand, a line to reach unto some who have never yet heard the fame of Jesus. That light which shines upon thy beclouded mind is the day-dawn, which springs upon those that fit in darkness, and in the shadow of death ; thou wilt not always grope for the wall like the blind at noon-day: after thou hast had a proper view of thyself, of the law, and of the holiness and justice of God, thou shalt see the mysteries of the kingdom, and a covenant God in the face of Jesus shining into thy heart, and changing thee into the same image from glory to glory; and all this by looking through a glass darkly: this, my son, is the hope set before thee; “ He that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And I will give him the morning-star,” the harbinger of endless glory; then, my son, shall old things pass away, and all things shall become new. The Spirit shall bring all things to thy remembrance that the Lord hath spoken to thee, and done for thee; and the quickening power put forth in thy present experience will be a guide to thee in a thousand future difficulties, called by the prophet, “ A voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left.” When once the Lord makes darkness light before thee, he will make thy present crooked things straight behind thee; then the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the now sensible prisoner shall thew himfelf, and the light of thy countenance,
as well as the words of thy mouth, shall proclaim the triumphs of thy foul. The inward glory of grace will appear to gild the whole creation, when every thing is viewed in the light of the Lord; his glory will visibly cover the heavens, and the earth will be full of his praise, and thy heart in concert, when tuned with love, will be in the chorus. Pay no regard to those that watch for thy halting, nor to those that make thee an offender for a word, for all that watch for iniquity shall be cut off; and for your present shame you shall have double-double joy; and for your present confusion you shall in future rejoice in your portion; in this land thou shalt potsess double, everlasting joy shall be unto thee, Isaiah lxi. 7. Thou art not the first that fcorners have derided, saying, Where is the word of the Lord ? let it come now; but there is a woe to them that laugh now, for they shall weep. The Lord's countenance is already lifted up, and that was the light of it which thou sawest at a distance; and it will ere long reflect gracious smiles, much peace, joy, and reconciliation; it will disperse the vail, the dismal gloom, and horrible cloud of displeasure, and bring life and immortality to light; and then thou wilt say, “ Thou wast angry with me ; but thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me.” Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Bless God for every refreshing season, for every respite, and every token for good; and as for those vain thoughts about future greatness, confess them as evil, as the root of pride, and pray God to subdue them by his grace; and if the Lord gives thee eyes to see them hateful, and humbling dispensations, they will wither when the Spirit of God blows upon thee. « All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereot is as the flower of the field : the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.” It is this, my dear brother, and not legal striving that will blast vain thoughts, wither human glory, and make all the comeliness of the brightest saint turn into corruption. God hath two ways of Mining upon his people; the one is, when he comforts their hearts, and gives them the light of his knowledge in the face of Jesus, attended with the faith of interest: the other is, when he thines in our hearts to discover our imperfections, and veils his throne with a cloud, as in Job, “ Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul ?” The former view will make thee appear not a whit behind the chiefest saint, and the latter will make thee appear the chief of Ginners; and thus, “ His eyelids try the chil. dren of men."
I have no douht but thy aims are right, for I * am sure that that preacher that exposes the vile
( 25 ) ness of human nature, and preaches the purity, spirituality, and unlimited demands of the law; that sets forth the finner's need of a Saviour, the suitableness and the worth of him, and that debases the creature ; and who enforces the necefsity of regeneration, spiritual fruitfulness, spiritual service, and a life and walk in faith, shall not err in these things : “ The wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err in this way." Whatever encouragement you may have received from the instrumentality of thy poor servant in Chrift, thou art indebted to Christ for, and to him all glory, praise, and thanksgiving is due, and to another he will never grant it; and for my part I am the greateit debtor to him, and therefore ought to be the last that should ever attempt to rob him. Tender my kind love to Mr. M. and family, and to all that love the Altogether Lovely. The Lord be with thee. Amen and