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otherwise; that could only be a delusion-such as we are, alas! a great deal too conversant with-which made me think I was happy, when the source of my happiness was not my God; any enjoyment that was not from his speaking peace to my troubled soul and conscience, from his gracious discoveries of his mercy, loving-kindness, and tender pity and compassion towards a poor miserable sinner, as seen in the face of Jesus Christ. I believe this is that glory of God which shines in Jesu's face ; and which produces such a blessed soul-transforming effect, when with supernatural mental light we behold it, and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. My friend, I have had far too much to do with such delusions; and the scorched child ought to dread the fire. The world, the flesh, and the devil in me, are though desperately bold, and seem as if no scorching would make them as they are in my wretched headstrong self dread any fire. Under these circumstances, what could I expect but hell-fire, sooner or later, were it not for the truth as it shines in upon me, when Jesus discovers himself to my poor soul? Jesus is all my hope, amidst all my hourly and daily waywardness, to which I trace all my trials, troubles, and difficul. ties. The Lord knows it is so. He is just and righteous in all his dealings with me, and I am constrained to marvel and wonder at his forbearance, patience, and long-suffering. It is wonderful. Is it not that he is God and not man? He remembereth that we are but dust. I enjoyed a sweet sense of his presence during the hour of prayer yesterday morning at church, and I thought some poor souls seemed to catch a spark of the fire that was within the poor ministering worm. And God, blessed be his holy name for it, was worshipped, I humbly believe, in spirit and in truth.
I thought you long in writing to me; but you have your time fully occupied. Yours is a trying situation, no doubt; but if we are to be of the third part, we are to be brought through the fire. Neither you nor I can hope to escape that. There is too great a needs-be for it, that we should ever desire to be spared; though, as it respects myself, I submit after such an ill fashion when I am in the fire, that it requires more than common heat to melt such hard metal, so that it is capable of receiving any divine impression. When the divine impression comes, then God comes. He never comes sensibly into my soul with his gracious presence, but he prepares the way with some suitable divine impression, made under the soul-meltings of some fire. When I look at myself, I wonder how I ever dare to take any comfort to myself even from the Gospel; and then I am reminded that I never do, for I never have any real comfort except God brings it. Yours, affectionately, in Him who is our All and in all,
To P. R. MY DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST JESUS, AND FELLOW-TRAVELLER THROUGH
THIS WILDERNESS OF SIN AND SORROW, By your last I found that, in the warmth of my heart, I had broached a subject not very congenial with your feelings. Pardon it, I beg. I have ever since felt sorry I did not keep my feelings to myself; and that I did, in this fresh instance, yield to my accustomed habit, and perhaps infirmity, of pouring out my soul to those I know and love. I have often wished that I were possessed of a more stoical nature, and that I did not
so freely, so fully, enter into the circumstances of others. It often gets me a wound and many a sneer from the great adversary.
My brother, I am this morning much cast down-discouraged on account of the roughness of the way. I have been entering somewhat into the spirit of Elijah, “I have been very zealous for the Lord of hosts," &c. Some of us know what it is to have to pass through the very depths of suffering, anguish, sorrow of heart, dark forebodings, dismal fears, a total failing of strength, in order to open up the path, to point out the way, to others. How truly does Bunyan say,
“ The Christian man is never long at ease,
New trials, fresh conflicts, a change of affliction, a variation of the scene of sorrow, await us continually. Oh, what should we do without Jesus-a tender-hearted, sympathizing Jesus! But what difficulty do we find in drawing near to him. How seldom is it that we can approach him as we desire ! How very rarely that we can really cast our burden upon him! ( want to tell out my trouble-to express it in words before him ; but I find the exercise must be by his own power—the power of the Holy Ghost in the heart; he must break my fetters-burst my bonds—or my soul continues shut up in prison and cannot come forth. My help is in the Lord, the Lord that made heaven and earth. I am among those described in the 40th of Isaiah, “The faint, and them that have no might.” But, blessed be his name, even in this destitute, and, to flesh and blood, mortifying condition, he not unfrequently makes his almighty power the more clear and manifest. After bondage frames and conditions - after anticipating destruction and a long train of evil, he breaks forth afresh, scatters my doubts, dispels my darkness, and establishes me in sweeter confidence in his grace, power, and love, than ever. Yea, as the poet sweetly sings,
“ And fix'd my standing more secure,
Than 'twas before I fell.”
Fell, by the power of unbelief, into bondage frames, into darkness, doubts, and confusion; into God dishonouring thoughts, and a yielding to the suggestions of the adversary and the rebellion of the heart.
By these means I am brought to cast myself, a poor, free-grace pensioner, with all my feeble services, upon the boundless grace of an all-lovely, compassionate Jesus. With ten thousand wants and weaknesses in myself, everything to discourage and alarm, nothing to rest in or upon, I want daily, hourly, to come to this all-bountiful Lord, living, dying—for time, for eteruity. I have no other refuge, no shelter but him. Jesus, Jesus, is my staff, my stay. Divest me of him, deprive me of my hope in Christ, and I give up all; I sink into a hell a thousand times lower than that I feel within, though that at times seems impossible.
Farewell, dear brother. The Master be with and shine upon you, vouchsafe his presence, open up the love of his heart, give you a message to the family, and the family an ear to hearken, and a heart to receive it. So prays Yours, in love undying,
F. G. P.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER IN A WEARY LAND,
You will see by the inclosed copy of a letter received yesterday from W the termination of that business, which ends just as your poor unworthy correspondent wished it to do, while, at the same time, it throws an impenetrable vail before me of still greater darkness, too profound for me to understand. O Lord God, leave me not to consult my own heart in this matter, nor to draw conclusions respecting thy inscrutable providence, and thereby bring greater guilt into my unbelieving mind. I fear, dear friend, I was left in my last to lay before you enough of human frailty by which you were led to sicken at the sight of so vile a picture. God has his fires in Zion, and his furnaces in Jerusalem, and is bringing his people to judgment here, that they shall not be condemned with a guilty wicked world hereafter. Tribulation, suffering, and sorrow, give confidence for a sweet passport into a land where eternal happiness shall abound for ever and ever. The poor tried saint, bowed down with the conflicting surges and billows of disappointment, continually thinks the next wave will leave him a prey to the destructive element: and, like one sinking to rise no more, he is ready to catch hold of the least help that may present itself, with this faith embedded in his soul, “I know God is able to save me, and thus imperceptible to himself, by God's Almighty arm, he is held safe as a jewel in the hand of his Saviour, amid the daily storms that threaten his destruction and final shipwreck of saving faith. These are soul-trials the nominal professor knows nothing of. Peter, in the denial of his Lord, with every fallen backsliding child of promise, left to depart from the great centre of rest, can never trace their way back to the Sanctuary, but as directed and led by God's Holy Spirit; and it is to the everlasting honour, praise, and glory of Jesus, that he will seek out and find all his dear wandering sheep, be they ever so far gone astray upon the dark mountains of folly and error. What but this renovating love and mercy experienced, this deliverance given, this reclaiming grace shown, this favour in the soul felt, can make the Gospel precious ? Nothing. And what is the Gospel unless its dear Author, with his rising glories, be magnified and superabounds over all my deserts, cancels my iniquities through the fountain of his blood, and shows me I am a justified man. Sunk as before he was, and where the Christian often is in his feelings of conscious desertion, destitution, and shame, he wants not some dry essay of doctrinal truth to inform his judgment and understanding, but rather the good Samaritan or dear Physician to pour into his lacerated wounds the wine and oil, or the balmy blood of the Saviour, in Divine application, to assuage the agony of his distracted heart.
The life of a man of God, taught in the school of spiritual adversity, furnishes him with many painful lessons in order to lead his mind from self to God, who is to him, at these seasons of trial, “ as the shadow of a Great Rock in a weary land.” This temple and covert entered by faith enables him to sing as he journeys on,
When Jesus draws, my soul can run,
I feel such sweet delight;
With me 'tis dark as night.
Nor all the charms of time
That whispers he is mine.
And thy all sovereign love
Exalted now above.
Whose blood my pardon gave
For tis by faith I live. 0, what a complex character is the child of God; what love and forbearance does the loying heart of Jesus exercise towards him! What means does he make use of
to humble their pride and lay them low at his feet, before he can hear his dear Ephriams mourning over themselves. But this is the way he waits to be gracious to them for the exaltation of his own glory, and their ultimate good, When the dear Lord counsels his people to buy of him gold, tried in the fire, that moment the warfare commences with fresh and spirit, and it is no easy matter to see how the balance-sheet stands, unless a voice is heard daily sounding in thine ears, justice is satisfied, the handwriting is blotted out. O, my soul, rejoice, for “the Lord has dealt bountifully with thee.” May all the dear family respond thereunto, and say with our brother Paul, “who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?”. May you, my dear brother, be led to feed the readers of the Gospel MAGAZINE with the best of food, Christ all and in all, to the glory of the Father, through the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, is the desire of your poor unworthy friend, though sincere lover of truth, Essex, Jan. 17, 1842.
TO A MINISTER–MR. PARSONS, OF CHICHESTER.
(Concluded from p. 356 of Vol. for 1840.-Sept. No.) [The annexed having been long in type, we now, according to promise, give it; at
the same time, with pleasurable satisfaction, announce that the writer has recently received this summons to quit a body of sin and deathếto escape the range of Satan's fiery darts--and to dwell for ever in the immediate presence of God and the Lamb.—We are informed he died, or rather fell asleep, simply looking to and resting upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus ; and leaving an additional testimony that “none ever trusted in him, and were confounded." -Ed.]
I now returned home and fought like a lion for you against an old professor who was soon silenced; but I believe I drew a bow at a venture, for God knows I did not know then but what he was a good man. The next Sunday you preached in the Pallant, where I went again, expecting another feast, but you began to tell us all the Lord had done for your soul, describing yourself to be the vilest, the basest, and the worst of sinners; this I could not hear at all, for I thought if you knew I was in the room you would not preach this way; however I was determined to contradict you as I thought you were telling lies now as fast as you could speak, and if you only saw me you would leave off telling these lies, for I thought there was none worse in hell than myself, so up I got from my seat and stood with my arms folded, fully resolved to contradict you if you looked that way; but the Lord neither suffered you to look at me nor me to speak, so I sat down concluding you did not know I was in the room : I got nothing that night, but went home as full of misery, I think, as any poor soul could well be. The devil now threw darts as thick as hail, and temptations on temptations, so that again I despaired of life—the corruptions of my heart boiling up like the troubled sea, with all manner of horrid blasphemous thoughts, beastly, brutish, cruel, and damnable, so that I have as it were felt my flesh crawl on my bones, and the hair of my head move, and my blood chill in my veins. In this state I went bemoaning my sad condition, thinking no man in my state was ever saved; but coming one Sunday morning to hear you, you began to treat on the corruptions of the heart, and Satan's temptations ;-here you spoke of the many fiery darts that are hurled through the soul, with the brutish, beastly, and damnable thoughts the soul is overpowered with, made against the believer's will, and I knew you could say much more, but you had now gone as far as you could go in the pulpit, so I was resolved to speak to you as soon as you had done speaking ; but how did I tremble at this, believing you to be a man of God, and I a wretched sinner i yet my heart flowed forth with love and gratitude to the Lord for showing me a man that had been in this path before me; my heart sunk and revived again many times in a few minutes at the thoughts of speaking to you. At length I came trembling towards you, with my heart so full I could hardly
speak, telling you I never thought any man had been in this path but me; but you told me more now than you said in the pulpit ; you then shook me by the hand, and I left you, being too full to speak any more, and I hastened out of the room lest any one should see my tears. The Lord now enabled me to wrestle in prayer, telling him I would never leave him till he spurned me from him as an enemy, and that if I were to be condemned that the Lord Jesus Christ would pass the condemnation himself, for I was sure he would be just when he spoke, and clear when he judged, still telling my loving Friend and Lord, who did not mean to condemn me, but only to humble me, that he should hear my prayers with my last breath; and if I were to go to hell I would go with a prayer in my mouth. Oh, my dear Father, what a friend is Jesus to such wretched sinners as you and I.
“ Fain would I tell to sinners round
And say, Behold the way to God.” But the Lord had more to say to me before I was delivered; for after I had spoken to you the enemy accused me of lying, hypocrisy, and deceit; and that you clearly saw I was a hypocrite, and wanted to get into your affections. But the truth was, a dreadful snare was broken, and never has returned with that force and power since. Some few weeks after this, in the autumn of 1824 (which is nearly four years since my first convictions), I came, one Sunday evening, in as cold and as hardened a state as possible; I saw you come into the pulpit with as much indifference as though I had no soul. Your text was in Isaiah, ix. 2. “ The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” When you began your sermon my heart immediately rose up against you ; the devil now carried all before me, and I strove with all my might to gather my thoughts and humble my mind." Oh, what a wretch am 1," said I, “ to fight against this man of God; oh, what a wretch am I!” But the enemy was too strong for me, so that I considered you were a fool-a madman, and spoke an outlandish tongue. I could not understand you nor any one else ; in my mind, I called you a liar, then prayed hard ; then I thought that was of no use, for God could not hear me pray and you preach, so gave up prayer for a few minutes ; then the enemy came and bade me knock you out of the pulpit. At this my heart shuddered-breathed out a prayerthe devil came with a double force and stopped my prayer again ; “knock him down” was all I could hear now. I then said I would, and found myself rising from my seat with my fist clasped ;-- then I sighed out, “ Lord, save me," --sat down again, and, through the force of the temptation, found myself rising again, and the place pointed out to bit you was under the ear, but was again stopped by Jesus, Jehovah himself; and more since the last time I tried to raise my hand against the man that was to be the instrument to bring my soul forth out of the valley of the shadow of death. “But every battle of the warrior is with confused noise," and it is a vexation to learn the report, but just as I found myself rising from my seat the last time, all of a moment the temptation ceased the enemy fled—and I was as calm as I had been raging before. I heard now with new ears-saw with new eyes. I now saw from your preaching how I had walked in darkness, till the blessed Spirit had shed a light upon me to show me the way I was going—how he had led me to Jesus the sure mercy's way-how I had dwelt in the valley of the shadow of death, where the poor soul knoweth not his own voice, and is afraid the devil will carry him away, soul and body; and such souls have no rest for the sole of their feet : that is, nothing to stand upon or trust to no assurance of their life-are afraid of being cut off every moment by the hand of Güd's justice,