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vere rubs, for I have seen, in some measure, the things that faith hath credited already come to pass; darkness has been made light before me, and crooked things straight; and I trust to find my path shining more and more unto perfect day. Sometimes in private prayer, when darkness, bondage, and unbelief, have been so strong that I have scarcely had a word to say, I have found that faith has at length began to struggle, till, like a fountain bubbling up through the earth, it has in the end gloriously prevailed, and I have left my burden behind, and gone away rejoicing in the full expectation of being heard and answered.
I was in the happy state a little before described when you lately preached from these words, “Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” There you set forth the proofs of a real work of grace in the heart; and every proof you mentioned, even to the highest, I could then come up to; the whole was gloriously confirmed with power from on high, and I could set to my seal that God was true; and, having before found my conscience reproach me with ingratitude to the Father of mercies for not declaring the former instances wherein his visitations had refreshed my spirit (especially that at Grub Street, mentioned in this letter), I was determined to make this known to you; but, finding the vestry crowded, I judged you was much engaged, and
therefore concluded to defer it to a more convenient opportunity. The subject, however, still lay on my mind; and, after making it a matter of prayer, I found encouragement to lay it before you in this manner. When I began to write it was far from my intention to continue it to this length. As occurrences were brought to my recollection I have endeavoured to compress them as much as possible; but, as these are only such as are the most material in the genuine experience of my soul, I do not feel inclined to omit any part of what I have written. It was begun some weeks back; but while I was in bitterness of spirit I laid it by. When the light of God's countenance was again lifted up upon me I resumed it, intending you should have had it before now, and had written to within a few lines of this on Tuesday, when I left it off to go to the City Chapel. In your sermon from Isaiah 1x. 20, “Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself,” you will readily perceive how much of this you went over again; and the savoury unction that attended your discourse to my soul I better know than I can express. My Beloved came into his garden, and ate his pleasant fruits; and I again fed upon him by faith, with thanksgiving. I could sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also,
Eternal are thy mercies, Lord,
My soul delights in having to acknowledge whatever appears as an answer to prayer, or as the fulfilment of a promise; and the words of the sweet singer of Israel, Psalms cxvi. cxvii. I find exactly suitable and applicable to me.
Adieu, dear Sir! The Lord be with you, and prosper you
in your own soul, and in the work he has given you to do. And may it please the great Shepherd long to continue you here for his church's sake! Such is the sincere desire and hearty prayer of, Reverend Sir,
Your affectionate Son, in the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
22, Lower Belgrave Place,
Pimlico, Sept. 2, 1809.
To Mr. John EEDES, Pimlico.
Dearly beloved in the one Mediator, grace and truth
be with thee through our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of the Father in truth and love.
our epistle is very acceptable to me, as the contents serve to weaken a temptation which has often beset me; namely, that old age would be attended with a barrenness in the ministry; that, as youthful vigour decayed, and the faculties of the soul got impaired, so the life and power of godliness would abate also. And this temptation came upon me by observing so many great and learned men, who had come forth with brilliant gifts and abilities, light and knowledge, and who seemed to soar very high, and to flourish like a cedar in Lebanon, and afterwards sink and wither like the green herb. This I concluded must be my case at some future period. But it is in Christ Jesus that God our father accepts us, in his atonement he receives us as clean, and in his righteousness we are received as just; and, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, we are complete in him. And it is in Christ Jesus that we enjoy and share, as joint heirs with him, in God the Father's love; and this love is the fruit and effect of pardon; it is the bond of the covenant, the root of the righ teous, the marriage ring, and the indissoluble bond of union between the bridegroom and the bride. Could this divine love, which is fixed upon us in Christ Jesus, be taken from him, the bond of the covenant would be broken, the thing that is gone out of God's lips would be altered, the promise would pass away unfulfilled, the covenant of
peace would be removed, and the faithfuluess of God would be suffered to fail; for, if the root be removed, both leaf and fruit must fail from the heirs of promise.
But we are safe and well secured upon this ground; and every revival, renewing, and refresh. ing, is a confirmation of it; for these are the fresh declarations of God's covenant name and character; I mean, that of his being gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. Read Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, which is what our Lord alludes to when he says,
“And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them,” John xvii. 26. Compare these two passages together, and you will see what is meant by Christ being in us; and it is by God's faithfulness to his covenant name; which name, in all its fulness, and in all its meaning, is now as it always was, in Christ Jesus; and it is declared again and again by a discovery of fresh truth, by receiving fresh grace, and by new enjoyments of pardoning love. This name is declared, and shall be declared, that the love wherewith the Father hath loved Christ may be in us, and he in us. Where a sin-pardoning God is not proclaimed to the sinner, that sinner has no love to God. God's circumcising our heart to love him is putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; and where much is forgiven, the same loveth much.
These things, my dear friend, standing fast, and our fruitfulness depending upon the righteousness, truth, and faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus, the root must abide, its waterings cannot