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taught my own nothingness—that I am nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing;
; up to that time I knew nothing of Christ, and cared nothing about him; he was not precious to me then. But when the law passed its sentence on me, and after I had been in the stripping-room--then, and not till then, I saw and felt my need of atoning blood and imputed righteousness. Hence, “the Man
sorrows" became, even to such a wretch as I am,“ the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.” Thus free-grace drove out my freewill, and, by the almighty power of God, Christ continues and shall continue precious, as“ made of God unto me wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
It is everlasting love, divine substitution and suretyship, and infallible distinguishing grace; it is having a hope set up in our souls that we belong to Jesus, and hence, that God is our Father, that God is our Redeemer, that God is our Comforter ; it is this, and only this, that can afford us real peace and solid consolation. Hence, how blessed to us are those sweet words in John, xvii. 10,"All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them."
Oh! yes, Jesus loves his bride, the church ; " He gave himself for us." He died for her; he rose for her; he is now her Advocate before the throne. Blessed thought!
“ 'Tis his own, he dearly bought her ;
What she cost he only knew;
Paid in blood her ransom, too.” Thus, dear brother, may you and I, and those of your readers who belong to Christ, feel him more precious every day-every moment, and say with Paul, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast,” &c. (1 Cor. v. 7, 8).
In all our trials, in all our troubles, in every persecution, under the frowns of former friends, and the hatred of enemies, may we be cheered with that sweet Scripture in Zech. xiii. 9, “ I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried ; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them : I will say, It is my people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God." That promise has often cheered me in dark and trying seasons," I will bring the third part through the fire ;” and the Lord proved this to the three afflicted ones, in Daniel, iii. ; and has he not proved it also to us? Oh! yes, glory be to his name, he has; and may this cheer any of the dear people of God who may now be in the furnace. If it be so with any one who may read this, I would say to such a one, Be comforted, my friend and companion in the path of trouble, our God has said it, and he will do it “ I will bring the third part through the fire;" and all the while you are in the furnace may Isaiah, xliii. 2, be applied with power and consolation to your soul.
But I must stop, and, in concluding, I would request those of the Lord's people who may happen to read this, to remember me in prayer. “ Brethren, pray for me ;" plead the promises; oh! think of me before the King, and may you be reminded how much a minister needs-what wisdom, what boldness, what uncompromising faithfulness. Oh! like another Daniel, ask that I may “ be touched again and again,” and be thus strengthened ; as dear Kent says
“ Bold for his Master and his Lord;
With him thy glory shall display." For yourself, dear sir, I trust that the Lord God may be pleased to make you very faithful, and give you strength and ability, as Editor of the Gospel MAGAZINE. Do not be afraid of Truth, and “ beware of men;" take care of party (Isaiah, viii. 12), and seek all you want at the foot of the cross.
Committing you and the whole election of grace to God, our own God, I am, in the dust of my own nothingness, yours, in the Lord Jesus Christ, even him who is the sinner's only Friend and my only Hope,
Affectionately and faithfully,
J. J. West, Chief of Sinners.
Letter to Arthur Triggs. VERY DEAR FATHER,
In the faith that Jesus can, and will again, make his strength perfect in my weakness, I sit down to address you a line of love, most feelingly confessing that in myself I am weakness, emptiness, and ignorance entire. Wherefore I must go forth in the power of another, and depend for supply on a fulness out of myself; which, bless the Lord, is my happy privilege, for I am nothingChrist is all. Gladly, therefore, would I glory in mine infirmity, that his power may rest upon me; and be content to be more and more abased, that he, in me, may be more highly exalted. My heart is not easy in that I have not earlier replied to your last most valuable and glowing communication: it has not been from an unkind or ungrateful feeling; but, being somewhat overtaken by self, I have been held back by a sense of my complete inability. The delay, however, ? has not in anywise mended the matter, for I am still powerless and helpless as ever ; but, bless the Lord, we do not meet in our own name, but in the powerful name of him who is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and who has many times made the weak more than conquerors ; used " the things that are not to bring to nought things that are ;" and proved that by strength shall no man prevail. These are hard things to flesh and blood; it liketh not to be thus out of the question, and had rather we were moping and grumbling about its disgrace and misery than triumphing in the victories of its Conqueror: by the former, it gets many a sly morsel; but in the latter, finds only starvation, and is obliged to keep an unwilling fast; for there is not one thing in Christ to pamper self or feed the flesh. Truly I earnestly desire more of this experimentally, and long for more self-forsaking as well as self-loathing; that my old nature, which was crucified with Christ, may, as it were, be forgotten as a dead thing out of mind, while in Christ I sit in the heavenly places, receiving, by the Holy Ghost, new unfoldings of the glories of our precious Immanuel—with what fragrance does that dear name Immanuel breathe upon my spirit! it is fullof odours, and again and again, lately, my spiritual senses have been therewith regaled. This experimental standing you blessedly speak of in your last letter, acknowledging it to be your privileged state; to the Lord be all the glory. I therefore speak to you without fear, believing you will understand what I, perhaps, but imperfectly express, and what many dear children of God could not receive, but would be quite offended at; nevertheless, the truth remains the same, and the blessedness the same, unshaken by all the shaking questionings which are afloat about it; and though but a little one, yet, to be honest, I must confess to you, dear sir, that I have tasted and handled enough to make me venture to seek for more, in spite of all that is said against it; and though I should tremble to stumble any living soul, or grieve them with my meat, yet I do desire to live in the dignity of a liberated one, by the Son made free; breathing a free air; taught by a free Spirit; walking free among the dead ; and learning beforehand some of the privileges of that free country into which all the family of the First-born shall gloriously enter, when mortality is swallowed up of life. Somehow it seems to me that most of the Lord's people, in this day, are labouring in the wilderness, not having experimentally crossed Jordan, and entered the land flowing with milk and honey ; and I cannot but observe, in the blessed book of Deuteronomy, what a distinction Moses makes in the two states; for when he is giving directions to be observed in Canaan (which has struck me as synonymous to the rest of faith), he says, “ Ye shall not (there) do after all that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own
eyes ;” and again, “Take heed that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place thou seest; but in the place which the Lord shall choose, there shalt thou offer thy burnt offerings, and there shalt thou do all that I command thee." With much more, all seeming to show, that while in the wilderness what we see, and what we feel, and what we enjoy, have much predominance in our offerings and worship. But when come to the rest, every act of worship is in Christ, the ordered place, whither we bring all our offerings, there enjoy all our blessings, there endure all our trials, there meet all our enemies; without him we can do nothing; in him, everything, and find that “he is (indeed) our life, and the length of our days.” Truly that Deuteronomy is like the life of faithChrist-Christ-all Christ; nothing else will satisfy; and he does satisfy in. deed; and sometimes his very name speaks volumes, such as we never can speak out again to mortal ear; and though thus satisfied with marrow and fatness, we do not say enough, but still are crying, Give, give, more of Christ: and we do find, to demonstration, that to live above sight and feeling is not to live without it, for we have such glorious sights of the King in his beauty, and such glowing feelings of his love, as were not known when these things in themselves were the objects of our pursuit. Bless the Lord, 0 our souls, for these honeyfalls from the Rock, Christ, and bless him that in our glorified Head eternal fulness dwells, and that for us; so that, after all our feasting, the feast remains the same, and our joys are but beginning. You will see, dear sir, by the foregoing, that I have not yet attained, nor am already perfect; but am full of longings to press after what is beyond me, just as you speak in your encouraging epistle, that, when we have had a revelation of Christ in the soul, nothing else can delight or satisfy. It is so indeed, and I, in my humble measure, join you in rejoicing, not only that there is, but to FIND, a blank upon everything else; for thus does he keep the uppermost room in my heart, and thus has he, experi. mentally, in all things the pre-eminence.
Do, beloved sir, accept my sincere thanks for your last sweet and welcome letter, and believe that I do really value its contents, though my long silence might almost have persuaded you otherwise ; trust you will pardon it and not return it, but favour me to hear from you soon. Did indeed rejoice to hear of the Lord's goodness in your family, your chapel, your habitation, and your soul; trust your prosperity doth and will increase and abound, for the Lord is good to Israel, and withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly. But I know the great blessedness is, in all to rise above all; and this you are privileged to do, learning, in whatsoever state you are, therein to be content with Christ; and, bless the Lord, poor little I am following after, though but in the a, b, c, of this self-denying, Christ-honouring lesson. It is a miracle of grace that I am a partaker, which I dare not deny, but often say, Why me? and, beholding his wondrous goings forth on my behalf, am constrained to say, His name is wonderful! his love is wonderful! his works are wonderful ! Oh! that I could give him wonderful praise ! You say you are living “as if there were no sin nor death;" this seems very striking; but I see that you must be living in Christ, for sin and death can be done away lawfully nowhere else ; and so I can say, May I live so to. But I am sadly plagued with a legal bias, which struggles hard to bring me into bondage, by making me feel more accepted now, and less accepted then ; and causing me to sink down into what self has done or left undone; it is my daily fight and struggle to get away from all this self-cleaving.* May I ask whether you are at all thus attacked ?
Our poor Zion is now very low, though we have had some mercy since I last wrote to you. The minister we had then on probation does not come, which some of us believe was a manifest interference of the Lord. We have also had a sweet breathing of the Spirit in supplication at our prayer-meetings, so that, though few in number, our hearts have been warmed and melted; and that in
Reader, do you see the force of this? Do you feel the inward working of this cursed legal leaven? It constitutes part of our daily cross; it is upon this ground that we are tossed to and fro, without that sweet establishment in Christ which our souls have known, and which we still pant after.-ED.