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MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE.
Dear Brethren in Jesus, wbom I love in the truth, and for the truth's sake,-Mercy and peace be multiplied unto you.
I trust this will find you all well, both in soul and in body, which is the greatest blessing we poor mortals can enjoy in this poor dying world. I am but poorly myself, and have been so all through the winter; but, notwithstanding that, I have only been laid aside from preaching one Lord's Day.
I think I promised to let you know how we were going on at B-. We left the old barn in December, and opened our new place on the 16th of that month, and have continued in it ever since. I am happy to say I believe the Lord is amongst us indeed, by increasing our numbers, and blessing his word to our souls. It is surprising to see what a quantity of people attend. Every Lord's Day there are more people than can get into the place; so that we shall be obliged to enlarge it. It is wonderful what a spirit there is for hearing, for hearing the truth, and nothing but the truth. Nothing else will suit; and I am happy to say that the greatest harmony, peace, union, love, and concord, reign amongst us. I feel a very great attachment to the people, and I believe they feel the same towards me. You know how blessed it is to meet together on a Lord's Day. Yes, beloved; as soon as one Lord's Day is gone, we begin to long for the next. We are now joined together as a church, on strict Baptist principles. I have taken the pastoral charge; not that I desired such an office, or felt myself competent to the undertaking; but the friends would not have a refusal; for they said as the Lord first began with me amongst them, and had blessed my labors to their poor souls, and that their hearts were fixed upon me, I must comply; therefore, I could not withstand them. We have many of the Lord's living children amongst us, both aged, middleaged, and young; and many strong men in the faith, and women also. Some of the men have extraordinary gifts in prayer; but they all love the plain honest truth, free from all condition as it respects the creature. So you see, what with my situation as gardener, a very large family to support, extensive grounds to cultivate, men to employ in their different departments, and having to preach every Sunday, all on my mind, I am so fully employed that sometimes I have not time to write a letter.
How blessed it is that our gracious God not only makes promises, but fulfils them in our experience; for he has said, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy day, so shall thy strength be.” O how suitable this is in my present situation. I have many things to try me, am often sorely tempted, and cast down by reason of darkness, and very much tried respecting my preaching, calling myself a thousand fools for ever attempting it. I often go out on a Lord's Day morning, and would, if I dared, hide myself anywhere rather than go into the pulpit; but when this is the case, I generally have the best opportunity in preaching, and the people in hearing. This is the way the Lord makes his strength perfect in our weak
ness, and this is the way the Lord enables me to lean upon him, the strong one, for strength. Sometimes when I begin to preach I feel as if I could not stand up for five minutes; then the Lord gives me a little opening, and a little light, life, and love in my soul, so that I do not know how to leave off. These seasons are generally very precious, because of the Lord's presence. This is the way the Lord keeps down the pride of the heart, which would soon begin to show itself to one's eternal ruin, if it were not for the Lord's grace; but the Lord will keep the feet of his saints, so that they shall not finally fall and perish. No man or enemy can pluck us out of his hands.
Our dear Lord has left us an example that we should follow in his steps. In everything we should inquire, How did our Lord act? Look at him when he was tempted forty days and forty nights. The same Satan that tempted him tempts you and me. When Satan tempted him to despond, how did he answer? “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” And that is the way we must live, namely, by faith. When our Lord was tempted to love the world, he said, “Get thee hence, Satan.” We are often tempted to this, for that carnal love is never rooted out of our carnal hearts, but is a sore evil and plague to God's living family. I know by experience the dear child cannot be happy with worldlings. If we wish to make a child of God miserable, put him amongst the world, and he will be immediately like a fish out of the water.
Well, beloved, your God who hath redeemed you and justified you, will take charge of you in the everlasting covenant, ordered well and sure; and rest assured that your name cannot be blotted out of the book of life, for your life is hid with Christ in God, and is everlastingly secure.
I hope to have a letter from you, my beloved friend, before long. I long to hear from you all, for you are very near to my heart. I desire to pray for your soul's prosperity, and that the Lord will perfect his own work in your heart.
How is Mrs. —? Is she yet groaning, being burdened? Tell her Christ is the only refuge.
Are my dear brother J. S., and his sister, quite well? The Lord bless them in all their engagements in this life, lead them by his counsel, and afterwards receive them into glory.
Receive this in love. Your loving Brother in Jesus,
R. THOMPSON. [The writer of the above letter, now no longer in this vale of tears, was, we understand, a simple-hearted gracious man, as indeed his language and spirit here testify, much esteemed and loved by the people among whom he ministered the word of life. Knowing him only by report, we can add no more than we like the honesty and simplicity that breathe through the letter: -ED.]
If you make price with Christ, and compound with everlasting grace, you shame the glory of the ransom-payer.--Rutherford.
IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD? ;
Esteemed and kind Friends,—I have been waiting for the winter to be past, the frost to break, the northerly wind to cease froin blowing, and the long nights and short days to make a change; wishing that the sun might shine, the south wind and the dews and rain to fall, the upper springs to flow and the nether springs to rise; and laboring that the heavenly Messenger might arrive with a message for me to give, that I might write with instruction and you read with profit, and have your soul sweetly comforted, and the name of the Lord be glorified; yet, after all am I kept waiting. What news shall I send my friend? I have eight children that look, or will look if life is spared, to me for bread; and this keeps me looking to the Lord, to watch his overruling and bounteous hand, while my faith persuades me that he will not let me return ashamed, nor my children cry with perishing hunger for their bread.
I am brought into a decent, respectable state of living, and I have no other way to maintain it but my faith and my mouth. Besides this numerous family, I have many times the number who are waiting for the bread of life, and depending upon its coming through me. as the instrument; and often I have nothing to depend upon but his gracious promise and all-sufficiency, and am obliged to go to the work without sense or feeling of what I am going about until I am engaged therein. But past experience, the unconditional promise, and a faithful Lord and Master, forbid me to faint or give way to fears, by which I am preserved from mistrust and guilt. And this is no small favor..
I suppose and believe that I am writing to one who has for many years proved that nothing is too hard for the Lord, and but one thing impossible; that is, he cannot lie; and that you are now witnessing what the Almighty says, “Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you;" yea, that you are bringing forth fruit up to old age, to show that the Lord is upright.
I have much on my hands. I have been sitting up all night with a son in the faith who is ill in the body. The bearer of the note is just setting off; so I must say with John, “I would not write with paper and ink; but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face." Wadhurst, Oct. 8, 1828.
Can the father see the child sweat, wrestle under an over-load till his back be near broken, and he cry, “I am gone,” and his bowels not be moved to pity, and his hands not stretched out to help? Were not the bowels and heart of that mother made of a piece of the nether mill-stone, had she not sucked the milk and breast of a tiger, and seemed rather to be the whelp of a lion, than a woman, who should see her young child drowning, and wrestling with water, and crying for her help, and yet she should not stir, nor be moved in heart, nor run to help? This is but a shadow of the compassion that is in that heart dwelling in a body personally united to the blessed Godhead in Jesus Christ.---Rutherford.
REJOICE WITH THEM THAT REJOICE, AND.
WEEP WITH THEM THAT WEEP. My dear Sister in the Faith of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,-Hearing of your late heavy trial, in which death has bereaved you of your beloved daughter and only surviving child, I cannot help sympathising with you. My hearty desire and prayer for you is, that the Lord may sanctify the stroke, and also bless you with his supporting grace, and more than make up the loss with his sensible and comforting presence.
O my dear sister, what a changing world we live in! How shortlived are our best earthly comforts! All is frail and fading. Vanity of vanities; all is vanity, and vexation of spirit, short of Jesus. He is the one thing needful. You, my dear sister, through grace, have been enabled, like Mary, to make choice of him as the better part; and although the Lord has taken your children, and may, if he thinks proper, deprive you of every comfort, yet this better part shall not be taken from you.
“ And if our dearest comforts fall
Before his sovereign will,
Himself he gives us still.” What are all the strokes, sorrows, and chastisements, dear sister, which we have to contend with, to be compared to what the Lord Jesus endured and suffered, when the chastisement of our peace was upon him; when he said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done?” O what bitters were in this cup! The guilt of millions, the malice of men and devils, and the wrath of God. Like a great mountain it pressed him down in agony, until he exclaimed, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” “Behold! all ye that pass by, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, wherewith the Lord afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” This dear Man of Sorrows is acquainted with all our griefs, even your present griefs; and mind you, “ though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies." "He will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever." "He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” “Like as a father pitieth his children sin their trouble), so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust."
You, my dear sister, in your present distress, may be ready to say with Jacob, “All these things are against me;" or with Jeremiah, “Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day;" but this is only the voice of unbelief; and as they found it so, likewise will you.
“ Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
And he will make it plain.”
Depend upon it, that what he has done is all for the best, both for you and your dear offspring.
" He hides the purpose of his grace,
To make it better known." “What I do now,” he says, “thou knowest not; but thou shalt know hereafter.” The hereafter sweetness will more than make up for all your present bitters.
My kind love to your dear partner; and may the Lord's blessing rest upon you both. So prays,
Yours sincerely, Sutton Benjer, Jan. 31, 1855.
THE BLOOD OF SPRINKLING.
Dear Friend, If it should please the great Head of the Church, I do hope that this will find thy soul in a prosperous way, with a deep discovery of thy ruined state by the fall of man, and as a sinner before God; also may you have, by faith, a view of your soul's interest in the precious blood and righteousness of Christ, the God-man mediator between a guilty worm and divine justice. I hope the Holy Spirit is leading you out of all refuges short of Christ; and that you feel you are coming up out of this wilderness world, leaning on the Beloved; for nothing short of this will stand. A bare knowledge of the doctrines of truth, however clear, must give way sooner or later, if there is no vital union to the living Vine; for the fire shall try every man's religion, of what kind it is; therefore do not rest down short of an application of the blood of Christ to your soul. Satan will get you, if possible, to rest on a deep law-work, or a deep discovery of the evil heart, or on great temptations; for a person may have great terrors and dread of hell, and pass through all this, and yet fall short of entering into that rest prepared for the people of God. But every elect vessel of mercy will, sooner or later, receive the application of the blood of Jesus by the Holy Ghost to his soul, so that he will feel cleansed from all his sins. Nothing short of this will satisfy your soul or mine. Let me know how you get on; if you find the road very rough, and if the world, flesh, and the devil oppose; if you are still panting and crying after Jesus; also if sin is aburde n, yea, a deep affliction to your soul? I mean the workings of evil within. And is there a weaning from the world, although it often carries your heart away so at times you cannot see, as you think, the least difference between those that are dead in sin and yourself? These things will bring you to the light to search, and you will then want the Holy Spirit to bear witness with your spirit that you are a living child of God.
Yours in the truth,
T. S. 8.
Any man is nearer God than the humble soul in his own eyes.Rutherford.