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THE GLORIOUS LORD A PLACE OF BROAD
· RIVERS AND STREAMS.
Dearly beloved in the Lord,—I write to say that, through the tender mercy and long forbearance of a compassionate, covenantkeeping God, I am still in the land of the living, a monument of his mercy; and not only so, but I do believe I can truly say with a good hope in his mercy, that endureth for ever towards them that fear him. Although I am the chief of sinners, and am often led to wonder how it is that the Lord bears and forbears with me, yet here I am constrained to stop and consider; and when I am enabled, through the anointing of the Spirit, to contemplate his love and mercy towards so vile a wretch as I, I am lost in wonder at such love, and can only say, “He loved me because he would love me.” But, my dear friend and brother, I can tell you what this does for me at such times and seasons as these. The blessed effect of it is to endear him more and more to me; for it is here I get a glimpse of the king in his beauty. It is here he becomes to me “the altogether lovely, and the chiefest among ten thousand." It is here where and when I am led to abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. It is here where I am, though a poor blind creature, led into the mystery of redemption by Father, Son, and blessed Spirit. It is here I get a sight of what the gospel of Jesus Christ is, and of those he sends to preach it; and it is here where I get a sight of all false professors; as it is written, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.” It is here where and when I am led to extol free grace. And it is here where I am constrained to say, “ Not unto us, O Lord; not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for ever and ever. Amen."
I make no doubt you have been wondering how it is that I have not written before. It is not from the want of love, but sometimes it is for the want of matter, and sometimes it is for the want of time; so you must accept the will for the deed. I am always glad to have a letter from you, and hope my delaying will not prevent your writing. My love to your wife, and I pray the Lord to be with her in nature's trial. Write soon, and let me know how you are getting on at R- I was glad to hear of the little increase in the church; it shows that the Lord is still on your side. The Lord be praised for that. I believe the Lord has given you the necks of your enemies, so that in his own good time you will be enabled to tread down all their high places. The Lord grant it for Christ's sake.
And now that the God of all grace may bless you in Christ, is the prayer of,
Yours in the Lord, Sept. 28, 1856.
Those that keep the word of his patience shall escape the hour of temptation; while hypocrites in Zion, who boast of their faith, wisdom, and power, and who hate the true light and the just, shall be left to stand the storm, and sustain the shock, and then it shall be made manifest what they are.--Huntington.
HE HATETH PUTTING AWAY.
My dear Friend,—May the Lord be your "sun and shield;" your sun to enlighten your dark understanding to understand his revealed will towards his people; also your shield to protect you from your internal, external, and infernal foes; for depend on it they will be many and mighty. O may he be your eternal refuge; “for the Lord God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away.” O my dear friend, is it not well for us he does? O if he were to deal with us once as we have dealt with him every day since we came into this ungodly world, our portion must be for ever in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. But he saith, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” O he hateth putting away! So depend on it he will never do the thing he hates; for his love and mercy in Christ, and through Christ towards his people, are like himself, from everlasting to everlasting. O hear him: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee;" and mark,
" Whom once he loves he never leaves,
But loves them to the end.” He hateth putting away. O, how many wicked men, sent by the devil, are lying in wait, trying to deceive God's people; trying, with all the deceivableness of Satan, to make our Creator one like unto themselves, a poor, vain, fallible creature, a mutable being, changing every moment, yea, as unstable as water. But “God is of one mind, and who can turn him?" He hateth putting away. Hear his gracious words to all his redeemed: “I will have mercy on their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more;” “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake; and will not remember thy sins.” O my dear friend, who then can make him? If you now were in heaven among the redeemed, they would all tell you this was the way they came there, all shouting, "Grace, Grace, unto it;" singing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, and hath redeemed us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Portsmouth.
I have for some years had the rheumatism fixed in my right shoulder; it is now fallen into my right hip, and I am at times led to conclude that my travelling days are come to an end. I am not in much pain in bed, nor when I sit; but in walking my pain is great, so that I am almost ready to drop if I walk but a few yards. I have confidence that God would remove this pain from me, for his dear Son's sake, if I was to entreat him. But I have found the inward man so much renewed day by day under these decays of the outward man; and fearing also that the removal of this outward cross would be followed by a worse within, I am afraid to ask, knowing that dissatisfaction with one crook has often brought on a worse.--Huntington.
TO HIM THAT IS AFFLICTED PITY SHOULD BE
SHOWED FROM HIS FRIEND.
Dear Friend,—I felt rather sorry at not seeing you once more before you left A—; but I was very ill that Sabbath morning you so kindly offered to sit by me. I thought afterwards, no doubt it was wisely ordered, as I might have alarmed you.
I am at all times pleased to be comforted by your friendly visits, or your truly Christian and sympathising letters; I feel them truly refreshing.
As I am so much in solitude, how glad I should be, (were it the will of the Lord,) if you were near to sit with me an hour sometimes. I have no Christian friends here to come in, and my relatives are too much engaged. I have been a month confined to my room; still I trust I am not alone, though the furnace is a very trying place to flesh and blood. I hope I can again say, “It is good that I have been afflicted.” O what changes does my soul pass through! At times, the weakness of my poor suffering body depresses and clogs my spirits, both nearly sinking together; then again the blessed Lord shines through the cloud, and brings my soul to bow in sweet submission to his sovereign will, and I feel like a little child, melted down in gratitude and love at his blessed feet for such superabounding love over the aboundings of my sins.
“O to grace how great a debtor,
Daily I'm constrain’d to be.' I fear I shall quite tire you, but though it is so painful for me to write, yet I want to open all my heart to you. I feel a union of soul to you, and I long once more to go up to the house of the Lord, to worship with his saints. I need all your prayers to the Lord to be kept humble and patient, and to wait and be still, and know that he is God. As the bounds of my habitation are fixed, and I cannot say what is the Lord's will, whether this sickness is unto death, or if I yet may meet you again in the house of prayer, yet I do hope, through the atoning blood of our dear Redeemer, to meet you in heaven, where all tears shall be wiped from our eyes for ever.
I shall feel it kind if you will favor me with another letter soon. I should have answered yours before, but was suffering so much pain I could not write. Please to excuse all imperfections, and believe me, Yours affectionately,
The gospel showeth that God for Christ's sake is merciful unto sinners, yea, and to such as are most unworthy, if they believe that by his death they are delivered from the curse, that is to say, from sin and everlasting death; and that through his victory the blessing is freely given unto them, that is to say, grace, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life.—Luther.
"LETTER BY THE LATE STEPHEN OFFER.
Dear Sister in Jesus, who is the great and glorious covenant Head of his mystical body, the Church,—May grace, mercy, and peace be made known unto your soul by the power of the Holy Ghost.
O my dear young friend, what a mercy to such poor wretches as you and I, that the first moving cause of our salvation is God's eternal and unconditional election before the world began; for the Lord could not see any goodness in your nature and mine, to be the cause of his love, any more than he could in devils. You know that there was a time when you were “dead in trespasses and sins," and an enemy to God by wicked works; and it was in a state of enmity that you were when the Lord first made known his everlasting love unto you, in quickening your soul when you were not seeking bim, but spending your youth and strength as I did, in the service of the devil. Many a professor in our day is going about speaking against God's choosing love; but the Lord Jesus saith, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” O wonderful love!
“Loved when a wretch defiled with sin,
At war with heaven, in league with hell;" a brand plucked out of the fire. The Lord Jesus is the elect Head of his body, the church, in whom all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam's race that ever will be saved were chosen before the world began. Yes; our adorable Jesus, “in the fulness of time, took upon him, not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham,” and hath fulfilled the condition of the covenant of works, which was perfect obedience unto the holy and righteous law of God, and has made atonement for sin by his own blood, which he did by his holy and unspotted life, and by his shedding his heart-blood. O the wonderful love of our Jesus. Had he failed in his undertaking, we should have been undone for ever; but glory be unto his name, he has triumphed over sin, Satan, death, and hell, and freed his church from everlasting condemnation. There was a time when you and I were ignorant of the wonderful plan of salvation; but the love of the Spirit was made manifest when he called us out of that gross darkness which our souls were shut up in.
O my dear friend, if the Lord had left you and me, according to much of the preaching in our days, viz., that the Lord is offering grace to all mankind, and then leaving them unto their own will to choose or to refuse, we know by every day's experience that we should have willed the road to hell; for such is our carnal nature, that we should have followed on in our sins, if hell had been before our eyes.
No doubt the Lord is teaching you daily that you are not sufficient of yourself to think anything that is spiritual. The Lord does teach all his chosen this truth in their hearts, that without him they can do nothing. You find, from day to day, that it is a tribulation path. Be not cast down, my dear sister, it is a right way to “humble us, and to let us know what there is in our hearts.” If the Lord had not in love unto your soul taught you the truth in your very heart, you would have “been carried about with every wind of doctrine; for many shall arise and deceive many;" and if it were possible, would deceive God's elect; but that is impossible, for “they shall all be taught of God,” therefore they cannot be finally deceived.
May the Lord keep you daily by his almighty power, and enable you to let your light so shine before the world as to adorn those doctrines in your life and practice, and thus by well doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
If I am spared a little longer, I hope that I shall have the opportunity of seeing you.
May the Lord bless you, lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you grace abundantly.
The Holy Spirit, which searches the deep things of God, knows what is in reserve for us, and the time appointed for us to receive that which God hath laid up for us; and he sets us to praying for them when that time arrives. Thus, when the time of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage drew near, the Spirit of supplication was poured out, and the cries of the children of Israel went up. “And God heard their groanings; and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” So in Daniel, just as the time was approaching for them to return to their own land, Daniel understands, by the prophecies of Jeremiah, that God would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem; then Daniel sets his “ face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” So, also, there is a set time to favor Zion and every one that is ordained to be of her community; a set time for every purpose; and when that time is up, which the Holy Spirit is perfectly acquainted with, then he makes intercession with such energy that the kingdom of heaven, which suffereth violence, is taken by force. The Holy Spirit furnishes the soul with suitable promises to plead, with invitations and encouraging passages of scripture. These he brings to the mind, and puts into the mouth, enabling the soul to use all sorts of arguments, pleadings, intercessions, supplications, confessions, and reasonings; and, at the same time, helps the poor creature against his unbelief, misgivings of heart, desponding thoughts, shame, fear, and confusion of face. He draws forth faith into lively exercise, and raises up hopes and expectations of being heard and answered. He emboldens the poor sinner, and fortifies his mind; he strengthens his heart, silences his accusers, and clothes his word with power, enabling him to pour out his very soul before God with earnest cries and tears, till his cares and concerns, his burdens, his griefs, his distresses and sorrows, his doubts and fears all flow out with his words; and he goes from Shiloh with his countenance no more sad.-Huntington.