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with the rod, and our iniquities with scourges; as he says he will do; he turns us loose on the barren mountains of Sinai, he exercises us with legal bondage again. This stirs up every inbred corruption, which astonishes us; this convinces us of the need of diligence and watchfulness, and that we have not much to be proud of, seeing the root of every sin is full in us, though guilt is purged and fin is subdued by grace. And here our beloved withdraws himself, and is gone. He is not to be found at Horeb, but at Zion. From this mount we get nothing but barrenness, dryness, and deadness of soul. These things falling upon us, bring us to rue our pride, fecurity, lightness, and folly; and, though we come no more under the curse, nor under vindictive wrath nor unpar-. doned guilt, yet it is a grievous yoke to an heavenborn foul, and not a little mortifying to one of the spouse's dignity. Bitter reflections, cruel jealousies, and humbling mortifications, attend this purging rod. And it is very debasing to appear with the yoke of a Nave, and a fallen countenance, like a thief, before the more meek and lowly soul; as it is written “ Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou faireft among women! My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices.” He was gone down to them that were more neek and lowly. But when we are humbled the Father leads us back again to the enjoyment of Christ Jesus, who is God's salvation to the ends of the
carth; and we are again influenced by a spirit of love, of power, and of a found mind; and now we are all tenderness, care, and circumspection, simplicity, meekness, and gratitude. But, alas ! this foon wears off again, and then another purging comes upon the fruitful branch ; and, after that is over, sweet union is felt again, and we feel our abiding in him; and do, by these means, bring forth fruit : and thus “ we go in and out, and find pasture.” This, my dear sister, is the purging hand that thou art now under. Thou art, for the third time, under the all-wise management of the great husbandman; and he is puzzling and confounding thy wisdom, and taking off some of thy luxurious branches, and casting down some of thy high-reasonings and contentions, which exalt themselves against the knowledge of him. And now for the spouse's request in the Song. Know thou that, when God shook the house where the apostles were assembled, together with the rushing of a mighty wind, and filled them all with the holy Comforter, under which influence they went forth and wrought, and the Lord worked by them, confirming their word with signs, that then was fulfilled this prophecy, “ And the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go forth with whirlwinds of the south,” Zech. ix. 14. Thus is the spirit of love called the south wind; wind being a known emblem of the Holy Ghost. Read Isaiah, chap. xl.
Whereas the wrath of God in the law, which ftir's up our enn.ity, is the spirit of bondage to fear; and, as it brings a cold chill on our love, and much fear and trembling, it is therefore called the north wind. Hence Solomon, knowing that bondage always precedes liberty, the one bring. ing grief and the other joy, says, “ In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adverfity consider; for God hath fet the one against the other.". Prosperity is the time when our Lord embraces us; but our adversity is the time when the Lord resrains from embracing. Hence Solomon represents the spouse as being diffatisfied with her carnal ease, and dead, indifferent state; and that, to such a hungry foul, the bitterness of legal bondage would be fweeter than such a dead frame. He sets forth the fpouse as praying thus: - Awake, O north wind, and coine, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out;" knowing that there would be no divine embraces till humbling trials had taken piace. In this way is the believer purged. Take notice further, that, as some souls are called fervants, and are under the law, in bondage to it, and strangers to grace ; fo gracious souls, though often humbled, and exercised with the bondage of the law, are still under grace: the former being a corrupt tree in its natural state, and the other a good tree, purged, and made good by the grace of God. Solomon represents death as a
woodcutter, woodcutter, cutting both down, and both falling under their own proper influence; or as bending under that wind that blows upon them: “Whether, the tree falls toward the north, or toward the south, in the place where the tree falleth there it Tall be.” No change shall be made in the soul after death. The former dies in self and selfrighteousness, looking to the law; the latter dies in faith, looking to Jesus: and so shall each appear in the great day. Let my sister, therefore, kiss the chastening rod, and consider that she procures it to herself, and God appoints it for her good, and it is intended to make the spouse fruitful. But not so the servant, who is in a false profeffion; who, without being dead to the law, or divorced from it, yet claims Christ the second husband before the first be dead. These are otherwise dealt with; and so it follows: “ Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away ;” as he did Judas. And to fuch, and only fuch, in the most dreadful sense, is that awful text applicable, “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God;" as every fruitless branch doth, which God the Father takes away from Christ, and from his church. These foon wither, and soon burn. If any thing in this scrawl is encouraging, comforting, or establishing, receive it as one espoused to the Lamb of God; for “ all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cepbas, or Christ, or life, or death, or things
present, or things to come; all are yours ;” and, among the rest, in the indiffoluble bond of the everlasting covenant, I subscribe myself, in the Covenant Head, and for his fake,
T. NOCTUA AURITA, of the Desert.
I HAVE received safe your very raluable epistle, and I thank you kindly for the same. I was somewhat surprised at your writing a letter to me on that fubject at that time. I will give you a little account how it has been with me since I wrote to you last.
The day after I wrote you the letter, which you know informed you that I was lying at anchor, wind bound, an unexpected breeze sprung up. I did expect the south wind, but, alas ! it was the