« AnteriorContinuar »
by conveying the sentiments of Tom Paine. to his mind; at which time he became a sworn enemy to government, and of course associated with those who could strengthen his hands in rebellion. Nevertheless he did not leave the chapel, nor drop prayer in his family. And, though I was often led to bear my testimony against that infernal spirit, yet he stood his ground; he obeyed not the voice of his teacher, nor was he to be fed with that part of God's wholesome word which tells every soul to be subject to the higher powers. But it was not long before God fed him with judgment; for when I preached the “ Watch-word and Warning” he was there; and God sent it home to his heart, and down he went; and when he got home he told his wife that he was a damned man, and that he was in the state that I had described; and from that time he left off praying. Soon after this he got up to Kensington palace; and there he cursed and blasted the king, and told the people that he was king. Some of the military, hearing of this, took him into custody; but, perceiving him out of his mind, they dismissed him. Thus he began with that doctrine that holds up the majesty of the people; and, when given up to the devil, he proclaimed himself a king. But, if we are obedient unto death, we shall be more; for “ he hath made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever.” Adieu.
T. NOCTUA AURITA, in the Desert.
· I have received your epiftle, for which I feel more thanks in my heart than I have words to express. I believe I shall ever remain the greatest debtor you have; and I am sure I shall never be able to pay one mite towards it. But I know the Lord will return you fourfold; because he has said, “ Whatsoever ye have done unto one of these my little ones, ye have done it unto me." You have never yet denied me any one request I have made; the consideration of which emboldens me to come to you again with some difficulty which I have upon my mind. I told you, in my last, that what you mentioned in your former letter of the latter rain which was to come down on the believer at death, had, in some measure, released my mind from some fears which I have been long harassed with. I thank you for enlarging on the subject. Indeed, the matter lay with much weight on my mind. You mention this passage, viz. that “ the righteous have bands in their death;" and that these shall be the last fetters that shall be broken. I am in the dark
what these bands are ; but it seems they are to Inap at a dying hour. But yet you call the work that is to be done on the soul at that time the greatest work of all. Is it not strange, then, that my mind should be again brought into bondage under the fear of death? You told me, in a former letter, that we were travelling in the same path; but, indeed, I think it is otherwise now. But you must judge when I give you an account of my present feelings. And one thing in your letter confirms me in it, viz. where you say that the daily cross, which is intended to counteract the devices of Satan, the workings of the old man, and the pleasing desires of the flesh, is not all you expect in the course of your pilgrimage; but that you expect some familiar visits, fresh love-tokens, confirming renewals, and promised revivals, of the good work of God, even unto the end. This is the place I seem to turn out of your path; and, indeed, I have at present no such things in expectation. And it seems to me that I am confirmed in this by the word of God. The passage I refer to is recorded in Ezekiel: “ But, when the people of the land shall come before the Lord in the solemn feasts, he that cntereth in by the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth in by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate; he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over
against against it.” Ezek. xlvi. 9. The latter part of this verse seems to comprehend my past experience, my present feelings, and my future path, and has involved my mind in much darkness and gloominess; and I am led to believe that I am more interested in the mystical sense of this passage than any one upon earth. And it is this text that has cut off all my expectations of future enlargement while in this world; which is also confirmed to me by what Mr. Hart says in one of his hymns :
Their pardon some receive at first,
And then, compellid to fight,
And travel much by night.
The above paffage in Ezekiel has been on my mind for this twelvemonth past, and I have thought that there has been a great depth in the words; but they never brought any difficulty on my mind till about a month ago, when it forcibly struck me that I was so much concerned in them; and I have also many things to confirm me in it. You have told me, and so have others, that the Lord has dealt with me in a singular manner, both with respect to the degree and duration of those spiritual joys and consolations which I have been favoured with in times past. And what inference can be drawn from it but that which is meant by coming in by the south gate, and that I N
am no more to return by the way of the gate whereby I came in, but I am to go forth by the way of the north gate? And I believe the north and soutlı gate mean the same operations as the north and south wind. Will you grant me this request alfo, that is, to give me your thoughts on the passage. I do assure you it is not a matter of curiofity. I do believe you will sympathize with me, and feel for me, and pray for me. This seems to be the sharpeft trial I have lately had; though, blessed be the Lord, I feel no shakings nor unsealings respecting my fiate. But I have at prefent no light on my path; and, to my dark understanding, that text has made a discord in the word of God, and seems to clash with such palfages as this, “ The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day;" and this allo, “ They that wait on the Lord shall renew their ftrength: they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shal} run and not be weary, walk and not faint.” But, instead of this, my expectations are of more darkness, Tharper trials, being perpetually under the hiding of God's face; and, indeed, I am already in the dark path. God says, in his word, that he will abundantly bless the provisions of his house, and that he will satisfy his poor with bread; that his priests shall be clothed with falvation, and his saints shall shout aloud for joy. But, instead of this, I have lately been very barren under the