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nifters, and the work of the Lord going prosperously on every where; but I am so blind that I can see nothing of it, but quite the reverse; for, go where I will, I find here and therc a poor perishing sinner starving for want of the bread of life, and there are none to break it unto them. - In my view of things this is a time of spiritual famine, when many of the poor and needy seek water, and there is none. Wells without water, and clouds without rain, we have plenty; but the ministry of the Spirit, and the power of God unto salvation, is rarely to be found. But we must leave the government upon the shoulders of the wonderful Counsellor; for none of the subjects of his kingdom shall ever perish, but shall have eternal life. I have run quite out of the way ; but it is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Our glass is running out apace, and the bitterness of death is past; life and immortality hath been brought to light in our souls; the incarnate Word hath quickened us; he hath chastened us sore, but he hath not given us oyer unto death. Then“ wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his fin?" Out of the dark regions of the shadow of death have we been brought; our fins have been removed, and our guilt purged; he hath begotten us to a lively hope, and blessed us with inward peace; he hath circumcised our hearts to love him, and will not Q3

suffer suffer any thing to satisfy us short of his presence, his grace, and the light of his countenance; and, though these be often denied us, yet the time cometh when we shall see him is he is; and our present sorrows and sufferings shall be all forgotten ; when we shall hear no more the groanings of Zion, nor shall her children fay any more, os Behold, I am fick;" for all the remains of corruption shall be donc away. Farewell, dcar fifter ; and let me know by a few lines, as soon as you are able to write, what fupport, what relief, what encouragement, what vicws, prospects, mcditas tions, smiles, or visits, you have been favoured with, in this last furnace; and you will much oblige

Your affectionate friend and brother,

The Desert.

NOCTUA AURITA.

LETTER

LETTER XXXIX.

T.'NOCTUA AURITA, in the Desert.

CICC

I HAVE received yours, and do most kindly thank you for the same. I was sorry to hear of your inward weakness; should be glad to know if it hath pleased the Lord to re-establish your health.

Some things in your letter convinced me that you still remain a prophet of the Lord to me : for jou have described my feelings as true as if you had known all the workings of my mind for this fortnight past; though I know you could not have received my last little scrap of a letter till after yours was written..

Relapsed into legal bondage I am. O! it is a wretched captivity. You tell me to look once more towards God's holy temple. But, alas! I have no faith in exercise on the object of faith, nor yet on the promise. I feel the old man alive in all his members. Never, I think, did I experience such a frame since I defcended from the mount. God has put me into his furnace, and has supported me there hitherto; though at times I fear his rod has been spent on me in vain. I am shut up from

the public means, where my soul has been often quickened under the word, through indisposition of body, for my tabernacle is kept very weak and low. Satan preaches me many lectures, and tries to raise in my mind hard thoughts of my God; and he too often succeeds. It is poor living on the old stock; indeed, it only keeps hope from giying up the ghost; it is living too near home, as you well observe. O! how does my soul long to have this veil rent. But I know that nothing will do it but a fight of Christ crucified. O! that he would work in my heart that contrition and godly forrow, that with Mary I might fit at his dear feet and weep it out. My soul craves no greater blessing in this world. But the Lord has, I believe, some harder lessons to teach me; and I am flow of heart to learn, as well as to believe. I want to distinguish the voice of God in his rod, which you so sweetly treat of in your letter. But I am brought into darkness, and not into light, so that I cannot difcern; therefore I need stroke upon stroke. My cry is, with Job, “ Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." I well know where the cause lies; it is that folly that is bound up in my heart; and there is so much of it in me that I fear there can be little else but the rod assigned for me. God grant I may be helped to bow and submit to his will. I know the rod is in the covenant: and I do believe that what I am called to endure is not vindictive wrath, but

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fatherly chastisement, intended for my good. But it is hard to bear; and the mind and thoughts will find employment; and it is, as you observe, poring over the old man and his workings; and I think sometimes that this gives Satan an advantage against me. But I cannot do the things that I would: “ but the evil which I would not, that I do.” How very unlike the myrtle you speak of am I, whose sap is, as you observe, always up, and whose leaf is ever green. But sure I am, and that from bitter experience, that there is not one grace of the Spirit will flourish in my heart when the beloved of my soul withdraws and hides himself from me. I often look over some of your former letters, which I received when in the midst of my joys, where you warned me of such days of darkness and desertion coming on me, by telling me that the days would come that I should desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, but I should not see it. But I would not believe it. I could not entertain a thought that I should ever fall into legal bondage again. But, alas! it has fallen to my share over and over again. Therefore, as Jesus said to one that came to him, I was to go and learn what that meaneth. And sure I am, as you well observe, that Satan can bring a dismal gloom on the mind. His aim with me lately is to bring my mind into darkness, by perplexing me with some part of the word of God; by endeavouring to make one part clash with

another.

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