« AnteriorContinuar »
another. I have something at present which much puzzles me, and has for these two months past; and I do suspect he has a hand in it. But, as you have kindly invited me to use freedom, I would beg your thoughts on the paffage where Abraham wiis commanded by God to offer up his fon; and, alier the angel had forbidden it, it is faid that he looked and beheld a ram caught in a thicket by his horns, and he took and offered it up in fiead of his son. But the mystery which I want light upon is this, how this ram can be a type of Chrift as the finner's furety. And yet it must be, because God accepted it as Isaac. Now, though Chrift was God, yet he never suffered in his divine nature. Yet the blood of a ram, when slain, is erpressly said, in Exodus, to be the blood of sprinkling; and, in Numbers, it is said to be the atonement. Nor can I undersiand how the paflover l:umb was a type of Christ; because he is, in the New Testament, said to be the Lamb Nain from the foundation of the world. When first it was brought to my mind I saw it a mystery, but did not think my being enlightened into it was any thing essential. But, as it dwelt on my mind, it lcci me on to the mystery of the Trinity, which I know I am very dark about; and I began to tremLlc, fearing I should be left to fall into some error respecting that grcat mystery, and to be left to fiumble on the dark mountains; and, from the time niy mind was oppressed with it, the dear
Redeemer of my soul has been more and more obfcured from my sight. I should have mentioned it to you when I was last with you, but I thought it better to make it part of the subject of a letter ; then I should, perhaps, have your answer to refer to at any time, which I have often found a second and third benefit from. I hope the Lord will give you something by which my mind may be relieved from its present perplexity. The latter part of your letter caused me some faintings of heart. It is a fad sign to a nation when God stops the breath of prayer, in his servants, for averting the judgments which they foresee coming on. Those must be bad days when God will not suffer his fervants to stand in the gap. However, the word is gone out of his mouth that it shall be well with the righteous. I hope we shall not have a famine of the word, and then it shall be well with our louls, however we may be called to suffer in our bodies. I have tried to persuade
H T to give you a few lines respecting what you wish to know; but I do not know whether I shall prevail or not. I fear your patience will be tired out in reading this letter of complaints. Can only add, I remain
Yours, in the best of bonds,
In the King's prison.
TO PHILOMELA, in the King's Dale.
I received thine epistle safe, and, by the contents of it, I perceive that thou haft finished thy song in the night. The melody of thy harp is exchanged for mourning, and thine organ to the voice of them that weep. Nevertheless I shall not change thy name, for thou must and shalt sing again ; “ They shall sing in the ways of the Lord.” This the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. Thou must, my sister, come in the good old way, the four first stages of which have been long pointed out. Noah's ark was to be made with first, fecond, and third stories; but the dove, when she returned, rested on the top till Noah put forth his hand and took her in to him. This ark appears to me to be more a type of the church than of Christ, for the church is feldom without unclean as well as clean; but no unclean creature (strictly speaking) can be experimentally in him, much less shut in by him, till the storms of wrath be paft.
The temple of the Lord had an outer court, called the court of the Gentiles; the next was the court where the worshipping Israelites assembled; the next was the sanctuary, where the priests performed their service; the next was the inost holy place, accessible to none but God and his highpriest; and he must go through the court of the Gentiles, then through the court of the Israelites, then through the sanctuary and into the holy place. So Noah went from the earth to the lower story, then to the second, then to the third, and laftly he removed the covering of the ark, and looked out at the top. We must come, according to Peter, out of this world. This causes many to think it strange that we run not to the same excess of riot. Then come convictions of sin and fore temptations : “ Though now, if need be, ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations.” Then come better days: “Whom, having not seen, ye love; and though now ye see him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." But, when these joys are withdrawn, it appears as if some strange thing had happened unto us. This fiery trial is to try our faith, that it may appear more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, and shall be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appear. ing of Jesus Christ, when the Lord will say, “ Well done, good and faithful servant;" and “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, enter the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.” When this trial is over thou wilt find thy feet standing in a more even place. So fays Peter, “ After that ye have suffered a while, the Lord make you perfect, firengthen, stablish, fettle you.” Keep these stages in view. There is, and must be, a coming out of the world; and, when this is done, there is a watching at Wisdom's gate, which answers to the court of the Gentiles ; and, even when kind invitations come suitable to our cale, we musi not ascend: “ When thou art bidden to a wedding,” says Christ, “ sit not down in the highest room, left a more honourable man than thou be bidden.” We must imitate the Saviour. He first appeared in the form of a fervant; and, when the law comes home to us, our bafeness as bond-fervants appears; bound under fin, Satan, death, and the law, we are. This sets us fenfibly down in the dark regions of the shadow of death, and in the strong holds of sin and Satan. Here Christ fhines first upon us: in this our low cftate he remembers us, and says unto us, “ Friends, go up higher.” The next stage brings us to his feet: they shall sit down at his feet : “« Every one shall receive of thy words.” Now he appears pacified towards us, and we remember our own evil way, which was not good, and lothe ourselves in our own fight for our iniquities. But he dwells with the humble and the contrite, “ to revive the spirit of the humble, and the heart of the contrite ones.” Now he puts us forth into the joy of the Lord. This encourages us to frec