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heart?) things in this light-Sin a disease, the Gospel a remedy?-the disease manifesting itself in very different ways, the remedy all-sufficient for every symptom : the disease essentially the same in all,-a departure from God; the remedy consisting in bringing the soul to God. Now to feel the disease, to find that one is so far gone from God, as in no way to desire Him; that, though living without paying any attention to spiritual things, yet the worst one suspected of oneself was, indifference to Him; yet that, in fact, when the soul is struggling under a sense of sin, one is actually at enmity with Him, aye, and could wish to be able to say, There is no God, -to feel this, I say, is to feel the very disease of our nature; and our earnest prayer should be for the remedy which the Gospel prescribes. We do not feel these things sufficiently! Who ever did ? But who has made, or can make, us to feel them at all? Surely there are prayers and promises in the Bible for such a state as this. Lord, that our eyes may be opened ! My soul cleaveth to the dust : quicken thou me according to thy word. I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh, , and will give them a heart of flesh. I will pour water on him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord. They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. But it is evident that the things of this world are near and pressing upon their proper senses; spiritual things must be brought near by diligent meditation and earnest prayer.
LETTER V. TO THE SAME.
Southend, April 10th, 1821. * We have, indeed, all of us many and most undeserved mercies to be thankful for since we met here, but no one such as myself; and it is surely our bounden duty to speak one to another of the goodness of God to ourselves ; because nothing (at least I find it so) is such a confirmation of faith, as hearing of the wonderful works of the Holy Spirit in calling and building up others of his own people. And therefore to you I say it, how wonderfully I trace the hand of a most wise and kind Father in my late illness ;wise, in so adapting the method to the meanness of the heart to be dealt with ;-kind, in holding his hand when, by the grace of his good Spirit, the intended effect was, I trust, produced ;- that the illness seems to have come immediately from him for that one end; and I am restored to my accustomed health, with a salutary memento that this earthly house of my tabernacle is peculiarly frail.
LETTER VI.-TO THE SAME.
Caroline Place, June 10th, 1821. In such circumstances, what an unspeakable comfort to believe, that we shall be guided thither, where it shall be best for us to be; by natural means, indeed, but by as sure a providence as if we had the fiery or cloudy pillar to
go before us. What an unspeakable comfort, but how hard to obtain! How easy to talk about believing and trusting, till we come into the circumstances that call for faith and trust; and then how impossible not to feel, that faith must be the gift of God! So it is in all matters of faith. How difficult to trust Christ alone for our salvation, and the Holy Spirit alone for our sanctification ! How difficult-when we are once in earnest about these things, and when we have been trying in vain to sanctify our own hearts, and bring every thought into obedience to Christ. A child-like spirit is what we want. In the midst of all the bustle of leaving Southend, Mason has had no fears but that he shall be taken care of; nor does he ever express a doubt that we shall teach him aright. I wish I could but follow such an example!
With the best love of all here to S, and yourself and the children,
LETTER VII.TO HIS WIFE.
May 23rd, 1821. Oh, may we be making these high and holy things more the one great business of our lives! May we have such deep and spiritual views of the great mystery of godliness, that all other things may be poor to us! When we contemplate the love of Christ as conceived in heaven before the world was, as carrying Him through his great work on earth, as watching over us till His own time was come for bringing us to Himself, and as finally to be completed in our eternal vision and enjoyment of Himself; what a dream ought this world and its enjoyments to appear
!or what can we have to do with it, but “ so to pass through things temporal, as finally not to lose the things that are eternal ?”
LETTER VIII.-TO THE SAME: ON ONE OF THE
CHILDREN BEING SUDDENLY TAKEN ILL.
May 24th, 1821. * Give papa's love to him; and, when you receive this, I hope it will be to-morrow that I shall see him again.
I am thankful to hear that the two others are well. Upon any warning of this kind, I cannot but ask myself,
How could I give him up, if it pleased God to ask him at my hands?” Here would be an answer to many prayers that I put up every day, and I think sometimes with earnestness; as—that whatever God is pleased to do with our little ones in this world, they may be His for ever in heaven; —that I may be weaned from the world ;—that I may be disciplined as God sees necessary for
And how necessary, while we have time and opportunity, to be using every means of making our calling sure; that when affliction of any kind—when death itself-comes, then we may be able to appropriate the promises made in the Scriptures to those particular situations ! How necessary to know ourselves children, that when we most want it, we may feel we have a right to the children's food! I begin to be very uncomfortable at this great distance; and rejoice that to-morrow, please God, I shall somewhat lessen it. And here, again, I feel how much i lean and depend upon you and your counselhow little upon God's! If we could but realize the thought, that, wherever we are, we are with God; that, if we commit our way to Him, He will direct us ; how lightly and comfortably might
whithersoever duty calls us! If we could but in any degree feel the relief of laying all our perplexities and cares before God, as we do before an earthly friend to whom we look up, and upon whom, in some cases, we entirely throw ourselves !-Ah, we have much indeed to learn. May we be more teachable, and more diligent !
LETTER IX.-TO A NEPHEW; ON A YOUNG MAN's
CHOOSING HIS FUTURE COURSE IN LIFE.
London, June 23rd, 1821. My dear J-,
I wished to see you before you left town, to talk with you on your prospects and intentions in life. As I could not, I must talk with you on paper.
You are about to decide for your whole life : and the first thing that strikes me is, the importance of such a decision, and that it is not to be made lightly. You must see, that it would be childish in the extreme to say at random, I will