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We may be setting them up for the very things in which they feel themselves to be, and in which they are, most deficient. Let us praise God, and meditate on His excellences.
What we want, I am persuaded, is an asking and looking for blessings in Christ's name, and for His sake. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my
I really feel that I have not—with any earnestness, however, or full belief that, if we shall ask any thing in His name, He will do it. It is not merely, that we are to look at His sufferings to warm our hearts or melt them; but to act faith upon Him, as a Friend in Heaven with all blessings in His hands; and for us. His name, by faith in His name, cured a man of his lameness; and why not us of our sins?
LETTER XIV. -'TO A FRIEND: ON THE DEATH OF
Peckham, May 11th, 1822. My dear R-,
I write from a house of sorrow, in the midst of nine motherless children :-my poor sister snatched away from them after an illness of a very few days. By failure of intelligence I did not arrive here till three days after her death. Oh, now one feels, if there be no hope beyond the
grave, all men are indeed made in vain. But there is a hope beyond the grave,-a bright, unfading hope, a hope full of immortality. There is a faith which looks sheer over a few intervening years—if years there be intervening-into eternity; joins that great multitude which no man can number; and sits down with dear departed friends at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.
LETTER XV.-TO A RELATIVE: ON THE SAME
May 10th, 1822.
Ah, Cousin, these things fall not out by chance. A human friend makes a mistake, or a momentary bitterness comes across his affection and tenderness; but Our Friend makes no mistake, and his tenderness, like all his other attributes, changeth not for a moment. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul! Then, we cannot bargain for other things; not a wife, a sister, or a parent; the two portions may be quite incompatible. “Make me wise, but teach me no lessons”-would be a strange request.
LETTER XVI.-TO THE SAME.
My dear Cousin, it pleases God in his wisdom to make one rich, and another poor in worldly things; no doubt to try both in their love to Him; to see if the one will give cheerfully for his sake, and whether the other will be content to want for His sake. But, oh! the riches that are from above! There he would have no one to be poor : there it is the believer's own fault
if he is poor.
LETTER XVII.-TO A FRIEND.
June 11th, 1822. I do not see how they, who deny a particular providence, can acknowledge a general one; for what is the order of things in the world, but a huge stream proceeding from a little source, and continually augmented in its course by the accession of little streams, and the bubbling up of little springs beneath? But this I am sure of, that he who takes away a particular providence, or who does not pay a great attention to it, takes away a large portion of the happiness of a Christian life,—the delightful confidence exercised in committing our ways to God, and the delightful thankfulness of acknowledging God's goodness in the direction of them. And, obscure as many providences are to us, I am persuaded, if every one would look out for the hand of God in the management of every day's events, he might see it much oftener than we are aware of. And what we know not now, we shall know hereafter; perhaps in this world. The road may turn and wind, so that we may hardly know in what direction we are going ; but when we can look back on the whole journey as on a map, we shall see the direction clearly, and the reason of making an elbow and doubling in the way. But how shall we know in another world? Even as we are known. And what shall be the acknowledgment in such a retrospect, but that beautiful one (Joshua xxiii. 14), And ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
LETTER XVIII.-TO THE SAME.
July 16th, 1822. I am here but for a time, doing duty in two churches by permission, and desiring now especially to get some situation near London, in order to be near my poor sister's family. I do not find double-duty on a Sunday, with the occasional duty, at all too much. I think the congretion here has certainly increased since I have been preaching; but whether any real good has been done I have not the opportunity of knowing; as the preaching, with occasional reading prayers, is all that is given to me; and I am afraid of visiting in the parish, lest offence should be taken ;-though perhaps I make this the excuse to myself. We are miserable creatures, mixing up sin and self with all we do.
LETTER XIX.-TO MRS. R-.
Guestingthorpe, August 7th, 1822. I trust God will direct us; and this is surely one of the most delightful confidences of a Chris
tian :—that God, if sought to, will direct all his ways, as surely, though not so visibly, as he did the Israelites in the wilderness. I will guide thee with mine eye; as a mother does the child, that she trusts to go alone; watching every step. There is the promise. Methinks it is the great art which the believer has to attain, to live upon the promises ;—not to live in some general dependencies upon the goodness and loving-kindness of God, but in a particular dependence upon particular promises. Hereby we are led to look more to our particular wants; to search the Scriptures more diligently, and to act a more enlightened and a stronger faith on the word of God. Hereby, too, we are stronger against particular temptations, if we see that our very case, our very wants, trials, sufferings, have been contemplated by God, and have a particular promise affixed to them. Hereby, too, in some degree, we measure our own attainments. For instance-Sin shall not have dominion over you ; does this, then, seem too high a privilege to us? Have we pleaded this promise with God in prayer ? Or—My strength is made perfect in weakness. Have we so felt our own weakness, as to delight in this promise ? I am sure that by not thus living on, searching out, and pleading the promises of God, we defraud ourselves greatly of our comforts.