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Indeed you insinuate, that God's concurrence may not be granted noi- perhaps, not now,” are your words ; but not thofe of Ananias, who said to convinced Saul, Arise, why tarriest thou ? wash away thy sins, calling or believing on the name of the Lord. Ji God does not concur now to help convinced Goners to I believe, 'we still affirm that they cannot, without great cruelty, be called upon now to attempt an utter impoflibility, or, if we may use your expression, « to touch heaven with their hand." This provifo of yours, this “ perhaps, not now," seems the common way of clogging and mangling the gofpel. We see nothing of it in holy writt; there we read, believe, and thou shalt be saved-fear not, only believe, &c. We never read, believe, but perhaps, not now-monly believe, but first wait God's time, he does not, perhaps, chuse thou shouldest believe now. There is the quintessence of the poison of the old Serpent, in the supposition that God commands now, but is not, perhaps, willing that he should obey him now. Believe-perhaps, not now: Repent, be chaste, be honest, be fober, be charitable-perhaps, not now. Good God! What room will this not now leave for present infidelity, uncleanness, drunkenness, injustice, &c. and every imaginable abomination !
Upon second thoughts, we would hope, that your perhaps, not now, does not regard our believing, but God's bringing forth the top-stone, while we shout grace unto it : and in this fenfe, we find faith and hope are often tried, yea to the uttermost. Isaac was not born immediately on God's making the promise, or Abraham's believing it. A joy unspeakable and full of glory does pot always, immediately aceompany the belief of the promise of forgiveness of fin, and of deliverance from its dominion : Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ? After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise-Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, Ec. This was the language of St. Paul, and we dare not confound what he diftuguishes, namely, believing and tasting all the rich fruits of faith, Concerning some
of these, which faith does not, in general, immediately produce, we allow you to say, perhaps, not now; but though they tarry, yet wait for them, for they will surely come.
« Restless, resigned, for these I wait,
But obferve !. that this earnest, patient waiting is one of the blessed fruits of faith, and not something previous to it, as you seem to imagine. 2. That we do not suppose it neceffary for those, who are truly convinced of fin, and desire to be justified freely by the grace of God, through that redemption that is in Christ, to wait at all before they believe, that he is made unto thein of God righteouliefs, for the present pardon of their fin : nor for those, who are truly weary of their carnal mind, to wait before they believe, that he is made unto them of God sanctification, for the prefent destruction of it: for the promise is even now to us, and to our children (those that are afar off not excepted) if they lay hold of it by faith. But greater discoveries, riper fruits, richer tastes, fuller enjoyments of these blessings, together with a being more strengthened, established, and settled in them, is what we esteein our privilege, to expect and wait for, in the manner you describe.
V. You seem to fupect that this faith, on the one hand, leads to Antinomianifin, and on the other, takes froin God the glory of our salvation.
As to the first fufpicion, we hope it is obviated in our second and fourth answers, it being impoffible, that a faith, consequent upon real conviction and wea. rifiness of fin, and begotten by the pure gospel word, through the Spirit,-a faith, which leads to sanctification and the destruction of the carnal mind,-a faith, which is productive of all the ripest fruits of the Spi. rit, can be merely notional, or have the leait tendency to Antino.nianifin.
And as to the second, we deteft the thought of having the least share in the glory of Christ, as our only Redeemer, and of the Spirit, as our only Sanctifier. We abhor it as much as the proud and mad conceit of sharing with God the glory of our Creator and Preserver. We constantly ascribe to free grace all the honour of man's salvation, and are pei suaded, that from the firit half-formed defire raised in the heart, and the least degree of power given for the improvement of it, to the final victory over our last enemy, all is of graceof mere grace. But as we may give God all the glory of our creation and preservation, without supposing that he must breathe, eat, drink, reft, dress, plough, and reap for us ; so we apprehend that we may give Christ all the glory of our redemption and salvation, without excusing ourselves from the performance of what he enjoin's, and of his own free, undeferved grace, gives us both will and power to do.
I rejoice that your soul profpers : you need not look back any more. , When you are tempted to hurry and inward impatience, remember you are not obliged to give way to it, Take up these little crosses pati. ently, by believing, looking inward, and finding Jesus in the midst of business. “ He is here, he is here, as my all,” will break many, yea ten thousand snares. May the peace of God be with you and yours! Fare. well. I. f. 1.. ...
Mr. Alexander Mather.
My dear Brother,
; I THANK you for your last favour. If I answered not your former letter, it was because I was in expectation of seeing you, and pot: from the least disregard. I am glad you enjoy peace at Wellington, and I hope you will do fo at the Trench when you go there. : My reafons for ftepping there myself were not to seize upon the spot first (as the accuser of the brethren may have insinuated, but to fulfil a promise Imnade to the people, of visiting them, if they would
not countenance a lying wretch, who went to thein from the Bank: all this was previous to my knowledge of the invitation they gave you. I defire you will call there as often as you have opportunity. An occasional exhortation from you or your companion at the Bank, Dale, &c. will be esteemed a favour; and I hope that my stepping, as Providence directs, to any of your places (leaving to you the management of the societies) will be deemed- no encroachment. In short, we need not make two parties : I know but one heaven below and that is Jesus's love ; Let us both go and abide in it, and when we have gathered as many as we can to go with us, too inany will still stay behind.
I find there are in the ministry, as in the common experience of Christians, times which may be compared to winter: no great stir is made in the world of grace, beside that of storms and offences, and the growth of the trees of the Lord is not fhowy ; but when the tender buds of brotherly and redeeining love begin to fill, Spring is at hand. The Lord give us harvest after feed time! Let us wait for fruit as the husbandınan, and remember, that he who believes does not make haste. The love of Christ be with us all! Pray for 1. F.
Madeley, Jan. 13th, 1766.
I AM almost alhained of answering your letters af. ter my long delays, but better late than never, as I hope your indulgence will put the best construction on what time does not allow me to make an apology for. ';-..
s Lin. I do not wonder if ******************* &c. hath been a fnare to entangle your thoughts'; but it is now over; and what is that to thee? follow thou Chrift. You may, however, learn this lesson, that the mind. ing Chrifti and 'our own fouls, with Mary, while we leave the world to Martha, is no easy thing in a temptation; and that no one knows what he is, till he is tried, and tried in the tenderelt points-love, liberty, esteem, and sharp bodily pain. Lord prepare us for such trials, and may we encounter them, in the whole armour of God !
This evening I have buried one of the warmest opposers of my ministry, a stout, strong, young inan, aged twenty four years. About three months ago, be came to the church yard with a corpse, but refused to come into the church. When the burial was over, I went to him, and mildly expostulated with him. His constant answer was, “ that he had bound himself “ never to come to church while I was there; ad“ ding, that he would take the consequences, &c." Seeing I got nothing, I left him, saying with uncommon warmth (though as far as I can remember, without the least touch of resentment) “ I am clear of " your blood ; henceforth it is upon your own head; " you will not come to church upon your legs, pre“ pare to come upon your neighbours' shoulders." He wasted from that time, and to my great surprize hath been buried on the spot where we were, when the conversation passed between us. When I visited him in his fickness, he seemed tame as a wolf in a trap. O may God have turned him into a sheep in his last hours!
This last year is the worst I have had here-barren in convictions, fruitful in backslidings. May this
prove for us, and for you, the acceptable, year of the · Lord. I beg your prayers on this behalf.
I have filled my page, but not with Jesus's name: let your heart contain what my letter wants Jesus and his precious blood-Jesus, and his free,glorious salvation. Live to him, breathe for him; buy, sell, cat, drink, read, write for him. Receive him as yours altogether, and give him your whole self, with all that is around you. Take us all, Lord, into thy gracious favour, stamp us with thy glorious image, and conduct us to thy eternal kingdom !