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Present my Christian respects to Mrs. Hatton, your fister, and all your friends, and accept the same from your unworthy brother, I. F.
Madeley, May, 1766.
My dear Friend,
IAM sorry, after the manner of men, that you are ill, but glad in the Spirit, that the will of God takes place in you, and that he purges you, that you may bring forth more fruit. Now is the time for you to begin to be a Christian in good earneft-I mean, to follow the Man of sorrows; and to do it as a lamb, who goes to the slaughter and opens not his mouth by way of complaint ; though as a Christian, I apprehend you may and ought to open it by way of praise.
One advice I will .venture to give you, or rather to transcribe for you out of Isaiah The believer does not make haste, to doubt, to hurry, to forecast, and to reason after the manner of men ;-" If I am a child of God, why am not I thus and thus ?" Let Chrift, either suffering for you, or ordering your sufferings, be so eyed, that you may in a manner forget and lore yourself in him ; or if a weak and pained body makes you think of wretched felf, let it be to lay it down with composure at Jefus's feet, or to take up the burden of the cross with cheerful resignation. I hope to hear foon of your being recovered in body and strengthened in foul by this affliction.
" Is any prayer acceptable to God, which is not the dictates of his own Spirit.” If you mean by the dictates of the Spirit, bis influence on the mind to shew us our wants, and upon the heart to make us desire a supply of them: I answer, no; for a prayer, which hath not, at least the above mentioned qualities, is ona ly a vain babbling.
« Does a believer always pray with the Spirit's af. filance ?” Yes, when he prays as a believer, and not
as a parrot: for at his lowest times, he has, more or lefs, a sight of his wants, and a desire to have them fupplied : and this he could not have, did not the Spirit work upon his mind and heart.
I hope you sink inwardly into nothing, and through nothing into the inmensity of God. I fee a little, through mercy, into the beauty of humiliation ; I find the ministry of condemnation glorious; and I love to take every moment, the curfe out of Moses's hand, as well as the blesing out of Christ's. The Lord grant that you and I, and all our friends, may do it more feelingly and constantly every hour!
May the Physician of soul and body refrem, strength. en, eltablish, and thoroughly heal you, by the virtue of his blood and the word of his power! Bear well, and farewell. Your unworthy fervant, 1. F.
Madeley, May 27th, 1766.
I AM glad to hear that the God of all mercy and grace has raised you from the bed of sickness, where his love had confined you. It is good to fee his works in the deep, and then to come and sing his praises in the land of the living. A touch of pain or sickness I find always profitable to me, as it rivets on my soul the thoughts of my nothingness, helplessness, and more tality; and hews me in a clearer light, the vanity of all the transitory scenes of life. May your afflictions have the fame effect upon you, as long as you live. May you be more steadfast than I am, to retain the deep impressions, which God's gracious rod may have left upon your soul : and may you learn to lay yourself out more for the Lord, and to do whatsoever your hand findeth to do, with all your miglit; knowing, that there is no wisdom, nor device in the grave, whither we are going.
If a sparrow falleth not to the ground, nor a hair from our head, without our heavenly Father's leave, it is certain, that higher circumstances of our life are planned by the wise and gracious Governor of all things. This kind of faith in Providence, I find of indispenfi. ble necessity to go calınly through life, and, I think too, through death also. ,
The coming of Mr. Wesley's preachers into my parish gives me no uneasiness: As I ain sensible that every body does better, and, of course, is more acceptable than myself, I lhould be sorry to deprive any one of a blessing ; and I rejoice that the work of God goes on, by any instrument, or in any place. How far it might have been expedient to have postponed preaching regularly in my parih, till the minister of had been reconciled to the invasion of his ; and how far this miglit have made my way smoother, I do not pretend to determine ; time will show it, and, in the nean while, I find it good to have faith in Providence.
I fear I have left as great a stink at Bath as Mr. Brown a sweet savour here. Every thing is good to me that shews me my unprofitableness more and more ; but I desire to grieve, that the good of my private hu. miliation is so much over-balanced by the loss of many about me. The Lord fill you with all peace and joy in your soul, and with all strength and health in your body! My respects wait upon your mother and sister, and all friends. Farewell. I. F.
Madeley, June 21st, 1766. Miss Hatton. .
My dear Friend,
. I AM much concerned to hear, by Mrs. Power, that you are so weak; but my concern has greatly in. creased, fince I was told, that the foundation of your illness was laid at Madeley, and I am afraid by my imprudence, in taking you to the woman, with whom we received the sacrament. I aík God's pardon and
yours for it, and I hope it will be a means of humbling me, and making me more tender of my friends.
The advice you give me about my health is seasonable : I hope to follow it, nor am I conscious to have neglected it at all : however, I will endeavour, that there be not so inuch as the shadow of a call for repeating it.
If the air at Wein does not agree with you, could you not come so far as Madeley? The remedy is often most successfully applied where the wound was given ; and though I am no nurse, though I have been the contrary of one to you, I hope we should wait upon you with more tenderness, than when you were here lafi. Mrs. Power would nurse you, and I would talk to you of the love of Jesus as well as I could.
You know that I perceived your bodily weakness when you were here, and charged you with what you charge me with, " a neglect of your body." If I was right, I hope you will follow yourself the advice you give me I am sure you will the burnt child will dread the fire for the time to come..
With regard to kneeling, you must consider what your body can bear, without inconvenience to your health. To recover that, is your outward calling now : therefore, so split the hair between the indolence of nature and the weakness of your body, that neither of the two may be increased. Offer yourself to God for life or death, for ease or pain, for strength or weak. nefs. Let him chufe and refuse for you ; only do you chufe him for your present and eternal portion. I want you to be a little bolder in venturing upon the bofom of our Lord : we lose (I for one) much sweetness, and many degrees of holiness, in being shy of the
Friend, the loving Friend of sinners. Pray, for God's · fake, don't forget that your Physician is your husband.
The joy of the Lord, as well as his peace is to be your strength. Love is a passion that wants to be nirred : do it in all calmness " I will love him, I do love him " little, I shall love him mych, because he has first loved “ me, &c." ply, I pray you, this sweet gospel task.
Accuftoin yourself to look upon your body as the temple of the Holy Ghost, and meet him in your heart by simple recollection, and a steady belief of these gospel truths, “ He is here," " he is in me, &c." nor do you let them go for any thing you do feel, or you do not feel. May God bless, comfort, establish, and raise you! Farewell. I. F.
THE poor account your father has brought us of your health, and his apprehensions of not seeing you any more, before that solemn day when all people, na- · tions and tongues shall stand together at the bar of God, make me venture (together with my love to you) to send you a few lines; and my earnest prayer to God is, that they may be blessed to your soul.
First, then, my dear friend, let me beseech you not to flatter yourself with the hopes of living long here on earth. These hopes fill us with worldly thoughts, and make us backward to prepare for our change. I would not, for the world, entertain such thoughts about myself. I have now in my parish, a young man, who has been these two years under the surgeon's hand. Since they have given him up, which is about two months ago, he has fled to the Lord, and found in him, that saving health which furpasses a thousand times that which the surgeons flattered him with ; and he now longs to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. To see the bridge of life cut off behind uis, and to have done with all the thoughts of repairing it to go back into the world, has a natural tenden. cy to make us venture forward to the foot of the crofs.
2dly. Consider, my dear, how good the Lord is to call you to be transplanted into a better world, before you have taken deeper root in this sinful world : and, if it is hard to nature to die now, how much harder, do