« EelmineJätka »
| RECEIVED yours, and acknow ledge that an epistle was due to you, payable a fortnight after I had the last sight of you at Newberry. But you must acknowledge, that the treasure of grace is in an earthen vessel; and, consequently, a distinction ought to be made between the vessel and the treasure, as well as between the manna and the golden pot. Paul was obliged to make a difference between his promises to visit, and the promised salvation which had visited him. “ In this confidence,” said he, “I was minded to come unto you before,—and to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you. When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For all the promises of God in him are vea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us,” 2 Cor. i. 15—20. You are the first carnal man that ever solicited a spiritual epistle from me; therefore I am constrained to send it, that it may serve for the eighth wonder of the world. I have the happiness once a week of visiting a place called Kingswood; a place I have often wished to see, having read so much about it in the works of those eminent servants of God Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Cenneck. And to be sure there are some choice souls among those subterraneous miners. Six days they are hidden ones, but on the Lord's day great numbers of these Hebrews, as the Philistines said of the Jews, come forth out of their holes, to enjoy both the light of the sun and the light of the gospel; thus, like a certain set of debtors, they appear abroad once a week: they seem somewhat pleased that they have got a brother tradesman in their pulpit; and, blessed be God, he has condescended more than once to visit us, though we are but a poor smutty family.
I bless God, at Bristol, I am constantly attended with a very crowded audience, who give me great attention, and I trust God gives testimony to the word of his grace, Acts sir. 3. But I shall leave that to those who believe and receive the report of the gospel.
Ineleed, Sir, we live in a day of much apostasy; in a day, when there is, agreeable to ancient pro
phecy, a great forsaking in the earth; and it is well if God does not follow it with a removing men far away: but our Great High Priest will have his tithes, he will leave a tenth, and the tenth shall return to God, Isaiah vi. 12, 13. It is high time for those who love and fear God to awake out of their sleep, the sun is going down over the heads of many prophets. Wo unto us, for the day goeth away; for the shadows of an awful evening are stretching out, Jer. vi. 4. · We have many professors who have itching ears; these are heaping to themselves teachers; and we have many preachers who never received their testimony from God, but have stolen it from others, and the applause of a giddy multitude has been the main pillar of all their popularity.
This text forcibly struck me last Sabbath-day morning, about four o'clock, as I was meditating on the awful departure of many from the truths of God, and from the profession they have made of the God of Truth. “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron,” 1 Tim. iv. 1, 2. If apostasy from the faith be a sign of the last times, and a prelude to the last judge ment, then surely the Judge is even at the door.
Many depart from the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the first and grandest mystery of faith; others from the essential, self-existent, and independent Deity of Jehovah the Saviour, the proper object of faith; others lampoon all experience, and they depart from even an acknowledgment of the mystery of faith in a pure conscience; others pay no regard to their life, walk, and conversation, these depart from the fruits of faith; and others depart from all the doctrines of faith, and begin to appear in word, what they always were in heart; I mean children of the bond-woman. Men who can forswear themselves, and preach contrary to . the articles they have subscribed, must have their consciences seared with a witness, and be led to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, before they can speak lies in hypocrisy.
As for their preaching up good works in so violent a manner, and enforcing the law, it does not surprise me at all; for trunk-makers make more noise than goldsmiths, though no manufacture is more hollow and empty than trunks. If such men performed those good works which they talk of, their good works would preach themselves. “ Let another man praise thee, and not thy own mouth,” Prov. xxvii. 2. “Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works," Jam. ii. 18. By their fruits ye shall know them, says Christ, not by their words. Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good; “ a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." This is the doctrine of our Saviour, who lived as none ever did, and spake as none ever shall, and yet he never preaches