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Afterwards of his getting more of my writings, which encouraged him to hope, and of his coming up to Paddington to see and hear me; and of the Lord's blessing the reading of one of my pamphlets to him; and of God's shining into his heart, 2 Cor. iv. 6, in one of the meadows at Gassons; at which time he kindly invited me to preach in his barn at Bolney; which I believe to be now about nine or ten years ago. From that night I found a heart-felt union with him, and was fully persuaded that he was fixed upon the foundation which God has laid in Zion, Isaiah xxviii. 16. Nor did that union ever dissolve, nor did I ever once doubt after that of the goodness of his state. He always styled and acknowledged me his father in Christ. My coalsack was no bar to his acknowledgment of this relationship: and, as he acknowledged me in part, so he acknowledged to the end, that the gospel of Christ will do to die by as well as to live by, and give possession as well as profession.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not scen.” Faith, in its different exercises, brings into the soul every needful grace from the Saviour's fulness; and the graces of the Spirit are called the firstfruits, Rom. viii. 23. And the firstfruits of the Spirit of grace are an earnest of the harvest of glory; it differs nothing in quality, but in quantity. Nor is there any one blessing promised, or one promise either of grace here or glory hereafter, but what
faith embraces and hope expects. Hence the many confident claims, positive assertions, and firm expectations, left upon record by those who through faith and patience now inherit the promises, Heb. vi. 12. “ Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” “ The elders which are among you I exhort, who also am an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” " Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” Luke ii. 29, 30.
“O that my words were now written! O that they were printed in a book;, that they were graven with an iron pen and laid in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth. And, though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” And the Apostle Paul also; “ For I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing,” 2 Tim. iv. 6, 8. You see by these few quotations how their faith grew and their hope abounded. They trod upon
the heels of the promises, embraced with faith and affection what God promised to them, and called the glories of heaven their own before they received the inheritance.
On Tuesday last, the 11th of December, I set off from London early, and was at Crawley soon after nine o'clock, where I stopped to change horses; and, upon asking the waiter if any of their post-lads knew the way to Bolney, he replied, Yes; you are going to Mr. Blaker's. He is dead.' I replied, “Dead! · Yes,said he, 'he died yesterday; the doctor of this parish attended him.' Being but poorly, and the crosscountry roads not passable by carriage, I immediately returned, and breakfasted at Ryegate.
You never informed me, in any one of your letters, that your father expressed any desire to see me, nor was he, in the whole course of his illness, under any sharp soul-exercises, which require the elders of the church to pray over him, and to anoint him with fresh oil in the name of the Lord, James v. 14. The Almighty anointed him himself, and gave him, according to his own promise, “ The oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” Isa. lxi. 3. I guessed that your
desire of my coming was in hopes that the united prayers of many might prevail with God to spare him a little longer; but I had early intimation that this would not be granted, and against faith and conscience none can prevail. It was not so with me when
your mother was so ill as to be given over by the doctor for three months. I told sister both, before I set out for Bolney, that I believed God would do more for her in answer to prayer, than by all the medicine she had taken; and you saw the truth of this in less than three days, and she is still alive. What faith credits, hope expects, and the promises of God are sure to both. There is not one of you that have any just ground to conclude that an eternal separation has now taken place between you and your father. The unity of faith, meeting and centering in Christ, makes us all one in him. The bond of peace is one in God's family, whether above or below. Love, which is the bond of all perfectness, is neither broken nor dissolved by death. It goes
from God the Father, by the Holy Spirit, through Christ, to all the family, and through the whole family itself, whether in grace or in glory. And for this Christ prayed. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me,
, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us, John xvii. 20, 21. Some divine graces will not be exercised or wanted in the world to come; as faith, which will.not be wanted when we see as we are seen. Hope, when in full possession, we shall not want; “ For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Rom. viii. 24. Patience, meekness, contrition, godly sorrow, and repentance; these will not be wanted nor exercised in the world to come. But light, life, love, peace, rest, joy, and humility, will abide with us, and pass with us into the other world. Humility is ascribed to God himself, Psal. cxiii. 6; and will be found and exercised by all the saints in heaven, as may be seen by their disclaiming any one good work done by them, even in a glorified state. “Lord, when saw we thee an hungry and fed thee, or thirsty and gave thee drink?" &c. Matt. xxv. 37. Seeing these bonds are not dissolved by death, it is to us an evident token of meeting again in Christ; for all are one among themselves, and all are one in Christ the head. The same faith that dwelt in your father dwells also in you, and in the rest of the family. I have never yet seen a family, as far as I am able to judge, so highly favoured of God as yours. “I will,” says God,“ take you one of a city, and two of a family, for tribe,) and I will bring you to Zion,” Jer. iii. 14. But to take a whole family is going out of his usual way. You are not destitute nor ignorant of the life and power of godli
You have confessed many experiences of it; you have seen it in your father; and you have been both eye and ear witnesses of the end of his conversation; and, if after all this any
youl should turn apostates, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and for Lot's wife, in the day of judgment, than for you. But I hope better things of you, though I thus speak, and things that accom