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" speak evil of dignities,” and lightly to esteem the sacrifices which the Lord hath commanded to be offered in the holy place.

It is not in my heart to justify, to excuse, or extenuate, the failings and imperfections of the foremost rank in the Lamb's army. I know it deeply behoves them, above all others, to walk circumspectly, to make straight steps to their feet, to be examples to the flock; and I am verily persuaded there are none feel more deeply for their offences, none more deeply bowed under the humiliating sensibility of their own unworthiness, none more frequently covered with blushing and confusion of face than these. I do not want to excuse or explain away their failings; but I want to impress a proper regard to the dignity of the holy office; I want to revive that ancient precept,“ Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” God forbid, said David, that I should put forth my hand against the Lord's anointed. If weakness appear,

if the enemy prevail in any little matter, Oh!" tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the


daughters of the uncircumcised triumph." Oh! did but the people know, were it but possible for the uncircumcised to consider, the secret travail of their spirits; the painfully distressing conflicts which these have passed through, and which yet await them; how often they have wandered in the wilderness,“ with their hands upon their loins as a woman in travail ;" what they have to pass through in the weeks of preparation, while eating the roll of prophecy, and lying on their sides; how often such now are covered with sackcloth, and have secretly to muse on the contents of the roll, wherein is written “lamentations, and mourning and wo;" were it possible, I say, for such, who are yet whole, not having yet fallen upon that Stone which the Lord hath laid in Sion for a foundation, and been thereby broken, and enabled to offer the sacrifices of a broken heart; were it possible for those, who have not trodden the arduous path of regeneration, to consider these things, they would not need to be reminded to mark such whom the Lord had set over them, to esteem them very highly, to honour them with

double honour for the work's sake, because " they watch for your souls, as they that must give account” in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Permit me to express some degree of jealousy, lest, instead of this es‘eem, regard, and double honour, there is a murmuring, unthankful, gainsaying spirit, which is for condemnation; for, whilst I was musing on these things, the exceedingly unhappy case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, was brought into and affected my mind; and the language of their complaint was brought to my remembrance : “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them ; wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” Thus, through the seduction of him who “blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart," they murmured against the meekest of all men, and the friend of God. Ah! poor return this, for all that good and deliverance which he, as an instrument, had wrought for them, in bringing them out of Egypt, in bearing them in his bosom, and so frequently and availingly interceding for them with the Almighty.

But the Lord pleaded for him against these men, and destroyed them by a remarkable destruction. I mention this instance as it simply arose, without any charge or application, leaving that to the Divine Witness in your bosoms, to which I recommend every one of you, in order that you may be enabled, to reap the caution and benefit intended by these broken hints, and remain, with suitable affection and regard, your friend,


Letter XIX.


Manchester, 10th Mo. 26, 1786.

My dear Friend,

I am obliged to thee for the particular account of the state of the church in though, alas! it is a very poor one; and I am afraid such is the case too generally amongst us every-where. Why it is so, the cause is as obvious as are the effects;-the people have

forsaken the Lord, and gone after other gods; and therefore it is that the Lord's heritage is become desolate, and the daughter of Sion covered with a cloud." Yet, however discouraging the present situation of things may appear; however affecting the prevailing desolations, so that the standard bearers máy be ready to faint, and like poor Elijah, may be ready to think and conclude that they only are left, and their lives also are in danger,

I do believe there is not only left á “seven thousand” amongst us, “all the knees" of whom have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth" of whom “hath not kissed him," but I do believe the Lord, in unfailing mercy, is bringing His work again upon the wheel, and that he will get more and more effectually revive it, as “in the midst of the years.” So that I would not have us to be discouraged; I believe the Lord would not have us to be discouraged, neither grow weary, nor faint in our minds : but rather, let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and the feeble knees confirmed; for the Lord is remembering Sion; He will rebuild her waste places, so that she shall yet be

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