« PreviousContinue »
come the “perfection of beauty, and the joy of the whole earth."
66 Therefore rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her; rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her, that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolation; that ye may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.”
The cause is not ours; “if thou dost well, shall thou not be accepted ?” Let others do what they will ; let them choose and worship what gods they please, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord:” let us thus consider and resolve. What! though many are offended in Christ, and draw back from following Him, shall we also go away? God forbid this should ever be the case with any who have known Him, and that with Him are the rewards of eternal life.
Oh that we might be encouraged to persevere in faithfulness, under every permitted dispensation, whether to ourselves or to the church of Christ? Leaving the effects and consequences of things to Him, who hath the control of times and seasons, let us be resigned to our various allotments, and not
murmur at the cup which the Father hath given us. Remember, we are but servants and stewards; that it will be enough for us, if we be found faithful. What! though that part of the vineyard be unpleasant to labourin; though there be not many mighty works to be done, because of unbelief; though the fields should not be white unto harvest, but rather the fallow ground want ploughing up, that the thorns and briers may be consumed; nay, though none should believe our report, and “though Israel be not gathered,” those who have been careful to abide in their lo*, who have been attentive to the voice of the true Shepherd, and given the people warning from Him," shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and their God shall be their strength.” I wish thee to let
see this; I may acknowledge he has been much in my view whilst I have been writing; for, though he is personally a stranger to me, yet my heart hath been filled with earnest prayer for his preservation in the right way of the Lord; that “neither things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth,” may ever be able to
beguile him of his reward, or frustrate, in any measure, the gracious intentions of the Almighty concerning him.
I wish for thee, my dear friend, careful, reverent attention, and humble obedience to every manifestation of duty; and that hereby thou mayst increase in true riches. I am thy affectionate friend,
To RICHARD REYNOLDS.
7th Mo. 8, 1787.
My dear Friend,
I think I do, as seldom as any man who wishes well to the cause of religion and virtue, recommend it by books, though I do believe, if people would read such as deserve reading, as thou sayst with a desire to profit, they would always reap some benefit. My reading now, not only from necessity but judgment, is pretty much confined. With
respect to all the forbidden productions of the tree of knowledge, I have seen a beauty and safety in that state of mind expressed by the psalmist, and earnestly have I desired to dwell in it: “Lord, I do not exercise myself in things too high for me; my soul is even as a 'weaned child.” The Scriptures without, and the law written in the heart, are the most profitable of all books, and in meditating on the Divine precepts written there, with a desire to obey, the most blessed knowledge is obtained.
May that Mercy and Goodness, my dear friend, by which thou hast been visibly followed, and preserved from the intoxicating influence of prosperity and affluence, continue to prepare and fill thy heart with redeeming Love, and enable thee more and more to increase in "bags which wax not old,"
" " eternal in the heavens."
To RICHARD REYNOLDS.
Manchester, 8th Mo. 15, 1787, My dear Friend,
I think I should not do justice to the book of letters which thou wast so kind as to lend me, and which I now return, if I did not acknowledge that my heart was affected in reading several passages in it.
The author's dedication, and upright zeal and jealousy for the glory of God, and for the ever blessed Jesus, felt precious to my heart. I do think, there is no one, who has a spark of goodness in him, who can read her work without some benefit; and though I think her piety exceeded her religious understanding, I have no manner of doubt concerning her, and all such as she was, under every name, but that they are numbered among the children of God, and have their lot among the saints.
Do not think, my dear friend, I am recommending books too highly. Every thing is good in its place; but I wish for thee, as for myself, that we may have in our possession