« PreviousContinue »
Oh! how little do we comprehend of that unfathomable Wisdom and Goodness, by which the discipline exercised over us is directed, in order to secure our eternal happiness; can we doubt that the lowness, the spiritual poverty and depression, almost to despondency, permitted to be the experience of many devoted servants of God, are not to them blessings in disguise? But, perhaps, it is not permitted that we should always think so; that might frustrate the Divine intention in those dispensations. To commit the
keeping of our souls to Him in well-doing, under every dispensation of His wisdom and providence, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, is the greatest good we can do to ourselves, whatever be our condition; and although trials of faith and patience should continue, or be often renewed, during our continuance in this probationary state; yet, certainly, when the conflicts of mortality are over, we shall then see the ineffable goodness of our Heavenly Father in all His dispensations, and that, "though clouds and darkness have been round about Him, yet righteousness and judgement are the habitation of His throne." Was not the Captain of our Salvation made perfect through sufferings? and had not every individual, of that innumerable multitude which John saw clothed in white, come "out of great tribulation?" The way of the Cross hath ever been the high-way to the kingdom. Tell me of one true child of God.
in the Old Testament or the New, or any amongst our own people, even the most distinguished, who have not passed, or are passing, through "great tribulation."
I know how natural it is to think, and be ready to say, no doubt the sincere children of God have all had their trials, but mine are very different; more likely, I fear, to unfit me for, than to ensure, the Crown of Righteousness. I think it very probable, that all have had these fears, and these reflections. No doubt, our crosses are very different, but all wisely adapted to the station in which we are placed, and the duties to which we are called, in our progress through this vale of tears. It is in my heart to say to thee, my dear friend, be not afraid; the time is near, when the crown of righteousness will be given thee, and thy everlasting lot will be with those, who "shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more," "for the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Amen! Amen!
TO RICHARD REYNOLDS.
My dear Friend,
MANCHESTER, 6th Mo. 10, 1813.
Thy letter of the 11th of last 3d Month I received duly. It was, as all thine have ever been, a very welcome one to me. I have now been reading it afresh, with a view to make some reply. The first thing I meet with, to account for thy not having written to me sooner, is thy mental poverty and barrenness. This reason I
well understand, it being very much my own experience; and indeed it is likely it may continue to be very much our experience, while we are clothed with these mortal bodies; but as this state calls for the exercise of faith and patience, it may, as I hope it will, prove a profitable dispensation to us both. Let us, then, be willing to submit to our allotment, as directed by Him who only is wise, and who certainly, in love that changeth not, dispenseth to us what is best for us, and what will most certainly conduce to our everlasting benefit.
The death of thy sister, in a good old age, and who, I doubt not, has passed from this world to a better, has left thee in a situation to which my own is nearly similar. My father left five children, one only is living besides myself, who is now in his 76th year. Thus generations pass away; but
no matter, if at last we may be prepared to give, as thou hast said, an acceptable account of our stewardship. That this will be thy happy experience, thou must excuse me if I say again, I have no shadow of doubt; and with regard to myself, I am not destitute of hope, for though many have been better stewards of the manifold grace of God than I have been, I am not conscious, at any time in my religious labours, of having done the work of the Lord deceitfully. Yet I might have been more diligent; I might have waited more frequently at Wisdom's gate; I might have been more devoted, and like the holy prophet, more ready to say, "Here am I, send me."
I trust in Divine Mercy, knowing in "whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Of dear Priscilla we have had a very poor account; I would willingly hope her case may not be so bad as some have apprehended; however that be, of this I am persuaded, she is under the care of the best Physician, who will finally heal all her diseases, and crown her with loving kindness and tender mercies. When thou hast opportunity, please to remember my dear love to her, and tell her to keep fast hold of faith and patience. Those who live to old age, whatever be their circumstances with regard to property, have often to experience their nearest connexions dissolved,
their contemporaries falling on every side, many sources of their usual consolations failing, with increasing infirmities, sometimes to a degree of second childhood: yet none of these things ought to move us, who are seeking "a better country, that is a heavenly;" and we have many unmerited mercies left, which call for daily thankfulness, and the greatest of all mercies is this, that He, who hath been with us all our life long, continueth to be with us, and will not forsake us in our grey hairs.
With the salutation of love, I now conclude, and am thy sincerely affectionate friend,
TO RICHARD REYNOLDS.
My dear Friend,
MANCHESTER, 1st Mo. 28, 1814.
I feel almost ashamed that I have not before this time acknowledged the receipt of thy good letter of 9th month last. When I read thy observations on schools for adults, I thought I saw accomplished, in one instance, that Scripture which says: "The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand." We have three large schools erected here, two National and