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BOND CHILD, &c.
TO MR. WAKE, MINISTER OF THE LETTER, AT SMARDEN, IN KENT.
THE great apostle of the Gentiles tells us to beware of dogs, evil workers; and of the concision, or cutters, who, like poor Peter, take a carnal weapon, instead of a spiritual one, and cut at the high-priest's servant's ear, instead of the traitor's heart. You have been sent for, by Mr. Stonehouse, to Cranbrook, I find, the place of my nativity; and you have attempted, by a few of your own chimeras palmed upon the holy law of God, to ridicule and bring into contempt, what I believe to be the truths of the everlasting gospel. Mr. Stonehouse, it seems, was too much taken up in business; he wanted time: and, perhaps, he wants truth, and the power and experience of it, as much as time. Be that as it may, You would go home, as you expressed yourself, and rummage up all your lumber for the expedition,
though you was advised to the contrary. Surely, if you had been armed and equipped from heaven, you would have been fit for the field, without riding so many miles to plunder the arguments of the dead.
You report report that you formerly attended Mr. C. to hear depths of doctrine; Mr. R. to have your graces stirred up; and Mr. Huntington, to hear oddities and I believe they are oddities, and ever will remain so, to novices: " for the preaching of the cross of Christ, is to them that perish, foolishness." But did not all these depths, stirrings, and oddities, furnish you for the attack? Have you no truth, nor arguments, but what lay on the shelves of your study? If the Spirit and word of God had dwelt in you, and if God had sent you on this warfare, he would have furnished you both with armour and weapons. A good soldier of Jesus Christ is never without his armour, nor his artillery; nor does he go a warfare at his own expense. Fetching lumber from Smarden, plainly proves that God had no hand in the expedition: besides, arguments borrowed from authors by graceless men are never forcible, for want of a divine edge. If God be the sword of a man's excellency, the excellency and power of God will attend the man. Without this, however fine the reasonings, however nice the distinctions, however eloquent the language, the man can do no more than carnalize, legalize, or philosophize, the dispensation of the Spirit; and the soul-beggary of the man, whether he preach
or write, will discover itself, in all he says or writes, to one who lives and walks in the Spirit of God, Many of our authors are not aware of this; they write and speak to display their abilities, and exalt themselves in the eyes of others; and, when they have done all, it can only be called the speech of them that are puffed up, for there is no power; and, in truth, they only expose their pride and ignorance, and the starving condition of their souls; and convince the spiritually-minded, that not a reformation in life, improvement in language, or even ministerial, which are called spiritual gifts, make a man a spiritual man. Nothing but a spiritual birth can do this: "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Such men, though they may be ranked, as they often are by ignorant professors and weak believers, with gospel ministers, yet neither their rank nor their gifts secure heaven to them, nor their souls from falling headlong into hell. Judas, says Peter, "was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry," and it was the worst part, the gift, not the grace, that is so necessary for the discharge of the office that he had taken therefore from this part of the ministry Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. This coming and going from the place of the holy will be eternally forgotten in the heavenly Jerusalem, Eccles. viii. 10, though they have so done in Mount Zion.
Nor did yd. appear in well-set hair at Cranbrook, but in baldness: the shame of your naked
ness was not hid; nor did your melody rise from the certain sound of the gospel-trumpet; but, like that of a drum, from the emptiness of the preacher.
Did God ever give you a message against me? Had you either your message or impulse from him? Did you once ask him either for matter or manner in this undertaking? Did your face shine or heart flow with grace in that work of naught? Did the fair beauty of the Lord appear in the meeting? Were the outgoings of God seen in it? or, did he once stir up his strength, and come among you? Were the ungodly alarmed, the unruly warned, the gainsayers confuted, the hypocrites exposed, and the bowels of the saints refreshed? Did you go home with the testimony and approbation of God in your heart? Had you nearness of access to him in prayer at your return? or did either scripture or conscience say, "Well done, good and faithful servant?" Do not you think that the freewill Baptists, the hypocritical Arminians, and some that are called members of that place, beside the openly profane, stood in more need of the sharpness that you used among them, than I did? Is there one mote in my eye that the beam in your own will allow you to pull out? If there is, get about it.
Wo to such wanton trifling! Remember the fall of him that you are gone to succeed. I heard him, about twelve years ago, at Kingston upon Thames; and said, as soon as he had finished his discourse, that he had run before he was sent: