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Title: The Voice of Faith in the Valley of Achor: Vol. 1 [of 2]

Author: J. Church

Release date: January 4, 2019 [eBook #58616]

Language: English


Transcribed from the 1820 (second) R. Thomas edition by David Price, email

Public domain book cover

Valley of Achor:


Series of Letters




By Ruhamah.









Valley of Achor, Aug. 10, 1818.

To Mr. K—G.


Many thanks for the loan of the invaluable books, containing the last fragments of the late venerable and spiritual Jenkins, of Lewes.—Surely it may be said with propriety, “He being dead yet speaketh,” but it is only to those who are taught of God.  We speak, says the Apostle, to wise men, not to unhumbled, unrenewed, carnal men, nor to mere nominal professors, nor to those who are barely resting in a form of words, tho’ sound—such persons cannot digest the experimental truths they contain; there was a time once when they would not suit me, but I have found them exceedingly precious; nor do I think that tried man had a sensation, a trial, a grief, a temptation, an enemy, a sin, a corruption, a fear, a doubt, or misgiving, but what the Lord has permitted me to feel; nor do I think he was favored me with one token or pleasing hope, an help, a deliverance, a gracious smile, or a display of the divine faithfulness, in the application and fulfilment of the promises, but the Lord has also indulged me with similar mercies.  I must recommend them to the poor of Christ’s flock p. 4who wait on and for the Lord, till pardoning mercy is revealed with some power.—I know you are anxious to learn how I go on in soul matters, this is the main concern with you and with all my real friends in Christ.  I have now no other way left to inform you satisfactorily, but by letter, and I certainly could fill volumes on the subject of my daily experience of the teachings of the ever blessed Spirit; nor have I any objection to make this subject known to you, and to all those who are concerned for my best interest: this is the principal point, to exalt the Lord Jesus, in the grand displays of his grace to the most unworthy—and I can say to his glory, he has, I trusts most effectually humbled me in the dust, laid me low, shewed me such views of sin as I never saw before, and quickened my soul to feel what it never so sensibly and deeply felt before.  I do experience that the tendency of his gracious influences meeken, soften, and humble the heart; rendering it also teachable and grateful.  This I could demonstrate by reciting a variety of experiences I have been favored with, but I pass by numbers, to relate one in particular, that I can never forget in this and a coming world.

After I had been in this furnace some weeks, in which I felt as others do in similar cases, much grief, anger, rebellion, and discontent, but not quite without a spirit of prayer, that I might be favored with the very gracious visits of the Saviour, and a sense of God’s approbation in my own soul, though despised by others.  I entreated the Lord to shew me the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as well as I could bear it, for I am convinced no man could ever behold sin in all its malignity, none but the God-Man could bear p. 5that—yet I desired to see sin as most abominable in God’s sight.  These petitions were in time answered; the Lord led me to reflect deeply in my retired moments, on the nature of sin, original and actual.—This knowledge of it increased, till one evening, being alone, I was most completely overpowered with a solemn stillness of spirit, a view of sin, my own sins of heart, lip, and life; these crouded in my mind.  I felt guilty.  I stood condemned.  I had a fearful apprehension of God’s just displeasure; all was dark within, except sin and the anger of God—these were clear enough; horror overwhelmed me, and I sunk low at the footstool of divine mercy; I feared, I trembled, I was brought low, I was troubled.  I saw nothing of a Saviour, though I had so often preached about him.  Head notions were nothing now—past experience was hid, and every gracious promise of the Bible was closed up for a time.  What a state to be in!  But I believe this was drinking of the bitter cup our Saviour drank so deeply: this was, in one sense, being crucified with Christ, and having fellowship with him in his sufferings.  These feelings will give a man a real understanding of all those texts which refer to soul trouble, in the book of Job, the Psalms of David, the feelings of Jeremiah, and perhaps, what Paul felt during the three days he was without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.  These feelings will make me sympathize with the soul that is afflicted, and experiences the terrors of the Almighty.

But I do esteem it among my many special favors, that this did not continue but part of a night.  I sank down in shame and guilt, condemning myself and acknowledging the justice of God in my condemnation.  p. 6But while in this state, thus broken, contrite, and filled with holy awe, I was kept pleading for mercy, present mercy as well as future.  While on my knees prostrate, as Elijah on another occasion, or, as Jeremiah words it, Putting my mouth in the dust; and although I really was filled with fear lest I should be cut off, yet at this very time the Lord gently led my mind, or rather brought the following words, very softly to my heart; they were at first seemingly at a distance, but drew nearer at I listened and observed them.  The words were, “I have caused thine iniquities to pass from thee, and have clothed thee with change of raiment.”  I observed, my mind could not gladly receive this sentence, fearing presumption—but they still followed me, and abode with me, till the horror, terror, fears, and darkness gradually dispersed, and my mind was enabled so far to receive them as to cause a present ease, which continued with me a few days longer.  I found the peace they brought with them continue, and I was in a small degree helped to believe they were from God to me, and as much mine as they were Joshua’s, to whom they were spoken; but though my thoughts were in a measure fixed upon them, yet I was not without being assaulted with some misgivings of heart.  I concluded it best to entreat the Lord to shew me this more powerfully, and not only to put the words in my mind, but to write them so effectually that I might know, without the shadow of a doubt, I was actually interested in the capital blessings the words contained.  This was most divinely manifested in a few days afterwards, as I was in the act of reading some remarks of the truly excellent Mr. Toplady, on Justification by the imparted Righteousness of the adorable God-Man.  I p. 7was actually overcome with a sweet surprize of the love of God to me in Christ Jesus, making his dear Son a sin offering, and his people righteousness in him.  I was enabled to feel such solid peace, holy joy, and sacred pleasure in my soul as can never be described by tongue or pen.  I was melted by the power of his love, and indulged with such access to God, that every doubt, fear, and misgiving of heart was removed.  I saw, I knew, I felt that I was reconciled to God, and that God was my Father, my Saviour, and my Comforter.—Oh, that I had then sunk into the arms of death!  O that I had been permitted to take my flight; at that time the Saviour had engaged my heart, nor could I then have sinned against him for the world.  I want many such sweet manifestations of his sensible presence; and I can assure you, painful as my situation is, I would gladly endure it again for such enjoyments.  But I must observe, these blessed seasons are unknown to carnal professors, and never enjoyed, even by the favorites of heaven while in a light, careless, carnal frame of soul; no—the promise runs thus, “To this man will I look, (and surely it was a look of love which I experienced) and with him will I dwell, who is poor and of a contrite heart, and that trembles at my word.”

Knowing you can rejoice in my prosperity, having mourned in my adversity, I write thus freely.—Do as you please with the letter; if it is of any consolation to your spiritual acquaintances, let them read it likewise, but let them remember, I do not send it to gain applause, but that they may glorify God on my behalf.  And as to many others, I am very sorry I ever had their good opinion at all.

p. 8I must just remark, that such blessed sensations as I have here described, is not believing, but rather the end of our faith, the present salvation of the soul.  It is a manifestation of pardoning mercy, as an evidence of full and free justification in Christ—this is, in the best of senses, obtaining mercy; as such, I shall make bold to change my subscription from J. C. to the name the Lord has given to elect Gentiles, in the second chapter of Hosea.—Wishing you a clean hand, a warm heart, and a holy life,

I remain, your’s in him,


Achor’s Vale, April 7, 1818.

Mrs. H—L, Sen.


I HAVE been much grieved to hear of your deep afflictions of body.  I wish it lay in my power to visit you, to read, pray, and converse with you.  We have spent some pleasant hours together in speaking of him who loved us better than he loved himself; who did not grudge to give his very life for us; and I really believe, if it was needful, he would do it again, and not only so, but I believe he would have done all he did, if it was only for the salvation of one individual of his people.  Alas, my dear Mother; what do we know of his love, the love of a God?  p. 9All the knowledge the brightest saint upon earth has of that subject is a mere nothing to the subject itself.  I want clearer apprehensions of it.  I want to feel its warming power.  I want to see its divine excellency.  I want to rejoice in the God of love; he has dealt well with me since I have been in this place.  I trust he has both pardoned and subdued that in me which was contrary to his holy will.  But I want this blessing carried on in every hour’s experience.  May the ever-blessed Spirit give us to believe in the love which God has for us, and enable us to give credit to this most precious truth for ourselves, “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy sins.”

I really think we are often mistaken about our love to Christ; for we fancy we have no spiritual affection for him, because we are not in raptures of love with him; but let me remind you of what the holy Apostle says of the matter.  I have not time or room in this short letter, to enlarge upon the subject, yet by reading it yourself in the 13th of the 1st of Cor. it may stir up your mind, and confirm you in the persuasion of God’s love to you: “Charity thinketh no evil.”  The Apostle does not say he, as a man, thinketh no evil, but Charity, the love of God, the holy principle in him thinketh no evil, of God or the doctrines of the Gospel.  It rejoiceth not in iniquity; then it is not a principle of libertinism; but it rejoiceth in the truth, in Christ, and in his word.  It beareth all things God puts upon it, although the old man rebels against the will of God.  It hopeth all things which God has promised.  It hateth iniquity.  The carnal part in the regenerate, loves sin, and seeks to be gratified, but this holy principle hates it.  It is p. 10kind, when the Saviour’s sorrows are in view.  It suffereth long the unkindness of others, and waiteth till God is pleased to deliver.  It envieth no man’s gifts or goodness, but rests satisfied with God in Christ.  It is not puffed up, nor can it boast of what it does, but it extols the Saviour; it delights in the Saviour; it is willing to owe its all to the Saviour.—This is love, or gospel Charity.  This is that which is born of the Spirit, which cannot sin.  This is the seed of God, the new nature; and these are the evidences of an interest in Christ, and you can bless God at times, that you know these things by experience, in some good degree.  We have very sinful natures, but Christ is our sanctification, in the holiness of his nature, before God.  We have broken the holy Law of God in thought, word, and deed, but Jesus gave it all its vast demands, and perfectly satisfied it.  We have signed most awfully against a good and gracious God, but Jesus has made an atonement for all offences, and the Father has expressed his infinite pleasure in the work of Christ, and he has promised to forgive and to forget all our sins, by virtue of that one offering.  May the comfortable assurance of this sweet truth make us happy in life and death.  This will make our bed in our sickness, and strengthen us on the bed of languishing, just as the ever-blessed Spirit is pleased to open our minds, to receive it in the power, sweetness, and glory of it.  Several in your family I trust, are effectually called by grace.  What a mercy, that you will soon meet them above—this is a pleasing thought to depart with, and you have little else to do but to go home.

Do send me word how you all are in health; and p. 11if you can sit up to read, I will send you a precious little book, “Mr. Mason’s thing needful,” with those places turned down that I have found precious to me.—May the Lord shine upon you and in you,

I remain, yours in him,


Achor’s Vale, June 17, 1818.

Mr. & Mrs. H—L, Jun.


Amidst the severest trials I am wading through this week, I cannot forget you both.  Surety you must be ready to exclaim with pious David, “Deep calleth into deep;” and with afflicted Job, “Thou breakest me with breach upon breach.”  Your afflictions are great indeed, I think deeper than I could bear; the Lord has visited your house, but O! what a sweet thought, it is a visit of love, of mercy to you, but of love indeed, to the tender babes.  You will go to them through the same mercy and love, but it would be neither love not mercy to let them return to you.  Dear, much esteemed Friends, I can feel for you, I have been called to the same trouble, in part, nor shall I ever fully forget what I then felt, when the soul of my dear daughter took its flight, and when I laid her dust in the silent receptacle for suffering mortality, but it was well; the Lord demands, has demanded his own, p. 12they were his property, and he gave Mrs. Hill the honor to bear them, with this charge, Take these children and nurse them for me, not for sin, nor for the world, nor for Satan, but for God—Selah.  Nature no doubt, most sensibly feels the stroke, but may the good hand of God support you, and the full assurance of meeting them again, bear up your sinking spirits like pillars of marble.  I am anxious to know how you are in mind and body, and assure you I can weep with you, but I am fully persuaded you will see vast wisdom in this stroke another day.  Had you, Mrs. H. been laid upon a sick and dying bed, while they were in helpless infancy, it would have distressed your poor heart to leave them, exposed to nobody knows what mother they might have.  A mother is every thing, this I can only know from observation, but I observe among many unhappy persons I meet with in this place, that they were either deprived of a tender mother, which began their troubles, or that they had used a mother ill, and God never prospered them after it.  O my dear friends the Lord has delivered you from many an heart-breaking sorrow, and from much misery.  Those dear creatures will afflict you, they will trouble you no more for ever, either your heart or your head.  You are afflicted, the loss is great, they were dear to your heart, but you are called to sacrifice them, to restore them to their right owner; and while your feelings struggle with God’s will, methinks I hear the Saviour say, “Suffer them to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is my kingdom composed.”  It has been the opinion of some blessed men of God, that the majority of saved persons in glory, are children.  On those the Lord has magnified the riches of his grace, and out of their mouths God has ordained his own p. 13glory, as they must ascribe their salvation to free, unmerited mercy alone.  Dear babes, what must have been their surprize, when they started from the body and arrived in glory; when their little powers were expanded and their minds filled with the joys of Jesus.  Think often of their joyful arrival, and if they could see you shed a tear about them, it would almost induce them to appear to you, saying, If you loved us you would rejoice, because we are gone to our Father, and the world seeth us no more; we are entered into peace, we have done for ever with sin, in which we were born, and with sorrow as the consequence, and shall be now for ever with the Lord.  Happy voyagers, no sooner set sail than they are arrived at their desired haven; hasty sojourners, they found nothing here worth their stay; they were afflicted, and like their dear Lord, only tasted the vinegar and the gall.  But they have left their parents to drink deep of the cup of sorrow, they have turned their heads away and refused the draught; they opened their eyes, saw the light, and after a little, they withdrew into the regions of eternal day—your lilies are cropt, and will flourish in the garden of eternal bliss for ever.  Those tender plants, those lovely flowers are removed into a shelter, before the thunders roar, the lightnings fly, and the tempest pours its rage.  They were sinners, or else they could neither have suffered or died; but loved, redeemed, and secretly sanctified by the indwelling of the holy Spirit, they winged their way to God.  How joyful their meeting, see them clasp each other, see them smile and triumph, and join the chorus of the skies.

Our dear, our mourning parents both farewell,
We go from you, with Christ in heaven to dwell,
p. 14We go to see our heavenly Father’s face,
We go to sing redeeming love and grace.
We go to learn the sciences divine,
We go in glory’s bright array to shine,
We go to joys, which cannot be exprest,
We go to God, to be for ever blest:
And can you wish us back to earth again,
To be afflicted there with toil and pain,
To be with dire convulsions rack’d and tore,
The tortur’d little babes we were before.

May you, my dear friends be prepared to meet them, by an experimental acquaintance with the blood and righteousness of Christ; let this your prayer, day and night.—Christian love to all your dear family,

Your sympathizing Friend,


Valley of Achor.

Mr. T. Hill, Jun.


It would be very ungrateful in me to forget you, or to neglect writing to you among the many friends who have kindly visited me in my affliction, and have not been ashamed of Christ, nor of me his unworthy servant.  That gracious God, who has the hearts of men in his hands, has kept you in the truth, though you have been opposed, and altho’ p. 15you could not do that for me you could have wished, but you have often wisely cautioned me against that freedom of spirit which has often occasioned fools to insult my feelings, and to triumph in my supposed weakness.  It was not without reason the Saviour, as man, did not commit himself to man, for it is said, “He knew what was in man, and he needed none to testify of that to him.”  And now, my dear friend, permit me to remark, that some have gone with God’s people till they get into the slough, and there they have left them and religion together; but although trouble has turned some back, and has slain its thousands, yet prosperity and carnal ease has slain its ten thousands—

For more the treach’rous calm I dread,
Than tempests bursting o’er my head.

If we belong to the family of God, we shall never be long without a cross, in some way or other; but if we do not belong to God Satan will let us alone—it is his work to disturb and distress the former, and to render his life unhappy; and it his work also, to lull asleep those who are his own children—better therefore be under the chastening hand of God all our days than be fast asleep in the arms of sin and Satan.  The whole world is divided into two classes only, the seed of the Serpent, and the seed of the Woman, and this we feel within.  I beg my dear friend will not think it strange when God gives him to feel his own native sinfulness, when he feels all that deadness and carnality that is inherent in his nature; this, when properly felt and seen, will trouble him at all times, but I hope when this is the case, that he will not fall into p. 16that snare of the devil’s which I have known some young persons to be trapped with, when Satan suggests, O you are nothing but an hypocrite—your conduct and inbred sins prove it.  You had better give up religion, or else it will make worse for you in hell.  Listen not to this a moment, but fly to the Saviour—be honest; tell him all that you feel and are ensnared with.  Plead his sufferings, obedience, death, and intercession.  Beg the holy Spirit to shew you these things in such a powerful way as shall subdue sin, not root it out, as certain preachers say—no, the Canaanite will be in the land as long as you live, else where would be the warfare?  How could we live by faith on the work of Jesus? and where would be the use of the greatest part of his promises, and the account of the experiences of the tried saints?  You have three combined enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; but you have three glorious friends, the adorable Father, Son, and Spirit.  You have three besetments, Passion, Lust, and Pride; but you have three remedies, Christ’s Obedience, Blood, and Love.  These when seen, known, felt, and enjoyed, produce three most blessed effects, Abasement, Humility, and Self-Denial; and this will lead to the practice of three duties, Prayer, Hearing, and Obedience; and these will be a means of the gracious visits of three gracious, kind, and condescending persons.  If any man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him; when he, the Spirit, shall come, he shall abide with you for ever.  Thus you see the connexion of great things in experience, to lead us to glory, where we shall be filled with three more.  The Lamb in the midst of the throne, shall lead them to fountain of living waters—Father, Son, and Spirit—then with p. 17unspeakable joy shall we draw waters of everlasting delight from seeing, knowing, and being with God.—Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  The heart means the whole man, body and soul, purged from sin, unpardoned by the death of Jesus—the faculties that are under the influence of divine favor; the conscience, that feels guilt when sin is felt, and peace when faith is able to receive the atonement.—The mind, will, and affections, which are open to receive Christ as he is set forth in the Gospel.  The truth being received gives Christ an actual existence in the mind, so that he dwells there, and let what will happen to us Christ is uppermost.  When Satan, sin, error, trouble, the deepest affliction, or the thoughts of death, judgment, and eternity impress the mind, do observe this, Christ is still uppermost; the mind bends that way as naturally, in this sense, as a child runs home, and clings to its parent in time of trouble or danger.  I have had a long experience of these truths, and only regret that I have had so little time to reflect deeper on them.  I see the wisdom of God in the present trial which has befallen me—the Lord has done what he devised; I am the gainer, my dear friends the loosers, but they will gain in the end; the Lord has chastened and humbled me, and has accepted my broken spirit and contrite heart.  He has shewed me my faults in many things I never saw before, and others I had forgot, and has led me to see he has pardoned them, and I trust subdued what is contrary to himself.  What the Lord is about to do with me I know not, I leave it with him—I only want this pruning to bring forth more fruit, that I may glorify Christ and prove that I am a disciple indeed.

p. 18The eternal God be your guide, father and friend.  Do pray much, read much, think much, and obey much.  Still cry out, God be merciful to me a sinner! and add also, Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort.  So prays



Valley of Achor, August 20th, 1818.

Mrs. O—D.


I was deeply afflicted when I heard of your sudden indisposition, I hope this note will find you recovering.  I need not remind my most invaluable Friend, we are poor dying worms, the creatures of a day, we fade as a leaf; it will be only in that happy state of the Church, the latter day glory, in which that fine promise will be fulfilled, Isaiah 65, “For as the days of a tree, so are the days of my people;” happy for us our salvation is in Christ.

Nor death, nor hell shall e’er divide
   His favorites from his breast,
In the dear bosom of his love
   They must for ever rest.


But you want a blessed manifestation of this, and that you shall have; my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord; and till this sensible manifestation comes, may you enjoy what the word of God p. 19has said respecting his own people, and compare it with what he has done for you.  The peculiar characters by which they are known—and here you cannot err—they shall all know me saith the Lord.  The blessed Spirit has given you many a precious view of Christ—Selah.  Blessed is he that believeth.  And you can say your heart is opened to receive Jesus, your mind bends to him, and you come to him for all you need—Selah.  The Lord will give a crown of life to those who love his appearing.  And you can say, you love all his gracious smiles, his promises that are brought home to you, his appearing in every ordinance, and every providence, as an answer to prayer for yourself, or for any of the family of God—Selah.  Blessed are they whose hope the Lord is; and you know the Lord has driven you out from every other, and begotten you to a good hope, through grace, so that Christ is now your only hope—Selah.  Blessed are all they that trust in him.  Here you lean, on this you depend, even on his blood, his righteousness, his intercession, his word and faithfulness—Selah.  Your heart shall live that seek God; and you know at times, that the enjoyment of the love and grace of God, in his threefold character of person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the one thing needful your soul is seeking for—Selah.  Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, this is another evidence you are sure of, all the year round.  And, I am come that they might have life; this secret also, you find out by hungering and thirsting after Jesus and his salvation—Selah.  We know we are passed from death to life, because we love the brethren; and you can say, to the glory of God, you do, in the most sacred sense—Selah.  The Lord delighteth in them that fear him; this grace he has implanted p. 20in your soul, or else you would have turned an apostate before now—thanks to his name.  Blessed is he that considereth the poor and needy; you can feel for the afflictions of Joseph, the trials of God’s family—Selah.  I could send you near an hundred more, let these stay your mind just now, these are ten Bible evidences.  May you rest on Christ alone.  I have sent you a precious little pocket piece, entitled, “Visits to and from Jesus,” written by our favorite, Dr. Hawker, read it through once a week for the present, ’tis a precious talent, and will get more talents.  I have found it sweet.

Grace be with you,


Valley of Achor, Sept. 1, 1818.

M. A. Hill.


I have many friends of your name, and thousands know I have also many enemies of the same name, though they never saw me; there are little hills of Zion, loved of the Lord, and hilly difficulties to encounter.  I am sure you will smile, when I observe I have often noticed, that if God raises me up a friend, the Devil often raises me up an enemy of the same name; but this is the experience I have long had, of mercies and miseries, dark nights and cheerful days, p. 21heavy losses and great spiritual gains, sore temptations and seasonable helps; tears and smiles, castings down and liftings up, fits of despair and lively hopes, the powers of unbelief and the triumphs of faith, the heart at times fretting against the Lord, then all at once sweet submission to his will; a glorious time in the pulpit, and the very next time, shut up, barren and dead: a sweet testimony from some poor soul of the Lord’s giving efficacy to the word of his grace, by my message, another comes in directly after, to tell me some one has turned an enemy.  Hearing the Lord has blessed some of my poor writings, and presently the Devil has sent the baser sort to blow their horns about the streets, proclaiming my supposed infamy.  Perhaps a precious soul-animating letter is sent me, and while reading it, the post-man brings another, filled with the most abominable obscenity, written, no doubt, by an hypocritical professor—one part of the day enjoying the very life and power of religion, the other part lean, barren, and trifling.  I could enlarge on this, and fill a volume, but I must inform you I am reading the Pilgrims Progress, and find it very blessed; it is a glass, wherein I see much of the face of my own experience; I intend in many future letters to my friends, to quote and explain a part of it, especially those parts which are the most intricate, and perhaps the least noticed.  It is an invaluable book; others have attempted to write similar books, but they are all very inferior to the Tinker’s Master-piece of Piety and Genius.  Here I see the chequered scene the Lord generally leads his people through, from conversion to glorification.  Here we see the christian burdened and delivered, sighing and singing, on the mount of communion and in the shadow of death, loaded with corruption p. 22and pardoned by blood, condemned and justified, happy and miserable, meeting a few real pilgrims and plenty of hypocrites, fighting and fainting, rising and falling, yet kept, sanctified, and assured of glory.  Sometimes groaning under a body of death, then soaring with the wings of a dove; brought out of self and living by faith, on the person and love, the work and grace of Christ.  I trust you will be led to seek Jesus the Pearl of great Price—never rest till you have found him, for it is life eternal to be favored with an experimental knowledge of him.  May your heart be led from every thing else, and fixed there alone; that you may know and enjoy all that is implied in this greatest of texts, “For thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name.”

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, Sept. 1, 1818.

Mr. H. H—L,


I beg you will have the goodness to send me the truly excellent Dr. Hawker’s Concordance, I think it would be a great treat to me just now.  I am astonished when I read any of that blessed man’s late p. 23Writings, to see how he has grown up in the gracious knowledge of Christ.  I must for ever admire that divine hand which has planted, watered, pruned, and reared up such a tree of righteousness.  But does it not hurt your feelings to see the awful opposition made against him for the truth’s sake, even in this Christ-despising day.  I own it often distresses me, and indeed, such have been the lessons I have learned since I last saw you, that I am lost in wonder that God does not damn every creature, let the curtain of time drop, and burn the world to ashes!

Since I have been here I have seen so much of the evil of sin in myself, in God’s people, in ministers, in professors, in pharisees, in erroneous characters, and in the profane world, that I have been overcome with the sight.  Above all I am most affected with the sight of sin in the sorrows of Jesus.  Here, O here may we ever be divinely and suitably affected.  Here alone we see it in its most hideous forms.  The Lord help us to hate it, and flee from it as from the face of a Serpent.

I trust you are going on in the divine life, and that you still find the ministry of good Mr. Wilkinson, who is one of the greatest ornaments in the Church of England, very profitable to your soul—the Lord help you to go on till you finish your course with joy.—With respect to myself, I believe I am now very blessedly, though painfully, experiencing the fulfilment of that precious promise, in Ezekiel xxxvith, From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.  This is done by the manifestation of the atonement, the application of truth, and the power of the p. 24Gospel, by the sacred indwelling and the powerful operations of the ever-blessed Spirit.  But the furnace of affliction generally attends this work—many long to see me out of it; and my nature often rebels against it, but faith knows, it is good to be here.  The filthiness from which we must be cleansed is all the uncleanness; pollution, and impurity of our defiled nature, in their guilt, love, power, and practice—from these will I cleanse them.  The idols or idolatry are things loved, adored, and enshrined in our affections as rivals to God; these must come down, that Christ may be all in all; and so must all our natural religion if ever we get sweetly established in the truth.  I am well satisfied with the Lord’s dealings with me, and at times I can submit to this chastisement, just as the Pilgrims did.  So Bunyan says, “Then I saw in my dream that the Shining One told them to lie down, which they did, and he chastised them sore; and as he chastised them with the whip of small cords, he said, As many as I love I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.  This done, he bid them go on their way, and follow the advice of the Shepherds, looking unto Jesus.”  Why were they thus scourged? they had got vain confident, thought highly of themselves, their gifts, attainments, experience, manifestations, graces, works, sincerity, sufferings, and services.  These look well without, but it is only a black monster in a white robe—the devil spreading a net for their feet to turn them into self-admiration, from Christ.  This is one of the paths of the destroyer—here I have often been, to my shame I speak it, nor can I escape the cross for it; but this text cheers me, As many as I love—not as many as I hate, but love, I rebuke and chasten.  The gardener takes but little p. 25notice of that tree he intends to cut down.  He never manures, primes, waters, or defends it; but he does all these things to his own plantation—you know how to apply it.—Grace be with you.—Kind respects to your better half, and my old kind friend, S. D.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, Oct. 1, 1818.

Mrs. Lawson,


Are you still in the furnace of affliction?  I am astonished when I behold what heavy pressures, deep heart-felt sorrows, and mighty loads of accumulated grief, some of God’s children are called to bear, and that for years together; but what can we not endure, through all-sufficient grace?  I hope you find this grace supporting you, and at all times giving you kind assurances of glory.  That you can say, with the same confidence as the Apostle, and all established believers, “We know, that if this earthly house of our tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  Where those heavens are it is of very little importance for you and me to know; our main concern is with the house there, called by our dear Lord, Many mansions.  Our dwelling house, mansions, and joy, p. 26will not consist in merely being in a place called heaven, but it will lay in the full enjoyment of the love, favor, approbation, and sight of God in Christ; this was Job’s hope and expectation, “In my flesh I shall see God:”—and this is the promise to the Church, “They shall see his face.”  David was so transported with this, that he exclaimed, in the sweetest confidence, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness.  I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.”  There will be no beholding the face of the dear Immanuel but in his righteousness.  This glorious robe is imputed by God the Father, to poor sinners.  We are taught out of his Law our need of this Surety’s righteousness; we are clothed with it, and brought by the Father in it to his dear Son, who graciously accepts us in it, owns us as his own, and gives us the Spirit of Adoption, to say, “My Father.”—The blessed Spirit carries on this work, by enlarging the heart, expanding the mind, and extending our views in the knowledge of Christ; and the longer we live the more we learn the real value of Christ—his goings forth in eternity, in a way of love to us—his mysterious incarnation—his surprising condescension—his holy life of obedience, and his great act of putting sin away, by the sacrifice of himself.  These become precious to our souls as we grow in knowledge; nor do we stop here: the glorious victories he has obtained, the value of his work, and the acceptableness of it to God; the life of Mediation he is living for us in heaven, and the prevalency of his intercession; these are our food, our feast of fat things.—But the ever blessed Spirit carries on his work, till he has given us most exalted views of his Person, as one in the divine essence; as the Son of God, p. 27in away not known to angels or men; as God-Man Mediator; as the glorious head of the Church, and the Saviour of the body, and as our all in all.  This is knowing Christ, and wherever the Lord has bestowed this favour on the soul, whatever trials, temptations, or griefs, may beset or befal them, such shall hold on their way, and wax stronger and stronger—

Tho’ thousand snares beset his feet,
   Not one shall hold him fast;
Whatever dangers he may meet,
   He shall get safe at last.

The Lord refresh your soul with these blessed things, that you may say with your afflicted brother, “This is my comfort in my affliction, thy word hath quickened me.”  Permit me to remind you, that God doth not willingly afflict, nor grieve us; there is a cause.  We are sinners, and God will make us know it.  God chastens us for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.  Every rod was eternally appointed for us; we shall have all that is allotted to us—men and devils can add no more to them; for if God appoints their number ten we never shall have eleven.

I dare say you are anxious at times to know how I am, and how I go on.  Look into your own experience, and you will know that, for as in water face answereth to face, so doth the heart of one child of God to another.  Remember, he hath, he doth, he will deliver you.  Wishing you the smiles of him, who is the health of your countenance, and your delivering God, I remain, Yours, truly,



Valley of Achor, December 17th, 1817.

Mr. & Mrs. F.


I need not apologize, I hope, for troubling you with a few lines, as I trust you are born of God, and love God as he is in Jesus, though perhaps you feel at times much grief of heart, that you enjoy so little of the sweetness of believing in Christ.  What a mercy God makes us manifest to each others hearts, that we belong to his family; but the witness of God is greater, this is infinitely preferable to any human testimony, however clear and pleasing it may be to us, in point of brotherly love, and we which believe, have the witness in ourselves, we can prove that God has done something for us; though this work may be under a cloud for a time, yet the Lord the Spirit renews it, clears it up, makes it plain, and encourages us to hope in himself till faith is lost in sight, and hope in full enjoyment.  Blessed be God we are getting nearer home, and though we seem to lag and hang back, yet God declares he will save her that halteth, and her that he has afflicted, therefore, on his divine faithfulness let us hope for what he has promised to us, and our expectation shall not be cut off.  This is a sweet encouragement to my soul, in my painful pilgrimage, but when I look to the promises, to Christ in the promises, and to his fidelity, I thank God and take courage.  The Lord deals well with me in the land of my captivity, and I p. 29only want more faith to trust in him, greater submission to his will, a living upon him as he is set forth, a leaving all with him, to manage for me, and to favor me with the presence of the holy spirit, in his saving offices; as a spirit of revelation in my understanding, as a spirit of power on my will, as a spirit of faith in my heart, as a spirit of love in my affections, as a spirit of light in my judgment, and as a spirit of peace in my conscience; with his constant operations as a spirit of supplication, enabling me at all times to draw near unto God—this is that seven-fold operation of the divine spirit which we daily need.  You have your trials as well as I have, and it is of very little consequence where we have them, whether in my state or in yours, none of the children of God are exempt from the blessed peace Christ has made, and of course they are not exempt from the tribulation he has promised—they both go together, and perhaps my present place, was the spot appointed from all eternity, where I was to enjoy the solid peace of the gospel; and this I trust I shall be much favored with before I return; it is in this pleasing hope I live, I have much to oppose and much to encourage that hope, our path-way dear brother is through fire and water, and our way to glory is up hill.  Our spirits tire, flag, weary, get heavy and faint, but we go on from strength to strength, till we get home.

Your’s, truly,

p. 30LETTER X.

Valley of Achor, January 1, 1818.

Mr. & Mrs. W. R—T.

Grace be onto you and peace.  I have often admired the grace of our Lord Jesus in its freedom, in its sovereignty, and in its power, in our complete and eternal salvation—this you and I shall have to bless God for, to all eternity; and if you was snatched away by death this moment, you would be ready to praise and adore God for it—and surely our fitness for a better world is to be enabled upon earth to give the glory due to his name.  No doubt you will most readily unite with me in this particular, that it requires great grace to support and uphold a man in great difficulties, but while the left hand of God is laid upon him, does not the right hand of grace support, and at times console and cheer his heart.  Perhaps this is the meaning of that important text, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.”  This is the grace I now need.  I will not trouble you with a list of my sorrows, but can assure you they are greater than I ever did, or ever can tell any one in the world.  Satan is busy in raking up all my faults, from childhood.  Carnal reason thinks God deals very hard with me.  Sense can see no further than to-day, and suggests I shall die beneath my load.  Fancy paints out a thousand troubles I may never see; while unbelief is ready to give the lie to every promise in the Bible, and wants to persuade me to give up praying, and p. 31abandon myself to despair.  Thus I am tried every day, and much deeper now than when I first entered this Valley.  But, hark! the voice of love and mercy sounds from the covenant of grace, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies I will gather thee.  I will correct thee in measure, but thou shalt never be forgotten of me.  I will deliver thee, but the times and seasons the Father hath put in his own power.”  And then another voice sounds from Calvary, “I have blotted out, as a cloud, thy sins—return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.”  Here faith listens, and asks, What me Lord?  Yes, you, by name.  Then I reply, Lord there may be others of my name.  True; but the Persons for whom I entered into covenant, for whom I became incarnate, for whom I obeyed the Law, for whom I suffered, and for whom the rich blessings of the Gospel is provided, are sinners—this is your nature, your action, and your name, and I have denominated you by the very names you have given yourself, from your own convictions and feelings.  Bring in hither the poor, the halt, the blind, the lame, and the needy.  Surely I must come under some of these; and according to different states so we are named.

Here I beg my dear sister R’s most particular attention.  I know she is a patient in Free-grace Hospital, and I want her assured that her case is not forgotten by the most blessed Physician of Souls, who has said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.”  Convinced of our state as sinners, we feel poor indeed—without spiritual money, or cloaths, or home, or friends!—this is real poverty—the charge brought against the Church at Laodicea, “Thou knowest not that thou p. 32art poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked.”  This charge belongs to hypocrites, and not to a poor sinner, whose emptiness is daily felt, and perhaps faith is too weak to draw much comfort from the Promises—and God the Spirit has shewn you the darkness of nature.  Now God does not say you are blind, but he calls us by the name we give ourselves.  Hence, God says, “Hear ye deaf, and look ye blind, that ye may see.”  And because every little makes us start, or keeps us back from praying, hoping, and believing, we are called the halt, and the lame; and as our sins too often rise and gain the ascendancy over us, that we cannot exercise strong confidence in Jesus, and his work, so we are called the maimed.  Sin and Satan has maimed us, and wicked fellows have thrown stones at us, as Christ’s sheep, and maimed us: and I can assure you there is not any thing that Jesus has said or done, but it is the blessed office of the Holy Ghost to shew us our need of it; and if he sets us longing for it, travailing in soul, agonizing in spirit, and most sincerely desirous of the blessing, he will communicate it, for he has said, “Shall I cause to travail, and not bring forth?  Shall I bring to the birth, and shut the womb?”  You are longing to bring forth the exercise of precious faith, lively hope, cheerful confidence; and you are at times longing for the salvation of God, and you will not be disappointed.  But do not be alarmed—even these longing desires may be in a great measure suspended—this has often alarmed me, till some Promise or a sweet Sermon, or a precious Hymn, have set me longing again; or else some new and heavy cross has come on.  This sets me to confessing, to searching, to reading to humility, to waiting, and standing on my watch tower, to hear what God the Lord will p. 33say.  I hear what Satan, the world, and mistaken possessors say, not what carnal reason, unbelief, and sense has to say—these all want to swear away my eternal life; they are not the judges of the court; they dont understand the nature of the case; and it is a man’s privilege to appeal from a low to a higher court; thus did Paul and lost his head, thus did I and lost my liberty.  But though this may be the case in temporals, yet it is not so in spirituals; all judgment is committed to Christ, because he is the Son of Man; he is the judge in the court of mercy, and I will hear what the Lord will say.  Moses has condemned me, conscience has said Amen to the sentence, justice demands satisfaction, the law is broken, guilt is great, Satan is busy, hell appears open, heaven shut, and the soul trembles, and with all the heart exclaims, God be merciful to me, to me a sinner!  And amidst all, will you believe it, faith is waiting for the sentence from the judge; and when it is cut him down, O justice—take him, O Satan—close upon him, O hell.  No, not so, but, poor sinner look up, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee—but how, Lord? and he shewed him his hands and his side.  I trust my dear Brother has had many such views, not only when liberty first came, but many times after, when the whole work has been as it were dead, and lost; yet there has been many revivals again, and no doubt will, till death.  I hope you are both well.  I only want another piece of a broiled fish, and of a honey-comb, (John, 21) both are gifts.  A common blessing in a kind providence, is a fish, and grace to enjoy it, is an honey-comb.  Though to poor ministers, a soul is compared to a fish, and if they are led to ask for the salvation of a soul, or for success in their ministry when they go a fishing—surely p. 34the Lord will not give them a Scorpion, that is, a reprobate.  The Lord grant we may be found among the good fish at the end of the world, when the gospel net will be full, and the grand separation take place.  Till then may we swim in the ocean of mercy, with the fins of faith and love.  The Lord bless thee with every needful grace.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, December 17th, 1817.

Mr. & Mrs. F.


I trust you are growing into an increasing acquaintance with the Lord Jesus, and the work of his Spirit on the heart.  I have often admired that grand promise in the book of Job, “Thine age shall be clear as the noon day.”  It is very blessed to look back on the way the Lord has led us, and the work he has wrought in us—may he give you special light to see it.  The Queen of Sheba admired many things about Solomon’s buildings, and the Holy Ghost has thought fit to record this one among the rest—the ascent to the house of the Lord.  Blessed be God you have got up some of those steps; and though you may be sensible of many a stumble, and many a fall by the way, yet you have not fell from God, nor out of the way, and as sure as your hope, faith, and mind is supremely placed on him, you will gradually ascend that road, which p. 35you will find lead you to glory at last.  Perhaps you have ascended seven of those steps: first, God has shewed you in some measure, and at times very deeply, that you have no good in yourself.  Second, he has been pleased to let in a ray of light into the mind, by which you have seen something so precious in Christ, that you could truly say, you would willingly part with all for him.  Third, the blessed Spirit has bowed your will, or rather given you another will, a new will, by which, you have made a most blessed choice of the Lord Jesus, who is the object of the Father’s delight, so that you could see your will and the will of God, perfectly correspond.  Fourth, the Lord has given you to believe in Jesus, to present salvation: your heart has most divinely rested upon his finished work, and you have found it very safe.  Fifth, you have enjoyed the privileges of the children, in fellowship with those who love God, at his table, in his house, and in his word.  Sixth, the habitual sanctification of the mind, in various actings; sometimes of faith, hope, love, humility, patience, and self-denial.  Seventh, a resting satisfied with Christ, as all in all; anxious for more knowledge of him, that you may feel your confidence in him grow—that you may be more than ever devoted to his glory.  Thus you can say, to the honor of the blessed Spirit, that he has led you up some of those steps of experimental knowledge—and let me assure you, from the most undoubted authority, that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  I feel great pleasure in writing this short note—blessed be God nothing alters the religion of the heart, only it must be tried, something will surely try it; all the spoils that were taken from the enemy among the Israelites, was to go through fire, or p. 36through water, and as we are the spoils Christ has taken from the enemy, so we must go through the water of common trials, and the fire of uncommon afflictions—but hark! how graciously he speaks,

For I will be with thee,
   Thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee
   Thy greatest distress.

The Lord bless you for ever.—Your’s, truly,



Valley of Achor, Oct. 20, 1818.

Mrs. E—R.


Agreeable to my promise, I will attempt an answer to your anxious letter, although I feel great reluctance in so doing, knowing well, that not he which commendeth himself should be approved, but him whom the Lord commendeth.  It is the mercy of all God’s children, that they stand approved in Christ, and as an evidence of it, they, through the teaching of the holy Spirit, approve of Christ, and all in Christ.  Our work, as fellow Christians, should consist daily in commending Christ, and recommending him to each other—this ought to be our constant employment and delight, especially ministers of the gospel, in their public exercises; but alas, we live in a day in which I am sorry to say, the man, who can best commend himself, set up his own experience, and dwell much upon the marvellous, is the man who is the most acceptable.  p. 37This is an awful proof of the degenerate state of the church, yet I do consider it as my duty, to vindicate myself and friends, from that censure which we do not merit, and which is most unjustly heaped upon us.  In doing this in my address to you, I aim merely to correct some mistakes under which you lay, and feel much bondage as the consequence.  In doing this, I could certainly fill a volume, but I shall only assure you in a few words, what IS, and what is NOT the case.

First: You have beep informed that I am happy.  In reply to this I beg to observe, I cannot be very comfortable, when I reflect that the precious cause of Christ, probably, has received a wound through my carelessness—and if any part of my conduct has given occasion for the enemies of Christ to blaspheme, or to increase their hatred to the Gospel; this is an heart-breaking circumstance to me.—Secondly: To be deprived of the blessed ordinances which I once so richly enjoyed, is a source of much sorrow—never did I know their value as I now do; nor can I wonder at David, when in exile exclaiming, “My flesh and heart crieth out for the courts of my God.”—Third: The afflictions of the Church since the commencement of my troubles, in September, 1816, must deeply affect me.  Its loss of that poor, feeble ministry of unworthy me.  Its divisions, and the many apparent attempts to deprive them even of the place to meet in; with the scoffs, jeers, and contempt of the proud they have to bear.  Believe me I am grieved for the afflictions of Joseph, for surely no vessel in a storm has been much worse torn to pieces than our poor Church, which I have long named the “Packet Distress.”  Another p. 38part of her affliction has been from the lies of certain Ministers, who have attempted to build their Churches with what materials they could collect from us, to keep up the fire amongst us, and increase our afflictions—they are perpetually running about, to degrade both myself and people.  I could mention their names, if it were prudent, but they are well known.  The main point they aim at, is to hurt me in the estimation of the few godly characters we have left, and this is their common cant—“No doubt Mr. C. is certainly a fallen character, but even that we might pardon, did we but see him sorry for it; but instead of that, he is as cheerful, light, and trifling as ever.”  This is always expressed with much seeming pity, sorrow, and concern, but could you see the heart of hypocrisy lurking at the bottom, and the infernal design of such initiations, you would despise such persons, who are described in the Bible as hawking pedlars—“Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale bearer among my people.”  Such are like sharks, following a sick ship.—And now comes another daring, cruel, and unjust charge: “O, Mr. C. I hear, is supported in his situation by just such fellows as himself.”  But my dear friend, the persons who support me, and my dear children, are chiefly a few pious women, of good character, and who are well known in the Church: and as to bad characters, men or women, whom I know to be such, I am determined at all times to deal faithfully with, and then they will soon leave me.  Another charge you hear of is “That there are many bad people in the congregation, and who attend the sacrament now.”  This is another falsehood, for the deacons will not allow any person of bad conduct to communicate with the church at the Lord’s supper; and if you know any p. 39that do, in that church, you are highly culpable if you do not inform the deacons of it—“Thou shalt not suffer sin upon thy neighbour.”  Many persons, both public and private characters, have used the tongue to degrade both myself and the people who worshipped with me, but who would find enough to do, to look at home; while they can find out one fault, which they suppose I possess, their neighbours, perhaps, can find out an hundred of theirs.

It is truly laughable to see the toil, trouble, and expence that many have been at to circulate my supposed infamy, that would not take that trouble, either to save their own souls from hell, or relieve an afflicted person; yet such make a profession of religion, and assign the same hypocritical reason for their opposition to me, which the heathens did of old for their oppression of the Israelites, (Jeremiah l. ver. 7.)  All that found them have devoured them, and their adversaries said, we offend not, because they have sinned against the Lord.  Much these heathen cared about the Lord—and as to my professing foes, I beg you will always recommend them to the prophecy of Obadiah, it is but one chapter—but do point to them from the 10th to the 16th verse.  When such professors come to you with a budget of scandal, just put your finger on this text, as already quoted, and ask them the meaning of it: “Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among my people.”  And when you see them quite enjoy the subject of censure and backbiting, shew them this text: “And dust shall be the Serpent’s meat, for Ephraim feedeth upon ashes.”  And when there are plenty around your table, pouring out scandal in abundance, always turn to this text—Isaiah 28, p. 40“For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness; there is no place clean,” “and this is the mess which dogs are fond of.”—See 2 Peter ii, ver. 22.  This will be the best cure for scandal, and will keep your heart stedfast in God’s covenant; and although dark may be the cloud on me at present, stay till the Lord appears for me—Judge not my state or case yet; this is not the time for passing an opinion.—Job’s friends erred in this work; they all three agreed to torment him, because they thought he was an hypocrite, but you know how mistaken they were.

This leads me to notice another insinuation, that “Surely J. C. is an hypocrite!”—This is a most frightful charge, and in general a common epithet cast upon all those who profess religion; and as it is the worldling’s sneer, it is not worth notice.  What I really am in God’s sight is best known to himself; and as it respects my conversion, call, and ministry, I shall certainly write it while I am here; and if the Lord ever raises up my head again, I shall certainly publish it, for the magnifying that grace which the Lord has so bountifully bestowed on me, and which will give some satisfaction to my friends, and no doubt afford my enemies a treat also.  But, as it respects the subject of hypocrisy, let my enemies tremble in reading this text: “Beware ye the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy:” they assumed the garb of sanctity, and professed much love to the law; made a stir about external holiness and charity, yet, inwardly, they were full of enmity, spite, malice, and hatred to the truth.  Deemed others as Antinomians, or enemies to the law, while they were the worst enemies to the law.  An old author has pointed out thirty-three kinds of hypocrites, p. 41which I send you for your reflection; and at the same time, knowing the deceitfulness of the human heart, may we ever pray with David, “Cleanse thou me from my secret faults.”

The Arch Hypocrite is the Devil himself, and he is the father of all the following children.—There is

The natural hypocrite.

The civil,

The moral,

The political,

The theatrical,

The heretical,

The schismatical,

The superstitious,

The ignorant,

The profane,

The counterfeit convert,

The worldly,

The religious,

The stinted,

The waxing,

The temporary,

The preaching,

The hearing hypocrite,

The praying,

The inspired,

The believing,

The hoping,

The fawning,

The repenting,

The fearing,

The patient,

The obedient,

The talking,

The idle,

The zealous,

The judging,

The libertine,

The scandalous.

It is an awful thing when a man deceives himself, and such, alas, is the case with every unconverted character: but no believer in Christ, who is made acquainted with the plague of his own heart, but must lament the hypocrisy he daily feels within himself; and must with joy and grief acknowledge with the truly excellent Erskine

I’m without guile an Israelite,
Yet like a guileful hypocrite,
p. 42Maintaining truth in the inward part,
With falsehood rooted in the heart.

And this is the holy Spirit’s account of a pardoned and justified man in Christ, in whose spirit there is no grille, yet his nature makes him often sigh, O wretched man that I am!  I trust the ever blessed Spirit of all grace will most effectually purge away my pride, self-will, stubbornness, rebellion, and carelessness, according to his gracious promise: “And I will purge out the rebels from among you.”  But this cannot be accomplished without deep afflictions.  You know the generally received maxim—Violent maladies require violent remedies.

Another method the above persons adopt is to degrade my ministry, by asserting that “All I ever advanced was from strength of memory.”  If this was the case, it is certainly very much to my credit, that I was so much given to study as to fill my mind with sufficient matter to preach so often as I did, near thirty Sermons a month, for fourteen years, and for these ten years past to the same people.—But you shall hear what an envious preacher said in company, who has just left us: “Oh, as to C’s religion and preaching, he was generally running about with a parcel of gay young people, till the last moment he had to come into the pulpit—and as to Sermons, why he generally went into his study and learned a Sermon by heart, and then came and preached it.”  This is so palpable that it is not worth contradicting.  How I can be running about with gay young people till preaching time, and at the same time be in my study, learning a Sermon by heart, I don’t know—and yet, would you believe p. 43it, this contradiction was received by the company.  Some people will believe any thing but the truth; and it is no wonder God permits them to be always in bondage about the minister they professed to be blessed under.  It was most justly remarked by a good man, when gossips came to him with a story against his minister, “And pray has not the preacher one good qualification—not one, that you can tell me of, either as a man, a christian, a preacher, a husband, a father, or a neighbour?  Strange to tell, if he has not—and if he has, would you call to tell me of that?  I believe not.”—Dear Mrs. E. go thou, and do likewise.

As to the present prosecution, whether guilty or not, is not the point; only it is necessary to remind you, the prosecution is not for falling into the crime, but most explicitly for (as they chuse to word it) an intent only.  But whether I was actually guilty or not, even of that, let the prosecutor’s own words settle it.  He has positively declared, that I was not guilty of any indecorous act to him whatever.—Here I leave this subject to your reflection, and conclude by observing to your last remark, that you disapproved of an assertion of mine once in the pulpit, namely, “That if a child of God had not felt the terrors of the Law yet, perhaps they would before their death, and therefore it was right to expect, or look out for them.”  God forbid that I should limit the Holy One of Israel in his operations of grace in the hearts of his children, but this I know, that very few of God’s children has escaped them, though at first they might have been allured into a knowledge of Christ, yet they felt the storm on the road.  Abraham, David, Job, Heman, p. 44Asaph, Hezekiah, and many others found it, and so may you; it is best to be prepared by a spiritual acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ, in his person, work, love, offices, and promises.  I thank you for your faithfulness to me—he that rebuketh a wise man shall find favour—and may a full free-grace reward be given thee of the Lord God Almighty, under whose wing thou hast long trusted.  Pray for me, that I may be more wise for the future, and more useful to God’s family.  And, O help me to praise him, that I am still a bush burning, yet unconsumed, because I am one.



Valley of Achor, Nov. 13, 1818.

Mrs. N—H.


I AM anxious to hear how thy God supports your mind under the afflictive dispensation.—Little did I think that we should so speedily lose one that was dear to us both—to me as a friend, and a conscientious christian, but as every thing to you, next to God and your own soul.  But we shall meet again, where tears shall be wiped from every eye, and parting shall be known no more.  My friend I shall recognize above, and you will clasp your much-loved North again—

   He’s gone! lost for awhile,
And number’d with the dead!
p. 45But there’s a day when I shall
Meet my friend.  Meet him!
Oh, transporting thought! and
Together spend eternity itself.

Ah, cruel death! thus so early to separate twin souls.  Why do I thus talk!  Our beloved friend has escaped the head ach, the heart ach, inbred corruption, an ensnaring world, a tempting devil, wicked men, false professors, abounding error, and weak-minded christians.  What a glorious, painful deliverance! blessed to him and distressing to us, more particularly to you.  I need say nothing about him—you best knew his worth.  I only lament my captivity, that I could not attend him in his illness—that I could not see the finishing work of grace on his heart—that I could not with him, and by him, bend the knee, and commend him to his dear Saviour, who was waiting to receive his dear elect, redeemed soul.  Those who live on the sea coast have seen armies drawn up, in order to receive some great personage; so, truly (could you and I look beyond this lower world) we should have seen numbers of angels waiting to conduct your dear partner to the land of eternal bliss.  Yea, more, the dear Saviour himself came for him—so he promises, I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also.

How very uncertain is life!  Perhaps as I write this short epistle, this hand may be checked, and mouth be dumb.  O may we be found in some sweet frame, or good work when death appears.  May we never be attacked in an ill-spent hour, but be wrapt in holy thoughts, and clothed with the righteousness of God our dear Saviour—pardoned by his precious blood, p. 46and on the wings of love, ready to take our flight.—Death is certainly very terrific to us, but it is our Father’s porter, sent to unlock mortality, to let out his prisoner to the full enjoyment of his inheritance.—I pray God to grant we may both find Christ so precious to us, that we may truly say with the apostle, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain—that is, Christ is gain to me, whether I live or die.  Our main business is to cultivate an intimacy with Christ.  I remember when my heart was overcharged with grief, that I was nearly distracted, there came to me a soft, still voice, as it were, saying, “Acquaint thyself with God, and be at peace with him.”  This is the command, and God has promised that he will give us an heart to know him; and has declared, “All thy children shall be taught of God.”  To know God in Christ is eternal life, and this knowledge of him is knowing him in an experimental way, as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin.  This, only this, can subdue the fears of death, and take away its sting.

I often think of the dying saying of a good man, when asked, as he was near death, whether he feared death, “I cannot say” said he, “that I have so lived as not to fear death, but I can say that I know Christ so, that I am not afraid to die.”  I trust the Lord will support you in your very trying circumstances—that his hand will preserve you in your approaching calamity, and give you a safe delivery—that almighty grace will save the child, that parents and children may meet in glory.  The Lord is well known in Zion as an husband to the widow, and the father of the fatherless, and he will be known by you in these lovely characters.  I had not an opportunity of dropping a tribute of respect p. 47for your dear husband in the pulpit, I beg, however, the Lord will be with you, and give you to enjoy all the grace contained in this sweet text—“For thy maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name.”  To him be glory by the Church.  Amen.

Command me home, Oh God my King,
   And bear me to the Skies,
Where Angels loud Hosannahs sing,
   And drink celestial joys.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, February 20th, 1818.

Mr. & Mrs. P—N.


Grace and peace be your’s.—I trust I need not apologize for writing to you from such a place, and under such circumstances.  You will no doubt join me in saying, I am just where the Lord had long devised I should be, and where, I bless his dear name, he graciously condescends to pay me many a visit, sometimes with a rod, and sometimes with a smile: and he has promised both to us—he laid up the rod as well as the manna in the ark, and it is only the sanctified rod, afflictions in Christ, that can do us any lasting good.  But I trust that in my personal experience, the rod has budded in my convictions of what I have done amiss in p. 48many things, for says an inspired apostle, “In many things we all offend.”  I hope the rod has also blossomed in my humility, and that the fruit will be peace and righteousness; and as much preciseness in my whole conduct, as if my salvation depended on it.  I trust the long contention the Lord has had with me, for these ten years past, is consummated.  I cannot bless God for distress of mind, but I can bless him for that grace that melts the heart, and produces that secret sacred mourning, wonder, gratitude, and peace.  None but an all-seeing Jehovah can tell what I have seen here; my grief has been great, my sighs have been many, my heart has been broken, sin has appeared detestable, error damnable, man truly depraved, God patient, long suffering and good.  I have been deeply distrest on account of my own sins, and the sins of others.  O that this work had been as deep on my soul some years ago, as it has been only some few months past, but, alas, I lived too far off from God—company—visits—bustle—noise—stir—clamour—and levity of manners, light and trifling professors, and no power given me sufficient to keep me on my guard.  These stole my time, attention, and talents; the spirit’s operations were not watched, the Saviour was slighted, and his dear company shunned; established believers and deep taught favorites of the most high were left, and I was in doubts what to do between conscience and feelings, guided too much by the latter, and the former got hardened.  These and a thousand things more I deeply regret; these try my spirit now, and though I have no doubt they are pardoned, for I have tasted, felt, and handled that blessing also in this place, yet I cannot, will not forgive myself, while I live in the body.  What the Lord is doing with me, has puzzled many, p. 49but he has not left me wholly in the dark about it.  As the great Head of the Church, he is washing the feet of his disciples; digging and purging his garden, pruning his trees, awaking the north wind, beating his spices, snuffing his candles, trimming his lamps, trying his gold, refining his silver, purging the dross, removing the rubbish, descending in a cloud, and stripping me of self-admiration, which is rank idolatry—and all this is in covenant love.  This is using the fan, and the sieve, and I hope purging that away that can be well spared; and I can assure my dear friends I am still praying over, and watching the accomplishment of that sweet text in Zechariah, “I will bring the third part through the fire; I will try them as gold is tried, and refine them as silver is refined: they shall call on my name.  I will say it is my people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God, Selah.”

The Lord tries our faith, by stirring up every thing in opposition to us, yet enabling us to believe thro’ all.  He tries our love, by leading us to see the awful errors that abound in the world, in opposition to the most blessed Redeemer; and by sometimes hiding his face.  He tries our hope, by permitting Satan to assault us on every hand.  He tries our patience, by delays to answer our prayers, by the length of our afflictions, and by their aboundings.  Thus he tries us, and then he most graciously gives us an opportunity of trying him.  We try his love, and find it the same every hour.  We try his power, and find it supports and cheers us.  We try his word, and find it precious.  We try his obedience, death, and intercession, and find it brings a lasting peace to the soul.  We try his truth and faithfulness, and find that firm all the way p. 50to heaven!  We try his long suffering, by our daily provocations; and we try his mercy, and find it kind.  His grace, and find it sovereign, rich, and free.  Thus the Lord deals with us, and we with him.

These things I have found, felt, and known, and hope, through abounding goodness, yet to proclaim to others, perhaps not more faithfully than I have, but I hope more simply and clearly.  I want the divine spirit to lead me deeply into all truths, for the knowledge and purity of God’s people’s minds and consciences, and to follow after righteousness in every sense—peace and joy as the happy consequence.  I have no doubt but this trial is for my present salvation, in many senses, but I am afraid of every thing—Satan has desired to have me, but you can guess the cause why not, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”

Ever your’s, in Christ,


Valley of Achor, Jan. 11, 1818.

Mr. Jones.


I thank you for your kind letter, it was more than a mite cast into the gospel treasury, as every kind word and kind action is doubly sweet when a person is in deep trouble; I have often thought of poor Job, when he cried out in the real bitterness of his heart, “Have pity upon me, O my friends, for the hand of God hath p. 51touched me.”  But above all, I have at times thought of him who said, “Lover and friend hast thou put away from me.”—(88th Psalm).  Ah! he was forsaken that we might never be forsaken—he was bound for our liberty—chastised for our peace—suffered for our comfort—died for our life—and lives that sin might die, and our souls might be with him—he toiled for our ease, and for our safety bled.  Need I tell you who I mean?  Him, being delivered for our offences, him hath God exalted.  “Sir, if ye have borne him hence, tell me where ye have laid him.”  “We hid our faces from him, yet we did esteem him—the bond of our peace was upon Him, the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.  Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief—therefore will I divide him a portion with the great.”  “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” “I sought him, but I found him not—I will seek him, I found him, I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my brother’s house.”  Need I mention his name?  It would not be half so sweet, as if you were on a journey, or accidentally fell in company with one that loved him, and over-heard his dear name mentioned by a stranger, in a very sweet and savory way: how it would open your ears, lead out your love, and quicken your soul.  “His name is Jesus! for he shall save his people from their sins.”  But this could not be, without his acting as a substitute for them, and this he has done.  He first indemnified his people, and then gave himself up to the justice of God.  Ah, little did his enemies think what was in the heart of Jesus when he gave himself up to them, and said, “If ye seek me, let these go their way.”  This was acting over what he had engaged to do in eternity, when the adorable Father called him forth to act for p. 52the dear people of his charge.  Considering them in the fallen state, as sinners, justice looked to him for satisfaction, and millions were saved upon the ground of his covenant engagement; his vast mind took in the nature of sin, with all its deserts, and he engaged to become a sin-offering, to bear all our guilt, to stand in our place, in the malefactor’s cloaths, and to endure all that we had deserved.  O my brother, how we shall love him when we see him in all his glory, in heaven; but is it not very lamentable, that sin in us should so chain us down to earth and self, that we can but seldom rise to God, and never without sin, evil is ever present.  I feel at times its influence so deeply as I cannot describe to any one—to me, it is as trying as St. Paul’s thorn in the flesh.  I humbly conceive that good man was perpetually buffeted to curse God, but what I feel is different, and yet so horrible I cannot tell anyone on earth.  O my grief, how great it is on this subject, and if it is Satan’s influence, what a cruel Devil he must be, to harrass in this present affliction, but I am a sinner, and the Lord will make me feel it.  I have too much given way to Satan, and now he is set at me like a bull-dog, or as a gaping lion, ready to devour me—my faith is weak and my fears are strong.  I want the strength and vigor of faith in exercise, to carry me above present feelings, and present troubles; but as sinners, I believe God will make us most heartily sick of sin, especially our most easy besetment, shall be the principal pull that Satan and the world will ever trouble us with.  Thus I find nothing can subdue sin but communion with Christ, maintained and kept up by our union with him.  The mind must be powerfully led by the holy spirit, to contemplate what Christ is to us, and as we are kept near to him, sin cannot get the mastery.  A p. 53daily cross galls the old man, and imbitters Life, but a view of Jesus, accompanied with power, subdues sin—that which pardons sin subdues it.  This is what we want, and all our neglect of Christ, is punished by Satan’s stirring up sin, seducing us into it, and then turning accuser, and a court adversary.  But I apprehend the Lord has but one grand object in view, and that is to lead us to Jesus only.  The troubles of Life wean us from the world; the weakness of God’s children, and their faults, keep us from idolizing the very best of them.  Sin within us keeps us from settling in the flesh, while the temptations of the devil urge us constantly to make Christ our refuge.  Thus the Lord over-rules all for us, and, as an all-wise physician, he compounds all our conflicts, to make us like himself, by being a partaker of his holiness.  Every day’s experience proves to us the value of Jesus, as God-Man Mediator—as our atoning sacrifice, and everlasting justification before God.  As our head and representative—our intercessor and advocate—as the blessed maintainer of his own work—and as engaged to help, protect, bless, and bring us home to glory.

I know not what the Lord intends to do with me, and when he is precious to my soul I do not care what he does with me.  I have then no will of my own.  I neither want to preach or be silent, leave this place or abide in it, that is no trouble to me then—but when nature, sin, sorrow, and Satan trouble me, I feel like a wild Bull in a net.  At times I feel compunction, godly sorrow, and self-abasement: this is the lowest seat in the College of Christ.  Here is safety; but, alas, even these we may be proud of, so that we really get weaned from frames and feelings, and rejoice that p. 54Jesus is the same.  Hence the command, Rejoice in the Lord always.  He is always the object of faith, hope, love, and joy; our feelings are not, though we highly esteem them—nor can we rest without some sensations of joy in the Lord—I trust the Saviour will be precious to your mind; keep you near himself; and when sin is striving for the mastery, you may have grace given to call on the Lord—and be sure to cry out before you are hurt, for you may not be able when the hurt comes; for such is the nature of sin, that, like the leprosy of old, it is of a deadening nature; it makes the guilty stupid, till God is pleased to quicken us again; and when we feel the wounds sin has made, we want the Saviour to heal us again, which he kindly does.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, December 17th, 1817.

Mrs. Hutchings.


For such has been your affection and concern for me, which I trust will never go unrewarded by the dear Saviour.  Many have been the attempts to keep you from attending my feeble ministry, to hurt your mind, to distress your spirit, and to perplex your heart, but having obtained help of God you continue p. 55to this day, only grieved that my enemies have at last gained that end they have been so long aiming at, and because you cannot make me as comfortable in my captivity as your heart desires.  The Lord takes the will for the deed in the hearts of those who desire to fear his name, revere his truth, love the Saviour, trust his word, and hope in his finished work.  This I trust is the case of the dear friend to whom I now write.  This is an act of free favour from a good and gracious God, and where these things are to be found, the Spirit has begun a work he will never leave or forsake.  May it be clearer to your mind, more powerful upon your heart, more evident to your faith, and produce in your soul such a hope as will never fail, till you see God in glory.

I have often intended to call on you, and talk of these sweet things, because you wished me so to do, and because God had given to your mind an humble desire to know Christ, and be found in him.  But a continued scene of bustle all day, and too frequently in company with my enemies, which I now deeply lament.  This hindered me; and sometimes, at night, I was weary in, though not with my work, that I needed rest, so then Satan stopt me; but I shall be happy to talk with you now by letter, and perhaps it will be much better than our conversation might have been, because you can read another time what you might not have remembered in talk.  I hope never to grow weary of reminding my dear friends of that one thing that is truly needful, the experimental knowledge of Christ.  The tidings of the Gospel are very simple, being only a declaration that God the Father, Son, and Spirit, as the God of love, purposed to glorify p. 56each other; in the everlasting happiness of a number that no man can number—and methinks I hear you say, I would give ten thousand worlds, at times, to know if I am among that number.  The Lord, I hope, will make that clear to you soon.  Each adorable person in the Trinity, agreed to take names, suited to the offices they would sustain in the business of our salvation.  One adorable person condescended to take the name of Father—the dearest, the most familiar, the sweetest name—and as he appeared in that character, he called forth the second adorable person, as Mediator; and after proposing to him another nature, besides his God-head, he became the elect head of all his dear family, who appeared in his mind, just as they will be in the resurrection—truly glorious.  I hope Mrs. Hutchings was seen among the brilliant throng.  But for the greater displays of grace, God permitted this happy number to fall into sin, with all the dreadful consequences that should attend such a fall.  Upon the fore-sight of this, the dear Son of God was called, and he graciously consented to come down into this world, to stand in our stead, to take our place, to obey the law which we had broken, and which obedience of his, was to be reckoned ours.  Yes my dear friend, this text has often gladdened my heart.  “But to us it shall be imputed, who believe in him.”  O what a comfort, our dear Lord not only obeyed the Law, but he endured the penalty of it, which was all that was implied in the “Curse of God.”  But dear Lord, what did that imply; no heart can conceive, no tongue can ever describe it—his heart melted like wax, his dear knees trembled, his spirit was filled with anguish, and his whole soul felt the pangs of the damned—the sufferings of his dear, his sacred body were dreadful, p. 57but the sufferings of his soul, were the very soul of his sufferings.  O what must sin be—may we see it as a most dreadful evil, and those who make a mock at sin mock the Saviour’s bitter anguish.  He died, but in dying he satisfied the justice of God, and the Father has declared himself well pleased, quite satisfied with his work.  God can now be holy, yet save an unholy sinner; he can be just, and yet justify an ungodly creature; he can be God, and yet pardon the very vilest.  The work is done, it was for sinners Jesus died—then sure I hope he died for thee.  In this hope I trust you will live, not upon what you may ever feel, that may encourage you, but entirely upon the work of Christ.  May this simple testimony encourage you to pray in spirit, when you have but few words, or perhaps, like Hannah, no words to say; yet your spirit I hope will be often going up to God, the holy and ever blessed Spirit, who also engaged in the same agreement with the Father and the Son, that he would assume such offices for those for whom the Redeemer died.  That he would shew them their need of Jesus, that he would enlighten them, so that they might see Christ was exactly suited for them; that he would help them to call upon him, to run to him when stung with guilt; that he would enable them to hope in his person, to trust in his work, to love his name, his gospel, his people, and his ways; to wait on him in secret and in public, till be graciously shewed them their interest in Christ, and the interest Christ has in them.  That he would give them honourable thoughts of Jesus, and enable them to rejoice that Jesus has precious thoughts of them.  This is the work of the blessed Spirit, and if my dear Friend desires this work on the heart to live and die with, I must beg her to take every p. 58opportunity to entreat this divine Spirit to work these things in the mind, according to his promise, “I will write my laws in their minds, I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins I will remember no more.”  Let me beg of you, when you have got through this letter, to read the thirteen first verses of the eleventh chapter of Luke, and if you ever do me the honour to read this side of my letter again, and can make it out very easily, always read the same verses again.

God bless you—when I write to one, I write to you both.  Kind respects to all the family.

Your’s truly,


From M. C. to her Father.


I write merely to inform you I am still at our kind Friend’s, Mr. P. he has left town for a few days, and Mrs. P. says she will not spare me till his return.  Last Sunday morning we went to hear the Rev. Mr. E. whose chapel is in D. Street, near the Foundling; he certainly preached a most excellent sermon, upon “I am the Life.”  You have been informed that he denies the existence of the Lord Jesus Christ from eternity, but he fully proved that Christ was the p. 59lasting life of his people, and that his church was in him before the foundation of the world.  He shewed us that Christ was the head of his people, that he was their life of justification, their spiritual and their eternal life.  I assure you he did not rob the Saviour of his glory, but aimed to extol him as far as I could understand the subject.  I think for humility in the pulpit, he exceeds every minister I ever heard; he has laid down his carriage to do good, which, I think, shews a christian spirit; and if he holds any error, I think if ministers were to go to him, and reason with, and pray for him, it would be more becoming them than opposing him.—In the evening we came over to our own chapel, and was much gratified to see every thing at the Sacrament conducted with so much good order in your absence, by Mr. Park, who, though not a very great, is a very good man.  There were a great number of Communicants, and a good congregational—all appeared solid.  Pray father do not let any worthless character administer the ordinance, as I think it very presumptuous for a man, apparently destitute of grace, to say at the Lord’s Table, “I take this cup, in the fullest confidence that I shall drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.”  I have just written to my dear Aunt, to inform her I shall stay a week longer here, as I am very comfortable.

I remain, dear Father,
Your affectionate and dutiful Daughter,
M. C.

Be so kind as not to read this letter to any one.


Achor’s Vale, January 1, 1819.

To my Daughter.


Agreeable to your request I have not read your letter to any one, but without your permission, I shall take the liberty to let many read it themselves.  I know you will not thank me for it, but I hope others will, for the truths you have given me an opportunity of stating, in opposition to those awful heresies, which so awfully abound in the present day of general profession.  I am well pleased that the Lord has been so far gracious to you, as to give you an attentive ear, a degree of light, an humble desire after the favour of God, and a sense of your interest in the dear Redeemer.  These things, accompanied with a tender conscience, are most blessed signs—they are the buds, which I hope will blossom and bear fruit to the glory of God.  But here you must not rest, the command is, “Go forward, and you shall know, as you follow on to know the Lord.”  Seek him earnestly, diligently, fervently—never rest till you find him—eternal life is in him, and all that hate him love sin and death.  Do not rest on any good desires, but on the object desired; this desire accomplished you will find sweet to the soul; follow hard after Jesus, and you will find him your God, your portion, your heaven, your all.  And what a consolation to me will it be, that the Lord remembered you, or any of my dear children.  I would endure many years privation as I now do, if I could obtain that blessing for you all, or for only one.  A good woman in Scotland once said she had borne nine p. 61children, with great pain of body, and she would bear them all again for their eternal salvation.  Although it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy, yet every means must be used, as much as if salvation depended on them.

’Twill save you from a thousand snares,
   To feel religion young;
Grace will preserve your growing years,
   And glory crown the song.

Remember, my dear girl, while seeking the Lord—Father, Son, and Spirit—angels, saints, and good men—all the perfections and all the promises of God, are on your side.

But with respect to your account of Mr. E.  I am not at all satisfied with it; his humility may be admired in a few external self denials, but his putting down his carriage as an act of humility is nothing, if he at the same time disdains the golden bottom of Solomon’s chariot, of the wood of Lebanon, ( 3rd chapter Solomon’s Song) the essential and eternal divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ—as Jehovah—as one in the divine essence—the self-existent and independent God.  This is the glorious and alone foundation of the Church; and if Christ is not this adorable person, the angels in heaven must be guilty of rank idolatry, the Church will be lost, and I must sink under the curse of God.  For all the angelic hosts adore him, the Church is built upon him, and I am trusting in him.  For thus saith the Lord, “Cursed is man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”  And if Christ is not God in the highest sense of the word, woe be to all who trust in him.  But the scriptures are plain and positive p. 62upon this subject, for blessed are all they that put their trust in him.  The gentleman whom you heard preach so many precious truths, I can say nothing about without hearing him myself; he may possess much humility, but if his heart has never been humbled by the grace of God, to bow to the testimony which God, Father, Son, and Spirit has given of Christ, his humility is not a grace, of the holy Spirit’s working, and all the good he may do to the bodies of the poor, yet if he is circulating poison to the soul, what will it avail them.  No doubt some good men have reasoned with him, and I hope prayed for him, that God would bring into the way of truth, all such as have erred and are deceived.  I have been informed that he is nothing but an Arian in his sentiments or views of Christ, and however clearly he may declare some of the grand calvinistic truths of the gospel, it is but building a castle in the air, as the great doctrines have no other basis, than the self-existence of the adorable Redeemer, and if this foundation be removed, what can the righteous do?  The Atheist and the Sadducee are trying to remove this foundation, by denying an hereafter, or a world to come.  The Deist is employed in the same work, by ridiculing the Scriptures.  The Arminian hates the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to faith.  The Socinian declares Christ is but a mere man.  The Libertine sins that grace may abound.  The Sabellians, and the new Jerusalem folks, as they, themselves—these deny the Personality, and, of course, the Divinity of the Father and the holy Spirit; and the deluded Arian denies the essential Divinity of the Son of God.  Thus the Devil has employed these labourers to remove God’s foundation—to leave us without God, and like Satan himself, without hope.

p. 63But blessed be God for that faith which embraces the grand truth of the sacred pages; that there are three which bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.  The glorious record that each adorable person bears, is to the Divinity of Christ, as God over all, blessed for ever.  Hear what the Father says of Christ, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”  Hear what the Saviour says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.”  Hear also the testimony of the holy Spirit, “And his name shall be called wonderful counsellor—the mighty God.”  The Arian does indeed admit, that Christ is God, but then it is only in a subordinate sense—only a God, by delegation and office.  But then, this is making two Gods—one supreme, and the other subordinate, and to worship any thing below infinite divinity, is awful idolatry, for all men must honour the Son, as they honour the Father—“Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”  Angels and saints are commanded to adore and worship him, “Let all the angels of God worship him, for he is thy Jehovah, and worship thou him.”—It is certainly curious to see the Arian strutting about with this text, in 17th John, “This is life eternal to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  But when you remind him of 1st John, 5th chapter, 20th verse, he shrinks back, crying out, it is doubtful whether that part is inspired, And we know that the Son of God is come—this is the true God, and our eternal life; for if the Father is the true God, so also is Christ.  Nothing proves this point so clearly as the glorious and incommunicable name of Jehovah, given him, as at once expressive of his underived independent p. 64self-existent Deity, as one in the adorable Godhead.  But this subject would fill a volume of immense size.  Let me bring to your view, a few out of the many glorious testimonies given in the Bible, and by comparing scripture with scripture, you will through grace see their beauty, Isaiah viii, 13, 14, Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear and your dread, and he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel.  See how the apostle Peter explains this text, and applies it to his Lord. 1st Peter, ii, 7, 8.  Isaiah vi, 5, Mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts.  See how this belongs to Christ, John xii, 41.  Isaiah xliv, 6, Thus saith the Lord, the king of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts—I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.  See Revelations xxii, 13.  Isaiah iv, 3, 11, I, even I am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour; and Peter stiles him our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Psalm lxxviii, 56, They tempted and provoked the most high God.  1st Corinthians, x, 9, Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted him.  John iii, 29, He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom.  Isaiah, liv, 5, For thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name.  Psalm 23, Jehovah is my shepherd.  John x, 16, There shall be one fold and one shepherd.  John xx, 28, And Thomas said my Lord and my God.  Romans ix, 5, Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God, blessed for ever.  Psalm 100, Know ye that the Lord he is God, and we are the people of his pasture.  John x, He, Christ, calleth his own sheep by name.  Feed my sheep, saith Christ to Peter.  Feed the flock of God said Peter.  Collosians ii, 8, For in p. 65him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily.  And this is his name whereby he shall be called—Jehovah our righteousness.  Why callest thou me good, there is none good but one, that is God.—And his name shall be called The mighty God.  Revel, i, 8.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, which was, and which is to come—the Almighty.

I could quote a vast number more grand passages, to shew you that Christ is equal with the Father, one in the undivided essence, the object of worship, possessed of every divine perfection, the way to God, the suitable Saviour of his church, and the glory of God, angels, and saints; but these are enough one would think, to convince any reasonable being, but such, alas, is human depravity, that nothing short of almighty power can give faith to believe the record which God has given of his Son.  In these few texts, our adorable Jesus is called the Lord of Hosts, the mighty God, Jehovah, God over all; my God, the most high God, and the Almighty; and if the testimony of a worm might be added—

That Christ is God I can avouch,
   And for his people cares,
For I have pray’d to him as such,
   And he has heard my prayers.

The Lord give you an experimental knowledge of himself as your Saviour.

I remain, your affectionate Father,

p. 66P.S.  Have you seen that truly excellent tract, called the Young Cottager, written by that blessed man of God, Rev. Leigh Richmond?  I beg you will often read it, as it, I think, excels all the tracts I ever read, except Dr. Hawker’s; it possesses the elegance of Hervey and the fervour of Hawker, sweetly combined.


Achor’s Vale, September 1, 1818.

Miss Davies,


I fear my nerves will scarcely permit me to drop you a few lines.  What a day have I passed through!  Solemn period, but I hope blissful one to the unhappy, happy men.  No doubt you felt for me exceedingly, knowing how near to me the late events would occur.  On Sunday our worthy Chaplain preached the condemned sermon, I choose rather to call it their coronation sermon, as he then gave a most, affecting, but blessed account of their state, and looking round upon a weeping congregation, he begged leave to use the words of his master, on a very affecting occasion, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep for yourselves, not me.”  The poor men who were condensed to die, wanted no pity, they had obtained mercy, they now only needed the prayers of God’s people, for his upholding hand, his supporting power, and his soul-comforting presence, at the last, the solemn, the affecting moment of their dissolution.  I am informed they had p. 67it, but as I have not yet had the particulars of their conversion and happy death from any spiritual person, I cannot write you to that effect, but as soon as I can possibly gain the account, I will send it to you, knowing your heart will, and does leap for joy, at the real conversion of any sinner, but especially those who were so near death and eternity.  I hope the account will be well authenticated.  This morning, Monday, I awoke early, and was enabled to pour out strong cries and supplications to God, for the poor men, that they might feel the joys of salvation, as they approached their painful end.  At seven o’clock the solemn church-bell tolled; but at eight o’-clock, all my powers were affected by the chapel bell answering it.  I knew then the procession was begun, I knew then the subject was real, every stroke of the church bell seemed to say, Come! and every sound of the chapel bell responsed, We comeWe come!  I felt every sound at my heart, and it again brought me on my knees in earnest prayer, that a dear Saviour would meet them at the place of execution.  They arrived about an hour after on the place; I could not see them, but I heard nearly all that passed.  The first sound was singing, I judged it was the lamentation of a sinner, one verse, and which I think comprehends every thing at once.

Mercy, good Lord, mercy I ask—
   This is the total sum,
For mercy, Lord, is all my suit,
   Lord let that mercy come.

This prayer will suit the holiest believer, living and dying.  After a pause, as I judged, everything was preparing for the awful stroke.  I heard one of them pray, but not being near enough I could not distinguish p. 68his words.  As he drew to a close I heard the fatal drop fall which launched them into the presence of God.  I burst into tears, yea I thought my heart would have broke.  I could only then dart up ejaculatory prayers that the Lord Jesus would receive their departing spirits.  But grief overpowered me all the day; I could not lift up my head with any pleasure.  I was pensive and distressed.  A multitude of very affecting ideas floated on my mind, and grief and gratitude took their several turns; but I am as well as can be expected after so severe a shock.  I only fear a revival of sorrow on Sunday, when I sit in view of the spot where I last saw them.  Glad shall I be to send you some good account of them in my next.

On the evening previous to the execution, I read part of the solemn funeral service of the Church, and expounded to the prisoners in this class, the 15th of the first of Corinthians.  The subject of the Resurrection was very interesting, and my mind was devoutly engaged for some time with the chapter.  I had occasion, for the first time I believe, to expatiate on that singular verse, 29, Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?—The passage would receive some easier comment if rendered over the dead, as Greek critics will allow, it being customary for the primitive christians to baptize their proselytes over the graves of the believing dead.  This is the way some learned men make it out.  The plain matter of fact is, that superstition had began to encroach on the simplicity of the Gospel, even in Paul’s days, and many ignorantly supposed that the ordinance of Baptism was inseparably connected with the pardon of Sin.  From this mistaken notion, many p. 69postponed their Baptism till their last moments; the consequence of which was, many dying suddenly were not baptized at all—their superstitious relatives imagined it would be an act of charity to the dead to be baptized for them, in their name and stead, begging of God at the same time, to accept the Baptism of the proxy, as though it had been administered to the principal.  Hence others translate the passage, What shall they do who are baptized for, or instead of the dead.  But if the dead rise not again this imaginary labour of love can answer no valuable end.  Why then do you doubt the Resurrection of the dead?

May God the Holy Spirit quicken our souls into the enjoyment of the favour of God, the knowledge of our pardon and justification in Christ, and enable us to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, is the earnest prayer of



Achor’s Vale, June 6, 1818.

Mrs. Blinkinsop,


Can I ever forget your concern, good wishes, prayers, and endeavours for my best interest?  You have carefully watched for my good as a Sister, felt for me as a Mother, and done me all the good you could as a Christian.  May God most kindly reward you, and if not in this world, in temporal things, he p. 70will own you in that day when he shall make up his jewels—and never will he let your dear children, perhaps, go unrewarded.  He will be a God to you and a Guardian to them.

I hear you think of going into the country this summer, if so I shall not be favored with a visit for a long time.  I hope you will not go, but that I must leave to your better judgement.  I have been very much cast down since I last saw you, nor do I expect to be much otherwise.  When we walk contrary to God, we know that he will walk contrary to us; but he has most kindly declared that when the heart is humbled, he will appear to our joy.  I find the third chapter of the Lamentations of Jeremiah very sweet to me at times, it is worth your reading, as it is so suitable to my case and state, and no doubt you will find it good to read it very often; the former part no doubt belongs to Christ—he was the man that had seen affliction, by the rod of God’s wrath, and it is well for us that he bore that for us, or else we must have borne it for ever, in that place where hope never comes.  You have found him a good and gracious Saviour.  He has helped you in many a need.  He has delivered you in many a trouble.  He has enabled you to believe in him, to love him as he is set forth in the Gospel, a Saviour.  He is well calculated to be a Saviour, as he is God with God.  He loved our nature so well that he chose it in preference to the angels, though we had sinned worse than they did—yet such was his love for us that he gave himself for us.  He lived an holy life of obedience for us, which the adorable Father imputes to us for our justification, while the ever blessed Spirit opens our blind eyes, and gives p. 71us to see, and feel our need of that righteousness; having none of our own fit to appear before God in, we need it, believe in it, trust in it, and hope to be saved by it.  O my dear, kind friend! may you and I be better acquainted with God’s love in providing such a way for a poor sinner to be saved.  May we have a stronger faith, a larger mind and affections, to receive Christ as he is revealed in the Word.  The Bible reveals Christ to us, but the Spirit must reveal Christ in us.  We are poor guilty creatures, and need pardon for all sin.  He has shed his blood to make atonement—a satisfaction for sin, and having died for our sin, he is gone to heaven to present his Person and his Work to God for us.  He is interceding there—he ever lives to plead our cause, to conquer our enemies, to carry on the work of salvation, to hear our prayers, to watch over us in our sorrows, to support us in our calamity, to deliver us, in his own time and way, and finally to bring us home to glory—

There we shall see his face,
   And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of his grace,
   Drink endless pleasures in.

There we may meet to celebrate the riches of divine grace, and experience the joys of that friendship, which is only begun in this world, but is often sadly interrupted by sin and sorrow.

Fearing you will leave town, I thought it right to drop this token of my most sincere regard and gratitude.  May every good be thine, and God be glorified in our eternal salvation.  What is there in this p. 72lower world worth living for?—it is full of changes, trials, and sorrow.  May we come up out of the wilderness, leaning on the beloved, longing to get home, and daily dying to all the world.  Getting better acquainted with Jesus, by the teachings of the Holy Spirit.  I feel at times very much deprest indeed, but have no doubt but that all things will work for good, and,

Though painful at present ’twill cease before long,
And then, O how pleasant the conqueror’s song.

God bless you, my dear, my much-loved friend—time is on the wing—soon we shall look back and say, He hath done all things well.

I remain, Your’s truly,


Achor’s Vale, Dec. 6, 1818.

Mrs. Darby,


I have read your letter, with sacred pleasure, containing an account of the Lord’s gracious dealings with your soul.  I wish every member of the Church would write me something of their experience, that I might judge of their state, for, as experience worketh hope, when we know a person’s experience we can judge of their hope.  It is the custom of some Churches, when persons are admitted, to give in a p. 73written experience; this is a good custom, as many people are too timid to appear and speak of the dealings of God with them, in the whole face of an assembly, not that they are ashamed of the work of God upon them, but they may be naturally timid.  I have always endeavoured to be as familiar to those who come to me about spiritual things as I could, with any propriety, and even that has been attended with a disadvantage, as the enemy has turned that against one.  I wish I could never speak to any but the Lord’s own children.  I never found them any snare to my soul, but I have found mere empty gay professors to be a snare.  David personated Christ when he expressed the feelings of his soul, in the 16th Psalm, “The saints, the excellent of the earth, are my delight.”  The Lord made David sick of every body else, yet no man was ever so plagued with a parcel of hypocrites as he was.  His prime minister, Achithophel, was a snare to him.  His chief captain, Joab, was always a trouble, and his darling son, Absalom, was always a most profound, ungrateful, cruel hypocrite.  Yet the Lord’s people were dear to David’s soul, and why? because they were dear to Christ; bore his image, trusted in him, looked for him, and walked as it became their profession.  And I must remind Mrs. D. that the Apostle has pointed out a most decided evidence of a real believer, “We know we are passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.  And he that loves him that begets, loves him, also, that is begotten of him.”  You could not love a believer as a child of God; if you was not a child of God yourself.  Sinners love sinners, but they cannot saints, as saints.  But while I would have you bless God for this grace given you, and while I would bless God on p. 74your behalf, yet, I trust, you will not rest on present attainments, but go on to know Christ, that you may be found in him.  I always find it the safest way to thank God for what he has done for me, but when I reflect upon the attainments of hypocrites I am alarmed, and go to the Saviour, daily, just as I did when I first set out, a poor needy, guilty sinner in myself, condemned by law and conscience, with a nature as depraved as the worst creature breathing, and standing in as much need of teaching and keepings of drawing and renewing, as I ever did.  To this Paul alludes, nay exhorts, “As ye have received Christ Jesus, the Lord, so walk ye in him.”  You can well remember the bondage of spirit you felt under the Law, and how precious the person of Christ, as a complete Saviour, was to you—how precious he appeared in his mediatorial capacity, as an atoning sacrifice, putting away sin, as the end of the law, fulfilling all its demands, and, as an intercessor, pleading your cause.  You need this same Jesus every day, and will want him as much in the article of death, as you did when the Lord first gave you to feel your need of him—and I am sure you will bless the Lord for ever leading you to feel that need so deeply.  We are great sinners, and need a great Saviour, every day, and all the day.  In reading your letter of the Lord’s dealings with you, I cannot help exclaiming, And will God in very deed dwell with sinners on the earth?  Yes, for he has said “I will dwell in them, and walk in them.”  Male and female are all one in Christ Jesus.  He has condescended to choose a portion of our nature, and unite it to the dear Son of his love—the Son of God—God the Son: and in the choice of our nature, and the person of his Son, he chose all the millions that shall be saved, united p. 75them to Christ, and then viewed them complete in him.  Thus the head and the members rose together in the mind, the purpose, and decree of Jehovah.  To these he designed to manifest himself as the God of all grace, in the covenant of redemption and mercy—in the mysterious incarnation of Christ—in the meritorious holiness of his life—in the putting away sin by his awful sorrows, and in rising from the dead to justify his own work, and as the first fruits of them that sleep in him.  And is it not wonderful that God the Holy Spirit should ever visit you?  Can you not often ask, with your sister Ruth, “Why have I found grace in thy sight, that thou shouldst take knowledge of me, seeing I am but a stranger.”  It becomes you to be thankful.  This will bring more blessings to you, in a way of enjoyment; and as the Lord has taught you, humbled your spirit, and melted you with his love—brought you to receive the truth in the love of it, so I trust you will be more devoted to him.  He is worthy of your highest affection, your daily addresses, and warmest gratitude.  The Lord help you to adorn that gospel you love, to sympathize with the afflicted in the household of faith, to warn the unruly, and encourage the weak ones of the flock.  Let thy garments be always white, and let thy head lack no ointment.  Strive to become a mother in Israel, by an increase of spiritual knowledge; then your faith will grow, and your hope abound.

Kind respects to Mr. D.  I am much pleased the Lord has not forgotten him, he has seen the meaning of God’s promise; “I will take you one of city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”  And the Saviour, will, I trust, present you all faultless, before the throne of his glory, to himself in himself in the millennium; p. 76and at last he will present you to his Father and your Father, his God and your God, when God, Father, Son, and Spirit will be all in all.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you all, as a family.  Pray for me, that I may be kept and sanctified.

Your’s, in him,


Valley of Achor, March 1st, 1818.

Miss Harris.


Mr. K. requested I would drop you a few lines.  I beg your acceptance of such as I may write at this time, in very painful circumstances.  Believe me, my friend, I most sensibly feel the hand of God; my poor heart it broken, my sighs are many, and my heart it faint.  But I call to mind past times, when I certainly have known, tasted, and felt the precious truth I once preached, and then I thank God and take courage.  The Lord has designed from all eternity, to bring his children home to his eternal bliss; but then he has, also, appointed all the means to lead to that one grand end.  This was, perhaps, shewn to pious Jacob, in a vision of a ladder, which he afterwards called the house of God, and the gate of Heaven.  Christ is all these; he is the way, he is the house, he is the gate: and it p. 77is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead his people up to him, as the way of life.

This is the way God has taught me, and the way only where I find any solid peace in a world of cares, sin, and death.  These are the seven steps up the ladder, up the way of life; and the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he shall direct his way, and I am sure he always directs to the dear Redeemer.  May you feel inwardly directed to him, and in the word, and by a faithful ministry outwardly directed also.  But it is not enough to be directed there, we must be led by a divine hand, power must be put forth, for the kingdom is not in word, but in power.  Nor am I satisfied with any person’s ministry, except I feel that power—any man with truth floating in his head, may send me to Jesus; but I want the power to attend that direction, to bring me to him, knowing, that as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  A soul, when formed anew, quickened and illuminated, is led to Christ by God the Father, who owns and receives the soul.  Nor is there any coming in reality, but as we are led.  You may see this in our first parents; Eve was a part of Adam, and we are a part of Christ, the fruit of his sufferings and death.  For except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth fruit.  The Lord having formed Eve, brought her to Adam, and he declared the union between her and him.  He loved her, received her, and she was dear to him.  I leave you to make all other reflections upon this subject, and trust the blessed spirit will lead you to see and enjoy it in your own soul.  I am truly happy the Lord has impressed your mind with his spirit, while in p. 78youth—’tis most blessed to know the adorable Trinity, as our new Creators, in this time of our life.  Altho’ we have got to bear the burden and heat of the day yet it is a mercy to be hired early in the morning, it is all of grace, from first to last, nor will one chosen vessel in glory, have any greater share of God’s smiles, or be nearer the throne than another, though called as early as Jeremiah and John the Baptist, or late as the Thief on the Cross.  You will have much to struggle with, many days of darkness and grief, but the blessed spirit will turn all into good for you, by taking every opportunity of glorifying Christ, in his salvation and offices; and the deeper your knowledge of Jesus, the richer will be your soul in heavenly things.  The more you are brought into an acquaintance with the God-Man Mediator, the sweeter will be your communion and fellowship, till it arrives to real earnests and foretastes of glory.  But all the principal difficulty will consist in being led to understand how to live a life of faith, out of self, upon the Son of God—it is for want of the clear knowledge of this, I am in my present trouble; this may astonish you, but God knoweth I lie not—a future day may explain that to the Church.  I understand the Lord has blessed you with an affectionate heart towards your dear Mother, and he will reward it.  I have often envied the felicity of those who have a kind mother to care for, watch over, pity, and help them; but Ah! poor me was left by parents, cruel and unkind, to perish, till I was found an helpless infant.  For me no tender mother has yielded her fostering care, but

Left on the world’s bleak waste, forlorn,
In sin conceiv’d, to sorrow born:
No guide the dreary waste to tread,
Above, no friendly shelter spread.

p. 79But the Lord had some kind, and I hope gracious design, in preserving me till now, though my distress has often made me blame, like Job, the kind hand that took me up when an out-cast.  I am still the child of woe, the hand of God and man appears against me in providence, and my distress of mind is great—my dear friends deprived of my public labors, and exposed to the shafts of cruel calumny.  My dear family without a fond mother, and now deprived of a father they dearly loved, and whose paternal embraces they eagerly prized: but now

No Children run to lisp their Sire’s return,
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share—

Excuse me, tears will not let me proceed.  May the dear Saviour bless you.  We live in a dying world; a few more rising and setting suns will settle all.  May we aim to know, to win, and to be found in Christ: clothed with his righteousness, pardoned with his blood, purified by his spirit, filled with his love, and for ever delighted with his glory.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, January 3rd, 1819.

Mrs. Brown,


I can never sufficiently thank you for your christian sympathy, affectionate concern, and fervent desires for my best interests, that you can weep with those that weep, especially for the afflictions of Joseph.  Amos 6th.  This is a most blessed and decided evidence that the love of God reigns in the heart; and though this principle is often hid from its happy possessor, perhaps it is better seen by others; but if our love is genuine, it bears a resemblance to the love of God, to his Son, and to his children.  Now as dear Mrs. Brown is often in bondage about her part and lot in Christ, and as love is the most decided proof of that interest, let us examine this subject.  Hence the Saviour compares a believer who is not clear about his interest in the favour of God, or has seen it and lost it, to a Woman having ten pieces of silver, and having lost one.  Mind, it is a Woman, not a careless Man, who, if he had lost any thing would give a general look and pass it by rather carelessly, only perhaps saying, Well, I am very sorry I have lost it too—and here the matter rests—but to a Woman assiduous, careful, attentive, and vext with her loss.  The nine pieces of silver refer no doubt to the graces of the Holy Spirit, but the tenth to the knowledge of the reality and enjoyment of them.  Time was, perhaps you could say, you knew and believed the love that God had for you, and p. 81no doubt but you had love in return.  But the scene has since changed, and you have had to combat with enemies without, and worse within; and on account of their prevalency, you have often been permitted to question the reality of all you experienced before, while busy Satan has suggested, Where is your religion now?  Where is your love to Christ?  Are you a Christian?  Up starts Unbelief, and says, I will never believe a person can be a partaker of Christ, be in Christ, love Christ, or ever be one of Christ’s, that can think as you think, say as you say, or do as you do.  No, no, says carnal Reason, why it stands to common sense, that a converted person is a changed one altogether.  Now Mrs. B. looks within, thinks deep of it, while the dust these things have raised, blinds her eyes, that she sees not her spiritual signs, but listens to those suggestions, and rashly concludes against herself, that, perhaps, all her past experience was but fancy.  Under these fears we live too long.  Ephraim, says God, is an unwise Son, for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.  But perhaps some sweet idea occurs about Christ and his love, his work and his word; or some very precious sermon, chapter, or hymn.  This comes and revives the old work; Satan withdraws, hope springs up, and a thirst for God is felt again.  Now we begin to stir, to light a candle, to sweep the house, and to search diligently for the sense of God’s love, favor, and pardoning mercy.  Sweeping is self-examination, comparing spiritual things with spiritual—that is, our judgement, experience, and views, with God’s word.  Lighting a candle is going to Christ, as the true light, enabling you to see his glory, his beauty, his goodness.  And this glory, goodness, and beauty is called his p. 82loving kindness, “We have thought of thy loving kindness in thy temple.”  And this is what David prayed for, I have desired of the Lord, that I may see the beauty of the Lord.  “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty.”  And surely the Lord never appears so beautiful to us, as when he appears, a God, pardoning our sins.  Well may we exclaim, And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; I know you can say Amen to this.  Moses desired to see the glory of God, and the Lord promised to cause his goodness to pass before him, and proclaimed, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.  Thus all his excellencies are seen in this great act; and sure I am, that a sweet clear sight of this blessing, is more worth than a thousand worlds.  This will cause us to shout victory in death and judgement.  O may you not only hope, but see this blessing; and not only see it, but enjoy it, for it is the joint work of the adorable Trinity.  The Father foresaw all our guilt, and secretly purposed to pardon it.  The dear Redeemer foresaw all that our sins would merit, and engaged to bear it.  And the divine, the blessed Spirit, foresaw all our backslidings, yet engaged to enable us to believe—we are pardoned and justified in the name and by the Spirit of our God.

I wish you much of this blessing, in believing views of Christ.  The Lord has enlightened you to see Jesus as altogether lovely; your will has chosen him, your heart is at rest when he is truly precious, and you can say, he is supreme in your affections.  Bless his dear name for it; his love is set upon you, and Satan knows it, if you don’t, and he will follow up the Lord’s work diligently, either to destroy it, or to set p. 83you doubting its reality.  But the principal part is love, and all our love to Jesus is but a reflection of his love to us.  He says, Yea, I have loved thee; and we can reply, And Lord I desire to love thee most supremely.  God loves his dear Son, and so do we; he loves his truth, so do we; he loves his saints, and so do we.  He hates their sins, so do we; he pities their infirmities, so do we; he forgives their follies, so do we; he feels for them in trouble, so do we; he visits them in prison of soul, or circumstances, so do we; he loves their company, prayers, praises, converse, and prosperity of soul, so do we; he hates their enemies, with all their cruelty and malice, so do we; he will one day punish their enemies, unless grace prevent it, and we shall say Amen to it.

Thus, in a very simple manner, have I shewed the reality of Bible love.  But I want to live such a life of faith on Jesus, as Paul did, when he said, The life I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, as Jesus did, as man, on his divine Father.  So we should live on Jesus, as God-Man Mediator, on his eternal unchanging love; his covenant engagements; his meritorious work of obedience; his putting away sin, by his sufferings and death; his intercession at the Father’s right hand, and his glorious office, as an advocate for us, ever pleading his blood, with which God is well pleased.  On him may we live, to him may we go, and him in every thing employ.  We are sinners, and need his grace, guilty, and need his blood, condemned, and need his righteousness, weak, and need his arm, miserable, and need his mercy, rebellious, and need his long suffering.  Thus we are poor and needy, and every promise in the Bible made to such, is p. 84your’s.  O that we could so resist Satan, when he comes to dispute us out of these things, that we might take courage and read them all as our own.  Then we shall be rich indeed, for God is faithful to his Son, in whom they are made; and to his people, to whom they are revealed.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, March 1st, 1819.

Miss Miller,


This day of the month never comes, but it ever brings a variety of very affecting ideas to my mind, as it is supposed to be the day on which I was found, when an helpless infant, deserted by parents, and left to perish; but the Lord had some gracious intention in preserving me, till called and brought forth to public view.  Blessed by many, and by many cursed.  Yet the curse, causeless, has not, nor shall ever come.  We have had the pleasure of dining together for some years, as on this day, and I trust we shall spend a blessed eternity together, when time, with us, shall be no more.  It is my mercy that, though I was left fatherless, and motherless, I am not left Christless.  But when father and mother forsook me, the Lord took me up, and dealt better for me than my poor parents could p. 85have done, perhaps, even in providence.  On this subject I need not enlarge, as I hope, while I am in Babylon, to write my own memoirs, and publish it when I have an opportunity.  But this depends on the display of the gracious office of God, the Holy Spirit, to act as my remembrancer.  I am sorry I have been so negligent of the gracious dealings of God with me, in providence and grace; and have not set up those way marks, which I ought to have noticed, and which, no doubt, would be a satisfaction to my own friends, the comfort of my own mind, and for the glory of God.  But, my dear friend, while my tongue is partially silent many dear spiritual people want a small token of my spiritual regard for them, by recommending the dear and adorable Saviour to them.  As the pen of cruel slander, and daring calumny, has been so much employed against me, I want to employ my pen in writing of him, whom angels admire and saints adore; and whose dear name, I trust, you love, whose gospel you prize, and whose saints you esteem; and as a proof you love him, only reflect, in some silent secret moment, suppose he was to frown upon you in death, and disown you in the last great day.  What an horror, grief, and misery do you feel in the thought!  What, to be for ever banished from God!—from Jesus!  O sad and dreadful idea; if the thought indulged is Hell enough to you, ’tis a proof you love him.  And do you not feel, at times, a secret satisfaction, a sacred pleasure, when you hear or receive any new sweet thought of Jesus?—’tis because you love him.  And should you not like to be favored with much communion with him, to open your whole heart to him, and find his whole heart open to you?—’tis because you love him.  And if you hear a thing called a preacher, and he appear p. 86empty of Jesus, do you not feel disgusted at him?—’tis because you love him.  When you hear his sacred name blasphemed, or in any sense slighted, do you not feel hurt at it, and pray that you may never be sent to Hell, among Devils, who will be for ever cursing it; but long to get to glory, where you will join with angels in always praising it?—’tis because you love him.  If a person stands very high in your estimation, whom you believe to be well taught of Jesus, do you not feel an on common respect for him?—’tis because you love him.  If you are very cold, dead, dark, and barren in soul, in secret and public, and feel as if you could not honor Jesus by bringing forth fruit to his praise, is not this matter of much grief to you?—’tis because you love him.  When you feel for his people, his despised ministers and cause, that is unjustly hated, and cruelly treated, ’tis because you love him.  Do you not feel glad when you hear of the sound conversion of any one to Jesus, when they are able to give a scriptural account of the Lord’s dealings with them?—’tis because you love him.  Do you not feel grateful to the Saviour, when you are favored with an affecting sight of him, as dying for you, rising for you, and living for you?—’tis because you love him.  Do you not feel thankful at times, that the good work was ever begun in your heart, and that you have any love to him—surely ’tis because you love him.  When you reflect upon his kindness to you in providence, with a keen sense of your utter unkindness, do you feel, or desire to feel grateful?—’tis because you love him.  Do you desire, above all things else beside, to live to him, feel peace with him, and at last, to be with him for ever; to adore and thank him; to crown him Lord of all, with all the blood-bought throng?—’tis because you p. 87love him.  And we love him, because he first loved us—

His people’s everlasting friend,
He loving, loves us to the end.

Your’s, in him,


Valley of Achor, Jan. 26th, 1819.

Mr. J. Clark.


I thank you for your letter.  I am always glad to hear how my dear friends go on in the divine life; and if they are not increasing sensibly in faith, hope, and love, yet, if growing downward in humility it is still well.  What we are in our fallen state, as sinners, must be learned by us—this is all the hell we shall ever experience in this world, and some have found that to be quite hell enough.  Under this painful chastening, Jonah cried out of the belly of hell.—The Psalmist declared God had laid him in the lowest deeps.  Jeremiah wished he had never been born—and Job cursed his day!—and all their painful agonies of soul was nothing to be compared to the painful soul-distress which the Lord Jesus felt, when he entered the garden of Gethsemane, and his vast mind was filled with horrors, terrors, and frights—the guilt of sin sunk his spirits, the wrath of God melted his heart—and his agonies were inconceivable.—Oh! p. 88what did our Christ endure for some hours, yea, from nine o’clock at night till three the next afternoon: it will never be forgotten by him—his whole mind was taken up with it; every thing else was forgotten.—Sin and wrath, guilt and distress followed on him—wave upon wave, till he expired.  And the very posture in which he hung as he died was very important.  See his dear arms stretched out to receive you and me.  See his dear feet waiting, fastened to the cross, to confer his blessing.  See his side wide opened, to shew his heart to us—and see him bow his dear dying head, to kiss the poor returning soul, who is waiting at the foot of the cross till Jesus assures the soul of its interest in him.  Here, I hope, my much esteemed friend is waiting.  Here he is safe.

But you complain of sin—the Old man.  And what is this old man?—it is a continual inclination to sin.  Can the brightest saint alter this?—alas, No: And are you not astonished that such poor sinful beings as we are, that we should ever be proud of our rags?  Proud, in the sight of God!—such is our depravity.  And it is from this same source you feel so much deadness in divine things, so much darkness in soul, and such carelessness and wanderings in your best moments; these all spring from the heart, which we find to be bad indeed.  I once knew a little of it, and often preached about it, but my views of it are much deeper now—I both see and feel, groan under and hate, what I cannot get rid of.  O could I but get rid of what I feel, how happy should I be.  There is but one remedy left, and that is a more blessed acquaintance with the dear Saviour, and the enjoyment of high and heavenly communion with him.  To this p. 89blessing I humbly aspire.  This fevor I am praying daily for—this, and this only, is the cure of all our spiritual diseases.  This will make me happy in captivity, and contented with the will of God.  But, alas, I am very rebellious!  What a mercy when we can see that every trial, cross, loss, disappointment, pain, and difficulty is in covenant love, flowing to us, because God has loved us; and to conform us to his lovely image, we want the mind kept by an almighty power—still, resigned, quiet, and composed, as a hand ought to be steady, that holds a glass of some very costly liquid.  We want keeping quiet, while God takes the opportunity of pouring into the soul the precious consolations; and helps us to believe that whatever happens, is certainly right, and will be for the best.  I have heard of a man, that whatever he met with, he said it was for the best.  One day, a dog stole his dinner, and his ungodly companions asked him, if that was for the best?  They all being at work in the quarry, the man said, he would just run and see if the dog had eat all his dinner; and while he was gone out, the pit fell in, and killed all his companions.  Thus it was for the best that the dog should steal his dinner.

I find there is nothing like prayer, reflection, and gratitude; but I am exactly like yourself; I am distressed with those opposite sinful propensities, which it is impossible to avoid; these intercept my peace, perplex my soul, grieve my spirit, becloud my evidences, and often steal my heart from God, till the Saviour shines again, and then I am renewed, refreshed, and strengthened again.  May your spirit often thus experience the very gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, causing you to know, trust, and love the person of Jesus, p. 90as your covenant head, alone Saviour, all-sufficient righteousness and atoning sacrifice, ever-living intercessor and wonderful counsellor.  May he be more precious to your heart, and dearer to your soul, in life and death; and may the same grace rest on your dear partner in life, and family, is the earnest prayer, and hearty wish, of your ever sincere and grateful



Valley of Achor, Sept. 5th, 1818.

Mrs. Dudley.


The Lord accepts the will for the deed, from his dear people.  You: would do me much good, if it lay in your power; but the Lord has enabled you to say, To will, is present with me; and the Apostle says, If there was a willing mind, it is accepted.  David wanted to build an house for the Lord, but he had not liberty; yet the dear Saviour sent him word, it was well it was in his heart.  The will was accepted.—Pious Mary had once anointed her Saviour, and she intended to do it again at his burial; but fearing she might not have the honor to embalm him, she came before hand, and anointed him to his burial.  The Saviour accepted the will for the deed, and declared, wherever the Gospel was preached, this kind act should be noticed.  So we find in our experience.  We would love God—without a rival.  We would know him as p. 91he is in Christ; perfectly; we would enjoy him uninterruptedly; we would hold perpetual communion with him; we would serve him, day and night; we would never dishonour him, grieve him, offend him, or slight him; we would never sin against him any more.  But O, we cannot attain to this; how to perform that which is good, we find we cannot.  So we would comfort the saints, relieve the afflicted, cheer the disconsolate, plead for the truth, and support the cause of God.  Bring into the way of truth all our dear friends; and if it was agreeable to the decrees of God, we would bring in all to the knowledge of the truth—however dark you may feel, however miserable you may seem, I hope the Lord will over-rule that, to bring you out of yourself, daily to die to self, daily to be looking to Jesus, and being satisfied that he is your eternal all, that he has taken away all your guilt, that he has bore all your sins, that he has obeyed for you, that he is your intercessor before the throne, that he lives to plead your cause, manage all your concerns, turn every apparent evil into good, will never leave you until he has done all the good he his promised unto you.

I am a little acquainted with your trials; much as I am tried myself, I would not exchange troubles with you.  I thank you for your kind wish, that I may be favored with the divine presence, this is the general prayer of the Lord’s people, for me, and I am much honored with it.  What shall I render to the Lord.  I hope he is leading me to the knowledge of Christ, it is eternal life to know him; and God has promised us an heart to know him, so as to live upon him, make use of him, and give him all the glory.  As this is so capital a blessing, so I must remind you that p. 92this is the work of the Holy Ghost, in the heart; and his sacred indwelling, is the presence of God.  Let thy Presence go with me, prayed Moses.  This was typified by the Cloudy Pillar, which abode upon, encompassed round, and led, protected, and cheered the Israelites, for forty years; and although they often rebelled, fretted, complained, and sinned against God, yet he bore with their manners, changed his conduct, tried them, and permitted them to be beset by enemies, yet he did not take away the cloudy pillar.  You know how to apply this subject.  I bless God the work is going on in your soul, and if the following things I see in you, and gather from your kind letter, are evidences of the work of God, my dear friend is in possession of it.  A being quickened to see the misery of a fallen nature.  Humbling views of your own nothingness.  An earnest desire for communion with Christ, in his own ordinances.  A patient, yet longing, waiting for pardoning love to be manifested to the soul, with power.  A daily cross, felt from nature, sin, Satan, and the world.  A grief of heart, that you cannot serve the Lord as you desire.  Sympathy with the tried people of God.  Gratitude for past experiences, of the power of God on the soul.  A coming out of self daily, and leaning upon Jesus, the best beloved.  This is the path—go on dear Friend—

Wrestle until your God be known,
’Till you can call the Lord your own.

Your’s, in him,


Valley of Achor, Nov. 18th, 1818.

Mr. & Mrs. Tungate.


I trust the God of all grace is carrying on his own work in both your souls.  This may be doubted by you in your darkest seasons, but when you feel the word with power, when you get access to God, when you feel joy and peace in believing, when you feel Christ very precious to your soul, then you are at a point about it.  None can persuade you out of your feelings, nor dispute you out of your esteem for, and love to Christ, his truths, his people, or his word.  Your spiritual birth is clear, your title to heaven is plain, you have then a sensible witness in yourself, that you are born of God, and that you know God.  You have had such seasons: this is tasting the new wine of the kingdom, this is finding the Pearl of great Price, this is the new heart of flesh, this is the right spirit, this is coming into the banqueting house, this is being fed with honey out of the rock, this is enjoying the fatted calf; the ring of eternal love, the wedding garment, and the shoes of the gospel of peace.  This is finding the piece of silver, and proving wisdom’s ways pleasantness, and her paths peace.  This is walking in the light of God’s countenance, and receiving the end of our faith—the present salvation of the soul.  I have had a few such times as these since I have been here, but these have p. 94not lasted long; I wish they had so overpowered me, that they had broke up old nature, and ushered me into the full enjoyment of God.  But the sun is gone down, night is come on again, the beasts of the forest creep forth, the Devil takes every advantage, and the world seems to frown, yet every thing urges the necessity of walking by faith, of making use of Christ as the Almighty physician, the healer of breaches, and the restorer of wanderers.  This is the name that is very precious to us, I am the Lord that healeth thee; and every gracious look from him, melts us, renews us, revives us, and conquers the heart.  This was the look that melted Peter.  A great traveller and writer says he saw some rocks abroad, which dropped water when the sun shone on them.  This was true, indeed, of Peter, whose name signifies a rock, or a stone; and it is equally true of us, who are called stones.  I ever wish to be under the soul melting influence of the Holy Spirit.  Oh, that he would so blessedly overcome our hearts with his love, in great power.  This is what I am praying to feel very often, yet, it is the will of our divine Lord, to exercise our minds sharply with sore trials; and, the very worst of all trials, is a being daily burdened with sin, working within, and, like prisoners, either entreating for liberty, or trying to get out.  These often hide the Saviour from us, and make it winter in the soul; faith is weak, hope is low, love is cold, and patience is gone sick to bed; yet the Lord is at hand, he is very near, although we see him not, nor feel him.  Jacob said, The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.  Philosophers say, The sun is nearer to us in winter than in summer; this does not appear true, but it has been, and is very easily proved.  So Christ, the Son of righteousness, is nearer to us in p. 95our winter graces of faith and patience, than in our summer graces of joy, hope, peace, and love.  He makes his way to us, when we cannot find the way to him, he seeks us, when we cannot seek him, he can find us, and he holds us, when we cannot find him, or claim him as our’s.  That precious text, 13th Zechariah, and last verse, is often precious to me in this furnace; the God of truth promises, first, I will bring you through; second, They shall call on my name; third, I will try them; fourth, I will say they are mine; fifth, and they shall say the Lord is mine.  What a feast does this text afford me in those days of my calamity; some parts have been fulfilled in my experience, the other part will ere long: and as soon as the deliverance comes, we must look out for some other trials.

The Christian’s seldom long at ease,
One Trial gone, another doth him seize.

This is the way; but as loved, redeemed, called, pardoned by precious blood, and justified by imputed righteousness, we shall get safe home, to celebrate eternal mercy, as displayed by a triune God in our salvation.  I long for the time to meet you both again, at the table of the Lord.  I trust Christ will be more dear to us than ever, that we shall be dying daily, and living in, and by, and with Christ.

Your’s, truly,


Achor’s Vale, January 26th, 1819.

Mr. Farmer.


You must think me very unkind, and seemingly negligent in writing to you, but I can assure you I have never forgotten you, from the first day of our acquaintance.  I often anticipate the period when, I hope, we shall often yet meet on praying ground—in the church militant, and finally, in the church triumphant.  At present the church is in a militant state; the term is military, and implies a warfare, contending powers, within and without.  The worst lays within—every evil done in this world, and every sin in devils; we have the root of them in our hearts; this we must feel, groan under, and lament; we derived this nature from our first parent, his sin became our’s, as we stood in him, we sinned in him, and fell with him, we are guilty of his sin, and it is imputed to us.  So we also took a most corrupt nature, and this is seen as soon as we can shew it.  We go astray from the womb, and should stray into hell, if it was not for the grace of God; and being depraved, how could we do any thing that is good.  Alas! if our salvation depended on a good thought, we must have been lost for ever.  Almighty mercy has shewn you those things; and when you hear any talk, or see them hoping upon their own goodness, does it not raise disgust in your mind at the sentiment.  Bless God for causing p. 97you to differ; you might have been left to the blindness of your mind, the perversity of your will, and the hatred of the heart to God!  You find these things still working, but they do not reign.  They, and every other evil in the heart, are like rebellious prisoners, are often contriving schemes to get out, and to regain the old liberty you used to give them; but although they rebel, and may prevail against you, yet, they never can take the castle of the heart.  There may be a bias, a propensity to evil, but you can never be a carnal man again—you may look like one, feel like one, and suffer like one; but though this may grieve you, it shall never be accomplished in the way Satan desires.  Hence Solomon says, There is vanity I have seen on the earth; that there be just men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked, and that there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous.  I said, This also is vanity.  I trust your convictions are genuine, and this is the first work of the Spirit, to prepare the way for the revelation of Christ to the soul.  Christ has no room in an unhumbled, hard, careless, unconvinced, unbroken spirit.  He has declared he will dwell with none but those who contrite and humbled—These characters are particularly described in his commission, as set forth in Isaiah xli, 1, 2, 3.  This was the first text our dear Lord took when he preached in the Synagogue; and although we have no account of the sermon, yet the substance of it was given by our Lord to his disciples, on the Mount, in the 5th of Matthew, where we have an eight-fold description of the persons interested in him, as the eternal life of his saints.  God’s blessing on mount Zion, is life for evermore; and when the Priest, under the old Law, declared the blessing to the p. 98people, he always said, The Lord bless thee; so Christ, our great High Priest, began his sermon with blessing—it was no part of his work to pronounce the curse of the Law.  Hence he said to the Jews, Think not that I will accuse you to the Father, there is one that accuseth you already, Moses, in whom you trust.  There is nothing in the heart of Christ to his people, but love, mercy, pity, goodwill, and kindness; he knows all our sins and God-provoking crimes, in thought, word, and deed, but these he does not so much as mention, only by pleading his precious blood for their forgiveness, and by setting his work against our sins.  Hence these two precious texts, “I, even I, am he that blotteth I out thy transgressions.”  “The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”  It is in the present tense, it is above, yea, infinitely above all our sins.  The precious work of Christ is compared to a sea, for its abundance; and our guilt is compared to a mountain, which may be cast into the sea, but it would be soon lost there.  This arises from the dignity of the person who died for us, it was Jehovah Jesus—possessing every divine perfection in his nature, God over all blessed for ever, who condescended to take up our nature, and obey the law, as man—which himself has given, as God.  This was surprising love indeed, love to his own law, and love to us, as sinners.  May we love him with every power and passion on earth and in heaven.  Christ God-Man is our Saviour—he is the Head of the Church, as the elect, and the only Saviour of her, as fallen.  He is Prophet, Priest, and King to us; and these grand offices he has gloriously delayed in obtaining our salvation, and by the holy influences of the Spirit making them known to us.  As blind and ignorant, we need God-Man for our Instructor.  As p. 99rebels against God, and slaves to Satan, we need him for our King, to subdue and conquer us.  As bound over to judgment, and exposed to misery, we need him as our Priest, to intercede for us.  And this will give you sweet light into that glorious, but well known text, 9th Isaiah, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”  Here is the whole of Christ made manifest, in his two natures, divine and human.  Here are his blessed offices, Counsellor in his prophetic office, the everlasting Father, in his priestly office, the mighty God and Prince of Peace, in his kingly office.  May this subject be precious to your soul, and may God the holy Ghost give you supernatural ideas of Christ, and of the Father’s love to him, and in him.  Most hearers are satisfied with their own natural knowledge of Christ; may you and I be blest with supernatural views—if the Lord favours me with much of this blessing, I shall not murmur at two years captivity.  The liberty of the soul is of the greatest importance; and very often those who have the greatest bondage of body and circumstances, are favored with the sweetest access to God.  When the streams of creature comfort run dry, the fountain is most divinely prized.  Seek his favour, and labour in spirit for the fullest assurance of faith, hope, and spiritual understanding.

My kindest love to your better half, and her dear mother.  Something strikes my mind I shall meet you all three in heaven.  I know not what will befal me in future; the Lord is able to make it light at midnight, and I think I know what it means—’tis darkness all round me, strange it should be light within, yet so I p. 100sometimes find it.  The Egyptian enemies are in total darkness, but the spiritual Israelites have light in their dwellings.  I cannot send your dear wife and mother but these three verses.

Great God I would not ask to see,
What in futurity shall be;
If light and bliss attend my days,
Then let my future hours be praise.

Is darkness and distress my share,
Then let me trust thy guardian care.
Enough for me, if love divine,
At length through every cloud shall shine.

Yet this my soul desires to know,
Be this my only wish below,
That Christ is mine—this great request
Grant blessed Lord, and I am blest.

My heart is so sweetly opened in writing to you all, that you must pardon every error.  I hope you do me the favor of taking in my scrawl every fort’night.  Give my kind love to dear Mrs. Wise, and to Mrs. Barns—God bless you all.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, Dec. 1st, 1819.

Mrs. Wise.


I have had such repeated proofs of your kindness and concern, that I may well address you thus, I cannot sufficiently express my obligations—this is a subject I know is not very pleasant to you, but gratitude compels me to make this acknowledgment.  I beg the Lord to bless you with much grace, in the knowledge of himself; this will be making you really wise indeed, you will then become wise in spirit, as well as name.  God has promised that all his people shall know him, from the least to the greatest, this is the joint work of the adorable Trinity.  The Father teaches us out of his love, and after chastening us with a sense of his displeasure with our sins, he clothes us with the righteousness of Christ, and draws our hearts to Christ.  The dear Saviour accepts us, and shews us the love of the Father to us, opens his own work, instructs us in the knowledge of his person, nature, engagements and offices; while the ever blessed Spirit displays his kind offices, by bearing testimony of Christ in his exact suitableness to us.  He reveals the dignity, excellency, and value of Christ; he bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God.  This he does in his ordinary operations, by enabling us to see, that our experience and views, are agreeable to his promises; that his leadings and teachings, are the very footsteps of the flock; that his word and our experience corresponds.  Thus the ever adorable Spirit, as a witness, p. 102enables us to compare spiritual things with spiritual, spiritual experience with spiritual truths in the word.  In this gracious influence, you would do well to examine the word.  Look, for instance, into many precious Psalms, see how they suit you; then read many grand parts of Isaiah, particularly the 54th chapter; then the latter part of Ezekiel, 36th chapter; the 3rd of John, 10th of Romans, and indeed wherever the work of the Spirit is set forth—because the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, is the sure evidence of an interest in the love of God, and in the person, love, and grace of Christ.  This is an infallible testimony; but sometimes the Lord more sensibly overcomes the soul with his love, and extends peace like a river; then our comforts abound, our joys are real, and we feel that we are at peace with God.  We get then indeed upon the mount of high communion and fellowship, we feel his love, we feel the comforts of the Gospel, we feel the joys of his salvation.  Now, in both these instances the Spirit bears witness; the first is common, the latter special.  I prize the first because it abides, the last, only is enjoyed but seldom—I could wish it always did, but where would be the warfare, where would be the carrying a daily cross.  I have experienced both in this place, more divinely than even I did before; and I am brought to hate sin more than ever, for these three reasons especially; because it is high rebellion against the best of Fathers; because it murdered the Son of God; and because it is so offensive to the Holy Spirit.  These are the reasons; and you know it is one thing to hate sin, because of the injuries it does us, and another thing to hate it, because it offends the Lord.  May you feel the consolations of the Holy Spirit often in your soul, and when you do not, still, I p. 103trust, you will be led to the Father’s record of Christ, and the ever blessed Spirit’s testimony of him; and as your faith increases, so you will find it most blessed to live in believing views of him, as the everlasting covenant Head of his people, as putting away sin, as making intercession for you, and daily presenting your person to God; and as your righteousness, strength, your joy, and your all.  And if you live a thousand years in the church militant, you will never out-live this humble doting of faith—

A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
   On thy kind arms I fall;
Be thou my strength and righteousness,
   My Jesus, and my all.

True wisdom consists in fearing the Lord.  Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.  It also consists in flying to Christ for refuge—The prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself.  It consists in the knowing our sins are forgiven us—The Day Spring from on high hath visited us, to give the knowledge of salvation, by the forgiveness of sin.—It also consists in the blessed operations of the Holy Spirit—The wisdom which is from above is pure, peaceable, and heavenly.  And true wisdom also consists in a good knowledge of the word of God.  This is able in the power of God, to make us wise to salvation.—May this be your happy experience, and you will be wise indeed.

Very kind respects to Mr. F. his dear Mother, and Spouse.

I remain your well-wisher,


Achor’s Vale, January 23rd, 1818.

Mrs. Barnes.


I trust these lines will find you well in health, seeking the Lord from a feeling sense of need, waiting for more grace, that you may love the Saviour more, and serve him better.  He is a good master, and I have found him so.  He is kind, loving, and gracious, and no doubt I shall prove him so to the end.  I find him now in his supporting hand, his sacred presence, his word sweet in reading, and his throne still open to receive my petitions.  I am shut out from my public work, but I am not shut out from God, and I shall yet see why I am put in this place, through the cruelty of a wicked man, who has sworn falsely, both before a magistrate and a judge, when I could not defend myself, but he will have his reward another day.  No doubt I am sent here for some very great end, and if it is but for the good of one soul, it will be worth all my sorrow.  I only want to live to know more of Christ, to bring forth more fruit to God, and to be useful to others—and I may be useful here, as well as in any other place.  I hope you will be favored by the blessed Spirit with an enlarged mind, to see such excellencies in Christ—as God-Man Mediator, as bearing all your sin, as suffering in your stead, as obeying the law for you, taking away the sting of death, rising for your life, ascending to heaven, and appearing in your room p. 105for you before God; in a prepared place to make intercession with God, to send you every blessing, and to wait till your appointed time, then he will send for you home, to be with him for ever.  There you will see his face, and never, never sin.  These are blessings you must long for, if you belong to God.  Sin must be felt as a burden, sin must be hated as an enemy, sin must be fled from as a serpent, sin must be pardoned and took away before God; and nothing can do this for us, but the precious blood of Christ, and the free favour of God, manifested in the work of the Holy Spirit, leading our minds to the Saviour, and enabling us to believe in him to the saving of the soul.  O that you may be blessed with clearer knowledge, stronger faith, greater love, and sweeter obedience.  I am grieved I am not able to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, as I once did, but I live in the hopes of being a greater blessing to the church than I ever was before; but, I trust, if I ever do again, I shall keep many at a greater distance than I did before.  I am at times broken-hearted about the cause of Christ, especially that part of it I had the management of.  It is like a ship at sea, we will call her the Packet Distress—the disciples went out to sea, night came on, the wind blew hard, the sea arose in consequence of it, the poor ship was in the dark, and in the deep.  No sails were unfurled, they were obliged to tug at the oar, and after they had rowed a great way, Jesus was seen on the water coming towards them; but although when they were toiling in rowing, and what is very blessed to remember is, that while they were tossed about on the stormy sea, Jesus was on a mountain, praying for them.  This circumstance was in the 6th chapter of Mark, 45 to 51st verse; the 6th of John, 16 to 21st verse.  I need not p. 106tell you a great storm has arose, by reason of a great wind that has blown—blessed be God it is but wind, and the Lord commands that, and he must allay it, when he has accomplished all the ends he had in view.  And though he permits these things, he has some grand end in view—he will be glorified in all he permits.  The sailors had no sails up in this storm, it was too great, and perhaps very little love is felt by those who are tempest tossed, so that we must ply the oar of all-prayer together, and in due time the dear Redeemer will appeal to our joy.  He is now in heaven, I hope pleading the cause of his poor tried people, and in life own time, when we are tired in toiling and rowing, we shall see him treading down the proud waves of our enemies, and calling out—It is I, be not afraid.  Then all will be calm again—none can make it calm but the Saviour; to him let us look, in him let us hope, life has all power in heaven and in earth, and none can stay his hand, or say, What doest thou?  I hope we shall yet see better days, and live more to God’s glory.  This we cannot do without more grace, and when we feel what poor sinners we are, then is the time to pray for more grace.  It is not enough to be convinced we are sinners, but we must know we are pardoned sinners, and as we receive this knowledge, so our sins are subdued.  Nothing can so truly subdue sin, as the hope, or the full assurance they are forgiven.  I hope the Lord is shewing you what you are in yourself, humbling you with the most blessed views of Christ, and at times giving you a spirit of prayer, and of hearing, and tho’ you are not able to read much, yet I trust many sweet texts of scripture come to your mind, to encourage you to hope for salvation, through the doing and dying of Christ.  I hope you will be led to know more of Christ p. 107and his precious salvation, more of his person and work, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that you may feel the earnests of heaven.  The Lord has promised we shall know him, from the least to the greatest, that he will be merciful to our souls, and that we shall be satisfied with his favour.  This is all that is worth living for, and as it is to his glory, so we glorify him by seeking after this.

I have many precious moments in this place alone.  I find the Saviour very dear to my heart, and though I am much distressed at times about my family, on whose account I weep in secret very bitterly, and also about my friends, who have been persecuted for my sake.  These things grieve my soul, but yet I have much to be thankful for.  All the persons I am situated with, treat me with great respect, and my dear friends supply my wants.  Thus I am favored, time is on the wing, eternity and heaven draws near, we shall soon have done with all temporal things, and God will then fill every power of the soul.  May your life be in faith, and your death glorious.  May God be with you, and among many mercies, may you be thankful the Lord has blessed you with so good a master and mistress, who indulges you with an opportunity of hearing the Gospel—what would I have given for such a situation once.  May the Saviour bless them.

I remain, your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, Oct. 20th, 1818.

Mr. Lawson.


In your kind visit to me last Sunday, you dropped a word which I caught, on that very important text which has sometimes troubled some of God’s dear children, 66th Psalm, 18th verse, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  The reason why the children of the most high are staggered about this text, is because they are the unhappy subjects of the body of sin and death—of course, they feel those strong propensities to sin, of every kind, a carnal nature, with which they are tried, they feel lusts or desires after that which is contrary to God—in their flesh or old man, there is nothing that is good.  This flesh does not mean the body.  For there are many good things in that vessel.  There is a regenerated soul, there are principles of grace, there is the Holy Spirit in it, as his own temple.  But the flesh, the carnal part of an elect person, as regenerated, is distinct from both the body and the soul; yet both are at times influenced, led captive, overcome and ensnared by this plague, this burden, this grief, this old man, so called by the Apostle, and by Solomon called a strange woman, against which, he, in the person of Christ, cautions his children in many places in the book of Proverbs.  The worst part we feel of this evil principle, is the sinful desires for sensual and carnal gratifications.  This was the way-faring man, who came to David, and would not p. 109be satisfied without the ewe lamb; and this same traveller often visits us; for though he is an inmate with God’s children, yet through the reign of Grace, he is not our king, ruler, or associate.  The grace of God has altered all our minds, took the throne of our hearts, and reigns king here.  For thus runs the covenant promise, Sin shall not have the dominion over you, grace shall reign.  We have fell out with sin, we have another nature which hates sin, nor can it ever entertain it more.  We hate iniquity by the holy principle in us.  This iniquity which the Psalmist refers to, I humbly conceive, means those awful principles of pride, and self-righteousness, in which mankind are involved, and by which they deceive their souls.  I need not remind you of the distinction between transgression and iniquity; the one refers to the out-breakings of sin into acts of immorality; the other refers to the carnal ambitious principles of free-will, independence, and self-sufficiency.  David had seen an end of perfection, by the application of the law; he had been in the horrible pit, and miry clay, and had been led to see that his own righteousness could not bear the strict scrutiny of God’s justice, and that in God’s sight, no flesh living could be justified, by any thing they could do.  His mind was fixed on the adorable Redeemer, as his surety, mediator, righteousness, and intercessor—here his heart was fixed, trusting on this he lived and died.  Through this medium alone, his soul had access to God, his prayers were heard and answered, his requests were received, and his petitions granted.  This was an evidence that he had an holy principle within him that hated iniquity, although he had an opposite principle within him that did regard iniquity.  The Lord looks upon us as we are in Christ, and as we are under the p. 110reign of grace, which destroys the reign of sin, transgression, and iniquity.  David hated all the works of the flesh, and above all, those cursed principles which are in opposition to the humiliating doctrines of the Gospel, which teach men to look to, trust in, and make their own works, either in whole or in part, a Saviour.  The Lord had appeared to David, as a prayer-answering God; this was an undeniable proof that he did not regard iniquity in his regenerated soul, and every answer to prayer which we receive, is a most blessed evidence to us, that grace has done the same for us which it did for David.  Hence he acknowledges the mercy, in the two following verses.  I beg you to read the connection from 16th verse to the close.  But my dear friend, may we not look a little higher than David or any chosen vessel; may not this passage belong to David’s Lord, of whom he speaks throughout the book of Psalms.  Was not his nature entirely free from sin and iniquity; was he not holy, harmless, and undefiled, separated and free from iniquity as God himself; and if he had not been so, he could not have made an atonement for his Church, nor wrought out a righteousness for them; but having completed the work, by his interest he obtained the gift of the Holy Ghost, to abide in and with his people for ever.  In this view, only read over the above verse, and you will see a peculiar glory in them, in reference to Christ.  May he be very dear to your heart, living and dying; may you be led to his person and work, and feel joy and peace in believing in the love which God hath for you in Christ.

Your’s, truly,


Achor’s Vale, November 18th, 1818.

Mrs. March.


I well know the cause why you are absent from chapel—if a preacher does not stand manifest to your conscience, you cannot hear him, nor can I blame you.  The time of my deliverance I hope will come, when I trust to meet the Lord’s people once more, and abide with them, till sickness and death finally separate.

The second chapter of Isaiah is a very grand and solemn part of God’s word.  I have no commentators here to explain it, but hope the Lord will give me a little light into it, as I write this short note on it, particularly that important address, in the 10th verse, which you beg a few thoughts on.  The compass of a very long letter, would be too short to set forth one half the beauties and excellencies contained in this part of sacred writ.  The prophet Isaiah is supposed to be the most evangelical of all the prophets, not, but all the rest wrote of the same grand object, Christ, but this great man was led more deeply into the subject.  He lived under the reigns of several kings, and died a martyr, under the reign of Manasseh.  It is supposed he was sawn asunder with a wooden saw.  He was led most divinely to see the person, glory, love, work, and the kingdom of Christ, the nature of the Gospel dispensation, and the peculiar happiness of the Church, p. 112in the first dawn of that period, and its full meridian in the latter day glory.  To these distant times, he, no doubt, alludes in the five first verses of this chapter.  The conquests of grace, is particularly pointed out in the 4th verse.  When Christ, to whom all judgment is given, shall reign in the power of his Gospel, in every part of the world, and when fierce persecutors, who have been as swords and spears against the saints, those being converted, should be made useful characters in the Lord’s garden.  We are exhorted to walk in the light of the gospel, and perhaps our Lord, and his servant John, alludes to this text in their several addresses to the saints, in the Gospel and Epistles of John.  We may, with propriety, call Isaiah the Old Testament Apostle—such were his clear views of Christ, that one would think we were reading a history of circumstances past, more than a prophesy of what was to come, although he lived, probably, seven hundred years before the events themselves took place.  The prophet then proceeds, from the 6th verse of this chapter, and the following verses, to predict the desolation of Jerusalem, for those sins which had so much displeased the Lord, particularly the reigning sin of idolatry, to which the Jews were so awfully prone.  This prophecy may allude to the first captivity, by Nebuchadnezzar, which was a very desolating siege, but more particularly to the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, by the Roman armies, for their rejection of the Gospel, the murder of the Son of God, and their persecution of the apostles and ministers of Christ.  The Jews were all wedded to their own works, and trusting in them, is idolatry.  This was their base conduct, both rich and poor, therefore the Lord was determined to break up house-keeping with them, and devote the p. 113whole land to destruction; and such should be the terrors of the siege, that the prophet is commanded to direct the attention of many to the holes of the rocks and caves of the earth—such should be horrors experienced by all the inhabitants of Judea, from the terrible majesty of Jehovah, when he should shake the earth with his awful vengeance.  This subject is again and again repeated, to shew its certainty and its horror, a faint shadow of the last great day, when our God shall appear in grandeur, our world shall be in flames, when consternation shall turn every unprepared heart pale as the second death, 24th Matthew; and the 6th of Revelations should be read with this chapter, but I humbly conceive this address in the 10th verse, may be applied to God’s children, who should live to see these awful times, and indeed, viewed in a gospel sense, there is no period when the exhortation is needless.  We are sinners, guilty, polluted, undone, and hell-deserving.  God, as viewed in the law, is truly awful.  He appears, and every truly awakened soul sees him, and dreads him as a sin-avenging God, who will by no means of man’s devising, clear the guilty.  The sinner who is under the hand of the law, feels the intolerable burden of his own sins, views the holiness of God, the extent and spirituality of the commandments, and groans under fearful apprehensions of eternal woe, and who finds he can do nothing but sin in thought, word, and deed, notwithstanding all his vows, watchings, and care; yet his mind apprehending the faithfulness and unchangeableness of God, who has declared, The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  This awful perfection dwells on his mind, and the horrors, real and imaginary, seize his spirits.  Here he feels the evil of sin, the terrors of the Almighty, the nature of the law, the impossibility p. 114of being saved by it, the awful state of all who are out of Christ, however moral their deportment, or clear their doctrinal views.  Here a soul sees his need of a surety, his need of a better righteousness than his own, his need of an atonement, and a Saviour, who is God-Man Mediator.  This is learning the subject from real heart felt experience; and this explains many passages in the Bible, descriptive of the feelings of many who were brought into this state.  This is being planted into the likeness of Christ’s death, and when such souls are brought into the liberty of the gospel, they know, even if they cannot explain, what it is to be planted into the likeness of his resurrection also.  Now to all such tried souls, exercised with the terrors of God, and fearing his wrath and terrible majesty, as a sin-avenging God, to all such is the address made, Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust.  When the prophet Jeremiah was exercised, with some awful impressions of the divine majesty, he describes a soul made so willing to see his interest in pardoning mercy, that he putteth his mouth in the dust.  If so be there may be hope, the lowest place that can be, suits such an one, yea, in the very dust, pleading for mercy and pardon, through the blood of the Lamb, and his law-fulfilling righteousness.  I have often been in this state; and perhaps the prophet refers to such a state in the 29th chapter, 4th verse, And thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.  This, although many miseries are experienced, is a safe state; but none can believe that we are thus exercised, till God raises the poor from the dust, and the needy from the dunghill.  See 113 Psalm, 1st of Samuel, ii, 7, 8.  The command is, Enter into the rock.  There is no safety but in him, he is the rock, and his work is perfect.  He is the high, holy, fruitful, p. 115refreshing, foundation; shelter, safety, defence, and strength of his church.  Here many a soul has run, and found safety, help, comfort, and peace: this is the only dwelling place for a law-condemned sinner, who has fled for refuge; here alone is firm, floating, and solid peace, all, all is sea beside.  I must refer you to that blessed circumstance, recorded in 33rd Exodus, and the close of the chapter.  This will greatly assist your spiritual views of the passage under consideration.  It is only in Christ we can see the glory of God.  To enter in, is the mind enabled by God the Spirit’s power, to receive the truth, and to be led by the same Spirit to apprehend the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is revealed.  This is the truth that makes us free, hand as it enters into the mind, so we sweetly enter into it.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, April 4th, 1819.

Mrs. Lawson,


With grief of heart I have to inform you, that poor Dean is appointed to die on Thursday morning.  This is a most distressing circumstance, as I know the poor fellow entertained a hope that it would be proved an act of insanity.  My feelings will be sorely distressed, as I shall have the pain to hear his poor trembling footsteps on the scaffold.  May God prepare his soul, p. 116and assure him of his interest in Christ.  May he feel the pardoning love of God—this will be as pillars of marble, to support his sinking heart.  Oh that he may be washed in the dear Redeemer’s blood, and clothed with his righteousness, that he may be accepted of the Father the moment the soul quits the body.  Glad should I be to visit him, and pray with him, but that is not allowed.  Last night I was very low about him, and suddenly opened upon the 37th Psalm, The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.  If his last letter to me was genuine, he is saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation.  His soul is every thing now, the body will soon be lifeless.  Solemn thought, affecting idea—to be cut off by an untimely death, in the height of health and manhood!  How truly awful; what has sin done, and Oh how great is the power of Satan.  The Lord will put an end to the empire of Satan, and confine him down to darkness, fire, and chains, and we shall say Amen to Satan’s sentence.  I trust poor Dean has found mercy at the hands of God.  Various letters I have sent him, and glad I am the Lord enabled me to point him to the bleeding cross.  His first letter to me, was a proof his mind was very dark, and his last letter proves his increase in light and faith; if the Lord has thus blessed my poor letters to him, you and I can see that I was not sent here in vain.  It is well, the Lord has many means to bring his children to the knowledge of the truth.  What God did to Pharaoh, and his host, reached the ear of Rahab the harlot, in Jericho, and she was converted.  The fame of Solomon’s wisdom was heard in the country of the Sabeans, and proved the conversion of the queen of Sheba.  The wonderful destruction of the Assyrian army, reached to Babylon, p. 117from thence came the wise men to worship Christ, and a church was formed there.  A famine drove Naomi from Bethlehem, and she carried the knowledge of the true God to the country of Moab, which proved the conversion of Ruth.  The Syrians invaded Israel, and took a little maid captive, which terminated in the conversion of Namaan.  A famine drove Elijah to a widow at Zidon, and Elisha’s passing by a house at Shunem, proved their conversion.  Paul and Silas were taken up, and put in prison, and Onesimus was confined in the same place for felony, and Paul was the means of his conversion there.  A person swore that against me which I knew nothing about, and I was doomed to this place for a time.  I dread the approach of Thursday, the shock will be great, but it will be soon over; and then, O what a transition—what bliss will his spirit feel, and what gratitude to God for bringing him home from an ignominious death, to eternal life.  I have been informed Mr. Hyat, of the Tabernacle, visited him several times, and those visits have been blessed to his soul.  I find faith and patience wants strengthening, but all fullness is in Christ.  I am glad prayer is making in the Church for Mr. D.

Ever your’s,


Valley of Achor, May 8th, 1819.

Mrs. O,


I well know your concern about the state of poor Mr. D.  Yourself and your dear sister—dear indeed by a three-fold cord of nature, grace and trials, have expressed much anxiety for some information on the subject of his conversion and end.  I have but few materials to furnish you with that account, as my situation precluded all intercourse with him, except by letter and a distant view of each other.  This was no small matter of sorrow to me, for many weeks, nor could I often help exclaiming in the pathetic language of Jeremiah, “Truly this is a grief, but must I bear it.”

Some time ago, I wrote a few lines to your dear sister, giving her an account of the death of three unhappy men (see Letter 19) but as I could gain no satisfaction about them, sufficient to call your attention to admire that grace, which I was informed they were favored with, I left the subject.  God forbid that I should exercise more charity to dying men, than the Lord has manifested.  I am well convinced that the Judge of all the earth will do right; and although he giveth not account of his matters, yet the day will declare his righteousness, and every dark and mysterious providence will be unfolded; let us therefore wait the great teacher, Death, and God adore.  I am not enraptured with the various accounts of the closing scene of p. 119many, nor am I moved with the darkness to which God’s dear people may be liable at the end of their warfare; all was darkness when the eternal Son of God was dying, yet, he was the Son of God, and Satan may be permitted to harrass a believer to the very gates of heaven; yet thousands are deluded to the last moment, whose hopes are built upon the sand, and whose religion sinks with their lives, when their false refuges and lying confidences give way.  Many profane graceless characters die like lambs, but Oh, could we see what terrors surround them upon its approach to an angry God, in the world of spirits, it would harrow up our very souls.  Many proud pharisees, who are trusting in themselves that they are righteous, that they are better than others, die in the same state.  Many flaming, professors, who boast they have done much for God, and his cause, find in death that God has done nothing for them; and those who only have received the system of truth in the notion, and yet destitute of its power, are in the same awful state.  Many who have come to an ignominious end, have been left to die with a lie in their mouths, declaring their innocence of their crimes; and others have patched up a peace with God, as they call it, by a little sorrow for sin, the receiving the sacrament, by forgiving their enemies, and dying in peace with all the world.  These are some of the various delusions, in which many of our poor fallen race leave this world for eternity; but I am happy to say, that I believe many have gone from the fatal drop to endless bliss, who have been convinced of sin, cried for mercy in God’s way, and obtained a sense of pardoning mercy through the doing and dying of the adorable Mediator.  This has inspired a holy confidence in the mind, that maketh not ashamed, a hope that cannot fail, as it centers p. 120in the person and finished work of Christ.  Great indeed has been the false confidence of many.  Mary, queen of Scots, a rigid papist, went to the block to be beheaded, in a strong confidence.  Rosseau, the infidel philosopher, died as calm as a summer’s evening breeze, and the celebrated Addison said in death, “See in what tranquility a christian can die;” and yet, alas! what was the ground of their hopes?  But the person who is the subject of this letter, was indeed better taught, and we must appeal to the church and the world on his behalf, and say, “Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire.”

It is a mercy to find the Pearl of great Price in early life, as it saves the soul from a thousand thorns, which gall the consciences of those, who do not experience the pardon of their sins till the terrors of death approach.  The Lord has given us one particular instance in his word, of the victory of his grace in the soul, as the body was wracking in the agonies of death, and this is recorded that none might despair, and none might presume.  Two malefactors were crucified with our dear Lord, on Golgotha; and when impious profane wretches, with the hell-hardened priests, were insulting him in his agonies, thieves that were crucified with him, did cast the same in his teeth.  This shews the awful state they were both in, but Oh, the freeness and sovereignty of divine grace—the Lord selected one of those to be an instance of it—at this awful period the Lord Jesus looked upon him, and began his work of grace; the effects were soon visible, in reproving his companion, and submission to his fate, the acknowledgment of his just sentence, with a high commendation of the illustrious sufferer.  This was p. 121presently vented again in prayer, crying first to his companion in sin and sorrow, “Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  We indeed, justly suffer, but this man hath done nothing amiss.”  Then perhaps writhing his agonising body towards his Redeemer, he strove to shew his veneration, by lowly bowing his head.  The effort tore his lengthening wounds, and the blood gushed forth in larger streams; but disregarding the pain, and the streaming blood, he cried, “Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  The dear Saviour, with a divine smile, which entered the heart of the poor malefactor, looked on him with benignity, grace, and love; and with a gentle voice replied, “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”  No doubt this sweet promise was attended with the full pardon of his sins, a sense of divine love, and a joy full of glory.  The peace of God, which his dear Lord was now making for him, filled his wondering mind, and fitted his new-born soul for celestial triumphs.  Here was grace indeed—sovereign, rich, and free.  He saw his Redeemer in agonies, he beheld the midnight darkness which veiled the heavens, he felt the earth quake, and he heard the rocks split when his Lord exclaimed “It is finished.”  No doubt with strange emotions of love, grief, wonder, capture, surprise, adoration, and joy, he cast his dying eyes on his suffering Saviour; he saw our Jesus bow his dear head in death, having obtained eternal redemption for all who come to God through him; and no doubt he longed for the moment when he should breathe his last—but his heart was once more to be broken.  The soldiers came to break the legs of the malefactors, but his Lord was dead already; and the poor thief, with dim dying eyes; yet saw the murderous villain p. 122drive a spear in the heart of that Christ that had pardoned his sin; his soul struggled to get through the body, to the bosom of its Saviour and its God.  His legs being broken, he then expired, and his disimprisoned soul fled to the paradise promised him.  This was grace indeed.

Oh for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break.

This almighty grace, I humbly trust, accomplished the salvation of Mr. D.  It appears from what I can learn, that he had lived in thoughtlessness and folly, and those amusements which are calculated to fasten the bands of spiritual death the firmer; but the Lord stopped him in his mad career, in a very awful way, and with one tremendous sin, punished others, and made it an awful, but gracious means to bring him to reflection, to seeking the Lord, and to that repentance that needeth not to be repented of.  Sin rose to its heighth, Satan did his utmost, and the hand of the Lord appeared; the awful moment of temptation came, he complied, he sinned with an high hand and an uplifted arm—ignorant of the nature of sin, he vainly supposed a child wanted no Saviour, forgetting it is written, “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  He performed the fatal act, and ushered the soul of the child into eternity, destroyed its body, robbed its dear parents of its affectionate embrace, involved them in sorrow, and plunged himself into the deepest horrors, real and imaginary; forfeited his life to the just laws of his country, and if grace had not been manifested, he would have complicated his own everlasting destruction.  Oh, the extent of the crime! how dreadful!  His tortured heart could feel no rest day p. 123nor night, till he gave himself up to justice.  I saw him come into prison, and strange to tell, I felt a spirit of prayer for him influence my mind, which, more or less, abode with me till his execution.  I knew how it would be with him, and I daily feared he would die by his own hands; but the Lord appeared gracious, not only in preserving him, but in giving him a serious concern about his never dying soul.  There was a person in the same class with him, who had been for some time also with me; this person often took occasion to talk seriously with Mr. *** D. and observing the state of his mind, he advised him to write to me; but I being a stranger to him, and his mind sadly agitated, he requested his companion to write to me, and lay before me his distressed feelings, and begged to know from me if there were any hopes held out in scripture, for such a character as he was, and if there were any murderer ever obtained eternal life.  I endeavored to answer him according to the word of God, assured him I was glad to find him under concern for his soul, and asking the way to God.  I pointed out the nature and design of the Gospel, in the revelation of a Saviour, exactly suited to such sinners as he was; the invitation to poor sinners, who were led to cry for mercy from a feeling sense of need; the freeness of divine grace, and above all, I constantly urged the necessity of an application of the atonement to the conscience, and shewed him according to my poor abilities, that the salvation he now stood in need of, consisted in the sense of pardoning mercy.  This I urged upon him to cry day and night for, and never rest till he knew for himself his sins were forgiven, and then I knew all the happy holy consequences that would follow.

p. 124I next pointed out the excellency of the good and just laws of the land in which we live, and although I was most cruelly charged as an enemy to all laws, divine and human, yet this was as false as God was true, as I consider the wholesome laws of the country, to come the nearest to the precepts of the sacred scriptures, and that a Christian, in his best state of mind, esteemed and loved every law of God.  Great peace have they which love thy law.  The next step I took, was to point out those parts of scripture, which suited his case and this I constantly enforced, as I hoped he grew in knowledge, and in seeking the Lord; but I did not answer the question in reference to the possibility of a murderer’s salvation, for some time after, because I considered it necessary that he should be truly wounded, till the healing balm was brought.

I shall not enlarge upon the subject of the various letters I sent him in his unhappy situation, but with respect to the question, “The doubt in the minds of many, whether it is possible for a person guilty of murder, to obtain eternal life:” The scriptures are clear upon this subject.  Many have obtained it, although they most justly forfeit their natural lives, agreeable to the divine injunction, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”  And if a murderer is not detected and executed by the laws of his country, yet, in general, some evil befals them, and they seldom die a natural death; for the word of God is mostly fulfilled in this particular.  But, with respect to the soul, the salvation of that is an act of free, sovereign mercy.  The passage of John’s Epistle, 3rd chapter, 15th verse, should be read in its connexion, and you will find that it explains itself, “Whoever p. 125hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”  This text refers to those hypocrites in a profession of religion, who, in heart, hate those that are truly called of God to the enjoyment of the truth; and such, indeed, is the nature of the holy law of God, that it views unjust anger in the mind, as murder; so says the Lord and fulfiller of his own law, 5th of Matthew.  Who then can hope for salvation from the broken Covenant of Works; but it is very evident that some who have committed murder have been pardoned by the blood of the atonement, and are now in heaven.  God’s highly distinguished servants, both Moses and David, were guilty of Murder; Moses killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand, and David gave orders to captain-general Joab to place Uriah in the front of the battle, that he might be killed; this cruel act was resented by the Lord, for although his sins were pardoned, yet David had a broken heart within, and perpetual wars without.  While Manasseh was in a state of nature, it is said he wrought very much evil in the sight of the Lord—moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very much—and yet, Oh the wonders of free victorious grace!  Manasseh is brought into trouble, into a prison, and into fetters, and there the Lord convinced him of sin, humbled his heart, gave him a spirit of prayer, and made himself known to him as a sin pardoning God.  Some of the murderers of the Son of God were pardoned: for these the dear Saviour prayed, while they were in the very act of crucifying him, “Father forgive them.”  And when the bold and faithful apostle Peter preached to them, he charged the murder of the Saviour to their consciences, God gave them faith to believe in him, grace to receive his word, repentance unto life, p. 126and they were baptized in the name of that very Jesus whom they had crucified.  I might also mention Saul of Tarsus, who gives a most affecting account of himself, in the 26th of the Acts.  And who can tell the list of those who have been humbled and renewed by the grace of God, and who went from the fatal gibbet to glory?  This I trust was the sad, but through mercy, happy case with Mr. D.

After the lapse of a few weeks, when his agitated bosom would permit him, he wrote to me—there was nothing in his letter but what was very natural to expect from a person in his situation; yet, from a few sentences, I was encouraged in my hope that he was seeking the Lord.  I gained information of him every week, and always wrote to him accordingly.  His fears, terrors, and horrors overwhelmed his trembling spirit, and I hoped there was more than nature in it.  Some pious men brought him some religions Tracts.  Good Mr. Smith of Penzance, once visited him, and by the good hand of God, his terrors abated, and his mind was gradually opened by the Holy Spirit, to see the value of Christ, and to make application to him for that mercy and grace he delights to display.  I frequently observed him at the chapel, and when our worthy Chaplain advanced any precious sentence of the fullness and freeness of grace, he used to look at me with smiling approbation; by this I could see he was, at least, gaining some knowledge of the right way, and rejoicing in the truth.  He experienced very violent temptations from the enemy, sometimes to suicide, then to doubt the authenticity of the Bible.  Various were his tossings of mind and deep was his distress, till the Lord led him to receive the atonement in his mind with power; this was p. 127done in the use of the means.  I could humbly wish to have known how this came into his mind, whether by the impression of any scripture, or in any open manifestation of power, light, and liberty.  I heard he was more comfortable than he used to be, and wrote to him to know the ground of that comfort, and the real state of his mind, to which he sent me the following simple and plain Letter.

Mr. C.


I feel much indebted to you for your good advice and kind attention to me under my heavy afflictions.  I have the pleasure to inform you I am a wonder to myself: my mind and heart prone after the riches of Christ—there is no name under heaven, nor in heaven, so precious as his to me.—You know what the Bible promises to all believers.  I have read it, and thought it reached any case but mine, but now, thanks be to God, I find my case and sins were what our blessed Saviour shed his blood for—such rebels as me!  A free pardon is held forth for such vile creatures as I am.  I thank God from my heart, he has done a great work for me—the blood of Christ is precious blood—he is strengthening me much in faith.  I find he is all I need.  I am nothing but sin, and have done no good in all my life, yet he holds a free pardon for me.  He has answered my polluted prayers, and every promise in the book tells me it is for me.  The blessed and Holy Spirit has opened my blind eyes, and shewed me what I am and what Christ is, in some degree, but his riches and mercies none can fathom—his promise takes away the p. 128sting of death.  I am looking to him, and put all things into his hands, and it will be well.

Kind Sir, I remain, your’s, &c.

A great Sinner,
R. Dean.

From this simple letter I received some degree of consolation, and finding his mind was open to receive the atonement for the pardon of all sin, I judged it now expedient to lead his attention to that glorious robe of imputed righteousness which is the end of the law and the glory of the gospel, that he might be able to say

Jesus thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these array’d,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

I pressed his attention to that capital blessing, knowing that faith had to do with that alone to render us just before God; that while the blood of Jesus took away all sin, the obedience of Christ to the Law fulfilled all righteousness—the one excludes from hell, but the other brings us to heaven; “For in the Lord shall all the Seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”  I had, after this, much uneasiness of mind on behalf of poor Mr. D. his situation with so many awful characters, in the same part of the prison, I knew was not very favorable to his growth in grace; yet I knew, if the work was genuine on his mind, it would be carried on; but some persons had attempted to console his mind with this idea, That on his trial it would be proved he was insane.  I feared this would throw him into p. 129a careless frame about his soul, and I fear it did for a time, but the speedy approach of the assize alarmed him, and I hope the Lord quickened him again.  I wrote to him not to listen to any such ideas for a moment, and reminded him of the first intimation of Satan to out first parents—“Ye shall not surely die.”  I trust this had the desired effect; he was tried and cast for death, as I expected, and his fatal day was appointed, but deferred to wait the decision of the fate of another, who was afterwards reprieved.  This was indeed rather an uncommon circumstance, but I fondly hoped the Lord had so appointed it, that poor Mr. D. might be the better capacitated to enter into his awful presence.  In reference to his state of mind, during this period, the worthy minister of the place constantly visited him, and held forth the suitable consolations of the gospel to his view, nor were those visits in vain.  I frequently heard Mr. D. pray aloud, and with much energy.  The day before his execution (April 7, 1819) he was visited by a Nobleman and his respectable Friend, who, in imitation of their divine Lord, delights to go about doing good; may God prosper their efforts, and another day fulfil in those honorable persons all those gracious promises in the 41st Psalm, 1, 2, 3rd verses.  Some pious, Friends from the Methodist Society often visited him, and prayed with him, and I trust felt the presence of the Lord with them; as an evidence of his approbation of their work of love, some continued with him all the night previous to his execution: Mr. D. received them kindly and gratefully.  The visitors did not perceive the least sign of insanity, but a calm composedness of mind, and an humble trust in the atonement of Christ, and without the shadow of a doubt of the pardon of his sins.  Believe me, I feel an emotion of gratitude and p. 130tears while I write this.  He could give no account what induced him to commit the horrid deed, but spoke very composedly on every subject.  He joined the gentlemen in prayer, and singing an hymn—

Behold the bleeding lamb of God,
   Nail’d to the shameful tree;
How vast the love that him constrain’d
   To bleed and die for me.

About an hour after, leaning upon the shoulder of one of the visitors, he requested him to sing that sweet hymn again, in which he joined them, with a sweet and heavenly frame of mind; but Satan was to have his last onset, and about the middle of the night the enemy harrassed him sorely, deep darkness pervaded his mind, and his heart trembled with fear.  The dear friends perceiving this, advised him to retire and read alone, and they withdrew to the other end of the room.  After he had read a little, he fell on his knees, and prayed most fervently, consistently, and scripturally.  Satan left him, and his mind became quite serene.  At seven in the morning, when he was preparing all things necessary for his final departure, he addressed a fellow prisoner in a most surprizing and affecting manner; spoke of the mercy he had received, and encouraged him to call on God for pardoning mercy, through the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The visitors then read a letter from his dear friend, the uncle of the dear child, in which he praised God for the mercy Mr. D. had found, and from the tenor of the letter, we trust the day dawns on his mind, and the day star begins to shine.

Mr. D. attended the solemn service at the chapel, p. 131and received the Lord’s supper; not to make his peace with God, but in thankfulness to his dear Lord who had made it for him on mount Calvary.  The solemn bell announced his approach, and my soul was overwhelmed with solemn grief, which I endeavored to vent out in prayers and tears.  At nine o’Clock I heard him, having ascended the scaffold, in supplication, which increased in fervent entreaties, and committing his soul into the hands of the Redeemer.  His petitions were earnest and importunate, and as he increased in agitation, so also in devout intreaties, crying, Lord Jesus receive my spirit; Look, look upon a poor murderer.  Oh, by the blood of the cross, by the blood of calvary, look upon me.  Lord have mercy upon me.  Lord— here he was going to speak again, but the drop fell, and his soul took its flight to the bosom of its Saviour and its God; with Christ in his heart, heaven in his eye, and Lord—on his tongue.  Thus died poor Mr. D. a sinner, saved by grace alone.

I trust his sad case was laid on the hearts of many God-fearing persons, and many prayers were put up for him, nor did they return empty.  Some of our dear friends had several precious tokens for his good; and I am happy to say I gave some hope, that the death of Mr. D. is the means of the spiritual life of one in the family: perhaps it will not end here.  I must add, that the worthy family to whom the child belonged, most freely forgave him the rash act, and paid every attention to him during his confinement.

From this short account of poor Mr. D. I think we may discover some of those blessed evidences which characterize a real believer.  His brokenness of spirit p. 132and honest confessions, prove his humility before God: his crying day and night to the Lord, evidence his eternal election; his mind being led to the Saviour manifested his adoption, and his receiving the atonement and resting upon Jesus, shewed that his faith was genuine.  His temptations demonstrate Satan’s hatred to him, and his entreaties for mercy to the last moment, prove that he had obtained mercy: “Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”  I would call your attention in this letter, to the infinite evil of sin, the mystery of divine providence, the wonders of almighty grace, and the necessity of fervent prayer for divine keeping; “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe;” but this would fill a volume.  You can recollect I have observed, that the Lord in general resents a murder in his own way, and in his own time, although the murderer may escape condign punishment.  This has been proved in many instances, one of which I have just read in the Methodist Magazine, which I will just mention in few words.

A gentleman was riding over Hounslow Heath, when a poor man, with his little boy, ran after him to solicit relief; but the gentleman refusing, the beggar continued his intreaties, which aggravated him that he drew his sword and laid the poor beggar on the ground, and then rode away: the poor boy screamed out that his father was killed.  Ten years after this, as he was riding near the same place, some boys were playing at cricket, and one of them hit the gentleman’s toe with his ball.  It was painful, and a surgeon at Brentford, told him it would prove of dangerous consequence.  He came to London for advice, and was informed he must suffer amputation, as a mortification had actually p. 133taken place.  He would not give his consent to this, and death approached.  The doctor asked him if he knew any thing of the boy who had thrown the ball, and he said he did, for he well remembered he was the son of the old man, whom he had killed some years before.—Verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Wishing you all grace, I remain,


Achor’s Vale, February 16, 1819.

Miss Grummant.


I am quite grieved the Ancient Paper you was so kind as to lend me, has not been returned to me; if I was out from this place I could procure another, and will do so, God willing; but I will tell you every word of it.


As it was found in an Ancient Manuscript, sent by Publius Lentulus, President of Judea, to the Senate of Rome.

There lives at this time in Judea, a Man of singular Character whose name is Jesus Christ; the barbarians esteem him as a Prophet, but his own followers adore him as the immediate offspring of the immortal GodHe is endued with such unparalleled virtue, as to call back the dead from their graves, and to heal every kind of disease with a word or a touchHis person is tall, and elegantly p. 134shaped, his aspect amiable and reverend; his hair flows into those beauteous shades which no united colours can match, falling into graceful curls below his ears, agreeably couching on his shoulders, and parting on the crown of his head, like the head dress of the sect of the NazarenesHis forehead is very plain, smooth, and large, his cheeks without a spot or wrinkle, save that of a lovely red, his nose and mouth are formed with exquisite symmetry, his beard is thick, and of a colour suitable to the hair of his head, reaching a little below his chin, and parted in the middle like a fork, his eyes grey, bright and clear, quick and sereneHe rebukes with majesty, counsels with mildness, pleasant in speech, and invites with the most tender and persuasive language; his whole address, whether by word or deed, being courteous and friendly, elegant, grave, and characteristic of so exalted a beingNo man has seen him laugh, but the whole world beheld him weep frequently, and so persuasive are his tears, that the multitude cannot withhold theirs from joining in sympathy with hisHe is very temperate, modest, and wise, in short, whatever this Phænomenon may turn out in the end, he seems, at present a man, for his excellent beauty and divine perfections, every way surpassing the Children of Men.

This is certainly a very pretty description of the human nature of our dear Lord, and I feel half inclined to suppose that our first parent Adam, was a little like him in person—this is only a carnal notion, I acknowledge, but I cannot forbear to indulge it.  The psalmist David, said of Christ, eight hundred years before he came, “Thou art fairer than the children of men:” yet this dear visage and beauty was marred, spoiled, more than any man’s; grief had so affected him, that when but thirty, he looked like a man of fifty years of age.  He was a man of sorrows, and his most intimate acquaintance was grief; he saw such an infinite evil in sin, the hourly insults poured upon God by the whole p. 135world; he saw Jehovah slighted, ridiculed, abused, hated, and opposed; his whole heart loved Jehovah, and this broke his heart, lay heavy on his spirits, and caused him to say, as in his own common prayer book, the Psalms, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.”  He saw the dreadful state his own children were in, and what he had to endure to make an atonement for them.  Every now and then one of his soul pangs took him; hence we read of his being troubled in spirit, agitated and troubled in soul.  This was some time before his sufferings in the garden.  But while we admire his outward beauty as man, what vast beauty possessed his mind—wisdom, prudence, chastity, holiness, zeal, understanding, faith, hope, love, and joy; in the principle—mercy, commiseration, pity, affection, patience, gratitude, and fidelity.  Look at his actions, and they all correspond with the holy principles of his mind, and this holy nature was the image of God, the exemplar pattern and likeness of the new man of grace in the souls of God’s children; but Oh, what an exalted idea does the sacred pages give us of this blessed Jesus; he was, he is God-Man.  His body was but the casket, his divinity the rich jewel it contained.  He was united to the Son of God, to God the Son, who is over all, God blessed for ever.  He is God-Man, he possesses every divine perfection; he is Jehovah, God and Lord; he is stiled, Jehovah 330 times in the old Testament; he is called God 90 times in the old Testament, and 25 times in the new.  He has put away sin by his obedience and sufferings; he is exalted above the heavens.  How truly beautiful and glorious he appears in the midst of heaven, wearing our nature, but shining brighter than a million suns—the delight of the Father p. 136and the Holy Spirit—the joy of saints and angels; and whatever was his appearance on earth, we can form no idea of his human nature in heaven.  God bless you while young, with some very sweet views of him, that he may be dear to your heart in youth and age, in life and death.

So prays your affectionate well wisher,


Achor’s tale, September 29, 1818.

Mr. G. Gray.


What can I say to you, and how can I sufficiently thank you for your kindness and benevolence of heart and conduct; well might the apostle exhort, “Let us not love in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth;” and this has been your conduct to me since my abode at the sign of the unstrung harp, near the weeping willows, by the rivers of Babylon.  Here I at present live, but what the Lord promised the Israelites in captivity, he is most graciously fulfilling in my case.  I need not remind you that Achor was a valley in Jericho, where Achor the son of Carmi was stoned; perhaps the valley borrowed its name from the circumstance itself.  Achor means trouble, and you know what is written in your favorite chapter, 2nd of Hosea.  What an affecting picture the Lord has given us of Israel’s ingratitude p. 137and rebellion; but having determined from all eternity, that where sin hath abounded, there grace also should much more abound, and triumph over all the sin of his people, which has brought them into so much trouble, as Achan did the Israelites, that in the very midst of that valley of Achor, he would open a door of hope, and give them strong consolations; that there he would manifest his pardoning love, display his eternal power, sanctify the cross to them, reveal his love to the heart, and though in the very midst of trouble, yet his people should sing of his mercy, truth, faithfulness, kindness, and righteousness, all which are displayed in their marriage union to Christ, the date of which is as ancient as eternal election.  The grand displays of it was in the great act of the Redeemer’s incarnation.  The means to bring about this union, was the removal of all the awful impediments which were in the way, by the obedience, the sufferings, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, intercession and life of Christ, as Mediator in heaven for us.  Nor can this blessed union be felt or enjoyed by us, till God the Holy Ghost has subdued our enmity, quickened our souls, reconciled us to God’s mind, shewed us the person, love, and work of Christ; made us willing by his power, created holy desires in the soul, and enabled us to say, Thou, Oh my God, in Christ art the thing that I long for.  Here is union felt; and as the soul is led on in the knowledge of the great things of God, it is enabled to trace the origin of this union to the counsels of eternity.  I trust you will, my dear brother, be enabled when you are called forth to stand up as a spokesman for your dear Lord, declare what you know of the counsel of God, not that you, or any other preacher, either know or can declare the whole counsel of God.  Nothing is p. 138more common than this expression, and nothing can be more erroneous.  I do not believe any one ever declared the whole counsel of God, since our Lord and his apostles on earth—they declared the whole, perfectly and infallibly; but other ministers, however faithful they are, must not say so, it is an error; but what the Lord has taught you, that you can declare, even the truth as contained in the grand doctrines of the Gospel; the perfections and glories of the divide Jesus, the original ruin and present corruption and misery of man, the spirituality of the holy law of God, the perfect satisfaction of Christ, complete justification by his imputed righteousness, regeneration by the operations of the eternal spirit, spiritual faith and evangelical repentance towards God; love to, arising from the knowledge of the adorable Trinity in Unity, the warfare between the flesh and the spirit, the trials of the way, the temptations of the adversary, the strength, light, and comfort afforded us; the stability of the eternal covenant, the depths of divine mercy, the perpetuity of eternal love, with all the happy consequences of these truths in the life, conduct, and the whole conversation.  You and I, my brother, are not afraid these great truths will make their possessors careless of their conduct; No, every sin felt and discovered, or the least outbreakings of it, is as a dagger to the heart, a load upon the mind, nor can there be any rest till a fresh manifestation of pardon is felt.  We consider the work of the ministry to be the greatest work and the highest honour ever conferred on a poor fallen creature here.  To make use of the language of good old Mr. Ryland, here is full scope for fear, hope, gratitude, justice, compassion, zeal, interest, ambition, glory, pleasure, and unbounded fire; rise ambition, p. 139rise glory into intense fire, and joy without bounds or end.  Reflect, O my soul, what astonishing glory for me to be decreed and ordained by the great Head of the Church, to copy God’s eternal thoughts, to receive the infusions of ideas from all the holy inspired penmen; to be called out of nothing, out of meanness, obscurity, baseness, sin, and misery, to stand in the place and room of the eternal Son of God, to paint his perfections, to blaze abroad his glories about the world, to display the virtue of his blood, and tell of his astonishing death, the grandest action in the empire of God—to express this action in a thousand points of light, to have the most intimate treaties with immortal souls, to do nothing but transact with souls—blood-bought souls; to be an ambassador, an angel, a representative of the Son of God; to be put into his place (in a certain sense) as a preacher, to have commerce with deathless souls, to be inrolled by Christ in this time state amongst the faithful and zealous preachers, and for Christ to value us as dear and important to himself, and to the church.  This subject is so great, I scarcely know how to write it, but so interesting, I must send you a line or two more.  What a glory to revive gospel doctrines, to display Christ’s glory, and to raise the credit of the work of the Spirit; to die with the highest dignity, angels and good men around my bed, and God himself within my soul.  O what a glory is this, to rise up amidst throngs of admiring smiling angels, before the throne of the Son of God; to see all the great and good preachers in heaven look at me as I rise, to hear them say, Here, see, here he comes from his study, from his pulpit, and from the bed of death to our shining worlds, and to his Master’s throne.  See how Jesus looks at him, see how he crowns him.  Hark what he says to him, Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy p. 140Lord.  See him bring forth the crown of glory, and put it on my head, for Christ will not trust the noblest angel in heaven to crown his saints: he will do it himself, and will say, Here, ye labourers, take your reward; ye shepherds, take your honour; ye soldiers take your military glory; ye ambassadors, ye stewards, ye angels of the churches, take your immortal crowns, live for ever surrounded with sun beams, and crowned with stars.

May this felicity be yours and mine—’tis well, perhaps, the dignity, importance, responsibility, and trials of the ministry, are hid from our eyes at the entrance on the work, or I think none would go into it at all.  What I have since seen, had I seen it before, I do not think I should so willingly have run, but would rather have been dragged.  There is but one thing would ever make me very willing to enter on the sacred work, and it is that—and that love which makes me willing to go forward again.  Do you ask me what that is?  Why the same which made Isaiah willing to go, after he had seen the glory of Christ God-Man, having finished salvation’s work, exalted, glorified, and adored, revealing the word of pardon with power to his soul, and assuring him he was pardoned; then he said, Here am I, send me —.  See 6th chapter of Isaiah.  I know the passage will bear a higher comment, but I humbly conceive it represents Isaiah’s commission, and I can assure you, it is only such feelings, views, and enjoyments, that make me willing now, whatever were my motives before.  I can appeal to the Lord, as the searcher of all hearts, I want nothing now to do with the ministry, but to proclaim all that I am led to understand by the terms God-Man Mediator.

p. 141Farewell.  Let this epistle be read to all those who expound in the vestry on Friday nights.



Valley of Achor.

Miss Ingle.


I send you back the Diary of your late dear sister, which I have perused with mingled emotions of joy and grief, of pleasure and pain.  Blessed be God for the grace given her in Christ Jesus, before the world began, and manifested to her in so many pleasing and painful ways.  I wish I had money to spare to send it into the world; but alas, I am straitened, yet I have cause to be eternally thankful, and I beg the Lord will bring me home to glory, to praise his dear name for it.  My heart is most sensibly affected with your dear mother’s trials: what a constant visitor affliction is at your house.  How many times hath death looked in, and took away those of your family that were particularly dear to you all.  Nor is he easy, he is on the road again.  The glorious conquerer of death, has by his obedience and sufferings, his blood and death, converted him into an angel of peace, a messenger of joy, sent to conduct you to the upper and better house—

Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in.

p. 142The pulling down the earthly house is all the misery, but it has got the leprosy in the walls, and it must come down.  Sin, that tyrant and ugly monster, has rendered it necessary that it should be changed, in order to enjoy union to the happy soul in another state.  The body has sinned with the soul, and it must suffer with it, the body was redeemed with the soul, and it must also be saved with it.  But in order to enjoy that, it must experience a change by sickness and death.  This is a painful subject, but the Lord will make it familiar to you.  I trust whenever death comes to you, he will wear an angel’s form, that he will be only your Lord’s porter, sent to open the gates of glory, and conduct you through the consecrated way which our Lord has trod.  As all things are now dying with you, I humbly hope the Lord will most graciously visit your soul with his love, shew you that your sins are forgiven through the doing and dying of a precious Saviour.  He has blotted out, done away, hid, removed, and covered all the sins of every coming sinner; and he says, Let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon; precious text.  Returning to the Lord, is the heart, mind, faith, and hope of a soul, who was chosen in Christ, and united to Christ.  Now, by the power of the spirit bending, inclining, seeking, and desiring Christ.  Coming to the Lord our God is moving in mind to the Father, as a God of love, grace, and mercy, in Christ to us.  Yet, if the Lord is drawing you to Christ, as your only hope, mark, he will have mercy, he will abundantly pardon.  Are you, my dear girl, seeking his favour and mercy to be manifested to your soul, convinced of your need of it? is your heart set upon it? do you believe that you shall be lost without it? and has God the ever p. 143blessed Spirit shewn you that Christ is a suitable Saviour, and that he is the gift of the Father’s love to guilty man?  And do you choose him as your Saviour and only hope, your atoning sacrifice, and your only righteousness?  God be praised, you have ever heard the gospel, which has pointed you to him, though you know it is not enough to be pointed to Christ, but we want bringing to him.  Hence the promise, They shall come, and I will lead them.

Let me conclude this short letter by reciting a few texts, to encourage you in seeking the Lord.  If thou seek him, he will be found of thee.  If thou seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.  Thou Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee.  Your heart shall live that seek God.  I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek me in vain.  Ye shall seek me, and find me when ye search for me with all your heart.  Seek ye the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.  Seek ye me, and ye shall live.  The Lord is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.  He that cometh to God, must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him for good.

These are among the many precious promises that the Lord has given to his people, to encourage them to seek his face, his favour, and his friendship.  May the Holy Ghost shine on his word, and shine into your beast; to give you joy and peace in believing.

Grace be with you,

p. 144The dear girl is since gone home to glory, testifying as she sunk in death, that the Saviour was very precious to her soul.


Valley of Achor, April 12, 1819.

Mr. Edmunds.


It is many months ago since I saw you, but I hope you are still in the ways of God, looking unto Jesus.  You and I have been taught to see there is nothing but misery and destruction out of Christ, nor any hope but in his word and work.  The Lord has opened to us the spirituality of his law, and often reflected an humbling sense of his displeasure on the mind.  Sin has been felt, and guilt has laid us low—fear, dread, and darkness has been on the soul, and bondage, enmity, rebellion, and distance, has been most sensibly experienced.  These things have frequently beset me since I have been here, and although they have been painful feelings, I esteem them after they are over, as to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.  But the Father not only chastens us, but he draws us to Christ.  He first teaches us our lost state.  I do not say the Lord communicates this bondage, this darkness and misery, but we are quickened to feel our sinfulness, and all these unpleasant sensations come on, of course; but being thus chastened, we are taught the value of Christ, by seeing our need of a Mediator, a surety, a better righteousness, and an intercessor in the light of the p. 145word; and by the spirit we see the exact suitableness of Christ, and are quickened to long for a sense of his mercy, the pardon of sin, and peace with God, in God’s own way.  This we desire above all things else; and the adorable Father draws us out in holy, humble desires, fervent breathings, and earnest entreaties for the joys of pardoning love, and a gracious visit from Christ.  The Father kindly guides our eyes to the promises, the invitations, the precious declarations, and kind words of the Saviour in the Gospel.  These draw the heart; and as faith gathers sweet views, so hope springs up, and the fears of death and hell, with a sense of God’s anger, gradually abate.  The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus in the word, and in our hearts; gives us blessed views of his person and love, his infinite condescension, and his most blessed work in putting away sin, and fulfilling the law; conquering death and subduing hell; and as living a life of mediation in heaven for us.  These things become precious, as the mind is opened to receive these truths; and as power is felt, so the fruits appear.  His love is seen, and this sight under the spirit’s power melts us into nothing, produces godly sorrow, sweet repentance and humility, self loathing, and glowing love to God.  This, this my dear friend is my past, and often is my present experience, and my conscience can witness to it; and as to the bad opinion which good men have of me, it once distressed me; but since I have found the good opinion of crowds has been a snare to my soul, has puffed me up with pride, and set me down in carnal ease, I am best without it.  Applause does not agree with my spiritual constitution, I grow best in the valley.  Can the flag or the rush grow without the mire?  I wish I had never courted the applause of man, but had been a little more anxious for the approbation p. 146of God and my conscience.  A good name was an idol, and the Devil has run away with mine; no doubt in many cases I have justly deserved it, and now it is my duty, privilege and mercy, to learn what God means by this trial.  Hence the command, Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it; and the men of wisdom shall see thy name.  I have taken the highest seat in God’s house, but the dung hill and the lowest form in the school suits me now.  I have been building my nest in the tree of creature friendship, but this storm has blown it down, and now I am glad to embrace the rock I wet with the showers from the mountains of trouble; but I find shelter, hope, and solid rest in Jesus and his finished work.  I shall be more fit to preach when I return, than I was before; but I will never preach again, till the Lord evidently calls me out.  I ran once, but I ran too fast, and fell into trouble.  When God lifts me up again, I shall stand more surely and safely, because I hope to stand in the Son, to abide in the vine, to continue in the truth, to keep in the love of God, and all that these expressions imply.

I trust you and your’s are growing in grace, that you still find the Saviour precious, your helper and deliverer.  The Lord is with me, and I know it, and the good of it will be seen after many days.  Kind respects to those who still secretly esteem me for my master’s sake.


p. 147LETTER XL.

Valley of Achor, June 1st, 1819.

Dear Miss Smith,

The little Poem on Friendship which I read to you, and you was so kind as to compliment, will be published shortly, separate from this little work.  It is a good remark I have somewhere met with, that Friendship is a plant of too delicate a nature to grow, with any great degree of luxuriancy and fruitfulness, in the soil of the human heart; but I ever wish to prize its buds, its blossoms, its fruits, its very leaves, and above all, its Divine Root; and I have a hope founded upon the doing and dying of the adorable Friend of guilty man, that I shall enjoy this best of gifts in its eternal bloom, in a brighter better world, when the winds of scandal shall howl no more; the tumultuous waves and the roaring billows of complicated grief shall distress my already tempest-tossed mind no more for ever.  I have found many acquaintance who hummed about me in the warmth of prosperity, but like summer insects, those butterflies disappeared, when the cold blasts of adversity, by reproach, struck a few of my outward enjoyments; but I am more divinely led to the enjoyment of that love which can never alter or decay.  I have learned wisdom now, in some measure, to discriminate between friends and acquaintance; and although the latter have started back in the day of battle, yet the former still bear me on their hearts in the right place, p. 148and here they present me, that my trials may be sanctified to me, and to the Church at large.  David had many acquaintances, but did not find a Jonathan every day.  In the Church, or in the world, my trials are great; but these would not have been so (speaking after the manner of men) if all my acquaintance had been real friends.

I beg to conclude this note with a few jingling verses, with my most affectionate and grateful respects to your dear father and mother, and hope ever to bear in mind their unwearied kindness.

Had all mine acquaintance been friends,
   At whose urgent request I have run,
To answer some frivolous end,
   And injure me when I had done—

Had all mine acquaintance been friends,
   My case before God they would lay,
And, knowing his will in his word,
   Have helpt me to watch and to pray.

Had all mine acquaintance been friends,
   They ne’er would have robb’d me of peace,
But comforted, cheer’d, and upheld,
   And wish’d me an increase of grace.

Had all mine acquaintance been friends,
   They ne’er would have wounded my name,
But covered my errors in love,
   And reproved when I was to blame.

Had all my acquaintance been friends,
   They’d ne’er have rejoic’d in my fall,
But pitied, and prayed, and upheld,
   And for strength on my Saviour wou’d call.

p. 149Had all mine acquaintance been friends,
   They ne’er would have left me in woe,
But wept in my grief and distress,
   And encourag’d me onward to go.

Were all my acquaintance such friends
   As Miss S— and her parents so kind,
My spirits much higher would tend,
   While gratitude fir’d my mind.



Valley of Achor, February 2nd. 1818.

Mr. & Mrs. Martin.


Grace and peace be to you both.  I would have wrote before now, but not knowing your direction, I waited till I had the pleasure of hearing of you, which I did this day, from my much esteemed Friend Mrs. Brown.  I have no news to relate, I only write to assure you the Lord is very gracious to me; and by his word, and by his spirit, he bears up my sinking mind like pillars of marble.  I am a monument of mercy indeed, and so you would say, if you knew my broken heart and afflicted mind.  I am at times brought very low, but then I get lifted up from the dunghill, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.  I trust you will not be moved by the things which have happened to me.  There is now and ever will in this world be a peculiar p. 150mystery in divine providence; but God is his own interpreter—the dear Saviour is the great Head of the Church, and as he loves us, desires our company, and wants to give some particular expression of his love; so he brings low, empties us, chastens, tries, and alarms us.  The cup of salvation being allotted us, we must meet with alarming providences, which are not explained to us, till he reveals himself, as our brother, gives us a double mess, and an exchange of raiment.  The things that have befallen me, I trust are in covenant love; the Lord is only putting on his yoke, and opening a way to manifest his grace the clearer, and to prove the riches of his mercy.  O that we may yet praise him who is our helper, and in due time will be our deliverer.  My sun is gone ten degrees back, like Hezekiah’s, but the Lord will bring it up.  My master has given orders, and I, for shame, have taken the lowest seat.  I feel convictions of sin sharper, but I find Christ more than ever blessed.  O could every brick and book in my room speak, they would tell what passes between God and my soul.  I am grieved to be here, on account of my friends, my family, and the cause of God, and my poor heart is at times completely melted.  I am in real sorrow, yet I have now, and shall ever have cause to bless God for what I am learning in this painful school.

I would now ask how is my dear afflicted companion in tribulation Mr. M.  I trust our dear Lord has appeared for him in his kind providence, and that the Saviour is precious to his soul; I am begging the Lord to teach me how to live a life of faith on the Son of God.  Christ himself, when here below, lived and died in faith, and the Apostle said, He lived on Christ as crucified, p. 151as his righteousness, his intercessor, his head and representative.  This is the life I want to live; but then I find there is no life but as it is given me daily, nor can I exercise this life of faith, but as power is given from above.  We live by virtue of being quickened by the spirit, though we often get dead, dark, cold, carnal, and lifeless, so that we can hardly call it a life.  But the Apostle says, Not I, but Christ liveth in me.  I want my dear Mrs. M. to notice this expression.  I hope, as a Child of God, and as deeply tried, I am alive in your mind, I exist, I live in your mind—you often think of me, but you cannot do for me what you would: I take the will for the deed.  Now, as we see what it is for a friend to live in us, the subject is clear to you: Christ has an existence in your mind, as you have heard of him; this is the difference between a worldling and a believer; the former hears of Christ, that is enough for him; the other not only hears, but Christ has a place in the mind, as he is set forth in the word: the will makes choice of him, the affections are fixed on him, faith trusts in him, hope expects him, patience waits for him, love enjoys him, and, as our views enlarge, and power is given to see him taking away sin, conscience enjoys peace with God, because it is given to faith to see God is everlastingly at peace with us.  Well may the Apostle say, Lord increase our faith; this is what I want, and I hope my much-loved friends are favoured with it.  I am at present in the furnace but the Lord regulates the heat, and I am at times so happy I really dont want to come out of it; but sometimes it is so hot, all the dross and tin of my rebellion boils up, and I am astonished the Lord ever lets me live at all.  I wonder at his patience and forbearance, and when I taste his mercy and love, my affections are led out to p. 152him again, and I long to get to glory to praise him as I desire to do.  I have much to be thankful for; my wants are supplied, and the Lord is with me, so that it is better with me now than the last two years of my liberty; the Lord has both pardoned and subdued my sins, and he is leading me on in the divine life—only the weather is cold, nights are long, my company is bad, and I have hardly time or place for reading or writing, except what I get by stealth.  How long this trial will last, I know not, I long for it to be over, but I fear I shall loose my sweet seasons.  My heart is overcome with grief, when I think of the poor Packet Distress: she is out at sea, in the dark and in the deep.  I want my heart fixed at all times, trusting in the Lord; I know it will be well with them that fear the Lord, and I have reason to believe the Lord has blessed me with that grace, and keeps me in it, but we find that more sensibly at one time than another, so David found it; how he feared the Lord when his conscience checked him for cutting off the lappet of Saul’s coat, but where was his fear of God in the Matter of Uriah?  We want our weak graces kept alive, maintained, and exercised on their proper object; they must be tried, and as God tries our graces, so he gives us an opportunity of trying him, and as we have found him faithful in times past, so we shall again, to his own honour.  He knoweth the path I take, and when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold—Christ is the gold, and we are said to be predestinated to be conformed to his image, both in spirit, trials, and glory.  The Apostle has set before us a noble army of cross-bearers, and after he had advised the Church to notice those stars in the 11th of Hebrews, he recommends a perpetual looking at the Son, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross; p. 153and a cross is allotted for all the saints, either in soul, body, circumstances, family, from Satan or some sin, from saint or from sinner.  This has been the Lot of God’s family, and you cannot say that you have been exempt—many, and deep have been your trials, but you are still the living, the living to praise him.  God be with you.



Valley of Achor, August 1st, 1819.

Mrs. Harbro.


I trust you are well in health, with your family; it is just a year ago since I last wrote to you, which letter being wrote under very peculiar circumstances, and under the powerful influence of grace which I felt at that time, which letter I have in reserve to be published at a future period, when the Lord turns my captivity.  Many, and great have been your changes and trials since that time; we live in a world of changes and vicissitudes, it may justly be compared to the sea, ever restless and uneasy, exposed to many storms and dangers, but the Lord has engaged to conduct us safe home, and will surely bring us to that haven of eternal rest and peace; and as this is the case, we need not murmur, although our Ferry Boat is a little tossed about, and some of the passengers prove very troublesome, we shall soon get home, eternal love has sworn p. 154to bring us safely there; and though the mountains depart, and the hills be removed, yet his kindness shall never depart from us, nor the covenant of his peace ever be removed.  The Lord foresaw what poor sinners we should be, and he could have prevented it, had it been agreeable to his eternal purposes; but if it had been prevented, what should we have known of the boundless mercy of his heart, and how could we have known any thing of the lovely precious Saviour and Redeemer.  God had decreed that the vessels of his glory should be vessels of his mercy first, and all he has purposed, promised, and done, is for the riches of his grace, in kindness towards us, by Christ Jesus; and this free unmerited favor of a covenant God, has brought salvation of every kind to us: we have experienced some of them, and there are thousands of salvations which we are not sensible of, that attend us daily.  I trust the Lord is leading you on to a better acquaintance with the person and work of Jesus, and though you lament that you do not feel so much love to him, as you did in your earlier experience, yet you are learning wisdom—“Whom shall he teach wisdom, and whom shall he make to understand doctrine, but those who are weaned from the breast, and drawn from the milk.”  Isaiah xxviii, 9.  After this weaning time is over, we feel our need of spiritual armour, and we are called out to fight; but never let us forget him who hath said, My grace is sufficient for thee.

I beg you to accept my best wishes, in the language of a favorite, now in glory.

I wish you much increase of every grace,
I wish you strength to run your christian race,
p. 155I wish you patience under every rod,
I wish you much sweet fellowship with God,
I wish your evidences bright may shine,
I wish you joy and comfort all divine,
I wish you very strong in precious faith,
I wish you well through life, and well in death,
I wish you safe on the celestial shore,
And there I wish you well for evermore.

Kind respects to Mr. H. and family.

Your’s, truly,


Achor’s Vale, June 1st 1819.

Mr. Sweetland.


I hope the Lord Jesus is precious to your soul, that your heart is fixed on him, and that you are daily looking to him for life and salvation.  I hope every fresh feeling sense of sin, urges you to his blood and righteousness, as the only remedy, as the serpent-bit-Israelites of old were to look to the brazen serpent: all were to look at it; some looked stedfastly, others feebly, some had a full, near, distinct view of it, but others only had a feeble, distant, imperfect, confused sight, and many, perhaps, could hardly raise their dying eyes to catch a glimpse of it; yet, they all looked, at some rate or other, and all who looked, lived, and were p. 156healed.  This points out the various states of God’s dear people, in the strength and weakness of their faith, as exercised on the dear Saviour; and as it shews the diversity of their cases, so it also points out the various frames of mind an individual soul may experience.  There are times when we are strong in faith, persuaded the work is begun, and we can look to the Lord with stedfast eye; but there are other seasons when faith seems to languish, love to be dead, and hope seems to have perished, the world and its cares have carried the mind away, and Satan has confused and perplexed us.  Nothing seems left in the soul, but perhaps a little desire, and that hardly awake or felt.  Here we stumble, till the work is again revived, and the dew descends again.  This made the prophet of old exclaim, Wilt thou not revive us again, and, Oh Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years.  And when the Saviour draws near, we are grieved that we should slight him so ungratefully, and as love flows in, godly sorrow flows out.  To this repentance we are called by the Spirit, and it is a change of the mind; this change is God’s work on us: we cannot produce it, and yet it so important, that we cannot be saved without it, it must be wrought in us by the power of God.  Christ is exalted to give it in his most blessed characters, as a Prince and a Saviour: this is a dissolving the heart, or rather the new heart in exercise, under the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit; the mind is overcome with a sense of the long suffering of God towards us, and a feeling discovery of his love to us, in Christ Jesus, with a view of our own depravity, and base backslidings; we mourn that we ever offended such a Saviour, or sinned against such love; we are ashamed of ourselves, especially when we see our God sweetly pacified, and his heart p. 157full of love towards us.  This was the holy generous feeling of Mary Magdalen, and this work must be felt in some humble degree, if ever we are saved, for except we repent, we must perish in our sins, because this repentance is the effect—not the cause of pardon, nor is it produced from any fear or dread of hell, but from a sense of love, because we have had the baseness and ingratitude, the cruelty and the bitterness to sin against a good, a gracious, a kind, and a bountiful God: we loath ourselves in our own sight for our abominations, and as this is the fruit of the Spirit, so it is pleasant and acceptable to God.  I hope my dear friend will be favored with this blessing, it is an evidence of pardon, pardon is an evidence of redemption, and that is the gift of God; and this gift is an evidence of eternal love.

I trust you are in health, no doubt you feel your mortality, by many attacks of pain of body.  We are poor dying mortals, the creatures of a day; we do all fade as a leaf, not as a tree, but as a weak, helpless, trembling leaf, but precious faith in our Lord, and his love, his sacred name, and his complete work—this assures us we have a building of God, eternal in the heavens, and that building is Christ

Yet a season, and you know
   Happy entrance shall be given,
All our sorrows left below,
   And earth exchang’d for heaven.

The Lord be with you, and reward you for your affectionate kindness to the most unworthy



Achor’s Vale, June 1st. 1819.

Mr. Farq.


I trust the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will reign triumphant in your soul, till it is consummated in endless bliss.  Various are the fears, doubts, and misgivings of heart, to which you have been liable; many have been the Workings of inbred corruption, and the power of sin, as stirred up by the law, and which lay hid, till they were seen and felt by you; this being attended with gloominess, dejection, and legal striving, shews that it was the work of the law; and the Lord taking the opportunity to lead you to Jesus, as the atoning sacrifice, and the end of the law for righteousness, shews the greatness of his rich grace, and the boundless love of his heart.  But God and your own soul best knows, what distress of mind is experienced before the Saviour speaks peace to the heart, and assures it of its acceptance and justification before God, in his own work: yet, amidst all the distress, a truly awakened grace-taught soul experiences, there is a clearing to, and a humble trusting in Christ, so that if you had died in that distress of mind, you would most certainly have been saved, seeing our interest in Christ does not save the soul, it was saved in the Lord long before we had an existence; but no humbled believer can rest short of the knowledge and personal enjoyment of that salvation, by the leadings and teachings of the p. 159Holy Spirit, as the glorifier of Christ.  I remember this was my case, and I find it has been yours’: this is the secret path which no fowl knoweth, and the vulture’s eye hath not yet seen: all spiritual teaching is the evidence of our interest in the electing love of God, all others are passed by.  I do not wonder at your esteem for that sweet chapter, the 50th of Isaiah, it would fill an immense volume to do it justice, in describing its full glories; the Holy Spirit led the mind of the prophet very divinely into the knowledge of Christ, as the atonement and justification of his people; and this subject is most sweetly set forth in this chapter, with an affectionate address to poor souls walking in darkness, about their interest in Christ, and a direction given them how to act in such a state.  The chapter opens with the reason why the Lord had rejected the Jews, and why he put them away, viz. for their awful and obstinate rejection of the person, the ministry, the miracles, and work of the Son of God.  The adorable Redeemer then asserts the dignity of his own God-head, as manifested in the awful and grand display of his works of power, justice, and vengeance; these great themes are set forth in the three first verses.  The Saviour then describes his commission from the Father, to accomplish the calling and redemption of the elect, agreeable to an ancient stipulation, or covenant, subsisting between the father and the Son; he next points out his ability for the work as God-Man, and his qualifications, by the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit without measure upon him, in the 4th and 5th verse’s.  Next follows his voluntary abasement of himself into the hands of his enemies, with the firmness of his mind, and the constancy of his love to his church, as manifested in his unparalleled sorrows, his confidence in his being carried p. 160through the great and arduous work of the redemption of his church, and his full triumph over all his enemies; the help that was promised him by his Father, in the covenant, and the challenge that he would give to the enemies of his dear people, for whom he should work out a complete righteousness; read the 6, 7, 8, and 9th verses.  Christ Jesus did in the love of his heart engage, agreeable to the call of the Father, to become the surety of his Church: all their sins being imputed to him, he stood guilty in the eye of the law, and justice of God; and having given ample satisfaction to justice, fulfilled the law, made reconciliation, glorified all the perfections of God, and put away sin: he was justified in the Spirit at his resurrection, having paid the debt, he received the receipt in full, and upon his triumphant entrance into glory, bearing the marks and scars in his sacred body, with the virtue of his work fresh in the mind of God, and sweetly accepted by him, he gives the challenge to law, to justice, to all.  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect, unpardoned, unatoned for?  Who will contend with me? let us stand together: Who is mine adversary? let him come near to me!  This is Christ’s universal challenge to all accusers of his children: he has done the work, nothing can be added to it, or taken from it, and the adorable Father imputes this work to his Church; faith is given them to receive this atonement and righteousness, and power is given them to enjoy it as their own; and this believing and receiving the work the Lord Jesus has accomplished, is called, obeying Christ’s voice; while the work of God on the heart is stiled, fearing the Lord.  This fear, and this obedience are evidences of interest in the great work of the Triumphant Conquerer of sin, death, and hell.  And, whoever among the Lord’s p. 161called ones, are walking without a sense of God’s love, find a sense of interest in the Redeemer; without the light of comfort, the light of joy, and the light of love; though darkness is felt by them, and nothing but darkness without them, yet they are not totally in the dark, but they are the children of the light, and of the day.  Let such trust in Jesus, and stay their minds upon the Spirit’s testimony of Christ; but this trusting and staying is the gift of God.  The chapter then concludes with an address to all pharisees, who reject the perfect work of Christ, and who trust in a form of godliness, without the power.  Such compass themselves about with their own sparks, walk in their own light, and die, at last, in sorrow.  The parable of the foolish virgins will illustrate this last verse.

Excuse the brevity of these remarks.  Affectionate respects to your better half.



Valley of Achor, Nov. 14th, 1818.

Mr. Freeman.


Grace be with you.  The hand of our Father has separated us for a time; this is done in infinite wisdom, and I hope in covenant love.  I do not pretend to say my case is similar to the holy apostle Paul’s, but I trust there is the same grand end to be answered, by my p. 162captivity.  Several, I hope, will have to bless God that I was ever brought into this place: some poor run-away servant, like Onesimus—some prodigal character, and strange to tell, some proud and self-conceited pharisee, I hope, has learnt a little by my feeble efforts in this place—the only way to God.  I have great hopes of an awful character also—nor have I any great desire to leave this captivity, till I see what the Lord is about to do with him.  I see much wisdom in my removal from the Church for a time: many grew tired of the repeated messages of mercy which I constantly delivered, and would travel all day long in search of some other preachers: this was not acting like contented children.  And I know also, that the Lord would remove me away for a time, because those Israelites began to loathe the manna; for this purpose fiery serpents were sent in among them.  Christ calls some people serpents, and their lying tongues are compared to fire.  These have stung the people, but let us look to him who is lifted upon the pole of the Gospel, and who alone can cure our wounds, and heal all our diseases.  I am much pleased in hopes of seeing this sweet text yet accomplished, (30th Isaiah) “Moreover the light of the moon, shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days, when the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wind”—Selah.  But my dear Friend, I also am highly culpable; persecution having ceased, and prosperity come on, faith could not grow in this state.  I mixed too much with the world, and grew too careless of God’s tried ones—the rod was wanted, had it been spared, I should have been spoilt, but my heavenly Father would not spare for my much crying; it is now my duty, and mercy to detain p. 163this messenger, and read what the Lord means by it, knowing the master’s feet is behind, I hope, with many a blessing for us all.  It is in this confidence I hope yet to praise Him, who now supports, consoles, upholds, and often smiles on my soul.  In his presence is life—My presence shall go with thee.  Whither shall I flee from thy presence?  Is not this presence the Holy Spirit himself, who is promised to the Church?  And is not Christ himself the very life of the soul?  Is he not the very life of heaven above, and the life of the Church?  Do you not see and feel a deadness in a congregation, and under a sermon, if your Lord is not all in all?  Is not every place without him, like the empty grave of Christ?  They may be good moral men, both the minister and the people; such angels may be sitting at the head and feet of that Church, but no spiritual Mary can be happy, if the Master is not there.  The grave cloaths may be well folded up, and the napkin that was about the head, in a place by itself; these things our dear Lord left behind him, and if the veil is taken from our eyes, if our bonds are loosed, we must leave those things which bound us by nature.  Legal ceremonies and pharisaic works—these must be left in Christ’s grave, we have nothing to do with them; if we be risen with Christ, we must seek those things which are above.  I trust you are quickened by his power, that the Holy Spirit is leading you to Christ, as the resurrection and the very life of your soul: that you feel after him, when he is distant, feel for him in his sorrows, and feel miserable when you are not allowed to draw near.  Is this your experience? blessed be God if it is.  Do observe—when all is dark within then it is your time to go out to Christ: only read the 3rd. and the former part of the 5th chapter of Solomon’s p. 164Song, and if light is given you on these chapters, it will cast a radiancy on the way the Lord has led you.  Still beg of God that my trials may be of use to me, and to many—time is on the wing, and if prayer did not succeed in keeping me from this place, nor yet in my speedy deliverance, yet, I have blessings in abundance, and this trial will turn out for the furtherance of the truth, through your prayers.

I hope the pious friendly Females I had the pleasure of seeing with you, are all well: give them my kind love, tell them it will be well.  Wishing you every covenant blessing in enjoyment, especially that in the 8th chapter of Hebrews—10, 11, and 12th verses,

I remain, your’s, in Christ,


Achor’s Vale, January 23rd. 1819.

Miss Watts.


Grace and peace be with you.  I received and read your simple, but sincere testimony of the work of God on your soul, with pleasure—Oh! that the ever adorable Spirit would increase it, that you may abound in knowledge and judgement.  It is a mercy to be called by grace in our early days.  What shall we render to the Lord, for thinking upon us in our low estate; for bestowing a thought of us in the councils p. 165of eternity, and appointing us to obtain salvation, by the doing and dying of a glorious Redeemer?  We are poor, lost, vile, guilty creatures, in and of ourselves: we are ten thousand times more vile and sinful than we can possibly conceive; there is not an evil done under the sun, but we have got the root of it in our hearts.  This I have often declared, but I am now more sensibly led to know it; the Lord is gradually teaching me in deep experience, what I have often preached to others.  I have many sad moments, but the Saviour smiles again, and then I get up and run on a little while; but, alas! the burden of a body of sin and death, sinks my spirits again, and sometimes I have darkness on my path; but I must tell you, that when I am drove out from every joy, hope, comfort, or pleasure, I always find it most blessed to cast myself at the dear Saviour’s feet, saying

Lord thine arm must be reveal’d
Ere I can by faith be heal’d,
Since I scarce can look to thee,
Cast a gracious look on me,
At thy feet I humbly lay,
Shine, Oh! shine my fears away.

What a special favour, my dear friend, to be led to the Saviour, to know him in any measure, by the teachings of his own Spirit; to desire him above all, and to make up all our happiness alone in him.  When you look around you on those who are destitute of grace, and whose souls abhor the very sound of religion, and others who are contented with a bare outside shew; these have a form and a name to live, but they are dead, and why do we differ from them—this is an act of pure mercy and covenant love.  We do not envy their state, although they possess every comfort in life, nor does p. 166Satan trouble them; but we are chastened and judged of the Lord that we should not be condemned with the world.  We are brought into judgement in our own hearts, God the Spirit illuminates and quickens the conscience, we feel our guilt, we acknowledge the justice of our sentence, and see that God would be just if he cut us off, and sent us to hell.  We are filled with fears, we are distrest in mind, nor can any solid comfort be felt, only as God is pleased to give us scriptural views of Christ—as the gift of the Father’s love, as every way suited to act for us with God, as our Mediator, being God with God, and man with man, well calculated to make an atonement, to bring God and man together, into a state of reconciliation; to obey the law which we had violated, and to endure that very curse which we had deserved—blessing on his dear name, he felt all the hell in his precious soul and sacred body, which we had deserved, and he left nothing for us to do, but to believe and to take the comfort of it.  And here it is we want much light, life, and power; that we may be able to receive this great work in such a way, as to produce peace, love, and joy.  We want the heart persuaded into this truth; hence the Saviour said, Receive the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  And these are some of the many precious truths we want power to receive—I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions.  In the Lord shall thou be justified, and shall glory.  Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.  Having begun the good work, he will finish it.  I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

The Lord give my much loved friend power to take, receive, and enjoy these precious truths in her own p. 167soul.  I am much melted into wonder, and gratitude, and praise, when I hear the Lord has ever blessed my poor message to any of his dear people, that he ever gave testimony to the word of his grace, by my feeble instrumentality—glory be to his name, he has made me manifest to your soul that he sent me to preach; and having experienced his love, you are enabled to prove it, by sympathising with me in my sorrows, and helping to comfort me in tribulation.  May the dear Lord bring me back in the fulness of the blessings of the gospel of Christ, truly humbled in spirit, and with a heart and a mouth full of Christ, that I may yet praise him who is the health of my countenance, and my merciful God.

Grace, mercy, and peace be your’s, in enjoyment and dependence, and God be glorified in your present and your eternal salvation.—I remain,

Your affectionate and grateful Friend,


Achor’s Vale, March 5th, 1819.

Mr. Frimbley.


Not having seen or heard of my dear friend for some time past, I must inquire after you, hoping that I need make no apology for the friendly enquiry.  I suppose you are still in the wilderness, and God has p. 168promised to make this world such to us—he has not given such a promise to the non-elect; it is their paradise, and our plague; ’tis their home, but our inn; ’tis their portion, but our bait.  We are not born for this place, it is doomed to fire; we are but pilgrims, staying at this spot, till an order comes from the king of the better country, and demands us home.  And is heaven our home—are we sure that we shall get safe at last? let us examine, for faith can reason well.  If the Lord meant to destroy us, he would not have shewed us what he has, nor would he have told us what he has: we have seen our natures, found them vile; we have seen the spirituality of God’s law, we have seen the vanity of all things below the stars, we have seen our strength to be perfect weakness, we have seen the exact suitableness of Christ, we have seen the value of his blood and obedience, and the love of his heart in bearing our persons before the throne, we have seen his good hand in many a trouble, and we have seen his faithfulness, mercy, wisdom, and truth.  We have seen many and better people than we are, blaze in a profession, and go out in darkness; we have seen the workings of corruption, and the malice of Satan.  Can my dear friend deny it?  Are not these truths in your soul’s experience and mine?  Many a grand doctrine has the blessed Spirit opened to us, many a promise has he applied, many a sweet thought has he sent home, many a precious idea has he formed in the mind, and many a gracious hint of his greatness, goodness, and love: these are some things he has told us—the secret of the Lord, is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.  I trust the Lord is carrying you on in the divine life; he has promised that the path of his people, shall be as the light of the day—that day may p. 169be cloudy, windy, and stormy, yet it is day, because the darkness of nature is past, and shall never return, Mysterious providences may distress, yea almost distract us, yet faith will ride again, she may get low but shall never fail; it never has yet, although it has been as low as it could be.  I beg the Lord to strengthen our faith, encourage hope, and draw forth love:—these graces have to do with Christ, and the Father’s love to us in him.

It is truly lamentable that the Lord’s children in the present day, are resting so short of their precious privileges; they have not attained, nor are they pressing on to know what might be known, even the promise of the Father, in the more abundant out-pouring of the Spirit: this is a blessing worth waiting and hoping for; for we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness, by faith: and this is what the Apostle Paul prays the Ephesians may be favored with.—See the 1st. chapter of Eph. from verse 16th to the close; and in the same Epistle he prays, also, that the saints might be so enlarged in soul, as to come up to the attainments of the most eminent saints, and know, and enjoy, the love of the adorable Trinity.—This is a spiritual baptism, of which the outward is only a sign—it is to be admitted into the most holy views of, and communion with, God, in his three-fold character of persons, in his decrees, purposes, and covenants, in his eternal transactions, and the outgoings of his love, the glories of Christ’s person, and the everlasting perfection of his work.  These grand subjects are food for faith, these nourish faith, and lead us to establishment and solid peace, that neither sin, law, nor Satan can disturb.

p. 170I trust you go to hear some one who is calculated to feed the soul.  As for myself I am often low, yet contented at times with the lowest form in the school of Jesus.  I hope your dear partner in life is led on amidst all conflicts, trials and plagues—blessed is she that believeth, and I trust dear Mrs. F. is long brought to that.  Faith centers in Jesus, and gathers strength in every trial; it will be victorious by and bye.  The victory which Jesus has gained is given to us by the Father, and it is the work of the Spirit to manifest it with some power.

I have no news to send about myself—if the Lord wanted me to carry him into Jerusalem he would send word that I must be loosed now, for the Lord hath need of him.—God be with you both.

Your’s, truly,


Valley of Achor, June 16th, 18195.

My dear Mrs. Bailey.

Grace and mercy be with you.—I hope you are well in health and spirits, and, above all, that the Lord is with you.  I wish you felt grateful for what he has done for you: it is well to look back to the days of our ignorance; for although we know but little yet, still the Lord might have left us to know p. 171nothing; but is written, All thy children are taught of God; and if we belong to the election of graces we are taught by the Father.  There are two things we are sure to learn of the Father; we learn our own depravity and condemnation by the law, that we deserve nothing at the hands of God, but his wrath, because we have sinned against him; and we learn of him the value of Christ, as he is revealed in the word.  We learn the record that God has given us of his Son, that he is just such a Saviour as we need; for being condemned we need a surety to pay our debts, a better righteousness to appear in, before God, and we need an atonement to take away all our sins—Christ has done it, and he is now in heaven pleading our cause, representing us before God, and answering all the charges that can be brought against us by Law, by Satan, or by conscience.  His blood and obedience, his holy nature, holy life, and agonizing death, is our everlasting cure.  This is so precious to the Father, that he accepts all that come to him in his dear Son’s name, and pleading his work; he will never send them away, cast them out, or give them up to Satan; this is our mercy; none that trust in him shall be desolate, forsaken, lost, condemned, or damned—Selah.

You have many trials, but they are most divinely appointed to produce the fruits of righteousness, to exercise faith and patience, to empty us of the love of sin and the world, to shew us our weakness, and the daily need we have of Christ, as our strength, our wisdom, and our deliverer.  Christ is our support, our strength, and our help, till he works a deliverance for us.  I am learning this, that I may explain it to others; I talked about these things, and felt them in a degree, but now p. 172I know them deeper than I once did; the Lord has instructed me with a strong hand, and I long to speak these things to others, yet a sense of my unworthiness keeps me back from thinking even about it.  I want the Lord’s children to trace up these mercies and trials to an everlasting covenant, where they were provided; and it is very blessed to remember, that all flows in love to us, and were divinely appointed for us in infinite wisdom—the Lord is author of all our mercies, he is not the author of our sins; he permits them, and he over-rules them, according to his own plans, which he laid out in eternity, but he did not begin them, he does not force us to them, and it would be wicked to suppose it: the Lord foresaw them, and he could have prevented them, but he had some grand ends to answer by them.  He decreed to glorify his justice, his mercy, and his grace by them.  So it is the case with all our trials now, they are all laid out in number, weight, and measure, and they will terminate well; they will bring glory to God, and magnify the riches of his free grace.

I wish my dear Friend felt much of a spirit of grace and supplication.  Our conflicts are designed for this very end, to stir us up to prayer, and reading the word: just like a person of property, who feels he is in want of money, and searches his Father’s will to see where his property lies.  This is our case—

Sometimes my Lord his face doth hide,
To make me pray, or kill my pride.

This is the design we are ready to suppose, when all things run against us, that God is against us; but it is quite the contrary, God is not at war with us, but against some of his and our enemies, within us: this p. 173is the reason why he contends with us, to empty us of self, to bring us to live upon Christ, as our all in all, that we may die daily to self and the world; and thus in due time, live a life of faith upon Christ.  We all want to live a life of sense, but the Lord will be trusted in the dark, as well as followed in the light, and we must be brought to this point, if we wish to honour God—but we want to live on frames and feelings, to walk in sunshine and good roads; but this cannot be called trusting in him.  There are many very precious promises made to those who trust in him, and these we should lose, if we were not led into this path.

I trust dear Mr. B. is well—my christian respects to him: tell him I hope the Lord will lead his mind to Christ as his Saviour, and hope God will bless you both, and all who are dear to you.—Many thanks for your concern for



Achor’s Vale, February 17th, 1819.

Mr. & Mrs. Shephard.


Grace and peace be with you.—This is what the Apostles wished the Church of God, in all their Epistles, to which they often subjoined mercy.  What these three epithets imply, I and you must die to know, the adorable Trinity purposing to set his love on man and p. 174on angels—it was love indeed, as it flowed from the heart of God.  It is love, but it being set on some, and not on others; some are elect angels, some are not; some are elect men, some are not; and this love being so distinguished, is grace, or free favour; and this favour manifested to us as fallen, guilty, hell-deserving creatures, is mercy.  I wish you to make these distinctions, as they will open many blessed texts and doctrines of the word.  Now as grace and mercy flows to us so divinely, this brings peace indeed, and in fact.  These three terms at once, include the gracious covenant work of the ever adorable Trinity: the Father is the God of all grace, the ever blessed Spirit is the mercy that saves us, and Christ is our peace.  And these terms also set forth the three-fold offices of the ever blessed Jesus—he is merciful, as our Prophet, gracious, as our Priest, and peaceable, as our king.  And is there not another sweet idea occurs to the mind in experience, the influences of the Spirit are gracious; these teach us to see our misery, and help us to cry for mercy; and mercy seen and felt in pardoning sin, produces peace, thus grace, mercy, and peace are with us.

There was something you said to me at the place, which gave me very great pleasure, in reference to yourself, and from which I gathered a hope you was growing in the knowledge of God our Saviour.  This is life eternal to know him, and it is a very great favour indeed to be growing in that knowledge; many of the Lord’s children are grieved that they cannot get better, nor grow into a good opinion of themselves.  Hence they are not pleased with themselves, and cast down because they appear so bad to themselves, whereas our main concern should be to get better acquainted with Christ, p. 175as he is revealed in the gospel, carrying on the great work of salvation.  You and I must lament, that when God’s children meet together, even in their most serious moments, they spend all their time in talking about their frames, and feelings, instead of Christ; whereas, talking about Jesus, and striving to get some sweet ideas of him, as he is set forth in the word, and communicating those ideas, would be the best subject, to improve the mind, warm the heart, and lead out the soul to love Christ, and one another.  This would be the communion of saints, as connected with the forgiveness of sins.  Poor, tried saints are always talking about their feelings; and common professors are talking about this religious society, and the other, and thus they are well pleased with what they do for God, before God has done any thing for them: There is no communion in all this, ’tis a mere bubble, and a plan of Satan’s, to keep Christ out of the mind.  Christ is all in heaven, and he should be all in the Church; and when he is all in all to us, we have got the sweetest evidence that we can have, that we belong to God.  I am sometimes cast down in soul, but the Lord raises me up again; and although the work of God is genuine on the soul, yet I find, by repeated experience, that I can neither love, believe, or hope, but as the blessed Spirit operates on the soul.  Without Christ we can do nothing, no more than a body without a head, or limb cut off the body, or sick man without a physician, or an accused man without a counsellor, or a condemned man without a pardon.  Christ is our Lord, physician, advocate, and atonement, our righteousness and strength; and it is our mercy he is the balm in Gilead, health amongst the witnesses, and the healer there.  Gilead signifies witnesses: these are the Bible, and in p. 176the Church, and, blessed be God, in our hearts; also as there are many things there can witness for him.  Hence God says, Ye are my witnesses, and my servant, whom I have chosen.  Christ was God’s witness to us, and we are witnesses of the freeness of his grace, and the value of his blood.  Christ represents us to God and we represent Christ—he is God-Man in one.  Man ruined himself in aspiring to be God, and God saves man by becoming man; the divinity is espoused to our nature, that our souls might be espoused to Christ, and to God in him.  The adorable Father and eternal Spirit aims at the exaltation of Christ, as God-Man, and all things are made for this purpose.

All things for his sake did Jehovah prepare,
For of him, and through him, and to him they are;
All systems and worlds which revolve through the sky
Were made for the lifting of Jesus on high.

May he be glorified in your salvation and mine, and reward you both for your sincere esteem for him, who remains

Your’s in him,


Achor’s Vale, October 26th, 1819.

Mr. Fossett.


When the chastising hand of God is laid heavily upon a nation, a family, an individual, or a church, it p. 177becomes the afflicted to ask, Is there not cause?  When the troubles abounded on pious Job, he said unto God, Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me? and when the Lord made a breach upon Uzzah, the reason is assigned, no doubt as an answer to some enquiring souls, who were deeply affected with the Lord’s hand.  David finding the cause of the breach was that of acting contrary to the orders which had been previously given, in reference to the persons bearing the ark (1 Chronicles, xv, 13) The Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we did not seek him after the due order.  And it is an awful circumstance recorded in the New Testament, that, the sad disorders and conduct of the Church at Corinth, was resented by the great Head of the Church on many of its members (see 1 Cor. xi, 30).  It has pleased the Lord to make an awful breach amongst us, as a Church; the removal and long reproach of your minister, the troubles and disgrace of the congregation, the affliction of mind, body, and circumstances of the Church at large, must be viewed as the rod of a Father, chastising and correcting, reproving and calling to consideration.  As an individual, I trust the Lord has convinced me of the sad occasion of these afflictions, and having granted me the assurance of his pardoning mercy, I feel it my duty to call the attention and exertion of the deacons and managers, the church and congregation, to lay this important matter to heart; and knowing the cause, to endeavour to remove it.  The Lord Jesus is jealous of his honour, and whatever sullies or tarnishes that glory, he will resent it in some way or other.

It has been a source of grief to many pious, grace-taught, and conscientious persons, that there is so p. 178great a neglect of the order of the gospel amongst us, as professing to believe in, and love the Lard Jesus, by the teaching of his Spirit—permit me to say, that this is a reason why the Lord has thus so deeply afflicted us.  I have been constantly preaching the word, as far as I was taught, and helped, to the Lord’s people amongst us, for some years: God has given his testimony to the word of his grace, and there has been an assembling in his house, a submission to the ordinance of baptism, by the majority, and a constant attendance at the Lord’s table.  This was well as far as it went; but it is necessary to stand complete in the whole will of God, and to act in all things, consistent with the rules laid down in his word.  The precepts of the New Testament are the laws of Christ, as king in Zion, and they must form our rule of conduct in the Church, and in the world.  A wilful neglect of this rule, is an insult upon the Saviour, and he will resent such conduct in his own People.  Let us therefore search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord.

I have frequently endeavored to rectify the error into which we have fallen, viz. The neglect of Church order.  Some years ago, I published a pamphlet, entitled “The Nature of a Gospel Church,” with the covenant into which all the members were to enter, upon their admission to the Lord’s table.  But, alas! this has scarcely ever been noticed since: it was approved of, but never practised.  I hope, at a future day, to revise that little book, and add the following Articles, which appear to me to be important, to the founding and establishing the Church in future, and for the glory of the Saviour; but till we are settled again, as a congregation, I take this opportunity of sending p. 179you what I humbly conceive to be the Spirit’s mind, concerning the well-being of the Church of Christ.  These Articles, I pray the God of all grace, to enable us constantly to observe, with the rules laid down in the members covenant, and the confession of faith there published.

The Articles, I hope, will be punctually attended to.  I know your concern of mind on this subject, and have no doubt, by prayer and perseverance, but the Lord will succeed our humble attempt to glorify his holy name.—Christian love to Mrs. F.

I remain, your’s truly, in gospel bonds,


p. 181Rules of the Ruhamah Society.

1.—That as many Deacons be chosen, as the circumstances of the Church may require: that they may be men taught of God, and good moral characters, and who are Baptists, both in Principle and Practice.

2.—That the Deacons shall be chosen by Lot, or by a Majority of the Members, at a public Meeting of the Church, when every Member shall be entitled to a Vote, except those who are under Church censure: such cannot be admitted to vote, till fully restored.

3.—That the Minister shall make it a particular point of conscience, to point out the work of Deacons, in the faithful discharge of their office.

4.—That the Minister and Deacons shall be reproved by the Church, for any inconsistency of conduct, or a deviation from any of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel; and should either Minister or Deacons continue to persist in such practises, or errors, they must be suspended, should a majority of the Church so determine,

5.—Should any of the Members act in any unjustifiable way to the Minister, such shall be reproved; and if they continue such conduct, the Church shall expel them.

6.—That the Minister is to have but one voice in the Church, on any occasion whatever.

7.—That the Church meet once a month, at which the Minister, if possible, is to be always present, and the Deacons also to make it a point of conscience to attend all the public and private meetings of the Church and Congregation, as far as they are able.

p. 1828.—That the Church Meetings shall always be opened with Prayer, and reading the preceptive parts of the New Testament, setting forth the Duty of Church Members.

9.—That the Minister shall have the privilege to call the Church together on any special occasion.

10.—That no Minister be suffered to go into the Pulpit to preach, without the consent of the majority of the Church, unless on any urgent occasion, when either Minister or Deacons may give their consent.

11.—That the Minister shall appoint some of the Deacons to manage all the temporal affairs of the Church, and appoint one of the Members once a year, to act as Secretary to them, and report the state of the temporal affairs of the Chapel to the Church.

12.—That the particular Affairs of the Church shall not be disclosed to those who have no connection with us; and any unpleasant circumstances which may arise in the Church, or concerning any Member, shall not be exposed to the world—and all Admonitions to offending Persons shall be kept from general observation.

13.—That a Book or Books shall be kept to record the names of the Members, and every important transaction in the Church.

14.—That no Person acting as a Servant in the Church shall hold more than one Office, except by particular request.

15.—That no Member be allowed to bring any grievance of a temporal nature, before the Church, till it has obtained the Consent of the Minister and Deacons.

p. 18316.—That the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper be duly administered every first Lord’s Day in the month, in the Evening, and on particular occasions, when the Minister shall appoint.

17.—That when a Person desires to unite with the Church, to break Bread, and to partake of the various Privileges of the Lord’s House, they are to intimate the same to the Minister or to the Deacons, or to any Member to introduce them.

18.—That the Deacons are to enquire into the state of their souls, respecting a Work of Grace, and if they are satisfied, the Candidate is to be brought to the Minister, who is to propose them to the Church at the earliest Meeting thereof.  This Examination is to be in a very faithful, yet candid and affectionate manner.  The Deacons are also to take the earliest opportunity of minutely enquiring into the moral Character and Conduct of such Persons, and upon approbation the Candidate must attend at the next Church Meeting.

19.—That Persons wishing to be admitted be also requested to relate to the Church the dealings of God with their souls; but, if timid, they may give in a written account of the same, or the Minister to ask them such questions as relate to the subject; and upon the Candidate’s retirement, the Deacons are to give an account of the report of their moral conduct, and if there is a majority of Votes, they shall be immediately admitted as Members of the Church.

20.—That if such Persons are not baptized by immersion, the subject is to be particularly explained to them by the Deacons and Members of the Church, as they have opportunity, but they are not to be admitted to the Lordly Table till the subject is opened to them.

p. 18421.—That any desirous of Baptism, are to signify the same as early as possible to the Deacons, or Minister, that, when there is a convenient number, they may partake of that ordinance.  Not less than twelve persons, unless under very peculiar circumstances.  And if it be signified, privately, that any Person or Persons are not able to bear the usual expence attending the ordinance, the Church is to bear that expence, as on those occasions there is much damage done to the Chapel.

22.—That the baptized Persons, and all those who were admitted as Members at the Church Meeting, shall be publicly received at the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, when the Articles of Faith shall be read to them, an address be given them, with singing and prayer, when they are to receive the right hand of fellowship from the Minister, the representative of the Church.

23.—That the Minister and Deacons shall enforce the various Duties of Church Members, and stir each other up to every good word and work.  That they shall sympathize with each other; study each other’s spiritual and temporal welfare—that they shall deal and trade with each other, as much as their circumstances will admit, in preference to any other, as Children of the same Father.  That they warn the unruly, instruct the ignorant, comfort the feeble-minded; give timely, kind, affectionate, but faithful reproof, when needed; restore the Backslider, and endeavour to promote the prosperity and peace of the Church.  But if any Member persists in walking inconsistently, such shall be admonished by the Minister and Deacons; but if this has no avail, the Church shall be informed of it, and if no reproof has had any effect, such offender shall be cut off, till some signs of penitence and reformation appear, when, if it be desired, such Person shall be re-admitted.