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public, private and secret, and duties to man, relative duties, of business and conversation, family duties, duties of friendship and good neighbourhood, duly proportioning labour and rest, intentness and relaxation, without suffering one duty to crowd out or intrench upon another. If such persons could be persuaded to this, I think, in this way, they would be best guarded against the devil, and he would soonest be discoutaged, and a good state of body would be most likely to be gained, and persons would act most as if they trusted and rested in God, and would be most in the way of his help and blessing.
With regard to what you write concerning immediate revelations, I have thought of it, and I find I cannot say any thing to purpose, without drawing out this letter to a very extraordinary length, and I am already got to such length, that I had need to ask your excuse. I have written enough to tire your patience.
It has indeed been with great difficulty that I have found time to write much. If you knew niy extraordinary circumstances, I doubt not, you would excuse my not writing any more. I acknowledge the subject you mention is very important. Probably if God spares my life, and gives me opportunity, I may write largely upon it. I know not how Providence will dispose of me, I am going to be cast on the wide world, with my large family of ten children.! humbly request your prayers for me under my difficulties and trials.
As to the state of religion in this place and this land, it is at present very sorrowful and dark. But I must, for a more particular account of things, refer you to my letter to Mr. M'LAURIN, of Glasgow, and Mr. Robe. So, asking a remembrance in your prayers, I must conclude, by subscribing myself, with much esteem and respect, Your obliged brother and Servant,
P. S. July 3, 1750. Having had no leisure to finish the preparation of my letters to Scotland before this time, by reason of the extraordinary troubles, hurries and confusions of my unusual circumstances, I can now inform you, that the controversy between me and my people, that I mentioned in the beginning of my letter, has issued in a separation. An ecclesiastical council was called on the affair, who sat here the week before last, who, by a majority of one voice, determined an immediate separation to be necessary; and accordingly my pastoral relation to my people was dissolved on June 22. If I can procure the printed accounts from Boston of the proceed. ings of the council, I will give order to my friend there to inclose them with this letter, and direct them to you.—I desire your prayers, that I may take a suitable notice of the frowns of heaven on me and this people, (between whom was once se great an union), in bringing to pass such a separation between us; and that these troubles may be sanctified to me, that God would overrule this event for his own glory, (wbich doubtless many adversaries will rejoice and triuinph in), that God would open a door for my future usefulness, and provide for me and my numerous family, and take a fatherly care of us in our present unsettled, uncertain circumstances, being cast on the wide world.
PSALM cxxxix, 23, 24.
Search me, O God, and know my heart ; try me, and know my
thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.*
HIS psalm is a meditation on the omniscience of God, or upon his perfect view and knowledge of every thing, which the Psalmist represents by that perfect knowledge which God had of all his actions, his downsitting and his uprising; and of his thoughts, so that he knew his thoughts afar off; and of his words, “ There is not a word in my tongue,” says the Psalmist, “but thou knowest it altogether.” Then he represents it by the impossibility of Heeing from the divine presence, or of hiding from him ; so that if he should go into heaven, or hide himself in bell, or fly to the uttermost parts of the sea; yet he would not be bid from God: or if he should endeavour to hide himself in darkness, yet that would not cover him; but the darkness and light are both alike to him. Then he re, presents it by the knowledge which God had of him while in his mother's womb, ver. 15, 16. “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret; thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written."
After this the Psalmist observes what must be inferred as a necessary consequence of this omniscience of God, viz. that he will slay the wicked, since he seeth all their wickedness, and nothing of it is bid from him. And last of all, the Psalmist improves this meditation upon God's all-seeing eye, in begging
* This Tract contains the substance of four posthumous discourses, on the text prefixed, first prioted at Elinb. 1798.