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ways than I was; but this I know, that my ways had been evil from my youth up, and that continually. And this desire God had given me, to seek the salvation of my soul, for which I ever hope to bless and praise his holy name; nor have I since that time had a desire to hear any one else when I could possibly get to hear you; for I soon began to have a persuasion which has gradually increased that your ministry and my soul were under the influence of the same Spirit, insomuch that I have often wondered at the condescension of God when you have brought forth the desires of my soul, that had you have heard me express them you could not have done it with greater exactness: and this has been the case when I have heard you mention the different trials God's people are subject to, and experience. Sometimes I have said, I know nothing about them; this has often caused fears that all was not right within; I have then gone to the Lord and begged of him to make it more manifest to me that I was his child, and that I was serving him in spirit and in truth; and it has been after this that you have mentioned the very fears that I had experienced, and from what quarter they came, and that all unbelief was of the devil. These, I trust, Dear Sir, are tokens for good, and these cause me to believe that I have a good hope through grace; and I will pray the Lord to give you such a view of them, as I have a great desire to become a member of the church, that I may make a public acknowledgment of what I believe
God has done for my soul: and God, who only knows the hearts of all his creatures, knows that my only motive in this is the honour and glory of Father, Son, and Spirit, one God, and the good of my own soul. With your permission I will wait upon you on Wednesday next in the vestry: with a hope that you will comply with my desire,
Yours with reverence and sincerity,
To Mrs. ANN G——.
THE good work goes on among us, blessed be God. This world is God's stage, the conversion of souls is God's work, and preaching the gospel is bringing men under their great trial for eternity; and as this decides the fate of men, so will the day of judgment confirm it: God takes one of a city and two of a tribe and brings them to Zion. As far as I can judge, thou hast got the earnest which secures the prize of the high calling; the greatest of all great benefits. The lot is cast into the lap, the whole disposing thereof is of the
Spirit, who is our part and lot in this matter, Acts viii. 21; and does condescend to manifest himself by the instrumentality of the living creature, who gives divine motions to the wheels, so as to keep them in perpetual motion. All the externals of the church's devotions, such as open profession and confession, attending the means and treading the Lord's courts, hearing, reading, praying, watching and waiting, bearing the cross and keeping up a close walk with God, is the work of the outward or external wheels, which are said to be full of eyes, because fresh light and new discoveries are daily made to the soul by a diligent attendance on the means, by which we obtain the light of love, the light of joy, the light of knowledge; besides the eye of faith that sees things that are invisible, and the eyes of the understanding which comprehend something of the heights and depths of divine love: thus, "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.”
But then there is another wheel in the middle of this, which is the life and spring of the outward wheels' motions, and that is the quickening influences of the Holy Spirit giving exercise to his own implanted grace; he descends from the Father through the Mediator to us, and enters the soul with all his heavenly crop of divine fruits: these spring up in our spiritual sacrifices to God, while the returns of prayer furnish us for fresh offerings; and in these things the soul ascends and
descends. At times the cup overflows, and then barren and thirsty sinners catch the streams, as our Lord speaks; "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water:" thus the grace of the Holy Spirit ascends and descends in a continual round or revolution; and this work is a wheel in the middle of a wheel. I wish you had sent me word how you came to hear me at the first. I would not have you to call upon me until the new chapel is built, as we have no place to minister in.
W. H. S. S.
To the Rev. W. HUNTINGTON.
My dear and invaluable Friend,
I CAN scarcely think it right to be troubling you with a letter, knowing that all the time you have to spare is so much filled up with your numerous friends' correspondence; yet I beg you will excuse my intruding, as I do most sincerely love you, and highly esteem you for your work's sake. God has been pleased to bless your preaching and writing to my soul's eternal comfort I do believe. I never heard the word of life till I heard it from
your mouth, and a word of life it was, for such sweetness, power, and love attended it, that I could truly say, "O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me." I gave some account of the dealings of God with me in a letter I sent to you in March 1810, but I suppose you never received it, as you did not recollect the name when I called upon you the 7th of January last, which rather pleased me, as I was very dark when I wrote it. I should have written to you some years ago, but my mind was continually perplexed with this idea, that my religion was only the effects of natural passion, and that it would soon wear off, and then I should be ashamed of such things, and be a disgrace to others; or if I wrote to you I should only expose myself to contempt, and bring down the judgments of God upon me for such presumption: but, blessed be God, I am upheld to the present time; and for many sweet refreshing seasons, and soul-establishing blessings, I am indebted to you (as the instrument;) for, being in a very barren country, where there is scarcely one minister that knows either law or gospel, consequently cannot describe the path of the just, I am obliged to attend to what passeth within, and compare it with the word of God; but at times that is a sealed book, and such confusion and darkness overwhelm my soul that, ́like David, my cry is, "Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?" &c.