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within my own knowledge. The Lord is working in this
upon, is also gone ; set all aside, and consider yourself a sinner, saved from destruction by grace: in a state of purgation and preparation for happiness, on a pilgrimage with thousands of others, your fellow-saved sinners, through the wilderness, to that inheritance which was purchased for you at “such a price.” Your Saviour is your Leader, Protector, Provider, also your Physician, and the Physician of the whole body, perfectly acquainted with the constitution, disposition, and temper of every individual. He has made provision for each, all the journey through; and given security that none shall suffer real want. Bread and water are promised; nothing beyond these, though, in general, he gives more; to each he gives a portion in hand, to some for a day, some for a week, some for a year; which they calculate upon with more or less probability; none with certainty. Your portion is—for a year; take a view of those whom you know, one with another; I am apt to think that the Lord has still given you your full share of privilege. Look at the ordinary provision he makes for the ministers of his Gospel ; most of them with large families; many of those in the country have five hundred dollars, some four hundred, some three hundred, generally ill paid. The Lord puts a blessing in it, he makes it go far, they do what their hands find to do, and contrive to subsist with a measure of comfort; so will he do with you. He will put you upon methods of industry and economy:
your humble morsel, with the fruit of God's blessing on your industry in the garden, shall both taste sweet, and satisfy for the time. Try to be thankful; Moses said of the manna, “ This is the bread which the Lord
God giveth you.” Pray and watch against dwelling on the plentiful tables of others; and, when bidden to a feast, take your portion, and say, This is from the Lord for the time. Do not let a thought of misery or wretchedness dwell upon your mind. O no, God is good, you shall not want. O what sweet meals have I and my children made on mere potatoes and salt; there are peculiar pleasures in a life of that kind. You shall yet sing of it.
Now, my dear friend, I have done with what I had to say on this head. I have had great fears, lest you should reckon me among Job's friends ; but you call me mother; and it is required of a mother to be faithful. I now leave it with the Lord. We are delighted to find you girding up the loins of your mind, and setting about active duty. Let us meet at a throne of grace, and look to the course the Lord marks out for us.
TO MRS. GLY.
My dear Madam,
I HAVE just parted with my dear afflicted friend P.; she left it in charge to me that I should write to you in the time of your affliction. Surely, I would do any thing whatever, that I thought might alleviate either her, or your distress. But there are cases to which God alone can speak; afflictions under which he alone can give con
solation. Such are those under which the sufferer is commanded to be “still, and know that he is God." He never leaves his people in any case; but sometimes shuts them up from human aid. Their grief is too great to be consoled by human tongue or pen.
Such I have experienced. I lost my only son; I neither know when, nor where ; and, for any thing I know, in a state of rebellion against God. Here, at my heart, it lies still; who can speak to me of it ? Neither can I reason upon it. Aaron held his peace. Old Eli said, “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his sight.” Samuel, in his turn, had his heart wrung by his ungodly
David lamented over his beloved Absalom : but it availed him nothing. Job's sons and daughters were all cut off in one day; he himself was visited with severe bodily affliction; his friends sat seven days and seven nights without opening their mouths, because they saw his affliction was very great; and, if they spake, it was to aggravate it; when God himself spake, he gave him no reason for his dealings, but charged him with folly and madness ; “ Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty, instruct him? He that reproveth God let him answer it.” Then he called his attention to his own meanness and imbecility ; then Job laid his hand upon his mouth, and his mouth in the dust, confessed himself vile, and became dumb before God; abhorring himself, and repenting in dust and ashes, instead of bringing forward the splendid catalogue of virtues enumerated in chapter xxix., and complaints in chapter X., which I make not the least doubt were true, as far as human virtue can reach ; but if God charge“ even his angels with folly," shall man, corrupt, self-destroyed man, plead merit before God ?
But, my dear friend, I do not find in all God's Bible, any
thing requiring us to anticipate the final destruction of any, for whom we have prayed, pleaded, and committed to him; least of all our offspring, whom he has commanded us to train up for him. “ Children are God's heritage." I do not say that he has given us any promise for the obstinately wicked; but, when cut off, he only requires us
“be still,” to hold our peace. I do not think that he takes hope from us. God has set limits to our
66 faith” for others; our faith must not rest in opposition to his threatenings. We must believe that "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all that forget God;" but he has set no bounds to his own mercy: in that glorious plan of redemption by which he substitutes his own Son, in the room and stead of sinners, he has made provision for the chief of sinners; and can now be just and consistent, while he justifies the ungodly who believe in Jesus. Short was the time between the thief's petition, and the promise of salvation ; nay, the petition was the earnest of it. The same was the case with the jailer ; I think, too, that the publican had the earnest in his petition. Now, instead of labouring to bring my mind to acquiesce in the condemnation of my child, on the supposition of its being for God's glory, (which I no where find required, but from some of your New England divines,) I try to be " still," as he has commanded; not to follow my child to the yet invisible world'; but turning my eyes to that character which God has revealed of himself-to the plan of redemption-to the sovereignty of God in the execution of that plan—to his names of
grace, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, siow to anger, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin :" while he adds," and that will by no means clear the guilty,” I meet it with his own declaration, “ He hath made him to be sin
for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” I read also that mercy joiceth against judgment,” and many other like Scriptures, which, although I dare not ground a belief of his salvation on them, seems to afford one ray of hope after another, that God may have made him a monument of mercy, to the glory of his grace. Thus God himself consoles his own praying people, while man ought to be very cautious, if not silent, where the Scriptures are silent, as it respects the final state of another, whose heart we cannot know, nor what God may have wrought in it. God has set bounds to our faith, which can no where find solid ground to fix upon, but on his own written promise. Yet, as I said above, he has set no bounds to his own mercy: and he has made provision for its boundless flow, as far as he shall please to extend it, through the atonement and merits of his own Son," who is able to save to the uttermost, all who come unto God by him.” have my ideas of our situation ; if they be correct, I pray that our compassionate Father may comfort you by them: if otherwise, may he pardon what is amiss, and lead you, my dear friend and myself, to such consolation as he himself will own as the work of his Spirit; and save us from the
and our own spirit. Since writing the foregoing, I feel afraid of what I have said: it is dangerous to seek comfort where the Scriptures are silent; yet, while we plead with God to be preserved from error, and try to be still before him, he will save us from the subtilty of the serpent, as well as from the rage of the lion. I am, with love, your sympathizing friend,
dear friend, you