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136. TO JOHN LAWRIE. Dear brother, Am sorry that ye, or so many in this kingdom, should expect
fo much of me, an empty reed : verily I am a naughty and poor body; but if che tinkling of my Lord Jesus's iron chains on legs and arms could found the high praises of my royal King, whose prisoner I am, 0 how would my joy run over ! if my Lord would bring edification to one foul by my bonds, I am fatisfied: but I know not what I can do to such a princely and beautiful Well.belovas he is far behind with me. Little thanks to me, to say to o. thçes, his wind bloweth on me, who am but withered and dry bones: but since ye desire me to write to you, either help me to fet Chrift on high, for his running-over love, io that the heat of his sweet breath hath melted a frozen heart, else I think ye do nothing for a prisoner. I am fully confirmed that it is the honour of our Law.giver I suffer for now : I am not ashamed to give out letters of recommendation of Christ's love, to as many as will exto! the Lord Jesus and his cross. If I had not failed this sea-way to heaven, but had taken the land-way, as many do, I should not have known Cbrist's sweetness in such a meafure : but the truth is, let no man thank me; for I caused not Christ's wind to blow upon mę: his love came upon a withered creature, whether I would or not (and yet by coming it procured from me a welcome.) A heart of iron, and iron-doors, will not hold Chrift out; I give him leave to break iron-locks and come in, and that is all: and now I know not, whether pain of love for want of possession, or sorrow that I dow not thank him, paineth me most: but both work upon me. For the ift, O that he would come, and satisfy the longing foul, and fill the hungry with these good things! I know indeed, my guiltiness may be a bar in his way: but he is God, and ready to forgive. And for the other, wo, wo is me, that I cannot find a heart to give back again my unworthy little love, for his great seafull of love to me: O that he would learn me this piece of gratitude! O that I could have leave to look in, through the hole of the door, to see his face, and fing his praises ! or could break up one of his chamber.windows, to look in upon his delighting beauty, till my Lord fend more! Any little communion with him, one of his love-looks should be my begun heaven. I know, he is not lordly, neither is the Bridegroom's love proud, though I be black and unlovely and unworthy of him. I would seek but leave, and withal grace, to spend my love upon him. I counsel you to think highly of Christ, and of free, free grace, more than ye did before ; for I know that Christ is not known amongst us, I think I see more of Christ than ever I saw: and yet I see bue little of what may Сс
be seen : O that he would draw.by the curtains, and that the King would come out of his gallery and palace, that I might see him! Christ's love is young glory and young heaven : It would soften hell's pain to be filled with it. What would I refuse to suffer, if I could but get a draught of love at my heart's desire? O what price can be given for him! Angels cannot weigh him; O his weight, his worth, his sweetness, his overpassing beauty! If men and angels would come, and look to that great and princely One, their ebbness would never take up his dept their narrowness would never comprehend his breadth, height and length: if ten' thousand thousand worlds of angels were created, then might all tire themselves in wondering at his beauty, and begin again to wonder of
O that I could win nigh him, to kiss his feet, to hear his voice, to find the smell of his ointments! But oh alas, I have little, little of him ! yet I long for more. Remember my bonds, and help me with your prayers; for I would not niffer or exchange my
fad hours, with the joy of my velvet adverfaries. Grace be
Aberdeen, June. 10.
Yours in his sweet Lord
Jefus, S. R
137. To Mr. JAMES FLEMING. Reverend and well-beloved in our Lord,
Race, mercy and peace be to you: I received your letter,
fy unto you, my dear brother, what sweetness I find in our Mas. ter's cross; but alas what can I either do or suffer for hina ? if I my alone had as many lives, as there have been drops of rain since the creation, I would think them too little for that lovely One, our Well-beloved; but my pain and my forrow is above my sufferings, that I find not ways to set out the praises of his love to others : I am not able, by tongue, pen, or sufferings, to provoke many to fall in love with him : but he knoweth, whom I love to serve in the Spirit, what I would do, and suffer by his own strength, so being I might make my Lord Jesus lovely and sweet to many thousands in this land. I think it amongst God's wonders, that he will take any praise or glory, or any testimony to his honourable cause, from such a forlorn finner as I am: but when Christ worketh, he needeth uotask the question, by whom he will be glorious; I know, feeing his glory at the beginning did shine out of poor nothing, to fet up
such a fair house for man and angels, and so many glorious cre:itures, to proclaim his goodness, power and wisdom, if I were burnt to ashes, out of the smoke and powder of my dissolved body, he could raise glory to himself; his glory is his end; oh that I could join with him, to make it my end! I would think that fellowship
with him sweet and glorious. But alas ! few know the guiltiness that is on my part; it is a wonder, that this good cause hath not been marred and spilt, in my foul hands: but I rejoice in this, that my sweet Lord Jesus hath found something ado, even a ready mar. ket for his free grace, and incomparable and matchless mercy, in my wants : only my lothsome wretchedness and my wants have qualified me for Christ, and the riches of his glorious grace'; he behoved to take me for nothing, or else to want me : few know the unseen and private reckonings betwixt Christ and me; yet his love, his boundless love would not bide away, nor stay at home with himfelf; and yet I dow not make it welcome, as I ought, when it is come unfent-for and without hire. How joyful is my heart, that ye write, ye are desirous to join with me in praising; for it is charity to help a dyvour to pay his debts; but when all have helped me, my name shall stand in his count.book under ten thousand thousands of fums unpaid: but it easeth my heart, that his dear servants will but speak of my debts to such a sweet Creditor. I desire, he may lay me in his own balance and weigh me, if I would not fain have a feast of his boundless love made to my owo foul, and to many others. One thing I know, we shall not all be able to come near his excellency with eye, heart or tongue; for he is above all created thoughts; all nations before him are as nothing, and less than nothing; he sitteth in the circuit of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth are as grafhoppers before him ! O that men would praise him! Ye complain of your private case: alas I am not the man, who can speak to such an one as ye are: any sweet prefence I have had in this town, is (I know) for this cause, that I might express and make it known to others; but I never find myfelf nearer Christ, that royal and princely One, than after a great weight and sense of deadness, and gracelessness: I think, the fenfe of our wants, when withal we have a restlessness, and a sort of spiritual impatience under them, and can make a din, because we want him whom our foul loveth, is that which maketh an open Christ; and when we think, we are going backward, because we feel deadness, we are going forward:
for the more sense, the more life, and no sense argueth no life. There is no sweeter fellowship with Christ, than to bring our wounds and our fores to him. But for myself, I am alhamed of Christ's goodness and love, since the time of my bonds; for he hath been pleased to open up new treasures of love and felt tweetness, and give visitations of love, and access to himself, in this strange land. I would think a fill of his
and green heaven ; and when he is pleased to come, and the tide is in, and the sea full, and the King and a poor prifoner together in the house of wine, the black tree of the cross is not so heavy as a feather. I cannot, I dow not, but give Christ an honourable testimony: I fee, the Lord can ride through his eneC 0.2
mies bands, and triumph in the sufferiogs of his own; and that this blind world feeth not, that suffering is Chrift's armour, wherein he is victorious : and they that contend with Zion fee not what he is doing, when they are set to work, as under-smiths and fervants, to the work of refining of the faints, (Satan's hand also by them is at the melting of our Lord's vessels of mercy) and their of. fice in God's house, is to fcour and cleanse vessels for the King's table. I marvel not to see them triamph, and fit at cafe in Zion ; our Father must lay up his rods, and keep them carefully for his own use ; our Lord cannot want fire in his house; his furoace is in Zion, and his fire in Jerusalem : but little know the adversaries the counsel and thoughts of the Lord. And for your complaints of your ministry, I now think all I did too little : plainness, freedom, watchfulness, fidelity, fall fwell upon you, in exceeding Jarge comforts, in your sufferings: the feeding of Christ's lambs in private visitations, and catechifing, in painful preaching, and fair, honest and free warning of the flock, is a sufferer's garland. O tea thousand times blessed are they, who are honoured of Christ to be frithful and painful, in wooing a bride to Christ! My dear brother, I know, ye think more on this, than I can; and I rejoice that your purpose is, in the Lord's strength, to back your wronged Master, and to come out, and call yourself Christ's man, when so many are now denying him, as fearing that Christ cannot do for himself and them. I am a lost man for ever, or this, this is the way to falvation, even this way that they call herefy, that men now do mock and scoff at. I am confirmed now, that Chrift will accept of his fervants sufferings as good service to him, at the day of his appearance; and that ere it be long he will be opon us all, and men in all their blacks and whites shall be brought out before God, aðgels and meo. Our Master is not far off: oh if we could wait on, and be faithful! The good will of him who dwelt in the bush, the tender favour and love, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Help me with your prayers; and defire, from me, other brethren, to take courage for their Master. Aberd. Aug. 15.
Yours in his sweet Lord", 1637.
Jefus, S. R.
138. To Mr. JOHN MEINE. Worthy and dear brother,
Race, mercy and peace be to you: I have been too long ia
answering your letter, but other business took me up. I am here waiting, if the fair wind will turn upon Christ sails in Scotland; and if deliverance be breaking out to this over clouded and benighted kirk. Oh that we could contend by prayers and fup. plications with our Lord for that effect! I know, he hath not given
out bis laft doom against this land. I have little of
ply, prison, but groanings, and longings, and defires: of Chrift is some hunger for him, (and yet I cannot rich in that) my faith, and hope, and holy practic ience, are scarce worth the speaking of : but ble who taketh me, light, and clipped, and naughty, muu van as I am. I fee Christ will not prig with me, nor stand upon stepping-stones, but cometh in at the broad-side without ceremonies, or making it nice, to make a poor ranfomed one his OWN. O that I could feed upon his breathing, and kissing, and embracing, and upon the hopes of my meeting and his, when love-letters thall not go betwixt us, but he shall be messenger himself: but there is required patience on our part, till the fummer fruit in heaven be ripe for us; it is in the bud, but there be maay things to do before our harvest come: and we také ill with it, and can hardly endure to fet our paper-face to one of Christ's storms, and to go to heaven with wet feet, and pain, and forrow. We love to carry heaven to heaven with us, and would have two fummers in one year, and no less than two heaven's; but this will not be for us : one, and such an one, máy fuffice as well enough; the man Christ got but one only, and shall we have two? Remember my love in Christ to your father, and help me with your prayers. If ye would be a deep divine, I recommend to you fanctification : fear him, and he shall reveal his covenant to you. Grace be with you. Aberdeen, jan. 5.
Yours in his fweet Lord 1637.
Jefus, S. R.
139. TO CARDONESS elder. Mucb honoured Sir, Race, mercy and peace be to you. I have longed to héar from
you, and to know the estate of your soul, and the estate of that people with you. I beseech you, Sir, by the sal. vation of your precious foul, and the mercies of God, make good and sure work of your salvation, and try upon what ground-Itonë ye have builded. Worthy and dear Sir, if ye be upon finking fand, a storm of death, and a blaft will loose Christ and you, and wash you close off the rock; O for the Lord's fake, look aarrowly to the work. Read over your life, with the light of God's day-light and fun; for falvation is not caften down at every man's door: it is good to look to your compafs, and all ye have need of, ere ye take shipping; for no wind can blow you back again. Remember, when the race is ended, and the play either won or loft, and ye are in the utmost circle and border of time, and Shall put your foot within the march of eternity, and all your