« السابقةمتابعة »
it up, and fire the house? Sanctified thoughts, thoughts made conscience of, and called in, and kept in awe, are green fuel that burn not, and are a water for Satan's coal. Yet I must tell you, the whole faints now triumphant in heaven, and standing before the throne, are nothing but Christ's forlorn and beggarly dyvours. What are they but a pack of redeemed sinners? but their redemption is not only paft the seals, but compleated; and yours is oa the wheels, and in doing: all Christ's good bairns go to heaven with a broken brow, and with a crooked leg. Christ hath an advantage of you, and I pray you let him have it, he shall find employment for his calling in you: if it were not with you as you write, grace should find no fale nor market in you; but ye must be content to give Christ somewhat ado; I am glad that he is employed that way; let your bleeding foul and your sores be put in the hand of this expert Physician; let young and strong corruptions and his free grace be yoked together, and let Christ and your fins deal it betwixt them. I will be loth to put you off your fears, and your sense of deadness; (I wish it were more) there be some wounds of that nature that their bleeding should not be foon stopped: ye must take a house beside the Physician; it shall be a miracle if ye be the first sick man he put away uncured, and worse than he found you. Nay, nay, Christ is honest, and in that, fly. ting free with finners, John vi. 37: And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' Take ye that : ii cannot be presumption to take that as your own, when ye fiad
wounds stound you; presumption is ever whole at the heart, and hath but the truant-sickness, and groaneth only for the fashion; faith hath sense of sickness, and looketh like a friend to the promises ; and looking to Christ therein is glad to see a known face. Christ is as full a feast as ye can have to hunger. Nay, Christ, I say, is not a full man's leavings; his mercy fends always a letter of defiance to all your sins, if there were ten thousand more of them. I grant you it is a hard matter for a poor hungry man to win his mcat upon hidden Christ: for then the key of his pantry door, and of the house of wine, is a seeking, and cannot be had; but hunger must break through iron locks. I bemoan them not who can make a din, and all the fields ado, for a lost Saviour; ye must let him hear it, to say so, upon both the sides of his head, when he hideth himself; it is not time then to be bird.mouth'd and patient. Christ is rare indeed, and a delicate to a sinner; he is a miracle, and w.:ld's wonder to a seeking and a weeping finner ; but yet such a miracle as will be seen by them, who will come and fee: the secker and ligher is at last a singer and enjoyer ; nay I have seen a dumb man get an alms from Christ. He that can tell his. tale, and send such a letter to heaven as he hath sent to Aberdeen, it is very like he will come speed with Chrift; it bodeth God's
mercy to complain heartily for fin. Let wrestling be with Chrift, till he fay, How is it, Sir, that I cannot be quit of your bills, and your mifearned cries and then hope for Christ's blessing, and his blessing is better than other ten blessings, Think not shame because of your guiltiness: necessity must not blush to beg: it standeth
you hard to want Christ; and therefore that which idle on waiting cannot do, misnurtured crying and knocking will do. And for doubtings, because you are not as you were long since with your master, consider three things: ift. What if Christ had fuch tortering thoughts of the bargain of the new covenant betwixt you and him, as you have?. 2d. Your heart is not the compass Christ faileth by; he will give you leave to sing as you please, but he will not dance to your daft spring. It is not referred to you and your thoughts what Christ will do with the charters betwixt: you and him : your own misbelief hath torn them; but he hatha the priocipal in heaven with himself : your thoughts are no parts of the new covenant; dreams change not Christ. 3d. Doubtings are your fins, but they are Christ's drugs and ingredients that the Physician maketh use of for the curing of your pride. Is it not suitable for a beggar to say at meat, God reward the winners? for then he faith, he knoweth who beareth the charges of the house. It is also meet ye should know by experience that faith is not nature's ill-gotten bastard, but your Lord's free gift ihat lay in the womb of God's free grace; praised be the winner. I may add a fourth, In the passing of your bill and your charters, whea they went through the Mediator's great seal, and were concluded, faith's advice was not fought: faith hath not a vote beside Chrift's merits; blood, blood, dear blood, that came from your Cautioner's holy body, maketh that sure work. The use then which ye have of faith now (having already closed with Jesus Christ for justification) is, to take out a copy of your pardon; and fo ye have peace with God upon the account of Chrift: for, fioce faith apprehendeth pardon, but never payeth a penny for it, no marvel that fal. vation doth nor die and live, ebb or flow with the working of faith. But, because it is your Lord's honour to believe his mercy and his fidelity, it is infinite goodness in our Lord, that misbelief giveth a dash to our Lord's glory, and not to our salvation. And fo, whoever want, (yea, howbeit God here bear with the want of what we are obliged to give him, even the glory of his grace by believing, yet) a poor covenanted sinner wanteth nob: but if guiltinefs were removed, doubtings would find no friend, nor lite; and yet faith is to believe the removal of guiltiness in Christ. A reason why ye get less now (as ye think) than before (as I take it) is, because, at our first conversion, our Lord putteth the meat
bairos mouths with his own hand; but when we grow to some further perfection, we must take heaven by violence, and
take by violence from Christ what we get; and he can, and doth hold, because he will have us to draw. Remember, now ye muft live upon violent plucking, Laziness is a greater fault now than long fioce; we love always to have the pap in our mouth. Now for myself; alas! I am not the man I go for io this nation; men have not just weights to weigh me in. 'Oh, but I am a silly feckless body, and overgrown with weeds; corruption is rank and fat in me.
O if I were aniwerable to this holy cause, and to that honour Prince's love for whom I now suffer! It Christ would refer the matter to me, (in his presence I speak it) I might think shame to yote my own salvation; I think Christ might say, Think'ff thou not shame to claim heaven, who dost fo little for it? I am very often fo, that I know not whether I fink or fwim in the water; I find myself a bag of light froth; I would bear no weight, (but vanity and nothings weigh in Christ's balance) if my Lord cast not in borrowed weight and metal, even Christ's righteoufness; to weigh for me. The stock I have is not mine owk; I am but the merchant that traffics with other folks goods : if my creditor Christ would take from me what he hath lent, I would not long keep the causeway; but Chritt hath made it mine and his. I think it manhood to play the coward, and joak in the lee-side of Christ; and thus I am not only saved from my enemies, but I obtain the victory. I am so empty, that I think it were an almsdeed in Chrift, if he would win a poor prisoner's blessing for ever more, and fill me with his love. I complain when Christ cometh, be cometh always to fetch fire, he is ever in haste, he may not tarry; and poor I (a beggarly dyvour) get but a ftanding visit and a standing kiss, and but, How doeft thou ? in the bygoing. I dare not say he is lordly, because he is made a king now at the right hand of God; or is grown miskenning and dry to his poor friends; (for he cannot make more of his kisses than they are worth :) but I think it my happiness to love the love of Chrift: and when he goeth away, the memory of his sweet presence is Jike a feast in a dear summer. I have comfort in this, that my foul desiresh tha: every hour of my imprisonment were a company of heavenly tongues to praise him on my behalf; howbeit, my bonds were prolonged for many hundred years. Othat I could be ihe man who could procure my Lord's glory to low like a full sea, and blow like a mighty wind upon all the four airths of Scotland, England and Ireland ! O if I could write a book of his praises ! O Fairest among the fons of men, why stayest thou fo long away? O heavens, move fast! O time, run, run, and hasten the marriage. day! for love is tormented with delays. O angels, o seraphims who stand before him, O blessed spirits who now see his face, fet him on high! for when ye have worn your harps in his praises, all is too little, and is nothing, to cast the smell of the praise of that
fair flower, that fragrant rose of Sharon, through many worlds! Sir, take my hearty commendations to him, and tell him thit I am sick of love. Grace be with you, Aberdeen, June 16,
Yours in his sweet Lord 1637.
Jefus, S. R. cimencaononconsorcomunaaanaaaana nao.concausa 28. To his honoured and dear brother ALEXANDER GORDON
of Knockgray. Dearest and truly honoured brother, G Race, mercy and peace be to you, I have
seen no letter from you since I came to Aberdeen; I will not interpret it to 1:0 forgetfulness. I am here in a fair prison. Christ is my sweet and honourable fellow-prisoner, and his fad and joyful Lord-prisoner, fif I may speak fo) I think this cross becometh me well, and is fuitable to me in respect of my duty to suffer for Christ; howbeit Not in regard of my deserving, to be thus honoured. However it be, I fee Christ is strong, even lying in the dust, in prilop, and in banishment. Loiies and disgraces are the wheels of Chritt's triumphing chariot; in the fufferings of his own faints, as he intendeth their good, lo he intendeth his own glory, and that is the butt his arrows shoot at; and Christ shooteth not at the rovers, he hittech what he purposeth to hit: therefore he doth make his own feckless and weak nothings, and these who are the contempt of men, 'a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth, to thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and to make the bills as chaff, and to fan them,' Ifa. xli. 15; 16. What harder ftuff, or harder grain for threshing out, than highi and rocky mountains ? but the saints are God's threshing instruments to beat them all in chaff: are we not God's leem vessels! and yet when they cast us over an house we are not broken in seards ; we creep in under our Lord's wings in the great shower, and the water cannot go thorough these wings. It is folly then for men to say, this is not Christ's plea, he will lose the wed fee, men are like to beguile him : that were indeed a strange play. Nay. I dire pledge my soul, and lay it io pawn on Christ's side of it, and be halfeiner half-winner with my master : let fools laugh the fools-laughter, and scorn Christ, and bid the weeping captives in Babylon fing us one of the fongs of Zion, play a spring to chear up your fad-hearted God; we may fing upon luck's head before hand, e. ren in our winter storm, in the expectation of a summer sun at the turn of the year; no created powers in hell, or out of hell, can mar our Lord Jefus his mutic, nor spill our long of joy; ler us then be glad and rejoice in the salvation of our Lord: for faith had never yet cause to have wet cheeks, and hanging down brows, ar to droop or die; what can all faith, feeing Chritt fuffereth
himself (with reverence to him be it spoken) to be commanded by it, and Christ commandeth all things ? Faith may dance becausc Christ sings; and we may come in the quire, and lift our hoarse and rough voices, and chirp and fing, and shout for joy with our Lord Jesus. We see oxen go to the shambles leaping and startleing; we see God's fed osen prepared for the day of Naughter, go dancing and singing down to the black chambers of hell; and why should we go to heaven weeping, as if we were like to fall down through the earth for forrow? If God were dead (if I may speak fo, with reverence of him who liveth for ever and ever) and Christ baried, and rotten among the worms, we might have caufe to look like dead folks ; but the Lord liveth, and blessed be the rock of our salvation.'. Psalm xviii. 46. None have right to joy but we; for joy is sown for us, and an ill summer or harvest will not spill the crop. The children of this world have much robbed joy that is not well come: it is uo good sport they laugh at: they Iteal joy, as it were, from God; for he commandeth them to muurn and howl; then let us claim our leel come and lawfully. conquished joy. My dear brother, I cannot but speak what I have felt; feeing my Lord Jesus hath broken a box of spikenard upon the head of his poor prisoner, and it is hard to hide a sweet fmell; it is a paio to finother Christ's love; it will be out, whether we will or not. If we did but speak according to the matter, a cross for Chrift should have another name; yea, a cross, especially when he cometh with his arms full of joys, is the happiest hard tree that ever was laid upon my weak shoulder. Christ and his crofs together are sweet company, and a blessed couple. My prison is my palace, my sorrow is with child of joy, my losses are rich losses, my pain easy pain, my heavy days are holy and happy days. I
may tell a new tale of Christ to my friends. Ob if I could make a love song of him, and could commend Chrift, and tune his praises aright? O if I could set all tongues in Great Britain and Ireland to work, to help me to sing a new song of my Well-beloved ! O if I could be a bridge over a water for my Lord Jelus to walk upon, and keep his feet dry! O if my poor bit heaven could go betwixt my Lord and blasphemy, and dishonour ! (upon condition he loved me.) O that my heart could say this word, and bide by it for ever! is it not great art and incompara ble wisdom in my Lord, who can bring forth such fair apples out of this crabbed tree of the cross? Nay, my Father's never enough admired providence can make a fair feast out of a black devil; nothing can come wrong to my Lord in his sweet working I would even fall sound alleep in Christ's arms, and my fipful head on his holy breast, while he kisseth me; were it not that often the wind turneth to the north, and whiles my sweet Lord Jesus is so, that he will deither give bor take, borrow nor lend with me. I