January 22, 1807.
To my dear Friends greeting, wishing Grace, Mercy, and Peace, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
IN our old. age, and when compassed about with many infirmities, our only props are the stability of God's covenant, and the faithfulness of God to his promises; all of which are "yea and amen in Christ, to the Glory of God," by the salvation of us. God took us from the belly, he bore us from the womb, and to old age and to hoary hairs he will carry us; he has made us, he will bear us, and he will deliver us. Isaiah xlvi. 3, 4. These are his promises, which are true, and his faithfulness will make them good, and the work of faith is to trust in him for the fulfilment of them: for in our salvation and glorification his truth is to be settled in heaven. The kingdom for which we look was prepared for us from the foundation of the world, and God himself makes us meet for it. It is the precious blood of the Lamb of God that makes us clean, and the righteousness of Christ that makes us just; it is his Spirit that makes us holy, and his love that makes us free; and we are complete in him. Let nothing move you from this trust in the darling Son of God; he is the only foundation, a chosen, a precious, a tried stone, and a sure foundation; and when God founded Zion he declared that the poor of his people should trust in it; and they are poor in spirit who have no goodness nor good works to plead. A good God has dealt kindly with you both. He has not dealt with us as he does with the wicked, who are "driven away in their wickedness;" nor thrown us out of the world as a stone out of a sling; nor with a storm hurled us out of our place, Job xxvii. 21. He has in his long suffering mercy pulled us down gradually, and loosened a pin at a time, as we were able to bear it; that we might look about us, examine ourselves, and watch his hand, and have our end in view, and live in expectation of the change, and not be alarmed or terrified at it when it comes. The death of the righteous is called gathering lilies, Song vi. 2; and gathering his wheat into his barn, which is a gentle gathering, not a hasty plucking, much less driving us out of the world. It is true we are poor, sinful, unprofitable creatures. and unworthy of God's notice; but, as the purchase of the Son of God, we are highly priced. "I will give nations for thee," says God, "and people for thy life." It is not what we are, or what we are worth, but the value that is set upon us, and the wonderful price that we are bought with, that is to be our comfort. "It is better," says the wise man, "to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, and the day of death is better than the day of our birth:" the former was to sin and trouble, the latter frees us from both. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." We have seen much of his kindness, grace, and providence, in this life; but at best this is but looking through a glass darkly. This is not all that God had in view; his end is to display the riches of his grace in glory by Christ Jesus; and our Lord's end and aim are to shew us plainly of the. Father, and not to speak to us in proverbs.
Now, as the accomplishment of an end is what all fabricators aim at, the glorification of the church is God's aim; he will bring us home, that we may see the reality of things, and reap the harvest, as well as the first fruits. The Saviour declares that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine self-righteous, who imagine they never went astray; and, if there be such joy at bringing one strayed sheep to the truth, much more at bringing them to heaven. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Grace and peace be multiplied, is the prayer and desire of, dear friends,
Yours in the Lord Jesus,
W.H. S. S.