MY DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE lately received a letter from G., and I think he seems to be coining on in the old track; watching, waiting, hoping, fearing, doubting, halting, mourning, and rejoicing; sinking, and soaring, despairing, and triumphing: and this was long my way. The - old man dies hard: crucifying is a lingering, painful death to him: the nails gall him; he loves ease, indulgence, gratifications, and harmless amusements; a cold form of religion of his own devising, and a few of the precepts of men. But for the old man to be denied daily, under a painful cross; to be put off with his deeds, and to see a more honourable one (the new man) put on, as a rival to him; to be mortified through the Spirit; to find the grace of God curbing and holding him in, and reigning through righteousness in his stead; is very degrading both to him and to his father. But the new man shall have the pre-eminence, though in his infant state; for "better is a poor and wise child, than an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished." Grace shall reign, sin shall not have dominion. "For out of prison the old man cometh to reign, whereas he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor."
Eccl. iv. 13, 14. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God." The old man is nothing but the image of the devil. When the Spirit was in Adam, God's image was upon him; but, when sin entered, the strong man armed took possession, and set up his own image in him, which God despises. The image of the devil in man is not wisdom, but blindness; not righteousness, but guilt and condemnation; not holiness, but sin; not glory, but shame and reproach; not love, but enmity; not a shining face, but a fallen countenance; not delighting in the things of the Spirit, but in the lusts of the flesh: not savouring the things of God, but those that be of men. Between these two lies The narrow path; and the struggle between these makes the gate of life so strait. This is the saint's warfare; it is a company of two armies, called Mahanaim. "With my staff I passed this Jordan, but now I am become two bands." So may all believers say, By the staff or sceptre of the King of kings I passed the river Jordan,' which signifies judgment. By the power of Christ we pass from death to life; and no sooner is this done than we become two bands. The soul is armed with the graces of the Spirit, and the flesh with its deceitful lusts, which war against the soul. And so the law in the members, and the law in the mind; the fruits of the Spirit, and the spawn of the serpent; the Lord and his seed, the devil and his fruit, oppose each other till death ends the conflict. But, if faith has the last word, and deals the last blow, the victory is gained. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." My kind love to dame, while I remain,
Yours in faith and love,