October, 1803.


THE long, dark, cold winter is begun, and my constant infirmities intimate and confirm the same thing. I have had the rheumatism in my loins and hips, which at times quite bowed me together. If October handles me so roughly, what will January, February, and March do? But this consideration counterpoises these bodily afflictions - we are not shut up under the law, in unbelief, in legal bondage, in hardness of heart, nor in carnal enmity and rebellion, as was once my dreadful ease and state. The Surety has discharged the infinite debt, the great Creditor has accepted the payment, and Justice himself (by the blood of the covenant) has sent forth the state prisoners out of the pit in which was no water. The thick and dark clouds of our transgressions are blotted out, and removed; for these, these were the clouds that made our earth iron, and the heaven brass, Deut. xxviii. 23. But God has looked propitiously through that cloud, and dispersed it; and the light of his countenance shining in Christ's face hath dispersed it, and scattered the whole host of accusing and reproaching devils that attended it. His angry countenance against our accusers has driven away their backbiting tongues, Prov. xxv. 23; the Advocate on high has undermined all their charges, whether false or true, so that they have no foundation against the elect of God: for, although they seek after the sins of Judah, they cannot be found, for there is to be none, the mouth of the Lord has spoken this. The light of God's glorious countenance shining in the face of Jesus, is our saving health, our shining path, and that perfect day -which we have got in hope: it makes rough places plain, crooked things straight, and turns the shadow of death into a morning of joy. By this light we walk through darkness, even when surrounded with it on every side; the darkness of ignorance, of superstition, and will worship; the gross darkness of the world the darkness of idolatry, of errors, and heresy, and all the works and workers of darkness, practised and performed by the sons of Belial. By his light we have walked through all these; and often walked in confidence, and in safety, when we neither saw our own way, nor the dangers that awaited us. For I have often thought that if we could see the prince of the power of the air, and his innumerable host of evil angels, which our Lord calls the fowls of the air, Mark iv. 4, 15; and all the damnable heresies that await us on every side; the malice conceived in the hearts of our adversaries; the numbers that watch for our halting, and that watch for iniquity; the snares and traps with which this world abounds; the unfathomable depths of the human heart, and the innumerable seeds of inbred corruption; the shortness, the weakness and imperfection of the best of frames in the present state; the spiritual desertions; the darts of Satan; the secret arrows of the ungodly; all which constantly attend us in our way to the kingdom: - I say, if every child of God's family had got rid of the old vail entirely, so as to be perfect in knowledge, and to discern all these things as they really are, I think he would crawl into the flesh, and venture abroad no more. But whether we see them or not, we are sure to feel them all in turn. Farewell; peace and truth be with us.


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