Oct. 8, 1798.
BELOVED OF GOD,
THINE came safe to me, and that of thy sister, whom till this morning I did not know; nor could I remember that I had ever seen a sister of thine named Fanny. I am still in hope, and in great expectation, that we shall have a breeding, a fruitful, and a flourishing sister church at Grantham: but I know the devil will try hard against it; and, if he can do it by those within the pale, that will show his wisdom, and is his highest craft. Hence the Lord's caution, "Wo to him through whom the offence (or scandal) cometh."
The lion and the bear must lie down together, and a little child shall lead them, if they will go in God's ways. I know that our little sister at Grantham hath not been without breasts for some time; and milk she must have if she grows. The covering and vail upon the heart are the doors of the shadow of death. When light shines upon them that are in darkness the understanding is let out, but not the heart: but when the door of hope is opened, expectation flows out; when the door of faith is opened, confidence comes forth; "Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him;" and, when the gate of praise is opened, love flows in, and repentance flows out, then fear and torment give way, and from that day forward we "go in and out and find pasture," for the door of mercy is never closed again.
God is setting before you an open door, and none can shut it; and the word will sound out from you into all the region round about. It will run, both by the evil reports of enemies, by the wounds of the sick, and by the joys of the saved; and God will be glorified. It will grow and prevail, even over prejudice, envy, hardness of heart, unbelief, blindness of mind, guilt, the reign of sin, over the power of the devil, and over reprobates and avowed enemies, even to their confusion, their ruin, and their endless destruction. My soul travails hard for you; and my hopes and expectations are raised high respecting Grantham; that God may bring them all out of prison, and say to them, "Go forth, and to them that sit in darkness, shew yourselves." My soul rejoiced when I saw sister B.'s letters, which informed me of a little nest at Leicester, who begin to "look out of obscurity and out of darkness." That blind guide, that enemy of divine power, will not be always hid; he shall walk naked, and the just shall see his shame; he shall be made manifest, and appear to be a zealous affector, but a sworn enemy to the Bridegroom and all his bridal friends; for. those who see through him his soul will abhor; and this is hating the light, and the children of it: but the small one shall become a thousand, and God. shall hasten it in his time, in spite of men and devils.
A little while ago I wrote to poor Mr. Jenkins; God. blessed the letter, and knocked off his fetters; and "mighty works do shew forth themselves in him." O! bless my God for evermore. You have heard of the defeat; God has given Egypt for our ransom, and he that was coming to destroy us is now starving in the land of Ham.
God Almighty bless you all; and give my best love to brother L.