May 30, 1810.
DEPEND upon it there is a day and an appointed time for every sinner and every saint. At the first birth a man is born to trouble; and by a second birth a brother is born for adversity. Every grain of the incorruptible seed must and shall be tried. "The day shall declare every man's work of what sort it is; it shall be revealed by fire." And here is our wisdom, not to faint in the day of adversity; but still persist, in confession, in prayer, in watching, and in waiting; in these slacken not, faint not; but, above all, "let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Patience has had her perfect work when we submit and resign to the will of God. We must be joined to the Lord, and submission is the first joint. "He repented and went, and did the will of his Father:" one will served both. Our faith in God's power is another joint; and man's hope, and God's mercy, through Christ, form another; and it is a truth that one love between both completes the union. We love him, but "he first loved us;" ours is reflected from his; and, if deficient in this completion, do not despise "the day of small things." Be willing to know the worst. The brightest character in God's book is the spiritually poor and needy; and it is said of this character as is said of no other, "the poor heareth not rebuke," Prov. xiii. 8.
God delights in displaying the riches of his grace; and the poor and needy need it, and crave it. This is the man that needs a whole Christ, in all his offices, benefits, fullness, and blessings: this I know by blessed experience. No furnace, no fire, will ever have any effect upon the hidden treasure of grace: "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," being incorruptible and undefiled; nor can it fade or lose its lustre. Every grain will shew itself, and appear more conspicuous, more strong and firm, more clear and bright; so that you will be able to distinguish them. You will see and feel what faith can do; and find out the toil and utility of hope, the motions and activity of fear, which is our guardian, to keep us from departing from God; and meekness, which gives vent to grief, dissolves a hard heart, and pumps the vessel of mercy to empty it of its bitter waters, and makes way for humility to act. This humbleness of mind is the forerunner of patience, and a joint worker with it. The life of the Spirit is in all these, and these are good things towards the Lord God of Israel. With these we are furnished for every good word and work; and these the devil labours to imitate in all hardened, presumptuous professors, who hate the power of godliness.
Our Lord calls this counterfeit work, garnishing the hardened soul. The house is empty, swept, and garnished. Empty; that is, not filled with the Spirit. Swept; not washed in the regeneration of, nor renewed by, the Holy Ghost. Garnished with voluntary humility, feigned faith, hypocritical hope, dissembled love, legal pride, blind zeal, an external reformation, and head notions: but no sight or sense of inbred corruptions, the desperate enmity and rebellion of the heart, the filthiness and pollution of depraved nature, nor of the boundless demands of a broken law. By the former work, here described, Christ is formed in us; and by the latter the devil is enshrined in his own palace, and his goods are kept in peace.
None but God and myself know what I see of these things in the world.
Tender my kind love to all friends.
W. H. S. S.