Nov. 25, 1811.
MY dear son writes like one unacquainted with old age. My hand shakes; and it is hard work to write when the right hand forgets her cunning. But the hand of faith still holds its shield, and hope expects the great reward. Against this hand and anchor, Satan and corruption, saints and sinners, have long striven to add weight to my 'chain, and affliction to my bonds; all which help to pull down and wear out the despicable machine, which, when it is gone, will have the name of a pleasant vessel. The condescension of my Saviour is a wonder to me; my labours appear to be more blessed among the people in the new chapel than they ever were before. Our bed is green; the love of Christ is our rest; and I believe not less than seven have, by the manifestation of divine love, quitted their cells and their bonds, and, casting off the veil, they shew themselves: so that the old cow-pond is become both the wedding-chamber and the nursery.
Our chapel is amazingly filled, without an. organ, without fine singing, and without schools. Christ, all in all, needs no addition. The finished work of the cross is all-sufficient; and where our salvation was wrought out, there the offence is taken. On the cross our sins were expiated, and wrath appeased; truth was cleared, judgment executed, and justice satisfied; God was reconciled, man redeemed, peace was made, and everlasting righteousness brought in; which is an eye-sore to the devil, and the stumbling-block of sinners. This work, proclaimed and applied by the Holy Spirit, brings on all that malice and reproach that is called "the offence of the cross." So that our glory is their offence; our foundation their stumbling-stone; our altar and table their snare.; and our welfare becomes their trap. See then the goodness and severity of God, and sing we of mercy and judgment; of judgment passed, and of mercy come; for God will not lead us to Sinai the second time, seeing he has said that we shall go that way no more.
The treasure in my earthen vessel was all brought from Christ's fulness into my soul by the Holy Spirit of promise; the holy oil and the living coals came from the Lord's anointed, and from the altar of burnt offering; and the more from God, the more hateful to men: but many waters cannot quench this fire, nor can the floods drown it. The covenant name of our God is "gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin." This name was in the angel, or messenger of the covenant, that went before Israel in the desert, whom Israel would not obey, and therefore he would not forgive Israel. This is the name of the Lord that came from far; Isai. xxx. 27. This covenant name of grace and pardon Christ proclaimed to the apostles, who obtained pardon from him, and therefore loved him. No pardon, no love. But, in order to keep us in love, he promises to declare this name again and again. "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them," John xvii. 26. This was the work of Moses, "I will publish the name of the Lord;" and my doctrine shall drop as the dew and the rain in doing it; "He is the rock, and his work is perfect; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he." I wish all the advocates of Moses did the same. But an empty noise, blind zeal, ignorance, confusion, foolish tales, the bare letter, and a fair shew in the flesh, will go down before this great and glorious name.
Adieu. My love to all that love Christ.