Cricklewood, Feb. 26, 1811.
THE Lord God our Saviour has an elect people in this world, which are by nature the children of wrath even as others, being all under one and the same sentence of condemnation. But these objects of his choice he knows by name, and will in due time call them by name, and lead them out from the world, and from the congregations of hypocrites, for "he that feareth God shall come forth of them all." God, in his own time and way, discriminates these by bringing them into some affliction, under which case a minister of the letter becomes a miserable comforter, and a physician of no value. The man that went down to Jericho fell among thieves. Cutting convictions and. Satan's temptations came on him. He felt that Satan had robbed man of God's image; sin had robbed him of all true peace; and the sentence of death had robbed him of life; so that he was left half dead - alive in the body, but sin revived in the soul, and he died. In this pitiful case the priest and the Levite were of no use; they were conscious that neither the commandments, nor the blood of rams, could ever heal him; and, knowing in themselves that they had not the balm of Gilead, they passed by on the other side. These doctors are of no use, excepting to them that are heart-whole, at ease in Zion, or insensible in soul. But when these were gone, then came the good Samaritan; for "the whole need not the physician, but they that are sick."
It seems by yours that you have been "spending money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not." The poor prodigal went the same way to work; he joined himself to a citizen of this country, a citizen of "Jerusalem that now is; and is in bondage with her children." These were the citizens that -hated Christ, and sent after him, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." This citizen sent him not to mount Zion, the city of the Saviour, but into his own fields; -not to the Lord's sheep, but to his own herds; not to be fed, but to minister the dead letter, to feed the congregation of the dead. But "there arose a mighty famine in that land." God, by his Spirit, quickened the poor soul, and then he felt his wants. This mighty famine was a spiritual one, and the soul was in danger of perishing for want -of the bread of life, which no man gave unto him; for Christ is not known among the swine, nor is he known among any ministers of the letter. By these things we may see how God works to distinguish his own elect, and to bring them to himself. The wounding of the thieves, and the slight of the priest and Levite, made way for the good Samaritan, in the former parable; and the mighty famine paved the way for the bread of life, and the fatted calf, in this. By these things the Lord separates the vile from the precious, which the ministers of the letter cannot do; for it is their work to collect the chaff; and the work of the Lord's servants is to collect the wheat, and gather it into his floor. This is the Lord's husbandry, and the former serves as a fan, to keep the floor clean. Wounding, famine, crossing, disappointing, bondage, and misery,. shall attend and pursue the elect of God, till they come out from among the congregations of hypocrites, and be separated from the foolish virgins.
If God has undeceived you when others are left under the deception, if God has enlightened you to see the emptiness of the ministry, while others are still blind, how were thine eyes opened, and who maketh thee to differ? Believe me when I say that Christ's commission and appointment do not extend to all. He came not to heal the whole, for they need not the physician; nor to feed the full, "Wo ,unto you that are full;" nor to instruct the wise, for these things are hidden from the wise and prudent; nor yet to call, nor to justify the righteous, for they justify themselves, but God knows their hearts. All the care and concern of Christ is about the poor and needy, the sick and the lame, the hungry and the thirsty, the wounded spirit, and the conscious sinners. Nor is there one word in all God's book against such as are poor in spirit, if rightly understood. These characters the Holy Ghost describes, and points then out as the objects of Christ's care, and as his peculiar treasure.
Yours most affectionately,
W. H. S. S.