The Way and the Fare, of a Wayfaring Man.
IN TWO LETTERS TO A FRIEND
"..THE WAYFARING MEN THOUGH FOOLS, SHALL NOT ERR
� ISAIAH XXXV. 8.
TO MR. K. RED-HILL, KINGSBURY.
William Huntington (1745-1813)
Dear Brother and Sister in Christ Jesus,
AFTER several storms, contrary winds, boisterous waves, turbulent seas,
dangerous shoals, encounters with formidable enemies of the ghostly kind,
and many entanglements among the Caribbee islands, I am once more come to
an anchor at the Cape of Good Hope, the wind at south-west. The dog-star
is now out of sight, and I am looking to him that maketh the seven stars
an Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning.
It has been a day of adversity with me, in which I have had many things
to consider; and now the day of prosperity is arrived, in which I hope to
be joyful. I have of late had various temptations and trials to cope with,
and acted in my voyage as Paul did in his: I cast four anchors out of the
stern, and wished for day; I tried to anchor in the Spirit's former work;
in former promises applied, in former evidences, and in former visits; but,
alas, alas, the vessel drove; I was obliged to cast anchor out of the fore-ship
(our refuge is a hope set before us); but still she drove; until a little
of that threefold cord that is not soon broken was let out; then she came
to her anchor, and rode sweetly.
I am now ashore; and, having gained the summit of an adjacent rock, I
have been, with the help of my glass, making what discoveries I could, while
the eddy was visible: I left the group of Candour Islands about a league
from the larboard-side; I fell on the quick sands on the coast of Universal
Charity; but the wind veered and brought her off; nevertheless, some of
the crew were infected from the shore, and we performed quarantine.
The old shattered weather-beaten vessel has sprung several leaks; her
timbers are impaired, her planking is much decayed, and ere long she will
undoubtedly go to pieces; but nothing will be lost but the mortal infection
of the timbers and the lading; for she will be weighed up again, refitted,
and numbered among the first rates, as soon as the Master Builder appears:
for he has sworn that no vessel of mercy shall suffer eternal wreck, or
be deluged in wrath.
The storm is now forgot, this part of the voyage is to be performed no
more; the Captain is with me, the sun shines warm, and the good old wine
is going about. O how sweet are the visits of Christ, after faith and patience
have been tried! He stands behind the wall in times of trouble; shews himself
through the lattice when the proud heart is humbled; sits as a refiner by
the side of the furnace, regulates the heat, and brings us out when self
is denied; affords supporting grace, stirs up and discovers the base metal
at the bottom, purges away the dross and tin, and makes the trial of faith
more precious than gold, and the believer like the golden wedge of Ophir.
Thus we go through fire and water, but he brings us out into a wealthy place:
"the ransom of a man's life are his riches." Christ is our ransom, wealthy
place, hiding place, resting place, and dwelling place.
Having enjoyed my Lord, soon after I made the land I went to survey the
little hills, and attempted to water the ridges thereof, in hopes of the
blessing of increase. We had some little appearance of the days of the Son
of Man: the perfection of beauty shone forth; the fire was scattered from
the altar; reviving sparks and living coals went forth at his feet; while
his inflaming purifying influences warmed the heart, and brightened the
countenance of those that are of the true circumcision.
With delight I looked upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; but with
more delight to see the Master of Assemblies there. O! to stand in Christ's
strength, begirt with his truth, enrobed with his righteousness, cheered
with his inward testimony, illuminated with the light of his countenance,
free in his liberty, and wise in his wisdom! then the eye of faith pursues
his mysterious steps, which he makes glorious, while he display's his power
and majesty as our King and our God in the sanctuary.
Upon the thirsty soul he comes down as rain upon the mown grass, and
as showers that water the earth; which makes love, joy, peace, praise, and
gratitude, to spring forth, while himself delights in his own fruits. He
unstops the ears of the deaf, opens them to pleasing discipline; causes
a joyful sound to be heard behind, while the still voice informs the wondering
listener, 'This is the way, walk ye in it.' With the hammer of his word
he smites the inflexible heart of another; opens the everlasting doors,
and makes the careless, senseless, stupid mortal attend to the voice, and
reply, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. He takes the bane of guilt
from the envenomed conscience of another, and sets the rescued sinner to
banter the king of terrors, and the house appointed for all living: "O death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" He couches the eyes
of the blind, draws the veil from the understanding, lets a healing beam
into the heart; and makes him that sat in darkness and in the shadow of
death shew himself: the soul peeps out of obscurity and out of darkness,
views his past life as a dream, supposes himself in a new world, and shines
forth in the Sun that shall never go down. He takes another struggling in
the horrible pit and miry clay, pulls him out of the deep waters, shews
him the way of life and path of peace; fixes his wavering heart, puts a
new song in his mouth, and ever after orders his goings. Takes another,
that has been long struggling against sin in his own strength, by which
he has only burdened his soul with additional fetters, and proclaims his
enlargement; sets his soul at liberty, and tells him to run the race set
before him, looking to his Great Deliverer; pours a little of the oil of
myrrh on the handle of the unbeliever's lock, and makes the bolt of infidelity
fly back, while lovingkindness and tender mercy take possession, and display
their banner there; thus turning the den of dragons into a silver palace,
while every power of the soul proclaims their Sovereign come, kiss the Heir-apparent,
acknowledge his hereditary right to government, and crown him King at large.
He lets the enthralled sinner, that has been long cooped up in the strong
hold of flesh and blood, out of his cell; unfolds the door of hope in the
valley of Achor; when slavish fear with her train of terrors and the discovered
tormentor skulks off, while the happy soul feels its plumage, spreads its
wings, and escapes like a bird from the hand of the fowler, where it hopes
to hear no more of the stormy, wind and tempest. He whispers peace to another:
bids the waiting soul be patient, and quietly hope: they shall not be ashamed
that wait for him: discovers and lays open the heart of the secure sinner,
and spreads all his crimson crimes and carnal hopes before his face; saying,
I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine: restores the wanderer, binds
up the broken-hearted, informs the misled, fixes the wavering, relieves
the distressed, succours the tempted, suckles the weakling, confirms the
unstable, smites the froward, disappoints the self-willed, feeds the hungry,
satiates the thirsty, replenishes the sorrowful, and settles the marriage
treaty with the suspicious soul that burns in the raging flames of cruel
jealousy; and suffers himself to be held in the galleries.
Thus goes the King in the sanctuary, and spreads the savour of his name,
and the bounties of his hand, until every broken heart be warm, every evidence
bright, and the smiles of the face proclaim him the health of their countenance,
and their God. Surely these are some of his ways, but how little of him
is understood! John saw him walking among the golden candlesticks; and no
wonder, when it is the office of our High Priest to trim the lamps, supply
the vessels, and keep the lights burning; and who so fit as our Sanctifier,
our Unction, and our True Light? What a wonderful mystery is the soul-ravishing,
soul-dignifying religion of Jesus Christ, when really felt and enjoyed in
the divine power thereof!
These thoughts were hovering about my heart and head at the time you
was in the north; but my cruse began to fail, the tide ebbed, and my pen
dragged heavily; therefore, like the man that began to build, I left off,
not being able to finish. If any part appears too rapturous, let it be remembered
they are some of the first springs that arose, after my recovery from a
fit of the ague and fever, in which I left some dregs of the old cask behind;
and, as Job says, "My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay
all night upon my branch, and my glory was fresh in me."
At present the Lord has left communing with me in that comfortable familiar
way; and, like Abraham, I am returned to my place, where I hang in an even
balance, poising betwixt self and Christ. I know he is gone up, but instead
of going up after him, I am looking within, though I am certain I must look
out before I can fetch him in: the spouse acted a wiser part, she went out
to seek him, and she found him, and held him fast, nor would she let him
go until she brought him to her mother's house, and into the chamber of
her that conceived her. However, bless his name! he is a constant visitor;
he visits our sins with the rod, and our souls with salvation: the former
is to make us appear less than nothing, and the latter, that himself may
be all in all.
The old man must be put off, mortified, yea, crucified; but there is
no putting the old man off but by putting the new man on; no mortifying
of him but through the Spirit, no crucifying him but by fellowship with
Christ in his sufferings, and a conformity to his death. The new man may
be known by his penetrating eye, seeing things that are invisible to bodily
eyesight; by his nice ear, which tries the word as the mouth tastes the
meat; by his delicate palate, "thy words were found, and I did eat them;"
by his activity, "my spirit made diligent search;" by his affections, "I
delight in the law of God, after the inward man;" by the image that he bears,
"created in righteousness and true holiness;" by his delight in worship,
"for a day in thy courts is better than a thousand;" by his heavenly mindedness,
"they shall dwell on high, and see the King in his beauty;" by the things
that he enjoys, life and peace; by his tenderness and warm adherence to
the cause of God, "and of the rest durst no man join himself to them;" by
the company that he keeps, my delights are with the excellent of the earth,
Psalm xvi. 3; by his divine origin, born of God; by the matter of his conception,
the incorruptible seed that lives and abides for ever; by the relation that
he claims to God, crying Abba, Father; by his attachment to sovereign grace,
"of his own will begat he us, by the word of truth;" by his superlative
love to his Father "being born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God;" by his glorifying his Creator; "this
people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise;" by the
fortitude he is equipped with, "strengthened with might by his Spirit in
the inner man;" by his spiritual fruits, "created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
The old Adam, or old man, may be known by his evil motions, "in my flesh
dwelleth no good thing;" by his attachment to the old cause, "Get thee behind
me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that
be of men;" by his cursed loyalty to the old usurper, adhering to the law
in the members; by his infernal rebellion, the flesh lusting against the
Spirit; by his unjustifiable war, "abstain from fleshly lusts that war against
the soul;" by his false candour and Antinomian principles, he would have
us cleave to the letter of the law, but wars against the law in the mind
to bring us into captivity to the law of sin; by his assiduity in mischief,
"when I would do good evil is present with me;" by the assistance that he
gets from the devil to oppose the Spirit, "the things that I would not that
do I;" by his doing despite to every thing that is good, "and these are
contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would;"
by his delight in wickedness, "with my flesh I love the law of sin; by his
vile affection for the reprobate, "I could wish that myself were accursed
from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh;" by his
desperate hatred to God, "the carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not
subject to his law, neither indeed can be;" by his incredulity, "what sign
shewest thou?" by his endeavouring to put us to shame in the Lord's work,
"and I was with you in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling;" by
his struggling to get from the cross, and his hatred to the mystery of it,
by which he lost his life and power, as leader and ruler, "knowing that
our old man is crucified with him;" by his incapability of enjoying any
covenant blessing, "flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God, neither
doth corruption inherit incorruption;" by the image that he bears, a fallen
countenance and a hatred to the light; "Adam, where art thou?" By his loving
to make a covering of every web, as Adam did of leaves; by his hypocrisy,
the old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; by his indefatigable
labours in opposing the new man, "if any man will come after me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me."
These things make the Shulamite appear as it were the company of two
armies; black, but comely; as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon;
as earthen vessels with spiritual treasure; as broken pitchers with burning
lamps; as a flock of sheep spotted and spangled; as poor, yet having great
riches; as foolish, and yet made wise; as the offscouring of the earth,
and yet the excellent of it; as base, and yet honourable; as well known,
and yet unknown; as illiterate, yet taught of God; as dying, and behold
we live; as persecuted, but not forsaken; as having nothing., yet possessing
all things; as troublers of the people, yet the chariot and horsemen of
the nations; as turners of the world upside down, yet the pillars of it;
as pests to society, yet the salt of the earth. As troublesome inmates,
and yet more excellent than their neighbours; as lilies among thorns; as
lambs in the midst of wolves; as a chaste spouse in a posse of concubines;
as shining lights in a crooked anal perverse generation; as pilgrims in
a strange country; as vessels of mercy in seas of affliction; blessed with
grace, and burdened with corruption; endowed with faith, and plagued with
unbelief; with joyful hope, and slavish fear; with love to God, and a lust
to envy; with patience and peevishness; with submission and opposition;
resignation and strong rebellion; meekness and hardness; fortitude and cowardice;
a willing mind, and reluctant flesh; real obedience and strong resistance.
Persons who answer this complex character must expect their path to be as
great a paradox as their persons. The way lies through crooked places made
straight; rough places made plain; through darkness and through light; through
fire and through water; through tribulation and ways of pleasantness; in
deaths often, and alive always; by evil report and by good report; by the
shadow of death, and by the path of life; through days of prosperity and
days of adversity; with much sweetness and a deal of bitterness; heavy crosses
and strong consolations; flourishing like a branch, withering like an herb;
often refreshing and often parched; boasting of fatness, complaining of
leanness; leaping for joy and sinking in grief; triumphing of victory, complaining
of captivity; days of laughing and weeks of mourning; by the valley of vision,
and the valley of Baca; by the mount of transfiguration, and by the mount
of corruption; with the wings of a dove, and the body of death.
Since I put my hand a second time to this work my pen has acted the part
of a restive horse, which runs away with his rider; for I had no thoughts
of making such an in-and-out round-about journey as this of it. But if it
describes any part of the road you have come, or if it affords you any encouragement
respecting the future part of your journey, or any direction concerning
it, it is wholly owing to kind Providence that I met with you.
You have read, I find, the few scraps of poetry that are addressed to
me; the one part of which is a refutation of the other; it verifies the
saying of the wise man, the fool while he holdeth his peace is counted wise,
but if he open his mouth he shall have destruction: because the lips of
a fool swallow up himself, Eccl. x. 12.
I here present you with my skeleton of this learned and nerveless performance,
and shall expect, according to the phrase of canters, your candid judgment
on my dissection:
I just receiv'd twopenny worth in rhyme,
And smil'd to see
the counsel and the chime;
Self contradiction through the
A ring of changes, not a peal of rounds.
The judgment seat my petty judge assumes,
He smites my pride, my wisdom, and my wit:
And to arraign
the justify'd presumes;
He gives me laws, and tells me how
What to advance, and what I must reject;
Shews what will
miss, and what is sure to hit
Arraigns my mystic thoughts
and ready tongue,
And feigns to set me right by counsel wrong.
He owns the Saviour rais'd me up on high;
Of priestly pride he bids me to beware,
My call to preach
the word he'll not deny;
Yet hints my climbing, not my coming
To make me out a minister of sin.
And shews a danger
that engenders fear;
Yet deigns to nurse the senior clergy's
Or stir them up that they may help deride.
My heart he searches, and each thought arraigns;
He bids me preach, but never mention men,
my motives, he will try my reins:
He bids me love, but tells
me not to rail,
And shews what God will own, and what must
Lest truth disturb
the cockatrice's den:
At Antinomian errors I may bawl,
But at free-will must let no sentence fall.
My learned tutor having set my task,
At old Socinus I may storm at large,
And penetrated through
my sable masks
His sire advis'd him to conceal his name,
Lest Truth should put this crafty son to shame.
At Arius the shaft of
For these he owns would pull the Saviour down,
And, if they could, would rob him of his crown.
On lies like these my tutor drops a curse,
The stubborn will of man resists the Lord;
Arminius, though by far the worse;
If they would fain see
Jesus' kingdom fall,
These steal the crown, the sceptre,
sword and all.
Truth did never yet accord;
Remove the cause, its ill effects
When man is nothing revelation's all.
Behold how bless'd are preachers of the word,
knaves their kind advice afford!
Lest from destruction's
path our feet should stray,
Both moles and bats will point
us out the way!
He that judgeth us is the Lord; "it is God that justifieth, who is he
that condemneth?" There are those that condemn the just and justify the
wicked, this is their presumption; "but the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is
spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man," 1 Cor.
ii. 14.15. This superiority of judgment in things spiritual is a privilege
that results from sovereign grace. Judgment, according to truth or righteous
judgment, is to be attended to; what is commonly called a judgment of charity,
or candid judgment, is too often seen to be nothing but hypocrisy, or false
judgment, favouring the children of falsehood, and the cause of Satan. I
must, dear Friends, conclude, wishing you and your's the comfortable possession
of the upper and nether springs, while I remain, in the cause of our sovereign
Lord, your ready and dutiful servitor to command,
I have forgot the day of the month,
but the date of the year is 88.
TO MRS. K. RED-HILL, KINGSBURY.
I RECEIVED your kind invitation; and, if God permit, and the weather
be fine, will dine with you under the tree in the little field next Thursday.
I am to come, as Sheba did to Solomon, I find, bringing a very great train;
but not to prove you with hard questions, knowing you are, through grace,
an admirer of the wisdom of God in the mystery of the cross. O the manifold
wisdom of God, wrapt up in his secret purpose from all eternity! one fold
opened at the creation of the world; another at the revelation of grace
in a promise to Adam; another when Israel forsook Egypt; another when salvation
was finished on the cross; another when it was proclaimed to the Gentiles;
another at the conversion of the Jews; another at the close of the world;
and another in the fruition of God. When Zion shall appear on his most holy
hill, then shall be known in heavenly places, by the church, the manifold
wisdom of God: and it is most certain that we shall be among them; we have
the oath of God, the promise of God, the covenant, the bond of the covenant,
the blood of the covenant, the immutability of the Most High, the witness
and seal of the Spirit, and the testimony of a whole cloud of witnesses,
to dash our unbelief out of countenance, and assure our faith of our safe
arrival there. These bases, Madam, are laid to afford a strong consolation
to them that have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before them.
We are got the greatest part of our way; it is but a few steps more that
remains; God has borne us from the belly, and has promised to be the same
to old age, and even to hoary hairs he will carry us. Meanwhile, let us
daily entreat him to teach us the heavenly art of living by the faith of
his dear Son, who loved us, and gave himself for us. Then we shall live
a life of communion with him by his Spirit, converse with him in the word
of his grace, view his supporting and protecting hand, pursue the footsteps
of his Providence, view ourselves as in his immediate presence, depend on
his friendly aid and direction, fetch in our comforts from the higher world,
know his good will towards us, and rejoice in the thoughts of his heart,
which stand fast to a thousand generations.
To understand, submit to, believe in, make choice of, and love, his decrees
and counsels, purposes and promises, as revealed in Christ Jesus to us,
is real obedience to the Gospel. To believe in Jesus for pardon, peace,
reconciliation, justification, sanctification, and redemption; to trust
in him for the accomplishment of his promises; and to hope in him to make
them all good with respect to our preservation and glorification; is dwelling
in Christ Jesus. To enjoy a heavenly mind that dwells and meditates on heavenly
things, attended with a comfortable persuasion of Christ's love to us, which
kindles a love to him, brings life and peace; and such have the mind of
Our unbelief shall not make the promise of God without effect; "if we
believe not yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself." The weakest
believer is as dear to Christ as the strongest; neither of them have any
thing but what they have received, even as it hath pleased God to deal the
measure of faith. It is true, strong faith brings most glory to God; and
it is as true, that strong faith brings most trials to men. The great Shepherd
is dotingly fond of and tender to the weaklings of the flock; he carries
them in his bosom, bids such weak ones say, I am strong, and pronounces
a wo to the world if they offend the least of them.
I hope thou wilt not incumber thyself with much serving, nor in this
thing copy after Martha, but Sarah, who made three measures of meal into
cakes, and baked them, at Abraham's command, on the hearth, while he prepared
the calf, the butter, and the milk. As we are to dine under the tree, let
it be one of Abraham's entertainments, who entertained him that has so often
THE HISTORY AND MYSTERY OF ABRAHAM'S ENTERTAINMENT.
IN days of old there liv'd a rev'rend sage,
Whose life of
faith is call'd a pilgrimage;
Ordain'd to rove, of fix'd
To teach his faith to seek the great reward.
This prince and princess, bless'd where'er they went,
From plain to plain the roving household past,
Enjoy'd in mutual faith their homely tent
No bolts nor bars
the palace to secure,
No shield but God to make their dwelling
He led their
way through kingdoms wide and vast;
Reproved kings, and gave
their courts alarm�
'Touch not my prince, nor do my prophet
Thus travers'd they throughout the promis'd land,
Their mystic seed, who tread their pilgrim path,
all to great Jehovah's hand.
The land their own, yet no possession
A burying-place they gain'd, and that was all.
their steps and learn to walk by faith,
Must share their
fate; for, whether rich or poor,
May find a grave, but God
allows no more.
The Holy Land, which was by promise given,
O, happy pair; with peace and plenty blest;
constru'd to be the type of heaven;
They ey'd their bom e,
and walk'd with God their friend;
Who was in life their shield,
in death their end.
Nor God refus'd
to be their constant guest:
Throughout their course he lent
his friendly aid,
And day by day his constant visits paid.
On Mamre's plains, that sacred spot of ground,
The pensive sire lifts up his rev'rent eyes,
were spread, the herds were feeding round,
The royal master
seated at the door,
To see the bleating flocks that graz'd
And sees three
men appear in such disguise:
Up starts the prince, and runs
the guests to meet,
And drops his grave devotions at his
'My Lord,' he cries, if favour found with thee
A little water shall be quickly brought,
attention to thy servant's plea,
Pass not from hence till
I may entertain
My Lord, and his attendants, on the plain.
With rich supplies
my homely tents are fraught;
And rest yourselves beneath
this spreading tree,
While I thy host will gladly wait on
I'll from the tent a morsel fetch of bread,
To Abraham's request He condescends;
shall rest beneath the rural shade;
And after this you shall
in peace pass on,
For therefore are ye to your servant come.
He ne'er refus'd the
banquet of his friends;
'Perform as thou hast said,' reply'd
And Abraham obeys the high behest.
He to the royal tent will now repair,
Knead well the dough, make cakes upon the hearth,
And to the princess
gives the bill of fare;
'Make ready, quick, of meal three
For I have three in number come to dine.
command a youth to dress the calf;
Too much for thee to bear
the toil and heat;
Bake thou the bread, and we'll prepare
He leaves his orders at the matron's tent,
The whole serv'd up; the butter, milk, and veal,
And to the
grazing herd with haste he went,
And brings a Calf that's
tender, young, and good,
And bids the servant haste to dress
the cakes that Sarah made of meal;
Beneath the tree he spreads
the sumptuous feast;
And then, by waiting, serves the heavenly
The Lord partakes, the rev'rend saint attends,
'Where now is Sarah? she doth not appear;
begins to talk of some amends:
The heart or hand that Jesus
Can ne'er go unrewarded for their pains.
Where is thy wife;
why not her presence here?
'She waits on me;' no scorn or
slight is meant;
'Behold, thy handmaid's standing in the
The Lord reply'd, 'I'll certainly return,
And barren nature
shall with vigour burn;
The time decreed shall first its
And, lo, thy wife shall bear a promis'd son!'
THE MYSTERY OF THE ENTERTAINMENT.
THE Lord renews the ancient promise made;
To Abra'm's faith
reveals the woman's seed,
In whose embrace the weary soul
The seed in which the nations shall be blest.
This promis'd Son, this better fatted calf,
'Tis this shall be Jehovah's mystic feast,
up on rebel man's behalf,
Our only hope, the long-expected
Whose flesh is meat, whose blood is drink indeed.
To which from
age to age he bids his guest;
Thus Abra'm's dish, so tender,
young, and good,
Points faith divine to rich and heav'nly
In future days the trumpet shall be blown,
He to his sons impulse divine shall send,
To sound alarm
to nations yet unknown;
Awaken'd minds shall fly the fearful
And perish'd rebels hear, believe, and come.
To bring them to
their Father, God, and Friend;
With hearts contrite, and
cheeks bedew'd with tears,
Shall feel the cancel of their
Poor prodigals, self-lost, distress'd, forlorn,
Heathen, elect, return from banishment,
crying crimes and wretched state bemoan;
By hunger drove,
by consolations led,
Shall seek, shall crave, and find the
The angels triumph
as the slaves repent;
Enrob'd, adorn'd, and cheer'd with
With kind embrace the sire and sons shall
The ransom'd race shall hear the joyful sound,
lost shall both be sought and found;
Their souls renew'd,
and fed with heavenly bread,
By faith shall live as risen
from the dead.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MEAL AND THE CAKES.
THE bread prefigur'd Abra'm's blessed race,
The bread of
faces, in the secret place;
Abra'm, Isaac, Jacob; chosen
Were typify'd by Sarah's measures then.
Three strikes were bak'd and plac'd beneath the tree
But when the tribes to numbers great increas'd,
represent the former chosen three.
These sires and promis'd
seed He will restore;
He calls himself their God for evermore.
the yoke of Egypt were releas'd,
The Lord appear'd to own
his rescu'd guest,
And pitch'd his sanctum in the wilderness.
Twelve cakes were order'd weekly to be made,
Each Sabbath-day this bread must be remov'd,
upon the golden table spread;
Each cake presents a chosen
And plac'd, like Sarah's cakes, before the
To shew that
stale devotion's not approv'd;
The loveless heart, that ne'er
to Jesus burn'd,
Is but, like Ephraim, call'd a cake not
The bread remov'd the death of saints might show,
Fresh bread was plac'd in order once a week;
they by death must leave the courts below;
The stale shew-bread
none but the priest must have,
The food of Him that lov'd,
and dy'd to save.
And fresh devotees
God will daily seek.
This shews succession of the chosen
From age to age to stand before his face.
The blessed Saviour entertain'd his guest
By leaven here the grace of God is meant,
taken from Sarah's feast;
Compares his kingdom, which he
To leaven hid in Sarah's strikes of meal.
That runs, and
works, and spreads its sweet ferment,
Till all the ransom'd
close with Christ their head,
And Jew and Gentile both become
This leaven hid, in time shall leaven all
The sanctum built, fram'd by Jehovah's mind,
The chosen remnant
whom the Lord shall call;
By grace renew'd, and purg'd from
guilt by blood,
Shall eat one bread, and be one bread for
the holiest divine,
Where Abraham, with all his blessed race,
Shall dwell, and shine before Jehovah's face.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MILK, AND THE
USE OF IT.
ABRAHAM'S house consists of weak and strong;
Young men and
fathers, babes, and children young;
Each craves his food,
and each must be supply'd;
All sue for Christ, nor is their
The sires must have their sav'ry dish to please,
The babe in grace will never seem content
that's strong young men digest with ease;
But Benjamin must
have his usual mess,
His comforts often rise above the rest.
Unless the breast
afford it nourishment;
When bastards rude insult the heir
Then Sarah gives the son of laughter suck.
The heart in which the Saviour Christ is form'd
The little stranger craves the flowing breast
be fed, be swaddled, nurs'd, and warm'd;
needs a food divine;
Christ eats his honey, drinks his milk
this 'twill neither grow nor rest;
The lawful princess loves
the children free,
Borne on her sides, and dandled on her
Thus pious Sarah shew'd her tender care
Who would have told my hoary aged lord
When to the breast
she plac'd the promis'd heir:
'My God has made me so to laugh,'
'That all who hear will surely laugh with me.
That Sarah's womb
to life should be restor'd?
A barren wife at ninety years
My lord an hundred when I bore the seed!
But Zion has two thousand years been wed,
From age to age she wears her hoary hairs,
And oft seems
barren, to her Spouse's bed;
Yet num'rous sons of her have
And they come forth as promises unfold.
And still prolific
bears her promis'd heirs;
While blood divine can ransom from
She ne'er shall want a babe in grace to nurse.
Some of her sons are creeping to the tomb;
Let Zion's infant race be nurs'd and fed,
Some on the
knee, and thousands in the womb.
Thus Hephzibah till time's
no more shall bear,
Th' Ancient of Days shall own each promis'd
As Sarah and the
virgin mother did.
Who feeds the saint? the Saviour Christ
He dwells by faith in each believing seed.
The tender wife, with parent's love possess'd,
Thus saints to Jesus shew their tender love
with bread before she takes the breast:
Thus Abraham and
Sarah both conven'd
To make a feast the day that Isaac's
When to his little
ones their bowels move;
They fee'd, they suckle, yea and
wean them too,
As Sarah did, and then her Isaac grew.
THE MYSTERY OF THE BUTTER.
ESSENCE of herbage, thus distill'd, by kine
May figure out
God's unctuous grace divine;
It cheers the mind, makes stubborn
And callous hearts by hope are rais'd aloft.
The Lord compares his own reviving word
Food brought from hence, digested and prepar'd,
To verdant fields
with richest pasture stor'd;
By God enclos'd is this eternal
In which the pastors and the flocks shall feed.
when by faith 'tis heard;
From hence the brook to Zion's
Like mink and butter, drawn from grass by
This unction moves the scales from off the sight,
With milk and butter Jacob's seed were fed;
brings the plan of sov'reign grace to light;
A precious balm,
an unctuous oil of joy,
With which the saints of God can
Of brooks of
this in pious Job are read;
It makes the bolt of unbelief
While faith applies the truths that Christ
THE MYSTERY OF THE TREE.
THE Tree, with its extended branches grown,
the plant of great renown;
The righteous Branch, the Olive
Beneath whose shade the saints of God recline.
This highest branch from David's cedar lopt,
That all the trees that shade the fields may know
slip from off his twigs was cropt,
And set by God on favour'd
Beneath whose boughs believing tribes shall
the meek and bring the lofty low;
Dry up the fruitless; with
his verdant screen
Revive the dry, and make the barren green.
This Branch divine on Zion's eminence
This Tree of Life its monthly fruit shall yield,
Our only shelter
is, our sure defence;
Beneath whose shade the saints of God
Whose fruit and shadow give them such delight.
by which the nations bless'd are heal'd;
Whose verdant shade
makes an eternal spring,
And screens the fowls of ev'ry plume
Since I began to puzzle my head with these few verses of rugged rhyme,
by which I intend to puzzle your head as well as my own, I have heard of
your being taken ill, which I am sorry for, knowing that no affliction is
joyous but grievous. Your gout, Madam, and my ague, will remind us of mortality
as long as we live; they are constitutional, like Timothy's bad stomach,
or Elisha's sickness, which is called his sickness, whereof he died, 2 Kings
xiii. 14. These will prey upon every pin and cord of these earthly tabernacles
until the main standards give way; but, blessed be God, they are consecrated;
the Lord hath visited and inhabited them, and has given us a pledge to assure
us that they shall be raised again, as tabernacles that shall never more
be taken down; nor shall one cord be loosed. The Saviour was partaker of
flesh and blood with the predestinated children; he lived and dwelt in our
nature, and offered himself up as a sacrifice by death for us; and as his
Deity raised up his body, so he is the resurrection of ours; and now appears
in heaven for us, as the first fruits of all that sleep in him. He is the
Saviour of the body as well as the soul; even our flesh shall rest in this
hope, our end will be peace; the Lord is the strength of our heart, and
our portion for ever, therefore be of good cheer.
Remember, Madam, that God doth not afflict his saints willingly, nor
grieve them without cause; it is sin that he visits with the rod, and iniquities
with scourges: we have a body of sin that must be mortified, besides the
many things that we all offend in, and these call for stripes; and do we
not procure these things to ourselves? Let not living souls complain then,
seeing they are thus visited for the punishment of their sin. It is good
for the believer to bear the yoke in his youth; frequent afflictions gradually
produce resignation to the divine will, which affords a sweetness mingled
with stripes, and makes the yoke sit easy and the burden appear light: these
bring us to kiss the rod, and submit to the hand that appointed it; and
we learn some comfortable lessons from it, as well as get purged from those
evils that were the cause of it.
One who has been inured to the cross by a constant train of lingering
afflictions doth not find half that resistance, reluctance, nor perverseness,
that many do who, unexperienced in afflictions, are seized in the midst
of health and strength; these often start, or fly back, like a bullock unaccustomed
to the yoke, and require some violent strokes to ply the iron sinew of the
neck; until which is done there is little compliance to the will of God;
we go like an ox to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the
stocks, not considering that "all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I have
observed some who have long been bowed down under the fear of death, till
they have been ready to conclude themselves sick and almost at death's door;
such have gone through the whole imagined scene with as much distress as
if it had been real; and, when they have come to the trial, the whole sea
of sufferings has been waded through before hand; and the soul, having obtained
deliverance and strength, has sustained the infirmities of the body; insomuch,
that the formidable king of terrors has appeared but a mere shadow; afflictions
having bowed them to the sickle before, and they have gone to the grave
as a shock of corn fully ripe, coming in its season; or, as a lily gradually
blown, and gathered in bloom.
Afflictions excite fear; they lead us to self-examination; they make
us frown on the world, even though it smile upon us: confidence and hope
bestir themselves; confession and prayer become seasonable; and the interest
that we have in God will be claimed with all the boldness of faith: "by
these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit."
Afflictions are the portion of the Lord's people; it is the cup they
are to drink of, and is no small proof of their adoption; All that the Lord
loves he rebukes and chastens; and scourges every son whom he receiveth;
they that are without chastisement are affirmed to be bastards and not sons.
God's fatherly stripes humble the heart, and work out the old leaven, and
so prepare the way for more grace. "He chastens us for our profit, that
we may be partakers of his holiness." Under these chastisements we come
to the bar of equity, reason matters over with God, get at the cause wherefore
he contends with us, plead his promised mercy in Christ Jesus, while his
own Spirit fills our mouth with arguments; and so the controversy ends in
the chastisements of a covenant God and Father, instead of the killing sentence
of an angry Judge; "we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be
condemned with the world."
The whole train of troubles that fall to our share we shall have, but
no more; all these things are appointed for me, says Job, and many such
things are with him. What we have gone through will be endured no more;
that part of our pilgrimage is finished; and God has hitherto helped us,
and brought us through; our strength has been equal to our day; what is
yet to come the wheel of time will turn up as it runs: God is the same,
his promise is the same, and faith is the same today as yesterday, and will
be the same to the end of our race. "God doth deliver, says Paul, and we
trust that he will yet deliver us."
As our afflictions are appointed, so there is an exact measure proportioned;
"I will correct thee in measure, yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished,"
Jer. xlvi. 28. This measure is scant, is filled to the brim, shook together,
or heaped up and running over, just as our stubborn old man, whose mouth
and back both call for strokes, requires it. God does nothing in vain; if
there be no iniquity bound in the heart of the child, there is no need of
the rod of correction to drive it out. Here the perfectionist has got the
start of us; for we cannot say that we have made our heart clean, nor that
we are pure from our sin; therefore we must expect the rod for our parts,
unless, like Ephraim, we would sooner run away from our profession than
submit to the hand of God: for it is written, that a child left to himself
The Lord discovers a most tender affection to his afflicted children
when in the furnace; he verifies the proverb that speaks of him as a father;
"he that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth
him by times." Yet discovers himself a present help, yea a very. present
help in time of trouble; the Lord strengthens them upon the bed of languishing,
and makes all their bed in their sickness, Psalm xli. 3; places his everlasting
arm underneath them, and manifests himself the strength of their heart.
The arm of supporting power, and the kind embraces of a loving God and Father,
remove the troubles of the mind, make bodily afflictions light, and every
part of the bed both soft and easy. These are times in which our souls make
diligent search after God, and when he is found to be about our path, and
about our bed, spying out all our ways, and, observing the path that we
take, he makes bare his delivering hand in our deepest necessities, and
at a time when our eyes are up unto him; by which means we get more acquainted
with him, by perceiving his precious salvation to be near to us; and we
come forth as gold seven times purified, which encourages a holy familiarity
He that is the Father of our mercies is the physician both of body and
soul; he kills and makes alive, he wounds, and his hands make whole; the
severe rod and the healing balm are both from him; no affliction comes by
chance, no trouble springs out of the ground; nor shall either be a burden
to us any longer than while we rebel: when submission takes place salvation
is at the door.
Afflictions are good for us; when the grain is put into the sieve the
chaff rises and flies away; when the branch is purged it brings forth more
fruit; when the gold is purified it loses its dross; when the outward man
decays the inward is renewed; "by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken,"
and by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. Bodily health,
bodily ease, temporal wealth and prosperity, contribute little to the growth
or happiness of the soul, but contrariwise. In health, wealth, and strength,
Solo-mort test his heart; and in prosperity David lost his eyes; and when
Jeshurun waxed fat then he kicked, forsook God that made him, and lightly
esteemed the Rock of his salvation, Deut. xxxii. 15. An infected tabernacle
becomes loathsome to the inhabitant; none like to dwell in a pesthouse who
know in themselves that they have a better house not made with hands, that
is, not of this building, eternal in the heavens. A persuasion of this made
Paul long to be unclothed, and to be clothed upon with his house which is
from above; that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Tribulation worketh patience; and when patience has had her perfect work
we are entire, lacking nothing; patience works experience; the patient waiter
on God, and the patient saint under his chastening hand, experience many
tokens for good, many soul-humbling visits, many comfortable lifts to heavenly-mindedness,
many a pregnant promise to encourage and fill their hopes, and many a pleasing
glimpse, which are so many earnest rays of the glorious inheritance of the
saints in light. Thus experience worketh hope; "and hope maketh not ashamed
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost,
which is given unto us." The decay of the outward man often terminates in
the renewal and revival of the man of grace; while the former is tumbling
into ruins, the latter is building his nest in. the stars.
In afflictions the soul seeks out her evidences; ponders over the word
and work of God; searches after the girdle of truth to gird up the loins
of the mind; feels for the lamp of salvation to burn afresh, that her state
may appear clear and bright; and as soon as the house is searched by self-examination,
and those things confessed that appear to be wrong, then it is swept in
answer to prayer, and the peace found which perhaps was, with respect to
the enjoyment of it, lost; then, O! then, the soul is ready; the loins are
girded, the candle is lighted, and peace is enjoyed: the longing eye is
fixed on the end of our faith and the end of our race; the lamp of salvation
is in the hand of divine confidence, and the mantle of an. imputed righteousness
wrapped dose about; the soul then thinks it could smite the waters with
the skirt of it, and go over even dryshod.
The girdle of truth, Madam, is a sure defence against the destroying
attacks of the father of lies; "because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation."
The atonement of Christ is an eternal security against the flaming sword
of vindictive justice; and, if found upon us, it will give us right and
free access to the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of
God. Under the type of this atonement Israel escaped the destroying sword
at the midnight cry of Egypt; and under the antitype of that the wise virgins
will escape when the second midnight cry proclaims the Bridegroom coming;
when the same sword will come down on Idumea, the people of God's curse,
An imputed righteousness is a breastplate sufficient to repel the force
of every curse or condemning sentence of God's holy and righteous law; there
is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
The breastplate of love guards the heart of an afflicted saint against
the strong encroachments of surviving friends, who too often make inroads
on the resigned and passive soul, and bring it into a strait between two;
having a desire to continue, and a desire to depart, and be with Christ,
which is far better; but which to choose they wot not.
The spirit of life in us is a divine security against a departure or
separation from God, which is called the second death: such have everlasting
life, and can never perish; none can pluck them out of God's hands, nothing
can separate them from him; "he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit;"
astonishing mystery! This is the armour, Madam, that God has provided for
his saints; and it is as sure a defence as the war with death is certain;
"there is no man that hath power over the Spirit to retain the Spirit; neither
hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war."
Put ye on therefore the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand,
and having done all to stand; for "I am persuaded that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come,�shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It is common with the people of God, when afflictions come suddenly on
them, to be much surprised and dismayed: hence Peter tells you to "think
it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though
some strange thing happened unto you," 1 Pet. iv. 12, for the same strange
things are accomplished in our brethren that are in the world. Temptations,
unbelief, doubts, fears, and dark clouds, often gather thick about the poor
believer when he goes first into the furnace, which makes him gather all
up into himself, until he finds, as the Scriptures say, that in his flesh
dwelleth no good thing, and that the more he looks to himself the worse
he gets; then he is glad to look to Jesus. "We had the sentence of death
in ourselves," says Paul, "that we should not trust in ourselves, but in
God which raiseth the dead." "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness
thereof is as the flower of the field; the grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God shall abide for ever." Blessed is the man that trusteth
not in his own heart; blessed is the man that leaneth not to his own understanding;
blessed is the man that feareth alway, and that trusteth in the Lord with
all his heart: "trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is
With respect to myself, Madam, I go on the old way, through some tribulation
and some consolation: but you may always know my spiritual affairs, and
how I do with respect to them, if you look impartially into your own heart;
for, "as in water face answers to face, so doth the heart of man to man."
If the Lord shines on his word I can say with the Psalmist, "In thy light
we see light;" "I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy
testimonies are my meditation" Psalm cxix. 99. But if he hide his face I
am troubled, and ready to cry out, "I am a stranger in the earth, hide not
thy commandments from me." If the good work on my soul seems to flag, I
say, Search me, O Lord, and try me; and if God answers my prayer I change
my voice, saying, "Rebuke me not in thine anger, [lest thou bring me to
nothing,] neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure." If God appears about
my path and about my bed, and his visitations preserve my spirit, I wish
all to know it, and cry, "Shew mc a token for good, that they which hate
me may see it." But if this be granted, and my God withdraws, then I say,
"Who have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire
Well may we be called little children, for we stand in need of guiding
and upholding continually; and, blessed be our God, he has promised to guide
us with his eye, to direct our work in righteousness, to keep the feet of
his saints, and to hold us up in our goings, that our footsteps slip not.
We are compassed about with many exceeding great and precious promises,
while divine faithfulness and truth stand bound by a thousand ties to make
them all good; search them out therefore, and consider them well. When thou
art under the rod, remember every stripe lies in a promise; and look out
then for another that promises a cure; "I will bring it health and cure,
and I will cure them." When dejected or bowed down, it is written, "The
mean man shall be brought low, and the haughty humbled;" and it is likewise
written, They shall be exalted to safety. The Saviour told his disciples,
that when the Comforter was come he should testify of him, and shew them
things to come; and John tells us, in his Revelations, that "the testimony
of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" and I believe all the children of God
may prophesy in turn. When I seem to go on prosperously in soul, in health,
and in temporal affairs, I then prophesy that some trouble or sharp trial
is coming upon me, for God hath set adversity against prosperity. And when
bereft of all comfort, and I appear to be nothing but corruption, I then
prophesy that the Lord will come and shine again; "Rejoice not against me,
O mine enemy," saith the prophet; "when I fall I shall arise;�when I sit
in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me. He will bring me forth to
the light; and I shall behold his righteousness." If I have put up a fervent
prayer, and , I then prophesy that I shall surely receive the things that
I prayed for; "whatsoever ye ask believing ye shall receive;" and "faith
is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen."
When I am conscious that I have done wrong, and have brought guilt on my
spirit, I then prophesy that I shall be well whipped for this; God hath
promised to visit our sins with the rod, and our iniquities with scourges;
and when the rod comes on I prophesy that it is for my soul's good; for
God will not be always wroth, neither will he keep his anger for ever, because
he delighteth in mercy, Micah vii. 18. When I have had a most comfortable
time in the pulpit, and the power of God has attended me, I prophesy that
the next sermon will be a barren one to me; and it often cometh to pass.
When I go into any fresh place to preach the gospel, I prophesy of reproach
and hard speeches; "the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city," says Paul,
"saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me." As soon as I first felt the
pardon of my sin, a lively hope to spring up in my soul, and love to God
in my heart, I prophesied that my name was enrolled in the book of life;
or, as Job says, that my record was on high; and it was a true prophecy:
and every believer may prophesy of hope in his death, and of glory in heaven;
for "the righteous hath hope in his death;" and whom God justifies them
he also glorifies. By this my dear friends will perceive that I am turned
prophet at last: and what I shall be next I wot not; but hope ever to remain,
in the bonds of the gospel,
Your most affectionate,
Winchester Row, Paddington,
And obedient servant to command,
July 4, 1788.