The Rule and a Riddle;


An Everlasting Task for Blind Watchmen and Old Women.


And if by grace, then is it no more of works. - Rom. xi. 6.


I RECEIVED my sister's kind epistle; and have considered her numberless complaints, and the difficulty of her way. "That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered," says Solomon, Eccl. i. 15. Every epistle comes with heavy tidings; and no wonder, for thou art compassing about the old mount, and hast got the vail on again; and thou wilt hold it fast enough, unless some evangelical watchman, or keeper of the walls, be sent to smite thee, wound thee, and take away thy vail from thee, Song v. 7. Thy poor husband must have need of patience, now, to bear with thee, for thy temper will try him to purpose. There is no living at peace where Hagar keeps house. Let the bond woman once get between thee and the Everlasting Father, and she will soon make you feel the difference between the yoke of a bond mistress and the freedom of a married wife. Hagar will soon bear rule, entangle thee in the yoke of servitude, and provoke thee to jealousy, till thy flesh is ready to crawl upon thy bones; and thou wilt become a burden to thyself, and to all about thee; and then 'tis well if thou dost not say, "My wrong be upon thee." 'Tis thy own foolishness that perverteth thy way, and "thy heart fretteth against the Lord," Prov. xix. 3. Truth hath told thee that Hagar is Mount Sinai in the figure, and genders to bondage; but if the Lamb's wife sets no more store by her dignity and honour than to commit the management her affairs to a bond servant. 'tis a pity but she should bear the yoke till she knows the worth of her liberty, honour, and privileges. Hagar was appointed to serve, not to bear rule. There are three thing that disquiet the earth, yea four that it cannot bear; and the first is, for a servant when he reigneth. Thou art not to serve in the oldness of the letter; therefore cast out the bond woman and her son, for the bond woman must not govern the Lamb's wife, nor shall the bond child be heir with the children of promise. This thing will not be grievous to the Father of the faithful concerning the bondwoman and her son; for he has told thee that "the servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the son abideth ever"?and those sons are free sons, who are delivered kern the yoke of bondage, and stand fast in their liberty?and the free woman is one who cleaves to her royal Husband, manages her house with discretion, and keeps her servants in their place.

Thou hast not got this yoke on thy neck, nor this grave-cloth wrapped about thy head, when thou satest under what is now called antinomianism: thy soul seemed then to be healthy, thy conversation savoury, and thy countenance comely; thy heart was like the chariots of Ammi-nadib, and thou didst run the race set before thee with delight. But where art thou got now? They have drove thee with the Law till thou art both blind and bound. They zealously affect thee, but not wall; they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths; thou art not now in Wisdom's pleasant ways, nor in the paths of peace.

Remember from whence thou art fallen?thou art fallen from thy first love, from heart-felt union and fellowship with Christ, from joy and peace in believing, and from the happy enjoyment of God's free Spirit. Thou didst then enjoy the liberty of the Gospel; now thou feelest the bondage of the law. The Lord did attend the word with a marvellous power, and ministered the Spirit among you by the preaching of faith: does he the same now by the works of the law? I trow not. Thou hast felt the Saviour's yoke to be easy, and Iris burden light; and thou never wast more holy. nor happy within, nor more circumspect without than thou wast then. I would have thee try and see what the law can do for thee: stick to it, and try what love, life, peace, and holiness, can be fetched front thence; and, when thou hast perfected the work of sanctification by that rule, then be so kind as to send me an exact account of it; explain the operations of your sensations under it, and a true account of the super-abounding practical holiness, that your family, fellow-members, and neighbours, see in you.

Not one holy motion, not one divine and pleasing sensation, not a single flame of pure love to God or man, wilt thou ever fetch from that covenant. The law worketh wrath; and the carnal mind is enmity against the lawgiver, nor can it be subject to the law. Those that are under it may cleave to one another, but the union is only the bond of natural affections; and some are held together by corrupt affections, and some given up to vile affections. But pure love flows from a reconciled God in Christ Jesus; and is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of love, and of a sound mind.

"Thou canst not discern one from the other:" no; for Paul says, "the preacher knows not what he says, nor whereof be? affirms;" and, if so, the flock, and thyself among them, must be tossed to and fro with a tempest; afflicted, and not comforted nor will be, until God appears to lay their stores with fair colours: and, as soon as the Elect Foundation, Chief Corner Stone, Stone of Help, and the Living Stone, appears with divine lustre, thou writ quit the storm, and be glad to "embrace the shadow of that Rock in this weary land. If thou aim at holiness by the law, remember thou must be perfect in the flesh as well as spirit. The law is perfect; it will allow of no infirmities, no evil thoughts, no adulterous looks, no anger nor evil tempers, no fire to be kindled on the sabbath day; nor speaking thy own words, nor thinking thy own thoughts, on that day; thy neigh-bout must be loved as thyself; halt' thy goods must be given to the poor; one coat of the two must go to them that have none; and linen there is no getting to heaven but by "taking up the cross, and following Jesus." No man shall ever stand the test of that law without a pure love to God, divine life in Christ, holiness by the Spirit, and an everlasting righteousness from the God of his salvation. When you come to London, we will compare notes together, and see which has gained most by trading: until which time, pursue your present path, and I will pursue mine.

Make the law your only rule of life, read it, keep your eyes upon it, and live by it; and I will pray that I may be kept dead to the law, and live unto God; that I may be crucified with Christ, and yet live; yet not I, but that Christ may live in me. If you make the law your rule of life, you are alive to the law, and walk in the law. And if Christ lives in me, I shall be kept alive unto God, and walk in newness of life.

Go you on with the commandments, and I will go on with the promises. Make the law your "rule of walk," and I will pray God to perform his promise to me; for God hath said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them," 2 Col. vi. 16. Thus you go on by the law, and I go on by the Gospel. Do you perform your duty, and I will plead my privileges. Act thou as an industrious servant; and, by God's grace, I will act as an affectionate son. Be thou obedient to the law, and I will pray for grace for obedience to the faith. Live thou in the fear of thy master, and I will endeavour to honour my heavenly Father.

"Make the law thy only rule of action," and act accordingly; and I will depend upon God to work in me both to will and to do of his own good pleasure; yea, to fulfil all the good pleasure of his will in me, anti the "work of faith with power."

Make the law your only role of conversation. "Speak of the commandments when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates; that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children - that your days may be long in the land which the Lord sware to give thee, as the days of heaven upon the earth," Deut. xi. 19, 20. And I will pray God to create the fruit of my lips; to give me a mouth and wisdom that all my enemies shall not be able to gainsay or resist: and that it may not be me that speaks, but that the Spirit of my heavenly Father may speak in me; and then my conversation will be with power, and my words seasoned with salt, ministering grace. Thus runs the promise, and the excellence and the power is of God; and if God performs his promise to me, he will have all the glory; and if thou perform thy task, thou hast whereof to glory, but not before God, whatever thou dost before men.

Let the ministers of the letter bind all the grievous burdens upon your shoulders that you can possibly bear, and I will cast my burdens on the Lord, who hast promised to sustain me Be thou careful to observe all the grievousness which they prescribe. and I will cast all my care upon him that careth for me. Walk thou by sight, and I by faith; walk thou in the letter, and I in the Spirit Look thou to the commandments, and I will look to Jesus.

They that say, "This doctrine opens a door to all licentiousness," know not what they say. You saw nothing like that in me; and those that are setting the law perpetually before your eyes, and enforcing holiness from that, in order to blind your mind, and prejudice your soul against the truth and the preachers of it, give you no other proof of their superior holiness than what you hear from their mouth. There is no mere power in their discourses, no more favour in their conversation, no more knowledge of the word, no more experience of grace, no more success in their ministry, no more liberty, no more prevalence with God in prayer, no more circumspection before men, nor conscientiousness towards God, than what appears in some that are called antinomians; nor half so much. Men who have nothing to recommend them, either in heart or life, must do all by the sound of the trumpet. He that laboured more abundantly than they all (and much more to the purpose) said, "It is not I, but the grace of God that was with me." But we have got some in our days, who tell us they fetch all their comfort from their holiness, and their holiness from the law: and I believe them; for they seem to have no fellowship with the God of comfort, nor experience of the Holy Ghost. Cleave thou to the Saviour, and depend on his grace; and, when these fail, then try the law. The way to Sinai is broader than the way to Zion; the path is the most beaten, and there are the greatest number of travellers. It is easier to get law than gospel; and a throne of judgment is more accessible than a throne of grace. We have legions of unconverted preachers of morality, but ministers of the Spirit are few. Most men will proclaim their own goodness, but a faithful man who can find? Men who are unacquainted with the power of godliness must enforce the letter, for that is all their stock. With the letter, a great noise, and a fair shew in the flesh, they deceive the simple. The mystery of faith is a puzzling thing to an unexperienced heart, and an unenlightened head: when they attempt this, they only betray their ignorance. The gentleman was right?" Without holiness no man shall see the Lord:" and if he has no holiness but what he gets from the law, he will never see the Lord with acceptance; for, except a man be born again of the Holy Ghost, he cannot see (much less enter into) the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is in power: regeneration enlightens us into it, and gives us a sensible enjoyment of it; for it stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; nothing of which comes to us from the law. If enforcing the law as the only rule of life, and setting it before thee as thy only standard of holiness, be accompanied with power; if it produces love to God and man; if it promotes true holiness; if it refreshes the new man, and clothes the soul with humility and self-loathing; if it endears Christ, and strengthens faith; if it produces spiritual life and peace; if it enlightens the eyes, enlarges the heart, weans from the world, purifies the soul, encourages diligence, and makes God, his ways and worship, the delight of thy soul, thou mayest well bear with them, for these things come from God, and do accompany salvation. But I know there is nothing of all this attends such preaching; and this letter of yours is a sufficient proof of it. I have set before my sister the law and the gospel, commandments and promises, life and death, a blessing and a curse. If thou cleave to the letter of the law, and make that thy rule of life, walk, actions, and conversation; then thy obedience will be the obedience of the law; not of faith; they will be thy fruits, not the fruits of the Spirit. By the law you work, by the gospel God works in me. You produce fruit in obedience to the letter; in Christ is my fruit found. You work by the law; by the gospel God works all my works in me. By the law you must make a new heart, and a new spirit; by the gospel God creates me anew in Christ Jesus. By the law you must love God; by the gospel God's love is shed abroad in my heart. By the law you must wash you, and make you clean; by the gospel God cleanses me from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit. Thus God works by the gospel, and by tide law you work: by the one self is denied, and Christ is all in all; by the other, self is exalted, and you are all in all. One of these agents must give way: grace must be grace, and works no more works; or works must be all, and grace nothing at all. "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain." And as righteousness did not come by the law, neither did holiness, life, nor sanctification, come by the law. Christ is made of God unto us wisdom, life, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and he doth sanctify and cleanse his church, and present it without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. "If this opens a door to all licentiousness," then it follows, that man's dead works are true holiness; and all God's works, which are perfect, are licentiousness. Will not this be bitterness in the end? God tells me that I am "become dead to the law," am "delivered from the law," and that I am not "under the law." And what is all this death and deliverance for? q-'hat we might live in sin? Nay, we are become dead to the law, that we may "live unto God;" we are delivered from it, that we may "serve God in newness of the Spirit;" and we are brought from under it, that we might be "under grace." But why living unto God, serving in the Spirit, and being under grace, should be called a door to all licentiousness, I know not: I must refer this to the hearing of the great God, when "the year of revenges comes on for the controversy of Zion." But, if my sister &uses to live to the law, be under it as her only rule of life, walk, and action, not accepting deliverance, she is welcome: let her "bowed shoulders to bear, and become a servant to tribute;" she will find, ere long, that that lamp will go out, and then she will be calling for oil. She is poor and needy now; but the legal vail sometimes blinds the eyes to that degree, that a person may be "poor and wretched, miserable, blind, and naked," and yet not know it. If thou wast to adhere to the voice of Christ in the promises, and to the voice of the Spirit in thy conscience (if it be there), thou wouldst find a living rule much preferable to a killing letter and a yoke of bondage. On the other hand, she is at full liberty; I have no dominion over her faith. Let her take the portion of goods that fall to her, and gather all together, and trade away with her "rule of action;" it will not be long before she will find the law, with its gendering yoke, will bring her into the wilderness; and, when in a far country, and a dry land, she may remember her first husband, turn beggar, and be glad to live by faith on the fatted Calf and Bread of Life. Until when, I shall leave Mrs. Instability to make the most of her two opinions: only add, should she ever fail in business; should the citizen of that country turn swindler; should she waste her present substance; should the ministers of the letter starve her with husks; when she comes to herself, when her belly is in want, when she is humbled to beg, and longs to come home, I shall not be offended at the music and dancing, but remain the willing servant of Mrs. Prodigalis when the father makes merry.


Winchester Row Dec. 29, 1788

TO MRS. R. J.. AT B?N?D.

AT the first sight of my sister's letter, these words darted into my mind, "Behold, yonder is that Shunamite!" Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? I mean, Is it well with conscience? is it well between Christ and thee? is it well with the new creature, which is "created after the image of him that created him in righteousness and true holiness," which is so often called a licentious antinomian?

There is little in this letter that savours of union with the true and living Vine: or of joy and peace, the blessed effects of that union; but quite the reverse. The vail hangs heavy on thy mind, which has obscured him that is fairer than the children of men. Thou dost not with open face behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, that changes us into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Moses is turned accuser; and that is the way he serves all who put their trust in him. No enlargement of heart dost thou enjoy; no fresh discoveries of the beauty, suitableness, and invaluable worth of the blessed Saviour. Bondage damps all joys, contracts the heart, produces servile fear, opposes love, and fills the soul with fruitless slavery, rebellion, murmuring, discontent, deadness in devotion, leanness of soul, and enmity at those who stand fast in the Lord, and in the liberty wherewith he has made them free. I have, by the help of God, brought my religion into a narrow compass: that is, by faith, by prayer, by examination, by self-denial, by confession, by watchfullness, by reading, by meditation, and by diligence in these things, to keep up a comfortable communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ; and in this way I am as happy, as holy, as Tree and lively in the pulpit, as useful in my ministry, as much favoured of God both in providence and grace; am as well attended in my ministry, and by as discerning, knowing, experimental, and upright a people, as any evangelist in London who is a stranger to this sort of antinomianism. And my poor sister, after she has galled her neck, spent her strength, and wasted her substance, with her rule of life, walk, and action, must come back again, and fetch virtue from the same vine, if ever she brings forth any fruit unto God. Without Christ she can do nothing. If the branch abide not in the vine, it is cast forth, and withered. He that abides in Christ brings forth much fruit; and God purges such, that they may bring forth more fruit. Blinding folks with Moses's vail is not "sowing light for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." Christ came to proclaim liberty to captives, and to open the prison-doors to them that were bound; he, therefore, that brings thee into bondage, does not preach the gospel, but acts as Paul did with his commission from the high-priest; endeavours to bring all bound to Jerusalem. You suffer if a man smite you; and so you do "if he bring you into bondage." I once went to hear an ancient divine, who was the first man that honoured me with the name of an antinomian; and who has dealt enough in law terrors to frighten the whole metropolis into holiness, could the ministration of death perform that work: but I saw nothing of any operation upon the people that appeared likely to produce fruit that would turn to their account. There were fourteen persons, within twenty feet of me, in a sound sleep, and as unconcerned as Jonah was in his voyage to Joppa. There was nothing of the outgoing of God in the sanctuary; nor did he" stir up his strength, and come among them." The labourer spent his arrows, and his breath too, but to little purpose. Nor did his rage stay here; for, when he rose to conclude in prayer, there was not one petition nor tribute of praise uttered; the audience were addressed, not God; the people were accused; and no little rage appeared against the Almighty himself. They that are under the law never can be subject to it; and those that are destitute of the Spirit of love are at enmity in their minds against God. I thought the legal cords of the ministry and the name of the meeting had a very apparent agreement: it was Ropemaker's Alley, in more senses than one.

As thou art obliged to hear all sorts of preachers, good and bad, take the following advice. When any of them begin to flog thee with the law, watch him narrowly, and hear him attentively; and, if you find that he can describe a saving knowledge of God, then depend upon it he will handle the law lawfully. The knowledge of God is first learnt in the law?"Every one that hath learned of the Father cometh unto me," says Christ. Such know the terrors of God, and therefore persuade men. They know him by his powerful voice?" They shall know in that day that it is I that speak: behold it is I." By the discovery of their sins?" It is I that make a man know-what are his thoughts."

By his supporting hand?" My hand shall be known towards my servants." By his word?" He revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord." As reconciled in Christ, he gives them an heart to know him?by pardoning them that he does reserve. By a sensible enjoyment of his love?" He that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." If a man knows the bondage of the law of works, and the preciousness of the law of faith; if he knows the terrors of God in the law, and the love of God in Christ Jesus; he is the man to whom, and the man by whom, God speaks?" Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness; the people in whose heart is my law." Others may begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh: they may begin to build upon the Rock, and then make Christ a rock of offence; destroy at one time, and then build again that which they destroyed. But it is not so with poor souls whose hearts are established with grace: "the law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."

God has written his law within him, and in his mind has he put it: and says he shall not depart from him. There is no handling the law lawfully without a knowledge of God in the law. When "God speaks to a man in the secret place of thunder, and proves him at the waters of strife." Psalm lxxxi. 7, he will ever remember the storm, and the inquisition for blood; and if God reveals his Son in him; he will ever keep the law of works and the law of faith apart. It is for want of a knowledge of God that we have so much linsey woolsey doctrine, and so many poor souls kept in perpetual bondage, groping like the blind for the wall. Of such preachers God complains: "The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not. The pastors also trangressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal," Jer. ii. 8. "Such. run, but I have not sent them," says God; "therefore they shall not profit this people at all." I know many will say in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?" Yet casting out devils is not converting souls to Christ. A devil in one man may command a devil in another; and the unclean spirit may go out, and Satan may get praise by counterfeiting the power of Christ. There is not a little of this among the arminians. The seven sons of Sceva the Jew cast out devils, though the Devil was at the same time in full possession of them as we read in Acts xix. 14. Real conversion is not only casting the devil out of the heart, but it is attended with farming Christ in his place; which is done by the power of the Spirit et God attending the word. The parched ground of a barren heart must become a pool, the thirsty land a spring of water; and the habitation of dragons must bear the herbage or green pastures of heavenly truth; "there shall be grass, with reeds and rushes," Isa. xxxv. 7. Thus Satan is supplanted; and not only cast out, but kept out.

I have considered all the texts that you refer me to. The gospel leads us to Zion; there God is reconciled; there Christ was crowned; there is the King of saints, and the throne of grace. At "Sinai God dwells in thick darkness:" there is the flaming sword unsheathed, the throne of judgment, and a terrible Judge. There is Moses,' the accuser of them that trust in him; and a fiery law, before which there is no standing. Go there for rules, or whatever help thou wantest, thou wilt not be long there before sin will stare thee in the face: the law will bind thee, and hold thee; the old enmity will boil up afresh; a thousand doubts and fears will surround thee; heaviness, dejection, and dismay, will sink thee; the arrows of God will drink up thy spirit; spiritual strength will fail thee; relaxation, utter helplessness, and weakness, will seize thee; and thou wilt stand before the judgment-seat quaking and trembling, till despondency itself will overwhelm thy foolish heart. However, go on, till you find, as Job did, that "the arrows of the Almighty are within you." Judgment appears just before you; and then "beware lest he take thee away with his stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee." When thou hast had thy fill of this storm, and been broken with this tempest, thou wilt call about, as he did, for the mercy-seat?"O that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. There (but nowhere else) the righteous may dispute with him: so should I be delivered for ever from my Judge."

I know several, at this present time, who have had a savoury. experience, and enjoyed spiritual liberty in Christ, who, by getting into company with arminians, and sitting tinder ministers of the letter, have been brought into bondage again; and have lain withered, both in body and soul, and bound hand and foot, from year's end to year's end. They often look back to the pleasing mount on which they formerly stood, "crying out, My leanness! my leanness! Woe unto me!" They see their error; but unbelief and the yoke of bondage hold them fast, and refuse to let them go; and they have no life, fervent, or power, in prayer, to wrestle for deliverance. The spirit of God is grieved; his freedom has been abused; from gospel simplicity, and simple dependance on Christ, they have been seduced; joy is withered away from them; nothing but complaints, discontent, and murmuring, possess them: they are unfruitful to God; useless in his cause; a stumbling-block to the weak; and, by their perpetual complaints before all ranks of Christians, they spread a legal damp and melancholy gloom over many a healthy conscience and comely countenance: but, alas! they stood not fast in their liberty, and therefore are justly entangled with the yoke of bondage.

These are the effects of cleaving to the law; and my sister is no stranger to them in her present state: she sensibly feels a barren heart, and a contracted spirits though she knows not from whence they spring. She may thank the ministers of the letter for her bondage; and she may depend upon it, that nothing but the ministry of the Spirit will ever bring her out of it. Not long since, one Fry, a linen-draper in South Moulton Street, a mere novice, lifted up with pride, had a mind to cut a flourish in the pulpit, and to have a stroke at me. He told his audience, "that if he had a thousand souls, he would venture them all upon the law;" as if that was the foundation that God has laid in Zion; when we know, that "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse;' and if the sword bathed in heaven is come down on the people of God's curse to judgment, what will become of all the souls ventured there? If "God is terrible to the kings of the earth," to whom he has committed the temporal sword, what must he be to such impostors as these, who thrust themselves into the highest office in the church, and pretend to handle the spiritual one?

Thou dost not seem to understand what the Scriptures mean by the word Law. Sometimes, in the Old Testament, it means the whole Scriptures, as the New Testament was not then written: though the substance of it lay in the unaccomplished prophecies, the promises, and the ceremonial law, which was the gospel of the Jewish church; "for unto them was the gospel preached as well as unto us; but the word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Even the promise made to Abraham is sometimes called a law: "He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a Law, and to Israel for an everlasting Covenant; saying Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance," Psal. cv. 8. &c. This covenant is the covenant of grace; the oath secures the inheritance given to Abraham by promise; and the law was given four hundred and thirty years after. This is manifestly the law of faith; for as many as are of faith are heirs of this promise, secured by this oath, and shall enjoy the inheritance, for they are blessed with faithful Abraham. In this covenant of promise, or law of faith, the Psalmist believed?" I believed; therefore have I spoken."

If some of our letter-preachers had ever received the command-sent, as Paul, David, and others, have done; and their wicked life and deceitful hearts had been laid open; and they had properly felt the killing power of the letter of the law; and had felt a strong faith in the holiness justice, and immutability of God, in the law; they would have been glad to find out .the law of faith as well as David?" Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments," Psalm cxix. 66. This faith had sunk him, (the Psalmist) unless another object had appeared?" I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living," Psalm xxvii. 13. This goodness of the Lord which he saw was in Christ, in whom he believed; whom he galls by that name, "Blessed be the Lord, my strength, my goodness, my fortress, my high tower, my deliverer, and my shield, in whom I trust," Psalm cxliv. 1, 2. Had our present bond ministers firmly believed the commandments, as David did, they would have been glad to exercise faith on David's Lord: if they had "believed Moses, they would have believed Christ;" but if they "believe not his writings, how shall they believe the Saviour's words?" Men that are destitute of a saving knowledge of God in Christ Jesus know nothing of the power either of law or gospel, though they may pretend to it;' They that handle the law know me not," says God. And men that are destitute of gospel faith in Christ, never believed the law of commandments to be what they really are: they believe neither Moses's writings nor the Saviour's words; nor will they, unless God bring them, as he did David, to the Rock higher than they; or else sink them in despair, as he did Francis Spirah, under the wrath, bondage, and curse, of that fiery dispensation.

When David says, "Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law?I am a stranger in the earth, hide not thy commandments from me," Psa. cxix. 18,19; it was the ceremonial law that discovered wondrous things to him?things which those that are dead, and under the curse of Moses's law, know nothing of; for "God does not shew wonders to the dead," Psalm lxxxviii. 10. But in the ceremonial law, which was a part of the Jews' gospel, David saw the Saviour represented; which led his faith to him whose hands and feet he saw, in the vision of faith, pierced for him. In that Sacrifice he believed; which broke his heart, and made his soul as a weaned child. Faith in him, a broken heart, spiritual prayer offered up through him, and offerings of praise and thanksgiving for him, he knew, pleased God better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.These were the wonders that David saw; and these were things that he meditated on, things touching the King. It was not the breadth of the commandment that David was charmed with, but the perfection of beauty beyond it; "He that was fairer than the children of men;" whom he saw to be "the end of the law for righteousness to all that believe:" as he says, "I have seen an end of all perfection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad." In that blessed object he believed for the pardon of his sin, and the justification of his soul; and pronounces the man blessed "whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile," Psalm lxxxvii. 8. The bondage of the law held him fast; and he brought forth no more fruit to God's glory under that yoke, than my legal accusers do, who say and do not. But, when he got out of his fetters, then he honoured his God, like an adopted son indeed: "O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now in the presence of all his people; in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord" Psalm cxvi. 16, 17, 18. When my sister gets her fret out of the stocks, she will offer praise as well as David. Delivering grace does not lead to licentiousness; it lays us under the strongest, highest, and most constraining obligations to God, that it is possible for a mortal to feel; such as bond children and hypocrites never felt.

"Paul loved the law of God after the inner man." True; stick to that, and you are right; and, when you hear a man crying up and enforcing the law upon you, mark him, and see if he can define the new man, and whether he feeds the new man in you. Christ in the heart eats his honeycomb with his honey. If no power attends the word, no refreshing comes from the Lord's presence; if he is a stranger to that experience that worketh hope, he knows not God; he believes neither Moses', writings, nor the Saviour's words: he is not a new creature, but is in the flesh, not in the Spirit, and only trades with the letter. He does not know the law; he has not got the law, nor does he love the law. The end of the law is love: God's love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Such love the law after the inner man. and love is the fulfilling of the law. To walk in love, as Christ hath loved us, is Paul's "more excellent way;" and this David calls" the way of God's commandments," which he pursued when love cast out the slavish fear of the law, delivered him from the bondage of it, and enlarged his heart from the contraction and straitness which the law brought him into. "I will run the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight," Psalm cxix. 32, 35.

Thou art endeavouring to fetch all thy good works from the law of Moses, and to make that thy only rule of life and action; but David fetched his help from another quarter, which did not lead him to licentiousness. He would praise God when he had loosed his bonds; but thou contendest for more bonds. He would run the way of God's commandments when God's love had enlarged t, is heart; but the law of the Spirit of life and love is not sufficient for you. He delighted in God's path, and says, "Make me to go in it," but God's spiritual might in the inner man is not sufficient for thee. David's liberty from bonds, his heart-enlarging love, and God's strengthening him with strength in his soul, is what leads to licentiousness according to the doctrine that you hear. Your divines can fetch all their works from a dead letter; and keep the law without imitating poor David in his humble petition, "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe."

"Then I shall not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." If this quotation be true, that respect to all God's commandments sets a man out of the reach of shame; then it follows, that if I go on enforcing the everlasting love of God to us, and insisting on a pure love to him, and a lose to the law after the inner man; a walk in love, or keeping ourselves in the love of God; which love is the fulfilment of the law, and the bond of the everlasting covenant, and which is called serving God in the newness of the Spirit, for he is the Spirit of love and of a sound mind?I shall with my mind serve the law of God; and therefore have no cause to be ashamed, though all the world call me an antinomian; for respect to all God's commandments sets me out of the reach of shame. Let me live, then, under the influence of God s everlasting love; and let my sister go to the law. Be the former my rock, and the latter yours. Work thou in the letter and may love for ever work in me! With this bond I will box the compass alt round with my sister, or any of her legal preachers. Is she labouring to keep the law? God is not forgetful of my labours of love. Does she make the law her only rule of action! "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Is she trying to fulfil the second table? "Love works no ill to his neighhour." Is she trying to keep all the commandments? "Love is the end of the commandment." Or, is she sick of the old veil, the old yoke, and the bond child's rule of life? If so, let her return to her first husband: love is an easy yoke, and a light burden. Would she believe? "Chanty believeth all things." Would she be saved by hope? "Love hopeth all things." Would she escape real antinomianism? "Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." Would she escape legal pride? "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed' up." Would she escape evil thoughts? "Love thinketh no evil." Would she be patient? Love beareth and endureth all things. Would she be free? Love is a free spirit. Would she escape the anoyant behaviour and carnal conversation of hypocrites? "Love doth not behave unseemly." Would she run the path of holiness? Love is "the more excellent way." Would she keep the commandments? He that hath the gospel in his heart, and keepeth it, "he it is that loveth Christ, and in him verily is the love of God perfected." Would she enjoy the pardon of sin? "Where much is forgiven, the same loveth much." Would she know her state to be safe? "We know that we are passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.'"Would you know what it is draws souls to Christ? "With loving-kindness have I drawn thee." Would you know the reason why some preachers get worse in their ministry instead of better? and why some professors stand still, or go back, instead of forward? It is because the Lord doth not draw them with love; therefore they do not run after him. Would you know who they are that love Christ? "He that hath my word (the gospel), he it is that loveth me, and shall be loved of my Father." Would you know why so many, in Christ's days, went back, or fell away? The love of God was not in them: they had no root in themselves. Would you know why so many stick in the birth, and never come forth? It is because perfect love never casts out fear. Would you know why you halt so long between two opinions. Because thou art not made perfect in love. Would you enjoy a spiritual birth, and a knowledge of God? "He that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Would you know who doth, and who doth not know God? Mark their descriptions of love, and the power that attends it: "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." Would you know who they are that obtain victory over sin? They whom God crowns with loving-kindness and tender mercy. Would you know what brings the saints through all their heavy trials, and the shadow of death? It is love, which is strong as death; which no water can quench, nor flood drown. Would you know what keeps the saints alive, active, and obedient? The love of Christ constrains them. Would you know what brings them off' victorious? "They are more than conquerors through him that loved them." Would you know what that is that unites to God? It is love: "He that loveth dwelleth in God, and God in him." Would you know who they are that keep the commandments? It is he that lives in union with Christ; "He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him." Would you know to whom God speaks in his word? "To him that loves him: "Hearken to me ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law." Would you know the reason the saints never fall away? "Because loving-kindness is never taken from them: the law of God is in their heart; none of their steps shall slide "?from that Rock on which God has established their goings. Would you know what displeases the Saviour most in the saints? It is when they leave their first love. Would you know what secures heaven? "Charity never faileth." Would you know the greatest of all graces? "Faith, hope, charity; but the greatest of these is love." Would you know who shall live for ever with God in glory? They that love him: "I will circumcise their heart, that they may love me with their whole heart, and their whole soul, that they may live." Would you know the saint's worst times? It is when iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold. Would you know what a real antinomian is? A hypocrite, or a minister of the letter, is? He is one that pretends to have all knowledge, understands all mystery; and with his empty eloquence attempts to speak with the tongue of men and angels; lays a claim to faith, as if he could move mountains; and yet hath no charity, no love to God in his heart: he is the sounding brass, the tinkling cymbal, the false imposter, the deceitful worker, the child of the devil, the snare of the saints, and the enemy of God. Such are men of a bad spirit indeed! uncharitable men with a witness!?and from all their" uncharitableness, good Lord, deliver us!" Would you know where this love is to be got? It is at Mount Zion; "for there God commanded the blessing, even (the Spirit of life and love) for evermore."

What says my sister to this? I think she is ready to hang towards this balance of the sanctuary; she is almost ready to let go her "rule of life and action," and submit to lie passive, and be acted upon. I tell her, that her strength is to sit still; that the weak are strong; that grace is sufficient; and that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. God forms the vessel of honour while the clay lies passive; and puts his treasure in the vessel when he has formed it, that the power may appear to be of him. He laid the foundation of mercy's building at first; and builds up Zion himself: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts;" and, when he builds up Zerubbabel appears in his glory. The work never goes on better then when self is denied, and the Lord depended on and trusted in. Uzzah's arm of flesh, Peter's self-confidence, and Israel's flight to Egypt for help, was their shame, but neither their safety nor their honour. If love is the fulfilling of the law; if continuing in the perfect law of liberty be the way to be blessed in one's deed; if the law of faith excludes boasting, and gives the glory to God; and if the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes us free from the law of sin, and the ministration of death, whether it be called antinomianism, licentiousness, or the everlasting gospel; 1 do insist upon it, that it is the most blessed dispensation that ever Heaven revealed, or the children of men embraced. My cruse has sprung up so fast on this subject, that I cannot at present answer the other Scriptures that you have heaped together: but this I know, that the gospel is written that we may have fellowship with the Father and the Son; and, while I enjoy and enforce this union, I defy you to bring one text in God's book, either against my soul, my religion, or my ministry. It is the proud doer that God resists. "The poor (in spirit) heareth not rebuke." Prov. xiii. 8. How should they! Poverty of spirit is the mark that secures" the prize of the high-calling of God m Christ Jesus"?,"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven." The bond of love with which God drew my soul to Christ, and the enjoyment of this three-fold cord, the love of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost, has held my soul faster to God and godliness than all my sister's rules of action, or than all the bonds and cords that ever were made in Ropemaker's Alley: they may hold the bond children down to sin, wrath, and malice, against others; but they will never hold the affections to God, nor the mind from vanity. I doubt my sister has not felt the dreadful effects of that tremendous dispensation: if she had, she would have cried out, as others have done, "Let the Mediator speak to us, and we will hear; but let not God speak to us, lest we die," Exod. xx. 19. To be short. If my sister will be fruitful, she must abide in the vine. If she would live, she must "mortify the deeds of the body by the Spirit." If she would have sin subdued, she must continue in the grace of God, or be contented to he under grace. If she would be holy, she must not seek for the old veil, but" with open face behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, till she be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord." If she would enjoy peace, let her lay by one of her opinions, and cleave to Jesus: he will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him; and if she is not contented with an everlasting gospel, let her make full proof of the killing letter. She is not an entire stranger to the liberty of the gospel; and, if fids will not suffice, let her try the bondage of the law. If ever she gets deliverance, it shall be by what is now called antinomianism; and, if she rebels against this, bondage and barrenness are sure to follow: "He bringeth out those who are bound with chains, but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." For my part, I shall be content within the walls of Zion; and I wish she was contented with abiding in the field of Boaz: but, if she be not, I shall not stroll after her, (Adam paid dear for that;) only stand upon my watch-tower, and observe her motions. The command to me is, "Let them return unto thee, hut return not thou unto them," Jer. xv. 19. Will answer the rest as soon as convenient; and conclude with an ancient speech of one of the friends o! Job?My desire is, that my sister may be tried, till, like Pharaoh, she intreats to hear no more mighty thunderings.

Amen, and Amen.

Says her humble servant to command,


Winchester Row Jan. 15, 1789.


MY sister's letter is like Sheba's journey to Jerusalem. She has visited me with a long train of Scriptures, and intends to prove me with hard questions; and I believe that, on the subject of law and gospel, I have told her much of the workings of her own heart. We poor lost worms of the dust are very proud; and do not like to become nothing, that Christ may be all in all. Not to be able to speak a good word, or think a good thought; to become fools, that we may be wise; to have a woe put upon our righteousness, our wisdom, and our prudence; to be unclean things by birth and practice; and unprofitable servants when in a state of grace?are hard sayings; who can hear them? For our natural reason to be called darkness; our understanding foolishness; and our wisdom earthly, sensual, and devilish. For self, holy righteous self; consequential, co-working, and wonder performing self; to be denied daily, and a cross laid on it, to keep it fretting under the burden, that it may not intermix its bane with the stream that comes forth from the springing well that God has put in the earthen vessel; to have the sentence of death in one's self, that we may not trust there; to be debtors to grace for a mouth, wisdom, and door of utterance; to be buffeted by the devil, till self is nothing but weakness, that the power of Christ may be made perfect in that; that the decay of self should be the renewal of the inward man, and the weakness of self the cause of divine power and grace being manifested?are lessons that are hard to learn; but they are the lessons of the gospel; on which account unhumbled, unrenewed, and uninspired preachers and professors, do not love the dispensation of the Spirit. Tim taw of Moses has not these self-abasing tasks in it. The grand human agent, thou, stands almost in every verse? thou shalt not do this, and thou shalt do that. Boasting is not excluded by the law of works, though by the law of faith it is. This the bond family are aware of, and therefore are determined to stick to that covenant, that sets man forth; chosing rather to be the acting. than the passive thou; without considering the great and terrible name that stands in the preface, "I am the Lord."

Circumcision and signs are called for among the Jews; wisdom among the Greeks; free-will, self-righteousness, and legal rules, among the arminians; and traditions among the papists: but we preach Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling-block; to the Greeks foolishness; to the arminians, antinomians, and to papists, heresy. By them self is exalted, the Saviour debased, and the offence of the cross is ceased. If we are under the law as a rule of life, walk, and action, our arminians, or modern calvinists, ought to preach up circumcision, for it is that which makes a man a debtor to do the whole law; but driving the saints of God from Mount Zion, from union with Christ, from the Saviour's yoke, from the service of the Spirit, from the liberty of the gospel, and from a life of faith, and, at the same time, not insisting upon circumcision, is not doing the duty of a minister of the letter.

What a terrible thing it is, that a dispensation for the salvation of sinners should be sent into the world on purpose to stain the pride of all glory! that Free Agency should be brought to nothing; and her magnificence be despised, whom not only the Ephesians, but the whole, unelected world, worshippeth! But so it is; the greatest apostle, and the brightest saint, must stoop to this?that it is God that prepares the heart; yea, is the strength of the heart when heart and flesh both fail; that the excellency and the power of religion are of him; that the fruit of the lip, the success of the ministry, and the strength and fortitude of the minister, are all of God. All our fruits must be attributed to the Spirit; all our labours to love; our works to faith; and our victories must he ascribed to Him that hath loved us. Poor Free Agency must be excluded in every sense. Excluded from God's decrees: "He works all things after the counsel of his own will." From predestination'. "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." From the spiritual birth: born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, nor of blood, "but of God." From the labour also: "Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." And all the share that falls to poor Free Agency is, that she has done all the mischief she could; and been a hinderer, instead of a help-mate. The flesh and the Spirit: "These are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." This indignity, and the title of au "unprofitable servant," is all the share that falls to self: the glory must all be given to God; and we must be satisfied with the honour that God confers, if we would be found among the faithful; "for how can they believe that receive honour one of another, and not the honour that cometh from God only?" Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor let the mighty man glory in his .might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; "but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, end righteousness in the earth; for in these things, I delight saith the Lord," Jer. xxix.23, 24. Shame, abasement, and disgrace, are all that will ever fall to the old man in the saints, and to all old Adam's family under the law; and to glory in the knowledge of God, in the loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness, which he exercises, will be the delight of all new creatures in Christ Jesus to all eternity; and I believe that every one who knows the plague of his own heart, and the grace of God in truth, will cheerfully pocket the affront; though the arminian is determined to shoot the gulch, blaspheme the decrees, alter the Bible, arraign and condemn the Host High, rather than be brought in guilty, or submit to the self-abasing terms of the covenant of grace.

Now for the passage quoted, "Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God." It is a text in the mouth of every child of the flesh, though there is not a word in it but what militates against them. They are not enlightened into the mysteries of the kingdom of God, therefore God hath not showed them what is good; and, as they are all for bringing something to God, instead of receiving the cup of salvation, or grace, from him, the text cuts off their withered arm: "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God! Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Micah vi. 6, 7. If burnt offerings, calves of a year old, thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil, and the fruit of one's body, will not do for a man to present himself before God within this life; what figure must they cut who think to stand before God's tribunal, to merit and live in the heavenly glory, by boasting of free-will, which is corrupt; by self-righteousness, which is filthy rags; by trusting in au arm of flesh, for which they are cursed of God; and by dead works, performed under the sentence of death and damnation { The unbeliever, who is condemned already, and under the wrath of God; to whom there is nothing clean, but even his mind and conscience are defiled; and who, without faith, cannot please God; cannot be the person that is supposed in the text to do justly: they must be persons in covenant with God, and partakers of the sore mercies of David, or obtain mercy, that the text means. How can he love mercy that has not obtained mercy? He may justify the wicked, and call that mercy; or, give alms with the intent of getting a name, or meriting heaven: but these "tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," for they cheat the soul; and, as to" walking humbly with thy God," we know he is the God of the living, not of the dead. The proud legalist the rebellious free-wilier, cannot submit to this truth; much less obtain pardon of sin, and a sense Of God's love; and, without submission, pardon, and a sense of love, there is no getting at God, no standing in his presence, nor finding favour in his sight; much less walking humbly with him. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" All the list of worthies received a good report through faith; but nothing of this appears to be given to them that "say and do not." They that are in the Vine bring forth much fruit; but nothing of this is said of them who abide under the law. By faith God has been pleased, and glorified; but without faith it is impossible to please him.

Let my sister read the eighth chapter of Isaiah; it contains the whole of my doctrine, and an exact portrait of my legal opposers. First, the prophet tells us of the instruction that the Lord gave him. "For the Lord spake thus unto me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, a confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread," vet. 11, 12, 13. Secondly, he ascribes the blessed state of them who fly from the wrath to come, which is revealed in the law?to Christ, the only refuge and shelter that God has appointed; and the falling, stumbling, broken, and shattered condition of them who stumble at the gospel, and are offended at Christ: "And he shall be for a sanctuary [to those that trust in him;] but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel; for a gin, and for a snare, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken," ver. 14, 15. Then the prophet goes on to tell us how the testimony of the gospel shall come in the demonstration of the Holy Ghost; and be bound up, by the bond of love, in our souls; and that the law shall be sealed by the Holy Spirit, upon the fleshy tables of our hearts, that we may have it, and do it; not on tables of stone: it is in our mouth, and in our heart; and, under the impression of the Holy Ghost, it sinks deep. The blessed Spirit gives us the law of liberty, the law of life, and the law of love; and bears witness to our justification unto life, and to our adoption; seals us to eternal redemption; and keeps every needful law in our souls under the impression of his own seal: "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. Behold I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs, and for wonders, in Israel, from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth on Mount Zion," Isa. viii. 16, 18. Let my sister consider this. The testimony (which is an experience of the gospel of Christ) is called the law, and is said to be bound up and sealed on the hearts of the Lord's disciples; and such are called "the children that God (the Father) has given to Christ," Itch. ii. 13, and such, on account of their knowledge of gospel mysteries, are said to be for signs and wonders in Israel; and all this is not from Sinai, but from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion. The prophet, having given us this choice experience, and an account of his own instruction, goes on to caution us, first, against seducers. Secondly, gives us instructions how to try them. Thirdly, how they will fret and behave if they cannot prevail against us. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits; and unto wizards, that peep and mutter: should not a people seek unto their God?" ver. 19; my sister will reply, "Sending souls to Mount Sinai cannot be acting under the influence of familiar spirits, or leading people to enchantments." Paul says, "False apostles are ministers of Satan;" and leading believers to the law, to be made perfect in the flesh, is witchcraft; "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth?" Gal. iii. 1. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," ver. 20. The prophet having informed us that the testimony bound, or law sealed, is among the disciples of Christ; bids us try blind guides by the testimony, law, or word, that we have received. The testimony is the gospel; the law is the law of faith; and the word is the word of life: and; when ministers of Satan would bewitch us, by sending us to the law, to be made perfect by the flesh (for that is not the ministration of the Spirit), that we are to try them by the testimony or law that God has bound and sealed among us: and if they cannot describe the testimony of the gospel, or the law of faith; nor the law written on our hearts; nor the seal of the Spirit, nor the witness that he bears of our being the children that God has given to Christ; that they are blinded by the law; they are in the flesh, not in the Spirit; "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," ver. 20. The prophet goes on to describe the rage of these false apostles; their starving condition; their reward galling of conscience; their malice, even against God himself; their anguish of soul, and fearful end: "And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead, and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their King and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold, trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness!" ver. 21, 22. An awful, but a true picture, of an uninspired preacher. Many lashes such men receive, both from God and conscience; "yet they return not to him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts," Isa. ix. 13. the prophet compares them to withered branches and rushes, and pays no regard either to their age or their honour. "God shall cut off from Israel [after the flesh] head and tail, branch and rush, in one day: the ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed: therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows; for every one is an hypocrite and an evil doer, and every mouth speaketh folly," Isa. ix. 14, 15, 16, 17.

The law of Moses the prophet applies to the ungodly, who are under it, and under the curse of it: to whom it belongs; "For the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient." "Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah," Isa. i. 10. But to the elect he says, "Christ shall magnify the law, and make it honourable," Isa. xlii. 21. And of the law of faith he speaketh on this wise: "Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice et melody." "Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people." "My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth; and my arms shall judge the people: the isles shall wait upon me, and on my arm shall they trust," Isa. li. 2, 3, 4, 5. Here is a law that is to proceed from Christ: it is to be attended with a looking to Abraham's call, and Abraham's blessing; it is to be accompanied with joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody; it is to consist of a divine righteousness, of free salvation, and a firm trust and reliance on the arm of the Lord. This is called the law of God's people, and the law of his nation; a chosen people, and a righteous nation, is opposed to a sinful nation, and a people laden with iniquity. This is the law that went forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord that went from Jerusalem, Isa. ii. 1. And it is in the hearts of all God's justified people, Isa. v. 7. "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law: fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings;" even though they rage, and reproach you as antinomians (who make void the law,) and lead people into licentiousness; while themselves are the servants of corruption, being enemies to, and destitute of, that grace that can make them clean.

When the Lord says, "Bind up the testimony, seal the law, among my disciples;" believers are meant; as appears from John: "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and his disciples believed on him." The testimony and the law are one and the same thing. To nave the testimony bound, is to receive the truth in the love of it; which love is the bond of the covenant of promise. To have the law sealed, is to mix faith with the word, and receive it in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance: "The day you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." This is the law of faith, and the seal of it. If my sister asks why this testimony bound up is called a law sealed? I answer, because every other law is included to this testimony, and is couched under this seal; on which account it is called a law. For instance: one says, "Do this, and thou shalt live." Life is the thing promised to the doer, and death threatened in case of non-performance. "The law of the wise is a foundation of life, to depart from the snares of death." Prov. xiii. 14.

Another law says, "This shall be thy righteousness, if thou observe to do all the things which are written in this law." This lies under the seal also?"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. viii. 4.

The law of circumcision lies under this seal. Circumcision is a seal of the righteousness of faith. Abraham received the promise in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of the uncircumcised Gentiles who believe through grace; those who receive the Spirit of love, and of a sound mind. "God has circumcised their hearts to love him;" and such, and such only, are "the true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no con6dence in the flesh," Phil. iii. 3.

If we speak of the law of the leper, and of cleansing him, Levit. vi. 9, it is under this seal. Our High-priest cleanses us by a look: and, when all our own comeliness is turned into corruption, as Daniel speaks; when we cover the lip, and cry?Unclean! unclean! from the head to the foot there is no soundness in us; and that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing?then we are said to be all-glorious within. The Lord saves us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Thus the lepers are cleansed, to the poor the gospel is preached; and blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me."

If we speak of the jubilee trumpet, the jubilee year, and the law of release; here is the great trumpet that is to be down, the Saviour proclaiming liberty to captives, and the acceptable year of the Lord, and the Spirit applying the same: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Whosoever looketh unto the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, this man shall be blessed in his deed," James, i, 25.

It includes the whole law of redemption. We are redeemed from a vain conversation by the precious blood of Christ; from the curse of the law also, from the wrath to come, from the pit of hell, and from the second death: "Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness, Isa. i. 27.

The law of marriage is couched under this seal. Here is Christ the bridegroom, and Zion the bride; his choice of her, and her choice of him; his love, and her love. Here is their mutual espousing each other; his betrothing her in righteousness, loving-kindness, and in great mercies, and that for ever. Of their being joined in one Spirit: yea, "we are of his flesh, and of his bones. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and his church."

The law of the man-slayer lies under this seal. The elect sinner has destroyed himself; and has had a hand, by his sins in crucifying Christ; yet he hated him not aforetime, namely, when he stood complete in Adam: but the devil seduced man into this state of enmity; and justice is the avenger of blood. Zion is the walled city of refuge to which the alarmed sinner flies: salvation is her walls and bulwarks; Christ is the high-priest he stands before, under whose wings he takes refuge, and by whose death he shall be restored to his heavenly home, from whence the devil and sin drove him at first.

Speak we of the law of washing, or of baptism, it is included in this law of faith. Our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience; Christ has washed us, and we have a part in him. We are washed in regeneration; clean water is sprinkled upon us, and we are clean. "We are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire." All baptism short of this is washing the outside of the cup and the platter, and amounts to no more than carnal washing. It is not the washing away the filth of the flesh, but purgation from guilt, and a testimony by the Spirit to our justification and adoption, "that is the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead." 1 Peter iii. 12, through whom, and by whom, the Spirit comes.

Some Jews say, "there are three hundred and thirteen laws;" and some say, "Six hundred and thirteen;" and, if there be six thousand, I will be bound to prove, that the whole of them, in their spiritual sense and meaning (except the law of divorce) are couched in this text?" Bind up the testimony, seal the law among the disciples."

The law made nothing perfect, and man makes nothing perfect: but the Spirit is God, and his work is perfect; and the bringing in of a better hope makes us perfect and complete in that hope. This is antinomianism; this is licentiousness. Be it so; it is all from heaven; and they do very little less than blaspheme God, his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven, who utter such blasphemy. However, it is a covenant of free grace that God has made with Christ, and with us in him; and their dead works can find no footing in it. It is the ministration of the Spirit; and natural men discern not the things of it, for they are foolishness to them. As they know not the Lord, they have nothing to trust in but their own righteousness; which they perceive cannot be established by the gospel, for it reveals only the righteousness of God: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ?for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. This the bond children are aware of; and therefore abuse the grace of God, charge it with bad consequences, and run to the law for some ground of boasting; and, being ignorant of its spiritual meaning, they trust in the letter, make a fair shew in the flesh, and establish a righteousness of their own before men, which cannot stand the inquest of their own thoughts, much less the impartial test of the Judge of quick and dead. But, without an union with the true Vine, Christ says they shall do nothing. By our abiding in Christ, we shall bring forth much fruit. Without faith they shall never please God; but those that are strong in faith shall give glory to him. By the law let them glory in the flesh; by grace "we shall be to the praise of his glory, who have trusted in Christ." If thou bring thyself under the law in any sense whatever, thou wilt soon lose sight of Christ, and sin will gain the ascendancy over thee. Sin shall not have dominion over them that are under grace; "but those that are in the flesh, the motions of sin, which are by the law, do work in their members to bring forth fruit unto death," Rom. vii. 5. These are all the fruits they produce, and all the good works they perform: God and their own conscience know it. They may talk about works, as the Jews of old did; and say that the grace of God leads to licentiousness, as they said Christ kept not the Sabbath-day; that he was not of God; that he cast out devils by Beelzebub; and that he received sinners, and eat with them; and, under all this pretended shew of zeal for holiness, they blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and exposed themselves to the sentence of eternal damnation.

Paul gives us a description of the people who perform good works in reality: "For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared; teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present evil world: looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," Titus, ii. 14. These are the people who perform good works: they are redeemed from all iniquity; they are purified unto the Lord by faith; they have a good hope through grace; they look for the appearing of the Lord Jesus; and are zealous of good works," knowing their own election of God," and their being unto him a peculiar people. Thus zeal for good works is the effect of redemption and purifying grace.' Ask these hypocrites what they know of redemption, and how applied? What of faith, the operations of it, and its purifying effects? And if they are strangers to these things, they are dead in sin, condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon them. And if you watch them narrowly, you will hear nothing but vanity from their mouth, nor see any thing in their life but sin. To be short. "Those that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts; and against such there is no law." Those that in faith, love, and purity of heart, serve Christ, "are accepted of God, and approved of all good men." And, if my sister is not satisfied with the truth, blessings, and benefits, of an everlasting gospel, let her try the yoke of an eternal law; that will soon discover her folly, make every offence abound, stir up all her carnal enmity, and make her temper unbearable. Peevishness; hastiness of spirit; discontentedness with her frame of mind; doubts about her state; hard thoughts of God; labouring to make herself better, and getting worse; striving against sin and her own evil tempers, and tumbling into them; making secret vows, and breaking them; watching against evil and daily entangled in it; are the things that will ever follow a legal spirit that is under the law; insomuch, that the bodily frame withers, weakens, faints, and sinks under the burden; and I should not wonder if I were to hear that my poor friend goes sick to bed every month in the year. I shall add no more at present: only wish to see her contented with one husband; and let her go back to the law as soon as Jesus ceases to do worthily in Ephratah, or fails to be famous in Bethlehem.


Winchester Row, Feb. 5, 1789.


MY sister need make no apologies; she is very welcome to any instruction that the Lord shall think meet to give her by me. I know the terrors and bondage of the law and the natural bent of our own legal spirits to it; and I know by sad experience the miserable effects of such miserable doctrine, having formerly sat under a deal of it, and to little purpose. When they have delivered an unintelligible harangue on the letter of the law, none are fed or refreshed but the carnal hypocrite; he applauds it, and is furnished from the pulpit with weapons to wound and torment the simple babes of Christ. The goats are polished and armed; while the poor flock are sent off stripped, wounded, and put to shame. The free children are bound, the bond family encouraged; by which means the uncircumcised and the unclean are huddled among the saints, till you scarcely know the one from the other.

"Judgment, mercy, faith, and the love of God, are the weighty matters of the law." These are called the great things of it, though at present they bear a very scandalous name; and so they ever did by hypocritical professors: "I have written unto them the great things of my law, (says God) but they were counted as a strange thing," Hosea, viii. l2. These are called the weighty matters, or the great things of the law; not because they come from thence, (for they do not) but because they are the great things that the Old Testament treats of; for on "love to God and our neighbour hang all the law and the prophets." And if shewing the judgment of God to unrenewed sinners concerning their state, enforcing the sure mercies of David in Christ, preaching faith and the love of God, be making void the law; then all the apostles made it void. However, Paul says we establish the law through faith; and I think it would puzzle the learned to shew how the law can be established, to the honour of God, or to the comfort of his people, any other way. If preaching the faith of Christ be establishing the law, how can it make it void? and if it is making it void, then all the primitive servants of God did it; for they preached Christ to the people, as the sinner's only Saviour, refuge, and example; and performed all their wondrous works by the faith of him. They did not go from place to place to lampoon ministers of the gospel for antinomians: nor did they cry out?The law is the only rule of life, the only rule of action. "You must look with one eye to Christ, and with the other to the law." Is there any thing in all their writings like this? Indeed the false apostles and ministers of Satan run after them, crying out?Except ye be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved: but then the apostles inform us that the Devil sent them, and they caution us against such. They tell us to affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works: these things are good, and profitable unto men; but to avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings, about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretic, after the first or second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself Titus iii. 8, 9, 10.

Man was not made for the law, but the law was made for man: nor was it made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient; for the ungodly, and for sinners; for unholy and profane; for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers; for menslayers; for whoremongers; for them that defile themselves with mankind; for men-stealers, (such as deal in the African slave-trade;) for liars; for perjured persons; and if there be any other thing (which they hold) contrary to sound doctrine, 1 Tim. i. 9. If any of those gentlemen that condemn my doctrine to you, answer any of the above characters, the law is made for them; and they have no right to run from it, unless God should draw them to Christ. However, God has delivered me from the law; and I trust grace will ever keep mc from such things as these. God purifies my heart, and enables me to live by faith; and I have shewed you my faith by my works. I believe that the law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it," Luke xvi. 16. And this kingdom stands not in the letter of the law, nor in word; but in power, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and if it consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, how can it be licentiousness? If they would have me act as some of them do?talk of the holy law, and live in sin?I am determined not to come into their secret. If they acknowledge that the grace of God teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and makes them zealous of good works I agree with them; and if they are for the performance of good works, I will vie with the best, "let me be weighed in an even balance." But to set Moses's law perpetually before the eyes of all ranks of believers, is neither preaching the gospel nor establishing the law: and, while they are enforcing legal obedience to Moses, they act in direct disobedience so Christ; whose command is, "Go, preach the gospel to every creature." When thou teachest another, teachest thou not thyself also? Or dost thou tea& against stealing, and live in sacrilege? make the law of Moses the only rule of life to others, while thou castest the gospel of the grace of God behind thy back? They who preach the law unlawfully, and charge the grace of the gospel with licentiousness, rob Christ of his honour in the church, and injure his followers, by slandering their loyalty, and abusing their liberty.

We know Christ was made of a woman, and made under the law; and under that yoke lived and served in the capacity of a servant, and the last act of his servitude was obedience unto death. But, when the sentence and curse of the law were executed on him as our surety, our debt was paid, and we were redeemed by him: "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself, of twain, one new man; so making peace," Ephes. ii. 19. Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances, that was against as, Which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross, Col ii. 14. If it be objected, that the ceremonial law is mean; I answer, the ceremonial law was the Jews gospel; it was that which pointed the guilty to the great Atonement; but it is the moral law that contains the sentence, the other the sacrifice. Sin is the transgression of the moral law, and the law is the strength of sin. When Christ died, it was to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, Gal. iv. 5. When Christ rose from the dead, he was under the law no more: for our justification he rose, that all those who are "led by the Spirit might not be under the law," Gal. v. 18.

How can such souls be without law to God, when he writes ms law in their hearts, and puts it in their minds? They are of the law of faith, and are under that law to Christ, which is his easy yoke. q?'hey are new creatures, and love the law after the inner man. Faith worketh by love; and love in the Spirit is the new commandment, and is a fulfilling of the old one; for the whole law is fulfilled in one word, namely, Love. Love is the great thing, and weighty matter of the law: it observes all, it inspires all, it fulfils all; it is the new commandment delivered unto us, in keeping which there is great reward. Many turned from this holy commandment in Peter's days; and Paul tells us that the end of the commandment is charity; from which some swerved, and made shipwreck of faith and conscience, in his days; and turned aside to vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof' they affirm. Unrenewed men cannot love the law, nor the lawgiver; and this is plain from their hating those who are good. I believe faith and conscience always go together: if a man nuts away concerning faith, his life and conversation soon become vain. Those who are vain in their imaginations have their foolish heart darkened; and, by professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. And they act the foolish part who send believers to the law of Moses for rules of action, when they cannot speak a good word, nor think a good thought, without the Spirit and grace of Christ.

Set the Lord always before thy face, and thou shalt find him at thy right hand, so that thou shalt not be greatly moved. The law is not of faith, but of works: and they who are of the works of the law are under the curse. Besides, pointing a believer to the law is turning his mind from the object of faith, by the faith of whom we are to live: and canst thou be exercising faith on the Son of God, while thou art looking to Moses's law? Faith must have her object in view while she acts, and that man is kept m perfect peace whose mind is stayed on the Lord. Habakkuk's faith led him first to the object of faith; and, when his faith was fixed, he was led to call upon him, Hab. i. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. And then expects his answer: "I wall stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower; and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved," chap. ii. ver. 1. Faith and patience now keep their standing: Faith has sent her petition, and Hope expects an answer. Thus" we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it," as the prophet here doth. Thus Faith moves her suit, Hope expects the favour sued for, and Patience is exercised in waiting for it; and, if he waits quietly, it is a good thing: "It is good that a man should both wait, and quietly hop for the salvation of the Lord." "And the Lord answered me an, said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." This vision contains the object and mystery of faith; and it was the eye of faith that saw this vision. the sum of which was to be written and made plain upon tables, that every one that sat down to a table to eat the sacrifices might have it before his eyes, and rise up and run the heavenly race set before him: he was to run in faith of the grand Sacrifice to come, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ, and wait in hope for his appearance; for it was the appearance of him, and the gospel to be preached by him, that was the vision, and the voice of it: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry," chap. ii. ver. 3. This is living by faith, and this is the way that all shall live who are saved. Some of the Jews said," Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?" And others contemptuously said, "Messiah has lost his legs, and will not come at all." To these God speaks: "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord: to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into his house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him" Amos. v. 18, 19. But there were some who held fast "the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise they, instantly serving God day and night hope to come," Acts xxvi. 6, 7. These were found "wasting for the consolation of Israel;" and they did not wait in vain, for the Consolation and Hope of Israel found them, and saved them. But those who despised this life of faith found the day of the Lord to be darkness indeed. For judgment the vision appeared, and of judgment he spoke?"that those who see not might see, and that those who see might be made blind." These were the proud doers who rejected grace. "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith," Hab. ii. 4.

Our life must be like theirs, if we would live to God here, and with him hereafter. The vision has appeared; "Christ hath been evidently set forth and crucified among us." The vision did not tarry: the vision has spoken, and not lied; and the substance of it hath been preached to you; you have heard the joyful sound, and fait the pleasing power; and could set to your seat that God is true. And what remains? Why, we art, saved by hope; and are called to a patient waiting for the Lord from heaven, and for the hope of righteousness by faith; and in this patient waiting, accompanied with a patient continuance in well-' doing, we are to seek for immortality; and the promise is eternal life, which is promised to confidence: cast not away your confidence, which hath a great recompence of reward. Now abideth faith, by which we live; hope, by which we are saved, and by which the glory of God is expected; and charity, which beareth all things, endureth all things, and loves and longs for the Lord's appearing. And what is the end? Why, "he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, (because our testimony among you was behaved) in that day," 2 Thess. i. 10. Thus we must eye the promise made of God unto Abraham; and serve God, in hope to come, or in hope of the glory of God: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ," Titus, ii. 13.

The voice of the vision to us is the same as to the Jews of old: "Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." By fifth we are to live, not by the law; by faith we are to walk, not by sight; by faith we are to live, and by Faith Christ lives in us. Act fifth on the Saviour, and the Saviour will act in you. This is the will of God concerning you; "by the which we are sanctified, through faith in him who offered himself once for all." This is a life that no hypocrite ever knew, and a doctrine that no hypocrite ever loved; nor shall the happy possessor of it ever find favour, either in the eyes of the world, or in the eyes or' carnal professors.

I once knew a man at Thames Ditton, who made a great profession of religion before I knew anything about it. There was something of a superficial persuasion on his mind, like those who "for a while believe, but in time of temptation fall away for want of root." In this superficial confidence he was wonderfully lifted up; and became a reprover of all, and at times a teacher of all; frequently suspecting the sincerity of others; and at times would contradict all that I have said in the pulpit. Il you would sit and hear him talk, he was all life; but, if you contradicted him, though ever so wrong, you stripped him of ail his fancied joys, and sunk him to the shades of death, till some with notion sprung up afresh in his brain, and then he was the same as ever. All this while he was a Sebellian in his heart, and at last opened his mouth, and displayed his talents against the doctrine of the ever-adorable Trinity; and began to deceive others, as himself had been deceived; which was no small grief of mind and trouble to my soul. However, I had a dispute with him before some friends, and confuted him. Soon after, God stopped his mouth in a way of judgment, by sweeping away his false hopes, and sinking him into despondency. This cut his pride, and exposed his nakedness before many whom he had often distressed and wounded. At this dispensation he began to spurn; and to tempt God, by refusing to labour for his family. When I saw that he provided not for his own house, I took it for granted that he had "denied the faith, and was worse than an infidel; and therefore would have no more to do with him. He is now a warm advocate for the law of Moses; the works of the law are all in all to him: though it must be allowed that industry, honesty, and paying one's lawful debts, is a better way of preaching good works, than by words, which are things he pays little regard to; this I know by experience. A few days ago. he called on Mr. Rogers, shoemaker, at Paddington; and, after some conversation about his own good works, he predicted my fall; and said, "it was that cursed doctrine of looking out of one's self that hurt him; it led him to be careless." It is strange that looking to Christ for salvation, looking to the hills for help, running the race set before us, looking to Jesus till we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, should be attended with such dreadful consequences! Careless he is in every sense; but I think this ought to be ascribed to himself and the devil, rather than to the grace of God. But cannot men make the law their only rule of life, trust in the works of it, and proclaim their own merit, without cursing the doctrines of Christ? "Why should their good be evil spoken of?" This cannot be fulfilling the law of righteousness; for that says, "He that curseth his God, let him die the death:" and Mr. Butler aimed at the same object, when he dropped this sentence on the doctrine of God, "A bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall declare the matter," Eccl. x. 20. if the gospel of the grace of God doth not make a man meet tar heaven, a dead letter, or au arm of flesh, is not likely to accomplish it: and if a man make the Saviour his enemy, it is not likely that Moses should be his friend, for he has already cursed those who blaspheme his master; and we know that he is noted for faithfullness, for he has ever accused those who have abused Christ. This man confirms what I have long observed, namely, that those who cleave to the law hate the Saviour; and such as trust in themselves are implacable enemies to the grace, Spirit, and children of God. "They that are not with me are against me," says the Saviour; and "they that gather not with me, scatter abroad. "The ancient enemies of Christ cursed alt his followers: "this people, that know not the law, are cursed;" and this man curses the things which they follow, I mean the things that make for their peace.

If I am an antinomian, only because I cannot find any text in God's book that calls the law of Moses the believer's only rule of life, what must this man be? And if enforcing the law by doing the work of an evangelist, he is the man, for he disputes for it, and the works of it, all the day long: therefore he cannot he said to make it void; and, as he is a blasphemer of the faith, of the merit and satisfaction of Christ, how can he be said to establish the law? He cannot establish it by faith, because he curses the doctrine that teaches looking to Jesus: nor can cursing and swearing, getting in debt, and living in idleness, be called establishing the law by works; for the law enforces labour, and sentences to death profane cursers and swearers.

I wish my sister would tell my accusers to take up their pen, and detect me: it would become a minister much better than puzzling and prejudicing the minds of weaker vessels. Women are not set in the front of the battle; and, if God honours them with faith, it is better to brace their minds with truth than drive them into disputings about the law, which are unprofitable and vain. However, it is plain to me that these contenders for the law of Moses are enemies to the law of truth: they never laid their sins to heart; nor do they give glory to God, by being strong in his grace, and valiant for the law of faith; therefore I will turn the tables against them. "And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you: if ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts. I will even send a curse upon you; and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant of life and peace was with him; and I gave them to him, for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the 'priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth, for he is the messenger of the 'Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts," Mai. ii. l, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

If all this be true, it is only those who know the plague of their own heart, and who are strong in faith, that give glory to God. He has cursed even the blessings of the priests who are strangers to this. The covenant of life and peace is here called the law of truth; and they who hold it are said to walk with God in peace and equity, and to turn many born iniquity; and the lips of the priests should keep this knowledge, and the people should seek this law of truth at their mouth?for such, and only such, are the messengers of the Lord of nests: for they who swerve from this are said to depart out of the way, and to cause many to stumble at the law, and to corrupt the covenant of Levi. This is the judgment of the Lord of hosts upon this matter: "Therefore have I made you contemptible and base (saith the Lord) before all people, according as ye have not kept my ways (which are the ways of life and peace) but have been partial in this law of truth," Mai. ii. 8, 9. If this be the case, Levi must have been an antinomian, as well as Mr. Huntington; and these priests, whose blessings are cursed of God, were of the same cast as those who now oppose me; and some of them begin to appear as base and contemptible as ever they did. However, I hope I shall be satisfied with holding and enforcing this law of truth, and seeking the glory of him by whom grace and truth came. And I had much rather see my sister bedecked and furnished like Lemuel's virtuous woman, titan find her contending for letter rules of action; and then I should hear something Getter from her than vain jangling, and something that never leads to licentiousness nor idleness. "Strength and honour are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and all her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but such excel them all," Prov. xxxi. This is God's characteristic of a virtuous woman and her actions; and it is the wisdom that is from above, and me law of kindness in Christ Jesus, that makes her act as she does. Yea, saith the Spirit; and so says the daily experience of

Thy humble servant to command,


Winchester Row, Feb. 24, 1789.


YOUR kind letter came to hand; and I am thankful that say attempt of mine should be either owned or honoured of God. You needed not have taken any pains in describing the perplexing workings of your mind. You never got out of the reach of my experience of law-terrors, rebellion, and legal pride: I know the road well; my eye pursued you through all the strange labyrinths which you have passed; and I know what cold entertainment you would meet with on that path. I know what it is to build towers to reach heaven without counting the cost: I have spent much time and toil in establishing my own righteousness, washing the Ethiopian white, and changing the leopard's spots; and I knew that your profits would arise to the same amount that mine did, namely, shame and confusion of face.

I never said that the law was not a rule of life to the unbelieving bond children; I believe it is in every seine. Moses tells them, "That it shall be their righteousness if they observe to do all the things of this law." Paul says, "The doer of the law shall be justified." The prophets declare, "That if a man doth them, he shall live in them." And Christ says, "if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." And we know that all who are in the flesh to expect eternal life by the works of the law. These things cannot be spoken against; nor will any natural man ever oppose this way to heaven: nor does the devil himself; for he knows, as well as we do, that Moses never cast out devils; and he knows that the kingdom of God is not graven on tables of stone; these never make "Satan fall like lightning from heaven:" this way has ever seemed right to a man; nor is there one in ten thousand who will believe the end thereof to be the ways of death, till he is safely arrived in hell; and then, Christ says, he will lift up his eyes, being m torment. The offence of the cross does not attend the works of the law: the law is not of faith, but the man who does those things shall live in them.

Far be it from me to wrong either the elect or the reprobate: God tells me to "give a portion to seven, and also to eight. "I ever said that unconverted ministers of the letter are under the law, for the impression of the type on paper is all they have to hope in; and we know that the letter killeth, but it is the Spirit that giveth life. And this appeases in their ministry; for they call "experience, that worketh hope," enthusiasm; and God's revealing his Son in his people, or, Christ manifesting himself to those whom God has given him out of the world, new revelations; and charge the grace of God with licentiousness. These cannot be partakers of grace; nor are they born again of the Spirit. Such as these should not meddle with the gospel; God himself rebukes them for taking his covenant in their mouth.

The children of old Adam are right in contending for legal preachers; for the voice of the law is to them?"We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law." And as for sneering and mocking at the children of God, they act in character. God has put enmity between the seed of the serpent and that of the woman: "He that was after the flesh persecuted hi/n that was by promise;" and so it is now, and will be to the end.

I am fully persuaded, and my own conscience bears me witness, that all those who have sworn to, and subscribed the articles of the Church of England, and afterwards turn aside to vain jangling, and preach up the law, free-will, fleshly works, and abase the grace of God; that they are all under the law, as their only rule of life; and will undoubtedly be damned by it, unless they are perfect as the law is perfect: for the curse is as sure as the blessing, and has got the oath of God to secure it. He has sworn in his wrath that they shall not enter into his rest; and the law is made for all liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any thing [which they hold] contrary to sound doctrine, 1 Tim. i. 10. Let no person, therefore, charge me with a denial of these things, for I never did deny the law being the only rule of action for those who begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh; or, in plain words, who begin with the gospel, and end in the law; for God declares that such are fallen from grace (or their profession of it), and that Christ shall profit them nothing. These things none can gainsay or resist. All that I contend for is this, that the law and its curse cannot be separated. He who brings a professing man under the law, brings him into bondage, and under the sentence of God. Bring him under the yoke of the law, as his only rule of life and action; make him obedient to it, and make him act and work under it; and the scripture says, he is of the works of the law; and, as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. Such a man is for legal works; of works he speaks; and under the curse he is. Wrath works in him directly, and will work in him perpetually all the time he stays there. Grace works not in him; nor are his works the works of faith, nor labours of love, nor the fruits of the Spirit. The law is not of faith; under grace he doth not abide; nor does Christ profit him any thing while he sticks to that yoke.

If my sister cannot believe this, let her watch the confusion and deadness of many of the sermons that she hears; the covetousness that appears in such preachers; their implacable enmity against Christ, and them that preach him; and she will find that gossiping, tattling, tippling, backbiting, narrowness, bigotry, self-love, self-seeking, and railing at the power of religion, are the things that attend many of these unconverted ministers of the letter; and often at sixty, or seventy years of age, you will see them soft, cottish, effeminate, doating about wedlock, and crawling alive with wanton amours. And it cannot be otherwise; "for they that are in the flesh, the motions of sins, which are by the law, do work in their members to bring forth fruit unto death," Rom. vii. 5. "Sin takes occasion by the commandment, and works in them all manner of concupiscence," Rom. vii. 8. These are some of the good works that are to be found in these perjured hypocrites and moderate calvinists, and in all who are enemies to the grace of God. Nothing can purify the heart but living faith and atoning blood; nothing can subdue sin but grace; and, without Christ man can do nothing but sin. If God does not keep man, man cannot keep himself. The motions of sins are by the law: the strength of sin is the law; and the devil leads the sinner captive at his will.

"Practical holiness," is a term I do not understand. One half of the pompous phrases which now creep into pulpits will not bear the balance of common sense. Holiness can neither be fetched from the law of Moses nor from a carnal heart; nor is it a thing to be put in practice by free-will, or an arm of flesh. There is none supremely holy but One; that is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Christ is the Holy One of his people; and they who are purged from sin by his blood, sanctified by his Spirit, in covenant, in favour, and in spiritual union with him, are complete in him, their head; who is made of God unto them righteousness and sanctification. Such are new creatures, created in righteousness and true holiness; and it is God, and none else, who humbles them, and sanctifies them. "He chastens us for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness." Such persons are holy people; they walk in union with Christ, as the only way; and under the influence of the Spirit they live: they receive a supply of the Spirit of Christ as they stand in need, live in the fear of God, walk humbly with him, and labour to keep a conscience void of offence toward him. All who are destitute of tins, and strangers to it, have no more real holiness than Satan himself: it is only an outward shew, which the scriptures call washing the platter, whiting the wall, or painting the sepulchre.

The law obeyed, and disarmed of its curse, is in the heart of the Mediator, who is Judge of quick and dead, and therefore keeps the keys of hell and of death. The believer is under the law to Christ; "and they that are his have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts:" such are delivered from the law; "and against such there is no law, and sin is not imputed where there is no law." I do insist upon it, that if a believer be brought to the law of Moses, to be under it, in any other sense, that sin stares him in the face, wrath works in his heart, his enmity is stirred up, bondage seizes him, and despondency and despair will 4nk him, unless the law of the Spirit of life make him bee from law of sin and death.

God hears all their contentions for the law of works; and is the best judge how their life, walk, and actions, agree with that rule; and, no doubt, he will judge them by that rule for which they contend: and it will be well if, when God lays righteousness to the line, and judgment to the plummet, there be no refuges of lies for the hail to sweep away; if their hearts, lives, and actions, have been as pure as their words and pretences. And it is well for such as you and I that Christ came into this world to save sinners; and that he was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Blessed are they who are born again. Blessed are they who love God, and believe in his dear Son: "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

I shall conclude with counsel that never came from Sinai.?Hearken, O daughter, and consider; incline your ear to what hath been said: forsake the fleshly family, and your old father Adam's house so shall the King of kings greatly desire thy beauty! "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him," saith the Father of mercies, who hath loved us with an everlasting love. In the bond of which, I subscribe myself your servant to command in this present state, and a joint partaker with you of the glory that shall be revealed.

Winchester Row Paddington.


"And Sampson said, I will now put forth a riddle unto you, if you can certainly declare it within the seven days of the feast: and they said, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.?JUDGES xiv. 12, 13.

IN gloomy visions of the nigh,
I saw a formless form appear
Amazement seiz'd me at the sight,
Which fill'd me with tormenting lear.

Abash'd, I fled; but he pursu'd,
Yet neither ran, nor walk'd, nor fled:
His shapeless shape would still intrude.
Nor could 1 shun the monster's dread.

I saw his body act and move,
But form'd like no created race.
In darkest paths he loves to rove,
Yet never shuns to shew his face.

Long time I stood in fright, to gaze
And view this exhibition strange:
My mind was fill'd with great amaze,
To see the moving monster range.

Bow'd with old age, in hoary hairs,
Yet seeks the crown, and royal horn:
He liv'd and mov'd five thousand years
Before begot, conceiv'd, or born.

I fought and strove, with groans and tears,
To drive the rebel from my home;
And, though he brings a thousand fears,
I always love to see him come.

He's caus'd my mind the utmost smart,
And from his presence oft I flee;
And: though we live some miles apart,
He never was one mile from me.

I court his wrath, some court his smiles:
In every house he rinds his home:
He dwells throughout the British isles,
Yet only rents one single room.

The lion bold he dar'd oppose,
With warlike scorn defy'd his ragel
From out his den in fury rose,
Although five thousand years of age.

And why surpris'd to hear the date?
He is not twice the age of me:
.And tho' his years appear so great,
There's women older now than be.

Long did this dreadful battle last.
But still the monster wav'd his paw
And, tho' of savage, brutal cast,
He yet observ'd the rules of law.

I saw the warlike hero yield;
I saw him taken, try'd, and slain;
I saw him bury'd on the field,
Yet he reviv'd, and liv'd again.

Disarm'd again, and put to flight,
The dawn of day he try'd to shun;
And, tho' confin'd in shades of night,
He rose again, and fought the Sun.

This foe hath won a thousand fields,
And been by millions put to flight:
To impotence he often yields,
And yet resists immortal might!

Yea, countless hosts have been employ'd,
Equipp'd and arm'd with might and skill.
From endless date he's been destroy'd,
And yet exists, and always will.

His body's void of form or shape,
Like monsters seen from foul embrace:
Yet few there are his charms escape;
He still begets eternal race.

He's not a man, nor yet a brute;
He's neither reptile, fowl, nor fiend
Yet has a voice, tho' always mute;
And God doth oft his cries attend.

Defy'd he is by small and great,
Yet none, at times, retiree his call;
Detested with the utmost hate,
Yet lov'd and serv'd by one and all.

By high and low in great esteem:
The crowned head will condescend;
Both youth and age will mourn for him
And yet he always kills his friend.

Oppress'd, at times, by all at large,
And oft engag'd by num'rous host;
And those who give the warmest charge,
Are chiefly them that love him most.

The blushing damsel yields her charms;
Defenceless falls before his woo:
Yet nought but death attends his arms;
He slew his sire, and mother too.

His parentage 'tis hard to trace;
His ancient rise few understand:
He never had a senior race.
He's neither angel, brute, nor man.

A body void of flesh and blood;
Of joint or member, as we call;
And yet, so anxious after food,
He preys on friends, yea, foes, and all.

He wears the robe, the crown, and ring;
He sways the sceptre, fills the throne:
For him they mourn, of him they sing;
He makes their mirth, and makes their groan.

By thousands curs'd to endless woe,
While thousands love to hear his fame;
Yet, he's compris'd in number Two;
Yea, couch'd beneath a single name.

The pleasing tidings he hath told,
Hath fill'd my mind with heavenly glee:
I've wish'd his curse a thousand fold,
Yet he's a faithful friend to me.

Both friends and foes he puts to shame,
Yet knows no fear, nor yet dismay:
When heaven and earth shall shake their frame,
He'll dauntless stand the dreadful day.

'Tis near to me he loves to dwell,
And likes to hear of heavenly love.
Tho' only such are doom'd to hell,
We hope to see him crown'd above.

By whom descended, or from whence,
Is what no mortal can disclose:
A creature, too, in every sense;
But who his first creation knows?

Now, if my reader longs to know,
And have his mind reliev'd from doubt;
Then let him with my heifer plow,
And he may find my Riddle out.


Incrow Nstre Etyo uma Yhav Eavi ewo,
Fh-imtow, homi No wre, ferhen;
Owre Side satnu mbert, wo, an,
D-byth, Ebro Adwaywes, Tmin, ster.

Goddi Dno tma keac Arna Lma Nwi,
The Arn Alme Nth, Ewor Ld isp Av'd 'ti.
Ssu Chast, hes Ethel Or dwil Laamnye;
Tunc Ama Lma ybes ay ,f.

If still my reader cries?" "Tis hard,"
Yet longs to bring the truth to fight
The key will surely fit the ward,
If he can place the letters right.


"Son of man, put forth a riddle: and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; and say, Thus saith the Lord God, a great eagle, with great wings, long winged, full of feathers, and of divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the Cedar."  - EZE. 17:2,3.

"AND these ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten; they are an abomination: the eagle, the ossifrage, and the ospray, and the vulture, and the kite after his kind; every raven after his kind; and the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, and the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle, and the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat," Levit. xi. 13.

Are fowls, which are the work of God's hands, an abomination! So it seems; and therefore must not be eaten, being set aside as unclean. Then how comes it to pass that, "when the sheet was let down from heaven, (to Peter) knit at the four corners, containing beasts of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things," and fowls of the air, he shored be commanded to arise, kill, and eat ? Acts, x. 11, 12, 13. Peter, knowing such were unclean by the law, says, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. But what God hath cleansed must not be called common; and what he hath not cleansed is still common and unclean. If so, then Moses's shoal of unclean fowls are now to be found in a certain cage called a great city. The spiritual whore of Babylon keeps them as carnal whores keep lap-dogs anti parrots. This comment is published by an angel from heaven: "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily, with a strong voice, saying, ' Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird,'" Rev. xviii. 1, 2. Thus Moses's collected aviary, and the angel's cage are now found together. "A sword upon the inhabitants of Babylon: the owls shall dwell there, Jer. 1. "It shall be an habitation for dragons, and a court [or owls: the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl and the raven shall dwell in it; the wild beast of the desert shall meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech-owl also shall rest there: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with his mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate; for my mouth it hath commanded, and his Spirit it hath gathered them," Isa. xxxiv. Surely this cage is Job's "congregation of desolate hypocrites," Job xv. 34; of whom he says, that "in heart they heap up wrath," Job xxxvi. 13. Then no Peter will ever be commanded to kill anti eat these, whatever his pretended successor may do.

The ossifrage and ospray are all eagles, which shall not be eaten, says Moses. Why? Because he is the king of birds, and yet a bird of prey. An unmerciful warrior, with superabounding strength, is terrible: ho is a representation of those "hypocrites who are said to eat up the Lord's people as they eat bread;" but the flock of Christ are not "to bite and devour one another."

Not a vulture, because he is too voracious, too greedy; he will eat any thing, and minds nothing but eating. We read of some whose god is their belly; but the real Christian must be choice in his food, and eat to the satisfying of his soul when he is hungry.

The kite shall not be eaten: no, for ho has robbed many a poor farmer's dame of her young poultry; and there are a sort of hypocrites who make it their business to seduce the feeble and unstable ones, whom "Christ gathers together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.

Nor the raven, because he is not black and comely, but ad black; not as the tents of Kedar and curtains of Solomon, but as the tents of Kedar altogether. Besides, ho is a very foul feeder; nor was he contented within the ark: nor to be trusted; for, being sent forth by Noah, he returned no more; ho neither brought tidings to the rest, nor returned to see what became of them. We read of hypocrites whose "feet abide not in their house," and who "bring forth fruit to themselves," but are not "grieved for the affliction of Joseph. It is true, he was employed to feed the prophet Elijah, which may be viewed as a retrieval of his honour; but this is no more than a figure of" the earth's helping the woman" when she fled into the wilderness from the face of the Serpent, and from mystical Jezebel, as Elijah fled from the Devil and Jezebel the witch.

Nor the night-hawk: no, for he hates the light, nor will he come to it. He is a bird of the night, and of darkness; typical of those hypocrites who pin their faith upon the carnal wisdom of men, rage and are confident, and yet hate the doctrines of the Bible. They who speak not according to that word, have no light in them; nor are their followers children of light, or of the day, but of the night, and of darkness.

Nor the cuckoo; for he never uses but one note; nor is he heard but in the pleasant part of the year. "When the winter is past, and the rain over and gone," then he comes forth with his vain repetitions, uttering nothing but his own name. He sucks the eggs of other birds, to clear his pipe, and leaves his own for them to hatch. Typical of those hypocrites whose religion lies all in prosperity, but disappears in adversity; whose sermons, hymns, conversation, and profession, are only one superficial round, learned by rote; who savour of nothing but themselves; seek nothing but their own applause; steal matter and words from the saints, only to exalt themselves, and deceive the simple; who live in sin, and call others antinomians. Such are strangers to God, and far from him by wicked works; seeking nothing but themselves, supposing that gain is godliness. The cuckoo is a foreigner, and but a hawk at best. Away with him! Our own pe pe bird will proclaim the spring come, as well and sooner than he.

Nor the cormorant; for he is a mere glutton, always paddling in dirty water, and hunting after fish. We read of some who are like the troubled sea, casting up mire and dirt; and followed Christ for loaves and fishes.

Nor the owl; for his head is too big. He hates the sun; looks big with a deal of plumage, but his body is as light as cork. And there are a sort of hypocrites whose religion lies all in the head; who never could lo0k the Sun of Righteousness in the face; and who, notwithstanding their plumage of self-righteousness, are, in the balance of the sanctuary, altogether lighter than vanity.

Nor the swan; for he is too rough like them who are "clean in their own eyes, though never washed from their filthiness. He is emblematical of' the fleshly perfectionist, who makes clean the outside of the cup and platter, till he appears like the whited sepulchre. But, notwithstanding the yellow beak and white plumage of this bird, he is a pursuer of the fishes; his feet and legs are as black as Satan himself, and there is little within him but flags and rushes.

Nor the pelican, for he feeds on serpents and reptiles; an emblem of those who feed upon doctrines of devils: and, as this bird is said to feed her young with her own blood, they imitate her who embrace the lies of Satan, and damn their own souls by deceiving others.

Nor the stork, for he is a bird of passage; and, as the prophet says, very sagacious in knowing the times of going and coming. An emblem of time-servers, who follow that preacher of whom the world speaks highest; a lover of a rich and large congregation; and who loves to stick closest where there is most hanging on; and never to gird his harness so tight, but that he may throw it off, or wield about, as times change. Such are unstable in all their ways, never fixed, always upon the wing; while those who stay at home divide the spoil.

Nor the heron, for he is after the fishes; and a dreadful enemy to the eyes: if ever he strikes, it is at them. He is a lofty flier; loves to be alone by the water; is never seen upon rocks; and is remarkable for his long legs and long neck. He points out some who are oft in the miry clay, but never on the rock; who often strike at the discerning eye of the wise, yet fly loftily in their own legal performances: but their legs are too feeble to carry the cross; and their head, like that of the heron, is too far from their shoulders; they make "a fair shew of a voluntary humility, but never hold the head."

Nor the lapwing, for he is seldom or never found but upon the barren heath, and never uses more than one squeaking note. He resembles those who rebel against the gospel; and make a perpetual cry about their own personal righteousness, while under the curse of the law and the wrath of God. These are left, like the lapwing, upon the barren heath. "Thus saith the Lord, Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm; and whose heart departeth from the Lord: for he small be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh," Jer. xvii. 5. God brings out those who are bound with chains, "but the rebellious dwell in a dry land."

Nor the bat, for he is neither beast nor bird: nor is he, in the strictest sense, amphibious, because he hates the water; yet he is ranked among, and does conclude, the shoal of fowls; and is a lively representation of every species of hypocrites, for they are, in some sense, amphibious: they are not all devil, because they have flesh; they are not all man, because so much of the devil; they are not saints, because destitute of grace; and yet not altogether sinners, because they have the sheep's cloathing. In short, they have the fleece of a sheep, the devotional form of a saint, the nature and figure of a man, the actions of a brute, and the spirit and malice of a devil.

Among all the fowls that were deemed unclean under the law, the Holy Ghost has chosen one tribe from all the rest, to set forth the elect of God; and this lot is fallen to the eagle. And it is to be observed, that the name of this bird stands first on the list of Moses, as an emblem of the saints; and the bat, typical of devils and hypocrites, stands last, Lev. xi. 13, 19. This act of divine sovereignty, this discriminating token of divine favour, is deemed partiality by all the rest of the plumed tribes. What should be attributed to uncontroulable sovereignty, good pleasure, and unmerited grace, is ascribed to partiality and injustice, if not to hypocrisy. On this ground the following contention arose. The lot is cast to the eagles, the whole disposal of which is or the Lord. On which account an eternal separation took place; and contention ceased among the eagles, but not on the side of the others. "The lot causeth contention to cease, and parteth between the mighty," Prov. xviii. 18. The other tribes of the wood were greatly exasperated. First, At this unconditional election. Secondly, Because the eagles were mentioned by a divine oracle in honourable terms, while the others were slightly named. Thirdly, Because they were not made with an equal share of wing. Fourthly, Because they were not endued with strength of eye-sight, or favoured with the grant of looking at the sun. Fifthly, Because a sort of second sovereignty was granted to the eagle, he being called the king of birds; which was viewed as a total eclipse of their honour. This will ever set hard on those "who receive honour one of another, and not the honour that comes from God only." On these accounts the succeeding conspiracy was hatched; which broke out into open hostilities, as soon as the following voice of divine sovereignty was echoed through the woods.

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead Jacob, and there was no strange God with him." - DEU 32:11,12.


As Eagles stir their own prolific nests,
To warm alike the eggs on which she rests;
And flutters o'er her young and tender brood,
To keep them warm, as well as give them food:

She spreads nor wings, and takes them up on high,
To teach her tender nestlings how to fly:
if found too weak the pinion to maintain,
She skims beneath, and bears them back again.

So did the Lord give favour'd Jacob rest,
A nd taught him where by faith to build his nest:
He stirr'd him up from off his native lees,
Nor let his soul compound with carnal ease.

The dove-like Spirit hover'd o'er his mind,
And rais'd his soul to live a life divine:
Still upward borne, as on the eagle's wing,
He found the Sun that makes eternal spring.

Long did he live by faith that works by love,
And fetch'd his consolations from above;
Taught by his God impending wrath to flee;
Nor did he know, or own, a God but he.

His constant Guide protects his pilgrimage,
And crowns with joys divine his latest stage
He tells the safety of his mystic race,
And clos'd his eyes to see Jehovah's face.


The owls and bats, in mournful note, complain'd,
The eagles had the higher region gain'd;
Propos'd a council, with intent to try
To pluck their pinions, lest they soar too high.

They lodg'd a charge against their peering eyes,
Winch pierce their mask, and ken their dark disguise:
Their warlike beak, its force too sharp &nd hard,
By which their candid breasts had oft been marr'd.

With rage they burn to hear Jehovah's voice
Pronounce the eagles objects of his choice.
"They stir their nest, and bear their young away,
As if none taught their young to fly but they."

With wild ferment these nightly tribes convene,
Against their peers, and how to curb their spleen:
An herald cried throughout the silent wood,
And all the summon'd tribes assembled stood.

"A Sword upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord; and upon the inhabitants of [mystical] Babylon," - Jer. 1.

"Thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in her fortresses: and it shall be an habitation for dragons, and a court for owls," - Isaiah 34:13.


FORTH came the owl, the first conspirator,
His looks reflecting majesty and war.
All clapp'd their wings, and spread them forth for flight,
As if resolved to shun the shades of night?

"Assembled friends, .you know my care for you,
Merit I claim, for merit is my due.
From age to age have I unblemish'd stool,
The only watch, the guardian of the wood.

"When you at rest, and each was off his guard,
From Vale to vale my solemn call was heard.
Your creeping foes have felt my talon'd shaft,
Yet no expence for lanthorn, or for staff.

The dreary deserts I have ranged at large,
And never murmur'd, nor forsook my charge:
Wherein I'm call'd, therein to move is right
Unless disturb'd, I ever shunn'd the light.

It is not mine; it is a common cause,
Each in his sphere obeying Nature's laws.
The eagle's call'd to meet the rising sun,
While we are doom'd to dwell in Babylon."

So spake the owl, so ends the rural sage,
While all the synod stood enflamed with rage.
Each paramount with hostile scorn was fir'd,
Against the sovereigns of the wood conspir'd.

"They [saints] shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; walk, and not faint,"?Isaiah, xl. 31.

"In that day a man shall cast me idols of silver, and his idols of gels, which, they made for themselves to worship, to the moles, and to the bats," - Isaiah, ii. 20.


Forth came the bat; and, with sagastic all,
Silence was call'd, and all was mute, to hear?
"I justify the father guardian's plea,
And now reveal the wrong sustain'd by me.

I need not urge before the noble court,
Religious fame can never want report.
I seldom leave the steeple, or the porch;
And may be styled the ranger of the church.

From tomb to tomb, unwearied, I parade;
Fearless, frequent the mansions of the dead:
When all forsake the consecrated spot,
Here I reside, and still maintain my lot.

"When thoughtless crowds their worldly cares pursue.
Alone I range the chancel or the pew:
Her lofts, her bells, her steeple, and her roof,
Have I admired when all have stood aloof.

The books, the cushion, cassock, and the gown,
Each I survey as I pursue my round:
From this my station seldom known to stray,
I watch by night, and here I rest by day.

Wild schismatics from her altars flee,
She's never been deserted once by me:
I merit more than all the eagle race,
Who make her stable walls my dwelling-place.

Are birds of prey by partial love preferr'd,
While constant churchmen lose their just reward?
Shall strolling guests a sovereign bounty share,
While I have paid my constant visits there?

Shall eagles rise, and thus in favour shine,
And wear a crown by right of merit mine?
I've long observed their slight, contemptuous throw
'Your idols to the moles and bats shall go.'?

Nor do I claim to wear the crown alone.
'Tis due to you, and due to every one.
Shall foes, like them, be free from age to age,
While we are coop'd and perch'd in Babel's cage!

"Let each advise what method to pursue.
Or try, for once, what force of arms can do.
"So spake the bat; and clos'd with pensive mood,
While every sage in consternation stood.

"Your goodness is as the morning cloud; and, as the early dew, it goeth away." - Hosea 6:4.


THE cuckoo to apologise began,
As being not a native of the land.
Not forward he in this rebellious stir,
But claim'd the priv'lege of a foreigner.

'Tis I, my friends, of all that use the wing,
Am made to bear the tidings of the spring;
And keep my time as punctual as the day:
I never err'd, nor miss'd the month of May.

I make the heart of man himself rejoice;
The sick, the lame, are glad to hear my voice.
Some watch the night; but I observe the year,
And bear the joyful tidings far and near.

I ever sound my own deserved fame,
Nor dare to boast of others' worth or name.
With care I feel the temper of the clime;
The softest season is my favour'd time.

While others choose to stand immoderate heal,
I count it then my wisdom to retreat.
Not made to bear the heat of summer's noon,
I come in time; nor do I go too soon.

With toil of wing I fly from north to south;
And never err, but always tell the truth.
Merit I claim, for merit is my due,
As all will own my yearly message true.

These isles I rang'd from May to Midsummer,
When Britain knew no wise astronomer.
I never kept my news or seasons back,
Nor was I led by Robin's Almanack.

By rules of law I take my rural flight,
And all have own'd my just predictions right.
Of winter past, of summer come, I sing,
Without consulting Moore, or Vincent Wing.

Intemp'rate climes and seasons I detest;
A moderate profession is the best:
I go my constant circuit once a year,
And scorn those airy flights that end in fear.

"Your transient friend construes your measures hard,
That men like you from honours are debarr'd.
Exert your skill, defend your common cause;
And make them soar by statutes, rules, and laws.

"If martial deeds throughout the world must ring,
How you have fought your peers on even wing;
Lest light confound, or pinion fail in air,
Let me advise to place a tower near."

"Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey. Her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she." - Job 39:27, 28, 29, 30.


WILT thou presume to hold Jehovah's hand,
And make the eagle mount at thy command?
Wilt thou prescribe her secret place of rest,
And fix the spot where she must build her nest?

She makes the stable rock her residence,
And always takes her distant views from thence.
Here she abides in safety night and day;
And 'tis from hence she's led to seek her prey.

Eternal day can hardly 'scape her eyes;
She often peers above the azure skies;
And feeds her young with rich and heav'nly food;
As taught in time to prize atoning blood.

She soars above the rattling of the spear;
No owl or bat the object of her fear.
From Satan's hold she's wisely taught to flee,
But find a slaughter'd Saviour there is thee.


FORTH came the bittern, brushing through the throne,
And learnedly debates of right and wrong.
His looks proclaim the warm conspirator,
And he will prove the justice of the war.?

Shall eagles rise, and leave us in the lurch,
Who neither guard the wood nor range the church?
While others, faithful to their legal charge,
Proclaim their merit to the world at large?

Defy their talons, and their warlike beak;
With force of arms a just revenge we seek.?
Arise, ye pow'rs! revoke the fatal doom;
Nor rest contented to be cag'd at Rome.

In nervous strains, on measures deep concert;
Let each his wisest counsels now impart:
What arms to use, what harness to put on;
And how to fly the realms of Babylon."

"There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eve hath not seen. - Jos 28:7.


AGAIN these restless tribes assume their seat,
Where Fancy sets the eagles at their feet.
The vulture shews, with more than common air
The mystic path the eagles fly in air. My friends,"

saith he, "my best advice is this?
We'll try them both, and both will hardly miss:
Proclaim a statute, sign'd by bats and owls,
And bound their lofty flight by Candour's rules.

With veils and yokes impede their airy way,
And these will soon obscure the realms of
Prescribe their bounds, and how their path to steer,
And line the track that they shall go in air.

This my advice, this method, I'd pursue;
And try, for once, what force of law can do:
And, if submissive to the legal yoke,
This Babel.cage is nothing but a joke.

Attempt to prove their lawless, random flight;
With shew of lenity we'll blind their sight.
'Tis best to use the art of Candour's charms'
If that's in vain, then try the force of arms."

The eagles heard the counsels of the court,
And made their fruitless schemes their daily sport;
Maintain'd their freedom, and their lofty flight,
And fled beyond the regions of the night.

In vain the bats, in vain the crafty owls,
To steer a bird of flight by Candour's rules:
Eagles are free to fly, to mount, to climb;
Nor can they be confined by twigs of lime.

They mount aloft, to meet the rising sun;
And fly as swift as foes in thought can run:
No legal yoke impedes their airy way;
The Saviour's yoke is full as light as they.


At this the vulture scorns the use of charms,
And loudly calls the rebel hosts to arms.?
'' Since lenity and candour don't preveil, vail try the force of arms, that seldom fail.

As legal terms meet with contemptuous slight,
They next shall feel the force of paper kite.
We'll storm their fortress with repeated shock,
And drive the tow'ring fliers from the rock.

"Our kites shall rise as lofty as the lark,
And fly in numbers till the heavens are dark;
Becloud their regions till they cannot see,
And make them all as dark and blind as we.

"These stubborn foes shall know our utmost skill,
An I feel the force of an immortal quill.
Let wisdom teach, and measure line and string,
To reach a bird so skill'd to steer the wing."


THEIR envied foes they needs must dispossess,
Who send such weighty metal from the press:
From two to four, from four to sixpence each;
But still their foes appear'd beyond their reach.

When, weary'd out with Satan's spells and charms,
They all equip with force of paper arms;
Their base rebellion, now maturely ripe,
Is all discharg'd from off the printer's type.

Women combine to deck with tail and wing,
And carnal priests unite to hold the string.
In vain they war, in vain they use the line;
An eagle flies beyond a skain of twine.

Up mount the peers, and quit the rural wood,
And steer a path no vulture understood:
On heavenly love, the pinions of the mind,
They face the rays which strike a rebel blind.