To the Rev. J. JENKINS.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST JESUS,
GRACE and peace be multiplied through the knowledge of him that is, and was, and is to conic, the Almighty. I received your kind letter, and am always glad to hear how you go on. I pay no regard to your infidelity. A man in a storm will say any thing. Zion, when tossed with the tempest and not comforted, said, " The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me;" which is a flat contradiction; for, if God had either forsaken or left her, he could not be her God. Those two words were spoken in faith, but all the rest in the language of unbelief.
God hath chosen his saints in the furnace of affliction; where the fire discovers the base metal, and makes it rise on the surface. Human wisdom, strength, and power; external reformation, moral conduct, and decent behaviour; speculative knowledge, blind zeal, false fire, and all the flashes of natural joy, received by the way-side; all natural affections to the word, or to preachers or professors of it; together with all natural and acquired abilities, and all the light that lies in the head; are sure to be burnt up in God's furnace, being nothing but a fire of man's kindling. And in his own fire he walks, compassing himself about with his own sparks; taken, like that of Korah, from his own hearth; instead of taking it from the altar of burnt-offering, which was kindled from heaven, and was never to go out. I mean such as the seraphic preacher took, with the tongs of faith, from off the altar Christ, when he flew with it to Isaiah and laid it on his lips, which was to purge him by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. The live coal was the word of life in the flaming power of the Spirit, which makes a minister a flaming fire.
Your false fire is nearly out, and the true light now shines in you; and God the Spirit searches the innermost parts of the belly; yea, he searches the heart, and tries the reins, and makes a man know what are his thoughts. "Whatsoever maketh manifest is light," and, " God is light." This is not false fire, nor a false ray; but the true light now shines in you. All the spoils that were taken by Israel under the law were to be purged or cleansed. That which would stand the fire was to go through the fire, and that which would not was to go through the water. When Christ casts out the strong man armed, he divides his spoils; and all the spoils that ministers, who are true Israelites, take in the battles of the Lord, d, get must go through fire and water before the darts, et into a wealthy place. Deep waters, and fiery s, and desponding frames under the fiery try all that are or ever shall be saved."Who is he that maketh me glad, but the same that is made sorry by me?"
As to your having never been a man of understanding, &c. that signifies nothing. God has chosen the foolish, and those that are lightly esteemed, to bring to nought the wise and prudent. If your mouth should be stopped, it is no more than Ezekiel experienced, who sat dumb before all the elders of Israel: God said he should be no longer a reprover to them. Paul's mouth was open, and his heart enlarged, to the Corinthians; though he prays for a door of utterance at Rome. It is not with a minister of the Spirit, as you now are, as it is with a preacher of the letter, such as you once was; the one is a fountain sealed, the other an instrument without life giving sound. Unless the angel trouble the waters; unless the Lord unseal the fountain; unless the Spirit blow on the garden; no refreshings spring up, nor spices flow out. My dear brother knows not what manner of spirit he is of; nor does he know the treasures he already has in possession. I can see where he is, and what he has, clearly; and I know that the Spirit of God is in him: but he will find it as hard work to unriddle himself as to explain the whole Bible. The Bible is a sealed book, and his heart is a sealed fountain: and these two will work together; when the one springs, the other will open. The first furnishes the soul with power, the latter the mouth with arguments.
As to running away from the work, it is only talk. Thou hast no power either to run away or to stay. It is not Mr. Jenkins now, but the Lord. Thou canst neither hinder nor forward the work. Thou hast no more to do with it than I have. We are only the clay; God is the potter. Mr. Gilbert runs at an uncertainty. His trumpet, it is to be feared, gives an uncertain sound: nor is he at a point in any thing. Give no place to him. Thy ministry will be like mine; wholly levelled against preachers and professors of the gospel. B. I know, and have heard how he came into the fold. As he was sound in the letter, and seemed revived by my writings, and to enforce them, by which he incurred the displeasure of many, I had a good hope of him: but he has acknowledged his fault, and is gone back; so that the offence of the cross has ceased. They must go back that are in the letter, and this makes manifest. A double face is a bad sign, which none can carry if the Spirit be in them. I long to see thee. God bless thee. Excuse haste.