To the Rev. J. JENKINS.
My dearly beloved brother, true yoke-fellow, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Christ,
I RECEIVED yours, and am glad of every line from you informing me how you go on. I pay no regard to your unbelief. Doctors that are used to walk the hospitals hear her voice in every ward, Persons that are exposed to the storm will say any thing; but their word stands for nothing. The Psalmist said, "Hath God forgotten to be gracious, and will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever, and hath he shut up his tender mercies for ever?" But he acknowledged that this was his infirmity, and not the voice of the turtle dove, which attends the singing of birds.
God, my dear brother, has chosen his elect in the furnace of affliction. The fire of sin flaming in the whole frame of nature; the fiery law working the flames of wrath in us; and the fiery darts of Satan hurled at the soul, under a divine arrest; discover the base metal, and make it rise on the Surface of the mind, and disclose itself to the enlightened understanding. The scent that is in us must be changed. We must be emptied from vessel to vessel, that we may not settle on our lees. The blessed atonement will purge the guilt, and the blessed Spirit will remove the filth of sin, when once the day of the Son of man (the set time to remember Zion, the time appointed for every purpose) arrives. Then the weeper shall laugh, and the mourner shall be comforted; then Naphtali shall be a hind let loose, and shall give goodly words; then shall the wild ass be sent out free, and God shall loose the bands of the wild ass; then shall the simple and contemptuous means of moving the jaw-bone slay the Philistines heaps upon heaps, and make the word of truth a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.
Satan always bestirs himself when any man is raised up to seek the welfare of the children of Israel: he loves to have the highways unoccupied, and to see the passengers go in by-ways. But God will set thee in the gap, and make thee an healer of the breach, and a restorer of paths to dwell in; and thou shalt raise up the foundations that God has laid for many generations, Isai. lviii. 12. The Lord shall give thee such a propitious, such a soul-dissolving, look, as shall furnish thee at once; and thou shalt go in his might, and shalt deliver Israel. Then a broken pitcher, a burning lamp, the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, shall be sufficient: kings of armies shall flee apace, and she that tarries at home shall divide the spoil. Thou shalt then speak of his mighty acts, and declare his greatness; thou shalt utter the memory of his great goodness, and declare the might of his terrible acts. Thou shalt speak of the glory of his kingdom, and talk of his power, to make known to the sons of men his matchless grace, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
"Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life." Quit yourself like a man, and be strong, that you be not a servant to Moses, to Satan, to sin, nor to the Philistines. Cast not away your confidence, which hath a great recompense of reward. "Follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth," whether through evil report or good report. Watch the footsteps of the flock, and compare every step with theirs as they stand upon record. A young man must cleanse his way by taking heed thereto, according to God's word. Say not a confederacy to any; this is not a time for it. Dare to be singular, and thou shalt shine as a light in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Encourage a tender conscience, and a filial fear; and thou wilt find thyself braced, armed, and equipped, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Endure hardness as such, and expect a cross daily, and afflictions in every place; and then thou shalt not be easily surprised, nor wilt thou be often disappointed. Pay no regard to the speech of them that are puffed up, but regard the power of godliness: for, if they are strangers to the power of efficacious grace; if they preach not under the powerful operations of the Spirit; if they have no power with God in prayer; if no power attends their words to quicken dead sinners, nor to refresh the bowels of living saints; they are instruments without life, wells without water, and ministers of nothing but the letter. Shew thyself approved unto God, and aim to please him that has chosen thee to be a soldier; while I, thine affectionate friend and servant, shall run in trenches, and shout for the battle.