16 September 2021 by Published in: William Gadsby, Letters (Complete) No comments yet

March 9, 1830

My dear Friend in Eternal Union,—Yours came to hand; and very glad I was to receive it, and happy to hear that our dear friend Martin is in any measure better; but the best of all is, the sweet peace of mind which our ever-to-be-adored God is pleased to afford him. I often think of him when my dear Lord affords me access to himself; and sure I am that the union which exists between Christ and his dear family, and between them as one body in him, can never be broken. Let what bonds break that may, this is a bond that can never, no never be broken. Indeed, those very storms and tempests which break in pieces other bonds, only tend, through the sweet teachings of God the Holy Ghost, to make manifest the unalterable nature and divine glory of the bond of the everlasting covenant.

You are right, in very deed you are right; for we only learn the glorious beauties of eternal realities through scenes of affliction, either in body, mind, or estate, or in all put together; and these only tend to good purpose as God the Holy Ghost makes use of them as instruments in his glorious hands; “for no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

I can assure you that I have always been a hard learner, and have always stood in need of much discipline; but such is our dear Lord and Master that he is determined to teach, and teach to profit too. Honours crown his brow! He will bring us to his feet, yea, to his bosom, and cause us experimentally to feel that the sweetness of his lips increaseth learning. (Prov 16:21) He is determined to wean us from all false joys and false props and make us sick of the world and of self, and bring us to cling to, twine round, and hang upon him, yea, and derive life, bliss, and blessedness from him, and so prove that we have all things in him. This being his fixed determination, therefore, if one lesson will not do, he will give another; and if a water lesson will not drown our fleshly hopes, he will give us a fire one, and so go on till we make him all and in all. And though flesh and blood may, at times, groan horribly under his tuition, he will not give up the point, but will bring, us to feel and see that our afflictions have been but light, and only for a moment, and that they are very stout, industrious, and faithful servants. It is by this means that he works out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. But we only see, in reality, the utility of these faithful servants, as the blessed Spirit enables us to look, not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. While we are left to look at the things which common sense and flesh and blood can see, we want to discharge those faithful servants. Lord, what is man? O, my dear friend, I often think I am one of the greatest fools of all fools. A common worldling will prize faithful servants; but so foolish am I that I often want to get rid of them; but when the blessed Spirit directs my eye of faith to the glories of Christ and the invisible realities of his glorious kingdom, I hug them in my bosom and say, “It was well for me that I was afflicted.” By these things men live; but there is no such thing as a child of God living long together in this vain world without trials of one sort or other, and I am happy to find that my dear friend is no stranger to these things and to those sweet visits when God tells his solemn secrets to the soul, and the soul tells its secrets to the Lord. Bless the Lord for a few close moments of solemn and secret intercourse with him! O the blessedness of that text, or rather the blessedness of the God of the text, and the sweet enjoyment of its contents: “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.” Compared with the glorious enjoyment of these things, all the world, and all the vain show of a fleshly religion, are filth and dung.


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