William Gadsby, Letters (Complete)

Ministry Blessed

24 Mar 2022, by

My dear Friend,—Tours came to hand, and I was glad to hear from you. I wish to feel thankful that the Lord makes my poor ministry a blessing to your soul; but I really cannot feel thankful for any mercy except the Lord bless me with a grateful heart. In self and of self, I am one of the most wretched beings, and often wonder what I am living for. And yet, strange to tell, the Lord now and then shines into my dark mind, and gives me a glimpse of his glory. And when such poor polluted worms are enabled to arise and shine in the glory of the Lord, and appear in his beauty, it is confounding to reason, and fills the soul with wonder and amazement. Then indeed we worship, praise, and adore a Three-one God. But the people of God must not always be in full pay and have large bounties; there are to be mourning times as well as rejoicing times, fears and faintings as well as shouting Victory.— August 19, 1842.

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Dear Friend,—Yours I received, but have been so engaged that I have not been able to write till now. You will excuse me from entering into particulars, as I feel persuaded that if your feelings are of God (and I hope they are), all the men in the world cannot give you real satisfaction. The work of the ministry is a work of such importance that a soul deeply and truly impressed with its solemn importance must have satisfaction from, God alone, before he dare consider himself called of God to that momentous work; and to rush into it without divine authority is awful presumption. I hope the Lord of the house will influence you to be much in prayer, and daily lay the case before Him who alone can satisfy your mind; and though, for wise ends, he may a while forbear, and send no satisfactory reply, yet to wait at his door, and sit at his…

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A Letter To Mr. Edward Smyth, Formerly Of Trinity College, Dublin. To Which Are Added, Lines In Praise Of Free Will


A Few Hints To Them That Are Sanctified By God The Father, Preserved In Christ Jesus, And Called.

Beloved, in reading the word of God, it becomes us ever to remember that the sacred pages are a transcript of the perfections of the infinite God, who is the “high and lofty One that in habiteth eternity, whose name is Holy;” a Being whose omniscient eye beholds the end from the beginning, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and will do all his pleasure; who “bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, and maketh the devices of the people of none effect.” Whatever change takes place in our minds, the eternal God knows no change.

Were our minds at all times properly affected with the majestic nature of the Divine Author of the Scriptures, methinks we should tremble at the thought of explaining any part of them in a way that represents the Deity as a mutable, disappointed being; and if a passage comes under our notice that our finite minds cannot comprehend, lot our mouths be shut up in everlasting silence, rather than employ them so improperly as to attempt to tarnish the refulgent glory of the immutable God; and, with the greatest resignation, let us acknowledge we are not able to comprehend the meaning of such a passage. And though the self-sufficient pharisee may laugh us to scorn, it is a small matter for us to be…

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True Benevolence

3 Mar 2022, by

To those kind Friends who have so liberally given to the Distressed Poor in the Manufacturing Districts,—In the name of the poor I sincerely thank you for your kindness; and I can, in the fear of the Lord, say that your bounties have been much blessed to a great many of the Lord’s dear tried family. I have already been enabled to send of your bounty to more than twenty places besides Manchester, and from some places I have received acknowledgments of real heartfelt gratitude. To some places I have sent five pounds, to some others four, three, two, and to some few places one pound, and have also disposed of a considerable sum to poor distressed private persons and families both in Manchester and elsewhere. To the Manchester Soup Kitchen I have sent twenty pounds, and, through mere}’, I have still some on hand. How long this will be the case I know not, for…

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Dear Friend in the dear Lord of the House,—I drop you this line from a real feeling for you. I am really sorry, that—has turned out as it has.

Well, my friend, this must be a trial for you; but I hope the Lord will support your mind, and grant you peace in him. Should it be a means of making you poor, remember the dear Lord was poor before you, and in the riches of his grace he has made you, in the best sense, rich through his poverty, and you will find in him one that will be a very present help in trouble. I know what poverty is, for I have been so poor as to feel grateful for two pence. I found the Lord a very…

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There are many letters in the “G.S.” to the Church, but I must leave them. The following is the last he wrote to them. It was written a few months before his death, after a certain minister in London, high in doctrine, had been propagating the sentiments that a child of God cannot backslide and that Sin can do a child of God no harm:

To the Family of God, meeting for the worship of their adorable Lord in George’s Road, Manchester.

Dear Brethren,—Through the tender mercies of the Lord, I am still in the path of life; and though I find it a path of tribulation, I am, in some solemn, and at times, sweet measure, enabled to unite with Moses, choosing “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of the world. I would rather have my name cast out as evil to my dying moment by men who can boast of their high attainments, and who scorn the trials and troubles, groans and sighs, doubts and fears of God’s people, or by those who can deny the possibility of God’s people ever, in any measure, backsliding; I would rather suffer all that the scorn of such men’s hearts can bring forth, than be one with them.

The wonders of the grace of a Three-One God surpass all our powers to comprehend, and his gracious Majesty takes the…

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Dear Friend,—I have no doubt you think it long before I reply to yours; but the fact is, I have felt quite fast in my mind, and have not known what answer to give, for I am not very fit to travel yet. If I possibly can, I should like to comply with your request.

If you ask me how I am, I can assure you that I am heartily sick of myself and almost of everybody else. There is so much self- importance, and self-seeking, and flesh and blood working under a covert of truth, and I feel so much of the stinking oozings up of it in my own cursed old man, that, as I said before, I am heartily sick; and yet, strange to say, sick as I am, there it is, and there it works, till my very soul…

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The following is a copy of the first letter in my possession by my father to the Church:

To the Church of God, meeting for the Worship of our glorious Trinity in the Chapel, George’s Road, Manchester.

Beloved of the adorable Jehovah, and of me, his poor Servant and your Servant, for His sake,—Through the matchless kindness of the Lord, I arrived safely here on Saturday afternoon, and preached on Lord’s day to the largest congregation I ever preached to before in my life; and I believe the Lord was there. One of the deacons tells me they let 2,300 sittings; and the chapel was quite crowded, aisles and everywhere, so you may guess what the numbers present were. God willing, I have to preach again this (Tuesday) evening, and they say it will be as full to-night as it was on Lord’s day; but, be there more or less, if the Lord is there, all will be well.

I wrote to my family yesterday, and did not intend writing to you till next week; but the friends tell me that a letter has been sent to you, asking you to allow me to stop here six weeks. As soon as I…

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The Two Deeps

28 Jan 2022, by

My dear Friend,—I am, more or less, living in the engagement of wading into two great deeps, but cannot fathom either of them, and I often think I am a greater bungling fool in the work than ever; I mean the awful deep of sin and the glorious deep of God’s matchless grace. O the horrible springing up and belching forth of sin that my poor soul is obliged to wade in, at times! I once thought that if I should live to be old, I should get rid of some of the branches of the boilings up of sin; but I now live to prove that the decay of nature does not mend the…

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A Last Epistle

22 Jan 2022, by

The following is the last letter in my possession, written by my father three months before his death. He had been at Leicester on the 18th. The letter was addressed to Mr. Isaac Harrison, Leicester.

Dear Friend,—I just drop this line to say that through the kind providence of God, I reached home safely, and thought myself much better for my journey; but we have had some very trying weather here since I came home, and I am now much worse than I was when at Leicester. This morning the weather is very fine, and I have been out, but can scarcely walk for want of breath. O that I were blessed with a little more of the divine breathings of God the Holy Ghost, that my son! might be sweetly wafted into…

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My dear Friend S.,—I am still in a land called Sodom and Egypt, where our dear Lord was crucified, I mean this accursed earth,, where everything is withering under the curse, and sometimes everything good in me seems to he withering and dying away too, and I cannot keep alive my own soul. I know that everything in this world is under a curse, and that we must have been cursed for ever, had not the Lord Jesus come in our nature, stooped under the curse, and been made sin and a curse for us; and certainly he did by his death remove sin and the…

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To Mr. Tiptaft

7 Jan 2022, by

My dear Brother in the Lord,—Yours came to hand last evening, with the kind present from your friend. Give thanks to him, both for myself and the poor. I do assure him it will be a timely help for the poor. We had just been giving a little flannel and a few blankets to some of our poor, and though we have given to 50, there are others that still stand in great need. I think there are about 90 upon our regular poor-list; so you will see we cannot do a great deal for each; and I was just contriving how I could give them a little beef at Christmas; for there are many of them that cannot get a morsel for months together. I had spoken to a butcher as to what price he would let me have some at; and I shall dispose of a part of the money our friend has kindly sent for that purpose, and the rest in the best way I am able.

I have just been reading in the paper this morning that more than forty thousand persons have been relieved this year by a public subscription that has been made, and that more than twenty thousand were…

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Reason Baffled

30 Dec 2021, by

Dear Brother in the Bowels of the once-slaughtered, but now exalted Christ,—I received your kind letter, and thank you for all favors.

What a divine mercy it is that the Lord reigns; and, bless his dear name, he can make no mistake; so that whatever crosses or afflictions he sends to or suffers to come upon his people, they are all subject to his sovereign control, and must, in the end, work for their good. Flesh and blood often say, “How can this be?” I have long proved that I have no business to meddle with the hows, whys, and wherefores; but God knows, my brother, fools will be meddling; and, in very deed, I am one of these fools, and very often both call myself and feel myself one of the greatest fools in the world; and, strange to say, I start at meddling with the whys and…

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God’s College

22 Dec 2021, by

My dear Brother in the Path of Tribulation,—I have often thought of you since I saw you in ———, and have as often thought of dropping you a line, to ask you how matters go on at College. Remember, our glorious God and Father does not send his ministers to College with a view of making them into gentlemen, but to make them able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. Men may be high in, and teach, the doctrines of the gospel doctrinally, and yet only be in the letter, and not in the Spirit; therefore God’s ministers must not rest in the shell of truth, but must be taught the mystery of godliness; namely, the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; and in order to learn these things to good purpose, they must also be taught the mystery of iniquity; and these things can only be taught spiritually by the Holy Ghost, at God’s College; and very sharp, trying; and hot work it is, at times, when we are kept close to College rules. God’s fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem. (Is 31:9) God purgeth the blood of Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning (Is 4:4); and while he gives two parts of mankind to be cut off and die; namely, a profane part and a professing part, the third part he brings through the fire, and refines them as silver is…

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My dear Brother in the great Head of Zion,—I hope you and your spouse are well, and that the dear Lord is leading you more and more into the deep things of God. Remember, if a man is to be taught much of the depths of God’s eternal love, he must wade in the depths of his own enmity. If he is to be well instructed in the depths of the glorious atonement of Christ, he must feel and sicken at the awful and damnable depravity of his own nature. And so on in every respect; for we can only feelingly and experimentally know the glory of Christ, but as God the Holy Ghost reveals him to our hearts, and reveals him there as just suited to our…

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True Wisdom

10 Dec 2021, by

My dear young Friend,—I hope by this time, if it be the sovereign pleasure of the Lord, that you are revived, both in body and mind; and that whatever the Lord designs concerning your body, he has graciously been pleased to reveal “Christ in you, the hope of glory;” and if so, you will be enabled to say, All is well. Remember, my dear young friend, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To be brought by the power of God the Holy Ghost to fear the Lord, to have a tender conscience, and to tremble at God’s word, is, in very deed, the beginning of wisdom. And to such poor trembling, broken-hearted souls, the Lord will, in his own time, look with a…

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My dear Brother in the glorious Head of the Church,—We have buried three of our members within the last few weeks, and we have seven or eight others very ill. Well; “blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labor.” Thanks be to our dear Lord, there is a sweet and an eternal rest awaits all the dear blood-bought, heaven-born family of God. Here we have to labor under a great variety of burdens; namely, lust, pride, envy, unbelief, carnal reason, worldly cares, darkness of soul, hardness of heart, deadness in prayer, and coldness in all the…

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Dear Brother in the Life of all that spiritually live,—I have felt and do still feel for you in your late trouble; but, my dear friend, what a mercy it is that the real Spring-head of all our mercies ever lives, and that in his ever-living life he has secured our life. Hence his gracious Majesty says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Trials are really necessary, as a means, in the hands of the blessed Spirit, to make us look round us, and look within us, and look above and beyond us, to try matters up well, that we may see and feel how we stand before the Lord, whether or not we have any vital faith, hope, or love; and if we have, where faith is looking and resting, where hope is anchoring, and what object our love is really embracing; whether right arms and right eyes of a perishing nature are dearer to us than the Lord of life and glory; and whether or not at his bidding we can consent to…

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My dear Friends in the Lord Jesus Christ,—I received yours. The moment I read it I felt for you, and said, “How true it is that in the world we must have tribulation; but how indescribably blessed it is that in Christ we have peace!”—bless his precious name, peace with God, peace of conscience by faith in his blood and love. Here we have all things and abound; “for he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Yes, my dear friends, though the world seems to frown, remember this is not your rest; and be assured, “all things are yours, for ye are Christ’s, and…

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In nearly all the volumes of the “Gospel Standard,” from its commencement in 1835, there are letters or pieces by my father. From 1874 to 1878 there are many relating to the present Gower Street Chapel, and I have also a number in MS. ‘If all were put together they would make a large volume. I have however, contented myself with selecting a few. The following was to Mr. Robins, who was minister to the people at Conway Street, London, who left Mr. Huntington’s chapel, because the trustees would not admit my father, Mr. Abbott, and Mr. Robins to preach therein. In 1820 the Conway Street friends built Gower Street Chapel. (See “Gospel Standard,” 1878, page 75.)

Dear Brother,—Yours I received, and was glad to hear of your peace of mind and welfare in the best things; and if it be the Lord’s will I hope you will find your present affliction of body very profitable to you and soon be restored to your wonted state of health. But it is not good for us to dictate to our heavenly Father. He knows best what is for our real good and his glory. Afflictions are not joyous but grievous; yet such is the skill and power of our dear Lord and Master that he often makes them yield the…

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Only Gone Before

4 Nov 2021, by

My dear Friends in the glorious Head of the Church,—Your kind letter came to hand, with the tidings of the death of our dear brother Martin. Well; all his storms are over, ours cannot last long, and each one leaves the number less. Our blessed Lord will not let us have one trouble too many; no, nor let them be too boisterous or last too long; and he will see to it that all shall work together for good. Our dear covenant God cannot make any mistakes, nor suffer anything to do his blood-bought family any real harm. From self and self-dependence he will deliver us, although flesh and blood will often sigh and groan, yea, and kick and rebel, too, under and at the method his blessed Majesty takes to wean us from self and cause us to lean wholly upon and trust wholly in him. But he does not spare the rod for our fleshly crying, and he is sure in the end to make us…

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Dear Friend,—Yours came to hand, and I have just time to say that I intend, God willing, to be at P. on September 21st, and if I can be conveyed from there to G. on October 1st, I will very gladly come; but I must be at L. the day following. I dare not attempt to preach more than three times in the week days, as too much exertion brings the jaundice upon me; so I am obliged to preach less, or lay myself upon the shelf. No thanks to me; for when I enjoy my dear Lord in his work, it is sweet employment indeed; but when Christ is not enjoyed, it is very hard work. Indeed, I do not find any work but what is hard when Christ is not enjoyed. I know, in every blessed respect, that he is the…

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Dear Brother (Martin) in the glorious Lord of Zion,—It appears the Lord has thought good to deprive you of your natural sight, which is a painful affliction; but, adored be his gracious name, he gives you the sweet enjoyment of the true Light. This, my dear brother, is more prizable than all creation put together. What an indescribable blessing it is that such filthy creatures as we are by nature should be brought, under the glorious unction of God the Holy Ghost, to feel and see that the Lord is our portion, our life, light, bliss, and blessedness; yea, our ever-to-be-adored covenant God for ever and ever; and that, by a matchless gift of eternal electing love and grace, he has made himself over to us with all he has, and is, and has done as the God of Zion; so therefore we may truly say…

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A Letter To Mr. C. W. Ethelston, M.A.

Fellow Of The Collegiate Church In Manchester, Rector Of Worthenburt, And Minister Of St. Mark’s Chapel, Cheltham.

Sir,—You perhaps will pardon an obscure individual for venturing to make a few remarks upon your pamphlet, entitled “The Unity of the Church,” &c. I can assure you, Sir, that the unity of the church is a subject of such importance that I cannot conceive how it is possible for any real minister of Christ to lose sight of it.

Union to Christ, and to one another, as the blessed members of his mystical body, is a doctrine pregnant with incalculable importance; and were I disposed to ground what I have to say upon this subject upon anything but the word of God, I would cite a passage out of your own wonderful performance (page 45) “In advocating such a cause, tameness would be cowardice, supineness criminal.” You will, Sir, at once perceive that…

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The following is a copy of the first letter by my father which is in my possession, and it is most likely the first one in existence. I have none between this and 1814. I give this as a curiosity. It was directed, “Mr. Warton, Nuneaton, near Kibworth, Leicestershire. With all speed.” Kibworth is some miles from Nuneaton, and Nuneaton is now a large town. I cannot make out where Killuth is.

My dear Friends,—God willing, I shall be with you on Lord’s day the 25th of this instant; the which you may depend upon, if life and health, permit; and if the friends think well, I shall preach at Kibworth on the Lord’s day, at Mowsley on Monday, at Bosworth the next day, and at Killuth the next day. But if you have a minister for the Lord’s day, let me know by return of post.

May the Lord bless you and keep you from day to day.

Hinckley, July 19, 1802. Yours in the best Bonds.

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My dear Friend in the glorious Head of the Church,—I received your epistle, and am greatly obliged to you for it. I was sorry to learn that our dear brother Martin was so ill, but much pleased and profited to find that our blessed Lord so sweetly and powerfully supported his mind.

Indeed, in very deed, there is no God like the God of Jeshurun. None can save like him; none can succour, comfort, and support like him; no, nor can any one give timely reproof like him. Through the rich aboundings of his matchless grace, I have in thousands of instances proved him to be a very present help in time of trouble; yea, and have proved his very reproofs to be mercies. Our covenant God has treasured up in Christ, our glorious Head, an indescribable fulness of all…

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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…

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Minister of Gower Street Chapel, London
11 July 1838

My dear Brother,

I was truly sorry to hear of your affliction, and I do hope by this time you are better. O my dear brother, what poor dying worms we are, and what a wretched wilderness this is. But, adored be the name of our dear Lord, he has been, and still is, and ever will be, a very present help in trouble. Both you and I have proved…

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Manchester, 20 February 1835

I am glad to find that the Lord now and then affords you a few moments’ sweet intercourse with himself. This is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy. The comforts of this life are great blessings; but to enjoy the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God, our Portion, and our eternal All, is a blessing indeed. O my dear friend, what an indescribable mercy it is for such poor sinners as we to be raised up to…

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Manchester, November 1830

My dear Friends,—I received your very kind letter, for which I am thankful. I assure you it often affords me pleasure to find that I have a place in the hearts of God’s dear family; for, next to union with my dear Lord and Master, I esteem union to his blood-bought, heaven bound family.

Among the blessings in which your soul delights you have also your sorrows; for both of which may you be thankful, since they are all tokens of our dear Lord’s love, and a proof that he has not forgotten you. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposal thereof is of the Lord.” These are eventful times, but the dear children of God have no just cause to fear; for they are the special care of a covenant God, and he is too wise to err, and too good to be unkind. All things must work together for their real good. We enjoy a sweet and solemn frame of mind when we…

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