William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

Thy Love Is Better Than Wine

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 are enabled “to sing of mercy and judgment,’“ and feelingly to say, “The Lord hath done and will still do all things well.” What fools we are! At least I can say what a fool I am! Were I but wise enough always to act wisely, I should never want to mend the work of God, either in providence or in grace. But, alas, alas! This is one of my crying crimes. The cursed pride of my heart is so frequently engaged in finding fault with God’s ways that I blush for shame, and often wonder that the Lord puts up with my brutish ways. But, thanks to his lovely name, he knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are but dust. The matchless nature of his love passeth all understanding; and when his gracious Majesty is pleased to shed it abroad in our hearts, we are compelled to say that it is better than wine, stronger than death, and better than life; indeed, life without it is but death at best. The blessed enjoyment of this love sweetens all our cares, and makes death itself desirable. I can assure you that I am quite a mystery to myself; therefore I do not wonder at other people thinking me mad; for if my life depended upon it, I cannot always keep my heart in a direct line with my head; for my judgment says that the Lord’s ways are at all time righteous, but my poor heart often inquires how these things can be. But when my dear Lord is graciously pleased, in a manifestive way, to put on my court dress (the Lord my righteousness), call me to court, banquet me with some of the rich treasures of his heart, show me his lovely face, tell me some of his secrets, and draw me into his very bosom and heart, I feel a modest blush, a sacred joy, profound reverence, and holy triumph; and O what filth a fleshly religion then appears! Then the language of my heart is, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.”

Well, my dear friends, a few more troubles, and a few more love-visits from our dear Lord, and we shall be with and like our adorable Head. I was sorry to hear of your trials, but I thanked God for you and on your behalf, that you were in very deed in the Lord’s path. Be assured all is well.