William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

Reason Baffled

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 wherefores again directly; so that, of all fools, I appear to be one of the most strange, outrageous fools living; yet, strange to say, my dear Lord has often proved the truth of what he declared to my soul and sealed upon my heart when he first put me in the ministry, viz., “I have chosen the foolish things to confound the wise.” Never shall I totally forget that solemn sealing-time. And since then I have proved, thousands of times, that the Lord’s wisdom has been made perfect in my foolishness, and his strength in my weakness. Honours crown his brow! He never forgets his promised grace, nor lets us quite forget him.

Talk of man’s free will and creature merit in matters of eternity! What hateful lumber it is! But, my brother, how immortally glorious it is for a poor fool like me, by the matchless grace of God, to be solemnly ‘baptized or plunged into the love and blood of the God-man Christ, there to bathe in the matchless grace of a Three-One God, and, at the same time, gaze upon the majestic glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ!

O how my soul, at such moments, longs to bathe and gaze, and gaze and bathe, till I die! But this must not be the case. I must be dragged again into tribulation, in order to meet the case of some poor, tortured child of God, and again prove that grace (God’s rich grace) is sufficient for me.

Trade here is worse and worse. Thousands are in the deepest distress. We have appointed the first Lord’s day in the year for collections for our own poor. I have been looking over the use I have been enabled to make of your former kindness, for which I thank you. Many a widow’s heart has been made glad therewith. But, to prove that I have not disposed of it in a wasteful way, I find that I have given it away at 148 times, as I put down the sums; so you will see that I have done the best I could with your kindness.— Manchester, Dec. 1C, 1839.