William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

The Voice Of The Turtle Is Heard In The Land

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 branches of the worship of our adorable Lord and Saviour; we are also oppressed with the dreadful temptations of Satan, and bowed down with thoughts too base to be named; and in the midst of all these trials, we have to mourn an absent God, the Bible appearing sealed up, and everything both within and without looking gloomy. This is hard work and hard fare. Well, well; it will not last long. Thanks be to our ever-blessed Lord, it is not always winter; for he has said, and he will again say, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away,” from all thy fears and foes, and have a few moments of sweet intercourse with thy everlasting Friend,—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as the God of thy life and hope; for lo! “the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;” the dreadful winter and deluging of death and wrath have spent themselves upon me, and now they shall be sweetly and solemnly cleared away from thy poor distressed conscience; thy coldness, hardness, and filth shall be sweetly removed, by a blessed application of my blood, and heavenly joy shall be restored.” When the dear Lord thus speaks to us, the flowers appear on the earth; faith, hope, love, joy, prayer, and praise sweetly spring up in the soul, and the divine unction of God the Holy Ghost upon them gives a goodly smell; the time of the singing of birds is come. When all the powers of the soul are sweetly engaged in singing forth the praise of our adorable Three-One God; when election, justification, redemption, pardon, and all the glorious truths of the Gospel afford sweet consolation, and become part of our song, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the powerful operations and sweet unction of God the Holy Ghost are felt in the soul, and keep all alive and lively, and his blessed Spirit chants forth in the conscience the wonderful love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Yes, my dear brother, through the mercy of our covenant God, we now and then have some sweet moments, when we can say, “All is well.” Thanks be to God for a religion which cannot be lost! The eternal fixtures of our covenant God have been a song for Zion thousands of times; so that we can safely say to her, “When men are cast down, there is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.” (Job 22:29)—Feb. 9, 1833.