William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

The Two Deeps

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 corruption of the heart and that the internal filth of sin can belch up with as much stench and venom when nature is quite unable to put it into execution as it did before. Well; in such a horrible pit I am often led to cry out almost distracted, “I sink in deep mire;” “My wounds stink and are corrupt;” “I abhor myself,” &c.; but what is worse still, I at times feel as if I did not abhor myself, but wished to nurse these cursed workings. Then I am horror-struck to find myself so unfeeling, or nursing such filthy feelings. Then my dear Lord appears, and with a power divine breaks into my poor soul, applies the atonement, gives me a glimpse of his glory, breaks my heart with love-looks, love-touches, and love-kisses; I drop my abominable head in the dust, confessing my sin, and from my very soul say, “Behold, I am vile!” His gracious Majesty is pleased to embrace me in his arms and give me to feel that he has wrapped me up in his heart; and he then gives me a sweet and solemn plunge into the sea of his love and blood; and thus for a few moments, I bathe in blood and love.

But can I fathom this glorious deep? No, never. It is indescribably glorious to swim in it for a few moments, and then what must the depth of it be? Nothing confounds me more than that the Lord should show such wonders of grace to such a vile wretch; but such is a covenant God and such are his ways, that he has proved the matchless aboundings of grace in my poor soul thousands of times. It is now nearly fifty years since he first revealed Christ in me, the hope of glory; and if anything could have so insulted his Majesty as to make him withdraw his love from one of his children, I am sure he would have withdrawn it from me long ago. But, adored be his holy and loving name, he loves through thick and thin; yea, he loves to the end. Sometimes I have to go into the pulpit as hard as Satan and sin can make me and as dark and as blind as a bat, and at times am obliged to hobble on in that way to the end of what is called a sermon; and sure I am that no vagabond of a thief ever felt worse than I feel at such times. At other times, the Lord is graciously pleased to break into my poor soul with light, life, and liberty, and then, O then, how I can and do shout the wonders of God’s grace!

Thus, my dear friend, I am going on,—in and out; up and down; dark and light; hard and tender; shameless and full of shame; too hard to mourn, then mourning, and then singing; trying to prove that God is a liar, and then with my whole soul vindicating his truth and Him, as faithful and true. All I am and have of true godliness, I am and have by the grace of God.—Manchester, 1840.