William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

A Path Of Tribulation

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 advantage of dark ways and proceedings to make more and more of the wonders of his grace known. I should never have known as much as I do, little as that is, of the wonders of God’s providence and grace, if it had not been for trials, and some of them trials from false brethren; and I must say that I have had reason to bless God that he suffered them to take place. O the blessedness of proving, in the life and power of it, that God is a very present help in trouble I If trouble-makers knew the blessed advantage the Lord takes of their proceedings, for the purpose of making known his power, love, and glory to those whom they trouble, they would have but little room for gladness. But there must rise up erroneous men, who produce heresies among the people of God. that those which are approved may be made manifest. I have proved the truth of this more than once. I hope the Lord will keep both you and me much in prayer, and at his dear feet, leaning upon his bosom, seeking wisdom, grace, and strength from him alone. The Lord only is able to direct us aright, and to bless us, and keep us with a good conscience towards God and man. Remember, my dear friends, the Lord of the house has told us that “there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” And indeed, they shall deceive many professors.

Now, my friends, as all things are possible to them that believe, the man who can in his own view always believe, and can set at naught the fears and faintings, groans and sighs, pantings and mournings of God’s poor tried children, must be one of those wonder-working prophets; and the Lord says, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Again: “Take heed what you hear.” And again: “Take heed how you hear.” Now, my dear friends, in the name and fear of the Lord, I entreat you to endeavour to look to the Lord for wisdom to direct you, and do not trust your own hearts, nor lean to your own understanding; for however men may boast of faith and happiness, all faith and happiness that does not stand in the life and power of God is but delusion; and the stronger it is, the greater is the delusion. May God Almighty enable you to be watchful, prayerful, and cautious; and to pray for me, that the Lord may be with me and bless me with much of his sweet presence and love. I feel myself a poor fool, and wonder that the Lord will take so much pains with such a crawling worm; but “his mercy is for ever sure.” Bless his precious name, he gave my soul a blessed lift on Lord’s day morning, with a sweet application of that text: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Honours crown his blessed brow, he is more than & match for men and devils, and his people shall prove that he will overrule all things for their good. His gracious Majesty takes advantage of the horrible workings of corrupt nature to show us how vile we are, and the ability of Jesus to save. Nevertheless, when men can trifle with sin, and say, “O, what is sin? It is a mere nothing,” &c., such men prove that, however high they are in doctrine, they have not had a solemn soul-visit to Gethsemane. They must be total strangers to fellowship with the sufferings of Christ. To have a true feeling sense of our vileness, and a precious application of the atonement to the conscience of such a vile sinner, is a path that such men are strangers to. May you and I be more deeply acquainted with that religion which sickens us of self, stands in the power of God, and leads us in very deed to give God all the glory of salvation; that religion which keeps us from self-boasting and leads us to glorify the Lord; then come what will, all must be well.

I hope the Lord is with Mr. Gorton, and that you and he enjoy some sweet moments in the love and fear of the Lord.

God willing, I expect to be at home for the 18th of June, and I hope that the Lord will come with me, and enable both the church and myself to act in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Wishing you all the blessed teaching of the Lord, and much of his love and presence, I remain, Your loving Pastor.—London, May 27, 1843.