The Malady And The Remedy
Dear Friend,—I have no doubt you think it long before I reply to yours; but the fact is, I have felt quite fast in my mind, and have not known what answer to give, for I am not very fit to travel yet. If I possibly can, I should like to comply with your request.
If you ask me how I am, I can assure you that I am heartily sick of myself and almost of everybody else. There is so much self-importance, and self-seeking, and flesh and blood working under a covert of truth, and I feel so much of the stinking oozings up of it in my own cursed old man, that, as I said before, I am heartily sick; and yet, strange to say, sick as I am, there it is, and there it works, till my very soul groans under its detestable workings. O that I was blessed with more singleness of eye to God’s glory and the real honour of his blessed truth, and that I could feelingly enter into the real spirit and power of what Paul felt when he said, “But none of these things move me, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God,” and daily and steadily act under its divine influence!
Through the matchless riches of God’s grace, I am enabled, at times, to feel a little of it, and really act accordingly; but this cursed fleshly self appears in so many different ways that I am often led to conclude that I am quite as able to manage the devil as I am to manage myself, and most awful management I make of it whenever I attempt to manage either. Well, here is my hope, the management is in the hands of my dear Lord, and Christ has vanquished every foe by blood, and love, and power; and when the blessed Spirit is graciously pleased to lift up this glorious Christ as a standard in my conscience, I can really feel self, with every other foe, give way; Christ gains my whole soul, and then in very deed I can say that “I count not my life dear unto me, so that I may finish my course with joy,” &c. There is such a divine glory in the teemings out of sovereign grace by the invincible energy of God the Holy Ghost, that when the blessed Spirit gives the soul a sweet measure of it, under his rich unction, all things else are poor trash compared with a blessed Christ. O how sweet, how lovely it is when the Lord Jesus Christ and the soul meet together in love and blood, and hold solemn intercourse with each other, and the blessed Spirit bears a glorious and sealing witness to the meeting! This is a taste of heaven.—April, 1841.
William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher, writer and philanthropist. John Hazelton wrote of him—
“[Gadsby’s] labours extended to well-nigh every part of the country, and who by his sermons, hymns, and other writings, exerted a wide spiritual influence, and his interest in the poor and needy in Lancashire and elsewhere rendered his public advocacy of their cause of great value. In him we have a man of eminent public spirit, as well as of originality and spiritual force…The first time he preached was in 1798, in an upper room in a yard at Bedworth, from the words, "Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious." His Hymn Book, now so widely known, was first published in 1814, his desire being "to have a selection of hymns free from Arminianism and sound in the faith, that the Church might be edified and God glorified.” He removed to Manchester in 1805, and while over the Church there he travelled over 60,000 miles and preached nearly 12,000 sermons.”