William Gadsby's Letters (Complete)

True Benevolence

To those kind Friends who have so liberally given to the Distressed Poor in the Manufacturing Districts,—In the name of the poor I sincerely thank you for your kindness; and I can, in the fear of the Lord, say that your bounties have been much blessed to a great many of the Lord’s dear tried family. I have already been enabled to send of your bounty to more than twenty places besides Manchester, and from some places I have received acknowledgments of real heartfelt gratitude. To some places I have sent five pounds, to some others four, three, two, and to some few places one pound, and have also disposed of a considerable sum to poor distressed private persons and families both in Manchester and elsewhere. To the Manchester Soup Kitchen I have sent twenty pounds, and, through mere}’, I have still some on hand. How long this will be the case I know not, for things are still very trying, and I fear that in these parts we shall have a dreadful winter. I wish to act as cautiously as prudence and righteousness will admit, and to dispense of your kind gifts, as far as I am able, agreeably to your wishes; namely, as much as possible to the poor distressed people of God, who are in suffering from a want of sufficient employment. O my dear friends, what a mercy it is to be enabled and to feel a heart to give to the really needy! Whilst I have received your bounties for the distressed poor, it has really been made a blessing to my own soul, and that portion of God’s Word has fallen upon my conscience with some sweetness: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When I have seen some of God’s people in very deep distress, I have felt amazed that in the midst of such calamities I should be favoured with all the necessaries of this life; and when I have seen others in deep distress who neither know themselves nor the Lord, I have really, at times, been lost in wonder, and in some little measure of love and praise, that the Lord has blessed me with a good hope through grace; and now and then, whilst enjoying a few moments’ intercourse with my ever-loving God. I have been constrained to exclaim, “O thou blessed Friend of Sinners! Why such matchless love to so vile a wretch as I!”

O, my dear friends, one and all, both you that are very poor, and you that have the good things of this life, remember, if Christ be ours, our treasure is secured in him, and with him we have all that can be for the glory of God to give, and our real good to receive. Trials may be sore, but they must be short, and mill end well. They are all true workmen and the end will prove that there was a needs be for their work. All trials and afflictions are in the hands and under the sovereign control of the Lord of the house, and are real workmen working for the real good of those who are exercised thereby. And shall we wish to discharge faithful workmen because they are rather rough in their appearance and actings? I know the coward flesh shrinks and often rebels; but the dear Lord will see to it that they shall do their work well. We poor crawling worms are constantly erring in one way or other, but our dear Lord cannot err. God help us to trust him, and under his blessed teachings may we be enabled to commit the keeping of our souls and bodies into his hands, and feelingly leave ourselves, with all our concerns, in his special keeping and to his blessed control.—Oct., 1842.