Gadsby’s Letters

A Last Epistle

22 Jan 2022, by

The following is the last letter in my possession, written by my father three months before his death. He had been at Leicester on the 18th. The letter was addressed to Mr. Isaac Harrison, Leicester.

Dear Friend,—I just drop this line to say that through the kind providence of God, I reached home safely, and thought myself much better for my journey; but we have had some very trying weather here since I came home, and I am now much worse than I was when at Leicester. This morning the weather is very fine, and I have been out, but can scarcely walk for want of breath. O that I were blessed with a little more of the divine breathings of God the Holy Ghost, that my son! might be sweetly wafted into…

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My dear Friend S.,—I am still in a land called Sodom and Egypt, where our dear Lord was crucified, I mean this accursed earth,, where everything is withering under the curse, and sometimes everything good in me seems to he withering and dying away too, and I cannot keep alive my own soul. I know that everything in this world is under a curse, and that we must have been cursed for ever, had not the Lord Jesus come in our nature, stooped under the curse, and been made sin and a curse for us; and certainly he did by his death remove sin and the…

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To Mr. Tiptaft

7 Jan 2022, by

My dear Brother in the Lord,—Yours came to hand last evening, with the kind present from your friend. Give thanks to him, both for myself and the poor. I do assure him it will be a timely help for the poor. We had just been giving a little flannel and a few blankets to some of our poor, and though we have given to 50, there are others that still stand in great need. I think there are about 90 upon our regular poor-list; so you will see we cannot do a great deal for each; and I was just contriving how I could give them a little beef at Christmas; for there are many of them that cannot get a morsel for months together. I had spoken to a butcher as to what price he would let me have some at; and I shall dispose of a part of the money our friend has kindly sent for that purpose, and the rest in the best way I am able.

I have just been reading in the paper this morning that more than forty thousand persons have been relieved this year by a public subscription that has been made, and that more than twenty thousand were…

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Reason Baffled

30 Dec 2021, by

Dear Brother in the Bowels of the once-slaughtered, but now exalted Christ,—I received your kind letter, and thank you for all favors.

What a divine mercy it is that the Lord reigns; and, bless his dear name, he can make no mistake; so that whatever crosses or afflictions he sends to or suffers to come upon his people, they are all subject to his sovereign control, and must, in the end, work for their good. Flesh and blood often say, “How can this be?” I have long proved that I have no business to meddle with the hows, whys, and wherefores; but God knows, my brother, fools will be meddling; and, in very deed, I am one of these fools, and very often both call myself and feel myself one of the greatest fools in the world; and, strange to say, I start at meddling with the whys and…

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God’s College

22 Dec 2021, by

My dear Brother in the Path of Tribulation,—I have often thought of you since I saw you in ———, and have as often thought of dropping you a line, to ask you how matters go on at College. Remember, our glorious God and Father does not send his ministers to College with a view of making them into gentlemen, but to make them able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. Men may be high in, and teach, the doctrines of the gospel doctrinally, and yet only be in the letter, and not in the Spirit; therefore God’s ministers must not rest in the shell of truth, but must be taught the mystery of godliness; namely, the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; and in order to learn these things to good purpose, they must also be taught the mystery of iniquity; and these things can only be taught spiritually by the Holy Ghost, at God’s College; and very sharp, trying; and hot work it is, at times, when we are kept close to College rules. God’s fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem. (Is 31:9) God purgeth the blood of Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning (Is 4:4); and while he gives two parts of mankind to be cut off and die; namely, a profane part and a professing part, the third part he brings through the fire, and refines them as silver is…

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My dear Brother in the great Head of Zion,—I hope you and your spouse are well, and that the dear Lord is leading you more and more into the deep things of God. Remember, if a man is to be taught much of the depths of God’s eternal love, he must wade in the depths of his own enmity. If he is to be well instructed in the depths of the glorious atonement of Christ, he must feel and sicken at the awful and damnable depravity of his own nature. And so on in every respect; for we can only feelingly and experimentally know the glory of Christ, but as God the Holy Ghost reveals him to our hearts, and reveals him there as just suited to our…

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True Wisdom

10 Dec 2021, by

My dear young Friend,—I hope by this time, if it be the sovereign pleasure of the Lord, that you are revived, both in body and mind; and that whatever the Lord designs concerning your body, he has graciously been pleased to reveal “Christ in you, the hope of glory;” and if so, you will be enabled to say, All is well. Remember, my dear young friend, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To be brought by the power of God the Holy Ghost to fear the Lord, to have a tender conscience, and to tremble at God’s word, is, in very deed, the beginning of wisdom. And to such poor trembling, broken-hearted souls, the Lord will, in his own time, look with a…

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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…

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Dear Brother in the Life of all that spiritually live,—I have felt and do still feel for you in your late trouble; but, my dear friend, what a mercy it is that the real Spring-head of all our mercies ever lives, and that in his ever-living life he has secured our life. Hence his gracious Majesty says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Trials are really necessary, as a means, in the hands of the blessed Spirit, to make us look round us, and look within us, and look above and beyond us, to try matters up well, that we may see and feel how we stand before the Lord, whether or not we have any vital faith, hope, or love; and if we have, where faith is looking and resting, where hope is anchoring, and what object our love is really embracing; whether right arms and right eyes of a perishing nature are dearer to us than the Lord of life and glory; and whether or not at his bidding we can consent to…

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My dear Friends in the Lord Jesus Christ,—I received yours. The moment I read it I felt for you, and said, “How true it is that in the world we must have tribulation; but how indescribably blessed it is that in Christ we have peace!”—bless his precious name, peace with God, peace of conscience by faith in his blood and love. Here we have all things and abound; “for he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Yes, my dear friends, though the world seems to frown, remember this is not your rest; and be assured, “all things are yours, for ye are Christ’s, and…

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In nearly all the volumes of the “Gospel Standard,” from its commencement in 1835, there are letters or pieces by my father. From 1874 to 1878 there are many relating to the present Gower Street Chapel, and I have also a number in MS. ‘If all were put together they would make a large volume. I have however, contented myself with selecting a few. The following was to Mr. Robins, who was minister to the people at Conway Street, London, who left Mr. Huntington’s chapel, because the trustees would not admit my father, Mr. Abbott, and Mr. Robins to preach therein. In 1820 the Conway Street friends built Gower Street Chapel. (See “Gospel Standard,” 1878, page 75.)

Dear Brother,—Yours I received, and was glad to hear of your peace of mind and welfare in the best things; and if it be the Lord’s will I hope you will find your present affliction of body very profitable to you and soon be restored to your wonted state of health. But it is not good for us to dictate to our heavenly Father. He knows best what is for our real good and his glory. Afflictions are not joyous but grievous; yet such is the skill and power of our dear Lord and Master that he often makes them yield the…

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Only Gone Before

4 Nov 2021, by

My dear Friends in the glorious Head of the Church,—Your kind letter came to hand, with the tidings of the death of our dear brother Martin. Well; all his storms are over, ours cannot last long, and each one leaves the number less. Our blessed Lord will not let us have one trouble too many; no, nor let them be too boisterous or last too long; and he will see to it that all shall work together for good. Our dear covenant God cannot make any mistakes, nor suffer anything to do his blood-bought family any real harm. From self and self-dependence he will deliver us, although flesh and blood will often sigh and groan, yea, and kick and rebel, too, under and at the method his blessed Majesty takes to wean us from self and cause us to lean wholly upon and trust wholly in him. But he does not spare the rod for our fleshly crying, and he is sure in the end to make us…

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Dear Friend,—Yours came to hand, and I have just time to say that I intend, God willing, to be at P. on September 21st, and if I can be conveyed from there to G. on October 1st, I will very gladly come; but I must be at L. the day following. I dare not attempt to preach more than three times in the week days, as too much exertion brings the jaundice upon me; so I am obliged to preach less, or lay myself upon the shelf. No thanks to me; for when I enjoy my dear Lord in his work, it is sweet employment indeed; but when Christ is not enjoyed, it is very hard work. Indeed, I do not find any work but what is hard when Christ is not enjoyed. I know, in every blessed respect, that he is the…

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Dear Brother (Martin) in the glorious Lord of Zion,—It appears the Lord has thought good to deprive you of your natural sight, which is a painful affliction; but, adored be his gracious name, he gives you the sweet enjoyment of the true Light. This, my dear brother, is more prizable than all creation put together. What an indescribable blessing it is that such filthy creatures as we are by nature should be brought, under the glorious unction of God the Holy Ghost, to feel and see that the Lord is our portion, our life, light, bliss, and blessedness; yea, our ever-to-be-adored covenant God for ever and ever; and that, by a matchless gift of eternal electing love and grace, he has made himself over to us with all he has, and is, and has done as the God of Zion; so therefore we may truly say…

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A Letter To Mr. C. W. Ethelston, M.A.

Fellow Of The Collegiate Church In Manchester, Rector Of Worthenburt, And Minister Of St. Mark’s Chapel, Cheltham.

Sir,—You perhaps will pardon an obscure individual for venturing to make a few remarks upon your pamphlet, entitled “The Unity of the Church,” &c. I can assure you, Sir, that the unity of the church is a subject of such importance that I cannot conceive how it is possible for any real minister of Christ to lose sight of it.

Union to Christ, and to one another, as the blessed members of his mystical body, is a doctrine pregnant with incalculable importance; and were I disposed to ground what I have to say upon this subject upon anything but the word of God, I would cite a passage out of your own wonderful performance (page 45) “In advocating such a cause, tameness would be cowardice, supineness criminal.” You will, Sir, at once perceive that…

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