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respondence, which I feel are among my greatest privileges. Shall hope to hear from you very soon, and believe me to remain
Your very sincere and affectionate friend
in the bonds of the gospel,
The King's Dale.
TO PHILOMELA, of the King's Dale.
I have long been to thee as a dumb man, in whose mouth are no reproofs, having been much engaged. But you know “ there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;" and “ there is a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” You have been, upon your returning to your heavenly Father, embraced, enrobed, entertained, and adorned, and long indulged with the soul-reviving melody of “ let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” And
this music and dancing hath long continued with thee, during which time I could only be a fellowhelper of your joy, or a furtherer of your joy of faith. But now, perhaps, “ the elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music, the joy of our heart is ceased, our dance is turned into mourning.” But, when the truth is received in the love of it; when the testimony is bound up in the heart by the bond of the everlasting covenant, which is God's eternal love in Christ Jesus accompanying the word of grace; then we are constrained, however coyly we might put it away before, we are constrained, I say, to embrace it. being attended with the comforting seal of afsurance ; for it comes “ in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance;" which seal ratifies, confirms, and makes the promise sure to all the secd. And then what remains ? Why, the hand of faith is stretched out to subscribe the evidences, both that which is open, and that which is sealed; namely, the whole word of God, which appears open to us, and is yet to be fulfilled, and that which is, sealed on our hearts, as being fulfilled already. And this setting to the feal is to be attended with the confession of the mouth unto salvation, without either an if or a but in it: “ One shall say, I am the Lord's; another shall call him. felf by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” Every one that
sends a letter to another, giving an account of his deliverance, and of the assurance of his faith in Christ Jesus, subscribe with his hand to the honour and glory of God, as being faithful to his word, and rich in mercy. And he does no less who, believing in his heart, makes confession with his mouth unto salvation. While these things are carrying on in the soul, the good old wine flies about, and the glorious days of the Son of Man afford nothing but new love tokens, fresh or new discoveries; but, if they last never so long, and we “ rejoice in them all,” yet we must “ remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many." How passive, resigned, composed, and tranquil, is the clay in the hand of the potter while the lump is formed into another vessel, in order to fhew forth his praise ! But O the evil days that have rolled over my head since! For many years did I keep looking back to the munitions of rocks, and to the views that I then had of the King in his beauty, and of the land that is very far off. But the bare and barren remembrance of them at last only made me lament my loss, and sometimes aggravated my misery; for, though I earnestly begged to have these restored, and to be upheld by his free Spirit, yet he appeared in this matter inflexible, as if it must not be so done in our country. But the following things abode with me; that is, a full persuasion that the work was genuine; a good hope of the great reward promised;
my mind completely rescued from the dark and dismal regions; nor did unappeased wrath and unatoned guilt ever enter my conscience, or sink my soul in the horrible pit afterward; though légal bondage and fatherly anger have often fell to my lot. But a good hope through grace counterpoises these, and keeps the soul at a par, or hanging at least in an even balance. The new birth, my sister, is to us the testimony of Jesus.“ How can these things be?” faith Nicodemus. “ Verily, verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.” Where this change is made, whereever perfect love casts out fear and torment, there is the testimony of Jesus ; and “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. xix. 10. Yea, an earnest of the future inheritance, the first fruits of the glorious harvest, or of the harvest of glory; and faith itself “ is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen;" and is attended with a train of forerunners which lead to perfect day. These things abide with us. But, alas! bonds and afflictions abide also; and these make such a medley of bitter-sweets, which are strange things to us. Now I shall expect to hear how you go on, and to have an honest account, whether any of my former predictions came to pass or not; or whether the oil of joy continues springing without any abatement; whether the banqueting-house affords the same profusion ;
whether whether the banner displayed is still in view; and whether the same hearty welcome of “ Eat, O friends! drink; yea, drink abundantly, O beloved !" sounds still in thine ears, and attended with the same inward fulness and satisfaction as usual. In hope of a solution, I conclude, in the bonds of the better covenant,
Thine in Him,
T. NOCTUA AURITA, in the Defert.
I RECEIVED fafe your kind favour, and kindly do I thank you for the same; and glad I am to find you bear me on your mind. In compliance to your request, I take this opportunity of informing you of my spiritual welfare. I have not to inform you that I am in the banquetinghouse: no; those tweet teasons are over; for my Beloved has withdrawn himself, and is gone, and