A LETTER TO MR. VAUGHAN
Â—Â—To aim aright at the liberty of the children of God, requires a continual acting of faith, – of a naked faith in a naked promise or declaration, such as ‘The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil: – The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death: – I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me.’ By a naked faith in a promise, I do not mean a bare assent that God is faithful, and that such a promise in the Book of God may be fulfilled in me; but a bold, hearty, steady venturing of my soul, body, and spirit, upon the truth of the promise, with an appropriating act. It is mine, because I am a penitent sinner; and I am determined to believe, come what will. Here you must stop the ear of the mind to the suggestions of the serpent; which, were you to reason with him, would be endless, and would soon draw you out of the simple way of that faith, by which we are both justified and sanctified.
You must also remember, that it is your privilege to go to Christ, by such a faith, and every succeeding moment; and that you are to bring nothing but a distracted, tossed, hard heart; – just such a one as you have now. Here lies the grand mistake of many poor, but precious souls: they are afraid to believe, lest it should be presumption, because they have not, as yet, comfort, joy, love, &c., not considering, that this is to look for fruit, before the tree be planted. Beware, then, of looking for any peace or joy, previous to your believing; and let this be uppermost in your mind.
The Lord will make you wise as a serpent, and harmless as the loving dove: but beware of the serpent’s food, dust, and the dove’s bane, bird-lime, I mean worldly cares. O, my friend, what is the world! A flying shadow. As we fly through it, let us lose ourselves in the Eternal Substance.
Farewell in the Lord.