“LET US GO ON”
Dear Sir,Â—I received your kind letter along with your present. I thank you for the present, as being a token of your respect, and attended, I find, with your daily prayers for me, which I value more than human presents. The Lord bless you, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you a sweet enjoyment of his peace.
I have hitherto found that Christian people who live in the dark, fearing and doubting, yet waiting on God, have usually a very happy death. They are kept humble, hungering, and praying, and the Lord clears up their evidences at length in a last sickness, if not before; and they go off with “Hallelujahs!”
From what I know of you and from the account you give of yourself, I have no doubt of the safety of your state; yet rest not here, but seek further. Two things should be carefully attended to by all upright people; one is the evidence of the word; the other is the evidence or witness of the Spirit. The word says, “All that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts dii, 39). I ask, then. Do you not place your whole dependence on Jesus Christ for salvation? Do you not heartily accept of Jesus Christ in all his offices? And are you not daily seeking to him to teach you and rule you, as well as to pardon you? Then you are certainly a believer, and as such are justified in God’s sight from all your sins, according to the declaration of God’s word. Let this encourage you to seek with confidence for the evidence of the Spirit, to proclaim that justification to your heart. The evidence of the word is given to hold up the heart in a season of doubts and fears, and the evidence of the Spirit comes to scatter those fears. Remember also that salvation does not depend on the strength of faith, but the reality of it. In the Gospels, Jesus often rebukes weak faith, but never rejects it. Weak faith brings but little comfort, yet is as much entitled to salvation as strong.
I have had much of my nervous fever this summer; never once stirred out of my parish, and never further in it than to my church. Through mercy I am somewhat better; and when alone, with a Bible before me, am composed and comfortable, yet scarce able to bear visits, so weak are my spirits.
Give my love to Mr. G., and tell him from first to last he has been the friend of my heart. I send my kind respects to your partner. Grace and peace be with you both, and with
Your affectionate Servant,
Everton, Nov. 7, 1786.