Deny Me not the Request of my Lips
My dear Brother and Sister, I had almost come to the conclusion to write no more about the solemn things of God, having such a deep feeling sense of my ignorance, darkness, and helplessness, which have so far prevailed that I have not been able to answer the two letters I received previous to yours. Common courtesy between man and man demands an answer, but I assure you, my dear brother, that I need something more than common civility to induce me to write.
I will now endeavour, by the help of God, in simplicity and sincerity, to inform you whereabouts I am now in feeling. If brought to mind, you must be aware that I have given you many hints concerning my experience coming short of many of the Lord's dear children whom I have heard speak or read their testimony of believing, as Hart says, in Christ. I have felt myself left behind them, and durst not, having a tender conscience, presumptuously rush after them ; which feeling of coming short, I assure you, my brother, very much increases on me. The more I search the word of God the more do I see and feel my need of it and the blessedness connected therewith. I recollect that when the doctrine of election was first opened to my mind, and I was led, like the noble Bereans of old, to search the Scriptures, how astonished I was to find it set forth throughout the whole of that blessed book, and I wondered that I did not discover it before. The word of the Lord seemed to me to shine and blaze with the solemn truth of predestination, and so doth it now concerning the solemn sealing of .God the Holy Ghost. I find that the patriarchs, kings, apostles, and prophets were favoured with it ; and in reading the writings of gracious men, both dead and living, I find Huntington had it, so had James Barry, Joseph Hart, and others, which caused hope to spring up in my soul that the vision would, in the Lord's own time, speak to such a motley wretch as I. May the blessed God give me strength and patience to wait upon him, and keep back my soul from presumptuous sins. My mind being exercised with this important and solemn matter, I feel where I myself am, and see clearly where many more of the Lord's children are. Destitute in soul-experience of this solemn sealing, I cannot but think that the apparent ease and contentment without it arises, first, from God's sovereignty in withholding from them light and life to see and feel their need of it, and, secondly, from the lukewarm state of many ministers who do not appear to me to be led very earnestly to contend for it. In the experience brought forth there appears to be, if I may so call it, a general want of clearness, decision, and weight, and I have felt myself after hearing it to be left in a sort of undecided state. Some things appeared in my favour and other things against me, so that I could not tell whereabouts I was, and I cannot but think that the cause of so many dead empty professors hanging about the church of Christ is owing to the want of a more clear and searching ministry in the present day. I do think that if those who stand up in the name of the Lord were led more strenuously to insist upon the new birth, and more earnestly to contend for living vital faith and felt union to the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed gift of God the Father, to redeem and save to the uttermost poor feelingly lost sinners, it would have the effect which it had when the blessed Lord was upon earth, and from that day many of his professed disciples walked no more with him. The sayings of the Lord were too hard for them.
I hope, if I do err in these things, my brother will bear with me, for I do assure him I have written out of the abundance of my heart, with no intention to make sad the heart of any one without cause,
but how am I to account for the general death, barrenness, worldliness, lightness, covetousness, hypocrisy, carnal ease, and security which prevails in the church but from the secondary cause of that apparent and, by me felt want of life, power, and unction in the ministry of God's word. What a solemn, weighty, and important office is the office of a minister of Christ ! How can any man take this office upon himself unless he be called of God, as was Aaron ? My poor soul trembles at the thought. I would rather be dumb the rest of my life than be hurried into rash and awful error ; to run unsent of God. Satisfied I am that none can minister acceptably in holy things but such as are influenced by felt truth, felt love, and the felt seeking and obtainment of God's approbation.
These things have I written to you because I love you, and may God bless you with more faith, love, and patience, and also bless your dear wife with felt salvation. I should have felt pleasure in telling you about the sealing of the blessed God, but I have it not, therefore dare not lie. I have the witness of the Spirit in my soul that I am a sinful wretch deserving hell, and likewise that none but the Christ of God can save me. I am also blessed with hope in him, for which I feel grateful, but I want sealing.
Wrestle for me if thou canst, and write as soon as the Lord shall help you.
That God in mercy may visit a poor worm with felt redemption is the prayer of thy poor brother,
F-, March 5, 1843. IL D.