allowed me to enter into this solemn ordinance without some deep searchings of heart, to know what his mind and will was concerning it. Those truths that are burnt into our hearts we shall not very readily part with. I feel disappointed you are not able to come to B., and hope the time will not be long before you do. May the Lord be your Guide and Director in all things, incline your heart to do his will, and grant you much of his sensible presence. Love to Mrs. P. and yourself.

Your affectionate, though unworthy Friend, March, 1871.


My dear Friend,-Words fail me to convey to you the pleasure I feel, also the confirmation it is to me, that the Lord has revealed to you his will, and has given you strength to go forward depending alone upon his almighty power to bring you through to his own praise and glory. The substance of these words has in some measure been sweet to me: "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken." Those that are enabled by God's grace to throw themselves upon the Lord Jesus, for him to do with them as he sees fit, will have a broken and contrite heart given to them, that the Lord himself will not despise. I cannot tell you how much I have wished that we might honour the Lord, who has done so much for us, by making a public confession of his Name, and in being baptized together. Had it been anything relating to natural things, I should have urged my wish with you; but I well knew that no persuasion of the creature would cause you to go forward without a "Thus saith the Lord." We must have the command from God himself; for if we attempt to move without it, the ground beneath our feet will give way, and bring upon us shame and confusion. And it often causes much exercise with a living soul to know what comes from the Lord, and what does not. Still, there are times when we are at a point about it, from the effects that it produces.

Have we not, my dear friend, much cause for thankfulness, that the Lord has not turned a deaf ear to our supplications, but has thus far appeared for us? Ought we not to speak well of him? Would that I could do this more, and not feel so much unbelief working. But difficulties will at times present themselves to my view, with a How will you overcome this and that? But faith will some times triumph; and at such times I believe it will be well even if I should be rejected by the church. And I do trust I am sincere in saying, if it is not for the honour of God and my own good, I hope the Lord will prevent it. And yet I feel I dare not, I cannot, of my own will keep back; but am often longing for the time to come that I may be permitted to follow in the footsteps of the Lord of life and glory, though one most unworthy of it, with an earnest desire that he will grant me his sensible presence whilst passing through the ordinance, and to my dear friend also; that the Lord would give us another testimony that the step we are taking is a right one.

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As I said before, your going forward is very confirming to me; for had it not been made plain to you, after what you had received, that it was right in you to do so, it would not have been right in me. I think the Lord has given you a remarkably strong venturing faith, surrounded as you are at the present time with difficulties; but I believe it is to assure you the step has not been taken in your own strength.

I often think of the first letter you wrote to me on the subject. Though you thought it not worth the postage, yet you could not withhold it after reading it. It carried such a strong conviction to my mind that the hand of the Lord was in it that I could not get away from it; and yet my nature wished it otherwise. For some time previous to this, my friends were almost, or I may say entirely, silent to me upon the subject. I used often to wish they would speak to me upon it; for I thought it would be a relief to speak of some of my exercises; and I wanted also to convince them there was no probability of my going forward at present; for I thought their feeling was that I should be obliged to come forward very soon. I did not feel it was from want of sympathy; but the Lord kept them from it, that I might not take refuge in anything short of himself. I very much liked what Mr. Godwin said last evening, when administering the ordinance of the Lord's supper. Speaking of those that kept back from various reasons, he said, "Some might do so for fear they should slip or fall, and so bring a reproach upon the cause of God. But," he said, "is the Lord less able to keep you in the church than out of it? And is not the path of obedience the safest path to walk in? For in keeping his commandments there is great reward; not for keeping them, but in keeping them."

It has often been a fear with me whether I might not be left to bring an open reproach upon the cause of God; but I think it is said in one of your letters, church membership would have a tendency to make us walk more tenderly; for I believe the honour of God is dearer to me than my own life.

I feel truly sorry to hear so sad an account of your dear brother. It must be a great trial; but I believe one that will work for your good. And I trust you may have reason to bless God on his behalf, that ever he should have laid his afflicting hand upon him. Still, I know such things are painful to flesh and blood. But I do not think you can be altogether without hope of him. From what I have heard you say, he must possess a tender conscience. I think the following lines which I read just now are suitable to you: "Murmur at nothing which brings thee nearer his own loving presence. Be thankful for thy very cares, because thou canst confidingly cast them all upon him. He has thy temporal and eternal prosperity too much at heart to appoint one superfluous pang, one redundant stroke. Commit, therefore, all that concerns thee to his keeping, and leave it there."

I am also equally glad to hear of poor dear Mrs. Crouch waiting for her dismissal in such a happy frame of mind. What a testimony she is leaving behind of the faithfulness of her God down to the river of Jordan! If still alive, give my kind love to her; and I would also crave her blessing. I think your situation an enviable one, in being privileged to attend the dying bed of a dear saint of God. It is also very encouraging the way she has: spoken of believers' baptism. The charge she gave you was very solemn. It is indeed a very solemn thing we are about to enter into. I have great confidence the Lord will bring you through; and I trust he will me also. May we be enabled to bear each other at the throne of grace. I am sure we are often in each other's thoughts. With much love, yours very affectionately, April 3rd, 1871. M. A. SHOESMITH.

My very dear Friend,-Yours of this morning came to me with life, power, dew, and unction, communicating afresh to my heart some of the sweetness which I hope I have lately experienced. I do not wish to convey I have entirely lost it, for I feel it is still well with me; but I have not that constant communing with the Lord which I hope I have had. But, in looking back, I know he hath led me by a right way, and sweetly hath he confirmed me in the step I have so lately taken, by going before me, and making darkness light, and crooked things straight, and granting me the very desires of my heart beyond what I could have hoped for. And, above and beyond all, that he should have given me his own approbation, by blessing me as he has done, and giving me, I hope, in some small measure to hold communion with Christ, as my Saviour, my Lord, and my Redeemer. And I know my dear friend can witness to the truth of what I say in her own experience, having herself felt the Lord's goodness towards her in the same step. Ought it not to call forth much thankfulness in our hearts that the Lord would not suffer us to enter upon so solemn a thing without deep and painful exercises upon the subject, seeking unto him again and again to know his will in the matter, and, knowing it, to be able to follow it? I often think of Mr. Hazlerigg's prayer on the Sunday morning,-"That we might never be ashamed of the step we had taken in following the Lord; but that we might be ashamed of how little we could love and praise that God that had done so much for us." O that I could praise and adore him more for his great goodness towards one so utterly unworthy of the least of his favours! It is true, I have at times such thoughts as these: Now, are you quite sure what you think you have experienced comes from the Lord? Do you not think you may have worked yourself up? And may it not be nothing but natural excitement ? One thing I do know; I cannot rest satisfied with what I hope I have attained to; but there is a pressing on to know more of Christ. And what you said about] Mr. Covell's prayer on Sunday, where it suited you so, was so similar

to Mr. Hazlerigg's in the morning. How we want renewed tokens of God's love towards us! And, having grace, how we want more of it! I do hope I have been enabled to say,

"In faith, from doubting free,

How sweet his fruit and shade to me!"

And yet I am looking forward to the future with trembling, knowing well where I shall get to if left to myself. At the same time shrinking, I hope only in the flesh, from the path of tribulation.

I do rejoice indeed that the Lord has broken in upon your soul by removing every doubt and fear, and blessing you again with his sensible presence, thus assuring you he was with you in what you have so lately passed through. I hope, in my own case, I have not been too self-confident, for I know "the Lord trieth the righteous." And where as yet has been my trial in the matter? But why should I wish for it, when I can say in my own conscience I believe the Lord has been with me, and enabled me by his grace to "esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt"?

I am very glad you have told me what you felt about the broken bread at the table, for it was exactly what I had felt respecting it. But I should not have told any one my first thought had you not spoken of it in the way you have. It speaks loudly to me we were each led by the same Spirit into a little of what that bread represented. On looking upon the plate of broken bread I had this thought, which was only natural; but I believe it led me into the spiritual meaning of what it set forth: How badly you have broken this bread! I never saw any one do it in such a way before. It is broken and crumbled into all sorts of shapes; and I should think some of it could scarcely be called pieces. Then my thoughts were led in this way: What is the bread an emblem of? Does it not set forth the broken, bruised body of Christ, and the suffering he endured for his people? And was I one of them? And the cause of so much suffering, -it was sin. These two lines of Hart's followed:

"Thy bruised, broken body bore

Our sins upon the tree."

The next morning, upon my bed, my mind was much in meditation upon the way Mr. H. had broken the bread, and how forcibly it set forth the intense sufferings of the Son of God, and what sin must be to call forth such sufferings; when these words came to me:

"Brethren, this had never been,
Had not God detested sin."

As your letter has called forth these remarks respecting the Lord's table, I should like to tell you a little of my feelings at the baptizing; though I am afraid I shall fail to convey to you exactly my meaning; and my views upon the subject may not be right. Did you notice, in going down into the water, Mr. H. did not move a step towards us? He did not to me, but took hold of us when we came to him in this way: I do not mind


what you feel in a natural way, I am now going to put you under the water. (I do not mean to say those were his feelings; but it conveyed that to me.) This is what I felt in it, in a spiritual sense. Going down into the water was an emblem of the overwhelming sufferings of Christ; the pool represented the grave of Christ; and as Justice and Death seized upon him, and laid him therein, so, as a sign, Mr. H. took us, and laid us under the water, that we might be buried with Christ in baptism, and rise again with him to a newness of life. I think I shall never forget my feelings at that time, nor at the Lord's table.

We thought and talked of you on Sunday, and I was glad to hear the Lord made a way for you to go to Croydon. We had a good day. I don't know that I ever heard a more heart-searching discourse. Very many felt it so. The text was: "And the door was shut." Mr. H. spoke of the wise and foolish virgins; and why they were called virgins,-because they professed to leave all for Christ; and they all took a lamp of profession. He spoke in such a solemn way of the foolish; of their shining profession, to outward appearance, and that they became members of churches; but being destitute of oil, not having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, their lamps would go out at the day of death. It made me tremble, and say to myself, I have just made an open profession. Am I one of the foolish virgins? But, as he traced out the wise, I felt I was one of them. He made a nice distinction between the slumbering and sleeping. He said they all did one or the other. The wise slumbered; though they got into a sleepy state, they were not satisfied with it; there was a principle within that wanted it different. "I sleep, but my heart waketh." The foolish slept in carnal security. He spoke of the Bridegroom coming: "And those that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut." They were shut in with Christ and his holy angels, with the spirits of just men, casting their crowns at his feet; shut in with God to all eternity; shut out from pain, sickness, sorrow, the world, and Satan. And the foolish were shut out, the Lord telling them that he never knew them. I never knew thee in the sweet manifestations of my love. You despised communion with me. Then again I was lifted up, for I knew I did not do that. He put such solemn questions to the congregation, as to what their religion was founded on, and that the cry of the Bridegroom would assuredly come to every one of them at midnight, the hour of death. But I cannot do justice to anything he said. The evening discourse was upon the grain of mustard seed; and sweetly he traced out the work of the Holy Spirit upon a sinner's heart. What a highly favoured people are the Lord's! They possess durable riches and righteousness. Yours in love,

May 25th, 1871.


A SINNER truly convinced is not only convinced of this sin or that sin, but of the evil of all sin.-Gurnall.

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