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longings of a travailing minister ? Will you answer the calls of Divine providence ? Would you remove the incumbent, or prevent the impending, calamities? Would you plant nurseries for the Church of God? Would you that God should build your houses, and bless your substance ? Would you that your children should bless you, that your father should bless you? Oh, then set up piety in your families, as ever you would be blessed or be a blessing! Let your hearts and your houses be the temples of the living God, in which His worship (according to all the forementioned directions) may be with constancy reverently performed. Pardon my prolixity and importunity in so earnest pursuing of you ; I am yet afraid I have done too soon, and shall end without my errand. The Lord God persuade you! To Him I turn me; for I am well assured He can prevail with you.
O FATHER of Spirits, that hath set me over Thy flock to watch for their souls as one that must give an account, I have long studied Thy will and taught in Thy name, and do unfeignedly bless Thee that any have believed my report. I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest me, and they have received them. I have manifested Thy name unto them, and they have kept Thy word. And now I am no more with them, but I come unto Thee. Holy Father, keep them through Thine own name, for they are Thine. As they have kept the word of Thy patience, so keep Thou them in the hour of temptation. They are but a flock, a little and a helpless flock; but Thou art their Shepherd, suffer them not to want. Do Thou feed them and fold them. Let Thy rod and Thy staff comfort them, and let not the beasts of prey fall upon them to the spoiling of their souls.
But what shall I do for them that will not be gathered? Į have called after them, but they would not answer; I have charged them in Thy name, but they would not hear; I have studied to speak persuasively to them, but I cannot prevail. Then I said, “I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain;" yet I cannot give them over, much less may I give Thee over. Lord, persuade Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem. Lord, compel them to come in, and lay the hands of mercy upon them as Thou didst on lingering Lot, and bring them forth that they may escape for their lives, and not be consumed. Lord, I pray Thee, open their
eyes that they may see, and lay hold upon their hearts by Thy omnipotent grace. Do Thou turn them, and they shall be turned. Obring back the miserable captives, and suffer not the enemy of mankind to drive away the most of the flock before mine eyes, and to deride the fruitless endeavours of Thy labourers, and boast over them that he can do more with them, though he seek to ruin them, than all the beseechings, counsels, and charges of Thy servants that seek to save them. Lord, if I could find out anything that would pierce them, that would make its way into their hearts, Thou knowest I would use it. But I have been many years pleading Thy cause in vain. 0 let not these endeavours also be lost! O God, find out every ignorant, every profane sinner, every prayerless soul, and every prayerless family, and convince them of their miserable condition while without Thee in the world. Set Thy image upon their souls, set up Thy worship in their families. Let not pride, ignorance, or slothfulness, keep them in neglect of the means of knowledge. Let Thine eyes be over the place of my desires for good, from one end of the year to the other end thereof. Let every house therein be a seminary of religion ; and let those that cast their eyes upon these lines, find Thee sliding in, by the secret influence of Thy grace, into their hearts, and irresistibly engaging them to do Thy pleasure. Amen. Amen.
JOYING IN TRIBULATION.
To his friends in Luppit. [The resemblance between the letters of Joseph Alleine and Samuel Rutherford has been pointed out by the Rev. John Wesley ; and indeed, we do not see how it could escape any one acquainted with both authors. In Rutherford there are a richer vein of poetry, and a greater variety of images bold and beautiful ; but even Rutherford cannot surpass the holy fervour and affection of the prisoner of the Lord at Ilchester.]
To my dear Friends, the Servants of Christ in Luppit,
Salvation. BELOVED CHRISTIANS,—Having taken up a resolution to write to, and to endeavour to confirm, all the places where I have gone up and down preaching the kingdom of God, you were by no means to be omitted. You were the people that were last upon my heart before my taking up ; and had I not been made a prisoner, I think I had in a few hours after the time of my apprehension been with you. Now I can no way, but by prayers, letters, and counsels, visit you, and so have sent these to let you know that you are upon my heart, and that your welfare is dear unto me. I bless the Lord to hear that His work doth not cease among you. It is the joy of our bonds, beloved, to hear that the Word is not bound, and that Satan hath not his design upon the people of God, who doubtless intended, by these sufferings, to have struck terror into them, and to have made their hands weak.
Know, dear Christians, that the bonds of the gospel are not tedious through grace unto us; that Christ is a master worth suffering for ; that there is really enough in religion to defray all our charges, and to quit all the cost and expense you can be at in or upon it; that you may build upon it, that you can never be losers by Jesus Christ ; that Christ's prison is better than the world's paradise ; that the Divine attributes are alone an all-sufficient livelihood ; that the influences of heaven, and shines of God's countenance, are sufficient to lighten the darksomest dungeon, and to perfume and sweeten the noisomest prison to a poor believer ; that if you can bring faith and patience, and the assurance of the Divine favour with you to a prison, you will live comfortably, in spite of earth and hell. These are truths that the prisoners of Christ can in a measure seal unto, and I would have you to be more soundly assured of and established in them.
Brethren, we are of the same mind in a prison that we were of in the pulpit ; that there is no life equal to a life of holiness; that Christ, and His yoke, and His cross, are worthy of all acceptation; that it is the best, and wisest, and safest, and gainfulest course in the world, to stick close to Christ and His ways, and to adhere to them in all hazards. Come on, beloved Christians, come on; slack not your pace, but give diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, and be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Strengthen the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees. If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Cheer up, my brethren; look what a crown, what a kingdom here is! What say you? Is not here a worthy portion, a goodly heritage? Were it not pity to lose all this for want of diligence and patience ? Come, dear Christians and fellow-travellers, I pray you, let us put on. Pluck up the weary limbs; our home is within sight. Lift up your eyes from the Pisgah of the promises. You may see the land of rest. Will
of you think of returning into Egypt? God forbid. A little patience, and Christ will come. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth, and hath long patience till he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. He is not a Christian indeed that cannot be content to tarry for his preferment in another world. Cast upon
it, my brethren, that your kingdom is not of this world; that here you must have tribulations; and that all is well as long as we are secured for eternity. Exhort one another daily; strive together in prayer, unite your strength therein, and pull amain. Mercy will come sooner or later; however, we will be content to wait till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ah, how surely will He come! He will render tribulation to them that trouble us; and to us that are troubled, rest with Him. Only believe and wait.
What! not watch with him one hour ? Why the Judge is even at the door! And how blessed will you be if you
do but continue and hold fast till He come! Watch therefore, and stand fast, quit you like men : Be zealous, and let your
hearts be strong : God is your friend, and you may trust Him. He is able to bear you out and bear you up. Faint not therefore, but be steadfast, unmoveable, abounding in the work of the Lord. Speak often one to another. Provoke to love, and to good works. Let the bay of opposition against godliness make the torrent of your zeal break over with the more violence. But it is time to end. I have been bold to call upon you, you see, and to stir you up by way of remembrance. May the Spirit of the Most High God excite you, encourage you, inflame you! May these poor lines be some quickening to you ! May the goodwill of Him that dwelt in the bush dwell with you! My dear loves to you all. Pray for the prisoners. Farewell, dear brethren, farewell in the Lord.--I am, yours in the bonds of the Lord Jesus,
DR WILLIAM BATES.
Although neither the most learned scholar, nor the most fervent evangelist, nor the deepest thinker, among the Nonconform.ists, Dr Bates had erudition, originality, and earnestness sufficient to raise him far above mediocrity; and, turned to the