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Selection from his Letters
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XX. To lady KENMURE

MADAM, — Upon the offered opportunity of this worthy bearer, I could not omit to answer the heads of your letter.

Firstly, I think not much to set down on paper some good things agent Christ, and to feed my soul with raw wishes to be one with Christ; for a wish is but broken and half love. But verily to obey this, ‘Come and see’, is a harder matter! Oh, I have smoke rather than fire, and guessing rather than real assurances of Him. I cannot believe without a pledge. I cannot take God’s word without a caution. But this is my way; for His way is, ‘After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13).

Secondly, Ye write, ‘that I am filled with knowledge, and stand not in need of these warnings.’ But certainly my light is dim when it cometh to handy-grips. And how many have full coffers and yet empty bellies! Light, and the saving use of light, are far different. Oh, what need then have I to have the ashes blown away from my dying-out fire! I may be a bookman and (yet) be an idiot and stark fool in Christ’s way. Learning will not beguile Christ.

Thirdly, I find you complaining of yourself. And it becometh a sinner so to do. I am not against you in that; the more sense of sin, the less sin. I would love my pain, and soreness, and my wounds, howbeit these should bereave me of my night’s sleep, better than my wounds without pain.

Fourthly, Be not afraid for little grace. Christ soweth His living seed, and He will not lose His seed. If He have the guiding of my flock and state, it shall not miscarry. Our spilled works, losses, deadness, coldness, wretchedness, are the ground upon which the Good Husbandman laboureth.

Fifthly, Ye write, ‘that His compassions fail not, notwithstanding that your service to Christ miscarrieth.’ To which I answer:

God forbid that there were buying and selling, and blocking for as good again, betwixt Christ and us; for then free grace might go to play. But we go to heaven with light shoulders; and the vessels, great and smalls that we have, are fastened upon the sure Nail (Isa. 22.23-24). The only danger is, that we give grace more to do than God gives it; that is by turning God’s grace into wantonness.

Sixthly, Ye write, ‘few see your guiltiness; and you cannot be free with many as with me’. I answer, Blessed be God, Christ and we are not heard before men’s courts: it is at home, betwixt Him and us, that our pleas are taken away. Grace be with you. Yours in the Lord Jesus.

ABERDEEN

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