Dear Sister in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour,—Grace, mercy, and peace, be daily increased, that you may with spiritual boldness cry "Abba, Father!" God, in his appointed time, called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. He turned our feet to his testimonies. We sought him, and found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; even the Angel of the Covenant, who is God's memorial, and our Mediator and High Priest, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever." He entered into covenant with us, and we became his by spiritual grace.
Our election was thus evidenced by the comfort, spiritual peace, and sweet tranquility known by us. We fell at his feet under a deep sense of our utter unworthiness, and acknowledged his power, Godhead, majesty, and grace. We saw him by faith in the matchless glory of his Person, as made unto us of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and wanted no other Saviour. We could sing this tune: "To the praise of the glory of His grace, who hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
But we have often been puzzled to make out our election of God, on account of our strange feelings and great darkness. Nevertheless, God has often renewed his work, and set us again on our feet, and hath made plain both our calling and election.
I preached last night from 2 Peter 1:10: "Make your calling and election sure." I brought forth many things to prove the truth of our calling.
First. The word of God, accompanied by the power of God, entering the heart, enlightening the eyes, searching the inward parts, discovering our danger and ruin.
Secondly. An earnest cry to God out of deep mental affliction: "God be merciful to me a sinner;" "Undertake for me, for I am oppressed," which proves life in the soul. As the child of natural birth proves its birth and life by crying, so the new-born soul prove its calling and life by prayer. "Behold, he prayeth!"
Thirdly. Fearful apprehensions lest he should prove a castaway at last, and fall short of the promised rest; which fears are increased by the falls of apostates and the backslidings of saints,—increased also by the comforts others seem to enjoy, and the peace they possess, which is 'attended with a prayer, "Let me, O Lord, never be deceived; but lead me into thy truth and teach me."
Fourthly. By a hungering and thirsting for the knowledge of the pardon of sin, and catching at everything which may seem to encourage his hopes.
Fifthly. By the momentary visits of Immanuel's face, which produce true repentance, and humble the soul before God, and help him to go on hoping in his mercy. Every visit from God enlivens his soul, and every departure troubles him, and leads him to search for the cause. He finds himself proud, ungrateful, hard-hearted, rebellious, and cannot heap reproach enough on himself.
Sixthly. By a separation from the carnal world he cannot enjoy their dainties; he cannot shape his conversation to please them and his own conscience at the same time. Thus I have given you six of the heads, the next I forget; and all these things prove the sinner's election as well as calling.
White Lion Street, Pentonville, London. Dec. 3rd, 1822. H. FOWLER.