My dear Brother in a precious Christ, precious, unspeakably precious to him that believeth,—How low do we need to be laid by the great and almighty God in our views and estimate of our own selves, that we may be found, inwardly in our soul and spirit, submitting to the Lord Jesus. What a continued stripping us of all and everything of our own is needful, wherein we would, if left to our own selves, endeavor to bolster up ourselves before God, and on which we would rest our hope of acceptance, were it not for the purpose of Jehovah's love toward us. We should in this way lose the inheritance which, of sovereign free-grace bestowment and security, is ours. But as our God has pronounced a curse on the man that trusteth in man and a blessing on him that trusteth in the Lord (see Jer. 17:5-8), and as he, and no one else, knows how deceitful and desperately wicked is the heart of man (ver. 9, 10), so does he discover to us our emptiness, nothingness, yea, less than nothingness in ourselves, making us sensibly destitute of all that is good, and alive to the awful evil that dwells in us. In this way he causes us to lie down in the dust, putting our hands on our mouths, crying, "Unclean, unclean! O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Wherewith shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the Most High God?" And then to thank God that it is through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was set up from of old, from everlasting; and, blessed be God, his church in him,—in all their perfection in him, to be accepted in the beloved One.
What trials, humbling trials, are we called to pass under, that we maybe found in Christ; not having any righteousness of our own, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God, through faith. Now these very trials are the very things which often make us write bitter things against ourselves, consider that we are only hypocrites, anticipate a being shut out at last; and this because we are so prone to look to ourselves for that which we can find only in Christ, and lay hold of with application to ourselves, only as we apprehend Christ by faith. How true is it, in our own experience, that the faith which apprehends Christ is that which is of the operation of God in us,—a divine, living, holy, spiritual principle, wrought by that dear and ever-blessed Person in the Triune God, the Holy Ghost.
What testimonies (to believing souls) does each of the Three Persons in the Godhead bear concerning themselves and each other, as it respects their love to the members of the chosen family! What a testimony does Christ bear to the Father's love to his chosen ones, in that he gave him for them,—spared him not, laid the iniquities of all the elect on him, exacted perfect obedience to the law from him, the manifestation of God's own righteousness, with obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might be made a curse for them in their stead and place. That the Father did all this by his own co-equal and co-eternal Son, out of eternal, unchangeable, unspeakable love to us, is witnessed to in all these and numberless other ways by the only-begotten Son's incarnation, life, obedience, suffering, and death, as God manifest in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us; while the same things are not carried out, effected, and accomplished by the Son, in obedience to the Father, without proclaiming his own love towards us to be like himself, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father's.
Again. There is not a witness or testimony to either the love of the Father or the Son born in our souls by the Holy Ghost, but the love of that divine Person is as sensibly realized by us as is the love of both Father and Son. There is no tender, feeling heart found in us, no love to the Triune Jehovah, no pleasure and delight found by us in his ways, no enjoyment experienced in communion with God, no hungering and thirsting after righteousness, no mourning for sin, no godly sorrow, contrition, humility, &c., but the Holy Ghost is the Author of it. To him we are indebted for it.
And what testimonies of his love to us, as dwelling in us, revealing both Father and Son to us, begetting them in us, and leading us into their mind and will concerning us in the word, are we from time to time made to possess. Though we know days of darkness and seasons of despondency, but only as there is a needs be for them in the wisdom of him who verily is a God that hideth himself from as well as a God that discovereth himself to his people, although in infinite wisdom; and we are made, sooner or later, to acknowledge that the chastenings as well as the smilings of our God are of that same loving-kindness of which it is said, "How precious is thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore do the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be satisfied with the fatness of thy house. Thou shalt make them to drink of the river of thy pleasure; for with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light." All which is true; because "it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy;" because our God has "mercy on whom he will have mercy, and compassion on whom he will have compassion;" because he is sovereignly exalted above everything in the carrying out and effecting of his purposes of love concerning his elected ones, of whom Christ says, I will lose none of them,—"None shall pluck them out of my hand; for my Father which gave them to me is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand;" "And this is the will of him that gave them to me, that I should lose none of them, but raise them up at the last day." Blessed words of divine purpose, love, and faithfulness concerning the elect of God!
Thus far, my dear brother, have I endeavored to open my soul to you, a personal stranger to me, on some of those unspeakably precious things, which, from your letter to me, I humbly trust we know in common, having been instructed by the same Divine Teacher, and from the same Divine source. It is sweet when enabled to write or speak on these precious things, and to have communion with any of God's dear children, be their rank or station in this world what it may. For the most part they are the poor in this world that I am permitted to have communion with in divine things, and with some of them, I bless God, I have had such intercourse that I would not exchange for all that is to be found amongst the rich and noble who are destitute of God's grace in their souls. Such have nothing for me, nothing that suits my appetite or satisfies the desire of my soul, nothing that is soul-feeding, or brings with it a precious Christ into our communion. "Where two or three," says Christ, "are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." If I go to another's house to dine or drink tea, I like to go where I can expect and look out for the sensible presence of my Lord and my God. So if any come here, I would have them to be of those who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. Such society-communion is not always to be had; it is very scarce up and down; and I am for the most part found alone, though not alone, I hope, in the retirement of this secluded spot, where God sometimes brings a poor follower of Jesus, and blesses our mutual intercourses, makes me to bless him for the poor amongst his flock. I believe, and blessed be God for it, that many a poor one has had his soul refreshed in this spot where I am now writing, while I have in return had my soul enriched and heart enlarged towards my God and his dear family. May it continue so to be, from time to time, and wherever the Lord may cast my lot, till I join those who have gone before me to the presence of him where there is life for evermore. Your lot is cast in that thronged place, London, and you are made to know truth from error in what you hear preached or read from the pen of those you have never seen. A seeing eye and a hearing ear are of the blessed Spirit as the spirit of Christ, and as proceeding from the Father and the Son in his co-eternal and co-equal existence with them in the Godhead.
May the good Lord own what has been written, if it is his. I could not look for this, but as he has declared in his word that he employs base and weak instruments, and so may make use of the poor worm, the sinful dust and ashes, that has addressed these lines to you. I am, Yours in Christian Bonds,
Elmley, near Wakefield, Aug. 14,1847. ROBERT PYM.