My dear Friends, -- May the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and, minds through Jesus Christ.
Distance and want of money prevent me from visiting you so often in person as I could wish, therefore I must visit you by letter; and it would be most pleasing to me to find that the blessings of life and peace were communicated to you, both by my personal and epistolary visits. The fountain of life and peace is the eternal purpose of a covenant God. David says, “With thee is the fountain of life.” Christ crucified and, the Holy Spirit, as fulfilling covenant engagements, are the two main streams that flow from the everlasting spring. God sent his Son into this world that we might live through him, says John. Jesus obtained the enjoyment of that life for us, by his obedience and death. The Spirit quickens us, who were: dead in trespasses and sins, and abides with us forever, to preserve our souls in life, and to keep our feet from falling.
The revelation of the good will of God in Christ, of the finished work of the Savior, and of the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, which revelation is made by the gospel in its declarations, invitations, promises, and, encouragements, is the channel in which the water of life runs. Hence it is called “the word of life,” in opposition to the law, which is the ministration of death and condemnation. Therefore living children go to the river which makes glad the city of God, viz., Zion, where that river flows. Those who have a name to live, and yet are dead, still encompass the old mount, and seek righteousness, as it were, by the works of the law, and are so blinded that they deny doing so. Upon Mount Zion God commanded the blessing, even life forevermore. So sang the sweet Psalmist of Israel. But Zion is God’s chosen, redeemed people The bond-children deny this. God’s election they hate and oppose. The whole world and not a peculiar are redeemed according to their account. Therefore Mount Zion is in no estimation with them. But, blessed be God, we love it, and adore that divine sovereignty that made it his own, “I will say unto Zion, It is my people.” Let who will deny; oppose, rage at, or ridicule her walls, towers, and bulwarks, her foundation, inhabitants, and their privileges, they are made too secure by covenant wisdom, love, faithfulness, and power, ever to be overcome.
“Then you may live as you list, and do as you please,” say they. No, we cannot. We cannot do what we would, because of sin; and we cannot sin as we would because of grace. The spirit lusteth against the flesh, as well as the flesh lusteth: against the spirit.
“But Jesus hath his promise pass’d
That grace shall overcome at last.”
Blessed be God for all his mercies.—Yours affectionately,
Sunderland, Feb. 7, 1829.