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"There is a holy hope, a truly christian hope, of which the scriptures speak, that is reckoned among the graces of the Spirit. And I think I should never desire or seek any other hope but such an one; for I believe no other hope has any holy or good tendency. Therefore this hope, this grace of hope alone, can properly be called a duty. But it is just as absurd to talk of the exercise of this holy hope, the strong exercise of this grace of the Spirit, in a carnal, stupid, careless frame, such a frame yet remaining, as it would be to talk of the strong exercises of love to God,or heavenly-mindedness, or any other grace, while remaining in such a frame. It is doubtless proper, earnestly to exhort those who are in such a frame to come out of it, in and by the strong exercise of every grace; but I should not think it proper to press a man earnestly to maintain strong hope, notwithstanding the prevailing and continuance of great carnality and stupidity, which is plainly the case of the people I opposed. For this is plainly to press people to an unholy hope, to a strong hope which is no christian grace, but strong and wicked presumption; and the promoting of this has most evidently been the effect of such a method of dealing with souls, in innumerable multitudes of awful instances.

"You seem, Sir, to suppose, that God's manner of dealing with his people, while in a secure and careless frame, is first to give assurance of their good state while they remain in such a frame, and to make use of that assurance as a mean to bring them out of such a frame. Here, again, I must beg leave to differ from you, and to think, that none of the instances or texts you adduce from scripture, do at all prove the point. I think it is his manner, first to awaken their consciences, to bring them to reflect upon themselves, to feel their own calamity which they have brought upon themselves by so departing from God, by which an end is put to their carelessness and security, and again earnestly and carefully to seek God's face before they find him, and before God restores the comfortable and joyful sense of his favour; and I think this is abundantly evident both from scripture and experience. You much insist on the case of Jonah as a clear instance of the thing you lay down. You observe that he says, chap. ii. "I said I am cast out of thy sight, yet I will look again towards thy holy temple." Ver. 5, 7, "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto thee, even into thine holy temple." You speak of these words as expressing an assurance of his good state and of God's favour; (I will not now dispute whether they do or not;) and you speak of this exercise of assurance, as his practice in an evil frame and in a careless frame; for he slept securely in the sides of the ship, manifesting dismal security, awful carelessness in a carnal frame. That Jonah was in a careless secure frame when he was asleep in the sides of the ship, I do not deny. But my dear Sir, does that prove that he remained still in a careless se

cure frame, when in his heart he said these things in the belly of the fish; does it prove that he remained careless after he was awakened, and saw the furious storm, and owned it was the fruit of God's anger towards him for his sins; and does it prove, that he still remained careless after the whale had swallowed him, when he seemed to himself to be in the belly of hell, when the water compassed him about, even to the soul, and, as he says, all God's waters and billows passed over him, and he was ready to despair when he went down to the bottoms of the mountains, was ready to think God had cast him out of his sight, and confined him in a prison, that he could never escape, when the earth with her bars was about him, forever, and his soul fainted within him? He was brought into this condition after his sleeping securely in the sides of the ship, before he said, "I will look again towards thine holy temple, etc." He was evidently first awakened out of carelessness and security, and brought into distress, before he was comforted.

"The other place you also much insist on, concerning the people of Israel, is very similar. Before God comforted them with the testimonies of his favour after their backslidings, he first, by severe chastisements together with the awakening influences of his Spirit, brought them out of their carelessness and carnal security.

appears by many passages of scripture, that this was God's way of dealing with that people. In Hos. chap. ii. we are told that God first "hedged up her ways with thorns, and made a wall that she could not find her paths. And took away her corn and wine, and wool and flax, destroyed her vines and fig-trees, and caused her mirth to cease." By this means, he roused her from her security, carelessness and deep sleep, and brought her to herself, very much as the prodigal son was brought to himself: thus God "brought her first into the wilderness, before he spake comfortably to her, and opened to her a door of hope." By her distress he first led her to say, "I will go and return to my first husband; and then, when God spake comfortably to her, she called him “Ishı, my husband;" and God did as it were renewedly betroth her unto him. This passage is parallel with Jer. iii. They serve well to illustrate and explain each other, and show that it was God's way of dealing with his people Israel, after their apostacy first to awaken them, and under a sense of their sin and misery, to bring them solicitously to seek his face, before he gave them sensible evidence of his favour; and not first to manifest his favour to them, in order to awaken them out of their security.*

In Jer. iii. the prophecy is not concerning the recovery of backsliding saints, or the mystical church, which, though she had cor

*This is evident by many passages of Scripture; as, Lev. xxvi. 40---42. Deut. xxxii. 36---39. 1 Kings viii. 21, 22. chap. i. 4---8. Ezek. xx. 35, 36, 37. Hos. v. 15, with chap. vi. 1---3. chap. xiii. 9, 10. chap. xiv. throughout.

rupted herself, still continued to be figuratively God's wife. It is concerning apostate Israel, who had forsaken and renounced her husband, and gone after other lovers, and whom God had renounced, put away, and given her a bill of divorce; (verse 8,) so that her recovery could not be, by giving her assurance of her good estate as still remaining his wife, and that God was already married unto her, for that was not true, and is not consistent with the context. And whereas it is said, verse 14," Return, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you, and I will take you one of a city;" I am married, in the Hebrew, is in the preterperfect tense; but you know, Sir, that in the language of prophecy, the pretertense is very commonly put for the future. And whereas it is said, verse 19, "How shall I put thee among the children? And I said, Thou shalt call me My father;" I acknowledge this expression here, My Father, and in Rom. viii. 15, is the language of faith. It is so two ways, 1st, It is such language of the soul, as is the immediate effect of a lively faith. I acknowledge, that the lively exercises of faith do naturally produce satisfaction of a good state, as their immediate effect. 2d, It is a language which, in another sense, does properly and naturally express the very act of faith itself, yea, the first act of faith in a sinner, before which he never was in a good state. As thus, supposing a man in distress, pursued by his enemies that sought his life, should have the gates of several fortresses set open before him, and should be called to from each of them to fly thither for refuge; and viewing them all, and one appearing strong and safe, but the rest insufficient, he should accept the invitation to that one, and fly thither with this language, "This is my fortress; this is my refuge. In vain is salvation looked for from others. Behold I come to thee; this is my sure defence." Not that he means that he is already within the fortress, and so in a good estate. But, this is my chosen fortress, in the strength of which I trust, and to which I betake myself for safety. So if a woman were solicited by many lovers, to give herself to them in marriage, and beholding the superiority of one to all the rest, should betake herself to him, with this language, “This is my husband, behold I come unto thee, thou art my spouse;" not that she means that she is already married to him, but that he is her chosen husband, etc. Thus God offers himself to sinners as their Saviour, their God and Father; and the language of the heart of him who accepts the offer by faith, is, "Thou art my Saviour; in vain is salvation hoped for from others: thou art my God and Father." Not that he is already his child, but he chooses him, and comes to him, that he may be one of his children; as in Jer. iii. 19, Israel calls God his Father, as the way to be put among the children, and to be one of them, and not as being one already; and in verses 21, 22, 23, she is not brought out of a careless and secure

state, by knowing that the Lord is her God, but she is first brought to consideration and sense of her sin and misery, weeping and supplications for mercy, and conviction of the vanity of other saviours and refuges, not only before she has assurance of her good estate, but before she is brought to fly to God for refuge, that she may be in a good estate.

"As to the instance of Job, I would only observe, that while in his state of sore affliction, though he had some painful exercises of infirmity and impatience under his extreme trials, yet he was very far from being in such a frame as I intended, when I spoke of a secure, careless, carnal frame. I doubt not, nor did I ever question it, that the saints' hope and knowledge of their good estate, is in many cases of great use to help them against temptation, and the exercises of corruption.

"With regard to the case of extraordinary temptations and buffettings of Satan, which you mention, I do not very well know what to say further. I have often found my own insufficiency as a counsellor in cases, where melancholy and bodily distemper have so much influence, and give Satan so great advantage, as appears to me in the case you mention. If the Lord do not help, whence should we help? If some Christian friends of such afflicted and (as it were) possessed persons, would, from time to time, pray and fast for them, it might be a proper exercise of Christian charity, and the likeliest way I know for relief. I kept no copy of my former letter to you, and so do not remember fully what I have already said concerning this case. But this I have often found with such melancholy people, that the greatest difficulty does not lie in giving them good advice, but in persuading them to take it. One thing I think of great importance, which is, that such persons should go on in a steady course of performance of all duties, both of their general and particular calling, without suffering themselves to be diverted from it by any violence of Satan, or specious pretence of his whatsoever, properly ordering, proportioning and timing, all sorts of duties, duties to God, public, private and secret, and duties to man, relative duties, of business and conversation, family duties, duties of friendship and good neighbourhood, duly proportioning labour and rest, intentness and relaxation, without suffering one duty to crowd out or intrench upon another. If such persons could be persuaded to this, I think, in this way, they would be best guarded against the devil, and he would soonest be discouraged, and a good state of body would be most likely to be gained, and persons would act most as if they trusted and rested in God, and would be most in the way of his help and blessing.

"With regard to what you write concerning immediate revalations, I have thought of it, and I find I cannot say any thing to purpose, without drawing out this letter to a very extraordinary length, and

I am already got to such length, that I had need to ask your exI have written enough to tire your patience.

cuse.

"It has indeed been with great difficulty that I have found time to write much. If you knew my extraordinary circumstances, I doubt not, you would excuse my not writing any more. I acknowledge the subject you mention is very important. Probably if God spares my life, and gives me opportunity, I may write largely upon it. I know not how Providence will dispose of me; I am going to be cast on the wide world, with my large family of ten children. -I humbly request your prayers for me under my difficulties and trials.

"As to the state of religion in this place and this land, it is at present very sorrowful and dark. But I must, for a more particular account of things, refer you to my letter to Mr. M'LAURIN of Glasgow, and Mr. ROBE. So, asking a remembrance in your prayers, I must conclude, by subscribing myself, with much esteem and respect,

"Your obliged brother and servant,

"JONATHAN EDWARDS."*

*The Postscript of this letter, under date of July 6, 1750, is reserved for a ubsequent page.

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