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LI. To MR FULK ELLIS

Ellis was an Irish Presbyterian serving as a captain in the Scottish army.

WORTHY AND MUCH HONOURED IN OUR LORD, — Grace, mercy, and peace be to you.

1. I am glad of our more than paper acquaintance. Seeing we have one Father, it reckoneth the less, though we never see one another’s face. I profess myself most unworthy to follow the camp of such a worthy and renowned Captain as Christ.

2. As for our lovely and beloved church in Ireland, my heart bleedeth for her desolation; but I believe that our Lord is only lopping the vine-trees, but not intending to cut them down, or root them out. It is but folly to measure the Gospel by summer or winter weather: the summer-sun of the saints shineth not on them in this life. How should we have complained, if the Lord had turned the same providence that we now stomach at upside down, and had ordered matters thus, that first the saints should have enjoyed heaven, glory, and ease, and then Methuselah’s days of sorrow and daily miseries? We would think a short heaven no heaven. Certainly His ways pass finding out.

3. Ye complain of the evil of heart-atheism: but it is to a greater atheist than any man can be, that ye write of that. Oh, light findeth not that reverence and fear which a plant of God’s setting should find in our soul! How do we by nature, as others, detain and hold captive the truth of God in unrighteousness, and so make God’s light a bound prisoner? Certainly there cometh great mist and clouds from the lower part of our souls, our earthly affections, to the higher part, which is our conscience, either natural or renewed: as smoke in a lower house breaketh up, and defileth the house above. If we had more practice of obedience, we should have more sound light. I think, lay aside all other guiltiness, that this one, the violence done to God’s candle in our soul, were a sufficient ditty against us. There is no helping of this but by striving to stand in awe of God’s light. I see there is a necessity that we protest against the doings of the Old Man, and raise up a party against our worst half, to accuse, condemn, sentence, and with sorrow bemoan, the dominion of sin’s kingdom; and withal make law, in the New Covenant, against our guiltiness. For Christ once condemned sin in the flesh, and we are to condemn it over again. And if there had not been such a thing as the grace of Jesus, I should have long since given up with heaven, and with the expectation to see God. But grace, grace, free grace, the merits of Christ for nothing, white and fair, and large Saviour-mercy, have been, and must be, the rock that we drowned souls must swim to. New washing, renewed application of purchased redemption, by that sacred blood that sealeth the free Covenant, is a thing of daily and hourly use to a poor sinner. And even when we have won the castle, then must we eternally sing, ‘Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, who has saved us, and washed us in His own blood.’

ABERDEEN, Sept. 7, 1637

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