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XXXVII. To EARLSTON, the younger

See also Letter LVI.

MUCH HONORED AND WELL BELOVED IN THE LORD, Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Your letters give a dash to my laziness in writing.

I must first tell you, that there is not such a glassy, icy, and slippery piece of way betwixt you and heaven, as Youth; and I have experience to say with me here, and to seal what I assert. The old ashes of the sins of my youth are new fire of sorrow to me. I have seen the devil, as it were, dead and buried, and yet rise again, and be a worse devil than ever he was: therefore, my brother, beware of a green young devil, that has never been buried. Yet I must tell you, that the whole saints now triumphant in heaven, and standing before the throne, are nothing but a pack of redeemed sinners.

I shall be loath to put you off your fears, and your sense of deadness: I wish it were more. There be some wounds of that nature, that their bleeding should not be soon stopped. Ye must take a house beside the Physician. It will be a miracle if ye be the first sick man whom He put away uncured, and worse than He found you. ‘Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6.37). Take ye that. It cannot be presumption to take that as your own, when you find that your wounds stound you. He that can tell his tale and send such a letter to heaven as he has sent to Aberdeen, it is very like he will come speed with Christ. It bodeth God’s mercy to complain heartily for sin.

Now for myself; alas! I am not the man I go for in this nation: men have not just weights to weigh me in. Oh, but I am a silly, feckless body, and overgrown with weeds; corruption is rank and fat in me. Oh, if I were answerable to this holy cause, and to that honorable Prince’s love for whom I now suffer! If Christ should refer the matter to me (in His presence I speak it), I might think shame to vote my own salvation. I think Christ might say, ‘Thinkest thou not shame to claim heaven, who does so little for it?’ I am very often so, that I know not whether I sink or swim in the water.

Grace be with you,

ABERDEEN, June 16, 1637

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