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that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Mix trembling with your mirth. Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Do aspire after a realizing sense of the holy and the heart-searching God. I want you not to be painfully intense in His service; you are in earnest, and with God's blessing you will feel your way; and I trust you will come experimentally to know that the way of sanctification, while a way of watchful, unceasing diligence, is also a way of peace, and that in quietness and in confidence you shall have strength.
May I crave a remembrance from you in your hours of intercourse with God. Give me a part in your daily prayers as you have in mine; and let the affection, which I believe to be mutual, and equally strong and sincere on your part as on mine, be thus kept alive, and receive its constant augmentations on this side of time, till it ripen to the love of a pure and happy eternity.
I looked into Watts' "Sermons" the other day. I was much struck with the title of one of them, "The hopeful youth falling short of Heaven." I had not time to read it, but presume it will be excellent. You can not, my dear sir, you can not err on the side of caution and extreme jealousy of yourself. It is not a jealousy which will disturb you, but it will direct you to the right source of strength and influence, and to the diligent use of that strength in every matter that comes before you. I should like you to read that sermon, and to have your opinion of it.
Give my kindest compliments to Miss Fortune when you see her. I intend being at home on Saturday—come and sup with me at night, spending a precious hour with me in my study. Let me know if you can read my letters easily, for, if not, I shall make a more careful exertion afterward. I beg you will always write me at very great length, as close as you can, and filling up the folded spaces of the last page. Tell Mrs. C. that I have not gotten her promised letter, and
am disappointed. You say there have only been two walking days for a whole week in Glasgow. Every day has been fair in Edinburgh, and I have walked every day. But what to me is a still more interesting point of comparison, I have lived in a clergyman's house, and he is suffered to remain in a state of the most enviable tranquillity. None of that feasting, and clamoring about attentions, and petitioning about poor, and drudgery with the work of institutions, and hard-driving at a multiplicity of secular and never-ending affairs; all of which, unless simplified and abridged, would disgust any man with a place where mere spiritual work is undervalued, and the demands of a clergyman for leisure are neither understood nor sympathized with.
Be assured of my warmest regard and unceasing prayers for you. Yours very affectionately,
No. VII.-DR. CHALMERS TO MR. THOMAS SMITH.
BLOCHAIRN, 21st December, 1815.
MY DEAR SIR-Lest we should miss each other to-day, it occurs to me to state to you, in reference to our conversation of yesterday, that you should not make it a capital aim to obtain clear and immediate views on the doctrine of election; and even, though my argument be not thoroughly acquiesced in, I can say, for your comfort, that however luminous my own conceptions may be to my own mind, I have repeatedly failed in my attempts to reach the convictions of others who were men of powerful understanding.
But what I am mainly in earnest about is, that you do not for a single moment slacken or suspend the practical work of sanctification on the solution of any speculative difficulty whatever. If to your faith you add the splendid list of accomplishments set before you in 2 Peter, i., 5–7, you will never fall, but make your calling and election sure. You do not see that election inscribed on the records of Heaven; but you are told in plain language what is the instrument by which
you make it sure to you on earth. That instrument is diligence (2 Peter, i., 5, 10); and I trust you will never let down a diligence of which I trust to see the prints upon your character in time, and to share the rewards along with you in eternity.
See 2 Peter, iii., 16. I rejoice that you are so impressed with the reality of a powerful and insidious tempter, and I would have you not to be ignorant of his devices. He may turn an anxiety after Christian doctrine into an engine for his purpose; and I beg that you will be frank enough to let me know, when you judge it for your practical benefit, that our conversation on that particular subject should be suspended.
It would furthermore give me great pleasure that you wrote me an occasional note, though you had time only for half a dozen lines: you should not, my dear sir, stand upon difficulties with me, and I have to entreat a little more confidence from you in this way than I have yet witnessed. THOMAS CHALMERS.
No. VIII.-MR. THOMAS SMITH TO DR. CHALMERS.
GLASGOW, 22d December, 1815.
MY DEAR SIR-I read the note you gave me to-day with much interest-this, indeed, has been the case with all I have received from you-but I feel very grateful to discover in your last such a kind and anxious attention to my most substantial welfare. You have placed my desire to become acquainted with a particular doctrine of Christianity in a light in which I think I should myself have viewed it, had I devoted much of my time and thoughts to the subject; but, as the matter stands at present, I trust I am far from neglecting the very few duties I can perform in obedience to the Divine will, in the pursuit of a subject that must have the same effect on my ultimate salvation, whether I am convinced of the exact manner of its operation or not. These are my present feelings on the subject. I know well, however, that I might become so interested in the business as to attend to it in prej
udice of more important duties. It is in this view that I see the importance of your warning voice, and that I beg you to lift it often, and oftener than you think there is occasion for it, because I fear very much that you have formed too high. an opinion regarding my present state, both as to my religion and morals. It requires a long acquaintance to discover the ́exact character of any person. Ours, indeed, has been inti
mate; but there are circumstances which, I think, may have operated with you too favorably toward discovering the true state of mine; and I hope you may take this hint and act upon it, faithfully pointing out what you see amiss, and I, in return, shall make it my serious business to reform.
As to the doctrine of predestination, without much anxiety, I have obtained a view of it which most entirely satisfies myself; and I only wait for the explanation of what, I must say, at present appears to me irreconcilable, viz., that under the belief of this doctrine and its actual operation, it is in the power of a person predestined to be saved, by any misconduct on his part, to forfeit his election, or vice versa. This really puzzles me a little, and I look to you for assistance. I do not forget, however, that, puzzle me as it may, if I act conscientiously in the discharge of my duties to God and man, and possess a firm faith on the merits of my Savior, both to enable me to accomplish this and to save me from my deficiencies, that I have placed myself in as good a situation to deserve reward as I possibly could; and with this comfort, which I think substantial, I shall quiet my mind, and, trusting in my Savior, I shall not be troubled, though all the questions theologians ever started were brought to bear against me.
I am aware you may think this quite unphilosophical, but I am happy in my ignorance, and have the authority of a sage for saying that he that increaseth wisdom increaseth sorrow.
My dear sir, I must now conclude; and I am happy I can say at present, what I should never have said in your presence, that I love you above all my friends on earth. Amid all the changes this world can produce, in this I trust I shall
not change, and shall carry it with me to a land beyond the world's influence. THOMAS SMITH.
No. IX.-DR. CHALMERS TO MR. THOMAS SMITH.
BLOCHAIRN, 23d December, 1815. MY DEAR SIR-Your kind note was highly gratifying to me, and, in addition to every other argument for a frequent interchange of them, I think that one mighty advantage is, that it may reduce to a point many an agitated topic, and facilitate the precise solution of many a question which would not be set at rest by the fading and the desultory conversation of whole weeks.
Your question is, "How comes it that a man predestined to salvation has it not in his power to fall away from it?" I answer, that every man may, if he will, commit sin unto perdition; but the man predestined to salvation wills not, and does not, commit any such sin. God, who decreed His salvation, decreed and foreknew all the steps that went before it. He knew the effect of every one circumstance upon His volitions; and should the practical effect of our views on predestination be that we turn careless and fall away, then God foresaw this, and knew our final destruction from the beginning, and we shall afterward know from the event that we are not foreordained unto life.
I trust that a thorough and well-grounded faith in this doctrine will at length be formed in you; but, in the mean time, make a vigorous use of all that is clearly and distinctly understood by you. I am much pleased with your humility in thinking that I have overrated your religion and your morals; but I trust I do not overrate them when I say that you hunger and thirst after righteousness; that, measuring you by others, you stand at a wide distance from all the gross and vulgar profligacies of this unhallowed generation; and while I fearlessly offer this tribute of respect to your character, will you permit me further to say, that the effect of all your doings would be hurtful did the consciousness of them go to wean