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I have one more reigning desire in my heart that has been there for many years, which has never yet been fully granted, though I really believe it will in God's own time and way; and, when it is accomplished, perhaps my dear friend may hear from me again. Till then, farewell. Be of good comfort, and the God of peace shall be with thee.
Ever thine in faith and affection,
BABES IN GRACE;
DIVERSION FOR INFANTS
HOLE OF THE ASP.
BEHOLD, I GIVE UNTO YOU POWER TO TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, AND OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY; AND NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU. LUKE X. 19.
To the Congregational Churches of Christ at Providence Chapel, and at Richmond in Surry, with their Deacons.
Dear Brethren in the Household of Faith, and FellowSubjects in the Kingdom and Patience of Christ,
SOME of you very earnestly solicited me to publish this discourse after the delivery of it; which solicitation I could not then comply with, as I had so many things on my hands, and so little time to attend to them; but, having now published to the world the greatest part of the dealings of God with me, I am willing to comply with your former request.
I chose to dedicate this discourse to you in humble acknowledgment of the manifold favours which you have shewed me in the erection of the chapel, from your assiduous care in managing the outward matters thereof for me, without burdening me in the study, and from your liberality in supporting the cause of God with honour.
I know the title of this discourse will give an offence, as most people imagine all religion to be something gloomy and melancholy, and that, as soon as persons become serious in the ways of God, they immediately become miserable, and therefore are fit for nothing but an hermitage or a
madhouse. However, if there be no happiness in the favour of God, I am sure there is none in his wrath; because a guilty conscience, which is the harbinger of wrath, always pursues the sinner.
Nor are real Christians without their various diversions; but then they are all of a spiritual nature, fit for spiritual gamesters; and hence it is that entangling the minds and affections of sinne ̈s, and alluring them to Christ with gospel promises, is called fishing, Mark i. 17. Struggling with God under the Spirit's influence for blessings is called wrestling, Gen. xxxii. 24. Keeping up a close union with God in gospel diligence is called running the race that is set before us, Heb. xii. 1. And grasping the highest attainments in grace is called attaining the mark that secures the prize of our high calling, Phil. iii. 14. In short, he is allowed to be a good gamester, and to play the best of games, that wins Christ, though he lose every thing else. "But what things were gain to me, those I accounted loss for Christ: yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ,” Phil. iii. 7, 8. The Lord keep you all in the simplicity of the gospel, and then you will play with safety, though it be at the hole of the asp. The breast of consolation, in the mouth of crying and praying Faith, affords such nourishment to Babes