Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects
It is well the Lord loves you, for His love is unchangeable and infinite, and in it you have Himself, who has all things, yes, is all things, abundantly and eternally! Ten thousand changes may pass over you with respect to yourself, and the people and things you are concerned with. And how miserable would you be if your happiness lay in these changing, failing, dying things? But blessed with the Lord Jehovah for your portion, your bliss in Him is full, unchanging, and everlasting. Rejoice, brother, in your wondrous lot! Oh, how goodly is your heritage! It is enough that the Lord is your portion! What can you more desire? Can you desire any good that is not to be found in God? Can you desire any joy that He, even Himself alone, cannot afford you? Let your soul from henceforth embosom itself in infinite fullness. Say to creature-vanities and vexations, "Get away! Do not disturb my repose in God. I have a sweet, soft, full bosom to rest in, from which I will not be enticed, nor driven by you."
Oh, how blessed would we be amid all changes, if we always delighted ourselves in our unchangeable God! It is our going out of the eternal I AM that occasions all our fears and griefs and heart-faintings. Our wretched hearts, deceived by the serpent, desire something else besides God to make up a 'fancied happiness' for them. And thence, after this and that creature and thing they go. And when 'catching at shadows' we find them no substance, and that pursuing them they flee from us—this gives us disquietude. And oh, how well is it for us that every creature and thing concerning soul-rest says, "It is not in me!"
This, as being fore-appointed by the Lord our Lover, is by Him sanctified—to teach our silly hearts at times a little wisdom—to turn the mouth of faith to the 'breasts of divine consolations'—to God in Christ, the full fountain, the inexhaustible ocean of solid, endless bliss of all our life and joy!
And as our full and unchangeable God, in his great and glorious self, is our exceeding joy—and by 'creature-emptiness' and 'changes' is pleased at times to bring us to his blissful bosom, so this also may be the matter of our rejoicing—that all our time-changes respecting creatures and things are overruled by our eternal and unchangeable God, for his own endless praise, and for our everlasting salvation.
And if these great ends are, and shall be, the effects of all the changes which pass over us, why need we be much distressed by the most grieving changes? Yes, why should we not rejoice in tribulation, amid a thousand losses and crosses, griefs and disappointments, which attend us in this valley of tears? What ails our silly hearts to be so displeased or distressed, when things go not to our wish? What would we have? "Oh," we say, "the Lord's glory, and our advantage in this and that." If this is our desire, this we have always, even by the greatest crosses and disappointments we meet with. "Aye," replies our silly mind, "but I wanted the Lord's glory in this or that which I desired."
And must not God, then, glorify Himself in that way which He likes best? O proud worms! Can we teach the only wise God wisdom? Shall 'creature-darkness and ignorance' dictate to, dispute with, or reprove infinite understanding? Be astonished, O Heavens, at this! What—can we, foolish, blind, weak creatures—govern the world, or anything in it, better than the almighty, all-wise Creator, preserver, and disposer of all things? Shall we, who will not allow God His sovereign right of ruling His earth, and all the creatures and things of His forming and appointing, without a rebellious sigh when our desires are crossed—be thought capable of wielding the scepter of the world? Was ever such pride, such rebellion, as that is found in us, when we will not allow our Savior to glorify Himself, and save us by such ways and things that He, in His infinite wisdom, sees best?
Adoring, let us bow down; and loving, let us bless the Lord for everything He gives, or withholds, or takes from us, if we would behave as obedient children to the Lord our Father, as the God of love and peace, who, according to the exceeding riches of His grace, has abounded towards us in all things in all wisdom and prudence. To whom be dominion and glory forever. Amen.
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