The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Voice of Faith in the Valley of Achor:Vol. 1 [of 2], by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Voice of Faith in the Valley of Achor: Vol. 1 [of 2] being a series of letters to several friends on religious subjectsAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: January 4, 2019 [eBook #58616]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE VOICE OF FAITH IN THE VALLEYOF ACHOR: VOL. 1 [OF 2]***
Transcribed from the 1820 (second) R. Thomas edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]
VOICE OF FAITH,
Valley of Achor:
Series of Letters
ON RELIGIOUS SUBJECTS.
PRINTED BYR. THOMAS, RED LION STREET, BOROUGH.
Valley of Achor, Aug.10, 1818.
To Mr. K—G.
Many thanks for the loan of theinvaluable books, containing the last fragments of the latevenerable and spiritual Jenkins, ofLewes.—Surely it may be said with propriety, “Hebeing dead yet speaketh,” but it is only to those who aretaught of God. We speak, says the Apostle, to wise men, notto unhumbled, unrenewed, carnal men, nor to mere nominalprofessors, nor to those who are barely resting in a form ofwords, tho’ sound—such persons cannot digest theexperimental truths they contain; there was a time once when theywould not suit me, but I have found them exceedingly precious;nor do I think that tried man had a sensation, a trial, a grief,a temptation, an enemy, a sin, a corruption, a fear, a doubt, ormisgiving, but what the Lord has permitted me to feel; nor do Ithink he was favored me with one token or pleasing hope, an help,a deliverance, a gracious smile, or a display of the divinefaithfulness, in the application and fulfilment of the promises,but the Lord has also indulged me with similar mercies. Imust recommend them to the poor of Christ’s flock p. 4who wait on andfor the Lord, till pardoning mercy is revealed with somepower.—I know you are anxious to learn how I go on in soulmatters, this is the main concern with you and with all my realfriends in Christ. I have now no other way left to informyou satisfactorily, but by letter, and I certainly could fillvolumes on the subject of my daily experience of the teachings ofthe ever blessed Spirit; nor have I any objection to make thissubject known to you, and to all those who are concerned for mybest interest: this is the principal point, to exalt the LordJesus, in the grand displays of his grace to the mostunworthy—and I can say to his glory, he has,I trusts most effectually humbled me in the dust, laid me low,shewed me such views of sin as I never saw before, and quickenedmy soul to feel what it never so sensibly and deeply feltbefore. I do experience that the tendency of hisgracious influences meeken, soften, and humble the heart;rendering it also teachable and grateful. This I coulddemonstrate by reciting a variety of experiences I have beenfavored with, but I pass by numbers, to relate one in particular,that I can never forget in this and a coming world.
After I had been in this furnace some weeks, in which I feltas others do in similar cases, much grief, anger, rebellion, anddiscontent, but not quite without a spirit of prayer, that Imight be favored with the very gracious visits of the Saviour,and a sense of God’s approbation in my own soul, thoughdespised by others. I entreated the Lord to shew me theexceeding sinfulness of sin, as well as I could bear it, for I amconvinced no man could ever behold sin in all its malignity, nonebut the God-Man could bear p. 5that—yet I desired to see sin asmost abominable in God’s sight. These petitions werein time answered; the Lord led me to reflect deeply in my retiredmoments, on the nature of sin, original and actual.—Thisknowledge of it increased, till one evening, being alone, I wasmost completely overpowered with a solemn stillness of spirit, aview of sin, my own sins of heart, lip, and life; these croudedin my mind. I felt guilty. I stood condemned. Ihad a fearful apprehension of God’s just displeasure; allwas dark within, except sin and the anger of God—these wereclear enough; horror overwhelmed me, and I sunk low at thefootstool of divine mercy; I feared, I trembled, I was broughtlow, I was troubled. I saw nothing of a Saviour, though Ihad so often preached about him. Head notions were nothingnow—past experience was hid, and every gracious promise ofthe Bible was closed up for a time. What a state to bein! But I believe this was drinking of the bitter cup ourSaviour drank so deeply: this was, in one sense, being crucifiedwith Christ, and having fellowship with him in hissufferings. These feelings will give a man a realunderstanding of all those texts which refer to soul trouble, inthe book of Job, the Psalms of David, the feelings of Jeremiah,and perhaps, what Paul felt during the three days he was withoutsight, and did neither eat nor drink. These feelings willmake me sympathize with the soul that is afflicted, andexperiences the terrors of the Almighty.
But I do esteem it among my many special favors, that this didnot continue but part of a night. I sank down in shame andguilt, condemning myself and acknowledging the justice of God inmy condemnation. p. 6But while in this state, thus broken,contrite, and filled with holy awe, I was kept pleading formercy, present mercy as well as future. While on my kneesprostrate, as Elijah on another occasion, or, as Jeremiah wordsit, Putting my mouth in the dust; and although I really wasfilled with fear lest I should be cut off, yet at this very timethe Lord gently led my mind, or rather brought the followingwords, very softly to my heart; they were at first seemingly at adistance, but drew nearer at I listened and observed them. The words were, “I have caused thine iniquities to passfrom thee, and have clothed thee with change ofraiment.” I observed, my mind could not gladlyreceive this sentence, fearing presumption—but they stillfollowed me, and abode with me, till the horror, terror, fears,and darkness gradually dispersed, and my mind was enabled so farto receive them as to cause a present ease, which continued withme a few days longer. I found the peace they brought withthem continue, and I was in a small degree helped to believe theywere from God to me, and as much mine as they wereJoshua’s, to whom they were spoken; but though my thoughtswere in a measure fixed upon them, yet I was not without beingassaulted with some misgivings of heart. I concluded itbest to entreat the Lord to shew me this more powerfully, and notonly to put the words in my mind, but to write them soeffectually that I might know, without the shadow of a doubt, Iwas actually interested in the capital blessings the wordscontained. This was most divinely manifested in a few daysafterwards, as I was in the act of reading some remarks of thetruly excellent Mr. Toplady, onJustification by the imparted Righteousness of the adorableGod-Man. I p.7was actually overcome with a sweet surprize of the loveof God to me in Christ Jesus, making his dear Son a sin offering,and his people righteousness in him. I was enabled to feelsuch solid peace, holy joy, and sacred pleasure in my soul as cannever be described by tongue or pen. I was melted by thepower of his love, and indulged with such access to God, thatevery doubt, fear, and misgiving of heart was removed. Isaw, I knew, I felt that I was reconciled to God, and that Godwas my Father, my Saviour, and my Comforter.—Oh, that I hadthen sunk into the arms of death! O that I had beenpermitted to take my flight; at that time the Saviour had engagedmy heart, nor could I then have sinned against him for theworld. I want many such sweet manifestations of hissensible presence; and I can assure you, painful as my situationis, I would gladly endure it again for such enjoyments. ButI must observe, these blessed seasons are unknown to carnalprofessors, and never enjoyed, even by the favorites of heavenwhile in a light, careless, carnal frame of soul; no—thepromise runs thus, “To this man will I look, (and surely itwas a look of love which I experienced) and with him will Idwell, who is poor and of a contrite heart, and that trembles atmy word.”
Knowing you can rejoice in my prosperity, having mourned in myadversity, I write thus freely.—Do as you please with theletter; if it is of any consolation to your spiritualacquaintances, let them read it likewise, but let them remember,I do not send it to gain applause, but that they may glorify Godon my behalf. And as to many others, I am very sorry I everhad their good opinion at all.
p. 8I mustjust remark, that such blessed sensations as I have heredescribed, is not believing, but rather the end of our faith, thepresent salvation of the soul. It is a manifestation ofpardoning mercy, as an evidence of full and free justification inChrist—this is, in the best of senses, obtaining mercy; assuch, I shall make bold to change my subscription from J. C. tothe name the Lord has given to elect Gentiles, in the secondchapter of Hosea.—Wishing you a clean hand, a warm heart,and a holy life,
I remain, your’s in him,
Achor’s Vale,April 7, 1818.
Mrs. H—L, Sen.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE been much grieved to hearof your deep afflictions of body. I wish it lay in my powerto visit you, to read, pray, and converse with you. We havespent some pleasant hours together in speaking of him wholoved us better than he loved himself; who did not grudgeto give his very life for us; and I really believe, if itwas needful, he would do it again, and not only so, but Ibelieve he would have done all he did, if it wasonly for the salvation of one individual of hispeople. Alas, my dear Mother; what do we know of hislove, the love of a God? p. 9All the knowledge the brightest saintupon earth has of that subject is a mere nothing to the subjectitself. I want clearer apprehensions of it. I want tofeel its warming power. I want to see its divineexcellency. I want to rejoice in the God of love; he hasdealt well with me since I have been in this place. I trusthe has both pardoned and subdued that in me whichwas contrary to his holy will. But I want thisblessing carried on in every hour’s experience. Maythe ever-blessed Spirit give us to believe in the love which Godhas for us, and enable us to give credit to this most precioustruth for ourselves, “I have blotted out as a thick cloudthy sins.”
I really think we are often mistaken about our love to Christ;for we fancy we have no spiritual affection for him, because weare not in raptures of love with him; but let me remind you ofwhat the holy Apostle says of the matter. I have not timeor room in this short letter, to enlarge upon the subject, yet byreading it yourself in the 13th of the 1st of Cor. it maystir up your mind, and confirm you in the persuasion ofGod’s