I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.—John 6.51.

[A Letter by Mr. Walter Smith to Janet Fimerton.]
 
A  LETTER  by  godly  Mr.  WALTER  SMITH,  from
       Utrecht  in  Holland,  November  12,  1679,  in
       answer to a line from  Janet  Fimerton  in Edin-
       burgh,  who was esteemed a singular  Christian,
       of deep exercises,  high  attainments,  and great 
       experience  in  the  serious  exercise  and  solid 
       practice of godliness:   and as his answers were 
       edifying to her,  when  under  a  cloud,  so they 
       may be of use to others, when crying out of the
       like deeps.
DEAR FRIEND,—I am glad to hear of your good success in learning to write, imployed for the Lord. I read your line without any difficulty, but there are many at your hand to give you good counsel, but especially in the family where you are. They are persons whom I judge fitted of the Lord to be helpful to any in your case, or I know none in the world; but, at your desire, I shall express my feckless thoughts concerning your ease. And (1st) where you say your heart is sore, because you know not if you have rightly closed with Christ. O that these sweet days might come, wherein I might see and hear many so exercised! But, for your clearing, consider that there is a difference betwixt sanctification and justification. I will be far from putting you from that duty of crying to get your will truly renewed, as you say; but I am apt to think that it is a further degree of sanctification you would be at. But (2dly) you say you think you have not fled out of yourself to Christ for righteousness. A mistake here, I confess, is of greater consequence than all that is in the world besides, and therefore we are bidden make our calling and election sure; but I hope your mistake is not of the worst sort. For some take presumption and self-confidence for real faith; but others, that have indeed laid hold on that everlasting rock, our blessed Lord Jesus, for life and salvation, cannot be perswaded that they have so done, they would so fain be sure. And here also Satan strikes in, to fill the soul with anxiety, to divert from necessary duties, and to rob us of our comfortable rejoicing that we should have in entertaining the faith of our Lord's appearance. But (3dly) what would you do if you had assurance that you had fled to him for righteousness? etc. Would you not look to him, and wait upon him, for both justification and sanctification of mere mercy? And would you not study to be in a continual dependence upon him, and acknowledge his justice tho he should thrust you down to the pit? Well, then, do so now, and your salvation is sure, whether Christ give you his backbond or no. But (4thly) if you will consider, hath not the Lord sometimes so framed your heart, so as he, and he only, hath been highest in your soul's esteem, and that it was for himself you took him for your only king, head and husband; and did you not vow and give away yourself to him as such, and so did abominate Satan, self, and their accomplices? Well then, 'As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.' But (5thly) ask your heart, whether you have any righteousness by nature, or by your life in his sight, when, tho' you were righteous, you could not profit him. If not, then ask (6thly) whether or no you be willing to [be] made beautiful through his comliness only. Well then, if you be so, I know well he is, and it is he only that makes you so; come away then, and the bargain is sure. But (7thly) will you not be content, if he for holy and wise ends carry you through without assurance? I do not mean that you should faint or grow slack in seeking after it, but a holy submission is all that I would be at. But I say no more as to this; I refer you, and what I have said, to my faithful and dear friends, particularly these three with whom you are. Let holiness, prayer and supplication, charity, zeal and love possess your heart. As to you hearing, I hope the burnt bairn will be so wise as to fear the fire. The casting off all ministers is both sinful and dangerous, and hath had and will have bad and sad effects and consequences in Scotland. The Lord is arising, yea coming; let us cry and fast, and watch strictly, and mourn over the desolations of the land, and the sad breaches he has made among us. Cry without ceasing, never give him rest, till he arise and be merciful to his land and people, and favour the lot of his inheritance. Burden me with letters, and excuse me tho' I get them not all answered. The Lord hath put a price in my hand, and I am sometimes busy. We have very few friends here, but we are very well seen to. But, O pray, pray much for us; for a wrong cast is soon gotten, but not so easily cast off.—I am your friend in the Lord,

WALTER SMITH.