Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects
I am glad that you see your own exceeding vileness. The exceeding riches of God's free grace in using you will be thereby the more abundantly displayed in your sight. We are indeed, Sir, in what the Lord does by us, "like the tools that the workman takes into his hand, by which he does his work as pleases him;" only there is this difference—the workman chooses tools that are fit for his work, and not such as will be troublesome and offensive to him therein. But the Lord chooses the worst, the basest, the vilest things to work with, that the excellency of the power might be of God and not of us, and the exceeding riches of His grace displayed—while our unworthiness and vileness serve as a foil to commend and reflect His infinite glory!
I an sure of this—that the Lord takes the worst, else He had never taken vile, provoking me, to do the least service by. But so it is, because grace reigns, and forever shall free grace have all the glory, while I, humbled before the majesty thereof and happy under its glorious shine, do loath myself in my own sight for all my abominations.
The Lord can work by whom He will. And to show His power and grace, He takes the most unworthy and unfit, and makes them fit for His work. He puts a value upon worthless worms as if they were well deserving, and upon their work as if it was well done, whereas, all the good that was done was from Himself, and all the evil that attended us in doing of it He casts into the depths of the sea—into the infinite depths of His pardoning grace and the merit of the Redeemer's blood. This is the Lord! This is our God!
Truly, we are like knotty, cross-grained wood, which requires much skill, labor, and patience in the workman that works it, and a variety of instruments to be used upon it to bring it to that order, beauty and usefulness which other wood is easily wrought unto. But the Lord, our glorious worker, will not give over working upon such knotty, cross-grained pieces as we, nor will He ever become weary of His work, because, in His infinite, free, unchangeable love, He has taken us into His own hand to work us for Himself, and is firmly resolved that He will off with all our knots and ruggedness, whatever it cost Him, whatever ways and means to effect it, and put such a beauty, usefulness, and glory upon us, even upon us, the worst pieces that could be found, as therein and thereby to show His art, power, and patience as God, and the exceeding riches of His grace, upon us the vessels of mercy, whom in His eternal counsels and designs, He had afore prepared unto endless glory.
He is resolved to bring us up to that pattern of glory which He had in His eye; to make us perfectly conformed to the image of His Son in holiness and glory; and for this great good, all things, as so many instruments in His hand, the great, the Almighty Agent does jointly, harmoniously and continually work together.