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THE BELIEVER'S DESIRE TO BE DELIVERED FROM SIN,
the answer is, when taught by the Spirit-without whose enlightening all is vain-Yes, there is; “ All manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven to the sons of men.' And this is a sweet moment to the soul.
But these words were written by David, and are the cry of the believer, after having known the Lord for many years ;
• Create in me a clean heart," &c. They suit the Christian all his days. The conflicts with sin are not only various, but very severe; and “let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall;" only let the Lord leave you to yourself, and you will be a Manasseh, a David, or a Peter ; there is no kind of sin you will not commitnone too vile for your wicked heart to invite and fall in with. How often is the believer taken by surprise! How little did he think this or that evil existed within, till it was stirred, and he found, by painful experience, its influence over him! And oh! how daily are we compelled to see and acknowledge that this vile body must return and mingle with the earth, ere it can be made the pure residence of the Triune Jehovah.
When the Spirit shines within to convict, sin that did not appear, now appears exceedingly sinful; and while there is no promise made to us of being delivered from the in-being or influence of sin in the body, yet it is promised that we shall be delivered from the power and dominion of it as formerly ; so that “sin shall not have dominion over you." And though the falls and backslidings of heart of the Lord's covenant people are so overruled by Infinite Wisdom as to make them more careful and circumspect, yet they cannot sin that grace may abound. How often, believer, under one fall, one breaking out of corruption, or one conviction of guilt or another, have you been sent to a throne of grace, and there cried mightily to God; and having been melted, you are more humble, more gentle, less censorious, less puffed up, and much less in self-esteem. But you cannot live in habitual sin in this frame, or think lightly of guilt ; you cannot join the enemies of the Saviour's cross, or those whose end is destruction. Oh, no! And if ever you should indulge in sin and gratify the flesh, you will find, to your cost, the word of God true; “If my children forsake my law, and walk not in my statutes, I will visit their offences with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes.". Yes, God will and does punish his people for sin-sin committed against light. David found it so, to the sorrow of his soul, all his latter days. Then where is our security ? In the everlasting covenant. God's love is fixed, and, like Jehovah himself, knows no change. Whom he loved in eternity past, he will never leave and never forsake. This is all my salvation, all my desire, and all my support in temptation, in sorrow, in pain, in bitter conflicts with Satan and sin; amidst fiery darts from hell, and everything around in battle array,
this is the bottom on which is fixed the weary, tried, tempted, and buffetted soul; upon this rock was built the hope of every saint recorded in Holy Writ, and all who are now in glory. The Lord grant, believer, to you and me, to know more of his electing love, and continually to lift up our voice in the heavenly, though it may be low, accents of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, “ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me;" and remember, the period will arrive when sin, which now harasses and distracts your heaven-born soul, will be done away; you will then drop this sinful body, and the evils which are now your burden and your hate, will be vanquished for ever, and you will then be holy as Christ the Lord is holy, and "pure as he is pure ;" and thus be as entirely free from the being of sin as you are now, in God's everlasting purpose, from the condemnation due to sin, and be
presented, faultless, before the presence of the Redeemer's glory, with exceeding great joy." Leicester, Nov. 15th, 1841.
THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD.
How true it is that we have lived to see the time when men are scorched with great heat, and blaspheme the name of God, who hath power over these plagues, and repent not to give him the glory. But this we know, that acknowledging the hand of God, having recourse to him in time of trouble, repenting of the evil, will always be attended with deliverance from it.
The dreadful events that have, and are now taking place in the world, are God's judgments sent abroad in the earth, and we are likely to feel them also. Every ineans that human wisdom could devise, or wealth and power execute, have been exerted to stem the torrent; but it will be vain for us to expect help, unless by the means God himself bas appointed-prayer, supplication, and repentance to him that hath power over the plagues (Rev. xxi. 9).
Let us, then, acknowledge his hand and justice in his judgments; let us reflect they are all from him ; let us iy to that hand alone that can save us; let us beseech him who has promised that he will, if we acknow. ledge his name, and call upon him in the time of trouble, help and deliver us.
To whom besides can we go in our extremity? He alone is our God and our Saviour. Let us fly for deliverance to him who dwelleth in Mount Zion, and we shall be heard; whether individually or nationally, we shall be helped, for he cannot deny himself ; “ Call upon me, saith the Lord, in the time of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."
Let us not deceive ourselves by a reliance on a mere religious profession of his name an empty, external worship—a sectarian, party, or ceremonious show; it is of no avail with God. Many have been deceived; their hearts and affections not being with him, have not prevailed—have therefore been given into their enemies' hands, by whose hands they have sometimes fallen. Unless we draw nigh to him with our hearts, praying in the spirit of our minds, from our inmost souls, under a due sense of the want of what we ask and his power to perform, we worship in vain, in vain we call upon him; all religious formalities are but solemn mockeries of him.
Whoever can approach him thus, and thus worship the Lord, with their thoughts and consciences exposed naked to his view, his hand, which is now stretched out in judgment over the world, will be stayed, and lifted up in their behalf; the sword and the rod will cease, and he will deliver them, as he did Israel of old, and all in such case to the end of time.
True, we are religious ; that I grant you, very religious--what of that? So were the nations that have suffered. But remember, that godliness, not religion of any kind, is prevailing with the Lord. Nations and people may be exceedingly religious and exceedingly wicked ; therefore they are given up of the Lord to judgment, and into the hands of the wicked. Godliness alone, and not religion, is that which brings down the mercy of God to the saving of people and nations.
wisdom of Jesus—and as most fearful, discouraged, and ready to halt, we come entreating the Lord to put his hand afresh to the work, to revive us as the corn, and to cause us to grow up into Him, our living Head, in all things. We delight in the language of his ancient church, and venture to adopt it as being most suitably descriptive of our own helpless state and condition, " We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee”. (2 Chron. xx. 12). Yes, precious Lord-our only refuge, strength, and dwelling-place-our eyes are upon thee, and thee alone, for all needful grace, strength, and help; beseeching thee to put forth thine almighty power on our behalf, as thou didst for thy servants of old ; leading us on through life, amidst its various perplexities and sorrows, sustaining in weakness, guiding in obscurity, and guarding in danger; upholding in death, cheering us in the dark vale, comforting us as the shades of evening gather around us, and giving us faith's retrospect of all the way by which thou hast led us, to prove us and to show us what was in our hearts ; and being our blessed portion to all eternity, when time, with all its concerns, shall have passed away. “Hallelujah! hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”
A WATCHWORD FOR ALL WHO PROFESS AND CALL
Beware of men.- .-Matt. x. 17. This is the caution which the Son of God gave to his disciples, when he ministered among them on earth, and the Holy Ghost caused it to be penned, that the true church of God might use it as a watchword to the end of time; and never since this caution dropped from the lips of Jesus, has it been more needed than now; for men seem to vie with the prince of darkness who shall most effectually oppose the kingdom of Christ and the spiritual interests of his blood-bought family.
“Beware of men !"—not merely of profane men, open infidels ; but little caution is necessary respecting them, because “ the show of their countenance doth witness against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not” (Isa. iii. 9); but the men who assume the profession of Christianity, without possessing its vital principle, are the men of whom the Saviour's watchword is, “ Beware!" the men who put on the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof-whose carnal minds and carnal interests have always warred against the pure truth of God, and perverted the whole plan of salvation by lying fables and human traditions, seducing the souls of millions to utter destruction.
This baneful poison produced the monster Popery in the days of Constantine, when carnal men professed to be Christians because the emperor professed to be such, and thrust themselves into priestly office, blending priestly power with political power, until superstition and tyranny supplanted Christianity, and exercised a despotic sway over
mankind; proudly dictating to every man's conscience, plundering his property, degrading his existence, and pretending to power over his eternal destiny: so that priestcraft sat like an infernal incubus over the entire population of Christendom, and spread its darkness, horror, and death over this favoured land, with tortures and cruelties perfectly satanic.
That awful night was chased away by the glorious Reformation, and the principles of liberty have had a shining day; but who does not see the evening shades gathering all around us again, threatening midnight darkness with tempestuous horror ? Intellectual pride vaunts itself against the light of revelation ; superstition is trampling upon the siinplicity of the Gospel ; and error, of every name and form, is at war with the truth.
There is now scarcely a city or town in England but in which there are men sprung up in the office of priest (some Papist, some Puseyite), who are using all their efforts to bring back those dark days and those degrading superstitions which dishonour God, foster the pride of man, and delude millions of souls fatally ; and hence the importance of our Saviour's watchword, " Beware of men !" for these men are doing more mischief than devils could do without them.
“ Beware of men" who boast of apostolical succession, which they cannot prove, and who are no more like the apostles of our Lord, either in doctrine or character, than sin is like holiness or Satan like God. See what monstrous opinions they broach, such as baptismal regeneration, which rejects the ministry of the Holy Ghost; priestly absolution, which insults and virtually denies Christ; ecclesiastical authority, which sets at nought the word and the decrees of God the Father, and thus genders atheism, by denying all the Persons of the Godhead. Can they be honest, when they know that there is not a word in all the New Testament to sanction the existence of an official human priesthood, Christ only being the priest of the Gospel church after the order of Melchisedec ? Can they be honest in their boasted reference to the fathers, when they know that the usurpation of ecclesiastical power, and the right of one Christian minister to exercise authority over others, were never allowed in the churches for 300 years after Christ's ascension to glory?
“ Beware of men !" such as our dear Redeemer has described, "who desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers ” (Luke, xx. 46). And again, the same Divine Teacher says, they outwardly appear righteous before men, but within are full of hypocrisy and iniquity ; therefore he denounces them as serpents and a generation of vipers, who shall not escape the damnation of hell (Matt. xxiii. 28-33). Indeed, whoever would see a full-length portrait of Puseyism, has only to read the whole of the twenty-third chapter of Matthew. It has enslaved the finest minds; it has prostrated the brightest genius ; it has sugared the '
most virulent poison ; and sainted the most reprobate enemies to vital godliness ; in fact, it has outdone Popery itself in deception.
Many, in excess of religious zeal, have persecuted each other to death; and under profession of what they called Christian religion, have each beseeched God to give them power to destroy one another. Had the Lord complied with their requests, there had not been a living soul in Christendom at this day~no, nor perhaps on earth ; yet they call themselves Christians. The Lord hears not the cry of such, but of the godly and godliness alone. Religion is one thing-godliness another; religious zeal, not godliness, crucified Christ, and has wasted the churches in all ages. Godliness did not act so, nor ever will.
Religious, fiery zeal leads man to hate man-nation, nation-party, party, religious, bigoted zeal provokes to strife, wrath, wars, jealousies, and murders; the prayers of such go not up before God—he shuts his ears against them. Has mere religion saved any nation? What nation that has fallen was without it? Some of them that have fallen have excelled all others in it.
Godliness is that worship of soul which He regards. He values no worship but that which flows from the affections of the soul; all religion without it is a mere mockery of Him. The fallen nation of the Jews were full of it. He gave the Jews into the hands of the cruel Romans ; and Christians were given into the more cruel hands of the Turks, in the midst of their religious hypocrisy, on account of it.
If people, under a feeling sense of their wants and the Lord's power to save them, acknowledging his judgments, call on him for help, he will glorify himself in their deliverance, and rise up to help them; no arm shall be strong against them-no obstacle too great but he will deliver them from all, and they shall glorify him.
The Lord is gracious and pitiful; “ as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." He is a God of tender mercies and consolations. When nations forsake him, he brings on them afflictions; when they return, he brings them out: he brought Israel into afflictions, but when they called upon him, he delivered them (see Judges, vi).
ONESIMUS. [“Onesimus's” views of the present lamentable state of the times, perfectly
accord with our own; but has he not made the remedy a little too easy? If he has a thorough conviction of the natural alienation of the mind of man from God-his utter helplessness and the absolute need of the Holy Spirits divine power to bring himn back, first by desire and then by petition, has he sufficiently expressed his opinion? We think not; and therefore beg the reader to connect the consideration of these views with what “ Onesimus has advanced; and we pray the Holy Ghost to stir up the hearts of his elect in ardour of desire for the welfare of Zion, and for that measure of peace and prosperity of which to us, as a nation, it may seem good unto Jehovah to bestow..Ed.]
PASSING Thought. I thought, some two or three years ago, when spending half-an-hour in Exeter Hall_used at this season of the year for what are termed religious meetings—that the loud clapping of hands and the stamping of feet, in approbation of the speaker's remarks, were much more calculated to feed the poor worm's vanity than to give the much-talked-of glory to God.