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buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” Thus the union of the church, that oneness of soul in Christ of the various members, is promoted by a growing up of each individual in to Christ in all things. As each one realizes bis own privileges in Christ; as each one lives upon and in the enjoyment of these, so is there a benefit to the church in the blessings which thus flow by means of the individual members to the whole body. The grace bestowed upon individuals, with the knowledge to which they attain, is thus found by them to be not only for their private benefit and advantage, though they are highly blessed and greatly honoured in the distinction thus put upon them, but the church, as a body, as the whole, is a partaker of the benefit, and God is glorified in the thanksgiving and the praise of the many.
The growing up into Christ in all things is a more extended exercise of faith embracing more fully all that Christ is to his people, all that he has done for them, with all that he is engaged to do. Taking a more extensive view of the promises of God's word, as yea and amen in him; realizing the mutual interest of the whole body in these, as also in the unchangeable love, and grace, and mercy of God in him, and so acting towards them as with ourselves thus the objects and subjects of God's sovereign goodness in Christ to a chosen people. Here faith discovers itself acting upon, while it is influenced by, the truth as it is in Jesus. I do not know that the union and oneness of the church can be more effectually furthered and promoted than in this way; thus growing up into Christ in all things. A growing up in to Christ will not be without a participation of the Spirit of Christ, a conformity to him. The love manifested by Christ towards each individual member of the church, as each individual member is sensibly made a partaker of it, will be entered into by the members of the church; we loving Christ because Christ first loved us, shall be found bearing our testimony to the truth of those words of the Holy Ghost, by John (1 Epistle, v. 1), “ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him."
Love among the members of the church is found to be reciprocal. Love producing love is one way by which the soul-union of the church is promoted and experienced amongst her members. What humbling lessons are we taught in the word, as regards our conduct one towards another, as fellow-members of the one mystical body, which is Christ. Christ, who is our example in these things, as the head, and loving the members, says that “ he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,” or the many (Matt. xx. 28). In testimony of this we find him (John, xiii. 3—5), washing his disciples' feet. It is thus recorded : “Jesus kaowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper,
and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself; After that, he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” So the apostle Paul (Phil
. ii. 1, 2), “ If there be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” He that is joined to the Lord, we are told, is one spirit with the Lord; while the inind which was in Christ Jesus is to be found in the members of his body. It is to be in the way of “ speaking the truth in love,” that we are to grow up into Christ in all things. This is the apostle's direction in the text; and as the in which we are to promote and further the union of the church in growing up into Christ in all things, is the last subject on which I speaking on the present occasion, let us proceed, thirdly, to consider this subject, namely, “ Speaking the truth in love.”
But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which
proposed is the head, even Christ." This is opposed, by the apostle, to being children, “ That we be no more children, but speaking the truth in love,” &c. Hiding the truth, or keeping it back from the church, on the part of ministers, or those taught of God, is the way to keep the church in ignorance and darkness. “ Freely ye have received, freely give,” is our Lord's direction; and this in distributing God's truth, as we have ourselves been taught of God, is an inportant thing for the edification of the church. It is in spiritually digesting the truth as it is in Christ, that we grow up into him in all things; grow out of our infancy and childhood as members of Christ's church.
God's truth, the deep things of God's word, are precious subjects for the Lord's family to converse upon. Those who thus converse upon the truths of God's word, are mentioned in Scripture with a mark of distinction. Mal. iii. 16, 17, “ Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare him as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Spiritual conversation and intercourse, or, intercourse and communion about spiritual things—the truth-should be carrying on among the one family. It is one of the appointed means of edifying the body of Christ; one end set forth for which men are gifted by Christ with knowledge and understanding; that they may impart one to another the things which they have heard and seen, tasted and handled, of the word of life. We have an example to this end in the apostle John, who thus opens his first Epistle : “ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
This speaking the truth in love, seems to instruct us in the spirit in which the intercourse there should be among the Lord's family should be carried on. There should be a due regard to the truth, as that in which we have one common interest; as that about which we may converse with a like feeling; each one standing in the same relation to it as the other; each one alike needing it; each one alike benefitted by it; each one alike declared and manifested by it to be loved of God from all eternity with the same love. The words by Jeremiah (chap. xxxi. 3) are alike applicable to every called member of the chosen church: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." "I will turn to the people (saith God, Zech. iii. 9) a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent."
Our intercourse and communion with the fellow-members of Christ's mystical body, should be in a spirit of love. We should not allow mere outward distinctions, distinctions relating only to externals in our mode and manner of worship, to divide and separate us, so as to preclude our intercourse, or when we have intercourse, preclude that spirit of love, the very life of soul-union ; and which has its existence of the truth of Christ, of the union which God has designed respecting the church. I confess I know not of any distinctions of this kind that quench my love towards a fellow-member in Christ. Where I find the truth in its life and power, as of God in the soul, it signifies not to me with whom that person joins in his outward church-worship and serving of God. Or if a minister--in what particularly denominated communion it is that he ministers-I cannot withhold my love from him while I perceive in him that which leads me to conceive of him as one for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died; one chosen in him; one ordained to a membership in the mys
tical body, or a place in the spiritual building God has chosen for himself to inhabit. I am closely, internally, and dearly united of God's eternal cement, to that person. A union is betwixt us that will outlive all other uvions; which is of eternity and for eternity. That person claims my affection, if I am myself a member of the body of Christ—the real church. I am not ashamed to own and acknowledge this, while I see in the word, and feel in my own experience, that soul-union and oneness is and must be a chief characteristic of the church, if the church be ever to carry out God's design in her existence.*
Each member of the church has a deep interest in the welfare of the whole body. “ Speaking the truth in love,” is a means to which we are directed by the word, as that which God blesses to the edifying of the body. In this way we are edified ourselves, whether we be children or more advanced christians; in this way we shall edify others, be they babes, or young men, or fathers in Christ. “These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates. And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath ; for all these are things that I hate saith the Lord.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is the truth; “I am the truth,” saith he; while he came, as he said to Pilate, to “bear witness to the truth." Speaking the truth, is speaking of or concerning the Lord Jesus Christ; setting before one another those things concerning him and his kingdom which have been shown us from the word. This cannot fail, as we are led, and directed, and influenced by the Spirit of God in it, to promote the growth of the church in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It will carry on the church, in her individual menibers, to a more advanced state ; they will, by this means, be more firmly established in Christ, in that truth which is Christ, and which is in Christ. In this way we shall not continue to be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. In this way will members of the church be kept from the various errors of the age in which they live. Every age of the church, since the Lord Jesus Christ was in the world, has had its peculiar errors; and, perhaps, none more so than the present. It was so in the days of the apostles, for we read thus (Rom. xvi, 17, 18), “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Again (1 John, ii. 18), “ Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” Peter, in his second epistle (chap. iii. 1, 2, 3) says, “ This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you, in which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before of the holy prophets, and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour : Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
A more important subject, therefore, than the one we have had under consideration, cannot, we humbly conceive, be set before you; both as it regards the revealed design of God in the existence of the church, and the spiritual benefit and advantage, the soul-prosperity, of her members.
With respect to the Society whose cause I have been requested to plead before you, there will be no difficulty in bringing this subject to bear upon it.
* Reader! “mark, learn, and inwardly digest,” this paragraph. Oh! that its practical bearing were better known.—ED.
This Society has its existence in the very spirit of all we have been discussing; the soul-union or oneness of the church of Christ, as one body made up of many members. On this account I consider it has a claim to be considered one of the most scriptural and apostolical of all the existing religious societies of the present day, numerous as they are. This Society, by the contributions of its members, relieves, at their own habitations, by annual allowances, Aged Pilgrims, or members of the one body, the one family, the one building, the church. The poverty of many of the Lord's own, the trials from an ungodly world to which that poverty exposes them, cannot be viewed with disinterested ness by those who know anything experimentally in their own souls of these subjects on which we have been discoursing ; the unity of the church in Christ, as various members all so united in one head as to have one common interest in all the great and glorious things of God's eternal purpose by Christ to a chosen people in him. Do we know anything of these things for our ownselves ? Then we are interested in the relief of our fellow-members in Christ, who are known to be suffering from poverty and want; then must we be anxious to assist in supplying means whereby the members of the Aged Pilgrims' Society may be enabled to carry out the truly scriptural design of conveying to these sufferers of the Lord's family, these pining, aged brethren and sisters in the one faith, something that may mitigate, may alleviate their sufferings. Are there persons willing to search out these suffering members of Christ, and to carry the needful relief to their doors? And are they willing to do it in the spirit of that subject we bave been discussing? Then I hesitate not to appeal to you, my Christian brethren here present, to contribute your aid, that these persons, thus willing to be your servants in this work and labour of love, may have that wherewith they may be enabled to carry out their truly Christian design.
It is written, Proverbs, s. 7, “ The memory of the just is blessed ;” and the daily experience of the justified bears witness to this truth of God's word. Yes; years roll over the gap made, when a “man of God” is taken from his circle of friends, yet his deeds, his words, his every act, are written on the hearts of those with whom, during his earthly pilgrimage, he has been privileged to associate; how much more then, when one is removed who has, through grace, been “ valiant for the truth,” and zealous for the honour of his God-enabled, by the Spirit's teaching, to warn the ungodly, and to comfort the broken-hearted sinner.
Such was H. P-, under whose ministry I was delivered from the bondage of Wesleyanism, in 1833 (for such I found it, though, in the providence of God, my union with that body of professing Christians, hath worked for my good); by trusting to frames and feelings; by sectarian views; by the loss of simply looking to Jesus; my mind was darkened, my health was lost, and I was wretched, and tossed to and fro as a ship in a storm broken from its anchor; left to the opinions and doctrines of men, like the anchorless ship to the mercy of wind and waves. But I must stop : the kindest of mothers offered to take me to any place I chose (change of air being ordered); the ministry of Mr. S- -e, then of the Church of England, my heart desired; I consulted him, showed him the errors under which I had fallen, &c. He directed me to membe of his congregation who were class leaders in the Wesleyan connexion, saying they were examples to his own flock by their daily walk, &c. My spirit sank within me, as I had had intercourse with many such, and the vain endeavour of emulating their holiness, in and of myself, I felt to be impossible. Finding this minister, on whom I had vainly set my heart for help, thus like a broken reed," I turned to others; for I had not then experimentally learnt the lesson, my God and Father in Christ Jesus intended I should, as declared in Jeremiah, xvii. 5, 6. To the honour of the Wesleyan minister of that place, his counsel I proved to be of God—“My dear sister," he said, at present disturb not your mind by the views and doctrines of the Church of England, of our body, or any other denomination ; seek to Christ for his Spirit ; seek for pardon of sin ; let your feet be firm on the Rock of Ages; and when you have “received Christ Jesus” as your All and in all, then seek to which sect of his church you would join ; and I believe, conscientiously, you will find the Wesleyan the most scriptural." We next went to W—-, in Sussex destitute, I knew, of a preached Gospel. I was, as it were, at my wits' end ; night and day did I cry to the Lord for help. On inquiry, Christian friends said, “ There is Mr. P- who styles himself a Bible Christian, he expounds the Scriptures ably, and preaches twice on Sundays in his school-room; he has comforted many.” Hearing of such an one in a place I deemed barren, I thanked God and took courage ; and the following Sunday crepe into the room as a thief by stealth, fearing to see or be seen, and came out of it in part relieved ; having stolen, as it were, precious fruit-yea, some crumbs of the bread of life. I had smiled, invo. luntarily, for the first time for months, at the description this servant of God gave of the “new man," or new moulded man of Wesleyan fancy; who, poor deluded souls, worried themselves to find; he compared it to foolish men hunting a will-o-the-wisp over bogs, just as they laid hold of the prize they sank in the mire of the bog. I smiled, yet thought I sinned in smiling; so had I reverenced the personal holiness of the Wesleyans. But, blessed be God, without enmity, but full of compassion for the holders of this fatal heresy, I smile still at my own folly, for since I have been led to see such holiness to be like whited sepulchres, full of dead men's bones, &c.
This was my first introduction to this servant of God, who had laboured from Sabbath to Sabbath for upwards of thirty years in this town, supporting himself and family by keeping school during the week, labouring in his garden from five to seven every morning for air and exercise. Many seals he had to his ministry known of man, and many more, I believe, will be found to be, through God's blessing, his spiritual children. He was hated as an Antinomian, a holder forth of strange doctrines, &c. ; but nothing at that period could be laid to his charge, but his having married his wife's sister,* a pious woman, and he defended himself from the Jewish law (according to his views). “By the grace of od,” said he, “ I owe no man anything; with Samuel I can say, Witness against me, whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded ? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith ?' But, my good lady, I am loved in this town as much as my Master and his disciples were at Jerusalem ; he was slandered and his name cast out as evil; I am content to be of his household" (Matt. x. 24, 25). Here I might stop, but the readers of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE know that God's family are a tried family; and the last few years of this dear servant were “ dark and dreary." Insanity was a family affliction, and on one subject, relative to family concerns, he was insane. Yet, as his letters to me during that period of trial will prove, he maintained clearly the truths of God's word; and extracts of letters from
* Many have smarted for this, and so it appears did the subject of this sketch. -Ed.