Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

friends residing in the town, testify that the “God of love,” who permitted his servant to be so afflicted, yet supported him in the furnace, that not only his bread and water were daily supplied, but money was not wanting.

Observations in conversation were made from the following texts : 1 John, v. 18,“ We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." Refer to 1 John, v. 1; 1 Peter, i. 23; Psalm ii. 7; 1 John, iv. 9. The dear servant of God spoke comfortably to me from this text, knowing the snare I was in from the “sinless perfection,” as held forth by the Wesleyans. “Here,” he said, “ sinneth not is one of their strong holds ; but mark—and may God the Spirit open your understanding and remove the stumbling-block-believers, being born of God, in his sight sin not. Christ, the only begotten of the Father, keepeth himself, his body, the church composed of believers, the bride, of which every individual believer forms a part, and the wicked one toucheth him not, for Christ hath conquered him ; and toucheth them not, to slay them, though permitted to try and harrass them by doubts, temptations, lying insinuations, &c., but Christ keepeth them. Amen and amen.”

Many comforting remarks on Heb. xii. 16, 17. “Esau sought the blessing from his father ; ne was rejected. Dear brethren, it is not so with God; if any of you, like Esau, have despised your birthright, disregarded it, and preferred to it a mess of pottage in the shape of worldly gratifications, &c., yet are writhing under your folly, the hidings of God's countenance, and darkness of soul, yet with broken hearts seeking forgiveness, despair not, the very anguish you suffer proves a Father's love ; despair not, rest not, persevere in crying 'God be merciful to me a sinner,' and your heavenly Father will receive you, and you shall yet find there is mercy for every returning child.”

I send also a fragment of the only sermon I took down. Eph. i. 3, " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

"Heavenly comfort! blessed consolation to the people of God! Surely, my friends, such a text as this is enough to make the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing ; is enough to give to them that mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Surely, blessed of God, it is enough to lift up the mourner's head, and constrain him to cry out, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.' St. Paul in this Epistle is writing to the church of God at Ephesus, and not, as many suppose, to a mixed and corrupt church. "To the saints at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus ;' and then he gives them the usual salutation, Grace be to you;' first grace, the free, unbought, unpurchased, unmerited love of God; then he adds peace; peace does not go before grace, but follows, as the blessed consequence; Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ :' he then breaks forth in the words of the text, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.' And what St. Paul wrote to them, to the church of Ephesus, he wrote as much for your sakes, believers, who now hear me, as for theirs. He begins his first Epistle to the church at Corinth thus, "To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.' To you, then, who believe in

the name of the Son of God; to you who have fled to him as your only hope, your only salvation, the only name under heaven given among men whereby they must be saved, the only foundation laid in Zion, the only hope of eternal glory; to you who have been called in time; to you who call not Jesus Lord as an ungodly world call him, but by the Holy Ghost; to you is this glorious message declared ; you are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; you may take up the sweet song of praise and say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who Hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.'

“In considering this passage of Scripture, the first point to which I would desire to lead your attention is, to the momentous doctrine contained in it-namely, the union, or the oneness of the church with Christ, and this not a supposed, not an imaginary, but a real, actual, vital union. Secondly, the spiritual blessings which flow to the church in rich abundance in consequence of this union. And may the Lord the Spirit enable me to speak words according to his mind and will; for I believe there are many present who have been forced to venture their all for time and eternity upon the Lord Jesus Christ: and while I say this, while I would desire to feed the church of God, to build up his people in their most holy faith, to stablish, to strengthen, settle them, I would desire also to forget not that we stand up to proclaim the tidings of a free-grace salvation to every creature; that we stand up to proclaim the tidings of a free-grace salvation through the blood of the cross, to those that are far from God, far from Christ, far from the ways of pleasantness, far from the paths of peace. I would pray that our Gospel might come unto you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost. and in much assurance; so that, beholding the great and glorious things belonging to the church in Christ, your souls may be drawn out to follow him, to run after him, the Chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely.

“First, to consider the doctrine of the union or the oneness of the church with Christ. And, my friends, a doctrine more glorious to God, more abounding to the consolation of the believer, cannot be conceived ; a doctrine more clearly revealed throughout the whole word of God, cannot be produced ; and a doctrine more scorned by an ungodly world, more replete with folly and enthusiasm to the natural reason of poor blind man, cannot be imagined; and, while I say this, while I speak of the glory it gives to God in the highest, of the consolation it affords to the believer in his journey through this wilderness, of the oil and wine that it is calculated to pour into every wound, of the plain and clear manner it is revealed in the Scriptures, so that, if taught of the Lord, the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein ;' while I speak of the doctrine to the carnal mind, because it is enmity against God, and cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned, I would also say that I am well aware what holy ground I am standing upon, and I would desire not to take one step forward, but as the word of God may prove a “lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

That a worm of the earth, the creature of a day-above all, that sinful dust and ashes should be one, positively one with Immanuel ; when I pause and ask, Who is Immanuel ? who is this to whom the church is united ? and am answered from the word of God 'Immanuel, being interpreted, is God with us ;' when I read that “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace;' when I read again, " Thy Maker is

thy husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called ;' again, • Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you.' When I read such passages as these, I feel constrained to inquire with the apostle, Who is sufficient for these things? ' .Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can show forth all his praise?' 'O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' Believers, we are entering upon an ocean broad and deep, the ocean of God's love, eternal, infinite, everlasting; you may sound it, you may go a little further and sound it again, but you will never fathom it; it is an ocean without a bottom and without a shore; it is love which passeth knowledge. There are heights, and depths, and breadths, and lengths in this love past finding out. The love of God towards his church sprung from himself, the motives of that love originated in himself; and, I would ask, · Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? the measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. Behold God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out; touching the Almighty, he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice.' Touching ourselves, brethren, beloved of the Lord, all we can say is this, 'Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' There is, then, a real, positive, actual, or vital union between Christ and the church, between Jehovah-Jesus and the members of his spiritual body; and the possession of saving faith in the Lord Jesus, the faith of God's elect, which overcomes the world, works by love, and purifies the heart, is the fruit, the mark or evidence in time of the union which took place in eternity. But rest not on bare assertion, let us go to the word of God. First, in the 11tb of John, Philip saith unto Jesus, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me ? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father which dwelleth in me he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake.' And in the 20th verse he declares his union with the church, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. Now surely, beloved, from these passages, any man taught of God would come at once to this conclusion, that just as Christ is in the Father and the Father in * Christ, so is Christ in the church and the church in Christ. Again, if you go to the 17th chapter, which is one of the fullest and most glorious chapters on the union in the whole word of God, we read in the 20th verse, - Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me, and the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfect in one.''

Hart's Hymns were used in the public worship, and though at this time, from deep depression of spirit, bondage, darkness, &c., I did go through these services quietly, seeing the truth of God's hand in directing me to this highly-favoured flock, yet joy I had none. But now I look back upon those meetings as green spots, the savour of which hath often refreshed my soul, and I believe will, as long as life exists. This dear servant was the first who introduced me to the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, and Cennick's Village Sermons. In a future letter, if you judge fit to publish this, you will see he rejoices to find it is conducted again by one taught of God. I have also notes of expoundings during a visit in 1838, which shall be at your service if you desire them. And may the Lord bless what I now send to the scattered flock, members of the church militant, as, through mercy, he has blessed them to your grateful and obliged correspondent,

W. A. M.

THE PORTRAIT-SAMUEL LANE.

Samuel LANE, of Hull, for many years, we believe, a correspondent of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE. He is denominated (as most men who dare to be bold in the proclamation of a free-grace Gospel in our day are denominated) an Antinomian; but, in the absence of positive proof of a man's private walk and conversation contradicting his public testimony, who dares bring so grave a charge against any individual? If a man preaches the truth if the unction of the Holy Ghost attends that truth, and there is no absolute charge to be brought against that man's private reputation, God forbid that we should be found among those who fight against him; “ To his own Master he standeth or falleth.” God is our Judge, and in the last great day will manifestly, before an assembled world, separate the precious from the vile.

Not being personally acquainted, we avail ourselves of the testimony of one of our oldest correspondents and an intimate mutual friend, for the consistent private walk of him whose portrait we introduce; we have liken ise received additional confirmation by the communications of others of our correspondents respecting the public ministrations of one under whom their sools have profited; we feel ourselves justified, therefore, in respouding to the solicitations which have been inade us, by inserting the portrait which accompanies the present Number, leaving it in the hands of Him who “ seeth not as man seeth,” and “who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men.” We feel pleasure in subjoining the following letter, which has come to hand since the foregoing was written :MY VERY DEAR BROTHER

In the Lord of Life and Glory, for so I venture to call you, although I know you not after the flesh, yet the frequent perusal of your leading article in your valuable Magazine has oft made my very heart rejoice, and has created in my breast feelings that so familiarize my own experiences with your own, that I seem as if I were perfectly acquainted with you, and in reality one with you in spirit. Yes, dear sir, I have read your valuable epistles of faith in the Gospel MAGAZINE with much pleasure, much profit, and with a thankful heart to God for such bold witnesses for his truth as you clearly appear to be. Go on, dear brother, in the name and work of our Lord,

“Nor fear at last to win the day,

Though death and hell obstruct the way.” And may almighty God condescend to own and bless your labours of love in his most gracious and truly righteous cause, which shall be for the comfort and

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »