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comprises the body of Christ, be presented before the presence of his glory in the same chaste, pure, spotless, unsullied character in which she was originally presented by the Father to His coequal and coeternal Son before the world was, as his spouse. I love the expression, “ All things are one eternal Now with our God;" therefore all that related to the church of God in her time-state, was foreseen, because preordained by him. They were created upright, good, in Adam; but they were also to fall from all that was good in him, become sinful and depraved, that they might be redeemed froin sin and death by the offering of the body of Christ once. T'hey were to be regenerated by the Holy Ghost, made partakers of the divine nature; otherwise they could not become fit objects to sit down with the Lord Jesus Christ on his throne, dwell in his bosom, or be one with the glorious us mentioned in John, xvii. 21. Thus, however, the word of God testifies that they are to be presented blameless before the throne of God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, adorned with the graces of the Holy Spirit, and made partakers of the divine nature. « Thus it must be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.”
Oh! that our faith, which is of divine origin and of divine operation, was made to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of these mysteries, that we might have inore enlarged views of the high honour and dignity conferred on the Lamb's wife, as she is and ever was regarded by the eternal Three, one with the Lord of life and glory. True, he became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; he took on him the form of a servant, humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. And why all this? Is it asked why he became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Oh, my soul! thou well knowest why. It was love to his spouse; love to his Father; love to the honour and glory of God, which prompted his holy soul to stoop so. low, so very low; but the event proves the end was answered when he exclaimed in a voice of triumph, “ It is finished.”
“Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God!" And can we, my brethren in the Lord, be the recipients of such numberless and unspeakable blessings, and still be hanging our harps upon the willows ? Yes, alas! we may; and ofttimes are in our feelings so dead, so barren, so unfruitful, neither able por willing to quicken our souls, to lay hold on the strength of Omnipotence. We feel, alas ! we have the leprosy from head to foot, and no soundness in our flesh; and we may rely on it that our faithful God will make us as deeply sensible of our indigent circumstances, as he secs needful to teach us true wisdom, and that He (Christ Jesus) is made unto us of God both wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
“Uphold me with thy free spirit,” prayed one of old; and oh! what favour is that conferred upon the child of God, when he is taught, after many a severe lesson, that all his times are in the hands of his covenant God, and has been brought to resign his all and every concern, spiritually, temporally, bodily, or domestically, to the disposal of his infinitely wise, unchangeable, and everlasting Triune God. It is sweet, however, to be drawn by the constraining and efficacious grace of the blessed Spirit, to banquet on the spiritual provision provided so bountifully for the church of God. May we be concerned to enjoy more of the quickening operation of the Holy Ghost on our own souls, revealing unto us more and more clearly the heights, and lengths, and breadths, and depths, of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Sinful, vile, polluted, hell-deserving, as we are by nature and by practice, oh! that our faith was more and more strengthened to realize that in the presence of our covenant God we are “ all fair," without the shadow of a spot; and though as long as life shall last we shall be ever kept sensible of our state as fallen beings, yet may faith be rising, soaring, and clinging to Him who is the Surety of his
people ; and we be favoured more abundantly to triumph over all our spiritual foes, knowing that He is, and ever will remain, the same, even “The Lord our Righteousness," to all his poor, needy, afflicted, soul-tried, people.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. Beloved, in looking over your Number for August, I find one of your correspondents lamenting the disunion that exists between many, very many of the living family of Zion. There is indeed, as “A Tempest-tossed Vessel Homeward-bound” says, “a freezing, instead of a sweet glowing warmth," if we meet, I doubt not, sometimes but with a child of God. O what heart-woundings I have had in the houses of some of the friends of the Redeemer because, forsooth, we had different views on the ordinance of Baptism. Then again the dreadful spirit of concision which exists with most in this day of superficial profession! “How bath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud" (Lam, ii. 1). It has been my lot to be cast among many of the congregation of the late Rev, Isaac Bremen, Cranbrook, Kent, where, since his death, there has been separation after separation, and at present they are divided into four sections. Looking at their state, and knowing how it is with many when they meet, whose language and conduct is, “If you“ follow not with us,' or do not bow down to the image, or idol, or pope that we have set up, we ‘forbid you.''
I read, some months since, a Letter or Sermon of the late Rev. William Huntington's on the “ Unmerciful Servant” (Matt. xviii. 23-35), and it struck me much at the time; and lately it has been impressed on my mind to reprint it (which is being done, to sell at four-pence) for the benefit of those contentious ones, if God should be pleased to bless it, and likewise for the consolation and instruction of every « Tempest-tossed Vessel, Homeward-bound.”
Oh! that the Lord might pour out a spirit of prayer on Zion (now almost a desolation) for the restoration of brotherly-love and unity amongst her living members, that our strength may be renewed, and we enabled to stand up as one army, against the world, the flesh, and the devil, with the infidelity and popery of the age, which last named enemies, while we sleep, or bite and try to devour each other, are making dreadful advances in this once happy “island of the innocent" (Job, xxii. 30). The following extract of a letter written lately by the Rev. E- G , in the county of Sussex, to the Rev. T- G--, of Garden Row, Southwark, breathes such an ardent desire for this union, forbearance, and brotherly-love, that the circulation of the same cannot be too extensive; it may be the Lord might make the same useful for reproof to some, and instruction to others. Oh! that the like spirit of liberality might be in. fused amongst us; that the monster prejudice, bigotry, and vain-glory might be banished from our ranks, and this dividing devil put to flight; that we may have the enjoyment of Isaiah, lxvi, 10—14, and be brought to love as brethren.
“Moreover, there is another awful temptation of the devil which God per. mits in these days to try us and all his sent witnesses and ministers, which is, that as the devil sees and hears us preach and write “the law and the testimony' rightly, he tempts us all, in our hundreds and thousands, as one man, to immoderate and anti-scriptural speaking and writing against certain of the Holy Ghost's ministers, who, for His own glory and the churches' good, differ in modes of water baptism, or in some non-essential forms and church orders. In that temptation the apostle John fell and erred, as we read in Mark, ix. 38; but the Lord Jesus, the divine Judge, checked John, and stopped his mouth, and blessedly delivered him; commending the man he railed against; giving all his apostles a warning to moderation, mutual forbearance, watchfulness, and prayer; moving in filial obedience to his Gospel (Mark, ix. 39—42). Therefore, my brother, I pray God to help us to the end of our race, and check and correct us, as he did John and all his ministers of old, that our “moderation may be known unto all men;" for I find in this day some good men err by
temptation, so condemn, oppose, and forbid some of God's ministers ; boldly “ thrusting with side and shoulder” at ministers equally holy in ministrations as themselves, yet differing in mode of water-baptism, and non-essential forms, and church orders; so grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph. iv. 30). Therefore, my brethren, in God's blessing," let our moderation be known in all places," as herein declared ; and be ye assured, differences in modes, forms, and orders in churches, as in states, will be found, yet in God's will the Gospel is preached, and ordinances are kept and duly ministered to God's delight (Matt. xxviii. 19, 20), Now in this blessing of moderation, and certainty of being led and taught by the Holy Ghost, and in filial joy of his anointing in my soul and heart, as by my tongue, I say, and with my pen I write, in equal love to immersion Baptists, as to Episcopalians, Independents, Presbyterians, Lady Huntingdon's, and all who love Jesus, and keep the ordinances in their difierent modes, forms, and orders ; saying to all in love, joy, and peace, " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” Rev. xxii. 21).
Now I ask, my brother, a few important questions; If I feel not equal love to all, as aforesaid, how can my soul, when taken out of my body at temporal death, entering into the heavenly glory, meet as one all the blessed, from Adam to Moses, Eldad and Medad, and all to the blessed baptists, to Bunyan and Gill, one with Luther and Calvin, one with Erskine and Romaine, Whitefield and Huntington, Hawker and Andrews, with others ? I say, if I love not all equally, and allow all their various modes, forms, and orders (though differing) to be well-pleasing unto Jehovah, how with them shall I join in the song of praise to Jehovah, Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen ?” (Rom. i. 5, 6).
Weigh, my brother, these verities in the balances of the sanctuary, and try them by a purified conscience, the reasoning faculty of your regenerate, sancti. fied, justified soul, and you will be assured this love to all and moderation is of God; and that the same is worthy of the public and private notice of the whole Israel of God; so that all God's Ísrael may, in these trying days, be assured, in their various modes, forms, and orders aforesaid, though differing, they are all one in the Lord Eph. iv. 4–6. Therefore, in all self-denial and filial reverence, with praise to the Lord, in unfeigned love to all who love the Lord, hate sin and Satan, I say with the Apostle John, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.'
The Lord in rich mercy and great love bless you, my brother, and all his Israel. Amen.
"To God the Father, God the Son,
By all on earth and all in heaven.'"
John White. [So fully do we concur in the opinions herein expressed. that, meeting with a clergy
man one day who was so staunch for his church as almost to exclude everyone without its pale, we could but remark, “ Why, sir, if ever you and I get home to heaven, you as a churchman, and I (as you please to call me) a dissenter (though I term myself a middleman, avoiding each extreme), we shall surely want something to divide us there." Oh, shame, shame! We are heartily sick of the numerous opinions, secondary and non-essential (we will use the term, though some over-wise and over-grown professors attribute it to ignorance on our part) that now dissever the real, Spirit-taught children of the living God.--Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. My dear CHRISTIAN FRIEND AND BROTHER,
I cannot refrain from making a few observation on the letter of Mr. Triggs to Ruth, which appears in the Gospel Magazine of this present month. Surely the joy and peace which comes by believing, with the upholding, strengthening, and encouraging comfort and consolation which the tried child of God finds in the truths of the Gospel, is not by means of such a self-deceiving creed as is taught in that letter! Surely this is not in the way of persuading ourselves that that which is, is not; and that which is not, is. Is it not the truth that, whatever be the real state and condition of the Lord's people on earth, the truths of the Gospel, when applied by the Holy Ghost, are all-sufficient to meet our need and necessity? If we attempt by self-deception to fit our state and condition to the Gospel, instead of seeking after the Spirit's application of Gospel truths in their suitableness to our state and condition as it really is, can it be otherwise but that we shall be found misconstruing, misrepresenting, and misusing those truths ? Such, it appears to me, is the fault of that letter. The writer talks of living in the blessedness of sin reigned over, and sin reigned down in us ! in union with, and in eternal life and salvation in, Christ, being joined to him, the Lord, and one Spirit; and then adds, “ So in this sense we live as if there had been no sin, or that there is now no such thing as sin and death; and it is by virtue of this that I always live happy in the Lord.” Now, I must con. fess, it appears to me that the writer is here endeavouring to make his state and condition meet the truths of the Gospel, instead of pointing out the suitableness of those truths to what is the real state and condition of God's children on earth. Can any one be brought to receive Mr. Triggs' creed, as thus set forth, till he has attained to the self..deception on which it is founded ? For upon what is it founded, but the fallacious theory of sin reigned down by grace in the child of God in his present state and condition? The question at issue between Mr. T. and those of whom he speaks as cautioning and condemning him, is not whether or no the new nature in the child of God bas sin belonging to it, or whether it can be so affected by sin as to alter its nature, or whether the sin of the old nature can bring him under the condemnation and curse of the law; on these subjects, I conceive, they are perfectly agreed. The question at issue is, whether the indwelling principle of sin, constituting the nature of the old man in us, should, in its manifestations and discoveries of itself in us, be allowed to interfere with our joy and peace in believing, our enjoyment of those privileges which constitute our happiness as being in Christ; whether the sin which calls for daily confession, causes daily lamentation, and, when the truths of the Gospel are by the Holy Ghost rightly applied with power to the soul, are productive of godly sorrow, making us the subjects of that repentance unto salvation not to be repented of, which is the special gift of the Lord Jesus Christ to his poor, sinful, and continually erring followers; whether this sin should be allowed to interfere with the happiness which is found in living by faith in Christ. This appears to me to be the question at issue, or, at least, a part of it; for perhaps it may be said to contain also the question whether it is scriptural or not to speak of suffering on account of sin, as forming a part of the experience of the child of God, which should be specially regarded by us in the ministration of the word. Now it appears to me that a creed founded upon the doctrine of “ sin reigned down in us” in our present time-state, cancot be brought forward in proof of what we should or should not allow in us as the effect of sin which is not reigned down in us. Talking of sin reigned down in us, ill agrees with the apostle's declaration, “ When I would do good, evil is prosent with me;" while sin so reigned down in us as to become "a nonentity" in our estimation of it, does not agree any better with crying out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death;" not the remains of, as though only one limb, or two limbs, or a joint or so of it remained, but this body, this whole perfect nature acting all its parts, unless specially restrained by the power of the Holy Ghost. The reigning over sin which is already reigned down, only requires the keeping of it down ; but surely the experience of the child of God is not that all he has to pray to God for on this subject is that he would continue keeping down that which he has already
reigned down in us. He that knows for himself the truth of the apostle's words, that in the child of God the spirit lasteth against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit, so that he cannot do the thing that he would, knows that he has somewhat more to do with sin than this. To have our sin pardoned is not all that is needful to make it " a nonentity;" the evil of sin in its nature is the same, whether pardoned or unpardoned. What Mr. T. says with regard to the spiritual life and mind which is in the cbild of God," that nothing can live and act contrary to its own nature,” is as true with respect to sin as an indwelling, increasingly active principle in us; yea, it is the new nature living and acting according to its nature, that makes us so sensible of the unalterably evil nature of sin ; and I should say makes it impossible for the child of God, who is thus alive to its evil, so to live above it as a reigned-down nonentity in him, as that he should not find his present peace and happiness again and again disturbed by its constant intrusion. There is not a Gospel truth which, if applied by the Holy Ghost to the soul, will bring comfort and consolation to the sinner in the way of making him think lightly of his transgressions against God. What agreement, I would ask, is there between sin reigned down in us as our professed creed, and onr crying out, I wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from it? The reply of the apostle to that exclamation is faith's triumphing in the sure prospect of a future deliverance, and encourages us to go on in the belief of the truth; not as though we had already attained, either were already perfect, but following after, if that we may apprehend that for which also we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. I readily grant that if we can persuade our. selves that the sin which we have momentary evidence in us of its living power, is, notwithstanding this, reigned down in us, then we may be able to carry a high hand over those who are bowed down under a sense of fresh contracted sin and guilt, and require daily application of the blood of sprinkling to their conscience, to give them any boldness before God in the carrying on and carrying out of the life which they now live in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God, as he who loved them and gave himself for them. We may then talk of all our connexion with sin now, being only a passing through it, as that which neither molests nor harms us; we may then talk of leaving to others as dirty work, as working at the dung-gate, the regarding in our preaching the case of those who do not find in their experience, and cannot hold as their creed, sin reigned down in them by grace in their present state. The reign of grace over sin in iis, so that it shall not have the dominion, does not, in my humble opinion, consist in having it so reigned down in us that we neither feel it nor are sensible of any evil arising from it in our own particular case. I cannot receive this as a scriptural creed.
My dear brother, we want something more substantial, more real, and less theoretical than we find in this letter of Mr. Triggs. Sensible of this, I have been led to write as I have done ; but, be assured, not under the influence of any unkind feelings towards any one ; not in a spirit of carnal contention ; but in the spirit of that allowable contention for the faith once delivered to the saints, for which it becomes us to be most zealous in these days of religious profession. Of the Scriptures quoted by Mr. Triggs in proof of his theory respecting sin reigned down in the child of God in his present time-state, there are some the peculiar difficulties of which, to the child of God, arise from the fact (not the theory) that sin is not reigned down in him. There could be no difficulty whatever belonging to these Scriptures, if it were a fact that sin is reigned down in us in our present state, and that nothing remains further in our daily experience of a work of grace in our own souls but a reigning over that which is already reigned down. The most literal interpretation that the human understanding could put upon these Scriptures would be all that the child of God would, under such circumstances, need in the use of them.
May the Lord be our Instructor in his blessed truth; and in any thing in which we are not agreed one among another, may he enable us to discuss our differences iu the spirit of love, unity, and concord, as brethren of the one family, is the prayer of
Yours, affectionately, in the Lord, Elmley, Oct. 7, 1842.