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To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. DEAR BROTHER IN OUR COVENANT HEAD,
May grace, mercy, and peace be with you. My reason for now addressing you, is in consequence of your having inserted a word or two in the Obituary of the late James Moffitt which appears to me to alter bis real sentiment in regard to God's preordination of sin. It occurs in 244, where it reads thus, “ That sin came to pass according to the fore-ordination or permission of God, and whereby he accomplished his purposes.” You are aware the words,“ or permission,” were not in the manuscript copy sent to you. I really cannot understand why the word “permission " should be used in this case, neither can I find it a Scriptural term, when the subject is spoken of in reference to the ordained purposes of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will, and the thing which he has determined shall be done. In a personal point of view it certainly is proper and most becoming a creature like you or me to say in reference to God's permission of evil, that he permitted Satan tu tempt me, he suffered me to be tempted to evil, and permitted the enemy to get the advantage over me, whereby I fell into sin ; but he, in his amazing love and forbearance, restored me again to the enjoyment of his favour; thereby the snares of the enemy were broken, and my soul was de. livered from the sin, and all its damnable consequences.
The term permission conveys with it too low an idea of the ways of him who is wise in heart and mighty in strength, and of whom it is said, “ There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor council against the Lord;" and, may I ask, does it not appear to savour of the erroneous sentiment, “ That all things were not preordained by God before the world was, but that he permits the creature to do certain things which he had not determined ?” As all things have been ordered and settled by the most high God from everlasting, and there is no change with him, why should we not maintain that the determinate counsel on which his foreknowledge is founded is a truth clearly laid down in the Scriptures? but if, instead thereof, we make use of the word "permission," it most certainly does not convey to the mind that the positive, unalterable purposes of God are carried into effect thereby.
My dear brother, I do not write thus to make the subject a matter of controversy, because I feel at a point about it; but as this is a sentiment which is very much shunned in the present day, I feel it incumbent on me to notice it; and if the Lord has not led your mind to the same conclusion as myself, his dealings with his people are so various, and he is so infinitely wise, that I would not for a moment question his wisdon, knowing that a man can receive nothing except it be given bim from above. But to prove that the Scripture will bear me out, I need only refer you to what the Apostle says in reference to ungodly characters, when he takes up their argument, “ But thou wilt say unto me, why doth he yet find fault, for who hath resisted his will? Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God ?” &c. Again, when the Lord was about sending his servant Moses to Pharoah to ask that monarch to let the Israelites go, the Lord said, “ And I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”
Thus I must leave the subject with him who is the Ruler in Israel, and orders all things well for those who are his chosen; and may he keep you safe from the errors of the day among the thousands of his Israel, and bless you in your work and labour of love, is the sincere desire of one who loves the truth as it is in Jesus.
F. [The expression “preordained,” as used by our correspondent, savoured, in our
opinion, of that damnable heresy which sets forth God as the author of sin ; hence, lest one of the little ones should overlook the writer's meaning, and be wounded or dismayed, we chose to modify the expression by introducing the words,“ by permission.” God created man upright, and endowed him with creature-strength; a stronger than man came forward ; the Creator not being compelled to afford the needed power of resistance, man listened to the tempter and fell; this was according to the permission, free-will, or pleasure of the Most High, but he was not the author of Adam's transgression, nor responsible for it; until, according to eternal counsel and decree the glorious Surety came forward and took upon himself the responsibility of the church, which he in his eternal mind elected aforehand out of the ruins of that destruction into which he saw mankind would fall.
The passage respecting Pharaoh to which our correspondent has referred, we believe sets forth merely the power, authority, or dominion which Jehovah has over mankind as his creatures. Ít is in him“ they live, move, and have their being.' Divest man of the power vested in him as a creature by Jehovah himself, and you reduce him to a nonentity at once ; or the passage may have another view, as if the Lord had said, “I will leave Pharaoh to his natural blindness and hardihood, to the power of Satan ; I will not awe him, nur put fear into his heart.” Thus may we account for the language, “ I will harden his heart.”—ED.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MR. EDITOR.
It was my happy lot to have the friendship of the Rev. William Huntington, and for some years to hear the word of life from his lips. By his ministry it pleased a gracious God to proclaim liberty to my soul, and often to revive his begun good work by comforting and refreshing my weary spirit. I have indeed abundant reason to bless and praise God for bringing me to hear him ; therefore you must not wonder at my feeling hurt when his memory or his writings are assailed. That he is the person alluded to in your June Number by M. H. I cannot doubt; because Mr. Huntington died in 1813, and that M. H. is condemning the opinions expressed by Mr. Huntington in the second Letter of the second volume of “ The Epistles of Faith.”
M. H. tells us in your June Number, that this eminent minister of the Gospel said, “ This command was not binding upon him, and stoutly maintained that he was authorised to assume and perform the character of a judge, that he limited this precept (Luke, vi. 37) to the unregenerate and ungodly;" and further, that this “servant of Jesus, who came to the conclusion that this word was not binding upon him, greatly erred; and in this instance, and some others he became little ; for, he not only broke this wise and holy cominand, bnt, by his example, taught and influenced many others so to do;' also that, “it is matter of deep lamentation that he has found innumerable and apt scholars ;" adding, “ for evil is soon learnt and easily practised.” Now, sir, this is, to say the least of it, very strong language; and that the church of God at large may form some judgment whether M. H., in thus speaking of Mr. Huntington, strictly confines himself within the rule of righteous judgment, call upon you to publish in your next Number the letter of Mr Huntington to which I refer.
I have no wish to enter into contention with any man, and I feel persuaded from your remarks preceding M. H.'s first letter, that you would take Solomon's advice, “ Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you perceive not in him the lips of knowledge."
I most heartily believe, with M. H., that, “ Jesus never calls to, or invests with, an office, which he hath forbidden any of his followers to take, and which he himself is alone appointed to fill; and whoever, or whatever he be, who
rashly condemns Christ's brethren, who are manifestly called, and chosen, and faithful, has not only more of presumption than of faith; more of arrogance than meekness; but I venture to say also, such cannot be taught of God to love one another."
I think I know something of Mr. Huntington's writings, and could find many extracts from them which would clearly show that he as strictly enforces love to the brethen, and a refraining from rashly judging them, as M. Hi can possibly do. But let the letter 1 allude to speak for him; and also the latter part of the twenty-ninth letter in the first volume of the “ Epistles of Faith.” Here allow me to suggest your publishing consecutively the whole of the latter letter; it might, perhaps, be of some service to the church in showing how we ought to behave towards each other.
You and I know that Mr. Huntington was a man of like passions with ourselves; yet, to the poorest believer, and the weakest in faith, “ manifestly called,” he was a nursing father, possessing that charity which suffereth long and is kind. In conclusion I beg to say, that until M. H. proves that Mr. Huntington assumed the judgment seat; that he limited and broke the command of Christ; that hy his example he taught and influenced many and innumerable apt scholars to do evil; I shall consider that Mr. Huntington's explanation of the passage (Luke, vi. 37) is according to truth; and he does not entirely limit this command to the unregenerate when he says, “ That which is chiefly intended in the text appears to me the wicked judging the righteous.” I speak unto wise men, judge ye what I say.
I remain, Mr. Editor, your sincere well-wisher, Camberwell.
THEOPHILUS. [Our limited space forbids our compliance with Theophilus' request; we have
read the letters referred to with much pleasure, and heartily recommend them to the perusal of our readers.-Ed.]
In every conflict, gracious Lord,
Let us victorious be;
Oh! let us there with joy behold
Thy glorious open face;
Sing of redeming grace.
May we fight manfully.
1). A, DOUDNEY, CITY PRESS, I, LONG LANE.
"ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE Bond Of Peace." "Jesus CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND FOR Ever. Whom TO KNOW
IS LIFE ETERNAL."
THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG; AND HE IS
BECOME MY SALVATION.-Exodus, xv. 2. MARK the distinction, beloved ; the Lord is first the strength, and then the song of his people. He is their strength in weakness, under trial, calamity, and sorrow of heart; he is their song after he has graciously appeared, scattered their darkness, dispelled their fears, and brought their souls out into a wealthy place. And it is a glorious fact to contemplate, that as surely as he is the strength of his people ; so surely will he be their song ; yea, those of whom he is the strength in time, he will be the song to all eternity ; there is an intimate and a very blessed connexion between the two. When in darkness and under peculiar trials and exercises, the dear child of God supposes he shall never sing again ; his harp is upon the willows ; his countenance is sad, and it is in vain that he is asked to "sing one of the songs
of Zion.” It is to him a matter of great surprise how any can singwhat they have to sing about ; and a jealousy is stirred within him -an envying of their condition ; it is, too, surprising how the enmity of the natural heart will work at these times against ministers or private individuals, who appear to be standing in the liberty of the Gospel, and are indulged with a holy and familiar access at the throne of
grace. The crafty adversary will cause this very jealousy to turn against the poor child of God, and from it he will argue that it is a No. 24, VOL. II.-New Series.
mark of reprobation ; that it were not possible for a soul possessed of that Spirit which dwells as a Spirit of love, unity, and concord in the hearts of his elect, to be the subject of such a carnal enmity as that which dwells in his heart. Yet, if that poor soul were permitted at such a season, to fall in with a brother walking in a similar pathapparently lower and more cast down—it is amazing how quickly bis bowels yearn over him ; how his sympathy is kindled ; and with what readiness and fluency he strives to administer that comfort which he would give the world to lay hold of himself. In his afflicted, depressed brother, he traces the evidences of childship ; and, though himself in precisely similar circumstances, and with the same fear, and grace, and love in his heart, he is at a total loss to discover the least token of adopting favour. Yet, under all this, and beneath the various dark and apparently discouraging exercises of which the traveller towards Zion is the subject, the Lord is his strength, though he perceives it not.
In previous papers we have often dwelt upon the varied condition of the Lord's family : their dark exercises, gloomy forebodings, and checquered, mysterious path, have frequently been our theme ; under each and all of which the dear Lord has been, and is, their strength, even all the wilderness through. He was peculiarly so in the case of Moses and the children of Israel. During their sojourn in Egypt—the heavy oppression under which they were called to abide ; the dismal prospects they had before them of being compelled to drag out a miserable existence beneath their oppressors hand; Pharaoh's refutation of Moses when their hopes were raised to the highest pitch; their additional labour ; their frequent disappointment by the Egyptian monarch’s continued obstinacy ; under all this, so clearly typical of the spiritual Israelites' sojourn in the Egypt of this world, the Lord was the strength of his people, though utterly unperceived and totally disregarded. Again; when the Lord brought forth Moses and the Israelitish army with a high hand and an outstretched arm; when He led them to the borders of the Red Sea, and permitted Pharaoh and his host to follow after them with the utmost daring ; when nothing but destruction appeared to await them, and their present condition seemed far to outbalance their former state ; the Lord was peculiarly their strength, as he is now the strength of every vessel of mercy that seems pent up between impassable mountains of sin and unbelief; Satan and his host following hard upon the rear, and before an ocean of destruction. Here, here, his strength, his courage, his heart fail him indeed; but anon, the Lord that had led a Moses and a favoured
the Lord that had put a cry into the heart of his servant, and bade him “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord;" the Lord that thrust back the mighty waters with one push of his omnipotent hand, and brought the numerous host through dryshod ; he, the same Lord, the same almighty Conqueror,
“Just in the last distressing hour,” puts a cry into the heart of every true-born Israelite, and while he