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mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." These words belong only to those who can give evidence that their mourning is of a godly sort, and who are made to differ from the world by the power of God's grace in their souls. But if a man's religion does not make him differ from the world, it is a plain proof that he is in the high road to destruction; for the friendship of the world is enmity with God; and “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." True religion, then, will make a man differ from the world, and bring him out from it; so that the world and he will never quietly be at peace any more. Such characters as these become mourners in Zion. But some may ask, “How long will they remain in this trouble and affliction? That is a question I eannot answer. The length of time is with God, and it is according to his will and pleasure. There is a time for the Lord's people to be brought into trouble, and there is also a time for them to be brought out of it, and to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The promise is, “to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion.” Those that are mourners in Zion are special characters. But when you come to reckon up and look around, how very few there are of this kind; whilst there is an abundance of professors of the name of Christ to be found, yet of true genuine mourners how very few indeed! And when such are found, there is more rejoicing over one such real mourner in Zion than there is over ninety and nine just persons in their own eyes who need no such repentance. For he makes such a one, when God begins a work in his heart by his blessed Spirit, feel as the publican did when he smote upon his breast and cried, “God he merciful to me a sinner!" and like the three thousand who were pricked to the heart under Peter's sermon, who cried out in terror and dismay, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?" And I believe it is the case with all when they are first wrought upon by God, that they imagine there is a great deal to be done and they must set about doing it. I know such was the case with myself; and you will find every one in this state will really think that he can make himself better; and that what with reading books, attendance upon hearing the word, with many prayers and his own strivings, he thinks what a great Christian he will be! Well do I remember how I clave to Arminianism, and would not give it up. I would have reconciled free grace and free will together if I could; and I tried to prove that all were interested in God's favor, and might be saved if they would. I did not like the doctrine of free grace, but loved that of free will, which gave to all a chance of being saved, who were willing in their way to seek and serve God. But when at length I was taught my sinnership more completely, those errors were purged out of my heart, so that I could not embrace them nor those that preached them any longer. I said to all such in the words of Job, “Miserable comforters are ye all!" But I believe there are many quickened characters like these among the General Baptists, Wesleyans, and the Church clergy, and those sitting under them, but who are always uneasy, feeling their misery, and find that something is wanting which they have put; they are
mourners and among the discontented. For where God begins a work by his blessed Spirit there will be such a deep sense of sin and misery felt that it will produce great mourning before the Lord, with earnest supplications for his mercy. And the more a man knows of his own wretchedness, so much the more will he want to hear of the doctrines of God's grace, and will cleave to them from necessity; and when he discovers that he can neither work nor think anything that is good, he will be glad to hear that Christ has done all things for him; so that the blessed truths of the gospel are established in his heart, and he becomes a living witness for the truth of them,
(To be continued.)
OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES AND SUCKLINGS
THOU HAST PERFECTED PRAISE.
Dear Sir,—I have long felt a desire to send a few lines to you by way of encouragement in the work in which you are engaged. I have taken the Standard for some time past, notwithstanding that it is now, as in the days of the Apostles, the way or sect everywhere spoken against. It was the finding fault with an article in a number that was the means the Lord used to bring me to see the Magazine that I might read it for myself; and, I must say, the gracious experiences therein recorded have often cheered my weary pilgrimage.
I have known the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for more than 22 years; and when I can look at the way in which the Lord has led me, and the way in which I have returned the kindness of the Lord, I have not far to go to find occasion for weeping and mourning.
I left my native land as a poor forsaken sailor-boy, company for no one that I could find, and thought I never should find a sailor who feared the Lord; but the Lord led me to New York. There I heard a sailor tell of the love of Christ; and the Spirit of the Lord carried it home with power to my heart; yea, I believe, made the word quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of joints and marrow, and became a discerner of the thoughts and intents of my heart. I felt that all things were naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom I had to do.
But my intention is not to speak of what the Lord did in me so much as of what he lately did for my youngest daughter, about eight and a half years of age, who was taken from me last December, I fully believe for a world of blessedness. I have been led to do this from reading the first article in the Standard of this month. The Lord Jesus has revealed himself to me on sea as well as on land; and though I am brought to feel with Paul that I am the chief of sinners, yet sometimes I can say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” I know what it is to be filled with the Spirit, and I know what it is to be barren; and in this dark and cloudy day I feel sometimes as though the whole people were going wondering after the Beast of a mere empty profession. But it is a great mercy that the Lord continues to carry on his own purposes of grace and mercy to his chosen ones, and still has his reserves, as in the days of Elijah.
My little one lost her mother about three years since, and ever since that time she had been drooping, until a few weeks previous to her death, when she was taken with her last sickness, and then the doctor told me that she would never come down stairs again. She had evidently inherited her mother's disease-consumption, and that of the most fearful kind. She did not lay her head upon a pillow for nearly two weeks, but got all her sleep by simply nodding in sitting on a sofa. I had to take the most care of her myself. While my feelings were pained much in seeing her suffer so, and that nothing could be done to relieve her, I felt it was a case that demanded of me, who knew of a Physician who could cure soul and body, if it pleased him, to bring her case before him. Prayer was offered in the church, of which I was then a member, and she was visited by many, but, being very low, and greatly troubled in her mind, she wished to see no one but her immediate friends. I was advised to come home about a fortnight before she left us at 12 o'clock, as her step-mother thought she would go off in one of the spells that came on about that time. I came home, and about 3 or 4 o'clock that afternoon, as I was sitting in the front room, all alone with her, she said, “Father, my heart will jump out of me.” I said, “My daughter, I hope the Lord will sustain you.” A moment after she said, “Father, I am going to Jesus; I shall die happy! I have no fear of death.” Oh! It was the Shepherd's voice. I ran across the room and caught her in my arms, and said, while we were both together in tears, “That is all, yea, more than I asked.” We called in several friends to rejoice with us, and we all expected she would leave us that night; but she lingered along nearly two weeks after this in great suffering. Sometimes at midnight, when she got so that she could lay her head on the pillow, I would try and pray beside her. She would say, “Father, come close by me; I love to hear you pray. When you pray, Jesus seems close by me;" and she said one day, while suffering much pain, “Father, this is sore suffering; but what is all this to what Jesus suffered for me?” When she left us, the last words on her faltering tongue were, “ Pray, pray, pray!" I felt, when bringing her case before the Lord, that the case of the man having the palsy was mine. I knew Jesus could heal her, and I tried to bring her in my arms of faith, and lay her at his feet; telling him if he could do anything for us, to help us; and he graciously answered bis own faith, for he is the author of it all.
I feel that it is my duty to the church of God, if I can encourage the weakest, to cast in my mite; and you can do as you think best with this. The Lord willing, at some future time I may send an account of some of the Lord's dealings with my own soul, and give a reason of the hope that is in me with meekness and fear, the Lord enabling me.
The family who resided in the house with us lost their only daughter a few days after I lost mine; and, as her mother had been very kind to us in our affliction, and sat up many nights with me, I felt as though I ought to ask the Lord to bless her for her kindness. I told her of this when her daughter was dying; and, though it seemed to
carnal reason a strange way of blessing, yet I believe she would have reason to thank the Lord for it. Just as the breath was leaving the daughter's body, the mother's tongue was loosed, and she spoke out the praise of our wonder-working God and Saviour, and her tears were tears of gratitude; and then her husband was led to call upon the name of the Lord, and both of them are now hoping in the mercy of the Lord; and, as the Lord opened their hearts, the door of their house was opened, and ever since we have had a prayer meeting on Thursday evenings, and we have sometimes felt as though the Lord was in our midst.
Lately we have had some trouble at the church where I belong, I urging the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit's presence in the new birth, and that there can be no motion Godward until he comes upon the soul, as he did upon the Virgin Mary, forming a new creation or new creature; and the pastor saying that if they waited, without making the effort, they would never come ; but I know that when the Lord makes his people willing they come without any driving. They have a new nature, and that nature wants nourishment, and they come under the sweet and gracious teachings of the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ. I also maintained that the Lord Jesus died for the elect world, and them only, and that I was born again before I knew it, and could not believe it, until Jesus revealed himself as mine, by speaking my sins all forgiven; and that I would give no one the praise of this but him. When my little daughter was sick, many said, “Tell her to do this and that,” but I felt it was only the Lord that could bring her; and therefore I told him if he would be pleased to speak she should live; because he is the resurrection and the life, and the Spirit, like the wind, blows on whom and where he pleaseth, and who dare instruct him?
I received a letter from the pastor accusing me of receiving the errors of a certain sect in England ; and I believe it is the certain sect that is everywhere spoken against by the mere professors. He said that sentence of Toplady's, that there was no sense in asking the dead sinner why he would die when he was dead already, he could not receive as gospel or truth; but, how men who have known anything of their own spiritual death, can believe anything else, I cannot see; but you are too familiar with their mode of reasoning to need any thing from me. We are hoping that the Lord will open the way for a small place to be opened where we can meet, and we hold prayer meetings from house to house. You will answer this if you think meet. I remain, Yours in a complete Redeemer,
CHARLES R. STEPHEN. Brooklyn, Long Island, State of New York,
August 1, 1856.
The impressions of the kisses of the face of Him that sitteth on the throne are the deeper, that the frequent experiences of grace have been many.-Rutherford.
A FULL SAVIOUR AND AN EMPTY SINNER.
My dear Friend,—If nothing unforeseen turn up to prevent, I will endeavor, by the Lord's help, to come and see you again, for the purpose of saying something about the dear Friend of ruined sinners, in your little place. O may he bring me there, and himself be also manifestatively and graciously there too.
I was not left without some sweet and solemn feeling in my heart when I endeavored to speak there for the first time, nor without feeling myself at home in your house. I wish you had told me how your poor daughter is in her health, as I have thought much of her since I saw her. My own daughter having been a great sufferer since then, it has called yours afresh to my thoughts. Mine is indeed a path of sorrow, but I see at times it is a right one, and can feelingly say, “ Thy holy, blessed will be done." I am a poor blunderer, but he makes no mistakes; I am darkness, he is light; I am weakness, he is almighty; I am a poor beggar, he rich in mercy; I am a mass of sin, he the Lord our righteousness; I am nothing and less than nothing, and vanity, but he is all in all. O that I knew him more, loved him more, and exalted him more!
With kind regards to your dear wife and daughter, and all the friends,
I remain, Yours in the truth, London, May 6, 1850.
The application of all the promises is the work of the Holy Spirit. The promise of life and the spirit of life always go together; for it is the powerful application of the word by the Spirit that makes the promise; the incorruptible seed, the word of God, that liveth and abideth for ever. All the promises of divine consolation have their sincere milk from Christ by the Holy Spirit. One promise brings peace, another joy, another love, another comfort, another rest. Just as the Holy Spirit sends them in, so they discharge their rich contents. The hungry soul, by exercising faith upon them, sucks the sweetness of them, till he is filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is no converting, refreshing, encouraging power attends the word without the Spirit's operation. When he makes application of it, faith, life, and love attend it. And various are the sensations of the soul, under the Spirit's influence, when he applies the word. Sometimes it is a word of support that fortifies and strengthens; sometimes a word of encouragement to keep us watching and waiting, and to bear us up under trials and crosses; sometimes a word of correction that leads us to self-examination, which awes us, and excites watchfulness and amendment; at other times a soft word that breaketh the bones, and melts us under a sense of undeserved love and self-abhorrence; and often a word of instruction to correct the mind, to disperse some wrong notion, to inform the judgment, and to bring more harmonious and consistent views of things to the soul. Innumerable are the ways by which the Holy Spirit works by the word, and in his application of it; but it is always a seasonable application; and “a word spoken in due season, how good is it!"-Huntington.