Изображения страниц

bottom of the sea, but not till after He had taught His servant, “ without me ye can do nothing." “« Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. iii. 5, 6). Kad the man buckled on the diving apparatus as the Apostle told the saints of Ephesus to

put on the whole armour of God, praying always with all prayer(Eph. vi. 18), had he gone down the first time in the way that he went down the second, thinking more of his own helplessness and less of the captain's temptation and his skill as a diver, he would probably have saved himself the last journey to "the fountains of the great deep.Be this as it may, one thing we are quite certain of, and that is, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience ;" ? and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us

(James i. 2; Rom. v. 4). Beloved, what know we of all thy ways" (Prov. iii. 6), " in everything(Phil. iv. 6), "everywhere(1 Tim. ii. 8), " night and day(1 Tim. v. 5), without ceasing(1 Thess. v. 17),

66 with boldness" (Heb. iv. 16), "" pray always (Luke xxi. 36) ? " Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies” (Ps. xxvii. 11). I know not the way I am going, As when some lonely wanderer,

But well do I know my Guide; Alone in an unknown land, With a child-like trust I give my Tells the guide his destin'd place of hand

rest, To the mighty Friend by my

And leaves 'all else in his hand. side.

'Tis home, 'tis home that we wish The only thing that I say


to reach, Him,

He who guides us may choose As He takes it, is 'Hold it fast; Suffer me not to lose my way,

Little we heed which path we take, And bring me home at last.

If nearer home each day.” Another point we may notice in this stirring event is, that trouble drives the weak one to the Strong for help. The promise wrapped up in Psalm 1. 15, will not suit everybody: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." So long as we feel no tribulation, and see no danger, we understand nothing of " seeking the Lord and His strength(Ps. xxxiv. 4). As long as we have creature bread in the house, we know nothing of " ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke xi. 6—9). While we fancy we can walk the troubled waters of life alone, we see po necessity for the cry, "Lord, save me(Matt. xiv. 30). And, so long as "we imagine that God is altogether such an One as ourselves" (Ps. 1. 21), we understand

little of "6 come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb iv. 16). Ah, beloved, we are so guilty of weighing the God of Israel with our own weights and scales, we think His thoughts our thoughts, His 'ways our ways, and since we only love those whom in some way we think worthy of love, we fancy that our God and Father in heaven loves us much in the same way. For this cause the child of God has to be taken back to learn the A B C of redeeming love (Eph. ii. 1–10), and to look again and again unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the whole of the pit whence ye are digged” (Isa. li. 1). I have often thought that the first ten verses of the second chapter of Ephesians should be hung up in


the way,


large letters in every room of our house, as well as written by the Spirit on the fleshly tables of our hearts.

What shall we say to these things—" in Christ,through Christ," " with Christ,"by grace,' gift of God ? " &c. Beloved in the Lord, what can we say but “thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift (2 Cor. ix. 15)? “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His

judgments, and His ways past finding out! For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. xi. 33).

“The best returns for one like me,

So wretched and so poor,
Is from His gifts to draw a plea,

And ask Him still for more.” This strange episode of my friend will also serve to illustrate Psalm xl. 145, for blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust;" but, like the Psalmist and the diver, we must first know what it is to wait patiently for the Lord” (or, as the margin has it In waiting, I waited) before we can sing the song of the blessed, viz., He brought," "He set," He established,and He hath put a new song in my mouth.

Observe, also, how our Lord separates the precious from the vile, and kisses away the tear of the mourner and poor in spirit- Blessed be ye poor.

Woe unto you that are rich.· Blessed are ye

that hunger.Woe unto you that are full." Blessed are ye that

"Woe unto you that laugh.Blessed are ye when hated.Woe unto you when all speak well of.'

Luke vii. 20—26. Do I hear some aflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comfortedone saying, These blesseds are not my portion ? Permit me, dear reader, to ask you a few questions; for you may be possessed of some title-deeds to this blest inheritance. Perchance you are an heir of promise,” a vessel of mercy;" and can it be that “your soul is already set on the chariots of My willing people ?" (Cant. vi. 12 margin)? "Ah," say you, "I feel so much of hardness, deadness, and corruption within that I cannot think myself a child of God, a new creature in Christ Jesus.” Well, trembling one, you have yet to learn the meaning of regard(Ps. lxvi. 18), Mahanaim" (Cant. vi. 13 margin), flesh(John iii. 6), “lusteth" (Gal. v. 17), *i enmity(Rom. viii. 7), "vile" (Phil. iii. 21), deceitful '' (Jer. xvii. 9), “ unclean” (Isa. vi. 5), captivity(Rom. vii. 23). Again, do you know “ Jesus as the Saviour from the wrath to come ?" as "the one Mediator between God and man?” Do you know the power of His allatoning blood ? His justifying righteousness ? His all-sufficient grace ? And do

you believe i He is able to save unto the uttermost?" All this I steadfastly believe; but did He die for me?" Ah, beloved, I can feel

you much, for salvation is a personal matter; only may you be led to acknowledge the Lord's hand in making known to you the way of life, and. giving you to hunger for the blessedness of the man whom God choosest and causest to approach unto Him(Psa. lxv. 4).

Once more may I ask, is your desire to the remembrance of the Lord's name” (Isa. xxvi. 8)? Do you " desire the sincere milk of the Word” (1 Peter ii. 2) ? And do


desire a better country (Heb. xi. 16) ? If so, let me tell you, on the authority of God's Word, that your desire, however much the deferred hope may make your heart sick, is “a tree of life" (Prov. xiii. 12) in the midst of a renewed heart, and that

[ocr errors]


If we

i. 3).

it came from Him who is the Desire of all nations (Hag. ii. 7).
are seeking for Jesus in His Word (Acts xvii. 11), in His house (Luke ii.
46), among His people (Luke xxiv. 14), and at His mercy-seat (Acts xvi.
13), we shall surely find Him “at the set time of favour” (Ps. cii. 13),
for He whom we are seeking first sought us (Isa. lxv. 1; John iv. 23),
and “God never said unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain(Isa.
xlv. 19; Deut. xxxii. 10; John vi. 37).

Beloved, let me pin you to one question- Why did you seek to know
Jesus as your Lord and Saviour ? Is not this the only answer, “ WHEN
THOU SAIDST, seek ye my face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face,
Lord, will I seek” (Ps. xxvii. 8). But let God have all the glory of this
seeking, for it was God said something to your soul before your heart
SAID, Thy face, Lrid, will I seek;” and, “ if we love Him, it is because
He first loved us” (1 John iv. 19). Why did He love us (Ps. xci. 14) ?
When did He love us (Jer. xxxi. 3)? How long will He love us (John
xiii. 1)? and what is the nature of His love ? Everlastingunchanging
(Mal. iii. 6). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a
lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of all mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 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:
according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the
glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved”
(Eph. i. 3—6). In these three Scriptures we have the inward look of
blessed, the outward look of blessed, and the upward look of blessed-

A monument of grace-

A sinner saved by blood ;'
The streams of love I trace,

Up to the Fountain God.
And in His sacred bosom see

Eternal thoughts of love to me.”
There can be no question that every doubt and fear of the believer
arises, not from what he does not see in Jesus, but from what he does
not see in himself; and what is this but seeking for something we shall
never find, viz., creature merit and righteous self ?

Beloved, do you feel darkness of mind in seeking the things of God?
Let me tell you that the light of life revealed these midnight skies to
you; for the light discovers nothing to a dead man. Do you feel dead-
ness of soul in “running the way of God's commandments ?” Let
me tell you that divine life must go before this death-song. Do


to carry about “an evil heart of unbelief?Living faith alone can show
this state of things. Do you feel shut up in bondage, often without a
good thought, powerless to act or will a good deed? What is this but
å proof of your being possessed of “that glorious liberty wherewith
Christ makes His people free (Gal. v. 1)? For by nature we are slaves
to sin and Satan. And what can a slave really know of his hard
bondage before he has breathed the air of liberty? And do we feel

[ocr errors]

ourselves vile “ from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet?" We should never have known these polluted streams had it not been for a peep into that mystic temple where all is "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY" (Isa. vi. 2). This version changes woe into them,"

unto 66
woe is me

(ch. v.) The once sinner, but now glorified Hart, knew much of these contrarieties ; and we, too, dear reader, must have many a chapter of perplexing dilemmas (Exod. xiv. 13), and puzzling paradoxes (2 Cor. iv. 6), as we trudge along in our homeward journey to the Zion above.

Lord, what a riddle is my soul!
Alive when wounded, dead when whole.
Fondly I flee from pain, yet ease

Cannot content, nor pleasure please.” I must now ask the patient reader to accompany me once more to the " little shed" " where prayer was wont to be made.” At the close of that gathering I was taken by the arm by a sergeant of my own regiment, spoken to in the kindest possible manner, encouraged in the ways of God, and, for the first time in my life, I found that this godly man had been asking the Lord for several years that He would be pleased to give him a suitable companion from the ranks of "the King's Own.As we walked together to the barracks, I could see every now and then the silent tear of joy coursing down the cheek of my future companion as we passed this and that lamp-post. Presently we had to part for the night, as we belonged to two different parts of the corps; he went his way, one of happiness and real joy in the Lord, I went mine, which for that and several subsequent evenings was as dark and gloomy as no one could describe. On reaching my room- -I shall never forget the scene—it being more the abode of demons than of human creatures—it seemed as if Satan had entered into every one of the twenty men, all of whom were more or less drunk. Here and there were little groups of men sitting and discussing how much they had drank, how much they had spent, what evil they had wrought in chambering, what duty they were going to do on the morrow; and all this interspersed with loud laughter, vile songs, obscene oaths, and wild boastings. Truly the way of transgressors is hard." Having made

my bed down, I longed for the time when the lights would be put out, to enable me to kneel down by its side, and there plead my old prayer,

God be merciful to me, a sinner ;” for, great as these men were sinners, I felt myself to be the chiefest among them.But now the conflict once more commenced in my own soul, a voice seemed to say, "If you wait till the lights are out before you kneel down, you are ashamed of me;" and upon this came the old passage which had wrought such fearful work in my soul when standing between the wine-shop of sin, the hospital of blessing, and the shed of prayer-viz., “Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” How shall I describe the agony of my mind at this moment? If I knelt down, there was nothing to expect from these men but missiles of bodily harm, and if I knelt not down I felt that God might destroy my body and soul in hell, which, I need not say, was an overwhelming thought to my mind. For some little time this inward conflict went on, until at length I fell upon my knees and poured out my soul in earnest supplications to God, first for myself, and then for my wicked companions, all of whom became as still as death the whole time I remained on my knees. Instead of abuse and every kind of missile which


I had counted upon, the lions' den was harmlessthe smell of fire' had not passed on me.God had stopped the song of the drunkard, He hushed the roar of the wicked; for every man's mouth was closed, so that a pin dropped might have been heard throughout the room. On rising from my knees not one unkind remark was passed. All, all exceeded my brightest expectation. God had done great things for me. But, having no peace of mind, I could not as yet praise Him for His mercies. Soon the room became quiet again, for all had fallen asleep save one. But how could I "give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids," with the fearful weight of unforgiven sin? Whilst others were sleeping “in the arms of the wicked one,' I laid and rolled about in terror of soul, thinking of my past life. Wherever I looked I could not see one ray of hope. Now that the night had come I wished it was morning, and as soon as the day breaked I wished to God it was night. Such was my troubled state of mind. At length the day dawned—the bugle sounded for roll call.

Oh,” thought I, "how shall I answer to my name in that great day ?In a moment I was out of bed and on my knees, and once more the cry ascended, “ God, be merciful to me, a sinner?Oh, beloved, if such are the feelings of one poor sinner when treading the wine-press of God's wrath, what must the sorrows of the Man Christ Jesus have been when He laid down His life for the whole Church ? “ Hast thou within a care so deep! ("Hast thou a friend whose image dear It chases from thine eyelids sleep? May prove an idol worshipped here ? To thy Redeemer take that care, Implore the Lord that nought may be And change anxiety to prayer.

A shadow between heaven and thee. “ Hast thou a hope with which thy heart"Whate'er the care that breaks thyrest, Would feel it almost death to part ? Whate'er the wish that swells thy Entreat thy God that hope to crown, breast,

(prayer, Or give thee strength to lay it down. Spread before God that wish, that

And change anxiety to prayer." St. Luke's, Salisbury.


Reviews and Notices of Books.

A Sermon on Free and Sovereign Grace. By the Rev. EDWARD WILKINSON,

M.A., Ph.D., Rector of Snargate and Snave, Kent. London: W.

Macintosh, 24, Paternoster Row. Paper Read at a Clerical Meeting on the Scriptural Doctrine of the Devotion

of the Tenth, or, Proportion Offering to God. By the same. London: W.

Hunt and Co., Holles Street, Cavendish Square. THERE is an honesty and outspokenness about these productions which we very

much admire. Whilst the preacher has doubtless counted the cost of such Scriptural fearlessness and faithfulness, he may also rejoice in “the answer of a good conscience towards God.” Better far have the censure of men than the condemnation of God. A thousand to one the more to be desired is the final “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” than the “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »