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cian prescribe before he has ascertained the nature and extent of the malady? Perhaps, in consequence of what we have written, many may lay down the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, resolving never again to take it in hand, while conducted by such a poor, changeable, desponding creature as he that now edits it. If so, we cannot help it; we could get no answer at a throne of grace, nor any peace or satisfaction in our consciences until we had done as we have. What is written is written ; and, presumptuous as may be the thought, we believe it is for the deliverance of some poor captive in the Lord's family ; whom, however fearful and desponding, it is our desire to direct to Jesus, who alone can baffle the tempter, and proclaim pardon, peace, and enjoyment, to his poor burdened heart. Ah, poor soul! low as you and the writer may be sunk, depend upon it, we shall “come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us.' It is now our seed- time, and truly we are sowing in sadness, with many doubts and fears as to whether the seed shall ever spring up; but rest assured it will, for there is one word in the text proves it, that is, the word “ DOUBTLESS.' Ah! that is a timely, well-placed word !
Doubtless--shall doubtless come again with rejoicing “What, no question—no fear-no doubt about it, Lord !" “No!" “ Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Come down, then, into thy garden, and eat of thy pleasant fruits, O thou most lovely, all precious, ever adorable Lord ! and give us to see that these exercises, painful and distressing as they are, tend, under thy wise management, to make us seek thee more earnestly ; to examine more closely the ground of our hope ; and to establish us in a confidence that thou alone art our helper, our deliverer, and the lifter up of our head.
« Let those that sow in sadness wait,
Till the bright harvest come ;
And shour the blessings home."
A NEW YEAR'S SALUTATION.
To the Church of the living God, chosen in Christ Jesus, and eternally
predestinated to everlasting life and glory ; redeemed by, and washed in, the blood of a crucified Saviour, and called by the Eternal Spirit to a knowledge of God in Christ Jesus ; grace, mercy, and peace, and
every blessing be multiplied. Beloved, At the dawn of another of those annual circles by which our abode here is measured and divided, permit a fellow-traveller to address a few lines of encouragement, which may, through the blessing of our God, be effectual to the raising up of the hands that hang down, and the confirming of the feeble knees. I have somewhere observed, that the late Rev. W. Romaine, that valiant champion for truth, and bright example of “the life, walk, and triumph of faith,” was wont, at the commencement of the year, to fix upon some portion of Scripture which he used as a
motto and watchword throughout the year ; allow me then to recommend to the readers of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, to take for their motto for 1841, “Looking unto Jesus” (Heb. xii. 2): and if the Holy Spirit graciously bring home this word with power to their hearts, they will find in “ looking unto Jesus a balm for every wound, a cordial for every care ; experiencing what they did of old, who “looked unto Him and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed” (Ps. xxxiv. 5).
And, dear friends, it is only as we look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, that we can find any true peace or solid comfort ; our works are filthy rags ; our prayers are polluted and defiled with sin which dwelleth in us; our repentance is chargeable with insincerity; and our faith is so entirely dependent upon Jehovah, that if we calculate upon resting on it as on a foundation, we provoke him to leave us to feel our natural unbelief. I have been led to think, that if ever there was a period when it was peculiarly necessary to have clear views, and a right understanding in all things, it is the present time; men's feelings are understood, their failings pointed out, their corruptions exposed, and there the matter is too frequently left. God's way of training-raising new feelings which shall overpower old ones, of covering up their failings and drowning their corruptions, and of banishing from their minds the guilt and distress arising from those failings and corruptions, is by directing and enabling the soul to look to Jesus, and to rest satisfied with him ; then he can sing,
- Compared with Christ in all beside,
No comeliness I see ;
Is to be one with thee.” Bearing ever in mind that it is God alone who can give the increase ; “ Not by might,nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The ministers of God's word should aim to direct the minds of his people to a profitable meditation, to a “looking unto Jesus” in some one of those gracious features of his character, in which he appears suited to their circumstances, instead of sitting down with them and pouring over their own corruptions and absolutely fostering the workings of unbelief in their hearts. God has invented one remedy and but one for every distress, every feeling of guilt, every act and imagination of sin ; and that one is Christ : and unless the soul be resting upon Christ as her complete Saviour, she cannot have peace. Arguments may be drawn, and are often drawn, which seem to bring momentary relief from the circumstance of others who are believed be God's people, being in the same state with themselves ; but it is spurious, and therefore not permanent. It is not of the Holy Ghost, for he reveals Christ; it is merely the craving of the human mind, which would be satisfied with something else. My heart often aches when I see the dear children of God trying to get comfort in this way, and those who ought to know better causing them to err. I hope and trust, my dear friends, that the pages of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE may teem with the love, and shine with the name of Jesus ; that his love may there be “ as ointment poured forth," and that when you and I read them, the inspired prayer may be ours
“Draw me, we will run after thee"--may there be such an attraction therein, that the souls of the redeemed may be insensibly led to look unto Jesus.
My dear friends, I have left off controversy ; I am no advocate for dry doctrine, but for rich experimental divinity. I am an advocate for stripping every sinner naked, exposing his sores, probing his wounds, applying the " balm of Gilead," and sending him away rejoicing; this I know from Scripture and experience to be God's way of dealing with sinners; and it is only as we walk in God's way, and act in our measure according to his plan, that we can expect his blessing. If our beloved brother, the Editor, will allow me, I will resume the subject of “ looking unto Jesus” in a future Number, and will conclude these hasty remarks with my earnest prayers for God's blessing upon the Editor, contributors, and readers of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, that he will enable them to “ look unto Jesus,” and remain, Your affectionate Brother in Him,
THE FORGIVENESS OF ALL SIN EXCEPT THE SIN
AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST. All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven.-Mat. xii. 31, 32.
It is written of Jesus, in Acts, x. 38—“He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.' In the chapter before us we have a convincing and confirming proof of these facts in verses 13, 15, 22, by Christ's “restoring the withered hand, healing great multitudes that followed him ;” and in particularizing the case in the 22nd verse, of " one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb ;” and glory be to Jesus, he has not ceased to perform these wonders of grace, as the daily experience of all his people testifieth.
Here notice the contrary effect produced in the minds of men by these miracles. In verse 23, we read, the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David ?” and in verse 24, the Pharisees said, “This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub,” &c. ; to which Jesus replied in justification, in verses 25 to 31. And then he introduced the words at the head of this paper, saying, “ All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven,” &c. Showing,
I. The Extension of forgiveness—“ All manner of sin.”
I. The Extension of forgiveness—“All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven.”
First-Here is sin or moral evil ; sin in habit and in act. Original sin, according to the ninth article of the Church of England, “standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is
ingendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil ; so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit ; and therefore in every person born into this world it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. From this inward corruption of nature being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity, there is an habitual neglect of God; yea, the very opposite to Him who is love, light, holiness, and happiness, &c. But, alas ! man is habitually the reverse, in enmity, darkness, pollution, and misery. Thus
“ Sin is the source of every ill,
It draws the heart from God;
And leads the downward road.” Secondly—Sin in act is againtst lawma transgression of the law, (1 John, iii. 4), and signifies, to go beyond the limits of the law-to miss the mark of conformity to the law—and to come short of the law's requirement, in purity, spirituality, and perfection in weight and measure ; “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom. iii. 23. Therefore, the habit and the act of sin is sin in root and fruit, fountain and streams, principle and practice. And all sin in fruit is the outward evidence of sin in the root. A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit ; by this means we come at the real character of all men, and conclude, that sin in the first man (as a poisoned fountain) has flowed through him to all men in the streams.
Thirdly-Sin is personal in every child of Adam. Every heart is the seed-bed of every sin (Mat. xv. 19) restrained or suffered to show itself according to the permissive will of God. Yet, until the sinner is born again, and thus brought under the operation of the Holy Ghost, sin is not seen in the light of God's holiness, nor felt as a yoke or burden upon the sinner's conscience ; but when charged upon us as a debt contracted, felt as a burden, and groaned under as a wound—then, instead of excusing ourselves, we become ashamed, confounded, distressed, and humbled in the dust before God : crying, "enter not into judgment," &c. (Ps. cxliii 2), but God be merciful to me a sinner.
Fourth -- The extent of forgiveness. All manner of sin and blasphemy. O how great is this forgiveness! All manner, &c.--Original sin, containing the seed of all sin. Actual sin, in common with all men. Flagrant sins, such as are compared to crimson and scarlet. Isa. i. 18. Great sin, in degree, bulk, and enormity. Sin oft repeated, long continued, multiplied, and manifold. Secret sin, in heart, wishes, desires, evil affections, enmity, rebellion, and presumption, Sins before and after conversion, such as the sin of Noah, Lot, Moses, Sampson, David, Solomon, Peter, and Saul of Tarsus. Sins committed in various forms and mediums, of the eye, the ear, hands, feet, tongue, heart, &c. Sins revealed by God, and sins known only to God. All manner, or that can be named against God or man; even blasphemy against God himself ; and the sin of Saul, who compelled the saints to blaspheme. (Acts, xxvi. 10). O what a God! (See Ish. 1, 18, 43, 25, 55, 7).
Fifth--The act. All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven.
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.
This is God's prerogative. (Dan. lx. 9.) In forgiving sin, God maintains the honour of his justice in the vicarious sacrifice of his dear Son, through whom He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Faithful to Jesus in forgiving all for whom he died; and just to his own perfections, and to the sinner, of whom He will not demand two payments for one debt. In forgiving sin, God maintains also the holiness of his character revealed in the law, by accepting the obedience of Christ, and imputing it for righteousness to all that believe in him. (Rom. iv. 5 to 8.)
Here let the poor, guilty, and broken-hearted sinner farther notice that the great subject of the forgiveness of sins signifies, to lift up sin from the sinner and lay it upon another person—which was shown by the type of the scapegoat, to whom all the sins and transgressions of the people of Israel were transferred by the laying on the hands of the high Priest, and by confessing them upon the head of the devoted victim ; even so, in the fullest sense, hath the Lord laid upon Jesus the iniquity of all his people. Is. liii. 6. The sacrifices presented to God under the law were called sin-offerings, or sin, because the sin of the people was figuratively translated from them to the sacrifice. So it was written of Christ. 2 Cor. v. 21. “ He was made sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Forgiveness supposes also the taking off a burden from the guilty, in consequence of its having been borne by another ; as it is written of the sinless Lamb of God, who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. (1 Peter, ii. 24).
Forgiveness signifies to cover. « Blessed is he whose sin is covered." Ps. xxxii. 1. And Christ is set forth as a propitiation for our sins.
-Rom. iii. 25. In allusion to the mercy-seat sprinkled with blood, which both covered the two tables of the law in the ark, and became the medium of access to God in the holy of holies. And now we have the great substance in Jesus, who, with his infinite merit, overshadows the whole body of his church, which the prophet realized in Is. lxi. 10. “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.
Forgiveness signifies to pass by offences, not to look upon them ; which was shown by the passover lamb, whose blood being sprinkled upon the houses of the Israelites, the angel of the Lord passed over them; thereby setting forth this fact—that as the Lord had decreed there should be death in every house in the land of Egypt—the death of the first-born in the families of the Egyptians, and of a lamb in the families of Israel, whose blood sprinkled upon their houses became the sign of separation from their enemies, and of salvation from God; which becomes known experimentally by God's dear children when the blood of Christ is sprinkled upon the conscience ; and the Lord manifestly passeth by their transgressions and retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy,
Forgiveness implies also the blotting out of sin. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for ne own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” -Is. xliii. 25. The whole account is blotted out