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fices, but through Jesus Christ. He, and he alone, can appear officially before God with his own one offering, and with the spiritual sacrifices of his people; while they, as a holy and royal priesthood, are distinguished from the rest of mankind by a sacred consecration of heart and life, which forbids their touching that which is unclean, and proves them to be the covenant people of God, familiar with him, and sharing in all the privileges which the charter of grace unfolds and secures.
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum : We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens ; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Heb. viii. 1, 2). To him belongs exclusively the title, the work, the office, and honour of the priesthood under Melchisedeck's order, which is the only order recognised under the Gospel dispensation.
Christian pastors must therefore abandon all claim to priestly orders officially, or else they make themselves usurpers of Christ's exclusive honours, which is nothing less than participating in the treason of Antichrist: nor can the churches arrive at their latter-day glory, until their pastors are content to be watchmen and labourers, leaving all that pertains to the priestly office to “ the Great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, who is, and must be, a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedeck.”.
Brethren beloved, elect of God-if, in these remarks, you conceive that I have used severity, bear with me; the importance of the subject, and the awfulness of modern superstition, with the violent struggle of priestcraft to set up Popery in our land, is my apology; and, while I stand prepared for more reproach, I pray, for increasing boldness to finish my course, which is now far advanced. With the most determined efforts to maintain the simplicity of the Gospel,
I am, Brethren beloved,
OUR PORTRAIT-REV. J. CUMMING.
MR. Cumming is Minister of the Scottish Church, Crown Court, Little Russel Street, Covent Garden. We introduce him to our readers at. this particular season, when large meetings are being holden in town, as the staunch advocate of Protestantism. Would that there were others equally alive to the destructive influence of Popery! In our next we hope to furnish our readers with a report of the meetings now about to take place.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. My Dear Sir,
I feel constrained to address you, I hope under the leadings of the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it is my sincere desire to write. I left many things unsaid in my last hasty epistle to you, more particularly that I had observed that you did not limit the dealings of the Lord with his people ; which in your March paper you most fully and clearly stated. I feel grateful for your recognition of me, and notice to me; I wish to assure you I have not been wounded by your papers, but have only been brought to that close questioning that shall work for my good. They have tried me certainly and brought forth the question I stated; but what is faith untired? I have been led to search more narrowly into the ground of my hope, and I am persuaded it is founded entirely on the Rock of Ages. And can I trust him too much ? can I feel myself a partaker of this great salvation, and not love the procurer of it? and can I love him who is all purity, and wallow and delight in sin ? No, no, the love of Christ produces the warfare between flesh and spirit, and Satan distresses in one way or another. I have passed through the first teachings of the new birth, felt the plague of sin and the blessedness of pardoning love, and my mountain stood as if it could never be moved for a long time; and so manifest was the work, that I appeared to walk by sight and not by faith. And blessed be his holy name, my HEART was the place where the work commenced ; KNOWLEDGE was added ; LIFE was first given, and then LIGHT. Heart experience brought me to understand the word of God, and now the word confirms my experience. I knew my calling and election before . I would admit of the doctrine of election; but was early led into the glories of the doctrines of free grace, principally by the study of the word. I clearly saw that salvation rested not on frames and feelings, long before the sweets of the first love had evaporated. I have now for some time been walking by faith ; persuaded that I am a changed creature, and believing yes, believing that the Lord is unchangeable, and that his sheep shall never perish. But the fervour of love is cooled, the delight in the word of God (which was intense) abated, the zeal for the salvation of souls lessened ; my firmness in the doctrines of grace the enemy, perhaps, brought against me, and not having been led by the way you have so constantly described, questions arose in my mind, Was I trusting too much to the work of Christ ? Was I not too easy under the loss of those high enjoyments ? or was it not altogether a delusion? Rest assured, my dear sir, I shall be benefitted by it in the end. Do not fear that you have wounded me; let us rather believe it has been a probing by the Spirit: and believe me, I am not so circumscribed in my ideas as to look no farther than self-the Lord instructs in ways we do not always comprehend. I did feel offended (in my Christian character) at the expressions I before alluded to, and could not forbear saying to myself, “Is it not putting these infidel ideas into the heads of some who, perhaps, have never had such pass their minds ?” I wish also to remark on two extremes which appear to be prevailing in the present day; the one giving the power to mau to attain perfection in the present state, and this not independent of Christ, and grace, and the Spirit; for Satan now works with Gospel truths, and I should think never before appeared more like an angel of light than in the present day. The other, making man a mere machine without any power whatever, and giving
to the devil by far more than belongs to him ; thereby exonerating the vile corruptions of our own evil hearts. Let me not, dear sir, be misapprehended -I believe that in respect to believing to the saving of the soul, man is entirely powerless, the grace of God being a free gift, and grace given can never be recalled ; but the Spirit works through the understanding, and the renewed soul often, not always, loses the shinings of God's countenance by getting into “by-paths,” giving way to flesh; and by relaxing in prayer and watchfulness, imperceptibly backslides in heart. Your papers have described some of these · exercises ; but I do sometimes think you give or ascribe to the devil more
than is his due. The word is full of exhortations to the Christian to run, to fight, to resist, &c. In respect to the first, I do not believe that any one under the teachings of the Spirit can think themselves perfect; the latter I believe is entangling many a child of God. We are imperfect fallible creatures, and if we escape one shoal, stumble on a rock, or get into a whirlpool. You will, perhaps, say, here is carnal reasoning ; but you will unite with me in saying, blessed is it when the soul can soar above all these things, and look with a steady eye to Jesus the never-changing Rock; and blessed shall it be for every soul whom the Lord has loved with an everlasting love.
I have not been unmindful of the duty laid upon us of bearing one another's burdens; the Magazine reached me on the 2nd, and at half-past ten that night I pleaded for you at the throne of grace and mercy ; nor have you been forgotten since. On prayer I could say much, but for the present forbear. I do not always pray in faith, and often come in the flesh, when I feel no spirit of prayer. I pray the Lord to give me a realizing faith for you; but the veil of secrecy which is drawn around us, leaves us of course exclusively to faith. I have such a dread of head knowledge, and believe that Christian experience is now so taught and acquired, that one may talk, write, and preach on “ Christian experience,” without the experience in the heart-I am too suspicious. Believe me, I do not suspect you of hypocrisy, for you show you do not write to please all men; but I have not yet that realizing appropriating faith for you which I desire to have, and which I had for my dear departed lamented Walter Row. Your present afflictions, I assure you, meet with sympathy; and I can pray the Lord' to give you the glorious light of his countenance to support you, and to give you that entire rest on his compassionate bosom which can nowhere else be found. May the blessed Spirit direct you in the labours to which you have set your hand; may the love of Christ constrain you to receive what I have written, as written from love to him and his Gospel of everlasting peace. Feeling that I have much need of the teachings and guidings of the Comforter, that I am a poor short-sighted creature, prone to err and wander; hoping to have a word next month that you have been supported by heavenly love, I remain in the bonds of Christian union,
B. C. S. April 6th, 1841.
[We thank our correspondent for his epistle, many parts of which need a reply. Our
limits, however, this month, compel us to be very brief_“ Can a soul feel himself to be a partaker of this great salvation,” says our correspondent, “ and not love the procurer of it?” Certainly not; and the brighter his evidences of personal interest in that salvation, the warmer his love, and the more solicitous will he be, both in walk and conversation, to show forth his praise who hath called him out of darkness into his marvellous light. It is not when Jesus is with the soul, in his sensible manifestations, that Satan, sin, and unbelief, molest him ; no, during his love-visits, these ever-vigilant foes may be considered as watching at a respectful distance for his departure; and as surely as he does depart, so surely do they come forth from their hiding-places, and attack and worry him, whom, blessed