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be God, they can never devour. We can follow our correspondent in the account with which he favours us of his experience. We likewise knew our personal election of God before our minds were led into the doctrine of election ; though this is by no means common. Many, perhaps most, of the Lord's dear family, fight against the doctrine of election, until God shows them their personal interest in its
blessedness. “Trusting too much to the work of Christ ?" inquires our corres• pondent. No, never:
“ On Christ the solid rock we stand,
All other hope is sinking sand.” It is in Jesus and his finished work, we find hope, and trust, and confidence ; here, and here alone, are solid peace and stability. Nothing of ours can be added unto it, nor anything of his taken from it; he is a whole, an entire, a perfect Saviour. There can be no patching of garments; we need nothing less than the robe of righteousness : every-day experience tends to teach us these important truths more and more. But, beloved, these ill accord with your remarks descriptive of human nature; we contend that it is a mere machine as far as the work of grace is concerned. Know ye not that by nature we are dead—“dead in trespasses and sins ?” Let our correspondent read again Ezekiel's vision ; let him again descend in iinagination to the valley of dry bones, and there behold the total want of life, animation, will, or power, as a true picture of man's fallen estate. Know ye not that what is flesh is flesh, and will ever remain flesh; and that what is spirit is spirit.
To entertain any other opinion, or as our correspondent appears to do, to take a midway view of the subject, is to savour of free-will and human power, which sets forth merely a half-and-half Gospel-half the creature's and half the Creator's. Beloved, have ye so learned Christ? Look into your own heart's experience, and see what you have ever done effectually towards helping on the rearing of the spiritual temple. Depend upon it, if you have any notions of having assisted, it will all fall about you; it will surely be consumed as hay, straw, and stubble, and then you will know what Satan's worrying, and what the unbelief of the heart is, indeed. God keep you in such a trying hour, and enable you to hold fast your confidence (in him) which hath great recompense of reward. As for “laying more upon Satan than he deserves," we look upon human nature and the devil as deserving of one common damnation ; that they help on each other, only that the one has had more experience than the other. Finally, we say, that the “realizing appropriating faith," of which our brother speaks, is the Lord's own gift, to be bestowed when and by what means he pleases. Until that is given, our correspondent-especially after the present reply-will sit in greater doubt of us than ever, and will find his heart still more alive to questioning who and what we are, and what is our condition.-Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. Esteemed Sir,
Her gracious Majesty having set our pens at liberty, I must by a few - lines remind you of a fable of old. For if some of your readers on whom perhaps the “light of the Lord is shining,” and who are rejoicing (perhaps) in the “ communion of saints ;” and being fed from Sabbath to Sabbath with the “bread of life,' accompanied with the power of the Holy Ghost, find fault with what they term the “gloomy subjects” of your leading articles ; it is not so with me and two more friends, who have had their broken spirits cheered and comforted by the very remarks for which you are found fault with; therefore, dear sir, go on straight forward, as the sun in its course, and the Lord by you will send a word in season to the sorrowful and rejoicing of his family. Since the Lord took his beloved servant, the clergy man of St. Paul's church, to glory, the members of that church have been sorely tried, and for more than two years have been going up and down seeking rest and finding none, save individually “ looking to Jesus." Some of us have tried the Dissenters, as well as the churches, but the “ faith once delivered to the saints " is not to be had, being mi red up with man's fancies and our works; some have been on the point of joining the Plymouth Brethren, but as yet we are only scattered, not destroyed, and anxiously waiting for the Lord to remember us, and to give that greatest of earthly blessings, a faithful shepherd. And you could not, had you known me, have described my state and some others) more plainly than you have done (page 100 of the April number); for it was only yesterday, in heaviness and bitterness of spirit, mourning over another dead Sabbath, when the heart uttered involuntarily (speaking of the evening sermon) it was all nonsense, and I longed for bed and sleep; and then loathing ourselves for the utterance given, we actually almost made use of your words, “ That we worked nothing but evil,” such a state calling into existence angry feel. ings, &c. which we, alas! had hoped were buried for ever—"not quite so good" as once we were. Alas, alas ! when we are fed by the word of God, strengthened and refreshed, we are carried above earthly ills, our passions are under command, and we are alive ; may it yet be so in this neighbourhood. I have wished you would point out where the truth is preached in great cities, either in the established church or out of it; yet I suppose in these falsely called days of evangelical preaching, when all are said to preach the truth, it would be invidious, and make you more hated than ever. All I can say is, Bristol is very destitute, and its environs very dry; yet knowing the Lord appoints the “bounds of our habitation,” and each minister has his appointed post, submission should be ours-" It is the Lord,” &c. May he comfort and strengthen you in your many afflictions, in and through his beloved Son. Bristol, April 7th, 1811.
W. A. M. [We thank our kind correspondent for his communication. By such epistles our
“weak hands” are “strengthened,” our “ feeble knees" confirmed, and our sorrowing hearts made glad. Little do our correspondents know our diversified exercises, and amid the variety of opinions with which we have to contend, and the bondage, captivity, and manifold exercises of our own souls, how much strength is required to keep us at our post. Whatever construction our readers may put upon our poor services, we do assure them-and God knows we lie not—it is out of the abundance of the heart that our mouth spoaketh. We at present travel by a rugged way ; believing others to be in siinilar paths, we describe our exercises, that they may compare notes, and be encouraged to hope that both theirs and ours are the footsteps of the flock. And we do believe, that those who cannot follow us in what they may consider bye-paths, will give us credit for at least desiring the welfare of the flock; but by and by, when the Lord sees fit to bring some of our beloved readers into difficult places, whom now he is pleased to indulge by dandling on the knee, or to sit as the beloved apostle sat, leaning on his breast at supper, they will perhaps better understand the feelings we have recently described. We have had these favoured seasons, and vainly supposed our mountain would always stand strong; but since then we have been called to come down from the mount. Still, for the encouragement of our brethren who may be in similar circumstances, we dare not but acknowledge that the Lord has supported us; underneath have been the everlasting arms; hitherto the Lord hath helped us. And though now called to wade in the deepest waters, and to watch the gradual removal of the dearest of all human connexions (which we once thought we never could have endured) yet his grace is sufficient still. We are holpen with a little help--all glory to his name! And by and by, when it pleases the Lord, to “turn again our captivity," we shall gladly apprize our readers of it by the choice of such subjects as the Eternal Spirit shall lead our minds into. "We are shut up and cannot come forth,” until he opens our mouths; the work is his own--we, like little infants, are entirely dependent upon him.
And now may it please his blessed Majesty, if it his sovereign will, to visit some of his seemingly neglected ones at Bristol. We know not the place, nor any of the ministers or people; but a friend tells us that he once passed a very happy hour in a room at the back of the Catholic chapel, where a few friends met for prayer and reading the word. They were not, however, what are called the “ Plymouth brethren.” Though doubtless there are some of the Lord's people among them, when we hear of their great acts of self-denial, the question “Who hath required this at your hands ?" resounds in our ears. There is such a thing as fleshly zeal; walking in a fire of our own kindling; and we are very greatly mistaken-as all are permitted to have a voice at their assemblies—if the pride of the heart is not nourished, and many who have the gift of speech led to talk, whom the Lord has never called to the all-important work of declaring his truth. Again, there is, in our opinion, such a thing as making a little Christ of our love to the brethren; we mean that it is possible to be so enamoured of the members as to forget the Head. Satan, transforming himself into an angel of light, may be permitted so to work upon the passions of men, as even to deceive the very elect. The admixture of truth with a something which we cannot altogether receive, makes it so much the more difficult for even a real child of God to discriminate. We fear, therefore, that many will be entangled. Our advice to the weak ones is, be not too hasty to join any “new lights.” Blessed as are the public means of grace, and the ordinances of the Lord's house ; yet, be it remembered, that he is not confined to houses of clay. He can and does commune with single hearts, as well
mune with single hearts, as well as where two or three meet together in his name; not that by this remark we would be understood to speak slightingly of the exhortation, “ Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.” Our prayer on behalf of the Lord's hidden ones at Bristol is, that he may be pleased to touch with a live coal from off the altar, the lips of some one whose heart probably he has long since engaged in his cause ; whom he has long since secretly commissioned to go forth and proclaim his truth, but who is waiting for an open door and an unloosed tongue. The Lord hasten it in his time.-Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. Dear Sir,
I have been a reader of your excellent depository of truth from the begin. ning, and have, bless the Lord, been greatly edified and instructed ; but after all, I am often very doubtful about my own state and condition. I have read much of the Lord's dealings with a great many of his people, and I find a great variety, but scarely any case in all points like my own. Some I find to have been led very deep in human nature, plunged in the ditch to great self loathing; others having felt a deep law-work in their souls to a very great degree ; neither of these cases to that extent has been mine. I have not experienced what I read some have, and from hence have thought my condition was delusive ; from this I feel great anxiety and distress. Glad should I be if some heaven-born soul would consider my case ; it would relieve my poor mind greatly.
I will now honestly state my case, and I beg you will insert the same in your valuable Miscellany, that some one of your experienced correspondents may set me right in my judgment or expose my delusion; for I would not be deceived for a million worlds. I beg sincerely the candid opinion of some gracious good experimental Christian.
I felt myself a sinner in early life, often terrified for fear of going to hell ; but as I grew up this in a measure wore off, but never wholly. I led a very profane and wicked life till the age of sixteen, when conviction returned with a double force and bridled my swearing tongue, and forbade my farther progress in open wickedness. I then became a reader of the Bible, and a hearer of the Gospel for a length of time_I was in great distress. At length liberty and comfort were felt; I found the Lord's ways delightful beyond everything else ; my mind from that was gradually led to see the law produced condemnation, and that by works there was no salvation. I was also gradually led to see the beauty of the Gospel, and its blessed suitability to my spiritual condition. I have, being now thirty-two years of age, gone on from that to the present day hoping, looking, longing, and waiting. My feelings are at this moment the fol. lowing:-I hate sin, and my very sinful nature; I hate sin in all its propertiesI feel myself a lump of sin. I hope I love the Lord Jesus in all his lovely characters and relations; I love holiness, I love the dear people of God, I love the service of God, I love the holy word of God. I am much tempted to sin, and often afraid I shall fall, and that I shall be exposed as a hypocrite to the whole world. Is my experience a delusion, or is it not ? Am I right or am I wroug? Christ is all my desire, all my comfort, all my hope. Should I die in this state, shall I go to hell? Can I be lost? Will some spiritually-taught man of God answer my request ?-.it is urgent--it is earnest. Having read of some being dragged through hell, others of a tremendous law-work in the conscience, and many in a most distressing state for months and years, have at different times led me to think I am deceived and deluded. The insertion will greatly oblige your friend and well wisher, and I shall patienty wait an answer.
Yours sincerely, April 10th, 1841.
A MOURNER IN Zion. [Beloved, if you can from your inmost soul, in very truth and sincerity, say, “ Christ
is all my desire, all my comfort, all my hope,” you will no more go to hell and finally perish, than Christ himself will fall from his throne. The desire after grace springs from grace already bestowed. By nature no man has a will to be saved in 'the way of God's appointment; that is, by renouncing his own righteousness as nothing but filthy rags, regarding sin as that abominable thing which God hates, and desiring from his very soul not only to be saved from its consequences, but from its dominion. A soul taught thus, has been instructed by God the Holy Ghost-has been plucked as a brand from the burning, and “made willing in the day of God's power.” · Know ye not that by nature your back is turned upon God, and that the very language of your soul is, “I will not have this man to reign over me ?” Well, then, who and what hath made the difference? How is it that he whom once you hated, whose name you blasphemed, and whom it was your sincere desire had no existence-how is it, we say, that he is now all your salvation and all your desire ? Is not this the finger of God?
Still go on, poor soul, as you say you have during the last sixteen years— “ hoping, looking, longing, waiting.” The angel of the covenant, even Jesus—your Jesus--will come along by and by and trouble the waters; and when you hear the sound of his approach, beseech his blessed Majesty that he will, in sweet sensible manifestation, take up your leprous soul, and bathe it in the pool of his most precious blood, that you may come forth feelingly cleansed from your iniquity. Then you will discover the nature of a law-work, and enjoy the sweetness of Gospel liberty ; terms which now distress your poor doubting soul. The nature of a lawwork is the same in every child of God, but differs in degree; it consists in this“I have seen an end of all perfection (in the flesh), for thy commandment is exceeding broad.” The soul is arraigned at the bar of conscience; the law is the creditor—the poor sinner the debtor. Gospel liberty is also the same in its nature, but differs in degree ; it consists in a participation in the blessed truth revealed in the following passage—“ And when they had nothing to pay [with], he frankly forgave them both.” Here is Jesus, the glorious law fulfiller, standing forth as the divine surety and husband of his bride the church, and paying the debt which she had contracied.-Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. My Dear Sir,
I have often thought of sending you a few lines by way of encouragement, in your very blessed and important work as Editor of the GosPEL MAGAZINE ; and also by way of congratulation to your readers, that the dear Lord should have been pleased in tender mercy to rescue the publication from the hands of the spoilers, and again place it in the hands of one who has the interests of the
church of the living God at heart, whether in the Establishment or out of it. I had been a constant 'subscriber to the Gospel Magazine for many years, and very many times have had my soul refreshed in reading the various sublime peices that were published in it, when under the superintendence of the neverto-be-forgotten Editor, the late Walter Row; but when he left the church militant to join the church triumphant, and the Magazine went into other hands, who brought another Gospel, and all the old correspondents were either driven from or discontinued their support to its pages, I also for want of feeling a union to, and no unction from the Holy One being in the writings of the new correspondents, gave up my subscription to the work. But as soon as I heard of your purchasing the work, and understood your sole object was to “ Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints ;" and the blood-bought family could once more be refreshed by a publication unshackled by party spirit, I again became a constant subscriber, and I am happy to say that I can feel again a union of spirit with both Editor and writers, and I earnestly hope for the consolation and comfort of the dear blood-bought family, you may be encouraged in your work, so that you may not be “ weary in well doing.” I know it is hard work for an editor to give satisfaction to all who are subscribers and readers to a publication; thus it appears with some of your readers, they are in too easy circumstances for your introductory paper to be meat and drink to their souls. Not so to me, for I feel as anxious when the month comes round to read what you have concocted together, as a dram drinker does for his drops every morning when he rises from his bed ; and if I have any fault to find, it is that your paper is too short. Nor am I alone in this respect, for living in a dark corner of the dear Lord's vineyard, where he is pleased to withhold from us the blessed privilege of sitting under an under shepherd to feed the flock of slaughter, my brethren and sisters in the Lord, when meeting for prayer and reading, have often been refreshed with the contents of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE ; therefore I could fain wish that its pages were enlarged, and it were again the size and price that it was previous to when you purchased it. I had also expected ere this to have seen the productions of some of the old correspondents again grace your pages ; not but what I, as above stated, feel an interest and pleasure in reading those epistles of your present friends and adherents, but why should not those who speak the same language--the blessed language of Canaanagain grace the Gospel MAGAZINE with their sublime pieces? I hope yet to see “Elah,” “W. C.,” “ W.," " A Pilgrim,” “ Female Wanderer,” &c., put a helping hand to " clear away the rubbish and assist in building the wall of Jerusalem, and thus strengthen our hands in this good work”—and the God of heaven he will prosper them, and the hand of your God will be good upon you.
Yours in the best of bonds, Portsmouth, April 12th, 1841.
. To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. Dear Sir,
I have lately had lent me two numbers of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE for this year, I take this opportunity of bearing my feeble testimony to the sweet peace and solid comfort and satisfaction which, by the will and mercy of our covenant God in Christ Jesus, they have been a means of communicating to my harassed and tempted soul. I more especially refer to the article entitled “The Weeping Christian ;"' and to the part where the Lord's family are described as “going forth weeping” under dark providences. Oh! my dear sir, such has very frequently been my lot, yea, and during the past week, my poor soul has been tempted by Satan to commit suicide. Oh! sir, had you from the fear of man kept back the introduction of those dark exercises (every one of which is familiar to my mind) I might have still gone on seeking and groaning being burdened. But, blessed be God, “ your labour" in this matter “has not been in vain in the Lord;" the precious seed which you have sown has already sprung up, and brought to your view sheaves of joy from one of Zion's