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mourners. « Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name, and forget uot all his benefits.” I cannot, my dear sir, refrain from writing to you on this subject; I have felt so much comfort, that to hold my tongue and keep silence, surely the stones would cry out against me. For your comfort and encouragement therefore, I send these few lines to you; and may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ abundantly bless and prosper the work which he has committed unto you, making you instrumental in comfort. ing and helping the weak-hearted, raising up those that fall, and beating down Satan under our feet.
. I remain, dear sir, yours in Christian fellowship, Manchester, March 28th, 1841. ,
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. Dear SIR,
I hope I am thankful, and wish to be more so, to the God of all my mercies, for his great lovingkindness in making you instrumental in delivering my soul from the snare of the fowler. That soul-vexing, tormenting, besetting sin, I have not felt so much of since the arrival of your epistle, which was blessed to my soul; and after such great deliverances made so manifest in my soul by my precious Saviour, yet I seem to live at such a distance from him, as to doubt I have nothing more than notion and head-knowledge after all. I have an incessant turmoil within my evil heart; but my God is able and will make my bow abide in strength, though the archers from the enemy's camp may daily molest me. I trust I am marching toward deliverance from all these evils that plague me here from day to day; I do yet think God has not as yet turned aside my prayer nor his mercy from me, although undeserving the least of his favours. I do hope I am under the discipline of my gracious God, expecting judgment will be brought forth to victory, and weakness unto strength, life, and truth. Faith is a precious grace, it abhors all manner of aid that flesh and blood can give itundoes a poor sinner in a saving manner. I do feel assured that it has had this effect on me, when I get into liberty, to feel sensibly I am vile and weak; then grace triumphs most. Oh that I could more constantly say by the faith of God's elect, the Lord is my God. I do not expect to escape the furnace; I would not carry all my dross and tin with me; I would not desire a whole heart that needs no physician. I know God's love and choice of his people is made manj. fest to them in the furnace of affliction. God will bring all his elect through fire and through water; the former shall not kindle upon them, nor the latter drowr them—in the furnace their election is made sure.
At this present time I am in the furnace of affliction, may my Jesus shine on my soul, and all will be well; he stands as the refiner of his people. I want to look oftener to the end of my race with a powerful faith, and Christ in me the hope of glory. When I look around me, I see nothing but causes for sorrow and grief; our churches and professors too seem to be still and at rest. Professors think our land abounds with Bibles and preachers of the Gospel, and with them conversion is going on; but I cannot see it, to me it appears quite the reverse. There is here and there a poor perishing sinner, starving for want of the bread of life; 'tis true we abound with plenty of letter preachers, but ministers of the Spirit we have very few in this neighbourhood. May our covenant God bless your labours of love, Mr. Editor, and by all means give you peace, and make you faithful on the walls of Zion to sound an alarm in his holy mountain,
Yours in the Gospel of Christ,
One op Little ZOAR, NEAR Devizes.
City Press, Long Lano: Doudney and Scrymgour.
“ENDEAVOURING TO Keep thr UNITY OF THE Spirit In The Bond Of Peace." "Jesus CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND FOR EVER. WHOM TO KNOW Is
: [No. 6.
THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD. MY PEOPLE SHALL BE SATISFIED WITH MY GOODNESS,
SAITH THE LORD.-JER. Xxxi. 14.
When first the welfare of Zion was so laid upon our hearts, that we longed for the pen of a ready writer, or the tongue of the learned, to enable us to give utterance to the emotions we felt within ; and which seemed, as the prophet termed it, like a fire in our bones, a something used to say, “Ah! but as soon as you have commented upon a few passages which are now somewhat precious to you, your tale will be told, and the cruise fail.” But we find it otherwise ; for though we are supplied in and through the furnace, and are generally compelled to wait for our subject, yet, blessed be God, he gives us one soon enough to appear before our readers (seldom, however, trusting us with more than one at a time). And now, beloved, we have had a text for some days ; it has rolled over and over, passed and repassed upon our minds; though not opened up to us in methodical order, thereby enabling us, like a skilful workman, to divide and subdivide it ; yet the words themselves have dwelt with considerable sweetness. And now we take up our pen, we look to the Lord the Spirit to testify concerning his own
Yo. VI. Vol. 1.—New Series.
word, to reveal his truth, and to make clear, and powerful, and precious to our minds, what will otherwise be obscure, dry, and destitute of interest.
Does the reader happen to be a minister, and is he deeply anxious to appear before his flock, from time to time, with a well-arranged discourse? Does he cut this, and cull the other ? Does he think this unsuitable, and that desirable ? Beloved, suffer the word of exhortation. Be it more your concern to consult the mind of the Lord, than the gratification of your own fleshly pride. The Holy Ghost enable you (having once made clear your call to the work), to rest more entirely upon him for matter and manner in your public ministrations, as well as for the fruits of your labours. We say not, be indifferent to the appointed means wherein he has, and does, and will meet with you -such as prayer, reading, and meditation ; on the contrary, we say, be diligent in the use of such as the Lord shall afford opportunityyea, wait upon him, wrestle with him, in season and out of season. But what we mean to enforce is this, be not discouraged because your subject is not laid out before the eye of your mind in beautiful arrangement, and that sometimes you are dark, confused, bewildered—know ye not that out of this medley of feeling, your best discourses emanate ? What if sometimes Saturday night or Sunday morning has arrived, and your mind has not been enabled to fix upon a subject ; suppose the bell has ceased to summon your auditory, or the chapel is filled with hearers, and you have no text ; if, as aforesaid, the Lord has called you to the work, and if he has, moreover, made known to you that call, still venture upon—yet look unto him who has said, “I will be with thy mouth, and will teach thee what thou shalt say." Mark, this is one of the Lord's wills, and they are very blessed when spoken in reference to his people. Again, beloved (pardon us if we for another moment defer entering upon the text), if the Lord meets with you in this hour of extremity-and he most assuredly will—he will so warm your heart, animate your soul, unloose your tongue, and bring you from leaning upon every human prop, to rest entirely upon himself; that you will have a clear and most manifest proof that you yourself are not only the Lord's, but that you are likewise his messenger, his ambassador, his mouthpiece to the people : and you shall have an undoubted conviction in your own soul (though you may long after wait for the evidences of it), that the same Lord who gave you the message will convey it with power to the hearts of his redeemed ones. You say, “ Then you do not approve of written discourses, or sermons being read in the pulpit ?” Most assuredly not ; and with solemnity and reverence we speak it before God, that were the Lord ever to command us to bear a message to his family, it should be at once from himself, and by his own almighty power ; for God helping us, though we are the weakest of the weak, and poor, hesitating, stammering, bashful creatures (the subject upon which we are writing is too solemn to dare to court applause by the language we are using), yet, resting upon the arm of omnipotent strength, we never, never would venture forth but in an entire dependence upon him for the communication of all needful grace,
strength, and knowledge. Again, probably it is asked, “Do you then conclude such are not the Lord's chosen ministers who read their discourses ?” By no means; we do not so limit the Holy One of Israel. We know that there have been, and still are, men of God who have prepared their discourses beforehand, and transferred them from the study to their pocket, and from their pocket to the pulpit-board, to be read in a lifeless tone to an almost lifeless people. This, we are aware, in the opinion of many, will be taking too favourable a view of the subject, and ranking among the called servants of the Lord those who have no right to the appellation ; this, however, does not alter our opinionswe still entertain them. And while we tarry to recognise another class who write their sermons beforehand, and then trust to their memory for the delivery, we say that such lose the freshness, savour, and power, which attend the present--the immediate communications of the Lord ; which come at once from the fountain head, and run in refreshing streams down through the golden pipes to the Lord's thirsty needy ones. Hence we say, that if any wish to know their call of God to the work of the ministry, to see that work prosper in their hands, and to know that the word is accompanied with the power and demonstration of God the Holy Ghost, let such lay aside all fleshly trammels. To those who may have been ensnared by them, the effort at first may be great ; but God is all-sufficient, and able even in this respect to “satisfy them with his goodness.”
To those who know nothing of the Spirit's work upon the soul, and who are the advocates of human policy, we have indeed spoken in parables, and shall have secured to ourselves a more contemptible name than ever ; but this we heed not. We write as the Lord indites, and leave it to him to convey it to the hearts of whom he will. The power is his, and if the bow thus drawn at a venture shall convey its arrow to an appropriate object, the glory shall be his also.
Now to our subject—“My people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord.” Beloved, the text presents us with four general topics of consideration : first, the People spoken of; secondly, the Satisfaction ; thirdly, the Goodness; and lastly, consider by whom the Promise is made.
First, The People spoken of. The Apostle Peter addresses them as “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” Beloved, mark the connexion ; eternally chosen, elected, pre-ordained of God; yea, before all time, prior to natural birth, even ere yet the earth and the world were formed. A people “ formed for himself, to show forth his praise :" given over to Christ the Mediator by God the Father before time, to be redeemed in time ; and in the hands of the blessed Spirit to be effectually called, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. See your calling, brethren ; your blessed security in the eternal purposes, fixed decrees, and time transactions of a Triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Here is a security indeed, which defies all the philosophy of men to explain, or
the powers of hell to overthrow ; here is a bulwark against which the prince of the power of the air has levelled his shafts since time began, but which rebound to his own confusion, dishonour, and dismay. Blessed be God! here, poor tried, tempted reader ; here, in the unalterable mind, will, and covenant engagements of your gracious God and Father, behold the foundation, the sure foundation upon which your hopes are built : and with it, have you not cause to adopt the language of the text, “Satisfied with the goodness of the Lord ?” Here was a goodness without a parallel ; a sea of love without a bottom or a shore ; which shall take an eternity of bliss for ever to scrutinize, admire, and adore.
Secondly, Satisfaction—"My people shall be satisfied.” What, Lord ! the restless mind of man be satisfied-contented-at rest, and that too, in this time state? Yes! Such is the infinitude of wisdom, and the wonder-working power of our God, that he can and does cause his people the objects of his eternal love and choice—to enter experimentally into the blessedness included in this one word, satisfaction, Beloved, it is a wondrous theme, and will occupy an eternal day to explore. The high, the low, the rich, the poor, the learned, and the unlearned in the Lord's family, shall and do have their times and seasons when they can adopt the language of the text, “Satisfied with the goodness of the Lord.” “At times, when in the valley or on the mount, in prosperity or adversity, walking in darkness or enjoying the light of his countenance, they can feelingly and with truth and sincerity exclaim, “Satisfied-satisfied.” “Oh! Napthali, satisfied with favour." The Lord throws a ray of light upon their path, lets.a gleam of hope pass through a chink in the dungeon of adversity, speaks a word of comfort amid the din of the tempest, waves the banner of victory ere yet the battle is won; and the soul revived, invigorated, and cheered by the prospect of his position, expresses himself satisfied. All is well ; he feels himself to be in good hands, gracious keeping, almighty preservation. “He shall order all things for me ;” “My God shall supply all (my) need out of his fulness in glory, by Christ Jesus.” “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” “I shall behold his face in righteousness.” “When he who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.”
Thirdly, Goodness—The goodness of the Lord. How shall we speak of it? What language can define it? Whence its origin? What its duration ? It commenced-if we dare use the term commenced-in eternity ; it runs through time, and shall end when eternity itself shall close. This goodness is in operation like an under-current, when and by such means as the soul at the time has the least possible conception of; and which, when discovered, shows the wisdom of a God! See it, beloved, most conspicuously manifested in the case of the psalmist when fleeing from his son Absalom. This wicked youth had turned against the tenderest, best of fathers, who, in order to escape his vengeance, seeks shelter in flight; as he journeyed, Shimei made his appearance, and taking advantage of the king's apparently destitute condition, he cursed him, and casting stones at him, exclaimed, “Come out, come out, thou