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To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. My dear Sir, and Brother in the one Family of chosen, adopted, and
called ones in Christ Jesus,
Though personally unacquainted with you, I feel constrained to acknowledge a spiritual introduction has taken place through the medium of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE. That unity of spirit, which I believe to exist between us as regenerated children of the chosen family, I would fain acknowledge to the praise of the glory of the grace of our covenant God, in that precious, precious Christ; revealed and made known to us of God the Holy Ghost, in and by the word, as ours, while we are his, have been, and shall be for ever and ever, through his unchangeable love and eternal faithfulness. I truly sympathise with you in that path of tribulation through which our dear Lord is calling you at this time. What a mercy, when under such heavy affliction, the supreme dominiou of Jehovah exercised by the great Head of the church, is to be seen measuring out every portion of our trial, and sitting by as the refiner; regulating the furnace, that it may accomplish the predestinated ends of eternal love, in the discovery of himself to us; bringing us thereby to live more simply, solely, and entirely upon him for everything—to trust his pure mercy, mercy that has no cause but in himself. Our trials and afflictions are to flesh and blood hard and grievous to endure; but as a door of admission by which Christ comes, and clearly and fully discovers himself to us, they yield, sooner or later, peaceable fruits to them that are exercised thereby. The Lord has placed you, as Editor of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, in a situation rendering needful such trials, that you may prove yourself a workman of his, not ashamed of him or his truth. You need to be well experienced and exercised in God's truth, to be able to carry out so difficult a post; trials will attend your path on that account, as well as for the love Christ bears to you as a private Christian. I sincerely feel for you, in being called of God to so difficult a situation in these days of more than ordinary trial to all who fill any important public situations in the blood-bought church on earthbut, my Christian friend and brother, Jesus is with you. We are called to our several situations in his church, as we are his-united to him, his spirit and grace dwelling in us—and our meetness and fitness for an appointed work and labour is all pre-ordained, with the work itself, while time is only manifesting the eternal counsels of Jehovah respecting us. The covenant which relates to all that concerns each individual chosen in Christ, is everlasting, and ordered in all things and sure My prayer is, that the Lord may direct you in the difficult situation to which he has called you-while I know that he will. You have already had ample testimony, that your labours have not been in vain ; you will yet have more. While your usefulness will in a great measure be, not through following out plots, and plans, and schemes of your own, but through circumstances over which you have no control ; and the conduct of various characters towards you, leading you forth, from time to time, in a path you had never previously contemplated being found in, or thought of pursuing. Believe me to be, my dear Christian brother in the one family, yours in that secret affection known only to the Lord's children,
ROBERT Pym. Elmley, near Wakefield, May 5, 1841.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine.
I feel constrained to pen a few lines to you, in order, if it please our covenant God, to encourage you and strengthen your hands in the momentous and good work which he, in his infinite wisdom, has called you to discharge, for the comfort of his dear family, and for the strengthening and confirming of their truth and hope in him.
It is not to be wondered at, that babes in Christ, young, untried soldiers of the cross, should think your subjects to be of a very gloomy, heart-sickening description, because they as yet are not acquainted with the sore trials, hard battles, and deep waters, which some of the chosen seed have to pass through day by day, who have perhaps been fisteen, twenty, or thirty years in the field of battle. And they may think in the vanity of their minds, that they will never be called to pass through such a rugged and thorny way as you appear to lay down as the way to the kingdom; or if they should peradventure conclude that such like afflictions may possibly be their lot, they will think it to be a very different way to what they now do, and it will be hard for them to believe that they can ever be brought into such a low, gloomy, cast-down, despairing state of mind, in which it is evident some of the children of God do pass through. They will, however, I really believe, for the most part of them, have to take up their cross, deny themselves, and follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, if they are his real followers, however hard it may be to flesh and blood to bear.
I think you will, doubtless, be aware, that if you are raised up of God to minister true consolation and sympathy to the deeply tried and afflicted members of the mystical body of Christ, that you yourself must walk through fire and through water, before you can do it efficiently as a faithful witness for God and God's truth. It is not sufficient to testify of what God has done for others, or what he has promised to do for others; but the matter is, what has God done for you, and what has he promised farther to do; and that you can testify in godly sincerity and in truth, that you have never known him to fail you, nor to falsify one of his promises which he has ap. plied to your soul with power, but that they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father.
I have cause to say that my heart rejoices to find that God has blessed you with that experimental knowledge whereby you are enabled to speak to the hearts of those who are in trouble. How true it is that as face answers to face in a glass, so the heart of man to man. Your pieces of late I have found to be just what has suited my sad case, and I feel it ill accords with a troubled soul to go to the house of feasting; there is something so much more congenial to its feelings to enter into the house of mourning, and to pour out your troubles and sorrow's into the ear of one who can sympathise with you, bear with you, and enter into all you have to com.. plain of. I have been tried in mind to the uttermost with the word and promises of God, waiting and hoping for the fulfilment of what has been borne home on the mind with power, but have had as yet to wait in vain. Sometimes such a pressing down on the mind comes on me, that I have desired of God rather than to continue in such a state, that I have been obliged to say with Job, “Oh that thou wouldst hide me in the grave!" And there is no power in me to remove in the least the captivity in which I feel myself to be ; and the Eternal God, who has brought me into this state, appears to stand aloof like a mighty man that cannot save : so that,
fike Jeremiah, I have been led to take up his language in the bļtterness of my spirit, and say, “Oh Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived ;' and again, “ Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail ?" The language of the Lord Jesus made use of by David as the type, I have found quite in accordance with my own state of mind (see Ps. xxii. 1–6), and where it says, “Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them,” comes with such keenness to the mind, when I consider that God is the same God still--yesterday, to-day, and for ever, yet would I intreat his condescending favour, and to hear and answer my very small petition. My soul clings to God, he is my only hope, my only expectation; none can do for me but God alone. He it is that must break in pieces the gates of brass, and burst asunder the bars of iron, otherwise I feel confident my expectations will not be realized. My case requires being attended to, my desires are all before the Lord; I cannot bụt plead, and wrestle, and weep before him-he has said to me, “Did I ever say to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain ?” I cannot rest till he arises and pleads my cause, and have said to him, “ I will not let thee go except thou bless me." I do not know yet what the Lord is about to do for me, I wish to rest in God, and he has said with power to my soul, “ Thou shalt see greater things than these ;' and again he has farther said, “I will pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room to receive it.” I am now looking out for some manifestation of his favour and regard, and mindful care of me, and I hope I shall, ere long, have cause to say to his honour, praise, and glory, “What hath God wrought !”
I will just add, that the means of the deep exercises of mind which I have had to pass through of late, has arisen from the bereavement of a dearly beloved wife, whom the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, has taken to himself, leaving me with a charge of six young children. I have, however, cause to praise our God for his supporting grace, and at times can from the heart say, “ The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Wishing you every needful supply of grace and strength, which you, in your present painful and trying path, require from the God of all grace and mercy; and if it please the Lord, that your partner in life may be restored to health and strength, and preserved to you a little while longer, if it is good for you and his own glory; and that the Lord may prosper you in this your work and labour (which I believe proceeds from love), and that the church of God may be fed, nourished, strengthened, and comforted, through your instrumentality; and wishing you good luck in the name of the Lord, I remain your ever unworthy, though sympathising and afflicted, brother in the Lord Jesus,
J. F. Liverpool, May 4th, 1841.
[Beloved, whatever you may think of your position, we think that it is a very blessed one. You are now in deep travail of soul; but as surely as you are in existence, so surely shall you be brought forth to the praise and glory of the free grace of our covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus. You mention two or three blessed promises which the Lord has previously applied to your soul; these were the earnest, the first-fruits of the blessing, which shall assuredly issue in a plentiful harvest. Your case, like our own, may be to the eye of flesh and blood a difficult one; you feel that “it requires being attended to,” and “know not yet what the Lord is about to do for you.” What! why he has, and does, and will do all things well; he is working in the best possible manner for you, he is attending to your case in very deed, and by and by you shall “ see greater things than these,” according to his promise, Mark the connexion of the psalm you quote; see how the psalmist, speaking for the great Head of the church, and for the church itself, rises in hope, expectation, and delightful assurance, after giving utterance to the language of disquietude and trouble in the earlier part of the psalm : and see in the chapter following (the twenty-tbird) the very blessed state of assurance to which he had arrived. À moment before, and he speaks as if the Lord had forsaken him, as if “ he were far from helping him," and seemingly turned a deaf ear to the “ voice of his roaring ;" now he ntters the triumphant language, “ The Lord is my shepherd,” &c. Oh see what the psalmist obtained by trading; his mer. chandise (if we may so speak) was trouble, perplexity, and care ; heavily laden, he bears it to the throne under its weight he groans before the Lord, until the Lord, in tender mercy, relieves him of his burden, and causes bim to “ lie down in green pastures, and leadeth him beside the still waters.” The Lord help thee, poor soul; and still keep thee “ pleading, wrestling, weeping before him. This, this is the safe position ; by and by the Lord will make it clear tbat it is so. He will bring thee forth to the light again, and thou shalt bless and adore him in highest strains. The Lord, if it be his pleasure, take thy little motherless children and fold them up in the arms of his everlasting love; may he encircle them with his paternal care, and bind them up in the bundle of life ; that ere long root and branches, parents and children, may appear before him, and sing in sweetest harmony the everlasting song.–Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. My dear BROTHER,
Out of the depths I write unto you, the depths of sorrow and bitter anguish. The anchor of my hope is within the veil, taking hold of the ark of the covenant; but I am a living monument of assurance without the comfort. I know in whom I have believed, I know him who hath loved me, who does love me; but the language of reproach rings in my ears, “ Is Ephraim my dear son ?' and yet a rebel. Surely no grief is like mine, burdened with sin I hate and yet delight in ; so that while I “groan, being burdened,” I daily add weight to the crushing load. O who shall deliver me from this body of death? My father knows I loathe myself, but not so the sin; it is a sin that easily besets me, and I care not to be rid of it, only that it makes me wretched; “so that my soul chooseth strangling and death rather than my life.” Is there any sorrow like my sorrow among the tried family of God? I hope not; for it could subtract nothing from my sorrow, it could in no way alleviate my anguish to know this. I need not comfort, it is not a case for it—"I know my Redeemer liveth ;" my sorrow is not from want of confidence, but want of love to my Father; the love of sin, which the old man delighteth in, seems to be stronger. Where will this end ? Say, will a gracious Father suffer me to dishonour his name, when there is a jealous fear of the same? Will this mark of his “ working in me” justify a conviction that he will find a way of escape ; for I have resolved and determined to resist the devil, but he has not fled ? A strong man armed has power against me, and I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy. Oh when shall I flee away and be at rest, where there is no sin! Let me record this to the praise and glory of God; I am not the servant of sin, only a prisoner. Shall I ever sing, “My soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler ?" Now I mourn, for my soul lieth among the pots. There is a Scripture just occurs to me, “ Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” May I draw comfort from this? or is the enemy raising a dust only? I cannot take hold of it, and yet there is a faint outline of deliverance. Receive my testimony,
dear brother, of the utter helplessness of the creature. I deny not certain. duties, but all the duties I can perform seem nothing to help me now. In prayer my Father tells me, he pities me as a father his children; but since I have gone farther than before, where--where will it end?
But enough of my own. Can you receive comfort from such a one? if so, I bid you God speed; for the Lord is with you. Your words have cheered my heart, helped me on the way, and thrown a bond of holy sympathy around my heart with yours in your afflictions. “I am the man that has seen affliction,” temporal and spiritual, and cannot shut up my bowels of compassion. Never forget, my brother, that the Lord's people are a tried people. Your gloomy subjects (so called) have suited many a poor mourner; some of your readers haye not, perhaps, gone into the floods and the fire-as for me, “ the billows have gone over my soul.” I had written thus far before reading your commission-is it not from the Lord ? In this month's Number it touches me very closely, but still my case is peculiar-I know I shall sin again. Did you ever hear of such ? In your delightful paper on “ The Believer in Captivity,” you say, “What art thou to do? Why, nothing at all, but to sigh and cry for deliverance." I do so, but it is not against the sin. I do not hate it, only loathe myself. Here am I again on my concerns; but do not wound, my bones are already broken: this, this is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in my eyes. I am a wonder to myself. But you say, “The Lord will loose him and let him go; for his honour, his glory, his great name, are at stake."-Oh there is comfort here, here is my only stay. If you think my bitter experience can be of any service to any diseased lamb of the fold, let it go forth.
From yours in covenant bonds, Ilfracombe, May 13, 1841.
A MOURNER. P.S. Pardon me for adding a postscript, but I must tell you how goodness and mercy have followed me. I read your Magazine for this month-most of it after what I have written--and thought I would wait and see if the deliverance so confidently asserted in its refreshing pages, would come. And now to the praise and glory of a covenant Father, let me say, He has wrought a great deliverance for me: he has turned the wilderness into springs of water. The very thing I feared has been my deliverance. Poor short-sighted creatures are we at the best! I can now "count it all joy” that I have fallen into this temptation. The grace of God be with you. Amen.
[Beloved, yours is a spot in which few, very few, even of the Lord's dear family,
can follow you ; and those who attempt to do so, will secure to themselves the name of Antinomians, by those who know nothing of the plague of the heart, and that unceasing warfare between flesh and spirit, the old man and the new, of which the true-born heir of glory is the subject. Perhaps there is not a more difficult position in which a soul can possibly be placed, than to have such a recollection of the way in which the Lord met with him, blessed him, and gave him to see all his sins laid upon the Surety, as to leave an un. doubted evidence that he is the Lord's in a covenant which cannot be broken ; and yet to be so plagued with sin, to feel its workings within, and his fleshly desires so congenial with the temptations that are presented to him, as to leave him a perfect mystery to himself. He knows not what judgment to make of bis case, and he trembles to open his mouth to any one, lest they should at once conclude him to be a hypocrite. He frequently charges himself with being one ; and yet at the very moment he is under a feeling sense of the burden of corruption, inquiring, in agony of soul, “ Can ever God dwell here ?” a something says, If I did not love him if there was not somewhat of his