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habitations four dear children, the delight of my eye, and the joy of my heart.” A work written under such poignancy of feeling must necessarily need the more careful revision ; had the work received this, or its publication been reserved for more calm and deliberate thought, we doubt not that we should have had a work of greater merit. There is, however, throughout the little volume, an imperfection of far greater moment than that to which we have just alluded ; it is a mistaken confidence in the ability of the parent and the child to perform those acts towards God which are wholly and solely the fruits and operations of God the Holy Ghost in the heart.
Plain Sermons for Plain People. No. 10. By the Rev. ALFRED
HEWLETT. London : Groombridge, Panyer Alley. A VERY encouraging discourse from Isa. lx. 8, “Who are these that fly as doves to their windows ?” The character and habits of the dove, and their analogy to the believer in Christ, are very clearly set forth. We most cheerfully commend it to the attention of our readers, as a “plain” yet valuable sermon.
From a Correspondent.—Died suddenly, on the 16th ultimo, the Rev. John Dampier. The deceased was incumbent of Brewham and Pitcomb, near Bruton, Somersetshire. His loss will be severely felt by his numerous family, and many of the household of faith.
THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR.
Thou only art worthy.-Rev. v. 9—14.
For men of earth—it is the heaven-born soul
A RECLUSE. December, 1840.
City Press, Long Lane: Dou:Iney and Scryingour.
“ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE Bond OF PEACE." "Jesus Christ, the same Yesterday, TO-DAY, AND For Ever. Whom TO KNOW is
THE BURDENED CHRISTIAN.
Isaiah, XXXviu. 14. While we have such a record of facts as that with which the word of God abounds, when depicting character, it behoves us, brethren, to be very cautious how we cut off this and that individual, and conclude that they are not the partakers of saving grace; the longer we live the more are we brought to this conclusion. There were certain periods in the history of those whose names are handed down from one generation to another, when to a casual observer they had not the least semblance of the children of light.* Take, for instance, Abraham ; who, on account of the mighty acts which that faith which is of the operation of God the Holy Ghost enabled him to perform, was surnamed the father of
* We say not this as an apology for sin—God forbid, “ How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?" That is, to be at home in it, to enjoy it, to roll it as a sweet morsel under our tongue. Our old nature loves it as much as ever, but not the new man of grace; this hates and abhors it, and longs to be delivered from it.
No. III. Vol. 1.-New Series.
the faithful; view him when faith was not in exercise, when the presence and power of God were withholden ; and then we behold Abraham not venturing to address the Almighty in strong argumentative terms, while he wrestled on behalf of the guilty inhabitants of Sodom (Gen. xviii. 23); we see him not at the command of God leaving his home to seek yonder distant mountain, there to offer up upon the altar of burnt-offering what was infinitely more dear to him than his own life, even Isaac the child of promise, through whose line of descent he looked for him who should be the consolation of Israelno, but we see him through the fear of man descending to the poor, the pitiful extreme, of endeavouring to disguise his wife. “Say, I pray thee,” said he to Sarai, “thou art my sister : that it may be well with me for thy sake ; and my soul shall live because of thee” (Gen. xii. 13). Oh! methinks what guilt, what misery took possession of Abraham's breast when the king summoning him before him, said, “What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister ? so I might have taken her to me to wife. Now, therefore, behold thy wife ; take her, and go thy way.”
Reader, do you want another proof of the freeness of divine grace ? Look at the children of Israel : plague after plague had visited the land of Egypt to the annoyance of their enemies ; destruction and death had inhabited every dwelling save those of the Israelites, until at length Egypt's infuriated monarch consented to let the people go, and bade Moses hasten them out of the land. Agreeable to his purpose, the Almighty hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he and his mighty host followed after the retreating tribes ; arrived at the margin of the Red Sea, with impassable mountains on either hand, the Israelites were well nigh being overtaken by their enemies, when, in answer to the prayer of Moses, the command was given, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward !” Moses stretched out his rod over the sea, the mighty deep gave way, and the chosen tribes passed over dry-shod. That they should have an abiding evidence of the power as well as the peculiar watchfulness and care exercised on their behalf, God caused the Egyptians to follow on into the midst of the sea, when again was the order given, “ Stretch forth thine hand over the sea,” that every eye might witness the wondrous acts of him who is excellent in working. Instantly the waters returned unto their place, to the total annihilation of all the Egyptian army. An altar was erected, and doubtless the astonished Israelites offered with adoring gratitude their oblation. But now hear them exclaiming, almost immediately after the deliverance which had been vouchsafed unto them, “Would that we had remained in Egypt,” &c. Oh monstrous ingratitude ! cruel returns for all the kindnesses bestowed at the hands of a gracious God and Father ! and yet, believer, these poor Israelites are but true pictures of ourselves. We have seen deliverances as visible and undoubted at the time to us, as theirs were to them; and yet under new trials and conflicts we call all in question, and are as destitute of thankfulness as the very stones in the street. Believer, is it so or not? Are we speaking truth or falsehood ?
We come to a third description of character, Hezekiah ; a part of whose history is given in the chapter before us. Here was a man who bore anything but the marks of a Christian in the common acceptation of the term. He was selfish to a degree (Isa. xxxix. 8); unbelievingGod performed an astonishing miracle in nature to convince him (Isa. xxxviii. 7, 8); rebellious (9 to 14), high-minded (xxxix. 2). And yet he was a Christian, a child of God, an heir of glory; and now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, lives and reigns with Him in glory. Witness his confession, and his song of thanksgiving and praise at the close of the thirty-eighth chapter.
We might from the word of God multiply cases ; the lives of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, would furnish us with abundant argument. But we presume enough has been advanced to establish our position in the estimation of those who know by daily experience that
salvation is of grace, not of works lest any man should boast.” We therefore hasten to make a few observations upon the words before us.
Oppressed. Perhaps to a real believer there is no greater source of oppression than inbred corruption-unrenewed nature--the old man of sin—that vile body, under the influence of which the apostle in the seventh chapter of the Romans “groans, being burdened.” We hear much in our day about “progressive sanctification,” “purity,” “holiness,” “likeness to the Saviour,” “ conformity to his image,” “ submission to his will,” “a cheerful acquiescence in the divine procedure ;" the spirit, and meaning, and manner of the delivery of which, so far from removing the “oppression,” relieving the mind, and cheering the desponding heart of a poor tried believer, operate just in a contrary way ; causing him to be more sorely “oppressed,” troubled, and cast down. So far from becoming more "pure” and “ holy,” by daily experience he finds himself get worse and worse. His heart is like a cage of unclean birds ; such sinful thoughts and abominable corruptions molest, engross, and captivate his mind, that they seem as if they would carry him headlong to destruction. Under their influence be is amazed, “oppressed” beyond measure ; and, in his terror and dismay, exclaims, “Can ever God dwell here? Why, it seems as if all hell were let loose upon me ; as if I had become . an habitation for devils, and every foul spirit.' Why, I shall be lost-eternally lost, as sure as God is true. He is of too pure eyes to behold iniquity ; he cannot look upon sin ; he is a holy, sin-avenging God; but as for me, I am just the reverse. My nature is earthly, sensual, and devilish ; and I believe that hell itself could not produce a greater mass of abomination than that which I feel dwells in my heart, and which I fear will surely some day break out in action.”
And do these things “ oppress” thee, dear soul? We wait not for thy reply ; we know they do. Were it otherwise-were they no source of disquietude, sorrow, and anguish, then thou wouldst not complain of them; they would be no trial, no cross, no affliction to thee; thou wouldst then indeed be “free among the dead;" in a state of carnal security ; dead in trespasses and sins ; afar off from God by wicked works; “ without God and without hope in the world.” But now it