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TO A LADY AT. GLASGOW INQUIRING FOR THE
The favour of your epistle lays me under great obligation, but more infinitely so to the God of all grace; and how to answer you I know not. I have taken your inquiries to the throne, because the task you have imposed upon me relative to the GOSPEL MAGAZINE is too great for a mortal like myself, who am but sinful dust and ashes. You know the motto on its old cover was
“In non-essentfals liberty, in essentials unity." We then had a general who marshalled the forces at his pleasure under the blood-stained banner of the cross; he did his work, quitted the field with honour, and is gone home. Blessed be his memory! Now you read the words rather differently upon the colours, but the substance is equally as God-glorifying, and I think in the end will prove so. My prayer is, that you may be enabled to pick therefrom the good, and leave that which savours of the flesh behind. I had to do so for many years in the old one I so dearly loved. I presume, that neither the present Editor nor the most faithful, correspondent can indite a single line aright, but as directed by God the Holy Ghost; and I am confident, the more this is kept in view, the more sweet will be its communications to the needy, thirsty readers. I believe, so far as I am acquainted with its director, his aim and object are, to feed God's Israel, and 'to glorify Jesus, and to set before the people precious savoury food to the fainting, weak, helpless sheep: but you must know and consider well it is no small difficulty to carry out the office of an editor in a work so important and weighty; and, therefore, the more we aid bim with our prayers, and advice learned at the footstool of Divine Mercy, the greater blessing we shall reap from the GOSPEL MAGAZINE. Indeed and indeed, the human heart is so bad that nothing but cutting reproof, mortifying disappointments, and continual teaching of God's Holy Spirit, will keep the best-taught man in his proper place; and were mepi professing godliness more under this soul-humbling discipline, we should not hear so much of the silly name “reverend,” which obtains so much in this awful day of blasphemy and rebuke. Dub a mortal with this empty, proud title, and; if he has nothing else, he struts forth a spiritual preceptor to teach God's chosen; as if he, poor worm, had monopolized all the wish dom and knowledge to establish his mock-clerical ipse dixit before the waiting tribes of spiritual Israel; and, being charmed with the grder of: his office, his giddy mînd presumes an authority over God's heritage that angels would blush to assume. * ?
2 011 blo I shall be most happy to forward you the Magazine, in which you will, I trust, find your prayer answered in accordance with your desire, and then turn to the servant of the Lord, chosen and sent into the vineyard by the mighty power and influence of the eternal Three-in-One Jehovah, to deliver his message of life and death; for so is the word to those who perish, as to those who believe to the saving of their souls. This great, and most important of all subjects' is laid upon him, and is called the burden of the Lord ;" and as they are daily emptied from vessel to vessel, 1 so are they filled with the hidden treasure, tô declare the great mystery of salvation by grace to the flocks committed to their care; and are made profitable, inasmuch as they have travelled and are going before the people in the word of rich unction and experience. And if they be thus led and guided by the Holy Ghost to speak on doctrine, it carries with it a sweet
savour; if on real Christian experience, it leads the soul up to high communion with Jesus; if on controversy for the honour of God, frivolous and vain disputes must give way to the elucidation of divine truth, that the Lord may have the glory, and his dear people be edified. But when, on the contrary, proud, puny mortals attempt to display their intellectual lore in fleshly wisdom and carnal talent, how do they die in the esteem of those who are taught at the foot of the cross. Oh! my dear madam, get upon your watch-tower, and behold what is done in the sanctuary, and how the priesthood traffic with the souls of men ! It is indeed high time for the invisible church of Christ to arise and shake herself from the dust and filth of spiritual abomination, that she may be presented as a pure virgin in this hour of adultery and fornication, and have no acquaintance with the vast multitude who are walking to hell by the way of fleshly holiness, and know not the Lord. But of all the rest, there is one description of men to be abhorred_namely, those who hold the doctrines of truth in unrighteousness, and boast of a finished salvation in the letter-in mock presumption, being destitute of the power; and were never brought to the obedience of the Gospel of Christ as sensible sinners saved by grace. A better faith the devils have, who believe and tremble. While every branch in Christ by profession that beareth no fruit, he taketh away: and here many a high professor has fallen a prey to the devouring fire. Oh! my soul, fear thou the Lord, look unto him, and may it be our mercy to be found in Christ, having on his righteousness who was delivered for our offences, and by whose stripes we are healed, and in whom we are led to glory. It is a sweet consolation for the tempted and tried, who feel the body of sin and death, by which they groan being burdened, that all the condemnation fell on the head of our dear Daysman; faith rests upon him for acceptance ; and, in the virtue of his blood, we sing his dying fame, and triumph over death and hell. From this sacred spot all our joys arise, and all our peace is sure. Amid the din of arms; under all the conflicts of spiritual warfare, the dear voice of our Captain is heard, saying, “ Arise, my love, and come away. Oh! what a mercy it is for the Lord's people in this path of tribulation, amidst all their chequered seasons of sin and darkness, trial, unbelief, rebellion, destitution, and want, that Jesus is the same; and when he is pleased to smile upon his own work in the soul, and say to us, in divine power, «Cheer up, be not afraid, it is I," how blessed it is to drop as into nothing, and i know no will but his;" to be at these favoured spots we feel our life, and his presence therein which led us up and over all the roughness of the path, and we exclaim, " It is a right way to the city of habitation.” Yes, it is a right way indeed, for the Lord himself is the
way, the truth, and the life." I wish you, dear madam, many of those sweet visitations, and, as a reader of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, may you have power with God and prevail. I feel sorry at not meeting with more of our old friends; many of them, I suppose, have put into harbour, while others have retired, though not turned aside from wishing well to the work ; others are feeling a cloud before the throne, and their eyes are becoming dim; and other few are unwilling to wear its new dress. A few young officers have been added to our number, and it rejoices my heart to add, we have a few dear sisters, like yourself, who are made willing and able contributors to its Gospel pages; and hope the Lord may constrain you to cast in your mite. What an unspeakable favour it is for the Lord to hide pride from us, slay our idols, and keep us low in the dust, that grace may be exalted in our affections. May the Day Star arise and sweetly shine in upon your soul, is the sincere and earnest prayer of
Your affectionate Friend and Brother in Christ, oh
JEHOVAH'S REVEALED PURPOSE IN THE EXISTENCE
• OF THE CHURCH IN CHRIST JESUS amb 9183 Considered, in a Sermon preached at St. Michaels, Cornhill, on Sunday Morning,
May 1, 1842.
aan diri ad BY THE REV. ROBERT PYM.
wat rs! And he gave some, apostles; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers, for the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ? till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a per
fect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.-Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13. 1 The raising Christ from the dead, receiving him to glory, and sending down the Holy Ghost to the church on his ascension, were solemn ratifications and public acknowledgments on the part of God of the everlasting covenant exd isting between the Three Persons in the Godhead, and relating to the church in Christ Jesus. God the Father is here seen accepting the atonement which, on account of the church, Christ had made for sin ; with the obedience which, as the end of the law for righteousness, he had, on the same account, throughout his earthly life, yielded to God in all things. When the Lord Jesus Christ presented himself to John for the ordinance of baptism, John, very naturally, “ forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" To which our Lord replied, “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
The deliverance of the church from her fallen state and condition with all its effects and consequences, as the pre-ordained end of Christ's coming into the world, is thus to be traced to Christ having fulfilled all the terms and conditions of the everlasting covenant on behalf of the church. As the church is brought, through faith in Christ, to a knowledge of her salvation in him, sol it became God the Father thus openly to declare his acceptance of Christ in all he had done as the Surety of the church. Thus Peter opens the first chapter of his first Epistle-saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us! again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, toit an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved ind heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvar tion, ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Christ came to do the will of God, to accomplish a special end of God, in the redemption of a people of whom the Apostle Paul thus“ speaks in theat opening of the Epistle which contains the words of the text. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ; according as he hath choseno us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of higd will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." Here we have revealed the will of God respecting thoseo whom Christ came to seek and to save. "The Son of man is come (saith's He, Luke, xix. 10), to seek and to save that which was lost ;' and (Matt. xv. 24), “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”-i.e. theo church.
bank The language of prophecy concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christo is (Psalm xl. 6, 7, 8), « Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire ; mined ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. * Then said I, Lo, i come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 19 delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Isaiah, 1.5, 6—“ The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks too them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."
"Our Lord's own language respecting himself (John, 'vi. 38, 399 (S,FKAT came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day," Again (John, xvii. 4), he says to his heavenly Father, “I have glorified thee on earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.".
In accordance with these things, the words of the text present to us* I. A predestinated purpose of Jehovah in the existence of his church, as Ha perfect man---the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” bill. The means which God has provided whereby he is acomplishing this his predestinated purpose. “And he gave some, apostles: and some, prophets, and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." ! ** Ul. The time appointed for the continuance to the church of these means.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”.. ... '. These are the subjects to which we propose endeavouring to draw your attention on the present occasion, as the Lord may be pleased to enable us. Ill. A predestinated purpose of Jehovah in the existence of his church, as
atperfect man--the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” bThe church is here spoken of in that oneness of her existence, that soul union, wherein she is described as the body of Christ; Christ mystical. 1. Cor.irxii. 12-"As the body (i. e. the natural) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: šo also is Christ.", Agreeably with this, we find the church spoken of in the second verse of the text as "the body of Christ;' and at the 27th verse of 1.Cor. xii., we read, “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in par tieular. b In a natural sense, a perfect man is one who hath both a soul and a body, with all its members perfect ; so, in a spiritual sense, a perfect man is that one body of Christ, made up of all its various several members. Now, as a perfect man, in a natural sense, is of God's wisdom in its discovery and existence - 1 so is it in a spiritual. The perfect man of the text-the church is the predestinated purpose or design of God; and, as such, is termed "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” God chose or appointed the church, in all her various parts or members, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, as is set forth in the opening chapter of this Epistle to the Ephesians ;-the church therefore must consist of a particular number of persons, preeordained of God to a pre-designed state and condition, to be attained byi such means as are of God's appointing, providing, and blessing. The Church is for the glory of God, and this more particularly in the manifestation of abis love, grace, and mercy; in conjunction with all his other excellences and perfections such as his holiness, justice, truth, faithfulness, &c. In this way the church is ordained to be “ a perfect man-the measure of the stature of Christ.", " Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified ". (Isaiah, lx, 21). 6The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath sentime to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our GodBasto comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of right
eousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah, lxi. 1-3). The church, as the body of Christ, is described (chap. i. 23) as "the fulness of him which filleth all in all." In Psalm cxxxix. 14, 15, 16, we read, as the language of the Lord Jesus Christ, with respect to his mystical body, the church "I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were pone of them.”
All the names of the members of this perfect man, this mystical body of Christ, are written in the Lamb's book of life, as they are in him of election. The church thus constituted, will consist of a chosen number of both Jews and Gentiles; the two making the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, when they are not only perfect in number, but manifest their completeness in him who is their Head. The elect of the one and the elect of the other constitute the fulness of each, according to the language of Scripture, the fulaess of the Jews and the fulness of the Gentiles. The perfect man, as the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ, cannot be, according to God's election and predestination, or, in other words, God's wisdom, without the elect of both Jew and Gentile being gathered. To this effect the apostle argues in the 11th chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. The church, or members of the body of Christ on earth, were, for a length of time, in the sovereignty of God's will and choice, amongst the Jews, as a distinct and separate people from the other nations of the world. While this state of things continued, God frequently threatened the Jews, as a rebellious nation, that he would cast them off from their peculiar advantages, and spread his church, with the privileges belonging to her, among the Gentiles. This casting away of the Jews from their national covenanted blessings, when brought to pass, was in perfect accordance with their conduct under, and abuse of, these blessings; while the gathering in of the Gentiles was an act of as pure sovereignty on God's part, as had been the calling of Abraham and his seed. Reminding the Jews of their origin in the sovereign call of Abraham, and sovereign promises to his seed, he says (Ezek. xvi. 45), “Your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite;" while of the Gentiles he says (Isaiah, lxv. 1), “ I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not : I said, Behold me, bebold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name;" while in the verses that follow he justifies his conduct in casting away the Jews, that he may bring in the Gentiles. Of these things the apostle thus speaks (Rom. ix. 22-26), " What, if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction ; and that he might make known the riches of his glory in the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people, and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” Now, in the accomplishment of this, a due regard is-had to an election of grace; for, as the apostle saith (Rom. xi. 2), "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew ;" while “Israel (that is, the nation, as a nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for ; the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. xi. 7). In the wisdom and purpose of God this was the appointed means of gathering in the fulness of the elect, both of Jews and Gentiles. Speaking of God's dealings with the Jews in casting them off, agreeably to his own prophetic declarations respecting them, the