Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

to say, what God did of old He can do now. So God's people love to look back and see what God before time purposed; then they love to trace what He has performed in time, and observe His dealings with His Church of old, and rejoice if they know that they have the same God to undertake for them now. Thence the prophet's plea for the people who find themselves in this evil case of affliction because of their sin. But you see they do not give it all up; no, they plead His power, His past acts: and not only so, but this draws out prayer, as at ver. 15, 16, “Look down from heaven, and behold.” Now, we may consider here from these words,

I. Israel's low estate and circumstances—“Though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not."

II. Their faith and confidence notwithstanding—"Doubtless Thou art our Father."

III. Their remarkable expostulation with God" Why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways ?”' &c.

IV. Their prayer—"Return for Thy servants' sake.”

I. Israel's low case here described. As if they would say, “We are so wretched, so miserable, that Abraham would be ignorant that we belonged to him, and Israel would not acknowledge us. We are so sinful and so suffering, that we are not worthy to be called by their names. Abraham would not own us for his children; and Israel, who had so many sins to mourn over, would not acknowledge us as his descendents. We can see no likeness to either of them : not to the father of the faithful, for we are faithless ; not to Israel, who was kept; but we are cast off. Our spirit is not the spirit of God's children ; for, though we do not say they are without spot, otherwise they had no need of sacrifice, but our spot is of so deep a dye, our sins are so many and so aggravated, that they exceed the hope of pardon. When we compare our spots with their spots, our sins with their sins, we seem not to be like His people ; they never had such cursed evils to contend with ; they never had such vile temptations; they never endured such sorrows: hence we cannot belong to them.” Now this has been the language of God's family in all ages. They are a people not only tempted, but sinning; not only sinning, but suffering; and not only suffering, but humble to see, feel, groan, and grieve over all they are and do, so that they see themselves the worst of all, not like God's children, not worthy to be owned or received by His family; they are not fit to be acknowledged by Israel; they say from an humbled heart, “ Abraham disowns us, Israel is ignorant of us, and justly our sins deserve this from them.”' Now, I dare say some of you are in this state; you are secretly saying, “My spot is not the spot of God's children: I am too black-too vile—too hellish

- to be thought one of the Lord's family.”. Thus the Lord brings His people down, and from thence He can raise them up: loves them through all, and shows them the height, breadth, depth, and length of His grace in a precious Christ. Therefore, you see this is the pathway of the saints--of all whom He hath chosen-His elect, for whom Christ poured out His blood. For God's people are not left in a hardened insensible state as respects themselves, but He shows them what they are, and reveals His love-brings them to a softened, longing, desiring state of soul, for all He has designed to bestow. Not but the Lord's people sometimes get into a hardened state after they have known the Lord; but they are not left there. He reveals His love and mercy-breaks their heart, and brings them out of this very low place to praise Him. Now, I apprehend these words, “ Though Abraham be ignorant of us," describe the low case into which God's Israel were brought, and represent the case oftentimes of God's spiritual Israel. But perhaps some may go further still in the application of the passage, and I will not dispute it. This may represent a professing people, who cast out the Lord's Spirittaught.children, and think, because the Lord has shown them what they are, they are too black to belong to the Church of God; that their dark state denotes their reprobacy, because they themselves know nothing of the exercises of a living child of God; therefore they think tried souls cannot belong to God; they cannot understand either their joys or their sorrows. Some of you, perhaps, were called among such people, or were afterwards associated with them, and you thought they knew the Lord. But, when you were tempted, tried, and exercised in soul, and spoke to them about it, you found they did not understand you ; there was no response, and you found, like Israel of old, an untried and untempted people were ignorant of you, and unexercised souls acknowledged you not.

II. Let us consider the faith and confidence here manifested—“ Doubtless Thou art our Father,” or, as the margin reads, “ Thy name is without change.” When they saw themselves cast out-when they looked at their spots—when they saw their sufferings-“Oh," said they, “ we are too bad to belong to God's holy family; we are not like them ; we are vile.” Then here was their faith : "Doubtless'-ay, notwithstanding all this—“Thou art our Father:" we have a hope; we can't give it up, bad as we are : “ Thou art our Father." Now this is faith in blessed exercise, and perhaps this is farther than some of you have ever got when in your low places. It is indeed well when a child of God can say this, “ Doubtless Thou art our Father”-not as some say it, intellectually, because they read it in the written word; or get it second-hand, because others say it. No; but something within tells them so—something inward--a Divine revelation and persuasion of it in the heart. So they can say, “Doubtless Thou art our Father,” by the Spirit's testimony, by Divine teaching. Then follɔws full and free communication between the Father and child mutual embracings, a sweet sense of union. I dare say some here have come out with this very word when at such times God has thus revealed Himself to you, “Doubtless Thou art our Father"-when He has drawn nigh to you, revealed His love, filled your heart with grace and peace, and you have then said, “Oh, it must be so ! · Doubtless Thou art'my Father.' I had never felt this if it were otherwise.” Now this is the matter of promise to the Chnrch ; “ for,” said Jesus, “I will not leave you comfortless, weary orphans." And so critically true is this, that there is but one word to express this state. If you were to write it a case of destitution, you would only find one word for it, orphans. Jesus is One that will provide for, take care of, pardon and bless, His people. He will not leave them orphans, for they shall have a Father. He will provide blood for your sins, righteousness for your disobedience, light for your darkness, peace for your wretchedness, mercy for your misery, deliverance for your captivity. But, friends, He will provide the rod as well. There is a needs-be for every stroke, and He will provide the hidings as well as discoveriesthe rod and rebuke as well as the kisses and embracings; and all these things lie one over against the other, and by them the Church is taught. But the poor soul finds a strange contrast when peace is gone, and the Lord hides His face. All this he knew nothing of by nature; but now he feels it, because he knows it, and knows the difference experimentally

of these things. So the soul that never had the love of God shed abroad in the heart knows nothing of darkness, because he was never in the light. Whereas the soul that has tasted that the Lord is gracious, finds that is the best love, and the only thing that can make the soul happy. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” said our dear Lord. That alone can give rest and peace. You may have your changes, but you know, in the midst of all, that is the true and only Source of peace.

You have your high tides and low tides, your ebb and flow: but by nature you had none of it; you knew no changes; it was all alike, death and darkness. Whereas now you are never two days alike. But soon the Lord will come and take you home, where you shall know no change, but everlasting joy shall be upon your head. But I fear some of you know nothing of this blessed conclusion, “ Doubtless Thou art our Father.” No such happy persuasion have you ; you have never fallen at the foot of the cross ; you have never seen yourself as an ill-and-helldeserving sinner; you are not a follower of the tried and tempted Jesus of Nazareth; it cannot be said of you, “Though in the world, not of the world,” for you are bound up in it and with it, so that you cannot, except in hypocrisy, say, “Doubtless Thou art our Father.” Therefore see what must be done in you, if you are indeed one of the family. You must be brought to know what you are, a hell-deserving sinner; you must be brought to feel and groan under a sense of sin; you must have all your false hopes cut down, and you must have Jesus, the Church's Hope and Help and great Deliverer, revealed to you; and, when He is pleased to discover Himself, the soul finds there is no hope but in Jesus; and in Jesus there is hope, for He came to seek and save that which was lost. But, further, when He comes to the soul, He shows He has made an end of sin, fulfilled the law, and satisfied justice, brought in a perfect righteousness; and, when all this is applied by the Spirit to the soul, then there is sweet liberty felt: not when the Spirit is given in any measure; no, but when Christ is fully and clearly revealed to the soul's precious enjoyment, then Gospel liberty and experimental freedom are felt; the soul then sees itself as free from sin as Christ Himself—not a charge of sin, for all is pardoned, and Christ's righteousness is revealed.

IN MEMORIAM OF THE LIFE AND FALLING ON SLEEP

OF THE REV. G. ABRAHAMS. " The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.”—Psalm cxii. 6. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and

they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

Dan. xii. 3. DEATH, ever-active agent on the earth, has entered the sheepfold, and taken away an under-shepherd of Christ, the chief Shepherd; and taken one of no ordinary powers, if true power be experimentally to set forth the inward powers and kingdom of Christ in the soul, making known the workings of sin even in souls born of the Holy Ghost, the tempter's power with those made alive from “dead works to serve the living God” in Spirit and in truth, and to comfort and bless as a holy God-sent and God-blessed instrument in the hands of God to separate between the precious and the vile. Such have I found the dear man of God; such I found him more than twenty years since, when I first heard the departed servant of the Most High ; such I have proved him of late years, especially about four years ago, when I went into his chapel overwhelmed with soul and circumstantial sorrow, when this dear man was showing that “the righteous should never be moved.” And so did he describe the righteous, that one's fears were removed ; so did the word come with power, that I felt myself to be one of them, and that the Lord would deliver-yea, He has I feel; and now I am living to prove it—and his (Mr. Abrahams') peculiar loving phraseology, “The Lord bless your dear souls," is still sounding in the ear: and when I met Mr. Abrahams, at Tunbridge Wells, about a year afterwards, we rejoiced together, as we walked and talked on the railway platform of the Lord's goodness and mercy.

And what I experienced, hundreds, if not thousands, have experienced, by the Lord's blessing upon his labours, upon which rested the “dew of heaven.'

But he has gone as to his bodily presence, but, “though dead (as to the body and voice], he yet speaketh," and will in many a heart which has received like blessings continuously or occasionally,

On the 21st of November our brother was summoned home. It may be said he died in harness. Though he had been ailing for some time, but a fortnight previously he conducted the week-night service, and went home, to die—to leave that family circle by whom he was tenderly loved, and to vacate the position of pastor over a people among whom he had laboured so long and so well.

For more than thirty years did Mr. Abrahams preach at the City Road Chapel, Regent Street; many changes he must have seen, but he was steadily supported by a warm-hearted and sympathizing people. Few men lived more simply dependent on the grace of God than George Abrahams : : as I have heard him say, a “sinner saved by grace, and grace only.” The word of God by the Spirit (for the letter killeth) he would often say was the man of his counsel; and in his ministrations he fervently and frequently prayed that he might hear the voice of authority speaking to his heart and direct him in his work. During life he was wont to express himself what a great debtor to the grace of God he felt himself; and towards the close of life this indebtedness was more and more felt and expressed, which made the Pharisee wonder, who knew that his was what they would call“ a holy life, devout piety.” And so it was. for his all was not in self but in Christ, “who of God was made unto him wisdom, sanctification, and redemption.” The special eternal love of God, the atoning blood and righteousness of Christ, with the Spirit's continual revelation of the same to the soul of the poor downcast, sin-andunbelief distressed, were themes on which he delighted to dwell, and did dwell—not keeping back election unto life, and the rejection of the non elect, that sinners might tremble and saints rejoice. Mr. Abrahams was not a preacher representing Jehovah coming to rebel man, hat in hand, too much the fashion of some who hold the doctrines of grace in the letter, but, it is to be feared, never felt them in their power by the teaching of God the Holy Ghost; or, if so, are backsliders from their first love into the fear of man that bringeth a snare : for all that, like brother Abrahams, stand in the power of the Gospel, have been brought solemnly to know that Jehovah would be just if He did not save any, much less are they afraid to aver from the sacred oracles that God has taken a people to the praise of the glory of His grace,” and that the rest are left—" reprobate silver shall men call them, for the Lord hath rejected them.” And this Mr.

Abrahams did in a solemn manner, and not in the flippant way of some dry doctrinal men, hearers and preachers.

On the Monday following, all that was mortal of Mr. Abrahams was lying in his favourite study (where he had often sighed and sung in his soul for a text and message to the people); friends, members, and those of his congregation who chose, were kindly invited to take their last farewell of the body of their late pastor. This afforded a melancholy gratification, doubtless, to many.

On Tuesday, about half-past one o'clock, the funeral took place at Abney Park Cemetery. The service in the Chapel was conducted by the Rev. Mr. Roberts giving out an hymn, and reading appropriate Scriptures. The venerable Rev. R. Luckin gave a short address, and the Rev. Mr. Bayfield was favoured to pour out his soul in sorrow for the Church's loss, in thanksgiving for what the Lord had done for and by the departed, praying for the Church, the bereaved, the widow, the children, &c., imploring grace to overrule all to the divine glory.

A short address was delivered at the grave by brother Luckin. He said, “Our brother was no compromising preacher; he declared the whole counsel of God. He had doubts in his last conflict with death ; but was enabled to feel all was well. He was not afraid to die, he had no fears ; ‘now all was safe.'” “In sure and certain hope to a joyful resurrection to life eternal” he was committed to the tomb.

Mr. Abrahams was interred in his father-in-law's vault, Mr. W. Gardner's, a few yards on the left hand from the monument raised to the memory of the immortal Isaac Watts, D.D. I may give a few more particulars of Mr. Abrahams in next number (D.V). Some hundreds were at the Cemetery to show their love to the departed, as a man of God and truth in all the great doctrines of the cross, as experimentally known and loved by all that are saved; and now, in the language of Kent on the death of Dr. Hawker, I close this feeble tribute to one I loved for the truth's sake :

“ 'Tis done! the conflict o'er, the spirit's fled,

Borne on seraphic pinions to the skies,
Where Jesus' face ten thousand glories shed,

And pleasures, everlasting pleasures, rise.”
Bow.

J. FLORY.

SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD.

touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”—2 Cor. vi. 17. In what way and to what extent are Christians to separate themselves from the world? This is so comprehensive a subject that it would require a volume to enter into and explain it fully in all its bearings; but to deal generally with the way and extent to which Christians should separate themselves from the world is to keep aloof as much as possible from its

heaven, and the end of all we do to glorify God. We should not be found in any place where we cannot ask the presence and blessing of God to accompany us, nor be engaged in any calling in which we could not seek the aid of the Holy Spirit. We are to "glorify God in our body

« EdellinenJatka »