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cannot doubt but what there is some poor anxious child of God somewhere, who needs a portion of the word to comfort him or her. May He bless such to their souls !
After a Sabbath-evening service at a little sanctuary we are accustomed to go to, a poor man shook us warmly by the hand, saying, “I could go with you this evening, sir. I could just trot along with you in that rut.” Now, we trust, dear reader, that, like this poor Christian man, you have been able to trot along with us in the rut we have been led into by God the Spirit. The privilege of family intercourse is great; personally we may never see you, beloved-unknown in the flesh, but well known in the spirit-treading the same up-hill pathway to the City of Zion—"faint, yet pursuing,” feeble, yet upheld; under such circumstances,
“How sweet it is when friend with friend
In holy fellowship can walk,
And their hearts open as they talk.”
May the Lord bless, keep, and guide you to the end. So prays your companion in the Spirit. Ilford.
" THE CLOUDS ARE THE DUST OF HIS FEET."
NAHUM i. 3.
I'd some heart-crushing sorrow to meet !
“ All these clouds are the dust of my feet.
When I go trembling Jacob to meet;
While the clouds are the dust of my feet.
Of my grace, love, and mercy you meet,
When the clouds are the dust of my feet.
You will soon hold communion most sweet;
Rolling clouds are the dust of His feet."
To go forth thy dear Jesus to meet;
Moves the clouds as the dust of His feet.
I would not advise any one to place his child where the Holy Scriptures are not regarded as the rule of life. Every institution where God's word is not diligently studied must become corrupt.—Luther.
Anecdotes and Extracts.
“ The preacher sought to find out acceptable words.”—Eccl. xii, 10.
MEDITATIONS IN A BUSH-UMPIE.
V. In meditating on the dim outline of spiritual things cast through the intervention of the kingdom of nature, we observe that of what Milton calls
“ Ye four elements,
The elder birth of nature's womb," only two are mentioned in the account of Creation.
The reason for this is readily seen. Earth and water are visible, material, while fire, if it be a form of matter and not a condition of it, pervades all other materials, and acts on them without entering into combination ; and the mention of air would have been a departure from the rule which plainly governs revelation, of not informing man on natural facts which are within the province of his mind to discover by investigation. The first place in which air is mentioned as a distinct word is in the Acts : “They began to cast dust into the air.". In the Gospels “the fowls of the air” is literally “the fowls of the heavens :" and so also in the Old Testament, and in other passages the word is wind or breath, which could be known without being aware of the existence of an atmosphere. Fire being imponderable, and otherwise not discernible except in its operation (as also electricity and magnetism), is evidently the first dim fore-showing in elementary matter of life : it also serves the human mind as a stepping-stone to reach to the apprehension of immaterial existences acting on and influencing the human race.
Fire is the special emblem and minister of divine wrath ; sometimes directly in consuming the sinners, at others indirectly in expressing acceptance of the person and petition of the suppliant by showing the wrath poured out on the substitute sacrifice. And in its operation we have before us a perpetual memorial of the truth that man, except as viewed in connexion with the Lord Jesus Christ, is but "dust and ashes," and “a vapour that passeth away;" for no structural or organized fabric can withstand the action of fire, but is by it reduced to its primitive elements, from which it was by the acting of life eliminated-dust, ashes, and the “invisible things of which the visible were made." And by revelation we know that when the vegetable and animal kingdom have fulfilled their appointed end as a scaffold to rear the edifice of the Church of God, they will be dissipated and dispersed by fire, while the elements themselves will melt with fervent heat. At the same time we see in the burning bush, and in the three young men in the furnace, that the presence of the Son of God restrains the minister of wrath from power over structural and organized matter. The doctrine embodied in this emblem runs through another line in describing the operation of the Holy Ghost in the regeneration of the elect children of God, in which the action of fire and water on the material world, we are taught, represents “ the washing of regeneration" and the " baptizing with fire." "We see fire sweep across the face of the earth, and before it herb, tree, and living creature is destroyed. Rain and the dew of heaven saturate the disencumbered ground, and a new growth upsprings, fresh and fair. So the Holy Ghost first scorches the heart as the herald of wrath convincing of sin; and before His revelation of the holiness and justice of God the thoughts and intents, native of the soil and the life which it lived, are consumed. Then He outpours His gracious unction, the testimony of Jesus, distilling as the dew and trickling down as the showers on the mown grass, till the cleared soil buds forth and blossoms and bears fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. From the finite nature of all emblems, and the infinite reality of that which they portray, they may be viewed in various directions; so “the baptizing with fire” refers also to an effect of the being subjected to the one baptism for the remission of sins," and, by being baptized into Christ, made partakers of the divine nature. The holy hatred of sin is partaken of together with God, and the crucified Christ held forth as the fearful necessity thereof; and at the same time by that “one sacrifice once offered for sins for ever,” the Saviour and Redeemer of the people that shall be born to praise Him. In like manner the emblem water in the “washing of regeneration" involves not only the first springing into life, but the reviving and refreshing influence which causes growth in grace; and also the purity of life and conversation which, notwithstanding the frailty and infirmity of the earthen vessels containing the precious plant, is the necessary result of being graffed into the fruit-bearing olive.
Air, though as above-mentioned, not till after the ascension of our Lord referred to by name, other than that of one of its operations, is taken by Him, on account of its being clearly perceptible yet invisible, to illustrate that, when the kingdom of God is within the heart, it may be perceived in its effects : “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The twofold symbolization of the operation of the Holy Ghost points to two distinct kinds of cleansing which are explained in figure under the law. Spoil taken from the eneiny was to be cleansed ; that which could endure the fire was to pass through it, and that which from its nature could not, was to be made clean with water. In the furnace precious metal is cleared from dross and alloy which are dissipated and in one sense of the word) consumed. During the operations herein symbolized our blessed Lord is described sitting by as a refiner to watch the crucible, and see that no harm is done to the precious which is being separated from the vile. Moreover, the beneficial effect of this operation is, perhaps, not discernible except to him who can assay and try the substance of the metal, while the effect of washing with water is to remove filth and dust from the outward visible parts, and is evident. In this we see figured that when the strong man is spoiled and the prey delivered from the mighty, the precious metal—that which is born of the Spirit-must be cleansed in the furnace, but under the careful eye of our Saviour and Redeemer; while body and soul must be washed from the filth of the flesh. Of the former the blessed fruit may be known only to Him who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart; the effect of the latter must be manifested before men in the walk and conversation.
May he who writes and they who read be enabled by the energy of the Holy Ghost to manifest their baptism with water and with fire, and pardon all their shortcomings and transgressions, for Christ's sake. Bulimba, Queensland.
CLIFTON CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE.
“ His name is called the Word of Go:l."-Rev. xix. 13. " I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
Join v. 30.
23, Berkeley Square, Bristol.
is a subject to me of real satisfaction that the number of those who express an interest in our annual Conference is increasing, and that, as the season for holding it approaches, I receive so many earnest inquiries about the time when we are to assemble.
The din of religious and political warfare waxes louder and louder, and it is to be feared that the spirits even of God's children are disturbed by feelings and aspirations which are too much of earth, and therefore only too well calculated to do the work of the great enemy, in carnalizing hearts that ought to be wholly consecrated to Christ and His coming glory.
One of the obvious evils arising from the present aspect of things is the intensifying of sectarian animosities, and thë estranging of such of God's children as hold opposite views on questions of local or temporal interest. This is, for the most part, to be ascribed to the elevation of transient and subordinate subjects into positions of importance to which, viewed in the light of eternity, they are by no means entitled. The remedy for this, obviously, is to bring the things of real and eternal moment into greater prominence, and to draw out from the world the heirs of the kingdom for more intimate communion among themselves, on the basis of their common hopes and expectations, so that, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they may become more interested in the things which they will eternally share, and less anxious for the dissevering and dying policies of a fallen world.
Such conferences as ours, composed of believers of various denominations, assembled, we may trust, in the spirit of Christian brotherhood, are well calculated, with the Master's blessing, to help in this good work. We must not indeed calculate on the reducing of all opinions to a common standard, but we may hope that the constraining power of an affection higher and holier than any which we bear to our several schemes of church organization, may be developed and strengthened so as to mitigate not a few of the asperities of our present position, and it may be to help in recalling the church to its original mission of exemplifying to the world the character of that love to which it owes its birth.
With this hope, dear brethren, I rejoice, in the name of believers in Bristol and Clifton, to invite you to our sixth Clifton Conference, which will be held (the Lord permitting) on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 6th and 7th of October, 1868.
We ask, as usual, your earnest prayers for the outpouring of the Spirit on our proceedings, and on those who take part in, and are present at, them. We know that all the advantage we expect from these gatherings is the promised gift of a present Redeemer. To Him let the Spirit and the bride say, “Come;" and we doubt not, as He has come before, so Ho will come now. We, in this locality, have seen the blessed effects of preliminary waiting on the Lord, and we will once more resort to it. May it be attended with still more manifest success on the present occa
sion, and may our Conference be found one of the blessed instruments employed by our coming Redeemer for the preparation of the Bride, that she may joyfully go forth to meet Him.
The subjects selected for consideration are: ANALOGY BETWEEN THE WORD SENT AND THE WORD WRITTEN.—Compare Isaiah xlix. 2, with Heb. iv. 12; Isaiah lv. 11, with John xvii. 4; John ix. 5, with 2 Peter i, 19; Deut. iv. 2, with Col. ü. 8-10.
THE SERVICE OF THE FATHER IN THE SPIRIT OF THE Son.-Compare Psalm xl. 8, with Rom. vii. 22; John vii. 18, with 1 Cor. vi. 20; Acts x. 38, with 1 Cor. xv. 58 ; John iv. 34, with 1 Peter iv. 1, 2.
Hospitality will, as heretofore, be provided for those brethren who will kindly signify to me, on or before Saturday, September 26th, their intention to be present at the Conference, and their need of accommodation during their stay. I am, my dear friends, yours affectionately in the hope of the Gospel,
SAMUEL ABRAHAM WALKER,
Rector of St. Mary-le-port, Bristol. The Conference will, as usual, assemble (D.V.) in the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, each day at eleven o'clock, a.m., and at seven p.m. Dinner (for which tickets, at 2s. each, will be issued during the Conference) will be provided within the building at half-past one o'clock, and tea at five. The intervals between the meetings will, as heretofore, be devoted to prayer meetings, Bible readings, addresses, free conversations, &c.
Our local friends are reminded that meetings for prayer will be held at the Victoria Rooms, on the three Friday evenings, September 18th and 25th and October 2nd, preceding the Conference, and also on Monday evening, October 5th, to ask the Lord's blessing on our proceedings.
FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP. " Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my
word, then are ye my disciples indeed ; and ye shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free.”—John viii. 31, 32. THESE verses contain a warning and a promise. First, as to the warning, “If ye continue in my word.” Not that any who believe in that word will ever cease to be Christ's disciples, “My sheep shall never perish;" but St. Paul would appear to explain this best in Rom. ii. 7, “To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life.” The warning is needful to stir us up to continued active obedience, and abiding in the truth, as well as living up to our privileges conferred upon us as the disciples of Christ, carefully avoiding any error opposed to the truth of God's word, by bringing it to the test of that word, and showing, by our life and conversation, that we adorn the doctrines we profess to believe. Second, as to the promise, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Blessed freedom is that of the sons of God. St. Paul says, speaking of the new nature, “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” “But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. vi. 14, 18, 22). By continuing in the word, we shall also have freedom from the world, since the closer we live to Christ the less entangled we shall be by its follies. We shall have no relish for