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hour she has extreme unction; and yet, after all this laborious search after salvation from the cradle to the grave by parents, priests, and personal obedience, the sum-total of it is, "Pray for the repose of the soul;" in a word, dread uncertainty.
The dogma of purgatory displays pre-eminently the craft of the old serpent. According to this doctrine certainty is ignored altogether. No Romanist, as such, can be assured of his eternal safety. When an enthusiastic admirer of the well-known agitator, Daniel O'Connell
, asserted he was in heaven, from the Vatican this ignorant son of the Church was reproved. The Pope declared it was an error to say so, as no one ever went to heaven but through purgatory. But the craft of this doctrine is seen first, in the exaltation of the priesthood, by whose sacerdotal power souls are let out of purgatory; and next, in the wealth it brings into the coffers of the Church of Rome. Nothing can be effected without money in the Roman Catholic religion ; but of all schemes the doctrine of purgatory contained within its bosom a mine of inexhaustible wealth. Who that had a penny in the world but would cheerfully give it to lessen by masses for the dead the sufferings of hose who can no longer help themselves ? Popery knows well where and how to apply the screw that will squeeze money out of the poor or the covetous, and draw it copiously from the loving and the liberal. Hence we have the climax of the craft of Rome in a permanent source of wealth derived from this miserable doctrine of purgatory. Alas! for poor souls like Katharine Halloren. After years of mortification and self-denial; a life called “voluntary seclusion,” but, strange to say, guarded by high walls and barred windows; superiors that watch and priests that protect; this so-called voluntaryism, that worked hard for salvation, and was helped on at all sides, yet the climax of obedience to the whole system is-purgatory! If this is the best Rome can do, bad is the best indeed. Uncertainty as to the future, being a doctrine of the Church of Rome, sweeps away the completeness of the work of Christ, whose "blood cleanseth from all sin," and the efficacy of the work of the Spirit, whose office is to reveal to the sinner what Christ has effected, and to satisfy the soul by the knowledge of that finished work which satisfies God. It is this doctrine of uncertainty which opens the way for the exaltation of the priesthood and the multiplication of masses to get the souls of the departed out of purgatory. Hence the so oft-repeated request in the Church of Rome, “Pray for the repose of the soul."
Certainty would lessen the power of the priest, and reduce the revenue of the Church. Certainty would put the religion of Rome into the ancient difficulty of the silversmith at Ephesus, who said, when the Gospel was preached there by Paul, “ Not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought, but also that the Temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised.” Hence the Church of Rome keeps from her children the word of God, which reveals the doctrine of certainty in the completeness of Christ's finished work, and gives us blessed examples of it in the experience of the saints. The Bible doctrine of certainty rests upon this foundation, that the blessings of the Gospel are all eternal. God made man immortal, but in new creation Ho gives His people “ eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Christ said, " Because I live, ye shall live also ;" and the apostle declared, “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” Peter tells the Church that they are “partakers of the Divine nature." Hence saints have a life anterior to But, in the
their earthly being-a life in union with the eternal God-a life secured in God-a life that can never die - - a life that is manifested in time, but has its origin in eternity, “bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord our God.” In connexion with this eternal life, we read in Eph. ii. that it was according to the eternal purpose of God which He purposed in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In Heb. v. 9, we are told He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. By virtue of this fore-ordained salvation according to God's eternal purpose, all the saints of Old Testament date went to heaven; and, when Jesus, with His dying breath, exclaimed, “It is finished !" the death of the Testator ratified the Testament, and put the seal upon the work confirmed in council by Jehovah. (See Heb. ix. 12.) This work of Christ is called “eternal redemption. He came to do the will of God, and lay down His life for the sheep. His work was in unison with the will of the Father. “ All mine are Thine, and Thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.” Redemption implies previous possession, and the Church was the gift of the Father to Christ in eternity, “ Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me." Hence we read that “Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." He redeemed the possession lost in the Adam fall, and restored that which He took not away. The blessedness to which the Church is finally brought, springing out of eternal union, eternal salvation, eternal purpose, and eternal redemption, is “eternal glory” (1 Pet. v. 10). brief space between the eternity before worlds and the eternity beyond worlds, God makes known to His people in their time state the blessed certainties of the Gospel, where rest and repose are enjoyed. Said our Lord, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Said the apostle, “We which have believed do enter into rest." Many of God's dear ones travel in the twilight of doubt and uncertainty, through the lack of knowledge. Foundation truths are hidden from sight, or, if brought to view, are negatived by creature-work or legal conditions. This sort of mongrel Gospel is common now. It quiets the fears of professors, and keeps tried souls in bondage. With others the case is different. They know the truth, and that the application of it by the Spirit is the only remedy for their doubts and fears ; but they grope for the wall as the blind. Their mercy is that they are made to grope, for this the dead cannot do. The Lord, by the severe discipline of withholding the spirit of adoption, teaches His people many lessons. Prayer, patience, humility, submission to the will of God, separation from the world, the use of the word, and the power of a promise, are taught only in God's school; where book-learning is of no value. But when deliverance comes, the change is all the more conspicuous and appreciated; for bondage makes liberty sweet. God has His own time and way to bring about the blessed issue of certainty to the believer, which is called in the word “ the sealing of the Spirit," " the witness of the Spirit,” “the assurance of faith,” lieving,” “the spirit of adoption," "a good hope through grace."
peace and joy in beSpiritual life in its various developments may exist without certainty, but certainty is the goal that the living desire to reach. Certainty is the state they pray for and pine after, because under the teachings of the Spirit.
Very different this to the condition of the “slothful man, that desireth and hath nothing." The weight of eternity, and the tremendous importance of the issue pressed home upon the heart by the Spirit make the soul
in earnest, and the divine origin of the desire after certainty is proved by the result; “ for all who seek shall find.” The desires that the Spirit of God creates, the same blessed Spirit will satisfy, thence will follow rest and peace to the soul. David's last words give us his experience of certainty, “ Although my house be not so with God; yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure." Paul said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.” The office of the Spirit is to assure the conscience of the love of God, and thus magnify and make honourable the work of Christ. “My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places," and Christ declared, “ These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.”
But now of the end. The death of the believer is spoken of in the word as sleep; but the climax of popery for the faithful in her communion, is this dismal request, “Pray for the repose of the soul.” The Gospel figure used to express death is rest; popery says it is toil. Saints, when“ absent from the body," are“ present with the Lord ;" popery says they are in the fire of purgatory. What a contrast does this present to the doctrines of the everlasting Gospel. Founded upon the certainties of eternal truth, believed by the power of the eternal Spirit, and “in hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began," the saints fall into the arms of Jesus at death; take their place among the spirits of the just made perfect, and wait for the redemption of the body at the first resurrection, when they shall realize the full blessedness of being conformed to the image of Christ, and the full enjoyment of His presence for evermore. This honour have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord.
SIMPLE, BUT SAFE!
But Jesus Christ is my all in all.” DEAR DOCTOR, -Well knowing that to you it is a matter of soul-delight to hear of, or to hear, the lispings of those who know that “here they have no continuing city, but seek one to come," causes me to feel a pleasure in communicating the particulars of a cheering interview which I had with one of your parishioners a few days gone by, and is, as you know, what people generally call half-witted.
Her illness has been of long duration, and, to the medical gentleman who attends her, very mysterious. Tho fact is, although I have been in the habit of visiting the sick for many years, I never found one solitary. case to resemble hers. For a considerable time she has lived upon barley sugar and other sweet things. Sometimes she is confined to her bed for months, and then a little revived, and able to walk out, which is the case with her now.
Walking by the side of the river, towards B- bridge, the other morning, I saw this dear afflicted creature coming towards me on the other side of the road. The moment she saw me she exerted herself to cross over to me. I thought, when I saw it, that she wanted to tell me about her mother's illness, for, although so weak intellectually, yet, when any of the family has been ill, she would forget her own sufferings, to weep and sympathize over them in their sufferings, calling them, "poor things,” in
her childish way: saying, “how much they suffered, and how sorry sbe was for them.” These things have made me say, “ What is this in this poor imbecile-minded creature which makes her grieve with them who are grieved ? Is it not the Spirit of Christ? It must be a something above nature, for she cannot play the hypocrite; that is beyond her power."
When we met, she held out her poor feeble withered hand to shake hands with me, and, in her broken way of speaking, which I shall not attempt to imitate, said, “Oh, how glad I am! I wanted to see you! I wanted to speak to you, and tell you that I am going fast to my long,
my child, I see it, as you say, and you are going to your long, long home. Oh, what a blessed and glorious home there is in reversion for all the redeemed of the Lord! Are you going to that glorious home?" The reply was, “I hope I am ! I long to be there! I do! I do!" “ Well, my child, the great Forerunner has taken possession of that home, in the name of all His redeemed ; and, when He entered there, it was with His own blood, and that blood has made sure, and secured unto such poor creatures as you and I, a certain joyful and everlasting welcome." After a few minutes' conversation, this dear creature began to wander, and speak at random, therefore I left her.
No sooner did she begin to speak to me, than my heart began to melt. " Oh," I thought, "what a solemn truth! From the wise and the prudent the Father hath hidden the things of the kingdom, but He reveals them to babes! And, if God hides, who can find ? and, if He reveals, who or what has the power to conceal ?” “Oh," I thought, "what childlike simplicity and sweetness, 'I am going-going to my long, long home! I hope I shall go there! I long to be there."
Seldom do I meet with conversation so soothingly unctuous; it created such sweet melody in my heart that cheered me for hours. How the lisping I had heard brought home to my heart an indubitable proof of the immutability of the promise that the “wayfaring man,' returning to his redemption home on his way there, though a fool, he should not ert therein.
TOPLADY ON THE SAINTS ABOVE.
Sermons and Notes of Sermons.
NOTES OF A SERMON.
BY C. H. MARSTON, M.D., DEVIZES. " And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say,
Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely.”—Rev. xxii. 17. CHRIST JEsus is the great centre of the Gospel, for the Gospel is just the testimony of Jesus Christ. It shows the Lord Jesus as the Covenant Head of all His people, existing from eternity as one with His Father in glory, will, and power; and as so, one with Kis dear people who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, that all their responsibilities, charges, sins, and deserts were laid to His account, while He was stored with all the communicable fulness of God for the supply of their need; and in fulness of time this glorious Son of the Father in truth and love was made the Son of Man. " Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same (Heb. ii. 14). “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. viii. 9). Having received His Church as His purposed bride from the hand of His Father, He espoused her to Himself in His own flesh, laid Himself open to all who had a claim against her, and boldly and fearlessly met her creditors, paid her every debt, even to the wages of sin, which is death, overcoming the world and the devil and sin and death, which held her in slavish bondage; and then, having done all, went again to His Father's throne, until He shall come to fetch her home, that where He is, there she may be also.
But of all this the bride is by nature ignorant. She has no love in her heart towards Him, sees no glory in His person, no desirableness in His love and
grace. She is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, yet supposes herself to be rich and increased in goods, and to have need of nothing. But Jesus is determined to win her love; and this He will do by causing His blessed Spirit to come down into her soul.
As Abraham's servant was sent to bring a wife to Isaac, so the Holy Ghost is sent to fetch the heart of Christ's loved one to Himself; and this He does, first, by painful things : He lays her sins to her charge, opens up the long account, and shows that she has nothing wherewith tó pay; so that she feels in what a ruined position she stands, knows that she deserves the anger and the curse of God, loses her pleasure in herself and in the ways of sin and of the world; can find no rest, no peace, no comfort, no help; her heart meditates terror, nothing suits her; she is fretful, peevish, ill-tempered, impatient, rebellious, and knows not what to do; tries to make herself clean by duties, but finds it like trying to wash her flesh in a polluted sewer. All her works are marred, and her righteousnesses are as filthy rags; she hears about repentance, but finds her heart like a stone; is told to believe, but knows not how or what to believe ; is encouraged to hope, but sinks deeper into despondency; knows that God must be loved, while she trembles at her own rebellion ; she cannot feel that she is anything like a saint, and, as the work advances, becomes even more broken-down at the discovery of what she is than at the sight of what she has been, so that she is now feelingly and experi