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and sent to eternal punishment, as the just reward of their sins ;-yea, they fear day and night-their heart trembles to take the dreadful leap out of time into eternity, for they see nothing but death eternal on every side; therefore they are of a sorrowful spirit, and tbeir eyes, that is, their hope and their faith, fail with looking upward for mercy; and when morning comes they beg of God to withhold his judgments another day; again.at night, they beg of God to be kept out of hell till morning.. Nay, in this valley, as good Mr. Bunyan describes, “the soul is all prayer;" that is, the Christian soul is in one con-. tinued prayer when there is not a word uttered.
But I must return, or I may be too tedious. As you went on speaking from your text, the more my way was cleared up. At last, all, you said, was mine : when God the Holy Ghost whispered in my soul, “ I am thy friend and not thine enemy.” My poor shattered faith now laid hold on Jesus, and said, “My Friend and my God.” Peace and pardon now flowed into my heart, and conscience now no more accused; my heart broke, and I wanted to die and go to my friend, the Lord of life and glory. How sweet was Jesus to my soul now; how I saw his love in quickening my dead soul-in his sending his law home to my heart and conscience—his love in showing me the depravity of my nature, to prevent me from trusting in my own heart—his love in permitting the enemy to tempt me, that He might display his eternal Godhead and Almighty power in holding me and rebuking Satan—and that I might know that Jehovah Jesus was the Captain of my salvation. And to his glory, and the poor repenting sinner's good, I desire, if it is the Lord's will, to speak my latest breath. After you had done speaking I returned home, hardly knowing whether I was in the body or out of the body, these words still with me, “I am thy friend and not thine enemy.” At last I fell to singing one of Mr. Hart's hymns. It was this :
When Jesus undertook to rescue ruin'd man. My heart was now filled with praise and my mouth with laughter. I knelt down to prayer, if it may be so called, but I knew not how to pray. At last I began my old way, begging the Lord to spare me and forgive me; then I broke out, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, I shall live and not die; bless the Lord, I shall live for ever; Jesus is my
Lord, let me see now thou hast pardoned me.” Then up singing again. After a time I went to bed, but how happy was I to lay my head on the pillow now ; no rambling sore, no guilty conscience, no bar between my soul and Jesus. “Now, blessed Lord,” said I, “this is the first happy night I ever knew;" so sang myself to sleep-and then, in my soul, sung in my sleep. In this state I continued three days, continually singing and walking my room. Indeed I was not fit for employment, for when any was brought I called my friends in the house to see it, and asked what God was like my God? Jesus was now all and in all; it was him who fed me, clothed me, found me work, showed me how to do it; yea, Jesus did everything now, both in providence and grace. Now I longed to tell all the travail of my soul, but had no one to tell it to; so I was obliged to keep it to myself—and a sweet morsel I had—which I am enabled to retain the sweetness of, in some measure, to this moment.
However, after six weeks, I met you at the house of a sick man, where I no sooner saw you than all my former joys returned; and I told
you soul. I then went about with you to those that loved the Lord, telling them all the Lord had done for me; till pride began to creep in, and I began to think something of myself, until the Lord made use of an instrument to sorely wound me and bring me down. The devil flew with all his speed with his temptations of suicide, into which I thought I must fall. How did my soul suffer here~not with my original sins, but with temptations, fears, and doubt, lest all should not be right at last; but soon after, the blessed Spirit led me
into the garden of Gethsemane, where, by faith, I saw my God agonizing out his harmless soul for me-dying eternally in his feelings because i should not —seeing him begging, if possible for this cup to pass, nevertheless, not his will, but the Father's be done." I said, “ Blessed Lord, my soul was not worth so great
price as the darling Son of God.” Here my soul was sunk in love and sorrow, and I moaned for him whom my sins had pierced. Thus the Lord brought me up again, and yet I am the same unbelieving wretch as ever, if the Lord leave me; but many trials, both from within and without, has the Lord delivered me out of. I often cannot trust to him for a day's bread, but fear every enemy I see will overcome me ; but am still, at times, enabled to cry to Him for help, who is able to save.
Thus far, my father, I have given you a brief relation of God's dealings with one of the worst of sinners; the truth of which, if the Lord see good, I am willing to declare with my lips, trusting the Lord will give me strength, if he call me to it.
So I remain,
THE EDITOR TO HIS CORRESPONDENTS.
TO “ A. B.,” BLACKHEATH. It is no uncommon thing, beloved, for the Lord's family to mark out a line of deliverance, and, because he does not appear precisely in the way they had anticipated, to become discouraged, fearful, and rebellious. The adversary is sure to take advantage, and suggest that, because the Lord has not appeared in their way, he will not appear at all. Again, highly to be esteemed as are the means of grace-prayer, reading the word, attending the ordinances of the Lord's house-- precious as are such seasons when the Master is present; yet these are by no means to be regarded as the only medium of his approach. He not unfrequently comes in a sovereign way, separate and distinct from all means; when perhaps, we have been least expecting his gracious visit; and why all this? To make us indifferent to the means ? No. To create a listlessness of walk, saying, “ Well, if the Lord means to appear, he will in his own way, irrespective of me or my importunity?” No; the subject is too momentous for such a presumptuous mode of reasoning. But to teach us that the means of grace are but means; that in themselves they cannot coinmunicate the least blessing ; in order that the Lord alone may be exalted. If he meets with us—if he blesses us—it is not as a reward for our strict adherence to the means, but on account of his free-grace and rich condescension and mercy. And yet, contradictory as it may appear, a knowledge of this fact will not, in the soul that is under divine teaching, nurse an indifferent spirit or a presumptuous sloth. On the contrary; while there is a throne of grace accessible, a Bible to which he can resort, or the word preached in simplicity, he will say, will hear what the Lord will speak;' when he said, “Seek ye my face,' my heart said, “ Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' “ And he, being in the way, the Lord met with him.” All these are so many hedges which encompass the path of life, which as much close it against every presumptuous Antimonian as against every pharisa ic-professor.
The soul instructed of God will be taught the difference between regarding the means as a duty and a privilege. He will know, experimentally, as the Lord leads him on, what it is to lay aside the heartless observances of a slave, for the holy and happy privileges of a son--a citizen of Zion—a free-born heir of glory. And he will approach the throne, not in his own name, nor, pharisee-like, pleading his own performances, but making mention of Jesus, pleading his righteousness, his atoning blood, his finished salvation, and prevalent intercession before the throne. Thus the sinner-himself-poor, frail, sinful man-drops into nothingness; and, so to speak, upon nature's ruins Christ is exalted, and becomes very high and very precious yea, “the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely."
What shall we say, then, to thee, beloved ? Shail we, according to thy wish, re.. commend thee books, and a long catalogue of observances ? Oh, no! But, rather
thanking the Lord for what he has done for thee, in "enabling thy soul to believe in Christ as thine for righteousness, life, wisdom, and free salvation ” (a wonderful act, remember-more than he has done for Gabriel himself), we would say, keep close to thy Bible in preference to a multitude of books, in “making which there is no end,” and the conflicting opinions of which will only agitate thy poor mind; ask the light of the blessed Spirit to shine upon his sacred word, and convey it with comforting power to thy soul; be much in thy closet-at home with the Lord, rather than abroad with professors. And may the God of grace be with thee, to "strengthen, establish, settle thee;" to bring thee off from self, or expectations of growing better in thyself, to a simple looking to, and resting upon, the Lord. The greatest evidence of thy increase of stature will be a growing downwards; thy additional strength will appear in a more deepened sense of weakness; thy light, in a discovery of darkness; thy wisdom, in an abiding conviction of thy folly.
“Tis thus that pride and self must fall,
That JESUS may be All in all."
TO “A SEEKER," OF SETTLE. Do not harass thy mind about the remarks of men - however high they may stand in the estimation of the religious world (so called) who, by those remarks, prove they have learnt everything bụt a knowledge of the pride and hypocrisy of their own hearts ; but, if the Lord has really taught thee, “ that sin is mixed with thy best performances, and that from anything thou canst do, thou canst expect nothing at the hands of God but his heavy displeasure,” bless him for such teaching, and ask him still to lead thee on from strength to strength. Tell him just what thou hast told us; of the weakness of thy faith--thy manifold fears—the perplexity into which thou art thrown by task-masters, who bid thee work but give thee no power so to do; and then venture to ask the Lord to establish thee in the truth as it is in Jesus. This assuredly he will do by little and little ; but thou wilt find thy soul will gain greater enlargement, and enjoy more of the love of Jesus, in retirement—a close walking with God-than in busying thyself with professors, and asking them to explain to thee the knotty parts of thy experience--an experience which they do not comprehend, being ignorant of the first rudiments of grace—the utter helplessness of maņ; an experience which the Lord himself purposes to unravel, in his own time and way.
Memoirs of the late Rev. William Nunn, M.A., nearly twenty-three
years Minister of St. Clement's Church, Manchester. Edited by the Rev. Robert Pym, Rector of Elmley, near Wakefield, Yorkshire.
London : Hamilton, Adams, and Co., Paternoster Row. Pp. 480. Conscious of the scrutiny of thousands, aware that his labours, if they bear the impress of a God, will receive the warm enthusiasm of those whose hearts the Lord has touched, or be subjected to the frigid objections of cold-hearted professors, ever ready to impute to a writer motives most foreign to his intentions ; it is with no small effort that many approach materials which are to place them before the public in the character of a biographer. Exposed as we are, as Editor of this Magazine, to a variety of contradictory opinion and remark, we can easily imagine the existence of the feelings expressed by our respected friend and brother Pym, in his Introduction to the Memoirs before us.
Perhaps of all positions, that of a biographer is one of the most difficult. Sensible as he is, or ought to be, of his own manifold infirmities-aware that his work is destined for the instruction, the comfort, the well-being of men of like passions with himself—and conscious, moreover, that he takes his pen in hand to record particulars of one who, like himself and like them, was “encompassed with infirmity,” or otherwise would have been a very unsuitable messenger to bear tidings to men of the like description; it is with feelings of peculiar delicacy -with an effort almost more than human-he accepts the invitation to "gather up the fragments which remain, that nothing be lost.”
Our views of a biographer, we have reason for supposing, differ widely, very widely, from the generally received opinions of the day in which we live. Men writing a description of their fellow-men, forget too frequently what they were, and for whom it is intended. They talk of mighty efforts, wonderful performances, certain achievements, which, so far from exhibiting the glory of Jehovah in the wondrous operations of his grace, tend to eclipse that glory, and exalt the offspring of his power ; instead of such a volume being of use to the Church - rather than affording them comfort and encouragement, either a stumbling-block is thrown in the way, from a conviction of the inapplicability of such a description of character to themselves, or it tends to set in operation the innate principles of a free-will powerleading a man off from, rather than towards, the source of all real satisfaction. We are aware that the expression of our sentiments thus will expose us to no small degree of censure. By men destitute of a knowledge of the proud workings of the human heart—who would fain
appear before their fellow-men what they are not-we shall be said to
encourage a certain degree of indifference of life. While we refute the charge by the argument of the apostle, in his epistle to Titus, ii. 12), « that the grace of God which bringeth salvation teacheth us the denying of ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly, righteously, and soberly, in this present evil world,” we refer him to the manner in which God the Holy Ghost has recorded the lives of those whom he honoured and delighted in. In the Bible the character is drawn at full length ; the picture is wholly exhibited ; light and shade are intermixed; the power of the Creator exhibited, and the weakness of the creature pourtrayed ; the setting forth of the grace, the wisdom, and the love of God, in contradistinction to, and in spite of, all the frailties, sins, and imperfections of the sons and daughters of Adam ; thus cheering the mind budding with grace, which might otherwise sink in lowest despondency, with the recollection that
“Grace shall complete what GRACE begins,
To save from sorrows and from sins;
Eternal Mercy ne'er forsakes.” Taking this view of the subject, we believe Mr. Pym to be fully justified in bringing before the public the character of the venerated William Nunn, as it was when under the first operations of divine grace. By the preservation of these early records, Mr. Pym, or rather, we trust, the Holy Ghost, has exhibited “the blade, the ear, the full corn in the ear ;” the seeds of conviction having been sown, by degrees we trace the “blade” of desire ; then the “ear” of hope ; then the “full corn in the ear” of faith triumphing in a precious Christ : all springing from the seed of faith sown in the heart by the divine Husbandman, and springing up according to his will ; not altering in its quality-corn at first and corn at last-not changing in its essence, or improving in its substance, but expanding-growing. This cuts at once the root of creature holiness.
We are aware that high-toned professors will dispute the propriety of Mr. Pym's procedure in publishing what Mr. Nunn wrote when under the fleshly trammels of Arminianism, when the seeds of grace -the fruits of God's eternal love-were only just springing amid the weeds of creature righteousness and pharisaical observances. Such objectors wish to see the full-grown man at once; they have not patience to bear and forbear, in a “charity which hopeth all things, endureth all things ;" they have but little inclination to watch the expanding of the grain of mustard-seed, the figure which our Lord and Master himself has condescended to make use of, as related in Mark, iv. 30—32 ; but they would take the part of the reekless husbandmen, as recorded in Matthew, xiii. 30. But what too frequently is the character of these men ? Do they not often resemble those whom our Lord describes in the parable of the sower and his seed, when some was said to have fallen by the way-side, and suddenly to have sprung up, but because it had no root withered away
? Men hastily springing up; men, as it were, jumping into a profession, and from thence into a pulpit, seldom wear well. If the root of the matter be in them, there is too frequently a lamentable falling away, and in a great measure a returning to the beggarly elements of the world. Far sooner would we see a gradual work ; and, though much patience and forbearance were needful, yet, if amid much that is fleshly -if in the zealous letter, or the laboured sermon, there are occasional indications of a heart not altogether ignorant of itself, or of Him who alone can teach us to profit, God forbid that we should hastily condemn that man, and set him down as an outer-court worshipper ; nay, rather let us, under a consciousness of our own numberless infirmities, and with a remembrance of our own former limited acquaintance, and our present short-sightedness, watch over and pray for those whose hearts, we have reason to believe, God hath touched; for such frequently shine forth after as the most brilliant luminaries in the church.
Such was the character of William Nunn. At first we see him much entangled with fleshly performances ; his mind is dark and cloudy; his knowledge of the spiritual import of the word but very limited; still, under all, is working, like an under current, God the Holy One. He, with wisdom and in love, is undermining creature-strength and righteousness, prior to rearing the beautiful superstructure of a freegrace triumphing in the person, blood, and righteousness of Jesus ; and He that first implanted in the heart a desire to blow the Gospel trump, practises his servant with skill-bears with his earlier jarring notes and discordancy of sound; and by and by, in his own good time, brings him forth by little and little to blow a certain and a successful sound.