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God's sight and election of God, that our fruit and deeds may be good : for out of an evil root cannot come good fruits. God loves the deeds for man's sake which doeth them, rather than the man for the good works that he doeth. As God looked first at Abel and then at his gifts, but to Cain and his offerings he looked not: because Abel was a chosen vessel of God, therefore God received his offerings; and Cain's were not received, because he was not of that number. For, as a schoolmaster will take in good part the diligence that his scholars can do; and if he sees them put their good wills thereto, he will bear with their faults and teach them their lessons, but to stubborn and froward he will show no gentleness, but cast them off: so God, with those whom he hath chosen in Christ before the world was made, he will bear with their infirmities and wink at their little faults; teach them to do better, and praise their well-doings, and gently correct their faults ; but his enemies and outcasts, because whatsoever they do is hypocrisy, he loves them not, but even their prayer is turned to sin, and whatsoever they do is defiled, because they be not grafted and chosen in Christ Jesus."
This is good old sterling divinity, such as our forefathers rejoiced in, and for the establishing of which many laid down their lives at the stake. Oh! Mr. Editor, that the number of those may be increased who earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints, and that the Lord would be pleased to make foolishness all false prophets and teachers in this once Protestant land.
Yours, in the hope of the Gospel,
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MY DEAR SIR,
I have frequently felt surprise at the variety of opinions which men bring forth on one subject, but I now stand amazed at the contrariety of views held among religionists. What we are ourselves led particularly to admire and approve, we are inclined to feel astonished when others do not the same. I have been led into many reflections from your second review of the Memoirs of Mr. Nunn; your first review of this work in the April Number, I ad. mired exceedingly, and could not but remark and approve the display of sovereign grace, and the gradual work of the Spirit. "The judiciousness of your remarks appeared to me what Mr. Nunn himself would have approved of_" a child of God, ever feeling an anxiety that God should be glorified in all things;" I considered that you showed forth the character of the venerated William Nunn, as you style him, in a beautiful and interesting light, as a recipient of grace, a sent minister of God, and a faithful preacher of the truth. Having been much delighted with all your remarks, I was indeed surprised to find any animadversions had been made thereon ; more particu. larly on those in reference to the character so faithfully and so beautifully pourtrayed, and I was disappointed that you were not led again to remark more fully. I have also the testimony of a Christian friend, of the high gratification afforded by your review-one who, with myself, delights to trace the wonder-working grace and sovereign power of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom, my dear Sir, I feel we unite in giving all the glory and all the praise. May He, the One Jehovah, uphold you with the right arm of his power, is the sincere prayer of
Yours, in Christian sincerity, June 27th, 1842.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. DEAR BROTHER,
It has occurred to me, after reading the Gospel MAGAZINE from the first, that there is a lack of something which, together with the excellent and profitable things we find there, may commend it to the consciences of all (Christian) men. In lending it to one believer for perusal, there was the remark, “Something appears to be kept back;" another observed, “I thought it was Antinomian, but find it very delightful.” The latter remark is curious enough, as the supposition was before the perusal, and must have been held not quite irrespective of myself. I am anxious that a work bearing so strongly the impress of God's truth, should not be deficient in " reproof and correction," while “ doctrine and instruction in righteousness” are fully set forth. In advocating what is called “the practical” in the divine life, I would be understood as making no reference to the law, but to the commandments of Christ," the law of the Spirit of life.” “ If ye love me,” says Christ,“ keep my commandments." Now, unless the Christian is a mere inert instrument in the hands of God-of necessity living in unfeigned obedience to his will, there is need of exhortation (2 Tim. iv. 2, 3; Titus, i. 13). Many Christians (myself among the number) feel their need of rebuke; and, if the countenance of a man sharpeneth that of his friend, so does rebuke with all longsuffering. Often has the tempter argued thus with me, “You are without strength; of yourself you can do nothing; it is your strength to sit still.” This is plausible, subtle casuistry ; the more so, because in Scripture phraseology. But the same Scripture which says, “ It is God that worketh in us,” &c., tells us “ to work out our salvation ;" as I take it, salvation from the corruptions of the flesh, temptations, &c. “I write not these things to shame you," brother, “but to stir up your pure mind by way of remembrance ;' or if so be, I may provoke others to give a “word of exhortation."
Yours, in the bonds of truth,
W. H. [Does our correspondent recollect the story of the Judge and the Culprit? The
latter had been found guilty, and the judge, in consequence, passed upon him the sentence of death; but, feeling interested in his case, he afterwards visited him in prison. Entering the condemned cell, and accosting the prisoner, he said, “Well, and how do you feel towards me?” “How do I feel towards you !” was his reply, in tones of the utmost sternness, “why, I hate you !” Again and again was he visited, and again and again did the judge elicit the same uncouth reply. At length, when the same question was proposed and the same answer was obtained, the judge pulled from his breast-pocket a paper, and, throwing it on the table before the prisoner, said, “ There is your pardon ; and how do you feel towards me now?” Falling on his knees before him, he burst into tears; and, as soon as words would afford him utterance, exclaimed, “Oh, I LOVE YOU! take me into your service, and I'll prove it.” The judge did so, and had, in the pardoned culprit, a faithful servant unto the end of his days.
Now, beloved, this is our moral, and with this we answer your letter an all similar inquiries :-If a sweet sense of the love of God shed abroad in the heart-a knowledge of free forgiveness, adopting grace, and unchangeable love--do not “bring forth the fruits of good living,” we know not what will. We are certain that, in the absence of this, no exhortations, no infic. tion of the rod, on our own part, or on the part of the ministry of the church, will effect it. What we want to see in our readers and in ourselves, is a sweet settled knowledge of our union to, and oneness with, the Lord Jesus Christ; his interest in us and our interest in him; our fellowship with him in
his sufferings and bis fellowship with us in ours, as the great High Priest of our profession, who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; then, as the result, we are certain that, as a family, we shall be the most peaceful and united in the universe-strengthening the weak hands, confirming the feeble knees, bearing each other's burdens, weeping with those that weep, rejoicing with those that rejoice; as subjects we shall be the most loyal; as citizens the most peaceable; as tradesmen the most upright and fair-dealing; as husbands the most affectionate; as wives the most devoted; as parents the most watchful; as children the most obedient; as masters the most forbearing; as servants the most attentive. These are what we term the practical effects of vital godliness, espoused and, though in the feeblest manner, and amid much conscious infirmity, set forth in the pages of the Gospel MAGAZINE.-ED.
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. MY DEAR SIR,
Having been detained in this wilderness by the unerring wisdom and infinite love of my kind, indulgent, covenant God, much beyond the expectations of my poor finite mind, it has been laid on my mind with much power to write a few lines to you, and I feel something as the Apostle Paul did when he said, “Necessity is laid upon me;" and, desiring to be a follower of God as a dear child, I have obeyed the inward witness. Oh! what a debtor am I to the ever blessed Testifier of a dear Jesus, especially since I have been confined to my room; I have indeed been made to know the truth of his own declaration, “ Without me ye can do nothing." No, I cannot so much as glance a thought half way to the throne ; so weak and helpless do I feel in myself, that if I could believe that my entering into eternal glory depended on the best effort of mine, if it were only creating one spiritual thought or desire, I must give up all hope of ever beholding his face in endless bliss, and sink in despair. Oh! what an unspeakable mercy to know and feel satisfied that it is all of Him from first to last, and feel like Paul, confident that he who hath begun a good work will carry it on and perfect it unto the day of Jesus Christ. Yes, this is a sweet truth to my soul, and a strong hold to fly to even in the darkest hour; that vital union cannot dissolve ; oh, no! never; for our precious Jesus has said, “Because I live, ye shall live also ;” and as the poet so sweetly sings
“Did Jesus once upon me shine ?
Then Jesus is for ever mine." And we cannot be satisfied until he returns and shows his lovely face, and whispers to us those soul-reviving words, “I am with thee, I have redeemed thee." I do desire to feel very thankful that I am kept in a waiting frame, looking and longing for the coming of my beloved Lord; but I sometimes fear I am impatient, and am obliged to cry for patience to wait all the days of his appointed . time. Oh how I long to live on high, to be dead to things terrene, and live alone on things unseen ! But how often do I sink to earth, though, blessings on the precious name of our Triune Jehovah, I can say that I do not cleave to it, nor have I one wish to recover. I every day prove that the first Adam is of the earth, earthy; and Satan is as ready to destroy as ever; so that, with my weak body, I find it hard fighting, and am persuaded I must fight my way and gain every step by the point of the sword; but, blessings on his precious name, he hath said, “Ye shall come off more than conquerors through him that hath loved you." I meet with many who believe in the doctrine of there being degrees in glory; I mean, those who are made the most useful will have the most conspicuous seat; but I fear
they have not been stripped, and emptied, and shown what they are, or they would not think of the highest, but would gladly claim the lowest, seats; and, with the unworthy writer, feel
that place will suit me well, When I before the throne do dwell, Between a Magdalen and Saul
The chiefest sinner of them all.” This just tells out what I feel. Oh, what can the first entrance into glory be, if we sink into such sweet nothingness while enjoying a few minutes of his precious presence here below in this vale of tears ! Oh, the precious thoughts of seeing Him as he is, and being like Him-free from all sin ! Do you not long for it? The unworthy writer does ; yes, far more than she can express. May I beg an interest in your breathings at the throne, for patience to wait until his own time, and grace to glorify him; and that you, my dear Sir, may be kept close to him, and be immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and enjoy much of his presence, is the desire and prayer of
Your most unworthy sister in indissoluble bonds, No. 11, Grove Street, Mile End Road.
R. S. [“ Long to see Him," dear sister ? Ah! that we do, and would give ten thou
sand worlds, did we possess them, to hear his glorious voice saying, “ Come up hither!" We long for it with all the powers of our soul, though we are compelled to acknowledge that much of this longing springs from a desire to escape the daily cross. But, beloved, we thoughit that thou, ere this, had crossed the river, and taken possession of the inheritance : it is, however, WELL ; and when we get to the river's brink, and look back upon all the way by which he has led us, we shall not lament, but rather rejoice in our previous detention here. We shall have known more of the dealings of our God in the wilderness, and, being wearied with the journey, shall find the peace and the rest of home so much the more agreeable. As for “ degrees in glory," beloved, if ever we reach heaven, we shall find it so utterly beyond what we had merited, and so far will it exceed our finite comprehension to be in the immediate presence of God and the Lamb, that we should be quite content to occupy the lowest place, were there any difference, among the redeemed, even beside a Mary Magdalene, or a dying thief. You speak of a first sight of Jesus; we must die to realize it; we have often been, and still are, lost in the contemplation of what the first view of Jesus, in his glory, will be.-ED.)
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. DEAR Sır,
Having been often refreshed in soul while perusing your periodical, and having seen, with much satisfaction, your answers to the many things sent you, I have long been wishing I could get your opinion on a subject that has a little exercised my mind, but have feared you would think it too puerile for your notice. At length, having laid it before the Lord and begged his direction, I determined to send; and, believing that you are guided and directed by the blessed Spirit of truth, to leave it with you whether to answer it or not. Conversing with some persons, a short time since, about one whom I believed, and do still believe, to be a Christian, although he differed in many points from us, and they, on this account, did not believe he was ; one asked why I spoke so confidently about him ?I replied, “Because I believe he loves Jesus, and has much of his image and likeness." The answer of one was, “It is impossible for us to say whether any one is a Christian or not, whilst in the body.” This surprised me, as it came from one whom I be
lieved to be an experimental Christian. Now, my dear Sir, do you think it impossible, or do you not ? I cannot believe you do. As I returned home, I thought to myself, “ What, have I, during all the years of my Christian pilgrimage, been mistaken !” and my mind reverted to some sweet bygone days of spiritual enjoyment with the dear people under the pastoral care of that much-beloved and much-honoured servant of God, the Rev. Joseph Irons, by whose instrumentality I was spiritually born, and led, and comforted, for many years, though now, in the all-wise providence of my heavenly Father, have been, for years past, placed far away in the low lands, as it respects spiritual things; I called to mind some sweet Emmaus-journeys, when the love of Jesus fired each heart, and burned from heart to heart while we have talked of what a covenant God in Christ had done for us, and while our experience has so agreed, as face answereth to face in a glass, and our hearts and souls have been so knit together in the bonds of Christian affection, that they answered to the description given by the apostle of the spiritual building, according to that which every joint supplieth, that I have no more hesitated to say they were one with Christ than I should if I had known them to have been in glory. But should I have been wrong in so saying? Is there not, my dear Sir, a sweet oneness of spirit, better felt than expressed, sometimes enjoyed with the people of God, by which we may take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus? I know it cannot be said of all whom we believe, or, at least, hope, are Christians: no, there seems to be a freezing instead of a sweet glowing warmth in their conversation. Lam sorry to say that where I am placed in the providence of God, scarcely a Christian can be found with whom I can sweetly converse on spiritual things; there is so much of party spirit felt, and if one do not see eye to eye with another, the practical language is, “ Forbid them, for they follow not with us.” But even here I sometimes meet with a dear child of God, at least those whom I believe to be such, and have not hesitated to call so ; and I sigh for more oneness of spirit with the children of God; there seems to be a sad forgetting that we are members of Christ, and consequently members one of another. May the covenant God of Israel abundantly bless you, and enable you to stand amidst evil report and good report, having for your sole object the glory of God and the comfort of his body the church, is the prayer of
A TEMPEST-TOSSED VESSEL, HOMEWARD-BOUND. Beloved, the disunion existing between the living members of Christ's mystical body, is one of the sad marks of the day in which we live. Enmity, strife, contention about words and mere modes of expression, have, for the most part, supplanted that unity of spirit and oneness of heart which once charac. terized them as members of the same blessed family. This prevails, now-adays, to such a lamentable extent, that we almost entirely refrain from association. If we do fall in with a brother or a sister with whom we once took sweet counsel, and whom (as our correspondent implies) nothing can root out of the affections, it is not long before either we or they begin a tale of slander, or a lamentation over our personal trials ; so that we separate abashed and sorrowful, instead of refreshed and invigorated; the consequence is, we retire to our closets to mourn over our folly, and confess our weakness and sin before the Lord, rather than to bless him on behalf of our brother or sister, and to thank him for the heart-cheering warmth with which he has visited our spirits, while narrating the gracious manifestations of his kind and fatherly hand. This, beloved, we acknowledge with shame and humility, is, for the most part, our experience; so that we have little desire, in the present low state of Zion, to mingle with its members, until the King of Zion again turns his hand in her favour, or rids both them and us of the body of sin and death. Ah! what a blessed riddance it will be! If we may speak on behalf of the rest, it will afford unutterable delight to behold indications of this old cumbrous load of clay falling. We shall rejoice to see the wise Master-builder undermining its foundation, and then, with one finishing