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TO THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY
CHOSEN IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE
BRETHREN AND SISTERS BELOVED,
TIME BEGAN, AND EVER
We greet you once more in His name by whose kindly hand we are brought to the concluding month of another year. "What shall we render to the Lord for all his benefits," in that he hath, to the present moment, so graciously fulfilled his promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee?"
Doubtless you find, beloved, as do we, that the wilderness is still a waste-a barren heath-which, in itself, can afford neither sustenance nor satisfaction; to know this is a mercy, but it is a greater mercy to enter into the peace and enjoyment of those who "are coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on the Beloved."
We have drawn another year's supply of grace and strength out of the fulness of our blessed Lord; and although, in our unbelieving hours, we are apprehensive of continuous provision, yet it is our mercy to know, that there is an inexhaustible fulness in Jesus; and that, He who "waits to be gracious" is as much glorified by his communications to his poor, insolvent family, as, by the reception of the same, they are blessed."
With respect to the relative position of Zion, we feel that her auspices are not more pleasurable than when we last addressed our prefatory remarks to you. The Church wears a still more gloomy aspect; we are sinking lower and lower; and it is our decided opinion, that very soon the long-gathering, greatly-dreaded cloud will burst, not upon the church to injure her, but around her, to the great confusion and dismay of those who now regard with little better than a contemptuous scorn those who cry and sigh on account of the desolation of Zion. The day which shall immediately succeed that of her calamity, will be glorious in the extreme. The Lord entering into the hearts of his people with new life, light, and liberty; the eternal Spirit touching with a live coal from off the altar the lips of many whom he is now training in the school of temptation, sorrow, and perplexity; and causing them to go forth as the standard-bearers of the cross, testifying of a free and a full salvation by Jesus, the Mediator of the new and the better covenant. A second Pentecost-day shall then dawn; the seed sown shall take deep root; the word shall run and be glorified; the name of Jesus shall be sweet indeed; the Gospel shall be preached in its purity and power in the length and breadth of the land; and a revenue of praise shall redound to Israel's one God. hasten this happy day!
To our Correspondents we again tender our thanks; and, with a new year in prospect, we cannot but express our sincerest wish, that the Lord the Spirit may pour out upon them and upon ourselves of his gracious, sweet, soft, bedewing influences; that, as the effect thereof, the GOSPEL MAGAZINE may come forth from month to month with "good tidings of great joy." Much, indeed, is the proclamation of a free-grace salvation needed in some of our obscure towns and villages, where many of the Lord's hidden ones are famishing, as it were, for the bread and water of life. A Gospel sermon or tract is to them, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, a feast indeed.
To those whose epistles are of a dictatorial nature-whose wish is to render the GOSPEL MAGAZINE of a more general character, or to make it a vehicle of controversy; we would say, that it is not our province to superintend either the one or the other. If it be supposed
that, because we are desirous of avoiding controversy or needless disputation; that because our object is to establish unity and concord among the true followers of the Lamb; we would, therefore, dispense with a cautious scrutiny as to whom we would extend the right-hand of fellowship, those who encourage such a suspicion are greatly mistaken. We will give place to no man in our attachment to a free and a full salvation, ordained eternally for a specific and highly-favoured people; we rejoice in its promulgation, and give a hearty response to the statement of every spiritually-enlightened messenger; each part and particle of truth is precious to us even as to them; in the full belief of it we have lived; and, however imperfectly we may have expressed that belief, in an increasingly vigorous espousal of the truth we desire to be found; yet we are of opinion that the precious doctrines of a free-grace Gospel are to be defended without the indulgence of that bitter censorious spirit which too much characterises the vindication of truth in the present day.
Among the diversity of favours which it hath pleased the Holy Ghost to give out to his messengers in his own infinite wisdom, and according to his own sovereign will, it pleased him, as the harbinger of his future intention, to give unto us a peculiar attachment to one portion of his own most holy word, even before he gave demonstrative evidence of our personal interest in the blessings proclaimed in that word; and a few days prior to the opening of the month of June, 1840, it pleased his heavenly Majesty to confirm that attachment in a more open and positive manner, by placing his timid servant in the position which we now occupy-and fixing in the heart in still more indelible characters the words to which we have alluded, which are to be found in the first and second verses of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem." This has been, this still is, our object; in our endeavour, under God, to prosecute it, we are at home; and whilst we seek to "speak good words and comfortable words," even such as the Lord our God intrusts us with, our eye is kept steadily fixed upon the one blessed, chosen, highly-favoured family, known to him, and here and there revealed and made manifest to us according to his
divine pleasure. This being the case, we leave a world "lying in wickedness," both professing and profane, at his wise disposal; having delivered our message according to the light and ability which God, in his mercy, hath given us, we leave the result with him, deeming it unnecessary to be meddling, or to venture beyond the boundary wherein he hath fixed us.
To be made of use instrumentally in the calling forth even one solitary member of his family, out of the death of sin unto a life of righteousness-out of an ungodly world into the fold of God, He, the Lord Jehovah, knows, we should count our highest privilege-a privilege we deem it far too great to calculate upon, and for the gratification of which we feel in our new heart and mind," there is nothing we would not undergo; but all this stands as a thing of nought-over these matters we have no control. We can only stand in the gap; speak of the awful nature and extent of the fall, and preach Christ as the only remedy to lost and hell-deserving sinners.
Finally, beloved brethren, we commend you and ourselves to God and the word of his grace; and "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
Yours, in the love of the truth,