Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

III. Of my sin, being without the Spirit. | The Holy Ghost describes the state of sinners under the Gospel, as being "sensual, having not the Spirit." This was my case. Now here are two degrees of guilt; the one is a positive sin, the other negative, and this is the reason that sins of this nature are so difficult to discover. It is comparatively easy to see, when our hearts deviate from the divine will in an opposite direction, that this is a state of sin; but not so easy to perceive, when we are wanting in conformity, that this is condemnable. The first is immediately recognised, but it requires us to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary before we find ourselves guilty of being wanting. Sin is a want of conformity to the divine will. Now if a man were neither earthly, sensual, nor devilish, he is still in a state of sin, inasmuch as he falls short of the divine standard. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." "The Father sceketh such to worship him."

IV. I was wanting in godly fear. Not only a fear to restrain from gross immoralities, but a godly fear as an essential ingredient to render my works acceptable; and the want of that was my sin. To be without this grace is to approach unto things most sacred with our uncleanness upon us, the penalty of which is death by the law. It is indeed no light matter for a sinner, unsanctified by the Holy Ghost, to walk on holy ground-to hear the Word of God and judge it-to imbibe notions of religion, and talk of them to sit in the assembly of the faithful and possess all the means of knowledge and of grace, and yet possessing not, nor seeking to possess, a godly fear, lest these things which should have been for our good, should be turned to our harm-"a savour of death," instead of "a savour of life." Now I saw Jehovah looking into my soul, taking cognizance of my heart, my thoughts, and all my ways; how is it that I did not perceive this before? or if I saw it, that it did not impress me? But alas! instead of being awed by his presence, made humble and dependant upon Him, I was as the unthinking horse that rushes into the battle.

Now, in which way soever I turned for shelter, escape, or excuse, all was unavailable. The more glorious the Lord Jesus manifested Himself to me, the blacker I appeared. Every sin was magnified, and my want of true obedience made evident, so that my heart sank within me, and I was as speechless as the man without a wedding garment, to whom it was said, "Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness." If I said, "I could not see Jehovah always before me, because I had no spiritual vision," then it was sin that blinded me. God has said, as plainly as anything can be declared, that "His eyes are upon all our ways, and that he looketh espepecially at the heart, without which, nothing is acceptable to him." To be therefore unarmed by his presence, and unimpressed by his Word, shows a want of faith in that which He has so plainly revealed. What excuse is this? It is covering one sin with another. If I said, "I could not give myself a godly

fear, it is the gift of the Spirit;" then it was my duty to seek that grace, and not presume to live without it. "God giveth liberally, and upbraideth not; " He has passed his word that to him that asketh, it shall be given." Why did I doubt? Why did I fail to come boldly to a throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help me? These were my thoughts; every excuse returned into my bosom, to bring another sin to my remembrance to accuse and devour me, so that I was hurled from one deep to another, and dashed from rock to rock, till my soul was broken, and the pains of hell got hold on me. "Whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."

Lastly. I was wanting in true knowledge. Ignorance is folly, and folly is sin. When I saw the King in his beauty, a divine light shined into my heart, that showed me all things, and now all my comeliness was turned to corruption, and all my former knowledge to foolishness, because I had never yet known Him" whom to know is life eternal." O how good! how gracious! how glorious! how lovely is the Lord! how desirable is He! more to be admired and sought after than precious jewels, or mines of gold. But alas! as for me, folly was bound up in my heart; I had lived till now without knowing Him, and unconcerned to know Him. I said, “I was as a beast before Him, so foolish was I and ignorant." "He taketh vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel."

Thus, when I was judged, both books were opened, the law and gospel, and I found them both spiritual, requiring a spiritual obedience; but I was especially judged by the gospel; that scripture was verified in me, "If any man hear my words and believe not," or that "rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (if not in mercy now).

By these terrible things in righteousness I have learned

1st. That no flesh shall glory in the presence of God; for He hath concluded all men in sin under the law, and all men in unbelief under the gospel.

2nd. That by the deeds of the law no flesh living shall be justified; and by the obedience of faith, resulting from our own will and power, no flesh shall be saved.

3rd. That Christ Jesus is the only way of justification; He being made under the law a curse for us, we are freely justified by his precious blood, received by faith.

Lastly. "That salvation is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." "He hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."

Now, sir, I conclude my present letter, and if you are not weary of me already, I shall, God willing, in my next, produce other evidence beside my own, and at last appeal to the law and testimony.

I am, dear sir, yours in the Lord Jesus
Christ,
A. BLAST.
To the Editor of the Earthen Vessel.

OUR BRITISH BAPTIST CHURCHES.

THE OLD CHURCH BOOK.

No. II.

THE SOLEMN ORDINATION AND PLEASANT DEATH OF PASTOR ARNOLD, AT UNICORN YARD CHAPEL, TOOLEY STREET,

In our last we gave some of the earliest information of the affairs of this ancient house of worship, and promised to give an account of some interesting events under the pastorate of Mr. William Arnold, who preached to the Church Lord's day, May 29, 1720. "The Church having tasted and approved of his gift, gave him an invitation to come and preach to them for some time, in order to inake further trial thereof," to which he consented. The following is an account of his call to the pastorate:

"Lord's day, August 29, 1720.-This day the Church having given Mr. Arnold a unanimous call to the pastoral office, ordered the following letter to be sent to the Church at Westbury Leigh, under the care of our beloved brother, John Belton, greeting, &c.

BELOVED BRETHREN.-We being destitute of a pastor by the death of our beloved brother Benjamin Hinton, and divine providence having brought our well-beloved brother William Arnold amongst us, whose ministry has been so acceptable to us that we have given him a call, by the unanimous consent of the Church, to accept the pastoral charge among us, which being signified to him by proper persons, as also that he would take up his communion with us, and he showing his willingness to be joined to our Church, we desire, beloved brethren, that you would, as followers of the same Lord, and professors of the same faith with us, recommend and dismiss to us, in the name of Christ, our, and we trust, your well-beloved brother William Arnold, which we desire you will do with such expedition as the case and your prudence shall direct. We commend you to God, and to the word of his grace. Signed, by order and behalf of the Church: Jolin Seymour, James Broase, John Yorke, Josiah Keene, John Valley, Deacons.""

The reply was as follows:-"From the Church, Westbury Leigh, Wilts, &c., &c.

We

"DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN. kindly greet you in the Lord Jesus Christ, wishing that grace may be multiplied unto you and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may seek the prosperity of Zion, aiming at the glory of God and the common good of all men.

"Brethren: the occasion of our writing is to commend to your Christian care our beloved brother William Arnold, which is in fellowship and full communion with us, and hath walked with a holy conversation as becometh the gospel and his profession; also he

hath been called upon to exercise his gift which God hath lent him, for the work of the ministry, for which he hath been very well accepted by us, and well approved of in many other churches and Christian congregations where he has been in the country exercising his gift among them. Now by Providence, his residence being with you, and he desiring a dismission from us to you, which we cannot so willingly do, by reason we had hopes to enjoy the benefit of his ministry with us, also we should have took it kindly if you had sent to us (before his dismission had been required) of your necessity, that we might the better have judged if your necessity was greater than ours, as well as to keep the communion of churches. But now, if you accept him, we desire you to let him partake of the privileges of the house of God amongst you, watching over him and walking towards him as becometh saints. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all, is the earnest desire of your brethren waiting for the consolation of Israel." Received into communion, Lord's day, October 16th. Mr. Rees administered the ordinance.

November 15th, 1720, being a Tuesday, Mr. Arnold, having signified his acceptance of the Church's call, was ordained as follows:

At half-past ten in the morning, Mr. Rees opened the meeting with prayer, and a discourse, 1 Cor. xiv. 40, setting forth the duty of laying on of hands in the ordination of ministers and deacons; then Mr. Harrison prayed, and preached a sermon directed to the minister from 1 Tim. iii. 1; then Mr. Rees signified to the people that he and his brethren in the ministry now present understood they had called their brother William Arnold to the office of a pastor, and desired, if they had, and did persist in it, that they would signify it by holding up their hands, which they accordingly did. Then putting the question to Mr. Arnold whether he accepted the call of the Church, he answered in a short speech, that he did acknowledge himself unfit for so great a work, but hoped that God would assist him. Hereupon Mr. Rees laying on his hands, accompanied by Messrs. Parkes, Harrison, Bidle, and Burroughs, pronounced these words:-"Brother William Arnold, we do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the consent of this Church, ordain thee to the office of an elder, pastor, or bishop of the Church of Christ in this place;" then all continuing their hands, Mr. Rees improved some time in prayer; then Mr. Burroughs preached a sermon setting forth the duty of the people, from 1 Thess. v. 12, 13, 14, and prayed. The meeting was concluded by Mr. Wallin with prayer, and with singing the 122nd Psalm. The ministers present were Mr. David Rees, Mr. Thomas Harrison, Mr. Joseph Burroughs, Mr. Edward Wallin, Mr. Abraham Wallin, Mr. Abraham

Wallin, with several others; and they dined at the King's Head, in the Borough.

During the pastorate of this good man, there was an election of deacons. It was thought necessary by the Church, June 24, 1728, to choose four brethren more to the office of deacons, which was accordingly done, viz. Brethren Scoffield, Bevoice, Hancock, and Lyons. On the day of prayer, these brethren were called upon to give an answer to the Church's call. Brother Scoffield accepted the call; brother Bevoice could not find a willingness to accept of that call as yet; brother Hancock accepted the call; brother Lyons declared as follows:

(As this reply was thought worthy to be recorded, it may be interesting; it evidently shows that this good man had a very humble view of himself, and also a proper view of the importance of being placed in such an office.)

"I never in my life, in any case, found it so difficult as now to give an answer. The unanimous call of a Church of Christ after solemn prayer to God is with me a consideration serious and awful, which has made it exceeding difficult with me to deny; while the improbability of my being useful as others, with some other considerations, have determined me not to accept. I am a debtor to the Church for the good opinion which they have conceived of me, expressed by their calling me to the honourable work and office of a deacon; but my views of myself are very different from theirs of me, &c., &c.

"Such of the people of God whose circumstances in life are not low and narrow, are the most capable of being useful in this office; but this is not my case, mine being mean, and probably will always continue so, working with my hands in the low capacity and station of a servant.

"Things may be so circumstanced that the application of those who are in this office to the brethren and sisters, with respect either to the minister or the poor of Christ, may be very necessary: every man has his peculiar gift of God; as to myself, such application would be heavy work to me, I having a turn of mind better fitted for solitude and retirement, with the obscurity of a private station.

"But suppose I could overcome this bias of my mind, yet it appears to me utterly improbable such a one as I should have weight and influence where it would be most useful and necessary. Therefore, in love to the minister and in love to the poor of Christ, with a view to their having better service, I cline."

| bless the means and revive his work in this place; there were now no additions, now and then dismissions applied for to other churches. Another day was set apart in May, 1733. From other accounts the cause still declined; yet the general peace of the Church was not disturbed, nor their affection towards the minister abated, with the exception of a few, who were put under Church discipline.

I shall now give the brief account recorded of this good and useful man's last days.

"Lord's-day, March 10th, 1734.-Our pastor having been ill some months, and many Lord's days not able to preach at all, by which providence the Church was greatly afflicted, and being now stayed, Brother Lyons acquainted them that it was our pastor's advice and desire that we would set apart some time solemnly to seek God by prayer on his behalf, and their own account. "Agreed that this Church meet together at five o'clock for prayer. According to the above resolution, several hours were spent in prayer. March 14th, the Church assembled and employed some hours in prayer. Agreed to meet weekly for the same purpose.

"Lord's day, May 12th.- Brother Lyons informed the Church that our pastor desired that they would keep a solemn day of fasting and prayer to the Lord chiefly on his account.

"The following Tuesday was kept by the Church in fasting and prayer. Brother Kenward preached on the occasion.

May 14th.-Service began at nine o'clock. At about eleven Brother Lyons, who had been to visit our pastor, declared he found him very weak in bed, supported by his daughter and another person. After Christian salutation and converse, he had charged him with the following message to the Church, which he expressed with the utmost zeal and most melting affection, viz. 'I desire you would be a mouth for me this day to the Church. Give my love to them as a fellow member, as a minister of Christ, and as their pastor; tell them I am now going to my God and their God, to my Father and their Father. I desire them all to join in praises to God for the exceeding abundant riches of his grace and mercy to me. These words,

Thy sins, which are many and great, are forgiven,' have been set home upon my soul with such power and joy as almost to overset the tabernacle; they were words once to me as life from death, and now they are life in death. I am concerned for that little hill in Mount de-Zion; some of them I believe are seals to my ministry, and will be my joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of Christ. They have been a creditable and reputable Church; they are now so, and it is my desire they may continue in credit and reputation after my decease. I now take my farewell of them, and commit them to the care of the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Let them wait on God that He may give them a pastor after his own heart, to feed them with knowledge and understanding.

With respect to the usefulness of Mr. William Arnold, from what can be gathered his labours were much owned and blessed by God. In the first two years of his ministry, no less than sixty-one members were added to the Church, and above one hundred during his fourteen years' ministry; also several of those who had left to follow Mr. Gill returned to this Church. But, like most of the Lord's ministers, he had his trials in this respect. About 1728, a day was set apart for prayer to God, that He would be pleased to

"I desire them to show their love and value for me by walking in love and affec

tion one to another, and by filling up their places in the Church: they gave not up themselves to a minister, but to the Lord, and to one another. I desire them to walk closely together in holy communion and fellowship with God and one another, and then they may expect to meet death with joy, as I do now; and so I take my leave of them, expecting to see them in a little time, and that we shall be companions again together, and be for ever with the Lord."

[ocr errors]

"Our Brother Kenward preached as desired; took for his text Micah vi. 9, The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.'

"N.B. Our pastor continued in a comfortable frame of spirit till he fell asleep in Jesus. He was buried on the 21st instant, from his dwelling house, in our own burying-ground: most of the members attending his corpse. Mr. Wilson, spoke a suitable oration at his grave. He departed in the forty-third year of his age, having been pastor of this congregation about fourteen years."

These extracts will doubtless be read with deep interest. The solemn ordination, the good man's simple and honest reply to the call to the office of deacon, the success of the ministry, and the glorious and happy death of this favoured servant of God, has made the labour pleasant to the writer. The next will contain the serious disappointment, after long waiting and perseverance, to obtain a certain minister; a second disappointment, with ultimate settlement of the Rev. Thomas Flower, Jun.

The writer begs to apologise for a mistake in the dates in No. 1: it should have been 1700 instead of 1800, &c. A. MILLER.

BAPTIZING IN THE SEA AT CHELMONDISTON.

THIS is a pleasant village and fertile parish nearly at the termination of the peninsula formed by the confluence of the estuaries of the Orwell and Stour. The village, which is six miles from Ipswich, is on the bank of the Orwell. A great number of boats are employed here in collecting stone for the manufacture of Roman cement. About two years ago a commodious chapel was built here, on the site of the old one, by the Church and congregation under the pastoral care of the Rev. C. Carpenter, formerly, for sixteen years, minister of Bethel (now Bewlay) Chapel, Somers' Town, London. The baptizing took place in the river Orwell, at Pin Mill, being that part of the village which is by the seaside, on Lord's-day morning, the 4th of May, 1856, in the presence of many hundred persons; but above all, in the presence of the great Master of Assemblies, which rendered the occasion interesting, and the ordinance the means of promoting his glory and the good of many precious souls.

Our pastor gave a powerful address to the people, in vindication of the ordinance, adopting the noble argument of the Apostles, "We ought to obey God rather than men." For the religion we profess is not of human

|

but divine authority. We do not hold that our faith and practice is to be at all governed by the laws of men; but of God alone. We are not, as to our religion, accountable to men; but to God only. And, moreover, the consequences arising therefrom are not confined to this world; but that which is to come. He then assigned some reasons why so many reversed, by their practice respecting this ordinance, this sentiment, declaring "that they ought to obey men rather than God." Although they cannot deny that the Apostolic churches practised the baptism of believers only, and that by immersion by divine authority, why then should any "seek to worship God after the commandments and doctrines of men?"—Observator.

THIRTY-FOUR YEARS' PASTORATE AT LIMPLEY STOKE, NEAR BATH.

[WE gratefully accept the following as the earnest of a full account of the Church's birth and fruit-bearing under our good brother Huntley's faithful labours. He has been a favoured man indeed.-ED.]

DEAR BROTHER,-May grace, mercy, and peace be with thee continually, to buoy up and comfort thy poor tempest-tossed soul, for surely you know the meaning of the poet's language

"When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,

Has gathered thick and thundered loud." And I dare say you can express the other two lines, and bear testimony to the faithfulness of your ever gracious covenant-making, covenant-keeping, and covenant-performing Jehovah

"He near my soul has always stood;

His loving kindness, O how good!

I think good news is welcome to almost everybody, but to all the real lovers of Zion, nothing cheers their hearts more than when the Church prospers, her converts increase, the lost sheep of the house of Israel are brought to the blood-stained banner of Immanuel's cross! the rough stones are apprehended from the quarry of nature by the omnipotent power of God the Holy Ghost; and when by their holy lives and the consistency of their walking conduct they seem to bear the mark that they are among the chosen in Christ Jesus, from before the foundation of the world, and that they are fruitful boughs allied to Jesus the living stock. I think, had I time to give you the history of the origin, and rise and progress of the Church at Limpley Stoke, it would be one of deep interest. Here our beloved pastor has, for more than thirty years, been proclaiming a free-grace gospel; and blessed be the name of our God, he has not laboured in vain. Very many living witnesses has he to testify what grace has done for their souls through his instrumentality, many of whom have crossed the Jordan of death, and are landed safe on Canaan's happy shore. Others are scattered through the world, whilst we now have a

numerous and much-united band of the followers of the meek and lowly Saviour, and bless and praise our heavenly Master He is from time to time adding to our number, and smiling upon the honest labours of our pastor; and the Lord having made some willing in the day of his power, and given them a desire to be buried with their much-loved Lord in Baptism, we set apart Lord's day, 28th of April, to attend to the solemn and important service. We commenced, as usual, with our early prayer meeting, and truly it was good to be there; although it was a very wet morning, yet some brethren from other churches, of several miles' distance, were there to join us in our supplications to heaven, that He would deign to condescend to presence Himself in our midst through the day. We arrived at the banks of the river Avon, about 8 o'clock, and although it rained, there were as many people assembled to witness the solemn proceedings, as we have seen on a sunshiny morning on like occasions. Our pastor's two eldest sons took part in the service, the one pouring out his soul in prayer for Heaven's approbation, and the other delivered a very suitable and impressive address; and then, after singing, our pastor, accompanied with one of the deacons, led two candidates into the water, and baptized them in the name of the ever blessed and glorious Trinity; and I believe many felt it to be a very solemn season which will not soon be forgotten.

In the morning, our pastor's eldest son preached a wholesome discourse from Deuteronomy xxvi. 17 and 18 verses; and in the afternoon we met to receive the newly bap tized into the Church, and break bread; and as is our minister's custom, in an address he gave an outline of our belief, and then addressed the candidates; and from the experience of these two, it appears that one was knocked down like Saul of Tarsus, and was brought to labour under great distress of mind for many months, fearing that nothing but hell could ever be her portion; and so great was her distress, that she was strongly tempted to destroy herself; but God, who is rich in mercy, in his own time appeared for the poor outcast, and led her to Calvary, with a living faith, to see the bleeding hands, feet, and side, of our glorious surety and sin bearer, which set the captive free; and I would just say here, that God met with her at the water-side at our last baptizing. Ah, my dear brother, we have scarcely ever baptized, but God has blessed the ordinance to some poor sinner's soul. What an evidence of God's approval! The other candidate was brought more like Lydia. The Lord opened her heart; and though not such a great experience as the other, yet there is every satisfactory mark of her having passed from death unto life. We then sat around our Father's board, and partook of the emblems of the bloody sufferings and dying agonies of Him who trod the winepress alone. Ah! it was good to be there; the chapel full--poor sinners' eyes streaming with tears. But I have one thing more to tell you, in which you will join with ine, and say the Lord hath done great things for us.

The husbands of these two were men that had gone even to the brink of hell in sin; but our God has most marvellously displayed the riches of his superabounding grace in snatching these two men-about the same time--as brands from the eternal burning-the Lion is become a Lamb. We may well say, "What hath God wrought." "Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth." The dear Lord seems to be in our midst. We hope soon again to visit the water. In the evening, our pastor preached a very solemn and encouraging discourse from Ephesians ii. 12, 13, and the day passed off well. J. H.

[This is a joyful report, indeed! The pastor and his sons uniting in such holy work! Long may they live and prosper! How does our brother Kellaway and the garden near Bath appear this spring-time?—ED.]

SAXMUNDHAM.

Day, baptized two believers upon confession "On May 1st, 1856, our beloved pastor, Mr. of their faith in Christ Jesus. Mr. Day delivered a very impressive discourse from the words, "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins," Matt. iii. 5, 6, showing the place where they were baptized, the qualification for baptism, and the scripture authority for baptism itself. Our little chapel was crammed; and the congregation seemed to feel the solemnity of so grand an ordinance. In the afternoon our pastor received into Church-fellowship those that were baptized, and three others from other Churches, making five more added to our little band. The Lord is doing great things for us. May many more be brought out of darkness into Christ. his inarvellous light. So prays yours in A. C. K."

[blocks in formation]

MR. Stephen Mitchell was (through the grace of God) a genuine Christian; one who well knew the plague of the heart and the remedy for it-"the precious blood of Christ." His Christianity was not made up of "many wonderful works" before men; but of the life and love of God in his soul-" the hidden man of the heart "--" the secret of the Lord, which is with them that fear him." Neither was he ever unmindful of the poor and needy of the Lord's people, nor of the cause of Christ at large; but always stood prominent among the helpers, when and where help was necessary. This I have proved, with many others who knew him. have known him about ten years, and have been during that time much in his company, and always found he enjoyed a solemn and sweet delight in the great and glorious realities of the everlasting gospel. He was a man of few words; but keen penetration and deep thought. was a constant hearer of mine, with his dear bereaved wife, for seven years, at Snowfields Chapel; and had he been spared, he intended

He

« FöregåendeFortsätt »