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THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL;
THE FIRST LETTER FROM "A BLAST" CONSIDERED.
would spare my life but a month, or a week, or a few hours, I would repent, and live a godly life. But, alas! the thing was far from me: I found that as soon might the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots, as I, who was always doing evil, learn to do well. I knew, by reading the Word, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, but I could not, for the life of me, persuade myself that I was of the sort of sinners that He came to
DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHER,-My mind has oft been refreshed when reading the EARTHEN VESSEL. I have beheld, in the glorious truths there brought forth and elucidated by some of its writers, my Saviour's face, as in a glass, and I have felt quite at home with them in the things of God. I have likewise been encouraged and comforted with the narrations of the Lord's dealings with some of his poor afflicted people. I do rejoice that Christ crucified is preached in opposition to every-save. These I viewed as broken in heart thing in and by the creature for salvation. and contrite in spirit for their sins, but I Our joy in this matter is mutual: we long could neither loathe myself nor love the to see the Saviour crowned, for He alone is Saviour, but seemed to be given up to a worthy. When we were shut up in the reprobate mind. Arrived at Chatham, I dungeon, and condemned to death, who went, I believe, the next Lord's day to the was it procured our discharge, broke our Established Church, and continued to go fetters, opened our prison doors, and there a few sabbaths. Here everything apbrought us forth, but Jesus? How pre-peared dead. After some time, I met an cious He appeared to us in the hour that acquaintance, on a week-day, who told me we first believed: his name seemed written in golden letters upon everything around us. Never shall I forget that auspicious day. In much distress of mind, and weakness of body, I came down from London to Chatham in April, 1831, suffering from the effects of a paralytic fit a few months before. Under this stroke I became greatly alarmed; there appeared but a step betwixt me and death, and the grave seemed ready to receive me. In the prospect of eternity I saw nothing for myself but blackness and darkness for ever. When I laid down at night, I feared that I should awake in hell, and sometimes, in my waking hours, everything appeared to sink beneath me. On one occasion, I remember I ran from Smithfield to an acquaintance's house in Shoreditch, under the fear that I should die in the street. I applied to physicians and surgeons, who bled, cupped, and blistered my body, and gave me medicines, but I was nothing bettered by their pre-solation. I was surprised to find such a scriptions or operations, but rather grew worse. At this time I knew none in London who professed to be religious, and I feared that if I went within a church or chapel, I should die there. Hence I secluded myself (being out of place) as much as possible, and said nothing to any one about my fears and feelings. How often did I promise the Lord that if He VOL. XII.-No. 137.
that there was a funeral sermon to be preached at the Baptist Chapel, Clover Street, and asked me if I would go and hear it. I went, and was much surprised at what the minister said of man's fallen condition, having never heard, as I thought, the same before, but I knew the description to be true, as it regarded myself. I attended regularly at this place afterwards, and obtained a deeper knowledge, I trust by the Spirit, of the evil of sin. I sometimes thought that the people must know my character, and that they would turn me out of the chapel. After a few weeks, at times a gleam of hope would spring up in my soul from a view of God's mercy in Christ, as seen in some portions of Scripture. Having, as I considered, murdered myself by transgression, the words of the Holy Ghost, by the prophet Hosea, chapter xiii. verse 9, were truly suited to my case, and from them I obtained some con
declaration in the Bible. Though I had read much of the Bible, and committed to memory some forty or fifty chapters from the Old and New Testament, including the 119th Psalm, the remembrance of which appeared to aggravate my case, yet I was quite ignorant of the way of salvation. The veil was then on my heart.
Almost immediately upon my awaking in
do either, consequently must suffer the doom of the fearful and unbelieving. But "what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Yes, He who came as the sealed, sanctified, and sent of God into this world in human flesh to accomplish everlasting love's designs in the eternal redemption of God's elect people, appeared, to my joy. I will not attempt to describe that appearance: suffice it to say, that to me it was in the semblance of his glorious resurrection from the dead, and ascension on high. And I truly arose with Him, and sat down in heavenly places in Him. It was to me life from the dead; a translation from dark
the morning of the last Sabbath in July, | and kept his word. I neither had nor could 1831, it was strongly impressed upon my mind that that day I should die. I feared that the time was now come when I should be called suddenly to appear before God, and receive the sentence, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Although there appeared nothing for me in the ministry but condemnation, still I could not keep away from the chapel. I have no remembrance of the morning text. In the course of the sermon the minister quoted the words of Ehud to Eglon, King of Moab, ere he pierced him with the fatal dagger: "I have a message from God unto thee," (Judges iii. 20.) It was immediately suggested to my mind that I had received a message from God in the morning, and, ere the close of the day, it would be ful-ness to light; a calling to Christ's kingdom filled.
and glory. There was no audible voice, The afternoon's discourse was upon but an inward persuasion, an effectual bidChrist's temptations in the wilderness, but ding me to come to Him, nor was I disI was wholly taken up in what related to obedient (how could I?) to the heavenly myself, nor did I obtain any relief under vision, although, at the first, filled with the sermon. On leaving the chapel, I surprise, I inquired, What, me, Lord? and went to a wood, about a mile and a half scarce believed, for joy, the mercy shown from the town, on the side of the Maid- to me appeared so great. While under the stone Road. Here, secluded from the condemning sentence of the Law, these creature, I fell on the ground, and at- words followed me almost continually : tempted to pray, but I know not that I" Because I have called, and ye refused; uttered a word. I felt my heart hard, and I have stretched out my hand, and no man was shut up. From thence I returned to regarded; but ye have set at nought all the chapel. In the course of his prayer my counsel, and would none of my reproof: at the opening of the service, the minister I also will laugh at your calamity; I will adverted to the "still small voice" which mock when your fear cometh," &c. (Prov. came to Elijah at Horeb, and begged that i. 24, to the end of the chapter.) From some one present might hear it for himself. which I was led to infer that I had sinned I felt a sudden desire springing up in my against light, love, and knowledge, and that soul that I might be the highly-favoured there was no hope in my case. individual. The text that night was from Joel iii. 16. He spake first of God's voice in the assemblies of Zion, in the roaring thunders of the Law, bringing conviction into the sinner's conscience. It was to me as if I was hearing (like the culprit under sentence of death) my condemned sermon, prior to my execution. I trembled exceedingly, turned to the word that wounded me, felt the sentence denounced against me just, and expected speedy destruction. He then turned to the more pleasing part, and spake of Jesus as the strength and hope of his people. I could not lay hold of Christ's strength ministerially set before me, nor could I believe that He was my hope. On the contrary, I considered that the curses were for me, and that I had nothing to do with the blessings. These
Just before my deliverance, I seemed to lose my convictions and fears, and to become hardened and indifferent about my state. This very much troubled me. Luke xi. 24-26, and Heb. vi. 1-8, were then brought to my mind, and I feared that I was the character, and that the end referred to in each narrative would be mine. Here I was, shut up "until the faith that should hereafter be revealed;" but when that time was come, as I have already spoken of, the Lord revealed Himself unto me as my Saviour, and I looked unto Him and was lightened, and my face was no more ashamed. How descriptive of my former and then present experience, was the hymn, sung after the service, from Rippon's selection:
last were for the upright, who loved Christ," Hail, sovereign love, which laid the plan," &c.
remarks. I have written these lines this
Of your unworthy Brother,
Sittingbourne, April 25, 1850.
the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, but is now made manifest; and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, wherein He hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence, thus dis covering the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which He hath purposed in Himself, the which our apostle calls the deep things of God. Joseph, the Hebrew, that illustrious type of our Almighty Joseph, said to his brethren, "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good; now, therefore, be not grieved DEAR Brother in our precious and ador- nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me able Lord Jesus Christ, the covenant head hither, for God did send me before you to of his body, the Church. The Father, preserve life." Such sayings as these call having loved, elected, adopted, and em- up a vast train of thought in the regenebodied all in Christ from boundless ever-rate mind, and fill with holy amazement lasting past; in mystic union and glorious our adoring souls; declaring the end from oneness (in his perfection and eternal com the beginning, and from ancient times the pleteness) must they remain to everlasting things that are not yet done, saying, "My future. "Complete in Him! perfect in counsel shall stand (and stand for ever), Christ Jesus! Holy, and without blame and I will do all my pleasure." before Him in love! Sanctified in Christ Jesus! called to be saints! preserved in Jesus Christ, and called! predestinated, called, justified, glorified, to the praise of the glory of his grace! What shall we then say to these things?" Such is the language of the Holy Ghost respecting what the Church is, and was, and must for ever remain, and who calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Christ and his Church are only one object in Jehovah's view; and as He hath loved Him, so hath He loved her, and not until He can cease to love the head, can He cease to love the body. And when will that transpire? when the Divine Majesty shall become subject to mutation; and when will that be? verily NEVER! All hail peace be unto thee, my brother! Let not thy heart be troubled; sin and Satan have done all that can be done to frustrate and render null Jehovah's purpose, respecting what He anciently willed his Church to be; but in vain! for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them, and renders that, which in its very nature would blast all, and frustrate all, subservient to the accomplishment of the wondrous design; thus, doing great things past finding out, yea, and wonders without number. Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; the wisdom of God in a mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory;
Beloved, this adorable scheme of Almighty mercy, originating in the will, purpose, counsel, and covenant of the sacred Three, that bear record in heaven, being brought to pass by Jehovah the Son, in our nature, according to ancient settlements and divine enactments, comprises the whole of our salvation. He, our most blessed Lord Jesus, finished the transgression (of his mystic members), and made an end of their sin, and reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness, thus accomplishing the work which was given Him to do, and which He said was to Him meat and drink; and by which (from the dignity of his Person) Jehovah is more honoured, (by his amazing humiliation, obedience, blood, and death), than He was ever dishonoured by all the sins of the whole body of his elect.
Now shall He see (unquestionably) of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. His redeemed shall come forth to life and light, to vital union with Himself, to a knowledge experimental, accompanied with deep feelings of remorse and godly sorrow for sin individually, and to a revelation of salvation by an application of the blood of the covenant to the conscience, producing pardon, peace, and glorious deliverance; being made free indeed, and all this, not by freewillism, not by duty-faith, nor under the preaching of the yea and nay no-scheme, but by the invincible power, operation, and
grace of God, the Holy Ghost, being thus | speak out, and so go groaning and roaring made willing in the day of his power, and in solitude all their days. when thus made willing, kept so, and sealed to the day of redemption.
You may, perhaps, conclude I must be a Hagarene, or I should not be so dark
Pray for a poor worm.-Affectionately in this matter, and I shall not find fault yours in the Lord the Lamb, with you if you do, for I bear more the mark of Cain than of the seed royal, and surely I am one READY TO PERISH.
March 8th, 1856.
22, Sutherland Square, Walworth.
HOW TO APPROACH GOD
To the Editor of the Earthen Vessel.
23rd May, 1856.
AN ANSWER TO "READY TO PERISH."
THE twofold exercise and trial of our correspondent are not at all uncommon to those who are by discipline divine made to feel the plague of their own hearts; for it is not enough to learn by merely reading in the Word, of the desperate wickedness of the heart; but the fountain of the deeps within must be broken up, otherwise the testimony of God as to what we are by nature is not demonstrated. Almost everything short of hell itself is felt at times by the living in Jerusalem: it is, therefore, nothing new for the true believer to find no access to a throne of grace. "Bring my soul out of prison," says one; "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him," says another; "I cry and shout, and He shutteth out my prayer," says another; and Jesus himself hath said of his disciples, that they should desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and shall not see it; that the bridegroom shall be taken from the children of the bridechamber, and then shall they fast; and how all this comes to pass is well known to every truly-convinced sinner. These are the valleys which only the Mediator of the new covenant can fill up; they are the crooked things which He alone can make straight; it is the darkness which He alone can turn into light.
DEAR SIR, AS I have for years been the subject of a soul-withering exercise, permit me, as a constant reader of the VESSEL since 1850, and one who has never troubled you before, to mention my case to you and to your readers. There are many, perhaps, who, like myself, have long heard a free-grace Gospel, and yet may not, either in hearing or reading, have met with a case like to their own. The deep trial, or rather one of them, I have so long been under, lies in my attempting to pray, and having no feeling of access to the Throne. For although I am not unconscious of my many necessities, yet I know not how to address my prayer, or order my speech, and this causes me to groan, being burdened. I know not how to approach absolute Godhead, seeing that I cannot say "My Father," but would fain pray to the Lord Jesus Christ; but then it comes upon me that I am as it were setting at nought the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit. And then again, I am fearful of doing dishonour to the God-Man and Mediator; and again I am tried lest I should, by crying distinctly to the Holy Three, be, as it were, calling upon three Gods. So that in prayer I am distracted, shut up, and cannot come forth. I have never read of such an exercise as this, and never heard it spoken upon except by a mere glance. I beg of you and Mr. Wells, as ye have freely received freely to give, as the Lord shall enable you in this matter. I do not expect of you an explanation of that which is incomprehensible, but you will at once perceive my sore difficulty, and may be able to help me. I have no The law of God is spiritual, and by the one to speak to familiarly, and it may be law entering the conscience is the knowthat many a poor creature may be in the ledge of sin. Such feel that they are carsame difficulty; for there are many things|nal, sold under sin; and herein lies both that shy and sensitive people will not their poverty and their imprisonment;
Would to God there were much more of this casting down; then false Gospels and slippery apostates would not find such favour in our churches. It is the afflicted,
the man who becomes sensibly poor through affliction, soul affliction-not one who learns from the letter of the Word, or from others, or from books, to talk of being poor in spirit; but one who by soul affliction becomes poor in spirit, that is, spiritually poor. These are they that are left in Zion, and that trust in the Name of the Lord.
For some time after this, the name of sponsible surety, did all that was required Jesus was to me as ointment poured forth, for their salvation only, and that the Holy and He lived in me, and I in Him. He Ghost will regenerate none others but the took from me all that was mine, and gave elect of God and redeemed by Christ; yet me of his own, even beauty for ashes, the it is the duty of all men who hear the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments Gospel, to believe savingly in Christ; that of praise for the spirit of heaviness. In Jehovah commands it, although, in the a word, He was become all my salvation. exercise of his sovereign pleasure in elecHow many and great changes have I seen tion, He passed some by, and neither since that period! and I have been learning blessed them with the blessing of faith in that it is not in man that sinneth to Christ or Adam. Hence, according to this quicken or keep alive his own soul, or to last statement, some are commanded of direct his own steps. How deep indeed our God to BE what Adam was not in his prinative poverty, how truly helpless our con- meval state, and to do what innocent nadition! The painful experimental know- ture, unweakened by the Fall, could not ledge of this tends to endear the Saviour possibly perform. Your correspondent, to me, and salvation through grace, without" A Blast," appears to be of this latter my works.
class. In his letter in the last month's On a review of my unworthy life before VESSEL, he speaks of the Law commanding and since my calling, I have nothing to perfect obedience of those who hear it, boast of, but have cause for shame and and the Gospel commanding perfect faith confusion of face until this day. The of its hearers; by his writing and expeblood and righteousness of Christ is all rience, as therein stated, that some of the my hope. I am led to see that my salva- unregenerate are under the Law, and some tion originated in the immutable will and under the Gospel, and that each party will covenant council of Jehovah-Father, Word, be judged by the distinct covenant that and Spirit. I am taught highly to prize they are under. Now to me it appears, all the doctrines of sovereign mercy, and from the Scriptures, that all men naturally would deprecate the thought of substituting are under the Law, and required to do all anything in the place of these funda- its commands, and though the Law be weak, mental truths. Far be it from me, or any through the flesh, nothing being provided servant of the Most High, to act so traitor- therein to enable a fallen creature to reous a part as to mince his Holy Word, or turn, and to do his first works; yet it justly to think that those doctrines which are ac- condemns him to eternal death for every cording to godliness, and apart from which violation of its sacred precepts, or non-perthere is no true holiness, need at any time formance of its commands, nor is his into be guarded or kept back, for fear that ability to perform the conditions demanded ungodly men should take encouragement of it any excuse, for his inability is his sin. therefrom to sin against God. "Feed my sheep, and my lambs," was Christ's charge to Peter. This charge the great Head of the Church has left upon record, to be observed and fulfilled by all his ministers. The living family of God can only be spiritually fed and nourished by the words of truth and sound doctrine. Some ministers deny election in toto; others declare that none are elected until they believe in Christ; while some assert that God, from eternity, chose certain persons to salvation on the foresight of their faith and repentance; while others make faith and repentance to be the conditions of the New Covenant. Again, some who profess to believe in sovereign election, particular redemption, &c., add an appendage thereto, declaring that though God, in love, only chose a part of the human race, and that Christ only sustains a grace relation to these same individuals, and, as their re
In respect to the nature of unbelief, man's responsibility, the duties of those who hear the Gospel, A Little One, in his eighteenth letter to Theophilus, has written so well, and so truly scripturally, that to me he appears to have left nothing fresh for those who shall come after him. Everything that "A Blast" has written to the contrary, was thrown down by his truthful statements ere he attempted to set up and bring forward his views and objections in the last month's VESSEL. He may conceive that Little One is in deep, troubled waters, and fear for him how he shall come through them; but I think he sees fear for him where no fear is, for the Ark of the Covenant is already gone before him, and cut off the waters, so that his way is clear, and his victory certain, though ten thousand free-will and dutyfaith men should rise up against him round about. Nor do I consider it to be