« FöregåendeFortsätt »
A LETTER TO JOSEPH GREENSLADE, | such denunciations at me-in secret-as
MY DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHER,-I address these few lines to you through the medium of the EARTHEN VESSEL, for the express purpose that thousands beside yourself may read its contents. As soon as I discovered, and was fully convinced (as I was from my interview in your presence with Mr. Bull, the pastor of How-street Chapel, Plymouth), that a spirit of persecution was at work against me, in the hearts and hands of the men called "ministers of truth," I felt a desire to lay the whole of my case, not only before the churches, but before the world at large; believing that a much more righteous verdict will be given me by men of sound sense, than is now given by those are called "faithful brethren."
I assure you the unexpected cruel spirit manifested in the dark by those whom I have served in the Gospel, cut me deeply in the heart. While in your house, I could scarcely sleep at all, and I much feared I should be cast upon a sick bed two hundred and fifty miles from home. You know the Lord helped me to preach, but my mind was so inwardly oppressed that to preach was trying indeed. I think but few can conceive the inward agonies of my mind while preaching the Gospel in Devonport, Stonehouse, and New Passage, last week. Nevertheless, I was helped; and for your great kindness, and for the sympathy of so many friends, I desire to return my sincere and most grateful acknowledgments. I left Devonport, as you know, early last Saturday morning, and, after tra velling from seven in the morning until near eleven at night, I reached home, wearied, faint, and much cast down. On my journey I wrote out our interview with Mr. Bull, and also an account of the false reports almost everywhere assailing me while in your three towns, respecting the management of my printing business, and inasmuch as I fully believe that not one creature on the face of this world will be hurt by me, I purpose to issue a pamphlet, descriptive of my past procedure in business, and my present position. I am led to adopt this plan because of the following circumstances. First, because all that night as I tossed on my bed, after our interview with Mr. Bull, this word rolled over and over in my mind,-"What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops, and fear not them," &c., &c. Secondly, because, although I have for near twelve years exerted myself to the utmost to serve the churches, the ministers, and the cause of truth at large, and although, after my affairs have undergone the closest investigation by legal authorities, and a most honourable re-instatement of my business in the hands of my son, for the purpose of fully and finally paying every one, has been arranged, yet not a single person ever came to me, to ascertain the truthfulness of my position; but, according to Mr. Bull's showing, they stand at a distance, they receive any tidings that may be brought to them, and then hurl
would be enough to cast me headlong into despair and perdition, if the Lord had not upheld me. Therefore, as I seek a thorough investigation, I am resolved (the Lord permitting) to publish the truth in a pamphlet entitled, "Words by the Wayside; or, a Journey to Plymouth," &c., and then leave a discerning people to judge for themselves. Thirdly, I purpose to do this because I have, in town and country, a great number of Christian friends, to whom the Lord hath blessed my labours, both from the pulpit and the press. I would not suffer their minds to be falsely wounded without an effort to give them THE TRUTH OF THE CASE, for all the world. God helping me, therefore, I will give the promised statement, and I hope the approbation of Heaven will rest upon the effort. Last Lord's day, the day after my return from the West, I felt unfit for pulpit labours, but I went through the privileges of the day better than I could expect. In the morning I spoke from these words "Make haste, my beloved." My dependence on Christ, my desires toward Him, and our delight in his service, occupied a few moment's consideration. In the evening, I had these words, "Wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left” (Isaiah xxxvii. 4). It was a solemn time, our attendance was good, and some declared the Lord powerfully spoke to them. Thus, my dear friend, the hope that a Triune Jehovah will revive us as a people, and help me in true devotion, and in an honourable usefulness, to continue, and to finish my course, is with your servant in the Gospel,
CHARLES WATERS BANKS.
November 10, 1856.
REMARKS ON THE THEORY OF "A
DEAR SIR,-Having no personal knowledge of your correspondent, wrong feelings will, I hope, neither be shown or imputed. From the scraps of his experience, I trust his heart is right Godward; nevertheless, the muddled nature of his communication needs exposing. It is, indeed, a matter of solemn importance to be called of God to stand between the liv ing and the dead, and is the cause of much soul exercise before the Lord to know how to preach pure Gospel to perishing sinners. I, like your correspondent, have thought much on this question, and yet have arrived at very different conclusions.
The grand question that "A Blast" considers stands thus:-"Does the Gospel require the obedience of faith from those who hear it?" He says it does; I affirm it does not. I will state my opinion, with its proofs, and leave the godly reader to judge. I may just say that Mr. Huntington loathed the idea of duty-faith, and with regard to dear Bunyan, though I love his works, yet I find many a remark I cannot receive as pure Gospel.
That the Gospel is a revelation of the will of God to all men, I cannot believe, neither can it be proved from Scripture. That it is to
be preached to all I readily grant, but there is nothing in the Gospel for any whole-hearted sinner. The Law belongs to them, they live under, are bound to obey it, and die under its condemnation. The will of God, as shown in the Gospel, is a will of salvation, called good-will-Luke ii. 14. As many as are ordained to eternal life are interested in itActs xiii. 48. The Gospel is intended for the sheep; they hear, believe, and follow Christ. The origin of the Gospel was love, eternal love; in its manifestation it is sent to all whom the Lord our God will call; in its effects life and immortality are brought to light by it.
If your correspondent can show that God has good-will to all, then he may make the Gospel a revelation to all. I sum it up thus:1st. The Gospel is a revelation of the love of God, but not to all-Rom. v. 8, John xiii. 1. 2nd. The Gospel is full of mercy and good news, but "A Blast" makes the delivery of it more dreadful even than Sinai's thunders. Christ says "I come not to destroy men's lives, but to save." 3rd. The Gospel reveals God's righteousness-Rom. i. 17-but it is from faith to faith-from a faithful God to a believing heart.
The condition of man is dependent upon divine sovereignty; but "believing" is the test of our sonship-not the condition, but the evidence. If the Gospel requires the obedience of faith, then we make it conditional, and the dispensation of it (as "A Blast" terms it) is at variance with the covenant, and we must preach it thus:-"Ye may all have the blessings of the Gospel if ye will believe; but if ye will not have it, ye shall be eternally lost." But our Gospel is not yea, nay, but yea and amen-" I will," and "they shall." "A Blast" talks much of God's requiring certain things from men. God is creditor, man is debtor; of course Christ is left out; but is it Law or Gospel that leaves Him out? It must be the Law; therefore, "A Blast" preaches Law instead of Gospel.
Christ said "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things," &c. But "A Blast" considers men as doubly guilty for not finding what the Lord has hid.
are taught by the Spirit the bondage of the Law, are led to flee to the Gospel; all others are under condemnation already, and it is made evident, for they believe not on Christ.
Faith is a spiritual act, and can alone be performed by a spiritual person, and yet (we are told) God requires it of every natural man. "Does man's weakness through sin incapacitate him from performing a spiritual act?" I answer, No. Adam, in his purity, could not do what " A Blast" considers to be the duty of all men. Man's fall has not disabled him from paying this debt; his inability here is that he is not created anew in Christ Jesus. God's elect are quickened into spiritual life, they then perform spiritual acts, such as believing.
"A Blast" considers it the creature's duty to do what the Saviour is exalted to give. Judge, ye spiritual readers, how these two agree? Faith is the gift of God, yet God demands it of every creature. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ, but here we find Adam's sons are set to make brick without straw.
"A Blast" says, " Our depravity, though it leaves us without power to pay," &c. This ground is not allowed; the position is not tenable. Man's depravity disabled him from obeying the Law, but certainly not from believing the Gospel. The Gospel shows the nature of the Law's demands more fully, but it does not reiterate them. The Gospel is for the poor, the needy, the blind, the lame, &c., such as are made sensible of their disease by the Holy Spirit. To tell the poor sensible sinner it is his duty to believe, he ought to believe, it is a damning sin that he don't believe, &c., would be only mocking his distress, for it is the honest desire of his soul to be enabled to do this. It is not whether he will, but may he?-will the Lord give power?
A Blast" further says, the fact of it being declared to all proves it to be the duty of all to believe. This is a very poor argument. It is to be preached to all because the Lord has a people among them to save; but that all are concerned in it, as "A Blast " affirms, is altogether untrue. Perhaps he will in his next inform us how they are concerned in it-whether it is in the purpose, the promise, or the power? If their concern is a concern of interest-he says it " concerns every creature" Proportion was found in all the Old Testa---perhaps he will tell us whether it is their ment worship, and this is much more fully re- salvation. or damnation, or both? If their vealed in the New; but what proportion is salvation, can that concern be ever erased or there in the Lord saying one thing and mean- altered?-if their damnation, then the Gospel, ing another? "No man can come," and yet which is in striking contrast to the ministry they are to be mocked by inviting them and of condemnation-2 Cor. iii.-is turned at offering them something which was never in- once into a killing letter;-if both salvation tended for them. "A Blast" tries to make and damnation, then the concerns are condihis point evident from the nature of Jehovah's tional and subject to change. Alas for man's record. To sum it up in a few words, he inconsistency! I think your correspondent wishes it to be seen that the promises and in- needs to be taught the way of God more vitations are all general, relating to all. Of perfectly. course, if there are punishments for disobedience, there are rewards for obedience, and thus Jehovah's record is a system of rewards and punishments. This sort of Gospel is merely a new name for the Law, a word suited to the strong and good, but not for poor help less sinners. Every man is under Sinai's law; by this all will be judged. "If thou doest shalt thou not be accepted," &c. Those who
"A Blast" further says the nature of the faith required is obvious, though he objects to the term "savingly believe," which it strikes me is not half so obscure as his theory. He writes of "duty to submit to Christ" (which is neither Law nor Gospel), that they may be saved. Then we must suppose there is some possibility of salvation after all. No other faith can possibly be allowed by him but sav
ing faith. Was there not faith in the ten lepers yet in only one of a saving sort? Was not Jerusalem destroyed for rejecting the Messiah? was this in a national way, as their king, or in a saving way? If in a saving way, then Christ wished to save them, but they would not, and the will of the creature ruled and overcame the will of the Lord. "How often would I have gathered thee, &c., but ye would not," &c. Are there no benefits attending even a natural faith? Look at England compared with Spain. Believing is the test of discipleship, and unbelief or disobedience (for the words are the same) is the badge of the reprobate, and such shall be damned.
A natural faith in Christ is valuable in earthly matters. Tyre and Sidon rejected Christ in this way; their condemnation is, therefore, greater than that of Sodom, for they had not the same light, privileges, &c.
I shall briefly, in conclusion, state my thoughts on one point-viz. how far Adam's sons are responsible under the Gospel.
I believe every man is bound to the Lord as his dependent creature; and when the Gospel is proclaimed he is called upon to listen to it, to weigh over its contents, to consider his ways, to attend the public means of grace wherein Christ is set forth, and also diligently to peruse that Word which contains the only revealed will of Jehovah-these are responsibilities connected with our creature standing, and the neglect of which will add to the condemnation of all such. The Lord told the Jews the Gospel should be taken from them and given to a nation which bringeth forth the fruits thereof. These are the fruits just named; but as to the performing spiritual acts, it is quite out of the question. It is for want of a right distinction here that "A Blast" holds forth duty-faith. The Scriptures he quotes, if considered with many others in this light, will compose one harmonious whole. I have glanced at this matter more briefly than I like, but perhaps several wiser heads and more able hands than mine will be engaged in overthrowing this theory. I hope ever to contend for consistency. Our Gospel trumpet is made of one piece. While my tongue can speak or my pen write, I hope to make a stand against all such mongrel systems as duty-faith, believing it fills the Church with hypocrites and makes the heart of God's people sad. Yours to serve in the Gospel, Swineshead. W. BARRINGER.
GONE TO HEAVEN;
LATE MRS. ESTHER RUSSELL.
THIS Christian woman (the beloved wife of Mr. John Russell, of Bermondsey) was in early life awakened to a deep sense of her sinnership condition, under the ministry of the late Joseph Irons, and her soul was most comfortably and effectually set at happy liberty; and for more than thirty years she was indeed a living epistle of the truthfulness of sovereign grace of the faithfulness of God
of the immeasurable value of the Re deemer's person of the preciousness of a living faith in the Gospel, of the happy privileges of the communion of saints, and of an obedient observance of all the ordi nances of the Lord's house. Soon after her release from Sinai, and her ascension by faith to Mount Zion, she was baptized, and united to the church under the pastoral care of Mr. George Francis, of Snows Fields, by whom, as an under-shepherd, she was much favoured for a number of years. When that valuable ser vant was called home, she removed, with some others, to Crosby Row, and continued under the ministry of C. W. Banks, at Crosby Row and Unicorn Yard Chapels, until her last illness laid her aside, and death removed her to her happy home. I may say she was a devoted and useful member of that church, and in connection with several godly and charitable members of the same community, the Dorcas Society was formed, made a blessing to a multitude of poor people; and I am pleased to know it still continues to extend its blessings among the needy of the church, and the desolate districts round about. I have been a member of the same church from its commencement in 1843. I have witnessed its infant weakness, its growth until it numbered above two hundred and fifty members; I have watched the lives of a great number of its members, and the benevolent exertions of its sick-visiting, its Dorcas, and its other socie ties: and although, as a church, it has been comparatively but little known; although its pastor has been the subject of such severe trials as fall to the lot of but few men; although none of our deacons have been worldly wise or wealthy men; still, I do be lieve that church has been a great blessing to many precious souls, and I have a lively hope that brighter days do yet belong to that part of the mystical body of Christ upon the earth. How sweet and refreshing have the seasons been to my soul, when prayer was fervent, praise was warm and cheerful; and the preaching was accompanied with great power. Removed as I now am into green and grassy meads, I still cherish the fondest hopes that ere long I may again unite with the remnant yet remaining to celebrate the doing, the dying, and the risen glories of our most holy and ever-blessed Saviour-God, Jesus, the sinner's friend.
The Lord did such great things for me in that place, that the Editor and his readers must forgive me if I indulge a little in recol lections of the past. well remember our twenty-one persons, and most of them far ad pastor, C. W. Banks, baptizing one evening Vanced in life. I consider the Lord made him useful to a good degree in gathering in and establishing believers who had been many years travelling in the old beaten path of tri bulation towards the temple of eternal praise. Walking round silently one morning among a few of the yet remaining trees that still grow in the garden, I missed almost all I once knew. I said to my rather deaf companion, "What is become of all the old faces and the dear friends?" "Gone home to heaven," was the reply. "Where is James Blake, the leading
deacon-that noble-looking, steady-walking, right-hand friend of the pastor and of the poor -the good man who would often preach us nice little sermons when the pastor was not present ?" "He is gone home to heaven!" But where is old Master Styles-the old man who would pray so loud, so long, and so fervently; always sat right under the pulpit, and would so frequently lift up his hand, and then lay it down on the head of his stick with so much meaning and emphasis-as though he would say, Truth, pastor: go on.'-Where is he?" "He is gone home to heaven." "Thomas Guy-that great gipsy sinner-that Spitalfields blasphemer, whom God, in his great mercy, fetched out of Satan's kingdom; whose conversion to God, whose possession of grace was so wonderfully manifest-where is he?" "Gone to heaven. Crossing London Bridge one morning, he was suddenly seized with cholera, which carried him off in a swift and happy chariot to the brighter and the better world." [At this moment the clerk, our brother Elijah Packer, commenced the service by giving out a hymn. My companion and I were silent; but what I afterwards learned I will relate in my next.]
AN EPHRAIMITE IN THE WOODS.
FALSE FIRE NOT LIVING FAITH. ALL Sober Christians will read the following original letter with approbation.
'Castle Street, Salisbury. Nov. 3rd, 1856. DEAR COUSIN,-I am thankful that God, the everlasting Father, puts it into your heart to deal kindly with me. I do hope it may please God to put me into the place in question. He knows I want it, and He gives me faith to believe He cares for me. Faith, did I say? Oh, what a word for a sinful mortal to utter! Faith in the kind and gracious providence of the eternal God. To believe that God-the living God-He who made the world; He who made man, and made him upright; He who banished from his presence, and sentenced him to perpetual death for his disobedience; He who again compassionated him by giving his only beloved Son to stand in his place, and receive his stripes, that he might be taken into favour; He who put forth his Almighty power in this Mediator, to destroy Death, and him that had the power of Death, and who rose from the grave triumphant; He, I say, puts forth the same arm, exercises the same power on my unbelieving heart, that I should believe in Him as my God and Saviour. Say what you will, dear Cousin, creed is not faith-system is not believing. How many whose religion is only in their notions of a system and a creed! You know better, and so does every one who verily believes in God; for God burns up all notions to make room for realities. There is but one way to heaven, and that way is Christ. But Christ in theory, is not Christ the Saviour of sinners; it must be Christ in the heart, by the Spirit of God, whereby He is all to the sinner, and everything else nothing. Oh, what lessons upon lessons does God give his chosen ones before they thus believe! Faith must
centre in Christ, it must have its seat in the heart, and must be of the operating power of God the Holy Ghost. Hence every one that is taught of the Holy Ghost is taught of Christ, as his atoner and justifier. And he who is thus taught has peace with God, and believes he is God's to all eternity, and that in time God will not forsake him. He believes his steps are all ordered by Him, and that the most painful things shall work together for his good, and the glory and exaltation of Christ. He believes that God's eye is perpetually upon him for good, and that the whole world is at his service. The hearts of all men are turned and moved so as to benefit him. Truly he believes all things, and hopes all things, in Christ. What, then, is a creed to him, a system, a name? It is worthless, being without attraction to his soul, because it is an idol. Thus, Cousin, God teaches me, and though unbelief often rages within my depraved heart, yet, by faith in Him, I learn to despise all that man in our day is so excited about, and for ever coveting-Fame.
We must have substance. I pray God will keep your eye to this fact, in all your ministrations. The Devil has kindled a false fire in our day, and thousands upon thousands are excited to the highest pitch with it. Oh, for the gentler fire of the Holy Ghost, to withdraw the heart from man, that it may be prepared for eternity.
Pardon my freedom with you-I could ever hold my tongue-but the times call for warnings! God help you to stand clear of men, for his name's sake. Amen. Yours sincerely,
NEW BIRTH. THE Soul that's born again
Can never more transgress, Created by the great I AM, In spotless holiness. This incorrupted seed,
For ever shall abide,
And keeps the soul alive,
To make it grow and thrive.
Corrupted flesh remains;
Are of a different kind,-
In spirit must confess,
And purified from sin,
"PROTESTERS AND PEACE-MAKERS." SUCH is the leading title of another pamphlet issued by Mr. Collingridge, of the City Press, on the great controversy which has so long been agitating the weaker parts of the visible Church.
wild. Then some good people, such as doctors, news makers, printers, and publishers, sent out warnings to warn the people against this old ghost 'Negative Theology.' But, Mr. Watchman, can you tell us, have you seen the ghost? Do you think it will do us any harm?"
Our reply has always been-" We believe it is a spurious, a Satanic effort to throw the Gospel into the shade, and we believe that this 'ghost' is 'going about,' seeking whom she may devour; but truth is mighty, and must prevail; nevertheless, 'Let Zion's watchmen all awake, and take the alarm they give."
We quote one or two paragraphs from Mr. Palmer's "Reflections." His account of the new theology in Germany is analogous to many movements in our own country. We would enlarge, but have not room. We say Hold up the Bible. Whatever comes, let not the Bible be closed or cast away. In his Reflections," Mr. Palmer says:
This pamphlet is by Mr. William Palmer, the respected minister of Homerton-row Chapel, and is one of a rather startling character. Mr. Palmer is just the man to take up questions of this kind; he is quite at home in controversy. A more acute and powerful writer cannot be found in our section of the Baptist body. The pamphlet now before us will fully justify this assertion. But what Mr. Palmer or any of us have to do with all this noise is mystery to us. We will speak plainly. Mr. Palmer takes the part of Dr. Campbell against Mr. Binney, Mr. Lynch, Newman Hall, and a large number of the Congregational clergy. But the grand question is here-Is there any difference at heart among these gentlemen" touching the essential doctrines and the vital principles of our Christian faith,? None whatever. We can view the controversy, as between Dr. Campbell and Mr. Binney, in no other light than a striving for the mastery. Cannot Mr. Palmer see to the bottom of all this? Most speedily, and willingly, too, would we tear off the mask and lay the secret of their editorial fighting bare; but we must not put a weapon into those hands which can as easily pursue a brother to death as they can, professedly, espouse the cause of truth. Nay, indeed; dumb dogs are dangerous, and we must avoid them if possible. We highly esteem Mr. Grant; we are satisfied he was sincere in his review. Mr. Collingridge, also, has nobly fought the battle, and his zeal in defence of pure Protestant principles is certain to bring him a rich reward; but as for some of the parties who have rushed into this battle-field of literary and theological conflict, we think them no better than Jesuits, and it grieves us sadly to find that deception can carry on such a trade.
In Mr. Palmer's pamphlet we have first a brief history of the controversy, then we have a number of letters written by him to different persons, and the finish is a short essay on "Negative Theology."
Negative Theology! What is it?' some will ask. 'How is it to be known? and in what body does it come?' It comes in no body at all; for it has none: none, at least, of its own. Neither has it a soul; for it is as destitute of a soul as it is of a body, It ignores all bodies of divinity; all theological systems. It is a negation of all the doctrines of sovereign grace; a substitution of natural for supernatural religion. At its core it is Pantheistic, and in its various forms it is implicitly Deistical. In a word, it is an apostacy from the truth as it is in Jesus; and from the light of revelation to the darkness of
"It was Wolf who introduced into Germany a species of biblical criticism, which presently subverted the foundations of Lutheran orthodoxy. At first this new theology was designated Rationalism, and the place assigned to it was midway between orthodoxy and pure deism. But its real auimus is naturalism against supernaturalism, or reason versus revelation. Christianity is held to be a positive institution appointed for the good of mankind, and authorised by revelation. But even this is mere pretension. For if I receive a system-social, ethical, or theological -only so far as it accords with my reason, and because it accords with my reason, it is evident that I accept it on that ground, and on that ground only, the authority presenting it-however august-weighing nothing with
This is the case with the Neologist. His faith is in his head, not in his heart; in his brains, not in his Bible. He is a believer in himself, not in God. He is, virtually, an intellectual idolater, not a Christian believer. Reason, not revelation, is the basis of his belief.
To us Mr. Palmer's "Reflections on Negative Theology" are beyond all price or commendation. They should be printed separately and circulated by millions. Mr. Palmer, we thank you, sir, most gratefully for this powerful exposure of "Negative Theology," and for uniting therewith expositions of the covenant plan of salvation, so pure, so puritan-like, and so con clusive. The fact is, this "Negative Theology" is like a ghost that has been frightening the children, and some of the servants too, in Zion. As we have gone our rounds, trying to "It is not by Christ's dying for my good, answer the question-" Watchman! what of but by his dying in my stead, that I have a the night?" many a poor frightened creature legal salvation; for justice is not an emotion, has called out, "I say, watchman! have you but an attribute. Headship, not friendship, is heard anything about old 'Negative Theo- the root of a meritorious redemption. Substilogy?'-it has so frightened us! We under-tution, not heroism, renders my salvation stand it was brought into London by one Lynch, that Mr. Grant fetched it a heavy blow in Fleet-street, but that only made it the more
righteous, honourable, and certain. Sins are debts by which we owe so much of suffering to divine justice; Jesus is a Covenant Head,