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der the ministerial care of Mr. Gosling, in the High Street, Lower Norwood; thither I went in the afternoon, through mud and mire, to speak of the church's earnest cry,"Let my Beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Returning homeward, for the evening service, these words were sweetly sealed home-"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into HEAVEN ITSELF-there to appear in the presence of God FOR US." I can truly say, the gospel, the Saviour, and the Lord's dear people, appeared more precious than ever. The next day, we had the opening meeting of brother Messer's chapel, in Parliament Court, Artillery Lane; and on Tuesday morning, I went with haste to visit my longloved brother Skelton, the late pastor of West End Baptist Chapel, Tring, who, while on his journey from Tring to Reading, to preach, was seized with death, and I saw him, conversed with him, and prayed for him, only a few hours before his departure. I never saw a man so suddenly brought down before. He was perfectly sensible, and quiet, although dark in his mind, and evidently desirous of being raised again that he might still proclaim the glorious gospel of his Saviour God. He spoke but little: one sentence was very emphatic: he said, "I feel if I ever were permitted to enter the pulpit again, I should fill it with floods of tears-with tears of gratitude to the Lord." He told me of the great distress he was in as regards his circumstances, and his family; and I am sure the cause at Tring lay much upon his heart. Before I left him, he requested me to bow my knees in prayer; and in that solemn exercise, I was enabled to commit him and his into the hands of the Lord. I bade him farewell, not without some hope that I might again see his face in the flesh. Soon after I left, he begged his dear wife to read the first chapter of the prophet Nahum: she did so: he then, with a strong voice, and some freedom, called upon the name of the Lord. Nothing particular occurred after this. About 3 o'clock the next morning, he took his medicine, asking the Lord to bless it; and laid down, and fell asleep in death, without one struggle, sigh, or groan. His last Sabbath in the ministry was in his own pulpit, at Tring, the last Lord'sday in January. On that day, he preached, baptised, received the newly-baptised into the church, administered the Lord's Supper, and preached again in the evening. When he came publicly to close up the services of that day, very emphatically he addressed the Lord in thanksgiving, and said,-"Oh, Lord, this has been with us a high day indeed. We have this day enjoyed and observed ALL the ordinances of thine house." He little thought that was the last time he would observe them again on earth.
On the following Wednesday, he left home, and came to London, being engaged to preach at Reading, on the following Lord's-day; his old friend, Mr. St. Julien, had kindly invited him to stay a day or two with him at his house in the Carlton Road Villas. To that friend's house he came, and there he died.
The first, very descriptive of his character, was 2 Cor. xi. 6-"Though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things."
Three things here spoken by Paul of himself will well apply unto our departed bro. ther:-there was a rudeness, or harshness in his speech unpalateable to many; but there was a soundness of knowledge in Divine things, and the manifestation of a real conversion to God, and a true devotedness in the cause of God, which even those who had known him for twenty years, or more, could never dispute or question.
The second Scripture was Luke xiii. 22— "He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem." In Devonshire, in Kent, in Suffolk, in Berkshire, Lancashire, Hertfordshire, nearly all parts of this kingdom, this was true of William Skelton. No man ever persevered more in preaching the gospel than our departed brother did. Truly, it was through cities and villages;" in chapels, in cottages, in barns, in market places, in streets, and in bye-ways, yea, in all places poor William lifted his voice to preach the gospel. To what extent he was useful, no man on earth can tell. A suffering martyr to the cause he was. But the words spoken of Stephen will do to close up his mortal career with-(Acts vii. 60)—“ When he had said this, he fell asleep." The last words he publicly spoke from are written in Isaiah xlix. 13-15-“Sing, O heavens! and be joyful, O earth! and break forth into singing, mountains! for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted," &c., &c.; and "When he had said this, he fell asleep."
William Skelton's ministerial life was a hard fight, but a good one: he kept the faith, and now the crown of life, we trust, he has received. May the Lord raise up for the bereaved church at Tring, a faithful, fruitful pastor! and may the widow find a Husband, and the children a father, in the mighty God of
I had purposed noticing some things which have come under my observation recently while visiting some parts of Bucks, and Berkshire; but I must occupy no more room, than briefly to state that our esteemed brother, Henry Langham, (who has been the means of reviving the cause at Squirries Street, Bethnal Green), is now laid aside from his work by illness. Surely our churches are visited with a heavy hand. May the Lord keep us faithful until death. So prays,
CHARLES WATERS BANKS.
EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS.
MY good Theophilus, in my eighteenth letter to you I have shewn in what sense it is the duty of all men to believe and obey God; that while it is the duty of man to act according to the light given to him, yet that this principle of human duty is a principle quite distinct from that of regeneration. Regeneration is the work of God, and of God only; it is even as much the work of God as that of raising the body from the dead; indeed the one is made the parallel illustration of the otherthe change is no less wonderful and great; witness the dry bones, Ezek. xxxvii. But this is so close a matter, that the enemy adopts every possible means of evading and perverting the same. Once admit that it is the duty of man savingly to believe in Christ, and you at once reduce regeneration to a mere nominal thing, and the work of delusion can go prosperously on, even where all the sound and high doctrines of grace are, in the letter of them, preached. But what of this? It makes the delusion only the more powerful; it catches the unwary traveller; it is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof is death, even the second death. These men, what they call, preach to sinners, but they do not preach the truth to them, for they speak to them as though they were not already condemned-as though the sentence of condemnation were not already passed upon them as though they were not already (spiritually) in prison-as though the Saviour were wishing them to come to him, (though himself hath said, none can come, except it were given him of my father,) and damning them for not coming. It is even worse than going to the condemned cell and telling a culprit that he is invited to leave his cell, and if he do not shake off his chains, kill the jailor, and get out of his prison, he will be put to death for not doing this. Now, although this would be adding mockery to misery, yet the criminal not being literally dead, may make some little stir in this matter, and peradventure may (as some have actually done) make his escape, but he would be a criminal still-as I fear thousands of professors are, who escape, (and so far so good) by a decent profession of religion, the grosser profanities of the world, but who still carry with them a latent and refined, but keen enmity, against new covenant, vital, harmonious truth-they are criminals still.
But the dead is worse off spiritually, as to his real state, than the criminal, for being spiritually dead, he is unconscious of his real state before God; nor can any but God himself make him truly conscious of his real state; and for this reason, that none but God can quicken the dead-a sinner, dead and bound in stronger chains than those of the literal criminal, enclosed in a stronger cell, and guarded by a stronger officer, and will be called to judgment by a stronger and a surer law: yet such are to be told that they are condemned for not coming to Christ, as though they were not condemned already: "He that
believeth shall be saved," but "faith is the gift of God;" and "He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him," and he must await the judgment to come.
Now you have seen, by my eighteenth letter to you, that I leave no room for men to excuse themselves in what they know to be wrong; but their state as dead sinners before God is another thing: this is that which no one can deal with rightly unless he, by Divine teaching, knows what that state is. But you may say, What, then, are not sinners to be spoken to at all? Are not ministers to speak to sinners? I answer-Yes; only let them preach the truth to them: the gospel is truth, and the gospel is to be preached to every creature, only let it be the gospel; that is, let it be the truth: "His Word is truth." But men have but very little faith in the truth; they are more of the sentiment of the rich man in hell. Send one from the dead, and frighten them, and then they will repent. And so, having no faith in God's truth, they at the end, especially of their sermons, try to be very eloquently awful, telling men all sorts of old wives fables, in order to convert them, and they are always more outrageously zealous in this, than in any other part of their sermons; feeling, I suppose, that, as the iron is blunt, they must put to more strength. Now the reality of this duty-faith part of their sermons amounts to this, that it is one of the most feasible, and, to the flesh, one of the most powerful apologies the enemy could devise, for having in the previous part of the sermon said so much in favor of eternal truth, and they do hereby nicely, and neatly, avoid the offence of the cross, for when this under current of universalism breaks out, it does away with all danger of their being called Antinomians, and thus it is "the lines have fallen to them in pleasant places, and they have a goodly heritage"-such lines as they are, and such an heritage as it is! But the poor and the needy have waters of a full cup wrung out to them. Their name is cast out as evil; and thus"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it;" while, wide is this duty-faith gate, and broad is this false-charity way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. And many, very many, follow these pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth is evil spoken of; for their feasible system would deceive, if it were possible, even God's own elect.
I will here lay before you the doctrine, purpose, and manner of life of one of the most useful sermons ever preached-I mean, the sermon preached on the Day of Pentecost, and recorded in Acts ii. And it is a remarkable thing, that it takes its tones from Divine sovereignty; in other words, from eternal election. All is in accordance therewith. No softenings; no adopting another gospel, in order to convert sinners; nor did the people who were converted truly by God's gospel adopt another gospel, but abode stedfastly in the apostle's doctrine; they did not adopt another gospel, until deceivers crept in among them.
Now, of the work done on this Day of
Pentecost, who was the first beginner man or God? Those who were true disciples, who first constituted them disciples? Who was it that turned his hand upon them, and gathered them together into one place? Who kept them waiting, and praying with one accord? And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, when did Peter begin usefully to preac? Was it before the Holy Ghost came upon them-or after? And what, when he did preach, were the doctrines by which the three thousands were converted to God? We will see.
The first doctrine was that of Divine faithfulness to Divine prediction. "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel ?" Here, then, is a definite prophecy, and definitely fulfilled. Here is the Spirit poured out upon all flesh; but the "all flesh will mean simply, young and old, male and female, Jew and Gentile - all orders and conditions of men; and those upon whom the Spirit was to be poured, were to prophecy or to testifythat is, to testify of what the Lord had done for them; and they were to see visinos; that is, have revelations of eternal mercy by Christ Jesus made to them; and old men were to dream dreams-that is, were, like the prophets of old, to be favored with manifestations of glory, like Jacob going to Padan Aram; and so they would see heaven open, and the angels or messengers of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. No duty-faith here.
The time of the prophecy's fulfilment is marked by notes clear and distinct. There were to be wonders shewn in the heavens; and what wonders were shewn in the heav enly places during the Saviour's life of sorrow, are recorded; how he was honored at Jordan, on the Mount of Transfiguration, and at Jerusalem, when, for the third time, the voice came from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And what wonders were shewn in the heavens, when he ascended in all the wonders that he had done? And if, as I think, we may take heaven here to mean not only heaven above, but also the heavenly or New Testament dispensation, then what wonders did the Saviour and the apostles shew in this dispensational heaven? These wonders, then, are one of the notes-one of the signs of the time of the fulfilment of this prophecy. Another note, or sign of the time which was to follow upon the fulfilment of this prophecy, was the destruction of the Jewish nation-blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke; and which awful signs took place to the very letter. Torrents of blood were shed; the temple was burned to the ground, and pillars of smoke closed the scene; and thus was the sun of the Jewish nation turned into darkness, and its moon eclipsed; and this was done testimonially, before the Day of Pentecost arrived.
The apostle having closed this part of his sermon, goes on next to shew how entirely the character, and life, and death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth answered to Old Testament prediction concerning him. First, in his character: "I foresaw the Lord always before my lace." Or, as Psalm xvi. has it
"I set the Lord always before me." None but the Saviour himself answers to this. What Christian on earth can say, "I foresaw the Lord always;" "I have set the Lord always before me ?" No man who knows his own heart dares to say this.
And then in his death; his life was not left in the grave, neither did his flesh see corruption. And then the apostle goes on to his exaltation-that he is at God's right hand until his foes become his footstool. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Now here is a straightforward testimony of Divine truth; the whole of it resting upon Divine appointment and Divine power; all governed by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; all the confidence of the apostle is in God's truth; and he bears testimony unto the truth. And when they heard Peter's exposition of Old Testament truth, as fulfilled in the Person, and life, and death, and resurrection, and ascension, and glory, and power of Christ, they were pricked in the heart.
Now, all this savours of eternal election. Here is a chosen work to be done: the Holy Spirit is to be given; here is a chosen people to be partakers of the Spirit; here is a chosen Saviour, divinely chosen, and ordained to a chosen work; here is a chosen time for the Holy Spirit to be poured out; here is a chosen place-it was to be at Jerusalem; here is a chosen preacher to preach the sermon; and David was the chosen man to put the substance of the Pentecostal sermon upon record, and which was to stand as the sixteenth Psalm; and on the Day of Pentecost the apostles were enabled to speak sixteen different languages.
And why, out of the numbers present, were there about three thousand only pricked in the heart? Who was it that gave lifegiving power to the gospel trumpet? Who was it that went with these whirlwinds of the south? Who was it that directed these lightning-like arrows to the hearts of these particular persons? And who was it that rendered these arrows effectual in the hearts of these three thousand? And was it any fault of the others that they were not so pricked in the heart? Verily, no: it would be false, and a mere mockery, so to say. Look back, then, my good Theophilus; look again at my eighteenth letter to you, and you will there see that their fault did not consist in not having that saving faith, and that repentance unto salvation which God alone can bestow, and which Jesus is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give.
My eighteenth letter to you shews, then, I say, in what their fault did consist, and which i will not again enter upon here. that this is so unimportant a matter as may seem at first sight. I think that you will not reckon it a light thing to belie the God of truth; although this is just what every freewiller, and yea and nay gospel in the world, is every day doing.
Again, I say, what were the doctrines by which these three thousand were pricked in
the heart? The answer to this question is plain and clear. Just ask yourself what are the truths, the doctrines, contained in the 16th Psalm? for these are the truths as carried out and established by the Saviour; these are the truths by which three thousand at once were brought to know the Lord? But men have very little faith in these truths; they preach them up to a certain point, simply because they find them in the Bible; but their real confidence is in their duty-faith department. Here their zeal rises to the boiling point; here, they tell us, they could cry their eyes out of their sockets for the conversion of souls. These are great words, with great poverty of meaning, while the truths of the gospel are put quietly back, with, "Never mind, DEAR FRIENDS! do not trouble your selves about election and so they wrap it up. Indeed, so far from their having any God-honoring confidence in God's truth, they have the blindness, the effrontery, the daring, the arrogance, to say, that the doctrine of electing grace too much preached is dangerous!! as though any of the blessed truths of the gospel could be too clearly, and too prominently set forth. Well, for me they are welCome to all their duty-faith trash; for trash it is, clothe it with what gravity or awfulness they may My soul can never more be awed by it. Of God's blessed Word of grace, my soul would ever stand in awe, and sin not; but the doctrine of duty-faith, or, which is the same thing, the doctrine that men are ultimately condemned for not having-saving faith-this doctrine I throw to Paul's dung heap, and do count it but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him.
Nothing, my good Theophilus, can make me happy concerning you, but seeing you valiant for the truth; not for contention's sake, but for love to the truth; for have what you may, if you have not the love of the truth, you will surely be damned.
But let us come back for a moment to our three thousand friends. Now, as they were pricked in the heart, and their former religion was hereby slain within them, and before their eyes, they were naturally at a loss which way to look, or what to do; they became living, sincere enquirers in the way to Zion. Well, the Apostle meets them with, repent, and be baptised, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" "Repent" here means "change:" as though he had said, Give up your former position altogether; and humble yourselves before God, in the name of Jesus Christ; and in that name ye have remission of sins and eternal life; for the promise is unto you; for you are now brought into the "hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began;" for the promise is unto you, as is proved by your being effectually pricked in the heart; "the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall eall." Here we are still on new covenant grounds.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, "Save yourselves from
this untoward generation." Now, how were these believers, for they were now believers, how then were these believers to save themselves from that untoward generation, from which generation grace had now separated them; how I say were they to do this? if you will listen for a moment I will tell you, or rather the word of God shall tell you. Here it is, 1 Tim. iv. 16, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee, and they did continue stedfastly in the apostle's doc trine, (now do not forget, 16th Psalm,) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.' Nor was there one among them that refused to be baptised; and thus they stood a gospel-formed people, walking with one accord in the liberty of the gospel; and so saved themselves from a confederacy with the truth-perverting generation around them, and as they thus honored the Lord, he honored them, and even gave them honor in the sight of the people, yes, even the world, though it hates our principles, is constrained sometimes to admire our decision of character and conduct.
To lose our confidence in God's blessed
truth, his covenant gospel, would be to fall from our first love, as some at this time evidently have done, and if we take away or hide under a bushel the candle of truth, we must not be surprised at the candlestick being removed out of its place, yes, the true church, the golden candlestick, will be satisfied with no other light but the light of new covenant truth; true Christians will soon depart from that Ministry which departs from them. And if we leave the truth, we leave the true power of godliness, and when men have the form and deny the power of God's truth, and substitute in the place thereof what is called the "preaching to sinners' system," the sooner we turn from such the better, lest they bring us into their own feasible delusions, so testifies A LITTLE ONE.
"WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?"
"WHAT hath God wrought," thought I, In mercy to my soul?
Who brought me to his feet to cry,
My blindness turned to sight;
For pard'ning love and grace;
For sending thy dear Son!
What wonders does it tell !
OUR PRESENT POSITION.
Ir would be a serious breach of trust, were we heedlessly to leave unnoticed "Our present position as a land and nation." There are mighty powers at work-powers that are pestilential in opposition to those that are spiritual.
To watch the attacks of the former, and to be grateful for the continued victories of the latter, is an important feature in our silent employ.
The recent attempt to legalise the more extended desecration of the Lord's-day, has been the means of exciting, arousing, and concentrating the immense bodies of professing Christians in this land. Some good men have smiled-indifferently smiled-upon this infidel attempt; but we cannot view it as a light matter. On Thursday, February 21, Sir Joshua Walmsley ventured to propose the following resolution," That, in the opinion of this House, it would promote the moral and intellectual improvement of the Working Classes of this Metropolis, if the British Museum and National Gallery were open to public inspection after morning service on Sundays."
our pages, and worthy of being read in the parlours, schools, cots, and sanctuaries, of our Christian community. That letter shews how still wicked, bitter, and determined the tyrannical spirit of popery is that letter also shews how strong a living faith in Jesus is. For his dear name, the true Christian dares to die; and suffer all he may see fit to let befall his deeply chastened saints. The following is Dr. Morgaez's letter:
In a letter dated the 22nd of last month from Madrid, he writes: "On December 14th I was imprisoned by order of the vicar of the archbishop, declared by him suspended from every priestly office, placed under the guard and care of a priest of this house of St. Vincent-de-Paul, and who is, I am informed, although wearing the habit of this secular order, a member of the Order of the Jesuits. Neither my age, which is sixty-six, neither a paralysis from which I suffer since four years, neither the cold which reigns in my cell and is very injurious to my health, have had any weight with the archbishop's vicar. I requested to be transported into a hospital, and even into a regular prison, where I should be better off than here, but no attention has been paid to these requests. No judgment has been pronounced against me, and yet the clergy cry with all their might, that I am a heretic, worthy to be burnt, and worthy of the
This old man further writes: Let us suf
We have determined to put this motion on record; and most gratefully to add, that such a motion was negatived-thrown out, and discarded-by a large majority. The question has drawn forth an immense amount fer for the holy church of God in opposing the profane novelties that men would introof intellectual zeal and useful information duce, and whose portrait the apostle has derespecting the Sabbath, the Lord's-day-picted in 2 Timothy iii. Let us put on the our time for special worship. We shall feel armour of faith which is not carnal, but a pleasure in some day giving our readers the mighty through God to the pulling down of best portions of this great discussion. It is a strongholds." merciful and favourable token that such a measure has been checked, although its promoters will not be here for ever silent. Let us watch and be sober.
The eyes of all Europe are now directed to France. In Paris, the Plenipotentaries are assembled to discuss the weighty question
The last words of Dr. Morgaez in a postscript to the letter, are: "Consider me as a victim destined to death."
However painful the recital and reading of such facts as the foregoing are, yet there is this consolation, that they prove that gospel truth is beginning to shew itself more openly in Spain, and which facts already known cor"shall we cease from war, and unite to pro-roborate. A Spanish advocate has lately mote a permanent peace ?" With what deep anxiety will thousands wait to hear the final decision. The Lord grant it may be the "PROCLAMATION OF PEACE."
work similar to that
Doctor Morgaez, which has for the
prohibited, but is sold openly;
POPERY AND PERSECUTION. ON February 18th, 1856, Martin Luther had been dead three hundred years and ten and, says an able correspondent, "the persecuting principles of popery are the same now as they were then." In proof of this, a In conclusion, let us not forget that we have foreign periodical gives an authenticated and a duty to perform and a privilege to exercise, truly painful account of the imprisonment-in regard to Spain, of which we are reminded at Madrid-of a theological Christian minister and writer, named Dr. BRUNLIO MORGAEZ. The said doctor fearlessly and faithfully wrote a work against the Immaculate Conception. We think the letter which this persecuted Spanish Christian has written from his cell, worthy of being registered in
by the martyr, who writes, "Remember me before the throne of grace, and pray our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that he may fill us with grace and strength to fight the good fight of faith."
Our readers will forgive the mention of one fact-an event which augurs well for the