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The late Mr. John Warburton,
MR. J. C. PHILPOT'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH HIM.
We shall not continue the review of Mr. Warburton's life this month, as we wish very specially to call the attention of our readers to a pamphlet now publishing by John Gadsby, George Yard, Bouverie Street, London. This pamphlet is entitled-"A Testimony to the Loving-kindness and Faithfulness of a Covenant God, as displayed in the Last Illness and blessed Death of the late John Warburton, fortytwo years pastor of Zion Chapel, Trowbridge; and published for the widow and family."
There is a two-fold excellency in this little book. In the first place, it has a preface written by Mr. Philpot, in which he very sweetly describes his first interview with, and his first hearing of, Mr. Warburton. In the second place, it contains a simple, a faithful, and a most profitable diary of the exercises, the ecstacies, the trials, and the triumphs of this dear old saint, as gently down into "the narrow stream" he went.
We have occasionally looked at the laboured efforts of learned men, who have done their best to prove the truthfulness of the Christian religion, but we must confess, in our estimation, no demonstration more conclusive and decided of the power and preciousness of the saving virtue of the gospel can ever be found than is given in the conversion, in the Christian character, in the successful ministry, and in the closing scenes of that well-known and greatly-beloved servant of Christ, John Warburton, of Trowbridge. We have read the conversion and ministry of Daniel Rowlands, the great Welch Whitfield, and many others of a similar character; but we can hardly think there is any good man's life upon record in which the fallen sinner, and the justi. fied believer, the incurable sinfulness of our buman nature, and the superabounding grace of God, was ever more powerfully displayed and contrasted than in "The Mercies of a Covenant God" by John Warburton, which, in one bound volume, can still be had, we suppose, of any bookseller in Europe.
VOL. XIII-No. 148.
As we hope to pass through the whole of Mr. Warburton's life and ministry in the successive numbers of THE EARTHEN VESSEL, we shall only here make one quotation from the diary of his last days. This has been written by the present Mr. John Warburton, of Southhill, Beds; and revised by Mr. Philpot; and will, no doubt, be a great comfort to many thousands of our spiritual Israel. The following extract is one sample of some of the happy preparations which the Lord gave him for his latter end. The writer says
It was some time in October, 1856, that my dear father was first taken seriously ill, his complaint being, as I understand, a disease of the tained by his family and friends, whether he heart. Shortly after, great fears were enterwould ever recover. In November, while I was supplying at Hurst, I received a letter from my sister, saying, if I wished to see him alive she thought no time was to be lost. I of course, immediately set off, and arrived in Trowbridge the same night. Dear man! on seeing me he was almost overcome by his feelings; so, finding him very weak, I said little to him that night. On the morrow, I felt anxious to learn the state of his mind, and to know if anything oppressed him. Accordingly, when I saw him again, I put the question to him, and begged him to tell me if he had anything that lay heavy upon his mind, either concerning the family, the church, or himself. Never shall I forget the pleasant smile upon his countenance, as he answered, "My dear child, if thou wast to put the world before me, and say all should be mine to tell thee anything upon my mind that in the least distresses me or gives the least pain, I could not. Bless God! I have a good conscience before him. Those truths that, in my little way, I have attempted to preach, are now my support in the view and expectation of death. O what could I have done now, had I been suffered to keep back the truth of God? But no thanks to me. I have been tempted to soften the truth, and been determined not to give such offence; but God has made it to burn in my heart like a fire, and out it has been obliged to come. O the traps that men have set for me! But, bless my God, he has delivered the poor worm from them all. Just before I was taken ill," he went on to say, "how the Lord did favour me, to be sure. Go where I would, there
was the Lord with me. If I went into thegarden, there he was; if into my summer-house, he went with me; if into the wood-house,
sawing and chopping wood, he was with me too. He led me back through all the footsteps he had brought me, both in providence and grace. O how my soul was broken down with his loving-kindness. I tell thee what, John, I could hardly walk about; for the smiles of God seemed too much for the body to bear. At last, I said to him, My dear Lord, what art thou about to do with thy poor worm?' O, I wanted him to take me home." I said, "Father, your desire will soon be granted." "Well," he said, "if putting up my finger would raise me up or take me out of the body, I would not do it, contrary to the will of God. Not my will, but thine, O Lord, be done."
The preface to this pamphlet has been read by us with deep interest. The poor sinner's pathway from death to life-from Sinai to Zion-from the wilderness to gospel Canaan-has always been watched by us with an intensity never to be described. We do so dearly love to hear, or to read, a good man's testimony concerning the way whereby the Lord brought him to himself; and delivered, pardoned, and espoused his precious soul. We do love something definite, something indisputable, something so prominently marked with the finger of God, that no spiritual mind can question the reality of it for one moment. In the call of Abraham, Moses, David, Gideon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Saul of Tarsus, you have the bold, the brilliant, the unmistakeable voice of the Lord God Almighty. In the call and conversion of the late John Warburton you have the same. We fear there are few men, in our day, who can furnish_any testimony at all approaching it. To such an extent, it is not essential. Still, we repeat, we like
to have it.
In the preface, Mr. Philpot has given us a neat account of his first interview with the now deceased John Warburton. We feel thankful for such a record; and we are quite sure our readers will be glad to read a portion of it; therefore, we give the following. Mr. Philpot says
mixing together the things of God and man. Persecution from the heads of the College fell upon me, which much severed the tie, and broke to pieces the pleasing prospects I was indulging of worldly advancement. A great gulf seemed placed also in my feelings between my former friends and myself; and one day in particular, in the year 1829, as I was sitting on my horse, near the College gates, it was so impressed on my mind that Oxford was no place for me that I gladly turned my back upon it, and went to reside permanently at Stadhampton. A long and trying illness in the year 1830, from which indeed I have never fully recovered, was also made a means of deepening a sense of my own sinfulness and opening up the truth more clearly and fully to my soul; and the solitude of a country vil lage, with an entire seclusion from all worldly society, much favoured prayer, meditation, and reading the Scriptures. Powerful temptations also assailed my soul, and trials and sorrows of various kinds were spread in my path. I mention these things not from any desire to dwell on personal matters, but to show how far my mind was prepared to break through those barriers of pride and prejudice which separate the Churchman, and more especially the clergyman from the Dissenter, and make me desirous of seeing and hearing a man of God, out of my own narrow pale.
It was then some time in the year 1833, or
1834, that Mr. Warburton came to Abingdon to preach at the chapel of my dear friend, Mr. Tiptaft, whom I had intimately known for some years previously as a brother clergyman, and whose secession a year or two before from the Establishment had not broken or impaired our union in mind and heart in the great things of God. 1 went over, therefore, to Abingdon, about eight miles distant, to see and hear Mr. Warburton. I was then and had been for some time a good deal exercised in my mind about eternal things, and went with many fears, and under much bondage of England, which I was then beginning to both on account of my position in the Church feel, and the state of my own soul, which was, as I have hinted, then passing through various trials. Though reared in the lap of learning, and instructed almost from childhood to conof winning a position in the world, I had, sider mental attainments as the grand means some six or seven years before, been taught by the weight of eternal realities laid on my conscience, to value grace as the one thing needful; and the trials and temptations I was passing through in a lonely village, separate from all society but that of a few people who feared God, had deepened the feelings in my breast. Under these circumstances, I went to Abingdon, feeling my own want of grace, and therefore with more fears than hopes, as about to see and hear a servant of God so eminently possessed of it, and anticipating rather s frown than a smile both in the pulpit and the parlour.
I afterwards learned that the poor dear man, having heard I was a man of great learning, was almost as much afraid of meeting the Oxford scholar as the Oxford scholar was of
I shall never forget my first interview with Mr. Warburton, which was some time in the year 1833 or 1834. I was at that time a minister in the Church of England, and fellow of a college at Oxford, but was living in a little village in Oxfordshire, named Stadhampton, which was one of the parishes then under my When I first went to Stadhampton, in the year 1828, it was with the intention of riding backwards and forwards to Oxford, and thus maintaining my connection with the University, where I took pupils, and where I was looking for the highest offices in my College. But I soon found that there was no
meeting him. But how much better grounded were my fears than his; and how much his grace outshone my learning!
He received me, however, with much kindness, and talked pleasantly and profitably on the weighty matters of the kingdom of God. I heard him very comfortably in the evening; and next morning after breakfast he would have me engage in prayer, which I did with a trembling heart, but seemed helped to express simply what I knew and felt. We afterwards went inside the coach_together to Dorchester, about seven miles off, conversing the chief part of the way, and there we parted very affectionately. I do not wish to speak of myself, but I afterwards heard that my feeble lispings had given me an abiding place in the dear man's heart, and laid a foundation for that friendship and union which have subsisted unbroken ever since between us.
In March, 1835, I was compelled, from the pressure upon my conscience, to secede from the Church of England, and was led by a singular providence, and in marked answer to prayer by a friend on my behalf, to pitch my tent for awhile at Allington, near Devizes, Wiltshire, where, in the following September, Mr. Warburton baptized me; and I shall never forget the power with which he preached that morning. Soon afterwards I went down to Trowbridge to supply his pulpit, and found there a gracious people, most of whom were his spiritual children. He several times supplied for ine at Stamford and Oakham, after my lot was cast in those places; and there are those still there, who can bear testimony to the power and savour with which he spoke. We have for many years generally met annually at the Calne anniversary, a well-known and remarkable gathering of the saints of God in that district of North Wilts., where we have been in the habit of preaching together, and I hope ever met and parted with renewed affection.
WAIT only for a little while And then, thou tried one, God will smile: For Providence may take a turn, And you still more his love may learn. Cheer up, thou poor afflicted thing, We know not what an hour may bring: An hour!-nay, e'er a moment might Bring you an infinite delight. Deliverance is an open door, And then the trouble is no more! Only a word and you are free, And then what goodness shall you see. 8, River-st., Islington. W. HOUSE.
EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS.
MOST EXCELLENT THEOPHILUS.-I now lay before you the laws by which the righteous are to be finally judged.
Eternal election is one rule of final judgment. Hence the kingdom is said to have been prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Now, their being once chosen in Christ stands for ever good; and this election is an election of grace; and this election is in Christ as the chosen Head, and also the Mediator of the new covenant. And being thus constituted one with him, they will never be dealt with otherwise than as they are in him. And hence we see that this original election of them in Christ governs everything relative to them through all the circumstances of life and death, up to their final possession of glory, sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called. Again, he shall send his angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and shall gather together his elect. Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me." Here we see that election before time, and calling in time, are inseparably connected; nor can any be effectually called but those whom he did foreknow. How solemnly and strikingly is this truth set forth in some of the parables! Take the parable of the labourers in the vineyard. Here were men professing to want employment, that is, they wish to be religious; but who among them turned out well, and proved to be good servants? What saith it? Doth it not speak on this wise-that "many are called, but few chosen?" You will say, Why, then, were there many called? Why, if you look at the parable you will see why the many ground of their professing to want employare called. They were called to work on the ment; and so, no doubt, they did; but they very soon quarrelled with the sovereignty of the master, and their eye became evil because he was good; they looked with an evil eye at his chosen ones; over estimated (pharisee-like) their own services. What, then, made the difference between these servants, so that some did not murmur,—and yet those who did not murmur would the next day have to bear the burden and heat of the day, and would yet be content to stay in that service? What, I say, was at the root of this difference? Election reconciles its objects to itself. The goodness of the master to the few made their election manifest to them; for the master set these few. in the order of time, and in favour before the others. He began with the last; and thus the pharisee is first, and the publican last; but the God of heaven put the publican first, and the pharisee last; and thus it is that the first are last, and the last
first; "for many are called, and few chosen." | only men that could shew unto them the way And does the King make a marriage for of salvation. his Son? Wherein this parable like the other lies the secret of the difference between those who were rejected and those who were finally received.
Just look at the character of those who were not received, not forgetting that all those who were called to the wedding were already professionally the king's servants; and, of course, called upon to give their sanction to the marriage of the king's son. This very marriage carries in it something of the doctrine of eternal electionthe Lamb and the chosen bride for ever one; and an everlasting feast of good things is connected therewith. Now, look at the several classes of professed servants of the King, professed lovers of God, professed servants of the Most High. How do they treat this eternal oneness of Christ and the church, and the gospel feast connected therewith? The servants in this parable are divided into five classes.
The first class would not come. These were no doubt all freewillers to a man, and therefore they would not come to give their sanction to this marriage of Christ and the church. They could not, of course, approve the terms of the marriage, the terms being for them too positive, decisive, and certain; and therefore they would not come to those terms,
The second class made light of it. These are low Calvinists, who pretend to believe in electing grace; but they make light of it; telling their dear hearers not to trouble themselves about it, but simply attend to their farm, cultivate grace, and go on with their merchandise, and attend to their own weddings, marrying one church to another, until all are bundled up together; and thus obsequious to their teachers, they go their way, one to his farm, another to his merchandise, while the King's true servants are not to be listened to.
The third class were highly incensed at the truth, "and took the king's servants, and despitefully entreated them, and slew them." These, you see, are the third class passengers in the parliamentary train of things; It was by this state-religion class, this secular-power class, this Popish class, that the Saviour himself was crucified; and by the same class have thousands of the King's servants been slain; their eminent, high-toned piety could not endure either sound doctrine or those who preached it. Well, thanks to Mercy, that the machinery of this old parlia mentary class is now so out of order that they can no longer carry the King's servants to the stake or to prison. Heaven break every wheel and every part of such infernal machinery, and burn every such devillish carriage in the fire, that men may fly from a religion which has taught them to slay the
I now come to the fourth class, which I suppose I must call the luggage train; for the man who is a sample of this class had not on a wedding garment, but of course a garment of his own; he brought his luggage with him. This is the mere Balaamite Calvinist-sound to a certain extent in doctrine, but has never been experimentally stripped; he has never been in the fire, nor in the deep waters of soul trouble. He holds the roll of truth in his hand, and has the word of truth much in his mouth; but he is not a new creature; he has never truly put on Christ; the powers of his soul are not truly wrapt in God's truth; and therefore, not being clothed with salvation, he only very partially savours of Christ-just enough to deceive the King's servants, but not enough to deceive the King himself. No doubt, I say, the great likeness of his garment to the wedding garment would deceive the King's servants, but could not deceive the King himself. The King's garment cost his Son too much for him not to know it from all other garments, and, therefore, in a voice of thunder said to this confident professor, "Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? and (as well he might) he was speechless." But why should he be speechless? Ah, why indeed! It was this
that he had never been speechless before; his mouth had never been stopped by the power of true conviction of his state as a lost sinner; and he was speechless also because he was now made ashamed of his presumption. "Then said the King to his servants, Bind him hand and foot," that is, reckon him among the bond children; and as the bond woman and her son are to be cast out, so this presumptuous one being (though among the free children) but a bond child, he must have the bond children's portion"Cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping (to think the King's servants should be so cruel as to cast him out), and there shall be (secretly, in the dark) gnashing of teeth," at those who have on a wedding garment. This class happily is not very, very numerous, and this, perhaps, is indicated by its being represented by who had not a wedding garment."
Thus we have in this solemn parable, 1, those who would not come; 2, those who made light of it; 3, those who slew the King's servants; and 4, those who are sound enough in head to come in, but not right in heart.
But here is another train of things-the express train-special and superior to all the rest,-" And conformed to the express image of the King's Son." Now, where lies the secret of all this? It lies, my good Theophilus, in eternal election, and so this parable also closes with these words- For
JULY 1, 1857.]
THE EARTHEN VESSEL.
many are called, and few are chosen." Elec- enabled to listen solemnly, listen earnestly tion takes good care of its objects; it reveals prayerfully, tremblingly, rejoicingly, while itself to them, wins their affections, and the word of eternal truth opens the secretbrings them aright to the terms of the wed-"All that dwell upon the earth shall worship ding, to the feast of the wedding, and to the him, whose names are not written in the presence of the King and his Son. Election Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. xiii. 8. And works secretly but surely; and so it runs"Him that I have chosen I will cause to does a huge body of prosperous error raise the draw near unto me." wonder and gain the admiration of the world? Where lies the secret of escape from "They this delusion? Here is the answer :that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (that is, admire and worship,) whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world." Rev. xvii. 8.
And do some escape the burning lake? Where is the secret? Ah! here it is, in that which men make light of "Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. xx. 15.
And how is it that some of the virgins had oil in their vessels, and were ready, at the midnight cry, to go in with the bridegroom? The secret was, that election cut them off from all false confidence, made them wise unto salvation, and led them to choose those golden vessels of the sanctuary which contain the golden oil. And what are these golden vessels but the yea and amen promises of the gospel? These supplied them with grace. Their hope, their faith, their love, could not give up the ghost: could not go out. This promise is yea and amen, and never was forfeited yet. But the others were not thus wise. They had not the faith of God's elect, and knew not the bridegroom, and, therefore, had no access to him, neither were ready, as were the wise, to go in with him. The wise had just enough of evidential grace to prove that they were wise, and, therefore, could not impart any unto the foolish; but they must go and buy it at the cost of the same experience as had the wise. Hence says the Saviour to those whom he loves, "I counsel thee to buy of me." If you obtain your oil, if you have your religion anywhere else, your lamp in the midnight hour of trouble, or of death, will surely go out, and against all such the door of heaven will be shut.
And shall some dwell for ever in the heavenly city? Where is the root-the origin-of this? What is the explanation? It is simply, solemnly, this-" They which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." Rev. xxi. 27.
Thus, my good Theophilus, you will meet at the bar of God with eternal election. Are receive you its heartfelt friend now? Do you it in the love of it? Does your heart, by its (election's) endearing power, ever glow with gratitude to God for it; feeling bound to give thanks for the hope you have that God hath, from the beginning, chosen you to salvation? Or do you give a mere cold Balaam-like assent to it, simply because you find it in the letter of the word; and so it becomes a part of your creed; and, therefore, you like to have a little, but not too much of it, making the contemptible, the hypocritical excuse that you are afraid, by being taken up so much with this doctrine, you shall neglect other branches of truth, especially the practical parts ! Dire delusion! base falsehood! insulting beli? upon the pure truth of the blessed God. For whereas the real truth is the more you glory in electing grace; the more spiritually, vitally, and practically will you follow out every other branch of truth. Look at it. It stands thus-" He hath, from the beginning, chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Again,
Ye are a chosen géneration, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." But why speak I thus to Theophilus, whose very name signifies a friend and lover of God?
Well, then, my good Theophilus, if you do now, at times, rejoice that your name is written in heaven, what will it be at that day when electing grace shall give you full possession of all the good of his chosen? when you will rejoice for ever in the gladness
My good Theophilus, cling, ever cling, to eternal election; you cannot glory too much therein; it will enable you to glory in all the other truths of the gospel, and it will enable you to very greatly delight in the service of the blessed God. And if your name be written in heaven, then "all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." But if your name be not written in heaven, then nothing is yours but sin, and death, and perdition.
You know people say if election be true it is of no use to strive after a salvation. Well, it is of no use to strive after a salvation which does not originate in eternal election," for such never did succeed, and never will. And so it is that many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able; because election not being at the root of their religion they seek it not under the government of that sanctification of the Spirit by the truth by which alone salvation can be obtained. But the election shall obtain it.
Do errors arise, and carry the world away by their power? Who are they that shall escape?
Now, my good Theophilus, may you be