« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Memoir of the late John Keeble.
[CONTRIBUTED BY JOHN ANDREWS JONES.]
REFERRING the reader to my introduction
but often excited the envy of some who have made high pretentions to the sacred office. The well-known occupation of the Lord Jesus, gave great offence to his countrymen. They said, "Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son ?" The palace and the cottage have been the honoured birth-place of the Lord's servants. Fishermen have been called, and made "fishers of men." Not a few who have been engaged in the labour of husbandry, have been called to labour in the Lord's vineyard. Such was the occupation of our departed brother Keeble; for previous to his entering upon the public ministry, he never rose higher in society than a farmer's servant. Human prudence and sagacity are apt to dictate to Divine wisdom in the choice of ministers; but, "the Lord seeth not as men seeth; man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise; the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised &c." Why? "That no flesh should glory in his presence."
The qualifications also for the discharge of the ministry are equally of the Lord. To be a good minister of Christ, a man must be a possessor of the grace of Christ. The husbandman that laboureth must be first a partaker of the fruits; and, of all the methods employed for
and of themselves.
1. The inefficiency of all instruments, in conveying Divine instruction, nothing has been so effectual as experimental preaching; or, what our departed brother Keeble used to
2. Their selection and qualifications.
3. The manner in which their duties are call, "internal work." When the lips and discharged. the heart of the preacher keep pace together, then by manifestation of the truth he commends himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. What has so often fixed your attention under the ministry of your late pastor? Was it the neatness of his style, and the eloquence of his oratory? Oh, no! it was the importance of the truth he delivered, and his just description of the workings and counter-workings of the human heart, under the influence of sin and grace. Like Paul, he could accompany, and at times go beyond the flicted and tempted he could sympathise; in most elevated of his hearers; with the afpatience and persevering supplication, he death, but Jesus Christ doth, who is "the furnished a bright example; he knew him who had said, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will answer thee." He preached Christ to others while he enjoyed him for himself. "He knew whom he believed;" but in all, his humble acknowledg ment was, "I be nothing.”
4. The success attending their labours. God, in carrying on his work among men employs such instruments as makes all the success to depend entirely on himself. And faithful ministers are like Paul, jealous of their Master's honour; so that he that planteth is nothing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase, is all in all Death has deprived the church of the labours of Paul, and of Wickliffe, of the zeal of Luther and Whitfield; and though John Keeble can no longer edify this congregation, yet the cause of God and truth must advance. Ordinary ministers continue not, by reason of
same yesterday, to day, and for ever." The Lord will support his own cause by the exertion of his own power; shewing his independence of man, and also convincing ministers and others, that, "they are nothing." God also secures the glory of all the success attending a gospel ministry, by the sovereign manner in which he selects and qualifies those whom he employs in the work. The Lord's chosen instruments, have not only surprised, VOL. XIV.-No. 160.
An unlettered man, scarcely able at one time to read at all, never able to spell, rude in speech, but not in knowledge; a scribe well instructed in the things of the kingdom of God. His ministerial labours owned and blessed to hundreds of precious immortal souls, and whose memory is as fragrant as a rose in June to this day.
"Though I be nothing."
These were the words of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, expressive of the mean opinion he had of himself, but whose ministry had been crowned with abundant success. sider.
Let us con
But let us consider "the work" to which they are called. It is to preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and the end to be ac. complished by their ministry, not a mere
change of opinion in their hearers, and that within the sinner's power, but that a new birth may be effected, a new creation, a resurrection from the dead in sins, a rescue from infernal power, a translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. They are made stewards of the manifold grace of God, and are required to be found faithful. They have many temptations, and are men of like passions with others; but, they obtain mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
THE EARTHEN VESSEL.
The temptations of your late pastor were frequent and very painful. He has often told me how greatly he has been distressed for fear he should be confounded before the people; and, how he has employed the interval between praying and preaching, in crying to God, "Lord, help thy servant this once!' And, said he, "the Lord has been very kind, and often made these some of my choicest seasons of personal comfort, enlargement, and benefit to others. And then, I have been tempted to neglect due prepara. tion: but, we are not ignorant of Satan's devices." Our brother experienced much kindness from many dear friends; but his heart was pierced and wounded by the defection and unkindness of others. It was this, or something like it, that caused your late respected pastor, a few days before his death, when looking down on his afflicted limbs, and laying his hands on his bosom, the principal seat of anguish, to say, "A man may sustain his infirmities, but a wounded spirit who can bear " But these trials drive the man to God for supporting grace, and constrain him to acknowledge "as we have received mercy, we faint not.
We proceed to observe that the success that has attended ministerial labours, proves that "the excellency of the power is of God." How different have been the effects produced, by the preaching of the same gospel at different times! In some cases much good has been done in a short time; in others an amount of labour has been expended, and little or no apparent fruit has been brought to perfection. Isaiah anxiously enquired, "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" rious Redeemer, who spake as never man Our glospake! still, his faithful followers were comparatively few; while under a single sermon delivered by Peter, three thousand souls gospel has been preached in its purity, and So also in this place; the with no small ability too, even from its first erection, and yet but little good appeared to attend the ministry here, for some years, so that when our brother Keeble first came to Blandford-street, the things that remained were ready to die; but-by his plain and humble ministry God wrought powerfully. dreds have been savingly converted; and, for Hunmany years there was as much union, Christian affection, and spiritual prosperity, as have been enjoyed by any Christian society in our day so that of this church it has often been said, "what hath God wrought ?" If the weapons of our warfare are made powerful
[July 1, 1858.
it is only through God. Without the special influence of his Spirit, we can neither wound nor heal. And the more humble, devoted, and useful a minister is, the more conscious he will be of his own insignificance; and while he beholds the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand, will exclaim "'tis his work; I am nothing."
tration from a consideration of the life, minisThese sentiments will receive a further illus. try, and dying experience, of our departed next month attempt to give you, with much brother Keeble: an account of which I shall plainness and all sincerity; and without any attempt to eulogize him, who is now merci. fully placed beyond the reach of praise or censure. for this service, in consequence of my wellknown intimacy with him for many years. I am perhaps the better furnished Our acquaintance commenced in the days of his prosperity, and I knew his soul in adversity. Our confidence increased with our acquaintance; and, when death came, our souls were not divided. Affliction somewhat interrupted our personal communion, but an epistolary correspondence supplied the deficiency. It is from this source that I have principally derived my information.
contain Mr. Keeble's most truly interesting
remarks, (and they will be but few,) upon the MY GOOD THEOPHILUS, I now make a few resurrection and destiny of the lost; that the just, as well as the unjust; the wicked, as well as the righteous; the hated, as well as the loved; will be raised from the dead. We know, from express declaration of Holy Scriptures, that there will be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust; but with what body the unjust will rise is nowhere clearly revealed. Some, it is true, have by contrasting the resurrection body of the unjust idea of the resurrection body of the unjust; with the just, endeavoured to give us a fair but the contrast, does not in some very material points, hold good; for if we say the one is as the glorious body of the Saviour, then, unjust are spoken of as the children of the where is the contrast here? for although the wicked one, yet satan has not a material body, therefore they cannot in this material respect, be like him.
but will the unjust be raised mortal? Will
be all that which is implied in such terms; not one of them all will then be able to congratulate himself upon the possession of one good quality, yet possessing a soul capable of seeing, and feeling, the full force of such degradation. Alas! for poor, degraded, lost, and miserable man. Truly the judgments of the Most High are a great deep. I sigh as I write these gloomy lines, and, but for the humble hope, my good Theophilus, which we have in covenant mercy in Christ, I am sure that you with me, would wish you had never existed; it would, indeed, have been good for that man who dies in his sins, if he had never been born.
Now the wicked will be raised by virtue of their accountability to God, and I hope in my next letter to set this matter of human and Christian accountability to God somewhat clearly before you.
I will here just suggest that there are three causes of a sinner's condemnation.
Thus it is that he hath mercy upon whom he will have mercy. He wills one by the Saviour's meditorial work to life; the other he wills by the law for his sin to degradation.
Thus, my good Theophilus, you cannot rightly respect the blessed God in any of his perfections, unless you, first of all respect his authority, cavil at his sovereignty and all pretences to be holy and righteous will amount only to a little show before men, but in vain will you try to please God, all the time human sovereignty is put in the place of his sovereignty. Let us then tremble, and not trifle with his holy word: let his sovereignty as well as his justice be known in condemnation, and it will soon exclude boasting, and make us fly to the word of his grace for mercy and for hope.
Nor will the hell of the lost be temporary; would to God it were; gladly would I sound abroad, the doctrine of a quenchable fire; gladly would I hail the news, that the punishment is not everlasting; that their torment is not for ever and ever; that that mysterious thing, the worm, does die. what is this mystic worm? is it the conscience? or, what is it, for it dieth not? Some do say, the punishment is not everlasting; that the
I. The criminal cause. This criminal cause is two-fold: original and personal. 1st. The original is Adam's transgression; by which transgression judgment came upon all men to condemnation. 2nd. The personal. This will mean all sins against light and knowledge. II. There is the legal cause of condemna-worm will die; that the torment is not for ever tion. The righteous law of God is the legal and ever; but that these Scriptures ought to cause of condemnation; and from the laws, (all be understood in subservience to such Scripthe laws of God, arise more from sovereignty, tures that say, that the wicked shall be burnthan what men are pleased to call his moral ed up as chaff. But I fear the figurative must perfections; any deviation, therefore, from those be subservient to the plain and literal, and laws, is a sin against his authority, and not the plain and literal subservient to the is therefore, a sin against all his other perfigurative: everlasting punishment-tormentfections; and this is the reason that he that ed for ever and ever-the fire not quenched, offendeth in one point is guilty of the whole." and the worm dying not, are terms, which, I Because all laws arise from his authority, and fear, must have their full absolute force and they are holy, chiefly because of this. For meaning. And, beside, those who contend for what a number of things have the people of limited duration of punishment, or a second God done that were holy, simply because they death, or annihilation by a fiery process, these were done by Divine authority. Take as admit that the unjust will have a future exsample the wars of the Jews with the Canaan- istence. Is not this admission fatal to the ites these wars, without Divine authority, whole plan of the annihilation scheme; for, would have been wholesale murder. But if they can exist at all in eternity, apart Divine authority precluded all fault on the from eternal life in Christ; if they can exist part of those chosen ministers of Divine at all in eternity, why not that existence be judgments. Many of the Psalms of David, as likely to be two thousand years as one apart from Divine authority, would be thousand years? and if two thousand years, thing but holy. What could be why may it not be ten thousand years? and if unhallowed than merely on human authority ten thousand years, why not for ever? and I for one man to say of the little children of greatly fear it is so-I believe it is so: another man" happy shall he be that taketh and I must leave this awful and infinite and dasheth thy little ones against the stones ? mystery with him to whom secret things But before God here existed a criminal and a belong, and while, on the one hand, I will not legal cause, and his righteous authority is speak reproachfully of those who conscienshewn in carrying out penally the law, which tiously hold to the doctrine of the final cessahe, not of necessity, but sovereignly, gave. tion of the existence of the lost, yet, on the other hand, I do not feel that I dare to deny the eternity of future punishment. happy, indeed, is that man who is delivered from this mysterious second death, this unquenchable wrath to come!
Then there is also the executive cause of condemnation. The will of God is the executive cause of condemnation. Take it thus: here is a man condemned to die, now his crime is the faulty, the criminal cause of that sentence. The law of the land is the legal cause; but now comes the will of the monarch. Shall the man live or shall he not? Now this will help you to see what I mean. Here is the sinner under sentence of death; "dying thou shalt die." Now it lies with the Lord to say whether or not that man shall die.
My good Theophilus, I have written this short letter with a heavy heart, but still it is good sometimes, at least, to go to the house of mourning, but if it make me heavy hearted and gloomy in writing it, and you in reading it, what must the awful reality be? We may well beseech the Lord to "teach us to num.
ber our days, that we may apply our hearts |
THE REIGN OF GRACE:
ANSWER TO THE INQUIRY,
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ROMANS VI. 14 p"
Sin, therefore, shal lnot, while Jesus lives, have penal dominion over the true believer, for he is under grace. The whole work and purpose of grace is to save, and not destroy. Secondly, enmity; enmity is the sin that distinguishes the carnal mind from the The third chapter of the First spiritual. Epistle of John, describes the wicked and the righteous by the two opposite qualities of love and enmity; nor can that chapter be rightly understood in any other way. The sin there spoken of, which proves a man to be of the devil, is the sin of enmity against the truth ; and the righteousness there spoken of means Abel loved the life of love to the truth. truth, and Cain hated the truth; one shewed
DEAR MR. EDITOR.-As I very much like the spirit of the inquiry on the 147th page of the June number of the VESSEL, I will ask your permission to take some little notice of this important inquiry; not, Mr. Editor, that I for a moment deem either yourself or Mr. Meekins, who sends the inquiry, at all incompetent to clear up the question; and that, too, much better than I can do. Still, if I come with my views to the light, I shall, have the privilege of being corrected by you; I, therefore, leave my mind open to conviction wherever I may be wrong. Mr. Meekins puts the inquiry into a two-practically his love to the truth, the other fold form namely, shewed practically his hatred to the truth. The one was not under the law, but under grace; and this grace brought into Abel's heart a knowledge of, faith in, and love to, the truth. Whereas Cain being under the law, the law worked wrath in him, and he burned with fiery enmity against the truth; fess free-grace, they profess to believe in as thousands of professors now do, they proGod's truth, or what they call extremes, Jesus Christ, but their careful avoidance of their cold-hearted distance from the hill country of sovereign truth, shows that they their eyes full of the false church, and canare still in heart under the law; they have truth, they cannot, that is, they have no will not cease from the sin of enmity against the to cease from enmity against the truth; nay, they even think they do God service in putting down all they can the new covenant enmity shall not have dominion over them who are not under the law, but under grace. The law of God, the blood of the everlasting covenant, and the spirit of grace, are ever dear to them who are under grace. The sin to make them hate the Son of God in his of enmity shall not have dominion over them,
order of certain salvation. Now this sin of
First, penally; it shall not have condemn ing power over him, for "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," for all that are planted together in the likeness of his death, rise by faith into the likeness of his resurrection; and these walk by faith, and this walking by faith is what the Apostle calls walking after the Spirit. Now it is impossible to lay too much stress upon our completeness in him, for he hath by his one offering perfected for ever all them who were sanctified by God the Father, preserved
in Christ Jesus, and called. They are no eternal oneness which he has with his Father
more under the law than the surviving widow is under the law of her deceased hus
band. We respect the law, and consent that
The sin of enmity shall not have dominion
faith and love to Christ; and under all the laws and precepts of gospel life and liberty; and we love the Lord God with all our heart and mind, and strength; but it is not by the law of wrath that we love God, but by the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and that the righteousness of the law is in the spirit of it fulfilled in us who walk by faith in the truth; all other paths but that of the truth, are after the flesh.
First, Does sin have dominion over the open backslider? Does sin have dominion over such an one in the sense intended by the Apostle? This is the first part of the in
The second part of Mr. Meekins's inquiry is, is there not a difference between a partial
and an absolute dominion? Now this last
part of the inquiry is a well suggested reply to the first part of the inquiry.
And I think the matter may be made somewhat clear by noticing the four-fold sense in which sin shall not have dominion
over the true believer.
enmity they are dead, and cannot go on in hatred to the truth that grace may abound; God forbid, for how can we that are dead to enmity live any longer therein; we are dead with Christ, and we are to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin; that is, that Christ is our death unto sin, for sin can die nowhere but at the end of the law, "For the law is the strength of sin, but Christ is the end of the law for righteousness;" and there it is that sin is dead.
the truth, for so I understand it), my soul (saith the Lord) shall have no pleasure in him;" "but (saith the Apostle,) we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Thus, then, to draw back unto perdition is to draw back from the faith, from the truth, from the love of the truth, into enmity against the truth. But can the true, wellestablished Christian thus draw back? Draw back from tribulation he may, saying, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." Draw back from shewing that kindness to the cause of God which he ought to show he may; and also a great many do in this sense draw back from that practical devotedness to God so desirable; he may; and who that knows his own heart has not much in this department to lament?
The members of the body are called instruments. The learned show us, that the word instruments in the original conveys a military idea; so that, as when we hated the truth, we fought against it; but now that we love the truth, we are to contend for it: we are to "fight the good fight of faith." Thus, then, sin penally, nor sin essentially, shall have dominion over you; for ye are not under a law that condemns, but under a law that justifies. Justified freely by his grace, and ye are not under a law that worketh wrath; but under that grace which in solemn oath declares will never be wrath with us, nor rebuke us, nor depart from us.
liever's advantages, and prevent his receiving Now these are great drawbacks to the bea full reward of the things he has wrought; but even these drawbacks, bad as they are, do not constitute crucifying the Son of God afresh. These, then, I say, do not constitute drawing back unto perdition, for then not one soul would be saved; for if we drawback from the truth, we must be lost.
Now, whether Mr. Meekins's backslider, as he calls him, be a brother at all, though a disorderly one, I must leave to Him who knoweth the hearts of men, and is Judge of all.
One thing I know is that the declaration,
I now come to the third part of my answer to the inquiry; and I at once confess that Mr. Meekins's backslider is under sin in one of the respects the Apostle intends; for the whole drift of this sixth chapter to the Romans, shows how the Apostle would have us yield ourselves up unto God; and he would have us consecrated wholly, body, life," Sin shall not have dominion over you," and spirit, unto God; and the Apostle will be fulfilled in perfection not until the thanks God that they had obeyed from the last great rising day. Then, and not till then heart that form of doctrine which was de- sin will lose, for ever, its last hold of us; for, livered unto them. "God be thanked (that although those who are born of God do upon ye were the servants of sin, but) ye have the whole so live to God as to prove the sinobeyed from the heart that form (that is, cerity of their love to him, and are free enough that order) of doctrine delivered unto you." from sin to serve God, though with much infirmity, yet they are his servants, and they have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Now, mind, they have their fruit unto holiness. Now look well here to the meaning, which is this, that as when the Israelites abode by the one true God, their land yielded her increase, so that they had abundant fruits for thank offerings unto the Lord, and thus they honoured the Lord with their substance, and with the first-fruits of all their increase; thus, they had fruit unto holiness, that is, unto God; and so spiritually in abiding by the truth, the land of truth yields her increase, and we have much to praise the Lord for, and the end of this service of God is everlasting life. This is that hope that maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.
Now mind it does not say sin shall have no dominion over you, but simply that "sin shall not have dominion over you;" there, therefore, clearly is a difference between a partial and an absolute dominion; and also, there is a difference between an essential and a circumstantial dominion: there is a sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death. The sin unto death is that of enmity against the truth; the sins not unto death, are such as are recorded in the Bible of Noah, Moses, David, Hezekiah, and Peter, and of many of the Corinthians and others. None of these sinned from enmity to the truth, nor presumptuously "that grace may abound;" nor because they were "not under the law, but under grace."
I hardly know what Mr. Meekins means by a backslider. A backslider, in the biblical sense of the word, is one who turns away from, and goes back from the truth; but I suppose Mr. Meekins does not look to the biblical sense of the word backslide, but only the customary sense attached by man to that word. "Now if any man draw back (from
But while that through grace we thus serve God, does sin throw no hindrances in our way? is there no law in the members warring against the law of our mind? do we not in any sense serve sin, and even when the spirit is willing, has the flesh no weak