« FöregåendeFortsätt »
instrumentality many were encouraged to hold forth the word of life; among others whom he encouraged to open their mouths for the Lord, may be reckoned Mr. James Wells, of the Surrey Tabernacle, whose Christian influence as a pastor is well known.
Never did a man have more soul humbling views of himself as a sinner before God, of the hellishness of his depraved nature and of the absolute sovereignty of divine grace as extended towards him, than he. A paragraph, at the commencement of his will, which on one occasion he got me to read to him, better expresses the state of his mind on the subject of religion than any language of mine can; his words are these- In the name of God, who by his Holy Spirit, has taught me long since my utter guilt as a sinner, not only to see my need of eternal salvation in and through the merits of his dear Son Jesus Christ; but he has applied the blood of atonement so efficaciously to my conscience, by the application of this, and other promises, 'because I live, ye shall live also;' (John xiv. 19,) that, thanks be to him, I have not only lost the fear of hell but the fear of coporeal death also. Amen. Therefore, I, John Smith, &c.'
(Will be concluded next month.)
favour-and, as a consequence, the spring of joy in the glorified saint shall bubble up afresh with new declarations of unspeakable pleasure and delight.
But, this New Song is difficult to learn; yea, so difficult that no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth! Nature and reason can never comprehend the deep and mysterious acts of God's grace. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' 1 Cor. ii. 14. The children of Israel, in their typical character, sang this song on the shores of the red sea. They had experienced a remarkable deliverance from a deep extremity, and therefore, they took the timbrel, and with this song upon their lips, joined in the dance. says, that amongst those happy choristers before the throne, none were admitted but those which were redeemed from the earth.'
So our text
O, happy spirits! redeemed from earth's basest slavery! Earth-where war, rapine, lust, murder, and every sin which goes to make the sum total of evil, reign, and gall, and fetter, and enslave the mind. Earth-where
the prince of the power of darkness' erects his sable throne and sways his ebony sceptre over millions of the human family. Earthwhere all is deceptive-all is vanity.
But even before the spirit leaves this clay tenement-even whilst she is surrounded with the dire consequences of sin-she is redeemed from the earth.' The dear Redeemer has paid the ransom; and to the soul groaning in her fetters, causes the welcome newswafted by the breath of the Eternal Spiritthat she is free! her warfare is accomplished." That same breath quickens her to real spiritual life, and through every avenue of the soul, from the chords of inspiration, rush the sweet melodious strains which form the new, the A spark from heaven's never-ending song. altar has lit up that soul with celestial fire, which shall never never, die-'many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods Here is drown it.' Solomon's Song viii. 7. a sweet prelude of heaven's eternal sympho nies. Strains which may make the brightest seraph pause, and command his silence and attention, whilst a sinner sings.
If such the happiness, the love, the joy, of the pardoned sinner, in his first attempts at this new song, what will it be, when blessed with more rapturous and comprehensive views of heaven's grace and condescension ? And what will be, the voice of thunder-the voice of many waters,' that shall strike our spiritual senses in an upper and a better world? A New Song'-yes, ever new!
Reader, may it be your lot and mine to breathe forth some portion of those divine and blissful strains—Your's in the Gospel of Christ, G. SKEELES.
St. Ives, Hunts.
THE NEW SONG.
THE beloved John, when in exile, had some
The song of the redeemed is called a new song,' because it is the tribute of gratitude paid by God's new creation. It may also be called a new song because it treats of a thing newly revealed-that is, the grace of God in Christ Jesus. And, further, because the church through the countless ages of eternity shall enjoy new manifestations of his love and
The Christian is not a bird that can only sing in Spring, when all other birds can; but he can sing in Winter also,
A LETTER FROM MR. JAMES WELLS,
(ADDRESSED TO MR MOTT, OF NEW YORK,)
ON THE ASPECT OF OUR CHURCHES, ETC., ETC.
DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD-I see by this month's VESSEL, you state that in New York there is a report that I hold and have published, that if a child of God commits sin, it is the fault of the Holy Ghost.
Well, what will men not say? and were I to take notice of one-tenth of the misrepresentations to which I am subjected, I might do hardly any thing else. How many times have I, from the pulpit and the press too, contradicted many such reports? but what of it? "He that's convinced against his will, Is of the same opinion still."
They still go on reiterating the same, and so I suppose it will be to the end. Some draw certain inferences from what I say, and then turn those inferences into premises, and then adopt as certainties their own fabrications, and some do this from one motive, and some from another. One because he likes to have something to say; another because he has more learning than he has any market for, and so graciously gives some of it away; another because he cannot get it out of his head but that he is a downright clever fellow; and how it is the people do not see it, and flock to hear him, he cannot think. Another because he would like to succeed in the ministry, just as I have been favoured to do, but somehow or another there is a mistake about it. I am the wrong man; it ought to have been my good surgical friend, who has at least tried to extract so many beams from my visual orbs, while he himself has not so much as even a mote in his eye; but who can be angry with such men? Why it is a great relief to them to say something; and after all, these little bits of find-fault often arise from the impulse of the moment, and like impulses of laudation, a very great discount is to be taken off from both; for it is very seldom in these petty affairs that men mean in reality one-half, and sometimes not one-tenth of what they say, and when they do, they are welcome for me to all the good they can get by such trading.
Now, as to the above, namely, that if a child of God commits sin, it is the fault of the Holy Ghost, I not only never published, or ever held such a sentiment, but I make no hesitation in saying, that not one of my brethren in the ministry can be farther from such irreverence,such presumption, such blasphemy, than I am, and always have been; but it is a very small thing with me that I should be judged of man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self, but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
Years ago these misrepresentations were rather hard to bear, but I have had so much knocking about that I am not quite so thin skinned as I was then. Besides, I have known men labouring under these misrepresentations, send me off by name from their
pulpits to the devil, and just after this I have had (at least in some cases) an opportunity of doing them some favour, and it is astonishing how that has explained matters and set things right. I allude now to some of my own brethren in the ministry, and whom I love for the truth's sake; and after all, I do not know that I have not thrown a stone at some of them, and I certainly have nothing to boast of except that mercy by which I am saved. I let most of these flying reports die a natural death; it is true some of them die rather hard, and some of them rise again from the dead, but I care not for them, nor will I quarrel with any of my brethren merely about words. If I come to doctrine, then that is another thing. You must not suppose this my disavowal of the profane sentiment of charging sin upon the Holy Spirit of God will have much weight or put to silence those who have made up their minds not to be convinced, and who would almost feel it a calamity to be deprived of this cud of falsehood, which with such pleasure they roll from one side of the tongue to the other. It is a very nasty habit they have got hold of; but never mind, let them enjoy it, it will help to keep them quiet, and I say no more upon these nothings, but close with a word or two upon other matters.
I rejoice to find you still kept in the truth, not trifling therewith, nor in any way holding it in unrighteousness, but walking in the fear of God, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no confidence in the flesh; not distorting the beautiful order of the new covenant; nor moving one inch from that 'liberty wherewith Christ has made you free,' but living unto God, for God, and for eternity, and having been made in earnest for your own soul, you can, from such experience, contend earnestly for the 'faith once delivered unto the saints.' We have here in England everything to encourage us so to do; we, like you on that side of the Atlantic, are free; and we have a goodly sprinkle scattered over our favoured land, who faithfully and honestly contend for the truth as it is in Jesus; and I believe that in proportion to the population England never had a larger number of real Christians than it has at the present time. It is true, we have not very many ministers of very great gifts, but we have many with something better; namely, a gracious and an honest heart; and upon the whole, our land is pretty generally seasoned with the salt of truth and grace; not that we have truth in anything like proportion to error, but we have a goodly few who enter in at the strait gate, and find the narrow way. Drawbacks, of course, we have. Some of the worst are, that some who profess the truth, can wink at another gospel, and at the same time, try to persuade themselves, and others, that it is not another gospel. And then again
some churches are scandalously cold towards their ministers, not supporting them half as they could and ought to do. He gets to his Bible, he groans and sighs through chapter after chapter, seeking earnestly to enrich his soul, that he may shew himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; but alas, the cold chills come over him. He knows that by some of his greatest men, he shall be listened to with stoical indifference, and that many of them, are, instead of listening prayerfully and earnestly for a word by the minister from the throne of God, they are thinking more about the world, or else of their importance in the church. The poor minister's tongue cleaves to the roof of his mouth, and well it may, in the presence of such worldly and lordly professors. Instead of showing their love to him by so arranging matters with the people as to do all that can be done for him, they leave him in poverty's vale, and then sit down and hear him with the same indifference or lordly importance that they treat him, and find fault with the poor fellow because he does not preach well, and that he does not fill the place.
Fill the place!! indeed! Why, Sirs, it is your icy hearts that freeze your minister's spirits, and kill him, and then complain because he is so dead. Sirs, I tell you the death is with you, ye dead-letter, selfish professors; you can lay out your pounds for your own fleshly purposes and aggrandizement fast enough, but while you can spend your hundreds upon yourselves; yet if the minister should want five pounds of you, you grunt and sigh as though you were going to be ruined, and yet expect your minister to be in good spirits, and preach with freedom and delight; clip his wings, and then expect him to fly; withhold from him what you ought to give him, and then expect him to minister to you with as much freedom as though he was supplied and treated as he ought to be treated. My heart has often ached for a good and honest man so placed. Not many years ago a very rich man, (much richer than a good man ought to be, for they ought to devote more to the cause of God, and to the poor ;) this rich man said to me, 'Well, I have lost in a business transaction, £6000, and I am enabled to leave it. It does not trouble me, bless the Lord, I have plenty left.' Ah!' said J, if you had lost six score pounds by the cause of God, or by any tried minister of God, it would have troubled you then.' Now, said I, you have withholden from the cause of God just £6000 too much, and so the Lord has taken it from you. He said no more; what he thought I do not know, but I am persuaded that this want of proper care of the minister is one of the greatest drawbacks that we have to the prosperity of our churches. The minister is frozen in his very soul, and what, when it is almost all winter, can the produce be? How many anniversaries have 1 gone to, where at the end of the service, it is, What do you charge? just as though I had been mending an old shoe, or weeding their gravel walk; they know what they ought to give, but to get out of that it is, what do you charge?' or else
they pop, wrapped in a great piece of paper, the third-class fare into your hand, which you must not be so ungracious as to look at in their presence, but when you are in the carriage, then indulge your curiosity; unroll the paper, behold two shillings, a fourpenny piece, and a threepenny piece, the amount of your 3rd class fare to A. T.
I allude not now to little places, supported by a few poor people, but to places where they can afford to be liberal; and the more money you get for the cause,' as it is called, at such anniversaries, the more the pockets of the rich are saved, The minister any the better for a good anniversary? No, not a mite. But time fails me to point out the deadening effects of this worldly spirit in the churches, and I have often noticed, in the next generation, and sometimes in the same generation, the wealth of such professors melts away under the curse of him before whom Ananias and Sapphira fell dead upon the spot.
But there are some tolerable, some honourable, and some, but very few, noble exceptions. In these churches, the ministers are happy; they feel that their services are really desired, and well received; and being thus in a great measure released from the cares of this life, they, through grace, give themselves up to the work of God and godliness.
It is very clear that a worldly spirit in our churches is on the increase. Very few of their officers feel as they ought to feel for the souls of men, but space forbids my enlarging, or I might write a volume upon the drawbacks we have in our churches. "I could proposе а геmedy, but I forbear for the present.
Now I do not for a moment believe that you on that side of the Atlantic are, with all your freewill revivals, (which revivals have, by our divinity-auctioneers here in England, been puffed into the very first stage of the millenium) you are not, 1 say, with all your revivals, anywhere near us here in England for ministers of truth, or for real Christians. We out-number you greatly; the old duty-faith and freewill fables cover your land; we are bad enough and you are worse, but the Lord can revive his work.
I trust you will still keep, as through grace you did keep, in the truth all the years that you were with us a member at the Surrey Tabernacle; and, through mercy, it is the Surrey Tabernacle still, walking in the fear of God, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost; res peeted by other churches of the same faith and order, and feeling and exercising the same respect to her sister churches; on the one hand, having no desire to get into the spirit of I am and none else; nor on the other hand, to say any confederacy where the unity of the spirit in the bond of new covenant peace in Christ Jesus is, not the ground of fellowship; giving way not one inch either in promise or precept, doctrine or practice, but fixed and decided for all the ordinances of God, being no mere half. way or make-believe Baptists,no half-way work, but abiding by the laws of faith, and love, and liberty, and the Lord, we trust, is with us.
I have thus written rather a long and rather a rambling letter, and have, as you see, taken
told Mary by the angel; nevertheless they were from the Lord; it was this that gave stability to the promises, and emboldened Mary to believe in their accomplishment. So ministers of the gospel are God's messengers, and those messages alone prove effectual which bear the Divine signature and are stamped with a mighty thus saith the Lord;' these stand fast for ever, because they are the word of the Lord. According to promise, the child was born, and Mary brought forth a son, and called his name Jesus.' She was also promised that he should be great; and never was there a promise more faithful and true, for though born in a stable, all heaven hailed his birth, and angels, those bright intelligences of heavenly bliss, descended in a multitude, prais ing God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' These graced the stable with their presence, where proud man thought it beneath his dignity to cast a glance; but he who was just born of the virgin was greater than them all, for he was the Son of the Highest. He was the greatest personage that ever graced the earth; for he was not only man but the God-man, yea, God and man combined, constituting but one person. O how great, and greater still the mystery, Immanuel, God with us.' He was the great Person described by Isaiah seven-hundred and forty-years prior to his incarnation. How majestic the description given. See Isa. ix. 6. Great in all the offices he sustained. Great in all that he both did and said. The miracles he wrought were a bright display both of his grandeur and greatness, and loud outspoken facts and visible proofs of his Deity and Messiahship. He was and is the Great High Priest; for all who had preceded him, under the old dispensation, high and great as they might be, were but types of him the Antitype; and were forshadows of him the great Substance. Such was his greatness, that all the types and shadows were swallowed up in him, for in him they had their accomplishment, and he was the sum and substance of them all.
How great the work he undertook, even the eternal redemption of countless millions of the fallen race! and he must needs be great to accomplish it.
He is described as travelling in the greattheness of his strength, as the Omnipotent before whom no foes could stand. He entered the field with the feebleness of man, but he was victorious as God! Great in his resurrection. Great in his ascension to glory. Great in his intercessory work before the throne. And, blessed be his name he is still the great Saviour of great sinners. How transcendently great will he appear at his second advent, when he will appear in all his glory (attended by myriads of the heavenly host;) and gather together his ransomed from 'True faith sets things past in present view, the four corners of the earth; and then with
them ascend to heaven in all the greatness and with all the grandeur of a God; and there present these countless millions faultless before the throne, saying, 'Father, here am I, and not only I, but the children Thou hast given me.' He shall reign in heaven as King
but very little trouble to refute what people
"And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke i. 45.
How great, how solemn and eternal are the truths of the Bible! Other books, however good and spiritually true, are but streams Howing from the fulness of the Bible; they may reflect the Divine Image, and be valued as current coin, but they trace their origin to God's royal mint, the Bible; it is here they are coined and receive the Divine impress, and only as they bear testimony to its truths, do they bear the image of God, and shew forth his praise.
My text contains some Bible gems, and I pray God to give us the eye of faith, that we may discern their beauty, admire their lustre, and appreciate their worth. We observe
I. THE CHARACTER DESCRIBED-a believer; for my text says, 'She believed.'
Mary's faith was not of a mere nominal character, but a living faith; not a faith that reasoned concerning human improbabilities, but a faith that took God at his word; it was enough for Mary that God had spoken, as though she had said, 'I will not reason as to how the things spoken shall be accomplished, humanly speaking, such things are altogether impossible, and can never come to pass, but with God all things are possible; it is enough that he has said it, and I am persuaded he will also perform it, for he will not alter thing that is gone out of his mouth.' to God, beloved, it were thus with us, but alas! alas!! we too often get reasoning as to the when and the how such things can be, and at times so foolish are we that just because we cannot at a glance behold the end from the beginning, we conclude the thing can never come to pass; the Lord forgive our folly and grant us overcoming faith, to credit what the Almighty saith. For
Brings distant prospects home; Of things a thousand years ago, Or thousand years to come.'
II. THE PROMISE GIVEN. 'A performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.' The things referred to were
for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. These, I apprehend, are some of the things promised, and in which Mary truly believed. A part of them have already been performed, and as the Lord liveth, the rest of them shall not fail of their accomplishment; for,
• Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail, The word he has spoken shall surely prevail.'
III. THE DECISION-Blessed is she that believed. Mary was blessed indeed, for she realized her own interest in the things promised, and rejoiced therein; for she said, my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. There has been a great deal said against women preaching the gospel, but how far it is right cannot say; at any rate we know that 'Anna when she was of a great age, spake of Christ to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem; and our dear old sister Elizabeth turned parson, and preached a most excellent sermon to her young sister Mary, pronounced her blessed; her sermon proved effectual, for Mary believed, and realised the blessing promised. My friends, they are blessed indeed to whom the Lord thus speaks, and to whom he shews mercy. Some of you may conclude you are not blessed, because of what you feel within ; but allow me to ask, what is your character? Come now with me, and trace the delineation of the Christian character, and observe their features as pourtrayed by our Lord in his sermon on the mount, (just read 5th chapter Matthew, 1-12 verses.) What say ye, my hearer, to these things, seest thou not thine own likeness in at least one of these many pictures presented to view? If so, mark the decision, and by whom described. The decision is, that thou art blessed, and Christ himself declared it. Down, down with your harps from the willows! tune them afresh and let them loud resound his praise, who not only blessed Mary, but hath also blessed you. Even so, Amen.
"I HAVE NO HOPE!"
MR. EDITOR-I know you like to put good things on board jewels are considered among men to be good and of great value. Our God calls his children 'jewels;' and saith, they shall be mine in that day when I make them up, or number them.' God our Father chose the Church in Christ; and gave her to his Son, as his bride: He that hath the bride is the Bridegroom;' and a mighty faithful and loveing Husband keeps them on his heart in life, and death, and for evermore.
I will give you a short account of the life and death of Mr John Moysey, of Heathfield, Devonshire. I was acquainted with him for years; and knew the way the Lord was leading him. For some years he groaned under the guilt of sin; while under a law-work he used to say to me, I have no hope, I cannot believe God will save me.' I said to him, as well as I can recollect, did you always feel as you now do cannot you believe there is a
change wrought in you?" "I know there is a change in me,' was his reply; but I am afraid it is Satan's work, and not God's.' Our dear friend used, at that time, to sit under my ministry. He said no one seems to understand my case so well as you; your ministry suits me well.' I knew where he was; and line of things would not do for him. I said to what the Lord was doing for him. A smooth dear friend, God will bring you in his own him one day when walking over his farm, 'my time, into the liberty of the Gospel.' About this time I was leaving Devonshire, and shortly after was settled in Shropshire. A short time after my settlement there, I received a letter from my now deceased friend in which he informs me, that, the Lord had brought him into the liberty of the gospel; that Christ was exceedingly precious to him. One day, while on his farm, the Lord broke off all his bonds, and shined blessedly into his soul; and now he could sing of redemption by blood. From this time, up to the time of his illness, he used to preach at some of the chapels near his place of residence. I only had the pleasure of preaching one sermon to him after he was brought into the liberty of the gospel. On that occasion, he spoke of the blessedness of feeling the power of the truth of the gospel-' Oh!" said he,' it is lovely!' We had wept together, but on this occasion we rejoiced, and sang for gladness of heart. Our departed friend was ill a few months. I need not say there were changes in his mind during that period, but his end was peace.
Mr. J. Moysey was a member of a very respectable family in the parish of Laddiswell, Devonshire; he was a man of great trials; was his life written from the time of his marriage to the time he sweetly fell asleep in Jesus, (which was on the 26th of August, age 38 years) it would form an interesting volume. Our departed friend chose Mr. Turner to perform the burial service; also, to improve his death from Zech. iii. 2, Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" Our dear friend has left a widow with four children; also, an aged father, and other members of the family to mourn over their loss.
His death will be deeply felt by the lovers of truth that knew him.
Dear Editor, the good Lord is daily gathering in his children; it may not be far distant when the Master will come, and call for you and I. For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain.' I am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, Broseley, Sept. 10, 1858.
Real communion with God is the only sweetener of the Christian life. With this, a man may be content in country or town, in a palace or in a prison; without it, we are content NO WHERE! The OLD creation never was meant to satisfy the NEW CREATURE: this must live upon God in Christ, or starve! Wherever he records his name, wherever he reveals his face, is sacred-this contentsthis satisfies-Blackstock.