« הקודםהמשך »
God-Man, and the same glory from which he came; and this demonstrates that he had in possession for his people both grace and glory before the highest part of the dust of the world was made. Blessed be God, it is not a portion of yesterday that is conferred upon us at believing ; no, no: for our believing, as hath been shown, is a part of our portion. Our portion, then, hath' on its side the glories of antiquity, which proves that the elect were very early upon the records of love; and their God and Father hath very highly expressed his love, in the rich provision he hath made for them in their Redeemer. The happy portion given them in Christ, was before their open existence or appearance in this world, yea, before the frame of nature was fixed; which renders it amazing, and fills the heavenborn soul with such joys and holy ecstacies of delight, that makes him break out in great admiration, and say, Oh, wondrous love, which took its rise before time, yea, from eternity; that laid up for me in my Redeemer all the treasures of grace and glory. Oh! that I had more of this blessed portion in my soul ; then would I bless and praise, admire and adore, more than I do, the wonders of God's ancient love, in giving to me such a happy portion in my Redeemer before his works of old. But, alas ! I must wait until I come to the original of my joy and portion, where I will praise, love, and adore, without weariness or fainting, for ever.”
2. It is a free portion. It is given by the Donor without money and without price. The saints' portion of grace and felicity is given to them without any consideration of their tears, prayers, or any other duties whatever; for none of them were ever designed as the cause of any of their enjoyments. No, for what God gives to his people, he gives like himself; he doth not look out of himself for the reason of his gifts to his chosen in Christ, if he did, he would not be the efficient cause of his own grace and favour, which carries in it a very dreadful consequence, for it strikes at his independency. I cannot see that there could be any cause in us of our own graces ; for, before grace there is nothing but sin and wickedness, which can be no cause of grace nor of our portion from God. We must conclude, then, that our portion is free; and it farther appears so from its antiquity, before our existence, and, consequently, our goodness could not be the cause of this portion.
Objection.-But was given upon the consideration of our goodness.
Answer. From hence it follows that there is a good in the creature there never was in Christ, nor derived from him ; for, if my goodness was the condition of my portion in Christ, then my goodness is not that portion, unless my portion be the condition of my portion, which is very irrational. My portion of glory also is given me freely. I cannot purchase it ; for all my graces, at best, are but a preparation for that state. If any call this a condition, then heaven and glory are conditional too; but heaven and its blessedness are not conditional in a strict and proper sense. Indeed, we cannot be saved without grace, yet we are not saved for it; and though we cannot come to heaven without the graces of the Spirit, yet we come there without conditions, because we come there not for our doings (for the graces of the Spirit are not ours), but for his who wrought them; so that my portion in Christ is a free, unconditional portion. This consideration leads me to admire the goodness of my God, because it is the security of my peace and solid joy; for, when I seriously consider what my God hath done for me in giving me such a portion of grace and glory in my Redeemer, upon the consideration of nothing done in me or by me, I am filled with steady and unshaken pleasure; for, as nothing in me could be the cause of my portion in Christ, so nothing done by me shall occasion the forfeiture thereof. The soul that is blessed with a divine and heavenly principle in these conceptions, will praise and glorify the Donor.
3. It is a safe and sure portion. It is out of the reach of all our enemies; neither sin, devils, nor men, can take it from us.
It is laid up where these thieves cannot break through and steal. They do, sometimes—nay, very often-plunder us of all our joys and comforts, and carry away from is those golden delights which we enjoy in our passage to the world of honour and renown before us ; but, glory be to God, they only rob us of a few of our travelling conveniences, while our portion is safe before us in our Father's house.
4. It is an inexhaustible portion, which can never be spent. It is such a bank-a nighty fund !-that, let us draw as much and as long as we will, our portion is still the same, and is no way impoverished. The Spanish ambassador, who had the curiosity to see the treasury of Saint Mark, in Venice, was observed to grope into it; and being asked the reason why he did so, he answered, “ It was to feel whether it had a bottom, which (saith he) I perceive it hath; but the riches of my master have no bottom;" alluding to the mines. Oh, may not believers say that they have looked into the portion and riches of time and sense, and perceived that they all have an end, that they may soon come at the bottom of them! But their own portion of the Lord Jesus Christ can never be fathomed, nor the bottom thereof sounded.
5. It is a pleasant portion. It is pleasant at present, and it is pleasant in time to come. Our portion here is attended with such delights and inexpressible joys, that all the sceptres, thrones, and diadems of the whole world cannot yield pleasures to equal them; and the joys and pleasures that our portion at present gives us, intluence us to despise, when set in competition with our portion, all the glory of mortals. And, in the world to come it will be pleasant, for we shall enjoy the presence of our God; we shall be ever with the Lord in the beatific vision of our God, so far as our natures are capable of; which made one say, * “Oh what a blessed sight will this be, to see God in us, and ourselves in God, and God in himself.” We shall dwell in a near union and communion to and with our God. Our union will be very near, and our communion more imme. diate than it can be at present; for it will be without the use of any ordinances; in the perfection of holiness, both in nature and life, attended with full joys and pleasures; we shall rest in the bosom of infinite love, with crowns on our heads, palms in our hands, and songs in our mouths.
6. It is an eternal portion. When millions of ages have rolled over our heads, in that bright and everlasting day in which our suns shall never go down, we have then as long to dwell in the blessed fruition of our God, the enjoyment of whom will be, in the Man Christ Jesus, our everlasting portion; where we shall celebrate the praises and glories of the everblessed and almighty Trinity as our one only living and true God, and be encircled in the arms of essential love for ever and ever. Amen.
THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT.
Having been much pleased and edified by reading the following anecdote, if it meets your approbation it will confer a farther obligation on
A GOSPEL TRACT VENDER. The eminent Archbishop Usher being once on a visit in Scotland, heard a great deal of the famous Mr. Samuel Rutherford, who, he understood, spent whole nights in prayer, especially before the Sabbath. The archbishop wished much to witness such extraordinary down-pouring of the Spirit, but was utterly at a loss how to accomplish his design. At length it came into his mind to dress himself like a pauper; and, on a Saturday evening, when it was turning dark, he called at Mr. Rutherford's house, and asked if he could get quarters for the night, since he could go to no other house at so late an hour for that purpose.
Mr. Rutherford consented to give the poor man a bed for the night, and desired him to sit down in the kitchen, which he did cheerfully. Mrs. Rutherford, according to custom on Saturday evenings, that her servants might be prepared for the Sabbath, called them together, and examined them. In the course of examination that evening, she asked the stranger how many commandments there were; to which he answered,
Eleven.' Upon receiving this answer, she replied, “ What a shame it is for you, a man with grey hairs, living in a Christian country, not to know how many commandments there are ! There is not a child of six years old in this parish but could answer this question properly.” She troubled the poor man no more, thinking him so very ignorant, but lamented his condition to her servants; and after giving him some supper, desired a servant to show him up-stairs to bed in a garret. This was the very situation in which he desired to be placed, that he might hear Mr. Rutherford at his devotions. However, he was disappointed; for that night the good man went to bed, but did not fall asleep for some hours. James did not go to bed, but sat listening, hoping to hear Samuel at prayer; and, at length, concluding that all the family were asleep, James thought, if he had been disappointed of hearing another offering up his desires to God at the throne of grace, he would embrace the opportunity himself, and poured out his heart to God with so much liberty and enlargement, that Samuel, immediately below, overheard; and getting up, put on his clothes. Should this have awakened Mrs. Rutherford, she could have suspected nothing of his design, seeing he rose commonly every day at three o'clock in the morning; and if she could have heard one at prayer afterwards, she would naturally conclude it was her husband. Samuel went up-stairs, and stood waiting at the garret door till James had concluded;' upon which he knocked gently at the door, and the other opened it with surprise, not thinking any were witness to his devotion. Samuel took him by the hand, saying, “Sir, I am persuaded you can be none other than Archbishop Usher; and you must certainly preach for me to-day;"! being now Sabbath morning. The archbishop confessed who he was ; and after telling Samuel what induced him to take such a step, said he would preach for him on condition that he would not discover who he was. Happy union of souls, although of different persuasions ! yet not marvellous ; God makes but two distinctions among mankind, the righteous and the wicked.
Mr. Rutherford furnished the archbishop with a suit of his own clothes, and, early in the morning, he went out into the fields; Samuel followed him and brought him in as a strange minister passing by, who had promised to preach for him. Mrs. Rutherford found that the poor man had gone away before they were up. After domestic worship and breakfast, the family went to the kirk, and the archbishop had for his text, John, xiii. 34, "A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another;" a suitable subject for the occasion. In this sermon he observed that this might be reckoned the eleventh commandment; upon which Mrs. Rutherford said to herself, “ This is the answer the poor man gave me last night;" and, looking up to the pulpit, said, “ Is it possible that this is him ? After public worship, the strange minister and Samuel Rutherford spent the evening in mutual satisfaction ;
and early on Monday morning the former went away in the dress he came in, and was not discovered.
CORRESPONDENTS of the Gospel Magazine, deceased. Continued from the February Number, page 65. “J. R.”—John Radford, Portsea, Hampshire. “ Aaron."-Rev. John Barker, Hull, Yorkshire. “ Mark Sutcliff.”—Old Town, near Halifax, ditto. “ H. K.”—William Howell, Independent Minister, Knaresborough (lately dead,
aged 90). “Old Everton.”-Rev. John Berridge, A.M., Everton, Beds. “T. B- --d.”—Thomas Bonfield, Baptist Minister, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. “ E. G."-Edward Goldsmith, Ramsgate, Kent. “W. W. H.”-William Wales Horne, Baptist Minister, London. “Rev. Beilby Porteus.”—D.D., Bishop of London. “ Abraham Booth."--Baptist Minister, London. “ John Martin.”-Ditto, London. “ H. P."'-Henry Price, Baptist Minister, High Wycombe, Bucks. “A Son of Zion.”—George Brayling, Calne, Wiltshire. “J. Horseley.”—D.D., Bishop of St. David's, Wales. « Dr. Walker.” “ Rev. Thomas Molland." “Rev. Jesse Townsend.” “Rev. Richard De Courcy.”— Vicar of St. Aukmond's, Shrewsbury.
Joseph Jenkins.”_D.D., Baptist Minister. “ Samuel Stennett.”—D.D., Baptist Minister. “Ambrose Sear),”—Esq., Worthing, Sussex. “George Burder.”-Independent Minister, Lancaster; afterwards Editor of the
Evangelical Magazine, commenced 1794. « Rev,
- De Coetlogan.”—Rector of Godstone ; Editor of the Theological Magazine, six years; the Divine Treasury, published two years. “ Timothy Priestly.”—Independent Minister; Editor of the Christian Magazine
DELIVERANCE FROM SLAVISH FEAR.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. We now continue from our last* an account of being brought into the banqueting house, and having the banner of love placed over me. I now began to have a sweet foretaste of heaven; the peace and unspeakable delight that is among the angels and glorified saints which surround the throne of the Redeemer, whose blessed presence embodies or constitutes all the glory of heaven to the redeemed. Well may the church say, The peace of God passeth knowledge. O how often I repeated this word, and knew not its meaning; our dearest friends cannot give it us, and our greatest enemies cannot deprive us of it; being everlasting, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, given to him, and from him to all the seed treasured up in him before all worlds, by that covenant engagement in the counsel of peace, and dispensed in time to the elect of God. All that is said about religion, with all the forms of morality which have been invented by men, will be of no avail if found under the law, when God shall call to the heavens from above and to the earth, that he may judge his people. The Law can show no mercy, as I found by bitter experience, while I lay under its terrors; he only is blessed whose iniquity is forgiven, and whose sin is covered. All thc world and the grandeur of it will pass away like a cloud, leaving an empty void; but the love of God liveth and abideth for ever--it cannot be described nor told out, either in time or in eternity. I now began to look for the doctrines of sovereign grace, as my understanding
* See page 211.
was somewhat enlightened by the grace of the doctrines in my heart. saw the great love of God to me, a poor solitary wanderer in the wilderness of this earth, finding no city to dwell in, in that he took me from this fearful state, adopted me into his family, called me with a holy calling, in union with Christ, and in communion of the benefits which flow from that union. Phil. iii. 9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This union is that spiritual relation of men to Christ whereby they obtain a right to all those blessings which are prepared in him. 1 John, v. 12, “He that hath the Son hath life; iv. 15, is God dwelleth in him and he in God;” and this vaion was wrought by calling, for calling is gathering men together to Christ, that they may be united with him. 1 Peter, ii. 4, 5, “ To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”. Eph. iv. 15, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” From which union with Christ there follows a union with God the Father. 1 Thess. i. 1, Unto the church which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.” And I considered these things as the first things pertaining to redemption, and it is the first thing that doth make a man actually elected in himself; that is the first act of election which is showed forth and exercised in man himself. Calling and election are sometimes taken in Scripture in the same sense ; I Cor. i. 26—28, “Ye see your calling;' "God hath chosen the foolish things and weak things.” The calling of men doth not depend on the dignity, honesty, or industry of any man that is called, but upon election and predestination of God only. “ The Lord added to the church such as should be saved ;'
;” “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed;” “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” And I consider the parts of calling are two, the offer of Christ and the receiving of him. John, i. 11, 12, “ He came to his own and his own received him not; But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” And this offer is an objective propounding of Christ as of a means sufficient and necessary to salvation ; 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, “ But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God;" Heb. vii. 25, “ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him.” And I consider also the offer of Christ is outward or inward ; the outward is preaching of the Gospel or the promises of Christ; Acts, ix. 15, “ To bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel ;" the law going before to prepare the way for the promise. These promises, as touching the outward promulgations, are offered to all without difference, together with a command to believe them; but as touching the propriety of the things promised, which depends upon the intention of him that promiseth, they belong only to the elect, who are therefore called the sons and heirs of the promise (Rom. ix. 8). The inward offer is a spiritual enlightening, whereby these promises are propounded to the hearts of men, as it were by an inward word; “Whosoever hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh to me;" Eph. i. 17, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." This also is sometimes, and in a certain manner, granted to those who are not elected (Heb. vi. 4). And I also consider, if any one oppose himself out of malice to this illumina