« הקודםהמשך »
Sir, you are a stranger to me, and I am to you; yet I pray for you, and all that are engaged in the Lord's service; I long for the period when God's people and ministers will understand his truth and each other better. I am tempted sometimes to think that Christ's prayer is not answered—“. That they all might be one in us,” &c. I can have no objection to your publishing this if
proper; I write chiefly for yourself; I leave it with you and the Lord. May He prosper the work you conduct and make it a blessing.
I am yours in Jesus,
J, P. [We give insertion to the preceding and annexed letter as specimens of the con.
flicting opinions with which an Editor has to contend. The same post will sometimes bring the flattest contradictions; and, as it has been before hinted in this Magaziue, were not an Editor based upon sound experience—were he not savingly acquainted with the inward enlightening and gracious operations of God the Holy Ghost, he must, as a necessary consequence, be driven from his standing, especially when his communications appear to emanate from men more or less under divine illumination.
With respect to our correspond J. P., we do think that, much as the liberty of the Gospel may be abused-startling as is the fact that hypocrites and vile Antinomians may take shelter under its free and its full proclama. tion; he is as yet but partially acquainted with the sweet, inward, restraining and constraining influences of that love which, when once shed abroad in the heart, produces a holy reverence for the truth of God, and a consistent walk. The difference seems to lie here; that our correspondent is not wholly delivered from that self-deceptive influence, which would lead him to speak and act for life instead of from life. We do know a soul that was in these trammels for years, and the means which God took, in some measure, to burst these bonds, were, to all appearance, overwhelming; they wore, at first, a destructive appearance ; but, blessed be his name, he has since explained himself, and taught that self-same soul some very precious lessons by the regimen under which he so graciously saw fit to bring him. And the Lord best knows whether by this means, and the liberty of which he has been made the humble partaker, he has strengthened the bands of sin, nurtured unbelief, given place to Satan, or not. About this we are at a point, that where most intercourse between Jesus and the soul is, by the blessed Spirit's power, maintained ; where there is least confidence in self, and most confidence in him; where there is the deepest conviction of human bankruptcy and divine all-sufficiency, there will be the greatest deadness to the world, the most humbling views of self, and the most evident proofs of living as becometh the children of light; looking out of self to the Lord-away from creatures and creature-dependancies, up unto Him who alone is worthy of our trust and confidence here, and our blessed hope in the prospect of eternity.
In allusion to the preceding letter, we must be free to confess that such epistles are among the most puzzling we receive. They contain a great deal of truth, and yet united with that truth there is much, in our opinion, that savours of a free-will, soul-deceptive, fleshly power.-ED.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. DEAR Sir,
Seeing that you allow the readers of your Magazine (the weak as well as the strong) to address you on subjects therein inserted, I feel a wish to thank you for your reply in the August Number, to your correspondent W. H., page 250, with the anecdote, so true both in nature and grace. Believing as I do, in accordance with your own views, and those of Dr. Watts, as expressed in his hymn (38th second book), that
( 'Tis love will make our cheerful feet
In swift obedience move;">
and that, as you say truly,“ If a sweet sense of the love of God shed abroad in the heart, a knowledge of free forgiveness and unchangeable love, do not bring forth the fruits of good living, we know not what will; and that in the absence of this, exhortations or inflictions of the rod will not effect it.” Your reply to W. H. was very pleasant to two or three others, but more especially interesting to me, from the circumstance of having met with a fellow-traveller just at this time, whose language was the same as W. H.'s. I felt surprised at hearing him express his feelings as to the necessity of outward reproof and correction, being myself the daily subject of enough of it within ; so that the language of the apostle (Rom. vii.) is often mine, “ The good that I would I do not, but the evil that I would not that I do ;" causing me to feel continually my need of that perfect robe of righteousness which is wrought out and put upon those who believe; and it seems to me much more desirable to be favoured to hear and read of what the Lord has done for his own chosen people, which, when applied to the soul by the blessed Spirit, will have the same effect in leading the soul to love and serve him, as the pardon had upon the poor culprit, in his love to, and readiness to serve, his judge. It will provoke to good works, and the inquiry will be, like that of one of old on a review of what the Lord had done and promised to do for him, “ What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?"
Whilst many are calling upon the creature to be doing, may you and your fellow-labourers be henceforth led more and more to talk of the mighty acts and doings of Him who loved his church and died for her; and to whom be all the glory for all the grace by which his people live, and (according to that measure which is bestowed upon them) are fruitful in every good word and work. Accept best wishes from Yours, &c.,
M. [Whatever may be the opinions of some few of our readers—however a still less
number of our correspondents may differ from us—we are quite decided upon the subject, that it is only a sense of the love, tenderness, compassion, and kindly dealings of the Lord towards his family and ourselves, will produce a cheerful acquiesence in his holy mind and will, and a consistent life, walk, and conversation. Affliction or the rod, abstractedly considered, will not produce obedience, nor draw forth the filial affection of a new-horn soul. What was the condition of Job under the apparently wrathful hand of God ? Disquietude and dissatisfaction. Jeremiah, under similar circumstances, declared that, “the Lord had deceived him," and that “ he would speak nó more in his name. But when the Lord spoke to Job, then was be silenced ; then did he “ abhor himself, and repent in dust and ashes.” So with Peter, when “the Lord turned and looked upon him," then, and not till then," he went out and wept bitterly ;" in sweet illustration of that precious passage, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and weep and mourn." The Lord's look of tenderness and voice of compassion must precede true, evangelical repentance and godly sorrow. It is upon this very ground, we are persuaded, that many of the Lord's dear family are kept in bondage ; they are looking to repentance, sorrow of heart, godly contrition, as a ground of acceptance before God; imperceptibly to themselves, they are seeking to bring it as a price in their hands, and conclude they shall never experience pardon nor know peace, until they are thus brought to bow at the mercy-seat. Hence, they construe their hardness, opposition, and rebellion, into so many black marks against them; but the Lord the Spirit, in his own good time, will give them a clearer insight into that blessed Scripture (Acts, v. 31), “ Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince aud a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” See you not a beauty in this passage, beloved ? It is the Lord must give you repentance, not you bring repentance (as it were), to the Lord; and when the Lord gives you a discovery of himself as your sin-bearer and law-fulfiller, then will
follow that brokenness of spirit and sweet contrition of heart which you loug to experience.
Oh! suffer one that has known the power of Jesus in breaking the most rocky heart, that has subdued the most rebellious will, and controlled a hatred and enmity that would gladly have unseated his throne-to point you to Jesus, to bid you ask, intreat again, and again, and again, the light, guidance, and simple yet gracious leadings of the Holy Ghost into a knowledge of Jesus, his power, his grace, his willingness to save, even to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him. The Lord the Spirit put a cry into your heart, and cause you to go to the throne with a holy, importunate wrestling, bearing upon your lips the Lord's own words, and reminding him that they are his, “ All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." It is as if the Lord had said, Not on any account, for no reason whatever, will I cast him away. What, not for his being too great a sinner, too daring a rebel, too vile a Wretch ; for having put it off too long, or presumptuously calculated upon future mercy? No," I will in no wise cast out.” On! blessed be thy holy name, precious Lord; then take to thyself thy great power, and prove to thý church now in the wilderness, upon whom the latter days are fallen, that thou art now as able and as willing to receive poor returning prodigals—the world's outcasts, and Satan's targets—as thou wast when this precious promise first dropped from thy lips; and then unitedly will we sing, “ Unto him that loved us and washed ns from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”Ed.]
To the Editor of the Gospel Magazine. DEAR MR. EDITOR,
Through your tender mercies you have spared “ the head, the hair of the feet, and the beard” (Isa. vii. 20) of the modern leviathan, the Missionary Society, that engine of all that is obnoxious to the church of God in the present day, whose unlimited power is propelled on by the horseleach cry of “ Money, money," upon the vitals of which numbers fatten who are too idle to follow a lawful calling, and whose exertions in compassing sea and land to make proselytes, are only exceeded by the barefaced extortion of drawing from the pockets of the credulous and simple-hearted; yet be assured, dear Editor, notwithstanding your delicacy in sparing Agag, the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired, and woe to them who shall be found to shrink in that day.
With yourself would I desire to be in the exercise of “ Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace ;" but, owing to the dimness of my sight, after so many years' close confinement in my stall, I must confess not to have the vivid optic of my editorial friend in discovering the unity of the Spirit in these things; nor do I believe, if you take the whole fraternity of this world.converting company, you will find one to be in unity of Spirit with you. Are not their sneers cast forth against the very title of your isolated Miscellany ? and is not the little band of correspondents bedaubed with their slime of Hyper-calvinism, the last-formed word in their vocabulary for Antinomianism? Which of your honest and faithful coadjutors would be allowed to stand in their ranks ? yea, would your owu pieces pass the scrutiny of the Brompton D.D.? “I trow not.” The contiguity of my stall to the depôt of these gentlemen warrants me to say, they have no unity of Spirit with you or yours. For many a long year they have shown to old Crispin ; yet he still moves on amidst all their hard speeches; and could you but witness what I have, you would feel convinced that every attempt to keep such unity in the bond of peace would be as fruitless as binding the sea with a rope of sand. Alas! that old Crispin should descend into the grave without seeing the Editor of the Gospel MAGAZINE strong and of a good courage.
My atfection towards you is by no means lessened on account of your rejection of my communication, although some of your readers might be led to conclude I am so litigious and wranglesome an old man as to render my correspondence unfit to see the light; while, on the other hand, some will make allowance for the temperament of one who, leaning upon his staff, cannot but feel for the desolation of Zion.
Another word upon the subject of Missions, and I will forbear. Take a view, dear Editor, of one mile circumference of our own locality, and will you not see enough to employ all the money and Missionary exertions, without transporting it to foreign climes, whose inhabitants, if called to view us as a nation, would use the proverb, “ Physician heal thyself;" yea, where is the heathen whose moral feelings would not be shocked were he only to be placed in the porlieus of Exeter Hall at the time of the great carnival? Then why attempt to keep the unity of a thing that is without existence ?
The simile of old Jacob is not to the point; Goshen had been acceded as their dwelling, and the distinction of the Hebrews' faith from that of the Egyptians, fully established ; and can the antipodes be more opposite, than the faith of God's elect and what is called the faith of these world.converters ? Do pray tell me by what means you can possibly keep the unity of the two.
Your brotherly-kindoess in assuring me my epistles, if disrobed of these things, would be acceptable, gives a zest rather uncommon to an old man; but certain am I, that small as the stream may be that now runs in the shrunken vessels, it will be completely dried up ere a flag of truce will be sent forth from the stall.
I have thought at times of throwing into your pages a few scraps of autobiography; and, at other times, of leaving as a legacy to my worthy friend some brief outlines of an old man's life, to be used at discretion; but well knowing they would in no way favour the system of the last fifty years in what is termed the religious world, must abandon the idea, and be content to die as I have lived, “My hand against every man, and every man's hand against mine.”. In this tenor of my way, watching men and things, no doubt I shall be engaged, until the few inmates of Amen Corner shall be summoned to take a farewell of From my Stall, Amen Corner.
CRISPIN, [“ Crispin,” you wrong us.
The Gospel MAGAZine is, strictly speaking, a Family Magazine. It is addressed to, and intended for, the household of faith ; and we are sure that, had “Crispin " kept a vigilant eye upon us from the commencement of our editorial career, he would have discovered that “the unity of the Spirit” which we were so anxious to see prevail, was between the living family of God, and not among those who, while they have a name to live, are yet dead.
But, notwithstanding the age of “Crispin," and that unaffected reverence which we entertain for him, we will say, that we think he would enjoy more peace and satisfaction in his own soul, and be of much greater service as a writer, were he to leave the Missionaries alone. We are quite ready to admit, that his letter is but too true a picture of their actual condition ; and we have no question as to the contemptuous regard in which our Magazine is held by the vast mass of professors of the day ; but really, we live in such a painful day, and the manifestative operations of the eternal Spirit are comparatively so rare; the sources of division so numerous, and the disunion so great, even among the real members of the true church of God; that we have bu little desire to upite in the jargon. Wrangling produces barrepnesscontention, dearth ; we would therefore endeavour, in the darkness that prevails around, to seek out some of the Lord's beloved ones, hidden in holes
and corners. To these our heart is open-with these our soul is united ; and while the potsherds of the earth contend with the potsherds of the earth, the Lord enabling us, we will talk a little about His gracious dealings while traversing the wilderness, and the happy, peaceful land we have in prospect. This, this is where our souls feed; it is here we are nourished, strengthened, and built up in our most holy faith. The Lord, if it be his will, give “ Crispin” a little more of this enjoyment; and then his autobiography will prove acceptable, not only to the readers of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, but greatly so to its
CORRESPONDENCE OF THE LATE YOUTHFUL
H. A. HARRIS.
LETTER XIII.-T. MR. J.
S MY DEAR FRIENDS,
How long the time seems since I saw you. It has been said, absence will cure a strong affection; but I think it has quite an opposite effect with me, and I think it ought to be still more so with you, because I have no mother, no sister, no wife, no friend, to soothe me under the trials of business, or the illness of extreme fatigue. But it is ordered in the inscrutable decrees of an all-wise Jehovah ; and, since his lovingkindness endureth for ever, I would
praise him for his grace received,
And trust him for the rest." I wish my faith were greater, and my mind more willing to acknowledge the sovereignty of Jehovah-Jesus, and more pleased to embrace his pleasure. I need not tell you of the desperate evils of my heart; you both, I rejoice to say, know the plague of your own. What an exceeding great and precious mercy to be Spirit-taught on this important point, because those who are sin-sick will surely be love-sick; and it is happiness indeed to be able to say of the tremendous Judge of quick and dead, “ This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” Also, amidst all the cares of life, we can look forward with blessed anticipation to that time when life shall give place to eternal life; when the pulse shall rest and the heart be still; when the body shall sink into the tomb, and be forgotten by the nearest and the dearest; then, raised by the power of Him who once inhabited the dust, we shall rise in incorruptible beauty, to spend an immortality of Hallelujahs in the house of our Father, in the bosom of our Lord. This is worth living and worth dying for.
I must now conclude. Alay God bless you with a brighter view of pardoning love; may you have your affections set above this fading, failing, dying world; so that, being securely sheltered in the Rock of everlasting Ages, you may rejoice in the prospect of being for ever in the presence of Him whom not having seen, yet you love, and in whom, although you see him not, yet believing you rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Truly I do not wonder at your wishing for the time when you shall see him as he is, and behold his glory, even the glory of that beloved Friend, who, clothed with humanity, was despised and rejected, crucified and slain, for rebel sinners.
Give my love to all my dear friends. I have no one here to join with me in kind love to you. I am solitary and alone. No, I am not alone; for
“ One there is above all others,
Well deserves the name of Friend."