Page images


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

hand and a stretched-out arm, and saw no way of escape from the wrath of God; for God's Word declared, - Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them;' and we felt as if the curse of God were already burning us up. We almost tremble now when we think of it. Then it was that we were constrained to cry for mercy. What was the world to us then?

“Mercy, good Lord! Mercy, we ask;

This is the total sum.
For mercy, Lord, is all our suit,

O let thy mercy come!” And that mercy did come. That precious verse, The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin,' came with such irresistible power to our souls that we felt as free from sin as an angel. We had been going as fast as we could to hell; and now the blessed Spirit raised us in our very feelings to heaven. We shouted for joy, and called upon the whole creation to join us in praising and blessing the Lord. That ecstatic feeling passed away. Indeed, if it had not done so, we could not have existed in the body. But now we are realizing a sweet measure of it, -of Christ's precious love and blood, again; so that we can say unwaveringly our hearts are not divided between Christ and the world, for Christ has all.

But can it possibly be that we should experience this sweet, this powerful, this positive assurance that Christ has our whole heart, that we have no felt idol therein, and yet that we should, at the same time, feel that our heart is as an unclean bird? Alas! It is so indeed!

“ The Christian cries, 'Unclean! Unclean!'

E'en though-feelingly-released from guilt.” There may be others of you who will say, “ We often don't seem to have even divided hearts; we feel as if the world and our darlings in the world had the whole.” Indeed! Do you feel this, and deplore it? Then you give proof that you are living souls; for the dead cannot feel, nor know anything. (Ecc. ix. 5.) This is true in a spiritual as well as in a temporal sense. You grieve that it is so? Can the dead grieve? You earnestly desire to have it otherwise. What can the dead desire? The Lord will, in his own time, give you your heart's desire. He humbles a man, and then gives him the desire of his soul. (Ps. xxi. 2; cxlv. 19.) You have a willing mind, and that will is accepted of God. It is indeed his own work in you. No man can be made to feel that he is lost and be made willing to be saved in God's own way unless he be spiritually alive; and it is for such that the precious invitations of the Gospel are intended. “Whosoever will.These invitations are not to be thrown out at random,


[ocr errors]

but are to be specially addressed to those for whom they are specially intended.

Now, if we are honestly anxious to try ourselves by the Word of God, let us turn to Rom. xii. Our space will not permit us to dwell upon more than one or two points.

Let no man among you think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but let him in honour prefer others to himself. It is the violation of this Divine precept which is the main cause of the disturbances which often arise

in churches. A minister may say he is the servant of the church; but only let him be contradicted, and he soon shows he means he is their master. Happily, as far as our observation goes, this evil occurs but seldom, compared with others. There is a greater evil. A minister may have been well received by a people,-his testimony acceptable; he may suddenly change his sentiments, and, without telling the people he had so changed, may go again amongst them and preach his new doctrines, causing a division. Nothing can be more dishonourable and disreputable than this. Such persons are Protestant Jesuits, and, in our eyes, more unseemly and their hypocrisy not less to be abhorred than the Jesuits of Rome. And we hope, with the help of God, that some of the last efforts of our pen will be to denounce such ungodly conduct. They take advantage of the confiding simplicity of the people wickedly to sow their tares. Had it not been for Divine interposition some years ago, more than one Strict Baptist place would now, in consequence, have been in the hands of the Baxterians.

Again. A deacon may so magnify his office as to put both minister and members at defiance. And some deacons contend that they are not the servants of the church, but the rulers. This is“ deaconcraft," as Mr. Philpot termed it, with a witness.

Members again may act in so unruly a way as to set at nought all the three estates, if we may so term minister, church, and deacons ; until separation becomes an absolute necessity.

Brethren, these things ought not so to be. Can you, can wo, if acting under such a spirit, ask the Lord to search us and try as, and see if there be any wicked way in us? If we can, we give sad proof that, to say the least, we are in a hardened state, and far, very far, from being able to say, " through the grace given unto us, we are not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.”

But a word or two on the other side. A brother's motives may be misjudged, and he, in consequence, wrongly condemned. Of this we are persuaded, that if, before we judged harshly of a brother, we viewed ourselves as in his place, and asked ourselves what we would have done under similar circumstances, we should

[ocr errors]

then, thus far, “ be of the same mind one toward another;" and nine-tenths of the evils amongst us would be prevented. But too many, “ being wise in their own conceits," cannot condėscend to this.

Napoleon III. once said there was no such thing as political gratitude; and if there be any such thing as religious gratitude, we hardly know where we can find it. Certainly not where we judge we have most right to look for it. Only let self-interest or vain-glory stand in the way, and we may look in vain for even principle. As Mr. Knight says in the sermon we publish in this No.," when we have been trying to do people good, for them to try to injure 'us all in their power is very painful.” We are now in the depth of winter. Are we "

Are we contributing to the necessities of the saints ?" Are we, as far as in us lies, doing good unto all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith? Read what the Holy Ghost says by John. (1Jno. iii. 17.) We need not quote his words here.

In continuing our work, we do not expect much opposition from the general professors, for they will probably not read our words; but from those who," for the sake of peace," or, to avoid controversy, are willing to shake hands all round; or with whom, if there be a controversy, it is with those who expose the doings of compromisers. We expect opposition, also, from "men of spite,” who, as Mr. Philpot once said, “ will shoot their arrows at us,-keen-eyed to see all that is against us, and dim-eyed to see what is for us.'' Our attention has been more than once called to the traps which have been laid for us to draw us into angry expressions, and passages of Scripture have been quoted against our views which have no more to do with the subject in hand than a shadow has to do with the substance. But hitherto, by God's goodness, we have had eyes given us to see the traps and grace to avoid them. May this still be our happiness! And though we may be charged with “ conceit,” because we are kept firm, we hope neither our pen nor that of our correspondents will ever be dipped in water when we or they write. May we be enabled to smile at all opprobrious epithets!

Well, brethren, be this as it may, we again launch our boat on the mighty ocean; and if the Lord will continue to bless the spiritual part of it, as we have reason to know he did during the past year, we shall be well paid for our labour; and to Him shall be the praise.

Justification is an act of God's free grace, whereby he clears his people from sin, discharges them from condemnation, and reckons and accounts them righteous, for the sake of Christ's righteousness, which he has accepted of, and imputes unto them.-Gill.




CHAPEL, DICKER, THURSDAY MORNING, Oct. 21, 1880. “And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers; for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house; therefore the breadth of the house was still upward; and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst.”—EZEK. XLI. 7.

This portion, friends, has been upon my mind for several days; and I could not get rid of it, though I did not know how to speak from it. So I was in a very trying position. Now, what my soul desires this morning is that I may be enabled to speak, in some measure, of the things contained in this portion, touching the King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is a very precious portion. The way it came to my mind was when thinking of the enlargement of this place. I wondered how many years it was since the gospel of the grace of God was first unfolded in it. I know it has been preached here for many years; I should think nearly 50; but some of the fathers and mothers in Israel here know more about it than I do; though I have come in and out of this place for nearly a quarter of a century. If I am spared till the 6th of next January I believe it will be 24 years since the time that the Lord manifestively pardoned my sins. I have come up to this place many times cast down and heavy laden, fearing to hear our dear aged pastor, Mr. Cowper, who is now in glory, would cut me off altogether; but, instead of this, I have been favoured in my soul, blessed with a soft heart, and have gone home praising God; so I have reason to speak well of the place, and to bless the Lord that he ever brought me here.

In looking round this morning and seeing so many fathers and mothers in Israel who were here when I first came under the roof, I think how God has prospered us. The place was enlarged about six years ago, and now it has become too strait again; for people who need living bread will come where it is to be had; and many who have como here have been fed with the bread of life. Consequently, through the blessing of God, this house of his has been made large enough to receive many more.

Now, in looking at the words of our text, it is said, “There was an enlarging and a winding about still upward to the side chambers." This temple was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the temple Ezekiel saw in a vision-Solomon's temple; and our text is a minute description of this temple. And as Jesus Christ is the sum and substance of the temple, it sets forth the oneness of himself and his people. And, in looking at it in this manner, we see that there was an enlarging and a winding about

[ocr errors]

still upward. Now the first time that we find a place of this sort spoken of in the Word of God is in Exod. xxv. 40. There


will find God, when speaking to Moses about the tabernacle, gave him a description of it, and told him how to do everything that was necessary: “And look that thou make all things after the pattern showed thee on the mount." There was no room left there for man's wisdom. Man's wisdom was not needed there at all. God


Moses directions as to the length, breadth, and height; and everything was carried out according to the Lord's instructions.

We see the same thing in one generation after another. David, when God had blessed him, felt a desire in his heart to build a temple, or a house, for God; and the desire of David was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Still he was not permitted to build the Lord's house, because he was a man of war; but God gave him an illustrious son, Solomon, who was a man of peace; and God gave him directions how he was to build the temple. And thus you see, friends, Moses, David, and Solomon were all types of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And in this temple we have before us this morning, we see the oneness of the Lord Jesus Christ with his people. We see how God ordered a temple to be built, and how his instructions were carried out. God the Father was the architect. He designed the plan, and Moses, David, and Solomon were the instruments he used to carry it out.

In 1 Ki. vi. we read that when Solomon's temple was being built, there was no noise of hammer or axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house; but that all the parts were fitted and squared before they were brought to be placed in the temple. Now, this is just how God does with his children. He does not bring them out of nature's quarry and put them into the church of Gcd just as they are; but they are all fitted and squared by God the Holy Ghost, and are brought in in God's good time; which is the right time. God, in his infinite goodness and boundless love toward his dear children, brings them out of the quarry of nature, calls them by his grace, quickens them by his Spirit, and makes them new creatures in Christ Jesus.

We have looked, then, at the house, that is, Solomon's temple; and, in looking at that we see, as I have just mentioned, the Lord Jesus Christ as the spiritual House into which all his dear people are brought; and they are united to Christ as their living Head.

Now, then," there was an enlarging and a winding about still upwards.” Now, when the Holy Ghost comes into a poor sinner's heart, he quickens him, brings him out of the state he was in, and opens his eyes to see where he was. And this is what I understand to be the meaning of no noise of axe or hammer being

« PreviousContinue »