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may see it; but the Searcher of hearts sees it, and in due time it shall come to light. Once more.
Love to the Lord and to His people, and a consequent cleaving to Him and them, a clinging to Jesus through all the changing scenes of life, and a clinging to His people in spite of all reproaches, losses, crosses, and gorrows-holding on and holding out to the end, although we may live to see some apparently flourishing “ branches," of whom we hoped better things, after all their profession, cut off from the Church, and verifying those solemn words in 2 Pet. ii. 22- these are the real“ fruits of righteousness." And all the chequered experiences of such favoured souls are ordered by the Good and Wise Husbandman for their good. All, all is but the “purging" or pruning," designed, not for cutting off, but to work so as to produce increasing fruitfulness. O Thou great Husbandman !
"Smile me into fruit, or chide,
If no milder means will do. Sanctify to Thy people's good every trial and sorrow of the wilderness; bless these few observations to the eternal welfare of those who may read them, and get glory to Thy Great Name ! Amen.
doctrine we have to oppose should for the most part be maintained in (socalled) Christian pulpits. But the explanation is not far to seek. The Great Master told us long ago that there were such beings as hireling shepherds, that they “ care not for the sheep ;” and for this reason, that the
sheep,” in the first place, are too well taught of God to listen to their learned but soul-starying orations, and secondly, are too poor to be able to pay them the extravagant salaries at which they appraise their services. They consequently have to look to the ungodly world for their patronage and support, they cater for the world and they must please the world (for the world is an imperious master), and the world demands
smooth things,” and there is nothing so calculated to make a man popular, and secure for him a grand cathedrallike church and pulpit to pose in, than the soothing syrup, the opiate for conscientious scruples, that lies in the doctrine of no future punishment for sin.
This flesh-pleasing and devil-pleasing monstrosity is like the hydra of Lerna-it is many-headed. Some of its advocates maintain the ultimate annihilation of the wicked after a certain undefined period of punishment; some argue for the ultimate restoration of the wicked when their iniquities have been purged by the flames of hell. Some believe in the total extinction of existence at death; and others, again, speciously style their doctrine “ Life only in Christ," meaning that all persons not in Christ by saving faith are annihilated at death.
But all these theories have the same family likeness. Like the eyes or the brow, the nose or the mouth, which often enables us to identify the children of one father, we can recognise in all the systems mentioned the one common feature-viz., the denial of the rights of the Almighty as the Great Legislator, the obstinate refusal of the carnal mind to admit that the just claims of eternal law must and will be enforced.
This is the root of the tree, however numerous its branches, and to this, therefore, in the interests of even the
THE readers of the GOSPEL HERALD will expect the promises made last month to be fulfilled, and among them was a paper on the above subject, from the pen of the undersigned.
Verily we had rather have been commissioned to write upon the everlasting happiness prepared for the people of God than upon the doom of those who live and die without God in the world. But the servants of the Most High may not choose their duties, or perhaps the prophet Jeremiah would have preferred the office of the apostle Paul. We, therefore, as Bunyan would
address ourselves to our task.
It is lamentable to think that the
ungodly themselves, we shall try to lay the axe ; for surely it must be to the advantage of those who now oppose the truth to be told of it without fear, rather than that they should be lulled to sleep in a false security.
Our plan will be as follows :--We shall first appeal to reason and then to Scripture, and, addressing ourselves more particularly to the child of God, refer him to his experience and his faith.
In addressing those who are inclined to listen to reason only, we would first ask, Is man the creature of God or not ? The old argument of the chicken and the egg occurs to us here. Which existed first? If the egg, then an egg existeil that never was laid-where did it come from? If the chicken, then a hen exist-d that never was hatched-wbere did she come from? And the same argument might be pursued in various forms did not the nature of the subject forbid the slightest humour. But we do not undertake to combat Darwinism ; the only really serious argument that can be advanced for man's descent from a baboon is the undoubted fact that some men so far resemble baboonsas to believe it. But even if we did admit the theories of, perhaps, the mostillustrious foolthatever lived, his “ Origin of Species ” does not account for the origin of the first germs from which the species were evolved. There is, and must always be, a beginning to things, which can in no way be accounted for without the admission of the thought of an intelligent Creator. And if a Creator is to be admitted at all
, surely no more reasonable account of creation can be given than that of Moses, and to those pure reasoners who bring their geological arguments into the field, we would earnestly recommend a perusal of “The World's Birth(lay,” by Professor Gaussen, a geologist of no mean order, who triumphantly shows the agreement of all that is really ascertained in that science with the teachings of the Book of Genesis.
But if there is a Creator, and if MIND is a more. wonderful Creation than MATTER, and, therefore, Man is the head of the visible creation, then the
question arises-Is the intelligence created immortal, or is it capable of extinction ?
Most of the votaries of reason insist upon the latter, and yet it is unsupported by any reasonable argument.
But does not the Scripture say the wicked shall perish'?” say they; but we answer that they have no right to appeal to Scripture, unless they admit it as an authority, and they must accept it as a whole, or reject it as a whole ; and, if they accept it as a whole, the passage quoted is not difficult to explain, in harmony with other parts of revealed truth.
But, to the pure reasoner, the Bible is out of court, and we re-affirm that there is nothing in reason to support the idea that death is the termination of existence. On the contrary, every consideration points the other way. The seed dies in the ground, but lives again in the harvest ; the grub is lost in the chrysalis, but a higher form of life bursts from its covering ; and, indeed, throughout nature there are abundant illustrations of the doctrine of resurrection; and it would be strange, indeed, if man, the lord of all, was annihilated at the death of the body. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that parts of the body-the arms or the legs, or both—may be amputated, and yet the thinking power remains intact ; and, as Butler argues, if the death of the body were also the death of the soul, the death or amputation of any part of the body would involve the loss of a proportionate part of the reasoning faculty ; but, since it is demonstrated that this is not so, but a man can think as well without legs or arms as with them ; reason suggests that the loss of, or separation from, the entire corporeal frame would still leave the intelligent occupier of the house of clay the same as before.
Again, it is an undoubted fact that wherever intelligence has been developed, even where the existence of the Bible has been unknown, there has always been an inward consciousness of immortality. It is a deliberate falsehood to assert that the conscientious
troubles of man arise from the teachings of those who reverence the Scriptures. What priest or parson impressed the minds of Homer or Virgil, of Plato or of Socrates, with the idea of a future state ? And we might add, what Atheist or Agnostic has ever succeeded in obliterating it from his own mind or from the minds of others ? The question, “If a man die shall he live again ?" is not kept alive in men's minds by the Bible; God has written it in man's conscience, and all the efforts of the devil are powerless to erase it.
We next inquire, if Man is the creature of God, and is constituted immortal, endowed with faculties that even death itself cannot deprive him of: Is he, or is he not, under any obligation to his Creator? Surely, the above being admitted, no reasoner will maintain that the creature is independent of, and entirely free from, the control and government of Him that made him.
What, then, is the basis of this obligation, or, rather, what is the character of it, for its basis is clearly the relationship of the creature to the Creator? And this inquiry brings us to a word that reasoners are devotedly attached to the word law. They talk to repletion of the laws of nature, the law of gravitation, of germination, of solar and polar influence of primary, secondary, and tertiary formations; and, on the whole, it must be confessed that they have a very great respect for law, and usually contend warmly for its inflexibility and unchanging character. They worship mathematics, and he would be an infidel indeed who ventured to suppose that, under certain circumstances, two and two might make five.
We humbly claim the same respect for a law that too often they decline to concern themselves with the law of
terous. But if God is holy, He must needs require holiness in His creatures, and it must be the duty of every man towards God to be holy, perfect, innocent, pure, and upright. Anything short of this must be an impeachment of the righteousness of God Himself. For the Ruler could not be holy who could look with complacency upon the habitual and continuous disregard of all that is good in His creatures.
A holy God can have no lower standard fof government than holiness. This is the law of His whole jurisdiction, and how, in the name of reason, could it be otherwise ? Who could respect Him, much less worship, love, and adore Him, if it were not a fact that justice and judgment is the habitation of His throne ?
But if it be admitted, first, that there is a God ; secondly, that man is His creature; thirdly, that the creature owes allegiance to the Creator ; fourthly, that the demand of the Legislator and the duty of the subject is righteousness; then the next question arising is, How are the claims of the law to be satisfied and the rights of justice to be maintained in the case of a sinner? And a further question, hanging upon the first, is, If these claims are not satisfied in this world, how are they to be met and satisfied in a future state ?
And leaving our readers to ponder these questions, we shall ask the editor's permission to discuss them in the next number of the GOSPEL HERALD, having already encroached as much as we ought to do upon
space at his disposal.
GEO. W. SHEPHERD.
The Almighty, Creator must, as a matter of course, be the only authorised Legislator for His creatures, and equally of course must be the only competent Judge at last.
Now this Almighty Creator, Legislator, and Judge must either be holy or unholy, and the latter proposition is impossible and prepos
thoughts are many ; and how weighty and precious they are !
We learn from this letter that the best way to exhort the saints is to lift up Jesus in the dignity and glory of His person and work. If there is anything we want the saints to do, let us give them sound doctrine. The proverb says, “Put the whip into the manger; and we say, put the exhortation in the form of a sermon full of Christ.
The condition of the Hebrew Christians at the time the Apostle wrote this letter was very peculiar. To realise that condition will help us to understand and feel the force of the Apostle's words. It was a time of persecution, and those who had received Jesus as the Messiah could no longer worship in the Temple—that place which, above all others, was hallowed in their history. With his whole soul the Apostle exhorted them to hold fast. “ Let us hold fast our profession.” If you canuot enter the material Temple, you have the true spiritual Temple in Jesus. If you cannot come to the altar of burnt. offering, you have the true sacrifice in Christ. In Him you have the antitype of all the types, the substance of all the shadows, and the fullness of every blessing Having Jesus Christ Himself, “let us hold fast our profession.”
How thoroughly practical is the teaching in this letter. And does not all truth tend to holiness ? Is not the Spirit of Jesus noble, gentle, and kind ? Is it not Christlike to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for widows and orphans ? “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
“LET US." How expressive are these words in this letter. “Let us, therefore, fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." us labour to enter into that rest." “ Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace.” “Let us go on unto perfection." “ Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith.” “ Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering."
" Let us consider one another to provoke unto love
and to good works." “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." I Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.” “Let brotherly
" love continue ;” or, “ Let us love one another.” “ Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." “ Let us hold fast our profession."
This “let us " teaches us that we should encourage one another in the ways of the Lord, and so watch over one another for good. If we see a brother growing cold, or yielding to temptation, let us lovingly take him by the hand, and say, “Let us hold fast our profession.”
This exhortation implies an opposing force. There are hindrances in the way; there are manifold temptations ; but we have a great High Priest, and, therefore, let us hold fast. Ali Christians feel that they have an evil nature ; in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. There are temptations in the pleasures of the world. It is difficult, we know, sometimes where to draw the line—to determine what is lawful, and what is not. But it cannot be right for a Christian to go where he cannot take his Master. Everything that tends to cool our love to Jesus, and to destroy tenderness of conscience, must be wrong: “Let us hold fast our profession.” Satan is not dead, and he will hinder us if he can ; but we are not ignorant of his devices. He is the father of lies, and we will not, God helping us, give up our profession to please him.
Some have been tempted to give up when they have looked upon the prosperity of the wicked.
" But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped; for I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” But let us hold fast our profession, for in a little while the wicked will have passed away. Even their prosperity is a slippery place, and in a moment they may be cast down.
Others have been greatly troubled by the inconsistencies of professors. But
we have followship with Him; and we can only live the truth as we walk in Him. Being filled with the love of Christ, we shall hold fast to His name ; His whole revealed character will be precious to us. Knowing what He has done for us, we shall hold fast to our experimental knowledge of the truth ; and we shall hold fast our public profession of Him. “Let us hold fast" in our Christian work ; hold fast against all adversaries ; and hold fast till Jesus
if soine are giving up, let us hold fast ; if some are growing cold, let us, with warm and glowing zeal, seek to serve the Lord. If some have proved unfaithful, let us be faithful unto death. Whatever the temptation may be, “let us hold fast our profession.".
HOLD FAST ! Take fast hold of instruction. “ Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.". To profit by the Word we must hold it fast by medi'tation. We are exhorted to prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good. The doctrines of the Gospel are good, and they must be held fast. Divine sovereignty, electing love, sure and certain redemption, justification by faith, almighty grace, seen in the conversion, preservation, and glorification of all true believers, must be held fast. The order and the ordinances of God's house must be maintained. Many are turning aside from the "good old way," but we are not to ask, What is fashionable? We are not to inquire, Which is the road to popularity? But rather, What is our Master's will? We are not to follow good men, but CHRIST, for He is our Leader. The fact that there are good men in the Episcopalian Church is no reason why we should believe in a State Church and in a Book of Common Prayer. We have known good men in all denominations. Which shall we follow ? None! Exercising the right of private judgment, let each one seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in his own diligent study of the Bible, and, having found the truth, let him hold it fast. “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon
and happy is every one that retaineth her.” It is the will of Christ that every believer should be baptized ; and, as baptized believers, come to the Lord's Supper. “Teaching them ”-that is, those who have believed! and been baptized, “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
We should hold fast to CHRIST, for all truth is in Him. We can only rightly know the truth as we know Him; we can only enjoy the truth as
Why should we hold fast? We shall never find a better religion, for it gives true pleasure in life, it will support in death, and give us an eternity of joy.
Hold fast, for the world, and the fashion of it, will soon pass away. Hold fast, for error, and all that is false, is doomed to die. Hold fast, for Truth is immortal. Hold fast, for we are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses. Hold fast, for Jesus our great High Priest ever lives to intercede
Hold fast, for He is faithful. that promised. His grace is all-sufficient, and His presence will ever be with us; therefore, "Let us hold fast our profession." “ Hold fast the doctrines of the Word ; Hold fast to Christ your only Lord ;
And never yield !
And keep the field !”
FROM SAINT TO SAINT.
April 19th, 1845. MY DEAR FRIEND, I find you are still in the beaten path of tribulation, and I am walking side by side with you. Our exercises may indeed be very diverse, but they are just the very sort and size which infinite wisdom and paternal love appointed for us; and when we are brought through all the