Page images

choice of them in and with Christ Jesus their Lord. No minister of the Gospel, rightly understanding his commission, would preach the doctrine of election to an assembly of persons dead in trespasses and sins. That were not to preach it in its “own time and place;" for men are to be addressed according to their present character and condition. Repentance towards God is to be insisted upon, and full and free salvation, the “most joyful message," as expressed in Article 3, proclaimed, and God blesses such preaching by giving a true and living faith in the word preached to whomsoever He will of the hearers. And it is a fact that no others do savingly believe; for, apart from all controversy about the cannot or the will not of men's believing, it is evident that they do not believe of their own natural will. So, that any at all are saved is owing to election, the source and spring of salvation. None would come to Christ unless God made them willing in the day of His power, election or no election ; but in all ages “elect” obtain it by the grace of God, and the rest remain in their own wilful blindness, loving darkness more than light.

Articles 11 and 12 are in harmony with Peter's exhortation to “ give diligence to make your calling and election sure," and, in connection with Article 13, show that the doctrine of election is humbling in its tendency on the renewed mind, incentive to loving obedience to Divine commands, and diligence in the use of the means of grace, and productive of unspeakable joy and gratitude in the heart of the assured believer,


The Valley of Alchor.

“And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for the herds

to lie down in for My people that have sought Me.”—ISAIAH Ixv. 10.

[ocr errors]

HERE is, first, the posture-lying down ; the herds lying down. The soul is recumbent, resting and meditating ; lying down after labour, after being chastened as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, and after labouring heavily laden, through reluctance to take Christ's easy yoke upon the (stiff) neck. But being at length, through grace, a little more docile, the weary and sorrow-stricken soul has been divinely satiated by many unquestionably sweet seasons at the Throne of Grace, and blessed opportunities in the public means. David was in a similar case in Ps. xxiii. : “ He restoreth my soul,” and “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; He leadeth me beside the still waters"-"pastures of tender grass and “ waters of quietness” (after a season of trial), as the margin renders it ; and again, in Ps. xxx., where he is meditating upon the sweetness and the unchangeableness of Christ's love during relapses, which Psalm was written upon a bright morning of joy after a night of weeping.

“He maketh me to lie down." Like Mary, we "ponder these things that “have happened to us” (Phil. i. 12)] in our hearts." Pain past, is pleasure ; and past sorrows, distracting thoughts, darkness, doubt, and fear, looked at by the rays of mercy, tender mercy, re-assure the mind and give a new birth to hope. 6 Return


unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord (thy Shepherd) hath dealt bountifully with thee."

"When darkness long hath veiled my mind,
And smiling day once more appears,
Then, my Redeemer, then I find

The folly of my doubts and fears." Here, is secondly, the place. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for My people that have sought Me."

Israel of old typified the entire spiritual Church of God, and the experience of that Church is “uniform, though various," whether regarded as individuals or in the bulk, as in Rev. xiv. 1, by the multiple 144 : “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads.” Achan, whose trespass in the time of Joshua caused such trouble in that valley that was named Achor (the valley of trouble), after those events, may be regarded as an allegorical representation of indwelling sin. That is the secret troubler of the spiritual seed ; as saith the Apostle, Rom. vii., “Evil is present with me.” And inasmuch as Achan was first made manifest, and then condemned and slain, as the author of all Israel's then present defeat and disgrace ; so sin, having been searched out, brought home to the conscience, condemned by God's judgment to which the soul adds her hearty amen, by confession, repentance, and holy self-abhorrence—the place of defeat, and shame, and anguish is made, by the wonderful methods of Divine grace, a quiet resting place, and a review of the whole circumstances imparts instruction to Ephraim (Jer. xxxi. 19), and confirms to the soul, in such contemplations, the faithfulness of God.

But here is, thirdly, the people. "My people that have sought Me.” This is exclusive, the blessing is for none beside ; the curse is turned into a blessing for them, and for them alone; sin kills others, but corrects them ; they are smitten but not slain, corrected but not consumed. It is inclusive : “that have sought Me.' Blessings are laid up for seekers, and promises are laid out for them in rich abundance. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. May both writer and reader be continually favoured with this grace ! Amen.




ALTHOUGH, in regard of merit and efficiency, the putting away of sin, as to the guilt of it, is the act of Christ, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace," yet God hath determined that His people shall be the grave-diggers of their own sins and lusts, and, like Abraham, with the dead body of Sarai, be fain to bury it out of their sight. The children of Israel were provided with a paddle, in order that they might bury from their midst everything offensive, in consideration of God's constant presence with them--a type of the spiritual activities of the spiritual seed in regard to indwelling sin; which, alas ! when not flowing outward, is festering inward. If Paul counted his righteousness dung and dross, how much more his unrighteousness !


Brom Saint to Saint.

No. 31.


Woolwich, Feb. 23rd, 1836. MY DEAR SIR,—May the richest openings of Divine love, and the most savoury knowledge of our precious Immanuel be your portion from day to day, that, receiving of His fulness, you may grow up into Him who is your living Head.

You have asked for my thoughts on Church Communion, which I feel very willing to give you, and wish I may do it as simply as I design it affectionately.

I have the fullest conviction that, amidst all the numerous denominations of this or any other day, the Church of Christ is but one, and independent of any of the modes, manners, or governments amongst men. This Church is of unearthly origin, and derives all its standing in this world from the power of the Holy Ghost. It hath its existence only by faith, which is the gift of God; and all its members are those whom God hath loved in Christ Jesus, and blessed with all Spiritual blessings in Him, according as He hath chosen them in Him before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Therefore, they must in due time partake of the riches of His grace, and through Divine teaching know that they are redeemed, justified, and pardoned by the blood of Jesus, and so perfectly freed from condemnation that no sin can be laid to their charge (Rom. iii. 24, viii. 33, 34; Ephes. i. 7). They receive the enlightenings of Divine light (John viii. 12, xii. 46 ; 2 Cor. iv. 6; Ephes. v. 8). And being spiritually united to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and love, they thereby enjoy a communication of the fulness of His grace, which transforms them into His image (Ephes. iii. 17 ; John i. 16 ; 2 Cor. iii. 18). Consequently they must persevere unto the end, for faithful is He that calleth them (John X. 28, 29 ; Ephes. iv. 13, 24 ; 2 Peter iii. 18; 1 John ii. 27). When raised from the dead by His mighty power, it shall be in His heavenly likeness to dwell in His immediate presence,

and be filled with His inconceivable love and glory world without end.

Having glanced at the Church of Christ, I proceed to say, concerning their spiritual worshipping, that it can only be by faith ; ordinances are profitable, and only profitable as they are administered and received in faith. Paul says, without faith it is impossible to please God. The regenerate followers of the Lamb, led by the Spirit of God, seek His glory and their own edification. The Word and truth, therefore, is their directory wherein they are called to cease from man ; nor does it allow that any man, nor class of men, should lord it over any conscience whom God has made free. The chosen seed are made a free and willing people in the day of the Lord's power. The Gospel, through which this freedom is bestowed, is one distinct, certain, and invariable sound of perfect liberty (John viii. 31, 32, 36), and the true worship of the Lord is liberty (2 Cor. iii

, 17), so that it is justly said it is liberty itself to serve God. And it is, most surely, our privilege to look alone to the Lord for His Divine guidance, to lead us by His Spirit and Word in the truth of His ways. It is plainly declared that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. x. 10). And it is as plain that in the purest primitive, apostolical times believers, on uniting with the household of faith in church-fellowship, put their seal to their confession of faith by being baptized in water in the Name of the

[ocr errors]

66 The

Holy Three in One. Reference made to the Scriptures, for proof of the original formation of the churches gathered by the instrumentality of the Apostles, will determine this. Thus the church at Jerusalem on the ever-memorable day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 41, 42); the church at Samaria (Acts viii. 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 36 to 39) ; of Cæsarea (Acts x. 24 to end); of Philippi (Acts xvi. 12 to 15); of Corinth (Acts xviii. 8); of Rome (Rom. vi. 3, 4); of Galatia (Gal. iii. 26, 27); of Colosse (Col. ii. 12); of Ephesus (Acts xix. 1 to 7). Now they had not dared, nor would they have presumed to have done this without authority ; but such authority they had, for we find the King of Zion, in His justified state, previous to His ascension to glory, gave them His special and unalterable commission thus to do (Matt. xxviii. 19, 30).

Communion with saints, or fellowship in the spirit, belonged to their discipleship. As children of the kingdom, united to Christ in one body, they are members one of another, and naturally love one another (John xiii. 34, xv. 12, 17 ; 1 Thess. iv. 9; Eph. iv. 3 ; Col. i. 4). He that is joined to the Lord' is one spirit (1 Cor. vi. 17), and in this union the mutual edification of one with another is promoted (Eph. iv. 16), for where this union of spirit exists, there true communion and fellowship is enjoyed, and social worship is maintained. The breaking of bread confirms them in this fellowship. The Lord's Supper is a figurative ordinance, as baptism is, but with this difference : baptism is administered to a single person, whereas in the Supper a number sit down together.

Baptism may be called the death and resurrection of Christ in the same sense that the bread and wine in the Supper are called His body and His blood. bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?” So we may say of baptism : is it not the emblem, the figure, the representation of our communion with Christ in His suffering, death, and resurrection ? Both are standing ordinances in the Church of God-outward and visible signs of the true and real substance, but are only profitable to the children of God as faith is concerned, and the understanding employed to behold the glory of the thing signified. I can truly say that it is the desire of my heart, as often as I am called to be in the use of it, that those who may be engaged with me in the same act of faith-the one receiving the ordinance, the other administering it—both may have such true and spiritual apprehensions of the glorious realities, which are the only foundation of our hope for pardon, peace and salvation, that we may be immersed by the Holy Ghost, through the operation of faith, into the fullest sense of our Lord's love in instituting it.

I feel happy to find you are convinced we have truth on our side, although you do not see such beauty, privilege, and satisfaction in the ordinance as to embrace it without delay. I do not see that we are to expect some marvellous manifestation to decide whether we should express our love and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ in those things which we find so plainly declared in His Holy Word.

Nevertheless, I forbear to persuade ; I say, may the Lord persuade you, and then you will stand supported in your own soul under any reproach that may be cast on you, or coldness shown to you from any quarter. And if the Lord the Spirit should speak the sense effectually to your mind of Gen. xxiv. 31, “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord ; wherefore standest thou without ?" your feet will then in swift obedience move. I am, in our ever loving Lord, Head, and Saviour, truly yours, To Mr. P

J. BURNETT. [Mr. Joseph Burnett was for thirty-three years pastor of a Baptist Church at Woolwich, where his ministry was blest to many. He died on Lord's-day evening, June 7th, 1841, having been seized with apoplexy whilst breaking bread at the Lord's table on the same day, aged 68.]

[ocr errors]

Remoir of Mr. Ethomas Jones,

Baptist Minister, late of Broseley. INSTEAD of this month continuing (as intended) my notice of more of the godly ministers of past days, I will tell a little of our very old friend, who has just closed a ministry of upwards of sixty years honourably, steadfast in the faith to the end, and extensively useful. Mr. Thomas Jones, of Broseley, Shropshire,

, who was called home on July 4th, in the eighty-ninth year of his age.

Born in a humble cottage at Bridgenorth, March 4th, 1795, and his mother dying in his early childhood, he was cared for by her mother, but had no early advantages of education ; and after the custom of those days, and that mining, quarrying, and clay-working district, had to be inured to early toil.

When some six years old he was often had to the house of the young lady, who afterwards became Mrs. Sherwood, the authoress of “Little Henry and his bearer,” and other pleasant children's books. She and her sister took much to little Thomas, and led him, by picture-lessons, into much knowledge of Scripture truth. “ The subjects of these pictures,” he says, “explained with talent and tenderness, made me think much of the world to come; and at times I had great meltings of heart ; fear and terror alternated by pleasant glows of hope, with heaven in the distance—what the poet Hart calls -joyous fancies,' but to me as real as the sternest facts of life.”

He was evidently possessed of much natural intelligence and thirst for knowledge. Of course, these kind ladies were “ Church folk ;” nearly all were, or professed to be, though multitudes never went inside the building except at a wedding or funeral. Ignorance and prejudice forbade young Jones entering a "conventicle" until about twelve years old, when a playmate induced him to attend the class of a skilful and kind teacher at the Baptist chapel. “His understanding gradually opened to the fact that religion consists not in forms, liturgies, or sacerdotal ceremonies of any kind, but in a state of mind having a supernatural cause; in repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our friend became greatly attached to and revered his godly teacher (whose favourite authors were Toplady, Romaine, and Huntington), and by his teaching he was prepared to distinguish between law and Gospel.” “Eventually," he records, " William Huntington was the bearer of the message which God sent to my heart with quickening power." He was once reading, singularly enough, the treatise on

ministerial qualifications,” aloud to his grandmother, and came to the passage, “There is in the world a false gospel, a false faith, a false hope, a false church, a false Christ, and a false God.” “While reading these lines,” he says, “my soul and my whole system was convulsed ; I cannot describe the feeling, the words seemed to stop in my throat, and I know I must have looked like a person in a fit. My auditor was alarmed, and exclaimed, “What is the matter with you ?' I could give no answer, nor could I read any more aloud. The second day after this storming of my peace I was standing alone, ruminating on the mystery, for I could think of nothing else ; there it was, like a verbal sensation darting through me, 'Yours is a false hope. The conviction sank deep, mine was a false hope, the offspring of self-love and conceit. It was then I began to read the Bible, to search it as for hid treasure ; and there I learnt that a good hope is a lively hope, born in those who are born again, and who, joined to the living family of God by a vitalising work, share in the riches of grace, Christ in them the hope of glory.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »