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righteousness of a dear Redeemer. Then is the Lord alone exalted, and the heaven-taught soul can sing, as the Church did of old, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Such experience and practice ever will distinguish the children of the free-woman from those of the bond
And whatever pretence the latter may make of their love to holiness, it is plain they do not love the holy law of God, because they reject Christ as the great lawfulfiller in the stead of His people, and account his imputed righteousness needless ; and some have gone so far as to call this invaluable righteousness, imputed nonsense !
Away! Away for ever from my heart, be all such holiness as this ! And detested for ever, be that sort of obedience which excludes, or is set in competition with, the righteousness of God my Saviour. O! may I never
the best obedience of the creature, instead of the spotless, the glorious, yea, the Divine righteousness of my Lord, and my God; but in comparison with this, count all things but dross and dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him.
Well, indeed, may characters so highly exalted by free grace, and so richly adorned by the labour of their once suffering Lord, forget their own works of faith, and labours of love, which they have showed towards His precious name, and suffering saints below. “When did we do these things ?” is their united cry. No wonder they forget it all ; for who can ponder over the things which their own hands have done, while clothed, and shining in the bright robe, which Jesus wrought and dyed in His own blood! But does their Lord forget them too? Oh, no! “ I was a stranger, and ye took Me in,” He cries: “naked and ye clothed Me: sick, and in prison, and ye came unto Me,” &c.
See! ye followers of the Lamb, how kindly He takes the smallest services done to His suffering saints—a cup of cold water only, when given in faith, He takes as done to Himself; and declares, such shall in no wise lose their reward. (Matt. xxv. 40.). But why, ye saints, should the poor doings of such frail worms as we be thus remembered, and recounted before the shining hosts above, and all that ever lived on earth below? Why, but to hring glory to that blessed Holy Comforter, who wrought in all the saints to will and to do their Saviour's will. Why, I would ask again, are these things brought in open court ? Not to justify them in the sight of God, but to prove they really were what they professed to be, the servants of the living God; while thousands present, made high pretensions of love to Christ, yet served Him not at all. “ Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that served God and him that served Him not.” (Mal. iii. 18.) Shall we ask a third time, why characters thus blessed, and thus adorned in Jesus' merits, should have their works thus follow them, and thus presented to the public view of all? Why, but to show free grace in such unequalled form as proved it to be grace indeed.
But O believer! When you think of the judgment day, think on the merits of your exalted Lord, for without His precious blood and righteousness, without this covering on, the best work you ever did
ould sink you down to hell. Let all your trust on Him be stayed, and may the mention of His name be music in your ear. And this is His name, whereby He
shall be called, “ THE LORD our RIGHTEOUSNESS." Every word is big with meaning here ; but the word our, is exceedingly emphatic, and for ever dear.
What! Shall we, in our own persons, be treated as if we had wrought the glorious work ourselves ? Indeed we shall, as sure as Jesus, in His own person, bore our sins, and was treated by justice as if He had committed them all. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we (who had no righteousness) might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Blessed imputed righteousness! Precious doctrine of substitution this ! What, but love unequalled, and union inseparable, can account for such an exchange as this ; which brought the curse on Jesus? head, and sets a crown on ours !
These are the truths which sanctify the heart for God. This is the righteousness in which we are betrothed to the Lord for ever. (Hosea ii. 19, 20.) No wonder that Luther should say, upon the discovery of this righteousness, that “ the gates of Paradise seemed to fly open before him, and the dawn of heaven was all in view.” Ye mourning souls, ye shall be comforted; pour out your hearts before the Lord, for Jesus, our great High Priest, stands ready to perfume and to present your poor petitions, with the much incense of His precious blood.
Difference of view, as to terms and phra: es, has often existed, where the parties, in the main, heartily agree. Hence, one admits of growth in grace, but not a growth in sanctification, while another admits of both, believing they cannot be separated any more than cause and effect. For my own part, I am free to say, from what little I know by experience and observation, that I must still believe a spiritual growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, will ever be accompanied with increasing sanctification, in the frame or disposition of the mind.
Hence did our dear Lord pray for His disciples. (John xvii. 17.) Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” And said the apostle, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. iii. 18.) And as the mind becomes more and more enlightened in the knowledge of Christ, and the conscience is made more tender by the application of His blood, such will discern more of the evil and deceitful workings of sin in their own bosoms. As this increases, boasting will be done away. Such will feel less for their own honour, and more for the honour of God. A bleeding Christ will have the warmest affection of their heart. To such, Christ and His cross—Christ and His crown-Christ and His righteousness-Christ and His kingdom, and glory, will be all their salvation, and all their desire.
All real sanctity is ever accompanied with self-loathing. What humbling views Isaiah had, when he saw the glory of Christ and spake of Him—“I am a man of unclean lips,” &c. Truly, as Dr. Watts says,
“The more Thy glories strike mine cye,
The humbler I shall lie.” It is by faith in Christ, the heart is purified from dead works to serve the living God. All the progress in grace and holiness I desire and plead for, depends entirely on the revelations and operations of the blessed Spirit
on the mind. All progress which does not proceed from this source, is only a growth in notion or a progressive self-conceit. Real sanctification, or true holiness, is a choice plant, and thrives best in Gethsemane's garden or on Calvary's summit.
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
SUSANNA PEARSON, 1825.
A Brief History of the Baptist Church,
Taxfield, Suffolk. THE Gospel was first preached in Laxfield—by the Baptists—in the year 1797, by two brethren from Diss, in the county of Norfolk, members of the Baptist Church in that place. The names of those brethren were Jefferies and Carlton. It appears there was considerable opposition to the Gospel for some time, for several houses in some parts of the parish had been licensed for preaching; and, from the weakness of its friends, and strength of its enemies, was many times discontinued. After a time Mr. Manser, of Horham, came and preached when he had opportunity, and many of the people used to go to Horham on the Lord's-day, several becoming members there. In the year 1807 a large room in a private hou was fitted up, and Mr. Jonas Smith, of Kenninghall, in Norfolk, became the regular preacher. In 1808, eighteen persons had their dismission from Horham, and were formed into a Strict Baptist Church by Mr. Manser, Mr. Jonas Smith accepting their invitation to become the pastor. The church and congregation so increased, that the room soon became too small for them. A large double cottage with eighteen rods of ground was bought and fitted up for the worship of God. This soon became too small for the increasing congregation. It was therefore resolved to build a chapel, which was accordingly done, the building measuring forty feet by thirty-six feet, with convenient vestries
, plain but substantial, and opened for public worship, 1810. The entire cost, including purchase of land, was £836. Mr. J. Garrod, a deacon of the church, carted the first load of bricks ; he
was, however, soon called home, for he died April 22nd, 1811. The first person baptized in the chapel was brother Jonathan Bickers, who for many years filled the office of deacon, and slept peacefully in Jesus, December 27th, 1865, aged eighty-five years. Mr. Smith resigned his pastorate in the year 1811, and removed to Cårlton Road, Norfolk. The next minister was Mr. Collins, from London, who came upon a twelvemonths' engagement, but not being acceptable for the pastorate, shortly after the expiration of his engagement, left the pulpit. In the year 1813 Mr. Stephen Tayler (who was then a member of the church at Grundesburgh) was invited to the pastorate. At his ordination, Mr. Thompson gave him his charge. Unpleasantness arising, Mr. Tayler resigned and left the pulpit, March 10th, 1816. The next pastor was Mr. John Foreman. The following are his own words, as related at his jubilee meeting at Mount Zion, Hill Street, Dorset Square, London, in the year 1865 :-"I am told that I was born on the 2nd April, 1791. I was certainly put to a little school for several years ; but, having to go out gleaning, and at other times to work, I did not manage to glean much learning. I was a parish boy, and was put out at eleven years of age as a rough sort of hand.
I left that situation in 1807. I had been, and was, a great blackguard, till upwards of twenty-one years of age. But on a Lord's-day afternoon in the month of July, in the year 1812, the Lord stopped me while discharging a gun, and a dead shot it was to the course of life I had been pursuing. Then there was so great a change, that one notoriously ungodly man said of me: If there is any
ng in any man's religion, certainly there is in that young man's.” In the year 1813 I joined the church at Laxfield ; and in 1815 the church appointed me to speak at the prayer-meetings. I did so three times, but felt I could never go again. By the persuasion of the deacons, I tried again. On March 10th, 1816, the minister, Mr. Tayler, left, and the people unitedly requested me to speak in the table pew for a few Sundays, to see what the will of the Lord might be, which I did on the 17th March, 1816, till the 14th of the following December, during which time the people often urged me to take the pulpit, which I dared not do, for it seemed to me too awful and sacred a place for me to stand in. The people gave me a call for six months, and I ventured into the pulpit, and preached my first sermon from the words, ' By the grace of God, I am what I am. It was soon noised abroad that the parish boy was preaching, and the people flocked to hear what sort of a preacher their 'public-house sportsman,' as I was called, could be. The chapel being in debt, galleries having also been ereeted, I started on a begging tour through thirty-two counties, travelling 2,750 miles, and gathered up almost £300. You may judge how I travelled, when I tell you my total expenses were £10 2s. 6d. After a time things appeared to be at a stand, and but little addition made to the church. I therefore concluded from that, and my own feelings, that my work was done in that place. I therefore resigned my pastoral office, April 22nd, 1821." Directly after Mr. Foreman left, a man came into the neighbourhood, by the name of Latham. He was a man of some ability, and professed the sound principles of the Gospel, and appeared to be a godly man; he was invited to, and accepted, the pastorate, but afterwards openly avowed himself a Unitarian. The effect of his preaching was soon seen, in the dissension and immorality of the people. Having scattered the congregation, and done all the mischief he possibly could, he left the place. Soon after, the church was dissolved. The people were scattered, some of them never more to return. The doors of the house of the Lord were closed ; the grass grew on the paths, and around the doors. Truly “Ichabod” was written on the walls. When the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ was denied, the glory departed, and ruin followed. In May, 1828, an honoured brother, Mr. Spratt, of Fressingfield, moved with compassion for the sad state of Zion, obtained possession of the place. A Sunday-school was commenced, which speedily flourished. One circumstance in connection with the Sunday-school is worthy of a place in this record. “Five pounds was voted for carrying on the work from the parish funds, on the motion of the churchwardens.” Mr. Spratt preached about two years ; his labours were greatly blessed, but his health declined, and he felt his work at Laxfield was done. Mr. Spratt rode over to Bury St. Edmunds to see Mr. Elven, and ask him if he knew of a man suitable for Laxfield. Now, it happened-not by chance, but by God's kind, all-wise providence—that Mr. James Tottman, who had just left Glemsford, was in Bury that very week. Mr. Tottman had made the remark, “If God has designed me to be a pastor I shall have a place to preach in next Lord's-day.” Mr. Elven having directed Mr. Spratt to see Mr. Tottman, an engagement was. made, and Mr. Tottman returned with him (Mr. Spratt) to Laxfield, where he preached the next Lord's-day from the words. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as
In the course of his sermon he said, “ Laxfield has been like a desert, but it shall rejoice and blossom like the rose.” History proves our brother in that to have been a true prophet. After preaching about twelve months, a church was formed-consisting of twenty-nine persons-on April 25th, 1831, of which, on
the following day, Mr. Tottman was ordained the pastor. Mr. Elvin gave
the charge from the words, “Watch thou in all things." This was the commencement of years of prosperity which has continued up to the present time. The people gathered to hear the Gospel, and the Lord abundantly blessed His servant's labours. In the year 1850 the chapel was enlarged at the cost of £308. One thing in connection with this enlargement must be recorded.
Mr. Tottman, feeling that an enlargement was necessary, made it a matter of special prayer for a long time, that if it were the Lord's will that such enlargement should take place, He would constrain some one to give him £200 towards it. After a time a person, a member of the Established Church, knowing nothing of Mr. Tottman's prayer, came forward and promised £200. Before the enlargement was completed this génerous lady died, but the executors paid the amount minus the legacy duty. Twenty-seven years of faithful ministry passed, and then, constrained by the infirmities of old age, he resigned the pastoral office, October 3rd, 1858. Mr. Tottman's labours were much blessed. During the course of his ministry 300 persons were received into church fellowship: After thirteen years of waiting he was called home to his rest on the 14th Noveniber, 1871, in the eighty-ninth year of his age. His mortal remains were consigned to their last resting-place on Monday, November 20th, a large number of persons assembling to pay this tribute of respect to his memory. After Mr. Tottman's resignation Mr. John Foreman, of London, was written to respecting a minister. He replied, in his quaint way, “Parsons in London are as thick as mice in an old wheat stack, but amongst all who are not engaged I don't know of one I can honestly recommend you ; there is a young man, whom I highly respect, a member of our church, who has been out one or two Lord’s-days, but I hardly know enough of his preaching abilities to feel justified in recommending him.” About two months afterwards. another letter was sent to Mr. Foreman inquiring after the young man he named. The result was Mr. R. E. Sears was engaged to preach during the month of March, 1859. Mr. Sears accepted a further invitation for three months; then, on.. the 29th January, 1860, accepted the unanimous invitation to the pastorate. The ordination services were held on May 3rd, 1860. Mr. S. Collins, of Grundesburgh, stated the nature of a Gospel church ; Mr. J. Foreman, of London, gave the charge to the pastor, from the words, “Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good." Mr. G. Wright, of Beccles, preached to the church, from the words, “Love the brotherhood. It was computed that 1,500 persons were present. It is rather singular that before Mr. Sears . came, Mr. Tottman said to one of the deacons of the church, "I have seen in a dream the young man who is to be my successor.” After he had seen Mr. Sears, he said to the deacon to whom he had told his dream, " That is the very young man I saw in my dream." January 13th, 1863, a piece of ground was purchased for ar burial-place for our dead. In the year 1867 a house was purchased for the minister's residence, at a cost of about £350. Mr. Sears resigned his pastorate on April 15th, 1877, after eighteen years of faithful service, during which time his labours were greatly blessed. A farewell meeting was held on July 2nd, 1877, when a purse containing £23 159. was presented to him, as a token of the love and esteem in which he was held ; while all united in wishing him "God speed." Mr. G. Webb, of London, was the next pastor, who commenced his pastorate the first Lord’s-day in January, 1878, and resigned the same on September 29th, 1879, closing his labours at Laxfield with that year. After the resignation of Mr. Webb, the church continued for some time having supplies, among whom was Mr. Knight, of Lowestoft. On one occasion he was asked who was supplying for him during his absence, he replied, “A young man from Yarmouth, named Marsh ;" the question was put by the deacons, “Do you think he would suit us ?" to which Mr. Knight replied, " Have him and see.” And accordingly, on Lord’sday, November 7th, 1880, E. Marsh (the present pastor) came amongst us to cry,