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“ Behold the Lamb of God.” After supplying several times, the church unanimously invited E. Marsh to supply the pulpit for the months of February, March, and April, 1881, which invitation was accepted ; his labours having been blessed, a further invitation was given to supply for twelvemonths, with a view to the pastorate, subject to a call thereto by the church during that time, at the same time cordially inviting him to occupy the pastor's lodge.” The invitation was accepted, and he came to reside in Laxfield, April 26th, 1881. On November 27th of the same year the church unanimously invited Mr. Marsh to take the oversight of the church as its pastor, he having laboured with acceptance amongst them. The invitation was accepted, and in the following April an ordination service was held, when Ebenezer Marsh was publicly recognised as pastor of the church. The pastoral charge was given by Mr. J. S. Anderson, of Deptford ; the nature of a Gospel church stated by Mr. G. W. Shepherd, of London; and the church addressed by Mr. R. E. Sears, of Foots Cray, who said he could not do better than ask them, the church, to serve their new pastor as they had served him (Mr. Sears) during the eighteen years he dwelt so happily among them. May our present pastor be spared to us for many years to come to unfurl the “Gospel Banner to the bringing in of many of God’s blood-bought family, and the feeding of the “flock of slaughter," that the church at Laxfield, now dwelling harmoniously together in the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, "may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.”

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Recollections of a Baptismal Service Fifty V ears

Ago. The Divine injunction given to ancient Israel, “Thou shalt remember all the way the Lord thy God led thee,” may profitably be regarded by Christian pilgrims still ; and monumental records of special mercies may stir the heart with warmer zeal and livelier emotions of gratitude in the pathway to heaven now.

Our recollection carries the mind back to the third Sabbath of November, 1832, when, in the village of R- in the county of Northampton, there might be seen a number of travellers making their way to the “Bottom-meeting" (as it was then called). The congregation was chiefly composed of hearers from the hamlets and villages round, with some few from W—, a neighbouring market town. The chapel was approached by a narrow passage, and was small and comfortless, seating about 250 hearers. This, many years ago, has been replaced by a much larger, but by no means an attractive one. On the morning referred to, there were nine candidates for baptism-by immersion. Amongst these were three brothers from a village fifteen miles distant, where their father filled the office of “parish clerk," and where they had formerly been attendants at the village church, and also members of the church choir” with their father. For some time they had been awakened to a sense of their need of salvation, by attendance at a dissenting chapel, and were longing to hear the Gospel, as they had been taught, by the Word of God, to believe and love. And after receiving encouraging evidence of their "acceptance in the beloved,” were prayerfully anxious to follow the Lord's command, and to be baptized in His name. And having, as often as the length of the journey would permit, been attendants upon the ministry at R- they were, FIFTY YEARS AGO this month, baptized, upon a profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus, "and the same day were added to the church."

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The painful fact comes to our remembrance that two of the number of those baptized, in a few short months “went back and walked no more ” in fellowship with the church they had chosen as their companions. This "going back” was an occasion of close searching of heart, and for earnest prayer to be sustained and kept from the influence of a wayward and worldly spirit, which brings darkness between the soul and God whenever indulged in; and, if grace prevent not, will lead to serious evils. By the sustaining power of that love which first won their hearts to Christ by the Gospel, the THREE BROTHERS continued for more than forty years in the ways of the Lord, and in Christian fellowship with each other, until one, and then, seven years after, another, were called to the purer and sweeter fellowship of the redeemed in heaven. Two of the three were called nearly forty years ago to preach the Gospel of Christ, and now only one remains waiting for the Master's call, and is hoping soon to join in the service of heaven, and see the Redeemer there. And now a word or two may be said about Mr.

the minister who baptized on the day referred to. He was then a young man of almost giant stature, and possessed a voice strong and musical, who, in addition to a good education in early life, was singularly gifted for pulpit ministration ; and but for certain ext ragances (it may charitably be said) arising from mental weakness, would have been listened to and loved by thousands, instead of the few. After preaching for more than forty years in the same chapel, and standing aloof from almost all ministers and churches, his mental powers failed, and the disease, which in its incipient form had long been seen and mourned over by his best friends, developed itself in confirmed insanity; and in three or four years afterwards his once manly form yielded to death, and his life and labours, which once gave promise of great usefulness, were closed, leaving only a few to mourn his departure. The great doctrines of the Gospel were clearly set forth by him in his ministry. Nor can we doubt, notwithstanding the eccentricity that at times was grievously seen, but that God owned his testimony for the spiritual good of many, and that he is now where imperfections are unknown and where purity of worship is realised and the presence of Christ enjoyed.

And now, with feelings of love and thankfulness, would the writer record the loving-kindness and grace of Gud, who, through FIFTY YEARS of change around him, has been preserved, while many, who once promised well, have fallen by the tempter's power, whereby the cause of God and truth have been “evil spoken of.” And during these fifty years what numbers have entered the gates of death, unsaved and in their sins, to meet their Maker and their Judge ! And, blessed truth ! how many, once known and beloved as Christian friends, have been long since gathered home and are for ever blest ! And then, in fifty years, what a goodly and venerated host of the ministers of the Gospel of Christ have entered upon their graciously given reward,-men, from whose lips the “words of life” have been precious, and who, under the Divine blessing, have led thousands of ransomed sinners to the Saviour,—and whose very names have a savour in them to those who remember their earnest labours and love for Christ's sake and the Gospel,—but who are now serving God in the higher temple of glory. We say of them, Blessed men ! Yea, thrice blessed Master, who gave them to the Church at first, and kept them here so long, and honoured them so much.

But, while we think of those who have passed from us to the Church in heaven, we remember with devout thankfulness that others have been raised up from their “death in sin” and quickened to spiritual life, and upon whom the gifts and

graces of the Holy Spirit are liberally bestowed, so that the Gospel is being proclaimed and is made the power of God unto salvation" to thousands of souls. Some may be sorrowing for the want of prosperity, and others are rejoicing as they behold the cause of the Redeemer being successfully carried on, and the triumph of grace is seen in the conquests obtained over the powers of evil. And while even good and godly men may strongly differ in opinions, yet

66 Christ is preached, and herein I do rejoice ; yea, and will rejoice. This is still the joy of every Christ-loving heart, and the prayerful aim of every true minister of the Gospel. And God grant that they may do it until "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever." Peckham, Nov. 1882.


Expositions, Essays, &c.

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THESE Seven Churches were not all the churches in Asia. There were many others to which Apostolic Epistles were written. But these seven were typical, symbolical churches-pictures, representations of the different phases of the Church in the great panorama of the ages. As the ages revolve, the picture changes.

The condition of the Seven Churches of Asia was prophetical of the history of the Church down to the end of time; just as the experience of some of the prophets was intensely real with respect to themselves, and prophetical with re. spect to Christ : such as that piercing cry of David (Psa. xxii. 1), and Jonah's experience in the belly of hell.

Thus, as certain individuals were selected from the men of past ages

to illustrate the griefs and agonies of “ The Man of Sorrows," so a certain number of churches are selected from the churches of Asia; the literal facts of whose history would be the foreshadowings of the history of the Church in all time. And that they are foreshadowings of something beyond their own literal existence is clear. (i.) Because we ourselves are called upon to listen to what the Spirit saith unto the Churches. Now, if what was said unto those Seven Churches did not concern us, and was not applicable to us, our attention would not be so repeatedly

called to those solemn communications. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." (ü.) Because of the Lord's description of Himself to the Churches. To the first Church, He describes Himself as sustaining the ministry-holding the stars in his right hand and socializing with the Church, like the priest among the golden candlesticks. This was not only true of the Church at Ephesus, but it is as true to-day. “Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” And to the last Church He describes Himself as “the Amen." Because the mystery of God, in the militant history of the Church, is finished. He is “the Amen"—the Fulfiller and Fulfilment of all the high decrees and precious promises of God. And in the end it shall be seen that He was a faithful witness, for the consummations shall fill in all His forecastings. He gave to John the delineations, and His provi, dence is filling in the picture. And when the picture is finished, there will be some grand dissolving views, and then the golden city descending from God out of Heaven. And then, too, He will be known as He never has been known, as the “Beginning of the Creation of God." Not of the old creation, for that is a present faith, but of the new creation of redeemed humanity. The old creation is groaning in a long travail for the new, and we are waiting for the redemption of our bodies. And (iii.) because He keeps His Coming before the Churches. And see how, as the ages roll along, He brings us

nearer and


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nearer to the end. To the Church of ation. Take away that foundation and Thyatira, He says, “I come ;

they would fall into oblivion. fast till I come. To the Church of ľ cannot follow out the history of Sardis, He says, “I will come as a thief." these pictures. But in the third picTo the Church of Philadelphia- ture you see the professing Church “ Behold, I come quickly." He comes falling over the licentious stumblingunexpectedly, as a thief; quick as the blocks of the false prophet, Balaam. lightning's

flash. To the Church of Such is the religion of the mother of Laodicea, He says, “Behold, I stand at harlots. A religion that imposes celibacy the door.Mark the climax_"I involves immoralities, systematic imcome,” “I will come as a thief,” “I


and Rome, with her brothercome quickly,” “I stand at the door.” hoods, was a city of licensed brothels. Thus the Coming of the Lord is the great And this great whore corrupted not only thought kept before the Churches. the kings of the earth, but also the

What do we see in these pictures of Churches, with her fornications. Hence history as they pass before us in panor- the brotherhoods and sisterhoods in amic succession ? Declension ! A de- connection with Rome. They may clension which began in the heart of well put locks, and bolts, and bars upon the Church. Look at the first picture. these conventual institutions, for Baal See, the Bridegroom is talking to His Peor would be seen in the chamber of young bride. He is talking earnestly their imagery. You see in the fourth and solemnly to her. He is commend- picture the Church taking Jezebel, the ing all that is virtuous in her character, mother of witchcraft, into her house, and all that is excellent in her be- and tolerating the sanctified abominahaviour, but He tells her that her love to tions of this Pagan prophetess of seducHim is not what it was at the time of tion. In the fifth picture, you see the her espousal, “Thou hast left thy first “Dark Ages of Death."

í Thou hast a love."* No Church was ever so bright name that thou livest, and art dead." and joyous and happy as the Church of That was the condition of the Church Pentecost—as that family church which in the Dark Ages. In the sixth picture, had all things in common, and which we see the revival of the Reformation. continued in united fellowship and in Then, in the seventh picture, she lapses breaking of bread. But before the into the world, and makes herself Apostles passed away they complained friends of the “Mammon of unrighteousthat the mystery of iniquity-the ness,” like the old money-changers in Spirit of Antichrist—was at work. The the Temple, just before the time of the devil began sowing his tares directly the end. wheat sprang up.

How strangely history repeats itself. What do we see in the second picture ? Who that was at the dedication of the Not the strict communion of the first, Temple felt that they had reached a which continued in the Apostles' doc- climax from which they would decline trine, but a mixed communion with a and fall, and become unchurched and bastard race of men who were not what denationalised. And strange that the they said they were. They said they great King Solomon himself should by were Jews, that is, the people of God, his own conduct have contributed so but they were not. The Church, having largely to that fatal declension, The left her first love, is not so scrupulous in old Church, like Solomon, played fast her associations, and a mongrel race of and loose with many lovers; and here baptists innovated on the order of the see the Church, allied with the Church early in the third century. mother of harlots, committing fornicaSprinkling for baptizing, like a summer tion with the kings of the earth, making shower, watered the tares, and a large such human monsters as Harry the crop of errors followed. The Churches Eighth-the Head of the Church and of Antichrist are built up upon the the Defender of Faith. But as in the sandy foundation of Baptismal Regener- apostate Jewish Church there was a



remnant according to the election of grace, so in the apostate Church of these latter days there are some who listen to the Bridegroom's voice and follow Him. The voice is gone forth, “Come out of her My people.” And eventually they will come out from all the apostate Churches of Christendom, and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

It is a solemn thought that the more God multiplies our privileges, the worse we become. Was there ever such an age of privilege as this, and yet, withal, so much Laodicean worldliness? Was there ever so much religion, and so little godliness? Little, I mean, compared with the large professions of godliness. Paul predicted the character of the last days, and if we answer to that character, then upon us the end of the age is

6 And


Our prayer is, “Let us have grace.” If we have grace, we want more grace to keep us from falling. Paul needed more grace after he had been in the third heaven, to save him from the thorn in the flesh, and from Satan's strong temptations.

Now, do not lose sight of the great event anticipated in these epistles, viz., the Coming of Christ. Many professors of the present day are as ignorant of, and as infidel with respect to, our Lord's coming as were the Jews, who impiously asked, "Where is the promise of His coming ?” And yet their Scriptures were full of the promises of His coming; and His coming was the glory and the fulfilment of the promises ; and, notwithstanding the New Testament is full of the promises of His coming, there are professors who do not believe in His coming. They are in the condition of the foolish virgins. Touching the Bridegroom's coming, they are fast asleep, dreaming of peace, and knowing not how soon and how suddenly that peace will be broken.

“Friend,” said a man to his neighbour, “I am afraid there is some heavy weather brewing.” “Oh, no," says the weather-wise man,

we shall have a fine day to-morrow.” But before the night is far spent, the thunders of the coming tempest startle him from his sleep, and

the unlooked-for lightning comes crashing and flashing into his presence, and strikes him almost out of existence. He shall come as the lightning's flash, and startle the world by the suddenness of His coming. The day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. He shall come in an hour that the sleepers think not of. You do not believe He is coming. But He will force Himself upon you. “Every eye shall see Him."

“We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed ” (1 Cor. xv. 51). caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. iv. 17). The disciples saw a picture of this in the Mount of Transfiguration, when they saw. Christ transfigured before them, and Moses, who had been dead for ages, and Elijah, who had been translated, talking with Jesus. Peter saw in this a picture, a rehearsal of the glorious appearing of Christ with His raised and translated saints (2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18). That scene of glory was to Peter prophetic-prophetic of the millenniil Kingdom of Christ, when His raised and translated saints shall be with Him in glory. As there was something real in all these Churches—these mixed Churches-a Church within the Churches—so, in the worst of times, there were some to listen to what the Spirit said unto the Churches. So, in our strangely paradoxical nature, there is something vastly superior to the doctrine of Balaam, and the practice of Jezebeleven that which is striving against sin, and looking for victory and the rewards promised to the victor. Thank God, we have ears to hear the charges made against the Churches, because, in some sense, we are all guilty ; and also to hear the promises that are made to the

Indeed, some of these promises have been fulfilled in us, for we have been delivered from the first death in sin, and that is security from the second death in hell ; and we have received the white stone of pardon, of acquittal and acceptance-the white stone of the sanctuary giving us a name and a place among the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty.

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