« PreviousContinue »
and joy. About this time he had completed his apprenticeship; and his master so thoroughly disrelished his religious views as to refuse him any further employment. A situation was offered him by a person of like occupation in Newcastle. Thither he went, and abode with him for three years. He now united himself to the Methodist Society, meeting both in class and in band ; and says that he found those institutions to be greatly conducive to his growth in grace, and his comfort in believing. His health having been impaired, a situation as Collector of Salt-duties was obtained for him ; and though his appointment was, in the first instance, to Droit wich, yet, by exchange with another officer, he was allowed to take up his abode at Hartley, a place about six miles from North-Shields.
Of his experience in the things of God, after his removal to Hartley, Mr. C. gives us very little account. One of his first wishes, now that he had become a householder, was to have a room at the service of the Preachers when they visited the place. At first his income was so limited as to prevent him from indulging his wish ; and he made it the subject of prayer that God would put it in his power, as he had put it in his heart, to entertain the Ministers of the Gospel. His income was unexpectedly increased, and he kept the vow he had made. For more than forty years his heart and his house were open to receive them; and he records that his family were greatly profited by their company and conversation. From all that can be learned, he adorned the Gospel of Christ, and was not only a support, but an ornament, to the Methodist Society in Hartley.
In 1813, he removed with his daughter's family to North-Shields; and from two or three short memoranda, written in the last years of his life, it is evident that the eye of his faith had not waxed dim, nor had his spiritual strength abated. To the experience and wisdom of age he united the simplicity of christian childhood. He speaks of seasons of peculiar refreshing from the presence of the LORD, and the glory of his power, particularly at a watch-night at the close of the year 1816, and, on another occasion, after he had experienced a shock of apoplexy in 1817. He was waiting for his change, and longed to depart many days before the LORD called him hence. He looked about him with a cheerful smile, was wont to say little, and seemed to think he had nothing to do but to die. At length, after an illness of a few days, during which (notwithstanding a short but victorious conflict with temptation) he was resigned and full of confidence in his Lord, he sweetly fell asleep on July 13th, 1821. In him there was no guile ; his was the very spirit of Christianity. His manners were gentle and retired. He was peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of good works, and without hypocrisy. His christian course was continued during a period of sixty years.
Dalkeith, Sept. 4, 1821.
EXTRACTS FROM THE REV. NATHANAEL TAYLOR'S “DISCOURSE ON THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST."
(Continued from page 155.) 2. BESIDES the Assenting, there is the Consenting Act of Faith, which is a serious choice and acceptance of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King; to do the whole work of a Redeemer upon us ; to be all that to us, and do all that for us, which God hath appointed him to be to, and do for, wretched sinners, and in order whereunto he hath invested him with that threefold office. The faith of a philosopher is confined to his understanding; that of a Christian reaches to his will: like the soul in which it is rooted, it dwells in the head and the heart too at the same time. « What doth hinder me to be baptized,” said the Eunuch: to which Philip replies, “ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest :” whereunto he answers, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and thereupon he was baptized. (Acts vii, 37, 38.) The Son of God, and the Messiah, (or the Christ, though they are different terms, and signify different things, (the former, his Deity and equality with the FATHER; the latter, his solemn designation and appointment to the office and work of a Redeemer,) yet they belong to one and the same person, and so were understood to do in those days. The Eunuch, therefore, by professing his faith in him as the Son of God, doth thereby own him to be the Messiah ; i. e. to be solemnly invested in the office of a Prophet, and of a King, and of a Priest too. The two former of these are not denied : if they were, it is easy enough to prove his faith in Jesus of Nazareth as Prophet and King, as from other topics so from his being baptized into his Name :-as also his belief of the Trinity ; because baptism is expressly required to be administered in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. His faith in him as a Priest, I think, may be proved too, if we do but consider what he was doing, when Philip reached him. He was reading this part of the prophecy of ISAIAH, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and, like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth : In his humiliation his judgment was taken away; and who shall declare his generation ? for his life is taken from the earth.” (Isa. liii. 32, 33.) And being at a loss, he inquires, whether “the Prophet spake this of himself, or of some other.” (Ver. 34.) "Then Puilip began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” (Ver. 35.) He preached Jesus unto him from the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, showing how that prophecy agreed only to Him. This Eunuch was a very devont man, as appears by his travelling on
the account of religion from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, notwithstanding he was a great minister of state ; and his reading his Bible on his return, while he was on the road in his chariot, is a demonstration how much he thirsted after a better treasure than any which his Queen had committed to his charge; I mean, that of divine knowa ledge. From these circumstances, though when Philip came to him he was about the middle of the chapter, we have reason to believe that he would inquire into the sense of the foregoing verses, which apparently treat of the same argument, and have so close a connexion with what he was reading at that instant, and desired to be explained to him : and little question is to be made, but that Philip expounded them to him also. Hereupon by baptism he was admitted into the Christian Church, and consequently was baptized into the death of Christ, and believed on him as offering himself up a sacrifice for sin; else his faith had not been answerable to the sermon he heard, or the ordinance he desired. “For know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death ?" (Rom. vi. 3.)
In another place of Scripture mention is made of the Consenting Act of faith, under the name of Receiving. “ As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on him.” (John i. 12.)—This is a relative term, and doth necessarily suppose a previous mission, or a foregoing offer. What is not sent, or offered me, I may snatch at, or seize by violence; but I cannot properly be said to receive. God has sent his Son to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of his Church ; and so does he offer him to us in his holy word : and so must we receive him, not physically, but in the moral sense ; i. e. our souls must consent unto him as such. We must, as humble disciples, apply to him as our Teacher; as guilty creatures, betake ourselves to him as our Priest and Advocate; and, as obedient subjects, submit to him as our Sovereign LORD.
Now though all these three officès render him a complete REDEEMER, which he would not have been had he wanted any one of them; and though they have a mutual dependance upon, run into, and make way one for the other; and a serious Christian admires him in all of them, and, in whatsoever way he views him in any (true) light, discovers a beauty and glory in him ;-yet, in a peculiar manner, is his priestly office very highly esteemed both by God and man.
It is of great account with God. It was darkly hinted in the first promise about the bruising of his heel. This was written of him in “the Volume of the Book," (Ps. xl. 7,) or, as the word signifies, in the front, at the very beginning, yea, and almost in every page of it too : for “ his sufferings” God “had showed before by the mouth of all his Prophets." (Acts iii. 18.) So grateful was it to him, that he delighted in sacrifices, because they were figures and representations of it. He would have this office typified by a twofold order of priesthood, that of Aaron, and of MelchizedecK too. God counted it an honour to his own Son. “He glorified not himself,” but the Father glorified him, when he made him an High-Priest." (Heb. v. 5.) He settled him in this office by a solemn oath, (Ps. cx. 4,) which doth imply our great backwardness by nature to accept him as such ; that he shall never be turned out of it to make way for another to succeed ; and also the great weight and moment of it. For he who hath forbidden us to swear in light and trivial affairs, would not be guilty of it himself. Many promises were made to him, of assistance, (Acts ii. 25,) of a seed to serve him, (Isa. 1. 6, 7,) and of kingly power and glory, (Isa. liii. 10-12; Heb. xii. 2,) as his encouragement to go through the difficulties of it. And for his so doing, the whole host of heaven will admire and adore him for ever, (Rev. v. 9–13,) though the knees of our modern Unitarians are too stiff to bend to him.
And no wonder, then, that this office of his is so highly esteemed by serious Christians, who are taught of God, and are imitators of him. I showed in the introduction, that of all the truths revealed in the Scripture, those which relate to our Lord JESUS Christ (Ps. v. 6, 7,) are, in a peculiar manner, eyed by a believer, as most suitable to his distressed state. It is as certain, that of all the truths relating to him, they are not those that refer to him as teaching or ruling, but to him as exercising his priestly office, as dying and interceding, which, for the same reason, a believer's thoughts are first and chiefly exercised about. In this field alone can he find the cool spring, which affords the waters of life for his troubled soul, and without which a spirit that is weary and heavy laden would not find rest, no, not in CARIST himself. For, as has been already observed, convictions of sin and desert of wrath go before faith, as in the first creation darkness preceded light, according as it is written, “The evening and the morning were the first day." And they are always maintained after it, though not in so sharp and pungent a measure and degree. Now when a man is thoroughly awakened, to what purpose is it to tell him of Christ's being a Prophet, if you stop there? Alas, the tidings of one that can open blind eyes will give no ease to a man who hath a bleeding heart; unless you tell him that Christ hath died in order that he might, by the blood of his cross, reconcile poor sinners to God, and deliver them from present guilt, and future vengeance. And so you borrow your healing instructions from his priestly office; and his prophetical one affords no relief to a wounded spirit but what it fetches thence. The matter of his other revelations concerning the holy nature and justice of God, and the purity of his precepts, and concerning eternal happiness itself too, without this, will but inflame the sore, and exasperate the misery; for it is death to see a tree of life guarded by a flaming sword, turning hither and thither to keep a man off, which way soever he moves to attempt the gathering of its pleasant fruits.
The case will be similar, if without mentioning the Atonement, you only tell the man that Christ is universal Lord and King. If "all power in heaven and earth" be lodged in his hands, he is the more able to tread me down under his feet. Wretched creature that I am! Who will make my peace with the offended Majesty of Heaven, save me from the stroke of justice, and deliver me from the wrath to come ? But now represent Christ to such a one, as offering himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and expiate the sins of men, and save them from hell :—this is to drop healing balm into the raging wound ; this is what the trembling sinner wants, and desires to have; and is far more acceptable to him than drops of cordial can be to one that is fainting, and ready to sink. Curist himself speaks as if the view of him on the Cross, dying for these ends, would be a charming one, captivating hearts, and conquering the souls of men. “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John xii. 32.) And as this creates life in an awakened sinner, so it keeps it in a troubled saint, to remember, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John ii. 2.) The latter of these (which is also the ground of the former, for therefore he is our advocate, because he has been our propitiation) is the price, the basis, and foundation, of all saving benefits. We are reconciled to God by his death : we have remission of sins, and are justified, through his blood. If he had not thus gone away, the Spirit had not been given. Deliverance from condemnation and hell; freedom of access to God in all cases ; supply of all our wants ; pity and help under all our distresses and temptations ; new supplies of recovering grace, and a fresh pardon ; peace of conscience ; perseverance in faith and holiness; and after all, the crown of eternal life ;-all these beautiful flowers do spring from this root.
And this is the prevailing motive with a man to accept of CHRIST as his King, that then he will be his Priest ; but otherwise he will not. While men are at ease, they will not come to him for it. His yoke is too pinching and galling for their tender necks: his burden presses with such a weight, that their shoulders cannot bear it. But when once they are thoroughly alarmed with a sense of their danger, and find that his blood is the only ransom whereby they can be preserved from going down to the pit, and are told, that, if they will have him for their Saviour, they must accept him for their Ruler; tuis at length makes them yield. It is with them as with the Israelites, when they were sorely harassed by the Ammonites. They apply themselves to Jeputhay, to deliver them from their great oppression. He saith to them, “Shall I be your Head," then? (Judges xi. 4, 5,