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in this ; it is his peculiar, and almost universal practice in his attacks upon a child of God, to put an if upon all God says to his children concerning their interest in the covenant of peace; nor are we to wonder at this, since he had the boldness to put an if to Christ, when tempting him in the wilderness : “if thou be the Son of God, &c.” He could not succeed with Christ, for there was nothing in him on which the temptation could rest; but the weak child of God has a heart prone to disbelieve, and is therefore soon entangled in this snare; add to this, there are so many who encourage these doubts, as if there were some promise left in the bible which saith, " he that doubteth shall be saved.” Thus the free-born child of God (like the confined bird whose element is air, and whose right is liberty) is grovelling in the dust, halting, and writing bitter things against himself.
Let us enquire—Is there any ground for these fears ? The Lord himself answers the enquiry in the words of our text—" Fear not." So that we may well conclude that their fears are groundless. But, 1st. the fearful child of God is ready to reply, “it is true God's people have no ground to fear, but I am not satisfied that I am one of them.” Poor child of God, art thou really anxious about thy state ? if so, thou hast a good sign of a spiritual mind, for the natural man does not trouble himself about these things. Do you really choose God, his truth and ways, above the world and its pleasures ? it is because he has first chosen thee; thou hast no cause for thy fears ; pray for the witness of the Spirit to bear witness to thy spirit that thou art a child of God.
When a young lady said to our brother, “I desire to love Jesus," he answered “ you do love him; if I were to speak against him you would not like it, it would not be savoury to you.” Desire to love him, is in truth love; desire has been well defined as “ love in motion."
2. Another fearful saint will say, “I am so much afflicted; did God love me I should not be so heavily burdened.” Thou hast no reason to fear on this account ; God loved those dear saints who are spoken of in the 11th ch. of Hebrews; some of whom “ had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” (v. 36, 37.) Compare thy affliction with their's, and thou wilt see thou hast no reason to fear. Upon this subject our late brother had several choice expressions; I will name one: “ by faith (said he) I grasp his dear hand, (meaning Jesus) there is a rod in it, but I do not love it the less for that.”
3. Another complains of the absence of those sensible enjoyments he once was favoured with, and says, “now I am not a child of God, I am the subject of so much darkness and coldness.” It is not to be wondered at that thou art distressed, for it is more than probable that
Vol. IV.-No. 41.
thou hast made 100 much of thy sweet frames, and now they are removed, the foundation of thy hope seems to be gone too; thou hadst no business to lean upon them, nor any right to expect their continuance; perpetual joy is peculiar to heaven, nevertheless thou hast no reason to fear. There is a promise for thee in Isa. 1. 10. " Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God." Mark the expression, his God.” That relationship has not ceased though you may be walking in darkness; perhaps the Lord means to bring thee to live more by faith on him, and this is thy " weaning time.” . 4. Another is ready to say, “surely there never was a child of God who felt so much sin and rebellion in him as I do; such another monster does not exist; I have such evil thoughts, such depraved inclinations, such blasphemy, and murmuring; I have no marks of the flock.” My poor fellow sinner, thou art a witness for God. A prophet said long ago, “ the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Thou feelest this to be true, but do not forget that Jesus Christ " received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them,” Ps. lxviii. 18. Nor should you forget that John says, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin.” 1 John i. 7. Do you believe this ? thou hast no real cause for fear, “ for if we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
5. Another is so harrassed with temptations, and so beset by the accuser of the brethren, that he saith, “ I shall certainly fall and perish.” Fear not; his promise is, " there hath no temptation overtaken you but such as is common to man, and he will with the temptation make a way for your escape, or enable you to bear it.” Paul was buffetted with a messenger of satan, but God said to him, " my grace is sufficient for thee. Our friend has left us some good advice as to how we should conduct ourselves in the conflict with satan. He says " tell the devil he is a liar, tell him so flatly ; I have “ tried it often ; do not stay to reason with him, tell him, thou art " a liar, my master says so; nothing will offend him so much, his “ pride will not bear it."
6. Another is afraid of death. 6 Oh! I tremble at his approach; I fear, how will it be with me in that solemn hour ?" Fear not!
- Who can take
“ And feels a thousand deaths in fearing one." The celebrated poet Cowper, in a letter to his friend Joseph Hill, speaks of the only way to look at death without fear; he says-if 1 “ am ever enabled to look forward to death with comfort, which I " thank God is sometimes the case with me, I do not take a view of “ it from the top of my own works and deservings; though God is “ witness, that the labour of my life is to keep a conscience void of “ offence towards him. Death is always formidable to me, but when “ I see him disarmed of his sting by having sheathed it in the body “ of Christ Jesus.” Yes, poor trembling and fearing sinner, there he lost it. It commonly happens that animals with stings, in inflicting wounds upon other creatures, lose their stings and die in consequence; it is precisely so with death; he stung Christ it is true, but he left his sting beliind him, and therefore his power is for ever destroyed as it regards the church for which Christ died.
Our late brother, through grace, was enabled to triumph over the last enemy, of which we might give many proofs. On one occasion he said, “ I am spent out and withered, only a very slender thread separates me from the eternal world ; when that is cut I shall behold Jesus face to face without a veil between.” At another time, " I long to see him without a veil between;" after a short attack of pain, which seemed to strike his vitals, a friend said, “ a few more strokes and then the earthly house of this tabernacle will be dissolved.” He replied, " yes-it is tumbling, but I know I have a building of God, a house eternal in the heavens;" and when the words “ fear not, thou worm Jacob,” were named, he appeared to like it, and said, “ Blessed be his name I have not one fear or doubt; I am as it were in glory, as far as that is concerned.”
On another occasion he said, “ well, I am on this side Jordan still, but I think I am at the brink; I long to be gone to see his face without a veil between. My heaven is to be with Jesus; I care not for the place, I want to be with him. He has blessed me with all spiritual blessings; I am an heir, and shall soon be put in possession of my inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” At another time he said, “ I never had such an assurance of safety as now I feel I am on a rock; death has lost its sting, the grave its victory:" afterwards he said, “ God has given me all he has to give, he has given me his Son.” Thus by faith he triumphed over death.
By way of closing our meditation we will consider the last scene of his life; may the Holy Spirit bless it to the living. About a week before he died, feeling his time was short, he said, “ there are two or three things I want; I am as rich as God and heaven can make me. Jesus is my own, but if he pleases I wish him to give me patience; I feel myself a dying man; in a few hours I may have to struggle with the pains of death ; I wish him to continue to give me blessed views of his glory--that is all.” These wants the Lord was pleased to supply
a night or two before he died he thought he was dying, he stated this the next day to a friend, who asked if he was strengthened, he replied with earnestness, “ O yes, I could not be more so;" and then with encreased emphasis, “ I cannot express it I could not be more SO-I am as happy as I can be." On his dying day he said, “ fear
not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom! So I shall have it-it is a free donation ;" and afterwards he said, “ I long to see my Jesus I long to see my Jesus !” Thus closed the pilgrimage of this child of God: he is now at home, beholding the glory of our Lord.
Perhaps there are many in this congregation ready to say, " let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Is this your language? Ye cannot die their death unless ye live their life ; he who lives by faith is sure to die in peace. To his widow-Your dying husband with his dying breath said to you, “ may my God be thy God, and my children's God.” Never forget this, but through grace seek the blessing till thou art enabled to say, “ my husband's God is my God.” And you, ye dear children, who have been bereaved of so good a parent, remember the day when he put his hands on your heads and blessed you, and prayed that his God would bless you. May the prayer be answered, and from the eldest to the least may vou walk in the same path to heaven. To the thoughtless and profane I would say-look at the sick-bed of our late dear brother, there you see the value of vital godliness : can crowns, can empires, quiet a guilty conscience, when death and damnation stare a man in the face ? No-No-No! The sentence of the wicked is already written, “ there is no peace saith my God to the wicked.” Oh! that thou didst read the sentence, tremble, and fly to the cross and the blood of Christ for shelter! Hear the voice of the gospel, “ Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out!” O rich grace ! “ whosoever cometh I will in no wise cast out!” Nottingham.
(To the Editor of the Spiritual Magazine.) REPLY TO T. W. H. ON - CHRIST'S LOOK UPON PETER.” Dear Sir,
THERE is no man more dislikes controversy than myself, but when I see the very foundation of vital godliness endeavoured to be sapped, I dare not consult my feelings as a man; for as a christian, and a servant of God, I am bound by the strongest ties to stand forward for the vindication of his character who saith, “ I am the Lord and change not.” Mal. iii. 6.
On page 42, T. W. H. says, that H. thinks it incompatible with the love of the Lord Jesus, to be angry with Peter as one of the sheep given him by the Father to redeem ; this he says appears to savour of that antiscriptural sentiment, that God does not see sin in his people, and he is bold to assert has no foundation in the word of God. Now, Sir, I am also bold to assert, that T. W. H. was not aware at the time he made his assertion, what doctrine that assertion binds him to believe, namely, the mutability of God, that he sees at one time what he doth not see at another. But I do hope that the Eternal Spirit will be pleased to teach T. W. H. the true character of God, then he will be led to see, and that with great delight, that the past, the present, and the future, with our God is one eternal now.' And I would only say, that if God is immutable, then it follows as the effects of God's nature, that whatever God might see in his people he never saw them but with delight; because he hath from everlasting, now doth, and will to all eternity see them in Christ their spiritual head; and as such Christ doth thus address his church, as in Songs, iv. 7. “ Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.”
Permit me further to reply to T. W. H. upon the remarks made on an observation of mine, page 12 of the June Magazine, wherein I said, that if there had been sin in Christ, then his obedience unto the righteous law of God as the surety of the people of God is of no avail. And first, I do hope that T. W. H. will read again, and I think he will see that I have all through kept my eye fixed upon the immutability of Christ, to shew that nothing could take place which could in the least change the mind of Christ towards his people, because all things were known to him from everlasting; and therefore I again say, that anger in God towards his people doth not agree with the character of God as being from everlasting to everlasting the same, and seeing all things, past, present, and to come, as always before him. If T. W. H. admits that this is the case with God, then I would ask, what is anger: Is it not the effect of surprize ? That something hath taken place which was not expected ? This is oftentimes the case with man; he is disappointed in his expectations, and being mutable, the old man of sin with which we all are daily plagued, more or less, he becomes offended at the disappointment he meets with; hence it is that anger arises as the natural effect of sin which dwells in every man so long as he sojourns here. But I do hope that T. W. H. has no such views of our Covenant Head, our blessed Immanuel; for he could not be disappointed in the character of Peter, nor was he eyer disappointed in the character or conduct of any of his church and people: for when he undertook their cause and became their surety, he then had before him not only all of them which he knew personally as the gift of the Father unto him, and as the chosen in him; but he also had at that very time all their faults, their short coinings, and all their misgivings before him ; so that if Christ ever could have been angry with his people, surely it must have been at that time when he saw all their crimes at one view! But, no, blessed be his dear name, instead of anger love was the prominent feature of his conduct towards his dear people, and he seemed, if I may be allowed so to speak, to flee with eagerness to embrace the opportunity of taking his church with all her faults, and to secure her to eternal glory; nor did he ever display the least alteration in his conduct towards his beloved spouse. Yes, he " is a friend that loveth at all times, and a brother born for adversity,” Prov. xvii. 17. This is the dear and constant friend of the children of God, the man Christ Jesus; and how true indeed was the prophecy of that man of God, Zephaniah,