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of the blessed Saviour of poor sinners, iii. 17. " The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love." When the Lamb of God was on the cross, in that agony that never can be described by mortals, and suffering that degradation as a common malefactor, and not for his own crimes, as he had none, but by imputation he was made sin even for some of them that then by wicked hands were putting him to death, Acts ii. '23. did any anger appear in the bosom of the man of God's right hand, against those his murderers, when he was thus suffering the agonies of death upon the cross, together with all the insults of those his murderers? No ; so far from anger towards them, that in the midst of his great agonies, shame and ignominy, and even in the arms of death, his heart was as full of love towards them as ever; and as a proof of the same he prayed for his murderers, and thus he cries out unto God the Father, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke xxiii. 35.
And although the disciple Peter had so basely denied him, yet such was the constancy of the Saviour's love towards him, that when he commanded the woman to go and tell the disciples of the resurrection of Christ, he mentioned Peter by name, that he might not despond by thinking that Christ was angry with him, and would cast him off for his base conduct in denying him in the time of his sorrows. He always manifested a tender heart towards his dear people in all their troubles, and as the prophet most beautifully speaks of the Saviour of poor sinners feeling for his people's infirmities: "In all their affliction, he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his piety he redeemed them, and he bare them and carried them all the days of old." Isa. lxiii. 9.
T. W. H. says that his mind has often been pained to see some of your ablest correspondents arraigned at the bar of perhaps one individual's judgment, and condemned as maintaining heretical opinions for a word or a sentence: I wish him to understand, that it was not my intention to make Elah, nor any man, an offender for a word, for all I intended was that those expressions which blend the doctrines of arminianism or free will with those of free grace, might be kept out of the Saints' Treasury; and that in hopes it might be in the hands of God the Eternal Spirit a soul-establishing work to those dear children of God that may be favoured in reading it. And although he charges me with asserting in unqualified terms, that anger in God towards his people stands opposed to the word of God; I should not have thought it worthy my reply, because every man of common understanding knows that it is impossible for a Being who is immutable, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, to be at one time what he is not at another. But I hope my reply to him on his charge, may by the blessing of God be made the means of the establishment of some dear child of God in the unalterable nature of our God, and thereby deriye some blessing from the same.
I notice, first, the scripture that he brings to prove God's word is in favour of his being angry with his people at times. Now I cannot help saying, that he has chosen of all the scriptures in the written word upon anger, the very worst to lay as a foundation to establish the anger of God towards his people at any time. Eph. v. 26. "Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Surely I need not tell T. W. H. that those words of Paul to the church at Ephesus were only a fatherly exhortation to his spiritual children in Christ to walk together in love, peace, and in unanimity, as heirs together of one and the same inheritance. And again I remark, that these words of Paul are evidently a quotation from Ps. ix. 4. '' Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own hearts upon your bed and be still." As much as if David had said—you ought at all times to stand in awe of God and of his holy law, and when you retire to rest and from the business of the world, then call over your conduct through the day that is past, and remember that if you feel anger towards any one, and that as the sun hath disappeared, so also your anger against others ought to disappear; and remember that you are only commanded to ask for forgiveness as you forgive others, for God is acquainted with all that is within your heart, and it will be your mercy to ask God for grace to enable you to forgive all injuries as God hath forgiven you.
Again, T. W. H. in page 42, evidently is building his notion of God being angry with his people, upon the mistaken ideas of the people of God in the time of their darkness of mind, when it is so common for them to measure God's love to them by their frames and feelings; which God is pleased to correct, as by the pen of David, "thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself," Ps. 1. 21. He also refers to the language of the church, Isaiah xii. 1. "O Lord, I will praise thee : though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me." I would ask, are not all the dear children of God apt more or less, to see God through a wrong medium, before they are brought into the sweet liberty of the sons of God, to see out of obscurity? And these expressions of the church here are a song of praise to God for deliverance which she then enjoyed; as much as if she had said, Although I thought thou wast angry with me, I now see my mistake, for instead of anger thou comfortest me. And as Israel did after they were brought through the Red Sea, and from the power of their enemies, and to which the church often refers in the chapter, and which deliverance was typical of salvation by Christ under the gospel dispensation, when his church and people should, like Israel of old, see the salvation of their God, in their deliverance from the cruel bondage of their spiritual Pharoah, the God of this world ; and as the Israelites saw no more of Pharoah after they passed through the Red Sea; so, likewise, the dear child of God as soon as he knows by precious faith that he has passed through the crimson sea of Immanuel's precious blood, he sees no more of that bondage in making bricks without straw, for the Lord having thus delivered him, he is brought to see that he that requires work of him, hath also given him materials to work with, and do all he requires of him: inasmuch as he hath given him grace to believe in the Son of God for life and salvation, and an heart to love and serve him, and thus it is he is brought to rejoice in his liberty, and to praise the Lord for what he thus enjoys.
Now, Sir, that God is angry with the wicked, or reprobate, I acknowledge, but God is not angry with them at one time more than another; for his nature is such that he must of necessity behold the seed of the serpent, the children of the devil, or the tares, as they are called, with eternal indignation. But to say that God can be angry with those that he hath declared he hath loved with an everlasting love, is to tell God he is a liar; I say, to assert that our God is mutable, seems to me to be little or nothing short of blasphemy: first, because it makes him like sinful man, and yet he saith, " I am the Lord, I change not," Mai. iii. 6. and, secondly, to say that God becomes angry with his people at times, is to charge him with injustice, inasmuch as it is saying that God doth at times inflict such punishment on them as those sins would have called for if Christ had not put them away. But we know by blessed experience that our Day's-Man, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, hath by his obedience unto the holy law of God, paid down the full demand of God's requirements, in his life, death, and burial. And God the Father dealt with Christ as the surety of his church and people, in every way as though he had been the whole and the only sinner of all the sons of God, that are thus interested in the life and death of Christ. All God's people were at that time considered and seen by God in and one with Christ, as well then as when he chose them in and gave them to Christ; because as God is immutable he cannot but see them at all times one and the same, and that only in the person of Christ, who did in the counsels of eternity undertake the cause of his people, and bound himself by that covenant which God himself cannot break, to pay all lawful demands upon his people which God's holy law could possibly require of him, for all their sins in thought, word, and deed.
God the Father commanded his servant the prophet to make a proclamation of it to the church of old, saying, " Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God, speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, and her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand to the utmost for all her sins." And I would ask, is it not so? Then if God hath given Christ a full discharge for the whole of them, where would be the justice of God if it were possible for.him to be angry with his people ? — for him to be angry with those on whose account he poured out all that anger upon Christ as the church's Day's-Man, which they must have suffered in their own persons to all eternity, if Christ had not suffered in their room? But, blessed be his holy name, I rejoice to find that his word declares that Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, Rom. v. 25. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. i. 4.
'Indeed, Sir, I cannot help saying, that I am greatly astonished at those men who profess to believe in the free and sovereign grace of our God and Father, and at the same time try to impeach his immutability. Surely God must say of such men that try thus to dishonour him, as David did on another occasion, " it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me." Ps. lv. 12. "Mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me," Ps. xli. 9. and God may say of such, he hath been wounded in the house of his friends, Zech. xiii. 6. If men tell me, that God was really angry with his elect at times for their short comings and misgivings, under the old dispensation before Christ made his appearance as the Day's-Man of his people, to fulfil his covenant engagement, to pay the full price of their redemption, and to put away sin by his sacrifice ; then I tell such men, there was a want of confidence on the part of God in the faithfulness of Christ to fulfil all his engagements, and that God, saw the incapability of Christ to fulfil what he had thus engaged to do; which if either had been the case God would not have taken his bond—for he could not be deceived! Again, if men tell me, that God is really angry with his people now the full price of their redemption is paid for the past, the present, and the time to come, by Jesus Christ the God-Man; then I ask, what doth such a declaration go to prove, but, that God is unjust, inasmuch as he now requires a further payment for what he hath given a full discharge for—that debt which Christ paid down as the sinner's ransom price in full of all demands: and Christ made this declaration upon the cross as a proof of it, " It is finished!" And surely the resurrection of Christ from the dead was a full proof of the full discharge of all his people's crimes.
I hope, dear Sir, that T. W. H. and Elah do believe me when I say, that I have not replied to either of them out of any arrogancy; far be that from me: but my only reason was, and is, that what I might write might be the means of the establishment of some of the dear children of God in the foundation of God's church and people, namely, the immutability of our triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Gh6st.
I remain, in Christ, a friend and brother to all those that love our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
July 20, ISS7. J. H.
(To the Editor of the Spiritual Magazine. J
ON THE LORD'S SUPPER. Dear Sir,
I Have been much pained at heart at perceiving the various barriers thrown in the way of many weak and humble follower of the Lamb, preventing their approach to the Lord's table. It is surprising
Vol. fa-No? 41. Q
to me that any of the members of Christ's mystical body should, through ignorance of the design of the institution, place such obstacles before the weaklings of the fleck, as are no where to be found in the whole of the INew Testament: but I am aware that I am treading on tender ground, and what I shall advance in the few observations I intend to make on the institution of the Lord's Supper, may perhaps raise the ire of some of the professors of the present day.
The great apostle of the gentiles in writing to the church at Colosse, ii. 14. speaks concerning the blotting out of the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us ; that is, to the church of Christ as well now as in those days; Jesus the Lord of life and glory having taken it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Now I conceive that any man, be he who he may, that erects a standard, that prescribes a rule, or exercises an inquisitorial jurisdiction over the consciences of the weak disciples of Jesus, is violating the blessed invitation of our covenant Head and Surety. I have been carefully reading over the different accounts that the four evangelists give, of the manner in which our blessed Lord instituted this token of his dying love, and I do not find that the dear Redeemer established any form, prescribed any rule, or enacted any set time or place for the celebration of this solemn ordinance. I am persuaded in my own mind, and the apostle exhorts every man to be persuaded in his own mind, that the fiery ordeals, the different stages of experience that are deemed requisite to admit a poor sinner to participation of the elements, which are intended to set forth the death of our glorious Surety, &c. these forms, rites, and ceremonies, are often the barriers, the stumbling blocks thrown in the way of a poor sinner.
How often has it happened that a poor weak brother, or a fearful timid sister, have been debarred from the visible communion of saints, though interested in the love of Jesus, and provided with a seat in the mansions of eternal bliss before time began, which was ratified and sealed in blood on Calvary, and is revealed and made known in time to every heir of bliss. But they are often debarred, nay refused and rejected, as not being fit objects for the Lord's table; thus because the poor weakling, the babe in Christ, cannot give an account of his or her experience, or of the Lord's dealings with them, they are denied the commemoration of their Lord's death, and go away discouraged and disheartened, fearing lest they should eat and drink unworthily, not discerning the Lord's body.
Really we seem to have got back to the Jewish period of rites and ceremonies, which only prefigured and were types and shadows of that which was to come. The apostle Paul indeed says, " but let a man so examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup," 1 Cor. xi. 28. There are many of the Lord's people who seriously feel their need of such a Saviour as Jesus is; who see the suitability of the glorious salvation which he has wrought out, the fulness, the freeness, of the riches of his grace; there are many of these characters that if they were to be convened before an assembly