« AnteriorContinuar »
How often are our harps suspended by the willows, when we are called to sing the songs of Zion in a strange land, as we journey on towards our Father's house!
“Where our best friends, our kindred dwell;
Where God our Saviour reigns.” Although the road is beset with thorns on every hand, and appears a rugged and dreary path, yet, fear not, “ thy pace is slow, yet sure ;" for it is the king's highway of holiness, which has been trod by Patriarchs, Prophets, the Apostles, and by every elect soul that is travelling home to God.
But, ah! beloved, how often is my soul cast down by reason of the difficulties of the way, and ready to faint therein; one hour saying “I know that my Redeemer liveth,'' and the next, “ Surely against me is he turned.. Sometimes, like the father of the faithful, strong in faith, giving glory to God; presently shrinking with a slavish fear from maintaining my rank as a son of God, and my dignity and privileges as an heir of glory, and a fellow citizen with the saints.
Sometimes with Moses, in the vision of faith, I see the land which is afar off, and long to be within its sacred enclosure, secure from every storm, and for ever resting in the embraces of my beloved : then, anon, speaking unadvisedly with my lips, and murmuring against my covenant God; and often like the rebellious house of Israel of old, who, while surrounded by the tender mercies of their God-fed with angel's food and supplied with water from the smitten rockrebelled against him, and exclaimed in all the native pride of their obdurate hearts, “ Nothing but this manna, nothing but this light food !” - Oh, my brother, why was not this rebellious crew cut off in the midst of their rebellion, and hurled into the nethermost hell, to take their portion with the rebel host who kept not their first estate, and there suffer as the blazing monuments of vindictive wrath and avenging justice? “But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; for he remembered that they were but flesh.” Psalm lxxviii. 38. How often, I say, like those wretched ingrates do I murmur and rebel against my loving Father, while I am daily kept by his Almighty power, have strength proportioned to my day, and my every want supplied both temporal and spiritual, from the fulness of him that filleth all in all; whence I receive grace and mercy sufficient to satisfy the most capacious mind. But, alas ! the mind of man is unstable as water, even grasping at shadows, and eagerly pursuing phantoms, and trifles light as air. And such is the awful stupidity of my heart, that like my peevish brother Jonah, I think it well to be angry, when my heavenly Father lays the rod of affliction upon me, or deprives me of the gourd of creature comfort, in order to wean my affections from earth, and fix them supremely upon himself and on the unseen realities of the eternal world. He -knows how prone we are to lean on man, and make this thorny desert our home, forgetting that we have here no abiding city, but are pilgrims destined for, and travelling to a city which hath foundations, whose maker and builder is Jehovah of hosts. . .
May we ever remember, that we are in an enemy's country, where the flesh and the devil will dispute every inch of ground, and resist unto blood. But, notwithstanding my inability to stand against the mighty host which encamp themselves around me, I rejoice to know that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lord mighty in battle, is on my side, and ultimately will cause me to sing “ He has done all
things well.” I know from the testimony of the word of truth, that · there is a needs be for every pain I feel, for every cross I experience,
and for every trying and painful dispensation I am called to meet while sojourning here below.
“Did I meet no trials here,
No corrections by the way;
That I should prove a cast away?”. Yes, for Jehovah has declared, that if we are without chastisement, then are we bastards and not sons; for he scourgeth every son whom he receives. And, recollect, the decree is gone forth and cannot be revoked, that it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom afore prepared for the covenant family. But, iny brother, remember that it is as absolutely decreed that the righteous shall hold on their way, till their Father takes them to himself, when they shall be saved to sin no more.
Again; sometimes, like David, I am ready to think that my mountain stands too strong to be moved, and can say, (even in seasons of darkness) “ Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he maker it not to grow.” But, alas ! soon
“ The billows more fiercely return,
..And plunge me again in the deep." When the arrows of the Almighty appear to take hold of me, and I fear, lest after all my splendid profession I should prove only as sounding brass-deceiving myself and the church of the living God. Ah! who can tell (none but those that have been in the like situation can form an idea) what distress this brings into the mind! awful forebodings and a fearful looking for of judgment, which drives me to the verge of desperation; so that I exclaim in poignant grief and distress of soul, “ surely against me is he turned,” “ has he forgotten to be gracious ? will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever; and doth his promise fail for evermore ?” “ Woe is me for I am undone !”
You know something of this painful experience, as well as the writer : Oh! tell me then, “where is the blessedness ye once spake of ?"--where the seasons of divine communications where that
holy intercourse with the Most High ?>where that liberty, that holy pleading with him at a throne of grace ? - where those delightful seasons of refreshment in the sanctuary, when the name of Jesus was as ointment poured forth ?---where those enlarged views of the glories of his person where that ardent love to his name and his ordinances ? - where that burning zeal for his glory, and the extension of his kingdom where that earnest solicitude and anxious concern for the conversion of sinners ?-where those holy breathings and ardent desires that Christ might be formed in our hearts the hope of immortal glory?-and, finally, where that holy walking and godly conversation which marked our union to the Lord, and even constrained infidels to say, “ see how these christians love one another ?" Alas ! alas ! how is it now? “ The joy of our heart is ceased : our dance is turned into mourning; the crown is fallen from our head : woe unto us that we have sinned!”
In such a state as this, where can I iook for help? - He hath set me in dark places,” where neither sun, moon, nor stars, appear for many days; what can I do, but cast anchor and patiently wait for day? But ah! no day appears at hand for me; no anchorage where I may stay my shattered bark, to avoid the impending storm !
“ Oh! wretched state of sad despair
To see my God remove;
I cannot trace his love. Yet, like Jonah, from the trackless deep I look again toward his holy temple : “ I will remember the years of the Most High, and will call to remembrance my songs in the night.” “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause and execute judgment for me; he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” “ Then I will speak of the glory of his kingdom, and talk of his power."
What a mercy, my brother, that we are thus encouraged to look out of ourselves, to the hills from whence cometh our help, what should we do when enveloped in the fogs of unbelief, and exposed to the malignant malice of the prince of darkness, were it not for such blessed, and soul-comforting declarations as these ? — I am God, I change not.” “ I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 66 No weapon formed against thee shall prosper.” “ Although he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his tender mercies ; for he does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” As an evidence of this " He will turn again, he will have compassion, he will subdue our iniquities : for he hath cast our sins behind his back into the depth of the sea,” so that 6 when they are searched for they shall not be found.”
Here are no peradventures' or ' may be's, but every blessing contained in the above verses, with all the promises, which are left upon record, are absolutely certain to be bestowed and accomplished; for they are all yea and amen, in the covenant head, and sure to all the seed: they are bottomed upon Jehovah's faithfulness, confirmed by oath, ratified by the blood of the everlasting covenant, and made as firm and as sure as a covenant God can make them,--that they might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to the only hope set before them in the gospel. It is not the unbelief of our hearts, nor the opposition we feel within, nor the opposition of the world, no, nor the opposition of devils, that shall hinder the promise of God from taking effect; for his counsel shall stand (whatever men may say or do !) and he will do all his pleasure. He that sitteth in the heavens shall hold them in derision, and will laugh them to scorn.
May it be our mercy to be kept humble at the feet of Jesus, and experience continually the bright manifestations of his love; then we shall hold all things of a sublunary nature with a loose hand, and look forward to the happy period, when we shall take a last survey of all created things, and breathe our emancipated spirits into the arms of Jesus, and enter into the joy of our Lord: and there (Oh ! happy place) we shall be
“ No more fatigued, no more distress'd,
“But sacred, high, eternal noon !". That this delightful prospect may be fully realized to the eternal felicity of our souls, and to the glory and everlasting praises of sovereign grace, is the prayer of one who subscribes himself,
Your affectionate brother, in covenant bonds, Dec. 21, 1827.
T. W. H.
Emancipation of Slaves in the West Indies. A PUBLIC Meeting was held on Monday, the 7th ult. at Gloucester Chapel, Hackney Road, for the purpose of devising the best means to effect the Emancipation of Slaves in the West Indies. The plan suggested, originated with the late Rev. Dr. Hawker, who in the vear 1823, published a tract, entitled, “ An Appeal in behalf of the Negroes in the West India Islands, in a Letter to W. Wilberforce, Esq. M. P.” which was at the time freely distributed; but we have not heard that its earnest recommendation of means for effecting the humane object met with encouragement until now. At this meeting the plan was unanimously approved, a committee was formed for the furtherance of its design, and a sanguine feeling pervaded the minds of those present, that great success would follow their united exertions. We subjoin an extract from the address published by the gentlemen who convened the meeting, which comprises a leading feature of the benevolent intention of the society.
“ This Plan proposes to liberate the Slaves BY PURCHASING THEM OF THEIR MASTERS, and to raise the necessary Funds by the formation of an
EMANCIPATION SOCIETY; to be supported by voluntary Subscriptions and Contributions. The effect of this plan, if carried into execution, will be to relieve a numerous portion of the posterity of Adam from the miseries of Slavery—to prepare the way for introducing the means of Religious Instruction among them and thus to wipe off a foul stain from the national character.
“It would be premature at this period to enter into all the details of the proposed Plan. It may be sufficient to state, that the Purchases would be made of those Slaves whose conduct and character were most approved. A stimulus would thus be presented to the mind of the Negroes to incite them to good behaviour, in hopes of being selected for Emancipation. Means might also be devised to provide situations for the individuals thus liberated, or to induce them to continue in the service of their former Masters as voluntary Servants. It is humbly conceived, that the amelioration of the condition of the Slaves, would ultimately tend to promote the best moral and pecuniary interests of the Colonies.”
Gladly as we anticipate the benefits arising from the exertions of societies founded on principles of pure benevolence, we fear, in this instance, that but little prospect of success presents itself, unless the plan were sanctioned and promoted by the legislature.
On Thursday Evening, the 24th Instant, a Select Meeting of the friends of the late Rev. Dr. Hawker, was held at the Horn Tavern, Doctor's Commons, to take into consideration the best means of furthering the design now in progress, by the parishioners and friends resident in the town of Plymouth, for erecting A MONUMENT to his memory. (For particulars, and the resolutions unanimously approved, see Advertisement.)
We have the pleasure to announce, that the Rev. J.A. Jones, of Brentford, has in the press a spirited and appropriate reply to the calumnies contained in several last Month's Magazines, in the notice of Dr. Hawker's decease. It will be published on the 4th Instant. (See Advertisement.)
The Fifteenth Anniversary of the Baptist Chapel, at Harrow-on-the-Hill, will be held on the 4th of June, 1827, (Whit-Monday,) when the Rev. Washington Wilks, of Great Alie Street, will preach in the Morning; and the Rev. John Foreman, late of Cambridge, in the Afternoon.
A FRAGMENT. ALL temporal things are troublesome. If they be good it is trouble to forego them; and when we see that they must be parted with, either we wish that they had not been so good, or that we had never enjoyed them : as some did of Austin when he died. If they be evil, their presence is troublesome"; and still we wish either that they were good, or that we were eased of them. Good things are troublesome in the event, and evil things in their use : they in the future, because they shall come to an end, these in present, because they do continue. Oh! that men would look to things which are eternal, for they are good here, and will be better hereafter.