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without number: in comparison with those before described, they are innumerable. Thus I have taken a glance of the different degrees of faith and communications of peace in believers. Though all have not the same degree yet it is the same in kind; and when all the different parts are conjoined will make but the one, glorious, illustrious bride of the Lord of glory.
Golden Square, London. E. M.
Dec. 13, 1827.
(To the Editor of the Spiritual Magazine.J
NOTICE OF THE REVIEW OF JONES'S « PASTORAL REHEARS1NGS," &c.
In perusing your valuable Magazine for last month, I was much pleased with the commencement of a review of two sermons preached in October, 1827, at Brentford, Middlesex. And the former part of the quotation, from one of the sermons, gratified me, but when I came to the next section which begins as follows, " you will not fail to draw a line between the often painful experiences of the children of God, and real christian experience," I confess I found myself unable so to do, at least to discern what' line' the writer of the sermons means. I thought that many of the children of God, who are the subjects of " painful experiences," might be as unable as myself, and that whatever is his meaning should be explicitly set forth; and therefore for our satisfaction, edification, and comfort, beg to request the writer of said sermons to " draw a line" for us, that we may understand clearly what he means by " real christian experience," and what is not so.
Let it be remembered, that the Saviour said, when speaking of the Comforter, " I will send him unto you, and when he is come he will reprove the world of sin," &c. Let it be also remembered, that the writer of the sermons has said, the work 6f the Spirit is a "progressive work," and that this work the Holy Ghost is constantly performing until mortality is swallowed up of life.
An explanation of the whole of the objected-to section, will be esteemed a favour, as the writer of these lines is desirous of a growing acquaintance with the truth in all its branches, and has thus aimed, in candour, to give an opportunity to the writer of the sermons, for the benefit of the readers of this miscellany.
A Friendly Enquirer.
London, April, 1838. . .
A FRAGMENT. If God does not always deliver his saints from death, he delivers them by death.
* Bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth :—every one that is called by my name' Isa. xliii. 6, 7.
The whole elect family, whether in heaven or on the earth, or those who have not yet appeared in mortal existence, are denominated the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. As the mediator of the covenant was represented at the great council of the Holy Trinity, so also, by and in him, the chosen seed were brought to view, and beheld in that relationship, which shall never be dissolved. The Lord of Hosts, who beholdeth "the things that are coming and shall come," as though they were now present, hath proclaimed the fact; and, so long as he refuseth to give his glory to another, he will supply no explanation of the mysterious matter beyond what he hath already given.
In vain, then, may unrenewed men quarrel with eternal decrees, and quibble at inviolable truth. In the volume of the book it is written; and thence the man of God gathers the desired, the invaluable information. In vain may philosophy, with her bewitching smiles, lure the wayward mind into her snares, and leave it to wander on forbidden and fatal ground. In vain may satan interpose the dark insinuation, the sceptical suggestion, to becloud the soul that is under the Spirit's teaching. And, in vain may the sincere, but misguided christian, strive to reject the counsel of the Lord, at the desperate hazard of destroying his spiritual peace and joy.
The first promise on record, includes, under the figure of the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, all that is cotitained in after declarations and promises from the mouth of God to the chosen family. But the eye of faith readily roves with indescribable delight over the mass of proof which the sacred volume affords. As we draw near to the close of the inspired writings, we find the apostle of the Gentiles stating that which is sufficient of itself to silence the merespectator, to stop the mouth of satan, and to fill the heart of the humblest believer with all joy and peace in the knowledge of the truth.
I. The Holy Spirit declares by St. Paul, (Eph. i. 5.) that the chosen of God are "predestinated unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will." They are placed in an adopted state, by the decree of election, which being an eternal act of the divine mind, confirms the eternity of the relationship. The eternal Father must, by necessity of nature, be possessed of an eternal family. The relations of father and son, in natural life, are necessarily of equal date; for the son becomes a son, at the same period that the father becomes a father, though a determinate time must elapse before that intimate alliance can be known. Much more, then, must it be acknowledged, that the Father of Eternity, the covenant Father of his church and people, adopted from the sons of men those who ever were and ever should be the children of his love, to become in due time the subjects of his grace.
II. Believers in Christ are also adopted into the elect family, by the manifestation of the Spirit, and by the assurance of faith. The spirit of bondage, whose influence is exerted in every unregenerate character, may still prevail over the mind, though its possessor be in vital union to the mystical head of the church. But when that heavy chain is broken, and the released soul has burst the cerements of the sepulchre of sin, light, life, and liberty dawn upon the enraptured spirit, which now glows in the bright beams of covenant love and paternal affection. Jt now has joy in the Lord, by the Spirit's witness of the endearing affinity it holds with the Head and elder Brother of the church. The eye is no longer, through the excitement of fear, languidly fixed on the only object of the soul's desires; as that of the slave towards his inexorable employer. The ear ceases to hear the pealing thunder, whose terrific force fills the mind with consternation and alarm, and whose condemnatory sentence, enforces the unwilling attention. The mouth has forgotten to tell, in mournful accents, the tale of woe, and to encrease the mind's burden, by poring over its unallayed sorrows. Yea, every power and faculty, both of soul and body, becomes joyfully active in the Lord's service, and entirely devoted to his fear. Faith, in full assurance, lays hold of " the hope of Israel;" and realizing the adoption-privilege, exclaims, with the disciple who was delivered from tormenting unbelief, * My Lord,' and 'my God.' "And, because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father: wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son; and, if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Gal. iv. 6, 7. Thus believers are manifestly adopted into the family of God, and their names declaratively enrolled among the living in Jerusalem. We stay not to expose the errors of the system, which teaches, that by faith, they are made the sons of God, and that the seed of satan is transmuted into the seed of Christ. It should always be cause of joy to the christian, to witness the operations of divine grace in the hearts of his brethren, however imperfectly the truth, as a perfect and harmonious system, may be understood. How much more, then, ought their joy in the Lord to abound, whose knowledge is not circumscribed by bounds of human prescription! whose faith stands not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God!
III. There is a third view of the subject into which we are directed by the holy apostle. The church is represented as earnestly expecting and ardently desiring " the adoption—the redemption of the body." Rom. viii. 23. In the great work of redemption, the faith of many is so weak and imperfect, though, it may be, in various particulars correct, that they lose sight of those considerations which are more immediately in connection with spiritual peace and advancement. Trusting wholly in finished salvation for the eternal safety of the soul, they may be found resting the foot of faith firmly on that sure foundation. Having at the call of sovereign grace come to Christ, they have discovered him to be truly their wisdom, their righteousness, their sanctification, and their redemption, and have committed their souls into his holy keeping against the great day of the Lord. But they are forgetful that while the greater mercy is ensured,—the less is not withheld. The jewel, of inestimable value, is not more under the care of the heavenly merchantman, than the casket in which it is deposited, however mean and worthless in human estimation. A period is approaching when those who have died in Christ will prove, notwithstanding the height and magnitude of their bliss, that the glory revealed was incomplete till' this corruptible had put on incorruption, and this mortal had put on immortality.'
It is too true that the majority of the people of God are more generally observant in the various walks of the spiritual journey, of matters connected with the interests of the body, rather than of the soul.■ Yet there are such persons—a small and honourable minority —as have long trusted in the faithful promise of eternal redemption, and triumphed in an assurance of inheriting the glory to be revealed, who need reminding of " the adoption,—the redemption of the body." Let them remember the special nature of that providence which overrules every circumstance belonging to the interests and welfare of so precious a gem as a redeemed soul. The skill and prudence of the lapidary are not less apparent in devising the means for preserving his jewels, than in their purchase and preparation. And shall the heavenly architect be regardless of the situation allotted to the precious stones prepared for the new Jerusalem? The tender mercies of the Lord are over all his works, and are eminently shewn in his preservation and care of thef ungodly, notwithstanding their averseness to the perfections of his nature, and hostility to the requirements of his law. But the pre-eminent display of the operations of his hand in behalf of the godly, his adopted children, is seen from the moment of their new birth, through the whole period of their tutelage, till they arrive to that degree of spiritual knowledge by which they are prepared for the felicities'of everlasting habitations.
We therefore, brethren, " beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called; with all lowliness and meekness, With long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath f6rgivcn you."
(For the Spiritual Magazine.J
THE GOD OF TRUTH ACCOMPLISHES HIS PURPO ES BY THE WORD OF TRUTH.
As it is the eternal Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who hath arranged in infinite wisdom all things that concern his own glory, the safety, happiness, and eternal felicity of all his chosen people, all'glory is due unto him, and all praise must and will redound to his name for ever and ever.
It is a truth worthy of remark, and with the divine blessing has a tendency greatly to support the minds of the people of God, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; that with him is no variableness nor shadow of turning; he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; his counsel shall stand, and his pleasure shall be done, both in the armies of heaven and also with the inhabitants of the earth. Therefore all the wonders that have been wrought by the arm of omnipotence, all the glories that have been developed by infinite wisdom, all the mercies that have been communicated to poor sinners by the Spirit Jehovah, as expressions of love divine, and all the wonders that are yet to be accomplished for the church and blessings communicated to her in her time state, when compared to his glorious arrangements which are to be fulfilled in eternity, are but as a drop of the bucket to the vast ocean, and our time state is but a speck in eternity. Yet these are part of his purposes with whom there is neither time nor futurity, but " all is one eternal now;" or as the poet has it,
"With Thee there's nothing old appears,
And they prove also that every thing that transpires concerning the church is the effect of the unalterable purposes of God; and that all things spiritual flow from that inexhaustible fulness treasured up in Christ Jesus who is all and in all.
The followers of the blessed Redeemer are enabled to see that all their spiritual good is the gift of a covenant God, flowing to them through the efficacy of the death and blood-shedding of the Lamb of God; Christ is formed in the hearts of such by the Holy Ghost, and is their hope of glory. All hope short of this shall perish ; where Christ is there is life; hence the apostle says, being made a recipient of Christ, " the life that I now live in the flesh is by the faith of the Son of God;" and every true believer is privileged to join the apostle in this declaration. And to shew the humbling tendency of grace; the apostle says, " it is not I that live, but Christ liveth in me:" every idea of self-importance is here torn away and the Lord alone exalted. He who is the life of every saint is the way and the truth; and it is the truth that sets poor sinners free, and enables them to walk in the way, even the ways of God's ordinances blameless. Liberty is experienced when the Holy Spirit applies the word with power; for it is then that the bonds of slavery are broken off, even of sin and