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couragements, there are many of God's children that look forward to death with fear, and are afraid when they arrive at the briok of Jordan; nevertheless, they are secure in the hands of Christ their Redeemer, for he has said, “ Fear not, for I am with thee; and again, “ I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
The believer, “having his loinş girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness; his feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and above all, taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;" the believer, so invulnerably defended, presses forward through this wilderness, waiting the arrival of that hour when he will meet bis Saviour and appear with him in glory, and for ever be in the presence of God, where no unclean thing can enter; în confidence of being like him, and seeing him as he is, of being as holy as he is holy, “ without spot or blemish, or any such thing;” of being separated from the wicked, and no longer annoyed by unbelief and the temptation of satan ; when he will no longer be bound down to earth, or confined by the flesh, that barrier between his soul and Christ; when all contention and troubles will be over, and he for ever crowned with victory; when his race will be run, and the glorious prize obtained; when death will be swallowed up in victory;" when “this mortal will put on immortality," and when the glorified body will be reunited to the immortal spirit. Then will the believer come into possession of eternal bliss and glory, and an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth nat away, reserved in heaven for him,
(For the Spiritual Magazine, THE BELOVED'S RETURN AND COMMENDATION OF HIS
Concluded from page 273.) “ And four-score concubines.” These are more in number than the queens; so among the Lord's family there are more who are not blest with appropriating faith, like the apostle, than there are who can adopt his bold language, “who loved me, and gave himself for me;" or like John, “ we know we are of God.” They have been favored with his presence, and a sense of sin's remission; have rejoiced in the çonscious knowledge of acceptance before God, and triumphed over the power of the enemy: but when the Beloved withdraws they lose their confidence, and doubt the truth of their standing before God; yet they hope, and pray, and seek, and pant for nearness, yet fear they shall not come near again. He again visits, then they rejoice ; he sheds his love abroad in their hearts, then they long to be with him, and believe they shall finally. Again the shadows of the night overspread them; ordinances are unprofitable, there is no sensible nearness enjoyed at the throne, and darkness covers their pathway; then
suspicion works on the mind, and Satan's suggestions are listened to, so that the poor soul is half afraid he is not of the Redeemer's family, thinks he has no claim of interests in the Head of fulness, yet cannot give up his hold of the Rock of Salvation. He hopes he is an object of divine love, and dare not say that Christ did not die for him, yet he has many doubts and fears about it; looks more to the evil of his own heart than the redundant merit of Jesus, and oft fears from what passes within he is not a true born child of God. When the Lord sheds a ray of light on his soul, and warms his heart with his sensible presence, smiles upon him in his ordinances, and lets his unction drop into his soul at the foot of his throne; then he is all alive, and rejoices in hope of the glory of God, exclaiming, “ my beloved is mine, and I am his." No sooner is his pathway clouded again, than he sinks, and staggers, and fears he is only a deceiver, and his joys have not been the joys of the heaven-bound soul. Many there are of these in the high way to the kingdom, who are only the children of God, (in their own apprehension) and going to heaven when the sun shines; who live more by sense than by faith, and feeling than the promise of a never-failing God.
" And virgins without number.” By these we consider the babes of Christ, the weak in faith; such as live on the nourishing truths of the word, who are born to want, to desire, to hunger and thirst; young converts, who are remarkable for their integrity, the purity of their profession, and the chasteness of their affections to him; who have a spiritual apprehension of God, and of their total depravity in his sight; who have an insight into their vileness, and utter helplessness to save themselves; who have a tender conscience, are quickly sensible of evil, have a single eye to God's honor, are greatly abased in their own eyes, and cleave unto the Lord with full purpose of heart. They are all alert for the worship of God, alive in his ordinances, and at home with his people; a little satisfies them, but that they want often. There is much instability, and self intermingles with all they do; they may be censorious, but further teaching levels this; they are heedless, and have very little spiritual wisdom; their support is milk, they have little relish for strong meat; their conversation runs more upon feeling than what they believe; they are more for hearing than digesting; are more anxious to have their feelings enlivened, than their judgments informed; they hång more upon effects. than causes ; they rejoice more in communion than union; they are more taken with the mercy than the wisdom of God; they tarry more in the works of Christ than his person; they are more encouraged with the merits of Christ than the justice of God; have a great deal of zeal and little judgment, much action but little strength, much credulity and little caution, much sincerity but little firmness.
These are some traces of the “ virgins without number," enquiring their way to Zion with their face thitherward; with these the church of Christ abounds, seeking, fearing, hoping, longing souls, whose affections and powers are reserved for Christ only. They are Vol. IV.--No. 49.
without number : in comparison with those before described, they are innu nerable. 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.) NOTICE OF THE REVIEW OF JONES'S " PASTORAL RE
HEARSINGS,” &c. . Dear Sir,
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 of 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, 1898.
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 contained 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.
1. The Holy Spirit declares by St. Paul, (Eph. i. 5.) that the chosen of God are 66 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 saine 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. It 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 employér. The ear ceases to hear the pealing thunder, whose terrific forcë 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