« AnteriorContinuar »
believe.” 2. To walk in the fear of by believing: hence it is prefaced by the Lord, in which is strong confi. faith; “By faith Moses," &c.; for he dence. 3. To encourage a tender endured, as seeing him that is invisiconscience, and honesty in our deal. ble. Another strait, is trying to get ings amongst inen, &c.; and you will hold of the Lord Jesus Christ; as find that faith in exercise will do all every sensible sinner finds the innuthis, and much more: for faith works merable corruptions within, working by love, and love works no ill to a hard against him in every step he neighbour; therefore love is the ful attempts to take ; ; the world with all filling of the law. But, alas, unrigh- its flatteries and frowns threatening teousness will ever oppose us in all his ruin and destruction, while his this; and there are times when we so soul keeps sinking lower and lower, slip and fall, secretly if not openly, and his hope appears at times to be that we appear to be nothing in our all gone : to attempt to go on, there. own eyes but antinomians. However fore, appears presumption, and to go when the Lord blesses us with faith back, black despair. Another strait, again, we find it true, that “with the is peculiarly trying providences, afflicheart man believeth unto righteous- tions in body and family, which some ness ; ” for “ he that believeth is find. Now these are great straits to justified freely from all things, from flesh and blood; but there is none of which he never could by the law of these straits, only to believers. You Moses.” So that you see that faith will answer, Yes, those of an outward in exercise, or looking to the Lord, is nature. But, I say, though according the only way to get right again. But to appearance it may be so, yet not in Christ is this one way also: for in the reality; for such have no life in their Lord we have righteousness, and he souls, neither are they tormented with is the end of the law, of all its accus. devils as the believer is; and they can ing and condemning power, to every use unlawful means to get out, which one that believeth, all our journey often succeeds, which the believer through.
dare not do, and if he does, he adds Fifthly. Another way is the strait to his misery greatly. They make or difficult way: hence our Lord says, lies their refuge, but God's family “ Strait is the gate, and narrow the cannot make a trade of lying; they way that leadeth unto life, and few trust in man, but God keeps bringing there be that find it.” Now all other bis people off from all confidence in ways are easy to come at, and all the flesh; they know that “ cursed is other characters, but the real believer, the man that trusteth in man, and are in the broad way, whether pro- maketh flesh his arm ;” and they fessor or profane. I will mention a tremble at these things, though the little of the straitness of this way: flesh is inclined, in them, to do the 1. Then a man forsakes all the plea, same. But faith, at times, will trisures and profits, honours and esteem umph over all these straits. 1. Over of this world, and prefer afflictions, all those things we may be called to crosses, trials and difficulties to the forsake : hence David says, “ It is whole of it: hence you read, that better to trust in the Lord than to put Moses refused to be called the son of confidence in princes;" yea, than to Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather put confidence in princes : and Moses to suffer affliction with the people of by faith “ esteemed the reproach of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of Christ greater riches than all the treasin for a season ; esteeming the re- sures of Egypt.” 2. Faith triumphs proach of Christ, greater riches than when we get in at the strait gate; all the treasures of Egypt. But how „when we get out of a condemned into was all this done? Why it is done a justified state; when we find the
place of praise, a garment of which at Christ that Cain struck when he comes for a spirit of heaviness; and struck Abel. These things, with very Zion's walls shall be called salvation, many more, make it a strait gate. and her gates praise. Now faith tri. And as all this cruel oppression is umphs here, for they find peace within against Christ, it may be said that it her walls, and prosperity within her comes out of him. These are my palaces. But, alas, straits and diffi- views at present of the text. But culties will soon come on again; knotty remember you are not always to be experiences that we cannot make out: at the strait gate, but to be delivered we finding the road so rough, are in soul, as Elihu tells Job, “ Even so tempted by Satan to shake the yoke would he have removed thee out of off altogether, and break through all the strait into a broad place, where bounds; and we would rather, at such there is no straitness; and that which times, be in carnal security. Some should he set on thy table, shall be times God suffers all our trouble to full of fatness.” And I know that go off, and a light spirit follows. We all this is done by a living faith in now appear worse than ever, and try Christ crucified for me as an indito get the yoke on again, fearing he vidual. " Christ our passover was will give us up, for we are sure that if sacrificed for us ;" therefore let us we had the reins on our own neck, we keep the feast. And at this feast should run headlong to destruction. there is fat things, full of marrow and Thus carnal ease is as dangerous a fatness. This was the fatted calf way as any that oppose this strait that the prodigal partook of; the way. If you, therefore, are in the table is a believing heart. Hence strait way, you are right, painful as it Paul says, “ Written not with ink, may appear, and you will have many but with the Spirit of the living sweet lifts as you go on to encourage God; not on tables of stone, but on you. Hence David says, “ Though I the fleshly tables of the heart.” Now walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt here is no straitness. David calls this revive me,” &c. Now faith has to do “a large room." Elihu, “ a broad both with the painful as well as with place." And the church in the Song, the pleasant paths we are called upon “the broad ways.” to walk in ; for if you and I are in Sixthly. Another way is, truth. great straits about our corrupt hearts, Now that truth is called a way, is this is faith exercising itself upon the abundantly confirmed in holy writ. fall of man; and if we tremble at the David calls it a way, and says, “ I word of God, his judgments and righ- have chosen the way of truth," Psalm teousness, it is because we believe cxix, 30. Daniel also says, speaking these things; he that believeth hath of the Lord, “ all whose ways are the witness in himself, which witness truth.” And John speaks of the is twofold, first to our adoption, and children of God " walking in truth.” second to afflictions. Hence Paul But oh, how hard does Satan labour says, “ In every city the Holy Ghost to draw us away from the truth, into witnesseth that bonds and afflictions errors and heresies. And no man abide me.” But Christ is this strait can keep himself, however he may gate, for “out of him cometh the conclude that he knows the truth. corner, the nail, the battle-bow of It is the Holy Spirit that must guide their mind;" every oppressor toge- you and me iato all truth, and guard ther. Paul calls these sufferings the us against error. But as I have sufferings of Christ, and the afflictions treated about truth in a little book of of the gospel. David speaking of his mine, on those wards, “ Buy the enemies, says, “ They shot at the per- truth;” I shall not enlarge. The fect;" that is, at Christ : and it was truth, as well as the other ways I have mentioned, is coupled with faith. such as being saved by works, and by Hence you have these words by the our own arm. These things will try apostle Paul, “Through sanctification hard to get us from a simple looking of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” and believing in Jesus. Whereas it But what is the truth ? I answer, is " by grace we are saved, through the Lord Jesus Christ : “ I am the faith, (mind that,) and that not of truth." And though a poor soul ourselves, it is the gift of God; not may be very dark in the Scriptures, of works, lest any man should boast.” dark in the doctrines of the gospel, “ Look unto me (through faith) and and sometimes dark in his soul; yet be ye saved." This is the one and the good Spirit will lead him in faith only way, to the Saviour, who is the truth, and Eighthly. Another way is charity. will so furnish him to contend with Paul's account of this is, that it is the enemies of truth, that he himself the more excellent way. And thereshall wonder at, knowing his own fore he says, “ Walk in love," &c. ignorance. Hence you read, that It is easy to talk about love, but how “ out of the mouths of babes and hard to practise it, for many things sucklings, thou hast ordained strength will try the reality of it. The conto perfect praise, (and then, mind,) trary path to this is enmity, which to still the enemy and the avenger.” arises either from the old man of sin You see what I am aiming to prove, being stirred up in ourselves or else that faith in exercise in Christ Jesus, in others. And oh, how high this will occasion us to walk in all these will arise at times, insomuch as we ways.-1. Fear. 2. Peace. 3. Life. cannot perceive that we ever did walk 4. Righteousness. 5. The strait way, in this love. We appear to be deand also to get out of it. And, 6. ceived souls, and really feel as if we Truth. And by attending close to, loved sin, and sought our own honor. and following hard after him. This However we are told to follow after is what I understand by laying up in charity; and the best way that I know store, agreeable to our text, a good to do this is, to cry to the Lord that foundation.
his Spirit may help our infirmities, Now observe the Seventh way; enabling us to make an honest conwhich is salvation ; for this is called fession to the Lord of what is amiss, a way to walk in. Hence you find then to plead his own unconditional that a young woman possessed with promises, such as, that he would the devil, followed Paul and Silas “circumcise our hearts to love him, many days, after the conversion of and teach us to love one another :" Lydia, saying, “ These men are the and when we feel faith go out again servants of the Most High God, on the Lord Jesus, then our prayers which show unto us the way of sal- are beard and answered, for faith vation,” Acts xvi. 17. Now if we works by love, and then we feel it in consider salvation to be from sin, lively acts and exercise, then the proSatan, God's wrath, every enemy, mise we have pleaded is fulfilled in idols, filthiness and uncleanness; in our experience, and under the sweet providence, in the hour of death, and influence of love we know it. But to land us safe at last; sure I am alas, it will not be long before we that the Lord Jesus Christ is all this shall feel the old man again, in some salvation to a believer: and he never way or another; for many waters will get into this way, nor keep in it, will try to quench this love, and the but by faith in him, for he is God's floods to drown it, yet they never salvation to the ends of the earth. can, because it is of divine origin, for But dangerous ways again and again “Love is of God.” John says, “we will present themselves to our view, have believed the love which God
hath toward us.” But it flows to us doing the devil's drudgery; yet they through a Mediator, and therefore are all in Christ's training school ! Paul tells us in Rom. viii, that “ the Surely this must be a mistake ; Christ love of God is in Christ Jesus.” never can train them up in his school Thus faith in Christ Jesus discovers to do the devil's drudgery, because this love, and leads us again and he makes them sick of what they have again into charity, the more excellent done, and puts a cry into their hearts way. Paul was in it again and again for deliverance. But here, he says, in a manifest way, and he tells us that They are kept till their appointed it was by faith. Hence he was per- time of release, and they shall have suaded that nothing should separate passed through the various means of him finally, from this love, &c. The discipline, preparatory to their being ground work of all this charity or taken to court, to the King's imme. love that we walk in is, the sovereign diate presence, to be manifestly united love of God to us, independent of to him according to the ancient stipuany one thing in us, from first to last, lation of the everlasting covenant; which love is fixed upon us in Christ and yet he says, page 37, no man can Jesus. Had it come in this way to be lawfully the husband of more than the non-elect, it would have had the one wife, at one and the same time; same effect, for we are by nature then surely, our holy and chaste King exactly alike; and no reason possibly Jesus cannot have more than one can be assigned for all this difference, wife; and I think these words confirm but God's will, for “ he worketh all the idea." My undefiled is but one.” things after the counsel of his own We must admit, that we poor fallen will.” But to proceed.
creatures may, and do change; so To be Continued in our next.
that if we come together in the strongest union in the ties of nature,
those ties may be broken, through A FEW REMARKS UPON A PAPER
the affections being turned after anoBY J. E. c.
ther object: either the husband or
the wife may become the most awful MR. EDITOR, I have been a con- prostitutes, and even be given up to stant reader of the Spiritual Maga- hate those they once loved. But not zine : I see in the February number, so with him who cannot change; a statement of the queen's concubines whom he loves, he loves for ever; and virgins, by J. E. C.; but it does and even in nature, where the union not appear to me to be scriptural, nor is kept in chastity, there is a seeking has he brought forward scripture to each other's welfare. There are many prove his statement; and if we have things to mar our comforts, but while not scripture foundation to build upon, the union is maintained, we share in our superstructure must fall. I do each other's sorrows and joys, and if not know J. E. C., neither do I take one is unhappy, the other must feel up my pen merely for controversy, or it; but not so with a concubine. But to show my ability, for I am but a to come to the truth; if the conpoor writer ; but truth is truth, and cubine was to be heir of the property, for truth's sake I write ; but I cannot she would want to have the presee how it can be proved from Scrip- eminence, as was the case with Ha. ture, that these concubines are child- gar; and when she saw that she ren of God. He seems to place the conceived, her mistress was despised emphasis on the word kept ; but for in her eyes, Gen. xvi. 4, and so her son what purpose are they kept? He mocked the royal heir, Isaac, Gen. says, they are kept in bondage to the xxi. 9; but neither her, nor her seed, law, and many of them slaves to sin, were permitted to abide with the lawful wife ; though it was painful to have I formed for myself; they shall Abraham's fleshly feelings, he must show forth my praise.” cast out the bond-woman and her son; Grammarians say, anciently this so it was with the Keturah. Abra- word concubines, signified a woman ham gave all that he had unto Isaac, who was married, but who had no but unto the sons of the concubines legal claim to any part of the huswhich Abraham had, Abraham gave band's property. But can this be said gifts and sent them away from his of God's dear children, when in the son Isaac, while he yet lived eastward training school of Christ. Does not unto the east country, Gen. xxv. 5, 6. he give them another spirit, as he did King David left ten women that were Caleb, Num. xiv. 21, and which apconcubines, to keep house when he pears to be the spirit of true faith, fled from Absalom; but he did not and is the gift of God. Now this leave his wives there : so poor Jacob makes them courageous to meet their put the handmaids and their children foes, in his strength, as it did Caleb, foremost, but his beloved Rachel and David and others. And this faith is Joseph behind, when he had to meet delivered to the saints by the Holy Esau; this showed his special love to Ghost, but not to concubines ; and his beloved wife, Gen. xxxiii. 2. And though Caleb was in the same wilder. it is said, Reuben lay with his father's ness, and under the same lawgiver, concubine, and this was Rachel's Moses, as the rest of the Israelites, handmaid, Gen. xxxv. 22. So, as yet he had a gospel spirit given unto J. E. C. says, a concubine is a bye him, and so have all who come into wife, but not a real one. I do con- Christ's training school, to be trained sider, that Israel after the flesh acted for covenant union with him, and his the part of a concubine; and the Spirit keeps them crying for a mani. Lord says, he was married to them, festation of gospel liberty; neither Jer. iii. 14. But in what sense, may can they rest satisfied without it. I it be said ? He was married to them think I have seen Dr. Gill's com menin the old covenant relationship, as is tary on this passage, but I cannot reproved by Jeremiah, xxxi. 32, where member one word he says upon the he says, He will make a new cove. subject, so I must give you my own nant with them, but not according to thoughts thereon. the old one, when he brought them It appears to me, the queens may out of the land of Egypt, which co- represent those churches where the venant they broke, although I was an gospel is preached and received in its husband to them, watched over them, purity, in all its parts-in doctrine, led them through the wilderness, fed experience and precept-and his orthem with manna, and gave them the dinances duly administered, as laid land of promise ; but this is the co- down in his word; and where the venant that I will make with them Holy Ghost sets his seal to the truth after those days, saith the Lord : I delivered, by quickening poor dead will put my law in their inward parts, sinners, and comforting mourners, and and write it in their hearts; and will building up believers in Christ. These be their God, and they shall be my are the greatest honours we can have people. And this is the ground of conferred upon us while here below, relationship, in which his wife, the and are a manifestation of our relachurch, stands. And so Paul says; tionship to him. Being favoured with “ they are not all Israel, that are of these peculiar blessings, they shew me Israel,” Rom. ix. 6; but God had his are his peculiar people. And the church, or elect seed, in national world know us not because they knew Israel; and he says, “This people him not; and because he hath chosen