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that. God's revelations of Himself are of Jesus, that none of you might deceive pot accommodated to the character or yourselves as to your interest in Him capacity of natural minds--His secrets who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, and are for them that fear Him, that hope separate from sinners, and mistake in His name; and they are such as He a mere assent to the doctrines of the
; teaches by His
Spirit as well as His gospel for a genuine, Spirit-taught, selfWord-none others can see, hear, or denying faith in Jesus. I have told you understand. God's sovereign grace in that salvation from wrath must include the Lord Jesus Christ is a mystery, salvation from sin, which cannot have which neither Satan nor those under dominion over those, in any sense, who his infnence are prepared to receive. are under the power of God's electing Satan told his dupes, long ago, that if grace. they received his doctrine they should Many other collateral and subordinate be as God, knowing good and evil. subjects of praise and thanksgiving, will Millions of professing Christians are of occur to you, my dear people, arising his school, and deify their own under- out of our condition, individually, dostandings. God, therefore, has provided mestically, socially, and spiritually conthat His chosen ones should become sidered, in the course of the past year. fools in their own esteem, that they I feel, as your pastor, that I have much, may be wise in Christ-that is, in very much, to thank my divine Master Christ's wisdom conferred upon them for in that relation, not to speak of other as God's free gift, provided for those and abounding. mercies vouchsafed to who have none of their own. Blessed me in my individual and social position. be the God and Father of our Lord For not a few of these I have to acJesus, who abounds to His people in all knowledge my obligation to you, my spiritual gifts in and through His be- dear friends, as instruments of comfort loved Son. In the Gospel scheme, God and encouragement to me in my labours. -Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-is Your regular attendance at the house of revealed as a giver. He gave a Saviour; God—your devotional demeanour there He gave forgiveness ; He gave regenera- --your marked attention
the reading tion or the new birth ; He gave sanctifi- and preaching of the Word, and the cation; He gave life, eternal life; He large average attendance at the Lord's gave victory over the grave; He gave table, afford me no little satisfactionresurrection; He gave adoption ; He whilst your ready and cordial co-operagave an everlasting inheritance; Hetion with me in any plans which I have gave all when He gave Christ. There- proposed for the advantage of our church fore His people are said to be saved and its services, fill me with gratitude pardoned-born again-made saints-to Him who has drawn out your kind heirs of life--conquerors over death- sympathies in my favour, and inclined sons of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. you to give me your confidence and Now, my friends, this is what I have support. preached to you; and, God be thanked, I cannot help, also, referring with I feel that I have not preached in vain. pleasure to the kindly and Christian The glorious intelligence of uncon- intercourse which I have enjoyed with ditioned mercy and grace has reached you in my visits to your houses, and on the ears of not a few, whose hearts other occasions apart from the services “the Lord opened” to recognize experi- of the sanctuary. "I have the happiness mentally its saving truth. "I have told of looking back on such intercourse you again and again that my business without the remembrance of one jarring was to deliver to you a message-simply incident or word to interrupt the sacred to this effect, that "God hath visited harmony of the relation between pastor and redeemed His people.”. Of course and people. I have ever been received I felt it my duty to tell you all about by you with genuine welcome; and the the two parties here referred to, which solemn subjects which I considered it the Scriptures of truth enabled me: to my privilege to introduce to your attenhold up the attributes of God for your tion, on such occasions, have been admiration, and to describe the feelings, listened to with attention and respect. life, and conversation of the followers. Some among you, I know, have felt it
difficult to follow me, in my pulpit min-1 pear to depart from the ordinary way of istrations, to the conclusions which I representing gospel truth. I believe, felt constrained to arrive at from the however, that nothing but this view will teaching of Scripture, and to announce sustain the doctrine of God's sovereign. to you; and regarding these you have interference for the salvation of guilty sought information on such occasions. and helpless man. But I will bear you witness, my dear In reference to our Church Services, friends, that you have never adopted the I bave in the course of the year venlanguage of cavilling or dictation. You tured to introduce into the pews of our have inquired, and sometimes reasoned: church a few printed hints for the beto that I could not possibly object; but coming and profitable participation in I have never felt hurt by your reproof, those services by the members of the or offended by an unbecoming tone. congregation. May I ask your serious You felt, I am assured, that however attention to those hints. ? They refer to new or startling my way of setting forth early attendance, audible repetition of gospel truths might be, I was entitled the responses, united praise or congreto the credit of a conscientious desire to gational participation in the psalmody, honour my heavenly, Master, whose seriousness of deportment, recognition commission I bear, and to benefit those of mutual claims to kindness and conentrusted to my charge. I thank you, sideration; and last, but not least, my friends, for your favourable judg- prayer for your minister. I feel assured ment, and the kind consideration with that much the edification to be ex
have regarded what you must pected from the public ordinances of the have considered my extreme views. I sanctuary is involved in hearty corejoice to know that my heavenly Father operation with the minister, on the part has already blessed to several of you of those among whom he labours. How this wise and Christian course, by re- much blessing may we not expect upon vealing to you those great truths which pastor and people who are of one mind at first you were led to question. in the Lord, and how becomingly may
Allow me, my beloved people, to en- this be manifested by such means as courage you to persevere in this course. these bints suggest. I ask your entire confidence. If there Among my subjects of thankfulness, should
appear to you aught in my treat. I cannot help referring to certain happy ment of God's Word that is unsound, indications of a growing friendly acstrange, or contradictory, seek an occa- quaintance and intercourse among the sion to converse with me on the subject. members of the congregation. We We shall then “search the Scriptures as Christians and fellow-worin reference to it, and pray over it, and shippers in the same church, under the I doubt not that, to minds really willing same ministry: all professing to be and ready to be taught, God the Spirit nothing but guilty sinners, believing in will reveal even the deep things of God. the one only way of salvation through I think I may say, with all sincerity, that the one Saviour Jesus Christ, and lookI desire to know nothing among you ing for His coming and kingdom as our save Jesus Christ and Him crucified;" only hope and expectation. We employ but the more I believe this to be the the same petitions for ourselves and Alpha and Omega of all revealed truth, those worshipping with us : we sing the more decidedly will I protest against together in the same strain. We should all doctrines of creature co-operation in walk together in the house of God as the accomplished work of redemption. friends. We have our various ranks and I will proclaim what God has done for walks outside the church, and I for one His eternally chosen people, not what would not disturb them; but within we He perhaps will do on certain conditions, should feel identified with each other, still less what they are to do that they acknowledging our Christian fellowship may be saved. The Bible tells us of as the strongest and most constraining nothing but a finished redemption, and tie that can bind human beings together, in God's sight a completed church or I shall rejoice to see the power of the outgathering of redeemed sinners; and gospel of Jesus more and more mani. with this in view, I may sometimes ap- 1 fested among you by the removal of that
frigidity and exclusiveness which are (6.) To enable us to put on Christ, so more suited to the cold and calculating that in our various walks in life, and atmosphere of the world than in a especially in our domestic circles, we Christian assembly, in which the gospel may adorn the doctrine of God our of truth shines, it is hoped, with soften- Saviour in all things, and exemplify the ing and sanctifying influence.
power of His grace in our souls. May I remind those with whom the (7.) To separate us from an ungodly Lord "has dealt bountifully in earthly world, so that we may feel, thougli in it, things, that God's poor are amongst yet not of it: though occasionally
parthem, inviting in His name the expres- taking of its business, its toils, its sion of gratitude for spiritual blessings troubles, our affections are not set on it, and opportunities enjoyed ? I shall be but on things above, where our beloved glad to find our thank-offering boxes, like Shepherd and Friend sits at the right spiritual thermometers, indicating a high hand of God, from whence He will come religious temperature within the walls to receive us to Himself, that where He of our little Zion. If we have received is we may be also. anything from gospel preaching, it must Finally, my brethren, let me solemnly assume the shape of a desire to act in intreat you to ask our covenant Jehovah, the spirit of the gospel.
(8.) To open the mouth of your Lastly, my dear people, allow me to pastor, that he may proclaim the gospel urge upon you who know the way to the of the grace of God boldly, faithfully, mercy seat, and the blessedness of being fully: fearing neither to inflict pain, nor often there, the importance of bearing to incur displeasure; preaching not himour church and its ministrations fre- self, but Christ Jesus his Lord; giving quently on your hearts before God. to all his hearers a portion of meat in Ask Him,
due season; not despising the babes in (1.) To pour out on us, as a congre- Christ, nor forgetting to feed them with gation, the Spirit of grace and of sup- the milk convenient for them, and not plication, that we may pray in the shrinking from the supply of strong Spirit, and not be guilty of the mockery nieat to those of full age. Thus shall of merely hearing and repeating prayers. you draw down blessings on your own
(2.) To make us joyful in the Lord, souls, while remembering the spiritual that we may be ready to come before necessities and perils of him who can only His presence with thanksgiving, and to feed His flock with the provision that make a joyful noise unto Him with comes to him from above, and according psalms.
to the ability which the Holy Ghost (3.) To give us the hearing ear, that vouchsafes to him in the work which He when His gospel is preached to us, He has given him to do. may be present to heal our spiritual dis- My heart's desire and prayer for you, eases, and to sanctify us to Himself by beloved friends, is, that God may abunHis truth.
dantly bless you with all spiritual bless(4.) To make us doers of the word, ings in heavenly things in Christ; and and not hearers only, deceiving our own that when all earthly ministrations have selves.
come to an end, you may be my glory (5.) To transform us, by the renewing and joy in the presence of our Lord of our minds into the image of Him Jesus Christ at His coming. who was made like unto His people, that Your affectionate pastor, they might grow up unto Him in all
SAMUEL ABRAHAM WALKER. things, so that the world might take St. Mary-le-Port, Bristol, knowledge of us, from our speech and New Year's Day, 1859. deportment, that we are His.
Cold prayers are like arrows without that have no heavenly fire in them heads, swords without edges, birds with always freeze before they reach as high out wings; they pierce not, they cut not, as heaven ; but fervent prayer is very they fly not up to heaven. Those prayers prevalent with God.-Brooks.
THE LORD AT WORK IN WILTSHIRE.
SUNDAY EVENING, Oct. 17, 1859.*
“ Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire."-Zech. iii. 2. Beloved friends, I have been privileged this soul-animating circumstance. It is during the past week to walk up and now just twelve months ago since I paid down your clean and pretty village with you a visit ; and what did I find then ? your esteemed pastor. I have also I found you like a flock without a shepranged over your wild and charming herd; your little ballowed church was Wiltshire downs; but nothing that I becoming deserted, because the people have seen or heard has gratified me like would not have a yea-and-nay gospel: the fact that now presents itself to my ye were hanging your heads down like notice, namely, that nine iinmortal souls bulrushes, and exclaiming, “The Lord have been plucked as brands from the has forgotten to be gracious"--when burning; and by joining themselves in he caused the poor worm who now adChristian fellowship with you, have de- dresses you to agonize in prayer on your clared themselves to be on the Lord's behalf, that the Lord would send you a side. Oh, think of it, beloved ! nine pastor after His own heart, who should immortal souls plucked as brands from feed you with living bread. Never shall the burning! God be praised for this I forget that night season, when during nine-stamped seal to my brother's minis- those hours of darkness the Lord distry in so short a time. Listen, O Satan, tinctly bade me send for him who now is thou arch enemy of the immortal soul, your esteemed pastor. When the family who goest about like a roaring lion, with whom I was staying had assembled seeking whom thou mayst devour, listen around the breakfast table the next to this gracious fact, and slink before it morning, and I announced to them my back again into thy black haunts--nine firm belief that the Lord had got a shepimmortal souls plucked as brands from herd in store for them, one feeling of thy foul en brace, never, no never, to re-i joy seemed to pervade; the downcast turn! Listen, O earth, thou that dost heads were lifted up, and the unbelievroll to and fro, drunk with her sin and ing hearts were led to rejoice. And was vanity--nine immortal souls plucked I wrong? was the Lord deceiving me? from thy false and delusive enchant- Oh no, blessed be his holy name, the fact ments, never, no never, to return to thy now before us proves that it is all His soul-ensnaring and destroying power ! work; for here is your little church Listen, O angelic spirits, ye who wait filled to excess, and nine immortal souls and long with holy joy for the manifes- declaring that they are brands plucked tation of the sons and daughters of Zion, out of the fire. if there be joy in heaven over one sinner And now let us turn with feelings of that repenteth, methinks there must joy and gratitude to notice the occasion have been a concert of praise there, which gave rise to the blessed assertion when this little band of believers in before us, “Is not this a brand plucked Jesus came forward to testify to the fact out of the fire ?” I need not tell you that they were brands plucked out of that various were the means used by the fire. Precious Jesus! it is all thine Jehovah to reveal to His prophets and own doing. “ Thanks be unto God who servants of old the great fact of the giveth us the victory, through our Lord coming of the Messiah, and the purpose and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
of His mission upon earth. Sometimes My hearers, I am overwhelmed when it was by means of types and shadows; I think of the facts in connexion with lat other times by the Urim and Thum
* This discourse was never intended for publication, but we have thrown together the outlines thereof, as far as our memory has served us, at the earnest request of several readers of the “ Gospel Magazine.”
mim. Again it was by prophecies and 2ndly. Joshua's change-"take away promises ; and furthermore by dreams the filthy garments—I will clothe thee and visions. It was in this latter way with change of raiment." that He revealed the glorious fact to the 3rdly. The cause-"the Lord hath prophet Zechariah ; yea, it was by a chosen Jerusalem ” precious, soveseries of visions, all pointing to a pre- reign, electing love. cious Christ. In the first vision, the 4thly. The charge — “if thou wilt prophet says, " I saw in the night, and walk in my ways, &c., I will give thee behold a man riding upon a red horse ; places to walk in.” And, and be stood among the myrtle trees.' 5thly. The consequence-"ye and We can have no difficulty in arriving at your fellows will be men wondered at." the fact of who this man among the 1st. Joshua's condition myrtle trees was, when he is described clothed in filthy garments; and herein afterwards as “the angel of the cove is a type of the Church in an unregenenant.” His riding being indicative of rate state. And we cannot too strongly His majesty, as well as His passing on insist upon the doctrine of man's total in a certain course; and the red horse ruin through the fall of Adam, his fedeprobably a token of the bleeding sacri- ral head; because if wrong here, we fice. But again, in a second vision, shall be wrong, everywhere : and the Zechariah says, “I lifted up my eyes, fatal error of the day is attempting to and behold a man with a measuring line deceive man upon this point, and makin his hand. Then said I, Whither goest ing him out endued with great capabithou? And he said unto me, To measure lities and powers; which, if properly Jerusalem, to see what is the length trained and cultivated, will exalt him and breadth thereof.” Ah! we have no and bring him into a spiritual state. difficulty in getting at who this man with " What shall I cry?” said the prophet of a measuring line in his hand was, when, old; and the voice of the Lord said, after measuring the length and breadth Cry,“All flesh is grass, and all the goodof Jerusalem, we are told to“ Sing and liness thereof is as the flower of the rejoice, 0 daughter of Zion; for, lo, I field.” And again it is written, “Ye are come, and I will dwell in the midst of born in sin and shapen in iniquity;" not thee, saith the Lord.” And now, be able to think a good thought or perform loved, in a third vision--which vision is a good action="altogether vile :" and before us for contemplation—Zechariah as Isaiah's faithful portrait of human saith, “And he shewed me Joshua the nature expresses it, “From the sole of high priest standing before the angel of the foot even unto the head, there is no the Lord, and Satan standing at his soundness in it: but wounds, and right hand to resist him. And the Lord bruises, and putrefying sores; and any said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, attempt to mend the old nature will be O Satan; even the Lord that hath a failure, from first to last it is old Adam chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not still. Now it is probable that Joshua this a brand plucked out of the fire? was not really seen by Zechariah in his Now Joshua was clothed with filthy gar- vision, clothed with filthy rags; it may ments;" but the angel said, “Take away be that, as high priest, he had on his the filthy garments from him. Behold, I sacerdotal robe, studded with precious have caused thine iniquity to pass from stones. But no matter, rags or robes thee, and I will clothe thee with change of are alike when the heart is unchanged; raiment.”. And the angel protested unto a surpliced sinner is a sinner still: man Joshua, charging him to walk in the in an unregenerate state is clothed in the ways of the Lord, and finally describes filthy garments of creature righteoushim and his fellows “as men wondered ness. But now mark, at.” Here, then, we have, beloved, five 2ndly. The change the blessed transprominent points brought before us in formation—"Take away," said the angel, Zechariah's ballowed vision.
" the filthy garments from him. And the Spirit unfold them to our faith's unto him he said, behold, I have caused view and soul's profit.
thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I Ist. Joshua's condition "he was will clothe thee with change of raiment.” clothed in filthy garments.”
And he said further, “ Set a fair mitre