Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WHY WE PREACH ELECTION


We preach sovereign election not only because it is revealed in God’s Word, exhibiting man’s total depravity and inability, but because it exalts a sovereign God in His Trinity of Persons. It reveals the magnitude of His kingdom and defines who are the objects of the Father’s everlasting love, the travail of the Redeemer’s soul, and the objects of the Spirit’s concern and care. Within election’s hallowed bounds the whole seed royal of heaven are found by a seeking Saviour and a searching Spirit.

By Thomas Bradbury

SALVATION BY GRACE


The longer I live, the more I feel that if there was one thing left undone, if the devil were not conquered, sin not expiated, justice not satisfied, the law not honored and magnified, death not overcome, and every burden carried, I should not have a ray of hope. I see and feel now that if one hair breath is left for me to do to merit heaven, or bring as a plea before God, I am undone forever and ever.

By John Warburton

DISCERNING TRUE DOCTRINE


How may we know that any doctrine is the true grace of God?

I answer:

- If it humbles the creature and excludes all boasting.

- If it provides for the honor of God’s holy law and justice.

- If it is a solid and sure ground of strong consolation to the believer.

- If it is a doctrine according to holiness.


By John Brine, 1750

WAS THE LORD JESUS TEMPTED AS I AM?


For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin.
(Hebrews 4:15)

Was the Lord Jesus tempted like I am?

How can that be?

He was pure, spotless, and holy; but I am full of corruption from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. The Lord of life and glory had a perfect, unfallen nature, a holy human body, and a holy human soul, taken into union with deity; but I have a fallen nature, defiled in body and polluted in soul.

Can there be a resemblance in our temptations?

I would ask, what is it in you that feels the burden of temptation when Satan injects his blasphemies into your mind?

Is there not a something in you which is grieved, I was going to say tortured, by these fiery darts? Is it not the new nature?

And is not that nature spotless and holy?

Is it not born of God and therefore as holy as God is holy, and pure as God is pure?

Thus just in the same way as your pure and holy nature that is born of God is grieved and distressed by the fiery darts of Satan, so was the holy soul of the Lord Jesus ten thousand times more grieved and tortured by the temptations of Satan presented before his pure and spotless mind.

By J. C. Philpot

THE GOSPEL IS NOT AN OFFER


Every declaration of God to the sinner is on the principle of grace and gift, not an offer, which implies there is some capability in man to make use of the benefit offered.

The offer of salvation is a denial of man’s total depravity as born in Adam’s fall, and “dead in trespasses and sins”; it ignores the Gospel truth of the new birth and puts in its place man’s acceptance of the offer as the condition of the divine life.

By John Hazelton (1909)

THE SCHOOL OF PAINFUL EXPERIENCE


All Christians, even the most eminent servants of God, have their bad and dark seasons – when the life of God seems sunk to so low an ebb as to be hardly visible – so hidden is the stream by the mud-banks of their fallen nature. By these very dark and dead seasons, the people of God are instructed.

They see and feel what ‘the flesh’ really is – how alienated from the life of God; they learn in whom all their strength and sufficiency lies; they are taught that in them, that is, in their flesh, dwells no good thing; that no exertions of their own can maintain in strength and vigor the life of God; and that all they are, and have – all they believe, know, feel, and enjoy – with all their ability, usefulness, gifts, and grace – flow from the pure, sovereign grace – the rich, free, undeserved, yet unceasing goodness and mercy of God!

They learn in this hard school of painful experience, their emptiness and nothingness – and that without Christ they can do nothing. They thus become clothed with humility, that rare, yet lovely garb; cease from their own strength and wisdom; and learn experimentally that Christ is, and ever must be, all in all to them and all in all in them.

By J. C. Philpot

TRUE REPENTANCE


True repentance is not merely pressed, squeezed, or extorted by the workings and violent struggles of guilt and wrath, fear and torment; but it flows out under the sin-pardoning operations of the spirit of love, accompanied with the blood of atonement, attended with a believing view of Christ, and of interest in him, and of God’s appearing well pleased and reconciled in Jesus, shining upon us in his blessed face, accepting us in the beloved, and blessing us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places, in him.

By William Huntington

Monday, December 27, 2010

THE UNION AND COMMUNION BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH

Preached at Brighton, England, 1856 - by John Vinall.

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"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."
(Songs 6:3)

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This song sets forth the love, union, and communion between Christ and his church. There must be union before there is any communion. The song is written in the way of dialogue, Christ and his church conversing sweetly with each other; and the third parties introduced are the daughters of Jerusalem. Who are they? Weak believers, or babes in grace. "I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem." Here the church is speaking under a feeling sense of what she is in herself. I am black in myself, and yet in Christ all fair. "Thou art all fair, my love; there is not spot in thee." (Songs 4:7) This is a great mystery. "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him that I am sick of love." (Songs 5:8) Do you know what love sickness is? This sickness is not unto death. It never kills anybody. Love is very sweet, and sometimes very bitter too. This is the church speaking. What made her sick of love? Because she could not find the object beloved. God sometimes kindles this love, and then hides himself. Bunyan was left to fall into deeper trouble after he had known the Lord's love than before. He had been where I also have been. The thought of being separated from Christ after his love has been felt is dreadful. Not one of his members can ever be separated from Christ, though they may have dreadful fears of it. Once in Christ, you are there for ever. Union with him is inseparable. You can neither get into this union by your own act, nor get out. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." (John 6:44) "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37) It was God that put Noah and his family and all the creatures into the ark. As good old Romaine said, I am in the ark. The church could not be happy without the enjoyment of Christ. Bunyan says, "There was such a vehement love to Christ in my heart, and yet he did not come." This will bring on the love sickness. I have had it to such an extent that I could not bear myself. If you have a true love to Christ, you cannot be happy without the object. These daughters are young converts. I know what it is to see young ones get so much indulged that I have been jealous. Christ will not have a rival in his wife's affections. Have you ever found your heart and soul set upon Christ, and yet he would not give you a look? Christ will sometimes kindle a vehement love in your heart, and then withdraw himself. "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not." (Songs 3:1) This has caused me some of the deepest grief I ever knew. But if he kindle the love, he will in his own time fill you with his love. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine." (Songs 1:2) This is cutting when the Lord's love cannot be felt. You may see another enjoying that which you are seeking after, and here the fire of jealousy will be kindled. These little ones will creep in and get a kiss, when you cannot get one. This love is an evidence of your being a child of God. I can see clearly enough even when in trouble that this is so. "Thou knowest that I love thee." These daughters of Jerusalem, or babes in grace, under the sweet allurings and drawings of the Holy Ghost, are generally most earnest in the ways of God. The old ones are sometimes jealous of those little ones, and may justly be ashamed if they come short of their love. If you are seeking Christ, would this world or any object in it satisfy you? I can set my seal to this in my own case. This is a safe place to be in, though you cannot get the object to make you happy. "O that thou wert as my brother that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee. I would lead thee and bring thee into my mother's house." (Songs 8:1,2) It is as if the soul said, If I could but once get hold of the object! I really had this feeling. I wished I had been on earth when Christ was here, that I might go and tell him all my feelings. This shows my weakness. "Yea, I should not be despised." You will not be despised when you feel that vehement desire for Christ. This was the longing desire of the church for the coming of Christ. Are you sometimes looking and waiting for him? "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh (the object desired) it is a tree of life." Christ is the tree of life.None but a child of God knows what these longings after Christ are. He will crucify and kill you to everything but himself. Love must be mutual. Let love meet love. If it be on one side only it will be bitter. "What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women...that thou dost so charge us?" (Songs 5:9) The simple little ones speak in that inquiring way, and the bride reples, "My beloved in white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand...His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem." (Songs 5:10,16) This preaching Christ in his preciousness makes these young ones desire to find him also. Therefore they inquire, "Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee." (Songs 6:1) There is something very sweet in this, if you can get the marrow of it. Faith comes by hearing. These little ones wanted now to find Christ. None want Christ more than these when he is alluring them. "My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine; he feedeth among the lilies." (Songs 6:2,3) In chapter 2:16, it is thus, "My beloved is mine, and I am his." How are we his, and he ours? First, We are Christ's by the gift of the Father. "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." (John 17:6) Secondly, By right of redemption. "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isa. 43:1) "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:20) "The Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." (Deut. 32:9) It is manifestly so by regeneration and grace in the heart. More clearly still when taken into a marriage covenant. "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was a time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness; yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine." (Ezek. 16:8) A wife is not her own, but is taken by her husband unto himself; so Christ takes his wife--he sweetly allures and conquers the poor sinner. Like as it was with Rebekah. Abraham's servant had spoken so highly of his master's son, that it won her heart, and when they inquired of her, "Wilt thou go with this man? she said, I will go." Have you ever felt this? "Draw me, we will run after thee." (Songs 1:4) I am his by gift, I am his by the purchase of his blood, by the conquest of grace, and more particularly by his marriage covenant. "My beloved is mine." Christ is given to us. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." To be brought really to give up yourself to Christ for better and for worse, is the spiritual marriage. I cannot describe this, but I know what the feeling part of it is. Did not Christ make himself over to you? By his spirit and grace he caused me to make myself over to him. "Thy maker is thine husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy one of Israel." (Isa. 54:5) It is a blessed thing to enter into a true marriage covenant with Christ. There is nothing like it in the whole world. Make it clear once, and it stands for ever. Did you not make it heartily and sincerely? It is a mutual and conjugal act. You cannot forget that day. When he gave you faith to receive him into your heart and affections, you could say, "His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely." "Ye children of God, By faith in his son, Redeem'd by his blood, And with him made one; This union with wonder And rapture be seen, Which nothing shall sunder Without or within."

No tongue can describe my agony when I thought that Christ was separated from me for ever. But the time when he has compassion. "He will turn again, he will have compassion; he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19) He hates putting away. You may have many suspicions and soul-rending fears. But "having loved his own which were in the world he loved them unto the end." (John 13:1) Never be satisfied without Christ. "The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." (Prov. 13:19) If you get a fit of love sickness and jealousy, don't wonder at it. If you cannot find Christ when your soul is really in earnest after him, it will bring you to this jealousy. "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry and will save them." (Ps. 145:19) May God kindle in our hearts every day a violent desire after Christ.

CHRIST IS THE ROOT OF THE RIGHTEOUS


Preached at Brighton, England, 1843 - By John Vinall

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"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love."
(John 15:8-9)

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You will find that in this chapter Christ most sweetly sets forth the union between himself and his church. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." There are other vines mentioned in Scripture, as in Deut. 32:32, "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter." These are not true fruits. Also in 2 Kings 4:39, we have an account of a time of great scarcity, when Elisha commanded to set on the great pot to seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets, when one of them went out to gather herbs and found a wild vine, and he gathered wild gourds and shred them into the pot, but they soon discovered that there was death in the pot. So it will be in a spiritual sense; if you gather from any other vine except Christ, there will be death in the pot. Beware of wild vines! It is said (Ps. 80:8), "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt, Thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it." Here the church of God is called a vine. And again: (Isa. 27:2,3), "In that day sing ye unto her a vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it: I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it; I will keep it night and day." The branches of a vine are of very different sizes, some strong, and some weak. So it is in Christ's church; some are babes, some young men, and some of full age. The point to be ascertained is this: Am I a living branch of the true vine? "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away." Is it possible that a branch in Christ should be taken away? In one sense it is not. None of God's elect in Christ, or chosen in him, or truly united to him, can be taken away. "In me." Many are professedly in Christ, and yet not truly united by a living faith to him; they are only outwardly in Christ. It was so in his time on the earth, and you see it prophesied by Isaiah (4:1): "In that day seven women shall lay hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: Only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." Here an indefinite number of churches are represented as seeking only for a name to live. They take hold of Christ by natural faith or historical faith, but Christ does not take hold of them. Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." All that are Christ's, are the spiritual seed of Abraham. These churches say they will wear their own apparel. Some will still abide in their own works and performances. When Christ was on earth some followed him because of the miracles, and some for the bread. Hart says:

"Ye children of God, by faith in his Son,
Redeemed by His blood, and with Him made one;
This union with wonder and rapture be seen,
Which nothing shall sunder, without or within."


And also

"The sinner that truly believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,"
etc.

I quote Hart's Hymns because he conveys my ideas better and fuller than I am able to do. He expresses exactly my meaning, and I believe his writings to be according to the Word of God, or else I would not quote them at all. "Truly believes;" not a natural, notional, or historical faith. "He that believeth in Christ, hath the witness in himself" (1 John 5:10). "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit," etc., that is, in me professedly, notionally, or doctrinally only, as Judas was, who never was united, or chosen, or accepted, or completed in Christ. "And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it," etc. These branches are truly in Christ. They know the power of vital godliness which consists in union and communion with him, communion flowing from union. There can be no communion, no heart melting, humbling, meekening communion, without union. It is so in the natural vine, there is no communication of the sap without union. You may tie a piece on the vine, but it will get no sap. I want no better evidence of my union with Christ, than my having heart melting communion with him. This proves my oneness with Christ. When does your heart melt with contrition and humiliation? When, like Abraham, you hold sweet communion with Christ, who appeared unto him in the form of a man, and Abraham said, "Behold now I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes," etc. Here is humility, as if he would say, this is a privilege too great, too wonderful for such a poor sinner as I. But nothing less than this will do for us, my friends, great as it is. Every empty professor is taken away, no branch can bear without life. I know something about the natural vine. I was very fond of it and almost worshipped it. It throws forth (as I believe) more than any other tree, long and strong branches. This sets forth the church of God, which does so. The vine wants more cutting back than any other tree, to make it bear fruit abundantly, and as the gardener heads it in for this purpose, so in a spiritual sense, it is in the church. Heavy afflictions, temptations, and cutting rebukes are sent to the Lord's people.

Another circumstance I have remarked in the vine, which is peculiar to it. If it be not cut back in good time in the season, before the sap is fully risen, it will bleed itself to death. And so with God's children; if they are left alone too long, it will be almost death to cut them down. I know what it is to be superfluous and redundant. If you are a right branch you will be pruned and cut back. I believe that in the church of Christ there are weak branches as well as strong ones. The thing is to prove the union by divine life. "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." He that is united is one spirit with Christ. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you, abide in me," etc. I know the Lord has often spoken to me. He said once to me in this vestry, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." If you have found this with a sense of your pardon and acceptance, you are a true branch. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them," etc. I think this alludes to Judas, the man who abided not is Christ. He will wither in his profession, and ungodly men will gather him in their company. "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."

I propose to enquire what is necessary to our bringing forth fruit? What this fruit signifies? What we are to understand by being the Lord's disciples? And what it is to continue in his love?

And first, what is necessary to our bringing forth fruit? In Hosea 10:1, it is said, "Israel is an empty vine; he bringeth forth fruit unto himself," not to God. The text signifieth that it shall be brought forth to God, whereby He is glorified. Some bring forth fruit and eat it afterwards themselves. None in a state of nature can bring forth fruit unto God. "First make the tree good and the fruit shall be good." But we are born in sin. The carnal mind is abstractedly enmity against God. Works done in the flesh cannot please God. By faith Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Paul shows this in Rom. 7., "The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth;" and afterwards says. "Ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." We are by nature married to the law, to the covenant of works, and must first die to it before we can be married to Christ, so as to bring forth fruit unto God. "From me," says Christ, "is thy fruit found." Paul says (Gal. 4), "God sent forth his son, to redeem them that were under the law." And in (Gal. 2), he says, "I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." When the law enters, in its spirituality, you will find it takes all hope away. "The law is spiritual," says Paul, "but I am carnal, sold under sin." I know what it is to have the law applied spiritually. The severity of one husband and the kindness and sweetness of the other, that brings about the divorce in spirit and the new union. Boaz' kindness to Ruth shows us Christ's kindness to his people. It is not the severity of Moses alone, but Christ's kindness with it, that effects this change. The prophet Ezekiel (Chapter 16) is to show Jerusalem her pollution, under the figure of a poor infant just born and cast out, not washed nor swaddled. Then take notice of the kindness of Christ. "I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood (thy sin and misery) Live." Here the Lord passed by. He found me in this state, and what did I do to merit his kindness? Nothing. "I said unto thee, live." Now the Lord said "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," John 6. Remember he found them in their blood, and not after they are washed. Ezekiel 16:8, "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea I sware unto thee and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine." God communicates his Spirit and grace, and we feel the severity of the law. The Lord now and then drops a soft word on the heart, or pays us a secret visit, and thus engages our affections. "I looked upon thee." This is a look of love, like the Lord's look on Peter, which melts the heart. The skirt is the precious spotless righteousness of Christ, as noticed in a figure in Ruth, whose affections were first fixed upon Boaz, before she lay at his feet. Christ is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. This is the covenant of wedlock, wherein the sinner gives himself freely to Christ. But it must be mutual, as you well know; otherwise it is no marriage. So the sinner will give himself over to Christ, and Christ to the sinner. "My beloved is mine, and I am his." "I am for thee, and not another." I know what this is. The Lord takes us for better and for worse, as a man takes his wife. "Thy Maker is thine husband." This union is requisite, before we can bring forth fruit unto God. "If the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches" (Rom. 11:16). The firstfruits is Christ. "Christ is the root of the righteous." He is the root of the matter. "If thou wert cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree" (Rom. 11:24). To graft is to take a slip off a good tree, and put it on to a wild stock. But we are wild slips and put into Christ, the true stock, and then partake of his richness, not our own. This, you see, is contrary to nature. The poor sinner is cut from his old stock, Adam, and being grafted into Christ partakes of his nature. I hope to conclude the subject at our next meeting.

I hope to gather up a few of the fragments left, when I preached on this subject before. I spoke, in the first place, of Christ being the true vine. The vine sets forth to us the whole church, carnal and spiritual. God has ever had a spiritual church within the carnal church. You will find in Matt. 25:1, the whole church set forth as ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. They all went forth to meet the bridegroom, and were outwardly the same in appearance; but the foolish took no oil in their vessels with their lamps. So the carnal form an open and visible church, and having an historical or temporary faith, make an open profession. The indwelling of the Spirit and grace of God marks the wise virgins. The fools had not got this. They were only natural branches, that is, they had a natural, historical, or temporary faith. This is not enough, as the Lord showed to the Jews: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They were by profession and natural faith Christ's disciples; but not spiritually, for they were offended at his word, and did not continue in it." They understood it carnally, and said they were never in bondage: they were Abraham's seed; but the Lord showed that those who are his, are Abraham's seed. If you can ascertain this union with Christ, you are heirs according to the promise. When Christ speaks pardon and peace in a poor sinner's heart, he makes him free from the guilt of sin, and from the fear of death. Perfect love casteth out fear. Then you perhaps may say, he is free to do what he pleases in the flesh. No; he is not free to go into licentiousness, but free from bondage to it. The life, walk, and conversation must be consistent with Christ's word, if the tree be good. (John 15:4,5) "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me," etc. The Lord says, severed from me, ye can do nothing. Are we sensible to this? There is a three-fold cleansing required.

First, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. You will find there are six verilys to confirm this doctrine in the third chapter of John, where the account is given of Nicodemus going to the Lord by night. Perhaps he was afraid of the Jews, for it was no easy thing for a master in Israel, and a ruler of a synagogue, to go to Christ at all. This manifested great grace, and he was a true man, though weak, and so was Joseph of Arimathea. These were hidden ones, but when they came to the open trial, they were more bold than Peter. Joseph went, not creeping in the dark, but boldly in the face of day, to beg the body of Jesus, when the apostles had all fled. If I were to choose a person to stand a hot persecution, I should take a poor weak creature who is faint and trembling. That is the person who will glorify God, when the strong man will turn back. Joseph was a hidden one. Nicodemus boldly comes forward and anoints the body of Jesus; and yet these are little ones. I like to see little ones, not like Saul. Let me see those who fear they shall not hold on to the end: these will hold on to the end. "Let the weak say I am strong." They shall wax valiant in the fight; they shall put to flight the armies of the aliens. Don't be afraid of, nor envy strong folks. "When I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10). "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." They come up out of the wilderness. How? Leaning on the arm of Christ, like me who cannot walk without help, only in a spiritual sense. There may be great mortification in this sense of weakness, but mortification is the high road to humiliation, and humiliation is the path to exaltation and glory. "He lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill." What for? "To set him among princes, and make him inherit the throne of glory" (1 Sam. 2:8). "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered," etc. John 15:6,7. We inquired what is requisite to our bringing forth fruit? First, Regeneration.

Secondly, Being brought into a marriage covenant with Christ. This we illustrated by referring to Rom. 7. And this marriage is, that we may bring forth fruit unto God. Israel is an empty vine; he brings forth fruit unto God. Israel is an empty vine; he brings forth fruit unto himself, and, like Solomon's fool, eateth it up afterwards. He feeds his pride and vanity with it. We also referred to Ezekiel 16:4. to show that the church is compared to a poor infant cast out, and Christ taking compassion on it while in its sin. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." But "My beloved is mine, and I am his." Hart says:

"This union with wonder,
And rapture be seen,
Which nothing can sunder,
Without or within."


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress," etc. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Hart also says:

"The sinner that by precious faith,
Has felt his sins forgiven:
Is from that moment passed from death,
And sealed an heir of heaven."


And also

"The sinner that truly believes,
And trusts in his crucified God;
His justification receives,
Redemption in full, through his blood."


There must be much and good fruit springing from a good tree (Matt. 7:16,17). Now we find the fruit that is not good, set forth in Isaiah chapter 5., where the church of God is compared to a vineyard that brought forth wild grapes, not good fruit. Everything that springs from nature is, in a spiritual sense, wild fruit. I told you I was a half-bred gardener, and I will illustrate this point by comparison with the mode of raising fruit trees. Perhaps some of you have partaken of some rich fruit today, good favoured peaches or nectarines. An ignorant person would take a stone from the finest of these fruits, and think by planting it to obtain a tree bearing good fruit; but he would find it come up a wild tree. A tree will come up that looks as well as the others, but its fruit will be wild because it wants budding, buds taken from a good tree and put into the wild stock, when perhaps one out of every four or five will take or form a union. There must be a budding into Christ in like manner. Perhaps you may say, you had better have been a gardener than a preacher. And this might appear to be true; but I did not make myself a preacher: God made me, not unwillingly for he made me willing in the day of his power. I know very little about anything, but I know my own foolishness, and that is a great thing to learn. That without God I can do nothing. Here I have the promise of God who says that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err in the way. "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let become a fool that he may be wise."

What are these fruits of the Spirit? First, They are internal fruits, as set forth in Gal. 5:22,23: "Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These things are seen of God, and gathered by God. They show the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The carnal church knows nothing about these fruits. "Their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter" (Deut. 32:32). How are the true fruits brought forth? It is said in Deut. 33:14, "The precious fruits brought forth by the sun." So it is in a spiritual sense. "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings" (Mal. 4:2). When the Lord melts the heart and humbles the spirit, these fruits are brought forth. Does not this rising of the Sun melt the heart in humility, compunction, and godly sorrow, working repentance? Love springs up directly. And here is the unity between Christ and the Holy Ghost. "Awake, O north wind, and come thou south: blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits." These are Christ's fruits brought forth by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost. The north wind represents the cutting rebukes of the Spirit, and south the soft sweet gentle operations of it. It was asked of Job whether he could tell how his garments were warm, when the Lord quieteth the earth by the south wind (Job 37:17). So it is in the influence of the blessed Spirit. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth." The wind is the Spirit. That blessed Comforter sweetly blows on the heart, so that the graces, thereof send forth a pleasant smell. "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice: I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved" (Songs 5:1). What precious words of a precious Christ! Has this been made known to you? This is the way of a personal application of the promises. I like the religion found in the night between the soul and God. "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another" (Gal. 6:4). "But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night" (Job 35:10). What a sweet thing is this, "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth" (Songs 3:1). When you awake up in the night, don't you find a feeling after God? Dorney in his Letters speaks of a hankering after Christ. I like the expression. Now I am feeling the pulse. Is there a breathing after Christ within you? "With my soul have I desired thee in the night" (Isa. 26:9). Hart says:

"A barren tree that bears no fruit,
"Brings no great glory to its root;
When on the boughs rich fruit we see,
'Tis then we cry, A goodly tree."


Secondly, There are the fruits of the lip. "I create the fruit of the lips: peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord" (Isa. 57:19). The Lord speaks highly of this fruit, "Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb" (Songs 4:11). God creates first, humble prayer and supplication. "Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely" (Songs 2:14). "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Ps. 50:15). Secondly, Praise to the Lord. "To give thanks unto him for his goodness, and for his marvellous works to the children of men." Thirdly, Thanksgiving. "Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing" (Ps. 107:22). And this will be done when Christ gives you a sweet love visit. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine" (Songs 1:2). "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good" (Ps. 136:1). Fourthly, An acknowledgment of what God has done and a rejoicing in it. The ten lepers all cried out to the Lord, but only one returned to give glory to God, Christ will have the tenth. "The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God" (Jer. 51:10). We have got Christ, and therefore all is ours. "Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." Suppose I received a gift; should I not acknowledge it to man? How much rather then should I acknowledge it before God. "Come (says David) and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." When you get an answer to prayer, or hear a word of encouragement, give thanks to God. A poor weak child of God prevails the most in prayer. A tender mother who has got a babe in arms will attend to its cry and hasten to it before she will to the older children. So it is with babes in Christ. Let me have an interest in their prayers, rather than in those of the strong. You will find one that has just come under Christ's banner has many secret visits. You say, it was so with me once; but now it is different. We are obliged to wait long. "Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me. As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle" (Job 29:2,4). Hart says:

"I look for life, but dead remain;
'Tis winter all the year with me."


Thank God for every word and look from him, and then remember in your prayer the poor servant who ministers the word.

Fruit sometimes means external acts, as your life, walk, and conversation. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Christ says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." No professor unless he lives to Christ, can know him.

"In vain men talk of living faith,
When all their works exhibit death."


"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11,12). Where there is an internal work there will be an outward walk that adorns our profession. The true fruits are not meritorious to us, but are God glorifying. I am chosen and perfect in Christ; I can add nothing to that. James says, "Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18). These fruits are not the procuring cause of our being disciples, but only the evidence of our being so. None can make disciples but he who made the world. Christ called Peter, and Andrew, and James, and John, while fishing is a ship. He took the sons and left the father. They left all and followed him, and so will every person do, who is made a disciple. God met me, not in prayer, or in church or chapel, but in the middle of the night, after spending the first part of it in jollity; and this is the way he spoke to me, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will receive you" (2 Cor. 6:17). I then left all my carnal relations and ungodly companions and have been kept from them 41 years, and I believe God will never suffer me to go back again. God has kept me out of the world ever since, except so far as my lawful calling required. For that purpose we are to be in the world; but not to run into it without a call. Wheresoever a man is called, there let him abide. Mr. Baxter of Chichester (now in glory), was a man who lived very near to God. He has told me that he has been forced to attend the Mayor and Aldermen at City feasts and give out the toasts, and that he was confessing before God while the company were in revelry. Thus a man may be in the world and out of the world. He left the room as early as he could, and blessed God that his heart and affections were not with the company. If you can be with the world, and that is your element, your Christianity is not worth anything. "Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world" (John 15:19). Be a separate people, and never mind being called a narrow minded people. How narrow is the path that leadeth to life! You cannot serve the world and Christ. He draws the line between the carnal and spiritual church. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6). I have smarted for liberalism, and that makes me warn you against widening the path. "This fruit," says the Lord, "will manifest that ye are my disciples." If I were to go into any tap-room in Lewes, the people would immediately stop their revelry. If you live to Christ, it will deal conviction to all around you.

THE ELECT'S TRANSGRESSIONS REMOVED IN THE LORD

Preached at Brighton, England, 1851 - By John Vinall

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"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us; like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."
(Psalm 103:12-14)

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THIS is a sweet and precious Psalm of David. It is very similar to Psalm 34, which begins thus: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." None but saints can mount up to this key. "All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee." "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me bless his holy name." How David wanted to bring up every faculty of his heart, and of his soul, to be engaged in this work. "And forget not all his benefits." Don't you often forget God's mercies? I know a poor old man that does. I am obliged to call upon my soul, as David did, to forget not all his benefits. God is very gracious to me. You have not the outward afflictions that I have; but I find the word of God to be true. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." (2 Cor. 1:5) "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." Don't you find a little reviving and renewing in your bondage? I had a very nice time in preaching this morning. I desire that others may enjoy the word with me, that I may be an instrument in God's hands to communicate these good things to others. I never like to eat my morsel alone, neither in a temporal nor spiritual sense. "As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. "I propose to consider first the words, "as far as the east is from the west." I hope you will receive the word with savor, but remember you cannot feed yourself. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isa. 40:11) He will do this himself. Then as to the word "us," we must have the character of those here referred to. What God gives, such only can gather. He does not throw it at random, to be caught by anybody. When I was a hearer, I used to like the minister to trace out the character to which the word speaks. The children's meat is not to be cast to dogs. It is always sent to children. "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Eph. 5:2) "Jacob have I loved; but Esau have I hated." (Rom. 9:13) This is the doctrine of election, which gives so much offence. "Election! 'tis a word divine; For, Lord, I plainly see, Had not thy choice prevented mine, I ne'er had chosen thee."

No man ever fought more against the doctrine of election than I did, but now it is savory meat to me. "Hail, sovereign love, that first began The scheme to rescue fallen man! Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace, That gives my soul a hiding place."

I can sing this now; but once I boiled up at this doctrine. When I had a proper view of sin, and a sense of God's unmerited goodness, that broke me down. If ever the free sovereign grace of God is known, it will conquer the vilest rebel on earth. "He hath ascended on high, he hath led captivity captive, he hath received gifts for men, yea, even for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." (Ps. 68:18) My nature was like the Jew's, "We will not have this man to reign over us;" but now I desire this: "Reign o'er us as king, Accomplish thy will, And pow'rfully bring Us forth from all ill; Till falling before thee, We laud thy lov'd name, Ascribing the glory To God and the Lamb."

I love Christ as much in his kingly office, as in his prophetical and priestly offices. None but God's children can do that. If you can desire to have every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and stand at his feet as Mary did, and wash them with tears, then you are a child indeed. The believer's pace is slow and sure. "He that believeth, shall not make haste." "He that hasteth with his feet sinneth. "There is a removing of our transgressions in a two-fold sense. First, In laying them upon his dear son. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53:6) This is represented by the iniquities of the people being confessed over the scape goat, and put upon his head, who bore them away into the wilderness. (Lev. 16:20-22) Here is the first removal of sin; and this was done in purpose from all eternity, and executed in time. If God had not done this, sin would have sunk us to the nethermost hell. "For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:21) "Christ poured out his soul unto death." (Isa. 53:12) Then he removed the iniquity of the land in one day, (Zech. 3:9)--in the great day of atonement. "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." (Isa. 43:25) "I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee." (Isa. 44:22) Blotting all out, is as well as if the debt were paid. When I read in my Bible, and can believe that my sin is laid on Christ, that is sweet; when I read that Christ atoned for my sin, that is also sweet; but before we come to this, we must feel sin to be a heavy burden, and, as David says, "Too heavy for me to bear." "To see sin, smarts but slightly; To own with lip confession Is easier still; but oh! to feel, Cuts deep beyond expression."

No tongue can describe the sense of sin charged home to the conscience with all its malignity. "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up." Then to find this made out in your experience, He will give his people the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, is indeed blessed. And again, "They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34) Nothing less than an application of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ will satisfy a poor sinner under the sense of sin. That is the second removal of sin. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases." (Ps. 103:3) When you feel the disease of sin, you cannot rest without the healing. The poor woman that touched the hem of Christ's garment felt in her body that she was healed. So have I felt it sometimes in my soul, by a direct act of faith in Christ. This brings satisfaction to the sinner. "Sinners, I read, are justified By faith in Jesus' blood; But when to me that blood's applied, 'Tis then it does me good."

Then guilt is removed indeed. I have told you how, on one occasion, I found this application of Christ's atonement. I went to my little study one day heavily burdened, and fell on my knees, when these words were applied to me, "Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1:18) I felt the burden gone. This was a removing of iniquity; but you say, Is it never felt any more? Yes. You may fall into sin, and bring guilt on your conscience; or you may feel guilt without falling into outward sin. "But if guilt removed Return and remain, Its pow'r may be proved Again and again."

Nothing but faith in the atonement of Christ will satisfy me. How can we heartily and fully use the words, "So far hath he removed our transgressions from us," if we don't know the pardon of "our" sin? At one time my friends took offence at me because I could not come to God with confidence. This was because sin bore heavy upon me. I remember hearing Mr. Huntington preach from these words, "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3) And he said an honest man, who owes a debt which he cannot pay, is unable to look his creditor in the face. This is not because of his dishonesty, but because he cannot pay the debt. This looks more like an honest man than he who boldly faces his creditor. I know what this is. The grief and sorrow of an honest upright man is because he cannot pay his debts. This debtor don't require to be forced, but has more pleasure in paying than the creditor has in receiving. "The publican standing afar off would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18:13) He could not look up to his creditor. "A certain creditor had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pense and the other fifty, and when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both,--which of them will love him most?" (Luke 7:41,42) "Seest thou this woman....her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much." If you have a sense of the pardon of sin, you will love much. Then you can look your creditor in the face; with humble confidence you can look up to him as your loving Father. Here is an alteration. If God shall be pleased to make me an instrument to speak comfort and encouragement to some of his dear children, it is the height of my ambition. When I began in the ministry, I prayed that I might have a single eye to the glory of God, and be made use of to the good of his family. This test constrained me, "Son, go work to day in my vineyard." I said, "I will not;" but afterwards I repented and went. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." (Rom. 2:4) "Removed from us," that is, from the children of God. All who have the true fear of God in their hearts are children. I know there may be this fear, and yet no satisfaction found without an application of the atonement,--the sealing and witnessing of the Holy Ghost. All this is found in the simple believing in the Son of God. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." (1 John 5:10) I generally enjoy a sweet and stable peace with God through Jesus Christ. "Like as a father pitieth his children," etc. What will draw forth this pity from a father? Why, to see his child in anguish and distress. God shows it in this way. I will give you three examples of it from Scripture. When you have been in the greatest distress you have found the tender pity of God more than at any other time. "His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." If one of your children is in great pain and anguish, does not that draw forth more pity towards that child than you feel for the others, though you may love them all alike? God shows the same. In Jeremiah 31, you have an account of a dear child, though very rebellious. "I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn." "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him." (Jer. 31:9,18,20) Ephraim is afraid of being cast off by God. This is what is the matter with him. But the relationship of father and child is never dissolved or broken. "Ye children of God, By faith in his Son, Redeem'd by his blood, And with him made one. This union with wonder And rapture be seen, Which nothing shall sunder, Without or within."

Ephraim prays, "Turn thou me and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God." (Jer. 31:18) This is true faith; he claimed the relationship when under the chastening hand of God. "Surely after that I was turned I repented; and after that I was instructed I smote my thigh." (Jer. 31:19) Then the Lord says, "Is Ephraim my dear son," etc. Here is the pity, sympathy, and compassion of a loving Father. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?"--I cannot give thee up. Though he is perverse, yet I cannot give him up. If you know the tender pity of God as a Father, you cannot sin that grace may abound. You would rather say, Let me not sin against thee, nor dishonour thee. A certain man had two sons, the younger son was a prodigal, and spent all that he had. Afterwards this poor backsliding sinner began to be in want. He was hunger-bitten. Now faith began to move him. "And when he came to himself he said, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:11-20) That kiss will embitter sin and self, and make you desire never to sin against God again. "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him...and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry." (Luke 15:23) This is a merry heart which will make a cheerful countenance. The kiss of the Father does all this, but will not lead you to presume on him, and think sin a light matter. "For he knoweth our frame." That is a comfort--all our infirmities. How feeble we are in body and soul! Are you in bodily affliction? He knows all our frame. This always excites the pity of a father. When I hear of the illness of one of my children, I pray, "Lord, my child is sick, remember him." My believing the tender compassion of my Father, endears him to me; but his being so, ensures my safety. "How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land? Thou shalt call me my Father, and shalt not turn away from me." (Jer. 3:19) When the Spirit witnesses this in our hearts, we do so indeed. If you are once a child, you are a child for ever. This is one of my favourite texts. I get to know that God is my Father. Thou "shalt not turn away from me." Another instance is, in the account of the poor man that fell among thieves, which stripped him, and wounded him, and left him half dead. There came a certain priest, who saw him and passed by. Then came a Levite, and he passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan came where he was. (Luke 10:30-35) This represents Jesus Christ. Did he pass him by? No; he went to his place. He goes to the poor sinner in this place, and pours the grace and spirit of God softly into the heart. This softens and causes inward melting and dissolving. Then he goes on, and gives you a little wine to cheer you. Then he takes you to the church of God, and gives his minister charge of you, and he will pay all the cost. Have you ever found Christ thus precious to you? A little taste of it will increase the appetite, and make you long for more.

THE EVIDENCES OF BEING CHILDREN OF GOD


Preached at Brighton, England, 1856 - by John Vinall

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"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."
(Ephesians 5:2)

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This is a very sweet and blessed Epistle, as also is that to the Philippians. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." (2 Tim. 3:16) And I truly believe that Paul's Epistles were indited by God's Spirit. It is necessary for us to see whether this Epistle is directed to us. Paul addresses one Epistle "to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." (Rom. 1:7) That is the direction. This Epistle is addressed "to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." If I cannot ascertain that it is written to me I should be stealing it. The world at large has nothing to do with these epistles. "Christ hath loved us." None but the children of God can come in here. I want to know whether I am one of these "us." We have been increasing in our church lately, and some are about to join us this evening, and may have fears as to their being right in doing so. For their sakes I will speak of the evidences of being children. There are four classes--babes--children--young men--and fathers. God must add to the church such as shall be saved. How may you know that you are the children of God? I believe that those who are tender and walk in God's fear, being afraid lest they be doing wrong in coming are children. The Word of God is addressed to the trembling sinner. Paul speaks of the children in chapter 1:3-5, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ....Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself." I shall come down lower than this, and speak of the evidences of our being children. First evidence, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord." (John 6:45) They are taught their sin, and generally learn that by the law. "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest and teachest him out of thy law." "When the commandment came sin revived, and I died." (Rom. 7:9) The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, (Gal. 3:24) and a schoolmaster has to instruct children. "Christ is the friend of sinners-- Be that forgotten never: A wounded soul, And not a whole, Becomes a true believer.

"To see sin smarts but slightly; To own with lip confession Is easier still; But oh! to feel, Cuts deep beyond expression."

I believe that all God's children are taught at first, more or less, that they are sinners. This brings them to the publican's prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner." "A sinner is a sacred thing, The Holy Ghost hath made him so."

How many of you can say that God has given you to feel the guilt of sin? The Lord convinced me that I was a sinner, and that if I died in that state I was lost. I don't say that all are so deeply convinced of sin as some are. Paul was pierced through when convinced of sin. "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." In Acts 2, we read of some that were thus convinced, and they cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (Acts 2:37,38)"The contrite heart, and broken, God will not give to ruin: This sacrifice He'll not despise, For 'tis his Spirit's doing."

Secondly, When the heart is broken with a sense of the guilt of sin, God will teach us to fear his holy name. "Come ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord." If there is no fear there is no grace. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Thirdly, They are taught of God to love Christ supremely, and his image in his children. They cannot love without being thus taught. "Love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (1 John 4:7) "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) They shall come "with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them." "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom. 8:14) Are you taught that without this love you cannot go to heaven? "I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me." "We love him because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) You and I can no more create love than we could create the world; for "love is of God."

Another evidence is, Faith in Jesus Christ. These children never can be satisfied until they appropriate the benefits of Christ's death, like the poor woman who said within herself, if I may but touch his garment I shall be whole. Here was the divine principle within. She pressed through the crowd and touched, and Jesus perceived that virtue had gone out of him. Her faith brought out the virtue. "True faith's the life of God; Deep in the heart it lies; It lives and labours under load; The dampt, it never dies."

This is working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12) "This faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1) This made the poor woman go through the press. Have you ever found a pressing hard to get to Christ? This is not so easy as many think. The poor woman was constrained to come forward, and confess that she was the person who had touched Christ, and found the healing. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. 10:10) When the Lord speaks pardon and peace to the poor sinner, this will be done. At one time I came to Brighton heavily burdened with my sin and almost in despair, and I left my daughter at home under distressing circumstances, and supposed to be dying; but when I was here this word was spoken on my heart, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." This raised me to hope, and my daughter was also raised from that time and restored. She has since gone to glory, as I fully believe. Has God ever spoken pardon and peace to you? "They shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34) When God speaks peace, ands sheds abroad his love in the heart, this is done. Another sweet evidence and the substance of all is this, The witness of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." (Rom. 8:16) "Ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom. 8:15) This is the crowning evidence. It is the privilege of all God's children to sit down at his table. Christ after his resurrection appeared to his disciples when they had been fishing, and said to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" They answered, "No." "And he said unto them, Cast your net on the right side, and ye shall find." When they had done so and brought the fish to land, they found a fire of coals and fish laid thereon, and bread, all ready for them. The Lord provided all for them. "Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught." The Lord's love prompted him to take care of his dear children in this way. Peter had said to the Lord, "I will lay down my life for thy sake." He meant what he said, but his fall is to teach us not to speak too fast. Consider first. Now the Lord said to Peter, "Lovest thou me more than these?" "My standing does my fall procure, My falling makes me stand more sure."

Peter once thought he could stand and do more than all the rest. He said, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Now Peter was more cautious, and his confidence was of a more trembling sort, and he replied to the Lord's inquiry, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." "He saith unto him, Feed my lambs." They stand first--the little ones. He saith unto them the second and the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said this the third time. It brought so fresh to his remembrance his three times denying the Lord. Let Christ go before, and you follow. "When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. This is yielding obedience to his call. When Christ called his disciples, he said, "Follow me." That was all he said; and they left all and followed him. As soon as they hear, they obey. It was seeking him earnestly with all the heart. When Christ speaks, it is as one having authority. "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God." This is the new man of grace that responds to God's call. Jesus saw Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, "and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him." Thomas was so shut up in unbelief that he said he would not believe unless he put his finger into the print of the nails. But Jesus spoke to him, and faith came by hearing, and he said, "My Lord and my God." "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29) To follow God is not yielding an unwilling obedience, but faith works by love. Peter said to the Lord, What shall this man do? Jesus answered, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me." Here is a cleaving to Christ with all the heart and soul. I have had some foretastes of his precious love. David says, "I will run the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart." (Ps. 119:32) Be ye followers of Christ; he is very good. Sometimes the following means to copy after. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps." (1 Pet. 2:21) If you love a person, there will be a copying more or less his ways and manners. Christ loved us: that went first. It was from everlasting. Therefore as the fruits and effects of this love, "with lovingkindness have I drawn thee," (Jer. 31:3) which brings us to say, "I love the Lord with mind and heart, His people and his ways; Envy, and pride, and lust depart, And all his works I praise."

This is a little of the breathing of the soul after Christ. See the further effects of his love, "Hath given himself for us." "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) This was from his pure love. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Heb. 9:22) Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) He had a personal knowledge of this love. There is such a reality in true godliness: it brings its own evidence. If you can show that you have the fear of God and his love, you need not fear presumption in coming to his table. "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." "If you love me keep my commandments." This is one of the last commandments that he gave, to observe this ordinance. Christ laid down his life. He said, "I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself." (John 10:18) "The soul that doeth aught presumptuously, that soul shall be cut off." "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Cor. 11:29) These words have often been a terror to the little trembling ones, who can discover but little of the Lord's body, but their trembling approach is not presumption, but real faith. "And walk in love," in faith that works by love. "There is but one precious atonement." This I know by heartfelt experience. "God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)

By John Vinall

WHERE MEN WILL NOT REGARD A FAITHFUL MINISTRY...


Where men will not regard a faithful ministry it is a sign that the Lord is not with them, let their outward deportment be what it may. The beauty and strength of a people consists in preserving that tender union one with another, and with Christ as the living Head. If it pleases God to give his blessing, his presence, and to prosper his cause in any place, it will be displayed by the arm of his strength carrying on the work through all opposition. And he who has begun this will manifestly carry it on to the horrible confusion of all opposers and untender professors. (Philippians 1:6)

By James Bourne

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"LOOK UPON ME, AND BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME."


"Look upon me, and be merciful unto me."
(Psalm 119:132)

When shall we ever get beyond the need of God's mercy?

We feel our need of continual mercy as our sins abound, as our guilt is felt, as our corruption works, as our conscience is burdened, as the iniquities of our heart are laid bare, as our hearts are opened up in the Spirit's light.

We need mercy for every adulterous look; mercy for every covetous thought; mercy for every light and trifling word; mercy for every wicked movement of our depraved hearts; mercy while we live; mercy when we die; mercy to accompany us every moment; mercy to go with us down to the portals of the grave; mercy to carry us safely through the swellings of Jordan; mercy to land us safe before the Redeemer's throne! "Look upon me, and be merciful unto me."

By J. C. Philpot

Friday, December 24, 2010

THE BAPTISM BY FIRE


What is the meaning of the washing away of our sins?

When were our sins washed away?

Well, there was only one day in all of history that our sins were washed away, and that was when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary at about 3 O’clock in the afternoon. That was the only time in history that any sins were washed away.

Mark 10:35
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

Mark 10:36
And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Mark 10:37
They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Mark 10:38
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

Mark 10:39
And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

Mark 10:40
But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

Which Baptism is in view in verses 38 and 39?

The Lord Jesus is going to suffer on the cross, and He calls it a Baptism. We should read this as a washing. The Lord Jesus is going to wash away our sins that are cleaving to Him, and He is going to wash them away by enduring the penalty that was required for each of them. That penalty is the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only if Christ is God could He endure such a penalty without being consumed.

Therefore, which Baptism, or which washing is in view in this passage?

It is the Baptism by fire, or also called the washing by fire.

And what did the Lord Jesus promise James and John?

They too would be baptized by this fire.

Does this mean that James and John would be crucified, like the Lord Jesus?

Well we know that James was not crucified, he was beheaded. And John was not crucified either. John lived to a ripe old age, and instead of being crucified he was exiled to the island of Patmos. What then did the Lord Jesus mean when He said to them, “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized”.

How do we interpret these words?

Well, we have read earlier in Ephesians 1:4-5 that all the elect, all those who have been chosen by the Father, and that certainly includes James and John, were in Christ before the foundation of the world. If we were in Christ, then we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ when He died, we were buried with Christ when He was buried, we were raised with Christ when He rose from the tomb, and we ascended with Christ into the heavenlies when He ascended into heaven.

Most certainly, these are things which the Bible affirms in several places. And thus, when Christ endured the penalty of Hell, and He came out at the other end of Hell, we too went through Hell with Him and in Him, since He is our representative in the spirit.

This is how “we indeed did drink of the cup that Christ drank of; and with the baptism that He was baptized withal we were baptized”, not physically, but in the spirit, because He is our representative in the spirit.

This is our Baptism by fire. That is why God will never send us to Hell again, because we have already been there. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”. James and John did suffer persecution, but these words that Jesus spoke in Mark 10:39 did not refer to their life of suffering. The context demands that these words apply to James and John being in Christ from before the foundation of the world.

But who then would sit on Christ’s right hand and on His left hand in glory?

Every believer, every saint, everyone whom the Father has chosen, is spiritually already seated with Him on His right hand and on His left, according to what we have read in Ephesians 2:6. And after He has raptured us up on the Last Day and has taken us into the glorious new creation, we will also physically be on His right hand and on His left.

What a glorious salvation God has in store for us!

By Alfred J. Chompff

Saturday, December 18, 2010

IT WAS NOT THE NAILS


"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
(Mark 15:34)

It was not the nails driven through His hands and feet—it was not the crown of thorns placed upon His brow—it was not the stripes which mangled His back—it was not the languor and faintness under which He suffered—that caused the Lord to die. It was not the mere bodily agony of the cross—it was not the mere pain, though most acute and severe, of the nails driven through His sacred hands and feet. It was not the being stretched upon the cross six hours, that constituted the chief part of the Redeemer's suffering.

But it was the almost intolerable load of imputed sin — the imputed sins of millions — it was the tremendous pouring of the wrath of God into His holy soul — it was the hiding of His Father's face, and the very pangs of hell that there caught hold of Him! Our suffering Savior drank the cup of the wrath of God to the very dregs—when our vile, dreadful, and horrible sins were laid upon Him!

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when You shall make His soul an offering for sin." (Isaiah 53:10)

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, November 28, 2010

TAKE ME AS I AM, WITH ALL MY SIN AND SHAME


"Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise."
(Jeremiah 17:14)

Here is this sin! Save me from it!

Here is this snare! Break it to pieces!

Here is this lust! Lord, subdue it!

Here is this temptation! Deliver me out of it!

Here is my proud heart! Lord, humble it!

Here is my unbelieving heart! Take it away, and give me faith; give me submission to
Your mind and will.

Take me as I am with all my sin and shame and work in me everything well pleasing in Your sight.

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NEITHER HAVING DONE GOOD OR EVIL


“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; It was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
- Romans 9:11-13

We trust that God will enable us to rightly divide the word of truth, and also to write in the spirit of love. We wish the reader to keep this expression in mind: “that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth.”

We believe Election is taught in the text. God loved Jacob and hated Esau before either was born. (Of course, this love and hatred dates back before the foundation of the world, or even before time was in existence.)

If God “decided” to love Jacob and hate Esau after they were born, then this would be according to their looks, or to some of their actions or deeds. That being true, then the purpose of God according to election would not stand. But the Scripture teaches that God chose a people in Him from before the foundation of the world. Therefore, God chose His people before they were in existence. The actions of the creature did not influence God in choosing them to be conformed to the image of His Son. Also, God did not choose His people because He foreknew they would be better than the rest. There is not any guess work in the matter. God called His people out of nature’s darkness and left the rest where they were. Therefore, by nature, God’s people are not any better than the rest.

In the sixth verse of this chapter, we note that Paul said, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Meaning, just because one is a natural Israelite does not mean that he is a Spiritual Israelite. Notice the 7th verse, “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall Thy seed be called.”

Just because one is of the natural offspring of Abraham does not mean that gives him a right to heaven. Natural Israel is a type of Spiritual Israel.

“In Isaac shall Thy seed be called.” This does not mean the natural offspring of Isaac — Esau was a son of Isaac. In this instance, we see Isaac as a type of Jesus Christ.

Also, notice there is sharp difference between being of the seed of Abraham and being the children of Abraham. One may be of the children of Abraham and not be of the seed of Abraham, which include Gentiles.

We wish to call your attention to John 8:12-44. As Jesus was talking to the unbelieving Jews, they remarked that they were Abraham’s seed. Jesus answered, “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because My word hath no place IN you. I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, if ye were Abraham’s children, we would do the works of Abraham.”

Jesus plainly told these Jews that even though they were of the seed of Abraham, this did not mean they were the children of Abraham. They proved what they were by their works. They did not do the works of Abraham. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17)

All of natural Israel are of the seed of Abraham, but all are not of the spiritual seed of Jesus Christ...

"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”
(Romans 9:27)

The promise that was given to Abraham had a deep spiritual meaning, “For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: (no eternal life promised under the law — just natural blessings). Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:13-16)

The meaning in a nutshell is this: The promise is sure to all the Spiritual seed—both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews are of the law, and the faith of Abraham also reaches to the Gentiles.

“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” These were the twin sons of Isaac, so both were of the seed of Abraham. The Lord said unto Isaac’s wife: “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

As we think of the two nations, we think of sheep and the goats, or of the elect and the wicked.

The natural man would like to twist the Scriptures around and try to make it mean something other than what is written. We make no apologies for the truth, and it does not need any of our weak support. We know it is our lot to speak the truth in love, and we further believe it is our duty to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and not to “whitewash the truth”.

“Jacob have I loved.” Remember the Scripture: “Two nations are in thy womb.” Therefore, Jacob represents the nation of God’s people. “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:9)

This Scripture gives solid proof that Jacob represents the people of God whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. (See Psalm 33:12)

“The Lord’s portion.”

This means a part or fraction, doesn’t it?

This is in harmony with the Scripture that says, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:5)

Also we read, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

Jesus did not say “big flock”, but rather little flock. This also shows that God’s people are few in number compared to all of mankind.

“Mine heritage is unto Me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her...”
(Jeremiah 12:9)

This Scripture also shows that God’s people are few in number.

How?

The Scripture says “as a speckled bird” in the singular, and not in the plural. Yet, the birds round about her are mentioned in the plural. This Scripture shows that there is a difference between God’s people and the world. God’s people are spoken of as “Children of Light.” The world is in darkness and hates the light. Therefore, God’s people are hated by the world.

“If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
(John 15:19)

Let us go back to Jacob.

“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”
(Deuteronomy 32:10)

I believe this Scripture shows where God finds all of His people. This not only applies to Jacob himself, but it also applies to all of God’s people.

We ask you dear reader, have you been there?

Do you know what it is to be in a barren condition?

Have you been in a place where there is not any rest?

Have you become so helpless (in a spiritual sense) that you could not lead yourself, and that you could not travel on your own strength and you desired guidance, and prayed as one did: “...lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)

God found Jacob in a desert land. We believe this means it was the time when God first made Himself known to Jacob. So, when God first made Himself known to you, you were not in a pleasant condition. God showed what you were by nature, and that you were a lost and ruined sinner. “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations.” (Ezekiel 16:2) It is necessary for one to be taught that he is a sinner before he will have any need of mercy. When one realizes that he is a sinner, he cannot help but cry out for mercy. He cries because he feels the need of mercy. This prayer is not mechanical, but one cries for deliverance because he wants relief.

The love of God is everlasting. We believe that God has loved His people from all eternity. As God has chosen His people in Him from before the foundation of the world, we believe that God has loved this same people from before the foundation of the world. “I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) We believe the comfort of this Scripture shows that God is not changeable, and that He will continue to love His people, and that He will never forsake them even though in their feelings they may feel that God has forgotten them, or forsaken them.

“But Esau have I hated.” The love of God is perfect, and the hatred of God is perfect. Love and hate are two opposites, just as light and darkness. We think of the love of God as the positive side, and the hatred of God as the negative. We believe the hatred of Esau is in a negative sense, meaning that God surely determined from all eternity not to have mercy upon all of Adam’s race. On the positive side, as God determined to save a few, He also determined in a negative sense to not save the rest of mankind, but rather to leave them where they are and let them perish in their sins. We believe this is what is meant in the sense that God hated Esau. Meaning, that God has hated the wicked from all eternity, or that God has determined beforehand to not have mercy upon the wicked, or not save the wicked from their sins, or just let them perish in their sins, in which they love and delight.

We quote from Zanchius:
“When hatred is ascribe to God, it implies (1) a negation of benevolence, or a resolution not to have mercy on such and such men, nor to endue them with any of those graces which stand connected with eternal life. So, ‘Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9), i.e., “I did, from all eternity, determine within Myself not to have mercy on him.’”
(Absolute Predestination, page 58, by Jerome Zanchius.)


The wicked do not know anything about the wisdom of God. This wisdom is hidden. (See I Corinthians 2:7) Also, consider these Scriptures: “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:34)

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
(II Thessalonians 2:10-12)

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
(Matthew 7:23)

Someone might say, “Wait just a minute. I thought you said God knows everything. Well, you just quoted a Scripture that God never knew the workers of iniquity. So, here is something that God Himself acknowledged that He did not know.”

In answer to that, we believe this means that God never knew the workers of iniquity or the wicked as His people.

As God never knew the workers of iniquity as His people, He certainly knew that they were workers of iniquity, and were not His people, didn’t He?

And, since God knew they were not His people, He certainly knew they were workers of iniquity, didn’t He?

If not, then how did He know they were?

This is a hard doctrine. The world cannot stand it, and they hate it.

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
(I Corinthians 2:14)

Paul knew there would be opposition brought forth. The world says, “How cruel it would be not to give everybody a chance to be saved.” If it were left up to us to save ourselves, or to perform certain conditions in order to merit our salvation, we would all be lost and doomed to everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, because we know that our righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God.

Oh, how we do need the grace of God!

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
(Romans 9:14-15)

Who are we to question God?

He was not obligated to save any.

Who are we to question as to why He does not save more, or why does He not save all?

If our souls were cast into hell, would we have any reason to blame God or charge Him with injustice?

But, rather, would not we say as the poet,

“If my soul were cast in hell,
Thy righteous law approves it well.”


“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” This is God’s business, and He did not ask our advice.

Who is man to try to attend to God’s business?

When God created the world and everything therein He did not consult man about the matter. This was all done and accomplished before God formed man of the dust of the earth.

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?”
(Romans 9:20)

It would do well that we take heed to that Scripture, and be reconciled to the will of God. God is the potter and we are the clay.

Let us remember that the wicked are not in trouble as other men, and they do not know anything about the soul afflictions of God’s people. (Psalm 73:5) “The wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

The wicked will not come unto Jesus, and they will not cry for mercy, because they will never feel the need for mercy. The wicked love sin, and live in it, and have pleasure in unrighteousness. Some of the wicked may appear to be righteous or religious in the sight of men, but it is for some selfish motive to promote their own business, interest, or seeking the praise of men.

A sinner who comes to Jesus seeking mercy will not be turned back. Yet, one cannot come to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father. “No man can come unto Me, except My Father which sent Me draw him.” (John 6:44)

We believe that God draws His people by His love. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”
(John 6:37)

This is a positive expression, and it means that God’s people will not fail to come to Jesus. Again, none of the wicked will be included in that number that will come to Jesus. Only those that were given to Jesus for His bride will come to Him; and all of them SHALL come.

Now, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Therefore, all of God’s people are sinners, and they will come to Jesus seeking mercy and none of them shall be cast out.

Therefore, dear one, if you feel the need for mercy, and find that you do not have the ability to do anything to merit your salvation, this is some sweet evidence that you are included in that blessed number. If you have ceased from your own works, and you do not have any tools with which to work, it is some sweet evidence that you are a fit subject to enter into that rest.

“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
(Hebrews 4:10)

— By Woodrow W. Hudson

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Experiences on The Will of The Ever-Blessed God


A Scrap or Two of Experience, and a Hint or Two on the Will of the Ever-Adorable and
Ever-Blessed God.
____________________________________________________

We are commanded, whatever our hands find to do, to do it with all our might, for time is hastening away. Scripture tells us our life is but a vapor, or night-time.

The vapor is far spent, and the night-time is nearly over with some; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed, and the astonishing morning of eternity is at hand.

Therefore, if we recollect things that are good, we had better mention them before our tongues are silent in the grave.

I remember once, when I was a church clergyman, a farmer driving me in a gig; and as we passed by a village, he said to me, "Do you want any money? For if you do, I will give you or lend you a ten-pound note, whichever you like."

If a stone had fallen out of the skies into the conveyance, it would not, partly, have surprised me, or hardly or exceedingly very much more, for it was so entirely unexpected; and pride and disinclination would have made me unwilling to think of it. But it struck me now, after about thirty years back, that it was the hand of God.

I know the closeness with which I was cleaving to the Lord by prayer at that time. How many times have I asked this of the Lord, that I might not get a wink of sleep when I have gone to bed (believing it would not do my health any hurt), but that I might pray to God all the night long!

And what have you got by your prayers?

I have got the providential bounties of God and the assurance of the salvation of my soul. And if you can do the same, you will do pretty well. You will have got the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

I never got much from God by saying, "Give me this, or give me that;" but rather, by waiting upon God, and saying, first, "Am I thy child?" and secondly, "What is to be done, Lord?"

Hours and hours, and afternoons, and days, and weeks, in secret prayer have I waited in a waiting posture of soul before God, asking the Holy Spirit to enable me to look unto Jesus, and, like Jonah, to draw virtue from Jesus to heal all my sorrows. I never found a good deal of what is called prayer to do me much good. A good many prayers amount to this, secretly to get God to excuse them bearing the cross.

I have heard many prayers, the secret drift of which was this, that it would be a good thing if they could give trouble the slip, that is, if they could escape it.

How little value they put on the cutting operations of the Spirit of God; how little value they put on the bitter herbs of tribulation the elect are predestinated to eat Christ with. Bitter herbs, the bitter dispensations of providence and grace, are as needful as the sweets of grace. I look at those who are dictating to God for the sweets, and are as shy of the bitters as a dog is of the whip, and I ask, What do these get from God? Not much.

They have no hearty union with God in his will; they have a secret clash with God as regards the bitters. Repentance is not so sweet to them as faith; they cannot say, "I delight to do thy will, O my God."

You will find these men, most men, more or less, secretly at war with God; their language is this: "Give me this and give me that, and excuse me in that;" whereas, I believe that sound godliness and wisdom would wish for their repentance to be as sound as their faith, and their gospel obedience as sound as either.

I know what it is to get answers to my prayers through the bitterest and most roaring tempests of sorrow as well as through the most conspicuous fountains of joy felt; and generally through life, often to my dismay and anguish, have found that I have had to be led in paths that I have not known.

"Deep in unfathomable mines," &c., often has repentance never to be repented of to be worked out.

A person that I used to hear many years ago, at prayer-meetings, praying for all the sweet blessings of the covenant of grace, and whose repentance and longing for the bitters of godliness as well as the sweets I never could well see, said formerly to me, "No wonder you do not get anything from God; you do not ask for anything."

No; I used to be at that time afraid to ask for sorrows, and so asked comparativeiy for nothing direct, but communed with God about what was to be done; but am not afraid now to ask the blessed God for sorrow, but say, "Accomplish in me all thy will, and let that will be mine."

"Epaphras, who is one of you, saluteth you, always laboring, or striving, fervently for you in prayer, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Here I make two remarks.

1. I pray that I may not suffer as an evil-doer, nor be buffeted for my faults; and that I maybe kept from evil, that it may not grieve me.

2. That if any one through grace is enabled to have a perfect union with God's will, whatever that will may be, he is more likely to be gently dealt with than those who are half suffocated with self-will.

Great men do not like people that are always saying "Give me this, and give me that." Kings would not. So we know not how to order our speech before the blessed Lord. And the safest prayer is indited prayer,—indited by the Spirit of God.

The Scriptures and our feelings are our guides in prayer under the Spirit of God felt. Godly people, who have the Spirit of God, and are elected, are not thus weary of prayer. After elect souls are brought into a personal felt union with the Son of God spiritually, they are rapt in wonder, astonishment, and praise.

The quickening influences of the Spirit of God are their wonderful topic all the day long. If God smites them, they fall under it; if he checks them, they halt; if he smiles on them, they run the way of his commandments. No miser loves gold half so much as a godly person is rapt in the influences felt of the Spirit of God.

"Can it be possible," says he, "that God who made the earth, the sea, and the skies, and all that in them is, can and does commune with me in Jesus Christ as a man communes with a friend, as a father with his son or daughter, or in the nearer ties still of virtuous husbands and wives?"

O, astonishing! And yet the Scriptures lead us to expect that such shall be the case between God and the elect. And when souls experimentally find it so in themselves, they are like the chariots of Amminadib; they are all on fire, as it were, with the golden gloss of the Sun of righteousness shining on their souls.

What makes godly people know it comes from God is, because their repentance is as firm as their faith, and their gospel obedience as sound as either. While replenished with quickening grace felt, softened by the dews of heavenly influence, soothed by the becalming influences of the Spirit of God, godly people go on confessing their sins, watching and praying against their besetments, having continual and unspeakable indignation against themselves on account of their shortcomings; they live a sort of heavenly life upon earth. Instantly serving God night and day, they hope to come to the ravishing fulfilment of all the promises where sorrow and sighing shall be no more for ever and ever. Having been enabled through grace to hunger and thirst to be delivered from the love and practice of sin, they will be delivered from its guilt and punishment; having had godly sorrow given, never to be repented of, and vital faith, and, as the fruits and effects, a genuine love to holiness universally, they are sure enough to be saved; and that has been my case, notwithstanding every mournedover shortcoming.

J. K.
Abingdon.