Saturday, February 26, 2011

WATER


Substance of a Sermon Preached - September 29th, 1811 - By William Huntington.
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“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”
(Isaiah 41:17)

DEAR Friends:

Without any introduction, I shall come to my text. A poor man, first is one that is, as we say, over head and ears in debt, and hath not a mite to pay his creditors; therefore is exposed to a prison, there to remain, unless he is forgiven by his creditor, or a surety steps in to release him by paying the debt. So all sinners are debtors to God, owing a debt of perfect obedience to the holy law of God, and have not the wherewithal to pay, and our debts run very high. We are disobedient, miserable offenders, poor debtors; and unless the Surety steps in, the Days-man between the offender and offended Majesty, Justice binds the sinner over to punishment. And when the Holy Ghost, as the light of life, shines into the sinner’s understanding, that he may behold the dread commands which he is unable to answer, and God’s holy law which he has broken, the danger he is exposed to and punishment due to him, he is pricked in his reins; which makes him tremble, and his heart is wounded within him (Acts 2:87; Psa. 109:22; Isa. 66:2-5). But no hardened sinner trembles, though devils believe and tremble, they do not confess their sin to God, nor cry for mercy; but when the arrows of the almighty stick fast in a sinner’s conscience, he quickly feels the poison drink up his spirits; because life is given, and the light shines in to discover his deplorable state of soul-poverty. So, we see life and light are the cause of trembling. Those tremblers, sore broken and wounded in spirit, are the very persons to whom the promises are made in Christ Jesus. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. O God, Thou wilt not despise.” “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Those promises often encourage the poor to beg for mercy: “Forgive us our debts;” “Forgive all my sins.” The Jews were the fifty-pence debtors, and we poor Gentiles the five hundred. “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.”

Secondly. A man that is hungry, and hath not bread to eat, must be a poor man; and the prodigal was one, “I perish with hunger.” But he could not rest or remain there, for he was hunger-bitten, real necessity drove him forth: “I will arise and go to my father.” Although he was a great way off, yet he confessed his unworthiness; and we see that he not only received bread and unexpected bounty at his father’s table, but was also clothed, shod, and orna­mented. And that person whom God hath quickened by the gift of eternal life hath an appetite for heavenly food for his soul, and cannot live satisfied without Christ in his heart by faith. This is “the true bread,” of which if a man eat he shall live forever; nor is there any motion of life in a quickened soul without it. We know corporeal bread among us is called the staff of life; and for this the poor must beg; and the blessing is already upon them that hunger and thirst after righteousness: “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” “Behold my servants shall eat.” (Isa. 65:13).

Thirdly. A poor man is one compelled to beg or starve, therefore, obliged to ask, seek, and knock, importuning much. And thus it is with every spiritually-poor soul; it cannot cease begging. It is true, some do relax until necessity pinches them again, and fearing they shall die by the worm, the guilty conscience gnawing them under the influence of the Spirit of life, will keep them begging, until God gives them Christ Jesus, the Bread of heaven, believing they must starve and perish in hell to all eternity without it. But Christ stands forth, saying, “I am the true bread”, and He commands the hungry: “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Fourthly. He is a poor man that hath no clothes to cover himself. And so is every unconverted soul under heaven, through the Fall. His soul is naked before God (Gen 3:7). It is plain the bodies of Adam and Eve were naked before; but there was no sin to make them ashamed. And all men are naked and bare, God knows, and He will make us to know it too; and as our first parents sewed fig leaves together, so we will weave spiders’ webs, but they shall not become garments. Therefore, this useless labor of sewing, patching, and weaving has to be laid aside, while God’s counsel stands; but if not, you will he found naked at last, and your shame appear at the judgment. The righteous, in their own eyes, are disobedient; and remain naked in the sight of God, whether they know it or not. And the wise in their own conceit are ignorant before God, and submit not to Him: “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.”

Fifthly. We call a man poor, having nothing of his own; not a stick, as we say, hath he belonging to him; or as Job (1:21), he has lost all. And every sinner, convinced of sin by the Spirit of God, will be taught, sooner or later, that he is insolvent. He lost all in Adam; he hath no bed to rest upon, though he is weary; all his supposed goods are become dung, dross and death. Hear Paul speak in faith: “I count all things but dung and dross, that I may win Christ,” the chief good, for that which I thought was unto life, I found unto death. There is much soul-travail, labour, crying, and praying attends it; and being weary and heavy-laden in soul, we want rest, but having lost all the goods, we have no bed of our own to rest upon, so all the poor in spirit run to Christ Jesus, in whom all goods are treasured up. The graces of the Spirit,—these are the best goods I ever saw or had possession of; such as light, life, filial fear; faith, hope, love, gratitude, humility, meekness, patience, knowledge, temperance; brotherly-kindness, peace, rest, joy and praise. And my blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ, is the substance of the whole. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and ful­lness of grace. He is the resting-place, our bed, our rest. He gives Himself, and we find rest in Him. “Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “For we which have believed do enter into rest.” Do rest, believing in Christ. And the Lord Himself chooses Zion for His rest: “Arise, 0 Lord, into thy rest; for the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.” (Psalm 132). Here are provisions and all necessary goods laid up at our gates.

Sixthly. We call him a poor man who hath no house, or home, or dwelling-place; he wanders about, destitute and afflicted. So do we in a spiritually-poor condition: “They wandered in a wilderness, in a so1itary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by a right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.” And this is where they shall find a sure dwelling, doing His commandments: “And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him: and hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us”. “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” “The Most High thy habitation, neither shall any plague come near thy dwell­ing.” Thus we see a little of the habitation or dwelling for the souls of believers; and there is a dwelling place or home for their bodies until the morning of the resurrection. The grave is to be a bed, or resting-place: “For I know that Thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living” (Job 30:23). “Man goeth to his long home” (Ecc. 12:5). “There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest” (Job 3:17). And we have a comfortable hope of the glory of God: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. Christ is the sure house, the dwelling-place: “Now he that hath wrought for us the self-same thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit”.

Thus we have seen a little of the poor, and the riches treasured up in Christ for them, in time and to eternity. But there are many poor, yet they do not feel their need. And this may be seen in the Revelation 3:17: “Thou sayest, I am rich”, etc. Here we see the Laodiceans boasted of their works and goods, although they were destitute of every real good. But he that hath his eyes anointed to see himself, and is quickened to feel his need, acts like a poor honest trades­man who examines his book and finds himself in debt, and he cannot see any prospect of being capable of paying them; therefore he frets, and cannot rest, day or night. So the spiritually-poor and needy soul cannot rest satisfied, day or night. He hath no rest in his bones, because of his sins, or debts, they are as a sore that runneth and ceaseth not. He cries out, “I am poor and needy; forgive all my sins.” Such as those feel their need; and to such the promises are made: “The needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever”. See also Psalm 12:5, 35:10, 72:12-14, 103:7. This encourages the soul to go on praying, “Defend the poor and fatherless; deliver the poor and needy”. “He raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill.”We have seen the poor and needy man who seeks water, and there is none, and his tongue faileth for thirst. But what is the cause of this thirst; how does the tongue fail? And-what is the water?
First. We know, literally, that hard labour, much travelling in a dry land, and heat therewith, cause thirst. And so it is spiritually: Hard labour of mind, and sore labour of soul under God’s fiery law, and the heat of our corruptions, set on fire of hell, and God’s wrath revealed in the law,---this drinks up the spirit. God’s word appears against us. This con­sumes our spirits. “Is not My word like a fire?” Yes, and causes heat, a thirsting or earnest desire for the water of life, “but there is none”. Here we see a little of what causes thirst in some that never did enjoy the water of life, and others that have enjoyed it, yet again they thirst after the same; in fiery trials their tongues cleaving to the roof of their mouth (Lam. 4:4). And for the tongue to fail for thirst is when there is no moisture; so that a person cannot articulate, or speak clearly: “My tongue cleaveth to my jaws.” 0, my blessed Saviour! What is my thirst compared with Thine? Though I am so often troubled that I cannot speak, “my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Hungry and thirsty, their souls fainted in them.” Samson, even after he slew a thousand men, was afraid he should die with thirst (Judg. 15). And so it is, spiritually, with Gods thirsty seekers, but God satiated Samson, and so he will sat­iate all thirsty souls that seek water from Him. He hath Sm­itten the rock, and the water will flow out in His time. “I the Lord will hear them crying and sighing, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” This encourages hope to look out, to watch, and wait. There is an appointed time to favour Zion.

But what is this water? We may take it in six views. For, literally, man cannot live without water; no more can the quickened soul live without this water of life.

1. The Lord is a fountain of living waters. See Jer. 2:1, Joel 3:16, Psalm 36:9, Rev. 22:1. This water is to cool, to satiate, cleanse and revive all such as feel their need.

2. Christ is the well of salvation. All fullness is in Him, and faith is the bucket and rope. “Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

3. Life is in this water, yea, the water of life: “Let him take the water of life freely.” This water runs among the valleys, among the little ones, to satiate their sorrowful souls, replenish the weary, and revive the drooping. This is the Water.

4. Peace we are to find in it: “For thus saith the Lord, behold, I will extend peace to her like a river; and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.” “He hath ordained peace for us.” “Peace be unto you.”

5. By this water we are to understand the consolations of the Spirit, coming to us through Jesus Christ; “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.” The true church: “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment. Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day (Isaiah 27:3).” Also see Isa. 58, 35:6, 55:1. Here is water to wash the feet, strengthen the ankles, confirm the feeble knees, strengthen the loins, and at last, to swim over Jordan, to the fullness of God’s pleasure in Jesus Christ reserved for us. Blessed be our God for the waters of the sanctuary here by the way, —the waters of life (Ezek 47).

We have seen a little of the text, how the tongue faileth for thirst, and the waters reserved until the appointed time to be enjoyed, both in time and to all eternity. But while we are in this tabernacle there will be groaning, sighing, thirsting and panting after this same water; but thirst no more after any other, for they have proved bitter. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul panteth after thee, 0 God.” And when the thirsty soul finds his tongue fail, then his words are swallowed up of much grief, and sometimes he falls down before God in his trouble, and weeps it out, desiring to show before God his trouble by word, but is not able: “I am so troubled I cannot speak.” And if we cannot write it out, nevertheless he that searcheth it out knoweth the mind of the Spirit, and hears the desires of the heart: “Wherfore criest thou unto Me? Bid the children of Israel to go forward”. And we, having a sip of the brook by the way, are strengthened to go forward through all troubles, through Christ’s groanings and pantings for our salvation; and it will be a glorious sight for us when He comes in all His glory. There will be an end of our thirst­ing when we pass over the river Jordan, and arrive in heaven our home, to rest on our bed in our Father’s house, our dwelling, yea, our house, in an everlasting kingdom. So at last: “the poor heareth not rebuke”.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We have grace here, and a comfortable hope of glory, and, as it is written, “Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake up in Thy likeness.” “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Hallelujah! Salvation, and glory, and power unto the Lord our God.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US"


“...If God be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?”
(Romans 8:31)

This part of the verse in Romans 8:31 crosses my mind more frequently, I suppose, than most other Scriptures. It is a pleasant theme for meditation. From whence this loving kindness commenced, is a surprising and pleasant source of meditation.

In my youth, I, and every one I knew put great emphasis upon John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave” (and we erroneously thought this meant “offered”) “His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in” (and we thought this meant “upon,” or “about”) Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We did not err in believing that upon faith in Christ, the believer had received a life that would thereafter last forever. We still believe that, and the text so teaches. We did not, for a long time, understand that anything that was “given” of necessity was something “received;” and anything that is “offered” to someone could be either “accepted” or “rejected.”

It takes very little reflection upon John 3:16 to see what a massive difference there is in what it teaches and what we foolishly believed. In fact, it was even years later before the word “world” in the text took on another meaning as to the object of God’s delightful care. But when we found, and reflected upon 1 John 5:19, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness,” and are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” and read the Savior’s intercession to His Father in John 17: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given” (and we used to add in our thought process that the next word was “to,” when it isn’t there!) “Me; for they are Thine, and all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.”

When these texts came into harmony, John 3:16 smoothly fit with the Biblical doctrine of unconditional election for the first time; and John 3:16 was understood consistently with the finished work of Christ in His atonement, for “My Sheep,” of whom He said, “I lay down my life.” Hence the “world” in John 3:16 was much more narrow than the “whole world” in 1 John 5:19 cited above.

There is, obviously, a difference between things that have a commencement in time and last “for ever,” or “everlasting;” and things that do not have a commencement at all, and yet exists.

We have no problem believing that God is “eternal.” The very first introduction of things “eternal” was in Deuteronomy 33:27, and refers to God. “The eternal God is thy refuge.”

Did God have a beginning?

Of course not. He is “eternal.”

Is God alive?

Of course He is. Even before God is introduced as “eternal,” He is introduced as “the living God.” Deuteronomy 5:26, “For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?”

While John 3:16 played an important part in our growing comprehension of God’s ever lasting love to the world of His elect people, or His body, the church; John 3:15 came first in order and we had, for some unknown reason, overlooked it. It reads, “That whosoever believeth in” (not, “about” or “upon”) “Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Why did we not notice that?

Perhaps because we are creatures of time, and with such creatures of time we automatically expect everything pertaining to us to have commenced in time. Or, maybe, in the kind Providence of God, it was needful for our conceptual development of our salvation. Be that as it may, the text teaches that believers, not only will not perish, but the actual spiritual life they have is eternal – just as their God is eternal. They may justly conclude that since life begets life of like kind, then such that are born of God are given a different type of life than they have by their earthly birth - which is natural life – an eternal life, as their spiritual Sire is eternal. We surely need not urge upon the reader that this life by which they are begotten into the kingdom of God has always existed, hidden in Christ in God from eternity.

“If God be for us, who can be against us,” and hence we find the spring of that everlasting life is in eternity, and is in an eternal living union with Christ. And thus, it puts our spiritual existence IN Christ from the foundation of the world, or ever the world was. If He loved us before our development, before our earthly existence, when we were but in seed-substance in Him, then “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” - Romans 8:33.

If it is the eternal, living God that justifies us, then “who can be against us?”

It is Christ that died!

How did the apostle argue our case before us?

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

What a potent argument is that!

It was the eternal, living God that offered (yes, in this case, “offered”) His own Son for us all.

If He would do such a thing as this, then what might we expect further from Him?

We would notice that text says, “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.”

He does not consider one as “us” outside of Christ.

How amazing is that concept “in Christ”!

Equally amazing is that concept “with Him”! And when the two concepts are considered together how overwhelming is this knot doubled tied! Thus, we gained the concept that the eternal choice of God of His own elect was settled in the personal union they had with Christ from before the foundation of the world. Now raises that question afresh: “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

Can one expect anything good from Him except they first be IN Him?

And if that is so, can they receive anything without Him?

Those two most interesting words constantly dangle and tease the understanding of the heart of a child born of God. It is with determination our minds will not settle on any such foolish thought that God chose His people in the fallen corruption of cursed flesh. That had a beginning long after the Scripture settle the commencement of divine election IN Christ – from eternity, no less!

Can we wrap our puny little minds around what all we have IN Him?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN Christ:” - Ephesian 1:3.

And the continuing verse gives to us the “timely” so to speak, of this enormous treasure-trove of riches: “According as He hath chosen us IN Him before the foundation of the world” – or from eternity.

Listening to objectors, I wonder if these eternally blessed individuals lay dead, lifeless, in the loins of the eternal Christ; or were they “alive” while hid away in seed-substance IN Him?

I’m now an aged man, but I yet recall my biology lessons at Miller County High School in Colquitt, Georgia under the “Hoosier” teacher, Mr. Davis: Reproductive cells of both male and female must be “living cells” to produce offspring!” As a youngster, life was a mystery, and this lesson was highly entertaining then. I never forgot it. Now, an old man – a believer in eternal vital union of Christ with His body, the Church, the mystery is yet pronounced, but there is some light which language can convey. That “eternal God” is “eternal life;” and the believer’s “life is in His Son.”

“Whosoever hath the Son hath LIFE.” And His life is eternal; hence “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Ah, how I wish I could drive that truth home as profoundly as I see it. The ramifications are staggering!

That eternal life was always the believer’s even while undeveloped IN Christ’s seed in eternity; and that living eternal life is the very source of their birth in the spirit in regenerating grace; - the “incorruptible seed, the word of God, that liveth and abideth forever.”

While only in seed substance, they were then blessed with every spiritual blessing IN Christ. Day by day after that eternal life is conveyed to them bringing them forth into the kingdom of God each page of divine Providence makes manifest those blessings they own for being IN Him. How often I have struggled to know the will of God for me in this, or that, or another; yet my faith rests in the understanding that when my eyes close in sleep at the end of each day, God’s absolute will was done for that assigned or appointed day and every blessing in both nature and grace that was mine was experienced according to His faithful promise. Some blessings I might in nature not see as such; and even murmur under a distressing load; but in its own time, I am made to bless the Lord for even that which at the time was uncomfortable to my flesh. I am fully aware that the greatest trials in my pilgrimage have also been my greatest blessings, and I would not to this day exchange them for the pleasures of Egypt.

I illustrate just one. The sharp sound of my wife’s angry voice rings yet in my mind, as on an occasion when the car she was driving had roared loudly only a half a block from our house in Gordon, Georgia, and I asked her: “Did you turn the engine off?” “Here are the keys,” she snapped. Little did I know that God in His sovereign Providence tore that car down and stopped us from driving it to church that week-end. And that week-end, attempts were made on our lives for preaching divine unconditional election. Had we been in our car that night, the mob would likely have recognized us in the dark. The following morning, there was nothing wrong with the car, and that loud roaring never returned.

When I was told later by Primitive Baptists (heretics who preach "conditional time salvation") that God “does not have anything to do with things in this time world,” there was no way they could ever convince me of that agnosticism.

I knew better by experience, and that burned deeply into my consciousness. In truth, if I was not a believer in absoluteness of predestination the day before, by Monday morning I was a full-blown absoluter! And still unwaveringly so!

While those events were in nature, yet the application and comfort from God’s over-shadowing care I count as one of those “spiritual blessings” giving me IN Christ and appointed for me that early as one of my experiences and blessings in time. Unlike Agnostics, I am fully persuaded that Paul meant exactly what he wrote when he said, “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” I wouldn’t have it otherwise! Many of those “all things” are the “spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” And I imagine each reader of this, however so small in the kingdom of God, can find myriads of such blessings day by day in their own sojourn.

“How shall He not WITH Him freely give us all things?” –WITH Him. Yes, that word, too, is just as profound. When the truth of divine election in Christ removed the idea that God chose His people prospectively in Adam, the golden chain of free grace begin to be unearthed – link by link. Too many scriptures refer to the “elect” of God, the “chosen” in Christ Jesus, “the called” according to His purpose, His “sheep” for whom He laid down His life, etc., to even doubt the truthfulness of this ancient and despised “Gillite” doctrine – as it was then called. And once established in our faith, an interesting concomitant viewpoint arose. If the children of God were IN Christ, either Federally or representatively, as Gill thought, or actually in seed-substance, as Beebe, Dudley, Trott and Johnson taught, or both, then there can be no argument against the elect being with Christ when and wheresoever He ever was. There is no escape to that precious conclusion. Granted, they were not yet developed as existing persons no more than they played games under the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Paradise while mother Eve knocked some fruit to the ground, but in whatsoever sense they can be said to have been chosen IN Christ, in that same sense they have always been with Christ.

We may then ask, are there Scriptures that sustain that conclusion, or at least refer to it?

I think so. The apostle raises a question in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” And here he clinches his argument, saying, “Therefore we are buried WITH Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”

Hence, being IN and WITH Him, we were actually, and/or federally baptized in water – as Jerry Mourer said, “In Jordan!” Paul extends his argument even further noticing, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified WITH Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

This unity, or oneness of His people in and with Him gives to them a very special and important relationship that none outside of Him can ever have. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs WITH Christ.” – Romans 8: 16-17.

Obviously if anyone is one with another in so intimate a union, if one is an heir, so is the other. And I know of no other ground for this “old man” of the flesh to be an heir, since “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” It is the “new man,” or “new creature” and its union with the “old man” that gives rise to the adoption as heirs in the heavenly family by any member of the Adamic family!

I had thought for years that the scripture above spoke only of baptism in water, never considering it as the baptism by virtue of union with and in Christ. But Paul did not drop the subject never to use his arguments here again. In his own defense against some who questioned his apostleship, he again visits that argument, and writes: “For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” - II Corinthians 13:4; and in Colossians 2:20 he 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.”

There seems to me to be two senses of divine quickening mentioned in the New Testament. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing,” referring to the quickening of one to spiritual life or generation in God’s kingdom. But in order for the Soul of Christ to re-enter his “dead body” in His resurrection, there was a need for that dead body, which saw no corruption, to be “quickened” to life again in order to be raised up from the dead. And, it seems that Ephesians 2:5 might very well be such, and if so, Paul again relates his unity in that profound event, saying, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath (He) quickened us together WITH Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised US together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;”

“For we are His workmanship created IN Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10

What shall we say to these things?

Who shall lay a charge against one of God’s elect?

Is it not true they are said to have the circumcision of Christ?

“Ye are complete IN Him, which is the Head of all principalities and power: IN whom also ye are circumcised WITH the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (which circumcision was on the eighth day after His birth) BURIED WITH HIM in baptism, wherein also ye are RISEN with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He QUICKENED TOGETHER WITH HIM, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

With the apostle, we have come to understand that we are “dead, and our life is hid WITH Christ in God,” so that truly it is a faithful saying, “for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him,” – II Timothy 2:11.

The greatest of all blessings one is blessed with in heavenly places IN Christ, is that eternal unity with the precious Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and have all the riches of His grace bestowed upon one that is IN Him and WITH Him in His Headship of His body, the Church.

By Stanley Phillips

Monday, February 07, 2011

THE LAST DAYS OF THE JOHN M'KENZIE


My dear Friend,

I take up my pen to write you some account of the last days of our dear departed friend and brother, John M'Kenzie, believing that to you and many of the readers of the Gospel Standard it will be interesting. As you are fully aware of the nature of his complaint, (bleeding from the lungs,) I shall confine myself to his last attack; and to a few gleanings of the words which fell from his lips.

He left Darley Dale, Derbyshire, on Wednesday, the 25th of July, and arrived at Preston the same evening, having travelled about seventy miles. He stood his journey remarkably well, and conversed freely during the evening, expressing thankfulness that he had safely arrived at Preston, his friends remarking to him how well and hearty he was looking, far beyond their expectations.

He took leave of his friends and retired to bed a little after ten o'clock, he or they little expecting that the next time he came downstairs would be for interment,
O how true it is that "in the midst of life we are in death!"

We know not what a day may bring forth. What a loud and solemn call to us, (if sanctified by the Spirit of God,) "Be ye also ready, for at a time ye think not the Son of Man cometh!"

He had been in bed little more than a quarter of an hour when he began to cough, followed by the spitting of blood, the colour of which gave us every reason to dread that the same or another vessel of the lungs had given way. Medical aid was immediately procured, and the Lord suffered the means made use of to cause the blood to cease flowing for a time.

From this time a sudden and great change in the state of his mind became very visible to all about him; a solemn composure and sweet resignation now rested upon his countenance, and when he was able to speak, his words fully bore testimony to its being a true indication of his soul's feeling.

Not being able to speak with an audible voice he lifted up his eyes and whispered, "I know that all has been done for me that human aid can do; I now fall into the hands of my Lord, to do with me as may be good and right in his sight, so that it may be for his own honour and glory. Nothing short of a miracle can raise me up, though there is nothing too hard for the Lord. I feel as helpless as an infant, both in body and soul, yet in a quiet, peaceable and patient waiting to see what his mind and will is concerning me."

For a few days there now appeared a decided improvement in the state of his health, but he could not bear the least excitement. He requested that no friends should see him, not being able to bear it, as the least excitement had a tendency to bring on the bleeding.

He now appeared much absorbed in thought, and at length said, "What an unutterably glorious place heaven must be! What amazing objects there! The throne of God and the Lamb! that dear Jesus, once crowned with thorns, but now crowned with glory and honour, seated thereon, being the bright and ineffable glory of the place! What glorious mansions must those be that are of the Lord's own providing and preparing! 'A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,' for his own blood-bought family! We read of music also the most precious. Harps of gold in the hands of all the redeemed, which is to intimate to our finite understanding the richness and incomprehensible sweetness of the sound of the music. All will be fully occupied: there will be none too weak or too lazy to play, shout, and sing the victories of the Lamb."

These were said in broken sentences, he not being able to say many words without being obliged to stop a short time. To us who were present the words came with a solemn power and weight, every sentence bearing a peculiar evidence that it came from a solemn and sanctified heart.

After a pause he continued, "They (meaning the redeemed) shall also have glorified bodies. At the transfiguration Elijah appeared with his body; Moses in some way, whether with his body or without is of little moment to us; but they did appear with the Lord glorious."

Pausing a short time, he then said, "How impossible to know or understand the things of which I have been speaking as they really are, while we remain in this fleshly tabernacle, which is of the earth earthy! To flesh and blood there is a sweetness in life. Hezekiah felt the sweetness of life. Job, though he had much of the bitterness, still felt the sweetness of life."

And having dwelt a little on, the ignorance and darkness of our poor finite understandings, he ceased speaking through apparent exhaustion. The next time he spoke on the things connected with the kingdom of God was on the ministry.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "I never saw with half the light or felt with half the power I now do the important work of the ministry. Three things are especially and essentially necessary, solemnity, faithfulness, and affection. On looking at the Lord's ministry, what solemnity marked it in setting forth eternal realities, what faithfulness in warning the sinner, and what affection in all he had to declare to his own dear people!".

Most of the aforesaid expressions dropped from his lips from the time of his attack, on the evening he arrived here, to Thursday the 2nd of August.

He now appeared so far recovered that the physician thought he might venture to sit up a short time in an easy chair, wrapped in blankets. He accordingly was got up, but soon became fatigued, saying he must go to bed again and sit up an hour in the evening.

He did so, observing, "It is with great difficulty I can bear up." On going to bed he said, "I fear the bleeding is coming on;" and before the doctors arrived he had expectorated half a pint. The surgeon administered the remedy considered best, and the blood ceased coming up. They then left the house, expecting there would be no more of it that night.

However, in about a quarter of an hour the cough came on, the bleeding began with double force, and both medical men were immediately present to witness (without being able to render any assistance) one of the most alarming and agonizing sights I ever saw; a hollow sounding cough, and the blood gushing forth from his mouth like a fountain, in the midst of which he said to a friend who was holding his head, "Oh! this is hard work; pray for me;" his own soul being solemnly engaged, which was visible by the lifting up of his eyes and hands, and the words that escaped, such as "God! Dear Jesus! Blessed Spirit!" &c.

All in the room, with the (Doctors, thought that the blood would choak him, as he seemed not to have strength to get it up, and that in a few minutes he would have terminated this mortal life. But his time was not yet come; the Lord heard prayer and answered, for, to our utter astonishment, he turned up his ghastly face, and fixing his eyes upon the physician, exclaimed, with an audible voice, "It is here we want a God! If I had not the Lord to rest upon now, I should be of all men the most miserable. That Jesus whom my soul has at times delighted to preach is now my only help and support. I believe the truths I have preached, for I now experience that nothing short of the blood and righteousness of Christ can support in the trying hour. I thank you, gentlemen; I am satisfied you have done your best; but Christ is my only hope and strength."

More blood now coming up, he made motions for a little water, when on raising his head he saw his wife and friends in tears; he said, "Do not weep; this blood is nothing but corrupt, depraved, sinful blood; but the blood that flowed from Jesus was holy, precious, and pure blood. O how I am privileged above that dear, precious Christ! When his blood gushed forth, they mocked his agonies and sufferings, tind when he asked for drink, they gave him vinegar and gall; but I have relations and friends about me, sympathizing with me, and ready to give me whatever I want."

On taking the water he said, "O, how good! thank the Lord for it."

And every little thing he took he expressed his thankfulness for, viewing it as coming down from the Lord.

He now called all in the room to come near, and said, "I am desirous of giving you an affectionate warning. There is nothing you may possess in this world that will be of any use to you when you come here; therefore live as becometh the gospel you profess. You will have need for all when you come here; for if I am dying you must soon follow. Although I do not feel any thing particular with which I am upbraided, I feel myself a vile, hell-deserving sinner; yet my faith is firm, and my hope is anchored in the love, blood, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ."

During the night he called a friend to him, and said, "The Lord has not given me any intimation whether I must die soon or remain longer, but I feel a patient, quiet, and calm resignation to wait his own time, and see what his will is concerning me."

His friend asked, "Do you feel the joys of salvation in any measure?"

He said, "Not as I could wish; but the Lord is a sovereign; still I feel my faith and hope resting on the Lord. If it were his blessed will I should like to feel more the enjoyment; but not my will, but his be done."

"If it be the Lord's will," he said, "I desire not to die during the bleeding, for the pain and suffocating feeling I felt for half an hour cannot be expressed; but if it be his will, and more for his honour and glory, his will be done."

Friday, August the 10th, he said, "The Lord knoweth our frame; he knows I could not now bear temptation; therefore, during this relapse of my complaint, he has not suffered Satan to come to me with, one single suggestion or temptation. Though I do not feel the sweet joys of his presence, I have a humble and firm confidence that when I die I shall enjoy his presence in heaven, if not before."

In the evening he called his wife, and said, "I have no doubt, after I die, many will wish to know the state of my mind; you may tell them I have not that enjoyment I could wish, but I am neither troubled nor tempted by Satan, for I have not been accused of one sin since I was taken ill this time, and I have a firm confidence that when I die I shall land safe in heaven, and that through the love, blood, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; this is my present experience."

He could not speak much after this, but he was often seen in prayer to the Lord.

He now spit a little scarlet blood, a sure indication of a giving way of the vessel again, which made us begin to fear that another bursting forth was not far distant.

On the Saturday he had a tolerable day and rested better during the night, until about forty minutes past three o'clock.

At about four o'clock the vessel of the lungs again gave way. He had just time to ask for what he wanted when the blood again came up, and continued until his strength was completely exhausted.

All that he was able to say at this time was, "God" which continued long upon his tongue. After a few sighs he quietly breathed his last, and fell into the bosom of everlasting love at forty minutes past four o'clock, Lord's day morning, August 12th, 1849, never more to sigh or desire the enjoyment of the Lord's presence, but where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for ever more.

During the time of this illness he dictated what he wished to be on his gravestone, which, is as follows:

"Having no confidence in tlie flesh, all his hope and all his desire was in the love, blood, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Yours in the truth,
T. Walsh.
Preston, August, 1849.

PS. Our dear brother stated during his illness, that after his death we should find his experience, on reading which, if we thought it would be of any use to the church of God, it might be published; if not, to do with it as we thought well.

He also said of the work he had in hand, "That work has cost me much labour! I think, you will not be able to make it out, on account of the interlining, and confusion that, appear in the latter part of it, although much of the former part is re-written; but this I leave with you to do also as you may deem fit."

SINNER SAVED


As I cannot get a DD for the want of cash, neither can I get an MA for the want of learning; therefore I am compelled to fly for refuge to SS, by which I mean Sinner Saved; or, that I am made wise to salvation; or, as Luke expresses it, ‘I have had the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of my sins.

By William Huntington