Page images

ir grief, sorrow, and agony, which none can enter into, nor any tongue describe, no, not my own; and none but my dear Jesus knows the agony

that I have endured. Many times have I really staggered like a drunken man, and been brought to my wit's end, and, I had like to have said, my faith's end too,

I do not write to boast, but in hopes to find out and cheer a poor brother or sister in like circumstances. I remember one (I hope) of God's family telling me, only the other day, that I should die under it, and another brother saying to my wife that I should go mad, or die under it; yes, and I should have done so, long ago, if


life then had not been immortal.

And, I assure you, these were not the first convictions for sin; no, years ago, I was delivered from that burden, and set free by the blood of Christ being sweetly applied to my conscience, through that glorious declaration in Isaiah liv. 17;, no, this is a batıle which I have bad to fight in the wilderness, since that time. And O, how many times have I been like Bunyan's Pilgrim, when Apollyon fought with him; my arm so weak as to drop may sword; my knees so feeble as to bend under my body; my eyes so dim as not to be able to look upwards; and my enemy so strong as to stride over me, and, stretching out his arm, swear by his infernal den that I should live no longer! Faith seemed to me to tremble for life, and my hope, like the children of Israel's, (Ezekiel xxxvii. 11,) to be lost. Thus, have I gone for months and years, sorrowing, fearing, fainting, sighing, and crying; dreading to meet any of God's family, fearing they would ask me how I was; and often dared I say to some of them now: thing but “ I don't know.” I have envied them, and the world too ; the one has appeared so happy without religion, and the other so happy with it, when I could be bappy with neither; and many times could I compare myself to nothing but a speckled bird that belonged to no certain family, not fit for the children of God, and, I am cere tain, not fit for the children of the devil—too melancholy for either. I really have been, in my own feelings, a pest to society, sinners and saints too; and I have thought ere now that I was going mad, and that I must be confined in an asylum.

But “wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, 0 earth!" Christ has come again; he has come; himself has come; bless him, he has come, and Satan has gone. O that I had the tongue of David, to tell what he has done for my soul "O magnify the Lord us exalt his name together;" for I was brought low, very low, and he helped me! yes, when heart and flesh failed, he was, and is now, the. strength of my heart, and will be my portion for ever. o, bear with me while I give a short description of it.

I had been on my knees before a throne of grace, and, like poor

Joh, could say little else but, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him," when sunk, as I thought, too low to be raised up again, too vile to experience mercy, too rebellious to be forgiven, too tempted to ever hope again; and scores, I think I may say hundreds of times, have I read my Bible but as a sealed book, closing it again with sorrow, till, like the Psalmist, while I have suffered from his terrors, I have

[ocr errors]

been distracted. On the 23rd, opening my Bible, to read, if possible, my doom or sentence, I opened on Jeremiah xxix. 11. I read, and thought that it kept me from quite despairing; yet I had not power to lay hold of it. But I have since thought that it was something like John, a forerunner of what was to come; for on the 27th my dear Jesus came with such power in that immortal declaration recorded in Psalm cxxxvi. 23, “ Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Do you know, every beast of the forest, every fowl of the air, and every devil in hell, fed like lightning from the poor stump, and “Victory through the precious blood of the Lamb!” resounded through the inmost recesses of my soul. Not a dog was found that durst move his tongue against me. Then“ the Sun of Righteousness arose with healing in his wings; " all heaven appeared to smile, and earth too; and O what a giant I became in a minute, from being the weakest of the weak. It was the best medicine I had taken for years. Bless his dear name, he came and set all right in a minute; be made the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb and stammerer to speak, and speak plainly too. o that I could but tell half of his worth, and exalt bim ! But, alas ! I feel lost at the threshold, when I attempt to speak of his worth. He is really and truly " the altogether lovely." Talk about earthly riches ! why this treasure, a precious Christ in my soul, is worth ten million worlds, yes, a thousand times told. Well might Paul say, "It passeth knowledge;" it is such a profound deep that no mortal can fathom it; it is so high that none can scan it; such a length and breadth that none can see to the extent of it; indeed, we can know but

this vale of tears; (1 Cor. xiii. 10;) we must die to know it in its lengths, breadths, depths, and heights.

O, to those poor brothers or sisters within the reach of this message, do not despair. Heaven and earth shall pass away, bắt not his precious promises.

“ You shall to the end endure,
As sure as the earnest is given,
More happy, but not more secure,

The glorified spirits in heaven.” “The vision is for an appointed time; it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; it shall surely come, and not tarry: There is an appointed time to favour Zion; and when that time is come, all hell, with all your doubts and fears, shall not keep it back; no, though often have I experienced the truth of the poet's declaration,

“ If sometimes I strive as I mourn,
My hold of thy promise to keep,
The billows more fiercely return,
And plunge me again in the deep.
“While harass'd and cast from thy sight,
The tempter suggests with a roar,

Thy God has forgotten thee quite,

And he will be gracious no more.'” Indeed, if he were as changeable as we are, he never would return

part while


again; but he is of one mind, and none can turn him, and, as

he by Malachi, “I am the Lord; I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Cheer up, my fellow-traveller to Canaan above. A few more rollings of the sea, a few more hidings of the sun, a few more fiery temptations of the wicked one, a few more dark nights of sorrow, and thy Christ shall appear in his essential glories as Jehovali by pature, in his personal glories as God-man, and in his mediatorial glories as the suffering Messiah and Saviour of his people. Then we shall see him in the perfection of his loveliness; in all the beauties, glories, and brightness of the Deity; in all the lustre of nature, grace, and glory, as the most consummate Object of loveliness, adoration, joy, and praise. I do not wonder at the spouse in rapture saying, " This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, o daughters of Jerusalem; yea, he is altogether lovely;" as though she had said, “Would you know who my Beloved is? Why, this is my

Beloved -one who has all the perfections of kindness in his heart, beauty in his Person, tenderness in his nature, majesty in his face, love in his looks, sweetness in bis smiles, wisdom in his counsel, peace in his ways, life in his love, joy in his favour, and glory in his presence. This is my Beloved, and yours too, poor tried and tempest-tossed believer. Though darkness may now surround thee, light shall come; (Ps. xxvii. 1;) though enemies now assault thee, not a dog among them shall move his tongue against thee, but at thy Beloved's bidding, and then only to teach thee one blessed lesson, namely, “this is not your rest;” it is polluted. By and by thou shalt get home, and thy God shall be thy glory; never more to hunger, thirst, faint, groan, or cry, by reason of grievous taskmasters, no, nor anti-backsliders either; for if I know my own heart, I find, by daily experience, that it is with me as it was with Paul,

that is, in my flesh, “ dwelleth no good thing.” “O," say some, "we admit that."

Yes, and I must admit more, whether they will or not. My soul, that would live without sin in thought, word, or deed, cannot do the things that it would, but does the things it hates. This is my experience. Mark, the flesh would not, does not desire to do these things: there dwells no good thing in that. Then where dwells that good thing ?

In the soul. And what is this good thing? The new man, called "" the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. ii. 16.) This new man, called by different names, does not sin, but the soul in which dwells this new man does sin, and that to its sorrow too, and often has to groan under the burden of it; and I apprehend that it was this which made Paul

cry, “O wretched man," &c. And if there are any of God's children that can boast of perfection in their souls, while in this vale


am bold to say that they are the first who ever had it, and the last who ever will bave it, in this world. But, on the contrary, I do not believe that they have it, if truth must be told. They may try to make themselves believe that when they sin it is only the flesh that does it; but, if ever God come to them with the same power as he did to my soul with that text, Amos iii. 2, they will be compelled to cry, with David, “ Heal my soul,” &c., (Ps. xli. 4,) and also, “Bring my soul out of prison," &c.; (Ps. cxlii. 7;) and when his

« In me,

[ocr errors]

of tears,

dear Majesty is pleased again to show his mighty love, in raising " the poor man out of the dust, and the beggar from off the dunghill," then Psalm xxiii. will be sweet, “He restoreth my soul,” &c.; and to call this or these sins a falling forward, is a God-dishonouring untruth. (See Rev. ii. 4,5; Matt. xxvi. 56; and others.)

But where have I been rambling? Why, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” I have been so drilled by antibacksliders, that it has guided my pen. Forgive me this once; I do not often trouble you; and I will endeavour to give you my views.on backsliding. What I have been taught experimentally, I know to be truth.

Well, then, that the souls of believers backslide, I think is evident from Jeremiah xxxi. 18-22, also Hosea xiv. 4. But they say, “It is the flesh which does this.” I say that the filesh has nothing to depart or backslide from; 'no, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and ever will be, till this mortal shall put ou immortality, and this corruptible incorruption. It is the soul that does it, groans under a feeling sense of it, and longs to be delivered from it; it is this soul, quickened and made alive, that cannot do the things that it would. We do not hear a persecuting Saul say it; nor any sinner, dead in sins, ever groans under “a body of sin and death;” no, it is their element, in which they delight. Hence we find that when the Stronger than the "strong man armed” comes, he spoils his goods. What are we to understand here? When Christ comes into the heart of a sinner, he spoils Satan's goods, which is that sinner. He stops his reigning power, by binding him; and the poor sinner cannot serve Satan as he did formerly. Hence the warfare. (Gal. v. 17.). The plague is in the house; and it must be taken down, according to both Jewish and gospel dispensations too; and when that is done, why, the old man will have done lusting there, as well as he had done with reigning before. Ask a lying Abraham whether he was perfect in himself; ask an incestuous Lot the same question, a drunken Noah, or a cursing Job, and they would all say that they were not perfect in themselves, but only in Christ. “Ye are complete in him," says the Holy Ghost, "not in yourselves."

I am obliged to come to a throne of grace again and again, as a poor pensioner entirely dependent upon his sovereign bounty; to come for the balm of Gilead to be applied to my backsliding soul. But mark, these backslidings are not with the same spirit that we find actuated Balaam to go to curse Israel, nor the same spirit that induced Judas to sell his Lord and Master. They did it out of malice, obstinacy, and presumption; the other, from weakness and in, firmity; and I defy any man or woman to prove that John means anything else but that the children of God cannot do the former, but do the latter, as appears from his own words, (1 John i. 8,&c.; ii. 2,) and as appears from the experience of every Christian, more or less, while in this vale of tears. Need I cite a few passages in confirmation ? See Deut. xxxii. 15; Ps. cvi. 13; Gal. i. 6,7; Matt. xxvi. 69–75; Luke xv. 11-32; and many others.

But I forbear. I have not written for the sake of argument, but

[ocr errors]

hoping that God will bless-it to some poor brother or sister who may have been confounded to bear that the soul of the Christian does not sin after the new birth, which doctrine they cannot reconcile with their experience, as they daily have to groan, cry, and sigh under darkness, coldness, barrenness, lukewarmness, and other feelings, which none but God and their own souls know of.

In conclusion, I say that the Christian is not, nor ever-will be perfect in this world; but ofttimes has to say,

My soul through many changes goes:

His love no variation knows." No, bis Jehovah Jesus still speaks as in ancient language, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.” (Jer. iii. 22, 23.)

I had not the most distant thoughts, when I commenced, of thus writing; but, hoping that is for some wise purpose, I leave it in the hands of God, whose way is in the great deep.

I remain, yours in an unchangeable God, Manchester.




Messrs. Editors---Having felt my heart warmed with so glowing an account of the glories of Immanuel from one so bedecked with wordly honours and dignities as Lady Huntington, I cannot but think that, considering ber high rank, and her writing with such · unaffected feeling and humility, when, too, in her day self-righteous. ness was professed so almost universally, it shows beyond a question that she was interested in the glorious“ Nazarene." It is extracted from an old magazine of 1790. If you think, proper to insert it, please to do so. Abingdon.

I. K.

The zealous and faithful labours of a servant of Jesus Christ are owned and honoured by success from him. I am led to look to the source from which this can only flow, even to the foundation that is laid, and which admits of no other happy one, either for our present comfort or future security. Thus you and I are under the necessity of finding out, experimentally, that one true Christian Church, sealed by the Spirit of Jesus Christ himself on the day of Pentecost, the existence of which still remains confined to the same powerful influence. We must not therefore wonder that natural ignorance, uninfluenced by this power, rejects the wisdom and mercy that unite in God's being manifest in the flesh.

It is through this medium of our own nature only, that instruc tion can be communicated to us in a way suitable to the weakness of

« PreviousContinue »