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of hope: that the ordinance of the Lord's Supper can only be Scripturally administered to those who have been made to feel their lost and ruined state as sinners, and who, having been enabled to give a reason of the hope that is in them, and the answer of a good conscience toward God, have been solemnly immersed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: and, finally, that the Scripture, being the absolute, infallible, revealed word and will of God, is the only standard by which the faith of man can rightly be tried.
But while it will be our privilege ever to adhere to these God-glorifying, man-abasing sentiments, our pages will not be altogether closed against fair and candid discussion; and we shall at all times be glad to receive the communications of our friends, and give place to any remarks that will tend to the comforting, instructing, or edifying of the flock of Christ, knowing that the weakest instruments are sometimes made the greatest blessing.
In the hands of the Divine Master, we desire to leave ourselves; and if it should please him to make our work a blessing to the poor of his household, we trust, as we soar not to a higher object, we shall be enabled to give him the glory.
THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE HUNGRY, &e.
“ Blessed ure they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”—Matt. v. 6.
The righteousness intended here is not creature-righteousness, worth, or worthiness, for that is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away (Hos. vi. 4); nay, at best it is but filthy rags, and its fountain unclean. (Isa. lxiv. 6.) Eternal truth declareth, that “all flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, which withereth and fadeth away when the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it." (Isa. xl. 6, 7.) But the righteousness the dear Lord has in view in this text, is that blessed righteousness which is unto all and upon all them that believe, even the glorious person and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ; for “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. x. 4.). This is that righteousness which justifies the ungodly; and when this glorious righteousness is received into the heart by faith, through the divine power of God the Holy Ghost, the soul will unite with the church of old, and say, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength;" not merely by him, or from him, but in him: and the Lord the Spirit 80lemnly says, that " in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isa. xlv. 24, 25.) God is determined that no flesh shall glory in his presence, but in the Lord alone. Therefore, “ Christ is made of God unto his people wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. i. 26–31.) Yea, “God hath made him to be sin for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. v. 21.) Here it is the child of God stands acquit of all charge, and is viewed, by the God of gods, perfect and complete (Col. ii. 10); for, by the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, all that believe are justified from all things, not partially, but fully and completely. (Acts xii. 39.) Now, this blessed justification is all of free grace: “Being justified ireely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. iii. 24.) It is on this glorious ground the apostle sends forth his God-glorifying, soul-supporting chal lenge: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. viii. 33, 34.) Here divine faith makes a solemn stand, and, with indescribable pleasure, makes its boast of the Lord, putting no confidence in the flesh. Let Christ be seen and received into the heart by faith, and the sinner may challenge earth or hell to bring him in guilty; for Christ is the Lord his righteousness.
Well, blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after this righteousness, for they shall be filled. Now, no one will ever hunger and thirst after this righteousness till the Holy Ghost has quickened his soul, and brought him to feel that he is a sinner before the heart-searching God; that his sins have been committed against a righteous God; that he has no righteousness of his own, nor any power to work one out; and yet, that without a righteousness perfectly adequate to the requirements of law, and the demands of justice, he must for ever perish. To describe the various workings of mind, and the feelings of such a soul, under the heart-rending tortures of the awful nature of sin, and the holiness and inflexible justice of God, as revealed in the law, would fill a volume. Suffice it, therefore, to say, that night and day he hungers and thirsts for that righteousness which justifies the ungodly. A religion which consists of creature goodness, creature duties, and creature piety, will not do for him. He proves that both dutyworks and duty-faith fail him, and leave him a lost sinner, without help and without hope. He therefore sighs, and groans, and cries for mercy, pardoning mercy, justifying mercy, in the person, blood, and obedience of Christ. Nothing short of this will satisfy his hungry soul. He can in very deed enter into the feelings described in the first part of Isa. xli. 17, “When the poor and needy seek water.' He feels that he is poor, wretchedly poor, and very needy; for he needs all that is necessary to make him righteous and holy in the sight of God: and though he has sought this in a variety of ways, still he can neither see nor feel anything in himself, nor of bimself, but sin and loathsomeness. With deep concern, he has earnestly sought the water of life, but cannot find it; so that his tongue faileth for thirst, and he appears at times unable to speak the feelings of his heart to either God or man. Hungry and thirsty, his soul fainteth within him. Well, in this desert land, in this waste, howling wilderness, the Lord, in his own blessed time, is graciously pleased manifestatively to find him, and to lead him about, and to instruct bim; yea, and he will keep him as the apple of his eye. (Deut. xxxii. 10.)
Now, the Lord of the house says such souls are blessed; and indeed it is no small blessing to know their poverty, feel their need, and be sensible of their own helplessness.
There are a people who say that they are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. These are not spoken of very favourably by the Lord of the house; but the poor and needy, who seek water and can find none, are blessed of the Lord, yea, and in the Lord; for in him they have all spiritual blessings (Eph. i. 3); and the Lord has promised them, saying, “ I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” (Isa. xli. 17, 18.)
They shall be filled. Not with self-righteousness, but with Christ and his glorious righteousness. The blessed Spirit shall reveal Christ in their hearts the hope of glory; then their souls will enjoy a sweet measure of the work and effect of the righteousness of Christ, which are peace, quietness, and assurance for ever. (Isa. xxxii. 17.) Then they shall find that Christ is unto them a peaceable habitation, and here they bave rest; and having thus tasted that the Lord is gracious, and feasted upon his blood, love, and obedience, they will joyfully unite with the Psalmist, and say, “ Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.” (Ps. Ixiii. 3–5.)
Thus they that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be abundantly satisfied with the fulness of God's house, and shall drink of the river of his pleasure; for “ with the Lord is the fountain of life.” (Ps. xxxvi. 8, 9.) The time'shall come when they shall say, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and be heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. xxxiv. 3, 4.) Their mouth shall be filled with praise, and with the honour of God. (Ps. lxxi. 8.) Blessed be the name of our adorable Three-One God, he filleth the hungry with good things, while the rich he sendeth empty away (Luke i. 53); and when body and soul are transformed into the image of Christ in glory, then in very deed they will be filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. iii. 19), and eternally enjoy the blessedness of being blessed in and with Christ, and filled with his righteous »
July 13, 1835.
THE RELIGION OF THE DAY.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE GOSPEL STANDARD.
Dear Sirs,- If you think the following extract of a letter from an affectionate friend worthy a place in your
Standard for the truth as it is in Jesus, (a pro ectus of which was a day or two ago placed in my hands,) please insert it; but if not, you are at full liberty to commit it to the flames.
Yours sincerely, Manchester, July 20, 1835.
A POOR SINNER. My dear Friend,-Among the vast multitude of professors in this our day, how few there are that feel the plague of their own hearts, or that know anything of real and true religion by the teachings of the blessed Spirit of God! But we that profess to have been in any measure so taught, O that it may be our delight to search the Scriptures, and that we may be enabled to pray to the Lord to give us eyes to see, and hearts to understand his word, that it may be as a lamp to our feet, and a light unto our path; and may the Lord direct us in everything we do, or think, or say.
My dear friend, let us come to the word of God, and there we shall find what is said about the professors of our day. In Rom. x. 2,3, Paul, or rather the Holy Ghost by Paul, says, “ I bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” And again, by Timothy, 2d, iv. 3: “ For the time will come when men will not endure sound, doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” As it was in times of old, so it is now. We see many who appear to have a great zeal, and a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. We are commanded from such to turn away; for they give proof that they have never been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that they have never been brought in guilty and condemned by the law in their own conscience before God, that they have not felt that they are vile, hell-deserving sinners; therefore, when they come to hear sound doctrine, they are oftended. But let them alone, for if the blind lead the blind, will they not both fall into the ditch ? Nevertheless, all this is according to the word of God, for “ The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded;" “ Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,