« PreviousContinue »
"WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?'-(Rom. iv. 3.)
Job Caudwell, 335, Strand, W.C.]
APRIL 1, 1865.
"I seek not yours, but you."—2 Cor. xii. 14.
We thank God there are many in these days who love the Truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and regard it as very precious. To such dear brethren in the Lord, one with us in the Lord Jesus, do we specially address this little sheet, hoping it will be accepted of Him and them, and that by it we may carry home 'PRECIOUS TRUTH' to the hearts of many who are strangers to its worth. We trust that such is the only motive which prompts the issue of this unpre-its tending serial.
We desire to advocate the Gospel of Grace and Glory, as delivered by Jesus Christ, and preached by his Apostles. We own our Lord's command, to preach the Gospel in all the world, to every creature, and we cherish his precious declaration-Whosoever believeth.' 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' (John iii. 16.)
We press this as the foundation truth, not to the exclusion of any, but to the upholding of every doctrine contained in Scripture. We disown all party spirit, and shall quote no authority but the Word of God. In simple-hearted dependence upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall seek to make known the mind of God. We invite our readers to test all we say by the Standard of Truth,' and to reject everything which cannot be proved thereby. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.' (1 John, iv. 1.)
Accept these declarations of our faith and purposes, and if you esteem us faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray you to make our paper known, and forward this, our labour of love in any way you
[PRICE ONE HALFPENNY.
Jesus; and when he had said this he went out.' What did he not wait for an answer? No; Pure Truth was before him, but in silence, though willing to speak, if enquired of in faith. Miserable, wilful Pilate! he might have heard Pure Truth, but feared it; so having invoked the most precious thing on earth, he turned away from it!
Alas! how many thousands have followed the example of Pilate? How many in these days find themselves in the presence of Truth, and though, like purity and worth, being constrained with him to this Roman governor, they may in some measure own declare they can find no fault in him, yet turn away! obtained no revelation of Truth, failing to realise it We the reader to ponder this. For though Pilate in the Son of God, and though Jesus in person is no longer on earth, yet Truth is preserved to us in the Scriptures, and we are all responsible to receive
WHAT IS TRUTH?
Such was Pilate's question; with him an idle question; for he did not wish to know truth: he had no heart for it, and understood not the importance of his own words. Truth confronted him, and he comprehended it not. Truth stood there before the representative of earthly power. Living, gracious, patient, precious Truth was there in the person of Jesus Christ, who had declared himself to be 'The way, the Truth, and the life.'
Wretched Pilate! What is truth?' said he to
[Hall & Co, 25, Paternoster Row, E.C.
Precious Truth!" Life-giving truth, and life-sustainWe shall seek to present in this paper Truth only— ing truth-these two great divisions, perfect in One, even in Jesus Christ. It is His word, and in His name we desire to speak. May the Holy Spirit lead us. May the reader attentively and earnestly consider, remembering always that word of exhortation.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.' (1 Thess. v. 21.)
MARY SAT AT JESUS' FEET AND HEARD HIS
What an instructive contrast is presented between the characters of Mary and Pilate! The one meek, silent, trustful, attentive to hear: the other, proud, questioning, impatient, and wilfully deaf. Mary had but a lowly place on earth-she sat at the feet of Jesus, and He was poor and despised, the rejected of men. But Mary had faith-she did not form her estimate of Jesus by the position He held in the world, but by the gracious words which fell from his lips. As a listener she learnt that the despised Nazarene was none other than the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners. She believed in him, so she sat at his feet, eager and attentive, and heard his word.' Happy Mary! What joy to hear the assurances of her Lord. One thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.' Yes, one thing is needful-to hear the word of Christ in a chastened, humble, dependent spirit-to receive his word-and we are assured that, to receive his word is to believe in Him, and that to
believe in Him is to have forgiveness of sins and the gift of everlasting life.
This, dear reader, is the good part which shall not be taken away. May it be yours. It is offered freely-the word of life.' Oh, it is indeed a vital question which we would ask-"what do you think of the words of Jesus?" Pilate scorned them, and afterwards crucified the Lord of life and glory! Mary received them, believed them, found peace and happiness in them, and will rejoice in the love of Jesus through the countless ages of eternity!
Alas! how slow men are to receive that unspeakable blessing-the word of life! How hard it is to accept God's declarations about us and about His beloved Son! How easy, on the other hand, to treat mere words as very worthless, and to despise Him who uttered them! Men may even admire the spirit of Mary, yet never take her place; and they may condemn the awful guilt of Pilate, yet indulge the same evil heart of pride and unbelief. They suffer Truth to be brought before them a thousand times, but refuse to hear it in their hearts, and consequently die in their sins.
REPORTS OF SCRIPTURE MEETINGS.
'Search the Scriptures.'-(John v. 39.)
At a Scripture Meeting recently held at No. 12, Tabernacle-walk, Finsbury-square, the following observations were made, the passage studied being John vi. 28-40. The Jews said, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Men always ask what they shall do, but God sets us first upon believing and then upon doing. Perverse and proud natural man still tries to reverse God's order; but Jesus says to them, as He said to the Jews, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. But men want more proof; they say What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? craving more evidence than they have got in the Holy Word, and think theirs is a hard case if Christians cannot furnish it to their satisfaction. This was just the position of the Jews; they had recently beheld the Lord feed five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fishes, and were actually following the Lord expecting to be fed in the same manner again and again, and yet they wickedly ask for a sign! Besides this miracle, they had others, for we read in the beginning of the chapter that 'a great multitude followed Him, because they saw his miracles.' And yet they wanted a sign! The whole narrative shows the insufficiency of eyesight to produce faith. If, therefore, the words of Jesus are insufficient nothing better can be had, not even the appearance of one from the dead.' (Luke xvi. 31.)
Jesus is God's sign and evidence of his love; the manna in the desert was a sign to the Israelites that God loved them (ver. 31). Jesus is a sign to us and to all, of God's mercy; 'My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. I am the bread of life; he that cometh to
me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.' The soul of the believer is satisfied by Jesus as the Saviour, and kept satisfied by Him as the Good Shepherd, for he that believeth in me shall go in and out and find pasture.'
How constantly Jesus said He came not to do his own will, but the Father's (ver. 38, 39, 40), and yet his will and the Father's were one; and our blessedness and strength will be in proportion to our conscious oneness of will with the Father and the Son.
In the 40th verse we read 'that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.' Let the reader have no difficulty about 'seeing' Jesus, for the eve of faith does see Him, as Paul says (Heb. ii. 9), 'We see Jesus, who was made,' &c.
A meeting for study of the Scriptures has been held for some weeks past at No. 2, Old Street Road.* At the last meeting, Saturday, Feb. 4th, the subject proposed for consideration by a friend who came in, was REPENTANCE. Passages were read from Acts ii. and xvii., from which it was seen that God first sent the command by Peter to the Jews, and afterwards by Paul to all men everywhere, to repent. It was also observed that the call thus made by God upon his creatures was not that they should put themselves though a course of penitential sorrow (as many erroneously suppose), but that they should turn from their opposition to, and ignorance of Himself, and accept the Salvation He has provided by and in his only-begotton Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
the call to repentance was but as it were the forerunner of the It was further shown, by reference to various Scriptures, that glad tidings conveyed in the words "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." This is seen in the person and work of John the Baptist. He came preaching repentancethe courses they had been following, which were contrary to the that is, he proclaimed to the people that they must turn from Divine mind, and look to One in their midst who was henceforth to be the Saviour, Teacher, and Guide of all who would regard Him as the Sent-one of God.
The call to repent is a warning voice telling men they are hurrying to destruction, seeking to arrest them in their downward course, and claiming their attention to the voice of God. But even as the ministry of John the Baptist was absorbed into, rather than superseded by, that of the Lord Jesus Christ, so God's command to all men to repent is included in the glad tidings proclaimed by the Lord himself 'That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Therefore, after the Lord Jesus had suffered the death of the cross, (having finished the work his Father had given him to do-having laid in the grave and risen triumphant over all our enemies,) He issued the world-wide proclamation of Salvation to all who shall believe in Him, Go ye into all the world, and baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.' (Mark xvi. 15, 16.)
preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is
Here we have no separate call to repentance; yet in the very act of putting trust in Christ by faith there is of necessity a turning from everything else, and this is the true act of
No doubt deep sorrow and contrition for sin are often the first manifestation of the power of the word of God in the soul, but this is not repentance unto life,' according to Scripture. In truth, repentance is not an expression of feeling, but a determined conformity to the command of God.
We are requested to state that the meeting hitherto held as Half-past 7 o'clock, at No. 47, RAWSTORNE-STREET, Goswell-road, above will be continued, if the Lord will, each Saturday evening at at which place is also held a Scripture Meeting each Lord's Day Afternoon at 3 o'clock and Wednesday at 74. All Christians are invited. The unconverted are also welcome to attend-but only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are permitted to speak. Controversy is carefully avoided.
Read the chapter referred to, and say if the whole present condition of things does not answer to the description of the 'City of Confusion'? Whatever section of men's pursuits you examine-Politics, War, Commerce, Education, Science, Religion-looking at each part of the globe in detail, or taking in, at a glance, the whole scene, a Christian must readily admit the prophet's exact description, and own we are living in the City of Confusion.'
But this confusion is especially seen in the religious condition of the world, and the reader, perhaps, discerns and mourns over the fact that he is a dweller in the City of Confusion.' Do you not sometimes feel bewildered by the confusion of teaching and ideas which exists around you? Are you not tired of man's inventions and improvements in spiritual things? Is not failure stamped upon all? You may admit this, and, for that very reason, fear to listen to a new adviser. There is no lack of teachers, no lack of monitors-it is emphatically true of our time, that men heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.' Unsought advice, too, pours in on every side. However, amid all the agitation and din, thank God, the voice of Scripture is heard: (oh, that it may rise clearer, and still clearer.) But, alas, as yet, what havoc has been made by the misapplication of parts of the Word of God! How obscured is some of the truth! The Word' is almost made of none effect by men's traditions. We gladly own, however, that Christians do contend for the whole Bible,' and will not suffer it to be mutilated, either by professors or infidels; but how few own practically that emphatic statement in 2 Tim. iii. 16—‘ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works'! It is in the light of this Scripture we would show the Christian reader the way out of the City of Confusion; but it will be in vain for you to attempt to follow us unless willing to abide by ALL that is written in the Word of God. The mere word of man must be held to be absolutely of No account. Are you not exhorted to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good'? and what is the only proof, the only test, the only measure, but the Scriptures? We must prove all things by them. What saith the Scripture ?' must settle every other question.
First, then, touching the question of SALVATION: What saith the Scripture'? As to
1. Its COMPREHENSIVENESS. 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Do you implicitly believe in this declared love of God, and the way in which he has proved that love?
2. A PRESENT BLESSING. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' Do you believe that, as a believer, you have got everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? Do you believe that, according to this Scripture, faith in Jesus is the only thing which makes you to differ from those upon whom the wrath of God abideth? 3. ITS CERTAINTY AND SECURITY.-' Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.' Have you been content hitherto with a kind of hope that through faith in Christ you may be saved at last, yet fearing some fatal temptation might cut you off from God's free mercy and love? We
pray you, dismiss all such God-dishonouring fears, and trust(not yourself, but) Jesus. Consider his words-'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.' Do you believe this clear and precious declaration of your Saviour? It is needful to your present peace-it is needful to a right understanding of the rest of the Word of God-it is needful to your faithful walk, as an adopted son or daughter of God— that you believe these declarations of your absolute security in Christ. Remember it is He who has said you shall never perish. But that you may be sure you ought to have confidence in forgiveness obtained, and eternal life already given, we quote one other Scripture, which leaves no room for further question. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.'-(1 John v. 13.)
4. WHO IT IS THAT PRESERVES US UNTO THE END.-We are not only thus blessedly assured of our safety, but our Lord has, in wondrous love, informed us how we are kept secure. To understand this, however, faith must be in exercise. Still the exhortation is-trust 'the Word,' trust in Jesus. 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.' (Eph. i. 13, 14) This was a new manifestation of the wondrous love of God. Under the Jewish dispensation, and indeed in all ages, the Holy Spirit of God wrought upon and with all who believed God; consequently, a holy man of old could pray Take not thy holy Spirit from me;' and when our blessed Lord Jesus was on earth he said to his disciples-'If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask it?' In the following words Jesus shows the difference of the mode of the Spirit's influence before and after his death:'I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.' (John xiv. 16.) Thus the Spirit indwells all believers. This was altogether an unlookedfor blessing, the unspeakable importance of which was little understood at that time, and has, alas! been forgotten by thousands of Christians in every succeeding generation, though the promise has been strictly fulfilled. When the Lord appeared to the disciples after he had completed the amazing work of atonement by which we have forgiveness of sins, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. And so it came to pass: on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the assembly of believers (about one hundred and twenty persons, according to the above-named scripture), and, as we learn by the continuation of the Sacred Word, the gift is confirmed to all who, in sincerity, own the name of Jesus. It is of unspeakable importance that this truth of the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost IN all believers be fully received. As we have said, faith alone can realise either the fact or the resulting blessing. Reason may ask, with Nicodemus,' How can these things be'? and if we look at what we are in ourselves, we may well be confounded in the presence of this sublime expression of God's love. But we must remember that emphatic declaration, The blood of Jesus Christ, his (God's) Son cleanseth from all sin.' Our heavenly Father has proved to us how absolutely we are cleansed by the precious blood of Christ, for the Holy Ghost could not possibly indwell an impure habitation; and we are declared to be 'temples of the Holy Ghost.' It is a common error among earnest Christians to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world for the purpose of conversion; but a little reflection upon that which the word of God teaches ought to convince all that, until belief in Christ has brought the cleansing efficacy of his blood to the soul, it is impossible for the Holy Spirit of God to take up his abode there. Every instance recorded in
the "Acts of the Holy Ghost being given assures
MR. C. H. SPURGEON'S MIXTURES OF TRUTH
The errors of one who occupies so prominent a place in the
'contention is at all a violation of my text.' The text spoken of is, 'Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'
with which he commences his statement, and which he denounces as erroneous. Recognition of different forms of government is directly opposed to the text, and is in complete contravention of the whole tenor of the New Testament. The several churches spoken of in Scripture, according to the preacher's own showing, are only distinguished by locality-'the churches of Asia, Corinth, Philippi, Antioch,' &c. How can Mr Spurgeon profess to see a parallel to this in the different denominations, or 'forms of government,' which he enumerates? Directly we attempt to justify sectarianism, we deny the unity of the Spirit. Look at the verses which follow the preacher's text: 'One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all!' Seven ones! i.e. perfect oneness, seven in Scripture being emblematical of perfection. This is unity. Let us own this, and we shall see that those who have brought in doctrines effecting divisions; those who have cut off sections of the one body, and given names and governments of their own invention, have ignored the unity of the Spirit ;' and those who attempt to vindicate that which has been done, are not endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'
Oh, that Christians would return to their one Lord! Reflect upon the meaning of that word 'Lord;' it is absolute ownership; we are not our own, we are bought with a price." Only think of a number of servants parting themselves off into themselves, independent of their master! How did the Holy companies and setting up different forms of government for Spirit deal with the first evidences of sectarianism? Turn to 1 Cor. i. 10-13-Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the name of 'our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and 'that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul: and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is 'Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul ?"
We leave this to the solemn reflection of our readers. We contrasted it with the truth of the word of God. May the point to an error common throughout Christendom, and have Holy Spirit apply the lesson in power.
Another observation of Mr Spurgeon's in the same sermon this place which will drive out those of you who will not we ought not to pass over. I hope to exercise a ministry in
acknowledge your brethren when they are poorer and of less 'education than yourselves.' May we ask the preacher two questions? Firstly-Where are these intractable members of the Tabernacle congregation to be driven to ? SecondlyWhere is there a single word in Scripture to authorise any minister, or
any Christian, or body of Christians, to drive out such as are pointed at in the above sentence? We read of exclusion (from the church at Corinth, for instance) for grievous sin, but for failure in the exercise of Christian graces-never. On the contrary, the unly members are to e to wash one be waited upon, entreated, and exhorted e mind of Him another's feet.' This is the mind of the who bears with all our perversity and f and will never 'drive out' a single one that trusts Him. We oppose Divine thought to man's thought, and the leave it. Our object is not to find fault, but to present precious truth.'
There are many parts of this discourse which indicate in Mr Spurgeon a true perception of the mind of the Holy Ghost as expressed in the text. Thus, when the preacher referred to the words of our Lord-That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.' (John xvii. 21.) From what Christ has said, we know this absolute unity is preserved by God. But we are set to conform ourselves practically to His mind. If this disposition prevailed universally among believers, there would be manifested that unity which we are to endeavour to preserve in the bond of peace. Mr Spurgeon properly repudiates all kinds of unity based upon pretensions to ecclesiastical supremacy-as also every species of unity brought about by conformity to error. Would we could equally commend the entire sermon, but we cannot. The following is sadly mistaken teaching, (p. 3.) 'Men speak of TO CORRESPONDENTS.-We invite enquiries tending to the elucithe Episcopal Church, the Wesleyan Church, or the Presby-dation of scriptural truth. Controversial questions should be avoided terian Church. Now I hesitate not to say that there is nothing entirely, if possible. Our earnest desire is to help simple-hearted whatever in Scripture at all parallel to such language; for christians with words of encouragement, patience and love-and to thoro I read of the seven churches in Asia, the church in advocate the practical operation of "precious truth' in christian Corinth, Philippi, Antioch, etc. In England, if I speak walk and practice, We hope, also, to be useful in spreading the according to the word of God, there are some thousands of glad tidings of salvation. Any enquiries calculated to help forward churches holding the episcopal form of government; in these objects shall have our best attention. Scotland some thousands of godly churches ordered according 'to Presbyterian rule; among the Wesleyans, churches ad
Letters for the Editor to be addressed to 335, Strand, W.C. If the Lord put it into his people's hearts to support this Journal, we hope to enlarge it, keeping the price ONE HALPPENNY, wish
hering to the form of government first carried out by Mring that it may be purchased and given away broadcast. "Wesley.'
Down to the etc. the speaker is correct enough, but with respect to the rest of the above passage, we 'hesitate not to say that Mr Spurgeon's words are as contrary to Scripture as those
13 copies post free, for 6d. in advance.
Printed by the Proprietor, JOHN EVANS, 335a, Strand, W.C.; and published by JoB CAUDWELL, 335, Strand, London, W.C.