Page images


The Calling of the Lord.

The truth here to be believed is nerely that contained in the letter of the

gospel report. Thirdly, By the wonders of “Many are called, but few are chosen."

creation and providence, both in blessings MY DEAR EDITOR :-You ask if some one and judgments; for these have a voice, and of the scribes can give you a clear distinction that voice is a call. Fourthly, By the mibetween that call of the Lord which is out- racles of our Lord; for these called men to ward, and that which is effectual unto sal-believe in his divine mission, and hence the vation. Now, I do not profess myself a condemnation of the pharisees, as it is said, scribe, nor do I promise you a clear dis- 'But though he had done so many miracles tinction, as that will much depend on the among them, yet they believed not on him;' judgment of the reader, seeing that often whereas, of others it is said, ' Many, when what is clear to one is not so to another; they saw his miracles, believed on him.' but so far as the letter of the law and the And thus he had many disciples, who like testimony is concerned, I hope to show that Magus, were still in the gall of bitterness. there are more divine calls than one, or And fifthly, By the visitation of affliction two; and also somewhat of the nature of in body, mind, or estate; on which point those calls. And I shall be glad if the you have this remarkable passage of Elihu's matter is made plain to your correspond- in Job xxxvi. 8, “ He openeth their ears in ent with that unction and power he de- affliction, to discipline, and commandeth sires.

that they return from their iniquity. If Doubtless, many of us in our pursuit of they obey and serve him, they shall spend the doctrines of grace, have overshot the their days in prosperity; but if they obey not, mark to some dangerous extreme; so that they shall perish by the sword.' as we have advanced to more mature and Here, then we have a mere verbal call on sober judgment, we have felt obliged to the part of the Lord exclusively on moral return and gather up certain valuables ground : to which, if obedience is rendered, which in our puerile haste we had thrown temporal blessing is the result; but if not away; and perhaps in nothing more so, obeyed, then judgment: and this call is than in those proper calls from the Lord common both to saint and sinner. which are not effectual to salvation. And II. We find a providential call, and that truly, unless these be understood, the Scrip- attended with a choice to a certain end, but tures must appear contradictory, and our not to salvation. By this a person is called minds wrapt in confusion on the whole to act as an instrument for a certain work, general drift of the word; for neither prac- just as we make choice of a pole for scaftice, experience, doctrine, or prophecies, can folding which must be adapted to that be justly understood, if we understand not purpose, as anything would not do. And that line of truth which, though highly im- thus Pharaoh was called to oppress Israel, portant, yet comes not within the bond of and to oppose Moses. For this cause have the covenant of grace. And

I raised thee up,' &c. Thus Jehu was called 1. We find there is a verbal call on the to be king, to execute judgment on Baal; part of the Lord, which may, or may not and Hazael on Israel. Thus the evil spirit be responded to by the persons called. This was called to tempt Ahab, by being a lying call we find in the following passages, 'Be- spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. caused I have called, and ye refused; I Thus Nebuchadnezzar was called to be the have stretched out my hand, and no man Lord's servant to punish the nations; and regarded. I also will laugh at your ca- be a special type of anti-christ. Thus also lamity,' &c., Prov. i. 24. Again, There was Čyrus called and chosen to destroy fore, it came to pass that as he cried, and Babel, and deliver Israel. And those last they would not hear, so they cried and I two might, or might not be saved characwould not hear, saith the Lord of hosts.' ters; but this affects not the question at Zech. vii. 13. And this call is given in all. And lastly, we find that Judas was these several ways: First, by the force of both called and chosen to do that great natural conscience, as acted upon by the work of betraying the Lord of life and common power of the Spirit. 'My Spirit glory. shall not always strive with man.' And Here, then, we have a call from the Lord again, ' Ye do alway resist the Holy Ghost; | in providence, by which, persons previously as your fathers did, so do ye. Secondly, By adapted, are chosen to do that work, which, the letter of the gospel. Come ye out from without such adaptation could not be done. among them, and be separate.' 'God now A good angel could not tempt Ahab; nor a commandeth all men every where to repent.' good man betray our Lord. And here,

Repent and believe the gospel.' ' Break both in the case of Pharaoh and Judas, for off thy sins by righteousness, and thine lack of understanding, we are ready to iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor,' say that Jehovah is an austere man; but And on this ground, exclusively, it is said, no; he is mercifully just. that our Lord could not do many mighty 111. We find a purely legal call, by which works there because of their unbelief. Also, bond children are found in the family of For this cause shall God send them strong God, and servants in his house. And this delusion, that they should believe a lie, that very nearly resembles an effectual call, they all 'might be damned who believe not just as the birth of a bastard resembles the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous- | that of a legitimate child. And a right

[ocr errors]

knowledge of this call is exceedingly im- | they possess, they know nothing in a saving portant, because without it our blind zeal and new covenant way, any further than must hurry us into the guilt of very rash the letter. In this they may be very sound judgment, and induce us, like Saul, to and positive; but they lack the grace that fight even against God. And indeed both softens and humbles; they want the savour; of the Sauls were guilty here: the first, in they want the real spiritual life and cutting off the Gibeonites, even as many power. But still, as vessels of wood, and now cut off professors, just because they of earth, they endure for a while, and then think they are not the elect: and the latter like their father Ishmael, they are cast out, in persecuting the saints, just as now, one even as they are appointed. As servants good man (through ignorance) persecutes they are hired till the year of Jubilee, when another. And I am bold to say that most they willingly go out ; for they now wilfully of our present dissentions arise through persecute the heirs of promise, and thus ignorance of this branch of truth. Hence, reject Christ the one offering; and they let me intreat of you, reader, seriously to will find no other. The jubilee liberty is consult Paul in Galatians chap. fourth : come to some who are cast into the vineyard, and then turn to the history, and carefully and these are provoked; they have spied out look at the circumstances of Ishmael's that liberty, and they hate it. Some one birth. Is he not the child of Abraham or more of the little Isaacs are come to their even as Isaac? only by the bond woman weaning and feasting days, and these bond after the will of the flesh: which will children put forth the finger and mock. worked in each of the three parties ; viz: But now comes forth the mandate of the in Sarah to propose : in Abraham to obey; covenant of grace; “ Cast out the bond and in Hagar to comply: by giving herself woman and her son. And now even by a concubine? Now get into this matter, the true Abraham they are thrust forth, and strike out the mystery even as you and he saith : “Depart from me, ye workers would on the part of Isaac; and you at once of iniquity, I know you not.? find that Ishmael is the prototype of the they go out from us, because they are not bond family, even as Isaac is of the free. of us. They have gone in the way of Cain, And this might lead you into a secret line and hated their brethren; (see Isaiah, lxvi. that runs all through the scriptures, by 5.) in the way of Esau, and sold their birth, which many dark things may be tried and right; in the way of Korah, and gainsayed opened up. By this legal call many are so the gospel; and in the way of Balaam, and wrought upon, as to be born, and brought preached error; and their last estate, like forth into the church visible; and so simi- that of Saul, is worse than the first. lar are they in form and feature to the elect, Now, doubtless, it will appear strange, that rarely to be found is the man, who, for if I say, that even thus are the saints call. the time, can tell the bastard from the heir. ed ! but, bless God, none of them thus fall Nor is this done by looking at the two away. But my meaning is, that they all babes playing, before you : but only by pass under the same legal change, which knowing the circumstances of their beget- stands as a shell to a more special work. ting and their birth. Both have been Many in writing their experience, lay down wrought upon: both are professors : and things, which, however striking, are comboth are endowed with marks and evi- mon to the bond-child, and hence, no dences. The bastard has had his

strong con- evidence, no proof of the genuinness of the victions, his legal terrors, his fierce temp- work. For, as we are all constituted under tations, his deliverances, his hopes, his the covenant of works, so we all come under prospects, and his assurance ! He has his the moral force of its precepts; and thus gifts and talents: and his zeal and devo- equally with the bond-child, we have a letion to work in the vineyard. He is made gal cail from the Lord, and by this, we en. use of to accomplish a certain general work, gage to serve, and as servants in the visible and he knows it. He is enlightened by the church we stand; but then we have another illumination of first principles; and thus call super-added, and this :through the knowledge of the Lord and IV. We find to be an effectual call. And Saviour Jesus Christ, he has escaped the this is heard and responded to by those pollutions of the world, and from those who alone, who are quickened in a super-natural live in error. He is a partaker of the Holy and new covenant way, as none but the Ghost by a divine gift, and thus he may elect are; and it is internal and saving; talk as an angel, know the letter of mys- it is spiritual and heavenly; it proceeds teries, remove mountains, and by zeal, from everlasting love, and is a proof of give his body to be burned to attain the sovereign choice. And by this call we bename of a martyr! He tastes the good word come manifestly the elect; the chosen to of God in conditional promises, of the eternal life; the gift of thé Father to the heavenly gift by faith, hope, and joy: and Son; the charge of the Son to the Holy Ghost also of the powers of the world to come. the Comforter. And this Holy Ghost we

Here then is a pure legal call, and the receive as the spirit of adoption bearing standing it gives (as a servant) in the house witness with our hearts that we are born of of God, in its visible form. Such is the God. And under this special and secret calling by which many are called, who, teaching, the covenant of grace is opened nevertheless are not chosen to eternal sal- up before us, and line upon line is made vation; and hence, with all the knowledge plain to our understanding, and written

upon our hearts. By virtue of this effec-| overflows, and the ark-his church-still tual call, we strive; wo agonize to enter the rests on the mount of eternal and imstraight gate; the new and living way con- mutable love, Thus we may still shout, secrated for us; and by power given us, and ask 'Who shall separate us from the we enter into life, into liberty, into joy; love of Christ Shall tribulation ? &c. and thus we are no longer servants, but sons; Nay, in all things we are more than conno longer under legal tutors and governors, querers through him that loved us. My but are possessors of our own estate in Christ dear brother, God's love in our election, has Jesus. And we are now come to that stand- been opened up in effectual calling, and ing which no bond-child can possess; for whom he calls he justifies, and whom he as they were not chosen, or ordained to justifies he will glorify. For,,' he is the this end, so have they not received power rock, his work is perfect,' and 'he worketh to become the sons of God in this saving all things after the counsel of his own will,' way. They could indeed accompany us and therefore 'hath he saved us, and called up to the gate of righteousness, but there us, not according to our works, but accordthey must be left behind, while we go for- ing to his own purpose and grace which ward into heights and depths, and explore was given us in Christ Jesus before the the rest that remains for the saints. They world began.' And this grace hath been, might indeed have been called before us, and still is, and ever will be sufficient for and even exceeded us in gifts; but now us; and every trial allotted us here bethe first are become last, and the last first. low, I believe grace was given us in Christ They murmur at the good man of the house, according thereto. God's people are called, and turn away in wrath ; they rebel, they'a nation meted out, then nothing can persecute, and are cast out; while he who come by chance; no, 'all appointed were is effectually called overcomes, and eats of by him; and hé that appointed the trials the fruit of the tree of life; he is comforted of his children, appointed their duration by its sweet shadow, and his soul is re- and their end, and gave them grace in Christ freshed from the presence of the Lord, in accordingly, God doth with the temptation which is the fulness of joy; and at whose make a way for the tried soul's escape, right hand, with Christ Jesus, are pleasures though I often find, as Elihu said to Job, for evermore.

'Now men see not the bright light which is Thus then we see somewhat of an effec- in the clouds : but the wind passeth and tual call, as differing from the other three; cleanseth them.' But, blessed be the Lord, and to make the distinction more clear, he does give me at times to see that all more might be said, but the above must things are working together for goodsuffice. I am, my dear Editor,

working together-so that you see there is Brenchley, Oct., 11, 1848.

W. C. P. a harmony, no discord, no jar, all is in per

fect unison with God's will and pleasure; Ministerial Correspondence.

and I believe he does nothing in time; but what he had before determined to do. My

path, since the Lord called me to speak in his Cuckfield August, 1848.

dear name, has been a trying one, especiMY DEAR BROTHER IN THE ONE LORD: much as I believe I am a dying man, that

ally at the outset; but I do believe, as I return you many thanks for the epistle God sent me to Greenford, in order to break you sent me, and I would that my cup were full and running over like unto your's. I up the little church there, on account

of bless the Lord, the giver of all good for hovah's sight, though I have no doubt but

their ways and doings being sinful in Jewhat he has done, and is doing for you, there were some precious souls there. Althat while troubles, trials, and afflictions though at the tinie it was a heavy trial to abound on the one hand, peace, comfort, me, yet God hath given me to discover and consolation superabound on the other. since, that 'out of the eater came forth It is our mercy that we have to do with meat, and out of the strong man came forth him who is of one mind, and none can turn sweetness; therefore, I would not have him, so that nothing can make him his had things different from what they have purpose forego; therefore, we may sing been; for trials have brought, and still do with the poet

bring me to the feet of Jesus. I am often Though cisterns be broken,

very much tried now in my soul in studyAnd creatures all fail;

ing God's Word; I often read, and pray, The word he has spoken, Shall surely prevail.

and try to think, but seem to get nothing,

sometimes hardly the text: I go up to God's Those sweet words of John have been a house on the Sabbath trembling, and somegreat help to me, and still are, 'He that times I tremble and shake all the time I cometh from heaven is above all ;' in his am reading and praying, and yet to my person, his love, his wisdom, his power, his great astonishment, when I have taken my grace,

his faithfulness, his constancy, and text, the Lord has opened such a field that as he hath said, 'Lo, I am with you al- the hour for speaking has appeared to be ways even unto the end of the world,' what only a few minutes, and the truth delivered need we fear what man can do unto us? has been so sweet and precious to my soul, Our Lord is above the world, sin, death, that my cup has run over, and I have had and hell. His precious blood all mountains to bless the Lord for his thus withholding the spring until the time of speaking; but-to satan and all evil-or to Jesus and all these trying seasons have been humbling the glory of his work, they fail not of their opportunities. I often think that if I were accomplishment, no, not in the least iota to feel such liberty of thought as you do in thereof: well may we therefore exclaim, laying out a subject, my heart is so sinful when contemplating his wondrous works it would soon be puffed up with pride, and wisely ordered ways, therefore, I see, at times, that in this thing

How deep his counsels, how divine ! also,

The glorious Lord in whom we trust, and My Jesus hath done all things well.

of whom (as our peace, preserver, portion, I had a good day, last Sabbath; morning text, and praise,) we may boldly say, he is all

Christ loved the church and gave himselffor our salvation and all our desire; designed it.' Afternoon,' Behold he is to thee a cover wherefore, and determined when we should ing of the eyes. Evening, Job xiv, 10; a come into the world, how we should be defuneral sermon. Our little Bethel was like livered from it, raised above it, have the a hive of bees, so crowded. The young man victory over it, be conducted safely, though that died was one that the Lord had blessed apparently strangely, through it, and at my poor labours to; he stood proposed for last be carried far beyond itbaptism, and (like David with respect to Far, far beyond the skies we see building the temple, it was well that it

Up to the glories of his throne, was in his heart, though not permitted to

We shall ascend, and with him be,

Who loves and claims us as his own. follow the Lord through it. We have one more stands for the ordinance; so I find,

I have been recently speaking of 'the (as Mr. Stringer said at your anniversary,)

sons of God,' enlarging on the following imthat they come not by twenties, but by ones and twos. This I do believe, that ail the portant points, all of which may be fully chosen of the Father, and redeemed by the sustained, and abundantly illustrated by Son, shall be quickened by the Spirit, and the Lord' the Spirit shall be graciously

Scripture, observation, and experience, as when he hath a soul to quicken and make pleased to instruct us. First, that they alive he can do it without the help of man, were set apart by love in the council-settletherefore, though the preacher be what the ments of wisdom ere time began. Secondly, world calls

a fool, God can speak through that they are sought out by kindness in the him to the heart of the sinner. I often tell day and way of the Lord's appointment. the Lord, that if any good is done at our Thirdly, that they are separated, by power, little Bethel he is the doer thereof; and from the world

of the ungodly. Fourthly, shall have all the praise. I need not say that they are saved by grace. Fifthly, that to you, my dear brother, pray for me, feel confident you do, and I trust í also they are sanctified by faith. Sixthly, that pray for you, and sympathise with you in that they are willingly subjected to the

they are strengthened by mercy, Seventhly, your joys and sorrows. May the Lord gra: authority of Christ. Eighthly, that they ciously give you a still larger measure of his Holy Spirit, as a Sprit of life, light, they seek him with humbleness of mind.

serve him in true holiness. Ninthly, that live above either the frowns or smiles of Tenthly, that they are satisfied with his mortal man, and to be determined not to rounded with his faithfulness. Twelfthly,

favour. Eleventhly, that they are surknow anything among men, save Jesus that they are sealed for glory. Thirteenthly, Christ and him crucified, Mrs. A. joins with me in love to self, they sing of mercy and judgment for ever

that they sigh for home. And lastly, that Mrs. S., and family.

and ever. To Mr. STENSON.

E. ARNOLD, We also noticed the four following sure

signs of being the sons of God-the saints MY DEAR BROTHER IN BONDS:-Blessed be of God-the servants of God-the sealed of the name of the Lord who has removed the God-viz., these lst, they tremble at his galling yoke of bondage from our necks; by word. 2nd, they trust in his word. 3rd, they whom the days of our captivity and dark- are tried by his word. And, 4th, they triness are all numbered, and by whom, also, umphthrough his word. Hence, they overthe days of our sorrow and sighing shall be come all opposing powers whatsoever name ended, when he shall have perfected all they may bear, or from whatsoever quarter the good pleasure of his will, which he pur- they may arise, through the blood of the posed in himself concerning us and our Lamb, and the word of his testimony. And salvation. The Holy Ghost has blessedly therefore, do they continue to plead his tutored your mind in the delightful truth word earnestly, to prove his word experithat the designs and determinations of the mentally, to prize his word exceedingly, and eternal God, are all infinitely perfect and shall praise his word eternally. inconceivably glorious.

My dear brother, having carefully read Whether those designs and determina- your kind letter, which I received with tions have respect to worms and all creep-heart-felt gratitude to God, who has so ing things-to sparrows and all flying fowls blessedly imbued your mind with his holy - to sheep and all cattle-to infants and truth, and having reflected thereon, I have all mankind-to devils and all damned gathered therefrom five or six particulars. spirits-to angels and all ransomed spirits First, that you are made to review the wondrous way in which the dear Lord has | all your confidence, and build all your exgraciously led you, without desire to re- pectations upon him from whom you retrace your steps. Go forward, having your ceived your call, commission, and credenJoins girt with truth. Secondly, that you tials; and aim to bring all your conclusions delight to rehearse the righteous acts of the to bear analogy with his heavenly counsel. Most High, without regretting that his Never suffer yourself to be charged with judgments have been executed, as well as willingly concealing any part of God's his mercies exercised, in order to declare truth, but conscientiously deliver that meshis righteousness. Humble yourself under sage, and declare that testimony, which the mighty hand of God, and he shall exalt requires no other defence than the sacred you in righteousness. Thirdly, that you authority under which, and the solemn are led to remember the earlier days of spirit in which, you act. Let me suggest your ministry, at Greenford without re- to your thoughtful mind, the propriety of penting or repining, that you were there frequently recurring to the four following made instrumentally a destroyer, (but not axioms :of men's lives) rather than a deliverer. First, that as ministers of God, our reMay you be unto God a sweet savour of liance must be upon him for strength Christ, in them that are saved, and in supply, and success. Secondly, that our them that perish. Fourthly, that you de- reception must be from him of life, light, sire to record the goodness of the Lord, in and liberty. Thirdly, that our rememthat your ministry at Cuckfield is made brance must be of him as our rock, refuge, efficient to the salvation of sinners, as also and rest. Fourthly, that our rejoicing to the edification and consolation of be- must be in him as our portion, preserver, lievers, through the abundant supply of the and praise. Spirit of God, and that without any re- Remember me affectionately to your joicing in the flesh, Give unto the Lord spouse. Peace be with you both, from God the glory due unto his holy name, hav- our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, by ing, continual respect unto the honours the inwrought operations of the Holy Ghost of his throne. Fifthly, that you have upon your heart, enabling you from thence hitherto realised the helping hand of God to draw living water of lasting consolation. upon you, in proportion as your reliance I must now conclude by reminding you has been upon him; the happy result of that felt weakness in self: and faith working

When all our enemies are slain in Christ. Cease not to cast all your care

And we the promised land obtain, upon him, whose eye is not dim, whose ear is

Our joys will be complete ;

We there shall see his lovely face, not heavy, whose arm is not shortened,

whose Whose beauties here we love to trace, hand is not weakened, whose heart is not

In whom all glories meet. weary, whose mind is not changed, whose

May we indeed in him be found, love is not lessened. Sixthly, that you are When the archangel's trump shall sound, kept resting on, and rejoicing in covenant

To call us from the dead; love, atoning blood, and almighty power,

T'hen, in a never-ending song, inasmuch as the glories thereof have been We'll praise with ail the ransom'd throng,

Our resurrection Head, opened up in your lengthened and deepened experience of the power that first spake life into your soul, of the blood which dantly and lastingly bless you, is the

That the Lord God Almighty may abunsprinkled upon your conscience, brought salvation nigh, and set your soul on high,

prayer of and of the love which, shed abroad in

Your brother and lover in the Lord,

JOHN STENSON, your heart, by the Holy Ghost, destroyed tormenting fear, and causeth continual

Chelsea, Sept. 8, 1848. thanksgivings to the all-glorious, and ever

“ It is the hold which Christ hath of us, blessed Three-one Jehovah.

May you, my beloved brother, be kept and the rooting which we have in him, by honest-hearted, humble-minded, daily feel- which we are confirmed. Israel, the people ing your own nothingness, and hourly prov- of God, is said, ' to grow as the lily, and to ing the preciousness of Christ as being cast forth his roots like Lebanon.' "The trees made of God unto you wisdom, and righte- of Lebanon are high, and spread out their ousness, and sanctification, and redemp- branches, but they are also deeply rooted, tion, yea, your all in all.

they have as much under ground as above, Preach Christ Jesus, my brother, with all they have as much hold in the earth as they the renewed powers of your soul subjected have shew in the air. As the saints grow up to the high authority and good pleasure of and spread forth their branches, so they grow his holy will; preach him fairly--that is down and cast out their roots like Lebanon ; fully, freely, and wholly; preach him faith

so that the winds and storms which shake fully--that is constantly and everywhere the same; preach him firmly—that is them, do indeed but settle them. It is the without hesitation or fear;

preach him as goodness of the root which at once makes a dying man-to dying men; as a living them fruitful, and makes them firm : he that man-to living men; and as á sinner saved stands by this strength shall stand, and he -to sinners saved. Make no more nor less that is fruitful by these roots shall be fruitful of Christ in your ministry, than the Holy, still, and bring forth more fruit in age. “The Ghost makes him in your experience. Base' righteous shall hold on his way.'- Caryll.

« PreviousContinue »