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The Stone with seven Eyes-the Candlestick with seven Lamps-the Book with seven Seals.
To my beloved Brother William Skelton, Pastor of the Baptist Church, Aldringham Suffolk. COMPANION IN TRIBULATION.-It is laid with much weight upon my heart this morning to write you a few lines, just to inform you that I am not yet wholly swallowed up-nor cast away-nor without hope-although so heavy have been my temporal afflictions of late that sometimes I have almost sunk into despair. I have seen the heaviest clouds gathering around my heart; and hurl me into darkness and death, I have thought they certainly would. Up to the present moment, however, a little help has been granted, so that I still continue to proclaim the glorious gospel of the blessed God with all the power and ability the Master is pleased to give me.
I will just lay before you one instance somewhat descriptive of the path in which I am now walking, and which I hope may be called a fair sample of the Lord's dealings with me.
I awoke rather early yesterday morning(Lord's Day, March 12th,) and you must know that I have so often determined and desired and prayed to get a text on Saturday for Sunday, without being able to do so, that I now most frequently arise on the Lord's Day morning entirely ignorant of what subject or text I may have to bring before the people: and yet, although I frequently preach seven times a week, hitherto I have never been forsaken. Well, yesterday morning when I awoke instead of having my mind occupied with the best things, I was carried back in a train of most unhappy feelings to the time of my apprenticeship-five and twenty years ago; and there I was led to see, that through one temptation which then assailed me, and led me astray, I had had, more or less, five and twenty years right down hard and heavy trouble. Oh, dear William, you can scarcely conceive how condemnation, self-pity, and unbelief began to work. I arose: but "five and-twenty-years trouble" was staring me right in the face. I came down into my room, and lighted my fire, but "five-and-regards a believer's experience: David says, twenty-years trouble was distressing my "One thing have I desired of the Lord." The poor soul: and, something kept on telling man in the gospel said "One thing I know me-"this trouble will be your ruin at last!" whereas I was blind, now I see." Paul saidWell, I felt really a wretched man; and I" This one thing I do, I press toward the mark," was walking across my room, when these and so on. I was led to shew that true bewords were gently whispered in my soul, "Is lievers did pre-eminently desire Spiritual this thy kindness to thy friend?" Again. "Is blessings; and each one often appears of this thy kindness to thy friend?" Why, think's such value and importance, that they think I, I have never sought nor thought of the if they could but be sure of that one blessing Lord this morning. Up to that moment, all would be well. Then I came on to speak William, I had not so much as thought of of the fruitfulness of living desires; they prayer; so entirely absorbed had I been in are sure to lead the soul to prayer: that my trouble. But, the Lord Jesus Christ, will I seek after." I said something, too, re(said I to myself) certainly has been my specting the objects of a living soul's desires; friend how many years has he blessed me; but I leave that. The morning service beand helped me; and comforted me. Then, ing ended, I came home, and returned again
in came that precious word, "When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." This softened my hard heart; this brought tears into my eyes; this sent me down on my knees, and with some fervency I really did cry unto the Lord to come down and deliver and bless my poor soul, and lead me to something that might be for his glory and for the good of his people. And, certainly, William, do you know I am constrained to believe that the Lord answered me; for this word was fastened upon my soul-"In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me : he shall set me up upon a rock." This brought me upon my feet: my five and twenty years trouble melted away like snow before the sun; and my mind was fixed upon the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth verses of the twentyseventh Psalm. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord; and to enquire in his temple: for in the time of trouble, he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy: I will sing: yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord." Here I saw was my text and my subject for the day; and with this I went up in the morning, and began to speak about the nature and objects of a living soul's desires. I told the people, William, (I don't know what you will say to it-) that Limitation runs right through the scriptures, and through the history of the church, and through the experience of the believer. In the Antediluvian world, when the deluge came, only Noah and his family were saved; when fire and brimstone fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah,_ony Lot was taken out; of all the sons of Jesse, only David was chosen-Oh, what solemn things are these! Because you cannot help thinking "What became of the rest ?" So I noticed limitation is ofttimes expressed as
to my room, and began to meditate somewhat further upon my text; but for a length of time, all seemed confusion, so that although there appeared to be plenty of precious matter in the text, yet I could not see how I was to speak from it.
history, you may see how strong a living desire is; and how sure it is to prosper. First-Ruth desired to go with Naomi; she went: then, she desired to glean in the fields of Boaz; she went: then she desired communion with Boaz himself; and this Presently, this thought struck me-" Up- was granted: and, at last, Boaz took her to on one stone shall be seven eyes: be- wife. So groweth a living desire; first, the hold I will engrave the graving thereof, poor seeking soul takes a likeing to some saith the Lord of hosts." What can that dear old saint; goes with them to hear mean? thinks I. Then: "behold a candle- Christ preached; there the poor soul falls stick all of gold, with seven lamps thereon." in love with Christ's person, Christ's And again:-"a book written within, and ministers, Christ's gospel, Christ's ordion the back side, sealed with seven seals." nances, and a union between Christ and What can all this mean? said I to myself. this desiring soul is sure to take place. Something said to me, "the stone with" The desire of the righteous shall be seven eyes; the candlestick with seven granted." Peter makes it quite certain lamps; and the book with seven seals, are that this living desire is a divine principle all in your text." I then saw that this wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost; for stone with seven eyes was a figure of the he says they that desire the sincere milk of foundation stone, the elect precious corner the word are new-born babes. Come, poor stone which God lays in Zion, in the hearts doubting sinner; black and barren as you of his people, which is CHRIST JESUS, the may be, is there not a living desire in thy Lord, and the seven eyes, that seven-fold de- soul after the Lord Jesus? Where this gree and seven-fold perfection of divine desire is, there is a living lamp lighted up, grace which God the Holy Ghost works in and the secret mysteries of grace are beginthe hearts of elect sinners. I saw the ning to be opened. Candlestick all of gold figurative of that vital and manifested union which the Church has unto Christ, and to one another, and the seven lamps, that seven-fold degree and seven-fold perfection of divine knowledge which the Lord the Spirit leads quickened sinners into! and I saw the Book as an emblem of the whole Mind and Mystery of Zion's Covenant Triune Jehovah; and the seven seals illustrative of that solemn exclamation of Christ, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." By the Holy Ghost the children of God have revealed and made known unto them the Mysteries of the kingdom; for so the Master spake, and so his people find, that "Unto them it is given to know the Mysteries of the king
Thus I saw, the mystical design of the stone, the candlestick, and the book. But the question was, how am I to find these in the text? Well,
First-Here is the grace of a living desire: One thing have I desired of the Lord." Here is one of the eyes in the stone, for no one will ever desire that which he has never seen, Unto the blind, unenlightened sinner, there is no beauty in Christ that he should desire Him-no glory in the gospel that he should desire it: but when spiritual life and light is given unto a sinner by the Holy Ghost; when, after a sense of sin and condemnation has been felt, Christ, as a SAVIOUR of sinners is revealed in the soul; it is then a living desire springs up. This living desire sometimes is felt and brought into exercise by coming in contact with a child of God, as in Ruth's case, She saw a something in Naomi that drew out her heart towards her; and go with her she would, Therein, if you examine Ruth's
Secondly-Here, in the text, is the grace of fervent prayer-" that will I seek after." There is a permanence-a life—and a mystery in prayer that is not easily described. But see it in practice. Prayer is a living “ eye" that looks to God through Christ: it is a bright and shining "lamp" that adorns and beautifies, and throws much light upon the church of Christ and it is an open seal which discovers and makes known the hitherto hidden experience of the soul, and much of that unveiled glory of the Majesty of Heaven, which none but heaven-born sons can either see or declare. Prayer will go in unto the king, though it should perish. Prayer will arise, and bring the Prodigal to his Father's house, though he has greatly sinned; prayer will persevere, and make its way through thick and thin, though a mighty crowd oppose it. As Christ is the great Representative of the church before the throne of God, so prayer is the representative of the soul's desire before the throne of grace.
Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw, Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw, Gives exercise to faith and love, Brings every blessing from above, Thirdly-Here is the grace of communion: "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord; and to enquire in his temple." To dwell with the saints of God; to gaze upon the beauties of Christ's person, work, grace, and salvation; and to look into and experimentally to learn out the mysteries of divine grace; these are the elements of the believers' happiness and communion while on the earth; and I do firmly believe these things-in a higher and more perfect sense-will constitute much of our glorified happiness in a better world. Let a living spiritual soul be shut out from all com munion with the saints-let them be en
I know, William, and so do you, it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.' Why, bless your heart,Satan and professors together would frighten my soul out of its very existence, if they could. I will just give you two specimens of this. A minister said to his friend the other day'As to Banks, the devil sent him to preach at first-and now he has sent him again; and it is the devil's work altogether.' Well, really William Skelton, this has made my very soul to tremble, for I have thought Suppose it is so! who can tell, but I have been deceived all along! Oh! how awful to think a man, who never knew me only by report; never saw nor spoke to me in all his life, should undertake to say, my ministry is the devil's work altogether. Ah, William, I have painfully learned that many of these very deep experienced, and very faithful men, as they are called, are the greatest back-biters, slanderers and persecutors in existence. If you were to see a man in the streets take a poor dog, and kick him, beat him, cut his throat, and then cast him away, why you would say what a cruel brute!' But some of these great ministers make nothing of taking half-a-dozen of us poor gentile sinners, not only to stab us in the dark, but also to send us to hell withall! Why, my dear lad, if it were not for something strong and powerful in my soul, keeping me in a knowledge of, and love to, the things of God, I am sure I have seen and heard enough of ministers in London, and felt enough of my own heart, to make a world brim full of infidels. Oh, it it is painful. I was talking the other day to the printer of a certain gospel periodical, and he said to me- Why, I know a minister who, from the pulpit, declared that he knew you was living in adultery now, and so were many of your congregation.' I said, "Is it possible?" He said, 'It is true. My friend heard him say it.' I said, 'Who was it?' Ah' (said the printer,) 'I must not mention names.' Now, William, this is a sorrowful specimen of the base wickedness, and the lying spirit that there is even in some of those pretended faithful men, whose principle work is to exalt themselves on the ruins of others. But, I am kept on the Rock; bless his holy name; or into despair with a broken heart, I should have fallen long ago. He will set me up upon a Rock.' Be of good cheer. The floods have lifted up their voice; but the Lord on high is mightier than them all. Read Psalm, the 93rd.
Sixthly. Here is the grace of perfect liberty- And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about.' And
tirely debarred from going to God's house; let darkness veil the mind; and all the glorious mysteries of grace be hidden from the eye; and, then, oh, how wretched, how unhappy will the soul be! Therefore he desires and prays to "dwell in the house, to behold the beauty of the Lord; and to enquire in his temple." Had he any suspicion or fear that he should ever either be forsaken or be driven from the Lord's house? Ah, the seeking soul may have many such fears.
"To behold the beauty of the Lord." There was a three-fold beauty in the temple of old. It was very grand and beautiful in its porch and entrance. (2 Chron. iii. 4, 5, 6.) It was beautiful for its stability, being ceiled with fir-tree, and overlaid with gold; and it was beautiful for its internal grandeur, being "garnished with precious stones for beauty," and having cherubims on the walls. The beauty of the Lord is seen in the Gospel temple, when Christ is preached clearly, boldly, powerfully, and savingly. When the minister stands well, and preaches well, and God the Holy Ghost gathers in sinners who can declare what God has done for their souls; it is then the beauty of the Lord is seen in the porch or entrance. And when saints are established in grace, and walk and live as becometh the gospel; and are not entangled, or easily offended, or drawn aside; it is then you see the stability of the house. And when the hidden stones of grace, and faith, and love, (with which the inside of the temple is garnished,) come out in labours of love, and a life devoted to the glory of God; it is then you behold the beauty of the Lord in the rich and genuine experience of the dearly beloved spouse of Christ.
Fourthly-Here is the grace of faith. "In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me." Here is a time of trouble anticipated; and preservation in that trouble expected. It is impossible but that the believer must have trouble. His constitution, (flesh and spirit,) ensures it; his circumstances, (being subject to the fiery darts of the devil, and the envy of wicked men,) ensure it, beside which, the word of God declares it. But precious faith runs in front as a protection and guard to the soul, and it says, God is our refuge, and strength, a present help in trouble." Faith' is not always in exercise; so that the believer sinks under troubles; but still it is true, he is hidden in the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High. In the attributes of Deity, in the Covenant of grace, in the Person of Christ, in the arrangements of God's providence, as well as by the judgments ofhis hand; all these form the pavilion wherein God hides his saints, and brings salvation near.
In coming to the fifth eye in Zion's spiritual foundation-that is, "Christ in you the hope of glory," I must be very brief. It is the grace of ASSURANCE and establishment in the truth and ways of God. "HE SHALL SET ME UP UPON A ROCK."
Seventhly. Here is the grace of Praise. The grace of God leads the soul to praise, honour, and adore Him.
William-read these lines with prayer. If you discover anything wrong, write and tell me. For I am your Brother in the faith of the gospel,
CHARLES WATERS BANKS.
A Visit to the Grave of Daniel Herbert. "I Now entered the town of Sudbury, which recalled to my mind many pleasing and painful recollections. Here rested under the 'clods of the valley' the remains of my beloved friend Daniel Herbert; and here was the spot my once dear partner spent many pleasing and profitable days, months, and years; but now they were gone, themselves too, and their dwelling-place occupied by strangers.
"I was obliged to procure a lodging at a public-house, where clamour and noise prevailed all the night, and to us it appeared like a hell upon earth. The next morning was the Sabbath, and we walked early to visit the spot where my dear friend lay buried, there I talked with him, and fancied I heard him say, 'Dear brother G., is it you now beholding the hillock where lies the mortal body I have put off? joice rather; you will soon, with me, hear unutterable things.' Sin no more clogs and discomforts me. I am now in the presence and full enjoyment of Christ. I behold you weeping in the dark valley, but tribulation's path shall prove a blessing, sanctified to all the seed. The sealing testimony of divine grace is a sure earnest of future glory. Rest satisfied to believe the promise realized; for 'My God shall supply all your need.' 'Not more secure my glorified spirit above, than yourself.' I left the spot, trodden upon and unheeded by the passing multitude, with these words on my mind, The Lord's portion is his saints.' He will not suffer one of them to be lost, and sure I am one who longs to be made like him.
Turning away from the churchyard, and taking a last view of the house where he once lived, I bent my course to the bridge, where I had a full view of the little summer-house which stands at the bottom of the garden, near the river, where he wrote most of his hymns and poems. This little retreat had many times been a 'Bethel' to his soul. Here many an agonizing moment had been spent also; while the walls thereof inside, marked, in pencil lines, many Ebenezers to the God of Jacob. Here used to be placed his scraps and papers, with an old Bible, a chair, and table. Bless his memory! Daniel was beloved of God, and his lot was blessed. (Dan. xii. 13.)
After breakfast we went in search of spiritual food for our souls, and turned into a small baptist chapel, hoping to find some good things; but alas! it was only to hear a poor legal erroneous discourse, which reminded me of the lines in my old friend's poems:
The half-and-half sort are the gospel's worst foe; We are plagued with such wherever we go.' He had been plagued in the same manner, and in the same old town, for more than fifty years. There was, however, one old friend whom I had known for many years
a poor fallen sheep, though restored from his backslidings to the fold of Jesus, whom no one sought or cared about. I was anxious to find him, and asked a pious one for him, who, repulsed at my inquiry, told me We set off and went to his house, When that he lived two miles out of the town. he saw me he burst into tears of joy, clasped my hand, and wondered how the Lord should have sent me to him that day; nor could he make it out, he said, that so great a favour should be conferred upon such a vile and hell-deserving sinner as he had been-that a man of God, as he thought I was, should come under his roof. He told me he was cast out, and looked upon as the vilest monster on the earth; but not more so than he saw himself in his own eyes to be; yet there was a poor friend or two that sometimes met as his house for prayer, and he expected them that afternoon. He said I knew them, and they would be as glad to see me as he was. One of them soon arrived, and blessed be the God, we had a refreshing season together in reading, prayer, and praise."—" Wilderness Mercies," by James Groom.
Several copies of this interesting Work are now on sale at our Office, for the benefit of the late James Groom's widow: they can also be had at her residence, 26, Great Turner Street, Commercial Road.]
MIDST all the opinions, contention, and strife, Concerning repentance, salvation, and life, That ring from the pulpit, and teain from the press, There's this consolation, we're not left to guess; We cannot be saved unless born again. For Jesus assures us in language quite plain, The work of a creature, however he live, A fitness for heaven no sinner can give: The heart must be changed, the mind be renew'd, Desires implanted that never can die, An appetite given for heavenly food; And needs made apparent that God must supply. This change is effected by power divine, For none but Jehovah the soul can incline, Tho' some men assert with a positive airThat all that is needed is reading and prayer. And tell all their hearers Christ knocks at their hearts, While others more subtle, their opinions impart, And urge them to open that he may come in, Or he may be offended and not knock again. And then there are others who differ from these, Who study and strive all their hearers to please, Tho' in what they say we see little to blame, But in what they don't say is of what we complain. But a thus saith the Lord' concludes the debate, The vile from the precious God's servants must take, The work of the spirit and flesh must describe, That the living may know that they are alive: For the mind may be moved, the man be reform'd, No change is sufficient but that of the heart, The head may be right, but the heart may be wrong. To cause the transgressor from sin to depart; The tears of an Esau, the prayers of a Saul, The repentance of Judas doth very short fall; A Cain may be sorry, a Pharaoh confess, And all this arise from the work of the flesh. But regeneration cuts open the heart, Dissecting the sinner in every part, And raises him up to the image of God. To shew forth the praises of Jesus the Lord.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE
LIFE, EXPERIENCE, ILLNESS, AND DEATH OF SUSANNAH SMITH.
DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHER-The following interesting account was related to me by Mr. Daniel Smith, of Pent-side Chapel, Dover, whose mind has long been impressed to send to you the account of the Illness, Experience and Death of his sister Susannah. I give it you without any flourishing, and must leave it to you to put the facts together. Your's &c., Dover, Feb. 1848. W. BALLARD.
upon Jesus, that he was my scape goat, and bore all my sins away, I felt such joy and rejoicing in my soul which no language can utter, nor no tongue can describe. I bless God for laying this affliction upon me my prayer became Oh Lord, under all this affliction, keep me from murmuring. I see myself to be the biggist fool, and worst of sinners; and yet Jesus is so precious to me, that words fail me to express it; while in this joyful and blessed feeling in her soul, one of the Established Clergy came to visit her, and brought a book of prayers for her to use, as She he thought they would just suit her. says, 'he called again in a few days after, and asked me which prayer suited me? I told him not one in his book; for when I prayed, the Holy Ghost taught me how to pray, and what words to use; though many, very many times my heart was so full, I could not speak, and no utterance with words; so no men-made prayers would, or could, suit me: he then asked me if I did not think I was very wicked for not receiving the sacrament after I had been confirmed? I told him, 'no; for if I had, I should have been eating and drinking my own damnation: upon which he replied, if none of the world came, no one would come at all. 'No, I said, I don't think you would get many communicants, if they knew what they were doing.' So he left me.
Her illness and affliction increased, and continued to get more severe, and thus rendered her completely helpless, but she said, though no one but God and herself knew the pains she felt in her body; so also God and I only know the happiness and comfort I enjoy in my own soul from Christ being formed there my hope of glory.
SUSANNAH SMITH was born on the 26th of August, 1827; and appeared in youth and childhood always solemn and reserved; nothing very particular occurred during that period, till she became eighteen years of age, when she went to live with Mr. A-, and whilst there was afflicted with an abscess in her hands, which followed to her legs, compelled her to leave, and again enter her paternal roof. In her illness she said she thought the Lord was dealing very hard with her, in thus depriving her of the use of her hands and other members of her body; her heart fretted and murmured against Him, because she only wanted to obtain an honest living, and not to be a burden to her parents. She told her brother in her last illness-'I continued for months in this dull, dark, and dreadful state of mind, and pain in body, finding no place for rest like Noah's dove, because I was not in the Ark until the Lord showed unto me that I was a most awful sinner, and had sinned against him. All my secret sins appeared in the light of God's countenance, and I could see no way by which I could escape the wrath to come; hell appeared to me certain, and I could see no way of escape, I knew not what to do, nor yet where to go. I continued to read the Bible, and could see there was plenty of sinners recorded in the Word of God, as vile as I, who obtained mercy, but I could not see any mercy for me. In this state of mind, I went to a Wesleyan Chapel, and when there, something seemed to say with such force, that it sunk deep into my soulWhat doest thou here?' I sat awhile, but this had such an effect upon my mind I could not hear anything that was going on, but was compelled through anguish of mind to get up and return home. On my way thither a voice said. Go and read thy Bible.' I did so, and opened Luke xviii. 13, the prayer of the poor publican was mine, for I could utter no other, only God be merciful to me a sinner.' He answered me to the comfort of my never-dying soul; 'I pardon all thy sins and blot out all thy transgressions the power that accompanied the words melted my soul before the Lord, I became a little child, and my soul as it were became unfettered from the chains of darkness, I could see that all my sins were laid
Though bereft of my health,
For in all my affliction
She was never heard to complain or murmur in all her afflictions, but though she longed to get home, yet she said All the days of thy appointed time will I wait until my change come.' (Job xiv. 14.) She told her brother that many times her soul was dark, and full of doubts and fears, which filled her with anguish, because she thought her religion was not real; but she was led to cry out unto Jesus; and when he came all was right again; the sight of him put all things right again, 'In His strength, I can tell the enemy of God's family, he is a deceiver, and a liar from the beginning.'
Her father went to see her one evening; on his asking her how she felt, 'Oh, (she said) I have had such a welcome and precious visitor to see me to day.' 'Have you, my dear? Yes, Father—the Lord, my Jesus, has been hereM