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a superior state of things; and what exceeded all was, from those very persons that I anticipated the greatest things of a spiritual kind, and the most light, liberty, depth of thought, discernment of spirit, and comfort and consolation of soul, I found little else but hard bondage, great gloom, sore poverty, and a very large amount of old covenant trappings. How great my disappointment was you cannot guess half way !"
and there retire. The less you have to do with idle disputers, and those who delight in finding fault, the better it will be for your soul."
This is really the case: and because Mr. Osbourn could not sit down in the same state of things, he has by such men been considered unsound. But now for a word concerning the knowledge and enjoyment of his own in
"In journeying through this realm so "My soul has been indulged with so large much as I do, and mingling with so many and so happy a share of this immortal love, people as is the case with me, a fair opportu- and for so long a time together, and likewise nity is presented to me by which I may as- so very frequently that I have often thought certain to a good degree of accuracy the real and do yet think whether any mortal being state and condition of spiritual affairs among on God's earth, since the canon of Scripture a class of professed christians known by the was closed, ever enjoyed more solid peace appellation of Particular Baptists;' and I and comfort of soul, and all freely flowing am sorry to say the picture before me is suf- from the Saviour of sinners, than your corficiently dark, gloomy, fearful and wretched, respondent. By day and by night, and for to justify me in saying that the mildew of months and months successively, my soul God is upon the churches in Great Britain; has been as if bathed in heaven, and hid from and wrangling-backbiting-evil-speaking this world of sin and sorrow. And I could envying one another-jealousies-disputings now just as easily make a lucid paraphrase on about words to no profit-and striving which 'Eternity' as I could describe the felicity of shall be the greatest in the kingdom of God, mind, and the divine consolations which at are the things which clearly characterize the sundry times I have experienced in my bed above churches at this present time. chamber, and in fields, woods, lanes, and on the banks of the Hudson river in America.
"I must needs say that I expected to have found the churches here in a much more "It is apparent enough to me, that, in healthy condition than what they really are, speaking after the manner of men, I might and their pastors far more spiritually minded have been a genuine christian without enjoythan I find them to be. Yes, forsooth, I ing a thousandth part of what my soul has thought to have found them wise and discern- enjoyed from time to time; and also have ing men-scribes well instructed in the deep gone to heaven at last without seeing one half things of God, and capable of instructing of the beauties and glories of the great others men holding fellowship with the scheme of redemption, and of the unsearchFather, and with his Son Jesus Christ-menable riches of Christ, and of the fulness of lively and strong in the grace that is in the the everlasting gospel which the God of IsLord of life and glory-men freed from the rael hath been pleased to indulge me with for yoke of bondage by the body of Christ, and these many years past. It is not a cunningly under a new covenant bias serving God in devised fable, my brother, nor yet a form of newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of speech fabricated by me for some villianous the letter. Such men, I say, I expected to end, when I say that with the eyes of my unhave found here; for while I was yet in my derstanding I have seen as if the Father, Son, own country, I heard of one or two public and Holy Spirit agreed together, and were men concerning or in whom we hoped there resolved to show what they could do by way might be somewhat found above the common of saving so desperate a wretch as me, and as level of private christians and ordinary min- if they would spare no pains in effecting the isters: but alas, alas, what a fearful disap- salvation of one whom satan had done his pointment your correspondent has met with best in trying to destroy," in this respect. 'Death is in the pot!' and darkness, bondage, barrenness, self conceit, blind prejudice, cruel jealousies, and an old covenant state of things rigidly adhered to, form the scenery now in view, so sure as I am mortal; nor can we as mere men tell what these alarming things will end in; but we know they are carnal, and are indicative of barren hearts, haughty minds, and of the curtains of a broken covenant being stretched out upon the carnal ranglers of the nineteenth century. Envy not these men, my brother, but let them foam, and fret, and snarl, alone. Seek thou a place at the foot of the cross
"At other times however, I have sunk very low, and mourned sorely because the comforter that should relieve my soul was far from me. Lam. i. 16. Here my soul has suffered martyrdom, and I have looked back with deep regret on days past and gone, and could say, 'changes and war are against me.'
"Where mercy comes, salvation is secured; and this mercy reached my soul and brought salvation with it; and hence I now trust in the mercy of God, and hope in his salvation: and but for this lively hope, despair would soon make a woeful seizure of my soul, and drag it down to fiery deeps and end
less night. But the fact is, hell itself cannot quench even a feeble spark of fire kindled in the soul by the Lord of hosts. hallowed spark may be fanned into a blaze; but so far is it from being extinguished by water cast upon it out of the mouth of the old serpent that by means thereof it burns the brighter.
"While a poor mourning soul is waiting for the consolation of Israel,' Luke ii. 25 many fears and doubts press upon his feeble, mind accompanied with a multitude of despairing thoughts which tend much to depress his spirits and to throw his little mind into a shade gloomy and dark; and here his forebodings of worse to come are very woeful and annoying, and the pathetic language of Job is his own, I am afraid of all my sorrows. In this place, dear sir, your servant has lain for days, and weeks, and months, and ' eaten ashes like bread, and mingled his drink with weeping.' Yes, my grief at times has been so excessive, that' destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.' The lessons taught in this school are such as but few, even of pulpit men, know anything about. But O, sir, my deliverance from a vortex so dismal was marvellous and quite Godlike.' It was' as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain."
"It is certain and beyond doubt that we cannot set anything like a full and proper estimate on the infinite mercy of God which is revealed in delivering a soul from the borders of despair. I should do it if I knew how, for mercy hath done much for me, and I would like to sound it out so loud that all the earth might hear. The Lord, however, in teaching his children, not only makes them willing to speak highly of his mercy, but also readily and frankly to own and confess their own guilt, shame and ignorance."
We must quote no more. You English ministers and people can guess what sort of a character James Osburn will give us, when he returns to America. We believe there has been no man amongst us, lately, better qualified to form a proper estimate of our condition than he is. He has done it. He has pronounced his verdict, and a faithful one it is. But this is not all. Things are evidently getting worse; but we must not trust ourselves to write of these things now. In the article following, another author has somewhat carefully looked at "The state of things at the period in which we live." Reader! pass on to a perusal of his thoughts. If you wish to see more of James Osbourn's Love-Letters, they are published by Groombridges, London; Charlwood, Norwich; and Tyler, Brighton.
The State of Things
AT THE PERIOD IN WHICH WE LIVE.
WE speak not without consideration-ror without the most powerful evidence-when we say the time is come when with much propriety we may read the third verse of the ninety-third Psalm-" The floods have their voice; 'the floods lift up their waves." lifted O Lord, the floods have lifted up Yes! The floods of ungodly nations, of ungodly men, of unrighteous professors, of unscriptural errors, and of unholy spirits, like wave upon wave are lifting up their united voice-and beginning to beat with combined force, not only upon what we consider the church of God, but also upon all those outer walls which have long stood
as instrumental defences to the Protestant
faith of this highly favoured isle. Neverthat "the Lord on high is mightier than the theless, it is the christian's mercy to know noise of many waters; his testimonies are sure: his love to his saints is unchanging and unchangeable: He has hidden his church in the clefts of the Rock; therefore she has no real cause to fear what either men or devils may do unto her. "It shall be with the righteous WELL."
These reflections have arisen out of the
perusal of a little tract which has been put into our hands, written by an esteemed brother in the ministry, J. J. of Birming
ham.' It is entitled
A WORD FROM THE WATCH TOWER." We have read it carefully and with much profit. It speaks the existence of a good spirit-a healthy state of soul-and a discerning mind in the author. We could heartily pray that this faithful, loving, discriminating spirit was to be found in thousands of men who profess to love and preach our Master's gospel. But it is not so. From the tract to which we have referred, we make an extract or two.
Our author appears like one who with a good glass, and standing on an eminence, has been long and silently watching the movements of affairs. At last he lays down his glass; and fully convinced of the real, but painful state of things, he takes his trumpet, ascends the wall, and begins with calmess, yet with decision to sound an alarm. He says:
"AND IS IT NIGHT? Alas! with the Church visible it is: not a 'morning without clouds when the sun ariseth;' as it was when the dispensation of life divine first opened over the Gentiles; when Pastors and Churches, through the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, preached and prayed, lived and died, testifying in all and by all, that Jesus Christ was the Alpha and Omega' of a when the sun shines in its meridian sinner's salvation. Neither is it noon-day, strength, giving clear and strong light, pure and animating heat beneath its rays, as Christ the Sun of righteousness hath shined on the church of God, especially since the time of the Reformation. My
of the momentous work of regeneration going on among lost and ruined sinners?and their complaint is, ' Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: proving in all and by all, the Lord has nearly accomplish the number of his elect during this day of first fruits, and night has come.'
soul is cast down within me when I remember how many Churches in this long favoured land, who, through the preaching of the everlasting gospel in all its rich and holy purposes, promises, provisions, and performances, were once in spiritual unity, prosperity, and power, are now no more; the candlestick, with the light of life, is removed out of that place: or, if still existing, are in the last stage of consumption. The things which remain are ready to die; coldness, weakness, divisions, desolation, Already the clouds have gathered thick and growing indifference are painfully and dark over our heads as a nation, almanifested to the good old truths of Cove-ready the judgments of the Lord in famine, nant love; and to the good old paths, where fever, perplexity, and pestilence, have souls that walk therein find present and visited us for these things, and threaten eternal rest." yet more and more; already a few drops from the vials of the wrath of an holy God for our national sins have fallen, and the spiritual eye seeth the angels standing ready at Jehovah's word to pour out all the rest.
"But 'tis not all darknesss and decay, Bless the name of the Lord: from my watch tower' I see here and there a bright spot, where an enduring witness for the truth stands, as a Star in Jesu's right hand, a burning and shining light, and where around Him, abideth the dear people of God, unto whom His ministry has been not yea and nay, but yea, and in Christ, Amen-whose Gospel has come not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance."
Night, literally considered, has many things connected with it, which strongly shadows forth the state of things spiritually at the period in which we live. Let us glance at some of them. Night declares plainly the day is over and gone, and by comparing the present with the past aspect of the Lord, in His dispensation of grace to us Gentiles, we see, indeed, it is night. God, in rich mercy and covenant love, promised long a time of salvation unto us, not to all the world, but to a remnant according to the election of grace, out of every nation. And Paul, called and ordained of God to make known this mystery, quoting the ancient promise made in Christ, cries, 'behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.' And since then what millions of poor Gentiles have received grace and glory, and what thousands more, up and down this wilderness world-partakers of the same grace-baptised into the same bodyjoined to the same living head-and drinking into the same spirit, are now on their way to the same glorious kingdom? But while we thus speak, are not these souls of long standing in the divine life, chiefly aged pilgrims who have borne the heat and burden of the day? Compared to former years, how few and far between are the subjects of spiritual birth—are the monuments of saving and sovereign grace? Ask the most holy, sober, and discerning servants and saints of the Lord, who try conversions by the word of God, and who know in their own experience, what it is to be convinced of sin-delivered from the law married to Christ-pardoned and justified through faith in his blood and righteousness-taught, led, and sealed by the Spirit. Enquire of such men what they see or know
"But there is something that relieves a distressed heart, and that cheers an oppressed mind while reflecting on these things, and it is the knowledge that the Lord hath ever had a remnant of a remnant whom he hath kept true to himself; lights in the world, the salt of the earth. In Ezekiel's day there were those who sighed and cried for the abominations done in the land; at the time of the Jewish captivity there were those who would not bow down to a golden image; in the trying and wrangling days of Malachi, there were some that feared the Lord and that thought upon his name, and bless the Lord he is now keeping, by an inward discipline-by an holy anointing of his Spirit, a few names in Sardis alive and awake to these things; and, while the Guides, with the gay and pleasure taking congregations, are banqueting at this midnight hour, and from the vessels of the Lord, drinking to the gods of creature merit, talent, wisdom and work, receiving honour, one from another, the pastors from the pulpits and platforms praising the people, and the people at their public meetings pouring back their hallelujahs to the pastors, thinking it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. While I say these things are being done, there are still living souls found in sackcloth, dust and ashes, and like the prophet, crying, Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!' Jer. ix. 1.
"O ye ministers of the Lord 'weeping between the porch and the altar' faint not! continue the plaintive cry, 'spare thy people O Lord and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them,' and O ye seed of Aaron take the censer of all prayer, filled with the fire of the Spirit's intercession, perfumed with the much incense of Jesu's merits, Run! O run! into the midst of the camp, and while standing between the living and the dead, join the cry, 'Spare! still spare thy
people, O Lord.' And who can tell? but the united cries, tears, and confessions of the righteous, God will hear and answer; by yet sparing our guilty land for their sakes, by staying the judgments which are sweeping away thousands into eternity in other nations, and which are slowly, and fearfully approaching us-by driving back the threatening power from whence it came-by turning the counsel of every Ahithophel, for popish concessions to foolishness by still granting to us men of God, to proclaim the truth as it is in Christ -by preserving unto us the merciful privilege of sitting under our own vine and fig tree, none daring to make us afraid."
"A Voice from the Laodicean Churches, to the Pastorate. London: GREEN, Paternoster
terian pastors should happen to find out who this modern Micaiah is, they will not forget him. We shall only make one short quotation, which is on a much better topic than that of thrashing the parsons, although we doubt not but that they richly deserve it. Turning then to a higher theme, the writer says
"We open our bibles, and there we find that the two great objects on which the believer is taught and encouraged to fix his gaze, are the FIRST and SECOND advents of the Lord of life and glory. The first to ravish the eye of his faith, the second to ravish the eye of his hope. We find these two stupendous events ever present to the minds, ever conspicuous in the teachings of the inspired apostles. The Cross and the Crown were the lodestars to attract all eyes. The Cross as the foundation of, and the Crown to consummate the church's hopes. The Cross which Immanuel bore at his second coming. We find that it was in his first, the Crown which he shall wear at the hope of the second appearing of their Lord, those who had already fled to him made them white in the blood of the Lamb, for refuge, and had washed their robes and to the day when they should reap the rewere looking forward with exulting hope, as his sake. Therefore gird up the loins of ward of all their toils and sufferings for your mind, be sober, and hope to the end at the revelation of Jesus Christ." for the grace that is to be brought unto you
THE author of this startling little work is evidently one of the Plymouth Brethren; although he does not plainly tell us so. It is also very manifest, that he is a wellinformed, sincere, spiritually-minded man, whose heart has been stirred up to witness against much that is going on in what is called "the congregational churches."
The object of the writer is two-fold: first, to declare the disease; and then to trace out the principal causes of that disease.
By J. W. GOWRING. Ives and Swan,
With reference to the first thing, he says "At length it is admitted that Churches are in a state woful enough to" The Workings of Divine Life in the soul." cause mourning in all the courts of Zion. A spiritual drought is at this moment resting on the vineyard of the Lord. The work of conversion has well nigh ceasedwe are in a state of spiritual leanness-we, who have been believing and proclaiming so long, that we were rich, and increased in goods, and had need of nothing, are verily wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. It is all true,-fearfully, woefully true. We, the sheep of the Lord's pasture, are in a state of spiritual leanness, and are compelled to exclaim, woe is me! Instead of being strong men, we are mere babes in Christ. Instead of having our senses exercised to discern both good and evil, we still have need of milk. Instead of being strong in the faith which is in Christ Jesus, we are weakly. Instead of being giants in religion, we are crippled dwarfs."
Having thus confessed to the fearful state of the churches, the writer turns round, and lays the cane of censure and reproof upon the backs of the pastors in a most powerful manner. He tells them plainly that they have been guilty of keeping back the whole counsel of God; and that instead of edifying, comforting, and building up the church, and preaching a whole Christa glorious Christ-and a full, free, and eternal salvation by him, they have been shouting out their offers of salvation to dead men, leaving the sheep of Christ nothing but husks to feed upon. If the proud presby
MR. GOWRING,' (said a friend of our's the other day,) is a thorough Churchman, but a laborious and faithful minister of Jesus Christ.' After reading this pamphlet which contains a discourse on 2 Peter i. 10, we felt assured that Mr. Gowring was also a partaker of like precious faith with all the elect of God. The following extract bespeaks the existence and exercise of a loving Christian Spirit.-"Love to the brethren, as brethren, is the distinctive new comdisciples, and this is a precious token of mandment given by our Saviour to his childship. It climbs over all human barriers; it knows no distinction of Jew or male or female-no, nor either of church Greek, Scythian, barbarian, bond or free, or dissent, or of any other human distinction. Where the truth in Christ is manifested in the heart, and apparent in the conversation of any, whether rich or poor it is owned and acknowledged by the lovedrawn, love-encompassed, love-saved child of God. And this love going forth toward those that love the truth, is as it were reflected back to our own souls to assure us that thereby we have a sure token that we ourselves are children, called and elected." "Ruth's Trial and Encouragement." A Sermon by J. A. WALLINGER, Bethesda Chapel, Bath. London: Palmiers. THE principal and most essential features
of real Christian experience are here pointed out, without extravagance or ambiguity. Such little messengers of truth are, no doubt, useful to many of the living family, especially where the ministration of the real Gospel is not enjoyed.
"The Two Witnesses; their Character; their Power; their Death; and their Resurrection. Being an Exposition of the eleventh chapter of the Revelations." By W. C. POWELL, Minister of the Gospel, Brenchley, Kent. London: Houlston and Stoneman, 68, Paternoster Row. WE most heartily recommend this work to the attention of ministers, and all who feel desirous of rightly understanding the sublime mysteries with which the Word of God abounds. It has been to us like unto a little lamp which has thrown a light upon some of those prophetic Scriptures which have yet to receive their fulfilment. We trust this first small edition of the work may soon be disposed, of, that thereby the author may be encouraged more extensively to carry out his views. (See advertisement of the work on our wrapper.) "A Plea for the Non-Conformists, shewing the true state of their case, in a Letter to DR. BENJAMIN CALAMY, on his Sermon called Sorupulous Conscience, inviting hereto. To which is added a parallel scheme of the Pagan, Papal, and Christian Rites and Ceremonies, and a narrative of the sufferings undergone." By THOMAS DE LAUNE. Reprinted from the edition of 1712. SEVERAL Copies of this exceedingly useful book of interest and information having been sent to us for sale, any person may now obtain them at One-Shilling each, by giving an order to any of our Agents, or on application at our office. A work of this kind requires no commendation from us; but we purpose to make a few extracts from it in future numbers.
Nothing to Pay." London: W. H. COLLINGRIDGE, City Press, Long Lane. BLESS the Lord! for such an instance of the Holy Ghost's power in the heart of a sinner as this little tract contains. It is reprinted from the Gospel Magazine,' and furnishes an interesting narrative of the conversion and peaceful death of a selfrighteous free-willer. It cannot be read by any spiritual mind without producing the most grateful and joyful sensations. "Answers to the Question.-Have the Baptists any Scriptural Authority for Refusing to Commune with Unbaptised Believers?" London: James Paul. 12 pp.
We can truly say, we should be thankful to find that this penny tract was in any measure useful in settling a question that has so long agitated and divided the Church of Christ. The original letters contained in
this phamplet are written in a good spirit; and the arguments are well backed up by Scripture references; and some valuable extracts from able writers are given. As" Obadiah" has manifested so much zeal in the diffusion of his "Meditations " against the ordinance of Believer's baptism, we hope the Baptists will not be backward in bearing testimony to THE
As I walk the gloomy valley,
Whilst I see death's shadow here,
Can affright if thou appear.
To my great Almighty Friend.
From thy sting, hath set me free! Dearest Jesus, when I'm dying,
Wilt thou then 'Remember me?'
With thee evermore to be!