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"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."-Matt. v. 6.

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."-2 Tim. i. 9.

"The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."-Rom. xi. 7.

"If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.-And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.-In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."-Acts viii. 37, 38; Matt. xxviii. 19.

No. 45.



"Comfort the feeble-minded."-1 Thes. v. 14.


The above quotation is one of the apostle Paul's injunctions to the church of God, then living in Thessalonica, and one which I consider to be very needful to be attended to in the present day of awful profession; a day in which by far the greatest part of those who profess to be preachers to, and comforters of God's living family, only worry, harass, and perplex them. If I mistake not, some of the principal designs the editors of the Gospel Standard had, and indeed still have, in sending forth their periodical are the following:-That God may be glorified; that God's truth may be handed down and brought near to those individuals who have not the privilege of sitting under sound gospel ministers; and that the poor feeble-minded Christian may, under the power and blessing of God the Holy Ghost, be comforted, established, and built up in his most holy faith, fear, and love. And I am fully persuaded their aim has been, and still is good, and that God has owned and blessed their labour of love, in spite of all the opposition with which they have had to contend. But I am wandering from my subject; I would, therefore, address myself to one who bears resemblance in his experience to the characters mentioned in the text, one who feels the need of some establishment in divine things. My beloved, if you look to my scribbling, or to any other man's, and expect it will give you the least comfort or establishment, independent of the almighty energy, power, and blessing of God the blessed Spirit, you will be greatly disappointed. If you look at 1 Cor. iii. 7, you will find what I say is true.

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If I were enabled to describe your state to a nicety, and prove by scripture ever so clearly, that you certainly were a possessor of divine grace, and consequently an heir of glory; still, unless the glorious person of the eternal God the Holy Ghost accompanied the testimony with power; life-giving power to your conscience, and gave you faith to believe it for yourself, my labour would be useless. But, I would say, what makes you feeble-minded? 'Why," say you, "I really do not know whether or not I am a child of God. Here I want establishment; I want the inward witness of the Spirit of God; my soul groans for this at God's footstool, so far as I am enabled; I feel myself to be the vilest sinner on earth; I know I must be lost, unless I am interested in the blessed work of Jesus Christ; I cannot, I dare not rest satisfied with a mere form of godliness; I know I must feel some power, for the word of God tells me his kingdom stands in power, I desire to be searched and tried before God, and by his word, and to be led in the way everlasting. Almost all kinds of professors seem to get on better than I do; I go to the house where God is professedly worshipped, but frequently come home as barren as I go; I cannot do as I am bid to do, for the minister tells me I must believe in Christ, exercise faith upon him, and take the promises as they stand in God's word; but I feel I could as soon reach the moon with my little finger as I could believe in Jesus Christ as my own Saviour; neither can I lay hold on the blessed promises, nor dare I, unless I am well persuaded they belong unto me; I am perplexed on all hands, but sin is my greatest burden, and, were it possible, how gladly would I be freed from its inbeing. Dear Mr. Hart's hymn exactly suits me, when he says,

"O wretched, wretched man,
What horrid scenes I view;
I find, alas! do all I can,
That I can nothing do."

Well, my friend, are these really your feelings in the sight of God? Then, permit me to ask you a few questions. How came you to know and feel yourself to be so great a sinner, so vile a monster of iniquity as you confess yourself to be? Because the Holy Spirit, whose sole prerogative it is to "convince of sin," has made you a sensible sinner. You were not always a sensible sinner, although you always were a sinner, for you were born in sin? I doubt not you well remember the time when you did not see yourself in that light which you now see yourself in. Did you not once really love sin and sinful pleasures? Now you can appeal to God, and declare that you feel a real hatred to it. What has made this great difference, this amazing change? Sovereign grace. Can you for a moment suppose that your own devilish heart or the devil ever gave you a hatred to sin, made you feel the burden of it in your conscience, a burden so heavy, that even now, did not God support you with a little hope, which you perhaps can scarcely discover, you would assuredly sink beneath it? You have within you a new covenant blessing, which is "the fear of God." "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." (Prov. viii. 13,) and my soul agrees with Mr. Hart when he says,



"That every one that's with it bless'd,
Has free redemption in his blood."

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But methinks you will very probably object, and say, "I oftentimes feel as though I did not hate evil-I feel a something within me that seems to hang, cleave to, and even love it." Io not doubt this; it arises from your old man of sin within you,-your wretched, base, and deceitful carnal mind, which is not subject to God's law of love, neither indeed can be. So saith holy writ, and so saith my experience, to my grief and sorrow, at times. This is that carnal mind which Paul felt to be at enmity against God, and which made him cry out, I find, then, a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me," &c. This is the carnal mind which many blind fools in the pulpit declare to be, under the Spirit's teachings, modelled," radically changed." But it is an abominable lie, and I can prove it from God's words and my own experience, and I doubt not that thousands of God's children can add their assent to the truth of this assertion. Its reigning power is kept down by the glorious power of almighty grace in the soul. It is subdued, so that the Christian is not under its dominion; but to say that it is rooted out, or radically changed, is, I again declare, radical nonsense. And, remember, this is not disparaging the blessed work of regeneration, as one individual has charged me with. God never saw it necessary that this old man of sin should be rooted out, or radically changed. He has wisely and holily left it to try us. It is our daily grief, sore, and plague, and under the Spirit's teaching, it tends to keep us low, to humble our souls, to prize daily and hourly supplies of grace, to make us long for that rest which remains for the people of God, and various other ends, which, for brevity's sake, I shall not mention. You cannot read of a saint of God in the Scriptures who did not, in some way or other, complain of this Canaanite; nor can you find one on earth, in the present day, who has not at times greatly to lament on account of his own deceitful heart or carnal mind. Be assured you will never get totally rid of it till death comes to separate soul and body. The Lord bless you with grace to look continually to him to subdue its power within you. But, methinks I hear some feeble-minded soul crying, "I fear I have never been thoroughly convinced of sin, I have not had law-work enough on my conscience, I find my convictions have never been so deep, or my terrors so alarming as such a man's were." My friend, do you know exactly how much it is requisite you should feel? Are you wiser than God? Was it ever written in God's word how much terror of soul a child of God must feel from fear of damnation? I trow not. Though some of God's children have a very great deal of terror in their consciences when first awakened, all have not so much. God knows I am not writing this to give any encouragement to those who have not been thoroughly and truly convinced of sin by God the Spirit, but that the feeble Christian should not be discouraged, though he may not have experienced such wretched overwhelming of soul, under the law, as some feel; yet, if the blessed Spirit has made him to see and feel his own righteousness to be nought but filthy rags, dung, and dross;

to know and feel that by the deeds of God's most holy law he cannot be justified in the sight of God; if he has so applied the law to his conscience that he has killed him to all hopes of salvation by it; taught him to know and feel himself to be a vile, helpless, lost sinner, in himself considered; given him an earnest desire to rely solely and singly upon the person, obedience, and blood of Christ for acceptance with God; I say, if God has taught him these things, "there is hope in Israel concerning him." God has taught him what he never teaches the reprobate-the non-elected. "Ah!" says the soul, "I want to prove my election of God." Prove your calling, my friend. This is your privilege, under and by the Spirit's help. You will never be able to believe you are elected, until you have a divine assurance of your calling. God's election is a precious doctrine; but,

"Though God's election is a truth,

Small comfort there I see,

Till I am told by God's own mouth
That he has chosen me."

Let, then, a few words suffice on this point. A soul non-elected will never be called by God's grace; and, on the other hand, there never was a soul that was ever wrought upon by the blessed Spirit of God, born again of God, called by sovereign, special, irresistible, blessed, and eternal grace to hate sin, to hate self, to hate the devil, to hate the vanities of this world, to love Jesus, to fear God's name, to love his people, to love his ways, to esteem all things but loss, dross, and dung, for the personal knowledge of the excellency of Christ Jesus, that was not elected by God before the world was made. (Eph. i. 4.)

May the Lord bless the few, feeble, and scattered remarks, so far as they are written consistently with his holy will, for his name's sake. Amen.

Mildenhall, 1839.

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My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."1 John ii. 1.

This epistle was written by that disciple whom it is said Jesus loved. It appears plain that he wrote it when he was drawing near the close of his life. He is spoken of as being an elder in the church, but he is not writing to any particular church or person, for it is said to be a general epistle to all the family of God, whether Jew or Gentile. The contents evidently show the anxious concern that the apostle felt for the peace and prosperity of the church of God. The words before us appear to be the language of paternal affection. Hence, he addresses the church, in the words before us, as his little children. This is not to be understood as a natural, but a spiritual relationship, for they are the children of God whose names are registered in the records of heaven from before the foundation of the world-the children of God by adoption, redeemed by the precious

blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, passed from death unto life, and blessed with a living faith in a crucified Christ. They are made manifest as the children of God by an appetite after the children's bread, as new-born babes desiring the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby; they are blessed with a sighing, crying, and wrestling spirit, a tender conscience, and an enlightened understanding. Sin is to them a burden, the ways of sinners are forsaken, the path of righteousness is inquired after, the presence of God thirsted for, at times the word and house of God highly prized, and the people of God beloved. The apostle calls them not only children, but little children, alluding to the weakness of their faith and their little experience. Spiritual life is implanted instantaneously, but knowledge and experience are progressive in the children of God, from babes to young men and fathers in Christ. The babes are as much a part of the family as the fathers, and are as safe in the covenant of grace, though not so assured of it, on account of the weakness of their faith. Faith is the same in all the family as to its nature, but differs as to its strength, and is the same in quality but not in quantity. Hence, we read of some as being strong in and full of faith, while some are said to be little and weak. The children of God, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, are little in their own estimation, the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints. They are like little children; they feel dependent on the Lord for every supply; they are only safe when they are kept by him; they are fed only when the Lord is pleased to feed them; they run when he is pleased to enlarge their hearts; they sing only when put in tune by God; they find their springs are all in him, and their eyes are up unto him in whom their strength is found. The apostle calls them his little children. The Lord sent him out to preach the everlasting gospel, and it was the Lord's pleasure to make that gospel the power of God unto salvation to every one that believed; therefore, he might address some of them as his spiritual children whom the Lord had begotten by him. John is as an affectionate father writing to his children that they may not sin. We are not to understand the apostle as expecting the Lord's family to be free from sin in this world, for that would contradict his statement in the 8th and 10th verses of the 1st chap.; " If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." The children of God in another world will be as free and pure as their Head. The Lord's family in this world groan under the body of sin and death; but during their sojourn on earth, they are saved from the love and reign of sin, and from being entirely overwhelmed by its power. The apostle, knowing his own heart and the temptations of Satan, and being acquainted with the evil consequences of backsliding which brings darkness on the mind, distress in the soul, and prevents heavenly fellowship and communion, writes to his little children that they sin not. The sense of the apostle may be this; he would have them to be very watchful over their tongues, their eyes, their hands, and their feet; like Jabez, be prayerful, that the Lord would keep them from evil, forsake sin in all its shapes, and flee from it as from the face of a serpent. I write

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