Page images
[ocr errors]

spiritual understanding of the word of God is from him, and this makes us often cry out, Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." It is only from him that we ever receive a fresh token that he is ours and we his, and this makes us groan forth, "Show me a token for good," and cry, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Indeed, my dear brother, it is all from him and through him, co-equal with the Father aud the Son, One Triune God; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen and amen.

My soul's prayer is that you may have a double portion of the Holy Ghost, and that your consolations may be neither few nor small, and as troubles, sorrows, and griefs are multiplied, that peace and love may be multiplied too, that however low you may sink, you may rise up again above them all, and give a shout, "The Lord is my shield and glory, and the lifter up of iny head."

From the poor nothing,

Trowbridge, Dec. 1, 1838.


J. W.

That God is truly and essentially a Father is a truth that the word of divine inspiration declares. Christ, in the days of his flesh, exclaimed, " I ascend to my Father and your Father." Satan is never better pleased than when, by carnal reasoning, he can draw a poor soul aside from the acknowledgment of " the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;" for "what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."


[ocr errors]

God is our Father by creation-act, and power; for have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? (Mal. ii. 10.) If then I be a father, where is mine honour?" (Mal. i. 6.) God is a Father, by eternal grace-covenant relation with his spiritual Israel,the covenant of redemption, and salvation by grace, entered into by the sacred Three, on behalf of elect sinners, on whom grace and glory were settled for ever in Christ their Head; I will make an everlasting covenant with you." It is absolute as well as everlasting; "They shall be my people, and I will be their God;" and it flows from the sovereign love and good-will of God; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" and " it pleased the Father that in Christ should all fulness dwell." Thus, Christ being our covenant Head and Representative, all covenant blessings flow down to us through him; and by virtue of this eternal grace-union with the Lord Jesus Christ, we are constituted the children of God. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me; for thou lovedst me be

fore the foundation of the world." (John xvii. 23, 24.) Here is a mystery that all the philosophy of man cannot fathom; but, by the teachings of the Spirit, the way-faring man, though a fool, apprehends it, and, under His benign influences resting upon his soul, enjoys the reality of it, exclaiming, with holy admiration at the inflnite condescension of his adorable Lord," My Father, my Lord, and my God."

[ocr errors]


This covenant relationship is the security of grace here and of glory hereafter. "Because I live," saith Christ, ye shall live also;" "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall his elect family appear with him in glory;" Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Now, if the name of Father be a mere nonentity, as some affirm, our sonship must be the same, so that the idea saps the very foundation of a believer's hope, for, I presume, none will imagine the existence of sons without a father. (I desire to express the same with due reverence.) Christ addressed his disciples, saying, " Children, have ye any meat?" "And if children, then heirs." (See Gal. iv.) "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;" "Your Father knoweth what things ye stand in need of;" (Luke xii. 30—32;) and hath declared by his servant Paul, that he will supply all your needs, and will make all things work together for good to those who love him.

Christ taught his disciples," When ye pray, say, Our Father;" and as many as received Christ, to them gave he power to become (in their feelings) the sons of God. "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Again, God is our Father by adoption; "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,-who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to himself;" (Eph. i. 3— 5;) "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

(Gal. iv. 4, 5.) "I will be a Father unto you, and shall be my


sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. vi. 18.) Adoption flows through our adorable Redeemer, and is a grace-blessing bestowed upon all spiritual believers." (Rom. viii. 14, 15.) Even now we are the sons of God.

Thus God is really and truly our Father by creation, by covenant relationship, and by adoption; and O what a source of consolation has this been at times to my poor soul, when driven almost to despair by reason of indwelling sin and temptation, exactly suited to the desires of my depraved nature and sinful heart! On one occasion, these words darted into my heart; " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" which drew me from the dreadful precipice that I was about to fall down. "O to grace how great a debtor." Cannot we claim our relationship to the adorable Jesus, by reason of sin and unbelief? Then there is a mourning on account thereof, and our Lord declares that the mourn

ing, heaven-born soul is blessed, and says he shall be comforted. And what will comfort the soul mourning the absence of the manifestation of the presence of his Lord, but the visits of Jesus; and Jesus says, "I will see you again." O endearing promise, when realized by the sin-burdened soul.



"I am the vine, ye are the branches." John xv. 5.-" I am the life."

John xi. 25.

If you take a knife and cut off part of a vine branch, you will find it as full of sap as ever it can hold; so, "He that liveth in Christ shall never die. Believest thou this ?" said the blessed Immanuel unto Martha, sister of Lazarus, toward whom the Lord, who spake these words, displayed his "power," as "the resurrection and the life." You will find most of all, comparatively, who make mention of Jesus, to be dead branches; no sap in them. Quantities of members of experimental churches are sapless, lifeless, withered, dry, barren branches. No green leaves of life; no bloom of living verdure; no soft, pliant, and moist life; no spiritually gay dress of the eternal spring and summer of the Last-Adam land of regeneration and renewings, under the power of the Holy Ghost, in their souls, at all enrich, adorn, beautify, or grace vast and huge quantities of professedly experimental branches on the tree of life, the Lord Jesus Christ!

My brethren, it is not the name of a branch that makes a Christian. It is not the assenting and consenting to experimental, doctrinal, and practical Christianity that makes a Christian; it is not prating, singing, reading, nor hearing of the new birth, nor contending for it as a truth that makes a Christian; it is not even assenting and consenting that there must be felt the sap of life in every branch of Christ that shall grow in paradise beyond the grave, that makes a Christian. No!

But, to have the sensible sap, freshness, flowing feelings, and moisture, and penetrating heavenliness of repentance and faith; to have the very sap from the trunk of the tree of life, moving in one as a branch; this, it must be confessed, beggars description. A godly man says, "Give me the sap, and let others talk of it." To have the thing itself must be something remarkable. Ah! what avails such a noise about Christ if the sap is not in us? "He is cast forth and is withered;" that is the character of each one of the sapless branches.

But, after all, this is a mystery which none of the non-elect are ever to fathom. (Dan. xii. 10.) It is a sea which they have no line to sound. I am confident of it. (Prov. xvi. 23.) It is a heavenly atmosphere they never could breathe in yet. No! Did they ever breathe there, it would choke their letter capacity of swallowing down the written word without the incarnate word, and calling it religion. It would choke them from falsifying God's word any longer, which says, that the kingdom of God is not in the word written merely, but in power. Let our letter Calvinists be touched by the sap of life, and their caterpillar-like, crawling, letter religion would be transformed into something new, that it had never been changed into before. There must be a change. You may teach any natural man or woman; you may teach a Pharisee, nay, the chief priests" of all denominations of Christians, the scribes, the church clergy, to know the

letter of Scripture. And what of that? They are as sapless as the driest piece of wood in England. The bones of the elect are spiritaally to "flourish like a herb." Their leaf is to be green. (Jer. xvii. 8.) Nay, so abundant is the glory of the life of Christ, in elect trees, in the elect garden or field of the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ our God, that it is said of those trees, "and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." (Isa. lv. 12.) The branches of Christ swell with the heavenly moisture of life imparted to them. "I am like a green olive tree in the house of God." Fulness, satiation, and crowning goodness, more or less, adorn, enrich, and bless them. "I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness." "I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul." "The trees of the Lord are full of sap." O beauteous buds, which creep forth from the satiated bark of such trees, "planted by the rivers of waters." "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit."

The poor, low, and stunted growth of letter-Christians is thus seen, felt, and known, under the spreading, enriching, and striking growth of supernatural Christianity, in the elect and anointed soul. Says such a soul, "I can see their leanness!" "The transgression of the wicked, as letter-Christians are, saith within my heart that there is no fear of God before their eyes." "For," says a godly man, " I have often to weep for my want of the enriching and freshening influences of the waters of life." The dry trees, as letter-knowledge Christians are, have the impudence to think themselves fit for any thing. As it is written, "Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou and reign over us. And the bramble said," (brambles can talk, yea, too well,)" unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow." (Judges ix. 12, &c.) The bramble calls his kingship a shadow! So that, by his own confession, emptiness is his name and rule; and, by saying “my” shadow, the impudence of a letter-preacher is also set forth. The vine will not rule over the trees. No; that it will not. Therefore recourse must be had to the bramble; so that, where the thorn of universal redemption will not do, the bramble of letter-Calvinism must needs sway the sceptre. "Anointed brambles," to use Huntington's expression, "rule bravely." The non-elect think the bramble a topping king. "Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou and reign over us." No sooner said than accepted; therefore the brambled shadow is the notable screen that the letter-Christians, and their parson, the bramble, are entertaining themselves with Sunday after Sunday. “Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou and reign over us."

Letter-preachers, Satanically transformed pastors, (2 Cor. xi. 14,) "blind watchmen, shepherds that cannot understand, greedy dogs, and ravening wolves in sheep's clothing," are the honourable appellations these fillers of pulpits, these sour, raw, and wild fruit bearers, these branches never engrafted into Christ, the head-Calvinist preachers, are branded by, among the royal family of God's elect.

Aaron's rod budded! That showed God had transfused life into it. As for the fruit of Christ's branches, living and full of sap, the squeezing hand of afflictions, as in a wine fat, presses out the juice thereof; "The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." (Hosea xiv. 7.)

I say, once for all, that the grand designation under which all nonelect letter-Calvinists come, is, that there is no sap in them from the Vine, Christ.

Look at Aaron's rod! "And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron, for the house of Levi, was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." (Num. xvii. 8.) The almond tree, as one said, is the emblem of destruction. (Jer. i.; Eccles. xii. 5.) Aaron's rod that budded was, in future times, kept beyond "the second veil,” in “the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all." (Heb. ix. 3, 4.) Every rod that buds, every branch that is eternally grafted on that fair tree, the Lord Jesus Christ, "fairer than the sons of men," ," has been first made to bud with almonds, under the destruction from "the schoolmaster, the law," who first whips every one all to pieces, who is afterwards bound up again by the good Samaritan, the Lord Jesus. That is the secret whereby first the branches of Christ afterwards become, through grace, what they do. For first having become "lost," they are actually afterwards "found." Not found or lost either as the evangelical clergy of the church of England are, by letter-knowledge, or by that letter mass of ice, "Scott's Bible," or such like; for, as one said, "A natural man might have written all Scott's Bible." But the elect branches having been supernaturally lost, are supernaturally found. Not like the dissenting ministers, who go tick-tick about these things, like a clock, having been wound up to do so by the corruptible hand of the dead, and blind, and letter-academy tutors, or of their own brains. No; the branches of Christ have been killed, and lost, and found, and made alive again by the power of God alone; not by God and Co.; not God and a Sunday school, where nearly always false doctrine, or, at least, educational (!) Christianity is abominably taught. "Fear toward God is taught by the precept of men." Isa. xxix. 13.) O horrible times!

[ocr errors]

Every rod that buds almonds is to be laid up in "the holiest of all," and in "the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold." Its neighbour in the holiest tabernacle is “the golden censer,' from whence alone the living and spiritual incense is offered. The companions of the budded rod in the gold-encircled and covenanted ark, are "the golden pot that had manna," &c. (See Heb. ix. 3, 4, &c.) Truly "the cherubims of glory shadow over" where such divine realities are laid up. (Heb. ix. 5.)

Thus, the budding and almond-yielding rods of life, the type, perhaps, as I have said, of having died spiritually under the law, are infallibly brought to and infallibly received by Christ. After having been received by Christ from the hands of his Father's law, the, branches of Christ are, by him, sooner or later, drenched with life As I said at the commencement, if you take a knife and slip off part of any vine branch in this natural world, you may see the shoot teems with sap. And again, once for all, I declare, in my poor opinion, that the radical fault of all non-elect head-Calvinists and letter-Christians is, that there is no sap in them. Such branches are gathered and taken away. As Huntington quotes and says of each such a one, "Bind him hand and foot, and take him away," &c. Such sapless branches are gathered by letter-preachers, and by letter-churches, and are by them called Christians! Well, well, it is to be so.

Even many of the elect think much more highly of themselves than they ought to think. As it is written, "Because thou sayest I am rich

« PreviousContinue »