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make intercession for us ;" and who is, therefore, "able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him." "Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that hath loved us: for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
LETTER FROM THE REV. JOHN
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
WHILE arranging some old letters, I found the following from the late Rev. John Newton, addressed to me when in India; and as I deem it too valuable to be thrown aside, I herewith send you a copy for insertion in your miscellany.
A CONSTANT READER.
Dear Sir, I received the information of your arrival at Calcutta with great pleasure. I am glad my letter to Mr. V- was of service to you: he did not long survive your visit, but was removed to a better world, out of the reach of sin and sorrow. He is now one of the cloud of witnesses who surround us, though we cannot see them, and who, if we could hear them, would, I doubt not, admonish and encourage us, not to be slothful, but to be followers of them who through faith and patience already inherit the promises.
You are pleased to ask my advice. May the good Lord, who sees your situation at the moment of my writing, and in what circumstances this letter (if it reach Calcutta) may find
you, enable me to drop you a word in season! I seldom write to a friend without lifting up my heart to Him to guide my pen, and afford his presence and blessing, while my friend is reading the letter. I have been struck with an observation of Mr. Walker, of Edinburgh: he says in one of his sermons, "The Gospel is too good to be believed, and too plain to be understood." In itself it is very plain, and all the difficulty we seem to find in it, arises from our own depravity and unbelief. When the Lord is pleased to open the eyes of our minds, we see it, as we see the sun, by its own light, and need not a long train of study, nor the help of many books to satisfy us, that it is exactly suited to the wants, fears, hopes, and desires of our hearts; but without this teaching of the Holy Spirit, all our study and reading will leave us still in the dark it is hidden from the wise and prudent, (those who are so in their own sight,) but it is revealed unto babes. When we begin to feel our malady, we soon perceive that a remedy is provided, and the only one which can reach the case: if our perception of the one and the other was equally clear, the cure would be instantaneous; for the Gospel meets us without any ifs, buts, conditions, or exceptions, and says no more than "Look and live," "Believe and be saved." But this at first, seems too good news to be fully believed: this method seems too simple and easy. Like Naaman, we are entangled with vain reasonings, and think we should be better satisfied if the Lord had commanded us to do some great thing, though, at the same time, we have a distressing conviction that we really can do nothing; and although the fountain of living waters is so near to us, we are prone to hew out to ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Our Lord assures us that we must be born again : this doctrine is too plain to be understood, yet nothing can be plainer in itself. But till we actually expe
rience this new birth, we can have no real concern about it; and besides, not only Scripture, but experience and observation abundantly prove, that the life we derive from the first Adam is entirely confined to the present world, limited within the sphere of time and sense, and can look no further; so that until we receive a new spiritual life from the Second Adam, we cannot so much as see, much less possess, the kingdom of God. If we have a sense of the evil of sin; if we see an excellence in the Saviour, and in his way of salvation; if such a prayer as Psalm cvi. 4, 8, suits us; if we feel that the world is too poor and too scanty to satisfy us, and that He who made us can alone fill the vast capacity of the soul, formed originally for himself;—I say, if we have these views and these feelings, how did we acquire them? Certainly they are not born with us, for we can remember the time when we had them not: nor could we reason ourselves into them, nor receive them from other men, because the bent of their reasonings and our own by nature, were directly contrary. They, and perhaps we likewise, deemed them folly and enthusiasm: many, yea the most, think them so still; and so should we, had we been left to ourselves. The true answer is in John i. 13. If we now seek the Lord, it is because He first found us when we sought him not. The operations of the Holy Spirit, like those of the wind, are invisible, and can only be known by their effects. But these effects cannot be produced by any other cause. If therefore we are partakers of this life of the Spirit, the proof is no less obvious than that we are alive in the flesh. If a man can see, and hear, and walk, we do not ask if he be alive: a dead man can do none of these things; and we are quite dead to all spiritual feelings and perceptions, till quickened by His grace. Yet here again, not content with the plain fact, we are apt to speculate, and give way
to vain reasonings: we must know the bow and the why. We are wiser in natural things: when we see a child lately born, we admit the fact, without puzzling ourselves with an inquiry how it was formed in the womb. I write this, because I suppose you will meet at Calcutta (indeed where are they not to be found?) with sceptics and reasoners, who will try to dispute you out of your spiritual senses, and require you to prove to them, and to render plain to their apprehensions, things which, for want of proper faculties, they are not capable of receiving. You may as soon explain what you mean by sunshine, or the colours of the rainbow, to a man born blind. The Gospel is not contrary to reason: it is the most rational thing in the world to believe what God declares, but it is contrary to our depraved reasoning. I suppose when you were a child you received many things for which you were too young to give any reason, but that your parents told you so now this child-like simplicity, to sit at the Lord's feet, and believe what he makes known to us in his word, without asking needless questions, is the happy thriving temper to which the promises are made. (Ps. xxv. 9, 11; Prov. iii. 5, 6.) He will teach you gradually as you are able to bear, and your path will be like the light, which increaseth from the dawn to the perfect day. I advise you not to enter the lists with the disputers of this world: they cannot understand you till they stand upon your ground: keep them close to the written word, and the test of experience. Ask them if they are happy upon their own principles? And if they are honest, I doubt not but they will answer, No. But besides the arts of sceptics, you will have to withstand the spirit of the world; and, unless we dare to be singular, a sense of religion will make us rather uncomfortable than otherwise. I would not plead for a needless, scrupulous singularity: Christians, like other people, have
callings and relations in life, which they should endeavour to fill up with propriety: nor does the Gospel require us to be either churls or clowns; it inculcates a spirit of love, peace, and benevolence, well suited to gain the good will and esteem of our fellow-creatures. (Phil. iv. 8.) But experience will always verify our Lord's aphorism, "No man can serve two masters." The general maxims, customs, pursuits, and amusements of the world must be avoided, yea renounced. Two gates and two roads are open before us; one we must choose-(I trust you have made the right choice already),-but we cannot walk in both. The blessings of the Gospel are in themselves free, without money, price, or desert on our part, like the light, air, or rain; yet in another sense they may cost us dear, for unless we deny ourselves, and be ready to give up every thing when put in competition with the pearl of great price, we can neither honour, nor long maintain, our religious profession. What the world calls pleasure, is unworthy of a Christian's attention. Interest, and even sometimes character, must be hazarded: if we do not count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and the exercise of a good conscience, if we are not willing to endure the cross, and despise the shame, the world, sooner or later, will either bribe or terrify us out of the path of peace. So long as we hesitate whether we shall obey God or man, when we find it impossible to please both, we shall, at the best, be like a man who walks with a thorn in his foot: our progress will be slow, and every step painful. Temptations of this sort will occur sometimes, to evidence our sincerity, both to ourselves and others: the difficulty is chiefly at the first outset. It is best to break with the world (where a compliance would be sinful) openly and at once. But it is my hope and prayer that you may be upright and determined in your purpose; and that looking CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 343.
unto Jesus as your strength and pattern, who humbled himself to a low estate, and bore the cross, shame, and curse for us, your heart will be enlarged by love, gratitude, and hope, so that you may run in the way of his commandments. Many will affect to pity you, to smile or rail at you; but depend upon it they will secretly respect you: the men of the world cannot help doing so, if they see your profession consistent, and all of a piece throughout; whereas they soon see through a half professor: and the Lord whom you serve has all hearts in his hand, and will make your way prosperous. He will shew himself strong in behalf of those who put their trust in him.
I shall not apologize for the length or freedom of my letter, because I believe you will kindly accept it as a token of my regard. I pray the Lord to guide and bless you, and remain, &c.
REPLY TO OBJECTIONS TO THE SABBATH.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I LAMENT to learn how prevalent have of late become those erroneous and injurious, but by no means novel opinions which regard the Christian Sabbath as merely an ecclesiastical and not a Divine institution; so that the many injunctions and encouragements to the observation of the seventh day, to be found in the Old Testament, become inapplicable to the first day, which from the times of the Apostles has been consecrated by Christians. The fallacy of this notion has been so often shewn, that I will not pretend to add any thing to the many able discussions extant on the subject. But unhappily the majority of readers do not weigh, and are perhaps not acquainted with, the real argument; so that they are easily led astray with the first objection that is presented to their 3 G
notice. For the sake of such, permit me to recapitulate the following brief considerations.
In the first place, it should be always remembered that the reason of the institution still exists. "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it he had -rested from all his works which God had created and made." In these words we clearly discover the object of the institution. By the terms "blessed and sanctified," must surely be understood that it was appointed as a day of peculiar blessing to man, as well as that it was to be kept by him in a peculiar manner holy. But how was a particular day to be kept holy in paradise, where unholiness had no place! In no other way surely, than by suspending even lawful earthly employments, and spending the hours in communion with the Almighty Father; in meditating upon his attributes, as manifested by his wonderful and beautiful creation; in lifting up the heart in gratitude to the bounteous Giver of all good; and in more diligently devoting every faculty of the mind and affection of the heart to his service. Without this blessed institution, man, even in paradise, might have been too much engrossed with the objects of sense; his love might have become faint, and his faith feeble, The Sabbath then was instituted " as a means of preserving in man a due sense of his relation with God." In a state of innocence God saw that the consecration of one day in seven was necessary, at least proper, for this purpose; and the day after which his wonderful creation was completed was doubtless selected as leading the mind more directly to the contemplation of the power, wisdom, and goodness therein displayed, and impressing it with the dependence of all creatures upon him. There might also be a secondary object, as appears from the words of the Fourth Commandment; namely, relaxation from labour, both to man and beast. Most
wise and gracious was the appointment every way. How delightful must it have been for our first parents to have anticipated, during their six days' constant though not oppressive toil, the delightful rest of the seventh; when they might hold undisturbed communion with that Being whom they then loved with all their heart and soul and strength: and on that sacred day, "how sweet in concert to adore their heavenly Father; to cultivate in each other every holy affection; to discourse together of his love, his wisdom, and his power: and having thus in the appointed way procured fresh spiritual blessings from on high, how cheerfully would they address themselves to their weekly employments. Such being the object of the Sabbath, and such its advantages, when duly observed, the reason of the institution still exists; and, instead of having lost its force, is more cogent than at first, on account of our unhappy alienation from God and must continue in force so long as man exists in this mortal state.
The ground upon which it is alleged that the observance of the Sabbath is not binding on Christians, is, that it is one of those ceremonial observances which are superseded by the Gospel. But besides the different origin of the Sabbath and the Mosaic ritual, there is an essential difference in the nature of the respective appointments. The Jewish dispensation was one of types and signs, of which the antitypes and things signified are found in the Christian dispensation. Thus the Paschal Lamb was a type of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; the high priest was a type of Christ in his mediatorial character. His entering into that part of the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, with the blood of a sacrifice, was a type of our Saviour entering into heaven, after having by the sacrifice of himself obtained eternal redemption for us. These things being merely types and signs,
of which we have the substance and signification in the Gospel, it follows that they are done away. The ceremonies, which were intended to prefigure the substantial blessings of the Gospel, necessarily gave way when those blessings appeared in their own likeness. The reason for the observance ceased, and therefore the observance itself ceased. But very different is the case of the institution of the Sabbath. We find the commandment to keep it holy amongst those which teach man his duty towards God and his neighbour. There is not one of the other nine commandments which is not held to be of perpetual and universal obligation; and it can only proceed from want of a due estimate of the objects and advantages of the Sabbath, that this, the fourth commandment, delivered by God himself, should have been held to have lost its force under the Christian dispensation. The object for which it was instituted has not yet been accomplished; the type has not yet met with its antitype: for it is a type of the rest which remaineth for the people of God; and each revolving Sabbath is a pledge and earnest of an eternal Sabbath above. But it is objected that the Sabbath is actually abolished; that by the practice of Christians from the Apostles' time to the present, the seventh day has not been kept holy, and therefore that the Divine institution has been done away with. But though the day has been changed, the essence of the institution remains. The seventh day, when set apart by God, commemorated the greatest event which then concerned mankind, the corruption of God's wonderful creation; but a far more interesting event, the resurrection of our Saviour from the dead, which completed man's redemption, was ample ground for a change of the day. By this change too, the spirit of the institution was preserved; for as the object of it was "to preserve in man a due sense of his relation with God,"
that object could no longer be attained by merely contemplating the Deity as the Creator and Upholder of the universe; but in looking up to him through Jesus Christ, as reconciled to sinful man by the atonement of his Son. The institution of the Sabbath being thus in its nature durable, so far as respects man's present state of existence, and the practice of the Apostles and early Christians sufficiently warranting the change of day; it surely becomes the duty of every servant of God to abstain as carefully from the violation of this as any other commandment. T. W. H.
COLLECTS APPENDED TO THE PRAYER-BOOK.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
APPENDED to a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, of the date of 1639, I find the following Collects, which, in beautiful comprehensiveness of style, as well as in evangelical simplicity and genuine devotional feeling, so much resemble our inimitable liturgical collects, that I should be glad to see them transferred to your pages; and should any "true worshipper" be thereby assisted in his approaches to the Throne of Almighty Grace, their insertion will not be unattended with benefit. Probably some of your readers can inform me when and by whom they were composed. They are entitled, "Certain godly Prayers for certain Days." S. N.