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knew still more intimately, revealing himself ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
to their hearts and understandings in power, BY THE Rev. J. W. Brooks,
and causing them to know, and to reverently Vicar of St. Saviour's, Retford.
fear, and to delight in him; “ for the secret of
the Lord was with them that feared him." (Continued from No. XIV.]
When God, therefore, is said to know any, it From what was adduced in the former sec- means that by his Spirit he has brought them tion, it is, I trust, evident, that to know to an intimate knowledge of himself: whereGod is no common thing; yet it will tend fore St. Paul, having asked the Galatians, more clearly to illustrate this point, if we “How is it after ye have known God,” corconsider what is implied in the Scriptures rects himself, and says, or rather after ye by God's knowing his people. In the prophet are known of God;" for it is God who must Amos the children of Israel are thus ad- shine into our hearts to give the light of the dressed : "You only have I known of all the knowledge of the glory of God in the face families of the earth.” Now, in one sense, of Jesus Christ. Thus also Jesus says, “I we may truly say, “Known unto God are all know my people, and am known of mine ;" for his works from the beginning of the world.” the two things always go together. When therefore the Lord declares that he had In order, however, that this subject may only known Israel, it is evident that he adverts be rendered practical to the reader, I will rather to the fact, that he had walked among now proceed to point out a few passages of them in power and in glory, revealing bis Scripture which shew what effects will accomways to them, and giving to them especial pany a genuine experimental knowledge of tokens of his regard. Among men we dis- God. First may be noticed, that a knowtinguish between knowing a person by sight, ledge of the holiness, majesty, and power of or by name only, and the knowing him as one God will beget a spirit of reverent godly fear who is our friend, and who makes an unre- in the heart. For it is written, " The fear of served communication of his thoughts and the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.' So sentiments to us. Thus our Lord says to intimately, indeed, is this child-like fear conhis disciples, “ Henceforth I call you not nected with it, that Isaiah, in foretelling the servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his character of the Messiah, says, “ The Spirit lord doeth : but I have called you friends ; of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord shall for all things that I have heard of my Father rest upon him ;" as if the two things were I have made known unto you." It is in this inseparable. sense, therefore, as I apprehend, that God is Love is another fruit that will necessarily said to have known Israel: and besides that proceed from this knowledge; for how can he walked among the nation in general in a we become properly acquainted with the manner in which he did not vouchsafe to re- goodness, mercy, and long-suffering of God, veal himself to any other nation, there was without having excited in us feelings of adeven among these “ a remnant” whom he miration and delight? Wherefore it is written
VOL. 1. -NO. XVI.
again, (in reference to that knowledge which this knowledge might be brought forward, God has of us, and which I have shewn to be for the Scriptures abound with them; but I inseparable from our knowing him,) “ If any must limit myself to one other. Those who man love God, the same is knon'n of him." have a saving knowledge of God and of his This love will likewise make itself manifest Christ will experience a confidence and retoward our neighbour; for it is frequently liance on the Divine protection, both as redeclared by St. John, that we do not love gards temporal and spiritual things. In the God unless we love our brethren.
time of trouble such will wait patiently upon explicitly he says, in one place, “ He that God, knowing that he can and will overrule loveth not, knoneth not God; for God is love." all for good to them that love or know him;
This last passage also implies, that where and when spiritual temptations assail, there there is a true knowledge of God, it will lead will be similar assurance with regard to the those who have it to seek to become like power of that grace which Christ hath proGod, viz. “He that loveth not, knoweth not mised to work in us. Thus it is written,God; for God is love;' for it is as much as They that know thy name will put their to say,—You forget that you will necessarily trust in thee;" and St. Paul exclaims, “I try to imitate God if you know him, and that know whom I have believed, and am peryou will seek to be changed into the same suaded that he is able to keep that which I image : God then is love; therefore you must have committed unto him against that day." bring forth the fruit of love. Again, it is Such are the effects that will proceed written, “ Be ye holy, for I am holy.” And from a proper knowledge of God; and if again, “ Be ye merciful, even as your Father these things be in us and abound, they make which is in heaven is merciful.” And there us (saith the apostle) that we shall not be are many other exhortations of a like kind barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our grounded on the assumption, that as we know Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these God, we shall aim at being conformed to things is blind-still in darkness and ignorance him.
of the only way of peace. With the last-mentioned text is so intimately It would be easy to pursue this subject connected the necessity of keeping God's com- farther, and to shew that all the unhappiness mandments, and of seeking to cleanse our- which is in the world,—all our errors and selves from every thing, in thought, word, prejudices in regard to religion, and all the and deed, that is contrary to his nature and delusive hopes which men indulge in respect expressed will, that it scarcely need be touched to their salvation, may be traced to a lack or upon separately. And yet the apostle John defectiveness of the knowledge of God: it is is so earnest on this point, as a proof of our either owing to the separating the attributes knowing him or not, that I cannot keep back of God, and dwelling too much upon one, and his words. “Hereby," he says, "we do know not sufficiently upon another; or it is owing that we know him, if we keep his command- to the not viewing God in Christ Jesus, in ments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth whom alone he is to be seen and known pronot his commandments, is a liar, and the truth perly. Many are professing to trust in his is not in him.” Again he says, “Whosoever mercy, for example, who, when his holiness abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sin- and justice are set forth, say in their hearts, neth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Depart from us ; for we desire not the St. Peter also speaks of our escaping the pollu- knowledge of thy ways.” Some, again, look tions of the world, through the knowledge of only at his justice and holiness, and forthe Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
get his covenant of mercy in Christ Jesus, And in regard to the commandments of or want that proper knowledge and underGod, it is farther important to notice, that he standing of it, which will produce peace. who knows him will submit his own judgment Some profess to know him, yet in works deny to all that he finds written in the word of him, being abominable and disobedient, and God. He will not cull out such precepts as unto every good work reprobate ; and some, please himself only, or are approved by his when they have known him, did not like to own judgment, and leave alone those which retain God in their knowledge, but have, in appear contradictory to it. This is the part like manner, turned aside to the ways
of of one who knoweth not, or in whom at least darkness. And it is not too much to say, the darkness greatly prevails; for the Spirit that when professors of religion, being in the of the Lord hath said, “ All the words of main believers even, are led, under any cirmy mouth are in righteousness; there is no- cumstances, to allow themselves in a sin, it thing froward or perverse in them : they are arises from some darkening or befooling of all plain to him that understandeth, and right their understandings,—from the want of more to them that find knowledge.”.
entirely and completely knowing Him who is Many other evidences of the possession of the light, and in whom is no darkness at all.
It is the same with those who place their af- no parsonage-house. I mention these circumstances fections on things below, and are anxious for
in order to shew the committee the inadequacy of my the enjoyments of time and sense, or are fear
income to do any thing towards obtaining some clerical
assistance, which is so imperatively called for, if we ful to trust God concerning them. All may
are to attempt any thing like the spiritual culture of traced to the want of a better knowledge of God,
etter knowledge of God, this densely populated village. The pressure of paand of a more decided spiritual illumination
rochial duty is so heavy, and so increasing, that I find of the heart. They still fancy a beauty in
it utterly impossible to attend to the numerous and
incessant applications that are made to me. Were sin to a certain extent, or a beauty in the the whole of my time devoted throughout the day world, miserably as the result always deceives simply and exclusively to the visiting of the sick, it them; and this veil, which is still partially on would be impossible even then to accomplish it. I the heart, obscures in the same proportion daily in this duty, and yet many poor suffering and
scarcely ever spend less than from six to eight hours the beauty and excellence of Christ, or makes dying creatures are comparatively left to perish for them fear entire conformity to him; whereas lack of knowledge. I have been twelve years the inthat more complete conformity is just the
cumbent, and have been compelled twice during that
time to have an assistant curate, from the very serious very thing they need. So that, if he who is
state of my liealth. For the last four years I have altogether unconverted has need to be ex
devoted the whole of my time and attention alone to horted “ to cry after knowledge, and to lift up the spiritual duties of my high and holy calling, and have his voice for understanding-to seek her as not, during that period, had scarcely a single Sabbathsilver, and search for her as for hid treasures,"
day's rest, except a few when I have been confined to
bed from sickness. I am at the present time far from so have the righteous need to seek to know
well, and feel that I require a little rest from the exhim more and more, and to pray for “ the spirit treme pressure of duty, and also some assistance to of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge
enable me to meet, in any adequate degree, the necesof him, that they may comprehend with all
sities of the people entrusted to my care.
I have two saints the height, and depth, and length, and
full services on the Sunday; a meeting of Sunday
school teachers and others on a Sunday evening; a breadth, and know the love of Christ, which lecture on the Wednesday; and, as often as I am able, passeth knowledge."
I deliver lectures in the cottages of the poor at the And sure I am, that those who have tasted
remote parts of the township. I have a Sunday
school containing 300 children, and could have double that the Lord is gracious, and have been led
the number, if we had accommodation for them. I to know him and trust in him, will “ count have a Bible and Prayer-book Society; a Religious all things but loss for the excellency of the Tract Society on the loan system, from which we knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord." And
circulate about 1,000 tracts weekly. We have subequally persuaded am I, that the names of scriptions for the Church Missionary Society, a lying
in charity for poor women, and other minor institutions, such are written in the book of life, and that established for the temporal and spiritual benefit of they cannot be moved from the hope to which my poor neighbours. The management and regulation they are begotten : “For the foundation of
of the whole devolve entirely on myself. The popuGod standeth sure, having this seal—The Lord lation is chiefly composed of the working classes, being
entirely a manufacturing district. What I particularly KNOWETH them that are his." In due time
wish from the society at present, is assistance to enable they shall be complete in him, and shall be me to engage an assistant curate : then to have three presented to him spotless, having no dark services in the Church on the Sabbath: to extend and part in them at all; they shall see him face to
multiply our pastoral visits, cottage lectures, &c. &c.
I should wish also, as soon as possible, to erect one or face, and know even as they themselves are two additional school-rooms, and to have them licensed known.
by the archbishop for divine worship. If I could get one school erected in a remote part of the village,
where there is a population of 2,000 or 3,000 people, CHURCH PASTORAL-AID SOCIETY.* it would give me an opportunity of endeavouring to The subjoined affecting appeal is from a clergyman bring under spiritual instruction a vast number of in Yorkshire :-"It has been with unfeigned satisfac
desperately wicked and profligate people, who, I am tion and pleasure that I have heard of the formation
sorry to say, regularly congregate together on the of the Pastoral-Aid Society, and of their kind and
Lord's-day to read infidel publications, and who make Christian offer to render assistance to those clergymen
no secret in publicly and privately declaring, on all who are desirous of bringing the entire population of
occasions, that they disbelieve the existence of God,
and of course deny a future state. I assure the their respective parishes under religious culture. It has long been my most anxious desire to accomplishing in the manufacturing districts to a most alarming
committee, that the principles of infidelity are spreadthis great and important object; but hitherto all my endeavours and exertions have been utterly inade
and awful extent; and I am fully persuaded, that
unless the ministers of the Establishment can work quate. The village of which I am the incumbent
out the excellent system of our beloved Church, we contains a population of about 13,000 to 15,000 souls,
can look forward among the rising generation to noand is most rapidly increasing. The only place of Worship belonging to the Establishment, is capable of thing but one mass of impiety and infidelity. I do
therefore most humbly and most earnestly request the seating about 800 persons, and is tolerably well attended, and I have no doubt would be crowded, and
Pastoral-Aid Society kindly to take into their convery soon incapable of containing the congregation,
sideration this appeal. I entreat an interest in your were it not for this circumstance,—there are no free
prayers, and most fervently do I offer my own to the sittings for the poor. The net income from every
throne of grace, that your Society may be directed and source is now from 90 to 1007. per annum. There is
guided by heavenly wisdom, that your exertions may
be crowned with great success, and that both ministers . From the Society's occasional Paper, No. I.
and people may rejoice together, that the Lord Jesus
has raised up this Society for the support and ex- his benefit. All the inestimable treasures of tension of the Established Church, at the very time
heaven are his, after this moment of life, to that she is assailed and persecuted by her enemies and oppressors."
have and to hold for ever; so that great It is needless to say how anxious the committee reason had the wise man to say, that in the felt, so to meet this appeal, as to afford to a laborious house of the righteous is much treasure. minister, under such distressing circumstances, im- | Piety, therefore, is profitable, as immediately fore, to furnish to him a clerical assistant, and should instating in wealth ; and whereas the desired further aid appear to be requisite, a lay assistant also.
fruits of profit are chiefly these,--honour, power, pleasure, safety, liberty, ease, oppor
tunity of getting knowledge, means of benefitPLEASURE AND PROFIT OF TRUE PIETY.*
ing others; all these, we shall see, do abunIr hath been ever a main obstruction to the dantly accrue from piety, and, in truth, only practice of piety, that it hath been taken for from it. no friend, or rather for an enemy, to profit; The pious man is, in truth, most honouras both unprofitable and prejudicial to its able. " Inter homines pro summo est optifollowers; and many semblances there are mus,” saith Seneca ; whom Solomon transcountenancing that opinion. For religion lated thus, -" The righteous is more excellent seemeth to smother or to slacken the industry than his neighbour." He is dignified by the and alacrity of men in following profit, many most illustrious titles—a son of God, a friend ways; by charging them to be content with and favourite to the sovereign King of the a little, and careful for nothing ; by diverting world, an heir of heaven, a denizen of the their affections and cares from worldly affairs | Jerusalem above--titles far surpassing all to matters of another nature, place, and time, those which worldly state doth assume. He prescribing, in the first place, to seek things is approved by the best and most infallible spiritual, heavenly, and future ; by disparag- judgments, wherein true honour resideth. He ing all secular wealth, as a thing, in compari- is respected by God himself, by the holy son to virtue and spiritual goods, very mean angels, by the blessed saints, by all good and and inconsiderable ; by checking greedy de- all wise persons, yea, commonly by all men; sires and aspiring thoughts after it; by de- for the effects of genuine piety are so vencrbarring the most ready ways of getting it, able and amiable, that scarce any man can do (violence, exaction, fraud, and flattery), yea, otherwise than in his heart much esteem him straitening the best ways, eager care and that worketh them. diligence; by commanding strict justice in The pious man is also the most potent man. all cases, and always taking part with con- He hath a kind of omnipotency, because he science when it clasheth with interest; by can do whatever he will, that is, what he paring away the largest uses of wealth, in its ought to do; and because the Divine power prohibition of its free enjoyment to pride or is ever ready to assist him in his pious enterpleasure ; by enjoining liberal communication prises, so that he can do all things by Christ thereof in ways of charity and mercy; by that strengtheneth him. He is able to comengaging men to expose their goods some- bat and vanquish him that is the mighty one; times to imminent hazard, sometimes to cer- to wage war with happy success against printain loss, obliging them to forsake all things, cipalities and powers. He conquereth and and to embrace poverty for its sake. But, commandeth himself, which is the bravest voiding which prejudices, I shall propose victory, and noblest empire ; he quelleth some of those innumerable advantages, by fleshly lusts, subdueth inordinate passions, considering which the immense profitableness and repelleth strong temptations. He, by his of piety will appear.
faith, overcometh the world, with a conquest Piety doth virtually comprise within it all far more glorious than ever any Alexander or other profits, serving all the designs of them Cæsar could do. He, in fine, doth perform all : whatever kind of desirable good we can the most worthy exploits, and deserveth the hope to find from any other profit, we may most honourable triumphs that man can do. be assured to enjoy from it. He that hath it The pious man, also, doth enjoy the only is ipso facto vastly rich, is entitled to immense true, pure, and durable pleasures; such pleatreasures of most precious wealth, in compa- sures as those of which the divine Psalmist rison whereto all the gold and all the jewels singeth, -" In thy presence is fulness of joy; in the world are mere baubles. He hath at thy right hand there are pleasures for everinterest in God, and can call Him his, who is more."
That all joy in believing, that gaiety the All, and in regard to whom all things ex- of hope, that incessant rejoicing in the Lord istent are less than nothing. The infinite and greatly delighting in his law, that conpower and wisdom of God belong to him, to tinual feast of a good conscience, that serving be ever, upon all fit occasions, employed for the Lord with gladness, that exceeding glad
ness with God's countenance, that comfort of
From Dr. Isaac Barrow,
the Holy Spirit, that joy unspeakable and well, “understand not judgment; but they that full of glory; the satisfaction resulting from seek the Lord understand all things.” It is the contemplation of heavenly truth, from the the pious man that employeth his mind upon sense of God's favour and the pardon of his the most proper and worthy objects, that sins, from the influence of God's grace, from knoweth things which certainly best deserve the hope and anticipation of everlasting bliss; to be known, that hath his soul enriched with these are pleasures indeed, in comparison the choicest notions; he skilleth to aim at the whereto all other pleasures are no more than best ends, and to compass them by the fittest sordid impurities, superficial touches, tran- means; he can assign to each thing its due sient flashes of delight; such as should be worth and value ; he can prosecute things by insipid and unsavoury to a rational appetite ; the best method, and order his affairs in the such as are tinctured with sourness and bit- best manner, so that he is sure not to be deterness, have painful remorses or qualms con- feated or disappointed in his endeavours, nor sequent.
to misspend his care and pains without anAll the pious man's performances of duty swerable fruit; he hath the best Master to and of devotion are full of pure satisfaction instruct him in his studies, and the best rules and delight here; they shall be rewarded to direct him in his proceedings; he cannot with perfect and endless joy hereafter. be mistaken, seeing, in his judgment and
As for safety, the pious man hath it most choice of things, he conspireth with infallible absolute and sure, he being guarded by Al- wisdom. Therefore the pious man is the exmighty power and wisdom; resting under the quisite philosopher. " The fear of the Lord, shadow of God's wings; God upholding him that is wisdom; and to depart from evil, is with his hand, ordering his steps that none of understanding. The fear of the Lord,” as is them shall slide, holding his soul in life, and said again and again in Scripture, " is the head suffering not his feet to be moved; he being, or top of wisdom. A good understanding by the grace and mercy of God, secured from have all they that keep his commandments." the assaults and impressions of all enemies, Further ; the pious man is enabled and from sin and guilt, from the devil, world, and disposed, hath the power and the heart, most flesh, from death and hell, which are to benefit and to oblige others; he doth it by most formidable, and, in effect, only dan- | his succour and assistance, by his instruction gerous enemies.
and advice, which he is ever ready to yield to As for liberty, the pious man most entirely any man upon fit occasion; he doth it by the and truly doth enjoy that; he alone is free direction and encouragement of his good exfrom captivity to that cruel tyrant Satan, from ample; he doth it by his constant and earnest the miserable slavery to sin, from the grievous prayers for all men ; he doth it by drawing dominion of lust and passion; he can do what down blessings from heaven on the place he pleaseth, having a mind to do only what where he resideth. He is, upon all accounts, is good and fit. The law he observeth is the most true, the most common benefactor to worthily called the perfect law of liberty; the mankind; all his neighbours, his country, the Lord he serveth pretendeth only to command world, are in some way or other obliged to free men and friends, "Ye are my friends," him; at least, he doeth all the good he can, said he, “if ye do whatsoever I command and in wish doth benefit all men. you; and if the Son set you free, then are you
Thus, all the fruits and consequences of free indeed.”
profit, the which engage men so eagerly to And for ease, it is he only that knoweth it, pursue it, do, in the best kind and highest having his mind exempted from the distrac- degree, result from piety, and, indeed, only tion of care, from disorder of passion, from from it. anguish of conscience, from the drudgeries and troubles of the world, from the vexations and disquiet which sin produceth. He findeth
Biography. that made good to him, which our Lord, in- THE LIFE OF THE RIGHT REV. THOMAS WILSON, D.D., viting him, did promise,—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will
“The memory of the just is blessed." The records give you rest.” He feeleth the truth of those
of men, in whom " - pure and undefiled religion" has Divine assertions, -"Thou wilt keep him in taken deep root downward, and brought much fruit perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;" upward, reflect honour on the past history of the
Church, and encourage the servants of God in all and “great peace have they which love thy after-times, Such, we believe, will be the effect of law,” and nothing shall offend them.
an acquaintance with the character of the subject of As for knowledge, the pious man alone
this memoir. doth attain it considerably, so as to become
Thomas Wilson was of a respectable family, living
at Burton, in Cheshire. He speaks of his parents as truly wise, and learned to purpose. “Evil
having been pious persons; and such we may reamen," saith the wise man himself, who knew sonably suppose they were, so far as the existence of
LORD BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN.