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THE EDITOR'S ADDRESS. In commencing another year's editorial work, we desire to greet our readers heartily with the Scriptural salutation, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity ;” and we are sure that, to many who read our pages, that name yields sweeter music than all the world besides, because it is pregnant with divine mercy and love, as the name God the Father gave to His beloved Son, incarnate, who, in love to fallen, sinful men, came down from on high to seek the lost sheep of His flock, and died
save His people from their sins.” To all who can adopt the language of the poet as their own, and sing
“Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God ;
Interposed His precious blood that name is above every other name, for none but He could pity and save under such circumstances, neither could any beside Him, ransom them from the hand of the enemy, heal their wounded consciences, and bind up their broken hearts.
Reader, have you heard His voice saying unto you, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”? Have you felt His constraining love drawing you to His feet, and His oil and wine flow into your bleeding breast, as He spake the words, “Thy sins are forgiven thee"? Oh, what a healing word to a troubled, contrite heart! Well may all who, by faith, have heard Him thus speak, say, “Never man spake like this Man!” Happy are they who, like Mary of old, delight to sit at His feet, and catch the gracious words which drop like honey from His sacred lips! These treasure up His sayings in their hearts, and esteem them more than their necessary food. To them He is the Bread of Life, and nothing will satisfy their hearts save fellowship with Him by faith. Changes may take place all around them, and they may feel constant changes of frames within them ; but, from the conviction that Christ is all, they never change. They are well assured, whatever be their frame of mind, that all they need or desire of God is found in His Son. They may be exercised with indwelling sin, Satan's temptations, manifold afflictions, tribulations, and crosses of a weighty kind; but these will, in due course, so work as to make them hunger and thirst for Him who is the life and health of their souls, and they will find in Him-who, as their High Priest, has been afflicted, tempted, and tried
No. 49, New SERIES, JANUARY, 1883.
in all points like unto them—“a Friend that loveth at all times, " and one who sticketh closer than a brother. Yes
“They who once His kindness prove,
Find it everlasting love." Reader, how do matters stand betwixt thee and this Friend? Have you, during the past year, known anything of His merciful kindness? Have you found Jesus to be a Friend in times of need ? and do you still feel it to be a privilege that you can at times go to His mercy-seat with your sins, sorrows, and heavy burdens? He is a true, sympathizing Friend, and all who trust in Him shall find Him such. Also, He is able to save to the uttermost, and faithful to fulfil His every word of promise. It is as true now as in the days when the words were first uttered, that “Jesus, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” We trust many of our readers, in looking back upon
year just passed away, can, like the Psalmist, bear record to the honour of that name they love, and say,
6. Thou hast been my help ;” and we desire that the remembrance of His mercy may produce humility, contrition, and confidence in all of us who can sing, in spirit
6. Thus far my God has led me on,
And made His truth and mercy known.' And, while our sins, shortcomings, backslidings, and unfruitfulness in the past fill us with shame and self-loathing, may we again find the remedy for our wounds and sores in the fountain for sin and uncleanness; and, as we sit beneath the shadow of Him who once hung upon the cross, and read His covenant love in all His dealings with us, may we, with gratitude for the past, and in hope as to the future, “thank God, and take courage.
In noticing some of the chief events which have transpired in connection with our national welfare, we feel bound to say that God has graciously tempered His judgments with mercy; for, while His hand has been heavy upon some parts, where storms and floods have caused much loss and suffering to many, yet we
ve cause for thankfulness that the harvest was not spoiled, and the sufferings of the poor especially, not greatly aggravated by such a calamity. Again, thoug’ we never wish to be found going hand in hand with those who delight in war, yet we may justly esteem it a mercy that our army was favoured with success in Egypt, at the cost, to them, of so few precious lives. We hope that the future may prove that step to be ordered by the King of kings for the good of many, the peace of nations, and the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. In the professing Church
in general we see but little difference as to the state of things which have marked-of late years especially—the sad and rapid decline of the multitude from the letter of truth and the most essential and plainly-declared parts of the Christian religion found in the Bible." The growth of so-called free-thoughtwhich means, taking as much of the Bible as is relishable to the carnal mind, and rejecting all beside-has produced a state of things which promises to result in Rationalism, and that at no distant period, unless the Spirit of the Lord lift up a standard against the foe. We have just lately been appalled by reading some things boldly avowed by some of these religious freethinkers and semi-infidels, who sneer at the mention of the inspiration of the Bible, explain away original sin and the atonement of Christ, and, in their teaching, substitute for the eternal punishment of the wicked a kind of purgatory, by which means they suppose the ungodly will be fitted for a paradise of happiness. Oh, how we tremble for the rising race when we see such anti-scriptural and soul-destroying errors taught by professed ministers of the Christian religion, spread abroad by people who seem to grudge neither time nor money, but, by means of the post or by house to house distribution, assiduously disseminate the deadly poison of materialism under the garb of a profession. misnamed the Gospel of truth and peace! This kind of teaching, being so congenial to the carnal passions of human nature, is well suited to ensnare the minds of the young, and lead them astray from the good old paths of sound doctrine and Scriptural salvation, revealed and witnessed to by the Holy Ghost. Surely, when professors of the religion of Christ adopt and teach the anti-Gospel tenets of scientific materialists, it clearly proves that they at least love the darkness of agnosticism rather than the true and certain light of the truth of God.
Dear friends, again we earnestly entreat you to give these matters your most serious attention, and, for the sake of the young, the souls of your fellow-men, and the honour of God, whom you profess to love, do all in your power to spread that truth which, with the Lord's blessing, is calculated to counteract the deadly influences of those productions which are sent forth by the various enemies of the cross of Christ. With them there is much worldly wisdom and great literary influence we know, but we have a power which they care not to know, promised us by our Lord and Master as an abiding strength, which is more than all they can bring against either His truth or us, even the Holy Spirit, who is able to frustrate the tokens of the liars, and to drive the diviners mad, and whose gracious influences attending the Word of truth we teach and our feeble efforts to spread it abroad, will produce an effect which no human agency can of itself accomplish, as was
seen on the day of Pentecost, and in many other instances during the early days of the New Testament Church ; and, since we believe that “ the Lord's hand is not shortened,” may we have grace to earnestly and importunately pray that His presence and might may be afresh revealed in Zion, in the quickening of dead sinners and the reviving of lukewarm saints.
And now, dear friends, lest we should be thought tedious, we will close by saying that we once again solicit an interest in your prayers upon, and hope for your kind help in, our labours, trusting that
you will do all in your power to promote the spread of both SOWER and GLEANER, both of which we shall endeavour to make specially adapted for opposing the twin evils, Popery and Materialism, by exposing their vile deceits, and publishing that Gospel which "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
Reader, are you a stranger to Christ? Remember that all apart from Him is death; and, if you are not a violent opposer of His truth, still, without faith in Him, you are under the curse, for
“If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." To all who love and fear Him we say, “Grace be with you,' to make this New Year a happy one to you in soul matters and in life's course.
Yours to serve,
THE hope of a believer does not hang upon such an untwisted thread as “ I imagine so," or “It is likely ;” but the cable, the strong rope of our fastened anchor, is the oath and promise of Him who is eternal verity. Our salvation is fastened with God's own hand and Christ's own strength to the strong stake of God's unchangeable nature.-Rutherford.
TAKE a straight stick, and put it into the water, then it will seem crooked. Why? Because we look at it through two mediums—air and water. There lies the deception; thence it is that we cannot discern aright. Thus the proceedings of God in His justice, which in themselves are straight, without the least obliquity, seem unto us crooked. That wicked men should prosper, and good men be afflicted—that the Israelites should make the bricks, and the Egyptians dwell in the houses—that servants should ride on horseback, and princes go on footthese are things that make the Christians stagger in their judgment. And why, but because they look upon God's proceedings through a double medium of flesh and spirit ? that so all things seem to go cross, though, indeed, they go right enough.
LIFE A JOURNEY.
A SERMON BY THE LATE AUGUSTUS TOPLADY, M.A.
(SLIGHTLY ABRIDGED). “ They went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the
land of Canaan they came.”—GENESIS xii. 5. GOD, having decreed to put Abram's posterity into possession of the country, since called Palestine, commanded that patriarch to leave Chaldea, his native land, and to set out, with his family, for the place whither Providence should lead him. Abram, who had obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful, was not disobedient to the heavenly vision; but, as the inspired penman informs us, he “took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all the substance that they had gathered, and the souls (or persons which they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the land of Canaan they came.” The same unchangeable God who had promised to bring them into that land, actually brought them into the land He had promised ; and they not only set out for Canaan, but arrived safely there, according to the purpose and promise of Him who had bid them go.
Now, since Abram is distinguished in Scripture as "Father of the Faithful,” or as one whose steadfast, unsuspecting confidence in the promises was singularly eminent, and whose faith, for that reason, stands on record as a pattern to the people of Christ in all succeeding generations; since he was likewise a type of the Church collective, which consists of, and takes in, all true believers, from the beginning to the end of time; and as the land of Canaan, to which Abram travelled, is represented in Scripture as a figure of heaven, that better country to which all God's elect people are bound, and to which they shall all be led ; for these reasons we shall, I apprehend, put no force on the words of that text which stands as a motto to this essay, nor strain them beyond their due meaning, if (beside their literal signification as a history) we consider them in a spiritual light, as importing the safety of those who, in consequence of being called forth from a state of nature by converting grace, are enabled to set their faces Zionward, and enter on a journey to the kingdom of God. The chief business, therefore, of the present attempt shall be to show that, to every real Christian, the present life is only a journey to a better; and that all they who do in earnest set out for the heavenly Canaan, the Jerusalem which is above, shall certainly get safe to their journey's end, and not one of them perish by the way.