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miserable, fallen world, that it may be laid hold on by needy, perishing sinners, through the Spirit working the fear of God in their hearts, and those fruits by which they shall be recognized as Christ's at His coming, and wel. comed to the kingdom prepared for them from before the foundation of the world. Those blessed fruits are the obedience of faith, which is searchingly insisted on in the following pages, and no legal work; for, though we tremble and plead guilty every hour, we cannot but bless God at times to find He has secured the fulfilment of both sides of the covenant made with Christ and His seed; and therefore He makes them "willing in the day of His power," and obedient too. Not only does He say, “I will bring them" to Zion—to Christ-to Himself; but He says " they shall come,” and that with weeping and supplication as we know, indeed, when our sin and backslidings correct us; and, meeting with mercy, love works bitter repentance. And in the same covenant He engages --and He also fulfils it—"I will put my fear into their hearts, and they shall not depart from Me;" which we should do but for His power put forth in us. Bring in
compel them to come in.” This is the love of God (as Mr. Ford would say), not abstract but relative and effectual. “We love Him because He first loved us; and then again He graciously says, “I love them that love Me;" and may His unctuous power attend the truths of God contained in the following pages!
The Editor, though he be nothing, and feelingly so, yet desires to bear a humble testimony to the power, weight, and reality of these truths. When gathered with a few to hear the word by Mr. Ford, it was as if in the presence of God; and "how dreadful is this place!”. It wrought a cry indeed to be a doer of the word; and, though feelingly a most unprofitable hearer, he cannot but bless the Lord that He has caused the power to abide and some especial truths to dwell in the heart with increasing weight, yet not as though already attained. Having been favoured, in years past, to attend and receive the ministry of the word by that deeply taught servant of Jesus Christ, Joseph Francis Burrell, also by James Bourne and others instructed in the same clear line of spiritual teaching, and convinced of the terrible power and guilt of sin and of the coming of the of the Lord in judgment, with much fear, the Lord graciously heard his cry and surprised him with mercy. But he has had to prove these things in a
more trying and searching way, and to learn more deeply a little, a very little, of the tremendous realities which in this life none can fully know; and after many years’wandering in the wilderness, a vile sinner and transgressor against all the mercy and all the judgment the Lord has showed, sorely chastened both by outward afiliction and by inward fears, yet crying after Jesus, not without some sweet returnings of repentance and hope, he has found the Word of the Lord by this ministry, both in its searching and encouraging effect, most fitting, and many truths known and received before have appeared to be clothed with fresh power as they have been more deeply needed. The unspeakable treasure of the fear of God, and a hope in His mercy, (which at one time may have appeared small things) have become most inestimable—“a treasure to be desired,"indeed, “and oil in the dwelling of the wise." Who can estimate the value of ever so little of the true work of God, the gold which shall stand the fire ? It is Jesus Christ Himself in the heart, the Alpha and the Omega, and as He bas laid the foundation He will lay the top stone. None can exalt Him too much when He has truly humbled them.
Into His blessed hands may this little book be taken, with its readers and the Editor. He only knows what each needs, and how to bestow it, that His Word may be fulfilled—“With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
THE following brief OUTLINE OF MR. FORD'S EXPERIENCE appears to be the only special record he has left of the Lord's dealings with his soul, and it is a very simple narration of the Spirit's teaching by the word, perhaps only intended as a waymark for himself, as little more than a reference is made to many of the passages which were of such deep spiritual instruction to him, and no doubt shone with divine light and life in his soul.
In beholding such examples of the genuine effect of the grace of God, it is our mercy to lay to heart the exhortation—“Whose faith follow,” looking to the Object and the Author of it, “ the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," who has the fulness of the Spirit to bestow on all who ask Him.
Early wrought on by this blessed Spirit, Mr. Ford appears to have been kept very tender in His walk through life; yet be was so deeply sensible of his sinfulness and weakness, that he feelingly remarked that, to his mind, the Lord got more glory to Himself in preserving His people from falling than in restoring the vilest transgressors. Many such would dispute the point, but surely each one who is saved will strive to exalt Him most highly for reaching his own lost case, and debase himself as the chief of sinners.
The blessing of God, which is upon them that fear Him, often conspicuously in this life, was manifest in his steps, tenderly taken in faith and prayer. This was strikingly the case in his marriage with a godly, sorrowing follower of the Lamb, who, through much tribulation, has lately entered into rest. Also, in the management of his business, the Lord was his fear, both set before bis eyes in secret, and confessed before men; and He blessed him accordingly.
He appears to have been a very profiting hearer of the word; and the love of the truth he had received constrained him to minister, “as of the ability which God giveth.” Great natural gifts are nothing to this love, and often prove great snares to both preacher and hearers. After speak. ing in some neighbouring places as a door was opened, the same love and a desire to speak the word simply and unfettered as the Lord should lead him, prompted the opening of his own business premises for the purpose; and from about 1850 a warehouse was weekly converted into a comfortable place for meeting, where as well (as occasionally at Barking, Welwyn, Farnborough, Cranleigh, and other places, while his strength allowed), he continued to preach till his day was ended. No outward return was sought by him, but as the Lord had blessed him he desired to serve Him in love. He often remarked, that there was perhaps more true profit amongst a few gathered together, than where numbers, accommodation, or display are often more thought of-that the presence of the Lord was all ; the preacher, the place, the congregation were nothing Thus while speaking he was listening and waiting on the Lord for the Word as a needy hearer, and would sometimes ask the important question, Whose voice have you come to hear ? Mine, or the Lord's ?
When it pleased the Lord by lengthened debility to take down his earthly tabernacle, the fruits of patience and endurance, suffering according to the will of God, were manifest in him. In his case the Lord was glorified by giving him faith and trust in His almighty power, wisdom, and tender care over him, which made him very jealous
and prayerful in resorting to means to which many trust more than to the Lord, into whose hands he desired wholly to fall, whether for relief, for further suffering, or for death.
When very near his end, and unable to address his congregation, he met with them, and with spiritual vigour and delight heard a sermon read by one of them, and shortly afterwards gave the following testimony in sweet unison with the teaching he had so long walked in, “I got an anointing on Tuesday evening-I had been looking for itI was anointed with fresh oil. The words were, Thou art my hiding place, and my shield; I hope in Thy Word.' That's
's just where I am; and I would not change for a thousand worlds."
He died December 28th, 1874, at the age of 62. Nehemiah’s words, which are quoted on the titlepage, were inscribed on a stone over his grave in the cemetery at Bow, as truly applicable to him.
LINES WRITTEN BY MR. FORD
As a solemn warning when his end was near.