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vious character and conduct led her to fear that he was only feigning penitence in order to plunder the premises undisturbed. She stayed till a low voice seemed to say, “What dost thou here, Elijah ?" then went and took her place in the chapel. Soon the door opened again very gently, and Deacon Guwergis entered; but how changed! His gun and dagger were laid aside; the folds of his turban had fallen over his forehead; his hands were raised to his face, and the big tears fell in silence; he sank into the nearest seat, and laid his head upon the desk. After Mr. Stoddard had pronounced the blessing, Miss Fiske requested Mr. Stocking to see Deacon Guwergis. He took him to his study, and then in bitterness of soul the recent blasphemer cried out, “Oh, my sins! my sins ! they are higher than the mountains of Jeloo !" “ Yes,” said Mr. Stocking, “but if the fires of hell could be put out, you would not be troubled, would
you ?” The strong man now bowed down in his agony, exclaiming, “Šir, even if there was no hell, I could not bear this load of sin ; I could not live as I have lived."
That night he could not sleep. In the morning Miss Fiske begged Mr. Stoddard to see him, and after a short interview he returned, telling her that the dreaded Guwergis was sitting at the feet of Jesus. My great sins and my great Saviour!” was all that he could say. He was subdued and humble, and before noon left for his mountain home, saying, as he left, “I must tell my friends and neighbours of sin and of Jesus." Yet he trembled in view of his own weakness, and the temptations that might befall him. Nothing was heard from him for two weeks, when Priest Eshoo was sent to the village, and found him in his own house, telling his friends of sin and of Jesus. He had erected the family altar, and at that moment was surrounded by a company weeping for their sins. So changed was his whole character, and so earnest were his exhortations, that for a time some looked on him as insane ; but the sight of his meekness and forgiving love under despiteful usage amazed them, and gave them an idea of vital piety they never had before. He returned to Oroomiah, bringing with him his wife, another child, and brother, and soon found his way to Miss Fiske's room. As he opened the door she stood on the opposite side, but the tears were in his eyes, and, extending his hand as he approached, he said, "I know you did not believe me, but you will
, believe me, will you not ?" And she did believe him, and wondered at her own want of faith. In a few days he was able to tell Mr. Stocking, with holy joy, that two of his brothers were anxiously seeking the way of life.
THE OPPOSITION OF THE WORLD TO THE TRUTH.
ACTs xix. 24–34. This history illustrates the true reasons of the world's opposition to God's truth now, by showing that whenever anything comes between its interest and advantage, though it may be the cause of truth, it immediately rises up to defend that interest. So long as religion does not interfere with its gains it remains quiet, and even goes so far as to countenance it; but, when the worship of the true God causes the silver shrines to be less sought after, then it makes “no small stir,” but calls together its votaries
Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.” The zeal of these Ephesians for the temple of their goddess was secondary to the danger their occupation was in of being set at nought. And how often do we find self-interest the ruling passion of many
and also of those who make a profession of religion, but who do not like to sacrifice anything for Christ, thus fulfilling His own words: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon." There are many like the young man in the Gospel, who would go away “exceeding sorrowful” if they were told to "sell all that they have ;” and, though outwardly not far from the kingdom of God, are yet just far enough to be cast, with the unprofitable servant, into outer darkness. So then the world opposes the truth because those who hold and believe the truth testify against the world that its deeds are evil. It opposes it because the truth enlightens men's eyes to see the utter worthlessness of all the world calls good, and it opposes it because the truth maketh free, and delivers from the hard bondage and cruel tasks which the world imposes on those who are its siaves, placing such a line of demarcation between the follower of Christ and the worldling, as cannot fail to prove a barrier to either attempting to pursue
the same course as the other, if each be true to their own principles. “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,” says our blessed Saviour. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
free." am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
PLAIN REMARKS ON PORTIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. “ To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever
believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." ---Acts x. 43. All the prophets were inspired by the Holy Ghost; yet they were not sinless men, for they often confessed their sins, and prayed for pardon. They all spoke highly of "Him," not of themselves. Those favoured by the Holy Spirit extol Christ. The holy prophets never contradicted themselves in what they testified of “ Him." What a blessed “Him!” How the prophets admired, loved, and adored "Him!” They testified of His divinity, humanity; of His coming from heaven to earth; of His work, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and of His second coming. Nothing was ever said by any one against the Lord Jesus Christ while under the gracious inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The internal teaching of the Holy and blessed Spirit in the souls of God's people agrees with what the prophets said of *' Him." Christ cannot be extolled too highly for those quickened sinners who know what it is to be "brought low," and have had their many sins pardoned “through His
The pardon of their sins was purposed, purchased, and promised. Sin must be known as a reality in the soul before a felt pardon can be realized. But what a precious Gospel! “Whosoever believeth in Him,” &c.; not whosoever worketh, prayeth, preacheth, weepeth, striveth, but“ believeth in Him." How much there is included in this believing in Him! The new birth precedes this believing in Him. To believe in God's
unspeakable gift” to the saving of the soul, faith is given to all who are "ordained to eternal life.” A sinner must receive a gracious gift from God before he will or can believe savingly in God's “unspeakable gift." Can a natural man produce in his heart spiritual faith? No. Faith not only credits what God saith, but it cleaves to Him who hath said it. No man is a true believer till it be given him through grace to believe, and that on Christ's behalf. Not one sinner who has “the faith of God's elect” in his heart will taste the second death ; but all who live and die without it will not have eternal life; for it is written, “He that believeth not shall be damned."
“I will feed the flock of slaughter.”—ZECH. xi. 7. What, slaughtered sheep need feeding! Who can feed such ? « The good Shepherd.” Slaughtering work comes before feeding work. Sheep have to be brought to the slaughter-house for the purpose of being slaughtered. There they are killed, cut up, or cut open. Jesus" led as a lamb to the slaughter." The sword of justice slaughtered Him. His people, when brought to feel as Paul did, as stated in Romans vii. 9, " When the commandinent came, sin revived, and I died.” Here he was in the slaughter-house, slaughtered by the holy law of God. After this slaughtering work what an appetite was created in him by the Holy Spirit for the blessed food which the good Shepherd feeds such with! Dear man, he seemed to be full when he said, “I have all and abound” (Phil. iv. 18). He was fed by no stinting hand.
“ The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will shew them
His covenant."-PSALM xxv. 14. This covenant is not seen unless the Lord shows it. The covenant of grace is not graciously shown to any but those who are eternally interested in it. Oh, this everlasting covenant! What love in God the Father to determine, purpose, and choose to save in His dear Son a multitude of sinners, which no men can number!
This was not done in haste as some agreements or bargains are made. How solemn the counsel! How gloriously the attributes and perfections of the high and mighty One shine forth in connexion with the covenant of grace! It was at this counsel the Church was given to the Lord Jesus Christ. Did He accept of the gift willingly? Oh, yes. “ His delights were with the sons of men (Prov. viii. 31). Yet He then knew He would be hated by those with whom were His delights. It was known by the great eternal Three that man would sin. The fall did not take the Lord by surprise. Did His people's sin change the Father's mind towards them? No. Did God the Son accept of all their responsibilities? Yes. He saw they would fall, and engaged to raise them; that they would be in debt, and engaged to pay their debt; that they would be ruined, and engaged to restore them; that they would be in prison and engaged to bring them out; that they would be under the curse, and engaged to redeem them from it; that they would be naked, and engaged to clothe them; that they would be filthy, and engaged to cleanse them; that they would wander, and engaged to bring them back; that they would be in darkness, and engaged to bring them out of it; that they would be lost, and engaged to save them. • Thou holy spotless Jesus, make my heart in love with Thee, and show me that I am in the covenant of grace of which Thou art the Mediator. What a vast work Jesus undertook to do on behalf of the election of grace!” Did He break down? No. Hark! hark! hark! Ye angels of light, ye “spirits of just men made perfect,” ye who feel on the brink of destruction, ye devils in hell, even the chief of you : “It is finished.”
Did not God the Holy Spirit also engage to convince the vessels of mercy of their sins, to quicken, instruct, guide, bear witness, with the Spirit of their adoption, to make known to them the relationship which subsisted between them and God from all eternity, to comfort them in all their tribulations, to show them what they are in themselves, what Christ is to them, to reveal Christ to their souls, to open up and apply His precious truth to their understandings and hearts? Yes, the Holy Spirit knew full well that those in whom He engaged to work would in their own nature be opposed to His work; yet the foreknowledge of this did not prevent Him from undertaking to bring into spiritual life, and compel those to sigh, cry, and pray to the Lord for that salvation which He, in conjunction with God the Father and God the Son, appointed them unto. "When I said, My foot slippeth ; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.”—PSALM
xiv. 18. Here is the Lord's mercy, holding up a slipping child. How many slips during one day! Temper-slips, lip-slips, life-slips, thought-slips, and heart-slips.
Sometimes it is more than a slip, even a fall. Mercy holds up the slipping one.
How indebted the children of God are to mercy. Mercy raises up, and holds up. Some of the people of God have been enabled to walk without an open fall; such as would have attracted the notice of the world ; but who among them have gone through the journey of life, even after being born again of the Spirit, without slipping? The people of the world take notice of the open falls of the Lord's people. The Lord's people themselves take notice of their inward slips, when their consciences are truly alive. Persons taught by the Holy Spirit see sin, when, where, and in what “the rest” do not discover it in.
THE WARFARE WITH THE FLESH.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly
lusts, which war against the soul.”—1 PETER . 11. The two epistles of Peter are so remarkable for brevity, simplicity, and fulness in the development of the sacred elements that characterize doctrinal, experimental, and practical religion, that may be truly designated multum in parvo. The Apostle is also very careful in drawing a line of distinction between the seeds of the first and the Second Adam ; the flesh and the Spirit; they that serve God and they that serve Him not, for, saith he, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust until the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter ü. 9). He also insists that the great doctrines of divine grace, when professedly embraced, should show forth divine effects—that
the root and offspring of the Spirit of Christ should bear corresponding fruit; and that where this fruit is wanting, there are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. The dearly beloved whom the Apostle so affectionately addresses, as strangers and pilgrims, are those who have been made partakers of the divine nature of Christ, by being “ begotten again of His abundant mercy unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible inheritance, and born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” Those who have been made acquainted with their high standing in the Lord Jesus Christ, by covenant union and covenant relationship; those who have received a most blessed and special assurance of their election of God, unto the special privileges of a glorious inheritance; those who are lively stones, built up a spiritual house upon the foundation and chief Corner-stone which is laid in Zion, which Stone is also a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence to them that stumble at the word, being
disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. And oh, what a marvellous mercy they were not all appointed to disobedience and stumbling. It is indeed a marvellous mercy, that the Lord hath set apart by covenant deed a seed to serve Him; to which seed, at the appointed time, is the glorious Gospel of the grace of God manifested, and the seed brought into visible existence in every age and generation, as strangers and pilgrims, according to the commandment of the everlasting God for the obedience of faith.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts." The request that the apostle makes of the beloved strangers and pilgrims is a very solemn one, and also a very great one; one that at first sight seems quite impracticable. The poor strangers and pilgrims know full well that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; full of carnal desires, inordinate affections, envyings, covetousness, and every other deceitful and hurtful lust, and is of the flesh fleshly. And how to abstain from possessing them seems a very difficult problem. That they are, there is no denying; and the Apostle could not mean to abstain from possessing them, which he knew to be an impossibility. But, if we call to our aid the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, we may be able to arrive at a solution of the difficulty. The great Apostle of the Gentiles exhorts to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom. xiii. 14). It is necessary to be clear upon this point, for much of our personal peace in Christ Jesus depends upon a right apprehension of the Holy Spirit's meaning of this important passage. What the Apostle intended to convey to strangers and pilgrims was, that they were to abstain from making any deliberate provision for carrying into effect, any evil inclination or lustful design, that might be conceived in the carnal mind, according to the dictates of the lust of a deceitful, wicked, carnal heart. How many poor souls have had to bless and praise our covenant God for the interposition of His divine providence, when in the very act of making provision to carry out some lustful design, and frustrating all the carefully and well-arranged plans, and at the moment the disappointment hath caused many angry and rebellious passions to arise against both the wisdom and power of God, but ultimately brought to acknowledge and admire the wonderful government of Christ in the regulation of all circumstances, both great and the most minute, to the praise and honour of His own glorious name, and to the present and eternal peace of strangers and pilgrims.
Fleshly lusts are part and parcel of the old man of sin, and are ever at enmity with the new man of grace. The opposition that is offered is so powerful, that, were it not for a far greater and more superior force to dispute their dominion, the most fatal effects of the works of the flesh would result. The Apostle Paul is very pointed upon this: I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law » (Gal. v. 16: see to end of chapter). And behold what an awful catalogue of iniquity springs out of the deceitful fleshly heart of man, and is carried into effect more or less in some or other of its various workings, if unrestrained by the power and grace of our triune Jehovah. Therefore it is clear, that it is entirely through the sin-subduing and sin-restraining