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" This is My Beloved."
BY PASTOR T. J. BRISTOW, OF WOODFORD, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE.
JESUS CHRIST is to the believer superlatively lovely. On his brow majestic sweetness sits enthroned; the crown of thorns is a crown of glory, and that countenance covered o'er with shame and spitting is sunset to behold. Red like the rose, he is pure as the lily. There are many things transcendently beautiful in nature of which he is the rightful Lord, but they are nothing in comparison with him, and even when the glories of nature are used to set forth his glory, nature, to make his beauties known, must mingle colours not her own. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun, but the Sun of righteousness emits brighter beams of radiancy, and souls whose darkness has been dispersed by the bright shining of this sun know its intrinsic value. The stars, the beauties of the night, are sweet to behold, but lovelier is the bright and morning star rising upon the soul's night, the harbinger of the day of grace; sweeter is Bethlehem's star, which as a celestial guide led the magi to the place where Jesus was cradled. The cedar, in its spreading pride standing through successive ages, is but a faint emblem of the Goodly Cedar sheltering his loved ones from the burning heat of justice. The rocks, standing firm against the waves, as they dart into harmless spray against them are not so firm and lasting as he, who is the Rock of ages, the rock on which his church is built, the rock on which the believer finds a secure foundation for the superstructure of his hope. The rivers rushing on to their home in the ocean are not so refreshing as the river of life flowing from the river side of the Martyr of Calvary; are not so beautiful as he who is both the source and the river, the fountain and the stream of life.
The ocean in all its fulness is but a faint emblem of Jesus, who is the ocean of love divine without a bottom or a shore. The flowers that bloom are not to be compared to him for fragrance or for beauty, for his name is as ointment poured forth; he is fairer than the children of men.
O believer, turn away from all created things to Jesus, or if thou must gaze upon them let them be used as a mirror by thee to see thy Lord's face therein. In him thou findest rest and satisfaction; he is never to thee a broken cistern, a dried up well, or an exhausted fountain.
Look then to him, live upon him, live near to him, tell him thy griefs, praise him with loudest songs, for thou canst only be happy as thou livest near to Jesus. Seek to walk like him, to imbibe his spirit, to carry thy cross after him, and bye and bye thou shalt be crowned by him.
“For he has fixed the happy day
When the last tear shall wet our eyes,
And fill us with divine surprise,
And feel his infinite embrace.
For this with patience would I wait,
I mount to my celestial seat,
"A Poor Sinful Creature."
Such was the utterance of a man concerning himself on his being made inwardly sensible of his condition as a sinner before God. He had had considerable experience of life among men before he came to himself, at which time he discovered with feelings of awful astonishment his deep spiritual destitution, and then, guided by the light kindling within him, he came before God with the publican's prayer trembling upon his lips as the unfeigned expression of conscious need. The mercy he sought he eventually found, and with it peace of soul, which made him feel like a new man and brought him into a new state of life, which, compared with his former life of sin and its consequent guilt and wretchedness when toiling under the law, seemed to him like heaven begun on earth. His altered state was to him as “a morning without clouds,” and the blessedness he enjoyed in the cheering beams of the divine favour was as the “clear shining after rain.” A heavenly spring time had begun in his soul, the pomegranates budded fast, and a conscious growth in spiritual fruitfulness from a holy principle of life within made him feel hopeful that, through grace, he would continue to advance unchecked in holiness of life till grace was perfected in glory. But in this he was soon disappointed. Time brought changes upon him, and around him, and into his soul's feelings. Under the force of these changes his serene experience gave place to darkness and doubt ; he found that the world, the flesh, and the devil had not lost their power over him, felt again the terrible workings of indwelling sin, with all his old modes of thinking revived in his mind, which mixed with all his religious exercises as if the old deadly leprosy of which he had been healed had broken out afresh, blasting his soul, withering his comforts, spoiling his service, and reducing him to a state as bad or worse than that from which he had been delivered. This unexpected reviving of the old man and declining of the new filled him with dismay, and made him exceedingly doubtful of himself. His condition was, in his view, altogether anomalous, and Paul's “0, wretched man that I am,” was exactly expressive of his feelings. Having not passed that way in experience heretofore he had no idea of the complex character of the real Christian, or that he could be savingly a subject of divine grace and still feel himself to be such a poor sinful creature. “If I be so, why am I thus ?” he would frequently say when speaking of himself. And it was some considerable time ere he became fully re-assured on this point. He was, spiritually, in the seventh chapter of Romans, and it was long before he got from that to be experimentally established in the eighth. During that time his doubts and conflicts were often deeply severe, he being slow to learn how “the mystery of iniquity,” which he constantly felt working within, was compatible with a spiritual knowledge of '“ the mystery of godliness” in the salvation of his soul. It proved in his case a hard lesson to learn, but under the blessed tuition of the Holy Spirit he did learn it thoroughly from God's own book and in the vital experience of his own soul. Since then he has been remarkable for two things, viz., in extol
ling the sovereign, efficacious, and ever-abounding grace of God through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, though a diligent Christian is continuing ever to speak of himself as “a poor sinful creature:
LETTERS FROM THE HEART.
MY DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIEND.-I beg that you and Mr. Cook will accept of my sincere thanks, &c.
There is one who can very richly compensate you both in a way of glorious grace for your kindness to a worthless one; and I pray my divine Lord and precious Jesus, that it may be His sweet pleasure to work the same in your mutual experience. It is, indeed, my dear friend, a glorious mercy to have an experienced knowledge of Him from whom all blessings flow. Many there are who partake largely of the gifts of Providence, but have no reverential, no spiritual, no affectionate, no adoring acquaintance with the Divine Giver. Hence the thousands of offenders who feed daily on God's rich bounties are like the lepers who, though cleansed by a miracle of power and goodness, yet returned not to give God glory. Luke xvii. No; no celebrating the God of our mercies for nether spring blessings otherwise than under the influence of upper spring communications: The effectual operations of Grace can alone move the heart truly to bless the Divine Sovereign for the gift of His Providence. At the cross the living vessels of mercy are blessedly instructed to adore the adorable Lord God, for His manifold expressions of care, forbearance, and sovereign goodness. What a richness appears in the gifts of Providence, when seen in a precious faith vision of the cross and its amazing perfections!
The heavenly light that shines in the sphere of a free and glorious salvation sheds a lustre that is quite peculiar on every other object, and clothes even dispensations that are painful to the flesh, with a divine glory.
How vast and inconceivably precious then is a large portion of the shining influences and operations of the Divine Spirit, the blessed glorifier of our everlastingly precious Jesus. I would, my dear friend, that you may be so graciously and effectually befriended as to come daily into such an experienced knowledge of your Lord's name, love, blood, righteousness, salvation, blessedness and presence, as to trust Him in the dark and sing to Him in the light.
When cast down, pray do not forget your exalted Head, your interceding High Priest, your sympathising Jesus, your unchanging Lover, your Almighty Friend ! Remember, you may take all your hard cases to Him, and expect all needed communications from Him. You know that the mercy seat is a likely place to find Him. To Him would I commend you, your dear companion, and children.
When it goes well with you, my dear friend, remember, and pray for your sincere friend,
. ROBERT BARNES. Glemsford, January 30th, 1854.
THE GOOD MAN IN LIFE_THE HAPPY MAN
IN DEATH. For many months, on our study table, has been lying a plain but most valuable book, bearing the simple title, “Letters and Poetical Pieces, by the late G. T. Congreve, of Bedworth, Warwickshire.” (London: Gadsby, George-yard, Bouverie-street.) In some of our silent seasons, we have looked into this testimony of the faith and experiences of a truly godly man; and can, with all honesty and sympathy, recommend its perusal to our readers. No spiritual and real Christian, we believe, can read this book without truly desiring to be favoured with such a measure of grace as this good man enjoyed; and from the heart breathing out the silent prayer, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Mr. J. C. Philpot has written a Preface to the book ; and before we advance into its interior (for it contains over three hundred closely printed pages), we will give a short extract from Mr. Philpot's recommendatory note, wherein is discovered the character of the man when living, and his great consolation when dying. After some pages of diffident apology for writing a Preface, Mr. Philpot says :
“Though he seemed so much, as it were, shut up in his own soul, and his thoughts and prayers, cries and tears, groans and desires, so much directed to his own spiritual walk with and before the Lord, he. was at the same time most deeply interested in the welfare of Zion, and especially of the little cause of truth at Bedworth, with which he had been so long and so closely connected. I have rarely known a man of his spirituality of mind who more prized and valued the public means of grace. Upon prayer meetings be put an especial value; and feeling the want of hymns suitable for those occasions, and having a turn for poetical composition, he composed very many for that special purpose. At spare moments from his business he was jotting down the lines which he had made, sometimes when his hands were occupied, or as he lay on his bed in the night seasons. Indeed, so earnest and zealous was he in this labour of love that, finding his eyesight failing him, and yet being unwilling to lay down his pen, he brought upon himself a most severe attack of inflammation of the eyes, by writing under a fuller and larger amount of gas-light than those tender organs could bear with impunity. But though naturally of a very weak and tender constitution, he never thought of sparing any faculty of body or soul, if he could but himself live to, and advance in others, the glory of the Lord.
“And as he lived, so he died, full of faith, hope, and love. As his. Obituary is in the Gospel Standard,' Vol. XXVII., p. 245, I shall not dwell on the parting scenes, but merely content myself with giving one or two short passages from it, just to show the blessed state of his soul on the bed of death :
“March 16th. He appeared much worse, and was thought near death. Recovering a little, he said, 'Happy living and happy dying in Christ. I would breathe my life out in Christ. My soul triumphs in Christ before I am freed from a body of sin and death. I should like to live to praise Him a little longer ; but I am willing either to live or die. I have no fears, no doubts, no suspicions. He has been a kind Friend to me, and I have been a Here weeping prevented articulation."
“After a pause, he said, “There, you can go now.
I feel I am going to
stay a little longer with you. The last moment has not come yet. I am singing “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” If I am taken off suddenly, don't grieve ; it will be a happy morning. It will be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. The moment the breath is gone, the soul is happy in the enjoyment of Christ. I feel as though I could expand my wings and fly to his arms."”.
66. They are the sweetest blessings that ever can be enjoyed. Times without number I would have given all the world to feel what I do now, but could not get it. Christ is proving now that what I have written at times has come from my heart, The bitters that are mingled in the Gospel cup give me an appetite. The bitters and sweets together make them palatable. The bitters will all be done away with soon, and give place to never-fading joys. My song will be always new. When my tongue is silent in the grave, Christ will still be my song in yonder cloud. Christ will be my song for ever. O how blessed the thought of eternity to me! There will not be any end to the joys of heaven. If millions could conceive the joys! For ever safe or for ever lost! O what a thought! But 0, what a little impression it makes on poor sinners !!”
“I have now little more to add, as I think the following letters will speak for themselves. They were written out of the fulness of a believing heart, and this will make them come home to the hearts of others. In them may be seen the varied experience of a deeply taught, highly favoured saint of God. Here may we trace faith without presumption, love without dissimulation, zeal without bitterness, faithfulness without harshness, separation from the world without pharisaism, knowledge without pride, and spiritual enjoyments without carnal selfexaltation. Here we see a sinner and yet a saint, one ever mourning yet ever rejoicing, sometimes sadly cast down and sometimes blessedly raised up; but amidst all his varied changes still fixing his eye on the same object, still pressing toward the same mark, the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. But it is not for us to praise the dead or the living. Whatever he was, he was by the grace of God. No man whom we ever knew more deeply felt or more fully acknowledged this than he. We should then do violence to his feelings, were he alive, as well as to our own, were we to drop a word in praise of the creature, though I have thought it well to point out the fruits and effects of the grace of God in him. But as the same grace which was bestowed upon him must be also put forth to bless what dropped from his pen, we shall now simply commend his letters to that sovereign, discriminating, and superabounding grace, which can make abundant use of them to the edification of the reader, and to the glory of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Triune God of Israel."
A PREACHING TOUR OF 15,000 record some particulars in reference MILES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA. I to the state of the churches, or rather
the want of churches of truth, in SYDNEY.
South Australia. MR. EDITOR,—In this, my third Having many engagements this letter, I thought of giving some de day-a church meeting to-night, a scription of Adelaide and South Aus- couple to marry, and at eleven tralia, the land of “corn and wine," o'clock I leave Sydney by steamer for but I fear that I shall not be able to Newcastle, Hinton, Morphet, Maitdo so, for I have only just time to | land, and Singleton, and to make ar