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The Present Position, the Prospect, and the Privilege of the
True Church of Christ.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke xxi. 28.)
CITIZENS OF ZION, AND HEIRS OF IMMORTAL GLORY :Tue precious words of our adorable Lord,,come him; but he overcame at the last.' as recorded above, have been much im- | Therefore, 'He is returned unto Jerusapressed upon my mind: they appear to (lem with mercies ;' and these mercies he me to shew us where the church of Christ shewed unto his disciples immediately pow is—the circumstances in which our after his resurrection. For when the gospel Zion now stands : and while they disciples were met together, Jesus came plainly declare our present position; they , and stood in their midst, and he said, also reveal unto us the glorious prospect • Peace be unto you.' And then he of a better state: and teach us how to shewed unto them his hands, and his behave ourselves during the remainder side; and he breathed on them, and said, of that period through which we are • Receive ye the Holy Ghost.' Here was passing ; and of which the Lord has life, pardon, peace, and almighty power. spoken by Zechariah ; .It shall come to These are the mercies Jesus brings unto pass in that day, that the light shall not his beloved spouse: in these shall his be clear nor dark; but it shall be one house be built up; the line of the gospel day which shall be known to the Lord ; shall reach from Calvary's cross to the not day nor night; but it shall come to immortal crown; and he will everlastpass that at evening time it shall be ingly comfort Zion, by taking her home light. This wondrous prophecy, with- to dwell with him in endless bliss and out controversy, has direct reference to holy joy. the nature and extent of the Gospel ! But, stop! What is our present Day; which reaches from the destruction position? When these things begin of the Old, to the erection of the New to come to pass. What things are Jerusalem : hence, in the first of these? Please to note distinctly, that Zechariah, the Lord Christ speaks of in the twenty-fourth of Matthew ; in the his Mediatorial work of the building thirteenth of Mark; and in the twenty. up of his church of the unbroken line first of Luke; our Lord delivers a fourof the gospel ministry-of the happy fold prophesy. First, he declares the consequences resulting from that minis- / destruction of Jerusalem : that is past. try-and of the glorious termination of Then, secondly, he speaks of the terrible it, in one sentence, and says, (Zech. I persecutions and calamities that should i. 16, 17.) first, of his finished work in attend the setting up, and progress of redemption, 'I am returned to Jerusalem the gospel kingdom : and I feel I may with mercies.' Yes; bless his precious say, that is also past: for “ Except the name; he was like a certain householder Lord had shortened those days, no flesh who planted a vineyard, and hedged it should be saved ; but for the elect's sake, round about, and digged a wine.press in WHOM HE HATH CHOSEN, he hath it, and built a tower, and let it out to shortened those days :' and, they shall husbandmen, and went into a far | never come again. Then, thirdly, he country: - it was a long, a heavy, a speaks of things that shall accompany solemn journey the Redeemer took, when the approaching end of the gospel dishe went forth for the salvation of his pensation : and, fourthly, he shews us people. He went where his beloved what shall be seen, and done, when God bride never will go. He went to the end makes up his last account. of the law-to the end of sin, and finished! There are three things, then, that I it—to the end of divine wrath, and drank would briefly allude to at this time. the last drop of it to the bottom of First, to shew how certain it does hell, and endured it-and down to the appear from the Word of God, and from iron grave of death, and slept in it. But the circumstances in which Zion now did either one of them overcome him ? I stands, that the end of the gospel kingAye ; what shall I say ?-Yes, in one dom is fast approaching. sense, they did ; and in another, and / Secondly, what shall be seen and done better sense, THEY DID NOT : for he was in the closing up of this dispensation. our spiritual GAD: 'A troop did over- ! And, thirdly, the soul-comforting ex
VOL. III.-- Part XXVII.-- April.
hortation here given to the house of rendered the hill of songs,' and 'hot Israel, When these things begin to come wrath.' The final judgment will be the to pass, then look up, and lift up your hill of songs to the church of Christ ; for heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.' | there she will stand and shout victory
I. Then, the approaching dissolu- through the blood of the Lamb; but it tion of the gospel kingdon. Look at will be the pouring out of hot wrath upon the thirteenth of Mark, from verses 24 the wicked. Well, towards this Haran to 27; and then look at the signs of the the gospel church is travelling: but she times in which we now live.
has lighted upon a certain place, because But in those days, after that tribula- the sun is darkened. tion.' What tribulation ? I believe the The gospel church, like Jacob; has tribulation there spoken of, is that flood taken the stones—(the great doctrines of persecution through which the church of grace, electing love, redeeming blood, has passed. It was that fourth beast and justifying righteousness,) and she Daniel speaks of (chap. vii. 7.) as being has laid her head upon them; and is * dreadful and terrible, and strong ex. almost, if not quite, fallen asleep. Well; ceedingly : it had great iron teeth : it dark and dismal as the place might have devoured, and it did break in pieces.' been to Jacob, it was a safe place : he Many thousands (says an ancient father,) had a pleasant dream there : he had a have felt the dreadful sharpness of the revelation of Christ there : and he had devil's iron teeth. He crushed and some most glorious promises there. Yes! ground poor saints to powder. But, the and though he awoke up affrighted, and devil is, in a measure, jaw locked now; said, “How dreadful is this place ! yet, he cannot, nor never will again be able he sustained no injury at all. Neither to bite and devour the saints as he has am I going to say, that because the sun done; growl, and foam, and trample with is darkened in our gospel horizon, that his feet he may ; but bite and devour the church is in any danger! Oh, no! again, in flood and fire, he never will. Resting by faith, simply and entirely, Well, then,
through the power of the Holy Ghost in • In those days. What days ? Oh, their hearts, upon the precious blood of Zion! they are the very days in which Christ for cleansing, and upon his perfect we live: these gospel days in which the righteousness, for justification, true beLord is fast gathering up the remnant of lievers are now and then indulged with his heritage, so that all Israel may be some heavenly dreams ; some sweet saved. What then is said of these days ? views of Christ ; and occasional applicaFirst The sun shall be darkened. Itions of the precious promises. And believe this is figurative language. Truly, what more is said of Jacob? Why, after I say, the sun is darkened. By the sun, that solemn wrestling he had with • THE I understand the glorious Person of the MAN whose name is the Branch ;' after Lord Jesus Christ; and the blazing Jacob had seen God face to face, and glories of the gospel ; both of which are found his life preserved :' why then he solemnly darkened in these days. ' passed over Peniel, and the sun rose
There are two things said of Jacob, upon him.' Even so; low as the church which have forcibly arrested my may sink ; yet Christ will come down mind ; I fully believe Jacob, from and deliver her; we shall see him face to first to last, to be a typical character face; and then of the true church of Christ. Now, it is first said of Jacob, that when he went out
“O may I live to reach that place," from Beersheha (Genesis xxviii. 10.) and the sun shall no more go down; for the went towards Haran, he lighted upon a Lord shall be thine everlasting light; certain place, and tarried there all night, and the days of Zion's mourning shall because the sun was set; and he took be ended." stones and put them for his pillow, and There are three things especially which laid down to sleep. This is where the declare, in a great measure, that the sun gospel church of Christ now is! She is is darkened. They are these : gone out from Beer-sheba; that is, she is 1. There is an almost general concome forth out of the womb of the cove-formity to the fashions and maxims of nant-out of the bowels of Christ-out the world among even the real and de. of Zion's birth chamber, and she is go- cided followers of the truth. Go where ing towards Haran. Now Haran may be you will, you shall see that the proud spirit of the world has thrown itself over | really is. But, "THE MORNING COMthe church; and she has lost her deep ETH! And, then, blessed be our God, humility, her peculiarity, her conformity there shall be no mistake : she shall be to the image of him she professes to serve. fair as the moon' - (chaste, and clean
2. There is a solemn lack of a genuine escaped from all her pollutions-) Clear devotedness of heart, of spirituality of as the sun'-(manifestly justified and soul, and of close living to God. There is glorified in the Lord her righteousness,) an emptiness, a 'want of decision and and terrible as an army with banners :' savour in the churches of Jesus Christ. being brought together into one perfect It is but here and there you can see the and glorious body, and made more than man has been with Jesus, and is really conqueror through him that loved her. anointed of the Holy Ghost. In the inner "O glorious hour! O blest abode! house, in Solomon's temple, there were She shall be near, and like her God ! three things— cherubims, palm trees, And flesh and sin no more control and open flowers' The church in this The sacred pleasures of her soul !" day, has got her cherubims, (her living III. ' And the stars of heaven shall creatures,) but the palm trees, (spiritual fall. The ministers of Jesus Christ, I uprightness), and the open flowers, think, are here intended. But stop : (spiritual beauty and a rich perfume) do not be alarmed; nor think I am going are sadly deficient.
to declare that these shall fall into per3. Thousands of real believers are dition; or, scandalously fall into open walking in darkness, and mourning an sins. No: God forbid ! But, I do absent Lord. How applicable is the solemnly believe, they have fallen into question of the weeping prophet to the much weakness, obscurity, and confusion. present aspect of the church! • Ask ye Travel through the churches of this now, wherefore do I see every man with highly favoured land, and answer me his hands on his loins, as a woman in these two questions :travail, and all faces are turned into First-What is it, that is preached ? paleness ?
Is it the glorious gospel of the everThe sun is not entirely hidden! Some blessed God? Does the Father's everblessed rays occasionally burst through lasting love — the Son's most precious the clouds : but Zion knows that it is a blood the Holy Ghost's quickening, day that's neither light nor dark. humbling, anointing, sanctifying opera
II. The moon shall not give her tions, evidently, manifestatively, and light.' It is true, there have been, and powerfully burn out and blaze forth from still are some precious things put forth the ministry ? Alas! I say—(let men by the moon. The gospel church, by deceive themselves as they may,) IT DOES the power of the Holy Ghost, has con- NOT! When the true nature of the tinued to send forth some faithful men, gospel kingdom; and the genuine proas ministers of Christ; and she has con-perties of the gospel ministry were retinued to give birth to some precious vealed unto John in the Isle of Patmos, sons, of whom it shall be said “This man he saw the ministry as combining at was born in her :' but oh, what strife, least a four-fold variety. This is rewhat divisions, what lamentable incon- presented under the figure of four beasts, sistencies every where abound among (or living creatures). The first has the the churches of Jesus Christ! Truly, face of a lion, to denote boldness and the moon does not give her light! We dignity; the second has the face of a must divide that question in Sol. Song calf, to denote cleanness and nourishvi. 10; into two parts. The first part is ment; the third has the face of a man, to applicable to Zion now—Who is sħe that denote wisdom and sympathy; the fourth Looketh forth ?? Ah, who is she, indeed! has the face of an eagle, to denote keenIt is a difficult matter to tell whether she ness, deep penetration, and a soaring into be the spouse of Christ, or the Mother of the very heights of heavenly mysteries. Harlots. We get but such very indis- They are said too, to have eyes before tinct views of her : she seems to be and behind ; they look backward into hardly awake; it is as though she was the eternal counsels and covenant tranafraid to open the door and come forth; sactions; they look forward to the comshe only looketh forth : and her night ing glories of the eternal world. They clothes are so wrapped around her, that are said to have six wings — spiritual you seem puzzled to declare who she knowledge-living faith-gospel hope
heavenly zeal — fervent prayer -- and as alist, and free-will boaster, whether burning love. Without these faces-parson or people; and spread devastation these eyes, and these wings, no man can and woe, ruin and distress over them; really glorify God, nor be truly useful to but amidst it all there stands the poor the church of Christ in the gospel minis-child of God on the Rock of eternal try.
ages, all the firmer for sustaining the Into what, say you, have these stars shock; yes; all hell hath tried, doth try, fallen ?-Into pride, envy, and jealousy; and will try, to shake the house on the into an exaltation of self, instead of an rock, but that soul eternally founded exaltation of Christ; into a theoretical, there, can never be divided from it, by all philosophical, and in some cases,) a the powers or devices of earth or hell. whimsical abstract system, instead of From the foundation of the world has being baptised by the Holy Ghost into the devil tried to sever the soul of the the inexhaustible fulness of the everlast- christian from this sure resting place; ing gospel.
but has he succeeded ? No. Will he And it must be so; until the Spirit ever succeed? Never. For the soul on shall be poured upon us from on high the rock, never was, or ever can be, apart
IV. • The powers of hearen are shaken.'| from it. Satan, hell, unbelief, doubts There appears no invincible power in and fears, may harrass the soul, and either law or gospel : sinners are not bring it into the greatest perplexity and alarmed; saints are not made to rejoice. darkness. But has the devil gained an adOf course, there are partial exceptions to vantage ? No. There he stands, looking these statements; but in the main, this (if I may use the expression,) a bigger fool is the present paralyzed condition of the than ever for his pains, whilst the chris. professing church of Christ.
tian is driven by the very means, closer I must close without one word upon to his strong hold. But must not the the exhortation- When these things soul have a very particular founding on begin to come to pass, then LOOK UP; this rock, to make it so invulnerable to and lift up your heads; for your redemp- every shock? Ah! believer, it has a tion draweth nigh' In other words founding so particular that no chance • Let not your hearts be troubled ; ye traveller slips on this rock to gain a believe in God, believe also in me. În founding; so particular, that no freemy Father's house are many mansions : will gentleman or lady can so twist their if it were not so, I would have told you.' beautiful plans, manage their calm and (John xiv.)
smooth tempers, hatch up their well arReader! - for the present, farewell. ranged prayers, subdue the rankling enRead Revelations iïi, 18 to 22. Great mity of their hearts, and mould their grace be with thee, prays thine to serve nature to such a degree as they think in the gospel,
C. W. B. to fit for heaven. Oh no! it is a height
never to be climbed, as each soul on it
knows by experience; a height that The House Built upon the Rock.
none ever reach who are not carried
there; so particular a founding too, that « And the floods came, and the winds blew, no proud pharisee, with his beautiful and and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for carefully whitewashed outside, long it was founded on a rock.” Matt. vii. 25.
I prayers, &c., can manage to gain a foot
nra How very little in our country do we ing on this eternal and solid foundation know naturally of winds and floods, but of the christian. But is there any prinin those parts of the world where the ciple inherent, in the nature of the beviolence of the storm uproots the stoutest liever, different from others, that he trees of the forest; and the inundations should be meritoriously placed on this of their mighty rivers, sweep houses rock? In no wise. United to it from from their foundations, something more | before the foundation of the world, by is known of these things naturally; and the free, sovereign act of God's electing how illustrative are they of the winds | love ; there he stands, proving by every and floods of persecution and trial en-day's experience, that it is the eternal countered by every child of God in his arm of Omnipotence holds him in the path to the kingdom. Hurricanes and way; and not a single syllable dare he floods that will surely uproot every boast of keeping himself there, whatever hypocrite, false professor, head notion- those creeds of devilism, (huddled into
and centreing in one focus,) called by ceitful above all things, and desperately our respectable people of the day, wicked, how would their language be . man's free-will,' may say to the con- altered, and instead of charging infinite trary. No: the believer can rest satisfied wisdom with injustice, would shrink back with no standing short of one ordered in astonishment, that he should have in the covenant; for whatever falls short taken a single one. But when does the of this is delusion, and no safety at all. sovereignty of God shine forth in the There is a vast difference between free- mind of the christian in all its resplend. will and human merit, creeping appa. ant beauty, and experimental reality? rently, on the outside of this rock, so as Why, when a humble hope springs up to look very much (to the superficial ob- in the mind that they are in this rock ; server, at least,) as if they were really and be that hope faint or weak, the effect founded there, and a free-grace soul, produced in the minds of the living timid and trembling, hidden in the secret family of God is this : “if ever he hath cleft of that rock the life of that be- chosen me, that choice must be a soveliever is so peculiarly hidden, that but reign one;' for with such a nature as seldom can he see he possesses one single they feel within them, it is absolutely spark of it; no wonder then that these impossible that he should have chosen in this cleft are so hidden from the them becase they were better than others, world, and not one atom less so, from or for any other reason than because he professors ; many of whom hate the very would; and they are compelled to acquit name of God's covenant; but that soul's God of injustice, had he, in his purpose, salvation that was eternally contrived, left them to perish in their sins. eternally secured, eternally ratified, and Another striking idea of safety prewitnessed in heaven by the Eternal sented to the mind is this—that they are Three that bare record there, and sealed preserved in this rock; and who can ever and stamped with the very blood of God, fathom the bottom of those words must be sure, and shall be sure. Not Preserved in Christ Jesus.' What daily, only do they hate the name of covenant, hourly, momentarily preservations are but what a stumbling-block is that word we continually experiencing from the • election !' They would erase it from the hands of a covenant God! And when Book of God if they could; it is what privileged to look back on that path they never can make out. Ah, but I'll through which we have been led, are we tell you who can, and it is my firm be- not compelled to exclaim with the poet, lief that many a parson standing in the
L “Who could hold me up but thou ?” pulpit, preaching election as a doctrine only, knows far less, and can make far | And when reviewing that part of our less out of it, than the poor timid creature life when we were dead in sin, in how that has got no further in experience many instances can those of the profane than- On, if I only knew I was per- world, view the preserving care of God sonally interested in Christ ! Free-over them in those daring acts of outwill professor! Were you ever here? rage, scenes of riot, and debauchery, the No. That question, with a heart ache very remembrance of which, strikes a for its companion, is peculiar to the in-chill into the bosom of the poor soul, habitants of the rock.
who, when dead in sin, was the deliberAnother part of the distinguishing ate perpetrator of them ; that man must truth of God, that the devil, in league see the hand of God in preserving him. with professors, have been shouldering, But are those from the profane world with a view to overturn, for years, is the the only people who can look back on sovereignty of God in the choice of his that part of their life and view the hand people. Ah! that one taken, and an- of a covenant God towards them? Ah! other left' religion they cannot bear. no; the poor white-washed pharisee, with And what do they call the infinite Je- an outside daubed and plastered over. hovah for this sovereign and free act ? with his good works, exactly the number Why, ‘An unjust God;' as though jus- of duties to still Mr. Conscience; and tice itself could ever be unjust. Ah! when that fidgety old gentleman was a could they once feel the abominable little easy, all would do very nicely inworkings of their corrupt nature, and side ; and with such a pretty outside know something of the plague of that dress as free-will, what professor could heart they carry about with them, de. ever fail of gaining a name amongst hy,