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Christian Reader--we beseech you, ,haps it was you that done it ; you, and pray for us : and may the richest bless- no one beside. I knew a minister who said ings crown thy brow, is the prayer of that he always had twenty or thirty sermons Your poor Servant,
in his drawer, well arranged and prepared
before hand. But he generally put his net THE EDITOR.
on a “line of other men's line of things, made The “ Watchman on the Walls” has ready to his hand ;” and fished in the same favoured us with a deeply interesting place where other good fishermen for years article on “ THE GOSPEL FISHERY”
Ryo had fished before him. Ah! John Berridge which we here subjoin
(and many others,) fished 14 years with such nets and caught nothing! Master Fishermen,
this seems like a net of your own inventionToiling all night in the Gospel Fishery.
earthly invention. “The kingdom of heaven
| is like a net." Ah! a net from heaven, made “ The kingdom of heaven is like a net cast ready in heaven, and let down from heaven into the sea." But Simon said, Master, we into your heart, and drawn by the Father, have toiled all the night, and have taken no- through the fisherman as an instrument, thing: nevertheless at thy command, we and the living soul must come to Jesus. will let down the net.” Luke v. 5. Breth. That is the right net, and the right time and ren, our Vessel is but a little one, and but a place, when Jesus speaks in your soul, then few poor fishermen on board. The night is you let the net down right where you are, dark, and the seas are boisterous, and the and where you see and feel yourself, on the winds seem contrary ; the skies are lowering right side of the ship. Right down where and stormy. But if Jesus be with us in the you are, and at the command of Jesus, not Vessel, we may smile at the storm, though he only the winds and waves obey him, but the may seem to sleep ; for “ the winds and the fishes at the bottom of the sea. That is the waves obey him." And you know that we way to go a fishing, my dear lads, at Jesus' have been many a long dark night at sea. command; he knows where the right kind of and in such hurricanes and storms, that we fish are, and he will draw all them unto him have cried out “ Master, carest thou not that at the last day; and they shall swim in love we perish ?" And he has arose and rebuked everlasting the boundless glory sea, and the winds, and we have had a great calm. I never thirst any more. am sure that one little word from Jesus can
But when these living fish are taken out hush the wildest storm, and bring such a of the dead sea, their natural element, they peace and calm into the troubled soul. that cast up mire and dirt. Jiving, quickened nothing can trouble us. Not long ago I was
souls, brought out of their natural element, in such a windy storin and tempest that I
to the world; 0, how they begin to thirst, like thought the deep would have swallowed me
me fish out of water, under a fiery, burning law, up. And oh the sweet words that he dropped
they struggle and dash about, and think they into my heart, they were these-" mighty to
shall soon be where there is not a drop of any
ì kind of water to drink or cool them, even in save !" The storm ceased instantly, and I
hell. But when they are put into living gospel was as calm as a soft suminer's evening, and
waters, “ the river of the water of life," O, my fears, like midnight phantoms, Aed at
how sweetly they drink and swim in love, and the rising of the sun.
if they shall never die. Come, then, my poor brother fishermen, if
Some years ago, when I went a fishing, I Jesus be with us in the Vessel, let us launch
was very unskilful, I was a whole week preout into the deep, and at his command, let
paring a net, got my text all ready days down the net on the right side of the ship, before
| before I went out, squared and lined my net and we shall take some fish. Ah! but, say in every way, as I thought, suitable, all well you, I have been toiling all the long, dark | arranged: 0, thought I, now I shall have night, and taken nothing. Very likely : some them, because I have seen some fine large poor fishermen labour and toil many years, | fish in the troubled sea. O, thought I, this and take nothing, and are ready to give it | text will suit you, and that text will suit up. But I say, have you had the right net ? | another, and I should like to catch such and and was it let down on the right side of the
such a fish with golden scales. Bless your ship? Why, say you, I prepared a good net. | heart, will you believe it? soon as I hurled I selected a text; I well digested it in my my net into the water, the very noise of it mind ; put down my heads and divisions ; I scared them. Bless you, they were soon and I well arranged the subject; yea, I had frightened away. Then I toiled all night; ah, several sermons well arranged before hand; night after night, and caught nothing. Well, and I preached audibly and loud, and went thought I, I will give up fishing, it is labour through all iny well-arranged ideas; and in vain : but when the poor fool was inmany said it was an excellent sermon, and I structed to put the net that was put into his thought so too. Did you, indeed? Ah! per- | hand right down in the place where he was,
on the right side of the ship, I caught several severely, and cried out vehemently, and said, drags of nice fish, some of them are now in “ Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou the gospel waters of grace, truth, and life, heardest my voice," "salvation is of the Lord.” and some swimming in the soft sea of glory. So if the monster of the deep swallows any of
However, as I have said before, there were the Lord's people with the hook in them, some good fish that struggled out of the net, they must be drawn out, and the monster and were frightened far away into some very must give up his prey. deep holes, as they might have been slightly Next, there is the deep hole of despair, hooked, or entangled, by some good fisher when some large fish are harpooned, or men before; so then I was obliged to launch hooked, they immediately plunge down to out into the deep again, deeper still, and the bottom of the sea, to the deepest hole take to hook and line, the long threefold cord they can find ; and some souls thus pierced that is not quickly broken ; and no one ever with sharp conviction, dash down into deeper found the end yet, nor ever will, for it is sins than they have been in before, endea“from everlasting to everlasting,' and ever-vouring to drown conviction, and all thoughts lasting love is a line without end, and the of God, and when they find that they cannot word is “ with everlasting mercies will I get the hook out, skulk into some dark hole, gather thee.” So we went to work with this and even seek death, because life is a burden line, and some good hooks, baited with such to them, and sink into sullen desperation, things as we know the fish would snap at; and yield to death, seeking death and the for once they get them into their mouths it grave, but cannot find it, saying, O! that I was as sweet as honey; but when they felt had never been born! The hook and arrows the hook in their belly it was sharp and of conviction under the law, “work in them bitter, and they could not get the hooks out. all manner of concupiscence," and even wrath But now the true fishermen with the endless against God! But even from this deep hole line of God's love and mercy do fish in deep they are drawn by the almighty arm of blood holes of the dark sea ; with the sharp hooks and love, though in this state they cannot beof God's word, and pierce and enter deep into lieve that God can love them; they see the hearts and consciences of poor lost | themselves such monsters of iniquity, that sinners in the deepest haunts and holes of they think he can as soon love the devil, as sin.
he can love them: but all this is in love, First, the line and hook is sent down into though the poor soul cannot believe it : but the hole of sin, in which Adam and his the hook does not loose its hold, the arrows children fell, to let them know that however | stick fast in the flesh and enter into the soul, deep Adam fell, the love of God in Christ is and omnipotent love draws the line ; the · much deeper ; all manner of sin and blas Father draws them, and they are brought to phemy, through Christ's death, sufferings, Jesus, with higher songs of love than those and blood, shall be forgiven unto the sons of who were only angled out of shallower men : for God's love in Christ is deeper than waters : for their sins, yea, deeper than hell ; deeper than
" From all their afflictions, that hell that sin and satan hath made in their
God's glory shall spring, souls.
And the deeper their sorrows, Second, with this line and hook they are
The louder they'l sing." to fish deep into backsliders' dark holes; at Next there is the hypocrites' and pharisees' whatever distance they may be run from deep hole: a few have been brought out of God; and some such may be gone so far, this hole, and according to the scriptures, and so deep in this hole of the seas, that they but a very few. Paul and Nicodemus were may by some be thought to be gone past all brought out of that hole to be sure, but you recovery, out of sight, and almost out of mind will not read of many more such in the with us. But there is many a good fish that scriptures. There are more brought up from struggle out of the net, and chosen fish too. the deep kaunts of profane sinners, publicans David was down deep in backsliders' hole, and harlots, then there are from pharisees' covered with mud and filth, but the hook and hole. “ Publicans and harlots shall enter into long line, “ thou art the man !" found him ; the kingdom of heaven, before them.” There and with the hook in his heart he cried out appear to be more in a hopeless state in this aloud, so that he was heard from the deeps of deep place than in any other hole, except the sea, “ Out of the deeps cried I, and thou the hole of the “great transgression,” “ the heard my voice.” Poor, rebellious, backsliding sin unto eternal death.” Jonah ran quite away, and went down to the For indeed this deep hole of the false deepest hole, yea, into the very belly of hell; church, with her numerous swarms of proand he feared that death and hell had quite fessors of our day, is the very whirlpool to swallowed him up, and that he was in the very hell! A whore, is a deep ditch, the abhorred paws and jaws of the devil. But the hook of the Lord, shall fall therein; “ for her darts was felt in his heart, and when the long line, strike through his liver, as a bird hasteneth the cord of love, was drawn, he felt the pain to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for
his life. Her house is the way to bell, going of the Lord, while a true minister of Christ's down to the chambers of death:” not only the gospel, is almost compelled to run for his Church of Rome, but all grades and denomi- life, from persecution, as poor Elijah did ; nations of false churches, and poor duped and if God was not to feed them with a cake professors are caught and elain by her sorcery, of bread, in a special providential manner, and witchcraft, free-will : and as Mr. James as he did Elijah, they would be ready to lay OSBOURN stated, free-will can only grow, down under a tree, in some wood, and die. and have a lasting abode in a seared con- But the God-sent prophets, the ministers of science, seared by the devil's red hot iron. Jesus, have bread to eat, which they “know
Well, my dear friends, this wide world of nothing of.” Christ's ministers who minissin is the great sea, the troubled sea, casting ter in life and Spirit, have the Spirit of up mire and dirt, and you must know that in Christ in them, and the testimony of Jesus this wide sea, there are two kinds or com- (in their souls) is the spirit of prophecy, panies of fishermen, and two kinds of nets; and all Jezebel's prophets hate them, beChrist's net, and the devil's net; the king-cause the spirit of Jesus in them compels dom of heaven or the gospel, is as a net, and them to prophecy against these false prophets the kingdom of hell or error is as a net. who speak lies in the name of the Lord. Christ Jesus has his fishermen, and the devil But now ye poor fishermen of Jesus, how has his fishermen,: there is a good net, and much have you of this world's portion and an evil net : and as fishes are taken in an evil | fat things ? Nothing to spare, say you ; I net, and as the bird is caught in a snare, so am kept alive, but the Lord will not pamper are the sons of men snared in an evil time." my flesh, lest I grow wanton and kick, nor Eccles. ix. 12. And my brother fishermen, I give me my portion all in this life. That is “this is an evil time, and the days are evil.” true, dear fishermen, the Lord knows your And you may be sure that the devil, the old needs for the poor flesh, but your portion is dragon of the deep, has a large company of in him, he will provide you some bread, fish, his fishermen, and with an evil net, a spuri- and honey-comb, sufficient for your need, ous false gospel; and tens of thousands of and with honey-comb and his presence, you the sons of men, are snared and caught in will have a sweet meal, though you may have this evil net, by the flatterers, who Hatter little or no money in your pocket. You and deceive multitudes of poor souls; some know that when they came to Jesus and his deceiving; others being deceived by them; disciples, for taxes, the whole company could for they who are not Christ's gospel fisher- not make up half-a-crown. Then said Jesus men, are but flatterers, as John Bunyan calls to Peter, “cast a hook into the sea," and up them. “The wicked desireth the net of an came the fish with a piece of money in its evil man.” Prov. xii. 12. And truly in these mouth, just enough to pay the tax; well, evil days, they have their desire, and appear enough is enough, at the time it is needed. to be willingly ignorant of the glorious Jesus knows your needs, and your times are gospel of Christ, and multitudes upon mul- in his hands; go on ye poor fishermen of titudes are snared and taken, and snared in Jesus, spread your nets, cast in your hook satan's net in this evil time, for his fishermen at Jesus' command, and when he knows that have spread their wide drag net over the you are driven to your wit's end, and really whole sea. The prophet Habakkuk stood want a little piece of money, the fish will astonished at this great fishery of the old come up on your hook, with a piece of dragon and his company. “They make men| money in its mouth, enough for your need. as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things; I have been in great straits, and sometimes they take up all of them with their angle, a fish has come up with a piece of money in they catch them in their net, and gather its mouth, many times it has been so with them in their drag, therefore they rejoice me; I had one come up with five sovereigns and are glad.” (Hab. i. 15.) An! they do in its mouth! and one time when I thought rejoice and are glad, and laugh too at us I must have been wrecked altogether, as sure poor fishermen. A free-will minister once as you live, a fish came up with twenty sneeringly and esultingly said to me, “look pounds in its mouth! It made me silent at your numbers, and compare them with with wonder, which at last broke out in praise our's, what have you done comparatively to his name, and I have now need to look to with us?” I said, Sir, your numbers speak Jesus, and wait his command. nothing in your favor, but rather the con- Now kind readers, if you think the Vessel trary. It is said, “narrow is the way, and is in Jesus' fishery, and the men on board, few they be that' find it” and again, “ fear the fishermen of Jesus, I trust they will not not little flock, for it is your father's good put down their lines in vain, seeing the pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Vessel is in debt, and the under-captain in These net draggers are all fattening at distress, for if the last month's line brought Jezebel's table. This woman Jezebel, is nothing up; may this bring up a thousand a type of the false church, who will raise little fish, with six-pences in their mouths. tens of thousands to feed false prophets, and
A WATCHMAN ON THE WALLS. lying ministers, who speak lies in the name' December 1, 1816.
Mr. James Osbourn,
I was told that some of his men would be FROM BALTIMORE IN NORTH AMERICA. | killed, and that some of the enemy would
be killed—and if he was asked if that was This dear and faithful servant of Jesus his object, he would reply, “No: victory Christ, whose life and soul experience is is my object!” So the gospel of God; by recorded in a work entitled “The Lawful it victory is aimed at and obtained. By Captive Delivered," is now in England. the illustration of the attributes of God, He has preached in several Chapels in and in the carrying of them out, God London, where the truth as it is in Christ will secure his own glory. If men beis maintained, and is highly esteemed as lieve and are saved, the glory of God is a bold, faithful labourer, and talented promoted ; and if men perish in their minister of the true circumcision. We sins, still the glory of God is promoted. have had the pleasure of conversing with | The mercy of God was never displayed him: and also of perusing some of his in the awakening, converting, or saving works, which as yet are not generally of a poor sinner at the expense of divine known in England; he is blessed with justice. God's justice was never dispowers of mind peculiarly adapted for played but with the approbation of diving into “the deep things of God;" | divine mercy. his whole heart is in the work to which Again, we will observe, that as this is the Lord has called him; his public mi- the object and aim of God, this glorious nistrations are sober, comprehensive, and gospel of the Lord is like himself; that striking. We trust his labours in Eng is to say, it is immutable, it undergoes land may be owned of God.
no sort of alteration whatever. It is like On Lord's day, December 20, 1846, its divine contriver-always the same. he preached, at the Surrey Tabernacle, It retains all its oriental glories untarfor Mr. JAMES WELLS, both morning nished; and it is contended for by those and evening. The following is a brief who love and fear God. It is distinoutline of the evening discourse. The guished from every other system among text was Romans i. 16.
men ; and the people of God have no “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of desire to be saved by any other system. Christ : for it is the power of God unto sal-Grace standing simply and alone is God. vation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew like, but when it is coupled with human first, and also to the Greek.”
merits, it then becomes dwarfish and In the morning we observed five dis- puny. The carnal mind is hostile to the tinct things, and closed our discourse gospel; and the gospel, from the begin. under the fifth head. We there pointed ing down to the forty-sixth year of the out the disparity that existed between nineteenth century, has been subject to the gospel of Christ and the law; the the scorn and the reproach of the igno. one being a dispensation of death, the rant and the unbelieving. Is this reother a dispensation of life and peace. proach confined to the ungodly and We now come to the sixth general head openly profane? No. It is mostly to be of our discourse.
found in men who call themselves gosIn the first place, however, we are topellers, and profess a marked regard to understand that the gospel is a system the gospel of God. There is not one of pure clemency, and that it was in particle of truth in all that such men say, vented by eternal deity to accomplish but it is a perfect subversion of the gosthe ends he had in view from everlasting: pel of the living God. Thus, then, the and it has not failed in one of these ob- gospel is subject to reproach. We see jectsHis own declarative glory, the the crowds, the thousands, the millions, exaltation of his character, and the set- who are expecting to go to heaven while ting forth of his own glorious name for they are living in hostility to the gospel. the sons of men, were the grand objects We may as well expect to go to heaven designed to be accomplished by the gos- without a Saviour, as to go to heaven pel. All must be made subservient to without a gospel. I stand as secure in the declarative glory of God. His prime this assertion as the Rock of Gibraltar, and main end in the creation of the and nothing can move me. I pity that world, and in the creation of man, is a man in my very soul, who thinks he point inferior to the declarative glory of can manage his affairs in such a manner God. A humane general taking the lead as to escape scorn and reproach. If we of his army into a field of battle, if hel are informed that we must be saved by Christ alone, it is no less true that we never been born, than make such statemust be reproached and persecuted, even ments. If this be not the case, six and till we get to the very gates of heaven. four does not make ten. If this be the “ These things have I spoken unto you,” case, we might just as well have presaith Christ, “ that in me ye might have vented Christ from coming into the peace. In the world ye shall have tribu. world to die. Not a soul has ever been latior ; but be of good cheer ; I have coaxed into heaven. Men are sunk too overcome the world.”
low to be coaxed there. “ Lazarus, come The general notion that is held re-forth !” This is peremptory. “ And specting the gospel, as sure as God is in Lazarus came forth, bound hand and heaven, it is not true. If the gospel is foot.” God spake to us from Mount not in a general way, brought before peo- Sinai, and his dear Son speaks to us ple in so many words, it is brought be- from Mount Calvary. God is cleared fore them as a fact, that the gospel is from the injustice of making man and only made use of by the eternal founder leaving him to perish. The Holy Ghost of it as an experiment. This is an in- is just showed to leeward, (a technical fernal outrage upon the Creator-a libel term used at sea) and men have only to upon his word. Some men naturally fall in with these views. If I am right, as seem to have scientific minds, and they God liveth, they are wrong; and if they are continually finding something out; are right, I am one of the worst wretches but prudence naturally suggests to them, out of hell. However, I am content to before they bring their discoveries to risk the safety of my position. light, that they should perform the ex- ! In the gospel of the Son of God there periment, to see if it answers the in- is no coadjuter. Under the Levitical tended purpose. Does God act so? If law it was forbidden to plough with an he does, in what way is it so used ? Why ox and an ass together; it was forbidden it is said that God lays his plans before to sow together seeds of various kindsthe sons of men, and coaxes them into a to mix a covenant of grace with a covebelief of them. The formation of them nant of works. The gospel has no more is such that surely men cannot be dis- respect for men's good works, than they pleased with them. Such is the way in have themselves for their bad works. As which the gospel is spoken of. If this God liveth, our bad works are as fit to be true, we stand precisely as devils commend us as our good works; for stand-without a hope in the world. But God will reject both. Therefore, let us blessed be God, this is not trueit is as sweep away all these cobwebs from the false as hell. There is nothing of the gospel; then we shall see that there is sort in the gospel-nothing so despotic, a foundation laid for poor sinners to as we observed in the morning. It is hope upon. Nothing is more plain than truly the breath of God in the field of the doctrine established by the apostle death. It is a rich source of fragrancy Paul: “Not by deeds of righteousness and perfume. Men are taken sometimes which we have done ; (there is no more by surprise, and they are surprised that salvation for us in these, than there is such a remedy, such a gospel should be for devils;) but according (oh, this provided, as to turn them from “the blessed according) to his riches in glory power of sin and satan unto God." Those by Christ Jesus.” On no other principle men, who thus represent the gospel as will God save man; and not a single an experiment, must do so in order to soul is saved on this plan, but by his carry out the principles of their first no-own consent; he is heartily willing to tions respecting it. The salvation of be saved in God's own way. man depend upon human contingencies! Another trait in the gospel is the perIf this be the case, there is no more hope petuity of it. It is not that which is to for us. There is no contingency. It is continue for a short season, but “from 1 will and they shall. Therefore it is the rising of the sun unto the going not true what we hear of the gospel, at down of the same, the name of the least, in my country, where it is stated, Lord shall be great among the Gentiles.” that unless we raise more money, and“ From the rising of the sun unto the more preachers, and send them to Hin- going down of the same.” That is, from doo or some other such place, men will the east unto the west. God says, my continue to go on as they are now going name shall be great. What is the name on, dropping into hell, and so on. It lof God? Grace is God's name; Mercy would have been better that you had is another name ; Love is another name :