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venturing, it was certain in staying away; she resolved, -she went, she found grace !-May you, reader, be enabled to resolve to go to Jesus, and, throwing yourself at his feet, cry for mercy; and doubt not but that you shall touch his sceptre and live.
J. C. Banks of the Thames, Oxon.
REMISSNESS OF CHURCH-MEMBERS
IN THEIR PAYMENTS. Mr. Editor,
Being a constant reader of your useful Magazine, and often observing many important hints given, I have taken the liberty to send you a few observations, which (as I am called to an office in the church of Christ) I am often obliged painfully to make. The first is, the great remissness there is in members of churches punctually to pay their Quarterly Subcriptions. I am sorry to say, that some are two or three years in arrears !-surely, they do not consider the importance of the aninisterial character, and how needful it is that the labourer should punctually have his hire: and they would do well to consider, that there are many expences attending the carrying on the solemn worship of God, which, for the honour of religion, must be punctually paid :-many inconveniences therefore would be prevented, if those who take seats in the House of God, would be regular in paying for the same. Another difficulty often arises from persons who have taken seats, and leave them, without giving notice to the officers, whereby a quarter, and sometimes half-a-year, elapses before it is known; and probably some family may, at the same time, be waiting to be accommodated with a pew. Surely, they would not do so in civil life; and will ye be less careful of the Lord's House! Another great inconvenience often occurs, from the conduct of persons who constantly go to places where the gospel is preached, and never give one farthing. How do such ihink the minister is to be supported, and the expences paid? - Transient hearers and members little think what aching hearts Deacons and Ministers often have, through their inattention, where hearers are few and expences heavy; for they cannot see, without pain and grief, how much is wasted and spent in following the fashions and customs of a giddy world, and how reluctant persons are to give a trifle to support the Lord's worship and Ministers.
Another remark I would make is,-It is much to be wished that persons who write to Ministers would
postage; for many worthy ministers are poor, and have it not in their power to pay the postage of letters. Another difficulty I have often seen ministers brought into, by their publishing ser. înons, &c. they have been encouraged by certain individuals,
who promised much to help forward the work, and when it has coine froin the press, they have bought only one copy; so that the minister has brought a burden on himself, that he has hardly been able to support.
GOD'S UNSPEAKABLE GIFT.
2 Cor. ix. 5.-Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.
The apostle Paul had most exalted views of his Lord, and was filled with the highest ardour of affection to him, his cause, and service; he had clear views of his grace and glory, and adeep sense of his own obligations to him as his Redeemnet. So every one who has tasted that God is gracious, will have most endearing views of his Lord, and most interesting feelings in his service. Such will be disposed from the heart to say, " Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.” Whatever they receive, they look through all, and beyond all, to that divine Saviour who has made himself known as our Delia verer from the wrath to come, and who is the best Gift of God to man.
The apostle, in this chapter, is speaking of the effects of divine grace in them that believe, in leading them to commu. nicate liberally to their needy brethren. From the considerar tion of these important effects of divine grace, he is reminded of that unspeakabie Gift which God had given to the sons of men, when he gave his own Son as their Redeemer. Viewing this, therefore, as the source of every other benefit, he says, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.”
That our divine Lord well deserves the appellation here given,' The unspeakable Gift,' will appear when we consider,
1. His personal dignity. - This illustrious and exalted character as Jehovah's fellow and equal: 'I and my Father, says he, ‘are One.' • He, therefore, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; yet he hum. bled himself to be made in the likeness of men, appeared in the form of a servant, and submitted unto death, even the death of the cross. He is the Father's delight, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his Person, upholding all things by the word of his power.' This exalted Redeemer is the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. This glorious Personage was given for us; for the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. When we consider, therefore, the dignity of his character, he being divinely excellent and glorious, the giving of bim for our salvation is surely an unspeakable Gift, exceeding, in value and importance, every conception of created beings. There is no danger to them that trust in him. The work of our salvation cannot fail in such hands : He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth : and the isles shall wait for him. When he, therefore, who is God over all and blessed for ever, was delivered for our offences, the Gift is surely unspeakable.
2. When we consider our extreme necessities and utter unworthiness, Jesus must appear to be an unspeakable Gift.
We are utterly unworthy of the smallest favour from God, for we have grievously offended him, and are polluted by impurity. Such guilty creatures can have no claim upon God's favour; so that the smallest benefit they receive is totally undeserved. The sending of his Son to save such vile and polluted creatures as we are, is a display of the greatest condescension, and is a favour of incalculable value and magnitude: 'God commended his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.? Our necessities too, are extreme: we are wretched and miserable before God; we stand exposed to devouring fire and everlasting destruction; and we are utterly unable to help ourselves, or to effect our escape. When we are thus undone, how gracious is God to have had compassion on us in our lost and low estate, and to raise up for us an horn of salvation in the house of his servant David! To send One who is Almighty to rescue us from such a depth of distress and misery, is surely an unspeakable Gift of love, and of mercy.
3. When we consider what Jesus hath done for us, he must be an unspeakable Gift.
Jesus, our divine Redeemer, displayed the greatest compassion to the sons of men :-He went about continually doing good. He was reproached and persecuted, despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, The heavenly Saviour came to redeem us from iniquity, and deliver us from the wrath to come :-to accomplish his glotious purpose, he bore the wrath which we deserved';-and he was cut off-but not for himself, He redeems us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. He once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.
Vast and arduous as was his undertaking, he never relinquished it, nor thought of turning back till it was finished. His love was strong as death, which many waters could not quench, nor the floods drown. . When we contemplate what he hath done, we must say, O the height and depth, the length and breadth of the love of Christ, for it passeth knowledge! And we may well say of him who manitested such love to us, that He is an unspeakable Gift.
4. When we consider the result of his undertaking, he well deserves to be called an unspeakable Gift.
Christ Jesus hath not died in vain :-By his submitting to be laid low, he hath exalted his chosen, and brought them to the enjoyment of the divine favour. He is set forth for a propitiation for our sins, through faith in his blood. When we are brought to trust in him, our iniquity is taken away. We shall be delivered by him from all our enemies: they must conquer the Captain of our salvation before they can accomplish our destruction. He will deliver us from the wrath to come. He will bestow upon us a full pardon, and prevent us from ever coming into condemnation : and not only will he secure us from misery, but fit us for Heaven above. The work of grace which he hath begun in us, he will carry on till it be completed. His blood cleanseth from all sin; so that we shall be sanctified more and more by, him till we are made holy as God is holy. Thus we shall be meetened for the inheritance of the saints in light, and shall have an abundant entrance into that world of glory: By Him, Heaven is secured for us; and we shall be fitted for it, and introduced into it. The happiness which we shall be put in possession of in Heaven shall never have an end : through eternal ages it shall remain pure, and satisfying, and undimi. nished. He who accomplished such great things for us, must surely be an unspeakable Gift.
II. We shall now consider the gratitude of the saints for this unspeakable Gift.
They say, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift; and those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and experienced the benefits of his death; must be highly grateful for these discoveries of divine love to their souls, and these operations of divine power for their salvation.--Thanks be unto God, is their feeling and their language.
The gratitude here expressed, we view, 1. As the language and fruit of true religion in the soul.
Men in a state of nature know not what true gratitude to God means. But when they feel the effect of regenerating grace, they are truly thankful to God for his grace and mercy. They then perceive themselves to be inconceivable debtors to sovereign grace.
A deep sense of their obligations to the Most High, leads them to praise him with genuine and heartfelt gratitude. When we are influenced by divine grace, and partakers of divine love, and are living by the faith of Jesus, we shall daily walk with God, and live near to him: we shall find daily cause for grateful acknowledgement and praise; and we shall daily utter it with joy. The gift of a Saviour is the subject that always lies nearest the hearts of his people; this produces the most lively impressions on their minds, and constitutes the burden of their songs of praise. Wherever real religion exists, it will lead the soul to rejoice in this unspeak. able Gift, and to praise God on account of it, saying, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift!
2. We view the gratitude here uttered, to be expressive of the deep sense the people of God have of Jehovah's goodness in this Gift.
When we consider the situation we were in, as the children of wrath and the heirs of hell, and consider the great things God hath done for us, the more must we be convinced of the inconceivable goodness of God in what he has done. The sending his own Son for our deliverance, will appear a Gift of suclı incalculable magnitude and inconceivable value, as will beggar every description, and baffie every conception. Such a sense of God's goodness will lead the saints to praise and adore the eternal God, with deeply-affected and truly gladdened hearts. Their hearts will be full, and often too big to give utterance to what they feel. But thanks be to God for his unspeakable Gift' will often resound from their lips in elevated and melodious strains while here below, until they at last join the assembly above, in singing unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father :-to him be glory and doininion for ever and ever! Amen.'
Those who have believed in the Son of God for salvation, will prize this great Deliverer and his great salvation : in your view he is the unspeakable Gift of God. Shew your love to him, by seeking the advancement of his glory, by obeying whatever he has commanded, and promoting his cause amongst men. If his truth abide in you, it must lead you to love and serve him. Let it be evident that you are the Lord's, by your being devoted to him, and separated from an ungodly world. Try how much you can manifest your love to God, and your sense of your obligations to him for his kindness, and how much you may promote the good of men.
But these things may be read by some who see nothing excellent or interesting in this unspeakable Gift of God, and who feel no gratitude or thankfulness on account of him. They treat him with indifference and contempt. O how I pity them! They are incalculable losers. Without him, they must inherit everlasting woe; but he is ready to receive and save thein, if they will only come to him. Falkland.
A CANDID HINT TO THE HEARERS OF THE GOSPEL. Mr. Editor, -By the increased desire I feel that the services of public worship, and particularly the preaching of the word, should becoine more abundantly useful to the young