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by the spread of scriptural information on this important subject.
A church is a community--that is, an association, the members of which have common rights, interests, privileges, and duties. It is a confraternity. Its members are admitted in virtue of special brotherhood. They are received because of their common relationship to the one great Saviour, after whom the one family in heaven and earth is named. Natural qualifications and social distinctions have nothing to do with their position amid the holy company.
Grace has distinguished them from the world, and grace gives them their title to také their place among the household of faith. * A church is a confederacy that is to say, a company of persons who are bound to one another by a solemn compact. In former times it was common, before the admission of a member, to read aloud in his hearing, and in the presence of all the rest, a statement of the obligations which he thus voluntarily assumed, and to require his express oral assent to this the church covenant. This, now, is seldom done; but the nature of the union is not changed. He that joins a church binds himself to be loyal to God, to the gospel, to himself, and to his fellow-members. He gives an surance of fidelity, and accepts a trust. He is bound by his act as really and as earnestly as if he had uttered the most solemn and affecting words of promise in the hearing of the assembly.
From these considerations flow some important relative duties; from church members mutual confidence is exacted. Unreserved truth is invariably to be spoken, and matters wholly connected with the internal arrangements of the community are to be considered sacred. Mutual concession is demanded. Each is to give himself to
all, and all to each (2 Cor. viii. 5), for the holy purposes for which churches exist. Mutual consideration is enjoined, Heb. x. 24. Members are to regard one another with the eye of vigilant affection, that they may seize the propitious moment for inciting one another unto love and good works, and by words of caution and warning save some wavering friend from failing of the grace of God. Candour is required. Frankness should reign in all' hearts. While personal delicacy is to be respected, and personal infirmities should have tender regard, rigid faithfulness should characterise our conduct to our brethren. The truth in love should be uttered without reserve, and received without offence.
The responsibility incurred is not confined to the chapel walls, but extends to all the relations of life. А Christian is bound to consider the reputation of the church to which he belongs, in every step he takes. Evil conduct on his part will bring dishonour upon the whole, while the integrity of his walk will redound to the credit of the rest. Thus while our spiritual testimony is to be uttered only before those “ that fear God " (Ps. lxvi. 16), our light is to shine before men, that they, seeing our good works, may glorify our (it is not said their) Father which is in heaven." The preacher speaks to his congregation, but the lives of church members address the world.
" Ye are our epistles, known and read of all men."
It is not supposed that any statement of this paper will be tradicted'; but the writer something more than passive acquiescence in what he has advanced. May it obtain earnest consideration, and lead to results which shall be to the glory of God.
Matlock House, Derbyshire.
* The derivation of this word is suggestive. Con, together with, foedus, a covenant. It therefore, as stated above, indicates a number of persons who are bandet together by a eurenant engagement
The Gospel proceeds from grace, is subservient to grace, and proclaims grace only.- Stevens,
FROY SAINT TO SAINT.
any one stay His hand, neither can any of His designs be changed for the better.
In working all things after the counsel of His own will, He never acts unwisely nor unjustly, though often to us mysteriously. He may be trusted where He cannot be traced. He is the judge of all the earth, and cannot but do right. How can infinite wisdom and eternal justice do wrong? Then how can we do right in complaining of His doings ? or in fretting under His marvellous acts ? or in withdrawing our sanction of His ways? or in doubting His sufficient aid? Cast thy care upon the Lord.
I hope your brother will soon be restored ; but you must learn to want nothing that your Heavenly Father denies,
if you value the peace of your own mind, and if you would avoid your Father's displeasure. When you can kiss the rod, He will soon lay it
He whispers through the darkness, saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.”
He that fainteth in the day of adversity his strength is small. In that day consider in whose hand you arewhence your sorrows rise-why they are sent-how short is their continuance-how needful their use-- how many mercies remain when some are removed.
Your present night will have a morning. Look up; expect ; the Lord is at hand. Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face. “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.'
Accept the kindest wishes of your affectionate pastor,
JOHN STEVENS. My love to our sister. All peace in Jesus.
No. 7. By the late Mr. John Stevens to Miss Fanny Simpkins, one of his flock.
November 21st, 1832. MY DEAR FRIEND,—I hear you are training up for joy in the Lord, and learning by trial more fully to cease from the creature, and to live in God. How many are the avenues through which the waters of woe rush in upon us! and yet how various the means of draining the premises when their intended use has been gained! These diversified scenes of life are all directed by infinite wisdom to one grand issue, even the glory of God in the edification of His saints. Events, however complicated, are all in His hand, and He regulates and bounds their influence, never failing to realize by them the good He intends. He will be your help and your deliverer, for His word is ever sure and undeceiving. You have been led to set your love upon Him through faith in His holy word; and He marks such an one,
“Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him; with long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation. What grace is here !
This scripture is for your use; you may, I trust, take it as spoken to you, as suited to you--as an encouragement for you.
On the arm of the promising Lord_cast your cares; He can, He does, He will sustain. He knows His own intention by all He does; He is worthy of being trusted at all times. Remember, you stand in His sight, you speak in His hearin, and are the object of His care.
Events do not rule Him as they do us, but He rules them. Afflictions are commanded by Him as His servants, and must come and do, and go hence, at His pleasure. He will do all His pleasure by them, nor can
FAVOURITE HYMNS AND THEIR
In meek humility,
I will remember Thee.
age of 83.
Thy body broken for my sake,
exceptions. Besides this hymn, there My bread from heaven shall be ; are about from twenty to thirty others Thy testamental cup I take,
from amongst many more written by And thus remember Thee.
Mr. Montgomery, that with more or
less frequency are to be met with in Gethsemane can I forget ?
the hymn books. Of these the folOr there Thy conflict see,
lowing are amongst the best known:Thine agony and bloody sweat,
“For ever with the Lord;" And not remember Thee ?
“Prayer is the soul's sincere desire; "
Songs of praise the angels sung; When to the cross I turn mine eyes,
“Go to dark Gethsemane;' And rest on Calvary,
“Hail to the Lord's Anointed." O Lamb of God, my sacrifice!
which are good hymns, full of deI must remember Thee :
votional feeling, expressed in poetry Remember Thee, and all Thy pains,
of a high order,- let us venture to say And all Thy love to me;
of the highest order. The one last Yea, while a breath, a pulse remains,
noted, “ Hail to the Lord's Anointed," Will I remember Thee.
is a version of Psalm 72, and is one
of the finest imitations we have in And when these failing lips grow the English language of that noble dumb,
inspired composition. Mr. MontAnd mind and memory flee,
gomery was born in 1771, and died in When Thou shalt in Thy kingdom 1854, arriving thus at the good old come,
He was the son of a Jesus, remember me.
Moravian minister, who, with his wife,
were sent to the West Indies as misIn the mind of the writer of these sionaries, whilst James was at school. brief notices of favourite hymns, this Before he was sixteen years old, both by James Montgomery, for use at the his parents died at their post, and the table of the Lord, ranks as one of the poor lad, it seems, was cast in a great first of its class. Whether sung before measure at that early age upon his or after the actual commemoration, own exertions to obtain his daily its melting strains, with their touch- bread. He, however, obtained eming "remembers,” are alike adapted to ployment of various kinds, until in fill the mind of the contrite, believing his twenty-first year he became encommunicant, with solemn and sacred gaged by a bookseller of Sheffield, feeling, and adoring gratitude. The and, God having endowed him with dear Lord's dying command, the acts considerable literary talents, he shortly enjoined, the memories connected, the afterwards succeeded his employer as love celebrated, the sufferings com- editor of the Sheffield Register, aftermemorated, are all brought before the wards the Isis. This post Mr. Montmind in this beautiful hymn in a gomery retained thirty-one years. manner not surpassed by any of our During this period he suffered many poets, who have given us compositions things. Twice he was imprisoned for for use at this sacred service. Then uttering his opinions respecting the the profession of obedience and love government of the day. Newspaper it contains, and the prayer to be re- editors at that period were subject to membered by the blessed Saviour at very arbitrary prosecutions if they death and at His coming, are very ventured to criticise too freely the impressive.
doings of the rulers of the land. Very The hymn is said to have been different is it in this country now in written in the year 1825, and during the state of things that obtains in this the 55 years that have since trauspired, respect to what took place even so has found its way into most selections lately as in the reigns of George III. of hymns, the Wesleyan and two or and his first-born son. three of our own being among the During this period of his life he
living soul, in the striking and comprehensive manner in which he sets it forth.
Mr. Montgomery's latter years were comforted by a royal pension of £200 per year, the then present government thus gracefully atoning for the illiberal treatment he had experienced from former ones. For many years he lived at the Mount, Sheffield, greatly beloved and much resorted to when a Christian poem was required for any special occasion. He died at that place, having never married, and was buried with befitting Christian solemnities. We hope they sang his hymn, “For ever with the Lord," over his grave. Barnsbury.
A PARAPHRASE OF THE LORD'S
also passed through much conflict of a spiritual kind. His first religious impressions were received in very early life in the Moravian school, whither he had been sent when about seven years old. These early impressions never left him; but it appears that he passed through long years of doubt, darkness, and despondency, before arriving at the place which Bunyan signalizes in his Pilgrim's Progress,” as that at which the Christian loses his burden. But after long fighting against the truth on his part, and much forbearance and gracious dealing with him on the part of our covenant-keeping God, he was led at last, to use his own language, “ To cast my hopes, to fix my eyes,
On Christ, and Christ alone." Then he was favoured, like oh how many millions of others in the same blessed manner,
to obtain rest and peace for his weary soul. His hymns were nearly all written subsequently to this time, the earliest bearing date 1822, when he would be about fifty
They bear very evident marks of the humbling, softening, and purifying influence his varied experiences had exercised on his soul. Here is a verse which probably describes his feelings when not yet at rest in the Lord :“Mercy alone can meet my case,
For mercy, Lord, I crv;
In mercy, or I die.” The following may be taken as written under a sweet sense of being accepted in the Beloved :“God is our streugth and song,
And His salvation ours ;
With all our ransomed powers.” His soul-transporting hymn, “For ever with the Lord,” so dear to all who long to see the face of the Beloved, must have been written in a rapture of holy joy at the prospect of seeing the King in His beauty, and being for ever with Him. His beautiful hymn on prayer is well known, and is excelled by no other description of that solemn exercise of the
Our Father: Of all mercies, all benefits, all blessings, all power, all peace,
, all grace, all glory.
Who art in Heaven: In heaven's church, heaven's company, heaven's covenant, heaven's word, heaven's throne, heaven's bliss.
Hallowed (adored) be Thy name: In all the purposes of grace, all the perfections of Thy nature, all the works of Thy might, all the words of Thy mouth, in all the lips of Thy babes, in all the lives of Thy saints, in all the services of Thy servants.
Thy Kingdom come : With the regenerating power of Thy Spirit, with the convincing power of Thy Word, with the pardoning power of Thy blood, with the justifying power of Thy righteousness, with the supplying power of Thy Grace, with the saying power of Thy Salvation.
Thy will be done : Thy will of pur, pose, Thy will of providence, Thy will of promise, Thy will of precept, Thy will of reservation, Thy will of redemption, Thy will of restoration.
Give us our daily bread: The bread that perisheth that we may be preserved in this present life; the bread of eternal life, that we may live for ever,
Forgive us our trespasses : By leading us to the cross, by plunging us into the fountain opened, by applying pardon.
As we forgive others : In imitation of Thine example, in obedience to Thy command, in consideration of Thy forgiveness.
Lead us not into temptation : By extreme adversity (as Job), by unnatural trial (as Abraham), by Satan's sieve (as Peter).
Deliver us from evil: From the evil of sin's dominion, of hell's power, of worldly snares, of the law's curse, of unsanctified affliction, of death's sting, of the wrath to come.
For Thine is the Kingdom : Of the Gospel as its author, of the church as its founder, of nature as its Creator, of of providence as its commander, of grace as its communicator, of glory as its proprietor.
And the power: Over all things in heaven, in earth, in hell—to conserve in the first, to control in the second, to conquer
in the third. And the Glory: Of salvation's plan, of salvation's power, of salvation's perfection. The Father planned it, the Son performed it, and the Spirit applies it: hence the glory of salvation's plan is the Father's, the glory of salvation's performance is the Son's, the glory of salvation's power is the Spirit's.
Teacher's Thought Book.
and in the event of some such servant of the Lord being found, whom the people could receive as their pastor, he would resign. Upon this communication of the afflicted pastor being made, the deacons in conjunction with himself appointed an extra special prayer-meeting weekly, to know the mind of God in so solemn a matter. The afflicted paster attended these meetings when able, and also a few of the well-known wrestling brethren; and I have been told they were meetings indeed. They prayed in prayer, and God heard their supplications. These brethren also each of them agreed to make inquiries of all the ministers with whom they were acquainted, whether they knew of a minister likely to suit them. This they did, and several ministers came and preached to them at different times; but none appeared to be the men whom they considered to be suitable for them, although one of them at least possessed abilities superior to many.
We must now notice another matter. In May, 1830, the Norfolk and Suffolk Association of Baptist Churches held their annual meeting at Beccles, and one piece of their business was to choose a subject for the circular letter, and appoint a writer to prepare it for the ensuing year. The writer proposed the subject of Redemption, adding, he had thought that subject a most desirable one at that time: the motion was seconded, and adopted at once.
He then rose to propose our late dear brother, Mr. Wright, to be the writer ; but before he could speak, brother Wright proposed brother Dickerson as the writer, which was carried unanimously. The letter was prepared according to our best ability; was read, and adopted at the Association in May, 1831, and printed and published accordingly. This letter
. was seen by the late Mr. John Foreman while in manuscript, who expressed himself much pleased with it. All this time the prayer-meetings were going on at Alie-street, to be directed to a pastor. One of the brethren calling on a neighbouring
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MR.
PHILIP DICKERSON. Continuation of my Narrative. DEAR MR. EDITOR AND CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, -I am now about to unravel the mystery connected with my invitation to London. The facts of the case were these. At the time I was in trouble as to what I should do about leaving Rattlesden, Mr. William Shenston (my predecessor at Little Aliestreet), was heavily afflicted with an incurable disease, under which, feeling himself unable to discharge his official duties, expressed a desire to his deacons to have some one to assist him;