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Spiritual Magazine ;
« There are Three that bear record in heaven, the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST: and these Three are One.”
1 John v. 7.
“ Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.»
(For the Spiritual Magazine.) REFLECTIONS ON REV. iii. 15. INCLUDING THE CATHOLIC
« I know thy works, thou art neither cold nor hot : [ would thou wert cold or hot." THE book of Revelations is a divinely inspired and mysterious summary of important prophecies and events. The beautiful allusions it contains are only equalled in grandeur and moment by the chaste sublimity of the language which conveys them to the spiritual apprehension. Their divine origin is stamped on every page ; and it requires no great effort of spiritual understanding to perceive, that they are as much above the wisdom of human device as the poles are distant from each other.
The fearful denunciations to the ungodly which are therein unfolded ; the solemn events which succeed the opening up of the seals, and the sounding of the trumpets ; and the faithful admonitions and reproofs which are immediately carried home with conviction to the inhabitants of Zion, by the almighty power of the Holy Ghost; awaken the tender conscience to a lively sense of their value and import.
And, although this blessed revelation was specially penned for, and sent to the churches planted in Asia, the mystic body of the Redeemer, of
The thirsty, the hungry, the spiritually poor and needy, and such that are invited VOL. V.--No. 50.
by the Spirit and the bride, Rev. xxii. 17. these admit the truth of revelation, not with the cold assent and indifference of the mere uninterested casuist, but with the pleasure which evidences a deep concern for the Mediator's glory. This should be the supreme felicity of every saint, but, as was manifest in the churches of the East, so it is equally evident now, that there is no telling how low the ebbings of affection and zeal for his cause and truth may be ; yet, in the very lowest stages of experience the sparks of grace shall abide unconconsumed, though their existence be scarcely perceptible but to him who first produced and still preserves them from annihilation.
The churches of Christ in Asia fitly represent militant Zion in every age and variety of her experience. Perhaps the Laodicean state is that which most resembles the church in our present day. Like them, her sun of spiritual prosperity is beclouded; her zeal for the glory of God and the honours of his cross, which was once exemplified by an ardent vindication of the cause of truth from the traducing slander of men, has lost its vigour, and degenerated into the apathy of night. Hence, the sharpest exercises are waiting to arouse the soul into the manifest proof of her native affection, again to recal her from her torpor and supineness, to a state of humble penitence.
Blessed be God, “ there are still a few names in Sardis" who adhere to Jesus, and are not ashamed to defend his truth. These have made a wreck of every refuge but in him. They aim to sap the foundation of human merit and applause, and to exalt his precious name upon its specious ruins. Spiritually poor and naked in condition, they proceed forward in their Master's strength, regardless of every vain opprobrium. Their course is marked by tribulation from every quarter, from without and from within, in themselves, in the world, from satan, and the professed church.
Alas! “ how has the fine gold become dim!” A cloud of darkness has long been gathering in the gospel hemisphere, with a portentous and threatening aspect; and its dusky shades appear to be extending their influence, with the rapidity of lightning, throughout the world. It is indeed evident that « Jehovah has a controversy with his people;" he will rebuke them sharply, yet in love. To this end, he is trying their attachment to him by various dispensations. Some of his highly favoured saints have been stripped of their property, bereaved of their earthly ties, and deprived of the benefits they had vainly hoped to realize from earthly friendship. To these have also been super-added the dreary night of soul-desertion ; reproach for the name and honour of Christ; loss of reputation for the defence of the gospel; and, what is more afflicting, an exclusion from the luxuriant pastures of the gospel.
Blessed for ever be the riches of his grace, even in this day of small things, the Lord hears the groanings of his prisoners, and supports their drooping minds during the state of their captivity. And, while hypocrites in Zion, whose illegitimate faith cannot endure the fiery ordeal of severating dispensations ; but who, on the contrary, depart from their professed attachment to sacred things in the day of persecution; the pure gold of grace, not only remains unconsumed, but shines brightest amidst the sharpest conflicts, and in the hottest flames.
An eager pursuit of worldly aggrandizement, and an ambition to exalt the church of the despised Nazarene in the scale of being, have proved fatal to her interests. How opposed to the spirit of the gospel is such a course: besides, the positive and absolute command and injunction of Jehovah which says, “ Come out from among them, and be ye separaté,” &c. will admit of no remission. And what good can arise-nay none, what evils may there not be expected, from an union of the world and the church of Jesus ? We may with equal reason attempt to amalgamate light with darkness, as to reconcile their differences; for, as the one is diametrically opposed and contrary to the other, so there must be, and is, at all times, a dissimilarity of views in the other, and an utter variance of actions between them. Any apparent semblance of harmony that may exist, must be the result of stifled sentiments and views, insincere and hypocritical in their nature, ever maintained at a sacrifice uncongenial with the best interests of her converts.
Infidelity and error are making awful advances in society, in spite of every human effort to subdue them; and the sleepy state of the inhabitants of Zion affords but too favourable an opportunity for their force and unrestrained exercise.
Indeed, a very superficial view of political events, and the signs of the times generally, is only necessary to create forebodings that a heavy storm is fast approaching us. The offence of the cross, to outward appearance, has nearly ceased ; and the union of interests of a great majority of professors and profane, has for a small moment banished persecution from their borders. All classes of professed christians, under the pretence of building the spiritual temple, are hailing proselytes with one accord to behold their real, while their efforts are unsanctioned by special and divine authority, and are blended with them, who being ignorant of Jesus, are truly despisers of his cross.
Men of all creeds and ranks, and of various casts of character, conspire in common consort with each other, (as they term it,) to effect the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom ; while many of them are guilty of the vilest robbery that can be effected, that of a denial of his Deity ; without which, the hope of the humble penitent is merely a wild chimera. The peaceable religion of our crucified Immanuel does not inculcate aspiring emotions after worldly eminence. And yet, how many renounce its précepts, and bow with reverence to such a shrine.
It is a fact truly to be lamented, that the majority of that body who professedly dissent from the establishment of the land, have joined with the votaries of papacy for the obtaining a boon which must ultimately sap the foundation of her peace. The recent repeals of statutes founded by the wisdom of their ancestors, which have been
mainly effected by the clamour of this body, is but partially opening the door to papal supremacy. The claims of Rome must be next conceded to do them equal justice ; but woe be to the supporters of such bitter enemies to the religion of Jesus ! To emancipate them from the controul of wholesome laws by which they are governed, is to furnish our antagonists with a weapon, and our assassins with an instrument to accomplish our destruction.
Let it not be urged in their favour that the times are altered ; that society is new-modelled and better organized; and that the present age is more enlightened by mental cultivation; and consequently that our opponents are less barbarous than their progenitors in the reign of popery. The manners of the age may be improved; and society at large may have advanced in intellectual acquirements and refined habits ; but, the principles of popery remain unchanged, and with them the spirit which dictated her pernicious doctrines. Their desire for political distinctions is not merely for their intrinsic sake, but for the better securing their secret wishes, namely, the overthrow of protestant dominion.
Their silence under alleged privations is not the result of patience under suffering, but the studied effect of artful intrigue, and well-digested policy. Let the disciples of the despised Galilean beware lest they be entrapped by these silent slumbers of their hatred, and the subtle fallacy of their pretensions. The restless spirit of catholicism cannot remain content with any favour short of absolute supremacy.
A bold adventure to effect it by direct and immediate means would but expose the serpent's crest, and exhibit his weakness. Well would it be for the protestant interest were their movements thus effected, as it would for ever render all their attempts for freedom vain and abortive. That which they cannot accomplish by the aid of force, either by fair argument or numerical strength and power, they are attempting to gain by serpentine fraud. They proceed not gallantly against the fair citadel reared by our ancestors, but sap its foundation by circuitous and imperceptible advances. The torch once applied to their subterraneous combustibles, will produce a volcano which will inundate the land, and shake it to its centre.
Surely, then, it is among some of the worst features of the times in which we live, that any who profess attachment to the Redeemer should so far lose sight of their real interests, as to place a light hand on “ the cockatrice den” when he is ravening for prey; or to harbour the viper who coils himself around you but to betray the venom of his sting. What ! are not former proofs of their diabolical spirit sufficient to deter you from forming so ignoble an alliance? At least, to create doubts of their good intentions for the future, for which they offer no guarantee ? Again, let me entreat the true lovers of the meek and lowly Jesus to pause before they foster that hand which, when left unfettered and unrestrained by the strong arm of power, may regain doublē strength, and wield it to their severe oppression.
In offering these remarks, I have no design to provoke a controversial spirit, but to place on record those sentiments I have long conscientiously entertained. I shall impartially listen to an opposing sentiment, without pledging myself to any reply.
A review of the awful infatuation which peryades all ranks and varieties of our dissenting brethren, has produced this digression; and the accompanying views are offered under a fervent hope that they may be induced to adopt the only rational course, to pray for them and remain passive in the matter, especially as no substantial spiritual benefit can accrue to them as a body, or to any of the individual members composing it, by the success of the cause.
And, in conclusion, it may be asked, why should any of the disciples of Jesus, under such circumstances, volunteer a responsibility the weight of which may make them tremble. Let us rather stand still and watch the over-ruling and all-appointing hand of God. If success attend their measures, and we are not found amongst the number of their friends who advocate their cause, it will be no small satisfaction to know when persecution is revived with all its pristine fury, (and come it assuredly will, for a heavy rod is suspended over Zion) that we have not been, in this respect, forward to invite its painful stripes; by introducing our enemies to the power they once possessed but abused, --have long sought after, and at length efficiently obtained.
It is, however, but of little moment to the real disciples of Jesus in the account of eternity what is the amount of their sufferings here; for, when the matter is summed up, ample measure of vindictive wrath shall be meted out to every foe ; and a final and complete deliverance from every anguish shall augment their eternal blessedness, and increase the burden of their song.
Yea, even should their oppression be pushed beyond measure, and terminate in the dissolution of the mortal frame, the very affliction shall become a blessing; and death itself shall become the desirable medium of conveying their spirits into the paradise of God, and into the blissful bosom of the King of kings, to reign with him for ever. Then let us
“ Welcome all his sovereign will,
For all that will is love;
We'll wait the light above."
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
CHRIST, THE TRUTH. “ Buy the truth and sell it not,” was the advice given by one of the wisest of men. Prov. xxiii. 23. and it cannot be doubted but Solomon had his
directed in many parts of his writings to the Lord Jesus Christ, the truth, that brother born for adversity, that friend who loveth at all times. But we have a greater than Solomon, even him who spake as never man spake, and we hear him saying,
I am the truth.” And we have in these words some very important information--the object pursued by every sincere enquirer, this