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for the old tyrant that I liked. But they always hurt me dreadfully at night when the job was over; and as to my getting away, that seemed utterly impossible. I had to live, if indeed in may be called living, near a mountain almost as awful as the burning mountain itself. Its name is Ebal, and on the top of it there lived a a number of men with speaking-trumpets (Deut. xxvii. 13, 14), who made a noise like thunder, and almost frightened me out of my wits every night. I was a long while in this state,-how long it is impossible to tell, for every day seemed a week, and a month was like a year for length. Moreover, the sun never shone on that side of the hill where I was, and storms and tempests were frequent and severe.
Not far from this dismal locality lived one Mr. Can-if-ye-will. He was brother-in-law to Mr. Do-and-live, and followed the same trade,-indeed they were partners. This gentleman came to see me, with a view, as be said, of procuring my liberty ; but, notwithstanding all his professions of friendship, he was one of my greatest tormentors. He said he had a special commission from my unknown friend, to procure my liberty. He shewed me the document, and I believed it to be a true one at the time, but suspect now that it was a forgery. This miserable comforter asked me, as soon as he came, “ Were you not staying some time ago at the Hope inn ?” 'Yes," was the reply. “Then how came you here;" I told all the unhappy circumstances which led to my capture. As he listened, he pulled a terribly long face, and when I had done he addressed me as follows: “Ah, you have offended the gracious friend who took you to the “Hope” very greatly. You should have watched and inquired ; there was no need for you to get stumbling on these dark mountains at all : I never go there. But,” said he, “come back to the “Hope," and all will be well.” “Come back," said I, “how can İ, with this chain on, and all these spies watching me?” “O yes, you can ; you only have to will it, and the chain will fall off.” And I tried to will it, and thought I did will it, told him I was sure that I willed it, but the chain did not fall off. But,"
,” said he, you must believe that the chain will fall off.” Ah," said I, “ that I would give all the world to do, but I cannot." “Oh yes you can," he replied, and the fact that you do not, makes your bonds the stronger.” Here, again, he pulled a very_long face, and turned up the whites of his eyes, and gave a dreadful groan, as Eglon might have done when Ehud stabbed him (Judges iii. 20), and then he delivered the following speech : “Young man, I am sent to offer you liberty, and tell you that there is no necessity at all for you to remain in this state another hour. Indeed, the longer you remain as you are the greater will be your guilt, and the heavier will be the penalty : arise and be free. I made a desperate attempt to get the chain off, but failed, and protested I could not. He repeated his own name, “You Can-if-you-will,” and then said very gravely,“ If you don't now, you may never have another chance ; think of that?" and he was going away; but I asked lim if he could not give me an egg and a morsel of bread before he departed. "Certainly,” said he ; and putting something into my hand, walked away. When I came to taste what he had given me, I could not eat it. The bread was full of gravel stones, and the egg had a young scorpion in it (Lam. iii. 16 ; Prov. xx. 17; Luke xi. 12).
“Think of that,” said my would-be deliverer. “ You may never have another chance ; think of that !” Ah, I did think of it again and again, and said to myself, “ This man said he came to offer me liberty, and has left me bound. He seems to have been sent to mock me and increase my misery." And I sighed and cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone.” And there I continued for many more weary days and nights, horrified with the sound of the trumpets from the top of the hill. Though I was serving my old master, it was with very different feelings from those I had before. Then I served him most willingly, now everything was forced ; then I neither saw nor feared the burning mountain nor the giants with the speaking trumpets on the hill Ebal,—now one or the other terrified me every day. Then I had
a little pocket-money allowed, --now I had none, and was doomed to live upon husks, such as people give their hogs (Luke xv. 16). No wonder, therefore that I was discontented, in debt, and deeply distressed, and looked about how I might escape (1 Sam. xxii. 2.) There was a cave not far from me, to which I determined, if possible, to creep; and in order to accomplish my design, started in the evening, at a season when the nights are both dark and long (John iii. 2). My pace was like the snail (Psa. lviii. 8), but I crawled along as well as I could (Hab. i. 14; 1 Sam. xiv. 13), and came to the cave. In this place were all sorts of creeping things (Acts x. 12), but I was not afraid of them, nor did they seem to object to me. So I crept in. When daylight dawned, and the men in the cave spied me out, they gave me a hearty welcome, saying, they were glad I had made my escape. These good people showed their kindness by giving me some water to wash in (for I was very dirty); they also gave me some milk to drink (1 Pet. ii. 2), a bunch of raisins, and a little wine (1 Chron. xii. 40). You may be sure I was very thankful for all these things, but wanted to get my fetters off, and applied to the good man who seemed to be master. He told me plainly that he had no power to set me free, nor had any one, until a special message came from the king. “But," said he I will pour a little oil upon your wounds, and send a petition to His Majesty on your behalf; for I feel for you, having myself been in the same state.” These last words put new life into me : to hear that anyone had ever been in my state, and had escaped, was indeed encouraging, and I could not help expressing my surprise. “Oh," said the good man, “ yours is not a singular instance ; there many such, I can assure you. Then he went to the King's storehouse, which was near, (2 Chron. xxxii. 28, with Matt. xiii. 52, and Isa. lxi. 3), and brought forth some oil
, and poured upon my wounds (Sol. Song i. 3), and I was greatly refreshed. Every one in the cave and about it, seemed to take an interest in me, and while memory lasts I shall not forget their kindness. (To be continued.)
“THINGS MOST SURELY BELIEVED."
The Confession of Faith delivered by Mr. J. T. BRISCOE, at his Recognition as Pastor of the Church meeting at Bethesda Chapel, Lever-street, on Nov. 10, 1868.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.
I. The Being of God.—I BELIEVE That there is only one living and true God, who is almighty, immutable, omniscient, and omnipresent; who has formed all things for his own glory, and who governs the universe after the counsel of his own will. - That, notwithstanding the unity of the Godhead, God has revealed himself as existing in three distinct personalities, who are named in Scripture the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ; and that although different relationships are sustained by each Person in the Divine Trinity, yet that each is in every respect coequal and co-eternal with the others, being essentially God; and yet that there are not three Gods, but one only.
II. The Inspiration and sufficiency of the Scriptures. That God has revealed himself to man in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and that these, being fully inspired by the Spirit of God, contain all that is necessary for the guidance of the church in all matters of faith, practice, and church order.—That anything, therefore, proposed as an article of belief, a rule of life, or an authority in the Christian church, which cannot be proved from the Scriptures, is to be rejected as repugnant to the will of God; and that we are to be as careful against making any addition to, as any subtraction from, the doctrines and institutions enjoined in the Holy Scriptures.
III. The Decrees of God. That all events are subject to the eternal decrees of God; and that as his wisdom is infinite, so nothing can transpire which has not been provided for by the Divine counsel and foreknowledge. Not, however, that the existence of moral evil is to be attributed to God, since, when man was created, he had power to remain in his original condition of purity and happiness, and fell
by the consent of his own will, without any inducement thereto from God.-That the entrance of moral evil into the world, however, was not without the foreknowledge of God, and that, in the person of his dear Son, he provided a remedy before the existence of the disease. It is certain also that God will finally make even the existence of sin conduce to his own glory, yet without interfering in any way with the moral responsibilities of his creatures. ---That before time began, God decreed the eternal salvation of part of the human race, whom he had chosen to be his children ; and that the affairs of providence and the events of time are subordinated to secure the end which God has thus designed.—That while God chose some to salvation, leaving others to fill up the measure of their sins, election in no wise injures those whom it does not benefit ; for while salvation proceeds from the decree of God in election, condemnation results from man's sin and impenitence alone. That those who are chosen by God were not elected because of any foreseen excellency in themselves above others ; but that God in election exercised the sovereignty of his will ; and that although in this, as well as in all his Divine conduct, he acted in infinite wisdom, yet the only reason he gives is—“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."
IV. Providence. - That all things are arranged by, and transpire in connection with, the over-ruling providence of God; and that that providence is under the direction of his goodness, by which he is naturally inclined to benefit his creatures; and that, although the gifts of providence may be abused, its purposes can never be overturned. - That, in addition to the general providence of God, his people are governed by a special providence, which is directed, not only by the goodness and wisdom, but by the special love of God to them; and that this special providence not only secures to them the common blessings of this life, but operates also in connection with the grace of God, in the communication of those higher blessings which are associated with their spiritual life.
V. The Covenants.-- That all men are connected with God by one of two covenants-either the covenant of works or the covenant of grace ;—that under the former all men stood in Adam--that under the latter the elect stand in Christ Jesus. -That when Adam was created under the covenant of works, he was a perfect moral agent in the image of his Creator ; that, by the exercise of the powers God had given him, he might have maintained his original standing and happiness, and that, being under a covenant of works, his continuance in perfection was dependent upon his faithfulness to his Creator.—That, in consequence of their union to Adam, all men are naturally under the same covenant as that under which Adam was created ; that they are bound to fulfil the moral law in all its requirements, or to endure the penalty consequent upon a breach of the same; that the moral requirements of the law, being in accordance with the Divine character, are immutable, and that man's happiness can be secured only by his perfect personal obedience, or by the imputation to him by God of the perfect obedience of another, and the endurance by his Surety of the penalty due to man.— That by the covenant of grace God's chosen people are united to Christ as their Surety and Substitute ; that this covenant owes its origin to the free grace of God; and that by it God has provided not only for the salvation of his people, but for the maintenance of his own law in all its entirety, and for the glory of all his perfections,—the law having been obeyed and its penalty endured by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glory of the justice and truth, equally with the mercy, goodness, and wisdom of God, being displayed in the plan of salvation.
ŅI. The Fall of Man and the present entire Depravity of Human Nature. – That man, having been created in purity and happiness, as before stated, did not continue in his first estate ; and that he, by breaking God's command, involved not only himself, but all his posterity in ruin (they being represented by him ; that the entrance of sin corrupted every power of his soul, and rendered his body subject to disease and death; and that, in consequence, human nature is universally and totally depraved, notwithstanding the remains of morality in the unregenerate. — That inan's understanding being darkened by sin--his will rendered perverse through its influence, and his affections alienated from God, he can never, by the exercise
of his moral powers or by the improvement of his nature, render himself acceptable to God, or regenerate himself ; neither can he, by the exercise of his own power only, appropriate the message of salvation which is revealed to him in the gospel. - That, notwithstanding man's depravity and inability, God's claims upon him are in no wise lessened, seeing that he lost his ability to comply with God's moral law, and became a sinner, by the exercise of his own free will; and therefore that the responsibility of men now is identical with that of Adam, in whom they stood and in whom they fell.
VII. The Person of Christ.—That the Lord Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, represented the election of grace just as the first Adam represented all mankind; and that, as his people had sinned, it was necessary that he should obey the law and suffer its penalty in the same nature as that in which it was broken.—That, in the fulness of time, Christ became incarnate, and that, as the Mediator of the new covenant, he possesses two natures—that of the offended God, and that of the offending sinner.- That these natures are distinct—his Deity not destroying his humanity, and his humanity not destroying his Deity; and that both co-existing in one sacred person-our Lord being truly and properly God, and as truly and properly man-he is co-equal with God the Father and God the Spirit, and yet is the Elder Brother of his people by the assumption of their nature.
VIII. Redemption. That redemption is the price rendered by the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of his people whom he represented, and, consequently, that redemption is co-extensive with election ; that is to say, that those, and those only, who were elected by God the Father are redeeined by God the Son, and that the atonement effected by Christ, and redemption by him, are co-extensive, having the same objects. - That in order to effect the redemption of his people, it was necessary that the Saviour should take their sins upon himself, and bear the punishment due to them, which he did when he died upon the cross ; and that he should fulfil the law on their account, which he did during his spotless life.—That the active and passive obedience thus rendered by Christ is reckoned to the account of his people by God the Father, and that they are thus redeemed or bought back from the hands of Divine justice.
IX. Effectual Calling.- That all who are elected by God the Father and redeemed by God the Son, are effectually called by the Holy Spirit ; that is to say, the Holy Spirit, in the time foreappointed by his sovereign will, translates those who are thus elected and redeemed, out of darkness into his marvellous light. That in regeneration be implants within them a Divine principle, called in Scripture " the spirit ;" and that this, operating effectually in the soul, subdues, though it does not in this life utterly destroy, the power of sin; so that the people of God are thus called out of a state of sin into one of holiness.—That, as God is Almighty, his gracious call must be effectual to the accomplishment of the purpose he designs ; and that all who are subject to the operation of his grace as thus referred to, shall most assuredly be brought from under the dominion of sin and Satan into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
X. Saving Faith.—That saving faith is the gift of God, communicated by the Holy Spirit in effectual calling, and a blessing connected with the new covenant alone. - That it is accompanied with a conviction of personal transgression, and consists in the belief of the message of the gospel, the hearty reception of the same, and trust or reliance upon Christ for personal salvation, by which the blessings of the gospel, before designed by God for his people, are made manifestly theirs by this act of appropriation.--That this faith, called in Scripture “the faith of God's elect,” is distinct from the natural faith which all men are bound to render to God as a requirement of the moral law, although some of its elements are identical with that, and will with it apply also to the gospel.— That since man is thus bound by the law to reverence his to receive his messages, and to yield him sincere or hearty obedience, -every man is bound to hear the gospel when opportunity is afforded, to believe the statements it contains, to obey its precepts so far as they are consistent with his obligations to the law, and to approve of the plan of redemption as it is outwardly revealed ; and that, therefore, in attending to the means of grace, he should do so with sincerity of purpose, and, consequently, with earnest desire for the blessing of God thereon. - That thus, while the wilful neglect of the gospel is sin, saving faith is not required from man as a duty to the moral law; and that though God does not require spiritual acts from carnal men, man's responsibility is nevertheless so great, that he, through sin, has rendered himself incompetent to the full discharge of his obligations to God.
XI. Justification. That justification is an act of God, by which he reckons the merits of Christ to the account of his people, they being thus made just in his sight. - That justification, in the sense of its manifestation, may be attributed
to faith, which receives the merits of Christ when applied by the Holy Spirit. Thus, according to the Scriptures, justification is-1st, By the grace of God, as the spring from which it flows ; 2ndly, By the merit of Christ, as the means through which it is actually effected ; and 3rdly, By saving faith, through which it is received and enjoyed.
XII. Sanctification. That sanctification is also the act of God, by which his people are set apart for his service ;-that hence it may be described as eternal, since the elect were in eternity set apart from the world by the decree of God, and given to Christ as their Surety ; that, like justification, it was effected by the blood of Christ, as the ground of it; and that it is actually accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who implants a holy nature in the heart, which strives against and conquers sin.—That although the communication of the principle of sanctification is instantaneous, yet that the development of it is gradual; and that the sinful nature of the believer is never purified, but still remains “ the flesh,”—actual sanctification consisting in the victory of the new over the old nature, by which the believer grows in grace, and increases in the knowledge of the Lord.
XIII. The Final Perseverance.—That all who are elected by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, and effectually called by the Holy Spirit, shall most assuredly persevere in the grace of God, by the power of the Spirit, until that grace be consummated in glory.—That though Christians may sometimes fall into sin, yet that, in all cases, they shall be restored again to repentance, so that they shall not finally fall from the grace of God, or come short of eternal salvation. The necessity of good works is nevertheless to be strongly insisted upon, not as the cause of salvation or the ground of merit, but as requisite evidences of the genuineness of conversion.
XIV. The Final States of the Righteous and the Wicked.—That the happiness of heaven, to which the people of God shall certainly attain, will be everlasting ; and that the misery of the wicked in hell will be likewise everlasting ; and this not by any figure of speech, but that each state will be literally without termination. That, consequently, by the fall man lost his innocence and happiness, but not bis immortality ; and that though eternal life is secured to believers by the merits of Christ, yet that as unregenerate men die in sin, and continue in a sinful state after death, their punishment is eternal because their nature is immortal. XV. The Visible Church.—That the visible church consists of those persons
who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, and have made a public profession of their faith. - That it may be scripturally divided into various congregations, as locality or other circumstances dictate, and that in connection with each such congregation the gospel is to be faithfully preached, and the ordinances of the same faithfully administered.—That the object of the institution of the visible church is to gather in the people of God from the world, and to strengthen them in their faith.—That in connection with each congregation of the visible church, the respective offices of pastor and deacon are to be filled ; that the duties of the former consist in the public ministration of the gospel, the administration of its ordinances, and such other duties as naturally arise from the sacred office of an under-shepherd of God's people, --such as visitation, prayer, and counsel ; and that the duties of the latter consist in providing for the temporal exigencies of the church, the maintenance of the gospel ministry, and the relief of the poor,-not however to the exclusion of the spiritual gifts of the deacons, which, in connection with those of the pastor, are for the edification of the body of Christ.