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Fouc Sons Dead in One Day.

A SHORT PAPER ON THE PRIVILEGES, TRIALS, AND TRIUMPHS OF THE

CHRISTIAN FAITH.

CHAPTER VII.

TAE PARALLEL BETWEEN EPHRAIM IN THE OLD, AND THE PRODIGAL

SON IN THE NEW.

Sovereign grace, o'er sin abounding,

Ransom'd souls the tidings swell;
'Tis a deep which knows no sounding;
Who, its breadth or length can tell ?

'Tis an ocean
Without bottom or a shore.”

It has, no doubt, been observed, that the Scripture to which I have referred in these papers is immediately connected with that condition of the Lord's people which is set forth under the headship or leadership of EPHRAIM. Let us read the whole of that precious Scripture together. The word which came to my heart on the Saturday night was—. Thus saith the Lord : refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.”

These words stand between Rachel weeping for her children, and Ephraim bemoaning himself. My text, then, is a link between the two; it is a kind of wedding ring that marries these two mourning ones together ; so that in this little family group you have three things which belong particularly and essentially unto the salvation of the Lord's people in the experimental department of it.

There is (1) Lamentation and bitter weeping in Ramah ; Ephraim's four sons had been slain ; and Rachel was weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were not. The mystery of Ephraim and of his four sons is still upon my mind. I am more and more convinced that there is a “feast of fat things,” a “feast of wines on the lees of fat things full of marrow, and of wines well refined,” and that this feast is all in CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; but the earnest, the foretaste, the pledge, the little “receivings out of His fulness” with which the saints are favoured here, come through the mysterious channels of the word of God. Ten thousand precious conduit-pipes run through the written Word ; when the Spirit opens the heart to receive a little of the joy, the ear to receive a little of the truth, and the eye to receive a little anointing; the wisdom then received from the Lord is, as Solomon saith, “better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” Oh, this beautiful Wisdom !

Her riches are divine,

Her treasures always full,
Brighter than rubies shine;

She'll satisfy the soul,
She leads us to a sweet release,
And all her paths are paths of peace.

How rich are the commendations of WISDOM, by the Holy Ghost, in that cabinet of “THE PROVERBS,” wherein is the trinity of the excellencies of composition—“ brevity, obscurity, and elegance.” The man that findeth WISDOM findeth life, health of soul, happiness in the Lord, and a crown of everlasting glory. I could willingly dwell a long time in the consideration of the work of wisdom, but I am driven to be brief.

Returning to my weeping brother, the prophet Jeremiah, there is (2ndly) the repentance of Ephraim, the Lord's recognition of that repentance, and the relentings of Divine compassion over this wayward child. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus"-(the Lord recognizes the very words which, in secret, poor Ephraim pours out of his dreadfully bruised spirit ;. he gets near the Lord, and he says)“ Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised.” What is the meaning of this ? He means the Lord sent this chastisement; and it had the desired effect at length; although, like a restive bullock, he had behaved under

many of the trying dispensations of the Lord. Now he is chastised ; now, he bemoans himself; and now he cries out unto the Lord, “ Turn thou me, and I shall be turned ; for thou art the Lord my

God.” How inexplicable to sense and reason are the minglings of despondent feelings, and of a living faith in a child of God. Oh, my reader, I have known this many times;

if I am not deceived, like Ephraim, I have bemoaned myself; like Ephraim, I have been “ashamed-confounded," bearing the heaviest reproach ; yet, like Ephraim, when thoughts of utter ruin and of eternal woe have overwhelmed my soul, I have felt a loving faith labouring to "lay hold upon eternal life," and I have said with Jonah—" Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple ;" and in looking, the love of the dear Redeemer in my soul has broken forth in few, but in fervent words, “Oh, my Saviour-God! Oh, my Jesus! My Brother! My Helper—do come to my relief,”

" And have been upheld till now."

The third thing is, the compassion of the Lord toward Rachel, toward Ephraim, toward all truly repenting prodigal sons; for there is an analogy between Ephraim in the Old Testament, and the Prodigal Son in the new. Yea, it is the faith of some, that Ephraim was the type of the whole election of Grace among the Gentiles; and the Prodigal Son is the anti-typical representative of the many thousands who have been by grace Divine recovered from the fall.

The mysteries and the miracles of grace are to be seen by the child of God, when the Spirit unfolds the mind of the Lord as written in the 14th and 15th of Luke's Gospel. There, the Great Supper is prepared, the Gospel dispensation comes in in the evening of time, or of this age. There was the morning of the creation, the forenoon of the Mosaic economy, noon time of the prophets, the afternoon of the Incarnation, the bloody sweat, the holy life, the atoning death of the Paschal Lamb. And now, the evening time, the night time, the period preceding that morning which shall have no clouds—the time which the prophet says is “neither night nor day”—is upon us.

Of the Great Supper, of the three-fold sending of the servants, of the three fold test the Saviour gave, and of the three parts of the parable -I desire to write in October number.

EXPOSITION OF JEREMIAH

XXXI. 6—11.

BY MR. JAMES WELLS, Of the Surrey Tabernacle, Wansey street,

Walworth road.

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“For there shall be a day, that the

watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God." It is the custom in our day to carry most of the great predictions of the Bible over the Saviour's mediatorial work, over the day of his life and his death, and make those prophecies point to something in the future, something of a fanciful kind.

All this arises from the assumption of men, not taking the word of God as their guide ; for we find Peter declaring, when speaking of the days of Christ, that all the prophets have spoken of those days. And so of these other predictions, we must realize the fulfilment of the words I have read, and of the following words, in the days of Christ and in the apostolic age. These watchmen, therefore, are nothing else, in the first place, but the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. And they are said to be upon the mount Ephraim, Ephraim signifies, as you aware, fruitfulness or fulness ; and therefore, it is expressive of that Gospel standing which the apostles occupied. They did not stand upon a barren mountain, they did not stand in a barren land, they did not proclaim a lifeless, fruitless Gospel, but they stood upon that mountain and in that land where there were the infinite riches of the mercy of God which are by Jesus Christ; and therefore they proclaimed the same to them that were afar off, in order to bring them up to that Zion which is spiritual, and to that Jerusalem which is above, and which is free : “For thus saith the Lord; sing with

gladness for Jacob,” that is, the spiritual, Gospel Jacob ; " and shout among the chief of the nations; publish ye, praise ye, and say,

O Lord, save thy people," then who are his people? “the remnant of Israel." So in all ages there has been a

great bulk of professors, but it is the remnant according to the election of grace that are the people of God. “ Save the people, the remnant of Israel.

Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together, a great company shall return

thither." The words I have just read may appear difficult as to their meaning, but we shall understand them easily if we remember the words of the apostle to the Galatians, when, speaking of their partial apostasy, he uses similar language, by way of a figure of speech, to that which is here used. little children,” he says, “ of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” If, therefore, you take it strictly in the spiritual sense, and take the New Testament for your guide, you will see that all this language, while it contains natural figures or similes, has at the same time a spiritual meaning. " They shall come with weeping, and

with supplications will I lead them ; I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble.” Of course this straight way is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the rivers of water are the promises of God which are by Jesus Christ; and the promises of God can never run dry. Promises of man, you know, friends, run dry, come to nought ; that's a very common thing, we see that every day, men making great promises, but either little or no performance ; and thus Job says, “My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away.'

But the promises of God are rivers of water that can never run dry; because the Lord hath an eternal purpose

in

every one of His promises. He never promises without a purpose, and that purpose is eternal. Hence it is that His people are called according to His purpose, Here He says what He will do, and the apostle says it is done not only according to the promise, but according to the purpose that is in that proNow 16

they shall come with

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weeping ;" weeping after the mercy for us to be the offspring of God's of God, and after the Christ of God. creative power, and another thing to It is a bad sign when a Christian be the Offspring of his everlasting can be happy without the Lord's pre- love and abundant mercy. As the sence ; it is a bad sign when a Chris- Creator, he is universally the Father tian can be happy without the an- of us all; He is there the universal ointings of the Holy Spirit; it is a Father of all creatures. But then as bad sign when a Christian can be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, happy without finding at least some- in the saving sense, there he is the times the Saviour's name as ointment Father only of the seed of Abraham, poured forth. Here then are these i only of those who are born of the rivers of water, meaning the promises | Spirit, and are thus brought to know of God, that will never run dry ; and Him. the straight way of course means the

* Hear the word of the Lord, 0 ye Lord Jesus Christ. He is called the

nations," straight way for two reasons. First, because as the way, the truth, and meaning, they shall hear it, and so the life, he is made plain to all the they did hear it ; Lord's people ; "the way-faring man,

- and declare it in the isles afar off, and though a fool, shall not err therein," say, He that scattered Israel," but shall see clearly that Jesus Christ in His obedient life, atoning death,

in the first Adam, resurrection, and so on, is the way of ** will gather him and keep him,” eternal life. That is one reason He is said to be a straight way, because

in the last Adam ; His work is made so perfectly plain

"as a shepherd doth his flock. For the to them that seek the Lord. And

Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ranthe second reason He is called a somed him from the hand of him that straight way is because, thanks to was stronger than he." His dear name! by Him everything is made straight.

Many crooks in ourselves, but nothing crooked in THE PENITENT'S PRAYER. Him ; many crooks in circumstances,

“I hare surely heard Ephraim bemoaning but nothing crooked in Him; many himself."-Jeremiah xxxi. 18. crooks we meet with in this life among

Behold a sinful worm, O Lord, good people and among bad people, A soul devoid of rest; but there is nothing crooked in Him, Uy only hope is in thy word, all is straight, all is symmetrical, all To make me truly blest. is perfect there, and that eternally so.

.To Thee I lift a sinner's prayer, Everything was straight in the first

To Thee I breathe a sigh; Adam, but sin entered and made

Thou God of love, the sinner spare, everything crooked. Everything is

O spare me, or I die. straight in the last Adam ; there sin can never enter to make anything

Thy law is holy, just, and good, crooked. Everything was straight

But I that law have broke;

In all transgression I have stood, in unfallen angels, but sin entered, And borne a rebel's yoke. and made all things with them everlastingly crooked. But while sin has Yet look with pity on the tear, spoiled us in the first Adam, it can

Thy grace has taught to flow; not even touch us in the last Adam.

And in Thy loving-kindness, hear,

And ease me of my woe. There then, everything is straight; it is “a straight way, wherein they Has not the dear Redeemer bled, shall not stumble.”

For sinners such as I ? And then, to show that this is a

Did He not mingle with the dead,

That His might never die ? matter of new covenant relationship, he saith,

Then while before Thy throne I bend,

And smite upon my breast; * For I am a father to Israel, and

To me Thy pardoning Spirit send, Ephraim is my first-born."

Then I am truly blest. Now you all know it is one thing Vanchester.

WILLIAM STOKES.

ON CHURCH MEMBERSHIP. warning, no proper information to the CHURCH membership is a most

members of what was to be done, insacred thing. It ought not to be taken

deed, the members not knowing that up carelessly, or be trifled with, or be any wrong was done by the accused; easily broken off. Membership of

no fair ballot, for some knew not baptised believers is, of course, a

what was doing ; three or four meetmembership with the body of the

ings granted to the accuser, and no spiritual Church, and with Christ

right and privilege of a defence to the Emmanuel the Head. The rights of

accused, of a full, clear, decided exmembership are equal. The rich have

planation of the affair ; then what is no more right than the poor ; the

inembership worth? It is a disgrace knowing or skilful have no more right,

to mere humanity, an insult to com

mon sense, a reproach, a blot, a power, or authority, than the ignorant; the one officially engaged, or

shame to any society. Besides, how employed in a church, has no more

improper, how unseemly, how demembership than the unemployed.

grading, for a professed Church of No member has any right to sup

Christ, especially when that member

so ill-used, so injured, so severed, press, or remove, or deprive another. Truly the secret membership with

was by all the others said to be loved, the true Church, and with Jesus admired, yea idolized? Who will Christ the Lord—the Head-never

now wish to be a member of a Bap

tist church if this is to stand ? can be cut off. But too often church

Where's anything in Sacred Scripmembership is separated here ; there

ture to warrant such a thing? But appears little or no bond of union ;

above all, when that member was an yea, membership seems not worth a

accredited and acceptable minister; straw in our days. If no fault is to be forgiven how is membership so

yea, the recognised, the popular, the firm ? If no forbearance is to be

prosperous pastor of the same church, shown how is membership likely to

doing more than any they had heard be settled ? Or how, indeed, is

in honouring God, harmonising Holy Scripture ground to be maintained ?

Writ, and establishing souls. Yet, Or how can the right and proper

in such unprincipled manner they cast

him out. The churches ought to say, spirit be manifested, if for any mere opinion, or for the lordly wish of one

with strict unanimity, no such thing to rule over another, or instead of an

be lawfully done. All the other, membership be severed, then

churches should say, with scriptural where's the value, where the import

faithfulness, we have no such custom ance, where the sacred privilege ? If

amongst us. All the churches should à member has not committed sin

say, with great solemnity, we will

not have it so. For, alas ! such has proved, or not fallen from the truth in a church, how can he or she be de

been the strange conduct of Hadlow prived of right or position or place Baptists to W. House, leaving him without

formal warning, without any

an outraged, ruined, sinking man. the voice of the whole body, and

Now, will all ministers and Christians that, too, without any allowed defence? Such deprival of membership is not known in common societies. And why should it be tolerated

STRICTURES ON “N. L.in a church, and even approved and DEAR BROTHER, I have read very encouraged by ministers and pastors ? carefully the letter of your corresThe right of the English, as of man pondent, “N. L.," in the August generally, is to have defence. How number of the EARTHEN VESSEL, and much more in a church ! But when failed to discover whether he conone can come into a community, and tends for “Strict Communion” or not. because of a little more money pos- He says : -“It appears that some sessed, or assumed, or other cause, persons wish it to be understood that inducé deacons to remove a fellow- the word Particular (which is in the member summarily and suddenly, trust-deeds of Baptist churches) with no kind of order, no official

Particular redemption.”

can

say, Amen ?

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