Friday, 7 October 2011

PAUL'S LAW OF MIND EXAMINED

"So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God."
(Romans 7:25)

It is known by sad experience, to all that love the Almighty, that the carnal mind is enmity against God. And it is the application of the law that discovers this; for the law working wrath in the soul, and ministering nothing but death to it, stirs up this enmity; this Paul calls the reviving of sin at the coming of the commandment.
But God has provided and promised a remedy for this disease. He promises, by his Spirit in Noah, that he would persuade Japheth, and he should dwell in the tents of Shem, Genesis 9:27. This is a promise made to the Gentiles. And this work of persuading seems to be the working faith in the minds of men by the power of the Holy Ghost; hence God is said to send the word of the gospel to the souls of men with power in the Holy Ghost, and with much assurance, 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

And the operation of this divine power put forth is said to produce faith; "God fulfills all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power," (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

The whole of this work is called a persuasion in the mind; "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind," (Romans 14:5); and this persuasion Paul asserts to be the faith of Abraham; "And, being fully persuaded that what he [God] had promised, he was able also to perform, therefore it was imitated to him for righteousness," (Romans 4:21-22).

This matter is more fully set forth in the proclamation of God in the promises of the covenant, where it is expressly said that God would put his laws into their hearts, and in their minds he would write them, Hebrews 10:16.

Some folks may be ready to say that there is no call for a divine power displayed in persuading the minds of men to believe in Christ. But let such try their skill upon a sinner convinced of the sin of unbelief, and of the enmity of his mind, the hardness of his heart, and the rebellion of his will, and who has all his crimes before his eyes, and nothing but guilt and wrath in his heart.

Tell such that all their afflictions are in love; that, although they are enemies to God, they are reconciled by Christ; and that, though they are ungodly, yet they shall be justified; and, although they are filled with wrath, yet they are loved with an everlasting love; and, though exercised with the snares of death and pains of hell, yet they are the adopted sons of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven; and they will tell you that all men are liars. None but God can persuade Japheth.

In allusion to the impression that the Holy Ghost made, called the finger of God, upon the two tables of stone in the hand of Moses, is this law of faith said to be written on the mind; and I believe it is the same in substance as the contents of Habakkuk's vision, which he was bid to write and make plain upon tables, Hab. 2:2; for this law and the Spirit of life come both together, and the contents amount to this, "The just shall live by his faith." Paul calls it a writing by the Spirit on the fleshly tables of the heart, 2 Corinthians 3:3.

The writing the law of faith is called a persuading of the mind; and every child of God knows that, when he is fully persuaded of his interest in Christ, and that the righteousness of Christ is imputed, and the sentence of justification passed, the sentence of death is abolished, the witness of our sonship and justification is received into the court of conscience; and the peace of God, as the fruit and effect of righteousness, reigns and rules in the heart. These are the fleshy tables of the heart which Paul speaks of, alluding to God's promise of giving us a new heart and a new spirit. When this most glorious work is done, the troubled and disquieted mind confides in the power of God, so sweetly displayed or put forth in the soul at its happy and blessed deliverance. And, conscious of its own weakness, and of the deceit of its own heart, by breaking all its resolutions vows, and promises, it cleaves to the power it feels, and enjoys both rest and peace in God its Saviour. Righteousness goes forth as brightness to the understanding, and as a lamp that burneth to the affections; it brings pardon to the conscience like the rays of the sun, and peace to the heart like a river. To this power displayed the soul cleaves, in this power it rests, and dreads every thing that disturbs, disquiets, or removes it; and finds the promise fulfilled; "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee," (Isaiah 26:3).

Having touched upon God's promise to persuade the mind, by sending the word with power and much assurance, and of the fleshy tables of the heart feeling the impression, the apostle tells us of the change made in this mind: "Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," (Romans 12:2).

This renewing is making something new which was once new before; having its filth purged, its enmity subdued, and furnished with something from above, that it may be taken off from its apostacy, and be replaced, refixed, and re-established upon the same object, as it was when it was first made. This is what I understand by renewing.

The apostle says of himself, and of all such, "We have the mind of Christ," (1 Corinthians 2:16); which many good men understand of our having a knowledge of the mind and will of God in Christ Jesus, as revealed in the word of the gospel. But I do not believe that this is the apostle's meaning, because men may have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries, and yet be nothing. The apostle seems to me to mean the Holy Spirit; that we have the spirit of Christ, which he calls the spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7.

Thus we see that faith is first called a persuasion in the mind.

2. A full assurance, attended with a divine power.

3. The law of faith written on the mind, and put in the heart, and in the fleshy tables of the heart.

4. It is called the mind of Christ; and

5. The Holy Ghost, which we receive, is called the spirit of a sound mind.

And I am fully persuaded that the Holy Ghost is a spirit of light and revelation in our understanding; the spirit of judgment in the judgment of them that sit in judgment; the spirit of peace in our conscience; the spirit of love in our affections; the spirit of power in our will; and the spirit of faith, life, truth and soundness in the believer's mind. This most certainly is the mind of Christ, or the same spirit that was in him; and, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" for, in the Spirit, Christ and the believer are one: "He that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit."

Such souls have the mind of Christ by the Spirit's influence; they mind the same things as he did; they are engaged in the same labour and warfare; they meet with the same oppositions; they pursue the same end; they aim at the same joy set before them; they are joint heirs of the same inheritance; and they share in the honour, glory, and majesty, of the same kingdom. This is what I understand by the mind of Christ; and this appears to me to be confirmed by the following texts; "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 2:5); one mind in both.

"We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit."
(Romans 8:26)

Here our most evangelical apostle brings us gradually to a point. He tells us plainly that the human mind is furnished with carnality, and that this carnal mind is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to his law. That we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then he intimates that one branch of this renewing is a divine confidence, which he calls a persuasion in the mind. Then he tells us that such have the mind of Christ, being partakers of the spirit of power and of a sound mind; and then he is express in the whole, and screws us up to the highest key, calling it the mind of the Spirit. And this accounts for what I have often been amazed at, and in a most singular manner was exercised with, in one day, not long since.

I found, in the early part of the day, much undeserved and unexpected indulgence in my approaches to the Lord. I had received some accounts of success in the ministry, and some cheering rays of the Lord's countenance, and not a few smiles of his providence. My soul moved in concert with the sweet impressions, and nothing was uppermost in my mind but God my Saviour, his goodness to me, his work in me, and my expectations of future bliss anticipated by faith, and already in hope. Soon after this, in the same day, things counter to all the above indulgences occurred, and I found my mind as inflexible, stubborn, envious, and as rebellious as the enemy of souls could make it, which covered me with shame and confusion; and, if I do not forget, I had no less than three of these changes that same day.

At this time Paul's law in the members and in the mind came fresh into my thoughts; and upon these I meditated, pondered, and exercised myself at times for a month or six weeks, before I began to preach upon these subjects; and I came to this conclusion, that, when we are, as John says, in the Spirit, faith, life, power, and heavenly things, are uppermost, yea, all in all: and at other times, when in the furnace, there is the reverse of all these.

John, in Revelation, twice mentions being in the Spirit; "And immediately I was in the Spirit." And again, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day;" which shows that these indulgences were not perpetual, and that at certain seasons he was in some things the reverse of this; and what can that be but being, in some sense, in the flesh? which is the only opposite to being in the Spirit.

That faculty of the soul, which is called the mind, is but one, although we read of a carnal mind and a spiritual mind. The Spirit is said to transform us by renewing the mind; and to have the mind spiritual is life and peace. The life of the Spirit is in the mind, and peace with God in the conscience. And, to raise our thoughts still higher, he says, this is the Spirit of a sound mind, and then he says, "We have the mind of Christ;" and, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;" and, lastly, he expressly calls it, the mind of the Spirit, because he is the sole and whole controller, influencer, and operator in the mind of the believer, and produces all the lively exercises, motions, delights, pleasure, and satisfaction, which are enjoyed under his quickening and comforting administration.

And this is a wonderful mystery, that the mind of the Spirit, life, peace, and heavenly things, should be so sensibly and so deeply felt and enjoyed, as to make the soul a heaven upon earth, Jeremiah 31:26; and then, in less than an hour after, carnality, enmity, rebellion, wrath, and bitterness, should work so powerfully in the selfsame part, Lamentations 3:15.

But this is Paul's touchstone; "They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit," Romans. 8:5. The believer sets his heart upon these, be his inward frames what they may; and the things of the Spirit, that he minds, and feels, and follows after, are the following: He highly prizes the promises of the Spirit helping his infirmities in prayer; he knows without this there is no freedom of speech or of soul, no enlargement, no energy, no boldness, no access, no pouring out the soul before God, nor casting our cares and burdens on him, no troubles left behind, nor refreshings brought down. The soul returns from the well of salvation with the pitcher empty, and covers his head because there is no water.

2. The grand evidences of the believer's adoption are the things of the Spirit, which a child of God sets his heart much upon; and these are, first, the Spirit's cry of "Abba, Father," with a full persuasion in the heart of the truth of it; and likewise the witness of the Spirit, be bearing witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God.

3. The liberty of the Spirit, or deliverance from legal bondage and slavish fear, is highly esteemed by the believer also; "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit."

4. The consolations of the Spirit, springing from a lively hope, from the powerful application of the promises, from a sense of God's gracious presence, and of his acceptance and approbation of us in Christ Jesus. These are highly prized by spiritual men, and the reverses of them are a sore trouble; "The Comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me," (Lamentations 1:16).

5. The graces of meekness and humility are highly prized by the believer, for in the exercise of these he finds the greatest access to God, and the sweetest union with him; and he is then in the best frame to receive any instruction, impression, or love-token, from him. "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness," (Zephaniah 2:3).
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6. The love of the Spirit is a most choice treasure to the child of God, because it is the bond of the covenant, the marriage ring, the badge of the Christian profession, and the noblest member of the new man. It enlarges the heart, and makes the face to shine; it purges the heart of its idols, of fear and torment, and of all the mercenary meanness which reigns and rules in the beggarly souls of servants. "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his lips; for thy love is better than wine," (Song of Solomon 1:2). I might have added patience, submission, joy, peace, light, life, knowledge, etc., for the believer minds all these things, and these are the things of the Spirit.

Now the apostle says, "With the mind I myself serve the law of God;" by which he means not the moral law, but the law of faith, or the gospel, which he declares when he says, "God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son," Romans 1:9. Serving under the law is serving in the oldness of the letter; but Paul served in the newness of the Spirit, Romans 7:6.

And indeed I believe that the Holy Ghost, by his implantation of grace, and by his operations on that grace, is the sole agent of every branch of religious service which is acceptable to God through Christ; and this Paul owns: "I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me," (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Paul's labour and service were performed by grace; and the Spirit of grace was the efficient and moving cause of all Paul's service. The Spirit prepares the heart, and creates the fruit of the lips. By faith Paul spake as the gospel does, Yea and amen. The love of Christ constrained him, the Spirit's might strengthened him, hope emboldened him, patience bore the daily cross, and the quickening Spirit gave him all his activity, life, zeal, and motion; and the apostle owns that the three principal labourers in the souls of the saints are faith, hope, and love: "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ," (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

And again; "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name," (Hebrews 6:10): from all which we may conclude that all works without faith are dead works; all labour without love is lost labour; and patience without hope is not the patience of Christ. Once more, and I have done.

Paul says, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man," (Romans 7:22). By the inward man he means the whole crop of divine grace, love being the most noble member or principle of this inner man, and the heart and soul of all the rest. This love delights in the gospel of Christ; for there can be no delight where there is no love, which Paul himself says "Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." Here is the love of the new man, called Charity; and the delight of charity is here called rejoicing; and here is Paul's law explained, called Truth. Paul does not say, I rejoice, although this is true; but he says that charity, which is the love of God, rejoiceth in God's truth; and, if ever there was an evangelist in this world, Paul was one. Take it in short thus - the Spirit of life, of faith, and of a sound mind, prompts me to the service of God; and the love of the Spirit in me delights in the glorious gospel of Christ, and rejoiceth in it: but my corrupt affections find no pasture, no delight in these things; all that these affect, and suck their sweetness from, are the imaginary lusts of the flesh: which, being against God, and a corruption of the ways of God, they are in love with sin, and at enmity with God. These are not to be pressed into God's service, nor to be expected to embark in it; for, if they did, it would amount to no more than voluntary humility and will-worship. "Put off the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts," (Ephesians 4:22).

Observe also that corrupt affections are the life of sin in men; for what men love they are alive to, and delight in. But the love of God in Christ Jesus, dethroning the idols of corrupt love, subduing our corruptions, ravishing the soul, and making it alive to God; this is called the death of corrupt affections, and of the things these affections crave after and feed on: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts," (Galatians 5:24); and this crucifixion is a dying daily, 1 Corinthians 15:31.

Beloved, farewell.

THE COALHEAVER - William Huntington

Sunday, 2 October 2011

THE HOPE OF ARMINIANISM

The hope of Arminianism seems to me to differ much from the hope of the gospel, because it allows that Christ died for all men. But Christ declares that the gates which lead to destruction receive the greatest number, (Matthew 7:13).

Therefore, if the former be true, some are in hell for whom Christ died; in which case there must have been a deficiency in the price the Surety paid, or else it reflects on his wisdom, and supposes him outwitted by the serpent, who, through his subtlety, has got legions in his possession, which were the Saviour's own by purchase. It does not reflect on his wisdom only, but on his power also, who could not hold them that were committed unto him; because the gates of hell have prevailed, and many are plucked out of his hand, (John, 10:28).

It seems likewise to reflect cruelly on the justice of God, who drew his sword, and sheathed it in the great Shepherd, (Zechariah 8:7); and spared him not in the least, nor abated one mite of the debt, (Romans 8:32).

And it is plain that Justice promised, by the blood of his covenant, to send "forth the prisoners out of the pit in which there was no water," (Zechariah. 9:11); and further, to be "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," (1 John 1:9).

But alas! this is all overthrown if Arminianism be true.

If Arminian hope be fixed on a surety that hath not paid, or cannot pay the debt; or, if it be fixed on a mutable Saviour, having no laws to encourage it but such as demand a debt twice; first of the surety, and then of the debtor; first sending them out of the prison of sin on the surety's account, or, in their own words, making them sons of God by grace to-day, and after all this letting them fall away, and locking them up in hell to all eternity, until they can pay the utmost mite of what was paid long ago; what establishment is there for hope?

I answer, a hope founded on such doctrines is just as stable as a feather in a whirlwind.

By William Huntington

SALVATION IN AND BY CHRIST ALONE

My hearers, salvation is in and by Christ alone!

Dependence must be nowhere else!

It is wholly in Him--it will not do to depend partly on Christ and partly on our own works!

O! No. He is the one only, Saviour; and He is also our dependence--see Zechariah 2:5, "For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her" - a wall of fire, and He will burn up our enemies on every side, and "Nothing shall by any means hurt" His Church!

Now to understand this fully, you must be tried and tempted, you must be in tribulation.

Trials bring out the reality of all this--it is in the path of trial and of trouble that we learn these things; it is the skilful Artist that darkens and blackens the picture, in order, afterwards to bring out the bright and telling touches of a master hand!

The non-artistic dauber cannot do that!

And so it is with the Christian. It is in trouble of soul--it is in the furnace, it is in the deep waters, that we are made to learn the need of a Saviour--the value and efficacy of His precious blood and constant love and care--like the old woman who said, when one visited her in her cottage, in affliction and trouble, and who tried to comfort her, and pity her; "O," she said, "if I had no trials I should feel my Lord had forgotten me," (or words to that effect.)

"For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
(Malachi 3:6)

By J.J. West

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

PERUSING THE WORD

It is in perusing the word that we converse with the Father in his secret decrees and purposes; with the blessed Redeemer in his great undertakings, sufferings, and soul-comforting discourses; and with the blessed Spirit, who spoke by the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles.

Yea, I have often found the sweetest companions, and the greatest company, when I have been alone.

It is by the Spirit's operation, by the bond of love, by a unity of sentiment, and by a unity of the faith of God's elect, that we come "to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven..." (Hebrews 12:23).

It is by our arraignment and justification that we come to God the judge of all; and by the Spirit's operation that we come to "...the spirits of just men made perfect" (Hebrews 12:23)

Believing in Jesus for life and salvation, is coming to the Mediator of the new covenant; and receiving the atonement by faith, is coming "to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Hebrews 12:24).

By William Huntington

AN ABLE MINISTER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

"An able minister of the New Testament" is one that has received the spirit of promise, one that has felt and enjoyed the truths, blessings, and promises, of the gospel in his own heart, and so tells to others what God has done for his soul.

He has the Spirit, and is a minister of the Spirit.

He is a partaker of grace, and a good steward of it.

He is pardoned and preaches forgiveness.

He is justified, and preaches righteousness.

He believes, and therefore speaks.

He is quickened, and holds forth the Word of life.

He is free, and preaches liberty to others.

He made his own calling and election sure, and therefore shuns not to declare the whole counsel of God.

Christ is revealed in him; and he bears him and preaches him amongst the Gentiles.

He has felt the savour of his name as an ointment poured forth, and therefore is instrumental in making manifest the savour of his name in every place.

He has salt in himself, and his words are seasoned with salt, to season others.

He is illuminated, and lets his light shine before men.

He is a candle on the stick, and gives, light to all that are in the house.

Such an one, in the hands of Christ, is an able minister of the New Testament.

By William Huntington

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

PROVING THE WORK

"But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing of himself alone and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden,"
(Galatians 6:4-5)

THE work mentioned in my text is not the works of the law. No, no, no; for the Scripture says, "By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified."

But the work here mentioned is faith.

Hence we find the apostle says, "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. Prove your own selves," (2 Corinthians 13:5); and here it says, "Let every man prove his own work"

Thus it is plain that this is the work of faith.

"But, then," say you, "how shall we know that we have faith?"

Why, if you have these six things in you which faith always attends:

1. Faith purifies the heart (Acts 10:43); "Whosoever believeth in him shall receive the remission of his sins."

2. It is prevalent with God in prayer (1 John 5:14-l5); "And this is the confidence we have in him."

3. It overcomes the world (1 John 5:4); "Now this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith."

4. Faith attends the Spirit's witness (1 John 5:10); "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself."

5. Peace in the conscience (Romans 15:23); "Peace in believing through the power of the Holy Ghost."

6. It attends the preaching of the word (1 Thessalonians 1:5); "For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power;" and elsewhere it says, "The word preached did not profit, not being mixed with faith" (Hebrews 4:2).

The next thing is to prove this work; to prove the work of God.

1. The Bible says, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). Well, say I. I am the person; for I "hunger and thirst after righteousness." Then this proves it.

2. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Revelation 3:19). Now if I am rebuked and chastened,this proves it; and thus I prove my own work by the word of God.

The next thing is this rejoicing. It is common for people in a natural state, when on a death bed, to send for the minister, and he reads over a few prayers to them; and if conscience begins to lash them, then he administers the sacrament to them, and thus patches up a false peace, and the sick person rejoices in the testimony of another.

But what is all this?

Supposing, on the one hand, every one of you were to tell me I was a child of God, and my conscience cursed me, and told me I was not, what signifies your testimony?

"Why, no," say you. And, on the other hand, suppose every one of you cursed me, and told me I was not, what should I care for that if the Spirit bore witness that I am a child of God?

I care not what you say. And thus I rejoice in myself alone, and not in another.

I will now show you in a three-fold sense how every man shall bear his own burden.

You may say you think it is wrong, for Paul says, "Bear ye one another's burdens."

"O," say you, "that's the moral law;" but I answer, "No;" for the moral law never commands me to bear another's burden.

But Isaiah says, "He bore our sins in his own body on the tree;" and we are to take pattern by him, so if a brother is in distress of soul, by my telling him of my having been in the same state, and praying to God to deliver him as he did me, I make his trouble my own; and this is well-pleasing; for it is the law of love. It was nothing but the self-moving love of Christ that occasioned him to bear our sins.

But this burden in my text is different, as I shall show you in a threefold sense.

1. It is a daily cross: "Let him deny himself, and take up his cross," (Matthew 16:24)

2. The depravity of our nature: "We that are in this tabernacle do groan;"(1 Corinthians 5:4)

3. Bodily afflictions and trials.

Thus I have endeavored to show the meaning of the text, and I add no more.

By William Huntington

Monday, 5 September 2011

A HAND-BASKET PORTION

They have a common saying in the Weald of Kent, when the daughter of a farmer is married. If it be enquired what portion the father gave, the answer is:

"He gave not much money; but is always sending them something - there is always something from the farmhouse."


Then the observation usually is:

"Aye, her's is a hand-basket portion, which is generally the best; for there is no end to that."


Even so our Everlasting Father gives to His poor children a hand-basket portion - a basket being that which we generally fetch our daily provisions in: and God sometimes puts His blessing even in the basket, and then it seldom comes home empty; as it is written:

"Blessed shall be thy basket."
(Deuteronomy 28:5)

Our blessed Saviour eyed this promise on the mount. When He was going to feed five thousand men, beside women and children, with five barley loaves and two small fishes, it is said:

"He looked up to heaven, and blessed and brake..."
(Mark 6:41)

And that blessing was enough; for they were all filled, and there were twelve baskets full of fragments. Thus the blessing appeared in the basket; and that made the Saviour so fond of the fragments as to give this strict charge to His disciples:

"Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."
(John 6:12)

Thus, too, the proverb of the hand-basket portion appears true; and our blessed Saviour Himself lived on it while He dwelt below; yea, the whole Levitical tribe lived on the hand-basket portion; for the shewbread, that was set hot before God on the golden table, was brought in a basket. So that God Himself has highly honoured the basket.

I am firmly of opinion that the hand-basket portion is the best, both for soul and body; because it keeps us to prayer, exercises our faith, engages our watchfulness, and excites to gratitude.

By William Huntington

HAPPY IS THAT SOUL!

Happy is that soul that credits God.s promise; places his confidence in Him for the fulfilment of it; makes use of the means God has appointed; daily pleads His promise in the humble prayer of faith; patiently waits His time; daily watches His hand; lives in a holy expectation of a daily supply of spiritual and temporal mercies from the God of his salvation; and who is humbly thankful to God for every favour that flows through the atoning blood and prevalent intercession of a dear Redeemer!

By William Huntington

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

BOOK REVIEW: CONTEMPLATIONS ON THE GOD OF ISRAEL - BY WILLIAM HUNTINGTON

Contemplations on the God of Israel - By William Huntington;

paperback; 183 pages;

Published by Gospel Mission Books.

Lovers of Huntington will warmly welcome this book. Really it is Huntington at his best: he is dealing with the best of subjects and this, not among his controversial writings but in gracious letters to a close friend.

Contemplations on the God of Israel consists of nineteen letters written to Jenkin Jenkins.

Jenkins, who died aged 59 in 1810, was pastor at Jireh Chapel, Lewes, and almost certainly William Huntington’s closest friend. He always referred to him as “the Welsh ambassador.” The two are buried together outside the chapel at Lewes.

The subject of the book is exactly what the title implies – contemplations on each Person in the glorious Trinity. At the end of the final letter William Huntington writes:

“Nor suffer the devil to confound thee by suggesting that you will displease one by addressing the other. Whatever is truly and properly God is the Object of divine worship. And that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, are truly, really and properly God is as clearly revealed in the Scriptures as that the Father is so.

‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our heavenly Father, and the communion of the Spirit of all grace, be with thee, and with all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth, both now and for evermore.’”


As the preface states:

“This book is a complete refutation of many modern heresies and an effectual antidote to prevailing conceptions of the divine Being.”


To those unfamiliar with Huntington, this is a good beginning.

This is a replica of the 1940 edition published by C.J. Farncombe and Sons. It is nicely produced, the print is clear, and the price most reasonable.

By B.A. Ramsbottom

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

THE FALSE

Believe me there is a false zeal (Romans 10:2), a false gift (Proverbs 25:14), a false light (Luke 11:35), a false Spirit (Micah 2:11), a false Minister (2 Corinthians 11:13), a false flock of professors (2 Corinthians 11:26), a false Christ (Matthew 24:24), and a false God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

(An excerpt from “Letters on the Ministerial Qualifications” by William Huntington, published by the Huntingtonian Press)

Friday, 1 April 2011

THE ANSWER TO UNBELIEF

A letter from William Huntington.

---------------------------------

Dear Brother,

Grace, mercy and peace be with you through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I received your melancholy epistle, which I believe to be expressive of the gloomy state of your soul. Your appearing in your own eyes one of the greatest of sinners is intended to erase the sandy foundation of human excellency, and to level the towering pinnacle of vain boasting, but is no argument against salvation by grace.

This I tell you by the Word of the Lord, that there is not a single text in God’s Book against a poor, sensible, heavy-laden sinner that is willing to renounce all confidence in the flesh and to submit to be saved by free grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

I do not wonder at the threatenings in God’s Word levelling their contents at you; they will do this till your eye is singly fixed on Jesus Christ. When this is the case, the promises, as so many breasts of consolation, will meet you with cordials, and the threatenings will level all their arrows at your back, to keep you from looking again towards Sodom. After the Saviour had given His followers many admonitions, He bade them remember Lot’s wife.

You would not have continued so long in your present situation if all your working abilities were exhausted; for God has promised to appear when His people’s strength is all gone and there is none left; for by strength shall no man prevail. A legal hope dies hard, and it must be a killing sight and sense of sin that buries it. At the funeral of this wretched hope, deliverance will rise to you another way. “Let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10).

Moses must bring in many bills before our supposed wealth be expended. Insolvency is a cutting consideration to a man of consequence and reputation, nor can self-sufficient nature submit to the kind offers of a surety. But the family of God are all brought into this strait: “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both...” (Luke 7:42). This step brings them in debtors to grace, and leaves them no stock in hand to boast of.

“...Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”
(Luke 7:42-43)

If I had not been well acquainted with your occupation, I should have taken you to have been an advocate at a bar of judicature, for you labour as hard against a good cause as a counsellor doth when his arguments are driven home by a thousand pound bribe. If you were to use as many arguments in your plea for the atonement of Christ as you do against your soul’s salvation, you would cut as good a figure at a throne of grace as any sinner that ever carried a plea into court.

Moses is said to accuse us for breaking his law, and Satan will accuse us, conscience will accuse us, and the world will accuse us. But we have no reason to puzzle our judgments and strain our nerves to assist any of them. Plead your own wretchedness and a Saviour’s fulness, and that will silence every accuser.

Your despairing of the mercy of God under a sense of want, and nursing unbelief, are the greatest sins you ever committed, and are daring reflections cast on Him who saves to the uttermost.

I believe you will be eternally saved, and if your faith has given up the ghost, you ought not to labour so hard to knock down mine also. We are commanded to bear each other’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Beware that there be not in thy heart a secret thought of meriting something by thy long suffering. There is also a kind of mock modesty that often possesses us under our first legal convictions. This appears when we endeavour to put away from us what we hope to enjoy. Job said, “I shall come forth as gold,” and yet he refused to be comforted.

I believe if death were to stare you in the face, I should find it hard work to dispute you out of your right and title to those gospel bessings, which you now labour so hard to put far from you. Farewell. “Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee.” (Mark 10:49).

As soon as unbelief has influenced thee to patch up another epistle, you will be so kind as to let me have it, for I am still in hope that my patience will weary out your unbelief.

Thine to command in all godliness,

William Huntington, S.S.

Winchester Row, July 6th, 1784