Friday, November 09, 2012
Magazine of Crosslanes Chapel
News of the Fellowship
Divine assistance in stormy weather
Feeding sheep or amusing goats - C. H. Spurgeon
The Mystery of Providence - John Flavel
Metrical Psalm 24 - Notes by John Brown of Haddington
I Love the Lord's Day - Robert Murray McCheyne
Have I no evening work for Jesus? - C. H. Spurgeon
by C. H. Spurgeon
"In the evening withhold not thy hand." Ecclesiastes 11 : 6
In the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labour, and the zealous soul winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labour. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both his hands to the nails, how can I keep back one of mine from his blessed work? Night and day he toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray; heaven and hell are in earnest, let me be so, and this evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.
The evening of life has also its calls. Life is so short that a morning of manhood's vigour, and an evening of decay, make the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a four pence is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king should bring us a great heap of gold, and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we should make a long day of it; we should begin early in the morning, and in the evening we should not withhold our hand; but to win souls is far nobler work, how is it that we so soon withdraw from it? Some are spared to a long evening of green old age; if such be my case, let me use such talents as I still retain, and to the last hour serve my blessed and faithful Lord. By his grace I will die in harness, and lay down my charge only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the desponding; if eventide has less of vigorous heat, it should have more of calm wisdom, therefore in the evening I will not withhold my hand.
by Robert Murray McCheyne
"The Sabbath was made for man"
As a servant of God in this dark and cloudy day, I feel constrained to lift up my voice in behalf of the entire sanctification of the Lord's day. The daring attack that is now made by some of the directors of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway on the law of God and the peace of our Scottish Sabbath - the blasphemous motion which they mean to propose to the shareholders in February next - and the wicked pamphlets which are now being circulated in thousands, full of all manner of lies and impieties- call loudly for the calm, deliberate testimony of all faithful ministers and private Christians in behalf of God's holy day. In the name of all God's people in this town, and in this land, I commend to your dispassionate consideration the following;
REASONS WHY WE LOVE THE LORD'S DAY.
I. Because it is the Lord's day. -"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice, and be glad in it" (Ps. cxviii. 24). "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev. i. 10). It is His, by example. It is the day on which He rested from His amazing work of redemption. Just as God rested on the seventh day from all His works, wherefore God blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it; so the Lord Jesus rested this day from all His agony, and pain, and humiliation. "There remaineth therefore the keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God" (Heb. iv. 9). The Lord's day is His property, just as the Lord's Supper is the supper belonging to Christ. It is His table. He is the bread. He is the wine. He invites the guests. He fills them with joy and with the Holy Ghost. So it is with the Lord's day. All days of the year are Christ's, but He hath marked out one in seven as peculiarly His own. "He hath made it," or marked it out. Just as He planted a garden in Eden, so He hath fenced about this day and made it His own. This is the reason why we love it, and would keep it entire. We love everything that is Christ's. We love His word. It is better to us than thousands of gold and silver. "O how we love His law! it is our study all the day." We love His house. It is our trysting-place with Christ, where He meets with us and communes with us from off the mercy-seat. We love His table. It is His banqueting-house, where His banner over us is love where He looses our bonds, and anoints our eyes, and makes our hearts burn with holy joy. We love His people, because they are His, members of His body, washed in His blood, filled with His Spirit, our brothers and sisters for eternity. And we love the Lord's day, because it is His. Every hour of it is dear to us-sweeter than honey, more precious than gold. It is the day He rose for our justification. It reminds us of His love, and His finished work, and His rest. And we may boldly say that that man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ who does not love the entire Lord's day. Oh, Sabbathbreaker, whoever you be, you are a sacrilegious robber! When you steal the hours of the Lord's day for business or for pleasure, you are robbing Christ of the precious hours which He claims as his own. Would you not be shocked if a plan were deliberately proposed for breaking through the fence of the Lord's table, and turning it into a common meal, or a feast for the profligate and the drunkard? Would not your best feelings be harrowed to see the silver cup of communion made a cup of revelry in the hand of the drunkard? And yet what better is the proposal of our railway directors? "The Lord's day" is as much His day as "the Lord's table" is His table. Surely we may well say, in the words of Dr. Love, that eminent servant of Christ, now gone to the Sabbath above: "Cursed is that gain, cursed is that recreation, cursed is that health, which is gained by criminal encroachments on this sacred day."
II. Because it is a relic of Paradise and type of Heaven.-The first Sabbath dawned on the bowers of a sinless paradise. When Adam was created in the image of his Maker, he was put into the garden to dress it and to keep it. No doubt this called forth all his energies. To train the luxuriant vine, to gather the fruit of the fig-tree and palm, to conduct the water to the fruit-trees and flowers, required all his time and all his skill. Man was never made to be idle. Still when the Sabbath-day came round, his rural implements were all laid aside; the garden no longer was his care. His calm, pure mind looked beyond things seen into the world of eternal realities. He walked with God in the garden, seeking deeper knowledge of Jehovah and His ways, his heart burning more and more with holy love, and his lips overflowing with seraphic praise. Even in Paradise man needed a Sabbath. Without it Eden itself would have been incomplete. How little they know the joys of Eden, the delight of a close and holy walk with God, who would wrest from Scotland this relic of a sinless world! It is also the type of heaven. When a believer lays aside his pen or loom, brushes aside his worldly cares, leaving them behind him with his week-day clothes, and comes up to the and comes up to the house of God, it is like the morning of the resurrection, the day when we shall come out of great tribulation into the presence of God and the Lamb. When he sits under the preached word, and hears the voice of the shepherd leading and feeding his soul, it reminds him of the day when the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed him and lead him to living fountains of waters. When he joins in the psalm of praise, it reminds him of the day when his hands shall strike the harp of God- Where congregations ne'er break up, And Sabbaths have no end.
When he retires, and meets with God in secret in his closet, or, like Isaac, in some favourite spot near his dwelling, it reminds him of the day when "he shall be a pillar in the house of our God, and go no more out." This is the reason why we love the Lord's day. This is the reason why we "call the Sabbath a delight" A wellspent Sabbath we feel to be a day of heaven upon earth. For this reason we wish our Sabbaths to he wholly given to God. We love to spend the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship, except so much as is taken up in the works A necessity and mercy. We love to rise early on that morning, and to sit up late, that we may have a long day with God. How many may know from this that they will never be in heaven! A straw on the surface can tell which way the stream is flowing. Do you abhor a holy Sabbath? Is it a kind of hell to you to be with those who are strict in keeping the Lord's day? The writer of these lines once felt as you do. You are restless and uneasy. You say, "Behold what a weariness is it" "When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may sell corn?" Ah! soon, very soon, and you will be in hell. Hell is the only place for you. Heaven is one long, never-ending, holy Sabbath-day. There are no Sabbaths in hell.
III. Because it is a day of blessings. -When God instituted the Sabbath in paradise, it is said, "God blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it" (Gen. ii. 3). He not only set it apart as a sacred day, but made it a day of blessing. Again, when the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week before dawn, He revealed Himself the same day to two disciples going to Emmaus, and made their hearts burn within them (Luke xxiv. 13). The same evening He came and stood in the midst of the disciples, and said, "Peace be unto you;" and He breathed on them and said, "receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John xx. 19). Again, after eight days, - that is, the next Lord's day,-Jesus came and stood in the midst, and revealed Himself with unspeakable grace to unbelieving Thomas (John xx. 26). It was on the Lord's day also that the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost (Acts ii. 1 ; compare Lev. xxiii. 15, 16). That beginning of all spiritual blessings, that first revival of the Christian Church, was on the Lord's day. It was on the same day that the beloved John, an exile on the sea-girt isle of Patmos, far away from the assembly of the saints, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and received his heavenly revelation. So that in all ages, front the beginning of the world, and in every place where there is a believer, the Sabbath has been a day of double blessing. It is so still, and will be, though all God's enemies should gnash their teeth at it. True, God is a God of free grace, and confines His working to no time or place; but it is equally true, and all the scoffs of the infidel cannot alter it, that it pleases Him to bless His word most on the Lord's day. All God's faithful ministers in every land can bear witness that sinners are converted most frequently on the Lord's day-that Jesus comes in and shows Himself through the lattice of ordinances oftenest on His own day. Saints, like John, are filled with the Spirit on the Lord's day, and enjoy their calmest, deepest views into the eternal world. Unhappy men, who are striving to rob our beloved Scotland of this day of double blessing, "ye know not what you do." You would wrest from our dear countrymen the day when God opens the windows of heaven and pours down a blessing. You want to make the heavens over Scotland like brass, and the hearts of our people like iron. Is it the sound of the golden bells of our ever-living High Priest on the mountains of our land, and the breathing of His Holy Spirit over so many of our parishes, that has roused up your satanic exertions to drown the sweet sound of mercy by the deafening roar of railway carriages? Is it the returning vigour of the revived and chastened Church of Scotland that has opened the torrents of blasphemy which you pour forth against the Lord of the Sabbath? Have your own withered souls no need of a drop from heaven? May it not be the case that some of you are blaspheming the very day on which your own soul might have been saved? Is it not possible that some of you may remember, with tears of anguish in hell, the exertions which you are now making, against light and against warning, to bring down a withering blight on your own souls and on the religion of Scotland? To those who are God's children in this land, I would now, in the name of our common Saviour, who is the Lord of the Sabbath day, address
A WORD OF EXHORTATION.
1. PRIZE THE LORD'S DAY.-The more that others despise and trample on it, love you it all the more. The louder the storm of blasphemy howls around you, sit the closer at the feet of Jesus. "He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet" Diligently improve all holy time. It should be the busiest day of the seven; but only in the business of eternity. Avoid sin on that holy day. God's children should avoid sin every day, but most of all on the Lord's day. It is a day of double cursing as well as of double blessing. The world will have to answer dreadfully for sins committed in holy time. Spend the Lord's day in the Lord's presence. Spend it as a day in heaven. Spend much of it in praise and in works of mercy, as Jesus did.
II. DEFEND THE LORD'S DAY.-Lift up a calm, undaunted testimony against all the profanations of the Lord's day. Use all your influence, whether as a statesman, a magistrate, a master, a father, or a friend, both publicly and privately, to defend the entire Lord's day. This duty is laid upon you in the Fourth Commandment. Never see the Sabbath broken without reproving the breaker of it. Even worldly men, with all their pride and contempt for us, cannot endure to be convicted of Sabbath-breaking. Always remember God and the Bible are on your side, and that you will soon see these men cursing their own sin and folly when too late. Let all God's children in Scotland lift up a united testimony especially against these three public profanations of the Lord's day.
Notes by Rev John Brown of Haddington
Probably this psalm was penned for use of the Hebrews, when David brought up the ark of God to Jerusalem, or when Solomon brought it into the temple, 2 Sam. 6, 1 Kings 8, in order to raise their hearts above their external ceremonies, to a reception of, and walking in Christ, who was thereby prefigured. Observe, (1.) Christ's kingdom of nature, comprehending the whole world and all the inhabitants thereof, ver. 1-2. (2.) His kingdom of grace in the nature of it; the gracious character of its subjects; and their charter to their everlasting happiness above, ver. 3-6. (3.) Under the figure of a call to admit the ark, we have a solemn summons, issued forth by God, for the heavens to receive Jesus, our glorious and almighty King, into their blissful abodes in his ascension; and for us to receive him into our hearts and societies below, ver. 7-10.
While I sing, let me be affected with the double claim the Redeemer hath on me as his creature, and as his ransomed one. Let me try whether I possess the distinguishing characters of a real saint; and whether I have received an abundance of the gift of righteousness, and of blessedness from the God of my salvation. Let me charge, let me rouse up all my inward powers, to receive Jesus Christ the Lord, as made of God unto me, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
1 The earth belongs unto the Lord,
and all that it contains;
The world that is inhabited,
and all that there remains.
2 For the foundations thereof
he on the seas did lay,
And he hath it established
upon the floods to stay.
3 Who is the man that shall ascend
into the hill of God?
Or who within his holy place
shall have a firm abode?
4 Whose hands are clean, whose heart is pure,
and unto vanity
Who hath not lifted up his soul,
nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He from th' Eternal shall receive
the blessing him upon,
And righteousness, ev'n from the God
of his salvation.
6 This is the generation
that after him enquire,
O Jacob, who do seek thy face
with their whole heart's desire.
7 Ye gates, lift up your heads on high;
ye doors that last for aye,
Be lifted up, that so the King
of glory enter may.
8 But who of glory is the King?
The mighty Lord is this;
Ev'n that same Lord, that great in might
and strong in battle is.
9 Ye gates, lift up your heads; ye doors,
doors that do last for aye,
Be lifted up, that so the King
of glory enter may.
10 But who is he that is the King
of glory? who is this?
The Lord of hosts, and none but he,
the King of glory is.
by John Flavel
“I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:2)
The greatness of God is a glorious and unsearchable mystery. ‘For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great king over all the earth’ (Psalm 47:2). The condescension of the most high God to men is also a profound mystery. ‘Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly’ (Psalm 138:6). But when both these meet together, as they do in this Scripture, they make up a matchless mystery. Here we find the most high God performing all things for a poor distressed creature.
It is the great support and solace of the saints in all the distresses that befall them here, that there is a wise Spirit sitting in all the wheels of motion, and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs to blessed and happy issues. And, indeed, it were not worth while to live in a world devoid of God and Providence.
How deeply we are concerned in this matter will appear by that great instance which Psalm 57 presents us with. It was composed, as the title notes, by David when he hid himself from Saul in the cave. It is inscribed with a double title: ‘Altaschith, Michtam of David.’ ‘Altaschith’ refers to the scope and ‘Michtam’ to the dignity of the subject-matter.
The former signifies ‘destroy not,’ or ‘let there be no slaughter.’ and may either refer to Saul concerning whom he gave charge to his servants not to destroy him, or rather, it has reference to God, to whom in this great exigency he poured out his soul in this passionate ejaculation: ‘Altaschith,’ ‘destroy not.’
The latter title ‘Michtam’ signifies ‘a golden ornament,’ and so is suited to the choice and excellent matter of the Psalm, which much more deserves such a title than do Pythagoras’ Golden Verses.
Three things are remarkable in the former part of the Psalm: his extreme danger; his earnest address to God in that extremity; and the arguments he pleads with God in that address.
His extreme danger is expressed in both the title and the body of the psalm. The title tells us this psalm was composed by him when he hid himself from Saul in the cave. This cave was in the wilderness of Engedi among the broken rocks where the wild goats lived, an obscure and desolate hole; yet even there the envy of Saul pursued him (1 Samuel 24:1, 2). And now he that had been so long hunted as a partridge upon the mountains seems to be enclosed in the net. His enemies were outside the cave, from which there was no other outlet. Then Saul himself entered the mouth of this cave, in the sides and creeks of which David and his men lay hidden, and they actually saw him. Judge to how great an extremity and to what a desperate state things were now brought. Well might he say: ‘My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them that are set on fire’ (verse 4). What hope now remained? What but immediate destruction could be expected?
Yet this does not frighten him out of his faith and duty, but between the jaws of death he prays, and earnestly addresses himself to God for mercy: ‘Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me’ (verse 1). This excellent psalm was composed by him when there was enough to discompose the best man in the world. The repetition notes both the extremity of the danger and the ardency of the supplicant. Mercy, mercy, nothing but mercy, and that exerting itself in an extraordinary way, can now save him from ruin.
The arguments he pleads for obtaining mercy in this distress are very considerable. First, he pleads his reliance upon God as an argument to move mercy. ‘Be merciful unto me O God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee; yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast’ (verse 1). This his trust and dependence on God though it is not an argument in respect of the dignity of the act, yet it is so in respect of the nature of the object, a compassionate God, who will not expose any that take shelter under His wings; also in respect of the promise by which protection is assured to them that fly to Him for sanctuary: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee’ (Isaiah 26:3). Thus he encourages himself from the consideration of that God in whom he trusts.
He pleads former experiences of His help in past distresses as an argument encouraging hope under the present strait: ‘I will cry unto God most high, unto God that performeth all things for me’ (verse 2).
In these words I shall consider two things: the duty resolved upon, and the encouragement to that resolution.
The duty resolved upon: ‘I will cry unto God.’ Crying unto God is an expression that denotes not only prayer, but intense and fervent prayer. To cry is to pray in a holy passion; and such are usually speeding prayers (Psalm 18:6; Hebrews 5:7). The encouragements to this resolution are taken from the sovereignty of God and from the experience he had of His Providence.
The sovereignty of God: ‘I will cry unto God most high.’ Upon this he acts his faith in extremity of danger. Saul is high, but God is the most high, and without His permission he is assured Saul cannot touch him. He had none to help, and if he had, he knew God must first help the helpers or they cannot help him. He had no means of defence or escape before him, but the Most High is not limited by means. This is a singular prop to faith (Psalm 59:9).
The experience of His Providence hitherto: ‘Unto God that performeth all things for me.’
The word which we translate ‘performeth’ comes from a root that signifies both to perfect, and to desist or cease. For when a business is performed and perfected, the agentthen ceases and desists from working. To such a happy issue the Lord has brought all his doubtful and difficult matters before; and this gives him encouragement that He will still be gracious, and perfect that which concerns him now, as he speaks: ‘The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me’ (Psalm 138:8).
The Septuagint renders Psalm 57:2: ‘The well-doer saving me,’ ‘who profits or benefits me.’ And it is a certain truth that all the results and issues of Providence are profitable and beneficial to the saints. But the supplement in our translation well conveys the sense of the text: ‘Who performeth all things.’ And it involves the most strict and proper notion of Providence, which is nothing else but the performance of God’s gracious purposes and promises to His people.
by CH Spurgeon
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church - if it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature'. That is clear enough, so it would have been if He had added, 'and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel'. No such words, however, are to he found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, 'He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry'. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? 'Ye are the salt', not the sugar candy - something the world will spit out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance 'Let the dead bury their dead'. He was in awful earnestness!
Had he introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, 'Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow - something short and attractive with little preaching - we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!' Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel of amusement. Their message is. 'Come out, keep out, keep clean out' - anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, 'Lord, grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating useof innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are'. If they ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments - scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down, that is the only difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them half way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts.
The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship, joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
Back In May we held our 161st. Church Anniversary Services. We were greatly blessed through the ministry of Rev Jeremy Brooks. Since then Pastor Brooks has been inducted into the pastorate at Catshill Evangelical Church. We pray the Lord would richly bless his ministry there.
During this Queen`s Jubilee year, we have been greatly encouraged, to be able to distribute 100's of Bibles, Gospels and colouring books into 22 schools in the New Forest area. May the Lord continue to bless this endeavour and open many more doors of opportunity.
For several years we have been door to door visiting in Fordingbridge. Now we are visiting in the Ringwood area beginning with the Wessex Estate in order to spread the glorious gospel of our Saviour.
Our open-air services have continued in Ringwood, on our last occasion, we were pleased to give away 10 Bibles. One boy although laughed at by his friends, stopped to listen to our pastor preaching the gospel, later he also came back to thank our pastor and was given a Bible.
Regularly, Bible tables are set up in Fordingbridge and Ringwood. Bibles and free Christian literature are available to all who pass by.
In August we held our annual fellowship outing. We went to Anderswood in the New Forest, and were joined with friends from Totton. A blessed time of fellowship was had by all.
Our evangelistic autumn supper took place in September, and we were greatly encouraged by the numbers who attended. It was good to see people from other churches and a few from our own village.
On October 5th. we joined with friends from other Churches to pray for the Church and nation. As a Church, we feel our absolute need to pray for our Nation. It is encouraging that many on the same evening, thoughout these Isles, are doing the same.
The wedding took place on October 13th. at Holywell Evangelical Church, North Wales of Mr. Mark Adamson and Miss Naomi Lowery. The Service was led by Rev. John Thackway, and our Pastor preached from the Song of Solomon 2:16, "My beloved is mine, and I am his". It truly was a blessed occasion, we pray God`s richest blessing upon Mark and Naomi as they share their future together here at Crosslanes.