« ForrigeFortsæt »
or if you find it at the tables of your friends, eat, and ask ng
should be of the communion of demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of demons?" Now I ask, brethren, if the Apostle doth not set Christ into the strongest opposition to the demons. It is not merely a diversity, but a contradiction, wbich he declares: such as is frequently to be met with in the Scriptures ; as, for example, when reasoning against fornication, in this very Epistle; “ Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a harlot?” where the pure and chaste community which we bave with Christ is set in opposition to all impure and unchaste communion. And again, in the Second Epistle he saith, in the same strain, “ What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel, and what agreement bath the temple of God with idols ?” In like manner it is said by our Lord,
" Ye cannot both serve God and mammon.” From all which I infer, without a shadow of doubt, that the beings which the heathens worshipped, and worship still, under the name of deities, are demons, as the Apostle declareth ; whose nature is the same with tbat of the demons who distressed and distracted the bodies of men: and that the tendency of their worship, in so far forth as it taketh hold of the people, is to produce the same character of body and of mind, whose intense horror was shewn in those persons whom the Lord delivered. But that this may be clear to you as the constant doctrine of Scripture, I request your attention to two passages of the Old Testament: the one is the Song of Moses, written for an everlasting me. morial in the xxxiid chapter of Deuteronomy; where, speaking both historically and prophetically of Jeshurun's wantonness and idolatry, the Lord thus expresseth himself: “ They provoked bim to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, and not to God; to gods whom they knew not; to new gods, that came newly up, whom their fathers feared not.” Here is a summary of Israel's idolatries under every variety of strange gods, that is, gods of the nations; and new gods, that is, inventions of yesterday; and gods whom they knew not, that is, whom they adopted out of mere novelty and wantonness and love of change: and they are characterized by one word, devils or demons, for under that general name they are set in opposition to God, the Rock of their salvation, of whom they had been unmindful. But if any
, doubt remained that under these idols it was devils, or demons,
whom they actually worshipped, we have it removed by what is written of the backsliding and adulterous Israelites in the cvith Psalm : " And they served their idols, which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils : and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan.” We conclude therefore, of a surety, that the beings whom the ancients worshipped under the name of gods and demigods, and which the heathens worship still, are demons; that the name or power which they adore is some inferior agent of Satan, whom he commissioneth to take possession of the darkness of men and nations, and to rule over it. To accomplish which, he permitteth them to take the names of famous mon-as of Osiris, and Hercules, and Jove-in order thereby to steal their way the more easily, by the reverence of ancestory, or the admiration of greatness, into the hearts of the people. The arch-deceiver seizeth upon the darkness of antiquity, and availeth himself of the credulity of men, and so windeth himself into their hearts in various ways, to lead them captive at his pleasure. That idolatry is therefore the worship of demons let, us never forget, in order that our souls may abhor it, and take every means to extirpate it.
(To be continued.)
WHAT CAUSED MR. BAXTER'S FALL? It is written in the Scriptures, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Give me, O God, the heart purged by Christ's blood, the single eye of sincerity and truth, that I may now clearly see and shew forth the mystery of Thy dealings with my friend, and more than brother, Robert Baxter, who having been called of thee as a prophet, and as such been attested of thy Spirit, and approven of thy church, hath now openly set himself against thee to pull down that which thou didst set him to build up. To me it appertaineth not to sit in judgment upon him, nor to account for the inconsistencies wherewith he chargeth thy Spirit that spoke in him: nor to distinguish whether these be really inconsistencies, or only inconsistencies between the spiritual word and his own interpretation thereof; and, if real spiritual inconsistencies these be, to determine whether like Saul he may have been visited by an evil spirit from the Lord for his haste and unbelief,—or whether he may, being still a true prophet, have spoken presumptuously and beyond the analogy of faith,--or whether being, like Balaam, at heart a Moabite, he may have been drawn out from the river of his people, and constrained against his proper nature to bless the people of God :
VOL. VII.NO, I.
to determine whether of these be the manner of his fall, I undertake not, because he standeth not at my bar, nor is one of my flock ; but in love to his soul, and the souls of those whom he hath stumbled, and chiefly for the glory of God, I will shew forth the righteousness of God in permitting him to be brought thus low.
Robert Baxter is a vessel marred upon the wheel of the Potter, whom the Potter would yet make into a good vessel for the hand of the King, to be filled with treasures of glory for the good of the church. But he fighteth sore against the gracious purpose of his Maker, and standeth in peril of being dashed and broken in pieces. The Lord called him to be a prophet; and more than a prophet; a strong stone, but not the Corner-stone of his house ; nor yet the Builder thereof, though a master builder under the Builder whose name is The Branch, The Lord, which is the Word of God, opened his mouth in mighty utterances, of things unutterable by the lip, inconceivable to the mind, of man; and gave them forth with a richness and variety and exuberance of knowledge, with a majesty and a strength, with a melody and power of harmony, and yet with a calmness and distinctness and exactness, yea, and minuteness of truth and beauty, which if Satan hath power to give then Satan may have written all the oracles of God. For, verily, there be no parallels to the words which he spake, nor to the manner and method of his discourse, but those which the universal church hath stamped by the name the word of God. If Satan, as an angel of light and a minister of righteousness, can give forth the honour, the nobility, the grandeur, the glorious truths, which not thy poor formal intellect, Robert Baxter, but He that spake them in defiance of thy formal intellect, did utter, in my hearing and the hearing of my
church; —then say I again, Satan may have indited the word of God, which is of all blasphemy the most horrible and guilty.
Yet, for all this, Robert Baxter—a man of a godly spirit, but yet an enthralled understanding; a man of truth in the inward parts, but of tradition in the outward ; a man in his reason taught of God, but in his understanding taught of the traditions of men; a man who in unfolding the forms of godliness in the law and the traditions of the church, surpasseth the men of this day, as is manifest from his two papers in this work, but whose spirit hath not informed his understanding with the heavenly life-he, even such a one, hath endeavoured to shew that the mighty Spirit which spake in him these utterances of "honour and glory is no other than the spirit of error: for he is too honest a man to believe, or to say, that it was excitement of the flesh. He knoweth too well what an ungodly thing-what a rash, riotous, turbulent, wayward, and contradictory thing--the flesh is, to mistake for its excitement that heavenly rapture,
that sober certainty of truth, and collected wisdom of God, which first enwrapped him into divine assurance of faith and love and rest, and then poured forth through him streams of the water of life, beams of the sun of glory. Oh, my brother, my brother! where is thy discernment gone between God and Satan, Christ and Belial, good and evil, Spirit and flesh, that thou shouldest thus turn aside like a deceitful bow in the hand of thy Maker! Here, therefore, is an enigma, and a dark riddle; that a man with more formal theology in him than most men I know of, should have committed this most fearful sin, of naming the Spirit of truth and holiness by the name of the father of lies. And how cometh this to pass ? where is the interpreter to interpret this parable ?
It cometh to pass from this, that the natural understanding apprehendeth not the things of the Spirit of God. No, nor no single mind of even the spiritual comprehendeth all the words and
ways of God; which are spoken not for one man, but for the church, of many members composed ; nor for the church of one generation, but for the church of all generations : for no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And least of all is the prophet himself capable of resolving his own words. Sufficient is it for the tongue, to have the glory of utterance. The ear must have the glory of hearing ; the heart the glory of understanding; and the mind the glory of bringing forth the flowers and fruits of the word rooted in the heart of love. But thou, Robert Baxter, prophet of the Lord, in thy rashness, in thy strength of head, in thy solitary self-sufficiency, in thy great personal stedfastness—for there was no soldier like thee in all the camp, for personal single combat: thou wast a rock beside other men; a lion wast thou, amongst the beasts of the field ; yet see, Obrother, how thou art fallen before the Rock of Israel, the Lion of the tribe of Judah ;-thou thoughtest by thine' own capacity to measure the capacity of the word that thou wast made instrumental to utter. This was the reason wherefore God took thee to use thee, that thou hadst strong personal parts, in a day of confederacies. Thou wast not afraid to trust thy God; and thy God did not belie thy trust. He did open thy mouth in majesty, but not until he had found an ear to hear, a heart to understand, and a mind to reason, in the church whereof I am the pastor. And if thou hadst heeded the counsel of Him that sent thee, and staid there where thy mouth was opened until the power was given, it would have been well with thee at this day, instead of being very evil. For, Oman, thou art not the pillar and ground of the truth, strong though thy manhood be; but the church is the pillar and the ground of the truth. Therefore it is thou hast fallen, because thou wouldest be both giver and
receiver, both utterer and container, both prophet and angel, and pastor and teacher: and so, by usurping all offices, which dignity pertaineth only to Jesus, thou hast lost all, and become nothing but a stumbling-block in the way of the children of the Lord.
Ever and anon, as thou didst utter a thing, thou wouldst understand it: thou wouldst settle down into space and time the word of the Lord, which is unto all generations. The Spirit in the prophets warned thee of this : and I, according to the light given unto me, did also warn thee, and in some cases was able to deliver thee. But still thou wouldst be grasping with thy fist the wind of the Lord; and with thine understanding, which is formal and fashioned according to traditions of men, thou wouldst be containing the word of the Lord. Did ever Isaiah think of comprehending what the lips of Isaiah spake? And when Jeremiah gave formal expectation to bis words, instead of patience of hope, his feet bad well-nigh slipped; and he was only brought back from this state of saying, "I will speak no more in this name,' by his obedience, greater than thine, which, when the fire burned within him, constrained him to speak. But thou, O man, hast not grace to do this; for thou hast called the Spirit of thy God the spirit of evil, and the word of thy God the word of the father of lies. Take heed, take heed, O‘my brother ! lest the Lord harden thy heart, as he hardened the heart of Pharaoh ; and lest thou perish, as Balaam did, in the slaughter of Midian and Moab.
God is righteous in his dealings with Robert Baxter, whom, for the last ten years that I have known him, he hath led by a gentle and steady hand into the knowledge of all the forms of truth written in his word, especially of the purpose which he hath laid in the Christ. I say, the Lord led him onward with a steady hand into the forms of the truth; and at the same time gave him a child's heart for simplicity and gentleness. A tender husband, and a tender father, and a tender friend, did he make thee, O my brother. But thy heart lay in its guileless simplicity of childhood, and did not grow up to fill the majestic forms of thine understanding with the life of God. Thou buildedst, and buildedst in thy understanding : thou didst fashion and mould, until thou hadst made it a noble temple: but the voice within it was but the voice of a child. Thine understanding was not a living temple. Thou hadst quickened none of thine articles of faith, none of thy forms of truth. They were but an outward shape, whose proportions thou couldst measure; not the food of an inward joy : not the growth of an inward principle of organic life. Thy child-like spirit from within the temple called upon thy Maker for strength and power : thou didst lie sore upon thy Father, thou didst entreat him much; and thy Father could not refuse thee thy desire. But, well knowing what rendings his Spirit must make in the temple which thou hadst