Sanctification By The Truth
A Sermon Preached By John M’Kenzie At Zoar Chapel, Great Alie St, London, On Monday October 24th, 1842
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word, is truth.”—John 17:17
From these words I shall at once proceed to make a few remarks, without staying either to consider their connection, or losing time with any introductory observations, but shall immediately come to the subject by dividing it into two general heads.
First: examine a little into the nature of the doctrine of divine sanctification; and
Secondly: enquire briefly what we are to understand by truth, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
We observe then, first, that “sanctification” throughout die Scriptures conveys the meaning of a separation or a setting apart for holy purposes. And under the ceremonial law, we find that not only the High Priest, but that all the other priests were sanctified and purified to consecrate and set them apart for their various offices in the service of the temple; and that everything connected with that dispensation was sanctified and set apart for some special and holy purpose; and as these were only types and shadows of good things to come, we are led at once to God’s spiritual and peculiar people, who were sanctified and set apart in the unalterable purpose and counsel of Jehovah from all eternity.
But in briefly considering the nature of divine sanctification, we shall take a threefold view of it.
I. Sanctification is ascribed to God the Father. In the first verse of Jude’s epistle, the elect are said to he “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called,” and in Ephesians 1:8 the Apostle says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should he holy and without blame before him in love.” And again, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “But we are hound to give thanks always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” And also, Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, them he did also predestinate; and whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Therefore, from these Scriptures, we perceive that God the Father hath predestinated and chosen the Church in Christ from before the foundation of the world; that they were accounted holy in him, and set apart for a holy purpose; that they were accepted in the Beloved, and viewed perfect in him, without spot, wrinkle, blemish or any such thing; as it is said, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” Therefore in this sense they were sanctified or set apart from everlasting; and this is the first view of it.
II. Another feature of sanctification is: when the whole of the guilt and sin of the body elect was cleansed, purged, and washed away, by the sacrifice of the Son of God; when Jesus on the cross bore them out of the way into everlasting oblivion, “having obtained eternal redemption for us,” hence the Apostle saith, “After he had purged our sins, he for ever sat down at the right hand of God,” which implies that he had thoroughly and completely sanctified the church, and which he could not have done, if the whole weight of our transgressions had not been imputed to him, and he had not borne all the sufferings and wrath which was due to them. Jesus came into our law-place and stead; he was “made of a woman, made under the law,” that he might redeem us “from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,” and by the shedding of his most precious blood he has sanctified us, and purged away our sins, as it is written, “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” But Jesus has not only sanctified them, but he has also ascended up on high as their great High Priest, where he ever lives to make intercession for them. And when he was upon the cross, he had the whole weight of our sins charged upon him, but he purged them all away, so that now the sins of God’s people are “cast into the depths of the sea”; and this was done for the saints, for the whole family of God, for every one of his elect people who have existed from the commencement of time down to the last vessel of mercy that shall be brought into existence; he removed the iniquity of this land in one day; and “by his one offering he hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified,” having “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself’ through the offering of his body once for all. Here then we see how sin is completely cleansed, purged, and put away from the Church of God, perfect atonement having been made for it; and therefore, the Apostle says in triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth! Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even now at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us!” And it is said again, “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and it shall not be found,” for “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,” so that “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” And this is the second sense.
III. Another view of sanctification is, when God the Holy Ghost takes possession of the soul by regeneration, by creating in it a new nature, and forming Christ in the heart the “hope of glory”; when old things pass away, and all things become new to them: and which includes three or four branches of truth:
1. He makes them the subjects of sanctification and regeneration, which is one and the same thing: as we read in Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he hath saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Here regeneration is called a cleansing. But what kind of cleansing is this? Our souls, as we come into this world, are dead in trespasses and sins, at enmity with God, and desiring not the knowledge of his ways; and this is the state of the heart of every man by nature: but when the Spirit of truth comes into the soul, he gives divine life and feeling; he cleanses from the love and power of sin, and then they can no longer live as they once did; there is a new creation within them that consists of new spiritual feelings, faculties and powers, which gives unto them new principles and new pursuits; and therefore this is called the “washing of regeneration.”
2. After he has thus separated them, and set them apart for himself as sanctified vessels of mercy, they become manifested as his church and temple, as saith the Apostle, “Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost?” I say, after this divine change hath been effected, the Holy Ghost takes up his abode within them, so that their bodies become his residence. Therefore being thus set apart from sin, they are “vessels unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use,” and they will be brought to feel their sinfulness, darkness, and helplessness; for though they are sanctified by God, they will find they have not got rid of the old tenant, the body of sin and death, they will feel the constant working of its evil principles, and will continually be needing fresh applications of the precious blood ofJesus to cleanse them from renewed apprehensions of their sin and guilt; for though it was purged away in God’s sight through the sacrifice of Jesus, yet now they want to feel the power and efficacy of it in their conscience by the witnessings of the Spirit; and when they are able to realise it in their experience Jesus becomes dear and sweet to their heart, and they love and adore him in all the characters that he sustains to them, and which is opened up to their souls more and more by the Spirit’s teaching, for he will take of the things of Christ, and reveal it to them with power, so that now their consciences being washed away and purified in the blood of the Lamb, they are sweetly led into the truth, and are enabled to see something of the fulness, beauty, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the work of sanctification, which he effected on the cross, now becomes very precious to them through the powerful application of it to their souls by the blessed Spirit, and they can rejoice in God, having now received the atonement. And also, when the blood of the Lord Jesus is thus applied, it will remove that feeling sense of torment which a soul has when first made alive from the dead, when sin is charged home on the conscience; and he will feel the sweetness of that Scripture, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” And from a heart-felt experience of this truth he will be enabled to see “that Christ has loved the church, and given himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”; the meaning of which is, that as water washes and cleanses from defilement, so wherever the blood of Jesus is applied, it purifies and makes clean. And thus, whenever the soul is brought to feel the preciousness of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ as the glorious God-man, and his mediatorial work is felt and enjoyed, that soul will be purified and purged from sin and all dead works, as it is written, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
3. Another branch of the Spirit’s sanctification is when he works in the soul a filial fear of God, and gives a tender conscience, with uprightness of heart, honesty, and simplicity; and leads the man that is burdened with a sense of his lost and ruined state to flee from all ungodly practices; then his body, and all the members thereof, with the intentions of his heart, will be purged from the love and dominion of sin; so that he becomes set apart and consecrated to the service of the Lord, and he is “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Arid therefore Paul prays for the believers at Thessalonica, that the God of peace would sanctify them wholly, and that “their whole spirit, soul, and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
4. Again. Whenever the Spirit is pleased to apply the sweet promises of Scripture, with his divine power and unction, how it will sanctify the heart, and disengage it from earthly things, purge from sin, and create ardent desires after God, and holiness, thus causing the heart to partake of the “divine nature.” So again; when the word of the gospel comes to the heart with refreshing power, what joy and peace in the Lord it will bring! How the soul will be strengthened, sanctified, and refreshed to go on his way! And again: when the Spirit is pleased to chasten and reprove us, when he cuts us down and humbles us “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness,” and purges us, that we may “bring forth more fruit,” how these things will sanctify the heart! And they are all produced by the application of Scripture, and this is a work which God is always, more or less, carrying on in the hearts of his people. Here we discover that every portion of truth, whether it is doctrine, experience, or practice, that it all has its effects upon the soul, and will purge it from the ways and pursuits of sin, though sin will remain and dwell in the body of sin and death, and produce many groans and strugglings on account of it; so that you will find the blessed Scripture is a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path; and thus when the Spirit shines along with it, you will discover it to be, as David expresses it, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereunto according to thy word.” Therefore, when the Word of the Lord is revealed with power to the soul, it takes fast hold of the heart, and it will purge and cleanse from every evil way. But it will not only cleanse from ungodly practices, it will purify also from all natural and fleshly religion; and give strength and power to turn to the truth with full purpose of heart: so that the Word of the Lord is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and it will deliver from every false and delusive way; it will cleanse from errors in religion, from all ungodly practices, and from the depths and wiles of Satan’s deceits and delusions.
You see then, that in all these four senses, sanctification is applied to the work of the Holy Ghost; and that it is a work of setting apart and cleansing; and I hope, by this brief glance, you will see what 1 understand by the doctrine of sanctification.
Secondly: let us enquire briefly, what we are to understand by truth: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Now many persons will enquire, what is truth? and they will talk much about it; but alas, it is greatly to be feared that but very few know anything of it. It is true we can know nothing spiritually until it is revealed to us, for a right knowledge of truth must be communicated from the God of truth; and therefore Jesus said, “1 thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou has hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight.” The Lord’s people are for the most part babes in natural things; and they are brought to be babes in experimental feeling; but yet as little babes they are highly prized in the sight of God; his eye of compassion is ever fixed upon them, and his ear of mercy is constantly opened to listen to their supplications. And though among men the most wealthy, rich, noble, and wise are the highest esteemed, yet it is not so with our God; for “he raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among the princes of his people, and make them to inherit the throne of his glory.” The Lord, in revealing his truth, is pleased generally to make it known unto those who are least esteemed among men, in order that he may stain human pride, and that the riches of his grace should alone be exalted, as the Apostle saith, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound tire things which are mighty: and base things of die world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are, that no flesh should glory in his presence.”
But now, let us enquire a little into the nature of truth, and what we are to understand by the words of the text, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” This being my last night of this visit with you, very likely it is expected by some that I shall preach what is called a “Farewell Sermon”; but if any of you have come here with that supposition, you will certainly go away disappointed, as it is not my intention to do so. But my object and chief desire is to give you my opinion of what 1 believe the truth of God consists; and I feel more especially inclined to it, because ever since I have been amongst you I have been speaking to you principally about experimental things; and the reason why I have done so, is because I know there is an awful deficiency in the present day of real experimental preaching. But do not think 1 have dwelt chiefly upon experience because I have a dislike to the doctrines of grace, or that I am indifferent about them, for 1 am well persuaded that they lie at the base and constitute the foundation of all that is blessed and glorious to the church of God; so that you must bear with me a little tonight, if I should mingle more doctrine than usual in proceeding to consider and enquire into what I understand by truth; for it is a theme that my soul loves, and which is very near and dear to my heart: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”
1. The Word of God is truth, and it is a revelation of the mind and will of the God of truth! Now, in this Word is revealed the Deity of Jehovah, and the distinct personality of the Three Persons in God: for there is one eternal, self-existent Jehovah, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; and there are three divine Persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are equal in power, glory, and majesty, yet all one Jehovah; they are a Trinity in Unity, and a Unity in Trinity. And it is of no use to reason with the devil or unbelief about it: it is a doctrine for faith alone, but it is a doctrine that is plainly revealed in the Scriptures of truth. And if you go to the waters of Jordan, you will there see a beautiful revelation of it. God the Father speaks with an audible voice from heaven, and says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom 1 am well pleased!” Jesus, the incarnate Word, has been immersed in the flowing stream; and the blessed Spirit was hovering over him in the form or likeness of a dove; so that here we have the doctrine of the Trinity plainly set forth, and here we behold that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were present at the solemn baptism! Then again, the Apostle, at the close of his Epistle to the church of Corinth, says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all, Amen,” so that here again is the doctrine of the Trinity: here is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three glorious Persons, alike interested and glorified in the salvation of the church. And again, when Jesus was about going home to glory, in the last commission that he gave to his disciples upon earth, he says, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” so that here again there are three glorious Persons in God, in whose name every believing soul is to be baptized. Now there are many other positive passages that might be brought to prove the doctrine, if time would allow, but enough has been said to satisfy every honest and sincere enquirer. Therefore, I say, the doctrine of the Trinity is a glorious truth; and one, which if revealed to the soul, will cast down all Socinian and Sabellian heresies; and which sufficiently proves that the Spirit is a divine Person. But the Lord’s people are taught the truth of the doctrine by a living experience of it in their souls, for though they can see it in their judgment in the letter of the Word, yet they know it by a greater and more evident proof than this, for they have the inward witness and testimony of the Spirit to it, and thus they know it to be a great and a most glorious truth!
2. But in the Scriptures there is another truth made known. We find that God has revealed a covenant of works under which he created man, that had a promise of life annexed to it in case of obedience, and a threatening of death in case of disobedience, which said, “Do this and live,” and, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” or, dying thou shalt die. And when Adam came out of his Maker’s hand, he was upright, for God had created him so; and when the Lord looked upon all the works which he had made, he pronounced them to be very good; but alas! Man soon fell from his state of original rectitude, and came under the curse of God’s holy and righteous law, plunging himself and the whole of the human family into one mass of awful and utter ruin. We rejoice to know that God had a purpose of grace and mercy above and beyond all this; but we here soon see enough to show us that the complete and total ruin of man is a solemn and an awful truth, and which is evidenced not only from the Scriptures, but is proved daily to the sorrow and grief of every quickened soul!
3. Another truth, and a glorious one too, revealed in the Scriptures of truth, is that of God’s everlasting purpose of grace and mercy, whereby he predestinated, sanctified, and set apart to eternal bliss and glory a portion of the human race, whom he has called his elect, his children, his sons and daughters, his people, his jewels, his inheritance; who are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; who are the spouse of Christ, and to whom he was betrothed from all eternity; who were elected, chosen, loved, and preserved in him, and appointed to be redeemed by him from sin, death and hell; and who, in due time, should be quickened from a death of trespasses and sins, and regenerated into newness of life by the blessed Spirit. And this is all expressed and implied in the covenant of grace; and which is called “the sure mercies of David,” and in the 89th Psalm, it is said, “If his children forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments, if they break his statutes, and keep not his commandments; then he will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes, nevertheless his loving-kindness will he not take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail; his covenant will he not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips.” He has given them eternal life in Christ, as the result of his sovereign goodwill and pleasure; and hath planned, fixed, and settled it according to his unalterable purpose from all eternity. Paul, writing to Titus, says, “In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began,” and again to Timothy, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” and also in his Epistle to the church at Ephesus, he shows that they were blessed, chosen, and predestinated in Christ from before the foundation of the world; and to the Hebrews, he says, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” And therefore God hath revealed in the Scriptures his everlasting love to the church in Christ, and the wonderful riches of his mercy towards them as secured in the covenant of grace; and the revelation of this is a most glorious truth!
4. Another truth, which he sanctifies them with a knowledge of, is that of present and everlasting redemption by the sacrifice and obedience of the Son of God; and this arises out of the covenant of grace; it is a redemption that delivers from the curse of the law, satisfies the claims of divine justice, destroys the power of Satan, overcomes the love and dominion of sin, conquers death and hell, removes bondage and misery from the conscience, and raises up the soul to eternal blessedness and glory. And all this is accomplished as the result of an eternal purpose of grace, and of everlasting union to the person of Jesus; for there is as certain and distinct a union existing between the Lord’s people, and the Lord Jesus Christ, as there is in our fleshly natures to that of our earthly parents. For as Adam is our natural head, and we partake of his flesh and blood and spirit, and as we see and feel his corruption in our bodies, and manifest it in our hearts and lives, so there is as distinct and perfect an union existing between the Person of Christ, as the spiritual Head, and that of his members. And because there is this eternal oneness and union between Jesus and his people, he took our nature, and stood in our law-place and stead, on purpose to put away our sins; and having accomplished the work, and glorified every divine perfection, he has gone home to glory, where he ever lives and reigns, as our great High Priest and Intercessor; and from whence he will come again at the appointed time, and fetch his redeemed people home to be with him throughout an endless eternity; because where the Head is, there must the members be also. Now as the seat of feeling is in the head naturally, and the head takes cognizance of all the wants, and enters into all the circumstances of the body, so the knowledge of all our spiritual wants and necessities are in our glorious and eternal Head Christ Jesus; he knows what we require, and he will not withhold any real good from us: and for this reason, because as he is the Head of the body, he must have a most intimate knowledge and acquaintance with the requirements and necessities of each of the members of his mystical body: for as the eye conveys the knowledge of every object by sight to the brain, and as everything that is touched by the hand goes by the sense of feeling to the brain, and as sound is conveyed through the organs of hearing to the brain; and as all the functions of life are performed by the five senses of seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling, and hearing, and through which all knowledge and sensation is conveyed to the brain, because every member of the body is filled with nerves that go directly to the brain: so likewise, all the feelings and sensations that we have, as the spiritual members of his mystical body, go immediately to the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ; and therefore he knows all our wants, necessities, and infirmities, and is acquainted with everything that we can possibly be the subject of, and has a sympathy towards us in all our afflictions and sorrows. And all which we receive and enjoy comes from the Head; every act of faith, hope, and love, which we feel, is all conveyed to us from the living Head: all our springs are in him; and every comfort we possess flows from him. Thus, every believer, from the highest to the lowest, in their apprehension and enjoyment of divine things, receives all the communications of it from Jesus; and therefore, the simplest member in the family is of as much importance in the body as the most exalted in faith and love; so that, I say, there is as inseparable an union existing between Jesus and every one of his members, as there is in the members of the body naturally. And this is a truth which is not only revealed in the Word of truth, but sweetly realized in the heart of every child of God, and is at times a source of heavenly delight and sacred consolation to him!
5. But this union is manifested and made clear to the heart by spiritual communication, for this is a chain that links the soul to Jesus, and conveys spiritual knowledge and understanding, and gives to it a life which Adam in his innocent estate never had. He was a holy natural creature, capable of communion with his God as his holy Creator, but he was not a spiritual man like unto God’s people; he had no grace-covenant spiritual faculties to comprehend spiritual things. But there are two or three meanings which the term “spirituality” bears in the Scriptures. It is used in reference to the law, where it is said, “The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin,” and again, “The law is holy, just and good,” but it applies more particularly to the new nature which every believer possesses in regeneration. Adam was perfect as a pure natural creature, but he knew nothing of a spiritual regenerate nature in his primeval state. Now there are some who assert that had he not fallen in his probationary state, after a time God would have taken him to heaven in the state in which he was created. But I am confident of this, that if you search the whole book of God though you will not find one Scripture to prove that Adam was a spiritual man in the sense that God’s people are, or that he was promised heaven in the state in which he was created. Adam was only a pure natural creature; but God’s saints are made spiritual by union to the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, who is a quickening spirit. They have a new nature from God the Son, which is spiritual and divine. Adam knew nothing of redeeming grace in his unfallen state, nor do angels know anything of it, but the saints do; for they have spiritual union to the Person of Jesus, and partake of the spiritual joy and felicity, which neither angels nor Adam could possibly know. But now I grant that Adam was so far spiritual in his unfallen state as the law is spiritual, that is, his life squared with its conditions and requirements so long as he continued in that state, but still he knew nothing of spirituality in the sense which those know it who are interested in the covenant of grace; they are related to God by another relationship, they are related to him by grace-covenant sonship, they were predestinated to the adoption of sons; therefore the Apostle Paul could say for himself, “He hath loved me, and hath given himself for me,” and another apostle said, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The people of God are therefore brought into spiritual union to Jesus, and have a glory superior to what Adam had before he fell; he had a perfection of creature holiness which he totally lost, but our souls shall live to all eternity, clothed in the immaculate purity and beauty of Christ’s righteousness. He had a glory which God stamped upon him as an holy, innocent, and upright creature before he fell; but God’s spiritual people shall be transformed into the image of Christ, and rise from the tomb with an incorruptible body, fashioned like unto his glorified body. Here, through union to our fallen head, our souls are made vile, and our bodies are full of corruption, so that we have no holiness or purity but what we receive from Christ; but when body and soul shall be reunited again, in the glory of the resurrection-state, then we shall see that as one star differeth from another star in glory, and as the sun differeth from the moon in glory and splendour, and as bodies terrestrial differ from bodies celestial; so will the resurrection of the body in its spiritual state excel in glory that of the natural body in this time-state (see 1 Corinthians 15:40-42). I do not understand the Apostle by this passage, to mean, as many suppose, that one saint will be more glorious than another, or that there will be ranks and degrees in glory; because all the saints are one in Christ Jesus, they are all loved with the same everlasting love, washed in the same precious blood, clothed in the same glorious righteousness, conformed to the same blessed image, and are all regenerated, quickened, taught, and led through the wilderness by one and the same Spirit. So that 1 believe, for these reasons, the whole of the redeemed family will appear alike in glory, and that there will be no distinctions or differences as in the church below. Here we have babes, young men, and fathers in Christ; here we have various degrees in the strength of faith, hope, love, and the other graces of the Spirit: but there the simplest and weakest believer in Jesus will be as much glorified as Abraham the father of the faithful; and the thief that was saved on the cross at the eleventh hour will be as happy and as glorious as the Apostle Paul himself, and thus 1 am satisfied every saint will awake up in the likeness of Jesus, and be fashioned like unto his glorious body; so that the kingdom of glory will not be like the kingdom of grace here. Therefore, I cannot believe nor receive those Arminian and Popish views, which represent the glorified saints as comparable to cups and flagons, differing in sizes; some having greater, and others having lesser degrees of glory; no indeed, I believe that every ransomed soul will be equal in happiness and glory; for God is their everlasting light and eternal portion: “Their sun shall no more go down, for the days of their mourning are ended.” Thus it is evident that the doctrine of the Lord’s people having complete redemption in Jesus, eternal and vital union to him, and equal glorification, are precious truths revealed in the Scriptures!
Now there are two heresies among the Wesleyans and free-willers, which are completely at variance with the truth as it is in Jesus, and which we must look at for a little while. They preach and believe, first, that Christ bled and died for every one, and that all may have a chance of being saved if they please. But what an awful thing it is to endeavour to make God a liar, which their doctrines tend to do! We bless his name, his own holy and faithful testimony is to the contrary, for he says, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” If their system were true, it could not be all the redeemed, but only a part of them. But God says, “The redeemed shall come”; and “Where the word of a king is, there is power.” Some may say, “Do they all come?” Yes, certainly; all those whose names are written in the book of life are redeemed, and they shall be brought to seek mercy and salvation through the blood of the Lamb; whilst there are others, whose names are not written in the book of life, against whom we read, “The Lord hath everlasting indignation, and the smoke of whose torment shall ascend up for ever and ever!”
Then there is Andrew Fuller’s heresy, which is a poison more subtle, but equally as subversive of the truth as the other; and those that preach it pretend to say “that there is an indefinite atonement for all the world in Christ’s sacrifice, but that the particularity of the atonement consists in the application of it to the soul;” but the Scripture nowhere speaks of an indefinite atonement, or that the particularity of it consists in the application of it, any more than that Christ shed his blood as an universal atonement for the sins of all mankind! No indeed; and if it were so, there would be nothing but confusion and the greatest inconsistency throughout the Word of God. Jesus Christ came into the world to save his own people, therefore he says, “All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me”; and again, “1 lay down my life for my sheep.” Now, 1 ask, do all the carnal multitude consist of his sheep? And if so, where then are the goats to come from? Therefore, it is clear, that the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is exclusively for his beloved people; and his own testimony is, that he hath redeemed none but his own sheep. Now I make these plain statements, because they are what my soul loves, and what my heart believes. And not one of his sheep can ever be lost; for he says, “I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand”; so that he will preserve his own people from these errors, and deliver them from all these subtle delusions of Satan!
But again. Did not Caiaphas the High Priest prophesy, and say, “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not?” and also, “That Jesus should die, not only for the nation of the Jews, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad?” And see how that one Scripture in the Revelation shakes off the whole race of Arminians at once, where it is said, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests!” It is not said, that it was ever} individual out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people that were redeemed, but it was some out of each of them; so that it is every one, both among Jews and Gentiles, who are the sheep of Christ, and ordained to eternal life, and who were predestinated unto the adoption of children from before the foundation of the world, and who come to the Lord Jesus Christ for life and salvation! Who are they, then, that do not come? God has told us in his Word, they are reprobates: “For without are dogs, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (see also 2 Thessalonians 2. 10-12). But now, did the neighbouring nations that surrounded Jerusalem do as the Israel of God were commanded to do, that is, come up once a year to the temple to confess their sins, and to worship God? Did the High Priest make an atonement for their sins as he did for the chosen people of God? Surely not! Well then; do you not know that the Jews were a type of God’s elect people? And it was for these alone that Jesus came “once in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” and which he has accomplished, and saved them with an everlasting salvation; for all their guilt and sin was transferred from them and put upon his sacred Person, and he bore the whole weight of wrath and punishment due to it, and hath taken it completely out of the way, and for ever made an end of it. He was the altar that sanctifies, and the atonement that pacifies; he was the great burden- bearer and Surety of his Church and people; and he became the victim to justice by shedding his heart’s blood, that their transgressions might be purged away for ever! Thus he gave his life a ransom for his sheep, and hath everlastingly saved them from sin, death, and hell; and by his glorious resurrection and ascension to glory, he ever lives now to plead and cany on their cause, as he says, “Because I live, ye shall live also!” And now this is a glorious truth which is revealed in the Scriptures, and one which I believe will sanctify the heart; for when the soul is privileged to enter into an experimental enjoyment of it it will give true joy and sacred peace, and he will feel that he has redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of his sins, and he will rejoice in God having now received the atonement!
6. But again. Another thing that is revealed in the Scriptures of truth is the divine work and sacred anointings of the blessed Spirit; for when he comes and dwells in the heart, and makes known to the Lord’s people that their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, it is a sweet truth which sanctifies the heart! After the seventy disciples had returned to the Lord, whom he had sent out to preach his gospel, they related their success, and the surprise they had at the wonderful effects which followed their preaching in his name. But Jesus perceiving their pleasure at the gifts which were imparted to them, and how their minds were fixed more upon the miracles that were wrought in his name than upon the grace which was given unto them, said, “Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” It is as though he had said, “What an astonishing thing for your names to be written in heaven, and that by God himself!” And if he has indeed put them there, where is the power that can blot them out? How can sin, death, or hell, take them away, if God will have them to be there? Rejoice, thou, that your names are fixed there, because if they are enrolled in the Lamb’s book of life, everything that is blessed must follow; for it is a proof that such are the objects of God’s everlasting love, that Jesus hath died for them, and wrought out a robe of righteousness in which they shall be arrayed, and that his blessed Spirit shall not only quicken them from a death of trespasses and sins, but he will guide and lead them through the wilderness, and eventually bring them home to sing in the heights of Zion. Therefore, when they are brought into this world of sin and sorrow, the Lord of the Spirit will in the set time call them by his grace, and give them a heart to call upon the Lord for mercy; and then after a time he will bring them to feel that “the Lord’s arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear,” and by this teaching he will show to them that it is not in a mortal’s effort to get spiritual knowledge and understanding, but that it is his own blessed and sole prerogative to communicate light, life, and peace! And this is a sweet truth, which all know who are led of the Spirit; and however dark and barren the Lord’s people may be, at times, yet they will be satisfied about the reality and truth of these things; so that they will want their conscience to be more and more purged from sin and dead works that they may live more under the influence of grace, and more to the praise of God’s glory; and such as these make it evident that they have been quickened into Christ, and are partakers of spiritual and eternal life, and Paul says of such, “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” And therefore the work of the Spirit is a blessed truth revealed in the Scriptures of truth!
But you that are the living subjects of truth will experience two things continually going on in your soul; so that if your religion is of God, you may set down this for a certainty, that one or other of these you must possess all your life long: you will have joy and sorrow, light and darkness, faith and unbelief, hope and fear, roughness and smoothness, prosperity and adversity, and ups and downs, all the road through the wilderness; and at times you will know the truth of those words, that “heaviness in the heart of man mnketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad.” So that you must expect a heavy heart before he maketh it glad. And these two principles will be continually more or less acting in your soul, and producing diversified feelings. Light and life having been communicated, the soul begins now to see and feel his misery; and having a deep consciousness of his guilt and wretchedness, he fears to meet a just and holy God, and this will cause him grief and sorrow; and these fears may continue a considerable time, yea, even for months and years. But when God is pleased to meet with him, and to water his soul, and reveals to him Jesus as his compassionate High Priest, who will take and purge away his sin; and to feel him as the great Physician, to heal him of his sorrows; and as his King to reign over and subdue all his enemies, and control all for and in him; and when he can see him fulfilling the law on his behalf, and carrying on the work of salvation in his heart, he will say, “Lord, evermore feed me with this bread!” and he will then become glad; and as the Spirit gives him faith to partake of these things, he will be able to open the door of the promise by the key of faith, and find sweet comfort and peace to his soul. And therefore, he finds the gospel of God to be an explanation of the loving heart of Christ towards him: for God has given all the riches of his grace and glory in one lump as it were in Christ; but the gospel spreads it out, and reveals it; and in proportion as the soul is led into the knowledge of the glory of Christ, so will also be the true amount of his joy and consolation: but when his whole soul and spirit is filled with the fulness of his love, then he will feel a delightful cleaving to the Lord Jesus, and he will know him to be his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: and he will feel serene, holy, and happy, and be glorying in the Lord. And therefore, friends, this is what God’s teaching and leading consists of: it is made up of an experimental acquaintance with darkness and light, sorrow and joy, liftings up and castings down; and these, 1 say, will follow us, more or less, all the way. And there is scarcely a leaf in the Scriptures but what contains something or other of this, and in the history of every one recorded therein it is to be seen. If you look at Paul, or at the Philippian jailer, or at the three thousand to whom Peter preached, you will see that the Holy Ghost came into their souls, and that they were pricked in their hearts before they had any knowledge of pardon and remission of sins, or felt any joy and peace in and through believing; and even after joy and peace is felt, the days of darkness, sorrow, and affliction will be many! Look at the history of Abraham, and there you will behold the horror of darkness that came upon him, even after he had enjoyed the Lord’s presence, and he had revealed his covenant to him! Look again at the sorrows and deep afflictions of Job: and see also, how David was harassed and hunted about, like a partridge upon the mountains: and again, look at poor Jeremiah, how he was cast into the deep dungeon, and what sorrows he had to go through! In short, on all sides, look where you will, on the right hand or the left, in the Old or the New Testament, it is but one and the same testimony, “that through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom!” Therefore, the experience of the saints in all ages consists of convictions from the knowledge of sin, and a rejoicing in the Lord on account of his deliverances; for they will continually be brought into trouble and sorrow, and as constantly released therefrom, that in time of trouble they may pray unto the Lord for his delivering hand to appear on their behalf, that so they may praise and adore him for the displays of his mercy and grace!
So that 1 must contend for this one thing; if 1 never speak to you again I must insist upon it: that there must be a sorrow for sin before there can be any rejoicing in the Lord. But I do not say that you must come up to this or that particular depth of feeling. No: I dare not put any limit to the work of God; nor would 1 wish to wound the weak and feeble, nor to cut up the cast down; but l must contend for the necessity of an experimental knowledge of the vileness, deadness and unholiness of every sinner being opened up to them through the spirituality of God’s law, having solemn convictions of sin, before they will be made to feel and enjoy the sweet tokens of God’s grace. And those that are God’s people are witnesses of the truth of these things, and such a living experience will produce corresponding effects; they will have inward fruits, and outward fruits; and they will evidence it in their life and conversation; for “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” They will have honesty of heart, humility, with discretion, uprightness, and integrity; they will have a tenderness for their brethren, feel a carefulness in speaking about them, and they also will have solemn checks for backslidings in heart.
There are two ways whereby the Lord’s people sometimes sin against him: there is a sinning in secret, and a sinning openly. Secret sin is something like a fire in the grate, which may be so covered over with ashes and hidden that you may not observe it: and so a good man may make a slip in secret, and no one know it; but God can see it, and he will correct for it; he will make every true believer feel that sin is an horrible thing, and that it separates between God and the soul; and such will be brought to sorrow on account of it, and have to cry unto the Lord for renewed proofs of his forgiving mercy and compassion. But when a child of God is permitted to fall foully, in an open and public way, it then appears more awful; for then it is no longer like fire covered under ashes in the grate, but it appears like a house blazing on fire, so that everyone can see it; and it is proclaimed upon the house-top like David’s sin; and therefore the Lord will be sure to chasten such and reprove them sorely for their sin; and he will bring them into deep contrition and brokenness of heart on account of it, with sincere repentance and godly sorrow; so that their language will be, “Against thee, thee only, have 1 sinned, and done this evil in thy sight!” and, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit!” And then, after a time, he will reveal his pardoning mercy to them again, and show that he has blotted out their sins as a thick cloud, and that he will remember them no more for ever! But though the Lord in general keeps his people from outward gross sins, yet who is there that does not feel sin in his heart? Are we not full of unbelief, murmurings, rebellion, fretfulness, peevishness, and repinings against the Lord and his ways, in his dealings with us, when we are passing through seasons of darkness and temptation? And have we not a heart full of ingratitude that is ever ready to forget the kindness, mercy, and compassion of our God? All those who are taught of the Lord feel this, and have to cry out on account of it; so that the Lord will try his people, and prove them; he says, “I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” He will chasten his people, but he will never damn them. He is a faithful Father, and they are his sons; and therefore he will visit them with stripes, and with the rod of correction, but nevertheless his loving-kindness shall not depart from them; and notwithstanding all their wanderings, he will heal their backslidings; he rests in his love, and he will never leave them, never, no never forsake them! And, blessed be his name, he has rested there from all eternity; and though devils may rage, and sin may appear to cross it, yet not one of the objects of his love shall ever he removed from his affections. But still, 1 say, he will make them to know that sin is a bitter thing; he will deal with them as a wise father, and will use the rod of correction; as it is written, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth eve17 son whom he receiveth,” and again, “If ye be without chastisement whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.” Now God cannot overlook nor wink at sin; and depend upon this, if it had been possible for him to have passed it by, the dear Son of his love, who dwelt in his bosom from all eternity, would have escaped the awful sufferings which he endured on account of it; but sin was imputed to him, and justice drew its sword, nor was it appeased till he had satisfied to the full all its claims, and then he triumphantly exclaimed, “It is finished!” But sometimes, when God gives his people to feel their sins and backslidings, it will cause such a gloom and despondency to come over them, as to make them quite inconsolable and refuse to be comforted; but after a time God will come again and reveal his pardoning mercy, so that when he has brought them to their knees in brokenness of heart and deep necessity, he will hear their cries, appear for their relief, and make all straight and right again. And I say, all the while he is correcting a soul for sin, it is solemn work; for he takes away their standing, and they sink up to the chin in feelings of dismay or, as it is said in the Psalms, “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for his iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth.” Therefore, you see, God will teach his people the painful nature of sin; and the man that can talk lightly about it, whether it be from the pulpit or from the press, whether it be in private conversation or in any other way, it is evident that he knows nothing of the awful nature of it by divine teaching; for, depend upon it, the grace of God will have a very different tendency; it will act upon the soul as it is described in Titus: it will teach us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Mind it does not say that he shall leave the world, but that the grace of God within him will teach him to forsake the practices and pursuits of evil things. But an Arminian preacher would speak of these fruits of the Spirit as being produced by the freewill of the creature; but you that have a tender conscience, and are enlightened by the Spirit of truth, you feel that these living fruits are produced by the work of the blessed Spirit, and from the power of his grace upon your souls.
Now the soul that is much tried, and melted and moved in his feelings, and under the power of grace, will discover the influence of it in his temper and disposition. If, at any time, he is under the power of Satan’s temptation, and the prevalence of his own corruption, and should feel peevishness, anger, or malice against any brother; and afterwards if the Lord should be pleased to break in upon his soul with the sweet meltings of his love, how soon all these envious and miserable feelings will be swept away, and he would be both astonished and ashamed that he should ever have indulged them; he will see that all these feelings were the fruits of the flesh, and productive of nothing but bondage and misery; and thereby he discovers the truth of the Apostle’s words, that “whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap; for he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption,” and as our Lord saith, “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” And you may rely on it, that just in the same proportion as we indulge in any feelings that are contrary to the truth, and derogatory to God’s glory and honour, it will be paid back to us again, and measured to us again in our own bushel. So that grace in the heart, under the leadings of the Spirit, will regulate the soul, and enable a man to act uprightly before the Lord and before the world.
Bur, I said, by all these diversified feelings we shall be taught to know that there are two sides to the truth in a way of experience. The people of God must be taught to feel the painful nature of sin, and to realize the joys of pardon and salvation; they must be made to know what it is to mourn the absence of Jesus to their souls, and again at other times to rejoice at his blessed presence: they will have to pass through difficulties and trials, and to be hedged up in their path, and then God will appear again for their deliverance and salvation, and will visit them with times of refreshing and rest; they will be brought to know what it is to endure darkness and light, sorrow and joy, misery and happiness, liftings up and castings down; and at times to know that he is leading them by a right way, though a rough one, to a city of habitation. But when he is pleased to shine upon their path, then they will discover that he does all things well, and that it is all to the praise and glory of his grace! And when God works all these things in a man, this will sanctify him, and set him apart for his praise.
Now these are some of the things which I understand by the truth; and when they are realized in the experience of the soul, it is evident the words of the text are fulfilled, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”
But there are two other things revealed in God’s Word, which follow from an experience of these truths, and which is right for every one that loves the Lord in sincerity and truth to attend to, namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and these are the two standing ordinances of God’s house. But some present may say, “I am not so well satisfied about that!” Well, but we do not ask your opinion upon it; it is “to the law and to the testimony” we appeal; and wherever the Spirit gives a tender conscience, and a desire to be right, he will lead such to walk in the footsteps of the flock. God is the author of order and of truth and therefore the first ordinance that he leads the believer into is that of Baptism. But do not mistake me, I am not going to put it in the place of an experience of the truth; because 1 believe many have been baptized, and have never known the truth in the power of it, as Judas, Simon Magus, and others, while many, like the thief on the cross, have gone to heaven without having partaken of either Baptism or the Lord’s Supper; therefore, do not think I want to set these ordinances on a level with a living experience of the truth in the soul! The chief thing with me is to know whether the heart is quickened and made alive by God the Spirit; for many may be Strict Baptists, and yet be without any vital and real change of heart before the Lord. And therefore, if you were to set before me a Baptist without experience, and an Independent with an experimental knowledge of these things, I would sooner take the Independent by the hand who knew the truth, than 1 would the Baptist who was destitute of the Spirit’s teaching and influence on his soul. But let me have the Baptist with a living experience of the truth, and who hath attended to the ordinances ofJesus, and I would certainly take him in preference, because he has taken that step which God commands his people to take, and which gives him honour. “Why,” say you, “are there not many that have been baptized, who never were God’s people?” No doubt there are. There was Judas, and he was a thief, and carried the bag! But now, allowing this to be the case, all arguments of this kind are worse than nothing. The question we have to attend ro concerning Believer’s Baptism by immersion is this: is it, or is it not, the Lord’s command? Did the Apostles administer it in the New Testament? And is it now left as a standing ordinance in the Christian church? And if these things are so, what farther proof can we require to establish the propriety of attending to it?
I shall not quore passages of Scripture on this occasion to prove the doctrine of Believer’s Baptism, otherwise it would be very easy to bring many that are full to the point, and which cannot admit of any other meaning. Now I do not wish unnecessarily to wound the feelings of any one that may be here tonight who are opposed to this Scriptural ordinance; nor am I going to keep back any statement of truth because it may be contrary to any one’s prejudice or pre conceived notions. When we find a person who speaks according to what he knows, and tells us honestly what he believes, we are willing to give him credit for his sincerity; but the source of lamentation is, that too many pin their faith upon another person’s sleeve, and do not examine the Word of God for themselves; therefore some are ready to say that they can see the Lord’s Supper, but they cannot see Baptism by immersion: so that some from old practices and others from prejudice are so blinded that they do not care to search the Scriptures, nor are they anxious to know the truth of the matter. Now, however you may esteem or respect a man, you are only to follow him as far as he follows the truth, and not to allow yourselves to be led by any one into an opposition to what God has revealed. I should not wish to follow even the Apostles Peter or Paul, if I thought they went away from the truth; for truth is a straight path, it is like the line on a railway, and whoever might choose to go off the rail, I should not be disposed to follow him. We must keep close to the truth, regardless of men and their prejudices; and 1 believe that Baptism is a truth which is plainly revealed, and which is not to be parted with, nor is it possible for any man to explain it away. There are five or six pointed passages that might be quoted to establish and prove the truth of the doctrine, and show that it is a positive injunction to be attended to by the Lord’s believing people; while, on the contrary, there is not so much as one direct Scripture, nor even a solitary inference that can be brought to bear in all the book of God, or in any way to establish the Popish doctrine of Infant Sprinkling!
And, beside all this, only observe how Infant Sprinkling insults the sufferings of the Son of God, and the experience of the saints! There is much signified by Baptism, there is a holy mystery in it, which the believer in Christ is led to comprehend. In the act of dipping the body into water is preached the solemn overwhelmings of the Son of God in the sea of divine wrath, when his holy soul was immersed in the flames of divine anger and indignation against sin; when all the waves and billows of God’s fury rolled over him, and when the pains of hell gat hold of him! Do you not see therefore, at once, how Infant Sprinkling insults and mocks the sorrows of the Lamb of God? And since Baptism by immersion is a part of God’s truth, and the sufferings of Christ is called a Baptism, how impossible it is to set it forth by the mere act of sprinkling; but if his sufferings are viewed in God’s way, according to this holy ordinance, how sweetly it sets forth the work of Christ! Therefore no man can overturn this testimony; for it sets forth the solemn sufferings of Jesus, when the waters of divine anger came into his sold, and when he sank into the depths wherein there was no standing; it is an emblem of the agonies that he endured, and the bloody sweat and sorrows that he passed through in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he uttered that heart-rending supplication, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” And again, it not only shows his overwhelming sufferings, but it sets forth the glories of his resurrection, and how he has risen from the tomb, and overcome sin, death, and hell, and how he has led captivity captive, and ascended up on high, having spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by the death of his cross! But now, if you look at Infant Sprinkling for a moment, what can that signify? What analogy can there be between sprinkling and the overwhelming Baptism of Christ’s suffering? Certainly none whatever.
But again, Baptism sets forth the experience of the child of God. It shows us how he is dead and buried to sin as a riding and reigning principle, and how he has risen up into newness of life, no longer to live in the flesh to obey it in the lusts thereof, but to live to the praise, and to bring forth fruit to the glory of God? It shows also that he is dead to the law, that being dead wherein he was held, and that he is married unto another, even unto Christ; that he is no longer his own, that he is bought with a price, and called to glorify God in body, soul, and spirit, which are his! This blessed mystery also teaches that we are killed in our feelings, and dead and buried from all hope in and from ourselves; and that we rise again by faith to perceive that all we can want is in our Head, and that he has a sufficiency to satisfy all our need and supply all our wants during our sojourn in this vale of tears! And lastly, it sets forth our resurrection from the dead, that as our bodies are immersed in the water, and buried beneath it, and rise up again, so these bodies of corruption in which we now exist shall go down to the dust, and shall rise up again in a state of incorruption and glory, like to their glorious Head, full of immortality and blessedness.
But how can Infant Sprinkling teach any of these things? So that it is evidently contrary to the truth, and a woeful insult to the sufferings of Jesus, and also contrary to the experience of the saints and I am satisfied if there was a little more honesty, and more of a tender conscience in the matter, it would soon set all right. But the truth is, Infant Sprinkling is a Popish invention, and one of Satan’s delusions, and is at variance with the Scripture, and utterly derogatory to the glory and honour of God!
But I will now leave the subject; and yet I must say a few words in condemnation of the system of Open Communion, and which frequently arises out of an indifference to this spiritual ordinance of Believer’s Baptism; and I observe, with pain and regret, some of whom we ought to have hoped better things departing from the Lord’s command, and acting contrary to the order and practice of the Apostles, who insisted upon the necessity of the subjects for Baptism being first spiritually taught and enlightened by the Holy Ghost, then baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards added unto the church. For this is the order that God teaches; and the Scriptures know of no other; it does not allow of any of the inventions of men, so as to make an attention to it a matter of indifference, either to be observed, or put aside at the whim or caprice of any man! So that here we ground our claim; it is God’s truth, and it is both our duty and privilege to attend to it.
And therefore, in conclusion let us look into the Acts of the Apostles, and we shall see the order which they observed: God first quickened their hearts, they received the word gladly, they were baptized and added to the church; and they continued stedfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayers, and in praising the Lord! So that 1 believe Baptism and Strict Communion to be the truth of God, and as such I love and follow it. Therefore, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
I have now briefly gone through a few of the leading things connected with truth; and as the time is now gone, I shall leave the subject. Amen.
John M’Kenzie (?-1849) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was appointed the Pastor of a few churches and enjoyed a blessed itinerate ministry. He served as joint Editor of the Gospel Standard Magazine between the years 1840-1849.