• Redemption and Regeneration,  John Kent

There Is A Period Known To God

Hebrews 13:20,21: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 2:24,25: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

Isaiah 53:1-12: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Ezekiel 34:11-16: “For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”

Matthew 18:12-14: “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

Luke 15:3-7: “And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

John 10:1-18: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

John 10:26-30: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”

John Kent (1766-1743) was an English hymn writer. Having been apprenticed to his father, he became a ship-builder. Residing in Plymouth, near the dockyard, they were members of the Barrack-Street Baptist church. It was for this congregation Kent’s hymns were compiled and published. Fifty-one of his hymns are included in William Gadsby’s Selection of Hymns, which is not surprising since Kent was an ardent believer in high views of sovereign grace. John Gadsby wrote of him:

John Kent was born in the town of Bideford, Devonshire, December, 1766. His parents were amongst the poor of this world, yet "rich in faith." They had a numerous family, for whose support they labored hard yet their chief concern, their earnest prayer was, that their souls might be fed with "that bread which endureth unto everlasting life," that so they might become manifestively those whom "God had chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth;” and they lived to bless God for gracious answers to these supplications, four of their children having been early called to know the Lord, amongst whom was John, the youngest, author of "Gospel Hymns." At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to his father, then a shipwright in the yard at Plymouth Dock (now Devonport). Not having had the advantages of education in early life, and having a thirst for knowledge, he employed the leisure hours of this period in making up for that deficiency, and in cultivating the poetic talent which he possessed. This brought him into public notice, though it was not until 1803 that be published the first edition of his Hymn Book. The great mysteries of redemption through the infinite merits and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was a theme on which he delighted to dwell, which indeed many of his hymns abundantly prove. He possessed much energy of mind and firmness of principle, with peculiar keenness in detecting error, stripping it of the false and deceptive garb in which he found it, and showing it up in all its nakedness and deformity. As a companion, he was cheerful and interesting; his conversation evidenced much spirituality of mind. Salvation by grace alone was a subject on which he loved to dwell when in the bosom of his family; and as he spoke of the manifestation of that grace and mercy towards himself, his thoughts would seem too full for utterance, and tears often told the feelings of his soul. In singing the praises of redeeming love he felt much delight, often speaking of sweet fore-tastes of heaven enjoyed at such seasons. Before he had attained the age of 60 years he was afflicted with blindness. Though this was indeed a heavy stroke, yet it was borne by him with great patience, for he was made to feel that it was laid on him by a wise and tender Father. He was now obliged to lay aside his book and pen. Still his mind was vigorous and active, and many of his hymns were written after this, his little grandson having become his amanuensis. About this time he was severely tried by several family bereavements; yet the Lord mercifully sustained him, and seemed to be preparing him for his own removal. At the close of the year 1843, he was laid low by a disorder of a peculiarly painful and distressing nature, from which he had often suffered, but which now threatened speedy dissolution. For several days he had to endure the most intense agony. Now indeed the time was come when he was to prove the strength of that arm on which he had been leaning through his long pilgrimage; nor did it fail! He could say then, with one of old, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." The following are some of the expressions which fell from his lips during the last few days of his earthly existence: "My hopes are fixed on the Rock of Ages." The 27th Psalm having been read to him, he raised his trembling hand, and said, with much feeling, "I can put my hand upon the whole of that." "I am in the arms of everlasting love." "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” That portion has cut me to the heart, while at the same time it has been my hope. If I am to stand by myself to give an account, I am lost, lost for ever; but it is the judgment-seat of Christ; and he is my Surety, and has paid all demands. I shall be tried there by a covenant of grace, not a covenant of works; blessed be God for his great salvation." "I bless God that the promises of the gospel met me in all my wants, wounds, and wretchedness." "I wish to die with God be merciful to me a sinner' upon my lips." The great enemy of souls was now permitted to make a last attack upon him, when he said to his son, “Satan has again thrust sore at me, but I shall triumph. He would have me give up my hope, and believe the gospel to be a cunningly-devised fable; but Jesus was tempted; and knows how to succor them that are tempted. This I have experienced. He has been my defense." "It is indeed a consoling thought that most probably a few short hours will terminate my sufferings." "The war with Amalek will soon be over." His fightings and fears appeared to be past. He extended his hand, cold with the chill of death, and exclaimed, "I rejoice in hope I am accepted—accepted!” He then, like the patriarch Jacob, gathered up his feet in the bed, and fell asleep in Jesus, on the 15th of November, 1843, aged 77.