William Gadsby, Fragments (Complete)

Odd Sayings

21 Feb 2022, by

My dear Friend,—You request me to send you some of Mr. Gadsby’s odd sayings. If they are, odd, they are striking, when we consider their spiritual signification. I wish I could send the beautiful truths he conveys in them. He is continually lashing Arminianism. Free-will, he terms a filthy dirty lane, and the poor creatures in it go hobbling along besludged all over. He warns us not to stir a step to hear an Arminian minister, as we each of us carry one in our own bosom. He tells us he has one that gets up with him, and has the assurance to breakfast, dine, drink tea, and sup with him. Our hearts are full of lumber and rubbish, which he earnestly prays for the Holy Spirit to consume. He says we all squint so terribly when we look at Christ that, instead of looking full at our Jesus, we are looking first on this side and then on that, at some supposed merit of our own. He compares the devil to a quack doctor, going about with sleeping-draughts, and says God’s children are often too…

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The Fear Of Death

15 Feb 2022, by

I do not know that death ever appears to me more terrific than when I feel a fear that I shall die in darkness; I do not want such a death as that. But I can tell you what the Lord has brought me to know a little of, and to feel a little satisfaction in; and that is, that if God should see good that I should be in darkness, I am but level with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was in darkness, and cried out in darkness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

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The Dark Cellar

10 Feb 2022, by

Go into a close, dark, damp cellar; you can see nothing. But open the shutters. How frightened you are! Toads, spiders, and reptiles of various sorts are there. So with your hearts. You don’t see them as they really are until God lets in his light. In our country there is a weed called cadlock; but it never appears on the surface until the land is ploughed up. So with your hearts. When God puts his plough and turns up the fallow ground, O what weeds appear to your sight!

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Some people say we make man into a mere machine. Nay, he is worse than a machine; for a machine will keep still if you will let it alone; but man is continually at work, doing evil.

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There Is The Sign

27 Jan 2022, by

The late Mr. Hatton related the following, stating that the circumstance was well known to him: Many years ago the late Mr. Gadsby was going into the country to preach, and, as was his wont in his younger days, was walking; when he was joined by a “simple faith” professor: Religion soon became the subject of conversation. Mr. G. maintained that true faith was not man’s work but the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of his people, and that without this there can be no real satisfaction for a quickened soul, hungering and thirsting after an assurance of his salvation; while his companion maintained that it was the duty of every man to believe. “There is the Word,” said he, “and we ought to take it, and take comfort from it.” After walking some miles, they came to a roadside house, swinging over the door of which was a sign: “Refreshments may be had here.” “I am very tired,” said the stranger. “Let us go in here and have some refreshment.” “O no;” said Mr. G. “There is the sign (the Word). Let us read it and pass on; for, according to your doctrine, that is sufficient.”

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Feeling And Sight

19 Jan 2022, by

When God, in his rich grace, takes a poor sinner manifestively in hand, the first thing he does is to give life and light; and when this divine life and light are communicated, the dead soul is quickened, and the dark soul is enlightened. We begin to see sin in the light of God’s countenance; even our secret sins are laid open to the conscience, and we both feel and see that it is an evil and bitter thing to sin against God. The pure life and light of God, placed in the conscience against our vile deadness and darkness, horrifies the soul; and though we may not be able to account for our feelings and sight, we do find that we have such as we never had before, and such as we cannot get rid of. We now become, in soul and feeling, real sinners before a heart-searching God, and really tremble at his word; and in our souls we both feel and see that all our sins have been against a holy, just, and good God. We both feel and see that God is pure and we are impure, that God is just and we are unjust, and that there is an awful disparity between God and us; and we cry, “What poor, vile sinner like me can stand before such a holy God, whose law I have broken in so many ways, and whose majesty I have so often insulted?”

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The following article was taken from William Gadsby’s work, “The Present State of Religion”, where he dealt with the law as a rule of conduct for the Christian.

Dear Sir,

Friend G. informs me you wish me to write to you, and inform you what law it is that I say the believer is in no sense under. I therefore write to say (though I cannot help thinking you must know) that it is the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai, commonly called the moral law, or ten commandments, recorded in Exodus 20, and hinted at, with its curses annexed to it, in Deuteronomy 27. This is the law I intend, and do venture to say that the believer in Christ is in no sense whatever under it; so that it is not a rule of life to…

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What A Wonder!

5 Jan 2022, by

Some say they believe I shall get into heaven; but it will be only just. Well; if I’m in, I’m in; and what a wonder that will be!

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In the December, 1835 “Gospel Standard,” under the head, “The Pool of Bethesda,” is the following:

“Through your valuable ‘Standard,’ an impotent body, who is hungry and thirsty, and whose soul, at times, fainteth within her for a ray of hope in the manifestation of an interest in a precious Redeemer’s blood, is desirous of having a few words from ‘A Lover of Zion,’ on Jn 5:7. Does he, as a valiant soldier of truth, who has experienced the workings of God the Holy Spirit upon his own soul, think it possible for a poor, weak, feeble sinner to come to that pool, – waiting there for the moving of the waters, who is walking in darkness and having no light, and who, feelingly a dog, would gladly eat of the crumbs which fall from the children’s table; and living and dying in that state, does he think there is any hope for such a soul?”

Then, in the Dec. No., is the answer by Mr. Gadsby:

“Dear Friend,—I apprehend that an explanation of John 5:7, would not enter into your real desire; because the disease of the impotent man there referred to was not of a spiritual, but of a natural kind. Nevertheless, there are some things connected with his ease which may very properly be brought forward to illustrate the methods of God’s grace to…

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24 Dec 2021, by

When in London, I had some conversation with a Jew rabbi, and I asked him what was the meaning of the word “Selah.” He said it had a threefold meaning: 1, Mark well; 2, Praise ye; 3, For ever. Now those who are brought by God the Holy Ghost to mark well the Lord’s dealings with them shall, sooner or later, praise him here below and shall praise him for ever above. And on these three heads I shall, as the Lord shall enable me, preach my sermon this afternoon.

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Strong Faith

16 Dec 2021, by

Page 65, First Edition Of Gospel Standard. To The Editors Of The Gospel Standard:

In looking over the first number of the Gospel Standard, I was certainly gratified to perceive the confidence with which some of the writers assert their certainty of salvation, &c. &c. The most valuable legacy which Jesus, “the true God and eternal life,” has left to them who believe in his name, is, “a good hope, through grace” which enables them to look beyond the cares and sorrows of a vain world, rejoicing in the hope of a glorious immortality beyond death and the grave; and the highest attainment which the humble Christian, walking in the light of his Father’s countenance, can arrive at on this earth, is, when he attains to that” assurance of faith,” which enables him to rejoice all the day” with undisturbed confidence in the smiles of his Redeemer’s face. The promises in God are all Yea and Amen, to the believer in Christ. Every word of the Messiah, and of his…

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Does it not seem like a contradiction, when the apostle prays that the Ephesians might “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,” &c.? How can they know that which passeth knowledge? Why, look at the prayer. It is that they may know, that they may comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, Ac. That is, that they may have the saints’ share of that blessed knowledge; that their souls may be full of it.

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The Lord’s people, the church, are called his bride. Will he permit his bride to be sent to hell while he is in heaven?

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“What!” say you. “Do you think that a child of God, really called by grace, has anything about him that loves sin?” I am beyond thinking, I know it; and it plagues and tortures his poor mind sometimes till he hardly knows where to look. But when God opens to him a little of Solomon’s prayer, he gets into it: “What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, then hear thou in heaven.” There are some people that do not appear to know the meaning of it; they do not feel any heart-plague within them. Well, then, they are not…

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Sunday Schools

19 Nov 2021, by

Just, before this volume was completed, it was suggested to me that my father’s views on Sunday Schools ought not to be omitted. I have, therefore, copied the following from the first number of the Sunday School Visitor, a little magazine published by mc in 1844, and to which my lather was a contributor.—J. G.

A Few Thoughts Upon The Utility Of Sunday Schools

My Fellow-Mortals,—Allow me to observe that I really do consider that, next to tho preaching of tho glorious gospel of the Messed God, and a spiritual attendance to the order and ordinances of God’s house, Sunday Schools are one of the best institutions in the kingdom; and I am sorry to see such a want of zeal for the promoting of them among some who profess to maintain the discriminating truths of God’s grace. Because some abuse them, and make them into what they call nurseries for the Church, are we to discard them, or stand aloof from them, and say that because others make an improper use of them, we will not use them in a proper, becoming, and useful way? To me this appears highly wrong. I have heard some persons remark that too much…

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If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. But before we can so confess our sins, the Holy Spirit must impart life into our souls; for the dead know not anything.

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Being A Few Poetical Remarks, Occasioned By A Visit To The Breakwater, In Plymouth Sound, On The 30th Of January, 1822.

“The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid; the depths also were troubled.”—Psalm 77:16

On Wednesday last, a pleasant day.
When winds did not their force display,
The sea assumed a gentle form,
Nor did the sky denote a storm,
The Breakwater I went to view,
A bulwark great and useful too.
The day began and finish’d bright,
And truly ’twas a pleasant sight.
Amidst the ocean I could stand,
And view the deep on either hand.
With friends I spent six hours or more…

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The New Law

27 Oct 2021, by

In the Gospel Standard for 1839, amongst the “Gleanings” was one, attributed to Mr. Gadsby: “The old covenant they broke, and the old law they broke, and break; but they cannot break the new covenant, neither can they break the new law.”

In reply to this, the next month, Mr. Gadsby wrote:

“Messrs. Editors,—In your number for this month (January), page 24, amongst your gleanings, is a remark to which the signature ‘W. G.’ is put, which I altogether deny as ever falling from my lips, It is that the believer ‘cannot break the new law.’ I believe that the blessed Lord writes the glorious substance of every divine law in the…

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A Dream

21 Oct 2021, by

“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.”—Genesis 37:12

Reader, I’ll not take up much time
To apologise, in prose or rhyme;
My dream, such as it is, you see;
Whate’er’s amiss belongs to me.
No doubt some men will say, “‘Tis naught,
And with enthusiasm fraught;”
While others will it much esteem,
And nay that I the truth, did dream.
Perhaps ’twill find a welcome place,
In such as live on sovereign grace;
If so, then am I quite content,
Nor shall I count my time ill spent;
But such as live on wit and self,
Will hardly have it on their shelf,
But with a cheerful mind attempt
To hold it up to vain contempt.
Well, be it so; I rest secure…

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If the gospel is no rule of obedience (as numbers declare), I am at a loss to know what the apostle means when he says, “The mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets; according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known unto all nations for the obedience of faith.” (Rom 16:25) It is by faith “we wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Gal 5:5) We are “saved by grace, through faith.” (Eph 2:8) The word does not profit, if not “mixed with faith.” (Heb 4:2) “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” (Heb 11:1) “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” (Rom 1:17) God purifies our hearts by…

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