A CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
MY DEAR FRIEND,
HEREIN is inscribed the date of your Baptism. I trust you will
always keep this little Memorial of that interesting and important
You thus, by a voluntary, solemn and public act, bade adieu to the pleasures, the principles and the pursuits of this “present evil world.” You declared plainly that you believed that you were heaven-born and heaven-boundÂ—on your way, through rich and distinguishing grace, to your “father’s House on high.” As a Christian
As one whom the great Redeemer purchased with His heart’s blood, you, in the sight of God and His people, presented your body, laying it on the altar “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him, which is your reasonable service.”
Need I say how earnestly I trust that in coming days you will
It would pierce my heart with many sorrows were I ever to have cause to regret my share in the step you then took. But this must never be. You willÂ—I believe you willÂ—”follow on to know the Lord.” He that called you will keep you,Â—and your song while life lasts will beÂ—
“E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die”.
I am glad that you have been encouraged to connect yourself with the Church, and trust that the step will be associated with great blessing.
I would caution you not to expect
“The best of men are men at best.” Perfection is a plant which is never found this side of heaven. This you must not forget, or else when you observeÂ—what may seem to youÂ—coldness and inconsistency in your fellow-Christians, you may, in the sorrow of your heart, be led to question whether all religion is not a mockery and delusion. But be gentle in all your judgments. Be “pitiful and courteous”Â—and as much as possible, never speak to anyone but Jesus about the failings of His people.
Try, dear friend, to be a
yourself. Be at your place when we meet for worship; and by kind words and pleasant looks, and acts of Christian affection, do all you can to minister to our common joy. Then we, in our turn, will do our best to serve you; to sympathize with you in sorrow; to share your happiness in brighter days; and generally to help you onward in your heavenly way.
Your Church life ought to be
If it does not prove so, there is danger of its becoming so formal as to hinder rather than help you: as to sterilize your soul and stunt your spiritual growth, rather than prove, as it should, an abiding influenceÂ—quickening your best thoughts and feelings, and stimulating you to press forward in holy knowledge and usefulness. Pray, therefore, that these blessings may be yours, as long as we remain together.
Above all, try to be
I prayerfully hope that we shall always have some in our midst whom the Lord hath bought with His blood, and who, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, have been quickened into spiritual life, and who therefore are “asking their way to Zion with their faces thitherward.” Try to find out such. By gentle words encourage them. Tell them how gracious the Lord has been to you, and how great and glorious a Saviour He is. Show them that such desires as theirs are evidences that they are the characters addressed in the promises of the blessed Gospel. Moreover, bring them to the Pastor, that he may pray for them with you. Thus, seek the honour of winning their souls, and leading them by your tender endeavours into spiritual liberty, through faith in the blood of the Lamb.
I trust that you will be led to have
God has comprised and comprehended all the essentials of Salvation in Him alone; and faith’s business is to seek Him,Â—to entrust all secrets to Him,Â—to go to Him in sorrow for comfort,Â—and when guilt and weakness weigh one down to look to Him in Whom are our “righteousness and strength.” He will never leave you or forsake you. Your joys may depart; your faith grow weak; your confidence become shaken, and your hope leave you. You may be stripped of all your zeal, and left a hungry, halting beggarÂ—in your unhappy experience,Â—with not a crumb of spiritual food to eat, or a drop of living water to drink. What then? Then, endeavour to lean on Christ’s naked arm, and appeal to His covenant faithfulness. Try to sayÂ—
“Dear Refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee when sorrows rise,
On Thee when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies.”
He will never despise the prayer of the consciously destitute.
It is to be hoped that your
will continue to profit you, and minister to your ever-varying spiritual wants. If, however, this should, for a time, cease to be the case,Â—if the “oil should be stayed,” and the “spring be dried up,”Â—do not be unduly discouraged. Do not hastily blame your Pastor. He can only give you what his Master gives him; and you may be sure that he deplores his inability quite as sadly as you do.
Do not, moreover, altogether blame yourself. The trial may be sent from God for very wise ends. Examine yourself in God’s sight. See if you have grieved the Holy Spirit, and hushed His voice.
Confess all frankly to our unupbraiding Saviour. Then tarry His leisure. Listen, prayerfully. Tell no one else of your trouble; and, in the Lord’s good time, it will be removed.
Never be long without
with your Pastor. He will always be overjoyed to have an interview with you. If you wish him to help you, write and tell him so. Never think yourself overlooked. He loves all his flock, and desires to be useful to each, without exception.
Especially if you are cast down; if temporal anxieties weigh heavily on you; or if, by any means, you are troubled about some point of doctrine or Church order, let him know at once, that he nay counsel and pray for you.
I beseech you to
You have been blessed under the preaching of a Minister who believes them with all the powers of his heart and mind. He has preached to you the doctrine of ELECTIONÂ—God’s sovereign and eternal choice of His people. We hold PARTICULAR REDEMPTIONÂ—or, that Jesus with His most precious blood redeemed His own people from penal wrath and all the woeful consequences of sinÂ—and not that He died to give all men a chance of salvation, if they choose to accept His offered grace. We have taught you the truth of EFFECTUAL CALLING by the Divine and sovereign operation of God the Holy GhostÂ—not by the will of man; not for the performance of faith as a duty, but of His own abounding grace, whereby He regenerates us and invests us with power to believe, and all the other holy principles and capacities which distinguish us as the children of God. Nor have we omitted the truth of the FINAL ‘PRESERVATION of believers. “He that begins the good work in them will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Hence, in spite of all obstacles, they will assuradly endure to the end; and grace will triumph in their glorification with Jesus in heaven. Salvation by purpose, purchase, and power; by mercy, merit and mightÂ—these have been the watchwords of the gospel; and though the world sneer and others ridicule usÂ—may God give you grace to hold them fast.
to all professing Christians. Avoid controversy with those whose sincere religious convictions do not coincide with your own; yet at the same time, “be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you,” in a becoming and unobtrusive manner.
Do not suffer the fascination of goodness and professed zeal in others, to lead you to mistrust what you feel in your soul is the
Some, with great apparent earnestness for your spiritual happiness, will tell you that our services are not “up to date”; that we are unconcerned for the highest welfare of men; that our doctrines paralyse evangelical effort, and our practices retard those who should be encouraged and stimulated. Such statements are not true. Do not let them deceive or unsettle you. Test all ideas that are new
to you by the word of God; and if they trouble you, get some more experienced Christian to help you. Never judge hastily, or speak without thinking, or act rashly in religious matters: and if you lack
wisdom, remember to “ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not.”
Adhere, then, firmly to ourÂ—rather, I should say, to the Lord’sÂ—
Never, even for once, seek Communion with a Church in which the Lord’s Supper is administered in any other way than that which you now believe to be right. It can do no good; and such things are often the beginning of a course of solemn and sorrowful wandering, which can only be retraced with regret and tears; while some, in this way, have been led to “cast off their first faith.”
Finally, dear friend, pray much for all members of our Fellowship, and especially
Your affectionate Pastor,
W. Jeyes Styles