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said to us, upon our arrival at yonder station, Thirteen there will be built for you a splendid church and spacious schools, within five minutes walk of this station, and wherein you will labour for the Lord,' what should we have said ?-that it was next to an impossibility! That such never could be the issue of our then doubting, fearing, hesitating footsteps.” In the vestry, a few minutes afterwards, we addressed our young friend and helper (the Rev. G. T.) in similar terms, “If any one were to say to you,

Within such a distance and such a time; a church and schools will be built for you, what would you say?" “ That they were false prophets," was his answer. Moreover, when speaking to another dear friend upon the same subject, after one of the services of the day (the attendance in the evening, including the children, being not less than from 1,100 to 1,200 persons), she said, “When I first came to Bristol, five-andtwenty years ago, that place (speaking of the spot hard by where the church now stands) was called the little hell;' I dare not venture there alone.” Moreover, we remembered that, in the year 1841, the late beloved Mary Ann Way, when driving us to the railway station, asked us to visit a dear dying young woman, who resided within a hundred yards or so of the site now occupied by the church, We repeat, when we contemplated these facts, we mentally exclaimed, “What hath God wrought?” But oh, reader, how humbled we felt, at the same time, that we should ever after, even for one moment, call in question the love and the mercy and the ceaseless guidance and care of so gracious, faithful, condescending, and all-sufficient God. And yet, alas ! alas ! we do-ah, it seems to us more than

Oh, base ingratitude! oh, vile unbelief! oh, deceitful, treacherous, abominable heart, that can thus repay such astounding goodness, such boundless mercy, such unparalleled love! Reader, can you wonder, under such circumstances, at our declaring (as we did declare) to our dear people a Sunday or two ago, “If we ever get to heaven, we shall be admitted as the most astounding trophy of rich, and free, and sovereign grace, that ever reached there ?" And we mean what we say.

“Oh for such love let rocks and bills

Their lasting silence break;
And all harmonious human tongues,

The Saviour's praises speak.' Oh, it is this base ingratitude, this forgetfulness of past mercies, this ever-constant readiness to put the unkindest construction upon the veriest appearance of fresh care, or trial, or exercise of faith, that causes us to regard such conduct on the part of those who have seen so much of the Lord's hand, as being among the basest of sins and the blackest of transgressions. Sins of ignorance, and when in a state of carnality and spiritual darkness and death, in our view, bear no comparison to the base and black ingratitude, distrust, and unbelief of the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty by adoption and grace.


Reader, what say you to these things? Have you an insight into your own heart that prompts you to exclaim, with the poet,

“ And are we, wretches, yet alive?

And do we still rebel?
'Tis boundless—’tis amazing-love

That bears us up from hell ?” As before stated, we dwell on these things, not for the purpose of calling attention to self (God is our Witness !), but to encourage our poor

fellow-sinners, the vilest, the foulest, the filthiest, the most feelingly unworthy—those on the borders of despair, those who imagine they have sinned and transgressed beyond all hope of mercy; those who day by day and moment by moment have added sin to sin, iniquity to iniquity, transgression to transgression : we write (we say) for the purpose of encouraging them-yea, even them—to look to the same Lord—flee to the same Refuge-plunge into the same ocean of love, blood, and salvation !


dayside Notes.


SIMON MAGUS AND HIS REPENTANCE. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter : for thy heart is not right in

the sight of God."'-Acts viïi. 21. HEZEKIAH, thankful to God that He had led him to be the means of restoring the house of the Lord, proclaimed a solemn passover for Judah and Israel. Desirous that many should attend the feast, he sent to all Israel, and wrote letters to his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. So the posts went with the letters from the king, and passed from city to city through the country. But ah! how differently were those letters received! Some, with joy and rejoicing of spirit, accepted the invitation, and wended their way with willing steps to join the feast; but Ephraim and Manasseh, when they unfolded their letters and read the contents, laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. And is it not the same in our days ? Month by month we are led with others to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." We look up to the Lord for direction; and, as we drop our manuscript into the post, invariably lift up our heart to God in prayer, that He would accompany the same with His blessing to the benefit of His redeemed family; and away goes the post with the testimony, and in due time it is passed from city to city: but how differently received ! Here is a specimen upon an article written lately by us entitled, “ We have not so learned Christ.A number of letters are to hand. We open one, it runs thus :-"Your article entitled, “We have not so learned Christ,' is most excellent. My father was quite delighted in reading it. Blessed be God, these 'shalls' and 'wills' must for ever stand, and this is the Gospel so much spoken against in the present day; but we, who desire the truth our forefathers loved and for which they shed their blood, cannot but rejoice in it. I know it spoke comfort to my dear father's




heart, and it was the commencement of a precious conversation, insomuch that father and daughter wept together." We open a second letter: in it is remarked :-“Dear Mr. S- thought so highly of your article in the last number of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, that he has had it reprinted for circulation." We open a third. It is as follows :

DEAR BROTHEP,-Your articles in the GOSPEL MAGAZINE are read with both pleasure and profit by many. Will you kindly give the readers of that publication your views on Acts viii. 21—23 ?

I. Was Simon a dead sinner ? II. Did not Peter call on him to repent and pray? III. Was it perfectly useless of him to do so ? and, consequently, he was in the wrong.

Yours in the Gospel,

A CONSTANT READER OF THE GOSPEL MAGAZINE. Now, although this letter is couched in kindly language which is so nice, there is no doubt it is meant as a stricture upon the article in question; but, as the subject referred to is most important, and grave mistakes are made relative to it in the present day, we will ask the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts to a Scriptural reply to the same, sincerely trusting both reader and

writer may be spiritually benefited thereby. We are to answer the question(I.) Was Simon a dead sinner? We have no hesitation in replying, Most' decidedly he was. He was dead before his repentance, and dead after his repentance. In proof of the former, note," he used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one;" so that the people in their ignorance declared, “This man is the great power

of God." And he was dead after his repentance, of which we have abundant proof; for after (mark), after he believed and was baptized, he offered the apostles money, that he might receive the Holy Ghost, and from the testimony on the spot of Peter himself, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” And then he calls


him again: "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For 1 perceive that

I thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me;" and with this cry

of alarm and terror the narrative ends We have no proof that he was led to that real repentance of heart we shall presently have occasion to refer to. We pause,

for a very solemn fact is presented to our view. Simon not merely repented after a sort, “but believed and was baptized ;” and, after all this, manifested that he was dead in trespasses and in sins." We have no wish to be censorious, but we fear that Simon is but a type of a large number whose repentance is only skin deep. We recollect, some years ago, having a case to the point brought before us; a young lady known to us was laid low with a very serious illness. Fearing it was "unto death,” she became greatly alarmed concerning the state of her soul. In this condition she craved our attendance at her bedside, and, acknowledging her many sins, did certainly seem to repent most earnestly of them, and to promise, if God would raise her up again, that her course should be altogether different to what it had been. God did raise her up


again, but, alas! she soon after married an ungodly man, and turned as a

sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Years have rolled away since then, and she has remained a worldly thoughtless character, forgetting all the vows and desires so earnestly expressed on the sickbed. She was like Simon--dead before her repentance, and dead after her repentance. Nay, we fear we must go even further. We have known young people that, like Simon, have believed and been baptized, but whose life afterwards has been of such a character that it is to be feared they have “no part nor lot in the matter." Reader, do not be angry with us; these are not deductions or declarations of ours merely; they are as written with a sunbeam in the Word of God, and it behoves us to "try the spirits.” Perhaps one of the greatest hypocrites in the art of self-repentance that ever lived was Saul. “Now, therefore,” he says on one occasion to Samuel, “I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.” But Samuel, reading the hollowness of his pretensions, replied with holy fervour, "I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.”. Saul's was evidently a repentance to be spurned and rejected. Judas's repentance was another instance of a spurious repentance. It has been said by some, that it was more genuine than Peter's, for Judas, when he was condemned, repented himself, and manifested his sincerity by bringing again the thirty pieces of silver, openly confessing his sin, and indicating the innocence of him whom he had betrayed ; while Peter, when the Lord turned and looked upon him, instead of rushing back into the hall to confess himself a disciple of Jesus, to those before whom he so basely denied Him, "went out and wept bitterly." Ah! dear reader, that going out and weeping bitterly, to our mind here, was the exhibition of a true repentance. The dear Lord looked at him: that look went to his heart; that look pierced his very soul; that look brought him to self-abasement; and, apart from the multitude and in secret before God, he poured out his soul before his God, and manifested not a repentance which is merely the fever of passions excited by human powers, but a godly sorrow which found vent in " 'groanings which cannot be uttered."

Now, it is evident, then, from the statements of God's Word, that there are two kinds of repentance : the first legal, and which is common to the carnal mind; the other spiritual, and which exists only in renewed souls. But, possibly, we shall see this more fully if we proceed to reply to our friend's second question, namely—“Did not Peter call upon Simon to repent and pray?" Most decidedly he did, and quite right too. He preached repentance; so did the Apostle Paul, as he asserted before King Agrippa : he says,

I showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” And, above all apostolic teaching, our blessed Lord Himself preached repentance, declaring, “Suppose ye that these Galilæans were sinners above all the Galilæans, because they suffered such things ? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish :" so that it must be right to preach repentance. But what is it? and how is it to be effected ? We have already said there are two kinds, legal and spiritual—legal evidencing itself in a great outcry about sin, but leaving the sinner as much in love with sin as ever-spiritual repentance manifesting itself in a silent secret horror of sin, a loathing oneself on account of it, and earnest desire to be kept from it-just as there


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is the outward call, which only reaches the ear and the head, and the inward call of effectual grace, which reaches and melts the heart, and which is nothing less than the communication of Divine life to the soul, as our Saviour asserts, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."

Now, with regard to bringing the sinner to this former repentance, which we have termed "legal,” perhaps we shall see its import more if we remember that the Greek word which we translate “repentance” implies

a change of mind," and does not in itself convey the thought of sorrow. Now, carry this out in the case of Simon. Here is a wicked man who has been declared to be “the great power of God,” and who has encouraged the people to believe him to be so. And Peter calls upon him to change his mind concerning this wretched delusion, and reverence the true and only God. He does not declare that such a change of mind can save his soul. Certainly not; something more is needed. Or, take the case of a drunkard. Here is a man, from his folly, ruining his constitution and plunging himself and family into destitution and poverty. Preach to him repentance; but pray do not tell him that, if he changes his course and takes the pledge, he will save his soul, because this is telling him a lie. Or to the man who in wilful folly is saying, 6. There is no God." Call upon that man to repent of this his wickedness, and no longer be a fool. at heart, but learn wisdom from the abounding evidences around himthat there is indeed a God; but, if he acknowledges this, he may yet beas far off as ever from seeing God in Christ. Or, again, take the man who is living in sin, and giving full swing to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. Call upon him to repent of his. sinful ways; but, if your persuasion is successful, he may give up his lusts, and yet not love the Lord. He may turn into a less reproachful pathway, and yet not turn to the Lord with a full purpose of heart. All this change of mind, change of habits, and change of conduct may take place, accompanied by a deep regret that so many years have been spent in such folly; and yet, after all, such regret is but a legal repentance. But it may be asked, “ But is not even this, which you have termed 'a legal repentance,' that, which is called in the Scriptures ' a repentance towards God?'" We hardly think it is, for they " that are in the flesh cannot please God," do what they will.

But allowing that it is still a coming towards a thing is not having that thing in possession. Our volunteers may on prize-day go towards the table on which the costly things are spread, but it is not until the prize is placed in their hands as a gift that they can call it their

So in spiritual matters; there may be a change of mind from Satan and towards God, and we bless God for it; but, until the gift of eternal life, which results in a genuine repentance, is wrought in our hearts, it is not ours. Suffer us for a moment, dear reader, to fall back upon personal experience. We recollect the time when we thought we had sincerely repented, were really good and decidedly pious; but, oh! when the Lord did manifest Himself as "mighty to save, ,” and we saw in the sunlight of His perfections our own sinfulness, while He broke in upon us with the revelation of His love and mercy to one so unworthy; then did we learn for the first time what it was to repent in dust and ashes, and realized concerning

our blessed Saviour the gracious fact that "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a

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