The Gospel in GENESIS
by Henry Law
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
If there is a holy, strong, and tender bond — it is that which unites a Pastor to his Flock. It is the nearest feeling, which earth knows, to the immeasurable love of Jesus towards His Church. The faithful Minister lives, when the people, for whom he watches, live — through supporting mercy, in the full faith of the Gospel. It is, as it were, his death — when they lie dead in unbelief and vanity.
Beloved, when I draw this picture, I am painfully conscious that it casts me far into the shadow of shame. But I desire to quicken myself by openly avowing, that your best interests should be mine, and that, in the service of your spiritual welfare, I count all labors light, all prayers but few.
With earnest longings, then, to nurture your souls in true religion, I am bold to ask brief converse with you in these humble pages. It pleases our Heavenly Father, to whom be Glory, now and ever — that I should be with you, as in scantiness of every ministerial ability; so, too, in much bodily weakness. I may not do what I would desire. I would do all I can. Hence, I seek this access to your homes, that I may whisper to you, in the hours of your retirement, what I would gladly proclaim before the assembled congregation.
My constraining motive is that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him. I know, and am deeply persuaded, that all peace, all joy, all salvation are in Him. I see, as a very sunbeam, the grand truth — that you are blessed, and are blessings, just in proportion, as you abide in Him, and He in you.
Woe, therefore, is unto me, if I leave any effort untried, to set Him before you. Let me rather use every voice of lip and pen, to beseech you to hear Him — to look to Him, to receive Him, to trust in Him, to love Him, to follow Him, to serve Him, to live in Him, and by Him, and for Him. I would thus strive, wrestling with the Holy Spirit, to work so mercifully and mightily in your hearts — that Christ may there be enthroned — an adored and rightful Lord.
I have no fear, lest there should be excess in your faith, and reverence, and love, and obedience of the Heavenly Savior. I think no folly so pitiable as the sneer, that men may follow Jesus too closely in holy bearing and Godlike walk. I rather pant for means to exhibit Him to you, as clearly as the saints in light behold. Him — that so you may be wholly His, as they are.
I am deeply rooted in the assurance that His presence is helpful to you in everything — and hurtful in nothing. Whatever your station or employment, if you fulfill its duties with a loving eye intent on Jesus, with a submissive ear listening to His inward guidance — then your life will be as Heaven's summer-day.
Without hesitation, then, or reserve — I point directly to the Savior. In doing so, I have God for my witness, and His Word for my pledge — that I guide to the only path of real prosperity, and solid delights. I burn with desire, that you should be the holiest of the holy, the most joyous of the joyful, the most blessed among the blessed, the most glorious among the glorified. Surer evidence I cannot give, than the entreaty of this feeble messenger — that you would receive Christ as your All.
If anything can enlarge my concerns — which should be large as infinity — it is our favored position among the parishes of England. The sweet healthfulness of our climate, and other rare advantages — attract an ever-flowing stream towards our shore, as their choice resort. Many, indeed, come, so evidently taught of God, that they move, as shining lights among us. But there are others — not a few — whose semblance tells us that they are mere votaries of the god of this world.
Beloved, would it not be gain beyond gain, if this thoughtless crowd should here learn that the Gospel is no empty sound — but the very power of God unto Salvation? Let them read this, not only in the public ministrations, but in the heavenward walk of the flock. Let them see in your holy happiness, that Christ is a living and life-giving God, converting the vacant and self-vexing mind — into a well stored pleasure-ground. Make Him your All! And He through you, and you by Him, will win — He only knows how many — to His transcendent joys. Who can conceive of the privilege — if immortal multitudes, through your grace, should love and honor Jesus as the well-spring of their souls' health!
I now commend you to the God of all grace, praying Him to smile hallowed blessings on this my lowly converse with you. May He knit each heart to each, and all hearts unto Himself, through Christ our All!
Allow me to subscribe myself,
In sincere devotedness,
Your ministering servant for Jesus' sake,
Henry Law, December, 1854.
The object of these pages is simple, clear, holy. It is to arouse attention to the blessed truth, that Christ pervades all Scripture, as salt all waters of the sea, as light the brightest day, as fragrance the garden of choice flowers.
To see this is my prime delight. To testify it is my happiest duty. Devoted loyalty to Him who is the first and last, the sum and substance of all Scripture, impels me. Earnest zeal for the undying souls of men constrains me. I know, and am intensely persuaded, that all peace, all joy, all salvation, are in Jesus. My eyes are widely open to the fact that men are blessed, and are blessings, just in proportion as they live, ever gazing on Christ, ever listening to His voice.
Shame, then, and guilt and woe would be my portion, if I should leave any effort untried to unfold His glorious image. Let me rather use every power of life and pen to magnify and exalt Him—to beseech men to ponder Him—to search for Him—to receive Him—to love Him—to follow Him—to serve Him—to commend Him—to live in Him, and through Him, and for Him. I would thus strive, the Spirit helping, to assail and melt and conquer hearts, that Christ may there be enthroned, in all His rightful majesty, a beloved and adored Lord.
There can be no excess in the faith and love and adoration and obedience of the only Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords! Has there ever lived the saint, whose moan it has not been, that, always striving to learn, he still was miserably ignorant in the full purpose of the Bible? What is there comparable to the profit of this knowledge? It is helpful to men in everything, hurtful in nothing. Whatever be the station or employment, if the duties are performed with loving eye intent on Jesus, with mind rejoicing in His discovery, with heart luxuriating in His riches, then toil will be no toil, because of the constant refreshment.
Who will deny that the happiest man on earth is he who is most enriched with enlightened views of Christ, and acts out most devotedly this faith? He lives at heaven's high gate. He holds close communion with Him, through whom his transgressions are forgiven, his sins are covered, his person accepted, his soul saved. He knows in whom he believes. He discerns the glories of His person, the redeeming worth of His wounds, the ransoming efficacy of the pierced hands and feet, the sheltering shadow of the cross. He reads the assuring language of Calvary. He sees his name written on the God-man's heart. To him the morning sweetly dawns, because it awakens to the renewed light of Jesus' grace. To him the day gladly speeds on, because its advance is progress in divine instruction. To him the night is calm repose, because he rests on the pillow of atoning love. The darkest cloud is fringed with rays of joy, while he meditates on salvation's Lord, and all events drop gladness. Can I know this, and not beseech men to make Christ their All?
Until this is truly done, how dreary is the present state, and the future prospect! Without Christ, religion is a sunless sky; public service a casket without the jewel; life is a dreary passage to a dreadful end; the home is no abode of peace; the family has no strong bond of lasting love; the trade yields no returns of worthy profit; death is a downfall into the unfathomable abyss; eternity is a prolongation of unutterable woe.
Without Christ, prosperity is an adverse tide, and adversity is a foreshadowing of deeper misery. Birth is no benefit, if Christ is never born within. Life is no gain, except to live is Christ. Without Christ, God is an adversary; Scripture sounds condemnation; and Satan is waiting for his victim, which his prison-house is ready to receive. Can I know this, and not beseech men to make Christ their All?
We live, too, in days when countless fallacies court men in garb of truth. How shall we meet, expose, expel them? Wisdom is needed, for theological error is shrewd and bold. It often is opposed by error, and then victory leaves darkness more dark. The conquering champion's panoply is full intelligence of Christ. Christ is the sword, before which Roman frauds and novel sophistries fall low. He is the shield which guards the heart from all the poisoned arrows of the deceiving and deceived. In Him there is reply for every error's every wile. Christ truly seen is an impregnable fort. Christ well applied smashes all falsehood's weapons. He is God's wisdom in the highest. The man is safe on wisdom's high ground who is well versed in Him.
Therefore my desire in these pages is to turn minds to clear discoveries of the Lord Jesus. The Father's eye moves not from Him. The Spirit never wearies to reveal Him. Angelic intellect pants to dive more into His depths. The saints in light find Him increase of everlasting light. May the unfolding Spirit help each reader to glean more in the golden field of Scripture; and may the Pentateuch be found a boundless treasury of Christ!