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FOR APRIL, 1838.
THE LATE REV. JOHN BAKER,
OF EXMOUTH. WHILE we rejoice at the auspicious cir cide between the legal scheme of doccumstances under which some of God's trine, on the one hand, and the gratuiservants have entered the Christian tous scheme on the other. One of the ministry, we would not allow ourselves two, he perceived, must be the right one; to forget, that some unfavourable be but he states, that he was much relieved ginnings have been followed by most by reading the Rev. G. Burder's sermon blessed results. This was abundantly on “Behold he prayeth,” and the one verified in the subject of this brief and entitled “ The Unjust Judge;" but full imperfect memoir. Good Mr. Baker decision was reached by God's blessing was not of Bunyan's profession, but on the perusal of the Epistle of Paul was bred to the art of shoemaking. He to the Galatians, in connexion with earchose and put well together the best nest and agonising prayer for Divine materials, and this excellent specimen teaching. The eleventh verse of the of honesty he seems to have transferred eighty-fourth Psalm was also a great to his subsequent ministry; and if some comfort at this stage of his religious thought that he went "beyond his last," history. Now Divine things shone upon by commencing preacher, others had his mind with an amazing lustre, and reason to think differently; for Divine he began to advance heavenward, as a grace made his humble and unpretend “ giant refreshed with new wine." He ing ministrations "the power of God, and walked as on the suburbs of heaven, the wisdom of God to their salvation." and almost heard angels' songs. The
It must have been about the year native enmity of his heart was slain by 1799, that the Lord began a work of a believing view of the cross. Soon grace upon his soul; here the usual after, however, dark clouds arose in the indications of sovereign mercy were horizon, and quite hid the glorious light strongly marked. He had to contend he beheld before; and such was his against a sinful nature, before he was perplexity of mind, that he feared lest aware of its force and malignity; while he should be deprived of reason. But in this state of ignorance, he had brought it pleased God, after a sharp conflict, soon himself into the belief that he had almost to relieve him from this intolerable bur. obtained the victory. When undeceived den, and to grant him consolation, accordon this point, he was plunged almost ing to the days in which he had seen evil. into a state of despair; from which, These and other lessons of Christian however, he speedily obtained most gra- experience, in connexion with a growing cious deliverance! He had also to de- knowledge of Scripture, were gradually VOL. XVI.
preparing the way for his communicat- the truth, a transition to the ministry ing to others what he had himself "tasted, might be expected, though honest John and felt, and handled, of the good word Baker did not seek the sacred office, of God.” It was well known that he was but was sought for, and had the office deficient in much of that kind of know- pressed upon him, by the repeated and ledge which others have possessed; and he earnest solicitations of Christian friends, received many tokens of regard in the though to the chagrin of his relations, loan of books; but these, from the na- one of whom said, “ He could find it in ture of their contents, did not really aid his heart to shoot him.” He first spoke him. He possessed an excellent un- at a social meeting of friends at his own derstanding, and he saw that several house ; but he was only induced to do of these works were neither in har. so to encourage a young man of talent, mony with the Scriptures, nor with one by setting him an example. This first another; and hence he was driven more essay convinced all who were present closely to the word of God, “ to the law that God had given him eminent talents and to the testimony,” “to the word of for speaking, as well as grace and sound the truth of the Gospel,” upon which judgment. Being pressed to the work, he could rely.
Amongst the friends he began to preach in the neighbouring who felt much interested in him, was villages, and in his own licensed room. the celebrated Mr. C. Baring, who His exercises were afterwards transresided then near to Exmouth, and who ferred to a small chapel in Exmouth, sent him a volume of his eccentric ser- built by the revered Mr. Rich. Staples. mons. The manuscript note on the This chapel was too small for the numinside cover of which was, at least, a bers who desired to attend, and was proof of Mr. Baring's opinion of Mr. twice or thrice enlarged.
At length he Baker, and was as follows:
consented to ordination, in August, To the Rev. Mr. Baker, from the Editor. 1816. His confession of faith on this Exmouth, Nov. 20, 1824.
occasion, and which is now before us, Let me request of you, my worthy
would do credit to a doctor of divinity; friend, to accept of this book, in testimony
but brevity obliges us to withhold it of my esteem and regard for your charac.
from this memoir. But the most importer and conduct, during the many years in tant record is, the long list of conversions which I have been acquainted with you. which attended his ministry. These were ... The book contains a compilation real, sound conversions, “living epistles," of sermons, selected from the writings of demonstrations of holy power, who grew men of no ordinary talents; and the selection and publication has occupied many
in grace, became the jewels of his church,
the light of Exmouth, and the glory pleasing hours in my old age
The sermons are unquestionably interesting ;
of sovereign grace; nineteen of whom and, although little is said respecting those
are yet living as such. So true it is, speculative doctrines, which have so much
that “God often takes the weak things divided the Christian world, I am aware
of the world to confound the mighty." that some few passages may still remain,
As Mr. B. lived in honour, so he died which may not accord with your opinions
in peace, Nov. 26, 1835, aged sixty-six. on those points. I trust, however, that
The loss of Mr. Baker is very great you will receive the book merely as a testi
to the church he has left. While he mony of my esteem and regard ; and I will lived, he preserved the just standard of likewise hope, you can join with me in be. truth, and was a restraint upon some lieving that we are both on our journey to who were ready to verge to high docthe same happy country.
trine ; now that restraint is gone, we I pray God to bless you, are fearful of the consequences.
But C. BARING. this is too tender a subject to enter upon. We with great pleasure insert this May the Great Head of the Church give letter, because it contains a general tes- to this church another Mr. Baker! timony to Mr. Baker's character and However much men of refined educonduct, for a great many years, from a cation may hesitate to acquiesce in the person, not of the same sentiments in induction of illiterate persons into the religion. Mr. Baker did receive the work of the ministry, and however it book, but kept it hid from the eyes of may be proved by subsequent events all his friends to prevent mischief. that such appointments have been pre
After such a blessed establishment in mature and ill-advised, often producing mischief instead of good to the sacred cause, and for which reasons too much vigilance cannot be exercised, yet Mr. Baker is an instance illustrative of the fact, that the sovereignty of God may overrule the ordinary cautions of men. We see, in his case, a regular combination of causes and effects. The causes that led him into the ministry were far from irrational, and the effects
so pleasing in the success that followed his labours--in raising and preserving a large and respectable church, and especially in the real conversion of a very great number of sinners, that we must allow and justly pay all praise to Him by whose grace alone Mr. Baker begun well, and ended honourably, a course of life that well deserves a record in our evangelical miscellany.
A SERMON, BY THE LATE REV. PHILIP HENRY.
COMMUNICATED BY SIR J, B. W., SUREWSBURY.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Matthew v. 6. THESE words are part of a sermon, sanctification. The former is reckoned the first solemn sermon which was to us, (imputed ;) the latter is wrought preached by our Lord and Saviour in us, (inherent.) Both are here meant, Jesus Christ. The place where he and neither to be excluded. preached is observable; it was on a 1. It is a blessed thing to be found mountain. Some sermons were preach- hungering and thirsting after imputed ed in the Temple, and some elsewhere; righteousness; that is, after pardon of but this on a mountain. Moses received · sin, and acceptation with God, by the the law on a mountain; and Christ blood and merits of the Lord Jesus. interpreted the law on a mountain; When a poor sinner is brought to see vindicating it, by way of comment, from his miserable, lost, and undone condithe corrupt glosses of the Scribes and tion, the justice of God, and the curse Pharisees.
of the law pursuing him, and thereupon It was on a mountain that the Levites flies to Christ, and lets all go; all that were to pronounce those solemn bless- wherein, heretofore, he prided himself, ings and curses, recorded Deuteronomy and saith, “None but Christ! none but xxvii. and xxviii.; blessings on Mount Christ !” as St. Paul, Phil. iii. 8, 9, Gerizim-curses on Mount Ebal.
This is a blessed frame. This mountain, whereon our Lord 2. It is a blessed thing to be found preached, was both Gerizim and Ebal, hungering and thirsting after inherent for though Matthew records blessings righteousness; that is, after sanctifying, only, yet Luke, chap. vi. 24, adds woes renewing grace. When a poor sinner is also.
brought to see that corruption and filthiThe text is one of the BLESSINGS ; ness wherein he was born, and wherein wherein we have,
he yet is; void of the image of God, I. A grace or duty mentioned ; which consists “in righteousness and which is, hungering and thirsting after true holiness ;" dead in trespasses and righteousness,
sins; and thereupon hungers and thirsts II. A solemn blessing pronounced -“0, that I had a new nature! O, and promised to it. Such as hunger that God would restore his image to me, and thirst after righteousness are in a h at I had true grace; and, where there blessed condition, for they shall be sure is a little, O that I had more and more; to be filled.
that the God of grace would sanctify me Doctrine. Such as hunger and thirst wholly; that spirit, soul, and body after righteousness are in a blessed con- might be preserved blameless unto the dition, for they shall be filled.
coming of Jesus Christ." It is a blessed Question I. What is meant here by thing to have such hungerings and righteousness? To omit other notions, thirstings in the soul ; blessed is that there is a twofold righteousness spoken man, that woman, that finds it thus with of in Scripture. The righteousness of himself or herself. justification, and the righteousness of Question 2. What is meant by hun.
gering and thirsting? It means such setting shadows of meat before them, desires after righteousness, as they that instead of real meat; such as that whereare hungry have after meat, or they that with he tempted Jesus Christ; a picture are thirsty after drink: which,
of the world and the glory of it: ima1. Do pre-suppose life. A dead man ginary pleasures for the present, and hungers not. There are no hungerings real pain following after. Believe it, and thirstings after righteousness but sinners, you will find it so, Isa. lv. 2. where spiritual life is begun first. No But if you will come to Christ, he hath man hath grace but he that desires that for you which is bread; real rightegrace; and no man truly desires grace ousness, true grace, solid comforts. but he hath grace. It is not so in other 2. Suitable food. It is no food, if it things: the desire of riches is not riches; be not suitable. Now Jesus Christ is the desire of honour is not honour: but suited to the nature of the soul. A desire, true desire, of grace, is grace. . spiritual nature, such as the soul is,
2. Hungering and thirsting are ear- must have spiritual food. He was a nest, urgent, impatient desires. Hun- fool that invited his soul to feast upon ger, we say, will break through stone that which he had in his barns, Luke walls ; a hungry man will part with any xii. 16, &c. And he is suited to the thing he hath for bread." So he that necessity of the soul. The soul hath hungers after righteousness—" I must need of food that may be physic too. have righteousness! I am undone if I Keep in mind the prophetical vision, have not righteousness!" Here is an estate, “ And by the river upon the bank here is gold, here is silver for you."No, thereof, on this side and on that side, I must have righteousness.” As Luther,
all trees for meat, whose leaf “I protest, as to earthly things, I am shall not fade, neither shall the fruit unwilling to be so satisfied.” As Abra- thereof be consumed: it shall bring ham, “What wilt thou give me, seeing I forth new fruit according to his months, go childless ?” So here, “What wilt because their waters they issued out of thou give me, till thou hast given me a the sanctuary : and the fruit thereof righteousness, to justify, to sanctify me? shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof Give me Christ, or else I die!" 'Some for medicine," Ezek. xlvii. 12. And refer the two kinds of desire here spoken such fruit is Jesus Christ. of, to the two kinds of righteousness. 3. Sweet food. " His fruit was sweet (See Hammond's Pract. Catech.) to my taste," Cant. ii. 3. The fruit of his
Blessed are they that hunger and death, resurrection, and intercession, thirst after grace, which is inherent 1 Peter ii. 3. Gracious or sweet. Every righteousness; and blessed are they thing in Christ is sweet to a believing that thirst after a part in Christ for soul. He is sweet in his promises, parimputed righteousness; both shall be dons, ordinances, offices, comforts, comfilled. Some understand by righteous- munion. His word is sweet, sweeter ness here, the Lord Jesus Christ, by than honey, Psalm cxix. 103. His love whose merits it is that we are justified, is sweet, sweeter than wine, Cant. i. 2. and by whose spirit we are sanctified, Yea, his mouth is sweet, Cant. v. 16. Jer. xxiii. 6; 1 Cor. i. 30. And then Hiş mouth is sweetness, and all he is, the sense is this : Blessed are they that delights; he is altogether lovely. The hunger and thirst after Jesus Christ, Psalmist, Psalm lxiii. 5, compares him that look upon him as their food, and to marrow and fatness. have an appetite towards him, and de- 4. Satisfying food. A man may sire to be made partakers of him. Such surfeit upon the world, but he can never desires shall be granted. They that be satisfied with the world. A man may desire to have him, shall be filled with be satisfied with Christ, but he can him. O that I could represent Jesus never surfeit upon Christ, Isaiah lv. 2. Christ in such a manner to you as might In Psalm xxvi. 8, it is said, “they shall provoke your desires after him.
be abundantly satisfied.
What can a You ask, What kind of food is Jesus man desire more than satisfaction? Yea, Christ? I answer,
but Christ abundantly satisfies-satisfies, 1. Solid, substantial food. John vi. and satisfies again. 55. Meat indeed, and drink indeed, This is the excellency of spiritual alnows, truly, really: not in show and food; the more one feeds upon it, the appearance only. Witches have con
more one may. It provokes appetite to fessed the devil hath cheated them in more, and yet it satisfies with what we
have. He that hath tasted that the Lord that fulness which we shall have in is gracious can say,
Return unto thy glory. Though at present we are not rest, O my soul :” and yet he is always perfect, we shall be perfect; knowledge craving; united to Christ, and yet de- shall be perfect; and grace shall be sirous of nearer union.
perfect. it Whosoever drinketh of the Use. This is spoken to draw out water that I shall give him, shall never your desires towards Jesus Christ. thirst : but the water that I shall give Commendation of such and such meats, him shall be in him a well of water how dainty and sweet they are, provoke springing up into everlasting life,” John the appetite, and stir up longings after iv. 14. Such an one shall not thirst them. O that what hath been said in for ever. Though for the present he commendation of Jesus Christ might may thirst; hereafter he shall have his have the same effect upon your souls fill. “I shall be satisfied when I awake that hear me this day.
with thy likeness," Psalm xvii. 15. Righteousness must be had, or there 2. If we understand it of present is no appearing before God. God is filling, the meaning is, according to our a righteous God.
“ Of his fulness have all we 1. As righteousness is taken for holi- received, and grace for grace," John i. ness, there is none holy as the Lord, 16. Look what righteousness we need and we must be righteous, i. e. holy, or for justification ; we shall have it to the we cannot be saved, Heb. xii. 14; John full; we are completely and fully justiiii. 3.
fied. Look what grace we need for 2. As righteousness is taken for jus- sanctification; it shall be supplied to us tice, faithfulness to his word, the word accordingly. My God shall supply all has gone out of his lips, “Cursed is your need according to his riches in every one that continueth not in every glory by Christ Jesus, Phil. iv. 19. thing." Let me ask thee, " Hast thou Some need more than others, having continued ?" I know conscience saith, more work to do than others; more
Nay." What wilt thou do? There is temptations to encounter with ; more no escaping unless you come to Christ. afflictions to undergo, Numbers vii. 4, 5, All thou canst do will not satisfy. &c. They that hunger and thirst shall 3. Jesus Christ is willing to make be filled by degrees.
If a vessel be over a righteousness to thee; behold, thrown into the river, it is filled in a he calls thee,
“ Ho, everyone that moment; but if water be poured into it, thirsteth,” Isaiah lv. 1, &c. Thou shalt not so quickly. In heaven we enter into have pardon, grace
I am his minis- the joy and grace too of our Lord: but ter, and do invite thee, this day, in his here it is not so: we are in filling. name.
But say you, How is righteousness Question 3. How doth it appear to conveyed to those that hunger and thirst be a blessed condition to hunger and after it ? thirst after Jesus Christ ?
I reply, It is conveyed from Jesus Answer. By what is said in the text, Christ by faith, through the ordinances, " They shall be filled.” God will cer- as water is conveyed by conduit-pipes tainly fill those that see their need of into the cistern, Zech. iv. 11, &c. Now, Christ, and do hunger and thirst after if the pipes be stopped, the water him. The same is elsewhere promised, floweth not. Though water be in the Psalm lxxxi. 10, I will; Psalm cvii. 9, well, if we have no bucket to draw, he doth ; Luke i. 53, he hath. There is whence should we have it ? Faith is not a promise which God hath made, the bucket; if faith be active in an but he will perform, and make it good. ordinance, it proves a filling ordinance;
Objection. You will say, “How is this if otherwise, we come empty, and go made good; are there not many that away empty. "According to your faith have desires towards Jesus Christ, and be it unto you,” Matt. ix. 29. If the yet are far from being filled with Jesus child be strong and suck hard, there Christ ?" Some little they have of him, comes much milk from the breast; if but it is not to be called fulness. A little weak, but little comes: so is faith. Beknowledge, a little faith, a little grace, a sides, they are not only blessed because little comfort. God help me. But,' they shall be filled, but blessed because say some, “I never hungered, for I am they hunger and thirst: their very hunnot filled.”
ger is a blessing Answer 1. It may be understood of Now there are many who do not