James Backhouse.

A narrative of a visit to the Australian colonies online

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as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them ; and
I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore
come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will
be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Ahnighty."Jt

Thus, ever since the Gospel began to be preached, those who
have believed in the Light, who have had faith in the Grace of
God, who have been led by the Spirit; have uniformly been
enlightened thereby, to perceive their fallen and sinful state, have
attained unto true repentance, and been enabled to look upon
Jesus, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the
world," so as to have peace with God through him; being
strengthened, to walk in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lust of

• Matth. Ti. 10. t Luke zrii. 20, 21. % 1 Cor. tv. 30.

§ Rom. xiv. 17. II Col. 1. 26, 87. IT 2 Cor. ix. 15. •• Jobn xlv. 23.

++ 1 Cor. iU. 16, 17. n 2 Cor. vi. 16—18. *

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the flesh ; but glorifying God in their body and in their spirit,
which are Qod*s.*

Qreatly do we desire that you may become of this happy num-
ber, who constitute '' so great a cloud of witnesses " to the
efficacy of &ith in the power of Divine Ghrace ; that thus, *' laying
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset yoo,
you may run with patience the race that is set before you, look-
ing unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of [all true] faith;
who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the
throne of God."t

*< God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have
everlasting life: for God sent not his Son into the world, to
condemn the world, but that the world through him might be
saved **X Believe, therefore, in the mercy of God which is freely
offered you in the Lord Jesus Christ : for, as '^ God spared not
his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not
with him, also, freely give us all things ?*'§ ^' He was wounded
for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chas*
tisement of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we
are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray ; we have turned
every one to his own way ; and the Lord hath laid on him, the
iniquity of us all."||

If you repent, God is willing to forgive you your sins, for
Chiist's sake, who died for you, ^'the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God."^ ^< Him hath CK>d exalted with his
right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentanoe
and forgiveness of sins."** Christ said, " No man can come to
me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him ; and I will
raise him up at the last day.^ff Have you not been thus drawn ?
Have you not often felt convinced of sin, so as on many occa-
sions, clearly to dietinguish the difference between right and
wrong ? These convictions, then, were the drawings of the Fa-
ther, by his eternal Spirit seeking to lead you unto his Son, that
you might obtain eternal life through him.

We read in the Scriptures, that under the law of Moses, when
a man had sinned, he was commanded to take his 8in-o£Eering

• John xU. 80. Ephes. ii. S«-10. Aom. rlii. 14. John i. ». Horn. t. 1. GaL ▼. IC.

1 Cor. Ti. 80. t Heb. zli. 1, t. t /ohn iU. 16, 17. f Bom. tUL 82.
II IniAh UiL 5, 6. IT 1 Pater UL 18. •• Acta t. 81. ft Job&TL HL

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to the priest, to lay his hand upon its head, and to slay it ; and
the priest was to take of its blood, and to pnt in on the horns of
the altar, and to pour out the rest at the bottom of the altar,
and to bum its body upon the altar, to make an atonement for
him, that his sin might be forgiven.* In taking his sin-offering
to the priest, the sinner thus confessed that he had sinned : by
laying his hand upon its head, he made himself, as it were, one
with his sacrifice : in slaying it, pouring out its blood, and offering
its body on the altar, he acknowledged the justice of God, in
passing sentence of death on sin. " In the day thou eatest thereof,
thou shalt surely die."t *' The soul that sinneth, it shall die.*'}
** The wages of sin is death."§ Hereby the sinner offered the
life of his sacrifice, in the stead of his own life, its blood in the
place of his own blood ; for '' without shedding of blood, there
is no remission." II

This is a lively type or representation, of the way of salvation,
under the Gospel. The sinner is to confess his sins unto God ;
to remember, that the awful death which Christ, ^^who did no
sin "^ suffered on the cross, was due to sin ;** and that it is for
his sake, that forgiveness of sin is offered to those who repent iff
for He is ** the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the
world ;"t J and, " there is none other name under heaven, given
among men, whereby we must be saved," but the name of Jesus
Christ.§§ The conditions of our acceptance are, *' repentance to-
ward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."|j||

But he who truly repents and believes, or has faith in Christ,
believes in the truth of all his sayings, and feels the necessity
of obeying his precepts : he is baptized with the baptism of Christ,
even with the Holy Ghost and with fire. '* I indeed baptize you
with water," said John the Baptist, <^but one mightier than I
Cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose ;
he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire ; whose
£m is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his fioor, and
will gather the wheat into his gamer, but the chaff he will bum
with fire unquenchable."^^ Christ, who is the " Power of God,"***
like a " consuming fire,"ttt is revealed in the hearts of tme be-
lievers, cleansing them firom every conrupUon, even as gold is

•Le?.iY. fOeii.ft.n. t EseluxTiiLl f RobltLSS. | HelKix.8S.

IT 1 Peter U. ». •• 8 Gor. t. 21. H Luke zihr. 47.

Ephes. It. 3S. tt John L 29. {{ AeU W. 12. B| AeU xx. 21. HIT Luke Ut 16, IT.

••• 1 Cor. I. 24. fH Dent. if. 24. Heb. xXL 29.

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purified by fixe, " for the trial of their fidth is mudi more pte-
doua than of gold that peiisheth.*** Such know from heartfelt
experience that, the baptism which now sareth, is not the puttmg
away of the filth of the flesh [not any outward washing], bnt the
answer of a good conscience toward Qod, by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ ;t who cleanses them from every defilement ''by
the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.''^

Those who thus believe and are baptized, whatever name diey
may bear, as to religion, among men, constitute that ''one body,'
"the Church," of which Christ is "the Head;"§ "all such are
the children of God, by futh in Christ Jesus.''|i " For by <»e
Spirit, are we aU baptized into one body, whether we be Jews
or Qentiles, whether we be bond gs free, and have all been made
to drink into one Spirit.''^ "Through him,'* said the Apostle,
"ye have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father; and are no
more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints,
and of the household of Qod ; and are built upon the foundation
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself, being the
chief corner-stone ; in whom all the building, fitly framed tog^-
ther, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye
also are builded together, for an habitation of God, through the

Our Heavenly Father is willing to give the Holy Spirit, to
those who sincerely ask it of him. " Ask," says Christ, " and
it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you : for every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he
that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be
opened. If a son shall ask bread, of any of you that is a frither,
will he give him a stone ? or, if he ask a fish, will he for a fish,
give him a serpent ? or, if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him
a scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him }"f\ O, believe,
that God is willing to hear, and to answer the prayers of them
that desire to be made what he would have them to be, how
weak and unworthy soever they may feel themselves ! " Like as
a fitther pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear
him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are

•lPMeri.7. f lPeteriiL2l. tl8«iahiT.4.

t EphM. 1. SS, 2S. Colot. i. IS. I) QaL ilL S6. IT 1 Cor. zil. IS.

•• Ephei. iL 18—22. H Luke-zl. »— IS.

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dust."* And he will regard the prayer of the heart, for, '< He
knoweih the secrets of the heart."t

Many of you, we know, have no private place, or closet, to
retire into, to ^* pray to your Father who is in secret ;" hut all
may pray in the closet of their own hearts, and the Lord will
hearken to the sincere breathings that arise fiH>m thence, and
will regard them as acceptable incense, whether they be ex-
pressed with the tongue, or not. lift up your hearts, therefore,
unto him, whenever, and wherever you may feel your necessities,
whether it be by night or by day, in the house or in the field ;
" pray unto your Father which is in secret, and your Father which
seeth in secret, will reward you openly."]: Be not discouraged
from staying your souls upon Qod, by any sense of your past
delinquencies; for you are not invited to pray in your own names,
but in the worthy name of Jesus,§ who '^ is able to save them
to the uttermost, that come imto Qod by him, seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for them."|| Wherefore, all are in-
vited to ** come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that they may
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."^

Be cheered by the remembrance, that Christ became a prisoner
for the sake of prisoners ; that he was, ^' in all points, tempted
like as we are, yet without sin ;"** that therefore, he ** can have
compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the
way ;"i't and, '^ in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted,
he is able to succour them that are tempted."^:^ May you, there-
fore, be willing to seek reconciliation with God, through him.§§

Some of you have but few of the outward means of religious
instruction; but if you desire to learn righteousness, God is
willing to teach you himself, by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of
Truth, who will guide you into all truth.

It is a profitable exercise, to wait upon the Lord in stillness,
to feel after his presence, with the attention turned to the state
of the heart before him, remembering that he is ever with us :
for, ^ Gbd that made the world, and all things therein, seeing
that he is Lord of Heaven and Earth, dwelleth not in temples
made with hands; neither is worshipped with men*s hands, as
though he needed anything; seeing he giveth to all life, and
breath, and all things ; and hath made of one blood all nations

• FMlm ellL 18, 14. t Psalm xUt. 21. 1 Sam. 1. 13. t MatttL vi. 6.

) John xiT. 18, U— zt. 16. Ii H«b. vU. 25. IT Heb. !▼. 16. •• Heb. !▼. I&.

++ Heb. V. 2. « Heb. U. 18. §« 2 Cor. v. 18-21.

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of men, for to dwdl on all the face of the earth; and haih de-
termined the times before appointed, and the boonda of €bek
habitation : that they ahould seek the Lord, if haplj they might
/eel aJUr him^ andjmd Atm, though he be not far from every one
of U8 ; for in him we live, and move, and hare onr b^ng.'**
And he has commanded us, saying : *' Be still, and know that I
am God."t ''Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the
people renew their strength ; let them come near, then let them
speak ; let us come near together to judgment."^ ** It is good
for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth ; he sitteth alone
and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him; he
putteth lus mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.*'$
If we thus wait upon him, he will make himself known unto us,
as our Qod and our deliverer : for it was declared by the prophet
Isaiah, in referring to tiie dbpensation of the Gk>q)el, that " it
shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our Qod, we have waited
for him, and he will save us ; this is the Lord, we have waited
for him, we will be glad, and rejoice in his salyation."||

Many of you, have also the Holy Scriptures, and can read
them. Let this be your frequent employment : for ^* all Scripture
is given by inspiration of Gk>d, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : that the
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good
works."^ ** They are they which testify of me," said Christ. As
you give attention to his Light and Grace in your hearts, thus
coming' unto Christ, that you may have life,** he will open your
understandings, and enable you to understand these precious
records aright ; and you will know, from happy experience, that
they are able to make *' wise unto salvation, through faith which
is in Christ Jesus.ft

If you were diligentiy to read the sacred writings, and to attend
to the Light of Christ, to which they direct you, you could not
continue in bondage to Satan. That many of you are under dus
grievous yoke, is too clearly proved by your sinful practices;
*^ for of whom a man is overcome, of the same b he brought in
bondage;"}! and by cursing, swearing, and other profiine lan-
guage, by fornication, undeanness, and theft, and by numerous
other sins, it is but too plain, that many of you are ^' taken

• Aeti ztU. 14— tS. i Psalm sItL 10. } InUh zlL L \ Lmmh. UL S7-».

R Iiaiah xxr. 9. f 3 Tim. Ui. IS, 17. •• John w, 99, 40.

H 2 Tim. Ui. 15. n 1 Pet«r 11. 19.

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captive l>y the devil at his will.'** But we entreat you to remember,
that thereby you dishonour God ; and that, before him, you must
ahortly give account : for it is he who ** shall judge the secrets
of men by Jesus Christ."t " We must all appear before the
judgment-seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things
done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad."|

''Behold the judge standeth before the door.''§ ''The Son of
Man Cometh at an hour when ye think not''|| Defer not, there-
fore, the work of repentance, under the delusive notion that you
will repent when drawing near unto death. "Boast not thyself
of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring
forth."^ " This night,*' it may be said unto any of you, " thy
Boul shall be required of thee."** Many have gone on in sin,
thinking they would repent before they died, who have either
been cut off suddenly, or prior to death, have been given up to
hardness of heart, so as to be wholly indifferent about the state
of their souls. These have indeed died "as the fool dieth ;"tt ^^^
end of the beasts that perish, would have been infinitely preferable
to theirs.tt " For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the
whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man ^ve in
exchange for his soul ?"§§ Though a few have appeared to become
penitent, when in anticipation of death ; yet, when unexpectedly
to themselves, the life of some of these has been prolonged, how
large a majority of them have failed to bring forth fruits meet
for repentance, and instead thereof, have relapsed into habitual
sin. The inference is plain, that though some of these might
possibly be cases of sincere repentance, yet that the greater
number of those, who, in the prospect of death, seemed penitent,
deceived themselves, and others also, who had hoped better
things of them.

To trust to the approach of death, for opportunity to repent
and seek reconciliation with God, what is it, but to make a league
with the devil, to serve him as long as a man can, and thus to
wrong his own soul ? Remember witii awe, the declaration of the
Most High : " My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for
that he also is fiesh."|||| " Despisest thou the riches of his good-
ness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the

• S Tim. tt. 26. i Bom. IL IS. ^2 Cor. v. 10.

I James y. 9. |i Luke zil. 40. If Pror. xxviL 1. •• Luke ziL 20; "H 2 Sam. iii 82.

tX Psalm zliz. 11—20. H Mark yiii. 36-^. ||i Oen. vi. 8.


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goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ; bat after tbv
hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath,
against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judg.
ment of Qod ?'** As none of you know how short may be the
day of the Lord's merciful visitation to your souls, beware that
you " do not frustrate the Grace of God ;**f for if his Gbace be
withdrawn, you may seek "a place of repentance," when too
late4 To-day, therefore, '* to day, if ye will hear his voice, har-
den not your heart8/'§

Before we conclude this Address, we would offer a few more
observations for your consideration, on some subjects which we
deem also essentially conimected with your welfare.

From what we know of your feelings, with regard to bondage,
we do not doubt, that most, if not all of you, regard it as a
grievous punishment. Now, as nothing happens but under the
providence of God, without whose notice, not a sparrow falls to
the ground, we would entreat you to consider the cause, and the
end, for which he has suffered you to be afflicted. The cause, you
must be convinced, has, in general, been, that you cast the fear
of the Lord behind you, and therefore, were at length, so giren
up to your own hearts' lusts, as to disregard also the restraints
of human laws. Was it not either neglect of the Sabbath, intem-
perance, lewdness, gaming, pride, or disregard of the Divine Law
in some other respect, that paved the way for those offences, wliich
have resulted in the loss of your liberty ? If conscience constrain
you to admit this, let the consideration humble you before God.
For, '' Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast
forsaken the Lord thy God ?" " Know, therefore, and see, that
it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord
thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of
Hosts." II And let this conviction make you watchful against the
sins that have " so easily beset you," and have already brought
so much suffering upon you; lest, should you still cleave to
them in heart, they should become the means of plunging you
Airther into the depths of degradation and misery.

Consider also, that the end for which affliction is dispensed to
man, while in a state of probation, is, that he may turn to the
Lord ; who, though a God of judgment, in the midst of judgment
remembereth mercy. Hence, to the very people, to whom the

• Rom. U. 4-^. ^ Gal. IL SI. t Heb. ziL 17. | Heb. UL 7~15.

II Jer. il. 17, 19.

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language, quoted above, was addressed, the following gracious
invitation was at the same time extended : '< Return, thou back-
sliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger
to fall upon you ; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will
not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that
thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy Qod." " Return,
ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."* We
have no doubt, that the design of the Lord respecting you, is
likewise one of mercy. Is it not proved to be such, by your
having been arrested, in a course that must have ended in your
destruction, if you had been permitted to have gone on in it ?

Convinced then, that your bondage is a dispensation of mercy,
designed to restrain you from following that which is evil, you
ought not to regard it, as some do, unhappily for themselves, as
a state of oppression, but rather as one of salutary discipline, in
which you have a duty to discharge, before God, in fiiithfuUy
serving those persons to whom you are assigned ; according to the
apostolic exhortation : "Servants, obey in all things, your masters
according to the flesh : not with eye service, as men pleasers, but
in singleness of heart, fearing God : and whatsoever ye do, do it
heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men : knowing that of the
Lord, ye shall receive the reward, "f Moreover, whatever station
a man may fill in the world, if he take an interest in the service
allotted him, and perform it cheerfully, he will have a measure
of enjoyment in it: but if he give way to a dissatisfied disposition,
and consider his employment as a task, he will be uncomfortable
in himself, and will continually provoke the displeasure of others.

When persons, circumstanced as you are, take no interest in
their employments, but perform them merely from compulsion,
what is the general consequence? Do they not embitter their
state of bondage, and often prolong it; or by adding to their
transgressions, bring themselves to an untimely end ? herein ful-
filling the declaration of an inspired writer: — "He that being
often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed,
and that without remedy. '':(

It is not one of the least of the Lord's mercies, that banish-
ment from our native country, is now the penalty of many offences,
that a few years since were visited with death, which left little
time for repentance. This alteration of the laws, has been at-
tended in its effects, with great expense to the Nation, but the

• Jer iii 12, 13, 29. i Colot. iU. 82, 94. X Pror. xxix. 1.


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Lord has made your countrymen willing to bear it, ratlier Uian
to run the riak of plunging their tranagresaing fellow-creatizr^
into perdition.

Tour comfort, we conceiTe, would be greatly promoted, by
considerations of this kind ; and by looking upon your labour,
whilst serving out your sentence, as a reasonable return to the
public, for the injury they have sustained, by your crimes, and
for the expense incurred in consequence, not only in your prosecu-
tion, but also in your present nuuntenance. We are persuaded,
that many of you have sufficient candour and good sense, to admit
the justness of this mode of reasoning. For your own sakes, may
you be concerned to act upon it.

Let none among you be discouraged from striying to serre the
Lord, by the scoffs, or solicitations to evil, of others : for ** though
hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished."* And
though '' fools make a mock at sin ff if their scofis turn us aside
from righteousness, it is ourselves who will have to bear the
consequence of our own folly. It will be no excuse for us, in
the day of judgment, that we feared to serve the Lord, because
of the sneers, or solicitations to evil, of our associates. The
exhortation of Christ, who '* endured the contradiction of sinners
against himself,":^ and who set us a righteous example, is, ^ Fear
not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul :
but rather fear Him, which is able to destroy both soul and body
in hell :" and he likewise added, " Whosoever, therefore, shall
confess me before men, him will I confess also, before my Father
which is in Heaven : but whosoever shall deny me before men, him
will I also deny, before my Father which is in Heaven."§

It has been a satisfaction to us, to find a few among you, walk-
ing in the fear of the Lord : these we have been glad to recognise
as brethren in Christ ; and we heartily desire their encouragement,
in every good word and work ; and that, by the continued exercise
of faith and patience, they may inherit the promises ; having,
according to their own testimony, already found the consolations
of the Gospel to lighten their bondage among men, and to comfort
them in all their tribulation. || If others were to seek comfort, in
this way, they also would find it. But none can understand the
joys of GK>d's salvation, until they taste of them, in their own
experience. " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have

•Proy.zi.81. tProvziT.9. |H«b. zil.3. ) Matt X. 88» SS, S4.

II S Cor. L 4.

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entered into the heart of man [in an unregenerate state], the
things which Qod hath prepared for them that love him : but,"

Online LibraryJames BackhouseA narrative of a visit to the Australian colonies → online text (page 60 of 65)