JANEWAY

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Here is an opportunity to learn from two esteemed and learned brothers in the faith, as they each step out into a new year. They do not offer resolutions, but meditations—on the goodness and mercy of God; on the depth of His love; and on their place in His kingdom.

From The Life of Daniel Baker, p. 64—

Friday, January 1st, 1813.
This morning I have been almost overwhelmed with a sense of the infinite majesty of Almighty God, and my own insignificancy and unworthiness. O, how astonishing is the grandeur, love, and condescension of Jehovah! He who created and sustains universal nature; who keeps in quiet and unceasing motion the countless and stupendous systems of planetary worlds; who causes them all to roll along and revolve with inconceivable velocity, and most exact order and harmony.

This great and glorious Being has been and is still mindful of man; man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm; nay, has devised a plan for his redemption; a plan, O how wonderful and astonishing! a plan for the execution of which the Lord of glory bowed the heavens, came down upon earth, was clothed in human flesh, and suffered a cruel and ignominious death; and all this, that guilty, apostate men might be redeemed from his pollutions, and introduced into the blissful presence of his Maker and his God. Be astonished, O heavens! be amazed, O earth! at this wonder of wonders, and thou, my soul, admire, and adore, and magnify thy Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, and let the mystery of godliness be for ever the sweet, the delightful, the enrapturing theme of thy meditations.

O that I might be more abstracted from the world; that I might worship my God with more devotedness of heart! O that I might feel the influence of a Saviour’s love shed abroad in my soul; that I might be more zealous in His cause; that I might feel a more lively and affectionate solicitude for the eternal welfare of my fellow-men; that I might devote myself more unreservedly, more heartily and diligently to the service of the greatest and the best of Beings. My God! to thee I commit my way—bring it to pass.

From The Life of Dr. Jacob Jones Janeway—

January 1, 1809.

“Behold, God has spared my life, and permitted me to enter on the threshold of a new year. I have great reason to be thankful to God for his many mercies to me and to my family.

Yesterday being set apart as a day of thanksgiving in this city, I endeavoured to recollect the favours which I and my family have received from God, and to be grateful. I felt some emotions of gratitude, and gave thanks and praise to God. Oh, that this year may be better improved than the last; and if I live to see the end of it, may I be found then nearer in point of preparation than I am at present! Great changes, it is to be apprehended, will take place in this country, before the close of this year. The Lord in mercy, prepare me for whatever may await me; and oh, save my country! This day, as well as yesterday, my dear colleague preached. It is more than four months since he was able to preach; and yet the Lord in mercy, sent supplies to our church.

For this favour, and for his restoration thus far, I praise God. The Lord make him still a lasting blessing.”

[here the biographer closes with a lesson drawn from the above entry:]
He mentions that a meeting was called for the express purpose of revising the constitution of the Bible Society, and the original friends were apprehensive of attempts, seriously to change its character, yet the better feeling prevailed, and the effort was voted down, to the joy of its friends. How often are the early movements for good threatened by indiscreet and mistaken friends! How true that Satan sows tares amid the wheat! There is no calculating how much mischief would have accrued, and how much good might have been hindered, if any serious modification had been accomplished in the constitution of this, the mother Bible Society of our land.

 

 

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Contending Earnestly 

The  number “seven” has always been associated with perfection.  But while that is the belief, there would be no one who would suggest that the seventh opening exercises of Westminster Theological Seminary on October 2, 1935,  have this word “perfection” stamped upon it.  Yet there was a sure reminder of both their existence in the church world at that moment in history as well as an old challenge to the professors and student body that they were to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.”  That very familiar text from Jude 3 was the title of the sermon and article in the Presbyterian Guardian of October 21 and November 4 in 1935.

Proclaiming the Word that evening was Rev. John Hess McComb, pastor of the Broadway Presbyterian Church in New York City.  What you will read in this devotional history today will be a portion of that address which is still as up-to-date now as it was then applicable to the people of God.  He said,

“Then too, if we would contend for the faith, we must seize every opportunity to let people know were we stand. When the Word of God is under fire, every silent Christian  is counted with the enemy.  Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”  God honors such testimony is surprising ways.  It bears more fruit than we have any idea it will.  Too often the people in the pew take the attitude that the minister is paid to do the testifying and there is no need for them to exert themselves in that direction.  It is a great privilege to speak a word for Christ, and we must avail ourselves of the privilege in the home, in the circle of friends, in the office, in the church — wherever God gives an opportunity.  If the Redeemed of the Lord would testify a little more frequently, perhaps it would be found that the true Church of Christ is far larger than it seems, and that Modernism has not gained the ground it supposes it has gained.  When a child is born into this world and utters no sounds, we fear that it is dead.  When a professing Christian never speaks a word regarding his redemption through Christ, we  have reason to suspect that he never has been born again. Of course the Christian must see to it that his personal life in no wise belies his testimony.  He that seizes every opportunity to testify for his Lord must so live that there is no question in the minds of those about him who his Lord is.”

There were some sobering statements in this quotation.  There is no doubt that the New York City pastor wanted to impress on the minds and hearts of the seminary students that their studies must produce some effects in the lives of those to whom they would be sent as servants of Christ.

Words to live by:  Standing out in the above quotation is the illustration and application of the child.  Dr. McComb said, “when a child is born into this world and  utters no sound, we fear that it is dead.  When a professing Christian never speaks a word regarding his Redemption through Christ, we have reason to suspect that he never has been born again.”  These are strong words, and may solicit objections by our readers.  Yet there are placed here to think upon them and more importantly to act upon them.  Pray for a divine opportunity this day or week.  Pray that the Spirit will remind you to recognize the divine opportunity.  Then simply relate your Christian testimony to the individual, and see what the Lord will bring forth.

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On the Death of a Christian.

J.J. JanewayOn Sabbath, January 31, [1858] he was confined to that bed, from which he never arose. Five months of wearying sickness passed away till all was over. He never complained—always said he did not suffer, though it seemed to his attendants almost impossible that he did not. The coloured man who had long lived in his house nursed him faithfully. His children were much with him. At times his disease appeared so violent that it seemed impossible that he could survive. But he rallied again. He insisted that morning and evening worship should be performed in his chamber, and readily detected the absence of any of his servants. Worship was ordinarily performed by one of his sons. If at any time their own duties compelled them to be absent, he would be propped up in his bed, and utter his usual fervent prayers.

Disease obscured his mind, and caused confusion and wandering. But on the subject of religion, or any exposition of the Scripture, he was clear as ever. Not one syllable is he remembered to have uttered which betrayed confusion, where the interests of Christ’s kingdom were concerned. When any of his grandchildren approached him who were not in communion with the church, he faithfully conversed with them—bade them meet him at the judgment-seat, on the right hand. He was remarkably earnest in his appeals, and enforced them with urgency. The ruling passion was strong in death.

When he was told of the occurent revivals of the noon-day meetings for prayer, and of the general interest manifested everywhere in religion, his countenance beamed, and he said there were more glorious days at hand, and that the Redeemer’s kingdom would be ushered in by such displays of grace. Towards the close, he said to his eldest son : ” I am tired of eating—I want to go home!” But still the strong man of his constitution struggled with disease; pin after pin seemed loosening in the tabernacle; symptom after symptom developed unfavourably, but his frame did not succumb. The nature of his disease was such as to prevent such exhibitions as are often seen in God’s dying children. This was the appointment of God, and a life of such eminent holiness did not require any other illustration of the grace of God. At the close of June, he became unconscious, and lay for two or three days without any communion with the outer world. His children were with him, hourly waiting for his departure, and at last, on Sabbath, June 27th, just before the setting of the sun, he entered on his eternal Sabbath, and doubtless, as a good and faithful servant, was received by his Lord, whom he had served earnestly, in as far as the imperfection which cleaves to our nature permitted.

His funeral was attended in the First Presbyterian church, when the Rev. Dr. Hodge, who had been received by him, in the dew of his own youth, into the communion of the church, preached his funeral sermon, full of affection, and replete with memorials of his deceased  and venerable friend.    Devout men carried him to his tomb—Christian ministers who had come at the summons, from their homes, to see the last of one whom they venerated when living, and mourned when removed. After the death of his wife, he had built for himself a family tomb, and was anxious that it should be of capacity sufficient to accommodate the remains of his family, and of his children to the fourth generation. He seemed to take pleasure in the thought that their dust should repose together till the morning of the resurrection, and rise, he trusted, an unbroken family, to the right hand of his Saviour.

[Excerpted from The Life of Dr. J. J. Janeway, pp. 260-261.]

Words to Live By:
May we all die well; may we all die in Christ, our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; may we all, in this life and while there is life, seek Christ as our only Savior and Lord.

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