« AnteriorContinua »
shadow of death, and begins to guide thy feet in the path of peace, (Luke 17, 9.) then wilt thou shudder at thyself and perceive, through the medium of this light, the enormity of thy guilt; yea, thou wilt be convinced that thy evil passions raged like a tempestuous sea, and that out of thy heart proceeded evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, and the like evil things, which have defiled thee. Mark 7, 21. 22. Here, my reader, thou art led to a discovery of the sinful nature of thy former life; which circumstance does not excite thy joy, but produces a far greater sorrow and anguish of heart before the Lord; for thou seest with open eyes,
; that thy sins have separated thee and thy God; that in consequence of this separation, thou hast nothing to look for but death and eternal destruction, unless thou findest an atonement in the mediation of the Lord Jesus, which thy soul longeth for with anxious prayers and tears, if haply thou mightest incline him to pity, that he may speedily impart the gift of his grace. If thou dost not obtain thy request immediately, thou wilt perhaps get discouraged
and think that God does not hear thy prayer; but remember that God setteth thee, first, under the law, as a schoolmaster, who chastises thee, displays in vivid colors the terrors of damnation, and keeps thee shut out from the faith which should afterwards be revealed; for the law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we may be justified through faith. Gal. 3, 23. 24.
At the same time satan approaches, and smiting and wounding us with his deadly and poisonous darts, endeavors to rob us of all our faith, and make us doubt, or entirely to deprive us of the grace of a compassionate Jesus, whereby we may remain a prey in his hellish grasp. And the better to effectuate this, he overwhelms such a troubled person with a flood of evil and impure thoughts, yea, oftentimes with abominable blasphemies; and this at the time of his best services, as prayer, reading and meditation; which thing gives rise in his mind to so great horror, that he does not know which way to turn himself; for, thinks he, how shall I obtain grace ofGod, whom in my thoughts I blaspheme, and unto whom I am unable to address a prayer of faith; and what is not of faith is sin, (Rom. 14, 23.) and he that asketh doubt. ing, receiveth nothing. James 1,6.7. Here the combat rages, here the soul is
oppress. ed with the slavery and bondage of Pharaoh or the devil ; Christ now is willing to release the soul and bring it into the land of promise, but before this can be accomplished, our nature has to be afflicted by the rod of Moses with many sufferings in the land of Egypt, till at length our innate and sinful propensities be exterminated by the hand of the destroying angel, and our souls be preserved by the blood of the Lamb, which produces reconciliation. Then the soul takes her departure and enters with gladness upon the happy journey towards the land of promise. But in a short time she reaches the wilderness, and soon after arrives at the Red Sea of redemption, in which she shall be released from her primitive bondage; through this sea she must now pass, but is not yet able to discover any possible way, because the mysteries of God are not yet revealed. And now there occur new proofs, new temptations, new anguish and new trials, in order to test our weak faith; for satan menaces the soul with utter destruction, and this causes her to cry the more ear
nestly unto God and long for his assistance, who at last opens unto her the way of faith through the atoning blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which the soul finds a heretofore incredible deliverance from all the temptations by which she had been held in bondage; nor can she refrain from blessing and praising God, forshe sees now that the yoke of her burden, the staff of her shoulder and the rod of her oppressor are broken; she joys according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. Isaiah 9. Yea, at this time she can by no means believe that she shall soon find bitter water, new temptations and a want of consolation; all which, notwithstanding, will have to be encountered; nay, a spiritual warfare will have to be maintained against the world, the flesh and the devil, wbich must all be subdued by faith; and an entrance thus made into the land of promise; Jericho must be destroyed and the Canaanites slain; the inhabitants of the land, who are proscribed by the Lord, must be rooted out, extirpated and made tributary: that is, all our carnal lust and sinful impurity must be utterly destroyed and brought in sub. jection to the spirit, that at length Jerusalem, the city of peace, may be built up within us, the sanctuary and temple be consecrated by the peaceable Solomon, Christ Jesus, and thus we become the temple of the Holy Ghost, wherein God may move and dwell. 2 Cor. 6.
These are the means by which God strips, divests and hunniliates us, that we may stand before him comfortless, void of counsel and destitute of help, and in this humility of spirit may exclaim with Saul and say, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? or with those on the day of penticost, What shall we do, that we may be saved ? Acts 2. All the destitute and poor in spirit, who have despaired of their own strength and former services, who have sought counsel from the Lord alone, and become desirous of living according to his will, have attained the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore Christ says, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt. 11, 28. 29.
A person thus poor in spirit, discovers salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus; for which reason he approaches