« AnteriorContinuar »
of Christ, after faith and patience have been tried! He stands behind the wall in times of trouble ; shews himself through the lattice when the proud heart is humbled; sits as a refiner by the side of the furnace, regulates the heat, and brings us out when self is denied; affords supporting grace, stirs up and discovers the base metal at the bottom, purges away the dross and tin, and makes the trial of faith more precious than gold, and the believer like the golden wedge of Ophir. Thus we go through fire and water, but he brings us out into a wealthy place: “ the ransom of a man's life are his riches.” Christ is our ransom, wealthy place, hiding place, resting place, and dwelling place.
Having enjoyed my Lord, soon after I made the land I went to survey the little hills, and attempted to water the ridges thereof, in hopes of the blessing of increase. We had some little appearance of the days of the Son of Man: the perfection of beauty shone forth; the fire was scattered from the altar; reviving sparks and living coals went forth at his feet; while his inflaming purifying influences warmed the heart, and brightened the countenance of those that are of the true cir- , cumcision.
With delight I looked upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; but with more delight to see the Master of Assemblies there.' O! to stand in Christ's strength, begirt with his truth, enrobed with his righteousness, cheered with his inward testimony, illuminated with the light of his countenance, free
in his liberty, and wise in his wisdom! then the eye of faith pursues his mysterious steps, which he makes glorious, while he displays his power and majesty as our King and our God in the sanctuary.
Upon the thirsty soul he comes down as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth; which makes love, joy, peace, praise, and gratitude, to spring forth, while himself delights in his own fruits. He unstops the ears of the deaf, opens them to pleasing discipline; causes a joyful sound to be heard behind, while the still voice informs the wondering listener, · This is the way, walk ye in it.' With the hammer of his word he smites the inflexible heart of another; opens the everlasting doors, and makes the careless, senseless, stupid mortal attend to the voice, and reply, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. He takes the bane of guilt from the envenomed conscience of another, and sets the rescued sinner to banter the king of terrors, and the house appointed for all living : “ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" He couches the eyes of the blind, draws the veil from the understanding, lets a healing beam into the heart; and makes him that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death shew himself: the soul peeps out of obscurity and out of darkness, views his past life as a dream, supposes himself in a new world, and shines forth in the Sun that shall never go down. He takes another struggling in the horrible pit and miry clay, pulls him out of the deep waters, shews him the way
of life and path of peace; fixes his wavering heart, puts a new song in his mouth, and ever after orders his goings. Takes another, that has been long struggling against sin in his own strength, by which he has only burdened his soul with additional fetters, and proclaims his enlargement; sets his soul at liberty, and tells him to run the race set before him, looking to his Great Deliverer ; pours a little of the oil of myrrh on the handle of the unbeliever's lock, and makes the bolt of infidelity fly back, while lovingkindness and tender mercy take possession, and display their banner there; thus turning the den of dragons into a silver palace, while every power of the soul proclaims their Sovereign come, kiss the Heir-apparent, acknowledge his hereditary right to government, and crown him King at large. He lets the enthralled sinner, that has been long cooped up in the strong hold of flesh and blood, out of his cell; unfolds the door of hope in the valley of Achor; when slavish fear with her train of terrors and the discovered tormentor sculk off, while the happy soul feels its plumage, spreads its wings, and escapes like a bird from the hand of the fowler, where it hopes to hear no more of the stormy wind and tempest. He whispers peace to another: bids the waiting soul be patient, and quietly hope: they shall not be ashamed that wait for him : discovers and lays open the heart of the secure sinner, and spreads all his crimson crimes and carnal hopes before his face; saying, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine : restores the wanderer, binds up the broken-hearted, informs the misled, fixes the wavering, relieves the distressed, succours the tempted, suckles the weakling, confirms the unstable, smites the froward, disappoints the selfwilled, feeds the hungry, satiates the thirsty, replenishes the sorrowful, and settles the marriage treaty with the suspicious soul that burns in the raging flames of cruel jealousy; and suffers himself to be held in the galleries.
Thus goes the King in the sanctuary, and spreads the savour of his name, and the bounties of his hand, until every broken heart be warm, every evidence bright, and the smiles of the face proclaim him the health of their countenance, and their God. Surely these are some of his ways, but how little of him is understood! John saw him walking among the golden candlesticks; and no wonder, when it is the office of our High Priest to trim the lamps, supply the vessels, and keep the lights burning; and who so fit as our Sanctifier, our Unction, and our True Light? What a wonderful mystery is the soul-ravishing, soul-dignifying religion of Jesus Christ, when really felt and enjoyed in the divine power thereof ! · These thoughts were hovering about my heart and head at the time you was in the north; but my cruse began to fail, the tide ebbed, and my pen dragged heavily; therefore, like the man that began to build, I left off, not being able to finish. If any part appears too rapturous, let it be remem
bered they are some of the first springs that arose, after my recovery from a fit of the ague and fever, in which I left some dregs of the old cask behind; and, as Job says, “ My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch, and my glory was fresh in me.” • At present the Lord has left communing with me in that comfortable familiar way; and, like Abraham, I am returned to my place, where I hang in an even balance, poising betwixt self and Christ. I know he is gone up, but instead of going up after him, I am looking within, though I am certain I must look out before I can fetch him in: the spouse acted a wiser part, she went out to seek him, and she found him, and held him fast, nor would she let him go until she brought him to her mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived her. However, bless his name! he is a constant visitor; he visits our sins with the rod, and our souls with salvation : the former is to make us appear less than nothing, and the latter, that himself may be all in all. · The old man must be put off, mortified, yea, crucified; but there is no putting the old man off but by putting the new man 'on; no mortifying of him but through the Spirit; no crucifying him but by fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, and a conformity to his death. The new man may be known by his penetrating eye, seeing things that are invisible to bodily eyesight; by his nice ear, which tries the word as the mouth tastes the