Imágenes de páginas

vation; and as to the dryness of those pastures, I do but speak for myself. Sometimes I have had reason to cry, "Wo is me that I sojourn in Meshech, and have my habitation among the tents of Kedar!" At other times I have found that the Lord is not confined to outward means, but that, under the sweet influences of the blessed Spirit, my soul has been refreshed with the feast of fat things, and of wine on the lees well refined. Again: when temptations and difficulties have assailed me, strength has been given according to my day; my soul has been sustained in life; the power of Christ has been manifested; and his grace has been sufficient for me. And, on the other hand, when corruptions have appeared for a little time to be subdued, when the enemy has not much molested me, and all things went smoothly on, I have found my soul drop into a kind of dry, unfruitful, lethargic frame; and though no particular, no more than ordinary sin, to accuse myself of, yet I have become barren, and almost lifeless; so that hereby I have sometimes found that these tares, growing among the wheat, have been the cause of greater prosperity of soul, by exciting the strugglings of spiritual life to oppose, and, by fresh strength being communicated, to obtain the victory over them.

In the month of May last I was on one of these journeys in Wales, and was much blessed with the presence of God. A sweet calm, a heavenly serenity of mind, passed upon me. Fear,

guilt, and condemnation, were removed, and my conscience bathed, as it were, in peace. Happy as I was, yet, lest I should be resting in a delusion, I questioned, I examined from whence this proceeded, and was enabled distinctly to trace it up to the reconciliation between God and man, made by the blessed Jesus on the cross. My soul was humbled to the dust, while I adored the riches of free, undeserved mercy and dying love, communicated by the quickening grace of the Holy Spirit. A few weeks after my return this heavenly visitation was repeated with much in‘crease; and upon again scrutinizing, that I might not be deceived, I could again trace it most distinctly to the same blessed source, and it was accompanied with a sweet assurance that I was made accepted in the Beloved. Christ was formed in my heart the hope of glory, and I had joy and peace in believing. Now I found what it was to have my conscience purged from sin, and to feel the blood of sprinkling speaking better things than that of Abel. Now I found that the Lord had not only brought to the birth, but had given strength to bring forth. Now I found that my prayer was answered, and that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” for that God would indeed avenge his own elect that cry day and night unto him; that he would not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, until he bring forth judgment unto victory. Now a new song was put into my mouth, and I could tri umph over my enemy, and give thanks to him. whose “own right hand and holy arm had gotten himself the victory.” Now I could say, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his;” “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Here I had access with boldness into the Holy of Holies, sin being put away by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God; and the nearer I was brought, the more was my soul melted down into humility, gratitude, and love. Here I found that a soft answer breaketh the bones, though grievous words had often stirred up strife. And, having found the blood of Christ efficacious to cleanse from all sin, my faith also laid hold of his glorious righteousness for justification in the sight of God the Father, which was sweetly confirmed to me by a powerful application of these words, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Nor did my Lord and Saviour stop here with me; for the blessed Spirit having thus testified of Christ to my soul, he went on to shew that he had loved me with an everlasting love, and therefore with lovingkindness he had drawn me, and thus it was made clear. The Saviour says, “He that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out:” I found I had come, and had not been cast out. Again: “All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me:” then those that do come are such as the Father hath given to the Son from eternity. And

again: none but such shall come;, nor even would they, if not made willing in the day of God's power; for "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." Having then been made willing, under a sense of need, and drawn to Christ, and having experienced pardon and peace by the blood of atonement, applied and witnessed by the ever-blessed Spirit of truth, I was enabled to say, "My Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation;" and could not but wonder at the sovereign, discriminating grace of God, that he could ever have fixed his love upon one so unfruitful, and so utterly unworthy in everjrespect, that in sincerity and truth I can say, that I look upon myself, and ought to be looked upon by others, as less than the least of all saints. But, blessed be his name, it is well for his people that he does not make worth or worthiness of ours any condition of his love: no, it is free, unmerited, and everlasting; otherwise I am sure I should have failed and come short of it.

For these few weeks past these heavenly influences have been in some measure withdrawn, though my soul still rests on the foundation laid in Zion. For several days, however, in this interval, it appeared that the enemy was determined to take his revenge for the happiness I had enjoyed. He endeavoured to lull me into security, then to drive me into despondency; then he tempted me to lie against my right, and to dispute against God in the dispensations of his providence; he stirred up natural corruptions and evil tempers, so that I was amazed to find these things, especially upon the back of what I had but so lately been blessed with, and even now acknowledge them with shame and confusion of face. This text exactly expressed my state, "For peace I had great bitterness." But it hath pleased the Lord, in a good degree, to restore to me the joys of his salvation, and to uphold me with his free Spirit. I bless him that the one oblation, once made, has for ever perfected all that believe; but a fresh application of it I find I stand in need of day by day, agreeable to our Saviour's words, "He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet." I desire to be kept waiting upon him to direct my way both in grace and in providence; for in both respects I find him fulfilling his word. I want to experience more of his love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost, and to live more under its filial and fruitful constraints to his glory. I want to have my unbelief quite subdued, which is so dishonoring to my merciful and faithful God and Saviour, and so disquieting to my own soul. I never knew what this sin was till it pleased the Lord the Spirit to work true faith in me, and since then it has pestered me in all that concerns spiritual life and everlasting salvation, even from the highest to the lowest matters. But I see this to have been a part of the Spirit's work: "He shall convince of sin, because they believe not on me." And, thanks be to God, it has received some se


« AnteriorContinuar »