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will be brought to the house of God. My bosom has been open to many of them, but now I shall be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear, and they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place, 2 Sam. xxiii. 7. Alluring, through the lust of the flesh, operates on the fifth sense, and discovers wanton professors; and silly ones are soon led away with divers lusts and pleasures.
W. H. S. S.
I Was very glad at the arrival of my friend's letter. God blessed the visit, I have no doubt. When he intends to thaw a frozen heart, or dissolve a stubborn mind, the oil of joy shall attend the word; it shall carry its salt, its savour, its unction, and its confidence with it, and so produce the obedience of faith, and draw forth the bowels of gratitude to attend the confidence that is produced by the word, and exercised by the recipient, until every desire and sensation of the soul move in concert: this unction makes the word, or saying, sink down deep into the sinner's ears, and heart too, so that it becomes the ingrafted word that is able to save the soul. The little journey I took last week cast another deplorable case in my way; just such another as we
saw at the G ;he is shut up in the strong
hold,, and sorely bruised by Satan; he was bound, but the word of God, in the mouth of thy servant, was not bound. A deal of work is going on in this private way; the kingdom is only known in the hearts of a few individuals whom the world knows nothing of, nor cares for; it comes not with observation in our days, nor have the whole bulk of professors the least idea of it: so far from it, that the real subjects of this kingdom are deemed the worst of men; restless, dissatisfied, nice, critical, troublers of society, and men who affect singularity, &c. But, alas! alas! it will be found at last, that these, and only these, will appear to have oil in their vessels, with their lamps. The lamp of the real saint is the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of sins, as it is written: "Give him no rest till he send forth his righteousness as the light, and his salvation a* a lamp that burnetii." Under the sweet operations of pardoning love the heart melts, and becomes broken and contrite: this is the vessel which the wise virgin goes forth with; and the oil which such a soul takes, is called the oil of gladness, golden oil, and the oil of joy, with which Christ was anointed above his fellows; but upon the believer it is a measure to profit withal, which is given in exchange for mourning. The soul
mourns under the burden of sins, and mourns after Christ, after his pardoning blood, and justifying righteousness: at last, righteousness comes to him as the light, and salvation from sin like a lamp that burneth. Salvation is applied, and light comes to the poor sinner with it, that he may see it, and the love of God attends it like a fire that melts the soul; and this fire burns and inflames the heart; then the oil of joy flows in, love, joy, and peace, abound. Here is the lamp, here is the vessel; and here is the oil of joy, the joy of the Lord, which springs from the love of God shed abroad in the heart; and now he having entered into the joy of the Lord, into his love, liberty, grace, and favour, off he goes to meet the bridegroom, and meet him he shall, and into the wedding-chamber he shall enter at last. The foolish virgin feels some few light convictions, and lashes of natural conscience, which gripes the sinner; but such an one comes and hears the word till his natural affections are moved and stirred up, and anon with joy he receives the word; his joy springs from nature's passions, or affections, and off he sets; his light terrors subside, and conscience is composed, but neither fear nor torment are cast out by the love of God; but the law is still in him, and is called a light to his feet and a lamp to his path. As for the vessel, a new heart, or a broken heart is what he never had. His lamp is the law, and his light is natural joy, which springs from the motion of his passions. Here is
the difference betwixt two, the fool and the wise. By and by the sun waxes hot, temptation and persecution rise, because of the word; this withers natural joy. The apostles go from the council, rejoicing that they are counted worthy to suffer shame for his name: here this oil of joy blazes, the other is offended; terror and torment, which were never cast out by pardoning love, begin to operate, and all his joy is dried up. "Joy," says Joel, "is withered away from the sons of men," because it has no root; the heart is not rooted in love to Christ, nor built up in him, as Paul speaks. Hence the joy of the Lord, which springs from his love, flourishes, when the joy of nature withers away. The love of God in the wise emboldens him, when the other is offended and falls away. The oil of the wise flames, when the light of the fool is smothered. In short, "The light of the righteous rejoiceth, when the lamp of the foolish is put out." The Lord's appearing stirs up terrors, and the enmity of the carnal mind: and, for this reason, the wise expect the Saviour to appear, to be admired by him, and by all that love the truth; the other expects an angry judge to appear to condemn him for a hypocrite. Hence arises, the joy of the one, and the enmity of the other. "The light of the righteous rejoiceth, when the lamp of the wicked shall be put out." The one is a believer, the other an infidel; the one righteous, or a justified person, the other wicked, or a condemned infidel. The one has the joy of the Lord with which lie was anointed; tlie other the joy of nature, by which he was deceived. The light of the one rejoiceth, which light and joy are an earnest of endless day and eternal happiness; the lamp of the wicked goes out, which is a prelude to eternal darkness. Jiut God"s supplicants must follow where he leads; with supplications and bitter weeping he leads them; and one path in which they are led may truly be called a path in the deep waters; and here his footsteps are not known. If God answers the prayers of his supplicantin the joy of his heart, or gives him an answer of peace; or if he enlarges him and comforts him while on his knees, it is fulfilling his word: "Before they speak I will hear, and while they are yet speaking I will answer." All this is easily understood; but not so the reverse. I have heard the groanings of the children of Israel, and am come down to deliver them. But this is followed with a double tale of brick, no straw is to be allowed; the old men are beaten, and the young men faint; no audience at the court, nor diminishing the impossible task; what cannot be done, must be done, or the back must smart for it: such a deliverance as this puzzles one. It is a little like Job's case: God owns he was perfect and upright, and Job fears God with :-M his heart, and wishes to do it with all his house, and therefore rises early every morning, sends and sanctifies all his ten children, and offers a sacrifice for every one of them, lest they should have sinned