« PoprzedniaDalej »
11.1 LEST Satan should get an advantage by this relation of God's strange and wonderful dealing with me, in bringing me home to 'Chrift, in fuch an unusual manner, and his handling me'fo sharply by the spirit of bondage; as also his bountiful dealing with me in making my soul the receptacle of such ravishing joy, and unutterable consolation, upon believing in Christ in effectual calling ; [ thought it might be seasonable to give the presene caution to the poor, doubting, tempted believer, who, through Satan's subtilty in tempting, will find himself, or herself, wretchedly prone to conclude from what they read of my conversion, that the work of true conversion was never yet effectually wrought in themselves: and that, because they were never under such terrible bondage of soul, peither ever yet were lifted up fo near heaven as I was.
Such poor tempted Believers are to consider the particulars following, for their help and relief, against the tempter in this case.
First, Consider that as in nature there is a vast disparity or difference between perfons in the natural bitch, so there is as vast a difference in the fpiritual birth. Some women go through abundantly more and sharper pains and throws in travail than others meet with. Some babes meet with
greater difficulties and dangers in the birth than do others. The causes whereof in nature, though they appear not to us, yet it is most certain that so it is.
, So in conyersion, soine fouls pass through greater horror and bondage in the conscience than others do. Some are brought as it were through the very jaws of hell and desperation, as I was ; others are dealt more easily and gently with, being sweetly allured, and, as it were, insensibly transplanted inta Chrift; they not well knowing what is done to them. Paul and the rugged jailor were handled more roughly; their consciences were more deeply wounded with the frightening terrors of God's law, fet home by the spirit of bondage, than Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened with more gentle touches of his spirit. Acts ix. 6. xvi. 15. 29.
That woman who is safely delivered without any difficulty or danger to herself or her babe, hath no reason to question whether she be indeed delivered or not, because she went not through such difficulty and danger as her neighbour did, who narrowly. escaped with her life; neither hath she any cause of being jealous with her neighbour, because her case or condition was more dangerous and desperate in travail than was her own. Thou, who art. brought to Christ by the gentle drawings of the Spirit of grace, and not brought so nigh to the affrighting sight of hell, and to such a sense and
feeling of the pains of the damned, as have caused fome to think themselves actually in hell, admire at, and bless God for his condescenfion towards thee, in bringing thee through the new birth fo easily.
Secondly, Consider, that albeit' the truth of thy conversion be not so sensibly discerned as the conversion of that person is who is brought home in the way of legal terror, yet thou art bound to bless God for the smallest measure of grace bestowed on thee, as the smallest spark of fire, though it be hid under a great heap of ashes, is as truly fire as the greatest fire in nature ; so thy finall grace, which, in comparison of some other's grace, may be fo weak and little that it can scarcely be discerned ; yet grace it is, though thou know it not to be fo, and he who bestowed it on thee, and wrought it in thee, will never reject or neglect thee because of thy little grace; while he sees thee and makes thee constant and diligent in the use of means, labouring to grow in grace. Isa. xlii. 3. Matt. v. 6. Isa. xli. 17. Phil. i. 6.-If thou object, and say, Oh, but I do not find that I am brought to Christ, and, which is far worse, I fear I never shall
To this I answer in two particulars :
First, Thy very fear about this greatest of concerns is an argument of thy translation from the first Adam to the second Adam, Christ Jesus the Lord. If the Spirit of grace had not given thee some light and taste of the excellency and sweetness
of Christ, thou couldest never prize, or desire, or groan after him. It is only the child that hath tasted the honey or sugar, that longs and cries for
Secondly, If thou findest a fixed resolution in thy soul in going on to seek the Lord and his strength, by prayer and supplication, and other means of grace, not resting in, or depending upon, 'the ineans, but on Christ alone, for life and salvation; my life for thine, come death when God pleaseth to send it, it will end all thy fears, and put thee beyond the reach of all thy enemies. Thy frequent crying to God in prayer, for Christ and saving grace, is the echo of Christ interceding for thee at a throne of grace; and thy going on, and continuing to watch at wisdom's gates, could not possibly be, without invisible supplies of spiritual strength, communicated to thy soul by the spirit of Christ.
(Now, reader, thou hast seen the end of this narrative; and if
thou art in a state of infidelity, thou wilt in thine heart give the whole of it the lie, which is sufficient to confirm the truth of it; because if it was a false report, the scriptures say, that thou wouldes receive it; but as it is a true teftimony for God, God declares that the children of infidelity shall not believe it. Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you Mall in nowvise believe, though a man declare it unto. Acts xiii. 41. Hab. i. g. W.H, S.S.).