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was with Moses at Mount Sinai; first, God appeared to him in all the terrors of his dreadful majesty, so that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake; and then he made all his goodness to pass before him, and proclaimed his name, The Lord God gracious and merciful, &c. So it was with Elijah; first, there is a &

a stormy wind, and earthquake, and devouring fire, and then a still, small, sweet voice, 1 Kings xix. So it was with Daniel; he first saw Christ's countenance as lightning, that terrified him, and caused him to faint away; and then he is strengthened and refreshed with such comfortable words as these, o Daniel, a man greatly beloved, Dan. x. So it was with the apostle John, Rev. i. There is an analogy observable in God's dispensations and deliverances which he works for his people, and the manifestation which he makes of himself to them, both ordinary and extraordinary.

But there are many things in scripture which more directly shew, that this is God's ordinary manner in working salvation for the souls of men ; and in the manifestations he makes of himself and of his mercy in Christ, in the ordinary works of his grace on the hearts of sinners. The servant that owed his prince ten thousaud talents, is first held to his debt. The king pronounces sentence of condemnation upon him, and commands him to be sold, and his wife and children, that payment be made. Thus he humbles him, and brings him tɔ own the whole debt to be just ; and then forgives him all. The prodigal son spends all he has, is brought to see himnsell in extreme circumstances, to bumble himself, and own his unworthiness, before he is relieved and feasted by his father, Luke xv. Old inveterate wounds must be searched to the bottom, in order to healing: and to this the scripture compares sin, the wound of the soul, and speaks of healing this wound without thus searching it, as vain and deceitful, Jer. viji. 11. Christ, in the work of his grace on the hearts of men, is compared to rain on the mown grass, grass that is cut down with a scythe, Psal. lxxii. 6. representing his refreshing, comforting infuences on the wounded spirit. Our first parents, after they had sinned, were first terrified with God's majesty and justice, and had their sin, with its aggravations, set before them. by their Judge, before they were relieved by the promise of the seed of the woman. Christians are spoken of as those that have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them, Heb. vi. 18. which representation implies great fear, and sense of danger preceding. To the like purpose, Christ is called a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, and as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, ls. xxxii. And it seems to be the natural import of the word gospel, glad tidings, that it is news of deliverance and salvation,

after great fear and distress. There is all reason to suppose, that God deals with particular believers, as he dealt with his church, which he first made to hear his voice in the law, with terrible thunders and lightnings, and kept her under that schoolmaster, to prepare her for Christ; and then comforted her with the joyful sound of the gospel from Mount Sion. So likewise John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Christ, and prepare men's hearts for his reception, by shewing them their sins, and by bringing the self-righteous Jews off from their own righteousness, telling them that they were a generation of vipers, and shewing them their danger of the wrath to come, telling them that the ax was laid at the root of the trees, &c.

If it be indeed God's manner, (and I think the foregoing considerations shew that it undoubtedly is), before he gives men the comfort of a deliverance from their sin and misery, to give them a considerable sense of the greatness and dreadfulness of those evils, and their extreme wretchedness by reason of them ; surely it is not unreasonable to suppose, that persons, at least oftentimes, while under these views, should have great distresses and terrible apprehensions of mind. For let it be considered what these evils are, of which they have a view ; viz. great and manifold sins, against the infinite majesty of the great JEHOVAH, and the suffering of the fierceness of his wrath to all eternity. And we have many plain instances in scripture, of persons that have ac, tually been brought into extreme distress by such convictions, before they have received saving consolations: as the multitude at Jerusalem, who were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter, and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? The apostle Paul trembled and was astonished, before he was comforted; and the jailor called for a light, sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

From these things it appears to be very unreasonable in prosessing Christians, to make this an objection against the truth and spiritual nature of their comfortable and joyful affections, viz. that they follow such awful apprehensions and distresses as have been mentioned.

On the other hand, it is no evidence that comforts and joys are right, because they succeed great terrors, and amazing fears of hell*. This seems to be what some persons lay great weight upon ; esteeming great terrors an evidence of a great work of

MR. SHEPARD speaks of "inev's being cast down as low as hell by sorrow and lying under chains, quaking in apprehension of terror to come, and then raised up to heaven in joy, not able to live ; and yet not rent from lust; and such are objects of pity now, and are like to be the objects of terror at the great day."- Parable of the Ten Virgins, P. I. p. 125.

the law wrought on the heart, well preparing the way for solid comfort; not considering that terror, and a conviction of conscience, are different things. For though convictions of conscience often cause terror; yet they do not consist in it; and terrors often arise from other causes. Convictions of conscience, through the influences of God's Spirit, consist in conviction of sinfulness in heart and practice, and of the dreadfulness of sin, as committed against a God of terrible majesty, infinite holiness and hatred of sin, and strict justice in punishing of it. But some persons have frightful apprehensions of hell--a dreadful pit ready to swallow them up, flames just ready to lay hold of them, and devils all around ready to seize them—who at the same time seem to have very little proper light of conscience, really convincing them of their sinfulness of heart and life. The devil, if permitted, can terrify men as well as the Spirit of God. It is a work natural to him, and he has many ways of doing it in a manner tending to no good. He may exceedingly affright persons by impressing on them many external images and doleful ideas; as of a countenance frowning, a sword drawn, black clouds of vengeance, words of an awful doom pronounced,* hell gaping, devils coming, and the like-pot in order to convince persons of things that are true, and revealed in the word of God, but, to lead them to vain and groundless determinations; as that their day is past, that they are reprobated, that God is implacable, that he has come to a resolution immediately to cut them off, &c.

And the terrors of some persons are very much owing to their particular constitution and temper. Nothing is more manifest, than that some persons are of such a temper and frame, that their imaginations are strongly impressed with every thing they are affected with ; and the impression on the imagination re-acts on the affection, and raises that still higher. Affection and imagination act reciprocally one on another, till their affection is raised to a vast beight; so the person is swallowed up, and loses all possession of himself.t

Some speak of a great sight they have of their wickedness, who really, when the maiter comes to be well examined, are found to have little or no convictions of conscience. They speak of a

" The way of the Spirit's working, when it Joes convince men, is by enlightening natural conscience. The Spirit does not work by giving a testimony, but hy assisting natural conscience to do its work. Natural conscience is the instrument in the hand of God, to accuse, condemn, terrify, and to urge to duty. The spirit of God leads men into the consideration of their danger, and makes thein to be affected therewith, Prov, ax. 27The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.STODDARD's Guide to Christ, page 44.

† The fainous Mr. PERKINS distinguishes between “those sorrows that come through convictions of conscience, and melancholic passions arising only from mere imaginations, strongly conceived in the brain ; which he says, usually come on a sudden, like lightning into a house." Vol. i. of his works, page 385.

dreadful hard heart, and how it lies like a stone; when truly they have none of those things in their minds or thoughts, wherein the hardness of their heart really consists. They speak of a dreadful load and sink of sin, a heap of black and loathsome filthiness within them; when, if the matter be carefully inquired into, they have not in view any thing wherein the corruption of nature does truly consist. Nor have they any thought of particular things wherein their hearts are sinfully defective, or fall short of what ought to be in them. And many think they have great convictions of their actual sins, who truly have none. They tell you

. how their sins are set in order before them, they see them stand encompassing thein round, with a frightful appearance; when really they are not affected with the aggravations of any one of their sins.

And if persons have had great terrors which really have been from the awakening and convincing influences of the Spirit of God, it doth not thence follow that their terrors must needs issue in true comfort. The unmortified corruption of the heart may quench the Spirit of God, (after he has been striving,) by leading men to presumptuous, and sell-exalting hopes and joys, as well as otherwise. It is not every woman who is really in travail, that brings forth a real child; but it may be a monstrous production,

l without the form or properties of human nature. Pharaoh's chief baker, after he had lain in the dungeon with Joseph, had a vision that raised his hopes, and he was lifted up out of the dungeon, as well as the chief butler; but it was to be banged.

But if comforts and joys not only come after great terrors and awakenings, but with an appearance of such preparatory convictions and humiliations, and brought about very distinctly, by such steps and in such a method, as has frequently been observable in true converts; this is no certain sign that the light and comforts which follow are true and saving ; for these following rea

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sons:

First, As the devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God, so he can counterfeit those operations that are preparatory to grace.

If Satan can counterfeit those effects of God's Spirit which are special, divine, and sanctifying ; so that there shall be a very great resemblance, in all that can be observed by others; much more easily may he imitate those works of God's Spirit which are common, and of which men, while they are yet his own children, are the subjects. These works are in no wise so much above him as the other. There are no works of God that are so high and divine, above the powers of nature, and out of the reach of the power of all creatures, as those works of his Spirit whereby he forms the creature in his own image, and makes it to be a partaker of the divine nature. But if the

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devil can be the author of such resemblances of these as have been spoken of, without doubt he may of those that are of an infinitely inferior kind. And it is abundantly evident in fact, that there are false humiliations, and false submissions, as well as false comforts*. How far was Saul brought, though a very wicked man, and of a baughty spirit, when he (though a great king) was brought, in conviction of his sin, all in tears, weeping aloud, before David his own subject--one whom he had for a long time mortally hated, and openly treated as an enemy-crying out, Thou art more righteous than I : for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil? And at another time, I have sinned, I have played the fool, I have erred exceedingly, i Sam. xxiv. 16, 17. and chap. xxvi. 21. And yet Saul seems then to have had very little of the influences of the Spirit of God, it being after God's Spirit had departed from him, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And if this proud monarcb, in a pang of affection, was brought to humble himself so low, before a subject that he hated, there doubtless may be appearances of great conviction and humiliation in men, before God, while they yet renain enemies to him, and though they finally continue so. There is oftentimes in men, who are terrified through fears of bell, a great appearance of their being brought off from their own righteousness, when they are not brought off from it in all ways. They have only exchanged some ways of trusting in their own righteousness, for others that are more secret and subtle. Oftentimes a great degree of discouragement, as to many things they used to depend upon, is taken for humiliation: and that is called a submission to God, which is no absolute submission, but has some secret bargain in it, that it is hard to discover.

Secondly, If the operations and effects of the Spirit of God, in the convictiogs and comforts of true converts, may be sophisticated, then the order of them may be imitated. If Satan can imitate the things themselves, he may easily put them one after another, in such a certain order. If the devil can make A, B, and C, it is as easy for him to put A first, and B next, and C next, as to range them in a contrary order. The nature of divine things is harder for the devil to imitate, than their order. He cannot exactly imitate divine operations in their nature, though his counterfeits may be very much like them in external appearance:

* The venerable STODDARD observes, “ A man may say, that now he can justify God however he deals with him, and not be brought off from his own righteousness; and that some men do justify God, from a partial conviction of the righteousness of their condemnation; conscience takes notice of their sinfulness, and tells them that they may be righteously damned; as Pharaoh, who justined God, Exod. ix. 27. And they give some kind of consent to it, but inany times it does not continue, they have only a pang upon them, that usually dies away after a little time."--Guide to Christ, page 71.

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