Tuesday, August 11, 2009
THE SPARK OF DIVINE LIFE UNQUENCHED
I still keep groping for the great wall of salvation, not that I have not at all found it, but I find that there are heights and depths, and lengths, and breadths that never can be fully fathomed. My mind is agitated by the constant searching. The dear Lord continually keeps plunging me beneath the waters of tribulation; and although I never come up empty-handed, yet I often wonder where the scene will end. I am now all in a tremor, and it is with difficulty I can hold my pen; but God’s providences are like Himself, not to be comprehended. I find that I am not alone; many Scripture witnesses, many saints both ancient and modern, like Job and Jeremiah, have cursed the days of their birth; and were it not for the power and presence of the Almighty, I am confident I should sink into black despair, or break out into open rebellion; but being held fast by His mighty hand, I continue to this day. As to what some talk about creature excellency and fleshly holiness, I am confident that the flesh, yea the whole man, all that belongs to human nature, both soul and body, has become so entirely corrupt, that all it ever did since the fall, or all it ever will do, or all it ever can do, is to maintain continual enmity against the free and sovereign grace of God.
I feel that my deep afflictions work enmity and rebellion, impatience, ingratitude, yea, even blasphemy; and these things are all the produce that afflictions bring from nature. “Most certainly you are given up of God,” some one would say; sometimes I say so too. “You are not in a capacity to perform good works, you have sinned against the Holy Ghost” says Satan; sometimes I say so too; yea, at times I entreat the Lord to damn me, to close the scene, and let me know the worst of it. Now, I would have you know that these conclusions are not merely speculative. I have striven with all my powers with the human arm of free will, in all its diversity of colors; I have labored to pay the demands of Moses until I thought I should lift up my eyes in hell. I have labored to conform my conduct to gospel precepts until I became, in my feelings, an infidel; and this not merely when dead in sin, but since I knew what divine life was.
Again, from the purest motives of love to Christ, I have striven to maintain a holy walk and conversation in the world, but I find the truth of the Saviour’s words exemplified throughout the whole, that “the flesh profiteth nothing” No, as I said before, it is an enemy; and without the immediate power and presence of the Lord of life and glory working IN me that which is well pleasing in His sight, there is no solid foundation to the new man, which is of God, having come down from heaven at the moment of regeneration, and which can only be fed and nourished by heavenly food, even that bread whereof if a man eat he shall live forever. This is the fruit of my deep, my manifold afflictions; the wrath, the anguish of which divides between the flesh and the spirit.
If these things are not true, and if there is no continual resurrection of the dead, then let us eat and drink, yea let us revel and drink, and drive dull care away, rather than be duped by the parsons and the parson’s text book, the Bible, for tomorrow we shall die, and be like the beasts that perish. But, saith Christ, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever liveth and believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
This life will at times rise superior to every mountain that stands in the way, and pluck up every sycamore tree that stands in the path; yea, though men and devils combine, though the angel of the Lord stand in the way, though the providence of God frown continually, as it does upon me, yea though the soul has to strive at times (to appearance) even against God Himself, yet will this life rise through all, and discover behind the darkest clouds a smile, and in the harshest look, love. Thus faith is omnipotent, has to do with impossibilities, and counts the things of earth too low for it to traffic in.
This is my religion, and I have no more will or power in any other than Satan has. At times this is most blessedly revealed from heaven to my soul by Him who said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” The absence of these things makes me thirst, long, pant, and wish for His free gift to supply my wants; for I feel that, if left to myself, I should after all be as unconcerned as if I had never known them.
Well, then, with such divine teaching as this, I read old authors, and some of the Scripture commentators. But I generally find that the work of men has been in all ages to obscure the glory of the Redeemer’s kingdom, and that even good men have contributed not a little towards this.
May the dear Lord encourage every faithful soldier of the cross to unfurl and display the full banner of truth in all its blessed bearings, combining the whole body of elect to the Head and to each other in that one glorious Head. No doubt the letter-men have their work in circulating the Scriptures; but what one sows another reaps. What shall we say to these things? May we contend earnestly for the living faith. — G.M.
From the Gospel Standard, 1841