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Discovering how the spirit of adoption succeeded the fpirit of bondage, and what glorious effects ensued thereupon.'
The last day of my bondage state, when looked for nothing but a going down to the nethermost hell; in the inconceivable horror and amazing consternation of my spirit, there was a place of scripture which run in my thoughts from morning to bed-time. The place of scripture was , Isaiah xliii. 25. I, even I, am be, that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own fake, and will not remember thy sins.
This scripture got such hold of my mind and thoughts, that albeit I no more understood the sense or meaning of the spirit of God in it, or how it came into my mind that day, than a pagan, that neyer knew any thing of the true God; I could not possibly keep my thoughts fixed on any thing all the day but on that very scripture. Rolling and tumbling the bare words in my thoughts incessantly; thus, I, even I, am be, that blotteth out thy transgreffons for mine own fake, and will not remember thy sins. I, even I, am be, that blottetb. out thy transgressions for mine own fake, and will not remember thy sins. And so all the day till bed-time.
I was somewhat astonished at the change which I found in myself, in reference to my thoughts about the scriptures: for whereas before, during the state of my spiritual bondage, which was between three and four years, I could think of no fcriptures but such as treated of damnation, of falling away, and of linning against the Holy Ghost; always applying the same to myself, desperately concluding that my own doom was in those terrible scriptures set forth and discovered; I that day forgot those terrifying scriptures, and could, as I said, think of nothing but that place in Isa. xliii. 25. above mentioned; and that without the least apprehension what the fenfe of the Spirit in thefe words should be, or how or wherefore that scripture should make such a forceable entry on my mind and thoughts, as to eject and banifh from my thoughts and remembrance the other terrible scriptures; by the wrong application of which, my state and condition became as to my own senfe and thoughts equal to that of the damned.
At night after my Lord had fupped, and while the inferior of the family were at supper, I stole my opportunity, resolving in myself that none should know where I was, or fuspect what I was about : upstairs I got without a candle, the night being moonshine, I was all of a sweat, and a strange hor. ror fell on me, occasioned by the conceit and apprehenfion I had that the devil accompanied me upstairs, whose steppings along with mine I strongly
imagined I heard, which caused me to keep mg eyes closed for fear I should see the devil in a visible shape. While I was unlocking the chamber door, I found the horror and fright under which I laboured greatly to increase, the devil suggesting that he would either pull me back from entering into the chamber, or else that he would enter along with me to hinder or distract me in my intended devotion. All this while the place of scripture above mentioned ran still in my thoughts as before. Being entered into my chamber all in a sweat and unusual consternation of spirit, I stood before the bedfide where I used to kneel in praying, and with my eyes closed as I was taking myself to talk, endeavouring to recollect my memory, Where I had been that day ? With what company I had conversed? What duties I had knowingly omitted? And what iminoralities I had any ways confented to ? All on a sudden I found the eyes of my understanding so clearly enlightened that I was enabled to know and understand the meaning of that place of fcripture which rúk all that day in my thoughts. A fcripture than which the whole Book of God could not afford a more suitable text for the dea sign therein ; which was to debase the creature, and to extol and to advance the grace and mercy of the most high Jehovah; who alone; excluding all others, is Ĝod over all, blested for evermore. * I was from the time of my first awakening as above mentioned pofteffed of an opinion, that con
'version consisted in an external or outward reformation of the life, and that it was in the power of the creature to effect the same; and that, by repenting of the by-past follies of youth, and by a strenuous and zealous constancy in walking strictly according to the precepts of the moral law, both negatively and positively for the time to come. I was then under the predominancy of a legal spirit, and acting under the covenant of works; looking with the bond-woman's childrer for justification and life eternal in the way of good works; reckoning it the only sure and safe way to expect salvation by performing the conditions of the covenant of works, and abounding in such personal qualifications as might render me acceptable to God; of which I have often thought I had as great measure as any man now living. I shall not infist on the particulars of those inherent qualifications, wherein I am apt to believe I did match, if not outstrip, the strictest moralist I know, who is yet in his natural state. In short, I was exceeding zealous in the law, not in the least understanding the spiritual meaning thereof, or how miserably wretched I was, by reason of its condemning fentence, against not only my worst but also against my most refined acts of morality. I did then, as too many do at this day of gospel light, viz, set up the letter of the law in opposition to the spirit of the law *.
But * Reader, This author found something more than the
But it so pleased God, that by his enabling me to understand the mind of his spirit in that text, I soon became convinced that I had taken wrong methods, in order to get from under the law's curse, and to have a settled peace in myself. The course I had taken for relieving my wounded and finking spirit, I perceived to be directly contrary to the gospel way of saving lost sinners. I was all for doing and working; and the more works I did, the farther I found myself from true peace and comfort. My chief and only work now was believing in the Son of God, in whom alone that righteousness is to be found which reconciles a sinner
bare letter of the law; he found the wrath of God, the curse of God, the sentence of death, the spirit of bondage, the terrors of the Almighty, and the fears and horrors of hell, levelled at him by the law, as soon as the law had discovered the guilt and filth of his soul, and brought him in guilty of death and damnation. And I believe that some in our days who, in word, make it their only rule of life, would find that the law would allow of no indwelling fin, no not even in the believer, much less finful words and actions in bond children who are under it. It is holy, perfe&, just, and good, and nothing but perfection can stand before it; and that they would find, if they did but make it the rule of their thoughts and deeds, in reality, as well as in words. Bleffed be God we are delivered from the law; and, if delivered, we are not under that yoke. Yea, we are become dead to the law; and, if so, it will be hard to prove that we are alive to it as our only rule of life. We are neither to walk by fight, nor serve in the oldness of the letter. We are to walk by faith, and serve in the newness of the Spirit. W. H. S. S.