« PrécédentContinuer »
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” Rev. xxii. 14.
To use good words and orthodox expressions in prayer, and not to love and practise the same, is the character of an empty formalist. “But to the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” Psal. 1. 16. “ Excellent speech becometh not a fool. Forasmuch as this people draw nigh me with their mouth, and with lips do
but their heart is removed far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men,” Isa. xxix. 13.
* They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him," Tit. i. 16.
Secondly, He excites the will and affections to delight in and seek after him. “ Yea, in the way of thy judgments have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee,” Isa. xxvi. 8.
Thirdly, He worketh in the believer a restless and an unwearied struggling after a real union with God. “ As the heart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God; my soul thirsteth for God, yea, for the living God," Psal. xlii. 1, 2. My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me.” “ That I may know him, and the power of
his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death," Phil. iii. 10.
Secondly, The Holy Ghost fills the heart and soul of the believer with mourning and godly sorrow for sin. Zech. xii. 10. “ And I will pour upon
the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jeru| salem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication; and
they shall look on me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son.” “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Cor. vii. 10.
Here is the characteristical rote of difference between a sound-hearted believer and a hypocrite, even their repenting and mourning for sin. The hypocrite repents and mourns for sin as well as the true believer; but the difference between the repentance and sorrow of the one and the other lies in the object of their repentance. The object of the hypocrite's repentance and sorrow for sin is worldly, such as worldly disadvantage to self, shame to the name, loss and disadvantage in outward things, horror of conscience, fear of hell, and the like. Did none of these things accompany sin, as the sad consequences thereof, the hypocrite's heart and affections would soon be reconciled to the grossest immoralities.
Whereas the object of a true believer's repentance and sorrow for sin is a dearly loving and gracious God, reconciled in Christ, offended
and dishonoured by sin committed against his just and holy law.
The language of the hypocrite's heart when repenting and sorrowing for sin, if he would speak but what is within, would be after this manner:
O! unhappy man that I am, that ever I should, by consenting to such and such wicked sins, spoil my reputation, waste and embezzle my substance, ruin my health, torment my conscience, and endanger the damning my soul in the end !
This is that repentance and sorrow which is called legal; and with this kind of repentance and sorrow Judas, Cain, Ahithophel, Esau, and other hypocrites, have repented themselves into hell.
On the contrary, the language of a true believer's heart, when repenting and mourning for sin, is thus: “Oh! vain, wretched, and miserable man that I am, that ever I should act so foolishly and unreasonably as to grieve and offend so holy, so good, so gracious and loving a God, by sinning against him as I have done! I loath all sin in general as it is sin against a holy God, but more especially such and such heinous crimes, by which I have grieved the Holy Spirit, whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption. I abhor and loath myself for what I have done, and shall never more be reconciled to myself, because of that fountain of impurity which dwells in me, from whence every actual sin against God springs and flows.' If there were no such things as shame among men, loss in outward things and in health, torment and
horror of conscience, or hell hereafter, attending sin, as the consequences thereof; yet the truly regenerate believer would notwithstanding grieve and sorrow for sin, because thereby his kind, merciful, and reconciled God and Father is offended and grieved.
And the glass wherein the true believer is made to see both the horrid and vile nature of sin, and the love of God to him, the chief of sinners, which are his motives to sorrowing and repenting for sin, is the blessed Jesus pouring out his soul unto death.
Thirdly, The Holy Ghost causeth in the believer an inward delight in God, as he is the object of prayer.
“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” < Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee,” Psal. lxxiii. 25. The ground of this delight, which the Holy Ghost causeth the believer to have in God, as he is the object of prayer, is threefold.
First, The Holy Ghost represents him as set upon a throne of grace. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. iv. 16. This prospect of God, as on a throne of grace, is seen by the eye of faith, through the saving illumination of the Holy Ghost.
Secondly, The Holy Ghost represents God as standing related to the believer in the nearest bonds of relationship that can be, as that of a husband and father. “ For thy Maker is thy hus
band,” &c. " Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you.” Jer. iii. 14. “ But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your father, and to my God and your
have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Rom. viii. 15. “ And because ye are sons God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Gal. iv. 6.
Thirdly, The Holy Ghost represents God as inviting the believer to approach and come near to his throne with a holy boldness and childlike confidence,” Eph. iii. 12. “ In whom we have boldness and access with confidence." “ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” &c. Heb. x. 19.
Fourthly, The Holy Ghost helps the believer to keep his eye on Jesus Christ. Looking unto Jesus,” &c. This he doth on a threefold account.
First, As Jesus Christ is the way of the believer's approach to the Father. John xiv. 6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.” “ By a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh,” Heb. x. 20.
Secondly, As Jesus Christ is the means of our admission into the Father's presence. Rom. v. 2,
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.”
“ For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father," Eph. ii. 18.