Images de page
PDF
ePub

THE

LIFE OF FAITH.

VOL. IV.

FEBRUARY, 1882.

[No. 38.

[ocr errors]

The following extract is from an admirable on our guard against them; and, being ignorant little tract which ought to be in the possession of their devices, we shall thus lay ourselves of every child of God. It contains so much open to their attacks, and become their easy sound teaching, and such wise practical advice, and often unconscious prey. that we trust the little book may have a large It is essential, therefore, that we should uncirculation. Will our readers do what they can derstand who and what these enemies are, and to distribute it far and wide ?*

how they will be likely to attack us.

And first of all we must remember that There is, I fear, a false idea prevalent among they are spiritual enemies, “wicked spirits in many, that we are done with enemies when we heavenly places,” and that their temptations enter into the interior life of divine union. The will, of course, be fitted to deceive and delude soul, finding that the old assaults from the world our spiritual nature. The old carnal temptaand the flesh have for the most part ceased, tions we have largely conquered, and if we are thinks that all his enemies must have fled, and to be overcome by our enemies now, it will begins to rest in a fancied security from temp- have to be by subtler forms of evil, that come tation, which affords an admirable opportunity to us under the guise of good. Satan must for the unsuspected entrance of new and subtle appear to us transformed into an angel of light, forms of evil.

or we will not listen to him for a moment. He The simple fact is, that when we are listed knows this, and is perfectly aware that he canup into “heavenly places in Christ,” we are as not succeed in inducing consecrated Christians the Israelites were, confronted with a new set to sin if it appears as sin in their eyes. Thereof enemies who are peculiar to that region, and fore he makes it appear as an extra form of whom we could not have met with on any lower righteousness, often as a righteousness beyond

, platform of experience. We are warned of this

the Scriptures, and consequently independent in Eph. vi. 11, 12: “Put on the whole armour of them, and thus succeeds in deceiving those of God, that ye may be able to stand against who are the most devoted followers of their the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not Lord, by means of their very devotedness. against flesh and blood, but against the princi

Being spiritual enemies, of course their palities, against the powers, against the world

temptations will be presented to us in a spiritual rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual way, that is, they will come in a form of mental hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” or spiritual impressions. There is, in fact, no (Revised Version.)

other way in which spirit can approach spirit Now if we enter these heavenly places think- than by this way of interior impressions; there

; ing there are no enemies there, we shall not be fore we must look for these temptations to come " The Enemies in the

Land, or the Dangers besetting the through this instrumentality, and must be on Interior Life.” By H. W. S. London: Willard Tract Reposi. tory, 31, Paternoster Square.

our guard against them. We must not “ believe

a

every spirit,” but must “try the spirits,” i.e., He may lead, not believing there can be any the impressions made upon our minds, and see danger from enemies in a place of such nearness whether they be of God or whether from an evil to God, thinks he is henceforth to receive imsource. (See 1 John iv. 1-3.) For the Holy pressions from the Holy Spirit alone. At once Spirit also communicates to us by means of im- the Enemy, who is continually prowling about pressions, and just here lies the danger. The seeking whom he may devour, marks that man Christian who does not expect to find any as an easy prey. He disguises himself as an enemies in the land he has entered, or who angel of light, and in some moment when the does not understand their mode of attack, will soul is the most wrapt in its devotion to God, not feel it necessary to “try the spirits,” but he slips in a little suggestion of evil, which he will believe that every spiritual impression succeeds in representing as good, and which he made upon his mind is from God, and is to be declares comes wholly from the Lord. The Teceived and obeyed as divine; especially if soul, not being on the look-out for any enemies, these impressions come, as they are apt to do, believing in fact that none can be near under at times of peculiar nearness and communion. such circumstances, receives the suggestion, He argues that since he is trusting the Lord with wonder perhaps at its unlikeness to what fully, and is wholly given up to Him, the Lord he has heretofore known of God, but does not surely will not permit any enemies to approach dare to question it, believing it to be from a him when he is so near to Himself; and there- divine source. And after a conflict with his fore his very faith forces him, as he thinks, to knowledge of God's will and with his own receive as from the Lord any impression that higher judgment of right and wrong, he yields comes, no matter how unlike the Lord it may to the impression, driven thereto by a fear of seem.

disobedience; and is thus led, step by step, The trouble here is just this, that such a often into a life that is very far from being Christian is arguing on an altogether false basis. Christ-like or heavenly, and sometimes into He believes there can no enemies enter the open and glaring sin. heavenly places in which he is abiding, when I believe that most of the grievous fanaticisms as a matter of fact it is just there his worst of the so-called mystics have come just in this enemies will be found.

way. With a heart honest towards God in the It is as if he should say, “I am a child of first instance, these misguided Christians have God and have committed myself entirely to given themselves up to follow impressions, His keeping, and He has promised to deliver ignorant of the fact that evil spirits can make me out of the hands of all my enemies, therefore impressions upon their minds as well as the when I go out into the street I shall believe Holy Spirit, and prepared therefore to accept that every person who accosts me is my friend, every one that comes as from God. The “prinand is sent of God for me to believe and follow." cipalities and powers in heavenly places” have If such a man had any enemies and they should known this, and have taken advantage of it to hear of this, they would of course avail them- “ lie in wait to deceive” by cunning craftiness, selves of it to deceive him to his own destruction. and the result has been that grievous delusions If they wanted his money, for instance, they have been received and obeyed as the voice of would approach him with suggestions as to the God, and the soul has been carried captive disposal of it, asserting of course, most em- simply through its ignorance of Satan's devices. phatically, in order to chime in with the man's own ideas, that the Lord had sent them.

But you will say, Does not God speak, then, Now, exactly this happens in the interior life. by interior impressions? Is there no inward The Christian who has entered upon it, and has voice from Him? Most assuredly there is. started out to follow the Lord whithersoever But all inward voices are not His, and the

[ocr errors]

mistake is in not distinguishing His voice from guidance, but that it will scem wise also to our the deceiving voices that are seeking to make sanctified and enlightened judgments. themselves heard as well.

These three voices, then, must agree,- the But how can I distinguish God's voice ? you impression on our minds, the Scripture, and will ask. I answer that God has various ways our own best enlightened judgment. of making His will known to us, and that when But there is a fourth voice also, which He speaks there will be a harmony of His seldom, I think, can safely be disregarded, various voices. He cannot deny Himself, and and that is the voice of outward providential command in one voice what He at the same circunstances. Our Lord has told us that time forbids in another. He could not, for when He putteth forth His own sheep He instance, command me in the Scriptures not to goeth before them; and this surely means that steal, and at the same time command me to He opens the way for them to walk in, and steal by an inward impression. And yet I they will not have to break down the barriers know a poor deluded Christian sister, who had or burst open the doors for themselves. given herself up to follow impressions alone, It is a safe rule, therefore, to accept nothing who believed God had done just this very thing, as coming from God that does not come with a and who actually took some money belonging harmony of all these four voices, i.e., the voice to another, thinking she was led of Him ! of the inward impression, the voice of Scrip

These two voices, therefore, the one in the ture, the voice of our highest judgment, and heart and the one in the Scriptures, must agree, the voice of providential circumstances. When if it is an impression made by the Holy Spirit. the impression is from an evil source, these

And, further, the Christian's own consecrated four voices will never agree; and as a general judgment and common sense must be convinced thing Satan speaks only in one way, and that as well. To ignore or set aside our sanctified is by impressions, which impressions mostly judgment is about on a parallel with ignoring contradict all the other three voices. It is or setting aside our eyesight. It is as if a man true he may sometimes quote Scripture to should go out to take a walk, and should say, confirm these impressions, as he did to our “God has promised to guide me, and I need not, Lord; but we will always find that his will be therefore, use my eyes : in fact, it would be a isolated from their proper connection, or will want of faith to use them when I have such a require to be taken in the letter and not in the divine and trustworthy Guide,” and then should spirit. He will use the words of Scripture, but walk blindfold. Of course such a man would not the principles; and when the principles are soon stumble and fall. But could he then brought forward the words he has used will be charge God with his failure ?

found vain. As was the case in the temptaNow, to set aside our sanctified judgment tions of our Lord; Satan brought a text to and common sense, and refuse to listen to their tempt Him : He resisted by bringing a prindictates in our moral and spiritual walk through ciple. Satan said, “It is written, He shall life, is as unreasonable and as dangerous as to give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee; set aside our eyesight in our physical walk. and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest Our eyes were given to see with outwardly, at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."

a and our judgment and common sense were Jesus answered by a principle, “ It is said, Thou given to see with inwardly; and both will be shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." used by God as His channel of guidance, and In the case referred to above, when a Chriswill never by Him be set aside as useless. tian sister thought she was “led" to steal,

There is a text which says, “The meek will Satan brought the words “All things are He guide in judgment," and I cannot but think yours” as an argument; but the principles of it means that there will not only be a wise Scripture concerning stealing, if applied, would

[ocr errors]

have delivered her from the snare. Satan too exclusively to an emotional experience are brought the words of Scripture to lead that almost sure to make shipwreck in some way or poor man a year or two ago to kill his child, other at last. One I knew who could scarcely but the principles of Scripture would have talk of anything but the “ waves of salvation” shown him its sinfulness. And of late, in some that swept over her whole being continually, grievous instances, Satan has deceived, by texts and carried her along on the crest of the billows and the letter of the Scriptures, some devoted in a sea of glory. And yet, while this was Christians, who would have escaped all his going on, she was all the time growing more snares had they but tested these apparently and more selfish, and self-seeking, and indifplausible and striking texts by the principles ferent to moral obligations, and was becoming plainly laid down in the Word.

less Christ-like every day she lived. I knew It may be objected that the soul often has not another who under a similar emotional experitime to wait for all these four voices before ence seemed to lose sight of all truth, and action is necessary. To this I would answer honour, and purity, and became at last an that it does not take much time generally, as have by this means been drawn into spiritualism,

apparent outcast from all that was good. Many we can mostly tell in a moment whether an with all its awful train of deceptions and degraimpression agrees with the principles of the dations. Many have been deceived, as was Ann Bible and with our own best judgment, and Lee, the founder of Shakerism, into false and whether the “vay opens.” If there is a ques-usher in a new dispensation, or to lead the

absurd pretentions of a God-given mission to tion as to any one of these voices, then it is far Church into new relations with God. It would safer to wait, and ask for further light, than to be, in short, impossible and unprofitable also to act in opposition to either one. And if the enumerate all the various forms of delusion and thing is indeed of God He will sooner or later fanaticism which have sprung from a too-excause all His voices to harmonise, and will thus clusive abandonment to an emotional experimake a plain path before the trusting and wait- ence, and to “ leadings ” by impressions alone.

It is not that I mean to disparage emotions. ing soul.

I realise deeply their blessedness and their use. A divine sense of “oughtness,” derived from But I do mean to warn souls from giving themthe harmony of all God's various voices, is the selves up to them as though they constitute the only safe foundation for any action.

chief essence of religion; and from receiving There is another thing that is very important

all that comes through them as from God.

In the life hid with Christ in God, the Holy also in connection with these enemies in the Spirit sets aside no faculty with which we are land, and that is to guard against any form of endowed, but takes possession of them all and spiritual visitation, through our emotions or uses them, and keeps and guides us by means of otherwise, that is not manifestly of God. We

them. must never forget that evil can enter through sumption, and would be, it seems to me, to fall

To take any other ground than this is preour emotions far more easily than in any other into the very temptation which was brought to way, because of the fact that our emotions are our Lord, when He was urged to cast Himself less under the control of our reason and judg- off from the pinnacle of the Temple, on the ment than the other parts of our nature. And ground of the promise that God would give far better would it be for us to live dry and in their hands.

His angels charge over Him to bear Him up unemotional lives until the day of our death, I believe many of God's dear children have than to have any form of evil to enter through fallen or are falling into this snare, simply our emotions and carry us captive. I am con- through their ignorance of the devices of Satan; vinced that nowhere is Satan so able to trans- and I earnestly pray that this loving attempt form himself into an angel of light as in this in which it is written, and may be prayer

to warn them may be received in the spirit region of our emotions. I have noticed that fully considered in the light of the Divine nearly all Christians who give themselves "up harmony of God's spirit and God's truth.

[ocr errors]

BY REV. C. GRAHAM.

TRUE GREATNESS IN ITS HIGHEST FORM.

See this exemplified in holy angels. “Are they TRUE GREATNESS.

not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service (MATT. Xxiu. 11.)

for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation ?

(Heb. i. 14, R.V.) It would be a condescension for Is true greatness in power? We answer, No ; an angel to perform the highest service for worms

, for if it were we should find it pre-eminently in of the dust such as we are. But angels are ready to that fallen spirit who effaced the image of God from perform the most humble ministry for saints. the hunian soul and ruined a world. If true great- When Elijah, faint and dispirited, lay asleep under ness were in power, then Nimrod would have been the shade of the broom, in the wilderness of greater than Abraham, and Nero would have been Beersheba, an angel kindled a fire, brought him greater than Paul.

a cruse of water, and prepared and baked for him If it is not in power, is true greatness in intellec- a cake of bread. tuality? Again we answer, No; for Satan is more intellectual than the wisest of men. Though they were perfect both in knowledge and goodness, Let us see how it is exemplified in God Himhe outwitted our first parents. No child of man self. In creation and providence He has manihas ever taken the measure of his intellect, nor fested the perfection of His wisdom. With all our stood unaided against his wiles. He caused David, care, how many destructive collisions occur on our skilled in the Divine law and wiser than all his railroads ? But God keeps the whole machinery teachers, to number Israel, and so bring judgment of the universe in motion without any collision. on himself and the nation. He outwitted his royal For thousands of years this earth has existed and son, and made the wisest of men the greatest of performed its annual passage around the sun, yet fools. The man who knew more of God in his has never met with an accident. But God's wisworks than any other on the earth, he induced, dom is not His most glorious attribute. under the form of dumb idols, to worship himself Nor is God's most glorious attribute His omnipoand his fallen angels. So subtle is this fallen spirit tence. With a word He created suns and systems; that at this hour he is inducing more than two- with a word He called the highest intelligence of thirds of mankind to reject the true God and to Heaven into existence; yet it is not by His power worship the works of their own hands. From the that He is most glorified. God is most glorified by Church of God, the dwelling-place of the Holy His grace, and grace is most glorified by its conSpirit, we would expect him to be excluded ; but descension. It was more glorious for the Lord he has succeeded in corrupting Christianity itself. Jesus, in the fulness of time, to assume our nature, He has seduced many millions of professed Chris- and appear a babe in Bethlehem, than to form man, tians to worship a little flour and water, over at the first, out of the dust of the ground. It was which a sinful man had pronounced a few Latin more glorious for Him to gird Himself with a towel

а words, as the God that made the world and died to and to wash His disciples' feet than it was for Him redeem it; and he has seduced an almost equal to still the tempest or to raise the dead. It was number, to regard a feeble mortal, who could not more glorious for Him to die on a cross for our change a hair of his own head from white to black, redemption than to people space with suns, or to nor add an hour to the span of his earthly existence, people Heaven with seraphs. His word could as possessing the infallibility of God.

create; His death only could redeem. To all But that wicked spirit has still greater craft to eternity we shall bless Him for our being in creation, exercise when he will induce all whose names are but most of all for our well-being in redemption. not written in the Book of Life to acknowledge and Redeemed men will sing an anthem in Heaven worship as God “the man of sin.”

which holy angels cannot join; as the solitary True greatness is true goodness. Satan has subjects of redemption they will sing, “ Unto Him knowledge, subtle intellect and power ; but he that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His has no goodness. Without goodness there is, own blood, and hath made us kings and priests throughout the whole universe of being, no true unto God and His Father ; to Him be glory and greatness.

dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

« PrécédentContinuer »