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to me as a private rebuke, which was well taken, because she did not seem to wish to hurt the cause of God on my account, nor to act the part of a devil at the chapel door; that is, she did not order an outcry to be made at the door of the congregation when the people were going out, as the devil is said to do, who comes in the character of the wicked one, to steal away the seed that is sown in people's hearts, in order to make them unfruitful to God. In this she shewed some symptoms of fear and reverence, and some regard for the cause of God, though she thought it her duty to lay a private lash upon me. By these things it may
be seen that a labourer in the Lord's vineyard, and a good soldier of Jesus Christ, had need of patience.
I come now to treat of the meekness mentioned in my text, and wherein it differs from that which is common to flesh and blood, which produces what is commonly called candour, so inuch admired by hypocrites.
This meekness is a grace that is never to be found in any but regenerate people, though something like it may at times be seen in an alarmed sinner, or in a discovered hypocrite, which has deceived thousands of gracious souls, whose natural passions have been moved at their trouble, as Samuel was at the calamity of Saul, for which God rebuked him; yet this meekness that I have to treat of has not corrupt nature for its soil; the embalmed hypocrite may counterfeit it, but never
can produce it; the person that is a stranger to real conversion, and to the operations of the Holy Ghost, has nothing of this invaluable grace; it is one of Zion's ornaments; an hypocrite may counterfeit it, as a whore does the dignity of a wife, who feigns to be the lady of a nobleman, or as a concubine puts on the diadem of a queen ; who has just as much right to it as Satan had to his dignity when he told the Saviour that the kingdoms of this world were his, and to whom he would he gave them; but he could never make his title good.
Spiritual meekness is an ornament that God puts upon a regenerated and renewed soul, and has its existence in that which is called the new, or hidden man: “Let your adorning be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Here we learn that spiritual meekness exists in that which is incorruptible, namely, in the Holy Ghost, and is a fruit of his ; The fruit of the Spirit is meekness, Gal. y. 23. It is the compassionate bowels of the new or hidden man of the heart; and as it is a fruit of God's Spirit, it is in his sight of great price.
This softening humbling grace attends and assists the faith of a real believer in his attending on the preached word, when he is enabled to mix faith with it. Spiritual meekness softens the soil of the believing heart, and gives the word a deepness of earth to strike root in, and moistens it that he may not fall away for the want of root, nor wither for the want of moisture, Luke viii. 6. This softening grace makes way for the word of God to gender or ingraft itself under the operations of the Spirit, to every faculty of the heaven-born soul; insomuch that the word becomes an incorruptible seed in the believer, that lives and abides for ever, and assures him of salvation. Hence the believer is said to receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save his soul, James i. 21. Without this fruit of the Holy Ghost there is no feeding on the word; there is no digesting nor concocting; a man may fill his head with notions, but not his soul with good : “ The meek shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord that seek him."
I shall now shew how this meekness is produced. We find it is to be found in none but regenerate men; this meekness is in the hidden man, and the residence of this hidden man is the heart; hence he is called the hidden man of the heart; but the sinner's heart must be broken, and thrown open too, before this new man can come in to hide himself, so as to become a hidden man there. A stonyhearted sinner can give this new man no residence; the stone must be removed from the well's mouth; sin purged; an heart of flesh given; and a new spirit be received; self be debased and abhorred, and God discovered as pacified towards us, before this meekness will appear. God's word is a hammer
to break this rock, especially when accompanied with the thundering voice of God in his law, which pierces the deepest recesses of the soul, and makes inquisition for blood; demands perfect obedience on peril of damnation; carries the scrutiny with all imaginable rigour; strikes the sinner dumb at the dreadful tribunal, until he is sinking between a double sentence, namely, that of a broken law and an honest conscience, while the sting of death and wrath of God acquaint him with the snares of death and pains of hell, which give him a foretaste of what he justly deserves. This man is sore broken in the place of dragons, and covered with the shadow of death, and knows the terrors of the Lord; yet all this will not produce meekness.
Such a sinner will be drowned in tears, filled with self-pity and universal candour; his deport and countenance will discover a deal of humility; he will cry out against sin, and his words will be smoother than oil; but in heart he frets against the Lord; he curses the day of his birth; blames his Maker for bringing him into existence; wishes there was no God to punish him; fain would fly out of his hand; or like the devil himself, he would be glad to ascend above the height of the clouds, and be equal to the Most High, while he is sensibly sinking into hell to the sides of the pit, Isaiah xiv. 14, 15. But when the Holy Ghost opens
the heart, and lets a divine ray into it, there is an healing balm that attends this wing or beam of the
Sun of Righteousness; the understanding receives the unction or eyesalve; and, beginning to see, the
poor sinner pursues the beam up to the blessed face from whence it came, and discovers something of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This unction dispels the vail from the understanding, influences the mind, and conveys to the heart the pleasing tidings of a door of hope being discovered; while the heart appears wide open, broken with desires, pouring out petition after petition, backed with ten thousand wishes, longings, sighings, and groanings, that the object of hope who has shewed himself through the lattice, will but come into the garden, where he is to meet with the kindest reception and the best entertainment that can be prepared by a lost, ruined, self-loathéd and selfcondemned sinner.
At length the Lord descends on his own beam, and tells the sinner that he has overcome him, and appears the Author of faith, and dwells in the heart by it; where the sinner finds such an entertainment as none know but God and himself; now he feeds on the hidden manna; sings a song, that none can learn but the redeemed; the new name of a son of God by adoption is written on him; the white stone, that witnesses his sonship, is received; he is established in hope like a pillar; and the name of God is written in legible characters on him, and appears as conspicuous to others as, Holiness to the Lord, did on the high priest's mi