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xlviii. 18. Our strength is dried up; it is become as the drought of summer. There is neither verdure nor life in us; nor does our fallen nature of itself possess any power to restore us. Our best efforts to this purpose are no better than water spilt upon the burning sands, unless accompanied with the marvellous dew of Divine grace. Though we make ever so many good resolutions, or hear ever so many sermons and instructions; though we read ever so deeply in the Scriptures, or outwardly join in the prayers and praises of the church; though we retire into monastic seclusion, or frequent the company of the pious ; still nothing to the purpose is effect
: ed, nor is any spiritual life brought forth, till the Lord himself be really resorted to. For the life of the soul is revived only by his Spirit. Without this Divine vouchsafement, which we must seek, if we would receive it, our human devices, with even the means of grace themselves, prove as inefficient as the dew or rain upon the stones of the street, whose nature still remains unchanged. But the Lord can, out of these stones, form a people for himself, and raise up children unto Abraham. He can make the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose.
“I," saith the Lord, even I, “will be as the dew unto Israel." How precious are the tidings, that HE HIMSELF will be this dew! But as the dew falls in the sultry nights of summer, when the fields thirst and languish, so does the dew of God descend only upon thirsting and fainting souls. In the scenery of nature, on an early summer morning, where do you find the dew most abundant ? You behold it glistening in the lowly valleys, and spreading like a sea of pearls over the surface of the level meads; but if you ascend the lofty peaks and eminences, there you find no dew: so he who would experience Christ as the Dew of heaven to his soul, let him be as the lowly valley, or the level mead ; let his prayers arise to God, with those of David, " out of the depths !” The Lord is high, but he hath respect unto the lowly, Psalm cxxxviii. 6. " With this man will I dwell, saith the Lord, even with him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,” Isaiah lvii. 15; Ixvi. 2. The hearts of those to whom he is
. pleased to communicate himself as a reviving dew, are first rendered meet for its reception. Every mountain and hill must be brought low. The stable and the manger, where the Divine Saviour once humbly reposed, may serve to remind us of the lowliness of heart in which we are to await the Lord's visitation. How excellently did our Divine Restorer show his skill in bringing down every rising imagination that was indulged by the woman of Samaria ! " Thou hast had five husbands," said he, "and he whom thou now hast is not thine husband." Then did her sin come home to her, and her self-confidence departed. She became little in her own eyes, and could no longer see any thing good in her
self. She was glad to look for a deliverer in the Messiah ; and now was the time for him to declare to her, “I that speak unto thee am He.” With this word did Jesus communicate himself to the soul of that poor sinner; he thus came upon that soul as the dew of heaven, so that it began to revive and flourish. Life and vigour were now exeperienced in her heart and mind, and animated her words and actions, her conduct and conversation. · Thus was she made a plant of renown, to the praise of the glory of His grace. A process of this same kind is still observed in the conversion of sinners. The dew of God is poured out from on high; he rends the heavens, and comes down; and wherever he finds the lowly valleys of humiliation-empty, poor, and needy souls—there is the place of his rest; there he diffuses the dew of his blessing ; there he communicates himself as the inheritance and portion of his people ; replenishing the hungry soul with good, but leaving the rich to their own spiritual emptiness.
As the dew falls from heaven in the stillness of the night, when no rushing tempest is heard, no flash of lightning is seen; nevertheless in the morning it hangs upon the leaves, and we wonder whence it came, and “who hath begotten” it; so is the way of Christ. The manner and way of his coming to the soul is a mystery hidden in night; and who can unveil it? His coming is also generally in stillness, and without noise; not
with the alarm of the trumpet, or the pomp of power; not with visions, or marvellous natural phenomena; nor with voices from heaven, and visible angelic array.
Before the sorrowing, sighing, and waiting sinner is aware, lo! He is nigh unto the ship that is tossed with the waves, and saith, " It is I ; be not afraid !” No “man in bright clothing" stands before the suppliant in his chamber, nor has any audible voice entered in at the windows; he has seen no heavenly messenger, nor any external radiance, such as the shepherds saw in the fields of Bethlehem ; nevertheless in his inward man it is declared," I bring thee good tidings of great joy; for unto thee is born this day a Saviour:" to the spirit of the sinner has a testimony been borne; and this is the testimony, that God hath "given unto him eternal life, and this life is in his Son." He is assured, in his own heart, that he has free admission to that fountain which is opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; he is become convinced that Christ is his Saviour. The dew has fallen in the stillness of night; but how, and in what way, no man knoweth. Yet the sinner feels that it is with him; and we may observe it accompanying all his words and looks, his whole conduct and disposition.
The dew of the field has moreover a bright lustre within it, for it has communion with the light of heaven. The same may be said of Christ communicated to us in the dew of his grace.
Whěn once he has thus come in unto us, all is bright and pellucid in the depths of our disordered nature; and the more we thus receive out of his fulness, the more are the depths of our miseúry presented to our view, and the more thoroughly do we see our own nothingness, and our own helplessness. Hence it is that believers so often exclaim, "Lord! what am I? My spiritual state is becoming worse aud worse." But, blessed be God, that, like as the natural dew covers entirely that whereon it falls, so does Christ cover all our misery with his own self; yes, with his own righteousness; the lustre of which contains far more various and lovely hues than the tapestry and curtains of Solomon. He covers us entirely therewith; he so enfolds and veils us in it, that Divine justice itself no more discerns in us "spot, or, wrinkle, or any such thing." "There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
Again ; how fructifying is this dew! What a life does Christ thus impart to the soul! He makes that which was dead to live. He is the Builder of the waste places, and makes the parched ground verdant and blooming. What a change does even the natural dew effect on the face of nature, when, after many sultry summer hours, its pearly blessings are dropped upon the fields from the bosom of the blushing morn! Vegetation no longer appears withered and dry; the grasses and the flowers again erect