« PreviousContinue »
O my soul, examine closely, and prove thyself by the standard of the divine word. Search, and try, what the conviction of thy lost estate has been. Was it deep and practical? Is it an abiding truth with thee, that there is no help, or hope, in thyself? And hast thou fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before thee in the Lord Jesus? Is thy knowledge of the Godhead mere theory, or is it brought into practice? Dost thou enjoy the Father's love, through faith in the finished salvation of the Son, by the influence of the Holy Spirit? This is the saving knowledge of the Godhead. And is this thine? Dost thou honour the divine persons, by acknowledging their immutable counsel, and immutable oath, entered into for the security of the heirs of promise, that they might trust, and not be afraid? Dost thou see with any clearness the absolute safety of relying upon the promises of God; and dost thou expect to draw from hence comfort to thy conscience, and joy to thy heart?
If thou art indeed set out in the way to heaven, art thou settled in the knowledge of
thy fallen state? Hast thou found thyself unable to do any thing, but to hasten on thy ruin? And from the sight and sense of this, hast thou been led to see all undertaken for thee, and secured to thee, for time and eternity, in the covenant of the ever-blessed Trinity. These truths lie at the very foundation of all comfortable walking with God. See that thou be well-grounded in them. The knowledge of thyself is to bring thee to God: the knowledge of God is to lead thee to walk with him. The one is to teach thee to renounce all trust in thyself. The other is to show thee that thou mayest safely place the confidence of thy heart on thy reconciled Father, thy Saviour, and thy guide. Look up to him, then, O my soul, and be often praying to him, and saying-
"O Lord God, that which I see not, teach thou me. Keep me an humble disciple in the school of Christ. Let me be daily learning there, what I am in myself, a fallen, sinful creature, justly deserving everlasting destruction from thy presence. O let me never lose sight of my want of a Saviour, nor ever be
without the sense of what he said-Without me, ye can do nothing.' Teach me this, thou eternal Spirit. Open thou mine understanding, to understand the scriptures. What thou hast revealed in them concerning the Godhead, and concerning the counsels and works of the ever-blessed Trinity, that reveal to my soul. Thou hast declared, that no man can say Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost: O shine then into my dark mind, and lead me into the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings, and his perfect fulfilling of them, that by resting on his finished salvation, I may find the Father's love in the Son, his Father my Father; and may be brought, through thy blessed influence, to have fellowship with the Father, and the Son. O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom, and revelation, that I may know the things which belong to my peace, and may, through thee, be made wise unto salvation. Amen."
The believer is reconciled to God, and has the peace of God ruling in his conscience, and they two walk together: because they are now agreed.
Ir is written in the prophets-" They shall be all taught of God”—every one of his children shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and what they have been taught in the understanding shall be made practical, that it may have its proper effect upon the conscience. And this is answered, when it comes under the authority and power of the word of God, and faithfully accuses or condemns according to that unerring rule.
Conscience supposes the knowledge of some rule, and it consists in comparing a man's state or actions with that rule, in order to discover whether they agree with it,
The rule is the scripture, the whole revealed will of God, which is the unerring, and the only standard of right and wrong: for all scripture is given by the inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, to teach the man of God what is truth, and to make him wise in it unto salvation. Fallen man has no means of discovering the will of God, but as it is revealed to him. He has no innate knowledge. He has no implanted principles. He is born as ignorant of God, and of the things of God, as a wild ass's colt. His understanding is darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart, And he has no means in his own power of attaining any divine knowledge: for he cannot, by searching, find out God. The world, by its wisdom, never did find him out. The Hottentots know as much of him as the Greeks and Romans did: indeed, the natural man, let him be ever so wise, knoweth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.
The Scripture then is the only rule of right and wrong. Conscience has no direction but this rule. Neither ethics, nor metaphysics; no fancied light of dark nature; no law