« VorigeDoorgaan »
That living water now bestow
Thy Spirit and thyself, on me;
For drops of finite happiness;
In streams of pure, perennial peace;
Unblameable before thy sight,
Mercy, thy own supreme delight;
IX.THE SUFFICIENCY OF DIVINE GRACE.
“ My grace is sufficient for thee.”—2 Cor. xii. 9.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE is an invaluable attainment. Without it, we resemble a vessel, driven during the midnight darkness, amidst rocks and quicksands, and which is every moment in danger of being dashed to pieces. Temptations and dangers surround us on every side. The stormy gusts of passion hurry us hither and thither; no wonder, then, while destitute of chart and compass, if we finally sink beneath the yawning waves.
Few men know themselves. This science can only be taught in the school of Christ. Spirit is the divine Teacher. He alone can make us savingly acquainted with ourselves. Unbelief and pride, the love of the world and carnal inclinations, blind the mind and corrupt the heart. Many, who
esteem themselves to be wise are very fools in God's estimation. Many, who call themselves righteous, are an abomination in his sight ; for God seeth not as man seeth ; man looketh at the outward appearance, but God looketh at the heart.
The teaching of the Holy Spirit is enlightening, convincing, purifying, and consoling. The first operation of the Spirit is LIGHT.
When darkness was upon the face of the deep, God said, “ Let there be light, and there was light.” In the new creation, light springs up at the command of God. who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." This light, darting into the conscience, produces conviction of sin, by discovering, in all its hideousness, the monster that dwells within.—And,
“ Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
That to be hated needs but to be seen. Sin becomes truly odious when viewed by the light of tne Eternal Spirit. Its nature and effects are then known, and felt, and deplored.
This sight of ourselves is truly humbling. Selfabhorrence is the fruit of deep conviction. Nothing can lay the sinner in the dust of humiliation but the searching light of the Spirit. This candle of the Lord, shining into the inward parts, into the cham. bers of imagery, discovers the secret abominations which are practised there. Oh what hidden evils are made manifest by the light ;-evils of every name, the progeny of hell. Self-love sickens at the view. Pride shrinks before the appalling spectacle.
This loathing of sin, this prostration of soul at tne foot of the Cross, is accompanied, through the power of the Spirit, with a longing after inward purity. The soul, thus enlightened, convinced, and humbled, pants after that holiness which forms so essential a part of the new creation. Every thing which brings the soul into a nearer conformity to the divine image is delighted in. Holy thoughts, affections, and desires are now the natural and spontaneous workings of the new-born soul. Once it was winter, cold, barren, and gloomy. Now it is the season of warmth, fruitfulness, and cheerfulness. “The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth ; the time of singing of birds is come, the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” Joy and peace, like the beauteous flowers of Eden, spring up and adorn the garden of the Lord. Praise and thanksgiving with the voice of melody form a concert in which angels join. Filled with gratitude for such divine consolations, the believer thus pours out his heart : “ Awake, 0 north wind, and come thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruit." Jesus the beloved one, answers to this call in accents of love: “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. I have gathered my myrrh and my spices. Oh! how delightful is this communion betwixt Christ and his Church. Well may the believer say :-"My beloved is mine, and I am his." “My beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand.” “He is altogether lovely."
Though reconciled to God, through Jesus Christ, yet, like the Israelites of old, the believer must buckle on his armour, and prepare for the conflict, knowing that there still remains very much land to be possessed.
“ Man's is laborious happiness at best,
His joys are those of conquest, not of rest.” The enemy within, will unite with the enemies without, in contending with him every inch of the way to Zion. Every day he will find that there are fightings within, and fears without, to discourage his heart, to retard his steps, to make his soul
weary because of the way. But, as the soldier is not sent on a warfare at his own charge, so neither is the Christian warrior. Provision is made for him by the captain of his salvation, equal to his need :
“ Jesus gives us in his word,
Food and medicine, shield and sword.” Oh my soul, thou canst never sufficiently praise the Lord thy God for all his rich promises of protection and care. Many times thou art cast down and sad when the enemy oppresseth thee; many times thou tremblest, as if the power of the Prince of darkness would finally overcome thee. But be not dismayed. What readest thou in the word of Truth, for thy support and consolation ?
“ As thy days, so shall thy strength be."*
Dost thou ask, who spake these life-inspiring words? It was not the announcement of some mighty monarch, with his fleets and armies. It was not the proclamation of some great archangel whose powers surpass all human thought.
Oh delightful truth! they are the words of Him who cannot lie; whose power is infinite; the Eternal Jehovah, the everlasting God, speaking through his servant Moses.
Jesus, who is God over all, blessed for evermore, is the Fountain of grace and mercy. He alone can give to his people the assurance of hope, because none but He is infinite in power, and infinite
Hear his own declaration : “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”+
“My grace is sufficient for thee."
Rejoice, O my soul, rejoice in this, that as none but Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh, could make this promise, so, He in faithfulness will assuredly fulfil it. Blessed promise indeed! how • Deut. xxxiii. 25.
+ Matt. xxviii. 18. * 2 Cor. xii. 9.
suitable to the wants and weaknesses, the fears and failings, of his people. Away, then, unbelieving fears, since Jesus hath said:-“My grace is sufficient for thee.”
What have I now to do, but to go to the strong for strength, to go in the full assurance of faith and hope. But alas ! my faith is weak, and too often wavering, when the wind of temptation blows upon it. Let me, then, without delay, plead this precious promise, founded on the truth, and sealed with the blood of Christ. With this promissory note in my hand, ever payable on demand, when presented by faith and prayer in the name of Jesus, I need not despond. I shall receive in return what will supply my every want out of the fulness which is in Christ Jesus. Out of his fulness, I shall receive, and grace
for grace. Am I tempted by small temptations ? There is grace sufficient.
Am I assaulted by the hottest batteries of hell ? There is grace sufficient.
Am I brought down into the vale of poverty ? There is
sufficient. Am I raised to the dangerous heights of earthly grandeur ? There is grace sufficient.
Am I treated as the offscouring of all things for Jesus' sake? There is grace sufficient.
Am I brought down to the chambers of death, racked with pain, and worn out by disease ? Still there is grace sufficient.
My wants are many, but my supplies are infinite. Though millions of weak, tempted, persecuted, dying believers, have been invigorated in every age by this living water, yet its streams are undiminished; it still remains as it ever was,-GRACE SUFFICIENT:-sufficient to relieve the needy, to strengthen the weak, to pardon the guilty, to sanctify the unholy, to support the disconsolate, to comfort and save all, however vile and worthless, who sincerely, fervently, and perseveringly seek for it,