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mine own breast, and dare appeal to the heart-searching God : Thou knowest whether these workings be the Spirit of adoption, thou knowest that I am not wicked, that there is no way or undisturbed road of wickedness in my heart; I have sin, yet do not regard but hate mine own iniquity.* It is true, old ashes of youthful lusts raise up new sparks in my soul, both to enflame and torment me: but I trust in the merit of Christ for pardon, and the Spirit of Christ for power against corruption, and I hope I may say with a great man, let young and strong corruptions and his free grace be yoked together, and let Christ and my sins deal it betwixt them : they are too strong for me, not for him : if he be on my side I shall come off victorious, and if he speak for me I shall prevail ; I shall be in some sort omnipotent through Christ strengthening me. † Yet my Lord alone shall be set in his own chair of state, for all the honour is due to him alone. If ever I speed in prayer, it is for Christ's sake; if I be exempted from evil, it is through Christ; if heaven come down to me, or if I mount up to heaven, it is through Christ. Christ is heaven, the best part of heaven, all heaven, yea, more than all heaven.
It is some comfort to me, to reflect upon the communion of saints. O what a glorious cloud of incense ascends daily out of the angels' hand, along with the prayers
of the saints! What a harmony of petitions breathed out by the same spirit, besets the throne of grace! I am not alone, there is a sweet symphony in the ears of God, all pleading for the same things for substance : but these (as much grace as they have, and as well as God loves them) shall not prevail for one mercy without this advocate, the blessed Jesus. O then how desirable, how precious, how prevailing an * Psal. cxxxix. 23. lxvi. 18.
+ Phil. iv. 13,
advocate is Christ, we need not fear him, nor be jealous of him; however, I will believe good of Christ till he disappoint and deceive me, which is impossible, and will take his word for guarantee, that he will fill up all blanks in my prayers according to his promise, and obtain for me what I want, and more than I ask, yea, more than I can think I need; my Lord bids me open my mouth wide, but his ear is more capacious than my lips, else I were undone. Gracious Saviour, thou hast kindled a live coal in my heart, which I hope all the waters of affliction cannot quench; I must live and die in thy debt, and never be able to pay the thousandth part. O that my heart were more enflamed in love to thee, and delight in thee; thou hast done all this for me, and put an earnest within me, and wilt in due time make good the full bargain. My head is in heaven, and as he hath taken possession for me, so he is negotiating my affairs there, and presenting and mending my distracted prayers; all I can do is to bring a lame faith to Christ, holding out a stump instead of an arm, like a lame beggar, and crying : Lord Jesus, work a miracle, Lord mend the frame of my heart, raise my soul as high as heaven. O that I could send up the tribute of praises to my well-beloved, and receive back returns of prayer! My solicitor is not tired with my broken suits, but the oftener and the welcomer, so I be sincere, and his grace must make me so. Lord, help me to persevere in following hard after thee, and let me find a young green paradise of pleasure in my attendance on thee. O for some first fruits before I reap the full harvest ! and give me patience to wait thy time; yet abundance of earnest will not diminish the principal sum.
Let me have more of holiness, and I shall have more of heaven; O that I may have a heart to hold intercourse with the blessed Jesus, to lay all
my cares and burdens on him who is able to save to the uttermost; the more I can lay on him, the easier shall I be. Had he not been all sufficient, he had been hard put to it since he undertook to be my guardian; I have oft made foul work, but he hath mended what I have marred, and set all straight again, and I trust he will do so to the end. I often lose myself, but let me never lose thee; keep hold of me and I am safe, put my tears in thy bottle, write my prayers in thy book; thou knowest what hath passed betwixt thyself and my soul, and wilt not deny thy own hand writing, and the workings of the Spirit of adoption; weakness I own, thy work thou wilt not disown. I lift and lift again this heart, these prayers, these praises of mine to put them where thou wouldst have them, that thou mayest carry them to thy Father, and to my Father for acceptance.
But O what astonishing damps are upon my trembling spirit, when I rise off my knees and think, will God hear such a distracted prayer of a poor hard-hearted wretch ? surely, conscience saith, no: but what saith faith? А
poor trembling faith puts it into the hands of my advocate, and then saith, he can make something of it, and my eyes are fastened upon him at God's right hand, and thereby faith is elevated, and despair gradually vanisheth.