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phrases to tell the doctor that you have had a good night, that your headache is gone, your face cooler, your cough looser, and that his medicine has done you a great deal of good? Apply this little parable to the matter before us. If the children of God all feel the same malady of sin, have the same symptoms, and the same sufferings, and if they are blessed and benefited by the application of the same remedy, the blood, and love, and grace of Christ, what objection is there to the description of them in the same language? and if this language be scriptural, and as such inspired and sanctioned by the Holy Ghost, must they come to you for a different vocabulary because these phrases pall on your ear by their constant sameness? Does the doctor act on your principles? To him does not sameness of language rather testify to sameness of suffering? and would not studied variety of expression imply sham rather than real illness? It is true that in all this sameness of expression there may be occasional cant, hypocrisy, and imposture, for words are easily caught up; but as all the counterfeit sovereigns and halfcrowns in circulation neither invalidate nor impair the genuine coins, of which they are base imitations, so should a canting letter or hypocritical piece get by mistake into our pages, it does not overthrow or injure those communications which are spiritual and sincere.
We are then decidedly in favour of "a form of sound words,” whether in preaching or writing; and we much suspect the reality of that profession which, under the pretence of an irksome sameness, would discard the scriptural words and phrases which the saints of God have ever used as means of expressing the truth as it is in Jesus, and their experience of its power, with the varied feelings of the soul. The first symptom usually of a man having imbibed an error is his cavilling with received expressions, for he instinctively feels that these stand in his way as bulwarks against his new views; and we may, therefore, lay it down for the most part as a safe rule that error and heresy are generally couched under a repugnance to scriptural or generally received phrases, and that their irksomeness is not because of their sameness, but because of their soundness. We can say for ourselves that, after many years' study and reading, which have given us at least a tolerable acquaintance with the words and phrases of the English language, we can find no better expressions than the simple and often sublime language of our Bible; and for the most part no safer or sounder words than those in which the poorest and most uneducated saint of God expresses his feelings when the Lord is with his soul to visit and bless. It must be so; truth wants no embellishment; its own beautiful simplicity is its best recommendation; and the mind that would quarrel with truth because it is so much the same, might quarrel with its daily bread because it has the same taste, with its daily bread because it has the same flavor, with its daily air because it has the same purity.
But having thus guarded ourselves, as far as we can, on one side, we will now take a survey in another direction, for there are few subjects which do not admit being viewed in different lights and from an opposite quarter. It may be, then, that a real saint of God, one
evidently under the teaching and influence of the Blessed Spirit, may not express himself exactly in the language which has become most familiar to our ears, or which is most in harmony with the standard of truth and experience set up in our own heart and conscience. It may even be scriptural and experimental, but the mode of expression shall be somewhat different. Must we shut our eyes at once against it, and condemn it forthwith, without judge or jury, because it is not exactly our language, or does not come up to the true standard, from which it must not vary an inch, and which we always carry about in our breast, as the carpenter his two-foot rule in his side-pocket? Would not that be an error in the other extreme, and be constituting ourselves a pope, seated in an infallible chair? If grace dictate the speech, if the words be scriptural, and the experience sound and savory, are we not bound to receive it? If coined in heaven's mint, must it not be good coin, though not exactly the same in size, weight, and colour as we are every day seeing or handling? But let us go one step farther. Suppose that, with these coins presented to our acceptance, some are of base metal-not feloniously uttered, but innocently offered, the offerer not knowing their worthlessness or counterfeit nature. Now if we believe the utterer not to be acting fraudulently, ought we to send for the policeman, and give him into custody as a felon, or quietly to pick out the bad money, for the coins are but few and of small nominal amount, and throw them into the fire?
Do our readers see our meaning, or to what all this is introductory? It is intended, then, not merely as a general piece of counsel, to be made use of as circumstances call for it, but as a special word of admonition, not to send to jail Elizabeth Cairns, because in her experience in the little work before us, this honest, simple-minded Scotch girl, who, from six to near sixteen, was herding or shepherding in the lone moors, with only a little girl for her companion, does not speak and write in the language of Hart and Huntington.
But, besides this, the times were different, and her teachers tinged with much of that legality of expression, if not of spirit, which is so visible in almost all the Puritan writers. Now look at the following extract, and see how truth and error, flesh and spirit, are mixed in it:
"After this my parents were going to partake of the Lord's Supper, and they advised me to go with them; so I set about preparation and selfexamination, in which I came to some composedness of mind, and a reflex light was sent me, by which I did go back to the morning of my day, and got a view of my sins, both of omission and commission, and was made to examine my state by those marks of grace given in the Scriptures, as also to examine my duties, both as to number, matter, and manner of performance, and all this with enlargement and brokenness of heart in prayer. The place where the Lord's Supper was to be celebrated was a good way off. On the preparation day, the two texts were wonderfully ordered for me; the one was for my trial, the other for my consolation. The one was, Who is this that engageth his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord.' (Jer. xxx. 21.) The other was, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, might not perish, but have everlasting life.'-(John iii. 16.) This was a sweet day to me; but on the Sabbath morning I was sore straitened, for I could neither pray nor meditate; in the first sermon I was again revived; the text was,Unto you, O men, I call; and
my voice is to the sons of men.'-(Prov. viii. 4.) The whole of the sermon was good; there was a word in the close of the sermon with which I hope power came, the word was, 'Take Christ in the arms of thy love, and thou shalt have Him.' With this light there shined a light in my soul, and imme. diately I arose, and went to the table, believing it would be as the minister said. And while I was partaking, there shined a light into my soul, more bright than the former, and continued in less or more for the space of half-ayear. Oh, this was a sweet feast to me! And so I came from this solemnity, with my soul lifted up in the ways of the Lord, and running swiftly in the ways of duty."
Here is this good little girl setting about preparation and self-examination for the Lord's Supper, examining her duties,* both as to number, matter, and manner of performance, as if right performance of duties gave her a right title, in part at least, to that holy feast. What a spirit of legality and bondage must have pressed her down when she sat down to examine her prayers and her performances! And yet with all that, what sincerity and grace shine forth! The Lord indulged her with a smile, not for her duties, but from his own mercy and love.
The next trial that Elizabeth had to pass through was one common to many of the Lord's people. It was to have some evidence whether she had passed under the Law, and had spiritually felt its bondage, condemnation, and curse. But she shall describe her trial
in her own simple expressive language:
"I remember it was my ordinary way to try myself by what I had heard, and there was one thing I still did miss in my experience, which was that I had never gone through a law-work, nor known what a spirit of bondage was, except some short convictions, and immediately got an outgate+ again. when I heard the way of the Spirit of God, His preparing the soul before it embraced Christ held forth in the Gospel, I thought all that I had met with was far short, and that one in nature, by common operations, might attain to all that I had attained to. By this I razed all my hopes, and it pleased the sovereign Lord to withhold those comfortable blinks of divine light and power that I was wont to enjoy; yet, nevertheless, a merciful and gracious God was pleased to manifest the sovereignty of his grace and mercy to me, one of the vilest of Adam's degenerate posterity, in opening my eyes to see a deeper sight of my natural state than ever I had seen. Now I was led to see what a happy creature man was when he came out of the hands of his Maker, and that he was both able and willing to serve his God in all things that he required, without the least breach or failure, as is evident from his first creation, being created after the image of God, as is clear from Gen. i. 26, 27. But, by the entrance of sin, this beautiful and shining creature, that was the noblest piece of all the lower creation, now became the vilest of all creatures, and instead of the image of God, he now got on the image and livery of the devil, and God becomes his enemy, casts him out of his favor, and draws the sword of justice against him; and also the law, with all its curses is against him, and, oh, now he is made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, and to all the wrath and curse of God in hell to all eternity, as is clearly held forth, Gen. iii. All this was set before me, and I was made to go through every step of man's misery with application to myself, by which I came under such awful impressions of the holiness and righteousness of God, as if I had seen the sword of justice drawn and pointed against me, and as if hell had been open before
*The apostle bids us examine ourselves whether we be in the faith, but does not bid us examine our duties to prove we are so. These two things, we need hardly remark, very widely differ. Gleams, rays of light.
+ An escape or deliverance.
'me, and I justly deserving to be cast into it; this being so strongly impressed on my mind, I was seized with great terror. But it pleased a merciful and gracious God to cover these fearful and terrible views from my mind in some measure, yet got no sensible outgate, but remained for several days in great terror, fearing every moment that the earth would open and swallow me up. Yet, for all this terror and confusion that I was in, there was a light in my mind, leading me back by reflection on the former discoveries I had got of the way of salvation by Christ, but I still cast all away, because I thought all my former experience were but common workings of the Spirit, and that which one in a natural state might attain unto. There was also a broad sight of my actual sin laid before me; here I saw that many a bitter fruit of actual transgression had sprung from the cursed root of original corruption, and I was made to mourn over all my prayers and sweet hours as nothing, yea vile, without God and his grace in them."
We pass over how she got some relief from her distress, through the application to her soul of John xiv. 6, to give an extract, in which she mentions a sweet deliverance, of a more clear, powerful, and enduring character than any she had before experienced:
"After this, I compared myself with those marks of grace given in Scripture, according to the conditional promises. Here I was led back. by a reflex light, to the dyke, the stone, and the hill-side, places where I had been informed in the way of salvation by Christ, and had felt the power of grace determining my soul to embrace him, as the forementioned light cleared up to me by the Scripture. Here I thought to have founded my faith and hopes of salvation by this rational reduction, because I found in my experience those marks of grace that the conditional promises did require; and while I was comforting myself with these things, that question was brought to me, 'Did you not cast away all those former attainments as delusions, and as what one in nature might attain to, and how dare you then venture to comfort yourself by them?' With this again I razed my hopes, and for all that Christ had done for sinners, I could take no comfort, because I could not win to know if I was one of them the Father had given to the Son to be saved by him.
"After this, I was in great distress for several days, still crying to God for an outgate; so it pleased a gracious God to display his sovereignty for my relief, which was one night in secret prayer. I was so raised in my soul that in some measure, I may say, whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; but this I do remember, I was turned to behold the glory from which there shined a light into my soul that strengthened and capacitated it to behold glorious objects and inexpressible mysteries that were represented to my view; and here I was allowed, as it were, to come near God, and got a soul. satisfying blink of his glory, and would have been content to have lived so to eternity. And while I was thus beholding and enjoying, it was darted into my mind, as if a voice had spoken to me, Thy name is written among the living in Jerusalem,' and immediately the veil covered the glory which I beheld. After all this, there remained a light on my soul for a whole year; but sometimes it shined brighter than at other times.
"Lo, bere my question was answered, and I believed that my name was written among them that were given by God the Father to the Son, to be saved by him, according to the covenant of redemption. Here I desire to lay my hand on my mouth, and say no more as to those great mysteries I was allowed to behold; for I am persuaded they are better felt than can be told. For my mind could never indite, much less my pen write, what I was allowed to behold. O the height, the depth, the breadth, and the length, of this love of God that passeth knowledge,' in condescending so far to one of the vilest of all the race of Adam, who never deserved a blink of his reconciled face, much less to have the veil as it were rent, and to get such a view of manifested glory! But in none of all those attainments do I desire to glory, but in a reconciled God in a Mediator, for a portion to my soul in time and for eternity. And thus ends the eighteenth year of my age. This year, places,
and times, I desire to remember as long as I live, which were my Bethels and my Peniels, because there I had so great discoveries of God, and my life was preserved."
During this period of her life, the time of her espousals, she was favoured again and again in her soul as few saints of God are. Thus she writes:
"Those scriptures, and many more, were made the matter of my meditation, and frequently there shined a light on my soul when I was thus meditating that represented to my view inexpressible mysteries, so that I would have forgotten where I was and what I was doing. And thus when the veil was drawn aside, and I allowed to come to the threshold of the door, as I thought, allowed to behold the glory of the higher house, I would fain have been in; but, alas! I behoved to come down again; and I cried, "O death, death, when wilt thou come, and when will the veil rend, and never return to cover the glory again?' This made me undesirous to keep company, or yet to follow my employment, which brought me in a great strait. So I went to God with those words in my mouth, that if he would not take me out of the world, he would give me two capacities, or a strength of mind, one to serve him, and another to serve the world. And accordingly as I asked he answered me, so that immediately after he endued me with a strength of mind by which I could accomplish my business and yet keep up my intercourse with heaven; so that even in time of harvest, when there was no absenting from company, nor yet time for prayer, yet when I lifted up my head with my handful to lay it in the sheaf, I would have sent up a short prayer, in which time there shined rays of divine light that filled my soul with sensible manifestations of divine love; and when I was thus engaged in company, and could not win out of hearing their idle and vain talking, I would have been as one deaf, while my meditation was taken up in maintaining my intercourse with God; yet at that time there was as much reason given me as guided my hand in my employment." One more manifestation must here suffice:
"I remember one Sabbath morning, it was remarkable to me, when I awaked out of sleep I began in meditation on the covenant of redemption, and there shined a light into my soul, by which I got a view of the glorious contrivance of redemption and wonderful transaction between God the Father and God the Son: here my soul was brought to such a capacity and strength so as to get a view of what the Father demanded of the Son, and proposed to him concerning man's redemption, as also the Son's sweet compliance with every particular required in that covenant, as in Ps. xl. 6-8: Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears has thou opened; burnt-offering and sin-offering has thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' My mind could never indite, nor my pen write, what here I was allowed to behold.
"From this I was left to view the covenant of works, and man's happy state in paradise before he fell, and how he fell, and his misery after he fell; and from this I was led to behold the glorious covenant of redemption, as displayed in a covenant of grace, and revealed to Adam immediately after he fell, in those words: The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent.' (Gen. iii. 15.) All this I was led to see in meditation before I arose that morning; so after I arose, I went to secret prayer, and there I was led to see the covenant of grace in a deeper view than ever formerly I had seen it. "Here I saw that all that passed between the Father and the Son in the covenant of redemption was displayed and applied to the believer in the cove. nant of grace: and here also I got another sight of my name in it; as also I felt a power bringing up my soul to a compliance with every particular therein represented to the view of my faith.
"Those glorious mysteries so filled my soul with joy, wonder, and praise, that I was made with the psalmist (Ps, cxlviii. throughout) to invite all the creation, heavens, earth, seas, and all things therein, to join with me in prais