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suppose, that we shall not see war any more.
And there are instances wherein this calzu has continued, not only for weeks, but for mouths or years. But commonly it is otherwise : in a short time “tle winds blow, the rains descend, and the floods arise” anew. They who linoiy not either the Son or the Father, and consequently hate his children, when God slackens the bridle which is in their tecil, will show that hatred in various instances. As of old, “ lie thai las born after the flesh persecuted boim that was born after the Spirit, cren so it is now';
the same cause still producing the same cifuct. The cvil which yet remains in the heart, will then also more afresh ; anger, and many other roots of bittorm":5, will endeavour to spring up. At ihesaule time, Satan will not be kanting to cast in iis fiery darts; and the soul will have to wrestle', not only with the work!, not only witli ilesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with wicked spirits in high places.” Now when so various assaults are made at once, and perhaps with the utmost violence, it is not strange if it should occasion, not only hcaviness, but even darkness, in a weak belierer ;-more especially, if he was not watching; if these assaulis are made in an hour when he looked not for them; if he expected lothing less, but bud fondly told linseli, —" the day of evil would return no more."
2. The force of those temptations which arise from within, will be exceedingly haihtened, if we before thought too highly of ourselves, as if we liaid been cleased from all in. Ad hot paturally do we imagine this, during the warmth of our first love? Liow really are we to luliere', that God has “fullilled in us the whole work of faith with power?” That because ie itel no sin, we have none in us; but the soul is all lore? And well may a sharp attack from an chemy, whom ve supposed to be not only conquerei, but slain, throw us into much heaviness of soul; yca, sometimes, intu utter darlness : particularly when we POUSON wiil this chemy, instead of instantly calling 1?pou God, and casting ourselves upon Him, by simple faitis, vilo "alene knoweth how to deliver (his] out of temptation.
II. These are the usual causes of this second darkness. Inquire wc, Thirdly, 11 lat is the Cure of it ?
1. To suppose tat this is one and the same in all cases, is a great and Pital willen vet extremely common, even 2000ng many ho pass for experienced Christians, yca, perhaps take upon them to be teachers in Israel, to be the guides of other souls. Accordingly they know and use but one medicine, whatever be the cause of the distemper. They begin immediately to apply the promises ; to preach the Gospel, as they call it. To give comfort, is the single point at which they aim; in order to which they say many soft and tender things, concerning the love of God to poor, helpless siuners, and the etlicacy of the blood of Christ. Now this is quackery indeed, and that of the worst sort, as it tends, if not to kill men's bodics, yet without the peculiar mercy of God, “to destroy both their bodies and souls in hell." It is hard to speak of these “ daubers with untempered mortar,” these promisemongers, as they deserve. They well deserve the title, which has been ignorantly given to others : They are spiritual mountebanhs. They do, in effect, make “ the blood of the covenant an unholy thing.” They vilely prostitute the promises of God, by thus applying them to all, without distinction. Whereas, indeed, the cure of spiritual, as of bodily discases, must be as various as are the causes of them. The first thing, therefore, is, to find out the cause; and this will naturally point out the cure.
2. For instance: Is it Sin which occasions darkness? What sin ? Is it Outward Sin of any kind ? Does your conscience accuse you of committing any sin, whereby you grieve the Holy Spirit of God? Is it on this account, that he is departed from you, and that joy and peace are departed with him ? And how can you expect they should return, till you put away thic accursed thing? “Let the wicked forsake his way;" "cleanse your hands, ye sinners ;” “put away the evil of your doings; so shall your “light break out of obscurity;” the Lord will return and "abundantly pardon."
3. If upon the closest search, you can find no sin of commission, which causes the cloud upon your soul, inquire next, If there be not some Sin of Omission, which separates between God and you. Do you “not suffer sin upon your brother ? " Do you reprove them that sin in your sight? Do you walk in all the ordinances of God? In public, family, private prayer ? If not, if you habitually neglect any one of these known duties, how can you expect that the light of his countenance should continue to shine upon you ? Make haste to “strengthen the things that remain ;” then your soul shall live.“ To day, if ye will hear his voice,” by his grace, supply what is lacking. When you hear a voice behind you saying, “ This is the way, walk thou in it,” harden not your hcart; be no morc “ dis. obedient to the learerly calling.” Till the sin, whether of omission or commission, be removed, all comfort is false and deceitful. Ti is only skinning the wound over, which still festors and mankles beneath. Look for no peace within, till you are at peace with God; which emot be without “ fruits meet for repentance."
4. But perhaps you are not conscious of even any sin of omission, which impairs your peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Is there not, then, eine Incaru Sill, which, as a root of bitlerness, sporings up in your heart to trouble you? Is not your dryness, and bremess of soul, occasioned by your heart's
departing from the living Ciare!!” Ilas noc “the foot of pride come against" 10? Have you not thought of yourself “ more highly than you enolit to think?" Have you not, in any respect, “sacrificed to your own act, and burned incense tu pour own firar?
llare pou not ascribed your success in any undertaking to your own courage, or strength, or wisdom? ilave you not bornicit of something “you have recrived, as through you had not received it? llare pou not gloried in any things, “sare in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?" Have you not songlit after or desired the praise of men? Have you not taken plesture in it: If so, you see the way you are to take you have tilkoby pride', “humble yeursefuriirilen!!!), Gul, und be will exalt you in due time" Llave?!et you die.'t! him to depart from you, lis giving place ! :'ver! !lare noi “fretted yourself bec!!i ricopripit," or "Pikes anvious against the evil.de?" ICE bronked at any of yar pret!,10., b:,( aizcir (12 anii.asived) siu, cu 25 to sin Pullsias ainst the creat laiv osprz'e', by estrangins!!! heart loi thien? en les auto the Lord, that you may renesarr***!; tiratud! is supless and cokines may become ilir; tai live, and peace, and joy, mas return inether, and you may be invaria'ily kied to cach other, and "Teine'r hearttil, freiving cu 10 her, even as God for Christ's sake bath fordiven yon.” llare pot you given way to any foolish desire? To any kind or degree of inordinate affection? low then cut the love of God have place in your heart, till you put all your idols? “Pe not deceived: God is not nocked: he will not dwell in a divided heart. As lous, therefore, is vou cherish i Delilah in your busom, he has to place there. liicio hope for a recovery of his light, till !!!! ni t'iu right fryts and case it from you
O let there be no longer delay! Cry to Him, that he may enable you so to do! Bewail your own impotence and helplessness; and, the Lord being your helper, enter in at the strait gate; take the kingdom of heaven by violence! Cast out every idol from his sanctuary, and the glory of the Lord shall soon appear.
5. Perhaps it is this very thing, the want of striving, spiritual Sloth, which keeps your soul in darkness. You dwell at ease in the land; there is no war in your coasts; and so you are quiet and unconcerned. You go on in the same even track of outward duties, and are content there to abide. And do you wonder, meantime, that your soul is dead ? O stir yourself up before the Lord! Arise, and shake yourself from the dust; wrestle with God for the mighty blessing; pour out your soul uuto God in prayer, and continue therein with all perseverance! Watch! Awake out of sleep; and keep awake!-otherwise there is nothing to be expected, but that you will be alienated more and more from the light and life of God.
6. If, upon the fullest and most impartial examination of yourself, you canuot discern that you at present give way, either to spiritual sloth, or any other inward or outward sin, then call to miud the time that is past. Consider your former tempers, words, and activus. Have these been right before the Lord ? Commune with him in your chamber, and be still ;” and desire of him to try the ground of your heart, and bring to your remembrance whatever has at any time offended the eyes of his glory. If the guilt of any unrepented sin remain on your soul, it cannot be but you will remain in darkness, till, having been renewed by repentance, you are again washed by faith in “the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.”
7. Entirely different will be the manner of the cure, is the cause of the disease be uot sin, but Ignorance. It may be, ignorance of the meaning of Scripture; perhaps occasioned by ignorant Commentators; ignorant, at least, in this respect, however knowing and learned they may be in other particulars. And, in this case, that ignorance must be removed, before we can remove the darkneslarising from it. We must show the true meaning of those texts which have been misunderstood. My design does not permit me to consider all the passages of Scripture wbich have been pressed into this service. I shall just mention two or three, which are frequently brought to prove, that all believers must, sooner or later, “walk in darkness.”
8. One of these is, Isaiah 1. 10, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyetli the roice of bis servant, that walkethi iu darbuess, and hath no light? Let bim trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” But how does it appear, either from the list of context, that the person here spoken oi, crer bad light? One who is convinced of sin, “ search the Lord, and obereth the voice of liis servant." And him we should advise', Hanshi he was still dark of soul, and had never seen the light of God's countenance, yet to “ trust in the pare of the Lord, and stay upon his God." This text, therifore, prores nothing less than that a believer in Christ " w0:t sometimes ?lutk in writiness."
9. Another test which has been supposed to speak the same doctrine, is Tosca ii. U, “I will allure lier, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” llence it has been izlerred, that God will bring every believer into the wilderness, into it state of deuduess and darkness. But it is certain, the text speaks }}o sich thing; for it does not appear that it speaks of panicular believers at all: It manifestly refers to the Jewish nation; and, perhaps, to that only. But if it be applicable 10 particular persons, the plain meaning of it is iliis :-( will dreiv liim big love; I will next convince him of sid ; and then comfort lite my pardoning niercy.
10. I third scripture, from whence the saine inference las been drain, is that aburi recite, “Ye !!!)1 hare sorrow': but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice', and your jos no Dan takitti trasu you." This has been supposed to imply, that God woul, alien a time, wilindridWliinisali from all beli tins; 21:! cult! int, illiter they had thus sorrowed, bare the joy winch vo 11! could take from them. But the whole contes i shoirs, that our Lord is here speaking personally to the banesties, and no others; and that he is speaking cancerulls these particular crcuts, liis own death and resurrection. “ i file wik," says lie, and ye shall not see me,” viz., lil! Lan in die grave: “Amagain, a little while, and se slial) -e me; when I am risen from the dead. “Te will reup id lament, and the world will rejoice: but your sorrow shall be tunced into joy."-"Ye now liare sorrow,” because I am about to be taken from your head; " but I will see you again," alter my resurrection, “and your