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religious professors, both devoted to God. The @ne part say, "A child of God labouring up perfection's hill may be in darkness and obscurity for a time, in order to his further purification." The others say, " Nay, there can be no darkness but from the displeasure of God! neither is there any true holiness but in proportion to this joy."
But what do we mean by darkness? And what do we mean by joy? Many blend the idea of darkness with deadness. They suppose such to have no savour of divine things. They do not mourn after Jesus, as one who mourns for her first-born. They can be content with worldly rest. They look more to men and means for help than singly to Jesus. They are indeed pained sometimes because they have no more life; but their treasure is still here. Such darkness certainly the true believer does not feel. The experience of Mr. Brainerd is a fine comment on this. A soul thirsting (in general) after the~ full mind of Christ,—whose conscience is truly tender, to whom the world is crucified, and who has no relish but for the things of another life—Whose eye is really fixed, "not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen"—To whom the prospect of a nearly approaching death is pleasant, from a firm confidence of final salvation, though that confidence may be oft assaulted; and who feels an intense, though mournful, desire after the whole mind of Christ;—and an abiding filial fear of offending God.—Such a soul may find sometimes great obscurity, as if its Saviour was hidden—as if the Lprd shut himself up within stone walls, which prayer could not pass through ;—so that even strong supplication and prayer shall seem to feel resistance. As when Jacob wrestled with the Angel, it seemed as if he wanted to get loose from Jacob's grasp, without giving him the blessing.—As when our Lord gave that (seemingly) harsh answer to the Canaamtish woman,—*' It is not meet to take the children's bread and give it unto dogs!" Was it to discourage and drive her back? Was it from wrath he spoke? Ah, no! It was to try and to strengthen her faith by exercise; and to increase her blessing, when he pronounced that word, "O woman, great is thy faith! be it unto thee even as thou wilt." We have often a wrong idea of faith.—When the apostle says, "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith,"—How do we understand him? Some say,—" He fought against sin,—He was firm in persecution,—and he always believed. His soul was so full of light and power that he could not help believing." Was there then no conflict in believing? When St. Paul says, Cast not away your confidence, does he mean that they could not cast it away? Were they to hold it fast, when it needed no holding? And is it thus that it should have great recompense of reward?
But does not the whole tenor of Scripture speak of the Christian soldier, as "fighting the fight of faith?" And what is faith, but " the believing of things unseen?" "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." And to Nathaniel, our Lord says,—" Because I said, Under the fig-tree I saw thee, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these".
It seems to me, therefore, That the way of holiness is to strive every moment to "look unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith;" and while the soul is so continually hanging on him, let it not esteem it a strange thing, if it should feel the powers of darkness surround it, inducing horror and dismay! If the believer feel as though the Angel of the covenant struggled against him; as if he would go away and leave the soul unblest. It may seem to have even a rebuke instead of a blessing, like the Canaanitish woman ;—nay, it may feel as if all its strength was failing, so that it could wrestle no longer^ —Perhaps the day begins to break! Death seems at the door 1 and the fainting soul cries out, O, what is all my wrestling come to! My day of grace is gone, and I am not saved! But the very next moment may bring the "New name of Israel! As a Prince, thou hast power with God, and hast prevailed."
June 19th. I now see clearly what I want My soul is not brought fully into the element of love. There is a fulness of love, or, "a perfect love, which casts out all fear." I have not perfect resignation; yet my will never seems to oppose God. I have not perfect peace; it is disturbed by temptation. I have not perfect union with God; clouds come between.—In short, that salvation I felt at Hoxton, and which I now feel, is like Israel when on the borders of Canaan. But I am not put in full possession. I do not dwell in love. I am determined, however, never to rest short of it; and I believe that is the meaning of the promise so impressed upon my mind, lt An abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." Lord, hasten the hour! I have no hope but from Thee. "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy! Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts!"
Well,—if I am thus perfectly saved, I shall be the greatest monument of mercy! For since that time I was blessed at Hoxton, how often have I sunk back from that liberty of faith! and though the divine change has ever since remained on my soul, yet there have been times in which I have been a monster in my own eyes, for I have many times found self, and from that root, every evil springing up in my soul.
I would give a list of the evils I have felt, but, alas! when 1 attempt it, I am lost! I cannot find any words to express myself in. But this I will say, for the comfort of some who have known these things, and into whose hand this account may fall, that wherein they have lamented their inbred corruption, I have much more cause for lamentation.
Gh 1 if I were but for one hour permitted to enter heaven, that I might throw myself at the feet of all whom I have offended, or hindered, by my pride, selfwill, and other evils, it would yield me some consolation.—Yet I believe I shall be delivered from them all. and even from this painful reflection. Yes, J shall; the God of love hath said, "Thou shalt walk with me in white—I will make thee worthy!" And my soul has of late felt a great renewal of that promise. Yes, I shall overcome! I begin, though but faintly, to shout victory! I shall overcome! for I singly trust in Jesus.
Friday, June 23. Three days ago, as I was thinking of the above words,-—" I am not brought into the element of love," a thought came into my mind. Thou waitest and pleadest to be brought into another state :—Abide in Jesus I That is the way to love, and to bring forth all good fruit. I weighed- it over in my mind, and saw that it was so. 1 have Jesus! and have I not all in him? Those words shone with light on my heart, " Christ is made of God unto you, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." I felt I ought to rejoice in my privilege; the privileges of my present dispensation. I am brought into a state of love; and that I do not abundantly grow therein is, because I do not abide every moment in a quiet peaceable confidence, believing the Lord will enable me to glorify him in and through every thing. These words were yesterday, and are still, the language of my soul,
n No condemnation now I dread;
And just in righteousness divine.
Friday, July 21. O, the union my spirit feels with my dear husband! Time makes no difference tome. As I was offering up my trials to the Lord to-day, these words came to my mind, "Ask of the Lord grace to suffer as much, and as long as he pleases." I thought, so I will. I will not even wish to have it mitigated.
Saturday, July 22. Yesterday I was at the Chapel in Madely Wood, and found much freedom of spirit while speaking'on these words,—" Bring my soul out oi prison, that I may praise Thy name.'5 This morning I feel my soul cast on the Lord, and was blessed in reading those words of Fenelon, "Your letter leaves me nothing to wish for. It confesses all that is past, and promises every thing for the future. With regard to the past, you need only leave it to God, with an humble confidence, and repair it by a constant fidelity. You ask what penances are required for the past? Can we perform greater, or more salutary ones, than bearing our present crosses? The best reparation of our past vanities is the being humble, and content that God should humble us. The most rigorous of all penances is, notwithstanding all our dislikes and weariness, to do daily and hourly the will of God rather than our own."*
Thursday, July 27. For some days I have felt keen darts from the enemy, and such a sense of being alone in the world as I cannot express. But last night, in the midst of these feelings, I felt a strong impression that my trials were increased by my not courageously believing every moment that the Lord has absolutely undertaken my whole cause. And I am convinced that when Satan pursues me with glooms and threatenings, I ought to believe that all is permitted to exercise my faith and patience. I feel at all times that my heart has embraced the glory of God, as my one sole care, and therefore I have nothing to do even with my state, whether it is joyous or sad, but only to cling ^o the covenant I have entered into, of being a whole burnt-sacrifice to the Lord; and leave him to choose for me every moment, who is in himself all wisdom and love. This thought brought with it a sweet peace; and these words were applied to my soul, ec Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, for ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise." I see also that I must singly trust
* How well some Romanists have written on Christian obedience! O si eic omnia! Ed.