Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

hated Christ, betrayed him, and sold him; and Christ plainly called him a devil, for the devil shined upon him, and actuated him, and at last entered into him, and took full possession of him. But the devil would not kill him when he had got him, for that would have been Satan's sin, and not Judas's; but the devil tempted him to kill himself, that the sin of suicide might be added to all the rest: and here we may see the wisdom of the serpent. Thus it appears that God opens the eyes of some hypocrites, as Balaam, Jehu, and the Egyptiaus in the Red Sea, when the eye of the Lord looked through the cloud, and troubled the host of Pharaoh; and they said, Let us fly from Israel, for the Lord fighteth for Israel against the Egyptians.

The false rays of these hypocrites may be discovered by the discerning Christian by the following observations. I have, in the general, perceived that they are noted for finding out some new mysteries, or some new discoveries, or some new interpretations, of scripture, which, as they think, never were seen before. This makes them intolerably proud; and, when once Satan has deceived them in this way, their wisdom is exalted as if it was almost infinite; for, after this, all who attempt to undeceive them are fools. Hence the Spirit tells you, They hold fast deceit; they refuse to let it go. When the devil has got a man safe in his net, he will roll and tumble him further and further, till he is bound both hand and foot, so

that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? A deceived heart hath turned him aside, and he feedeth upon ashes. Hence the cautions that God gives his children, "Reprove not a scorner:" and again, "He that remains an heretic, after the first or second admonition, reject; knowing that such an one is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."

The ways that the devil leads these hypocrites are various. Those which I have observed are these: some are led to stumble at the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. Here Satan drives them, by pride, into most daring and desperate presumption, and all manner of errors, and God resists them as forcibly.

Others are continually working at the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, until they stumble, and take offence at the Rock of our strength, which they are sure to do sooner or later: for they have no light but in the head, which lifts them up; no feeling sense of their own ignorance to keep them humble; nor the Spirit of God to guide them. Almost every arch-heretic mentioned in the history of Eusebius stumbled and fell here.

Others, like Pelagius, begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh. Satan sets them to exalt themselves, and debase the grace of God. These leave the doctrine of the Trinity alone; as the papists, arminians, and others.

Others he deceives by stuffing their heads with high notions, and setting them up to be something when they are nothing. This draws many poor, simple souls to look up to them as wonders from the Lord of Hosts; and then Satan tempts them to final apostacy. This stumbles and staggers many poor souls, who used to view them as eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. However, God's elect must pluck out these right eyes, and cast them from them, and cut off those right feet whose apostacy offends them, and cast them from them, and enter into life halt and maimed, rather than, having such eyes and such feet, to be cast into hell fire.

This light of the foolish, which goes out, never shines into their heart. It is not that candle of the Lord which searches all the innermost parts of the belly it shines only in the head. But God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, shines into the heart of his people, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. This is searching Jerusalem as with candles. It discovers the enmity, rebellion, wickedness, and hypocrisy, of the heart, while dreadful rebukes and reproofs follow. "All things which are reproved are made manifest by the light which doth appear; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." And this light leads the believer into an experience which

[blocks in formation]

no foolish virgin, nor hypocrite in Zion, ever attained to, and that is, to love God, because God first loved him; and to love Christ, who loved him, and gave himself for him; and to love the saints for Christ's sake, and because of the grace of God which is in them: and so it is written, "Again, A new commandment write I unto you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him." This new commandment is given by Christ: "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you." "This commandment," John says, "is true in him and in you." It is true in him, because he loved us, and gave his life for us; and it is true in us, because we love him, and the brethren for his sake: and where this is, the true light is now shining, and there is none occasion of stumbling in such, for such are passed from death unto life. The world loves its own, but hates the saints; and real saints hate the world, and love one another.

One cause of the lamps of these foolish virgins going out at the midnight cry is, Satan at this time laid aside his transformation, the business was done, the prey was safe in the trap. Besides, at this dreadful period Satan cannot use such trifling deception as this; he must appear in all his madness, rage, and desperation, for he himself believes and trembles at God's judgments, and is

as much afraid of future torment as the hypocrite himself; hence his outcry, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?"

2. This alarm made these secure hypocrites set about a work which they had never done before, and that is, self-examination; upon which they soon discovered that their lamps were out, and that they had no oil with them; which is what they never found out till now. This sudden alarm awakened them out of their security, and begun to terrify them; their false notion of being drawn all the way to heaven by love failed them, and left them doubtful; their speculative knowledge fled; the joy that sprung from the stirrings-up of natural affections withered away; blind zeal, external reformation, feigned faith, and dissembled love, were soon blasted; when all on a sudden the enmity, rebellion, deception, hypocrisy, and deceitfulness of their own hearts, began to appear; for this dross and tin had never been discovered, nor purged off in the furnace of affliction. Upon the back of this the terrors of God, the bondage and slavish fear of the law, the wrath and curse of it, began to stir up in them; for all these things are in the tabernacles of the wicked, as was the case here; and they are in every one else, except those where perfect love hath cast them out, Their deceitfulness in their profession, the wicked works that they allowed themselves in, stared them in the face, for such they were; and workers of iniquity Christ calls them. Conscience

« AnteriorContinuar »