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from his evil way, and to gain this by the furnace, the purging away of our dross, our many and great iniquities, our oaths, and cursings, and lying, our deceit, and oppressions, and pride, and covetousness, our base love of ourselves, and hating one another; that we may be delivered from the tyranny of our own lusts and passions; and in other things, let the Lord do with us as seems good in His eyes. Oh, that we were speaking to God in Ephraim's words, Jer. xxxi. 18, 19, 20: Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised: turn Thou me, and I shall be turned, &c. : words not unlike these, would stir His bowels, as there ; as it is said, that one string perfectly tuned to another, being touched, the other stirs of itself. When a stubborn child leaves struggling under the rod, and turns to entreating, the father then leaves off striking ; nothing overcomes him but that. When a man says unto God, Father, I have provoked Thee to this, but pardon, and through Thy grace I will do so no more, then, the rod is thrown aside, and the Father of mercies and His humbled child, fall to mutual tenderness and embraces.

What I see not, teach Thou me.] The great article of conversion is, the disengagement of the heart from the love of sin. In that posture, as it actually forsakes whatsoever it perceives to be amiss, so, it stands in an absolute readiness to return to every duty that yet lies hidden, upon the first discovery. That is here the genuine voice of a repentant sinner, What I see not, teach Thou me : if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

This is a very necessary supplication, even for the most discerning and clearest-sighted penitent, both in reference to the commandment and rule for discovering the general nature and several kinds of sin, and withal for the application of this general light to the examination of a man's own heart and ways, that so he may have a more exact and particular account of his own sins.

The former part of the petition is for the knowledge of the law, of God, as the rule by which a man is to try and to judge

himself. The most knowing are not above the need of this request; yea, I am persuaded, the most knowing know best how much they need it, and are most humbled in themselves in the conscience of their ignorance and darkness in Divine things, and are most earnest and pressing in this daily supplication for increases of light and spiritual knowledge from Him who is the Fountain of it: What I see not, teach Thou me. On the other side, the least knowing are often the most confident that they know all, and swelled with a conceited sufficiency of their model and determination of all things, both dogmatical and practical ; and therefore are they the most imperious and magisterial in their conclusions, and the most impatient of contradiction, or even of the most modest dissent.

The wisest and holiest persons speak always in the humblest and most depressing style of their own knowledge, and that not with an affectation of modesty, but under the real sense of the thing as it is, and the sincere account they give of it, and that commonly when they are declaring themselves most solemnly, as in the sight of God, or speaking in supplication to Him with whom they dare least of all dissemble. Whosoever he was that spake those words, in the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs, surely he was a man of eminent wisdom and piety, and

yet he begins thus : Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man; I have neither learned wisdom, nor have I the knowledge of the Holy. And though he was so diligent a student, and so great a proficient in the law of God, yet, how importunate a petitioner is he for the understanding of it, as if he knew nothing at all! Besides the like expressions in other Psalms, in that one Psalm, [the cxix.] which, although of such length, hath nothing but the breathing forth of his affection to the word and law of God, how often doth David in it reiterate that petition, Teach me Thy statutes !--so often, that a carnal mind is tempted to grow weary of it, as a nauseating tautology; but he made it still new with the freshness and vehemency of his affection : Make me to understand the way of Thy pre

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cepts-Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy lawand Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of Thy law,-unseal mine eyes, as if they were still veiled and dark. These are the earnest and nobly ambitious desires that daily solicit holy hearts, and stir them up to solicit the Teacher of hearts, to be admitted more into the secrets and recesses of Divine knowledge; not to those abysses that God intends should be secret still, and from which He hath barred out our curiosity, as the forbidden tree of knowledge, those secrets that belong to Himself alone, and concern us not to inquire after. And certainly, to be wading in those deeps, is the way to be drowned in them. The searcher of majesty shall be oppressed with glory. Yet, there is in man, a perverse, preposterous desire, to pore upon such things as are on purpose hidden that we should not inquire after them, and to seek after useless, empty speculations of them, which is a luxury and intemperance of the understanding, like unto that, and springing from that, which at first undid us in the root.

These are times full of those empty, airy questions, and notions in which there is no clearness nor certainty to be attained, and if it were, yet it would serve to little or no purpose, not making the man who thinks he hath found them out, one jot the better or holier man than he was before. What avails it, says a devout author, to dispute and discourse high concerning the Trinity, and want humility, and so displease that Trinity ? The light and knowledge suited according to the intendment of this copy, is of nature, such as purifies the heart and rectifies the life. What I see not, teach Thou me ; that is, of such things as may serve this end, that if I have done inia quity, I may do it no more. This is sound and solid knowledge, such a light as inflames the heart with the love of God and of the beauties of holiness, and still, as it grows, makes those to grow likewise. Such are still, we see, David's multiplied supplications in that cxix. Psalm; not to know reserved and useless things, but, Hide not Thy commandments from me. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me : now, what is it


that Thy creature and workmanship begs of Thee? What is that which will complete my being, and make me do honour to my Maker? This is it,—Give me understanding that I may learn Thy commandments.

You that would be successful supplicants in this request, wean your hearts from that vanity of desire : such knowledge is as the cypress-tree, fair and tall, but fruitless and sapless. Apply all you know, to the purging out of sin, and intend all the further knowledge you desire, to that same end. Seek to be acquainted with higher rules of mortification, and selfdenial, and charity, than as yet you have either practised, or possibly so much as thought on; that by these, your affections and actions may be advanced to greater degrees of purity, and conformity with the holiness of God. And for this end, beg of Him to teach you what you see not in the exactness of the law and rule ; and withal, (which is the other thing in this word,) that, what you see not in the application of it and search of yourself, He would likewise shew you; for in that, we are commonly as undiscerning and dim-sighted as in the other. Even where men have some notion of the rule and their duty, yet they perceive not their own, even their gross recessions and declinings from it. Love is a blinding thing, and above all love, self-love ; and every man is naturally his own flatterer : he deals not faithfully and sincerely with himself in the search of his own evils. Now this we are to entreat of God, to be led into ourselves, and to be applied to the work of self-searching, by His own hand; not only to have a right apprehension of the law given us, but a true sight of ourselves. Oh! how many hidden, undiscerned, yea, unsuspected impurities and follies are there in the hearts of those who are the most diligent in this inquiry, much more in the greater part, even of such as cannot absolutely be denied the name of good men! Some honest intentions and good desires there are in them ; but they are slothful and unwilling to go into this painful business of trying and judging themselves, and when they set to it, many secret corners, and, in those, many latent

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corruptions do escape their search. Cleanse me from secret faults, says David; that is, not only those hidden from men, but even from myself, as is clearly his meaning, by the words preceding, Who knows the errors of his life? Therefore is it nécessary that we should desire light of God. The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord, says Solomon, searching the innermost parts of the belly ; but it is a candle unlighted, when He does not illuminate it for that search. Oh! what a deal of vanity and love of this world, envy and secret pride, lurks in many of our hearts, which we do not at all perceive, till God causeth us to see it, leading us in, as He did the prophet Ezekiel in the vision, to see the idolatry of the Jews in His

very temple, by which they had provoked Him to forsake it, and go far from his sanctuary; and having discovered one parcel, leads him in further, and makes him enter through the wall, and adds often, Son of man, hast thou seen these? I will cause thee to see yet more abominations, and yet more abominations. Thus is it within many of us who should be His temples, but we have a multitude of images of jealousy, one lying hid behind another, till He thus discovers them to us. Oh, what need have we to entreat Him thus, What I see not, teach Thou me!

Now, in both these, both in the knowledge of our rule and of ourselves, though there may be some useful subserviency of the ministry of men, yet, the great Teacher of the true knowledge of His law, and of Himself, and of ourselves, is God. Men may speak to the ear, but His chair is in Heaven who teaches hearts: cathedram habet in cælo. Matchless Teacher! who teacheth more in one hour than men can do in a whole age, who can cure the invincible unteachableness of the dullest heart, give understanding to the simple, and open the eyes of the blind! So then, would we be made wise, wise for eternity, learned in real, living divinity, let us sit down at His feet and make this our continual request, What I see not, teach Thou me!

If I have done iniquity.] That is, any iniquity that I yet know not of, any hidden sin, let me but once see it, and, I

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