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of what we now are. The best and holiest man upon earth has a corrupt fallen nature: he has flesh still which is always lusting against the spirit. While he is alive to God he feels it. He is sensible of the inward conflict. Dead men indeed feel nothing. A dead corpse has no sense of the worms which are eating it up. He that has these lusts in him and warring against his soul, and yet does not feel them, cannot be spiritually alive. A natural man has no sense of them, because they are in him, as worms in a dead body: just so is it with the perfectionist. But so soon, and so long, as he lives to God, he will perceive them. If he be in happy communion with God, indwelling sin is present to interrupt the enjoyment. If he exercise any grace, this besetting sin tries to weaken its actings. If he set about any duty, it will hinder him from doing it so perfectly, as God requires, and as he could wish. The abiding sense of these truths will keep down pride. The believer will see nothing of his own to trust in, no faith, or hope, or love, no faithfulness to grace, no holy obedience; all is stained and polluted. He is forced to cry out of his best duties-uncleanunclean. In this school the disciple learns to walk humbly with his God. The more he knows of himself, the more humble he becomes. And he grows in this heavenly grace, the more he is acquainted with the mercy of God in Jesus. This learnt by divine teaching keeps the believer meek and lowly in his own eyes. Nothing softens and melts the soul into holy tenderness like the sense of God's mercy. A man who feels the plague of his own heart is never truly humbled, until he be pardoned. But when he is justified from all things in Christ, in him a partaker of all spiritual blessings in earth and heaven, when he sees all his salvation of grace, of free sovereign grace, flowing from the absolute favour of electing love, and bestowed upon him, as unworthy an object, as ever did or can partake of it, then he becomes truly broken hearted. These truths taught of God bring every
high thought into subjection to Christ Jesus. The soul bows before him; lies low at his feet; prostrates itself before the throne of his grace, and desires to be kept willing to take all its blessings out of his hands, and to use them to his glory. This is gospel humility, the true abasement of spirit, with which a man, sensible that he is saved by mere mercy, loathes himself. And while the experience of indwelling sin humbles him down to the dust, it produces through God's grace the happiest effects: for it keeps him in his strong tower and sanctuary, in which alone he is
SAFE. It is ever reminding him of his need of the blood of sprinkling-ever shewing him his want of a perfect righteousness-and ever preaching to him the necessity of his being kept by the power of God. And while he hearkens to these lessons, trusting to Jesus, he will stand fast and be established. The arm of the Lord God almighty will hold him up, and he shall be safe. While he lives thus out of himself, the sense of indwelling sin will lead him to his true
HAPPINESS, which is all in the fulness of the GodHe will enjoy the more of this, the less he finds in himself. When he cannot draw comfort from any thing of his own, he will seek it more in God. When all the streams are dried up, he will get nearer to the fountain head, and live more upon it. This is the portion of the Lord's people, and the inheritance of all his saints. And in this view indwelling sin is made the means of promoting their
HOLINESS. They see their continual need of Christ. They can do nothing without him: But believing their oneness with him, they desire to improve it in experience. Every thing they do keeps them sensible of their sins and wants, and shews them the necessity of living by the faith of the Son of God. This is true humility. The more they are humbled, the more they receive out of the fulness of Jesus: for he giveth more grace-more to produce nearer fellowship with him in his death, whereby sin will be more dead, and
in his resurrection, whereby the soul will be more alive to God. So that the humblest believer is the nearest to God, and is the safest, happiest, and holiest of all the men upon earth: Because he has most fellowship with God. He dwells in God, and God in him. Meditate, O my soul, upon this use of the cross. Is sin in thee? Dost thou feel it, and art thou fighting against it? And does not this humble thee? Art thou freely forgiven all trespasses, indwelling sin among the rest? Dost thou know that thou art a saved sinner-a brand plucked out of hell? And does not this humble thee? I see reason enough to be humbled, but I feel pride in me lusting against humility. O my precious Jesus, humble me under thy mighty hand. To thee I look for all my salvation. Lord, save me from pride. Thou hast made me willing to be taught of thee to be meek and lowly, and I come to thee praying, that the disciple may be as his master. O let me drink deep into thy Spirit. In every day's warfare against my corruptions, enable me to renounce myself, that I may find thou art carrying both me and my cross. Keep me humbled at thy feet, that thou mayest exalt me in due time. I pray to thee, my precious Saviour, for this grace, to mine eternal humbling, and to thine eternal exaltation. In life and death, and for evermore I hope to glory only in the Lord, and to triumph in the God of my salvation.
Thus the believer learns to walk humbly under the inward cross. He is brought to trust all in the Saviour's hand. Daily he discovers more of the ruins of the fall, which lead him to fresh discoveries of the perfect salvation in Jesus. If he attend to what is passing in his own breast, he finds his need of a Saviour every moment and for every thing, by which means he grows in grace and in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. He learns to put no confidence in the flesh, but to rejoice only in his completeness in Jesus, from whom all his comforts
and victories are received. Thus while self is laid low, the Saviour is exalted, and his perfect work is more depended on. The believer by hope and love attains more delighful communion with his God. Indwelling sin is his cross, but he bears it, looking unto Jesus: from whom he receives strength to go on, yea to run the race set before him. By faith he sees in Jesus the corruption of his nature condemned and dead in law he beholds himself freed from this, as well as from his other sins. Guilt is the most galling part of this cross; but when guilt is thus removed from the conscience, then the cross grows light. When taken up in faith, and carried in love to the almighty Saviour, then it does not stop the believer in his fellowship with Jesus, or in his happy walk with him. Glory be to thee, my Lord, of this I have some experience. Yes, precious Jesus, I know the infinite value of that sacrifice which put away sin. I bless thee for that offering, which perfects for ever. Interested in it, I would not distrust my completeness in thee. Through thy holy nature, I expect to be renewed after thy likeness. The fountain for cleansing from the filth of sin stands open: in it I daily washed my spotted soul. In thy divine righteousness I see the law and justice of the Father infinitely honoured by justifying me, and dealing with me, as perfectly righteous. Complete in thee I am. In thy work finished upon earth I am perfect, and am represented as such by thee in heaven. I believe thou appearest there as my divine intercessor, bearing thy name upon my shoulders and upon thy breast with a glory beyond all the precious stones in the world. O my blessed
Jesus, increase this faith. Lead me from faith to faith; that while I am travelling heavenwards mine eye and my heart may be more simply fixed upon thee. Come thou glorifier of the Saviour, and discover to me more of the sinfulness of sin, and of my need of his salvation. Holy Spirit, teach me in the deepest sense of indwelling sin to trust wholly to the offering of the body of
Jesus. O lead me to his cross, there to see all my sins nailed, crucified with him, dead in his death, buried in his grave: in this faith strengthen me mightily to resist and to conquer my corruptions. Enable me to experience the power of his cross, that I may feel sin weakened in the love and in the practice of it. Almighty Spirit, in my daily warfare I find no strength, less than thine can make me conqueror: and therein thou hast caused me to put my trust. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old; Art thou not it that cut the pride of nature to pieces, and wounded the old dragon? O my God, magnify thine arm in subduing every sin. Thou seest my naked heart, and its sighings are not hid from thee. My corruptions are indeed my cross: and they would have been a sore burden too heavy for me to bear, if the curse had not been taken out of them. But still pardoned as they are, yet in this tabernacle I do groan being burdened. I believe the day is coming when I shall have perfect and eternal freedom from sin and sorrow. The first fruits of this only make me long the more for the blessed harvest. But I desire to wait in hope, bearing my cross, till thy will be done. O Lord make me willing to resist, give me power to overcome indwelling sin, till the day of redemption, and mortality be swallowed up of life. Hear me, my good God, and answer me for thy name's sake, to the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit, the three in one Jehovah, to whom my heart now bows in worship, and my soul hopes soon to join the song of never ceasing praise. Amen and Amen.