Stacks Image 94






SECTION VI.


JUSTIFIED BELIEVERS CONVICTED OF INDWELLING SIN.



"IT is not easy to conceive what a difference there is between that which he experiences now, and that which he experienced before. Till this universal change was wrought in his soul, all his holiness was
mixed. He was humble, but not entirely; his humility was mixed with pride: he was meek, but his meekness was frequently interrupted by anger, or some uneasy and turbulent passion. His love of God was frequently dampened by the love of some creature; the love of his neighbor, by evil surmising, or some thought, if not temper, contrary to love. His will was not wholly melted down into the will of God; but although in general he could say, I come, 'not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me;' yet now and then nature rebelled, and he could not clearly say, 'Lord, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.' His whole soul is now consistent with itself; there is no jarring string." — Sermons, vol. ii. p. 222.




"In this peace they remain for days, or weeks, or months, and commonly suppose they shall not know war any more, till some of their old enemies, their bosom sins, or the sin which did most easily beset them (perhaps anger or desire), assault them again, and thrust sore at them, that they may fall. Then arises fear, that they shall not endure to the end, and often doubt, whether God has not forgotten them, or whether they did not deceive themselves, in thinking their sins were forgiven, and that they were children of God. Under these clouds, especially if they reason with the devil, or are received to doubtful disputatious, they go mourning all the day long, even as a father mourneth for his only son whom he loveth. But it is seldom long before their Lord answers for himself, sending them the Holy Ghost, to comfort them, to bear witness continually with their spirit, that they are the children of God. And then they are indeed meek, and gentle, and teachable, even as little children. Their stony heart was broken in pieces, before they received remission of sins; yet it continued hard; but now it is melted down, it is soft, tender, and susceptible of any impression. And now first do they see the ground of their heart; which God would not before disclose unto them, lest the flesh should fail before Him, and the spirit which He had made. Now they see all the hidden abominations there; the depths of pride, and self, and hell: yet, having the witness in themselves, — thou art 'an heir of God, a joint heir with Christ;' thou shalt 'inherit the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,' — their spirit rejoiceth in God their Saviour, even in the midst of this fiery trial, which continually heightens both the strong sense they then have of their inability to help themselves, and the inexpressible hunger they feel after a full renewal in His image, in righteousness, and all true holiness. Then God is mindful of the desire of them that fear Him: He remembers His holy covenant, and He giveth them a single eye and a clean heart. He stamps upon them His own image and superscription; He createth them anew In Christ Jesus; He cometh unto them with His Son and His blessed Spirit, and, fixing His abode in their souls, bringeth them Into the 'rest which remaineth for the people of God' "— Works, vol. vii. p. 597.




"Thence I rode six or seven miles to Tonny-Lommon, where was a congregation of quite another kind. Great part of them knew in whom they had believed; all were deeply and steadily attentive; and many were thoroughly convinced of inbred sin, and groaning for full redemption." — Journal, May, 1769.




"For it is seldom long before he who imagined all sin was gone, feels there is pride in his heart. He is convinced both that in many respects he has thought of himself more highly than he ought to think, and that he has taken to himself the praise of something he had received, and glorified in it as though he had not received it; and yet he knows he is in the favor of God. He cannot, and ought not, 'to cast away his confidence.' 'The Spirit' still 'witnesses with' his 'spirit, that he is a child of God.'

"Nor Is it long before he feels
self-will in his heart; even a will contrary to the will of God, — a will every man must inevitably have, as long as he has an understanding. This is an essential part of human nature; indeed, of the nature of every intelligent being. Our blessed Lord Himself had a will as a man; otherwise He had not been a man. But His human will was invariably subject to the will of His Father. At all times, and on all occasions, even in the deepest affliction, He could say, 'Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.' But this is not the case at all times, even with a true believer in Christ. He frequently finds his will more or less exalting itself against the will of God. He wills something because it is pleasing to nature, which is not pleasing to God; and he wills (is averse from) something, because it Is painful to nature, which is the will of God concerning him. Indeed, suppose he continues in the faith, he fights against it with all his might: but this very thing implies that it really exists, and that he is conscious of it.

"And do we not feel other tempers, which are as contrary to the love of our neighbor as these are to the love of God? The love of our neighbor 'thinketh no evil.' Do not we find anything of the kind? Do we never find any
jealousies, any evil surmisings, and any groundless or unreasonable suspicions? He that is clear in these respects, let him cast the first stone at his neighbor. Who does not sometimes feel other tempers or inward motions, which he knows are contrary to brotherly love? If nothing of malice, hatred, or bitterness, is there no touch of envy, particularly towards those who enjoy some real or supposed good which we desire but cannot attain? Do we never find any degree of resentment, when we are injured or affronted, especially by those whom we peculiarly loved, and whom we had most labored to help and oblige? Does injustice or ingratitude never excite in us any desire of revenge? And desire of returning evil for evil, instead of 'overcoming evil with good'? This also shows how much is still in our heart which Is contrary to the love of our neighbor." —"Repentance of Believers" — Sermons, vol. i. p. 116.




"On Friday, the 13th, about thirty persons were met together at Otley, about eight o'clock in the evening, in order (as usual) to pray, sing hymns, and provoke one another to love and good works. After prayer was ended, when they proceeded to speak of the several states of their souls, some with deep sighs and groans, complained of the burden they felt for the remains of indwelling sin, seeing, in a clearer light than ever before, the necessity of a deliverance from it." — Journal, Feb., 1760.