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Pastoral Fragments continued— Sublimity of
Spiritual Knowledge-Growth in GraceThe Believer's Warfare-Invaluable Treasure -Union with Christ the Ground of all Grace and Communion.
Sublimity of Spiritual Knowledge.- On the subject of the seraphim, in the vision of Isaiah vi. I am not now going to particularize ; but whatever be the rank of this creation, we are told that one of the seraphim flew to relieve the distressed soul of the Lord's servant.' This rapidity seems noticed to let us know with what zeal and compassion the Lord commands relief to be administered to his sorrowful ones. Daniel had scarcely uttered his lamentation, when Gabriel was commissioned to visit him; and Isaiah no sooner complains of his uncleanness, than a seraphim is sent on swift wing to take away the cause of his affliction. In pursuing the chapter, pray remark what a different state of faith is recorded of the prophet, to that we frequently observe in godly professors ; no sooner did Isaiah apprehend the removal of guilt, than he feels himself rendered fit for the Lord's errands; he is forward to answer, “ Here am I; send me.” Sin purged away, Isaiah knew the barrier to be removed, which severed him from communion with the Lord, and he becomes anxious for his service. In the beginning of the chapter, it is worth your remark, that Isaiah makes a minute memorial of the vision which he beheld ; the time is noted, as well as the circumstances ; a parallel practice is likewise pursued by the prophet Jeremiah, and by such illustrious examples you and I should learn to do somewhat in the same way, not trust to our treacherous memories, but write a register of the Lord's especial favours, for we have Bethel visits to recount, and spiritual views of Jehovah to proclaim.
The revelation of God to the soul is sure to be accompanied with the deepest humiliation; when the Lord proclaimed himself to Moses, as “ The Lord God merciful, and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth;" immediately Moses made haste, and bowed himself to the earth, and worshipped ; the earliest effect of grace in action, is to bend us instantaneously before the Lord in praise and adoration. It is not the posture of the body which ought to be observed, further than as the outward gesture defines, and illustrates the inward state of the soul; we read that David sat before the Lord—the attitude of sitting describes a holy confidence, a blessed familiarity; the sweetest assurance of the Lord's colloquy with David. This royal servant retired, closed the door, shutting out the world, its cares, pleasures, and pursuits ; refused admittance to creatures, however loved; forgot his exercises or enjoyments, and, withdrawing himself from life, went in, and sat down to commune with the Lord. To me, I own, there is not a more striking memorial in the history of David, as it relates to his walk of faith. Dying saints, from bodily pain, are seldom able to kneel, and yet the Lord the Spirit delivers gracious comfort to their souls; let not what I have said do away with proper observances; I wish only to be understood, that no stress ought to be laid upon the most correct usages, unless they are
supported to demonstrate spiritual feelings, not merely to assume them.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not speculative; it is a practical doctrine, the believer knows the person of the Father, who hath chosen and blessed the church in Christ; he knows the person of the Son, who hath redeemed the church so chosen, so blessed ; he knows the person of the Holy Ghost, who regenerates, teaches, renews, and comforts him. So when we are manifested participators of the Father's love, the Son's redemption, and the Spirit's operation on our souls, we have then such a testimony to the truth of the doctrine, that no foe from within or without, can gainsay or resist. :
The godhead of Christ is not derived; he is the uncreated Word made Aesh; the person of Christ, not constituting two natures, but a created nature, taken up into union with one of the persons in Jehovah, thus showing forth the mystery of godliness,“ God manifest in the flesh.” I should not, from the triplicates in nature, attempt to prove the existence of God in a Trinity of persons; but God having revealed himself to us in Scripture, as so exist
OUTLINES OF TRUTH. ing, the analogies of natural things are often an elegant and beautiful illustration of the subject.
Growth in Grace.--I hear many who say that the attainment of those great things relating to our holy faith are quite darkened to them. I would wish all infants in divine knowledge to recollect, that our enjoyment does not constitute our safety. Our Lord says, “ Ye must be born again.”—John ii. Regenerated you must be, the pledge of future glory is in the act wrought, not in the perception we ourselves can acquire of its growth. The gifts you receive in token of the Lord's favour, may be small or . great, according to his pleasure in bestowment; but the least real communion is as much a fruit of mercy as the highest. Some believers lean on the Lord's bosom at supper with John, others sit down by him as Lazarus after his resurrection; there are lesser visitants, who only gather up the crumbs from under his table. It is their access to Christ which constitutes the happiness of all his guests ; not the place which they may be appointed to occupy. Think of being invited to feast at the table of the worldly, and being directed by the Lord to receive bread