« FöregåendeFortsätt »
pudens, qui coram viro, coram puerulo, peccare ausit : sed, ubi justissimus potentissimusque Vindex adstare cernitur, atque eudinov in nos õuma conjicere; quis non illud usurpet Josephi, Quomodo faciam malum hoc grande, ut peccem contra Deum? Gen. xxxix. 9.
(2.) Et de præsentiâ quidem hactenus. Altera sequitur ambulationis hujusce statio, FAMILIARITAS.
Præterire solemus ignotos: superiores à tergo insequimur: cum solis amicis ac familiaribus ambulamus. Henochus igitur, et quilibet verè Christianus, non post Deum modò, uti assecla; sed cum Deo, uti socius, honorifice coambulat. Amicus Dei salutatur Abrahamus: eodem planè titulo, excelso quidem illo et qui vix mortali cuiquam competere posse videretur, discipulos suos compellat Christus : Talem honorem sortiuntur omnes sancti ejus.
Ambulare igitur cum Deo quid aliud innuit, quàm cum ipso, velut amicorum intimo, blandâ tremulâque quâdam familiaritate, conversari ? Familiaris verò hæc cum Deo conversatio in multis quidem consistit piis dispositionibus ac officiis; quæ, in sacrosanctâ hâc ambulationis hujusce statione, totidem quasi stadia meritò dixerimus.
[1.] Quorum primum illud est jus nostrum (ut cum legulejis loquar) ad Deum, in Deo firmiter nobismet stabilire. Quid enim, quæso, juverit apprehendisse Deum infinito planè essentialique modo sa
obdurate wretch, that durst commit sin in the presence of a man, or even of a child: but, when the most righteous and all powerful Judge of the World is known to stand before us, and to cast his avenging eye towards us; who will not take up the words of Joseph, How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Gen. xxxix. 9.
(2.) Thus far have I spoken of our presence with God. The second particular contained in our walking with God, is our FAMILIAR INTERCOURSE with him.
We generally pass by and disregard those whom we know not: our superiors we follow at a distance: it is with our familiar friends and acquaintance only, that we walk. Enoch therefore, and every true Christian, does not walk after God at a distance, like a servant; but walks along with him honourably, like a friend and companion. Abraham is called the friend of God: with the same title, august as it is and such as may seem too great to be be, stowed upon any mortal, our Saviour addresses his disciples : Such honour have all his saints.
What then can walking with God intimate, but our conversing with him, as with a most intimate friend, in a free, affable, undissembled, and sweet and reverential familiarity? But this familiar converse with God consists in many pious dispositions and duties; which, in this holy state of walking, we may with propriety call so many stages.
[1.] The first of which is firmly to establish to ourselves in God, our right (to speak in legal terms) to God. For what advantage, I
pray you, can it to be us to apprehend that God is infinitely pientem, potentem, justum, misericordem; quid, præsentem nobiscum agnovisse; nisi ipsum et nostrum insuper esse persenserimus ? Certè, absque hoc omnia illa gloriosissima Dei attributa nihil aliud nisi terrorem nobis et incuterent et aggravarent: absque hoc, foret, ambularemus Deo à longè: cum Deo ambulare nec ausi quidem; a longè, ut alieno, ut inimico; non cum ipso, ut amico, ut Deo. Quid mihi demum profuerit alterius Deus ? Væ mihi, nisi Deum habuero de proprio. Nihil mihi profectò vel tutaminis esse potest vel solatii, donec dicere possim cum Didymo illo, jam fæliciter restaurato, Dominus meus, Deus meus ; et, cum Prophetâ, Jehovah justitia mea. Et hoc quidem fidei stadium est, latè sese porrigens; cùm ad apprehensionem illam agnitionemque Dei, quam modò pertransivimus ; tum ad reliquas actiones dispositionesque sacras, quas deinceps sumus tractaturi.
[2.] Fidelem hanc Dei appropriationem sequitur perpetua quadam mutui cum Deo colloquii familiaritas. Neque verò existimare debemus, ambulationem hanc planè mutam prorsùsve taciturnam; sed suavissimis dialogismis plenam: piam animam alloquitur semper Deus, anima Deum. Deus animam, continuâ gratiæ excitatione, sanctarumque motionum injectione frequentissimâ ; anima Deum, assiduâ' meditatione, gratiæ acceptilatione, repromissione obedientiæ: suggerit Deus, Quærite faciem meam ; regerit anima, Faciem tuam quæremus, 0 Deus. llicet hæc spirituum
and essentially wise, powerful, just, and merciful; what, to acknowledge that he is present with us; unless we know likewise that he is our God? Certainly, without this all the most glorious attributes of the Almighty would only increase and aggravate our fears: without this, we shall walk at a distance from God: nor should we presume to walk with God; but far from him, as if he were a stranger, and an enemy; not with him, as our friend, and our God. For what advantage can another's God be to me? Woe be unto me, unless I have a God of my own! He can be of no service nor comfort to me, till I can say with Didymus, happily recovered from his incredulity, My Lord and my God; and, with the prophet, The Lord our righteousness. And this is that stage of faith, which extends itself both far and wide; as well to that apprehension and knowledge of God, of which we have already spoken; as to those holy actions and dispositions, of which we shall hereafter treat.
[2.] After this faithful appropriating of God to ourselves follows a perpetual familiarity of mutual intercourse with him. must not imagine, that this walking is entirely dumb and silent; but full of the most delightful discourse : God is continually addressing the pious soul, and the soul God. God addresses the soul, by the continual incitements of his grace, and the incessant infusion of holy desires; and the soul makes its return to God, by assiduous meditation, a grateful acknowledgment of grace bestowed, and renewed promises of obedience: God suggests, Seek ye my face; the soul answers, Thy face, Lord, will we seek.
lingua est. Sic se solent illi, gratiosis divinisque rejaculationibus, mutuò excipere: et hoc illud est Bernardi dulce susurrium cum Deo; quo posito, impossibile planè est ut fidelis quisquam vel solus sit vel otiosus. Et hoc quidem stadium secundum esto.
[3.] Familiaris hujusce collocutionis gratiam ultrò sequetur certissima libertas, et consulendi Deum in dubiis, et rogandi in necessuriis. Quicquid occurrerit, ad Ephodis oraculum recurrisse semper Davidem constat: sed et pius ille Jehosaphatus, ubi de re modò militari, expugnandâ Ramothe, questio incidisset, non tam belli duces, quam sanctos Dei prophetas, censet adeundos. Teraphim suos percontatur Laban: Endorem petit illico, pythonissam consulturus, impius quispiam Saulus: cordatus quisque ac bonus unum scitatur Deum; et is nobis adstat, et verbum illius nobis ad manus est. Non est quod enthusiasmos fanaticasque reve. lationes cogitemus. Æternùm præsens est consiliarius Davidis, pariter et nostri: Testimonia tua, 'niy "WIN, viri consilii mei; Ps. cxix. 24. Quicunque demum casus, quem appellant, conscientiæ, necessarius ad Christiani hominis salutem obtigerit, is, Spiritu suo, per vocem verbi sui nobis respondente ac definiente, clarè certòque determinat.
[4.] Consulendi facultatem comitatur liberrima quadam supplicandi licentia, prarisque assidua. Illud est, quod, Apostoli manu,
This is the language of spirits. Thus they mutually entertain each other, with gracious and divine communications : and this is that private intercourse with God, mentioned by Bernard; to which if he constantly apply himself, it is absolutely impossible any faithful person should ever either be alone or idle. This is the second stage of our walking with God.
(3.) The most undoubted liberty, both of consulting God in difficulties, and of petitioning him in necessities, is a sure attendant on this grace of a familiar intercourse with him. In every situation of life, David constantly had recourse to bis oracle, the Ephod: and the pious Jehosaphat, when he was at a loss what to do, even in a military atlair, the attacking of Ramoth, did not think it so adviseable to consult with the generals of his army, as with the boly prophets of God. Laban consults bis Teraphim: and wicked Saul had recourse to the witch of Endor: but every sincere and good man will enquire of God alone; who is always present with us, and whose word is nigh unto us. We are not to expect enthusiastical and fanatical revelations. David's counsellor is ever present with us also : Thy testimonies are my counsellors; Ps. cxix. 24. Whatsoever case of conscience, as it is called, shall happen, necessary for the salvation of any Christian, he certainly and clearly determines it, by his Spirit, answering and dictating to us by means of his written word.
[4.] An uninterrupted freedom of supplication, with a diligent performance of this duty, accompany the liberty of consulting God. This is that, which God commands, by the mouth of the Apostle ; jubet Deus; Orare semper. Non ita cordi fuisset Deo Propheta ille Regins, nisi hoc fecisset perpetim: Venio, inquit, ante te in ipso crepusculo, ut vociferer; Ps. cxix. 147: Sed et elevatio manuum mearum ut munus vespertinum ; Ps. cxli. 2. Quid ego mane loquor ac vesperam ? septies hoc factitatum in die; Ps. csix. 164. Sed quid adhuc vices numero? Invoco te, inquit, Jehova, totum diem ; Ps. Ixxxviii. 9. Gratiam fac mihi, Domine, quia te inclamo toto die; Ps. lxxxvi. 3:
Breviculum adhuc est lucis spatiolum; O Jehova, Deus salutis mea, interdiu clamo et noctu coram te. Ps. lxxxviii. 3. Scilicet sic factum oportuit. Quo demum stylo alio compellârit mendicus regem ? mendicus miserrimus, rerumque omnium egentissimus; regem munificentissimum ditissimumque, qui rogari largirique cupit maximè, qui quod donat possidet interea, et cui quanto plus decesserit nihil suppetit minus. Eximium verò est hoc ambulantis cum Deo privilegium; posse se, in quibuscunque periculis ac angustiis, in sinum Dei liberè conjicere; ab ipsoque, et opem expectare et solatium.
[5.] Huic igitur rogandi libertati proximè adjacet fiducia nostre exercitium, quả, pro nobis nostrisque in Dei providentiam, parùm anxie, recumbimus. Hoc se, ab ipsis matris suæ uberibus, usque fecisse profitetur charus Deo Psaltes. Quam illustre erat illud
Pray without ceasing. The Royal Prophet had never been so well pleasing to God, if he had not performed this duty incessantly: Early in the morning, says he, do I cry unto thee; Ps. cxix. 147: And the lifting up of my hands is as an evening sacrifice; Ps. cxli. 2. But why do I mention evening and morning this was done seven times a day; Ps. cxix. 164. And why do I still insist upon times; Lord, says he, I call daily upon thee; Ps. Ixxxviii. 9: Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for I call upon thee continually; Ps. lxxxvi. 3. There is yet but a little space of light: 0 Lord God of my salvation, I cry day and night before thee; Ps. Ixxxviii. 3. And as this was, so it ought to have been his daily practice. For with what other language should a beggar address a king? a beggar, the most miserabie wretch in being, and in want of every necessary; and a king, that aboundeth both in riches and muniti cence, whose greatest pleasure is to be entreated and to give liberally, who possesses even that which he bestows, and how much so ever he parts with does not enjoy one jot the less. But this is a singular privilege, of wbich they who walk with God are partakers; to be able, with whatsoever dangers and difficulties they are encompassed, freely to cast themselves into the bosom of God; and expect from him both assistance and consolation,
[5.] Near akin to this liberty of interceding with God, is that e.rercise of our confidence, by which, without any anxiety, we repose on the providence of God for the management of ourselves and all our aitairs. This the man after God's own heart professes that he had always done, even from his mother's breasts. How illustrious and reinarkable a proof was that, of his holy confidence in
sanctæ confidentiæ specimen! Ziklagum et spoliârat hostis, et absumpserat incendio; uxores cum supellectile totâ, prædæ loco, abduxerat; magnumque ducem Israelis non minùs nudum reliquerat, quàm, cum pedo instructus et baculo, patervis olim ovibus invigilaverat. Quid verò ad hæc vir sanctissimus ? At David roboravit se in Domino Deo suo ; 1 Sam. xxx. 6. Illud est quod suadet Apostolus, solicitudinem nostram omnem in Deum conjicere, cui
Et sanè, frustrà cum Deo ambulare simulaverit, qui se totum Deo concredere, sicque fidei vitam degere detrectaverit. Apage nostram sive diffidentiam, sive «útotipapiav, dum nos crudeliter torquemus curarum illarum eculeis, à quibus Miserationum Deus liberos esse voluit. Quin reponimus nos alacres in čvocníæv boni Dei; quovis eventu probè contenti; eodem vuitu manuque eâdem, et bonum et malum ab ipso recipere paratissimi. Dominus est : faciat quicquid ipsi visum; vox erat digna sancto sene. Quàm lubenter placidèque, jubente Deo, montem ascendit mitissimus piissimusque Moses, ibidem moriturus! Non alio profectò animo, nec pede alio, conscenderat ille priùs montem sacrum, legem à Deo recepturus, quàm modò mortem.
Par illi visum est utrunque, vocante, quicum ambulaverat, Domino.
God! The enemy had both spoiled Ziklag, and burnt it with fire; had taken the women captives, and carried them away, with all that appertained to them; and had left the great general of Israel as destitute as he was, when, being armed only with a scrip and staff, he kept his father's sheep. But what did this holy man in his distress? David encouraged himself in the Lord his God; I Sam. xxx. 6. It is the Apostle's charge, to cast all our care on God, who careth for us. And truly, in vain does he pretend to walk with God, who refuses to trust himself and all his affairs in God's hands, and so to live a life of faith. Away then with all our distrust of God; and with that self-inflicted-torment which we endure, whilst we unmercifully goad ourselves with the stings of those cares, from which the God of all Mercies would have us free. Let us cheerfully rely on the good pleasure of our gracious God; perfectly contented with every event; ever prepared to receive both good and evil from him, with the same serenity of countenance and disposition of mind. It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good; was a saying worthy of good old Eli. How willingly and cheerfully did Moses, the meekest and most pious of men, at the command of God, ascend the mountain, though he knew he was to die there! He did not ascend the holy mountain before, when he was to receive the law from God, more willingly and cheerfully than he did now, when he knew he was to resign up his life there to him. Each of these actions was equally agreeable to him, since it was at the command of that God, with whom he had walked.