Owen - BX9315 O81

ON THE GLO ready to receive us into communion with himself, that is, in the light of the knowledgeof Christ which we have by the word, we may have sudden occasional thoughts of him continually; and where our minds and affectionsare so filled with other things, that we are not ready for converse with him who is thus nigh unto us by the word, we are spiritually indisposed. So to manifest how nigh he is untous, it is said that be stands at the door and knocks. Rev. iii. 20. in the continual tender that he makes of himself and his grace unto our souls. For he is always accompanied with the glorions train of his graces, and if they are not re- ceived, be himself is not so. It is to no purpose to boast of Christ, if we have not an evidence of his graces in our hearts and lives. But unto whom he is the ,hope of future glory, unto them he is the life ofpresent grace. Sometimes it may be that he is withdrawn from us, so as that we cannot hear his voice, nor behold his countenance, nor obtain any sense of his love, thoughwe seek him with diligence. In this state all our thoughts and meditations concerning him; will be barren and fruitless, bringing in no spiritual refresh- ment into our souls. And if we learn to be content with such lifeless unaffecting thoughts of him as bring in no experience of his love, nor give a real view of the gloryof his person, we shall wither away as unto all the power of religion. What is our duty in this case, is so fully expressed by the spouse in the Canticles, as represents it plainly unto the minds of believers, who have any experience of these things, chap. iii. 1 -5..t By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, tt but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will ti seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him but I " found him not. The watchmen that go about the u city found me, to whom I said, saw ye him whom tt my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from tt them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I st held him, and would not let him go." The like ac- count she gives of herself, and of her behaviour on the likeoccasion, chap. v. 1 -8. This is the substance of what by this example we are instructed unto. The Lord Christ is pleased some- times to withdraw himselffrom the spiritual experience F LT Or CHßt5T. 21 of believers; as unto any refreshing sense of his love, or the fresh communications ofconsolatory graces. Those who never had experience of any such thin?, who never had any refreshing communion with him, cannot be sen- sible ofhis absence, they never were so of his presence. But those whom lie bath visited, to whom he bath given ofhis loves, with whom he bath made his abode, whom he bath refreshed, relieved, and comforted, in whom he hath lived in the power of his grace, they know what it is to be forsaken by him, though but for a moment. And their trouble is increased, when they seek bins with diligence in the wonted ways of obtaining his presence, end cannot find him. Our duty in this case is to per- severe in our inquiries after him in prayer, meditation, mourning, reading, and hearing of the word; in all ordinances of divine worship, private and public; in diligent obedience, until we find him, or he return to us as in former days. It were well if all churches and professorsnow would manifest the same diligence herein, as did the church of old in this example. Many of them if they are not hardened by the deceitfulnessof sin, cannot but be sensi- ble that the Lord Christ is variously withdrawn from them, if ever they had experience of the power of his presence: yet are the generality of them far from the frame of heart here described in the spouse; for they are slothful, careless, negligent, and stir not up themselves to inquire after him, or his return unto their souls. So was it with Laodicea of old, so was it with Sardis, and so it is to be feared that it is with many at present. But to return. Generally Christ is nigh unto believers, and of a ready access; and the principal actings of the life of faith, consist in the frequency of our thoughts concer- ning him; for hereby Christ livetli in us, as he is said to do, Gal. ii. 20. This we camrót do, unless wehave frequent thoughts of him, and converse with him. It is often said among men, That one lives in another; this cannot be but where the affections of one are so engaged unto another, that night and day he thinks of bins, and is thereby as it were present with him, So ought it to be between Christ and helievers. He dwells in them by faith; but the actings of this life in them (as wherever life is, it will be in act and exercise). are proportionable unto their thoughts of bin, and delight in him. I0