« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
CHARACTERS OF IGNORANCE AND LITTLE-FAITH.
View of the Celestial City. The importance of such visions on our pilgrimage...
Character of Ignorance.-False views of justification ---Denial of the doctrine of Justification by Faith.-Salvation by our own merits in any way impossible.Christ, a whole Saviour or none at all. To say that a man is saved by his works is just the same as to say that he is saved by his sins.-Character of Little-Faith.— The Enchanted Ground and the Flatterer.The delusions of self-righteousness.The religious experience of Hopeful.-The renewed heart a mirror of Divine Truth
On the Delectable Mountains, the Pilgrims had à sight of the Celestial City. No matter if it was but a glimpse, still they saw it, they really saw it, and the remembrance of that sight never left them. There it was in glory! Their hands trembled, their eyes were dim' with tears, but still that vision was not to be mistaken. There, through the rifted clouds for a moment, the gates of pearl were shining, the jasper walls, the endless domes, the jewelled battlements ! The splendor of the city seemed to pour, like a river of light, down upon
the spot where they were standing. We may adopt the imagery of the Poet Wordsworth, attempting to convey the idea of a material vision which he beheld in the clouds after a storm, in order to shadow forth something of that glory which might have been seen from the summit of the Delectable Mountains.
Glory beyond all glory ever seen
Now this sight did ravish the hearts of the Pilgrims, though they could not look steadily through the glass. Sometimes this vision is revealed to Pilgrims much more clearly than at other times; but no language can describe the glory of the vision, whenever and however it is manifested to the soul; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God reveals them by his Spirit, and sometimes doubtless with such a revelation as language cannot compass.
Much depends upon the weather in our soul's horizon. Sometimes, even when ascending the Delectable Mountains, the Pilgrims are enveloped
in joy all the way up. They climb, and turn to see the prospect, but can see nothing; it is like ascending the Alps on a misty day. But still they climb. And now,
And now, all unexpectedly and suddenly, they rise out of the cloud and beyond it ;-the Sun is shining, the mountains are flashing like pure alabaster ;-they seem to have angels' wings, they come to the Hill Clear, the Celestial City breaks upon them. Ah, how glorious, how merciful is such a vision! Worth all the climbing, all the fatigue, all the mist, rain and darkness. Now the soul can go on its way rejoicing; now it can say to Atheist, What? No Celestial City ? Did I not see it from the Delectable Mountains ? Shall not my soul remember thee, O God, and the sweet glimpses of thy glory which thou hast caused to pass before me? Yea, my soul followeth hard after Thee, and thy right hand upholdeth me; and as long as I live will I praise the Lord for his goodness, and pant
for his abode.
Such glimpses of Heaven, though they be but glimpses, are inexpressibly blessed and sus. taining in our pilgrimage. They help to wean the affections from earth, they strengthen us against temptations, they make us see in the most striking light, the emptiness and vanity of the things of the world, and the folly and sinfulness of the love of the world ; they make us feel, while confined to the world, what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue; they make trials also seem very small and
transitory, and easy to be borne. Moreover, they quicken the heart after God; for the renewed heart well knows that God is the glory of that City, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it; and it has no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
thereof. When the heart is filled and purified with such desires after heaven, as in Paul's case, then it doth desire to depart and to be with Christ; it would lay by these garments of mortality, that it may put on Christ, and be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. Sometimes, when God, by his grace, puts the heart in such a holy frame, discloses so much of himself in Christ to it, every
day is counted, as it passes, for joy, as a step nearer heaven; so that Death seems no longer the King of Terrors, but the Angel of a Father's love ; and the day when he comes is the Christian's BIRTH-DAY OF ETERNITY. So Time itself, the most fleeting of all things, seems sometimes long, because it separates the soul from the Saviour !
For this it is makes life so long,
Who wants the place where God doth dwell,
O how desirable is such a frame ! But the Pilgrims are not always in it; so Christian and Hopeful must go down from the Delectable Mountains, and be on the comman way of their pilgrim
age ; for these happy experiences and visions of heaven are given, as I said, not to constitute our rest, but to make us long after it, to make us willing to endure hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. The Crown of Life is after Death, and no man can be crowned, till, through Christ, he has gained the victory. The Lord, in mercy, grant us that grace, that we, through him, may gain that victory, being made faithful unto death!
The Pilgrims must go on, and though they have been where they could see the Celestial City, yet there are dangers and labors still to go through, and no chariot, nor bright cloud, nor way through the air, to convey them insensibly, or without fatigue to heaven. So they bade the kind Shepherds a loving farewell. Methinks, after all their past experiences and visions, they breathed, às they went, the very spirit of those sweet verses of Baxter, in which he poured forth, with such simplicity, the breathings of his soul after heaven, and the quiet spirit of resignation to God's will.
Lord, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
And this thy grace must give.
That I may long obey:
That shall have the same pay?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms,
Than he went through before ;
Must enter by this door.
Thy blessed face to see;
What will thy glory be!