« הקודםהמשך »
face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth,” 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25.
Thus you see the operation of the word and spirit of God; when the Lord speaketh to the heart, the rebel is arraigned, judged, and condemned, both by law and conscience; and would sink to all eternity if God did not impute an everlasting righteousness to him; but the chosen sinner has an advocate, and therefore his trial does not end in eternal death, but in a fatherly chastisement; as it is written: “ But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world,” i Cor. xi. 32.
Ahimaaz. I wish to hear the trial of Prodigalis if my
brother would relate it; and pray be so kind as to bring in the word of God to shew the consistency of his arraignment therewith; for you know that must be the touchstone by which all things must be tried; even the spirit, the practice, and the principles, of a believer must be tried by that.
Cushi. Very true; and I shall be glad to prove the trial and justification of this poor sinner by that immutable standard. After Prodigalis had been alarmed, awakened, quickened to feel his guilt, and raised out of his dead state of carnal security, he gave himself wholly up to retirement and melancholy, as being fit company for none but those of the same cast. In one of his solitary walks he came to a lonely grove, which is well known to thousands; and, having a clear view, and a feeling sense, of his lost estate," he lifted up his voice and wept, and called the name of that place Bochim,” Judges ii. 4, 5. And it is called the place of mourners to this day.
At the end of mourning grove there is a little valley, and on the south side of it, at the foot of a hill, is a little enclosed spot, walled round, and planted with dwarf evergreens. Prodigalis attempted an entrance into it, but met with a rebuff, and had the gate shut against him. He then made an attempt to climb over the wall, but he felt himself sensibly resisted : “God resisteth the proud." This wrought such distraction and confusion in his mind that he fainted away, and lay for some hours in a trance, during which time he had a vision : “ He saw by night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse; and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom, and behind him were red horses spangled and white,” Zech. i. 8.
Prodigalis had the use of all his faculties: but whether he was in the body or out of it he could not tell. His mind was impressed with awful thoughts of the grand assize; and the horses that he saw in the vision he took to belong to the retinue of his judge, who was visiting those parts in his perpetual circuit. And indeed he was not mistaken, for the horses belonged to the chariots of God, and were a part of the twenty thousand that always attended him, Psalm Ixviii. 17. The poor man was forcibly seized, and led in the vision by a strong hand to a lofty hill, the top of which was covered with a pillar of smoke; the middle of it was all on a flame of fire, and just under the fire hung a heavy dark cloud; before that cloud Prodigalis was placed; nor was it in his power to move one step from it, though “he fain would have fled out of his hand,” Job xxvii. 22.
Out of the midst of that black cloud a superna
tural light broke forth, and forcibly darted its beams on the whole soul of Prodigalis. As soon as this light shone upon him all the corruptions of his heart boiled up," as the fire causeth the water to boil," Isa. Ixiv. 2. His iniquities were set before his judge, and his secret sins in the light of his countenance, Ps. xc. 8. He saw himself in his true colours indeed; for his polluted soul was discovered in such a loathsome condition, that no leper was ever so corrupted in body as he appeared to be in sout : “ from the foot even unto the head there was no soundness; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores,” Isa. i. 6. He was a leper in the worst sense, and many filthy rags he had laid on to cover his wounds, Isa. “lxiv. 6. But, alas, his spiritual defilements and his legal coverings were both of a piece, insomuch that he might truly be said to be "clothed with filthy garments,” Zech. iii, 3.
In this deplorable and most miserable condition he found an accuser standing close to him upon the right hand; who infused into his mind such enmity against the light that shined, and suggested such evils and hard thoughts against the Judge, as are shocking to mention. Thus stood Prodigalis, clothed in his filthy garments, filled with shame and confusion of face, even “ before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him," Zech. iii. 1.
In this perishing statę, bitten with the gnawing worm of a guilty conscience, he found another enemy on his left side, threatening every moment to put a period to his existence; and, had that been permitted, he was sure that his accuser would gain an awful. conquest over him, and an eternal possession
of him. No free-will, no human power, no selfrighteousness, can stand here. Prodigalis , 'found this ; and these things blasted all his supposed power and free-will : “ His strength was hunger-bitten, and destruction was ready at his side : this devoured the strength of his skin; the first-born of death devoured his strength,” Job xviii. 12, 13. Now I will leave you to guess at the sensations of Prodigalis; thus fixed in the presence of God, with all his sins in the light of God's countenance, covered with guilt and filth, Satan at his right hand, and destruction at his left.
Ahimaaz. A deplorable state indeed ; but surely this is not the case with all sinners.
Cushi. There is not an unconverted soul in the world, as the Lord liveth, but what is in this state, whether he know it or not; and this he will find in a dying hour, when his sins will stare him in the face; destroying death will appear at his left hand, and Satan at his right, if he die out of Christ; and, as sure as death cuts him off in his sin, so sure Satan seizes, the prey, he is then delivered up to the tormentor, and has a distant view of the burning throne of God: “Then shall the spirit return to God who gave it ;” and receive the sentence, “ Depart from me; I know ye not.",
Prodigalis being thus arraigned at the bar, with his accuser at his right hand, and his executioner on his left, his judgment proceeded. There appeared a man under the burning light, who took out a sort of post-bag, in which were the indictments of Prodigalis. His transgressions were sealed up in that bag, God had sewed up his iniquity, Job xiv. 17.
And now the bag was brought forth, and unsealed : “ And, lo, the roll of a book was therein, and it was spread before him; and it was written within and without; and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and wo," Ezek. ii. 9, 10.
Ahimaaz. Pray who was clerk of the peace ? Who was he that read the indictment?
Cushi. Moses reads the indictments, enrolls the acts, and draws the process: but a man whose name is Conscience appeared as clerk of the assize, and produced many things that had been done in various circuits; he was clerk of the crown also, for he had framed and recorded many indictments, which were now all produced.
Ahimaaz. Pray what was his indictment? Who had impeached him?
Cushi. There were several indictments against him. First, he was accused of transgressing all the laws of his sovereign ; secondly, of private conspiracy and rebellion against the king's person ; thirdly, of high treason; and, fourthly, of murder, &c. as shall be shewn in the process.
First the roll of lamentation, mourning, and wo, was read in the order following: Thou art indicted, by the name of Prodigalis, for adhering to an unlawful sovereign : for sin had reigned in his heart, Rom. v. 21. Thou hast been disloyal to the king, and hast set up another in opposition to him. He had set up an idol in his heart, Ezek. xiv. 4. Thou hast opened thy mouth against his majesty, and spoken lightly and vainly of his name and person.
Thou hast profaned the days of rest; the jubilee days, fast days, and all the days of festivity. Thou art charged with disobedience to thy