« הקודםהמשך »
The following treatise is a spiritual medley of
heavenly things; an entertainment for the mind and conscience of gracious souls, who, for the want of gospel light to discern the rich provision and stability of God's covenant, are often sunk to live beneath the privileges thereof. I have frequently heard people, who I believe to be truly gracious, declare themselves to be bowed down, and continually dejected, under the apprehensions of a dreadful scrutiny which they suppose
the Saviour will have with them in the day of judgment. In order to remove the believer's groundless fears, to shew him the privileges of the covenant, and to excite his gratitude to God, this little treatise is published.
The things that are considered, and attempted to be explained, are the spiritual resurrections of a sinner -his arraignment and justification—his spiritual birth, heirship, and inheritance-his evidences for Heaven
--the conflicts he hath with the devil-and the office
of Christ as an Advocate.
And, in order to convey my thoughts as intelligibly as possible, it is written by way of dialogue: question and answer being an excellent way of conveying information, and with which the word of God is replete.
The persons made choice of to carry on the dialogue are Cushi and Ahimaaz, two servants of David, both styled in Scripture good men. Cushi is here represented as one wrought upon by grace while he observed the visible hand of God with David; which is intended to shew how a Christian's life, and the hand of God with him, impresses the mind and convicts the conscience of a sinner. Ahimaaz is
represented as running with tidings before he was sent; which is introduced as a caution to the many in our days, both learned and illiterate, who take upon
them the office of the ministry without any spiritual qualification for it, or divine call to it; who are encouraged and emboldened by nothing but pride, insensibility, and ignorance. A thirst for human applause—ignorance of the experience and wisdom of the Church, and of the plague of the human heart—of the majesty of God, and the importance of the ministryappear to be the basis and bulwark of too many.
The houses of Saul and David are introduced as prefiguring the family of the old Adam and the household of faith. Cushi's halting between the two is intended to exhibit the struggles that the weak believer feels between the flesh and the spirit. The revival of the work of grace on Cushi, at the death of David, is introduced to shew that many young converts, who are a scourge to the servants of God in their lives, are brought to lament their death, being ignorant of their worth till they feel their loss; as Israel of old, who was a perpetual burden to Moses for forty years; but when he was dead they bemoaned him for thirty days; or like Saul, who was so often a plague to pious Samuel in his life, yet would sell himself to the devil for a sight of his mantle when he was dead.
I have studied plainness in this work, and endeavoured to be as intelligible to my Reader as possible; not expecting that the consequence of the noble, the acquired knowledge of the scholar, the wisdom of the critic, and the refined judgment of the polite and gay, will ever submit to a perusal of any performance of mine, unless it be to cavil at it. To be short: if any part of the revealed will of God be made plain to the seeker or to the believer; if his judgment be informed, his doubts and fears removed; if any blessing of the covenant be discovered; if his mind be entertained, his faith established, and his covenant God endeared to him, I trust my end is answered; and what the outside professor, or the open enemy to truth, may have to say, will have but little weight with me, except it be to pity him.
That the believer may read without prejudice, and profit by reading, is the desire and prayer of,
Thy willing servant,
and tried companion in tribulation,
Cushi, having lost his royal master, took a solitary walk, to reflect on the past experiences and wonderful deliverances left upon record by him; until, in a measure, he thought they became, according to his sensations, like his own experience. He suddenly found his understanding much opened, worldly things vanished from his mind, and every thought of his heart appeared at command, which he employed in reflecting on past mercies, and in pleasing anticipations on future glory.
Reflections on his past conduct brought many things fresh to his mind, which afforded matter for real contrition. But the thoughts of God's long forbearance and slowness to anger dissolved his soul, and excited his warmest gratitude. He came suddenly to the brow of a little hill, which is called the hill Mizar.. Here Cushi meditated upon the former deliverance of his royal master.
- On this spot, said he, his false hope gave way, and the burden of his sins sunk him into the keenest sensations of divine displeasure, which involved him in all real and imaginary horror. Here it was that he prayed out of the depths of despondency; and his