Wilt thou not grant me warmer zeal To run the heav'nly road? Does not my heart thy precepts love, And long to see thy face? And yet how slow my spirits move Without enliv'ning grace! Then shall I love thy gospel more, And ne'er forget thy word, When I have felt its quick'ning power, To draw me near the Lord. The Psalms and Hymns of Dr.
Dec 03, There is no looking beyond this little speck of matter, which, like the insect crawling upon its leaf, seems all the universe to him. We may here meet a question which has often been asked by those who are conscious of a relapsed state of soul. Apr 21, Feb 04, How striking the confirmation of this truth afforded by the experience of David- two or three features of whose spiritual history we propose, in the present and succeeding chapters, to review, as illustrative of a relapsed and recovered state of the inner life. What an awful, yet unexaggerated description, is this of the natural man!
He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In , he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St. In , he became pastor. In , he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. Have not the mightiest fallen before them?
Such are some only of the many ensnaring influences which weave themselves around the path of the celestial traveler, often extorting from him the humiliating acknowledgment- "My soul cleaves to the dust. In this category we may include things which, though they are in themselves of a lawful nature, are yet of an earthly tendency, deteriorative of the life of God in the soul.
What heavenly mind is not sadly sensible of this? Our ever-foremost, sleepless, subtle foe, stands by and says, "This is lawful, and you may freely and unrestrictedly indulge in it. Oh, it is a narrow path which conducts us back to paradise! But our Lord and Master made it so; he himself has trodden it, "leaving us an example that we should follow his steps;" and he, too, is sufficient for its narrowness. Yes; such is the gravitating tendency to earth of the carnal nature within us, we are ever prone and ever ready, at each bland smile of the world, and at each verdant, sunny spot of the wilderness, to retire into the circle of self-complaisance and self-indulgence, and take up our rest where, from the polluted and unsatisfying nature of all earthly things, real rest can never be found.
Thus may even lawful affections, and lawful enjoyments, and lawful pursuits and pleasures, wring the confession from the lips of a heavenly-minded man- "My soul cleaves unto the dust. But there is sometimes a casting down to the dust which springs immediately from the mighty hand of God himself. The Lord occasionally brings his people very low. He may lay upon them heavy trial, sore affliction, causing them to 'be low in a low place. Because we cannot keep our hearts low, therefore God makes our condition low.
Such, reader, was the low estate of David when he exclaimed, "My soul cleaves to the dust! You feel a deadness, a dulness, and an earthliness, in enjoyments, and duties, and privileges, in which your whole soul should be all life, all fervor, all love. You are low where you ought to be elevated; you grovel where you ought to soar; you cleave to the earth where you ought to be embracing the heavens. Your thoughts are low; your affections are low; your feelings are low; your spirits are low; and you seem almost ready to question the existence of the life of God in your soul.
But even in this sad and depressed state, may there not be something cheering, encouraging, hopeful? There was evidently in David's- "My soul cleaves unto the dust; quicken me. Here was that which marked him a man of God. It was a living man complaining of his deadness, and breathing after more life. It was a heaven-born soul lamenting its earthliness, and panting after more of heaven. It was a spiritual man mourning over his carnality, and praying for more spirituality. It is not the prayer of one conscious of the low state of his soul, and yet satisfied with that state.
Perhaps no expression is more familiar to the ear, and no acknowledgment is more frequently on the lips of religious professors, than this. And yet, where is the accompanying effort to rise above it? Where is the putting on of the armor? Where is the conflict? Where is the effort to emerge from the dust, to break away from the enthralment, and soar into a higher and purer region? But let us study closely this lesson of David's experience, that while deep lamentation filled his heart, and an honest confession breathed from his lips, there was also a breathing, a panting of soul, after a higher and a better state.
He seemed to say- "Lord, I am prostrate, but I long to rise; I am fettered, but I struggle to be free; my soul cleaves to the dust, but, quicken me!
But what does the petition, thus breathed, imply? What does the blessing, thus craved, involve? First, a restoration of soul from past backslidings.
Let the spiritual believer but take the history of a single week as the gauge of the general tenor of his life, and what a lesson does it read to him of the downward, earthly tendency of his soul! Yes, in one short week how have the wheels lessened in their revolutions- how has the timepiece of his soul lost its power- how have the chords of his heart be come unstrung!
But his prayer is for Divine quickening. The Lord quickens the longing souls of his people.
What do we rank among our most prized mercies? Are they not the fresh gales of grace from heaven, blowing softly over our souls? It is a 'little reviving' from the Lord- a quickening of the soul in its dead, wintry state. This prayer also implies what, alas! It is a putting of the Lord's hand a second time to the work of grace in the heart.
But although a regenerate man, he had so relapsed in grace as to need a re-conversion. Our Lord's meaning, then, obviously is, "When you are restored, recovered, re-quickened, then strengthen your brethren. You, perhaps, my reader, are one. Where is the spiritual vigor you once displayed? A clearer manifestation of Divine life in the soul is not the least blessing contained in this prayer for quickening.
How little realization enters into the religion of many! There is the full credence of the judgment to the truth; a conversing about religion, the ministry, and the church. But where is felt the realizing power, the earth-fading, heaven-attracting power, of vital godliness in the soul?
Dear reader, the hour that will bring your religious profession, your religious creed, your religious notions, to the test, is at hand; and the great question in that awful moment will be, "Am I fit to die? But what a prayer is this in view of a scene and a scrutiny so solemn: Lord, quicken your work in my soul, and strengthen that which you have wrought in me. The love that congeals, the faith that trembles, the hope that fluctuates, the joy that droops; may you inspire with new life, new energy, new power! It is of little moment what others think of me; Lord, you know my soul cleaves to the dust.
There is in my heart more of earth than of heaven; more of self than of Christ; more of the creature than of God.
You know me in secret- how my grace wanes, how my affections chill, how seldom my closet is visited, how much my Bible is neglected, how insipid to my taste the means of grace, and how irksome and vapid are all spiritual duties and privileges. Lord, stir up yourself to the revivifying of my soul; quicken, O quicken you me in your ways. Enlarge my heart, that I may run the way of your commandments.
Both are engaged to quicken the soul. The promise is most precious: I will be as the dew unto Israel: Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. But by the instrumentality of the word, the Lord quickens the soul.
The word of Christ is "spirit and life;" therefore it is a quickening word.
We are here constrained to suggest an inquiry- May not the prevalent decay of spiritual life in the church of God- the low standard of spirituality, the alarming growth of soul-destroying error- the startling discovery which some modern teachers appear to have stumbled upon, that doctrines which the church of Christ has ever received as revealed truth, which councils have authorised, and which creeds have embodied, and which the sanctified intellects of master spirits- the Anakims and the Shamgars of polemic divinity and divine philosophy of past ages- have contended for and maintained, are not found in the Bible, but are the visionary dogma of a bygone age- we say, may not these prevalent evils be mainly attributable to the contempt thrown upon the word of God?
We verily and solemnly believe it to be so. We need to be constantly reminded that the great regenerator and emancipator of the world is the Bible- that nothing short of this will disturb the spiritual death which universally prevails, and that nothing short of this will free the human mind from the shackles of error and superstition which enslave at this moment nearly two-thirds of the human race. This "Sword of the Spirit," -like that of Goliath, "there is none like it" -has overcome popery and infidelity, and, unimpaired by the conflict, it is ready to overcome them yet again.
Give me the circulation of the Bible, and with this mighty engine I will overthrow the tyranny of Antichrist, and establish the fair and original form of Christianity. O that in this day of sad departure from the word of God, we may rally round the Bible in closer and more united phalanx!
Firm in the belief of its divinity, strong in the conviction of its potency, may we go forth in the great conflict of truth and error, wielding no weapon but the "Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Oh, many and blessed!
Then will follow a clearer perception of Divine truth, the meaning and beauty of which, now so much obscured by reason of the dust which adheres to the soul, will appear in clearer and richer luster. The public means of grace will be seen to be Divinely appointed and indispensably needful. Vain excuse for their neglect will be laid aside, and the Sabbath and the week-day services will find you at your "well," waiting for Him who stands by it, to draw the water and give you to drink. Private duties will be sought more eagerly, and will be found more precious.
The dust will be swept from your Bible, and the smouldering embers be rekindled upon your altar, and you will be found "watching daily at the Lord's gates, waiting at the posts of his door. The seal of adoption more deeply impressed upon your heart, you will have a more vivid sense of your sonship, and "Abba, Father," will oftener breathe from your lips. Tribulation and suffering- the cup which your Heavenly Father may give you to drink- will then be received without a question, and be drunk without a murmur.