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in darkness; but when its rays are full and direct, the
This hidden man of the heart, or as the psalmist calls it, this hidden thing or part,* is the new man, which is not corruptible, because it is renewed after the image of him that crealed him. And this new or hidden man is sustained by new and secret food, even by the hidden manna, the life and grace of Christ, communicated by his Spirit. By this it is replenished, and proceeds to the measure of the stature appointed.
As this is a true and invincible life in its essence, so, like the natural life, it appears to have its own peculiar
effects and operations. It is capable of spiritual and diz: vine knowledge, of which the natural man, however. ingenious or learned in natural things, is truly incapable. He of himself cannot taste, experience, or exercise, this gracious wisdom; and therefore, if he could form a thousand speculations upon divine ideas cloathed with human words, he cannot attain to the substance and life of this heavenly thing; not more than a person who be holds the picture of a feast can be said to enjoy one. He may look, and contemplate, and starve. This wisdom is, therefore, called the hidden wisdom, which the princes or the great of this world, that is, those who are high in themselves, cannot know; because God is said to reveal its truths by his Spirit, and to him only that is spiritual,* who as such is alone prepared for their reception. And it is also called the secret (710, the fundamental or established counsel) of the Lord, which is with them that fear him, and with them only. By this wisdom, the believer is taught where to find strength for every occasion, pardon for every sin, justification for every demand of the law, holiness against every pollution, victory over death and hell, and life and peace for evermore. He prays in secret to him that seeth in secret; or, what is the same in other words, he entereth in spirit into the secret place of the Most High, and dwelleth under the shadow of the Almighty. He casts anchor within the vail, and finds it sure and sted fast in every storm. He lives by the faith of the Son of God, · and looks to him as his refuge in every time of need ; nor is he, nor shall he ever be, disappointed of his hope.
What a mystery is this life of the Christian to a man of the world? He cannot conceive, how it is possible for any one to love God, whom he hath not seen; or to act dependently upon him in a renunciation of himself; or to live in a serious retirement and obscurity among men, undesirous of, or rather dreading, earthly pomp and worldly glory; or to taste of such superior joys and comforts, as can render insipid all the vain delights, and pleasures, and entertainments, round about him. This is a strange life and business to the natural man; and be cause he wants a name for it, he gives it a hard one; though wide enough from the right, through his ignorance and inexperience. He therefore hates or despises the Christian, who feels, or ought to feel, in return, none but the kindest emotions of pity for him.
May I enjoy, for my part, this secret and sacred love of my God within my soul; for surely nothing beside can make me happy. I have tried, and others have tried, all possible schemes of pleasure, which the world can afford, or sense can receive; but alas! what are all earthly things but fleeting vanity; or, what fruit can they pro duce at the last, but keen remorse, and pungent, gloomy, wearisome, vexation of spirit? Thy secret wisdom, O my God, conveyed to my heart through thy word, hath greatly delivered me from this doleful path, and guided my feet into the way of peace. True; it is but a narrror way; and few there be that find it; but the way, however, is thine, and infalliably leads up unto thee. O make me to learn this pure wisdom secretly; and then shall I walk in thy truth to the end, and no wickedness shall bave dominion over me!
STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS.
The Holy Ghost employs every kind of similitude, ape parent in the objects of nature, to represent the state and the privileges of the children of God. And as a similitude, in some respect or other, really exists between natural and spiritual things; he teaches us, by this example of his own wisdom, to be constantly engaging our thoughts, while we are occupied among earthly matters, to carry them up to the sublime and delightful subjects of an ever. lasting world.
The children of Adam are all strangers upon earth in one relation or another. As they came into the world, and while they continue in their natural state, they are children of wrath, strangers * from the covenants of promise, alienated from the life of God, having no hope, and mere Atheists in the world. But those, who are recon
• The Old Testament has three words, which are translated stranger or foreigner, but which in the original have a peculiar or more forcible sense; as may be seen particularly in Exod. xii. 43, &c. The word aj ver. in 43. means a person, not only a Gentile, but, in the worst sense, a stranger and an alien to God and his people, In ver. 43. the word gwia, rendered foreigner, implies a sojourning stranger, one who lives among God's people, but is not of them. And in ver. 48, 49. The word na, also rendered stranger, denotes one moved with fear, and so walking, in a spiritual sense, as a proselyte of the truth, convinced of his need of an interest in the covenant of grace, and privileged to come into it.
ciled and brought nigh by the blood of Christ, are indeed no longer strangers to God; and yet they must be strangers still, under a new capacity, to the world and their former condition in it. When the Lord passes over them, beholding their consciences sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, who is the only means of that passing over without vengeance, and therefore called the passover itself in the abstract; they are enabled to go forth with power out of the spiritual Egypt, and the bondage of sin, and to be come estranged to that tyrant and tyranny, under which they had been held. Through the effectual working of the Spirit of grace, they become mortified in their affections to the former lusts, which ruled over them in the time of their ignorance and estrangement from God, grow more and more dead to self with all its false ambition and groveling views, are at a distance from the life and spirit of the world, and tremble to follow its maxims or to mix with its pursuits. They are taught, and not only taught, but induced, to look upon earth, as a strange place, where every object presents a danger, and almost every step a snare; as a region, now far from the Sun of righteousness, where their spiritual nature is exposed to storms, and their new life to deadening cold; in short, as a howling wilderness, where no spiritual bread grows for their souls, but must daily descend from their own country above, and where every kind of enemy and every species of barrenness, want, or emptiness, must continually be found. Like Israel ofold, they wander in the wilderness in a solitary way, and find no city to dwell in. God is their guide through this desert world, they not knowing truly a step of their course with