March 29, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 29th, 2019
Speak No Peace (Continued)
2). If rational principles are relied upon (continued)
b). How to know when this is the case
I see here, indeed, various other questions about this arising and intervening themselves. I cannot apply myself to them all: I shall speak a little to one.
It may be said then, “Seeing that this seems to be the path that the Holy Spirit leads us in for the true healing of our wounds and quieting of our hearts, how shall we know when we go alone ourselves, and when the Spirit also accompanies us?”
Answer 1). God will let us know. If any of you are out of the right way in this regard, God will speedily let you know it. For besides, you have His promise that “the meek he will guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Ps 25:9). He will not let you always err. He will, I say, not suffer your nakedness to be covered with fig-leaves, but will take them away and all the peace you have in them, and will not suffer you to settle on such self-satisfaction. You shall quickly know your wound is not healed; that is, you shall speedily know whether or not this is your situation. The peace you thus get and obtain will not abide. While the mind is overpowered by its own convictions, there is no hold for disquietments(92) to fix upon. Stay a little, and all these reasonings will grow cold and vanish before the face of the first temptation that arises.
Answer 2). This course is commonly taken without waiting; which is the grace and the peculiar acting of faith that God calls to be exercised in such a condition. I know God sometimes comes in upon the soul instantly, in a moment as it were, wounding and healing it—as I am persuaded was the case of David when he cut off the lap of Saul’s garment (1Sa 24:5). But ordinarily in such a case, God calls for waiting and laboring (Ps 130:6; 128:2), attending as the eye of a servant upon his master. Says the prophet Isaiah, “I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob” (8:17). When they have run from His house and are so ashamed that they dare not come to Him, God will have His children lie a while at His door, and not instantly rush in upon Him (Isa 28:16), unless He take them by the hand and pull them in. Now, self-healers, or men that speak peace to themselves, do commonly make haste; they will not tarry. They do not hearken what God speaks, but on they will go to be healed.
Answer 3). Such a course does not sweeten the heart with rest and gracious contentment, though it may quiet the conscience and the mind, the rational part of the soul. The answer it receives is much like that which Elisha gave Naaman: “Go in peace” (2Ki 5:19). It quieted his mind, but I much question whether it sweetened his heart or gave him any joy in believing, other than the natural joy that was then stirred in him upon his healing. “Do not my words do good?” says the Lord (Mic 2:7). When God speaks, there is not only truth in His words, which may answer the conviction of our understandings, but also they do good. They bring that which is sweet, good, and desirable to the will and affections. By them the soul returns unto its rest (Ps 116:7).
Answer 4). Which is worst of all, such a course amends not the life, it heals not the evil, it cures not the distemper. When God speaks peace, it guides and keeps the soul so that it turns not again to folly (Ps 85:8). When we speak peace to ourselves, the heart is not taken off the evil; nay, it is the readiest course in the world to bring a soul into a continual practice of back-sliding. If, upon your plastering yourself, you find yourself animated to the battle again, rather than utterly weaned from it, it is too probable that you have been at work with your own soul, but Jesus Christ and His Spirit were not there. Oftentimes nature, having done its work, will come for its reward after a few days, and, having been active in the work of healing, will be ready to reason for a new wounding. However, in God’s speaking peace, there comes along so much sweetness and such a discovery of His love as is a strong obligation on the soul to deal perversely no more (Luke 22:32).