March 31, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 31th, 2019
Speak No Peace (Continued)
c. When to take comfort from a promise of God
But you will say, “When may we take the comfort of a promise as our own, in relation to some peculiar wound, for quieting the heart?”
1). When God speaks the promise to you
We may take the comfort of a promise for our own, first and in general, when God speaks it—be it when He will, sooner or later.(95) I told you before, He may do it in the very instant of the sin itself, and that with such irresistible power that the soul must receive His mind in it. And sometimes He will make us wait longer. But when He does speak—be it sooner or later, be it when we are sinning or repenting, be the condition of our souls what they please—if God speaks, He must be received. There is not anything in our communion with Him that the Lord is more troubled with us about, if I may so say, than our unbelieving fears, which keep us from receiving that strong consolation He is so willing to give to us.
But you will say, “We are where we were. When God speaks it, we must receive it, that is true; but how shall we know when He speaks?” I would we could all practically come up to this, to receive peace when we are convinced that God speaks it, and that it is our duty to receive it.
There is, however, if I may so say, a secret instinct in faith whereby it knows the voice of Christ when He speaks indeed. As the babe leaped in the womb when the blessed virgin came to Elisabeth (Luke 1:41), faith leaps in the heart when Christ indeed draws nigh to it. “My sheep,” says Christ, “hear my voice” (Joh 10:4, 27)—that is, they know My voice; they are used to the sound of it. They know when His lips are opened to them and are full of grace. The spouse was in a sad condition, asleep in security; but yet as soon as Christ speaks, she cries, “It is the voice of my beloved” (Song 5:2). She knew His voice and was so acquainted with communion with Him that instantly she discovers Him. And so, will you also. If you exercise your-selves to acquaintance and communion with Him, you will easily discern between His voice and the voice of a stranger. And take this criterion with you: when He speaks, He speaks as never man spoke. He speaks with power, and one way or other will make your “heart burn within” you as He did to the disciples (Luke 24:32). He does it by putting “in his hand by the hole of the door” (Song 5:4)—that is, putting His Spirit into your hearts to seize on you.
He that has his senses exercised to discern good or evil is the best judge for himself in this case, being increased in judgment and experience by a constant observation of the ways of Christ’s communication, the manner of the operations of the Spirit, and the effects it usually produces.
2). If the Word does true good to your soul
If the Word of the Lord does good to your souls, He speaks it: if it humble, if it cleanse, and if it be useful to those ends for which His promises are given—namely, to endear, to cleanse, to melt and bind to obedience, to self-emptiness, etc. But this is not my business, nor shall I further divert in the pursuit of this direction. Without the observation of it, sin will have great advantages towards the hardening of the heart.