Loving Kindness Unchangeable
What a mercy it is that you and I, and all the living in Jerusalem, have an unchangeable God to deal with us, in whose love there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning, for we can at times feelingly say, "It is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed." O how my soul frequently sinks into nothing under the heavy weight of sin charged home upon me. Yes, brother, let others boast of their uninterrupted liberty, I am a stranger to it. I am still at times bound fast with the chain of my sins, my iniquities go over my head, and I feel them too heavy for me to bear; I am shut up in unbelief; and cannot come forth, and here I lie, till it pleases the ever-adorable Spirit (bless his dear name) to move in and draw up my poor overcharged heart in living sighs and groans to the God of all grace to draw nigh once more, and turn the captivity of my oppressed spirit. And, bless his dear name, he does come through all and over all, and proclaims his name; he shows the greatness of his mercy, holds up to and makes the conscience feel the precious efficacy of atoning blood, breaks the binding power of unbelief, cuts my legal bonds, drives away my miseries, heals my wounds, binds up my broken heart, speaks peace in my troubled conscience, and feelingly makes my standing more secure than it was before I fell. O how sweet are these seasons! how heartily, how freely do we confess our follies I what indignation do we feel against ourselves because of our sins ! what hearty thanksgivings do we render unto the Lord our God! At these times we can think of nothing too bad to call ourselves; we are swallowed up and lost in two mysteries, the mystery of iniquity and the greater mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, seen by the eye of faith, and embraced in our heart's affection. Yes, the superaboundings of God's rich grace, love, and favour melt and move our hearts in love to him who hath first loved us, and we can truly join with the poet in saying;
"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
We then move cheerfully on, the ground feels firm and good, and from our very souls we can say, "I can do all things, or can bear All sufferings, if my Lord be there." What a sweet, blessed, wonderful, desirable change is felt in our souls when the dear Lord smiles into our hearts! What is the world then? what are troubles then? what are enemies then? Why nothing; because our Lord, when he comes, drives them all away. But O, Robert, Robert, what a poor, weak, fearful, mistrustful, fretful, filthy, black, hateful, passionate, peevish, discontented, quarrelsome, mad, daring wretch thou art when left to thyself! How I wonder at times at the long-suffering of my God to me! Frequently I think within myself that I shall never more experience the Lord's presence and favour; but, bless his dear name, again and again he makes me prove him to be unchangeable, and then what can I do but bless him? He is the "wonderful Counsellor, the everlasting Father, the mighty God, the Prince of Peace;" and how could I manifestively know him as such but by his sweet, soul-ravishing, heart-cheering yisitations? "O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be!" Here I am, dear brother, through the good hand of my God upon me, in myself a poor feelingly lost sinner, driven for refuge to the pierced side of a precious Christ, who of God is made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, which causeth me to glory; but "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," by which cross, in soul feeling, I am crucified unto the world, and the world unto me.
Faringdon, June, 1841